Skills and Spells suggestion thread

For all Bard's Tale IV discussion that does not fit elsewhere, suggestions, feedback, etc. No spoilers allowed.

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Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by Brother None » July 8th, 2015, 3:18 pm

Hey guys,

If you read this update you will have seen Chris' writeup about our positioning system there. Including this:

With an easy to understand UI element based on PC positioning, we have a huge opportunity to play with some exciting design ideas based on where PC’s are in the sub-grid. Paladin buffs could give additional bonuses to PCs in adjacent sub-grid slots. Rogues could be masters of movement, swapping places with other heroes or summons, giving more positional freedom. Some skills or spells could even require you to have an open sub-grid slot in front of your PC to cast. We love to hear your ideas on different skills and spells from the Bard’s Tale universe that would be unique to a system like this. Please head over to our forums and let us know what you think!

Someone in the comments pointed out we should make one unified thread for this so, here it is! Lay your skill and spell ideas that play with our WIP combat rows design here!
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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by Ether » July 8th, 2015, 3:52 pm

I'm suspect many here - myself included - will want to see many of the old spells return.

Otherwise, it's hard for me to give much in the way of ideas without knowing exactly how combat will be implemented, and that includes, among other things, party size and the classes.
Edit: And, exactly how will the magic system work? Will it be like the previous games, where everyone's magic users were kind of the same (since I assume most everyone picked up spells from all the classes), or will it make players chose to go down a support path, damage path, healing path, etc.

One idea I did have for a spell is one where an opponents armor becomes superheated, damaging the opponent. Obviously, it only works against enemies wearing such armor, i.e. generally warrior humans.

Otherwise, my hopes right now is
a. that all spells have some sort of place (part of the players job is find out when)
b. know exactly what said spell does (how much does Freeze Foe help you hit your opponent, Ogre Strength increase your strength/damage, etc)
c. how likely the spell is to work.

BTW, I know this will be unpopular to many, but I do like the idea of summons being combat only. Sadly, I only found the Wind Dragon and Demons (regular, greater, and lord) useful at all in BT1. In BT2, I only ever found the Slayer remotely useful, and that was rather early (and probably because my imported characters got the spell from the start). Afterwards, I never bothered with them.
Last edited by Ether on July 8th, 2015, 4:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by Ether » July 8th, 2015, 4:10 pm

Went to edit and forgot about the skills also.

This is probably more of a combat mechanic than an actual skill, but only things I can add for now is

a. when a character with multiple attacks kills a foe, if he has attacks left, he can move on to another enemy.
The monk, whom I think should have more attacks per turn than the other classes (obviously doing less per hit), would benefit the most from this.

b. The Warrior, who really didn't have any perks in the other games, can be some sort of tactical expert, being able to recognize enemy strengths and weaknesses faster.

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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by ZiN » July 8th, 2015, 4:13 pm

Most important spells i'd like to see in BTIV are:

Baylor's Spell Bind: If successful, this spell possesses the mind of an enemy and forces him to join and fight for your party. Yes, join your party... permanently. I heard some guy was running around in the Wilderness, with Tarjan, personally, i only had Fanskar & Oscon join my 3 Archmages in BT2.

Melee Men: pulls an attacking group into melee range (10') regardless of how far they were when they began attacking. Extremely useful against groups of ranged attackers.

Far Foe: moves a group of foes 40 feet further away from your party, up to a maximum distance of 90 feet. Very handy for more glass-cannon like teams.

Deathstrike: very likely to kill one selected enemy @ 10'. Use after Melee Men for a nice combo.

Stone Touch: usually turns an enemy to stone (except those already made of stone). Same as above, but you get a nice statue as well.

Phase Door: Vaporizes any wall that's not protected by an Anti-Phase Door aura or spell into air. A signature BT spell, useful in several ways.

Wall Warp: Works like Phase Door until the party leaves. Same as above, but better.

Apport Arcane: teleports the party within a dungeon to any location that's not protected by a teleportation shield. Also teleports the party between cities that are in the range. Your party always arrives in the city's Adventurer's Guild. Again an indispensable spell for the dungeon delving adventurer.


