BLOG POST FOUR - REWORKING GAME DESIGN THEORY FOR DYSTOPIA RISING: EVOLVED

Yesterday I had a lot of hoops to jump through for the Kickstarter that starts later today, a publication I am working on, some family matters, a hired-on project that is currently in the works (and under NDA), as well as dealing with all of the mundane life stuff.

It's amazing how much laundry you can build up when you don't stop to do it in two weeks. So today I am going to probably do two updates to get me on track with my next few months of projects and releases.

Conversation about the focus of consolidating skills in DR 3.0, and the limited samples I gave, started some great conversation between mechanic minded gamers that was incredibly positive. It was positive not only in the fact that people were debating ideas and theories without resorting to nastiness and salty arguments (the sad standard in gaming culture). This encouraged me, and made me want to go further into some of the initial proposed changes to skills for further discussion and debate.

So, without further ado here is a list of more of the changes I am initially looking at before I start reading feedback summaries. This all could change based on the most common / wanted feedback.


 Meta Design Changes –

These are not changes to specific skills, but do interact greatly with how skills function. Being able to talk about some of the individual changes I would like to make means understanding some of the larger meta-design ideas I’ve been thinking of. Again, these are concepts and not etched in stone.

 Meta Design Change: Blueprints – There are a lot of blueprints out there, and without a doubt there are some blueprints that by design are “winners” while others are considered “losers” due to not being as efficient (especially when it comes to brewing and cooking).

In the shift of blueprints most existing brewing or cooking prints that create more than 2 servings of a product will be cut down to 2 servings. Instead of focusing with Cooking being about making brews more efficient by increasing the number of item cards produced, Cooking will focus more on its own unique meals and effects that are not dependent on using Brews.  

Meta Design Change: Craft Levels – This isn’t a skill change, but is a meta design change to be considered for the rest of the changes to make sense. Instead of running equipment, brews, and meals with an analogue system of 1-10 it is my initial intent to change crafting so that all items are Poor Quality, Average Quality, High Quality, or Master Quality items (effectively a scale of 1-4). This would make Poor Quality your Starter Gear, Average Quality items without any improvements done to them, High Quality items that have been improved but are not outstanding are rare creations, and Master Quality being items crafted with crafting skills via Concentrations or Advanced Concentrations.

This will change the math of effects from an analogue of 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10… (effect) to 1,5,10… This will simplify math, make it so that equipment improvement does not need as many trips to the post office, but will have roughly the same “cost and investment” as the system currently does for improving equipment.

Meta Design Change: Body, Mind, and Stability THIS CONCEPT IS STILL UNDER SERIOUS REVIEW AND DEBATE ON MY TABLE RIGHT NOW.  Players measure their physical health and the ability for their character to force themselves forward to do more via the stats of body and mind, however the idea of mental health has always been based on Derangements instead of a more analogue gauge in Dystopia Rising. Instead of continuing to treat mental health as s digital change of “Sane or not” and having a series of “Derangements” that effect someone’s play post death, this proposal is to change “derangements” into a measure for players to use. Mechanically each Strain would have a starting Stability rating. Stability can be purchased the same way mind points and body can be purchased at the same scale. Instead of being exhausted when a player hits zero Mind, or in bleed out when a player hits zero Body, a player who hits zero Stability they trigger the “Flight” aspect of Fight or Flight response, and the player chooses from a list of fictional mental conditions to role-play until their Stability is tended to (making Head Shrink more like Medical Genius instead of being an On/Off switch). The less Stability a person has (current or total), the harder it is for them to deal with their mental condition.

This change would also remove the Derangements list and instead replace it with a series of fictional mental conditions that the players would have agency regarding their manifestation.  Mechanically this would streamline mental trauma and remove the parallel between real mental health concerns and ones portrayed fictionally. This change would also allow certain Psionic Skills to wear down the mind over time, or have a cost in “Stability” to use at higher concentration level abilities.


Skill Changes

Barricade Becomes a crafting item on the default crafting list instead of its own skill

Bless Weapon Roll this into Holy Rites and build a Faith based tree the same way that Psionics currently have a Psionic Ability tree. This faith based tree will result in some of the more “common place” skills on the Priest list to be shifted off of the list and made available via new professions or the open list.

Bounce Remove craft level requirement. Improving shields will focus on other mechanical benefits.

Building Tomorrow and Forging the Future Consolidate into one skill with high-cost and low-cost prints. Concentration focus allows for “third tier” improvements.

Check Value - This skill should be removed since values fluctuate faster than could be recorded on an item card. Checking the current value of currencies will be rolled in with the rest of the "Check" skills.

Disarming Blow / Disarming Shot Consolidate into a single skill

Entertain Reduce performance requirement time, if Stability is introduced allow for replenishment of Stability in addition to Mind

Head Shrink Become a system closer to Medical Genius where “preventative maintenance” can be done to recover Stability points to prevent someone from having a total breakdown.

Instruct Do away with skill, allow multiple expenditures of Teach with the same time investment

Improved Armor/Shield, Improved Pistol/Bow, Improved Weapon Consolidate into a single skill

Knockdown / Takedown – Condensed into a single skill

Lore: Semper Mort - When originally decided to not be included, Semper were a "new Strain" that were a grand mystery to the wastelands. There were also only 5 chapters and under 3,000 players. By the time this book comes out the Semper will have been around for 10 years, which is long enough to put some Lore together on them. 

Sever and Gun Aficionado Consolidate into a single skill