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The dungeons!

#1
Jax is busy so I'm making this thread!

Basically - how will dungeons actually be organised? What would the structure be? How many commands would players be generally allowed (both their own actions and pokemon commands? Inclusive or exclusive?) Planning thread subforum for DMs/players to play around with before/during actual dungeon runs? And so forth! Throw out any issues that come to mind and offering solutions to them is also cool.
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#2
Okay, so I have a sort of vision/suggestion about this. Pardon the tardiness of my response, I've been way too busy for my own good lately.

So, dungeons.

First of all, we'd have five sections overall:
- Character profiles
- A central plaza type thing with shops and maybe character houses and stuff
- Adventure threads
- Battle threads (though these could go with adventure threads, maybe? or central plaza? what do y'all think?)
- Bureaucracy stuff: character apps, rules threads, "help how I do this" threads, "this rule needs to change" threads, DM threads for charting interest in a particular idea, all that

For the meta structure, dungeons would be split to two categories: adventures and permanent locations. A permanent location would be something like a Safari Zone or a Poké Park or a shop or potentially a Gym or somesuch, where the first post contains a description of the location and its mechanics and then anyone can come in and do whatever it is the thread is for. For example, in the case of a Poké Park, a person could stroll in and post about trying to get into a battle, at which point the DM of that permadungeon would chime then, telling the player if they find a Pokémon, which Pokémon it is, and what their options are (y'know, bait/punch/catch type deal). A Gym would be sort of different, where every challenger posts in the actual Gym thread but then a new battle thread is made in the battle section. Same would apply to E4 and the Champion. The battle section would also house all battles players challenge each other to.

Adventure dungeons would be more what the game is really about. After planning the thread (maybe we could have a plan template that DM's have to fill out for each adventure and get approved by staff before their thread is posted), the DM posts the thread and every interested player signs up simply by roleplaying themselves entering into whatever scenario is specified in the first post. For instance, if the adventure starts out with an accident near the park, they can appear as bypassers, or if the adventure starts by a request for help á la PMD, they can simply answer the plea to enter. Unless specified otherwise, members of each faction can join a thread and co-operate according to their character's personality.

The adventure then advances in turns or rotations or whatever you'd like to call them. In an ideal situation, each player posts at least once in a given rotation, but if someone is being ridiculously inactive, they can be skipped. As long as there's no battle going on, there doesn't have to be an order of posting, though the DM can specify one if they so wish (for example order of signing up). Thus, whenever something happens in the game, such as meeting a puzzle or an NPC, anyone can react according to when they're able to do so, but everyone is given reasonable chance to post before the next DM post, which would begin a new rotation. The players in the dungeon decide among themselves what they do, for instance where they want to proceed and how to overcome obstacles (of course, according to character. If someone's character is a hothead and an idiot, then of course they would and should always run into things without thinking much or consulting with others. This, of course, doesn't mean everyone else has to follow, or anything).

Once a battle begins, the order of turns is calculated by RNG (say, rolling 1-25) and the character's own speed/whateverwe'regonnacallit. Pokémon and humans are treated the same if they take part in the battle, but all actions not directly related to the battle are handled at the beginning of each rotation. Example: Character A gets 21 in the initiative roll, his Pokémon A gets 35, Character B gets 36, Pokémon B gets 19. Their enemy rolls 25. If characters A and B are only giving orders, the order of the rotation is Character B, Character A, Pokémon A, Enemy, Pokémon B. If Character B decides to go punch the enemy himself, the order is Character A (giving orders), Character B (punching), Pokémon A, Enemy, Pokémon B. I don't know if that makes any sense, but if it doesn't I can make a clearer example. Basically, a person giving orders to their Pokémon, a Pokémon attempting to disable a restraining device in the background, or someone simply watching and not taking part always get their turn in the beginning of the rotation, before any of the battle happens. (In normal battle threads, like gym battles and PvP challenges, the order of commands is decided randomly for fairness.) I'd say that by default everyone is allowed to give one order per a Pokémon of theirs (own, borrowed, or assisting) in battle per turn. In addition to this, they're allowed to take an action of their own (after all, ordering Pokémon around is really just speaking), but if they take part in the battle, they have to take into consideration where their turn will fall in relation to that of their Pokémon. If the Pokémon acts before the character, they won't be able to follow orders until the following rotation.