New spells:

Create Wall: Erects a barrier of stone before the party. Also of use in repairing old buildings, solving puzzles and blocking harmful stuff.,

Teleport (TELE): Mark the square the party is currently standing on. Casting this spell again at any time, instantly teleports the party to the specified square. This could be the chronomancer version of APAR.

Life Steal: Drains 100-300 hit points from a single target, and heals the most wounded party member for the same amount. Wizardry spell.

Mana Drain: Drains 25-100 spell points from a single target, and gives it to the party member with the least percentage of spell points. Super useful against magic users with a double benefit.
Last edited by ZiN on July 9th, 2015, 10:11 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by paultakeda » July 8th, 2015, 4:19 pm

I take it this is specifically about skills and spells that can be used during combat? Or should we include spells active during exploration? I would say split the threads but some spells ought to be useful in both scenarios....

Anyway, I'd look at the original spell book first and see how they would act with the WIP environment. Here are mine (my descriptions of HP and AC below are for example only as I have no idea what game system is going to be used). These are combat-related only and I mention them only if they have something to do with the proposed grid.

MAFL - In combat will reduce the caster's AC by 2 and adjacent grids by 1 due to increasing visibility of the targets because there's a light shining above them (pray you get to have CAEY soon).
LERE - In combat will reduce the caster's AC by 2 and adjacent grids by 1 due to increasing visibility of the targets because there's a light shining above them.
MACO - Hangs over the caster's head and reduces AC by 1 and increases awareness of enemy that the caster is "over there".
LEVI, MALE - Increases AC by 1 due to added agility of being able to levitate at will (sort of like a limited PHBL).
GRRE - In combat will reduce the caster's AC by 3 and adjacent grids by 2.
APAR - Teleport the entire party to be behind or to the side of the enemy grid, allowing a flanking maneuver for one turn.
AREN - Can distract enemies, allowing party to flank or surprise attack in opening round.
MYSH - Protects from frontal attacks; enemy spells or missiles arced over like a dart or a rock can target the back row.
WZWA - Protects from all attacks in any direction.
PHDO - Allow party to escape if a wall is adjacent to the combat grid.
MEME - The reason why I think the grids can start at a distance.

ARFI, POST, HOWA, DEST, MIJA, DEBA - Can attack one of any of the front or rear grids.
MIFI, SOWH, FADE - Can attack any grid (differs in that an enemy grid space might have more than two rows).
SPTO - Requires caster to be in front row, can only target one of the three grids cardinally and diagonally in front of the caster grid.

FRFO, WAST - Range is target grid (front or rear) plus cardinally adjacent grids (max 4 grids affected).
MAST, SHSP, STFL, ANMA, NILA, WIFI - Centered on one of any of the front or rear grids and affecting cardinally and diagonally adjacent grids (max 9 grids affected, three per row, assuming the enemy grid might be four rows long).
DRBR, HYIM, FOFO, MABA - Target only a front grid, which affects the two grids diagonally behind it (a V). The grid directly behind the target grid can also be affected in a lesser manner. If the caster is diagonal of target the V is cardinal.
FLCO, NILA - Target only a front grid. If the caster is diagonal of the target then the grid directly behind the target grid is the diagonal opposite, whereas if the caster is cardinally in front of the target it affects the grid cardnially behind it.

REDE, RIME, COLD, SAST - Affects front row only (knockbacks push all other rows back).
MIBL, DMST, WIZW, GOFI, FAFO - Affects two rows (can affect two rear rows).
MAGM, MAMA, STUN, FAFI, JOBO, EAMA, NUKE - Affects all rows.

I went through this quickly but generally I'm going by the spell description and trying to translate it into the WPI environment. As to what spells make it in and what spells do not -- I can see them all making it considering we're keeping all the classes and the game, so far, is class-centric.

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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by Ether » July 8th, 2015, 5:12 pm

Almost forgot: Give Rogues the ability to detect and disarms traps in the dungeon.
Seems kind of silly that they can only detect traps on treasure chests.

And no, I don't want the option to lay down traps myself.

