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ilikeshiny

Equipment, the Relic System and Emergent Storytelling

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After the equipment discussion I started thinking about "Relic-ness" in the game, specifically about formal vs informal "Relics". If nameable gear can last for generations, and be passed down from parent -> child -> grandchild -> etc, I can imagine players inventing their own stories about that gear, and having it become "legendary" or a "relic" in their eyes, without being formally declared a "Relic". This got me thinking about relics more as something that players can build for themselves, than as something declared to be a relic.

Additionally, if there is going to be technology research (and better weapons), I can imagine being forced to leave strong/beloved weapons behind because they are too weak and have become useless. I was wondering what your thoughts on expanding the relic system to all gear, not just Relics, and making characters/equipment more powerful if they were worn by any of their predecessors. I don't see a huge difference between wielding a sword your father used, and wielding a "relic" sword he used, it seems arbitrary that the one labeled "relic" is the only one that lets a character feel as though they are fighting alongside their ancestors.

I think the expanded relic system + the reforging mechanic could work together fantastically. This could encourage people to continue using weapons that they have an emotional attachment to, giving them the boost they need to compete (at least somewhat closely) with current technology. Then if a weapon breaks and you could reforge it with current tech, but keep the emotional bond the player has. You just have to be careful with balance, and make sure that there are pros and cons to using new/old gear, so that players don't simply wield 5th generation wooden swords the whole game.

Let me know what you think!

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For "Build your own" relics, equipment could acquire upgrade slots over time/use/kills/battles/generations or some other marker. Assuming there is a non-demon tech/magic tree, the player could choose what unlocked upgrades to apply as the weapon gained slots. This would also allow you to apply the latest & greatest results of your research to the newest slots.

The flip-side is having the items gain semi-random enhancements based on the type of use they receive in combat, specific kills, the class of their wielder, etc. This approach not only improves the object, but engraves it with a unique history.

Your post also reminded me of one of the many variations of leveled weapons that crop up in pen-and-paper RPGs. This Ancestral Weapon system was designed more to allow a lowly level 1 character to inherit from a brutish level 20 ancestor without breaking the game balance. When first used the inherited equipment would be ordinary, such as a plain sword. As experience was gained, the portions of the legendary attributes were unlocked. So that plain sword would grow with the character, becoming a +1, then +1 flaming, then +2 flaming, etc.

That idea can't be directly applied to Massive Chalice, since an Ancestral Weapon may need to be a crutch to prop up an inexperienced fighter, but having equipment gain levels independent of the users could be applied in a way more fitting to the theme.

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Without stepping out of the subject, something I would think to be interesting, would be non-weapon relics, things associated with the house in question. The first banner carried into battle. The first heraldry worn in the first fighting the newly raised line was involved in. A scarf of some note for being the object passed to the scion of the house.

While it's great to think about relics as "what can it do" as an item (cut, stab, bash, defend in the case of a shield), weapons, as distinctive as they can be and named as they normally are in fantasy, are just one aspect of the character. Having a worn, torn, aged scarf, faded, but easily distinguished, that gives you a leadership bonus, especially dealing with any others from your lineage, even if they're from say, a branch family, who know THAT belonged to the PROGENITOR of the entire line, and can be improved in 'less than direct' enchantments, would add another layer to the relic game, and really, be a standing and legacy thing, not just the "numbers and abilities" on hitting.

Back to the main thrust of the topic though, being able to bring up items that aren't necessarily initial relics and improve them would be interesting, but perhaps to do that we ought to say, "this item has the POTENTIAL to become a relic. Some aspect or quality of the item is beyond the normal make and nature of other weapons". Even if it doesn't BECOME a relic, it can be improved.

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Well don't forget that Warriors/Fighters will be only one kind of Hero Class/Archetype. There are going to be missile units, and a scarf that grants its wearer invisibility would have plenty of combat applications whether for assassins, archers or mages. Helms of far seeing, boots of sprinting, belt of strength, are all classic fantasy/mythic treasures.