Once the battle ends, the thread goes back to normal adventure mode, where there's no order but everyone should still aim to post once each rotation. Missing several rotations in a row for no good/previously stated reason can cause the DM to kick you out of the thread or leave you behind. Whenever a challenge arises where the character attempts to use a skill that requires an ability/stat check of some sort (like trying to push a giant boulder), it's the DM who rolls for the character to make the adventure faster and more efficient.

Otherwise the structure and course of the adventure is more or less up to the DM to decide, and can change midway through the dungeon if they so please. In the first post of each thread, to give all players a good understanding of what they're getting themselves into, there should be an estimate of how long and/or difficult the adventure is going to be (not in any strict terms, just something along the lines of "this will be a long adventure" or "this is a quick and easy little dungeon"), the level range it's primarily for (based on the NPC encounters and other factors like that), and what the primary play style/objectives are like (i.e. dungeon-crawling, puzzle-oriented, character-oriented, battle-oriented, something else). There can also be a short summary of what the whole thing's about, but that's not really necessary. Besides that, the first post has the introduction to the adventure, meaning the background and the event that launches it that the players can react to to join the adventure.

I can't think of anything else I want to address right now, so I guess I'll post more later. Meanwhile, opinions. Give me them.
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#3
Note: For the sake of simplicity, I'd imagine it'd be best to integrate battles directly into the adventure thread. Having to go back and forth between multiple threads just for one adventure would be rather daunting. The risk is that we end up emulating Fizzy Bubbles or other forum-based RPGs by doing so (especially if we take a few tips from them in terms of organization), but it'd probably be a lot better than having to say, "Okay, we're going to be done with this thread for a couple of weeks; please go to this other thread in order to have a battle with a level 1 Weedle."

'Sides, the battles are still technically part of the adventure; it's just that the actual exploration gets put on hold for a moment. (See the old Poképark thread for another simplified example of what the dungeon experience could be.)

Other than that, nothing to report right now. o>
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#4
Oh, uh, did I imply I was suggesting battles to be held in separate threads? Because I definitely don't want to do that for regular dungeons. It would be ultra confusing. The only reason why I suggested that Gym threads have separate battles would be because the thread would get absolutely cluttered quite quickly (since everyone fights alone and with several Pokémon so it takes longer than regular RP battles), plus then there's no way to hold two Gym battles at once if necessary. We'd need a place for PvP challenges anyway, so I figured a battle section would work pretty well for that sort of thing.

But for normal adventures, battles should definitely be in the adventure thread itself, no question there. It definitely counts as a part of the adventure so yes.

Maybe I should have planned my post a bit better before I just blarghed it into text xD In my defense, though, I've spent a month writing a novel so my writing skills are taking a bit of a vacation at the moment.
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#5
Agree to have dungeon battles and dungeon adventures in the same thread.

Everything else seems fine, bar the 'who goes when' bit with battles which I think needs refining or some more clarity. Kinda also different to how we did it before (pokemon speed stats deciding who goes first) so say if a character just says a command before the other, does their slugma do something before the rattata? (for sake of an extreme example).

