Three Hundred :: Mechanic #060 Sites:     Webcomics   |   Three Hundred Mechanics   |   Three Hundred Prototypes
 Three Hundred
   - Index Page
   - About...
   - By Year

   - Comp-Grid
   - Procedural
   - Tactics
   - Tiny Crawl
   - Misc

PreviousMechanic #060Next

  Mechanic #060 - Alphabit Kingdoms

Category: Roguelike
Posted: 12/01/07

A twist on entry #053, this one takes the alphabet out of the dungeon and into the great big world.


This concept is an extension of the basic premise presented in [#053 - Alphabit Rogue] - which is that if you are going to make a text game where the letters represent things, you might as well make the letters represent... well, letters. Then you can do all sorts of neat things because letters A) exist in a specific order and B) can spell things depending on how they are ordered.

  Letters, Letters, Everywhere!

Alphabit Kingdoms is another text-based game - a roguelike, I guess, though it doesn't feature random terrain. Essentially, each letter represents a tribe with different societies, religions, and abilities. If you see an 'A', it will be exactly like every other 'A' in the world in these terms.

For example, an 'A' tribe might be a secret society of assassins that pride themselves on their loyalty to the tribe. They have the special abilities to hide in plain sight and backstab an unknowing foe for greater damage. Then you might have 'F' being a society ruled by a democratic body of wizards centering on worshipping the fire element. All 'F' tribesmen have the ability to shoot projectile fireballs and other nifty fire spells. The 'Q' might be an aquatic race, living under the ocean, capable of breathing underwater and fighting using tridents which can reach two squares. All 26 letters are a unique society and unit. Also, each special skill one tribe has, another tribe has an ability that counters it (i.e. 'B' can see invisible, so 'A' stealth won't work near them).

The letter is also something of a class. When you create a character, you simply decide which tribe you want to belong to. If you become a 'B', you will start out in the B fortress and have B abilities. As you go up levels, you will increase in strength and learn new skills along the B sensibilities (i.e. you won't learn better fire spells, but you might learn to use two swords at level 15).

  Fightin' the Night Away

Combat is largely identical to your typical roguelike tactical combat with one main exception. There is a small attack/defend bonus gained depending on each letter's location on the number line, with the later numbers having the advantage over the previous ones.  

Letter Line
    A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
                                . ' .
                            . '       ' .
    ___________________ . '               ' . _________

For instance, if a K attacks another K, is will do 100% damage. If K is attacked by L, 120% damage is done. K attacked by M, 140% damage. This continues up to 200% damage (P), after which, the numbers will start to drop at the same rate. So, a U attacking a K will do 100% damage. However, after that, it continues to drop, so V does 90% damage - down to 50%.

However, if you attack a letter higher, you will be at a deficit. For instance, attacking the letter K with a J will cause only 90% damage, I 80% damage, again down to 50% damage (you will never do less than 50% damage.  

Attack Bonus
Attacking the letter K:

F -  50%
G -  60%
H -  70%
I -  80%
J -  90%

K - 100%
L - 120%
M - 140%
N - 160%
O - 180%

P - 200%

Q - 180%
R - 160%
S - 140%
T - 120%
U - 100%

V -  90%
W -  80%
X -  70%
Y -  60%
Z -  50%

Long story short, you want to be generally in the same region as the letter you are attacking, hopefully higher. It's a bell curve of damage that peaks five letters above.

Also, it's important to note that the letters loop, so a 'Z' is considered one above an 'A'.

  Great Big World

As mentioned, each letter is a tribe. The world of Alphabit Kingdoms is a long strip, looping around on the left and right sides (a ring, essentially).  

Kingdom of A
wwwWWwwwwwwwW;;;wwwwwwwwww ... www ... WWwwwwwwwwwwWWwwwwwwwWwwwWW
wwwwwwwwww;;;;wwwwwwwwwww +--+ ... +--+ wwwWwwWwwwWWWWwwwwwwwWWWWw
wWwWWww;;;;wwwWWwwwwwwwww |::+-----+::| wwWWwwwwww................
......===..wWwWWwwwwwWwWw +--+:::::+--+ wwWWwwwww..wwwWWw...wWwwww
www;;;;;ww..WwwWwwwwWwwWw .. |:[A]:| .. wwWwWWWW..wWwwwwWw..wwWWww
wW;;;wwwwwW..wWWwwwwwWwWw +--+:::::+--+ wwWWwww..wwwwwWWw . wwwwww
;;;WWwwww . ..WWwwwwwwwww |::+-|#|-+::| wwWwww..wwWWwwWw [A] wwwww
wwwwwwww [A] ..wwwwwwwwww +--+ ... +--+ wwwWw..wwwWWwwwww . wwwwww
wwwwwWwww . ww..wwwwwwwWww ........... wwwww..wwwwwwwWwwwWWwwwwwww

Along this strip, each tribe has a kingdom in alphabetic order - meaning Kingdom 'C' is closest to 'D' and 'B'. Since it loops, 'Z' and 'A' are considered neighbors (this helps drive home the looping alphabet combat aspect). Surrounding these kingdoms are small towns and villages.

