RMMV Necromancy - Acquiring Undead

Please read the below and choose which of the two options you prefer.

  • Option #1

  • Option #2


Results are only viewable after voting.

Rinobi

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Hello,

I am hoping to get feedback on a mechanic for my necromancer class.
I have come up with two potential options for players to acquire undead minions via a skill called Corpse Capture. Please see the below two options and let me know what your thoughts are.

Option #1:
Kill a weakened enemy, creating a permanent undead ally.
If successful, this skill will kill the target and remove them battle, granting the player a copy of the slain enemy that can summoned and dismissed at will.

Balancing:
Undead companions have 0% recovery rate and will be permanently removed upon death, meaning you will need to keep using Corpse Capture to maintain your undead arsenal. Its possible to capture bosses (low success rate). This skill also allows the necromancer to pick off weakened enemies.

Option #2:
Capture the corpse of a dead enemy, creating a permanent undead ally.
When enemies die in battle, their corpses remain on the battlefield, allowing the player to select them with this skill. This will remove their corpse from the battlefield, granting the player a copy of the slain enemy that can be summoned and dismissed at will.

Balancing: These undead are permanent (until discarded), can be revived and healed at a reduced rate, can learn new skills, and will level up with the necromancer. Bosses cannot be obtained as they will always be the last enemy to parish in battles. This skill can also be used to remove dead enemies from battle to prevent enemy healers from reviving them.

Other Considerations:
The number of undead ‘slots’ the necromancer has available to them, or the number of undead allowed in the party at once. For context, I have 9 other classes planned, 5 already implemented; one of the planned classes is a summoner which can also add actors to the party.
 

duty

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I like option 1, as it provides a need to perpetually harvest "fresh" materials.

A zombie that can heal after injury and isn't perpetually rotting away isn't a zombie. At that point it's just a really dirty cannibal.
 

HumanNinjaToo

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I voted option one, but I think I'd prefer a mix of the two. Reading the OP reminded me of Kurome from Akame ga Kill; she is able to control something she killed in battle (up to 5 beings at a time I think), but the 'zombies' actually regenerate so they have to be essentially one-shotted in order to kill them off permanently from Kurome's control.

I think it would be cool to summon any defeated enemy, including the bosses, as an undead summon; however, I think it would be a neat idea to have them unable to be healed by the player, but have a passive type of ability that allows them to regenerate a small HP% each turn.
 

Wavelength

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Option #1 sounds much more interesting (though also potentially more frustrating) to me. It requires a bit more forethought from the player to weaken an enemy to the proper level instead of killing them off from high health, which is cool and creates a kind of sub-objective inside the larger objective of winning battles. Additionally, the fact that your "stock" of undead servants will eventually deplete if you don't refresh it, means that every capture you make will feel good and valuable. I really like Option #1.

Option #2 is kind of an okay, "seen it before" kind of system where you can add defeated enemies to your team, kind of like pets. Which is fine, but Option #1 is just cooler.

The one thing I might change about Option #1 - especially if you don't already have an indicator that will show whether the enemy has been weakened enough to kill/add it with the Necro skill - is to make it into a Damage skill that has the side benefit of if this skill kills the target, it's added into your inventory as an Undead companion. That way, even if the skills fails to capture the enemy, at least it did some damage for you, which feels a lot less bad.
 

Rinobi

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Thanks everyone, I appreciate your thoughts and votes.

@duty Thanks for your vote. Zombies that regenerate or heal via negative energy are pretty common in fantasy; but I get the gist of what you're saying.

@HumanNinjaToo Thanks for your vote. I feel that health regen might be too easy to exploit, and I wouldn't want to encourage players to become too attached to their undead. They're meant to be disposable with Option #1.

@Wavelength Thanks for your vote. I did consider failed capture attempts; though I wanted to avoid having the skill deal damage.

My current prototype works likes this:
JavaScript:
// Capture Chance
Math.random() < ((user.StatTotal / target.StatTotal) * (1 - target.HpRate()))
All of the target's stats are debuffed with each failed attempt.
I don't really like RNG though, so I'll come up with something else eventually.
 

ShadowDragon

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I like option 2, but i depends how they exacly work.

however, you can also implement both of those mechic, can be a challenge) so they can
choose what option BEFORE they controll the player.

that way, you can create 2 different endings or different item in the chest,
depending what option you chose.
 

Wavelength

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@Wavelength Thanks for your vote. I did consider failed capture attempts; though I wanted to avoid having the skill deal damage.

