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Brainstorming Permadeath: Making Death Significant But Not Annoying

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I do like Olreich's though, reminds me a bit of Sacred 2's system that slowly stacked up a % bonus to all stats to the character the longer they lived, which were lost on death.  Not a big deal early on, but could be a massive downer to die on a long lived char.  If this was implemented, it might be fun as a title system.  Ie getting little randomly generated unique titles that would be descriptive of what earned the bonus (explorer of many rooms, founder of x settlement, destroyer of the many faeries, etc).  Could be that added touch of making a character have more life.

Another thing that might work in combination or on its own would be making the characters you pick from a bit more important.  Perhaps the wanderers would be mostly red stats, generally poor characters to try out hard stuff with, but have the characters you could recruit from settlements grow to have better base stats (mostly green or so) if they're eating well and have good morale and are useful in the settlement, etc.  So if you were picking good characters and letting them die, it would naturally have both a micro and macro game implication - since you're having to pick new characters with both worse base stats, and you lose out on a happy well trained character that was your storyteller or green thumb farmer. Plus since you "knew" the character a bit better from rescuing them, and then recruiting, it might have a bit more emotional tie.

Another thought for combo or alone, I like the poignancy of having your hero character becoming a vengeful spirit on death, but perhaps expand it a bit more.  Perhaps ghost-ifying is the lowest level evil that can befall your corpse.  Perhaps more powerful spirits are harvested to increase stats of Lt's or overlords, or are twisted into special monsters, or are used to make pylons to block passages or otherwise messing up lands.  Again, something that might scale so a character that hasn't lived long doesn't become much of an obstacle (just becomes a ghost) but a powerful character with a long life might cause some wide ranging damage on death as well.

Just a few thoughts to toss into the blender.

Martyn van Buren:
All that said, I'm not sure Chris's original idea wasn't the best --- not using game mechanics to punish you for losing a character, but trying to make them individual enough that you care.  I don't like the game is punishing me for trying something hard --- I think that would lead me to start savescumming --- but once the personas and hopes and all those systems are in place, I could see starting to care more about the characters.

If you're trying to make people invest in an open-ended and fairly freeform game like this, it seems like it should be something that invites the player to bring something to the table and make it his/her own, rather than trying to engineer an emotional response.  If death costs you x amount of resources and y stats and z things on the strategic screen, you're always to be looking at it from an analytical perspective, seeing death as being a thing with a certain measurable cost --- I might start getting into switching characters, having a few pumped-up ones to leave in a settlement and switch to newer ones for exploration.  But this seems rather against the game's intent --- I feel like it would be more interesting to give the player some tools to get involved with a given character rather than trying to force it.

One idea that could facilitate this (just occurred to me, this might be idiotic) would be to allow you to build an enterable house in a settlement for your own character and adding some more useless gameplay-related items that you could take back as trophies with the shrink spell --- the skulls of centurion skelebots, mutant trees that live in the Deep, strange crystals that only grow four-five cave systems below the surface, the bizarre chalices in which the amoebas keep the magma in the rare commodity towers (I've always wondered how they keep magma at the top of a tower) --- so you could gradually make it reflect the character's achievements and adventures.

When you spawn a new character, build him a tent, and then go walk straight into a pit of lava, the next wanderer who shows up could probably just take his tent and move his stuff into a new house.  But when a hero who's saved the town from a dozen rampaging monsters and vanquished an overlord finally dies, the NPCs probably wouldn't take too kindly to some stranger showing up and moving right into his old house.  So when you lose a character with a real history it would make sense to leave his old house as a memorial.  Perhaps once you've built a reputation with the new character you could take some of these trophy items and make them into a monument if you wanted to reuse the house while respecting the dead.

Not losing anything from my inventory still seems pretty softcore... I've played any amount of nethack and lost the inventory of a thousand characters without ever feeling hard done by.

one idea: how about the monster that kills you becomes a named boss with improved stats, so you can go back and avenge yourself.


--- Quote from: superking on November 29, 2011, 05:36:31 am ---Not losing anything from my inventory still seems pretty softcore... I've played any amount of nethack and lost the inventory of a thousand characters without ever feeling hard done by.

one idea: how about the monster that kills you becomes a named boss with improved stats, so you can go back and avenge yourself.

--- End quote ---

I'm definitely not in favor of losing inventory. I've lost the inventory of many a nethack characters as well, but that's the very reason I don't play a lot of nethack. Personally, I would hate having to go farm all my spellgems again.

That said, I do really like Olreich's idea. This encourages having long runs with individual characters, and really trying to avoid being killed. Yet, if you ARE killed, the game doesn't become prohibitively hard and there isn't a ton of gem mining that has to be redone or whatnot.

I started a mantis idea about this:

Basically what Olreich said; allowing a limited stat increase and offering a small incentive for survival beyond that.


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