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Re: Skills and stuff

Posted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:52 pm
by jack1974
Yes of course but having 4 skill checks for every situation maybe won't be possible. In the first part/tutorial there are some robots that go crazy and you must stop them, and I used that system (with all 8 skills!) to decide which skill the player would start with a big bonus.
I like this solution more than restricting the skills though, so if possible I'll try that :)

Re: Skills and stuff

Posted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 8:45 pm
by grey_duck
Yes, four was me kind of going overboard. I imagine most situations having 2 skill checks, maybe 3. (You can use Psionics to pressure the alien at a low check or Culture to persuade them at a slightly higher value. Survival is the default to get through some cave disaster, but engineering allows you to MacGuyver a solution with a more difficult check.)

What makes it more interesting, in my mind, is that you don't have to always pair up the same two skills. You might pair stealth and charisma one time (sneak past the guard or bluff your way past), but later pair charisma with culture (impress the alien with savoir-faire or use your knowledge of them to broker a deal) or stealth with science (sneak up on the boragrubs and trigger a stampede that crushes some Apex Rahn or use your knowledge of biology and ultrasonics to trigger the stampede).

Otherwise, to play off of what Troyen was saying, it might be neat to have non-combat skills give some amount of passive combat benefit, although that might be more nightmarish to code (i.e. Engineering gives bonus damage to robots, Stealth gives bonus to dodge, Charisma makes you less likely to be targeted, etc.)

Re: Skills and stuff

Posted: Tue Apr 24, 2018 6:22 am
by jack1974
Yes it would work like in your examples and of course I would try to randomize a bit the skills set for each situation. I have a spreadsheet in which I keep track of all the skills used and my goal would be to use the same amount of each skill in every game chapter (though of course maybe the EXACT same amount might be a bit too much to achieve :mrgreen:). But definitely not seeing 10 Psionic checks and 2 Charisma checks.

As for the non-combat skills providing a small bonus to combat I didn't think about it but it's an interesting suggestion! In the battle there's a new mechanic, not yet fully defined, which basically it's similar to XCOM or Darkest Dungeon, that is morale/psychological effects. Charisma or Psionic could affect this (reduce fear/panic/rage of an ally). Dodging is already obtained with a single attribute (agility) so I'd need to use something else.

If we use 4 non-combat skills, and we use Arcanologia suggestion, we would have:
Science (Science+Engineering) = more damage against robotic targets
Stealth (Stealth+Sabotage+Survival) = ?
Psionic (Psionic) = bonus to morale/psychology statuses in combat
Knowledge (Charisma+Culture) = more damage against organic targets

Only one is Stealth which I'm dubious since should be something different from generic increasing attack/speed/etc (for that there are the base attributes already). But 3 out of 4 already could work :)

Maybe instead of Stealth I should group those skills into "Survival" or something else, and maybe when a party member is about to be KOed in battle, could have a % chance to regain a small HP and fight again? could be fun...

Re: Skills and stuff

Posted: Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:59 am
by Troyen
jack1974 wrote:
Tue Apr 24, 2018 6:22 am
Yes it would work like in your examples and of course I would try to randomize a bit the skills set for each situation.
Random skill selection:

"The hovercraft is not working. Do you choose to..."

A. Use your knowledge of Culture to bake it a nice cake.
B. Use your Charisma to charm it into working.
C. Use Stealth to steal someone else's hovercraft.
If we use 4 non-combat skills, and we use Arcanologia suggestion, we would have:
Science (Science+Engineering) = more damage against robotic targets
Stealth (Stealth+Sabotage+Survival) = ?
Psionic (Psionic) = bonus to morale/psychology statuses in combat
Knowledge (Charisma+Culture) = more damage against organic targets

Only one is Stealth which I'm dubious since should be something different from generic increasing attack/speed/etc (for that there are the base attributes already). But 3 out of 4 already could work :)

Maybe instead of Stealth I should group those skills into "Survival" or something else, and maybe when a party member is about to be KOed in battle, could have a % chance to regain a small HP and fight again? could be fun...
In the first game, Survival granted a small HP recovery (10 HP at 83 Survival) when using the Defend action. Now, the combat system might be a little different, but adding some kind of regen (HP or otherwise) may be useful. Or it might encourage people like Franka to spend 3 hours in battle to regen to full every time.

