Well, I’m still waiting for my copy of Skyrim to arrive, so I have some time to write about other things.
I am still having fun playing World of Tanks. After researching all the upgrades for the KV I decided to muck around with Tank Destroyers and Self-Propelled Guns (artillery) for a while. This was fun and educational, seeing the artillery interface made it clear why I had died easily in certain places on the map, and I gained a new appreciation for large rock outcroppings. Actually playing artillery can be super-frustrating, you may be stone to the heavy tank scissors, but light tanks are paper to your stone. The light tanks move too fast for you to hit, and the slow heavy tanks have too much armour for you to damage (I cheered when a shell hit a Tiger II and managed to inflict 2% damage) so you end up hoping wistfully for a medium tank to decide to park itself out in the open for the time it takes you to set up the shot.
Tank destroyers are a bit less frustrating in play. Their low profile makes you hard to spot, so they are excellent if you have the patience to sit in an ambush position, or know where to go for a long-range sniping shot. A Hetzer with a 10.5cm cannon satisfyingly one-shots many light/medium tanks and its the only tank where I have ever managed ‘top gun’ with seven kills out of 15 of the opposing team of players. Without a turret though, its vulnerable to being flanked.
Still, when my dreams were filled with green targeting recticules, I decided I needed to wind back how much I was playing this little game.
The players in my tabletop game will be off doing a tomb crawling expedition soon. So, naturally, there will be traps. And undead monsters. But its traps I have been thinking about. There is one rogue in the party, who has invested heavily in trap detection and removal masteries, allowing him rerolls if he fails a spot/disarm check. So having traps present is a payoff for how he has built his character, helps the team, and makes up for not being as good in combat as the combat focused characters.
I do wonder though, if the process of traps is too predictable.
Most of the time, in every new shift in the game environment, he announces he is looking for traps. If he finds one, he tries to disarm it. Trap disarmed, party moves on, rinse and repeat. Partly I think its dull, because its action by just one player, while everyone else waits. Without an external factor, such as pursuing guards, its not terribly exciting. Low damage traps are also pretty much a waste of time in Dragon Age, as the party can just stop, take a breather, and regain 1d6+Constitution+Level Health Points, so with level 6 characters, traps doing less than 10 damage are just wet bus tickets.
So I thought a bit more about what traps are, and what else you might tie into their key purpose – defending a location. As well as doing some sub-lethal damage (because, to be blunt, save or Die traps will just make my players cry) traps can also:
- Block movement in a particular direction.
- Channel movement towards a different direction.
- Split the party into two or more groups.
- Sound an alarm. Could be silent, could be noisy, maybe the entire dungeon just starts quietly vibrating.
- Summon/teleport guardians to the location (Release the hounds!).
- Physically trap/pin/cage the intruders in that location (Sharks optional).
- Mark the intruders, like paint/dye/glowing goo.
- Attach a locator beacon to the intruders.
- Communicate information to the intruders (Achtung Minen!).
- Trigger a time delayed device (This dungeon will self-destruct in six cycles)
- Apply a debuff to the players (poison, disease, exhaustion, fear, etc) rather than just a few HP.
What I’ll try and do this weekend, is have some traps that require more than just one person playing with their lockpicks, the environment setting and situation should require another pair of hands or eyes I think. Perhaps a slowly flooding dungeon, where once you choose to fall back, you know you’ll never get to the last chamber in the tomb.
Traveller World Gen
Thinking back to the random craziness of Traveller worlds, I begin to think that worlds might have fit better together if they had been designed in clusters, rather than just retro-fitted the explanations.
I also mused briefly today about what an Australian themed expansion for World of Warcraft might look like:
- A continent full of critters that are Level 100 Elite Mobs!
- New Wombat Race!
- Ford Falcon mount for engineers!
- A rejigged economy where you sell minerals to the Chinese gold farmers!
- New Class: Tasmanian Mutant!
- Every monster has a poison attack!
- Forests teeming with Drop Bears!
- Legendary pavlova recipe!
- Ozzie rules PvP, where damage can only be inflicted while jumping!
Grand Strategy Game at Buckets of Dice 2012
I emailed the pitch in for this today. Not too far removed from earlier discussion here, but the next big chunk of design work will be in mid-February, after Canterbury Faire is finished.