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 Gaining XP

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mouser9169
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PostSubject: Gaining XP   Thu Oct 17, 2013 3:27 am

One thing that always bothered me about Bloodlines was that you were rewarded for always taking the 'pacifist' route.

Why not get bonus XP for killing all the cops on the Elizabeth Dane, making sure there are no witnesses? Why should talking down the serial killer give you more XP than an outright battle? The more you kill, the better you should get at killing, so the stronger your character should be.

Those are two examples (and trivially easy to fix for anyone who cares), but if you're going to go with a new tack on the game - that's something I think is worth considering. I'm not saying you have to go d20 or D&D where an old bum is worth 5XP and a cop is worth 50xp, but just the general idea of rewarding wanton slaughter - at least mechanically: maybe it does mean you have to keep that crappy apartment in Santa Monica for a while longer - at least there's no creepy apartment manager peeping on you Shocked 
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Childe of Malkav
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PostSubject: Re: Gaining XP   Thu Oct 17, 2013 4:34 am

Not sure if I want to go for more xp for killing people on a regular basis. But a new approach on the whole subject of xp, humanity changes, and masquerade violations, along with sometimes more dire cosequences of your actions is already on my agenda.

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ThePhilosopher
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PostSubject: Re: Gaining XP   Thu Oct 17, 2013 6:53 am

I actually like the system as it is

In quite a lot of rpg games, the possibility to take the social or sneaky route is almost always nullified by the fact that simply going in and killing everything gives more xp. This limits your choices, if you are not willing to pay the price in a weaker character.

Since Bloodlines, and Vampire as a whole was not made to be an action-packed game filled with explosions, I don't see why you should get extra XP by simple combat.
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Dragatus
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PostSubject: Re: Gaining XP   Thu Oct 17, 2013 8:00 am

Childe of Malkav wrote:
Not sure if I want to go for more xp for killing people on a regular basis. But a new approach on the whole subject of xp, humanity changes, and masquerade violations, along with sometimes more dire cosequences of your actions is already on my agenda.
I like the sound of that.

In general I would like it if the main source of difficulty in the game wasn't raw combat, but rather managing your vampiric needs.

For Humanity it has always bothered me that it's an upgradeable stat that you never need to upgrade thanks to the free increases scatered through the game. My first change would be to eliminate all of these free increases (starting with the dance floors) so that Humanity can only ever be increased by spending experience (but still easily lost through evil actions).

Of course that means there should also be an appropriate mechanical advantage for spending 24 exp in order to bump it to 10 and then avoiding any naughty behaviour. In p&p vampires can spend blood to make themselves appear more human, and the cost decreases with higher Humanity. Perhaps this could translate into reduced bloodloss? And naturally that would also mean notably increased bloodloss at low humanity values. Speaking of which, you are keeping the bloodloss timer, right?

For XP it might be interesting to give the player more dots at character creation (maybe 7/5/3 for both Attributes and Abilities, but keep Disciplines as they are) and then reduce the amount of XP you gain during the game. Maybe doing all the mandatory quests would give you just enough XP to fully upgrade one disciplines and doing all the sidequest and bonus objectives could double that amount? That way you play a normal person who learns to master their new vampiric powers instead of a subhuman loser (most attributes at 1, most abilities at 0) who miraculously develops a wide range of advanced skills in talents in just one or two weeks.

I'd also get rid of most free ability increases or at least limit them severly. IMO you should never be given anything higher than the second dot. And if yo ualready have 2+ dots you should be able to give a "Thanks, but I already knew that." response and get the equivalent amount of XP instead.
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Karavolos
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PostSubject: Re: Gaining XP   Thu Oct 17, 2013 8:09 am

I'd say something closer to 5/4/3 rather than the usual 7/5/3 if only to keep people from maxing out their melee dude with 5 Strength and Stamina from the get go.

