Trying to make sure I sneak in at least two blog entries per week. First, because it’s double the contest requirement, so it should help my scores! Second, because I seem to have collected a fair number of people who are actually reading all this – for which I thank you! – and I’d like to publish enough updates to keep everyone interested and informed. So, here’s #2 for this week, just before midnight. 😉
Role of the hero will feature a skill-based system layered onto a semi-formal class based system. Basically, the game will have an array of skills that any character can train. Finding a trainer who will work with you is another thing entirely, however – many skills are effectively only available to members of certain organizations, because they restrict their training to members only.
The skill system will be fairly basic, and look similar to many other games. This has several advantages: such systems have already been balanced in the past, saving us some balance issues; the playerbase is familiar with certain skill archetypes, and sticking fairly close to what they know will make them feel comfortable; and finally, it helps ensure easy compatibility with primary game systems inherent in the engine used. This last bit will help speed development by reducing the recoding necessary.
Here’s the real crux of character development in ROTH: professions nested inside of the skill based character advancement. In this game, player characterss will all start as an ‘Adventurer’. There are a few trainers in each starter area who can give adventurers some basic knowhow in a few simple skills. This is deliberately limited; it allows players to get on their feet early, but encourages them to look into joining a profession as soon as possible. In order to train the more advanced skills, players will have to join one or another of the factions out in the world.
Each faction will have different recruiting requirements; some might even have more than one profession track. For instance, the Hill People will have a fighting focused and a mystical track. Each is a seperate organization of players operating within the one culture/faction.
Faction membership allows promotion and progression of your character. So, using the above example, one might build up their Hill People faction and want to join the Mystics, one of the professions available there. Now, to join the Mystics, they will have to go through a process – which will include some game-controlled questing, and some player-sponsored activity. Most professions will require a mentor-apprentice relationship between the new member and an experienced member; the potential sponsoring mentor might require a vision quest that he creates from the aspiring Mystic.
Once you are within a profession, you gain access to advanced skill training, and to specialized powers and abilities that impact those skills. To continue the Mystic example, this profession gains more training in some weapons, light armor, and the magical skillset. They also gain the ability to train special profession Abilities in the area of Life Magic.
These Abilities will vary from profession to profession; it might be a stunning blow for the Knight, a Healing incantation for the Mystic, or the ability to summon an undead servant for a Necromancer. Each profession has multiple Abilities; each ability can be ranked through multiple levels.
And of course, how one ranks those Abilities is incredibly interesting in itself…
Every profession has a set of abilities unique or semi-unique to it, as discussed previously. These Abilities can only be acquired and ranked while a member of the profession’s organization – one must be a member of the Order of Knights to gain Knightly Abilities.
Every faction group has certain goals and objectives that it wishes to achieve. Every faction group has quests and tasks that can be accomplished by players in order to further their ends. Those quests and tasks will rotate over time as certain objectives are achieved or lost, and the storyline flows on.
Players will acquire points for accomplishing those missions. Those points can then be spent to purchase new abilities or rank ones you already have. This is a departure from the more standard “earn experience for killing things” model, but I feel that such a departure is essential to support the storytelling aspect of the game.
By having players only able to “level” their Abilities through the accomplishment of specific missions designed to further the goals of their professional organization, they are encouraged to advance through furthering the story itself.