The small % chance to revive on KO kinda goes back to your earlier point on avoiding random success/failures. If it's a large chance it's probably overpowered. If it's a small chance it's probably not going to go off when you need it, and thus too unreliable to use.

Re: Skills and stuff

Posted: Tue Apr 24, 2018 12:39 pm
by jack1974
The cool thing of fans/users is that have much better memory than me :mrgreen: I completely forgot about that HP recovery bonus in the first game! I would surely have a defend action even in this game, so using the same method would be good. Maybe even recover a bit of PP / FP (the psionic points and fortitude points) but I'll need to make tests to see if becomes too easy :)

Also I need to check if there are actually enough robotic targets, I mean there are a few but there could be the risk of a skill not being very useful in combat, so maybe I should change also those other two to some big/generic advantages that works in all cases (like the HP recovery on defend).

Re: Skills and stuff

Posted: Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:51 pm
by Jaeger
My suggestion is to make points from non-combat skills have a separate pool from the combat skills. That way, your characters can have secondary skills without sacrificing combat abilities, especially if there are not many skill checks in the first place.

Ideally, you want the skill checks distributed so whatever points invested can be useful through beginning to end stages of the game, but that will require quite a lot of work since you have to design more scenarios to accommodate every skill. Otherwise, you may end up in a situation like Shadowrun: Hong Kong, where you need to know the skill/etiquette checks ahead of time if you want to make the most out of your character.

Maybe instead of just skill checks, you ca also give skill points extra bonuses during exploration/dungeon crawling. Some random ideas:
1. Survival: scrounge for extra food and medical resources or use resources more efficiently
2. Stealth: avoid enemy encounters or get a head start with an ambush
3. Engineering: gather raw materials and energy resources more efficiently, remove obstacles on the map

Re: Skills and stuff

Posted: Wed Apr 25, 2018 6:49 am
by jack1974
Those are interesting ideas as well :) keeping separate points for combat/non-combat skills and applying bonuses during the map exploration could also be good, this way I won't have to worry too much about making each skill useful in combat as well.

Re: Skills and stuff

Posted: Wed Apr 25, 2018 9:04 am
by jack1974
Image
OK after some more thinking I believe I got a nice system. In practice, there are 4 main skills divided into two sub-skills (so I can keep the magic 1 subskill for each character idea) for the skill checks during plot, the value is the sum of the two: for example Rumi starts with Psionic at 2, if we make her learn Negotiation 1 the Knowledge is 1+2 = 3. That value will be used during the "plot checks".

The subskills fall into two categories: the first one gives a bonus in combat. Culture for example is similar to Acuity of Cursed Land, you'll be able to know the enemies exact stats plus other info. Explosives will let you consume a grenade (if you have it in your inventory) to hit enemies BEFORE the combat starts and so on.

The second category is related to map exploration or the game in general. Since you can gather resources to craft your own items (beside buying them of course) I thought could be interesting to give bonuses to that.

There could be a lot more possibilities but I think I need to move on to the real combat skills and the system above should be flexible enough both for plot checks and to make the non-combat skills useful.

Keeping the skillpoints separate depending if are combat / non-combat might be too hard (I should hack the system once again...) so for now I won't do that (not that is a bad idea but I think wouldn't be so easy to implement).

Re: Skills and stuff

Posted: Wed Apr 25, 2018 9:32 am
by Troyen
I think most of the system is fine, except for the part where four characters get a combat bonus and four a non-combat bonus. That's just asking to take the left column to every fight, regardless of how we like the characters, because seeing enemy stats for example is really powerful compared to...not seeing them, especially on higher difficulties.

It seems like if each character needs a specialty, they should all be combat-related or (probably the better option) all non-combat related. Maybe it'd be easier to revisit the specialty perks when you have more of the exploration/crafting stuff down.

Re: Skills and stuff

Posted: Wed Apr 25, 2018 9:56 am
by jack1974
Wait you can always put 1 point in Culture to your main character, and then you'll always see the stats. Those skills can be learned by any character, they just have some starting point already at the beginning, but that's it :) So that won't be a problem.