Thriller (AKA, Undead Armies)

By on April 3, 2009 12:54:16 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Leonon

Join Date 02/2009
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I was sitting around recently and thought to myself "You know what would be awesome?"

"What's that, Self?"

"A TBS game that lets you raise the fallen armies of your foes to serve you."

"That's a wonderful idea Self, I should give you a cookie."

 

Some nomming and looking around later and I was left satisfied with the cookie, but I remained unsatisfied in my search for undead dominion. The closest I could find to what I wanted was Dominions 3, but while that allows you to raise the fallen corpses of your enemies (or anyone else who happens to croak) it produces a pathetic number of generic zombies. This will not do for my horde. I propose thusly.

 

) Bodies are resources produced any time a living creature is killed but not gibbed (gibbed=body destroyed completely, such as by an explosion from within)

) Bodies can be animated by any unit in the same tile with the proper magic (or alchemy)

) Reanimated bodies become an undead version of what they were when they were alive (EX, to make an undead horse you need a horse body)

) Reanimated bodies retain the items they had in life (armor would be worse for wear), unless those items were looted (EX, A knight would have the armor he wore into battle unless the armor was looted)

) Bodies rot over time unless preserved, producing different types of undead (ex, zombies become skeletons but mummies stay mummified unless moistened)

) Bodies require different amounts of mana to reanimate depending on how powerful they were in life (ex, an untrained human requires a paltry amount but a dragon may require a dozen or more mages to reanimate)

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April 3, 2009 4:05:25 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

You have mentioned the tip of the iceberg for what can be done with the undead.  This is a good topic and I'll just respond by listing undead unit types.   In random order and I may have missed a few, but here's my personal opinion of undead types:

 

1) Ghosts: Upgraded types of ghosts include Ghasts, Wraiths, Sceptres and even the dreaded Poltergeists.  No need for a master, but may be controlled by a master.

2) Skelletons:  No real upgrades for these units and they cannot gain experience.  Needs a master.

3) Zombies: There are different types, but most are mindless which follow a master.

4) Mummies: A ritual is performed which preserves and enhances the body.  A mummy is very strong in one or more statistics... usually strength.  Although the brain is gone, the soul controls the body.  No need for a master, but may be controlled by a master.

5) Vampires: A powerful vampire can create other vampires, but they will be weaker than its creator.  For example if the original Dracula creates a vampire then it would be a very very powerful vampire.  This process may take several days and is not always successful where the target victim dies.  Usually they follow another more powerful vampire.

6) Necromancers: Any being which has Necromancy skills and the necromancer usually starts as a living being with curiousities in death.

7) Liches:  A ritual is performed by necromancers to become a Lich because of fear of approaching death or old age.  As a lich the necromancer is now undead and also has enhanced necromancy skills.  This ritual is usually only 33% successful and costly with resources and time.  The Lich can later perform another ritual to become a demi-lich which provides a type of immortality as well as even stronger necromancy skills.  This second ritual is usually only 20% successful and is very costly with resources and time.  

8) Frankensteins: This is a type of monster zombie which takes the parts from multiple dead beings and/or creatures to create a very powerful undead which is sometimes mindless.  Creating this creature is a very difficult task.

9) Reapers:  One of the most feared of all the undead and usually does not have any master.  This powerful undead has pure chaotic actions, but sometimes focused on a specific mission.  Rumor has some demi-liches are able to summon them for specific missions.

10) Dracoliches:  They are created from a combination of very powerful necromancy magic and the corpse of a dead dragon.  Even if someone is lucky enough to find a dead dragon and then lucky enough to successfully perform the ritual in creating the Dracolich it's possible this monster will remain chaotic.  The Dracolich has some of the previous Dragon abilities and some Lich abilities.

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April 3, 2009 4:41:45 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Part of my idea I didn't expand on very well is to have a single spell to create the "mindless" undead beings that scales with what's being reanimated and its current state of decay (maybe other spells that do the same thing but create more undead per casting). Mindless mummies, skeletal horses and zombie dragons all created using the same spell scaled up or down based on how powerful they were in life or how powerful they will be in undeath. I wasn't intending on covering sentient or incorperal undead (which you did rather well) just the mostly unexplored by videogames "Raise your fallen enemies into a massive shambling horde" aspect of undeath.

 

Adding different spells to create sentient versions of all the mindless undead types would be a nice feature too, and would create a new level of tactics by allowing powerful undead mages to hide in a throng of mindless undead of the same type.

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April 3, 2009 4:53:08 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I would like to see the ability to put souls inside inanimate objects. Golems, animated suits of armor, gaurdians actually inside what they are protecting, that sort of thing.

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April 5, 2009 10:32:57 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting NTJedi,


8) Frankensteins: This is a type of monster zombie which takes the parts from multiple dead beings and/or creatures to create a very powerful undead which is sometimes mindless.  Creating this creature is a very difficult task.

