Moar Brainstorming: Heirloom Blade and Shinobi

Discussion in 'Modding' started by Essence, May 7, 2012.

  1. Essence

    Essence Will Mod for Digglebucks

    OK, so I decided that, since Drunken Master is coming together nicely, I wanted to add it to Compleat Essential Skills. Problem is, my brain freaked out at the idea of having 4 Rogue skills and only 3 Warrior and Wizard skills, and it's forcing me to make one more Warrior skill and one more Wizard skill. After a few hours on the toilet (across a few days), I narrowed down my ideas to two: Heirloom Blade and Shinobi.

    Heirloom Blade will be a Warrior skill that takes advantage of the new 'gain an item on level up' and 'learn a recipe on level up" codes. You start with a loadout rapier-like blade. At every level, you gain a recipe and a Secret Ingredient. Crafting the blade together with the Secret Ingredient and a couple of other items will create a newer, better Heirloom Blade. In addition to the standard recipes upon level-up, there will be a few hidden recipes you can use to create alternate Heirloom Blades -- only a few in the mid-levels, but several end-game blades will be available.

    I need ideas for what else this skill should do besides just have a weapon that obviates the need to use any other weapons as anything other than dual-wield fodder. And quite possibly I need someone to talk me out of this because it's unbalanceable or otherwise silly. :)

    Shinobi is going to be a Wizard skill designed to complement Ninjitsu and yet be used effectively without it. The abilities are going to be movement, stealth, and dirty-trick oriented, and I want each level to be synergistic with the Ninjitsu level of the same number. I don't really have a strong idea of where this is headed, but I like the idea of skills that synergize, and most of Ninjitsu (read: everything after Secret Sword) gets very little attention

    Anyone got any feedback on these ideas? If they're horrible, anyone got anything else they think I should code up in their places? :)

    mining likes this.
  2. mining

    mining Member

    Heirloom blade has to have a reference to "Hellfire Cheese" - this sounds so like the Legacy Champion class from PnP DnD:

    Also, I think its generally cool: With the weapons deal:

    Basically what you're saying is "You will be using this weapon instead of an evil chest weapon". In a way, its a pseudo craft-tree - it guarantees you a good weapon for your skill tree.
    FaxCelestis likes this.
  3. NaiDriftlin

    NaiDriftlin Member

    Is this live, or is that part of the upcoming expansion? The gain an item/learn a recipe buffs?

    And where would one get that information?

    Well, you see the obvious problem with making other weapons obsolete Aside from the fact that it's unbalanced (Max 8 levels per skill, meaning that you could have an item that outclasses every weapon in the game as early as level 8?), it's simply not fun. People enjoy getting upgrades and managing their inventory, especially when they do it well and succeed. Taking away choices from players.

    One thing you could do is use items and items-spells as a replacement for the skills themselves, strictly as a drawback to the skill. This lets players choose between passive/trigger skills, or their equipment. This means that nearly all of the skills would need to be triggers, and the only reason you would be taking those skills would be to get the gear that enables those effects.

    Another thing you could do is offer them a random artifact equipment item per skill, as part of their heirlooms handed down from whoever, with the very last skill being an item unique to the skill.

    You could also try a multi-step unique crafting process, with each skill unlocking a new unique recipe for each of the components, with the last skill including a piece(item) that can only be obtained through the skill.

    • Skill 1: Crafting Recipe A
    • Skill 2: Crafting Recipe B
    • Skill 3: Crafting Recipe 1(Using results from A.)
    • Skill 4: Crafting Recipe 2(Using results from B )
    • Skill 5: Crafting Recipe 3(Using Results from 1 and 2.)
    • Skill 6: Skill based Unique item and Final Recipe(Using Results from A, B, 3, and the Unique Piece.)
    To add to that, you could even take one of the skills and make it into a artifact sacrifice ability that converts artifacts into materials either to sell(at a value near the medianof most artifacts worth), or use as a part of the crafting chain. If you make it so that you only have a chance of getting the right component, it could be a really rewarding challenge to build up to make(or repair, if its going to be an heirloom) said item.

    Though, the end result really needs to be balanced in a way that forces players to make a hard choice, rather than it being the obvious one. Stats vs Skill(or in this case, trigger skill) is a pretty challenging call for players than Stat vs Stat, since that's just a number call.