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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by Darendor » July 8th, 2015, 5:31 pm

I would like the following spells added:

PHTR - Phase Tree
Behaves like PHDO, but only works on trees.

UPTR - Uproot Tree
See "Wall Warp".

YOLO - You Only Live Once
Cast this on a member of your party in the combat ranks, during combat. It reduces their hitpoints to 1, and allows them to critically hit an entire group of monsters. Has a 50% chance of killing that party member at the end of the round.


As for returning spells, we need Apport Arcane.
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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by Andreeon » July 8th, 2015, 6:12 pm

Ether wrote:Almost forgot: Give Rogues the ability to detect and disarms traps in the dungeon.
Seems kind of silly that they can only detect traps on treasure chests.

And no, I don't want the option to lay down traps myself.
I also 2nd this

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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by Tuoweit » July 8th, 2015, 9:26 pm

Ether wrote:b. The Warrior, who really didn't have any perks in the other games, can be some sort of tactical expert, being able to recognize enemy strengths and weaknesses faster.
I'm thinking perhaps Warriors could have some melee attacks/skills that affect multiple adjacent foes, to reflect their supposedly better straight-up melee abilities. Not so much that you'd always want a Warrior over a Paladin, say, but at least make it an interesting choice and not the other way around.

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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by Crosmando » July 8th, 2015, 11:22 pm

I'd love to see different schools of magic, ie Fire, Wind, Earth, Water, C̶a̶p̶t̶a̶i̶n̶ ̶P̶l̶a̶n̶e̶t̶, especially high-level spells like summoning a tornado or earthquake. Powerful AoE spells are very Bard's Tale. Also have enemy elementals from each element, so if you use a Fireball against a Fire elemental it heals them instead of hurting them, and so on. This would encourage players to build a diverse party.

Also, Rogues should be able to disarm and steal from enemies mid-fight, ie a Rogue can steal a sword from an enemy barbarian or a staff/wand from an enemy mage, so they need to fight with their fists for the rest of the battle.
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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by Crosmando » July 9th, 2015, 12:23 am

Also, please InXile devs please have a read of the Devil Whiskey manual, especially the classes/spells, there's a wealth of good inspiration to be had:
www.weekendwastemonster.net/crpgs/dw/DWManual.pdf
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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by Themadcow » July 9th, 2015, 2:30 am

I'd look at Etrian Odyssey for inspiration as it uses a front row / back row grid system with 5 permanent player characters and the occassional summon / NPC.

Image

The intricacy of the Etrian system is that physical damage is affected by row positioning, but so is likelihood to be hit. So you have a decision to make whether to put your 'hunter' archetype in the back row (lower damage output, reduced chance of being hit) or front row (higher damage skills available, but takes more damage). Depending on the situation you might want to spread the damage amongst a front 3 or rely on dedicated tankier characters in a front 2.

Even healers can sometimes be effective front line members if built that way, and that's an interesting mechanic for Bards Tale as you could more viably have a Monk at lower levels if they has the ability to passively heal characters to their immediate right and left on the grid.

Generally though I'd like to see most of the original spells come back, and ABSOLUTELY spellbind which was just great fun.
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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by jrodman » July 9th, 2015, 2:37 am

Sigh. How I wish Etrian Odyssey would ship for windows. The handheld formfactor isn't really for me, between losing track of the bits and not preferring the tiny screens.

I know I can emulate but they're not designed for it and it's kind of outside my ethical realm.

--------------

But on-topic.
On a grid, I enjoy line-based attacks extending from casters or affecting rows.
Area-of-effect abilities which speed friends or slow foes are fun.
Area heals.
Moderately weak spells that have a long term ongoing effect can be fun for slow battles, see for example the Bard Songs on some platforms, like the ongoing heal drip.
For more tactical combat, I prefer the Dungeon Master model of hits, where most attacks strike (though not all) and there's a fair variance of normal attacks and crits. (Where crits are a damage multiplier, not instant kills.) At that point your physical damage classes can make choices of more reliable damage or more spiky damage.