I wonder if one attack a round/turn/rotation is enough (especially as it may not allow the whole 'combo moves' thing we had before too). Also, what about starting health/energy stuff? 50%/50% each as standard, DM can decide if it's different?
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#6
If you're adventuring, you wouldn't expect to be fully healed up after every encounter, nor can you expect to use items each and every time. Starting at 100% for the player's Pokemon would definitely be a start, with possibly halving energy costs (although I don't remember if the last iteration of the ASBN already had fewer exhaustion KOs). You may want damage amplification in some way with trainer bonuses, although the fact that trainers can (maybe?) help in the fight might even things out a bit for those with Pokemon. Since resting like with chills would actually consume a resource here (time), you may want them to play a bigger part outside battle. Trainers who have the ability to treat their Pokemon's injuries without items would definitely be a nice trait to have.
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#7
Quote:Once a battle begins, the order of turns is calculated by RNG (say, rolling 1-25) and the character's own speed/whateverwe'regonnacallit. Pokémon and humans are treated the same if they take part in the battle, but all actions not directly related to the battle are handled at the beginning of each rotation. Example: Character A gets 21 in the initiative roll, his Pokémon A gets 35, Character B gets 36, Pokémon B gets 19. Their enemy rolls 25. If characters A and B are only giving orders, the order of the rotation is Character B, Character A, Pokémon A, Enemy, Pokémon B. If Character B decides to go punch the enemy himself, the order is Character A (giving orders), Character B (punching), Pokémon A, Enemy, Pokémon B. I don't know if that makes any sense, but if it doesn't I can make a clearer example. Basically, a person giving orders to their Pokémon, a Pokémon attempting to disable a restraining device in the background, or someone simply watching and not taking part always get their turn in the beginning of the rotation, before any of the battle happens.

Clearer example time, I guess. A slugma could only go before a Rattata if it rolled really well. I wanted to add an element of random to it so that it's not always so set in stone who goes first and such, because I feel like that adds strategy and removes some level of unfairness from battles (because having the faster folks always, always, always go first would be sort of not cool for the slower folks). Also, it needs to be different because human characters will also have a speed stat now.

So, clearer example of what I meant. Well, here's who's taking part in the battle:
Jack - a regular trainer with 7 in his speed/whatever stat
Shinx - Jack's Pokémon, speed 45
Lisa - a ranger with 8 in her speed/whatever stat
Sentret - Lisa's partner Pokémon, speed 20
Seviper - enemy NPC, speed 65

They roll the following results in the initiative turn order check:
Jack - 8 ( 7 + 8 -> 15)
Shinx - 15 (45 + 15 -> 60)
Lisa - 10 (8 + 10 -> 18)
Sentret - 18 (20 + 18 -> 38)
Seviper - 12 (65 + 12 -> 77)

The battle begins with a round where Jack and Lisa simply tell their Pokémon to attack the enemy. In this case, the course of the round is the following: Lisa gives orders, Jack gives orders, Seviper attacks, Shinx attacks, Sentret attacks. As long as the action types stay the same, this is the order the characters will take. If someone's speed is reduced or improved by some means mid-battle, like by a boosting move or an item of some sort or battlefield circumstances (like being covered in some form of goo), they change their turn accordingly. Like, say, if Seviper decided to wrap himself around Shinx and drop its speed by 25 or something, Sentret would act before Shinx the next round.

However, the battle takes a bad turn and Sentret is poisoned. Instead of simply watching and giving out orders, Lisa decides to dash to her Pokémon and give it an antidote. Jack, meanwhile, orders his Shinx to distract the enemy in the meanwhile. In this case, the order goes as such: Jack gives orders, Seviper acts, Shinx acts, Sentret acts, Lisa acts.

Basically, a person not taking part in the battle action goes first because
1) their actions require no movement or other similar physical effort that would slow them down, and everyone thinks pretty much just as fast
2) if we have everyone go in the order of speed, humans would always go last, which would be sort of problematic for battling.

If we want to make things easier for humans, we can try to scale Pokémon speed so that it's not more than 50 even at its best. It makes sense that humans can't possibly be as fast as Pokémon, but it's more a question of just how much advantage Pokémon have in this respect. We can also scale down their other stats to fit better with the human strength/endurance/etc. stats in a similar way - Pokémon will always be stronger than people, but people could be able to at least challenge the lowest-level critters in some regards. What are your thoughts on that?

