Fate of Io
Character Abilities
2003/03/05 20:45:14 PST by Dev [manager]
[Dev's avatar]

(NOTE: I wrote this last Friday, when Temp whined about people not discussing anything until he got back. That's why it's getting put up just now.)

This topic is in the main Gameplay node, not the Battles or Puzzles, simply because character abilities will always be available, whether you're trying to figure out a puzzle, fighting a boss battle, or simply adventuring up the mountain path.

The idea is, once a player begins playing Fate of Io, they'll realize it's somewhat different than the sort of game they're used to. Staple combat possibilities are still there, but there will be another element: distinct character abilities. You first start out with Syne, who offers perhaps one or two abilities to begin with. The player will learn how to use his abilities in combat and in solving puzzles and getting past challenges in general. As the game progresses, Syne might learn a few more tricks, or maybe his one or two abilities will simply become more powerful.

To add to the complexity of battles and puzzles, the player will need to draw on the unique skills of each character as they join the party. Seldom in Fate of Io do we allow the player to choose which four characters are members of the party, so this will force him or her to be familiar with all the characters.

Needless to say, if this is our system, we need to figure out what the characters will be able to do before we begin constructing the challenges for the player.

What will character abilities look like? I thought I'd start brainstorming up just a preliminary list of possible ideas....

Reach: Syne's proficiency with quarterstaffs and lances adds to his melee attack range (he can attack enemies from further away).
Carry Ally: Syne's relatively high strength allows him to carry other members in the party. This adds to his weight (possibility affecting things such as pressure plates and unstable pathways) and also allows two party members to physically fit into the space of one.

Flight: Until Part IV, Dell can use his wings to fly. He effectively ignores all terrain.
Magic: Dell has the ability to cast spells.

Range Attack: Enna uses a bow and arrows to attack enemies, allowing her to stay out of melee combat.
Set Explosive: Enna can set explosive charges that detonate after a set period of time. Optionally, the clock mechanism can be replaced with a sensor, and the explosives will function as landmines.
Subdue Beast: Drythians are natural animal charmers. Enna can use this ability to attempt to calm aggressive animals and monsters.

Fervor: Cade can use his armblade to attack wildly, somewhat decreasing his melee accuracy but greatly increasing the amount of damage done.
Mechanical Intuition: Cade can quickly discern how a mechanical device operates and use it. This includes driving or piloting vehicles.
Horn of Korra: After his first visit to his hometown, Cade inherits his father's foghorn. A directed blow from this horn will have different effects, depending on the creature. Animals may follow you. Monsters may become more aggressive. People have the chance of being knocked out.

Gather Eumonite: If found, Rheya can harvest raw eumonite ore and add it to the party's inventory.
Magic Device: Rheya can use and attack with several different models of Pylos' eumonite-driven technologies. Most of these allow her to add elemental protection to herself and other party members (e.g. protection from fire would allow a character to walk through flames unharmed for a short time).
Magic: Rheya has the ability to cast spells.

Invent: Ko can put together random things he finds, creating rare items and also weapons and weapon upgrades for himself (and perhaps other characters).
Quick Dodge: With very low encumberance and youthful vigor, Ko can sprint quickly across short distances. This ability also allows him to tumble through threatening monsters, and evade dangerous traps.
Sneak: Ko can move past other characters and monsters unnoticed. He also has the chance of avoiding triggers in the ground such as landmines, pressure plates, and other traps.

Morph: Brooke can change herself and other living creatures into any other living form she has learned. Only one party member (including herself) can be morphed at any one time. Brooke learns new forms by studying animals and monsters (Enna's Subdue Beast ability might help here).
Gather Eumonite: If found, Brooke can harvest raw eumonite ore and add it to the party's inventory.
Magic: Brooke has the ability to cast spells.

Disarm: With amazing precision, Rush can attack an enemy's weapon, breaking it or releasing it from the enemy's hold. Not effective against monsters.
Merciful Hand: Rush can heal characters that have been knocked out to prevent them from dying. This may cost him a few hit points.