Temporary disables can be fun, but are hard to balance (eg freeze foes). It's kind of lame if they usually don't work, and overpowered if it's easy to just turn off foes too often. Depending upon the combat system, delaying the turn of opponents is a rich system. Another option which feels reasonable are spells and abilities which turn of *types* of attacks. Prevent that target from making ranged attacks for 4 rounds. Disable summoning magic or fire magic on the battlefield for 5 rounds.

Non-combat abilities are a rich area. Thieves doing sneaky things like scouting or starting the fight behind the enemies for a backstab. A rich identification system allows for a lot of skill possibilities: lore, identification magic, luck factoring into enabling abilities.

Automated counterattacks are super fun even if relatively rare.

Spells or ranged attacks that knock enemies away from the front line so they can't attack are satisfying.

But all of this seems quite basic. I don't have any really original ideas.
Last edited by jrodman on July 9th, 2015, 3:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by Sir Eyeball » July 9th, 2015, 3:20 am

Thx for making the thread. It makes it so much more organized and easy to follow

I like the old thief skill hide in shadows. This could with the zones as they are be combined with the ability to strike at any row in the opposition. Hiding in the shadows would mean free movement and therefore strike where you want as the opposition does not see you. It would also mean if you are spotted that all of the opposition can target the thief.

Knockback could also be a skill both for monsters or fighters /strong PC. Making the opponent go back a space and having to use the next turn to move forward. Here you could have a racial skill for dwarfs that makes them immune to knockback.

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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by Themadcow » July 9th, 2015, 3:50 am

I like the knockback idea - makes sense.

In the new system we'll face a maximum of 8 opponents in total (right?) spread across two rows of four so gone are the days of simply attacking or casting at a group of 7 conjurors, you'd need to either pick an individual or a row, or a column or 'everyone' depending on the nature of the spell. Thats a pretty major departure from old Bard's tale and something people will need to get their head around.

Some things to consider in such a system is that focused fire becomes a 'thing' for both yourself and opponents, so in old BT you might get your warrior to attack a group and he'd randomly hit one of them - maybe one low on health, maybe one at full health. In the new system your fighters will focus on taking down opponents one by one. Likewise, an opponent might decide to pick on your glass canon sorceror at the back.

Reading Chris' article again it seems pretty clear that the new spells will work more like a traditional D&D affair with line of fire (column based, can damage allies in the way), targeted spells (single target, no LOS restriction, lower damage) and AoE (group, row or splash, lower damage) with the neutral zone used for primarily defensive purposes to block physical attacks to individuals or reduce damage to groups (like an elemental shield).

This is nothing like the original BT, so while I like the idea of keeping all the old spells - practically that isn't going to work.
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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by ZiN » July 9th, 2015, 4:03 am

Ooh, Heroes of Bards & Magic(craft). Gonna love this! :D
Sir Eyeball wrote:Here you could have a racial skill for dwarfs that makes them immune to knockback.
Shield Dwarf. Using 'Defend' also gives additional, cumulative defense and retaliations.
jrodman wrote:Where crits are a damage multiplier, not instant kills.
Just like in every single game out there, except Bard's Tale, Wizardry and Fate: Gates of Dawn. I don't like this.
jrodman wrote:Automated counterattacks are super fun even if relatively rare.
Royal Griffins, with first strike and vampirism buffs, in Heroes 5. Can't touch 'em in melee.
jrodman wrote:Spells or ranged attacks that knock enemies away from the front line so they can't attack are satisfying.
FAFO
Themadcow wrote:In the new system we'll face a maximum of 8 opponents in total (right?)
Really hope not!

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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by Themadcow » July 9th, 2015, 4:06 am

Hmm, another quick question. If all 'front row' enemies are defeated, do back row enemies still stay back row or do they functionally (damage taken, damage dealt) move forward to the front row as you 'advance' towards them? I assume they 'move forward' so that melee can effectively attack them.
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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by thebruce » July 9th, 2015, 8:19 am

Ok, before I get heavily thoughtful, I'd really like to know if the intent of the devs is to have tactical combat a visual thing, or if the explanation in the update was a visualization of the mechanic - lots of suggestions here seem to be very much focused on things being visually and literally as depicted by the explanation...

