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Subject: Sinister Excursions - Discussion on improvements. Spoilers. rss

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John Valvard
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Spread the conFUDsion wherever you can...

OK, so usually when a game I mod finishes, I have numerous ideas, either self-generated or via PM from players, on what went wrong and what could be improved. I leave them all alone, think about them, forget some of them, and re-run a slightly improved version (hopefully) at a later date.

SE has been an order of magnitude more complex than the Bewitched series, both in preparation and in generation of results PMs. Not unexpected, and I can see ways to make the modding easier on a future run.

What I need to think about is the actual game mechanic. From here on, all is spoiler material. I would encourage any dead players, and anyone who has read along or wants to play in another instance, as well as experienced mods (slyde and bluebehir in particular, given they have run similar games) to contribute (in spoilers, please) - all (constructive ) comments most welcome!

Spoiler (click to reveal)

Game set-up for SE version 1, as running...
4 needle traps, each one-use, transforming non-soulcatcher to soulcatcher (not activated by an already converted player)
19 rooms, some divided up. Some doors begin locked.
This caused complications. It would have been far better to have 1 room on the map for each actual room. Unnecessary complexity for players. See discussion on actions below.
Several secret passages between rooms allowing access to locked areas.
over 20 weapons, several large, most small.
Would it have been better to have all weapons small, or was it good (flavor and planning) to have some large and therefore visible?
Should all weapons be 1-use (as in this game) or multi-use? I preferred 1-use so that over-powerful weapons did not unbalance the game.

4 defensive items.
Multiple miscellaneous items, including several master-keys which can allow passage through all locked doors.
Some packs of food.
7 Golden Keys.

Lynch - daily one player eliminated. If that player holds 3 or more golden keys, he survives elimination and achieves personal victory.
If 2 soulcatchers exit safely, soulcatchers win.
After killing a player, a soulcatcher takes that player's soul. With 2 souls, a soulcatcher can create a copy of a golden key, but needs a key to copy.
If all traps and catchers are eliminated, villagers win.
This produces the unpleasant effect of forcing the villagers to look for traps if not enough are found naturally. This is not good. Traps must be so readily available that players will inevitably trigger all of them in the first day or two
Each day every living player uses a ration. Not being able to eat weakens a player. Not eating for 4 days kills a player.
Have to provide some incentive for players to DO something!

Here's where most of the problems arose.
So - how to rationalise this better?
Should all players be aware of all other players in a room? Does this not give too much information? After all, the lights are off; unless you actually are right next to someone, it's reasonable to suppose that you can't tell who else is there. Should you be told you are not alone?
In any case - if you can't tell who else is around, how can you determine whether or not to attack in front of them?

4 levels of searching a room:
Travel through (some POI)
Scan (all POI)
Search (all POI, find some small items)
View area (exhaustive search)

I like the different levels, but it produces excessive work for mod, in preparation if nothing else.
Also, I worry that it can be depressing for the unlucky player who searches or views and NEVER finds anything, either because of searching after someone else or through bad luck in choosing an empty area.

Follow - add 1 to movement, get 1 level less information when trailed individual scans or searches. Useful but not extraordinarily

Lurk... Let's leave that for a while!

Movement points
[i]Should it take movement points to go up and down stairs?
Should movement points just be related to moving door to door?

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