    As for the abilities themselves, it really depends on what you're focusing on with the skill. Since the skill is about the item(s), I'd recommend item based ones. Sacrificing items for components or buffs. Give a bonus to sight radius justified by the vigilant search for materials. For instance, Skill 2 might be something that sacrifices a weapon for a damage buff. Skill 3 might be a skill that gives defensive bonuses for eating armor, etc, etc.

    Though, if you don't do that, I might make a skill that does. :3
    r_b_bergstrom likes this.
  4. Aegho

    Aegho Member

    So basically heirloom blade would be hard to balance.

    Shinobi could be interesting. Directed teleports(ninjutsu gives you blink...), one or two with different tacked on effects(like teleport+invis, or teleport with a delayed action blink, or combat buff). Spell traps with aoe debuffs/stuns/confusion. And of course thrownBuff trigger stuff. Maybe a directed "net" root/stun/debuff spell. Short duration mega-melee-buff with a blink at the end?

    Or maybe you could go at it from another angle. Like Tengu references.
  5. Aegho

    Aegho Member

    As a sidenote, while thinking about your shinobi idea, it gave me a skill tree idea! (Completely non-japanese in nature). See the circus freak thread.
  6. mining

    mining Member

    I'd say Heirloom Blade would be pretty easy to balance. You could set up a weapon that has a proc that scales off of:

    • Melee power if you wanted to make it into a warriors should take this kind of skill
    • Warrior Level if you wanted to make it into a warriors should take this and they'll do better the more warrior they have
    • Character Level if you wanted it to be for whoever, and scale as they advance through the game.
    That way you don't have the stupidity of an endgame weapon at level 8, but equally don't have the inverse dumbness of a midgame weapon at level 15.
    r_b_bergstrom likes this.
  7. Kaidelong

    Kaidelong Member

    Remember that there are a lot more wizard mods than warrior or rogue mods, so you shouldn't agonize over having an extra rogue skill. Rather than immediately trying to rebalance it, take it in stride, you're not going to make another chronomancy, wind magic, or archmage by simply trying to balance the archetypes in essential skills complete.
    r_b_bergstrom and Essence like this.
  8. Lorrelian

    Lorrelian Member

    Funny thing is, some players don't. Sometime in the very distant future (like Thursday, or maybe next week) I'm going to write about basic DoD game concepts like player psychographics and damage zones, how to evaluate them, ect. Basically, the person who enjoys upgrading and managing their inventory is one psychographic. The one who enjoys taking a ton of proc based skills like Berserk Rage and Assassination, then running roughshod over anything they find is another. I think Heirloom Blade would apply much more to the latter type than the former, as counter-intuitive as that might seem.

    Essence: I like the idea of an Heirloom item that gets better as you level up. As others have said, balancing it gets tricky.

    This idea is good. I would make any proc scale to Burl. Burl gains double as a warrior, so it encourages warriorness, but there are a plethora of other ways to get it (Fleeting Life and shrooms to name a few) so a person isn't locked into that archetype.
    • Another idea is simply to make upgrading your weapon require a set level of craftiness as well as the right recipe. That way, people have to devote two skills and more levels to maxing out the sword (or ax.) That would prevent people "rushing" the skill.
    • The skill could give you a Pimp Weapon and nothing else. A warrior skill without secondary stats is pretty weak, letting the special sword shine right through.
    • The skill could apply penalties to typically useful warrior secondary stats like Block, Accuracy, Critical or Counter attack (but not all of them), with the flavor of the weapon leeching your skills as part of how it maintains its power. This might even work with weaknesses to AA or exotic resistances.
    • Rather than a massively damaging weapon at high levels, what if the weapon simply gained more damage types, staying on par with high end gear but having a better chance of hitting weaknesses in enemies while also getting resisted more? I hear there's a pretty good thread for figuring out what damages would be best to choose to meet both those goals...
    I may think of others, and if I do I'll mention them. I'll try to put some cycles into Shinobi, too.
    r_b_bergstrom and Essence like this.
  9. mining

    mining Member


    With scaling, it'll be meaningful throughout the game, but underpowered if you rush it. For example, you could make it heal enemies on hit, and then do 0 damage + scaling quantity on burliness. I suspect that by juggling the scaling you can make it weak to rush early and do tons of damage a hit really late.
  10. r_b_bergstrom

    r_b_bergstrom Will Mod for Digglebucks

    Great thread, overall. Lots of good ideas here. You guys wrangling for my "God of Feedback" title?