About BT's front/back row mechanic, I read this: "It has been rooted in dungeon crawl history and so we will of course have it as a core mechanic in BT4 combat, but there’s also some improvements we can make." and it makes me think the general combat concept will remain the same but adding some new mechanics; but the visuals imply it's not just an improvement but a completely different foundation (visualized) while inspired by the basis of front/back row mechanics.

While front/back in BT1-3 (slots 1-3 and 4-6, or 1-4 and 5-7) was as far as it went, they seem to be adding a 2nd dimension, the 2D grid (how else would characters know how is adjacent to them, aside from the 1 dimensional slot #?) So now we have more than just a position of front or back, but also the horizontal. And this, really, can only be handled visually.

Going on from there, I think the concerns raised about the nature of enemy groups in combat is pretty valid - enemies also had only the 1 dimension, distance; but each group could have any number of enemies.
So, will enemies also be depicted visually in a grid style, or will they remain on the one-dimensional plane of distance to the party?

So far it doesn't look like these 'groups' are necessarily literal to single enemies, but could still be composed of numerous enemies in single groups. In theory, depending on this 'depiction', groups could even split up and spread out.

eg, the party could face 4x99 berserkers, in some formation; say, either 10', 20', 30', 40', or 2x at 10', 20', 30', or a square of 10' and 20', or all at 10' (roll with me)... Clearly this is 'unrealistic' (but so what!) Then deep into battle they could realize that their grouping is ineffective because one spell could wipe a group out, so they split up their remaining group of 64 berserkers into 4 groups of 16 and spread out again.

Ok so I got a bit thoughtful... :P

I think I said earlier, I can get behind this 'grid' tactical mechanic, if it feels like the core gameplay style of the classics is still the foundation of combat, even if improved upon (not revamped). I don't want to feel like I have to go graphical/visual in order to do combat well - as said elsewhere, it can 'slow down' the fight system. I don't want to deal so much with party and effect positioning; combat is a faceoff with enemies, groups of enemies, hordes of enemies. I don't want to be caught up in localized strategies, I just want to unleash skills and spells to take them out ASAP.
Change that, and you change the feel of the classic combat, imo.

PS I like intentional healing spells being self, target, or group; collateral healing affecting positioning I don't think I'd have a problem with though. I really think that anything related to the tactical grid-positioning should be kept to combat, and ideally, secondary effects. Intentional actions I'd prefer to be left in the classic style of self, target, or group. KISS!
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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by Ether » July 9th, 2015, 2:31 pm

My preference for critical hits is that they do massive damage, rather than an outright kill.
That said, it's not that big of a deal for if this follows the BT1 model, as most opponents end up dying under the flurry of the other fighters attacks anyways. It's by the time we got to BT3 and enemies had 5000+ hit points that it became overpowered (actually, everyone else being underpowered is probably more accurate).
Maybe it could be ranged, as if a critical hit is obtained, there's say, a 40% chance of 5x damage, 40% chance of 10x damage, and a 20% of an outright kill. I also think some foes should be immune or highly resistant to crit hits.
Either way, just make sure the same system applies to the monsters as well.

And FWIW, I'm not getting all this angst over not seeing huge groups of monsters, even for nostalgia purposes. The ones I ran into playing BT1 recently were quite boring, as all I really did was sit there and watch 60 of them miss, and then watch 60 of burn and die via a spell attack. I didn't even have my fighters attack, since it was pointless.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I also don't seem to recall these battles being anywhere near as prevalent in BT2 and BT3, save for maybe the final fights.

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Re: Skills and Spells suggestion thread

Post by ZiN » July 9th, 2015, 3:17 pm

Yes, you are wrong. BT 2 and 3 had huge groups as well. And you had instakills. It added a lot of fun and flavour to the game, at least for me.
Question: How much damage does DEST (level 7 magician spell) do? Answer: 1 and critically hitting. That means i don't want 10x damage, i want instant kills. Same for hunters, rogues attacking from shadows and special weapons.
Sure you can remove these, at the cost of getting further away from classic BT feel, toward modern, mainstream design. Adding some resistance to certain special creatures would be allright though, in fact a complex resistance (and weakness) system would benefit the game as a whole.

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