And maybe Relics can have tactical combat bonuses and/or strategic keep/realm management benefits.

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I'd love to see demons react to relics like the goblins react to the goblin cleaver in the hobbit:

Some recoil in fear, some become enraged, etc.

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I'd even argue that not all relics need to be combat oriented. There could well be The Reins of Castamere (pardon the pun) that made your horse faster or some sort of mirror or other household item that somehow improves crops or enhances the upbringing capabilities of a specific castle.

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As a sentimental gamer the idea of relics does a lot to mitigate the potentially hopeless feeling of getting attached to a given hero knowing they'll only be around for a small slice of the game. When I read the bit about 'Battle alongside your ancestors by equipping your heroes with uniquely powerful Bloodline Relics' the first thing I thought was that you might be able to, in special circumstances summon some spectral spirit version of the ancestor who first used the relic to literally fight alongside you for a short while. If that's actually something that is being tossed around as a power for very well used 'experienced' relics, it sounds awesome. And it would make it a little easier to let an old favorite hero go if you could then work towards them being able to come back and chip in to help their family on the field now and then.

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Back to the main thrust of the topic though, being able to bring up items that aren't necessarily initial relics and improve them would be interesting, but perhaps to do that we ought to say, "this item has the POTENTIAL to become a relic. Some aspect or quality of the item is beyond the normal make and nature of other weapons". Even if it doesn't BECOME a relic, it can be improved.

Kind of like "masterwork" weaponry? I know they're pushing for a roguelike feel here, which practically necessitates magic weapons / armor. If there are people back home that are already researching sweet demon tech, perhaps items could be improved through that?

I feel like the OP's "emergent storytelling" concept is the real strength here -- one-shot a demon with that longbow? It's tagged masterwork, perhaps given a procedurally-generated name. You could then go back and enchant it further. Block a crit with that shield? Same thing.

I'm curious how this would interact with the time theme, though, considering they don't want wear in the game (and I don't blame them). Never a fun time to get an item broken.

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So there are a lot of ideas being thrown around right now, and I want to add in a couple of my own thoughts based on inspiration from previous tactical games I've played which could be relevant to the discussion:

Phantom Brave: Titles

In Phantom Brave, weapons and characters could be given "Titles": adjectives and descriptors that would give your weapon/character various bonuses and benefits that would increase their stats. There were several "ranks" to titles, they could only hold one title at a time, and the player could house a repository of titles they have collected over the course of the game. It created a dimension of personalization (which I think lots of people are vying for in Massive Chalice).

And by ranking these Titles, you have a sense that some titles have more prestige/greatness over another, and as a player/weapon gains titles it represents the reverence the people in our game have over a person/weapon/armor piece.

It would be wonderful if weapons/armor gained titles which provided bonuses to their benefits. Titles can also be applied and upgraded to people as well, but once they die they are stuck with that title. Maybe that would be a benefit, that if a living character earns enough victories he could be blessed by his dead ancestor and "inherit" a "copy" of that title. And living characters with the titles of dead ancestors could summon their ancestor's spirits as someone mentioned on this thread earlier.

Vagrant Story: Gem Mechanic

In Vagrant Story (developed by the same team that made Final Fantasy Tactics), weapons were composed of two parts: "blades" and "hilts". I won't go into the "crafting" feature (it's complicated and has no relevance), but as you progressed through the game hilts would have slots that allowed you to insert gems that modified your weapon's elemental alignment. Undine Aquamarine improved a weapon's affinity with Water, etc.

In terms of the Relics in Massive Chalice, I'm thinking it could have "slots" that would open once family members accomplished important tasks or achieved certain things. These "slots" would be filled with things that grant bonuses to members of the family line, such as improvements to wisdom, better alignment/affinities, latent skills, the ability to continue a line (LMAO: fertility idols), etc. As for what these things are, I don't know. Kernels of Mana? Beads of blessings?

And better yet, these kernels (yeah, I'll stick with that term) can be modified/merged by Alchemists before they are integrated to the Relic.

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