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Merle

RPG travel idea (magic based)

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This is just a fledgling idea, but I thought I''d drop it out for feedback. Background: One of the things that I don''t like with RPGs is travel. Some games do it well (occasional random encounters after you''ve cleared an area, and fast wilderness travel if cleared). Most don''t. Might''n''Magic games are especially dull in the midgame -- you''ve cleared out areas, but still have to walk sloooowly across a barren land to get from town to town. Wizardry games are (in my mind) more annoying: the world repopulates with the same sorts of creatures, about the same frequency, but toughened up to be a challenge. It makes travel into a tedious progression of one battle after another. Many games give concessions later in the game: flight, teleportation, or magic doorways. These seem kind of contrived to me. Flight gives you insane combat bonuses (hovering over creatures and just bombarding them, or swooping down). Teleport feels like a hack to say "okay, we''ve annoyed you enough, here''s a way to skip a lot of the tedium". Idea: Suppose there was a second world, kind of like the shadow world in Lord of the Rings: a sort of parallel reality. Time spent in this world uses mana, but you can move past/through most physical barriers. (or maybe just creatures). Now to solve landscape travel, add in the current default scifi "hyperspace" mechanisms. Most stories nowadays suggest that hyperspace can only be entered out of a gravity well (with any accuracy). The corollary in the shadow world might be: if many creatures are around, travel is slow. If it''s empty, travel is very fast. Or maybe travel is the same speed but the mana drain is greater in dense areas. This would provide not only a way to quickly cross over empty wastelands, but could be used as a "quick getaway" to put a small amount of distance between you and hostiles. Attractors/repulsors could also be used by, say, guilds or creatures. It would have to be carefully balanced within the world to ensure that players can''t just skip past encounters or traps. Definitely not an idea you could just drop into a game. But I think it would fit nicely into a game where magic is more fluid. Thoughts?

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DnD (Dungeon & Dragons) provides such a plane, in fact more than one.
There''s the Astral and Etheral planes you can walk in, in which no physical (but magical) barrier can stop you, in which you move thanks to your will (instead of strength, you mentally move).

There''s also the Shadow world in the BirthRight campaign, in which you can go through, although it''s a dangerous place where the god of darkness is living (not exactly but you get the idea).

A world map on which you can travel fast, with random creatures, BUT SEEABLE. (So you can avoid the encounter) sounds nice to me.
If you don''t care at all about the travels, simply provide a map (like in Grandia) from which you can choose your next destination, and you''re instantly (or after a short movie) moved to it.

How important are travels in reality ? Aren''t they were you meet people who might become friends and foes.
Maybe it''s time to make travels important...


-* So many things to do, so little time to spend. *-

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quote:
Original post by Ingenu
DnD (Dungeon & Dragons) provides such a plane, in fact more than one.

Quite so, and several mythologies support it. Didn''t say this was an original idea, although the particular blend is one I haven''t seen. And I haven''t seen it in CRPGs.

quote:
If you don''t care at all about the travels, simply provide a map (like in Grandia) from which you can choose your next destination, and you''re instantly (or after a short movie) moved to it.

I do care about the travels. As the second realm would be quite different, it would be very dangerous to simply skip into it. You might exit in a very bad place. Probably you''d only use it randomly as a last resort. And once you''d been somewhere a few times it would feel "anchored" and be easier to navigate to (probably you''d start seeing a ghost image of it). Picture LotR, but where you vaguely sense cities/populations/artifacts instead of just evil dudes.

I''m not proposing this as the only means of travel. Just as the replacement for teleportation. I find the "t''port in, slay monster, t''port out, rest, repeat" pattern unsuspends my disbelief. And slooooow walking with no fast movement for the tenth time over the same area is tedious. Tedium isn''t really what I play games for.

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I do like the "second realm" idea, but I would imagine it would put a serious drain on your mana (non-spellcasters would have to avoid it, then), which means there could be a low-mana alternative (random teleport, risky, of course).

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I was under the impression that you were trying to avoid boring travels and even more annoying forced random encounters (those you cannot avoid like in FF).

The ''second realm'' idea is interesting, but doesn''t solve the above problem at all.
Maybe you could provide enhancing travel facilities...

on foot, then a horse, then a flying horse (like pegazus which was the prefered flying horse of Zeus), and last teleporting...

Could be interesting cause you meet different kind of opposition on ground, and in the sky.


-* So many things to do, so little time to spend. *-

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Ravuya: Yes, I would expect it should be a serious mana drain -- and continual while you''re there. Not sure what happens if you run out; easiest would be dropping back in (probably unconscious). Another possibility is baddies who would "detect" you once at zero mana and home in -- battle would, of course, drop you back down to the mortal realm, with a seriously nasty encounter.


quote:
Ingenu
I was under the impression that you were trying to avoid boring travels and even more annoying forced random encounters (those you cannot avoid like in FF).

The ''second realm'' idea is interesting, but doesn''t solve the above problem at all.

It does once you add in the speed modifier, I think.

Can''t speak for FF, but sounds like it has similar problems to Wizardry. My thought is that once you''re past the outskirts of a town, you can really zoom along in the second realm, probably without encounters. In W8 I could run (dodging) from the first city area to the second in maybe five minutes (if I were very, very lucky). More likely an hour, given the encounters. With this I''d picture it being more like half a minute tops. Plus you''re treated to eerie sfx and allowed to travel straight-line, not the tedious "memorize the circuitous path from A to D".

And if you''re in a dense area, it''s more like a poor local teleport option. That''s one of the things I liked about the idea; the spell does the same sort of thing, but with different effective behaviour depending on where you started out.

Also, if you haven''t been to a place, you can''t "see" it, so you''re likely to emerge somewhere random -- and if it''s unexplored territory that probably means surrounded by creatures.

But, it''s still a very raw idea.

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