Monday, January 31, 2011

Legendary Items - Investing in Equipment

One of the concepts that has held strong throughout a long-standing Trese Brother's pen and paper game (World's Edge, at www.worldsedgeonline.com) is the concept of magical equipment that grows with a character, and through a story. It is an idea that has always fascinated me in game design, and one that I think forces a player to be more invested in his or her character, and the legendary equipment that they might be carrying.

The basic concept is thus--magical items are powerful, unique, and rely upon their own innate power, but also upon the power of the connection between themselves and the individual wielding them. Therefore, you cannot tap into the greater powers of a magical item when you pick it up. It is not an on-off switch. The sword does not gain its max +10 damage effect as soon as you touch it. Instead, you must learn about it, complete quests with it, and generally invest time, energy, blood and sweat in order to gain its greater powers.

This concept probably works best with pen and paper role playing games, but it is an idea that the design team at Trese Brothers Software is working on bringing into Secrets of Steel. What do you think? It means the legendary magical items you find in the world will start at less than their full potential--but you can watch them grow into their true might. It may mean that quests are required to forward their growth, and that you cannot easily shift powerful, magical equipment around between characters whenever you want. But, for me, the results have always been a more powerful sense of achievement and self for the characters who has decided to carry the burden of these immensely powerful item, and who has bled to take them to it to its highest potential. As a gamer--where does your heart lie?


4 comments:

  1. Makes sense. Every weapon has its own weight and balance. Even two. weapons of the same type can be different and have a customized grip etc. And as for a magic weapon, it might need to have time to tune with the wielder, the wielder needs to learn how to tap in to the magic, learn a spell to activate it or an enchanter tune it to the person that is going to wield it. As if that is not enough, these things might require certain strengths of the wielder, mental, magical or physical.

    Just my two cents.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Joel,

    I think our interest is in two points you listed, "every weapon has its own weight and balance" and "as for a magic weapon, it might need to have time to tune with the wielder, the wielder needs to learn how to tap in to the magic."

    Even for a mundane weapon, the wielder needs to learn how to use that specific weapon to its full potential. Even mundane weapons are slightly unique compared to other varieties of their type. Magic only compounds that, and deepens the complexities that a character needs to learn and master to tap the full potential. And agreed--not every legendary item is for just anyone, you have to be capable of learning and mastering it.

    Thanks for the feedback!
    Andrew

    ReplyDelete
  3. I agree 100% with this, that magic items should grow as your time with them, or your level, or both, increase. I'd mention another idea that I was able to use in a different game, for your possible use?

    I make mods for The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind in my free time, and one of the items I made was a series of rings scripted to gain power whenever someone found one of the eight gems that had been removed from them. These gems were added to moderately high leveled creatures' loot lists, so that while a weak magical trinket might be found, and possess a minor enchantment, there was the opportunity of giving some extra effort and collecting these gems which progressively made your trinket into something truly valuable and powerful.
    This also had the effect of increasing immersion and adding some replay value, as there are more reasons to slay random creatures rather than running, or more reason to reach that difficult, defended chest or crate.

    I'm not a Dev for Android, so I'm not sure if you'd want to, or how difficult the implementation of this type of idea would be, but its just something I thought you might find interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  4. One way of looking at it is that a powerful artifact may have its own goals and inclinations. It may perfer a certain type of adventurer and will only work well if that adventurer displays inclinations compatible to the artifact. It may even cause problems to incompatible people.

    So a Sword of Bloody Disaster powers up only if the wielder goes around slaughtering innocents or participates in bloody battles. It will never power up for a pious paladin and could even inhibit him from trying to use it to kill evil creatures. A villanous character will find he misses more often when he tries shooting good creatures with is Longbow of the Selfless, but a kind ranger could get the same weapon to really develop.

    ReplyDelete