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  1. #1
    Member Rob Rendell's Avatar
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    Suggestion: tailoring loot to your feats

    Hi! I'm not sure if suggestions should go in the Alpha forum or here in General Discussion, but since I don't appear to have access to the Alpha forum despite having access to the Alpha, I'll post it here.

    In a tabletop RPG, the GM will do some degree of tailoring the loot to the party... if you have a greatsword-wielding barbarian in your party, you're more likely to find the occasional magical greatsword. The original Kingmaker AP explicitly encouraged the GM to tailor certain important weapons to fit the party's needs. Certain named weapons (which I won't name to avoid spoilers) are supposed to be things that the party will want to wield, so you see advice in the module along the lines of:
    Quote Originally Posted by p23 of Rivers Run Red
    Reward: You should adapt the type of weapon this
    treasure map promises to match the favored weapon of
    one of your players who doesn’t currently have a good
    magic weapon—the reward for this quest is that weapon’s
    recovery (see area F4).
    In contrast, many CRPGs rely on the random number generator to provide loot. If you want a particular item, you have to consult the wiki to find which sort of enemy drops what you want, and then grind them until they drop it. Alternatively, you don't metagame the problem, and just have to make use of whatever the game gives you. Any sort of specialisation in a given weapon type is futile, because you have to switch to something different every level or two to continue to upgrade your equipment, based on what you happen to find.

    In my opinion, a more tabletop-like approach would be preferable for the Kingmaker CRPG. The Alpha allows you to choose from a bunch of feats which specialise in particular weapons and armour: exotic weapon proficiency, weapon focus, weapon specialisation etc. The game could easily use those selected feats to make it more likely that those specific weapons turn up randomly, or to ensure that the treasure hordes or equipment carried by major antagonists matches the player's feats so the reward for defeating them is that much sweeter.

    The Story-game community has the concept of a player's character sheet being a "love letter" to the GM... what the player has put on their sheet is their vote for what they want to see in the game. If someone has put lots of points into infiltration and stealth, then they want infiltration missions. If someone has built their character around social skills, then they want the game to involve social conflicts and politics. This is kind of an inversion of the more old-school way of looking at character sheets, where the player needs to second-guess the sorts of challenges the GM is going to throw at them and attempt to build their character accordingly, and if they guess wrong then those skills or abilities are just wasted. While a CRPG can't easily tailor the whole experience around whatever the player invests in when levelling up characters, it should be possible to at least ensure that "Weapon Focus (Dwarven Waraxe)" isn't just a dud feat because there are no Dwarven Waraxes in the game.

  2. #2
    Member Z'ha'dum's Avatar
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    I've played a lot of tabletop as a Dungeon Master and one thing that I liked doing is that when major enemies were defeated is to adjust the personal loot tables I made to the classes in the group. So it was part full RNG, part partial RNG and part specifically assigned items that were needed to balance out a character or two. Oh and sometimes I'd throw in something specific to see what people would do with it...something with consequences ;)

    In a computer game there is no DM specifically looking at the group and what balances it out right so it has to be programmed right. Related to that is also the difficulty of the game. What I mean is that when you're of a certain level is the game based around your character or does it assume you'll have a minimum amount of magic items. That will make a difference for how random loot would have to be or not in this case.

    One way is to adapt loot to the characters, like in your suggestion based on feats, another is to add the possibility to reforge weapons to another type. This is something I've used as well as a DM/GM in various tabletop games even when the game didn't have a clear mechanic for this.

    In the D&D settings I remember also playing Clerics of a specific deity and using a longsword instead of the usual mace for example. I'd have to specialize in it but it was worth it to me because it fit the character. Also in NWN1 we had tools where we could make our own adventures and I just made an instance with a lootbox that had a magic longsword so that I could ensure my cleric had this weapon available where the game would normally not provide it.

    So I do not know if your solution is the best from a game building perspective but I fully support the idea that something should be done to allow players to equip their characters with items that fit their class and abilities.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Pathfinder's Avatar
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    I personally think that:

    Adventure path (and this game) what is made in certain place where is more of certain type of areas, climate, level of civilization and so on should have certain "rules" or let's say logic.