2003/03/05 21:22:43 PST by Temporal [manager]
[Temporal's avatar]

Good start. I was planning on creating a topic on this as soon as we had decided for certain on the action vs. strategy thing, but I guess you beat me to it. :)

I like most of the ideas, but I have a few problems. First of all, I think Syne needs to have better abilities. The two you have don't really lead to many interesting possibilities... but I don't have any particular ideas at the moment. Syne, being the leader, will have the ability to talk to the other characters for hints (as I discussed elsewhere), but that's not really an active ability. I think he should be one of the better fighters, so he doesn't need to have as many special abilities, but he should have something interesting...

Rheya will have the ability to build [TW] devices. This can be a fairly flexible skill, allowing her to improve allies' weapons (imbue them with elemental power and such) as well as build special-use devices by combining certain parts with certain spells.

I think Ko's "invent" ability seems more like Rheya territory... Ko's abilities could revolve around his light weight and agility. Quick Dodge and Sneak are already good ones. I can imagine these being automatic abilities, in that you don't need to specifically enable them for them to take effect, which is cool. He could also have the ability to climb rocks, trees, and other tricky surfaces, fit in small spaces, etc.

I imagine Rush's strength being in his... umm... strength. Abilities could include moving large objects as well as strong combat skills. I'm not sure if the curing ability fits very well with him...

2003/03/05 22:09:01 PST by mystik3eb [0/43]
Awards: 1 from Dev
[mystik3eb's avatar]

Syne is quite an interesting character. I think he should have some kind of mutual advantages, being able to talk and make relationships with absolutely anyone (you know, one of those kinda people?). And I do like the ideas you gave him Dev, but I agree with Temp, he needs to totally be "beefed up"...with what, I also can't think of...cept maybe some ramming capability or something.

I admit, I like the Horn idea for Cade, and the rage fits, but...agh, I just don't know enough about this character to think of much for him. He IS semi-royalty...maybe some command capabilities? Dunno...

Rheya should have Invent, not Ko. Ko should have terrain and sneak abilities galore, IMHO. Maybe theivery abilities too, since no characters were given that ability.

Brooke won't be around Enna for a while, being able to get beast info from Enna wouldn't help for half the game...though it's still a nice idea, character combos maybe? Hmm, hadn't thought of combos before...Also, Brooke has a rapier, she should be able to cut through things (bushes, thorns, pigs, paper doors, etc., be creative).

Rush doesn't seem the healing type...and does at the same time. He's the most battle familiar, and should have several skills, including healing...but I would think he wouldn't be the only one, and he'd be rather pathetic at it. Maybe more of a sickening skill against people *shrug*. I just don't see Rush as our main healer.

Awesome things happening here. Thanks guys.

2003/03/06 00:41:20 PST by Bahamut ONE [0/4]

Ok, a few complains:

Carry ally is just.... weird.
I agree with Temp that Syne's skills arent great. And isn't he supposed to know a bit of magic in part 3-4?

Also brooke was supposed to have Physical Enhancment and morph but no magic.

Otherwise all the other stuff seems nice. Something's bothering me, do you have to switch around the main character in your party to use his abilities a la BoF4's triangle button:
One of the characters jumps when set as party leader, anotehr one pushes barrels, another one swings his sword and another one bumps his head against a wall... you see what I mean.

Also would those abilities cost MP? AP? GP? What?

2003/03/06 11:53:23 PST by Mister big [0/2]

I think that carry ally should be changed to carry. I mean I might want to hide the bodies. I assume when I go somewhere and kill some people that it is possible other people that are patrolling will walk by see the bodies and then sound an alarm of some sorts. But I could have the ability if syne is with me to take the person and if he is dead I can burry him if I have a shovel but if he is simply unconcious then I can tie him up and hope he can't untie himself.

2003/03/06 13:31:52 PST by Temporal [manager]
[Temporal's avatar]

Rush wouldn't be the only healer, since Dell, Rheya, and Brooke might all have healing magic. I agree, though, that Rush doesn't seem like the healing type at all.

Brooke can use magic, being Protean. There was a debate awhile back as to whether or not Proteans have any magic ability, but I believe we decided that they do, but they are limited to some specific, small spells since they don't know the language.

2003/03/06 14:03:56 PST by mystik3eb [0/43]
[mystik3eb's avatar]

Baha, these characters move around by themselves unless they are all selected at once and told to move somewhere/melee something (if we go with the melee option). Think strategy games. So, hence, no you won't have to change that character to the front since...well, there is no order, hence no front =) And depending on the ability, it may cost MP (though that's a good point...we should talk about the different "points", like hit/health points, magic points, etc.). If I remember right, we won't have any ways of earning exp. or ap, so learning abilities through ap is out.

