Spankers and Spankees,
On the previous post I got a question about learning Distort Magic, and I realized that I have yet to make explicit what the level-up mechanics are. I threw in a few references in game, but it’s not always possible to see those, and they’re very vague.
I had been planning on working on a manual at some point over the past few weeks, but between bug fixes and a bad head cold that struck me down at the end of last week, I haven’t had a chance.
So, until I’ve actually written up the manual, here is a brief rundown of level-up mechanics.
The basic idea is that your character improves depending on what you do in combat. That will get you 90% of the way to understanding the level-up mechanic, at least enough to beat the game.
Warfare – Increases if you attack often
Willpower – Increases if you cast status spells (explained below) often, or if you defend.
Grapple – Increases if you use grappling actions (grapple, break grapple, throw)*
Stealth – Flat chance of increasing**
Magic – Increases if you cast spells
Health – Flat chance of increasing every combat. Chance increases if player grapples or attacks often ( grapple and attack bonuses do not stack. Takes whichever is higher).
Mana – Flat chance of increasing every combat plus chance of magic increasing.
*Starting with the next update, attacking while grappled will improve warfare and grapple.
**Starting with the second episode, there will be a new command “Hide” that allows you to ambush your opponents (or just not get attacked). Hiding will increase stealth.
Spells are broken into four schools: Combat, Status, Buff, and Spectral
Combat – Deal straight damage. Tend to be expensive, but can be devastating, especially against enemies with low magic. Firebolt is the first combat spell
Status – Interfere with your opponent’s ability to fight (typically by reducing stats, or paralyzing them, etc.). Weaken is the first status spell.
Buff – Improves your characters’ abilities to fight (also includes healing spells). Heal is the first buff spell.
Spectral – Weird spells. Typically have more than one effect (i.e. damage plus a status effect), or allow spellcasters to “simulate” other combat actions using a different stat rather than the stat the other action depends on. Spectral Push is the first spectral spell (Spectral Push simulates the “Break Grapple” option, but uses willpower rather than grapple to determine the chances of success. I’ll probably end up changing that to magic, however so that you can specialize in say combat magic, without grappling being dibilitating).
You learn spells of a given type by casting the spell of that type. So in order to learn Icebolt, you need to be casting Firebolt. Casting Firebolt will not allow you to learn Mass Weaken. Only casting Weaken will get you Mass Weaken.
Spells are further broken into tiers: 0 – 9.
Each tier has three spells: Basic, Advanced, Specialized. As per the name, specialized is available only if your character specializes in that school (the path to specialization will begin in the second episode). You must learn the basic spell before you learn the advanced spell, and the advanced spell before you learn the specialized spell. Advanced and specialized spells tend to be stronger and/or cheaper versions of the basic spell. Firebolt is the basic tier 0 combat spell, Icebolt is the advanced tier 0 combat spell. Magic bolt is the specialized tier 0 combat spell (at this point, you’ve only seen Magicbolt used against you).
Every 3 levels of magic*** a new tier opens up. Note that you do not need to learn all the spells of a lower tier to begin learning spells of a higher tier. You learn spells of a higher tier the same way you learn advanced spells of a lower tier: cast spells of the appropriate type. So if you want to learn Distort Magic (which is a Status spell) you first need to get your magic up to three, and then cast Weaken/Mass Weaken a bunch of times.
When learning spells, it does not matter which spell of the appropriate school that you cast. Once you’ve unlocked Tier 9, you will be able to learn Tier 9 combat spells by just slinging Firebolts all over the place. On the other hand, if you haven’t learned Icebolt, and you start slinging Tier 8 spells around, you may learn Icebolt rather than a Tier 9 spell. However, you have a better chance of learning higher tier spells than learning lower tier spells (assuming the higher tier spells are available to you). So if you unlock Tier 1, and you haven’t learned Icebolt yet, you’ll have a better chance of learning Lightning Bolt than of learning Icebolt.
***This will change. Based upon how stats are increasing in the first episode, if I keep this across the board, you’ll be learning Tier 9 spells by about a third of the way through the game. At that point, you should be only up to Tiers 3-4.
—————————————Spells by School———————————————————
Here are all the spells currently implemented, sorted by school and tier. Basic is at the top, advanced at the bottom. Remember, the player cannot yet cast specialized spells:
Tier 0: Tier 1:
Firebolt Lightning Bolt
Icebolt Thunder bolt
Tier 0: Tier 1:
Weaken Distort Magic
Mass Weaken Mass Distort Magic
Weak Charm**** Charm****
Tier 0: Tier 1:
Fortify Magic Shield
Super Fortify Super shield
Tier 0: Tier 1:
Spectral Push Spectral Spanking
Spectral Pull Spectral Strapping
Spectral Shove Spectral Caning
****Technically, this hasn’t been fully implemented yet, because these kinds of spells are tricky to implement, so I probably won’t implement them until I need to.
———————————————Sneak peak at next update———————————–
As a little sneak peak for rewarding you for reading this far, it occurred to me that the vast majority of the material for the various guild trainers is only available if you don’t have a white ribbon (and some if it will have small long-term consequences). Unfortunately, the only way to avoid getting a white ribbon is to basically avoid Paloma. Since at the beginning your character is really only good for one battle without healing, this means that you’d have to spend a very frustrating play session running from everyone, and then you’ll be painfully underpowered for the second episode. Neither of these is particularly fun. So I’m working on overhauling Paloma so that you can help her, get healing, and not get a white ribbon. Basically, after your first encounter with her, she’ll forget to give you the ribbon. Once one of the trainers tells you to get a ribbon, everytime you return to her you’ll have the option of asking her for healing, or asking about the ribbon. In terms of explaining why you never bother to get a ribbon (other than a recalcitrant “you can’t tell me what to do”), here are two possibilities:
1. If you help her, but never get a ribbon, it may be because you keep forgetting to ask. While it’s impossible for the player to forget (because the option to ask about it is staring you in the face) I think it’s reasonable that the PC could forget. After all, she’s running around getting stabbed, burned, and thrown all over the place, and she’s on the verge of collapse when she finally stumbles back to Paloma. Kind of pushes everything else out of your mind.
2. If you don’t help her, but never get a ribbon, it could be because you forget (see above), or you’re intimidated by her (since she’s kind of angry at you), and are afraid she’ll say no (or you’re ashamed, and feel like you don’t deserver a ribbon).
When Adrian confronts you about never getting a ribbon at the end, I’ll probably just assume one of the two above, because introducing new comments where there weren’t any before is a bit of a hassle (hopefully that will change, once I implement a script to convert some LaTeX with custom environments into Python source). However, keep in mind that just because a character says something (including the PC!) doesn’t mean it’s necessarily true. So feel free to rationalize never getting a ribbon however you want, and if the PC says something that contradicts your rationalization, just assuming the PC is fibbing a little to keep Adrian from getting too mad.