Also while I do agree that Humanity is a bit too common and easy to maintain, I think some actions should still give a dot or so, they are good deeds afterall. Maybe you can have them only take effect if someone is on 5 or less humanity?
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Childe of Malkav
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PostSubject: Re: Gaining XP   Thu Oct 17, 2013 9:10 am

Dragatus wrote:
Childe of Malkav wrote:
Not sure if I want to go for more xp for killing people on a regular basis. But a new approach on the whole subject of xp, humanity changes, and masquerade violations, along with sometimes more dire cosequences of your actions is already on my agenda.
I like the sound of that.

In general I would like it if the main source of difficulty in the game wasn't raw combat, but rather managing your vampiric needs.
Looks like we're much on the same wavelenght here...

Quote :
For Humanity it has always bothered me that it's an upgradeable stat that you never need to upgrade thanks to the free increases scatered through the game. My first change would be to eliminate all of these free increases (starting with the dance floors) so that Humanity can only ever be increased by spending experience (but still easily lost through evil actions).

Of course that means there should also be an appropriate mechanical advantage for spending 24 exp in order to bump it to 10 and then avoiding any naughty behaviour.
Dancing for humanity gain always seemed a bit funny to me, but I don't know if I can take it out. I'd rather have the dancing in the clubs as a kind of socializing to temporarily bump your seduction. Maybe I can do something in the doll-dialogs.
For other humanity changes, I'll make the changes more diversified, according to the list of sins. You probably haven't really noticed, but theere are already some instances in CE where that applies. High humanity characters loose more humanity for selling the stake to Copper. When your humanity is 8+, you only gain humanity for giving Mercurio money if you didn't find his cash and give him some of your own...
I intend to make humanity loss easier, and gain harder. Especially if your humanity is already high.
Quote :
In p&p vampires can spend blood to make themselves appear more human, and the cost decreases with higher Humanity. Perhaps this could translate into reduced bloodloss? And naturally that would also mean notably increased bloodloss at low humanity values. Speaking of which, you are keeping the bloodloss timer, right?
Look at my very first post on this forum: "Is it possible to use the bloodtimer with Wesps patch?" Getting a bonus on the bloodloss-time for high humanity is an idea I have intended to include.

Then I'm thinking of changes in the game mechanics. Like effects for ghouling or not ghouling Heather. Ghouling her might give humanity gain, but a masquerade violation (+ 1xp?), intentionally letting her die results in humanity loss along with an xp and/or masquerade redemption. letting her die just out of indescision will only result in humanity loss...

Quote :
For XP it might be interesting to give the player more dots at character creation (maybe 7/5/3 for both Attributes and Abilities, but keep Disciplines as they are) and then reduce the amount of XP you gain during the game. Maybe doing all the mandatory quests would give you just enough XP to fully upgrade one disciplines and doing all the sidequest and bonus objectives could double that amount? That way you play a normal person who learns to master their new vampiric powers instead of a subhuman loser (most attributes at 1, most abilities at 0) who miraculously develops a wide range of advanced skills in talents in just one or two weeks.
Actually I'm no friend of more dots on character creation. That only leads to characters with 5 dots in one attribute/ability, and nothing on the rest. Unless I can limit the max level at character creation and remove the limit later, I'd prefer giving even less dots, but some xp to spend right after creation. Maybe even start with the disciplines at level 0, and still only 1 dot to spend.
Quote :
I'd also get rid of most free ability increases or at least limit them severly. IMO you should never be given anything higher than the second dot. And if yo ualready have 2+ dots you should be able to give a "Thanks, but I already knew that." response and get the equivalent amount of XP instead.
Sounds reasonable.

-geek 

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mouser9169
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PostSubject: Re: Gaining XP   Thu Oct 17, 2013 3:29 pm

Childe of Malkav wrote:
Actually I'm no friend of more dots on character creation. That only leads to characters with 5 dots in one attribute/ability, and nothing on the rest. Unless I can limit the max level at character creation and remove the limit later, I'd prefer giving even less dots, but some xp to spend right after creation. Maybe even start with the disciplines at level 0, and still only 1 dot to spend.
I've messed around a lot with different 'dot' systems at character creation. I haven't found a way to limit them at that point (assuming you have the dots), but that doesn't mean there isn't a way. As it is, you're just plain stupid if you don't put all your dots in the same place at creation, or you're wasting a lot of precious XP later on (the college/books help this out a little bit with skills).