I like that idea better Big. What do you guys think? Carry instead of Carry Member? Nice thinking.

Yea Temp, I would think those guys would have some form of healing (except maybe Dell, but whatever). And yea, Proteans cast very small, few, simple spells because of lack of language. Antareans cast very small, few, simple spells because of lack of ore. So yeah, Brooke can cast magic.

2003/03/06 17:05:41 PST by Temporal [manager]
[Temporal's avatar]

Oh, right, forgot to clarify that. As Mystik said, yes, there is no "front" person in the party. Instead, you control the characters like you would in an RTS. You click on the person to whom you want to give commands, then give commands. If you want to control the whole party at once, you drag a box around them to select them all. The characters are free to split up this way, which will be important for some puzzles.

This leads into an idea I was discussing with Dev last night. We were trying to think of what Syne's abilities were. I think that they should revolve around leadership, but thinking of abilities that involve leadership is tricky.

Well, I thought of this: What if, when you selected a group of characters which included Syne and gave them a combined order, Syne would automatically lead the effort, and generally just cause the characters to do a better job? For instance, when you move the party with Syne in the group, they walk in formation, and when you tell them to attack, they automatically coordinate their attacks intelligently (focusing on one enemy at a time, keeping the strong fighters in front, protecting the magic users in the rear, automatically curing people as necessary, etc.).

The only problem is that it would require some detailed AI coding, as it would be sort of annoying if the AI wasn't better than a human would be. I don't think it would be too hard, though. In RTS games, the main strength of AI is often it's ability to micromanage. In Warcraft 2, for example, computer-controlled Paladins were always annoying because they would instantly heal each other whenever one was hurt, far faster than any human player ever could. One thing I have often wanted in an RTS was the ability to build commanders which would micro-manage battles for you, and that is what Syne would be doing here.

What do you guys think?

2003/03/06 21:20:10 PST by mystik3eb [0/43]
[mystik3eb's avatar]

I like that thinking, we should definitely delve deeper into that. I'm not sure about the better attacking stuff though, will that work outside of some melee type of battle? Nice stuff though.

2003/03/09 20:10:48 PST by Clockwork Dragon [0/3]

Yahooooo!! Finally, a chance to actually do something! So, no fear, no fear, Clockwork is here!

Okay, yeah. Done with the partying. Making with the seriousness.


...alright, I agree with Temp's line of thinking along how Syne can increase the other characters' effectiveness in combined abilities, by enhancing their AI and giving whatever stat bonuses are necessary. I also think that he should provide constant bonuses to the other characters, simply by being there (a good leader's mere presence does something for the men under him)... although how, exactly, to apply this is beyond me at the moment.

By the way, I'm gonna open up another topic ASAP about how the characters 'level' (crude term to imply an increase in combat-effectiveness; I realize that there are no 'levels'). I very much support the 'PMP' (Practice Makes Perfect) system presented before the site got moved. I can make a very good system based upon this, but such a system would involve close work between the combat system, puzzles, and story. But nothing worth doing is easy.

2003/05/14 13:01:44 PDT by TheGreatJohnzo [0/11]
Edited at 2003/05/14 13:39:23 PDT
Awards: 2 from Dev

Okay, just a couple of comments about some ideas already passed around:

Rush may not seem like a normal healer, but he is a vetran of the battlefield (right?) so he would be well versed in rough healing practices. Kinda of like Aragorn from LOTR. He could use turniquets, rough bandages made from torn clothing, or plants/vines. Or mild anti-venoms from other herbs.

Ko may not be the best suited for inventing things, but what about a combine ability? Way back when, there was an idea of combining things to your weapon to upgrade, but the core of your weapon would stay the same. His combination ability would be similar to that. He could take some plate armor off a forest rogue and bend and affix it to a club to make the club do much more damage. Or add a short sword blade to the base of an axe for extra damage.

I'll expand on this idea when I have more time.


Ok, here's another idea based on syne's abilities temp was talking about. One easy ability could be an increase in accuracy during battles. An adept field commander would always be giving direction and orders in his group, so their attacks would be more focused. So he could have an area of affect acc.+ 4, or whatever number would make sense in the final game.

