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  Mechanic #112 - Room RPG
Posted: 10/26/10

Customize your character's stats and abilities by customizing his furnishings.

  Interior Decorators Kick Ass Too!

This was originally part of a different game idea, which I'll share in the next entry. However, I felt that this was a full gameplay concept in and of itself, so it deserved a full entry.

The basic premise behind the idea is that your RPG character has a room in which he can decorate with various pieces of furniture. How he decorates this room will have a very large impact on his character's abilities and stats. Rather than being a glorified version of equipment (put in a chair, now you can use Super-Slash attack), the housing aspect works more as an influence over the character over a longer period of time.

  Character Stats


The first thing you need to understand is that character stats are not set per level. Instead, the level defines the particular range a particular stat can be. For example, a level 1 warrior would have a STRENGTH between 3 and 5, while a level 1 wizard might have a STRENGTH between 1 and 3. Your level 1 character begins with the minimum value in each stat, but he may raise it, over time, to be anywhere within that range. When the character levels up, the range boundaries are moved to higher values.


As I said, the stats don't change instantly. Instead, they change slowly over time. Each stat has an influence associated with it, suggesting which direction the stat changes and how quickly. In this example, the STRENGTH stat would increase as you play (up to the upper limit of the STRENGTH range), but it would not increase as fast as CHARISMA. Similarly, WISDOM is going to drop over time (to the lower limit) and it will do so faster than INTELLIGENCE.

There could be situations where the current value is outside the range. When this happens, it automatically gets the highest influence that would put it back into range. For instance, if STRENGTH was higher than it should be, it will have a strong negative influence applied to it until it dropped back into the acceptable range. If STRENGTH was too low, it would have a strong positive influence so that it would rise. These influences are compounded with the existing influences, such that if you had a -5 influence already, then adding the out of range influence of +7 would result in only a +2 influence. In this way, the player can slow down, even stop, an out of range number from changing. However, once a number is out of range, it can not move further out of range. The player can only stop or slow down the influence, not continually increase it.

How does a number get out of range? The most obvious reason is a level up causing the possible range to move. If your character was at the base value for STRENGTH when that base value is increased, it will be too low and get the influence to move it back into position. Another way a value could be out of range is if the player uses something which changes the range values, like a helmet which adds +2 to the upper limit of the STRENGTH range. Sickness or buffs can temporarily increase or decrease limits and when that temporary limit is returned to normal, the stat becomes an out of limit stat and gains the appropriate strong influence to get it back in range.

Or they can drink a potion which temporarily adds 5 to STRENGTH. In this last case, the +5 is temporary. Influences don't affect temporary bonuses, nor does using a temporary bonus to bypass an upper limit cause the strong negative influence to be applied. Temporary stat bonuses don't really affect the system since they return the stats to normal when they wear off, while temporary limit bonuses allow the player to increase stats higher and keep them higher.

Finally, out of range values affect level up ranges. If your STRENGTH is over limit (and not temporary), then when you level up, your new range will have its upper limit increased slightly depending on how long the stat has been over limit. Over time, if you continually keep STRENGTH over limit, each level up will have a slightly higher range for that stat. In this way, careful players can eek out permanent improvements to their stats over time, but maintaining out of range stats as long as possible. A warning though, this also applies to stats that are under limit, meaning you can reduce your effectiveness if you let stats stay too low, too long.

  A Room With A View


I think you know where I'm going with this. Each character has their own room which you can paint and furnish, with each element added to the room applying various influences to the character's stats. In general, each element will give influence to one stat while taking away influence from another. You can easily max out the influence for any one stat, but doing so would likely come at the cost of all your other stats having a strong negative influence. The point of collecting furniture is to find the right combinations which ultimately cancel out the negative influences leaving only a net positive influence on all your stats.

Not all furniture adds influence. Some is purely decoration. Some belong to sets that will give influence only when all the elements are together. Some may have other affects, such as increasing the upper limit of a stat, though usually at a cost of great negative influence to it or another one.

Finally, the influence gained from your room is temporary. Over time it will diminish, either going back to zero or leaving only the strong negative influence from out of bounds stats. In most cases, this won't matter much since a zero influence won't change your stat higher or lower. If your stats are already at the upper bounds, then there's no need to keep the influences since they won't do anything. The obvious exception is out of bounds stats. In order to replenish your room influences and thus keep your stats above the upper limit, you must occasionally come back and spend time in your room.



Copyright 2007-2014 Sean Howard. All rights reserved.