Thursday, July 07, 2011

A Notorious Holiday

The semester break has been great, especially after finding out I had 3 weeks off instead of 2. I know I'll need about a week to get things organised for next semester, and we'd already organised a week up in Mackay, so the additional week has meant extra time for Notorious design and possibly programming. I've already spent about 3 days going over the design with anyone that will listen, and have discovered a couple of critical pieces to smooth out the concept into a logical, cohesive environment. I've also moved the majority of the documentation into a google document for easier layout control, but will attempt to log the design progress here too.

Focus gems
I'd been flitting around with the idea of using some sort of amulets or the like to utilize the powers of the player, or possibly direct spells, but it was all a bit up in the air. Making the decision to move to exclusively gem-based spells have tidied up a lot of loose ends. Now the players are effectively ethereal beings (more work on that yet) that use gems to focus their power. They have a 'home stone' (a large gem located somewhere in the dungeon) that they primarily link to, and then can manipulate other gems in their immediate vicinity. Base spells are available to discover gems and link to them, then linked gems can have vision, communication or control over the bearer. Limiting the amount of focus gems allows players to make interesting choices in terms of utilising them for scouting, more minions, infiltration, etc.

Having the home stone instead of the actual player allows a logical way of keeping the player safe through dungeon wipes, but also allows high level play to include unlinking the player from their dungeon effectively starting them again (depending on their latent power).

The Gemkeepers are a Hidden Society that knows somewhat of the player's ability to link to gems. They believe that by helping these beings, they too may be able to claim power over the world. Gemkeepers actively seek out gems large enough to be linked to and attempt to prepare the gem to be linked. Contrary to the Gemkeeper’s beliefs, the gems do not need any special preparation for linking, but the existence of the Gemkeepers does make it easier to get started in your notorious career.

Acolyte Gemkeepers have no master, and scour the countryside looking for a suitable gem. Once located (using Gem Detection spell at power level similar to their level), they dig out a corridor to the gem and, while they are waiting for a presence to appear, they keep digging out more and more of a throne room around the gem as well as a place for themselves to live. They also make themselves known to the local town or village using a secret identity to hide their real aim of being here. Acolytes spend as much of their time as possible in the throne room, hoping to be the first one that the presence links to. For this to occur, Acolytes carry a quite precious gem (or possibly several) with them to make the linking process easier.

The number of Acolytes are significantly higher than the number of Linked Ones (full members of the Gemkeeper Society who have successfully been linked to an Ethereal Being) and it may take a lifetime for an Acolyte to become linked, if ever. Acolytes learn from the Linked Ones about what generally goes on once linked in somewhat vague terms. It is common knowledge within the society that a gem of a certain size and quality is needed to host a presence, that they will then use the main gem (home stone) to link with other gems, and that the presence can then communicate to and influence creatures holding those gems.

If an Ethereal Being links to an uncovered gem (new players automatically find uncovered gems), they will often see the Acolyte Gemkeeper in the throne room, calling out ‘Link to me master!’, ‘Speak to me!’, ‘Let me be your right hand man!’.