Also, it would make sense for the other characters to have boosted confidence when Syne is around. People are more confident when they have someone they trust lead the way into battle. So however that can be translated in to gameplay would be cool too. Maybe a slightly hire attack lvl, or more aggresive behavior from the party during battles.

More examples of ko's "combine" ability: He could combine a lightning TW with some rope grapling hook to make a tazer of sorts. He could combine a dagger with a shield to cause light damage to all melee enemies who attack while character is on a defensive stance. The ideas are limitless really.

About the "carry" ability. At least syne, rush, and maybe cade, should have some form of carry/heft/drag/push to move heavy obstacles. This could lead way to some zelda-ish puzzle solving too. Or if one ally is knocked unconscious, you'd better hope you have a character who's awake who can carry him/her out of there.

That's all for now...

2003/05/14 16:08:05 PDT by Siemova [0/24]
Awards: 1 from Dev
[Siemova's avatar]

Good idea for carrying, Johnzo. Large, strong characters could push/drag/carry things, including unconscious allies, while weaker/smaller characters couldn't. That'd make it more of a general ability than a specific person's skill, but it has more potential that way anyhow.

Regarding Syne's "battle commander" status, an idea popped into my head whilst reading: why not give him a few related skills? Instead of having an "aura" which boosts everyone's stats/performance/whatever, Syne could "Encourage" individual allies. Here are a few examples of what I mean:

"Strike now!" - boosts damage (better chance of critical?)

"Watch out!" - boosts evade

"Be careful!" - boosts defense

"Concentrate!" - boosts magic power

"Hurry!" - boosts speed

And so on. Naturally, we'd have to limit this so he couldn't throw these out left and right, but a good implementation would still make Syne's presence advantageous without being overpowered.

By the same token, another character might have the ability to "Taunt" enemies, but I don't have time to explore that idea right now. Maybe later, if somebody else doesn't beat me to it. :)

Thoughts, comments, criticism?

2003/05/14 17:53:00 PDT by mystik3eb [0/43]
[mystik3eb's avatar]

I really like both those ideas, about carrying and Syne's individual commands helping specific attributes. I REALLY like them. And that combine ability is really cool. And it makes sense with Ko's character. Think about it, this kid has lived with basically nothing but his family and junk all over, he probably had time to combine things and make cool little inventions (a skill which would come to use when he has better equipment to work with). I'm sure we could implement some sort of link to this ability with the character in the storyline. Let's see what me and Dev can think of.

2003/05/15 08:00:01 PDT by TheGreatJohnzo [0/11]
Awards: 1 from Dev

Great!!!!!! I went to submit my post and I got an server error. Shoulda copied it to the clipboard before I hit submit..

Lemme s'plain, no there is too much, lemme sum-up.

I had the idea of a special attribute bar, or 'sab' to limit the amount of use a character has of their special ability. Depending how physically or mentally taxing a task is, is how much your 'sab' will drop. This would limit the amount syne could use his party 'encouragement' commands. btw, siemova, what is the range, for syne commands? Also, how many people do these affect, just one or whole party. Although I suppose some commands are specific to some characters. You wouldn't tell a non-magic user to concentrate I guess....

Also, mystik, lemme know if you need any more ideas for the combine ability, I could come up with a bunch more!

This isn't half as thought out as before, so feel free to ask questions if something isn't clear.

2003/05/15 09:09:14 PDT by Temporal [manager]
[Temporal's avatar]

Sorry about the server error. It automatically logs you out after 30 minutes of non-activity, so if you spend more than 30 minutes writing a post, it won't let you post it. If you spend a long time on a post, you should really copy it before posting just in case...

Anyway, neat ideas. I still have my doubts about the "combine" ability, but it could be that I just don't like your examples. :P For Syne's "encouragement" stuff, I'd say there is no need to limit it, but rather have only one bonus be allowed at a time. However, I'm not sure how well the idea would work in practice because I think it might just get annoying. People would spend lots of time making sure Syne gives out the right encouragement just to get the little bonuses, and would probably get sick of doing it.

Regarding "SAB" points or whatever: I really don't like that idea. Special abilities are meant more for puzzles, not battles. It would really suck if you ran out of points to use the ability needed to solve the puzzle. It would be ok for certain battle-centric abilities to be limited, but that should be a per-ability thing.

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