    No big ships, boats. Maybe small ones. No war horses (pack mules/ ponies and so on are OK same for horse carts or light horses not trained to war).
    For weapons / armour: No full plates untill later (if you have one trading post without a smith you can not get one, later you can made one just for your measures). No high magic really exotic weapons (ice pick, blow pipe, shuriken, bola, bokken/katana +4 or so). Naturally there are more but still.

    I would assume most people/enemies would use light armour and either medium/small weapon and ranged weapon (either bow/crossbow or shield and sling) or if melee oriented few thrown spear/axe/knife medium armour and either dualweapon/one hand + shield. Few maybe bit better armour and two hand weapon.

    Player should realize it and either ask DM for different adventure path or accept the fact that they can not fully get experience as an ninja, pirate, cavalieer, musceteer, pit fighter, gunslinger or gentleman fighter.

    I do not mean that player can not encounter bit exotic things like estoc or kama +1 but they have to understand that things like sap or fighting fan are way more rare then let's say longbow or short sword. Allso I strongly believe that "common" thing like sword cane is quite rare in this module unlike in some adventure path / game in big city.

    I personally most likely will start PC using rapier but I totally understand that there will be way more (and better in magical means) long or short swords around. Allso I would still expect to find caltrops even if enemies who use them would be rare (because they use traps instead).
    Last edited by Pathfinder; 01-27-2018 at 12:09 PM.
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  4. #4
    Member Rob Rendell's Avatar
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    @Pathfinder - that's fair, and in a tabletop game if you build a character for Kingmaker who uses an exotic weapon from some other part of Golarion then I guess you might expect that you'll need to enchant it yourself as you level up. My 13th level Dex-based Elven Eldritch Knight is still using the same Elven Curve Blade that he bought from Restov with the first 380 gp he acquired during AP31 The Stolen Lands, which has been enchanted by the party's Craft-Arms-and-Armor cleric as we advanced.

    However, what I'm angling for with this suggestion is that the CRPG should not give the player options which are just "traps for new players". If there are no decent magical Elven Curve Blades to be found in the CRPG, and the mechanics of enchanting via Artisans doesn't give you the freedom to nominate which weapon you want them to improve (I don't know if that's the case, but if it is...), then any feats like Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Elven Curve Blade) or Weapon Focus (Elven Curve Blade) or Weapon Specialisation (Elven Curve Blade) become traps. You'll see advice on forums and wikis saying "don't bother focusing on Elven Curve Blades, they're a dead end at higher levels because there aren't enough opportunities to get highly enchanted ones." For new players who don't read the forums and wikis, they might choose to take such feats and then end up ripped off and unhappy.

    You could address that a number of ways. You could simply not give the option to take weapon feats for weapons which aren't well represented in the game. You could flag the more niche weapons that wouldn't be common in The Stolen Lands in the tooltip write-ups, so players would know that they're making a potentially problematic choice - playing on a harder difficulty, effectively. You could ensure that players have access to player-controlled enchanting (via Artisans or otherwise) so once they acquire their obscure weapon, they can improve it themselves. Or you could go with what I was suggesting in this thread, that the game could try to seed loot tailored to the player's choices, using their character sheet feat choices as a "wish list" from player to (virtual) GM to indicate what they'd like to find.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Pathfinder's Avatar
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    I think there might be a section in game rule/guide book what tell us things like: you can not get horses in this game so you can not bond with horse as an paladin kind of things.
    I guess just because in alpha there is weapon focus tentacles we should not panic still. There is quite a big change that not all combinations (or maybe even none) in final state of the game see that option when they first create a PC or level up they companions.

    But you are right, IF there will not be somekind of weapon or armour at all you should not be given option to spend poits for it. Allso in rule/guidebook should be something like "if you REALLY really want to take weapon focus Sai or Sap you can but they are extremely rare and you only find normal, masterwork and +1 version in the game". Or even "because area is far from big cities and most early encounters are either bandits or monsters you only get better then medium or light armour (regula or +1 versions) after chapter 1".