Each kingdom has a political standing with the other 25 kingdoms. For instance, 'Q' has a really close relationship with 'U', but will attack on sight anybody from the 'K' kingdom. 'Q' is largely neutral to the other ones. So, depending on which kingdom you start out as, you'll have kingdoms which are naturally your enemy or ally from the start.

Each kingdom (and surrounding villages) is a quest hub. By completing quests for the individual towns, eventually you gain a reputation and are allowed in the kingdom. From there, you work yourself up until you are doing quests for that kingdom's ruler (usually epic stuff, like slaying the bandit king in his fortress). Not only is your reputation with them improving, but they are also becoming more friendly to your kingdom. After you've done the quests for the king, they become your ally.

Of course, the complex web of political ties means that while you are making friends with one kingdom, you could potentially be making enemies with another. Perhaps one kingdom might send you on spying or sabotage missions to an enemy kingdom. There should be some sort of political power you gain, so that you can bribe enemy kingdoms to like you more or something, but where's the fun in that? It's much more interesting to take over the kingdom by force.

Between each kingdom is a border. In times of peace, this border is wide open and you may cross at will. When the kingdom goes on the defensive (such as when it is at war with a neighbor), fortifications will be built along the border with checkpoints. If you are friendly (or neutral) to a kingdom on the defensive, you can simple check in and be allowed to pass. If you are considered an enemy, they will attack you on site.

You can take over a kingdom by force by basically killing the current king of a kingdom you are at war with (no killing allied kings). Doing so will enslave the kingdom and put it under your rule. However, doing so will require getting into a kingdom and fighting your way through it. If you have the right letter skills, it could be incredibly easy or stupidly difficult. In the latter case, it might help to encourage your war time allies to attack with you.

Enslaving a kingdom makes them basically allies. Their king is replaced by a ruler of your letter, as are all the town guards. There are negative side effects, like poor citizens - worse shop inventories mean that letter 'K' specific loot will be of lesser quality of impossible to purchase - and occasional uprisings that you must help put down.

  Allies of Q

You team may consist of a party of characters from different letters of the alphabet. Upon gaining an ally, you also gain a character from that letter group that you can put in your party. This means you could potentially have 26 different party members, though you can only put three or four into your party at a time.

If you are low on allies or need a particular skill set, you can hire mercenaries to fill out your group. They will charge you a flat fee plus some cost based on the number of turns they are hired for (like 100 gold + 1 gold per turn). The hire cost may also be influenced by your political connection to their home kingdom (at war with 'Q'? Then 'Q' mercenaries charge double).

The party system is really simple. You have a few characters in your group (pun intended) and can swap between them at will. So you are going through a dungeon populated by rogue Q's, you might switch to party member C which has the skill advantage on them. Switching take a single turn  

Party Bonus
Party Word Bonuses:

WORD   - DMG + 5%          
WORDS  - DMG + 10%         
SQUIDI - ANNOY + 5         
SPONGE - DEF + 10%, RNG + 3
DEATH  - HP MAX / 2        
NERD   - INT + 12          

Maybe you see where this is going, but depending on the letters you have in your party, you can spell out words. For instance, having 'W', 'D', 'R', and 'O' in a four character party can spell WORD. Doing this will create specific party bonuses that affect all the characters. These bonuses will be determined by things like how long the word is, how uncommon it is, whether it is a verb or noun, how many vowels are in it, whether it is a proper name, and so on. It should be deterministic, such that spelling the same word twice yields the same bonus, but a formula which can provide a great variety of benefits from words itself (which can simply be checked against a dictionary to see if the word exists).

Naturally, there are unique words and rules which exist above this system. For instance, adding an 'S' to the end of a word to make it plural simply doubles the power of the effect. Spelling out 'SQUIDI' may give you godlike powers of arrogance. Stuff like that.




Copyright 2007-2014 Sean Howard. All rights reserved.