Monday, February 15, 2010

Items and a Touch of Evilness


Magic Stuff is Just Cool
As a builder I enjoy creating magic items. I have a ton of these sitting in my toolset, some have been placed in Risen Hero and others just sit there. So far I have only placed a few +1 items here and there. Instead almost every magic item found has a unique description and I have tried to make the properties generally tie into the description.

So is there too many magic items to be found lost in hidden caves or horded by evil critters.

Maybe. So I have made attempts to add some balance and limitations to magic items.

How to Balance?
One approach I have done is to make an item have both bonuses and penalties. Now a player must choose to sacrifice something to gain something. I try to relate these weakness to the description and the other properties. Some examples would be a massive hammer or warwace with an over weighted end. There would be a massive critical property or a Daze effect on hit but the attack bonus would be decreased because it is an unbalanced and clumsy weapon. Also with the above example an on equip script may be used to sure a player has a minimum strength the be able to lift and swing the weapon. Anther example of the bonus/penalty would also be a fire amulet. The wearer would be protected from fire attacks but vulnerable to cold attacks.

The more powerful items are often not found along the normal plot line. A player must find them through exploration and finding secrets, solving puzzles or completing side quest. The more powerful items are also possessed by more powerful creatures. These battles are often optional and the items are often used against the player before they gain them.

+1 is Just Dumb
As a player I have always enjoyed finding those unique items that have a back story in their description and unique properties. The standard +1 or +whatever are boring weapons. The only generic +something items to be bought will be ammunition and most of the + items found are from the global random treasure scripts. Currently only one store will sell magic weapons and it's stock is mostly just ammunition with maybe 1 or 2 unique items. The main black smith will not sell any magic items, just masterwork and standard weapons made with different materials. That smith is able to work with more unique materials as well that are beyond the players crafting skills. A small number of different items have been placed or planned that the player can bring to him to make unique weapons with. The different items can be made into a small number of different weapon/armor types and once done can't be undone.


Item Stealing and Destroying
In the previous post I mentioned some oozes. I have a number of blueprints and will likely release these once all the testing is done. But in regards to items I have 4 oozes that dissolve weapons. Two are below CR5 that can destroy mundane weapons and armor and 2 are above CR5 that can destroy most any items. Only plot items and items that have an acid immune local variable are safe from their attacks. My mimic blueprint will steal a weapon but allow a player to retrieve it after the battle. This is an area I want to continue to explore as the game progress. Forcing the player to rely on their character and their skills opposed to having the biggest nastiest greatsword ever made.

Curses What I Have Been Doing Up Until Now
The curse flag in NWN2 is lame.

I have been using equip and unequip scripts for the few curse items I have placed. They have both bonus and penalties. One example would be a ring that increases combat abilities but significantly reduces social abilities. The curse is to prevent a player from equipping the ring during battle then removing it after to remove the penalties. When the item is equipped the the curse flag will be made true. While the flag is true the unequip script will re-equip the item. A remove curse spell turns the flag to false and the item can be unequipped but should it be re-equipped the curse will be activated again.


That has been the curse system I have been using and there are a couple of items using it, but feeling a little evilier then usual one day I put together a new curse include script that I will be using from here out.

It takes a copy of a normal item with an on acquire and equip script. The item can be anything an on acquire script will run with 2 lore checks. A a higher check will return that the item is cursed and a lower check will return that there is something peculiar about the item. When the item is equipped it is destroyed and a new evil item is created in the slot and is flagged cursed and can't be removed until the curse flag is removed.

The new item can simply be an opposite item, a ring of protect +2 will chance to -2. Or it can be truly evil and be a item with no properties but an on equip script. A fortitude save or turn to stone or even a save vs death. This script really makes most any evil idea possible and adds a bit of risk to equipping random items found in dark dungeons. These items will be rarer then other magic items but they will be included to help off set the other treasure found.

So there it is: magic items, weapon stealing and evil curses.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Wrapping up the areas

Wrapped up another area today. Just need to add 2 encounters with RWS oozes, to call it complete. At this point almost all the area design is wrapped up. The fortifications may need a little added here and there but other then that I think it's good. There are a number of conversations and scripts that need to be put together, but a player can now travel through fun scenic areas from start to finish. This leaves 4 areas to write conversations for and script up.

The latest area completed is the ooze cave. There the player will get to fight acid blobs, a black pudding and one of my least favorite oozes from Baulder's Gate the Mustard Jelly. I found a script from NWN1 that seems to be working to make them split with piercing and slashing weapons. I have written up a rather nasty acid attack and damage script for the acid blobs and the pudding. These acid scripts will destroy armor on attack and weapons on damage. The blobs being a lower level ooze will destroy mundane items while the pudding will destroy everything but plot items. When the ooze attacks it first goes after any shield and once that is destoryed it will try to disolve the players armor. When attacked it will go after the main weapon while ignoring the off hand weapon. These will be optional battles so those who can't stomach the risk can avoid it but the spoils of the battle will offer the player some unique items and stuff.

The scripts use a a reflex save to avoid the corrosive acid. Each ooze has a different DC. Higher level oozes obviously have harder DCs. If the player fails the the reflex save their weapon if they attacked or their armor if the ooze attacked will have to make a save or melt away. The more powerful the weapon the better chances it will have not to be destroyed. I loop through the item properties adding +1 for each property. In the items properties there is a variable for how many times the weapon has been exposed to the acid (failed reflex save but didn't get destroy).

The save is d20+#of item properties vs ooze DC + number or exposures.

So eventually if a player has very bad reflex saves they will add so many exposures (weaken the metal) that the save will be impossible and the weapon or armor will be destroyed.

One thing I have been thinking about is the current system doesn't take into account what the enchantments are. A +1 sword and a +5 sword will have the same chances with the current script. Next time at the toolset I will likely look at the item cost and set up different multipliers so that more a power enchantment or combination of enchantments will have a increased chance of standing up to an acid exposure.

The next focus of modding will be the conversations for the champion battles and the Bluff/Diplomacy routes through the fortification then the conversations for the sneak route. I am trying to focus on the conversations as this is the most time consuming and most dreaded part of modding. Once those are done Scripting should move fairly fast. Now time for the screen shots, these are from the ooze caves. The hope is that the lighting looks like it is from a green phosphorescent moss. The area lights are all set to 0 intensity so it is pitch black. The light points are randomly placed throughout the area ,all a different heights and have a very slow flicker with a low variation. The bloom is set so it emphasizes any color but doesn't cause any substantial blurring/distortion effect.

This uses the cave tile 05. The light green on the floor is normally a light grey/tan stone

The mushroom here is a liberty cap from Wyrin's foraging system and the trapped thing on the left side is a brown mold.