I'm not sure if this clarified anything at all... Did it? What does everyone think about this sort of system for battles? Should we maybe simply randomize who goes when instead, or go with speed stats alone, or what?

I agree with Sentro on the 100% health thing, and we should at least look into the energy costs. The goal should be something like that a team of three players with their Pokémon can clear a dungeon with at least three enemies without major issues with energy/health, providing the encounters are the appropriate level for them (and of course DM's can always throw in curveballs to deliberately mess with odds, but that's another matter). I believe we already decided to double damage figures to speed up battles, anyhow, so reducing health might be a relatively bad idea... I don't know, though.

Also I think I put something in the class descriptions about Rangers being able to heal their partner Pokémon and scientists being able to heal any Pokémon/human, but I can't remember right now. I like the idea of trainers boosting damage, though.
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#8
I think that speed system is good, provided we hit the right balance. At worst trial/error will get us there.

Quote:I agree with Sentro on the 100% health thing, and we should at least look into the energy costs. The goal should be something like that a team of three players with their Pokémon can clear a dungeon with at least three enemies without major issues with energy/health, providing the encounters are the appropriate level for them (and of course DM's can always throw in curveballs to deliberately mess with odds, but that's another matter). I believe we already decided to double damage figures to speed up battles, anyhow, so reducing health might be a relatively bad idea... I don't know, though.
Did we? I thought last we decided was to go either way with it, and the 'starting from 50%' being the easier option with that (ie the alternative way to doubling damage figures with the same end result). 'Course, we could do that, I'd just have to edit the calc for that (and that may not be quite as simple as changing two numbers to double damage/energy given all the special moves and whatnot, but we'll see. Certainly doable).
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#9
Oh, I thought we actually agreed on that. I must have gone off on some mental tangent of my own there, then, derp. Maybe we could multiply all damage by 1,5 for better balance, since twice the damage might be a bit much... Could you change the calc in such a way that it always multiplies the output by that amount? I don't know how programming with Flash (was it?) works, so I'm not sure what that would look like.

Though, arguably, since we're nearly always going to have more people in every fight, maybe we don't need to change the damage figures... But I don't know. Maybe that's more something to discuss in the calc thread. I'll go post there shortly.

And yeah, I'm thinking we need some playtests to fully figure out balance stuff overall and also between classes, so yeah.

What I'm more interested about right now is who is going to have permission to create dungeons, and how are they created? What do players need to know before they sign up for the dungeon (i.e. what info is in the first post)? How would faction stuff work - can people from different factions work together, or start random PvP mid-dungeon? Can anyone create "faction dungeons" or is that for the staff who run the bureaucratic side of things? Would Gyms count as dungeons? Can you think of other pressing questions?

Discussion, we need it.
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#10
Quote:What I'm more interested about right now is who is going to have permission to create dungeons, and how are they created?
We could use a system like the ASBN had where prospective DMs are given a couple of situations to handle. We could do something to the effect of "ref this round of this battle" and "describe in detail a challenge unrelated to battling for the player to face."

Quote:What do players need to know before they sign up for the dungeon (i.e. what info is in the first post)?
How many pokémon they're allowed to have, restrictions on pokémon, general setting, maybe some type of quest hook. If it's a faction dungeon then a general description of what faction related stuff will be done.

Quote:How would faction stuff work - can people from different factions work together, or start random PvP mid-dungeon?
I'd say both of the above. That would all come down to RPing.

Quote:Can anyone create "faction dungeons" or is that for the staff who run the bureaucratic side of things?
Perhaps staff can create some sort of "dungeon templates" for faction dungeons. These would be generalized write-ups of how the dungeon works, what bad guys would be faced, and the outcome of various tasks that could be performed in the dungeon. Gritty details would be left to the DM, but a general "official" structure would have to be followed.

