Thursday, 24 March 2011

Development Blog: The Magic of Innocence - Classes and social skills

Dragon Age like most rpgs uses classes for their characters to distinguish between the mechanic sides of roles.
As a result I need to design a set of classes for my mod that represent the sets of abilities my characters get.

For the main character it is the hardest because I want to give as much freedom to the player as possible. Realising that goal with a system that restricts different sets of skill or talents to different classes and not use a common pool of abilities where all the can chose from is maybe the hardest part of my idea to realize.

For my npcs it is easier because I will use existing classes or build new ones atop of them. My apprentice will become an alchemist which is an edited form of the original mage with some unique abilities. There will be a rogue that will get a new specialisation.

Back to the main character.
Since I will not need fighting skills or magic attacks from the start I have to design a set of abilities that are interesting enough to use. Dragon Age: Origins has too few abilities that are not combat related so I have to design those myself.

What kind of abilities do I need?
Mostly social skills, something special knowledge like street smarts for the rogue and magic theory for the alchemist and some that are for the main character.

The main class I will call "Enigma" with the background "Created"(Surprise!). The npcs have no background as mechanics so their background abilities must be part of the classes.
The class is called "Enigma" because at the beginning there are not really much skills or talents but the player influences the availability of other skills through his/her actions. These skills will then enhance the different styles of play. For example, a pacifistic character might get abilities to prevent the need to fight while a confrontational character will get fighting skills.
The character at the very beginning has no special abilities apart from maybe "attractiveness", which can help dealing with grumpy npcs. Wait? How? Well there are social studies that state that attractive people are better at getting help then unattractive ones. It is nicer to talk to someone who is attractive then the "filthy bum" from the bus station. It might be illogical but sadly it is the way social interactions work to an extent.
Another aspect that someone needs that is just created is the ability to learn fast and efficiently.

So we have the first set of abilities for the class:
  • Attractive: Your creator made sure that you look good and people have no problem talking to you.
    • Here is room for something like flirt, charm or the like, that might come in handy in conversations. The standard is persuasion which splits in Intimidate and Persuade but that is not enough for good role playing.
  • Fast Learner: You learn faster than normal people. 
    • The first thing to learn might be that language the people of Fereldan speak.
    • Here is room for more abilities like maybe "learning by imitation" which could be interesting. To watch someone do a specific task and gain insight that way. A nice way to learn to fight maybe...
  •  Help from Companions: Your companions can help you with their knowledge and their skills to find out more in conversations.
    • Since there will not be more than three companions there could be a skill for each one of them. It would be something like: 
      1. own dialogue option 1
      2. own dialogue option 2
      3. etc.
      4. (Companion 1 skill) 
      5. etc.
    • These skill are just for things the character is not able to learn for herself in the course of the game like the before mentioned "street smarts", "magic theory" or so.

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