My current prototype works likes this:
JavaScript:
// Capture Chance
Math.random() < ((user.StatTotal / target.StatTotal) * (1 - target.HpRate()))
All of the target's stats are debuffed with each failed attempt.
I don't really like RNG though, so I'll come up with something else eventually.
Your formula (and ensuing compensation for an RNG failure) shows a lot of thought, and I think it's likely that it will hit many of the dynamics you may be hoping to achieve. However, there are a few dynamics that may not play so well, and I just want to bring them up to you in case it helps as you design the Undead Acquisition mechanic.
  • I'm not sure how the Actor stat totals generally stack up to the Enemy stat totals in your game, but this formula would work pretty well where the two stat totals (before buffs & debuffs) - this would mean the chance of success is approximately the equal to the Enemy's Missing HP percentage. However, if your Bosses have, say, five times the base stats of your average Actor, your player will be heavily relying on RNG, as even at 1% HP the chance of success (before debuffs) will be a mere 19.8%. If your bosses have really high stats like this and you don't want capture to be a total crapshoot, one option could be to "raise" both the Stat Totals to a power of less than 1. You could use square-root (0.5), or a gentler factor like 0.75.
  • This formula doesn't offer a lot of reward for skillfully and precisely reducing enemy HP to very low levels - for example, if you have a 3-in-10 chance of success against a strong enemy whose HP is 25%, you'll have about a 4-in-10 chance of success if that same enemy has just 2% HP remaining. If you want to reward the player for reducing the enemy to just a sliver of HP, you could add a final factor in the multiplication of * (1 / target.HpRate()) which will massively increase the chances of success as the HP Rate nears zero.
    • If this increases the chances too much in general, you can replace 1 with another constant like 0.2.
    • If this factor becomes too extreme, you could use a max function on it before multiplying it into the rest of your formula.
    • I definitely recommend keeping the * (1 / target.HpRate()) that you currently have, in addition to this factor, as that part is very good at making it impossible to capture enemies you haven't even touched yet.
  • While the stat debuffs are a really clever way to make it easier to capture an enemy after repeated failures (making strings of bad beats less likely), and also come with the cool benefit of having some kind of feel-good battle utility outside of damage, you have to be careful that using this skill as an intentional stat debuffer doesn't become a dominant strategy against boss enemies. For example, if you're debuffing all the enemy's stats by 25% after each failure (multiplying your odds to capture next round by 1.33x, for example from 15% to 20% which is significant but not huge), you're probably making everything the boss does much less effective due to their much lower stats (do you have other skills that can reduce 6+ stats by 25%?!). If you think this will create perverse incentives in boss fights (where players are using this skill early on simply to make the boss fight itself easier), then I would recommend using the enemy's base stats rather than their current stats in your formula, but also adding on a factor for each enemy which is how many times you have tried and failed to capture that particular enemy. I might go with * (1 + (0.5 * Failures)) which multiplies your chances of capture by 1.50x with each failure (e.g. from 15% to 22.5%).
    • You can easily add such a variable to enemies by defining them with Yanfly's Skill Core notetags; in earlier RPG Makers, it's not too hard to script in a new modifiable attribute in the Game_Enemy class.
    • This is much less of an issue if the Capture skill can only be attempted a couple of times in each battle, has an extremely high and hard-to-recover MP cost, or requires an expensive or non-buyable consumable to attempt (think Poke Balls but less common) and therefore represents a high investment to make a boss easier. Not sure if any of those apply to your game.
And finally, one other idea if you want the capture mechanic to feel uncertain but don't want the player to have to rely on the RNG: you could have a little microgame to determine whether the capture attempt is successful, and have the difficulty of the microgame depend on the things that you were using in your formula (comparison of Actor vs. Enemy stats, current % of Enemy HP remaining, and maybe number of failures against this enemy so far). Because the player will be playing this microgame very often, you want it to be something quick, repeatable (in the sense that it can't be "solved"), and fun rather than frustrating. (You could also rotate through a few different microgames to keep things from getting stale.) A few examples I can think of offhand:
  • An Undertale-like action microgame where you control a symbol and have to avoid hitting moving obstacles (a few examples are in this video - it's where the little heart is moving around)
    • Factors above, like % HP, comparative stats, and previous failures, determine how many obstacles they are, and how big and fast they are (and thus how hard to avoid)
  • A straightforward reflex microgame where a bar swings along a gauge, and you have to tap the spacebar to stop the bar exactly in the middle of the gauge (often seen in golf games)
    • Factors above determine how fast the bar swings, and/or how much you can miss the center by and still be successful
  • A Persona-like card (or any other object) shuffling microgame where you're shown the "correct" card and then have to concentrate on its movement through a lot of visual noise - pick the right card after the shuffle to capture the enemy (example here)
    • Factors above determine how many cards are in play, how fast they move, and/or how much additional visual noise is added to the scene to screw up the player's concentration
I've written a ton here, mostly about little details, because I think your system is quite cool and I just want to bring up some of the ways that (depending on how some of the other things in your game are designed) it might be perfectly hitting the mark or missing it just a little bit. Hopefully I brought up some good ideas and options for design tools you can use if your current system feels like it's not quite there, but if you and your playtesters are really happy with how it's feeling so far, please don't feel any obligation to take these suggestions. They each come with certain benefits and drawbacks.
 

Soulrender

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I prefer option to create an undead ally from corpse for X amount of time / turn and extend it via perks or (and) upgrades.
 

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