Actually, I think there may be a way, but it borders on cheesy. If you give a bonus to a stat, say +2 to strength, you wouldn't be able to put more than 3 dots in it, since dots 4 and 5 would then be filled (giving a +2 bonus to a discipline/trait is MUCH more valuable than starting that discipline with 3 dots). You'd then have to find a way to take away that 2 dot bonus right after creation though: you could attach it to clothes/armor - you can't get rid of those and have to be wearing one of them at all times.

Personally, for a game as long as Bloodlines (in real time, not game time), I want and expect to be godlike at the end of it. That's the nature of this genre - whether it's Steampunk like Arcanum or magic like Final Fantasy or Sci-Fi like Fallout. Generally speaking, you're the 'Chosen One' [Son of Bhaal, The Nameless, Prophesied Saviour, Light Warrior, Embraced under Very Strange Circumstances, etc...]. If the mod can get away from that at least a little bit, it would be a good thing, but I want to feel my character grow in power as the game goes on - if I don't, I'll be fighting the same mooks at the end of the game as I was at the start, and there's nothing particularly heroic feeling about that (and it requires you to turn Ming and the Sheriff into pussies, assuming you keep the ending). The 'payback' lines spoken to the Prince right before you go to Hallowbrook sort of capture that idea.
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Dragatus
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PostSubject: Re: Gaining XP   Thu Oct 17, 2013 4:30 pm

Malkav, I'm glad to hear we're on the same wavelength in regard to most things.

The fiddling with bonuses might work, but it would be non-intuitive during charactr creation. Each clan could have +1 to all attributes and +2 to all abilities and then when the game starts the player is given a trait effect that reduces the stats by an equal amount. But then you'd have people coming to the forum and reporting a bug where their 5 Brawl was turned into 3 Brawl after the tutorial. Best not bother, it was just a random idea.
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Childe of Malkav
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PostSubject: Re: Gaining XP   Thu Oct 17, 2013 6:52 pm

Hm, items that impose or lift limits on acquiring dots may work. Good idea.

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mouser9169
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PostSubject: Re: Gaining XP   Thu Oct 17, 2013 8:25 pm

If we're talking about limiting stats at creation, why not go all the way with it and make a difficulty setting for the mod?

From the players perspective you could either put it in as a radio button choice in the mod installer that determines which set of .txt files get copied over, or install 'normal' and have a file called ChangeDifficultyLevel.exe that swaps in the appropriate .txt files. This way you can alter NPC strength, damage from guns, health and also character creation things like the number of dots the character gets and the amount of experience you collect along the way.

Compared to the other stuff you have to do for the mod that shouldn't be too much trouble:

Novice setting: You get a few extra dots at character creation or 'free' xp at the start of the game, maybe a few more XP along the way, money can be easier to come by and shops might sell a few things earlier than they otherwise would. Some people just want to play the game for the story.

Normal: The game pretty much as it is (or how you envision your mod to be).

Insane: NPC's do as much or more damage with firearms as the PC's do. They also shoot as fast. You can up their hit points. Character creation you get fewer dots, and less XP along the way - forcing you to make harder choices. Money is harder to come by, ammo might cost more, and shops may wait longer to roll out the good stock. Some people love a masochistic challenge Twisted Evil 

If you store this as a variable somewhere - probably from a config file, then python scripts could access it and adjust some thing to it as well, so you wouldn't have to come up with three sets of python scripts.
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Childe of Malkav
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PostSubject: Re: Gaining XP   Fri Oct 18, 2013 5:33 am

Something like this is possible. Dheu came up with python scripts that allow dynamic file handling. I'm already using this for the custom music in CE.

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