Quote:Would Gyms count as dungeons?
Heck yes. In my opinion, gyms should not just be "fight the leader, get a badge." The gyms in the games are basically gigantic puzzles that need to be solved. DMs should be expected to challenge the trainer as much as their pokémon when running a gym. You could go so far as to have them running around town trying to find the gym leader or rescue them from team evil, etc. if you want. That said, these should be templates, just like the faction dungeons.
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#11
(29th Nov 2012, 02:00 PM)Sentrovasi Wrote: Since resting like with chills would actually consume a resource here (time), you may want them to play a bigger part outside battle. Trainers who have the ability to treat their Pokemon's injuries without items would definitely be a nice trait to have.

I don't know how I missed this before, but so much yes on this. Chilling should be allowed outside of battle, even to the point where everyone can take some time of to hang out and basically completely replenish their energy. Health could also be regenerated some by resting, but at some sort of pitiable rate, like 5% per hour or something like that. I'm also of the opinion that Rangers, having only one pokémon of their own, need to be able to heal theirs without any items (though there should be a limit on that, seeing as how they can get temporary assisting pokémon as much as they want), and I think Scientists should be able to heal any pokémon for x health every y turns.

(15th Dec 2012, 01:08 PM)Latios Wrote: We could use a system like the ASBN had where prospective DMs are given a couple of situations to handle. We could do something to the effect of "ref this round of this battle" and "describe in detail a challenge unrelated to battling for the player to face."

I agree with this, but also it's a bit worrying. After all, being a DM is mostly about a nice plot and the ability to both plan and improvise as needed. In ASBN it's the players and the calc that mostly say what happens, and it's simply up to the ref to interpret that to their best ability. In DMing, they'll need to be the ones deciding what happens, and the ones sucking it up when the players decide to turn back and go home before meeting the boss of the dungeon, the backstory of whom the DM spent several days writing. So, we might need a more extensive "entrance exam". Or we might just have to trust people and write extensive guides.

Quote:Perhaps staff can create some sort of "dungeon templates" for faction dungeons. These would be generalized write-ups of how the dungeon works, what bad guys would be faced, and the outcome of various tasks that could be performed in the dungeon. Gritty details would be left to the DM, but a general "official" structure would have to be followed.

I'm not sure this will work. Factions, it seems to me, is the closest thing we have to an overarching plot, and it's going to be the internal relations and plotting within the factions that make them interesting. So I don't know if it's an official structure per se that we need... Also if gyms are League faction dungeons, then shouldn't Team Evil faction dungeons also be run by higher-rank Team Evil players? Then there's the issue of what to do before we have any higher-rank players in either faction. I could be wrong on this one, though. What does everyone else think?

Quote:In my opinion, gyms should not just be "fight the leader, get a badge." The gyms in the games are basically gigantic puzzles that need to be solved. DMs should be expected to challenge the trainer as much as their pokémon when running a gym. You could go so far as to have them running around town trying to find the gym leader or rescue them from team evil, etc. if you want. That said, these should be templates, just like the faction dungeons.

Well, the DM of a gym dungeon would basically be the Gym Leader player, at least that's what I'd suggest. So, it'd be up to them to design their dungeon, which obviously doesn't have to occur entirely within the gym building itself. I think it's completely reasonable to have the players run around looking for the Gym Leader, or make them retrieve item X to challenge to gym, or somesuch. I'd probably put the most emphasis on the actual gym puzzle, the layout and style of which would be entirely up to the Gym Leader with some obvious restrictions (i.e. no, you can't kill the player or any of their Pokémon, nor can you attempt to do so, and if your puzzle is very hard or includes a lot of battling, you should allow the player to heal before challenging the actual gym leader, etc.). What I wonder about is the battles - can the DM here ref the battles themselves, or should a 3rd party ref be brought in?
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