    Not much to say about Heirloom blade that others haven't already said, and said well. It sounds cool, and will be ideal for a certain demographics of the player base. I wouldn't rely on hidden-recipes (other than those given upon leveling up) because the main audience for this skill are people who don't use crafting very often because of inventory headaches and/or RNG screw. Keep it straight-forward, and it will be awesome. For the record, I'm listening to "Black Blade" by Blue Öyster Cult as I type this. It would be cool if there were a reference to that song somewhere in the tree.

    Perhaps the reason that Secret Sword gets all the attention is because it's a bit... much? From my perspective, Ninjitsu's few problems are not something that can be fixed by specifically building a new skill to make levels 2+ more powerful. Later levels are being overshadowed only because Secret Sword comes before them. That doesn't necessarily mean the later levels aren't good. It just means that Secret Sword is very good, and far less subtle.

    Secret Sword gives more benefit than the first level of any other skill outside of dual-wield. Therefore, Ninjitsu has the same "problem" as Dual-Wield. You're thrilled to have it on your character sheet, but don't feel much pressure to rush to the end of the skill tree. It's front-loaded, whereas most other skills build towards an apex.

    re: Shinobi and teleports: One thing I will say is that I'd be very careful putting more than one teleport into a single tree. The only maingame skills that do that have one random blink and only one targeted teleport. I wouldn't break that paradigm unless there was a very significant drawback (equal in power to "don't know where you'll end up") on at least one of the teleports.
    Essence and Kazeto like this.
  11. Essence

    Essence Will Mod for Digglebucks

    This isn't about 'solving Ninjitsu's problems'. It's about deliberately creating two skills that synergize well with each other.

    And Secret Sword isn't nearly as good in the Compleat version. I haven't had anyone mention it being OP since Compleat came out -- in fact, more people have mentioned that Taijutsu (the 2nd level) is strong than have mentioned Secret Sword. :) Also, the capstone skill on Ninjitsu these days is much stronger. Try it sometime, you'll like it. 8)
    Kazeto likes this.
  12. Kazeto

    Kazeto Member

    I'm with Essence there. While his skill trees are by no means "weak", the CES version of Ninjutsu isn't unbalanced as the original one.
    Then again Essence, I can see why r_b_bergstrom thinks that any ability allowing one to create usable combat items without relying on anything but time is broken. I don't think it really is, but it is definitely a strong one, if one takes their time.

    And if it's about synergising the trees, then it depends on the direction you want the new tree to take. It I was the one to make it, I would've made "Shinobi" into a tree with a mix of elements (I reckon you base the whole idea on Naruto, so with DoD's elements you'd have hyperborean, voltaic, conflagratory, crushing for earth, slashing for wind [yeah, I know the two would probably be hard to balance, since they would be magic abilities dealing physical damage, but I'm confident you'll be able to do it if you try], and either righteous for the ying-yang sixth element or some buff to represent one of the various super-forms from the series [I think there was one called "Sage mode" that would work well there]), every skill working slightly differently depending on whether you have some skills from "Ninjutsu" (you could add dummy trigger buffs if you need to do that), and possibly also depending on whether you have the capstone skill activated (depending on whether you decide to make the capstone of "Shinobi" into one).