    I am just not 100% sure if they should write allso obious things like: even if you choose to specialize dagger, no armour, full dex and hand shield you will not find +5 keen, returning throw and punch dagger of +4 str and dex dagger in the game so you most likely make more damage if you choose 2 hand hammer or long sword with towershield instead. In most games people do realize that if they choose granade launcher and machine gun they make way more damage then let's say dual derringer. (Naturally these derringers should still get some "+" on them so in theory they might be used through game but still)

    It is fact that quite many preview and review are made only for first few hours of the game or first 10 hours or so. When we have easily over 100 hour game (if you read all, study all and do sidequests) most things we will read from magazines, forums or internet early on (when we choose if we want to order/buy new game when it is near or just released) are based more of first impression instead of "first few playthrouhts". Allso many players "try out" games and make decision if they keep playing or ignore game based in first hour or even less.

    But on the other hand they are planning (I have understand it this way) that you can choose class and computer do all leveling and choices for you. That way new player should get nice play experience and get working (if maybe "boring") choices. So no flashy dual rapier wielding agile fighter but more of normal dude with heavy armour, shield and sword type of person I believe.
    Last edited by Pathfinder; 01-28-2018 at 08:15 AM.
    "Road to the man's heart go through the chest"

  6. #6
    Member Z'ha'dum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pathfinder View Post
    But on the other hand they are planning (I have understand it this way) that you can choose class and computer do all leveling and choices for you. That way new player should get nice play experience and get working (if maybe "boring") choices. So no flashy dual rapier wielding agile fighter but more of normal dude with heavy armour, shield and sword type of person I believe.
    It might be good to have a set-up like that cause not every new player will be familiar with the genre. On the other hand, it might be good that it's optional to make your own choices as people who do play games like this more often or are very familiar with the Pathfinder tabletop game are not forced to follow cookie cutter builds. That would be boring for them.

    I liked for example in games like Mass Effect or Dragon Age that you have the choice for auto-level or doing it yourself every time you level up. However, I think that if you force auto-level and don't give the option to do it yourself then you might have a hard time making this game successful because I feel that a lot of players will not enjoy not being able to make their own choices.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Pathfinder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Z'ha'dum View Post
    It might be good to have a set-up like that cause not every new player will be familiar with the genre. On the other hand, it might be good that it's optional to make your own choices as people who do play games like this more often or are very familiar with the Pathfinder tabletop game are not forced to follow cookie cutter builds. That would be boring for them.
    I am 100% with you in this one. Actually now (alpha) game is at a state where you have to choose your and your companion skills, abilities and everything else. But later (if I have understand it right) there will be option to let game automatic update and even "create" your character and companions.

    You just have to make decicion like "I want to play warrior" or something like that (and get list of different types). Not sure how much options there will be but most likely you choose from multiple different type of pregenrated "warriors" like: high str 2-hand weapon using fighter, sword and shield tank paladin, 2 weapon using light armour barbarian, ranger with bow and munk with bare hands or so on.
    "Road to the man's heart go through the chest"

  8. #8
    Senior Member Grifta's Avatar
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    There's typically a consideration of loot vs character net worth. As long as that is kept in mind, and more exotic weapons are available for purchase, then it should all come out in the wash.

    I've played with a DM who thought that he knew what weapon I wanted, but I was just using what was available. As soon as I could buy the right one, I immediately sold his well-intentioned stuff to get the weapon that I actually wanted. Other games, I've thought that I wanted to use a specific weapon, then that doesn't work out so I'll switch it up at maybe level 5. I can see that being a nightmare for a game subsystem to figure out.

  9. #9
    Member Rob Rendell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grifta View Post
    I can see that being a nightmare for a game subsystem to figure out.
    That's why I suggested going of the player's feat selections. If they give a particular character Weapon Focus (Longsword), it shouldn't be too hard for the game to figure out that that character wants to use Longswords henceforth.

  10. #10
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    Having used an unusual weapon for most of my alpha play, I wholly agree with the sentiment - being "stuck" with your original weapon for most of the game kinda sucked. But it feels like instituting a craft / enchanting system would be simpler to do than adjustable loot generation, and has the added benefit of adding an enchantment system

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