Friday, December 11, 2015

More Freethinking on the Mini-RPG Maker Games

I've done some more freethinking. Some of the games have a few more notes than others, but this should help get an idea of story/mechanics. This isn't exactly how I normally approach design, but I figure it is better organized this way than with my normal flowcharts/random doodles if I want other people to be able to follow it. The other problem is I then have to go in and prune out spoilers for the ones that are more plot heavy [namely, The Case of the Well Done Butler, First and Recursive Contact and The Dame, The Debt and The Devil are all very story heavy, and a bad spoiler could ruin the whole point of the game!]

"The Case of the Well Done Butler": A murder mystery with a spirit detective.

There are four possible accusations. They are the lead demon negotiator; the lead angel negotiator; the human mediator; and "other."

Angels are more in the modernish MegaTEN variety than the Christian variety. In which, they believe that humanity getting free will was a mistake, and that everything would be better if they just would fall in line. "Your 'free will' has caused more suffering than any demonic influence or divine neglect. The entire cosmos would benefit if you would surrender your pride and revel in the glory of the Heavens." -- We're making this distinction for two reasons. One: It gives more depth than just a good vs. evil story. Two: It means that letting you accuse an angel of a heinous murder isn't just silly or shoe horned. Angels now clearly CAN do things that humans would consider evil/objectionable [even if angels don't see what's so wrong with forcing an entire village to stop doing evil with mind control magic. I mean, evil was STOPPED! How can that be wrong?]

Itemless game, as we need both the Key Items and Items windows to be re-purposed into the "Sentients" [a list of known sentients and their brief biographies] and "Evidence" windows for the accusation section, as well as for other points in the game where the purpose of your investigation is called into question.

At least two other points: Very early on where the human mediator asks if you can prove that it was murder, as she thinks it may have been an accident. Whiskey: "He burned to death in his bed! That's not 'accidentally!'" / Logos: "Spontaneous combustion has been reported." / Petra: "Lots of old people fall asleep with cigarettes still burning. Death by 'one last puff' was pretty common." / Whiskey: "Let me rephrase: DEMONS DON'T BURN TO DEATH ACCIDENTALLY!" / Killian: "I knew an ice demon. She burned quite nicely."


"The Robot Island of Dr. Invincible": Super heroes try to stop an army of robots created by Dr. Invincible.

To get the idea of Super Team, everyone shares the Heroic Points [the replacement for TP/limit breaks]. Which means that their individual Super Power can be much, much more powerful as using it means that the other three can't use theirs.

No super villain is complete without a couple of main minions. Dr. Invincible should have two; one is a robot that he treats like a son, and the other his actual son. No names yet, but it adds an interesting dimension to our goofy villain.

Three phases; first "dungeon" is repelling the invaders from the city; second is chasing down Dr. Invincible's flying fortress, and the third is taking the fight to Dr. Invincible's Robot Island. Very straightforward; the Protectorate's main ship is called the Escutcheon. It serves as a base of operations with a shop. Currency that is used is Potential. You use Potential to get item upgrades and to unlock one-shot heroic powers [items].


"Under the Bed and In the Closet": A widower and a young girl's teacher combine forces to dive into her nightmares.

As the tank, the teacher is probably the most important character. Her basic ability is to grant a calming aura, which slowly drains Nightmare from all allies at the cost of some REM each turn. She can also absorb Nightmare from others [basically draining their Nightmare points and increasing hers. Her HP is actually going to be average, about equal to George's and less than Mr. Bear's, but is going to make up for it with the highest Nightmare pool.

Mr. Bear cannot be killed through REM loss, since he is solely a figment of the dream. This lets him soak REM damage for other people, or as a REM battery for the teacher to drain from when she's spent too much of her own balancing out people's Nightmares.

The Secret Character is immune to Nightmare's instant death effect [though enemies still deal bonus damage the more Nightmare she has.] She generates Nightmare quicker and spends it quicker. Her role is Healer/Support, but she primarily supports through inflicting status effects and cleansing them. She has a few heal spells. The dad is the classic wizard, quickly building Nightmare and having powerful attacks to spend it on.


"The Castle That Wasn't There": An inquisitor and an unexpected group of allies investigate a mysterious castle.

The progress of the game starts at the inquisitor's church, where he recruits the elf who is also heading the same way he is and explains that the situation is so dire that he may be willing to work with a human. On the road, they come across the dwarf's camp and they begrudgingly all agree to head the same way. The first "dungeon" involves recruiting the bard, when the inquisitor steps in to stop her being burned, the local nobility attempts to have the party imprisoned and they work together to stop it.

The actual castle is haunted and has four floors; the main floor is the castle business areas, throne rooms, etc. The second floor is sleeping quarters, etc. The basement and dungeons are where most of the dungeon delving/questing goes.


"First and Recursive Contact": When first contact turns out to be with dangerous aliens, a time machine is the only way to prevent humanity's extinction.

The captain gets a miniaturized time bubble, which is what lets her use Haste, Slow and Stop effects. Also, it has three charges that lets her reset a battle entirely. When used from the menu, it can be used to warp her back to the start of a room and reset the room, useful if any of the puzzles lock you out of the solution/you get lost.

Each other character in the lead gets powers to help with solving puzzles. The civilian gets lasers that allow her to trigger switches at a range; the doctor can hack computers and override security systems; the alien can push blocks that are too heavy for others, as well as force certain doors.


"The Dame, the Debt and the Devil": A noir where a private eye gets more than he bargained for.

Each level you get a consumable for the character that leveled. These consumables can be used to give a stat increase, improve a specific ability [which in the game will be done by replacing one ability with an identically named ability that is better, either with a higher base, better ratios, lower cost, etc.], or it can be used during combat to apply a full heal to the related character.

Each character will get a very small pool of abilities [probably around 4 base + 1 learnable from level up tabs]. This is because a lot of these are "redirect" abilities. For example, the hero gets Sucker Punch; if an enemy uses a Melee attack against an ally other than the hero, he interrupts the attack and makes a basic attack.

There are several types of damage, but each attack also falls under at least one of the following three types: Melee [punches, batons, knives, etc.], Ranged [throwing knives, guns] and Mystic [spell casting. A Mystic attack will also be either Melee or Ranged.] So, the tank's Diving Tackle will negate the next ranged attack on an ally, while Sucker Punch will negate the next melee attack. The martial artist's Snap Kick will interrupt the next Mystic attack. The idea being that with everyone's relatively low HP, you need to try and find a balance between preventing damage and mitigating it, with exploiting the enemy's weaknesses.

Each character can spend Tension to change stances, which changes how much damage they take. "Take Cover!" reduces Ranged damage and chance to hit, but makes melee attacks more likely to critically hit. "Close Quarters" increases your chance of taking a Ranged critical hit, but it increases your own Melee hit/critical rate. The Heal/Support gets an ability "Get Down!" that forces an ally to "Take Cover!", meaning that you can have the Martial Artist pop into Close Quarters with a Jump Kick since he goes last [he's a big brawler type of martial artist, think more of a Chuck Norris than a fast Bruce Lee type]. Since you know your Heal/Support almost always goes first, she can then get him back in to cover before the enemy can counter attack effectively.

1 comment:

  1. A few of them are shaping up to be more my favorites. Others are looking to move towards the cutting floor. Specifically The Castle That Wasn't There and First and Recursive Contact are the hardest for me to wrap my mind around in how they can be narratively and mechanically different enough to warrant deeper thinking.
    But, I thought the same way about The Case of the Well Done Butler, and it is now in my top two [after Under the Bed and In the Closet.]


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