    So (assuming that the second tier of "Ninjutsu" is to be treated as if it was the first one, and that there are supposed to be 5 skills, one of each "element"), we would have something like that:
    • The second tier of "Ninjutsu" gives us the ability to go invincible. I think the best one to go with this one is an earth skill, dealing crushing damage to an opponent of our choice, and (if we are invisible because of the effect from Ninjutsu, or if the capstone is active) making us invisible again, for a short duration (2~3 turns). It'd be nothing grand, but the ability to attack while staying invisible would synergise well with something that allows us to go invisible, and emptying our mana at something that tried to smash our face would probably feel satisfactory for many of us.
    • The third tier of "Ninjutsu" gives us the ability to create a substitute for the other monsters to attack. A good one to go with this would be an ability to produce a few (2? 3?) semi-random (they can hit the square where you targeted, or any square that is no more than 2 spaces away, dealing low conflagratory and blasting damage to anything it hits, with the hits using either template #11 or template #10) "explosions", to emulate exploding tags (or however that was called). It would have an increased number of attacks (+1? +2?) if the capstone skill was active, and after use it would place a dummy buff on us that was there for a few turns and changed "Substitution Jutsu" so that the created log monster would explode upon death.
    • The fourth tier of "Ninjutsu" gives us the ability to smash and slash things more effectively. The one I would try to synergise with it (I'm aware that this would probably be better for the next "Ninjutsu" skill, but I wouldn't want to make a physical damage spell into a higher-tied ability) would be an ability to create a short-ranged wind slash (with its effective damage, and perhaps the range too, increased if the capstone skill is active) that dealt slashing damage and put a dummy buff on you that gave you an insignificant slashing damage bonus for a few hits (because wind-enhanced strikes, and other things that make physicists cringe), with the damage bonus increased if you had "Taijutsu" (which can be easily accomplished by giving "Taijutsu" an on-hit trigger that always triggers but requires the dummy buff).
    • The fifth tier of "Ninjutsu" gives us enhanced ranged strikes. That one is a little bit difficult, seeing as normally that would be the moment to use the wind element, but we can also use the lightning element for that. Thus, the fourth "Shinobi" skill would generate lightning to hit nearby enemy or enemies (depending on whether you have the capstone active or not) for low to medium voltaic damage and put a debuff on them that dealt additional voltaic damage to them for the next few times they are hit. Not the greatest synergy, but with so many possible variations for "Kuji Kiri", it's still something (and you'd have damage bonuses to your thrown attacks scaling on both a physical and a magical attribute, which isn't that bad if you are a gish mage [because taking two synergising combat skill trees that are respectively rogue and wizard ones means that you'll probably be a gish mage]).
    • The sixth tier of "Ninjutsu" gives us the ability to increase our physical attributes in exchange for our mana not really regenerating. So it's a simple one - the fifth tier of "Shinobi" can get an ability that would deal low to medium hyperborean (unless you have any better idea for something that would represent water without using physical damage types) damage in an area around the character (with the area size increasing if the capstone skill is active) and put a debuff that decreased dodge, edr, and possibly other physical attributes, on everything it hit, to simulate the difficulties of fighting underwater, while also triggering "Total Kime" from the "Ninjutsu" skill tree if you had it (once again, dummy trigger buffs), possibly for a slightly-longer-than-usual time.
    • The seventh tier of "Ninjutsu" is a buff that gives us a "super mode". We could either try to make "Shinobi" into a seven-tier skill and give it a synergising ability (we do have the "yin-yang" thing as our spare element, after all, and it wouldn't be hard to make it something that complimented Ninpo well), or we could just make it into a similar "super mode" that is centred more on the magical side rather than on the physical one, not make the skills synergise at all, and say "okay, you can use both, but no sane man would do that, so just choose one of them". If we chose the latter, we also wouldn't have to worry about the capstones becoming overpowered, so that is the way to go. Thus, the sixth (and last) "Shinobi" ability would be a "super mode" buff that was brittle (optimally, it would be something that broke if you moved, but considering it's supposed to actually be the capstone skill of a skill tree that is supposed to synergise well with a rogue one, making it break on movement would be downright nefarious, thus the closest sane compromise in the buff being brittle), and did... something (it would enhance all of the lower-tier abilities in this skill tree, after all). The simple choice for it would be to decrease natural health and mana regeneration to nil and give it a semi-high or high (1 mana every 1~2 turns) upkeep cost in exchange for increasing both physical and magical attributes, or just all primary parameters (the exact values would have to be play-tested)
    tl;dr: Holy carp, Kazeto lacks sleep again and attacks people with walls of text; he also abuses braces, truly a despicable man.
    mining, Essence and OmniNegro like this.
  13. mining

    mining Member

    Wall of text crits for 567 + 1d12 damage.

    I largely agree with it.
  14. Essence

    Essence Will Mod for Digglebucks

    Just for the record, Naruto was the inspiration for exactly one level -- Substitution. Other than that, it's mostly based on generic ninja lore and my own personal experience as a 7th-kyu student of Togakureryu.

    For the record, I like the Wall of Text myself, and I'll probably lean heavily on it.
    Kazeto likes this.
  15. Aegho

    Aegho Member

    You could always watch some other animes for inspiration. Like Basilisk:Kouga Ninpou Shou.

