09 July 2017

Paralyzing Perfection

The title is taken from this blog, Doomslakers!, which I just discovered this morning but quite enjoy.

It discusses the fear that whatever we create won't be perfect, and won't live up to the ideal, therefore it's not worthy to be shared. Or created, or whatever. You get disappointed in how your project isn't shaping up to be quite right, and therefore you abandon it.

In this vein, let me share the nugget of the idea I've been thinking about.

I haven't been playing a lot of roleplaying games [1], and so to fill the time in between working and sleeping, these days I've been playing video games instead. One of these video games is Heroes of the Storm. I'm an old hand at these kinds of games- I've been playing proto-"MOBAs" since their generation in the Warcraft 3 customs scene, and I've played nearly everything since. But Heroes of the Storm is my absolute favorite, for the time being. The characters are well designed, the different maps makes a different set of heroes stronger or weaker, and the focus is on actually playing as a team all game long.

One of the things that the Heroes team does is make a shifting rotation of minigame maps available to play. One of my favorite features two teams battling arena-style over two enormous AI-controlled warriors called Punishers. A team gets 3 points for killing an enemy hero, and ten points for killing the powerful Punishers.

Punishers spend about half their time attacking each other, and half their time attacking whatever hero is the closest to them. They are about an even match for two heroes, but can be defeated fairly quickly by an entire team. Of course, the enemy team wants to kill you and your Punisher, so it's a balancing act.

I was thinking of making a game based around similar conventions- a short team-based tactics skirmish game. I decided to borrow the action system from the wonderful Space Hulk: Death Angels boardgame, and so when you pick a hero you get three or four cards that you add to your action deck. You have 5 heroes, so you have a total deck size of 15-20. Each turn, you can move each of your heroes and you also get two actions. With an action, you can play a card or draw a card.

Heroes also have health, armor, movement speed, and attack values. A hero can move up their movement value each turn. A hero adds their attack value to the damage of any attacks they deal, and subtracts their armor from each instance of incoming damage. When they're out of health, a hero dies and comes back later. [2]

Mostly, I thought of heroes that would be interesting in this context. Such as:

Storm Priest-
    Chain Lightning- Deal medium damage to a single target, then light damage to a nearby enemy, then light damage to a nearby enemy
    Energize- Heal + bonus on next move
    Teleport- Move to a nearby location and deal damage to all adjacent enemies
Wolf Shaman- dash attack, selfheal + draw, purge effect
    Lunge- Dash and deal light bonus damage. Deal more damage if the target is bleeding.
    Adrenaline- Heal light damage and draw a card
    Purge- Remove all cards from a target and deal light damage
Dark Crusader-
    Gathering Shadows- deals medium damage to all adjacent enemies
    Drain Life- Medium range damage + self heal
    Block- Discard to reduce the damage from a single attack
Iron Knight-
    Block- Discard to reduce the damage from a single attack
    Crash- Dash and stun an enemy
    Burning Blade- Deal bonus damage and ignite enemy   
Grey Monk-
    Kick- Counter a card played by an adjacent enemy
    Flurry- Make three attacks with a single attack action.
    Adrenaline- heal light damage and draw a card
Beastmaster Sergeant-
    Hounds- heal all hounds. if there are less hounds than two, summon hounds adjacent to beastmaster until there are two.
        Hounds are fast but not tough. They deal light damage.
    Sound the Alarm- discard a card, then draw a card. an ally may move.
    Lacerate- Attack, and apply damage over time

There's still a lot of work to be done with this one, obviously enough. But it's a lot of fun writing this stuff anyways!

[1] My last attempt at running 5e failed because I am apparently unable to learn that I don't really like running 5e. Plus my group had no chemistry- everybody was laid back, and everybody appreciated the way I ran the game, but there was nobody to bounce my ideas off of!

[2] I actually haven't decided what to do about this part, honestly. In the HotS minigame, dying gives the other team points and you come back in a somewhat short period of time. The map is smallish, so it doesn't take you long to get back into the fight- you can sometimes even jump back into the same extended skirmish if both sides are playing cautiously enough.

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