    Btw I've trained some in a koryu samurai style(one of very few surviving, it's ~500 years old). I had a "this feels like anime" moment when sensei talked about a specific strike that can cause organ damage by vibration! (In fact I immediately thought of Naruto's Rasengan). I won't say more about it than that it's a thumb-side hand-edge strike to the kidney area, delivered face to face with opponent. It was the only strike we weren't allowed to hit eachother with during practice.
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  16. Kazeto

    Kazeto Member

    There are things like that in every martial art (and "kind of" martial art) that wasn't created for tournament purposes. After all, it's easier to survive if you have some tricks you could use against more resilient opponents, and tricks you can use without making it obvious for others that you are attacking. After all, feints and defence-bypassing are rather important when it comes to martial arts.

    Continuing the off-topic ramble, I kind of envy you guys. The only training I got was the basics of tai-chi (from a friend of mine who is a tai-chi instructor; he's also an IT engineer and a vegan, just to make it funnier) and some sword-fighting.

    And getting back to the topic (or at least close to it), I agree with Aegho that watching/reading a lot of stuff (not necessarily anime, it's just that those are often made to look awesome, so it's easy to get cool-looking abilities from them) makes it easier to come up with the weird abilities.
  17. Aegho

    Aegho Member

    I was already 3rd kyu in Jujutsu Kai before I trained in the koryu. I was very impressed by how thought out, smooth, and effortless a lot of the techniques were. A lot of knowledge has been lost in more "modern" martial arts. When was the last time you threw someone in a flip over to their back, with the application of about a pound of force? I've done it. (And this is from standing still, not a circular motion like aikido, also it uses only one hand).
  18. r_b_bergstrom

    r_b_bergstrom Will Mod for Digglebucks

    Sounds like I may have read too much into "and most of Ninjitsu (read: everything after Secret Sword) gets very little attention". That sentence of your earlier post caused me to weigh in. It sure sounded like you were saying people only liked Secret Sword, and weren't hot about the rest of Ninjitsu.

    Seems now that that was not your point at all. Honestly, I'm not at all certain what you meant by it, now. At the least I know you didn't mean what I thought you meant.

    Likewise, it didn't sound to me like you were building Shinobi to "synergize well" with Ninjitsu, but rather to "synergize extremely well. and specifically be for the sole purpose of using with" Ninjitsu. Which is kinda a different thing.

    My criticisms were obviously coming from a misinformed context. Please consider them officially withdrawn.

    I definitely plan to give Ninjitsu another shot sometime soon. I really enjoyed the Ninja-Poisoneer-Thrown-Fungal build I played down to floor 12, and was very dismayed when that Acid Trail trap suddenly snuffed me. I'll probably tweak the other three skills and try it again with Compleat installed once my current very-non-ninja character dies to my next foolish mis-step. :rolleyes:
    Essence, Kazeto and OmniNegro like this.
  19. Lorrelian

    Lorrelian Member

    Essence: A few ideas for you to consider and use as you see fit in the Shinobi tree. Note that I didn't read all of Kazeto's undoubtedly excellent ideas for Shinobi, so if there's overlap here, that's my bad. I'm operating under the idea that Shinobi is a mage skill and intended to reflect the more "magical" aspects of pop culture ninja combat, where Ninjitsu was more about the "crazy skilled" aspects.

    First off, there needs to be, needs to be, a Taijyu Bushin skill that makes a huge horde of clones. Like, a dozen little 1 HP dudes deployed in the ZalgoBlast template that look exactly like the hero and are friendly and wander around and the monsters try to kill them while you run like batties are chasing you. This probably needs to be fairly high up the skill tree, as it's worth twelve turns of distraction minimum.

    Ninjas are often depicted as experts at turning a person's own abilities against them. A timed, hungry buff that gives 100 :reflection: would convey this idea pretty well.

    Booby traps are a staple of ninja lore as well, especially exploding scrolls or wards on doors. Perhaps Shinobi could create a spell that let you Root of T'char yourself at will? Or maybe Root of T'char other people? Summon a creature that blinks every turn, has 1000 HP and no attack damage, and cast Root of T'char on it? Maybe I'm actually looking for a way to make Root of T'char an awesome ability. Not that I think that's a bad thing.

    Finally, a classic ninja ability is the "wire work" trick that strews a whole area with razor wire that slashes and entangles anyone passing through. Maybe an AoE could of spellmines that create bolas root and deal slashing damage? You know, Skatha's Roots, except effective.
  20. OmniaNigrum

    OmniaNigrum Member

    Awesome. I have been asking for this for a while. Release the hounds sucks and the skill is not good enough. This is exactly what I want!

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