This is a pet-peeve of mine...  "frankensteins" would be a unit of mad doctors...  not monsters

A better name would be something like "Abominations" or "flesh golems" or "Living constructs"

 

 

 Bodies are resources produced any time a living creature is killed but not gibbed

I personally would just like an undead army that resurects on a per-battle basis.  I personally wouldn't want a resource of dead bodies that I have to manage like gold or something.   I mean the idea is cool, its just I'm happy leaving that idea in warcraft 3.   This is a post-cataclysm world.  If they want dead bodies, I'm sure they do not need to dig very far to reach the now-dead civilizations or creatures that existed before  the cataclysm, or reach very far to find the lost souls from the same mass-death.

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April 6, 2009 1:45:12 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting landisaurus,


Quoting NTJedi,
reply 1


8) Frankensteins: This is a type of monster zombie which takes the parts from multiple dead beings and/or creatures to create a very powerful undead which is sometimes mindless.  Creating this creature is a very difficult task.




This is a pet-peeve of mine...  "frankensteins" would be a unit of mad doctors...  not monsters

A better name would be something like "Abominations" or "flesh golems" or "Living constructs"

Yes those are better names...  I wrote this post around 2am  so I was feeling tired.  

 

 

Quoting landisaurus,


 Bodies are resources produced any time a living creature is killed but not gibbed


I personally would just like an undead army that resurects on a per-battle basis.  I personally wouldn't want a resource of dead bodies that I have to manage like gold or something.   I mean the idea is cool, its just I'm happy leaving that idea in warcraft 3.   This is a post-cataclysm world.  If they want dead bodies, I'm sure they do not need to dig very far to reach the now-dead civilizations or creatures that existed before  the cataclysm, or reach very far to find the lost souls from the same mass-death.

Yes I agree...  some type of screen after the battle where the necromancer chooses how much magic to spend on which units to resurrect.  The necromancer should have three options skelleton, zombie, ghost...  overall the screen would be simple and fast.  Hopefully most of the living creatures will have a skelletal, zombie and ghost form.

On a side note... considering this is a post-catacylsm world, hopefully we'll see lots of undead types.

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April 6, 2009 2:53:16 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting landisaurus,
I personally wouldn't want a resource of dead bodies that I have to manage like gold or something.
They actually have live people already set up as a resource you have to use to produce living units.
Quoting landisaurus,
This is a post-cataclysm world.  If they want dead bodies, I'm sure they do not need to dig very far to reach the now-dead civilizations or creatures that existed before  the cataclysm, or reach very far to find the lost souls from the same mass-death.
You raise an interesting point here. I see how it could be set up so you could dig up skeletons, but I don't think everywhere should have them. It doesn't take too terribly long for skeletons to decay if they're just tossed into the ground haphazardly. Ground water would slowly (or quickly, in some areas) dissolve the bones. In deserts, tundra, or certain swamps you could find preserved bodies, but in most mass graves you'd just find shards of bone.
Quoting landisaurus,
I mean the idea is cool, its just I'm happy leaving that idea in warcraft 3.
I never really played Warcraft 3, how did that work?

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April 11, 2009 8:30:28 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Leonon,

They actually have live people already set up as a resource you have to use to produce living units

You're RIGHT!  They already have a 'being' resource used to create footsoldiers, which is why I don't think we need a second resource to do the same thing.

Quoting Leonon,
 I see how it could be set up so you could dig up skeletons, but I don't think everywhere should have them. It doesn't take too terribly long for skeletons to decay if they're just tossed into the ground haphazardly. Ground water would slowly (or quickly, in some areas) dissolve the bones. In deserts, tundra, or certain swamps you could find preserved bodies, but in most mass graves you'd just find shards of bone.

Thats true, but I mean this is life magic.   I really don't see why the state of decay makes that big of a difference.  I mean if it is just presence of organic meterials in a structured form, then dirt and rocks would work just as well.  What exactly about a 'skeleton' makes it any easier to animate than anything else?  I always figured it had something to do with... I don't know, something magical like pulling the being's old soul back to it to provide the semi-free will required to act indpendently on the battle field.  Then since the being is dead and now has no muscles anymore anyway, its only by the power of magic that the thing is held together and able to move, at which point it shouldn't matter much weather it is a few bones or a bunch of bone shards.  Provided the soul once was a part of parts.

Quoting Leonon,
.I never really played Warcraft 3, how did that work?

oh, you had dead bodies...  you could do several things with them, namely resurect them as skeletons, which were temporary creations.   So you could create wagons that hauled around bodieds for instant access for skeleton raising or eating to recover health, or whatever you needed (there was a 3rd thing that affected corpses, but I have a hard time remember what it was)

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April 11, 2009 8:37:19 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I see the creation of skeletons requiring enough bone to form a true skeleton, AND having that bone be from the same person. You could theoretically make a skeleton out of bone shards, provided that you had them all.

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June 22, 2009 6:39:10 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Necromancing this thread (if you will pardon the expression) in order to consider the new info we have gotten:

  • I am assuming necro spells will be under the "life" branch of magic.
  • Also, it seems like undeads would also require a fair degree of essence because
  1. They are "permanent".
  2. They are actively controlled by you.
  3. It seems like you would need a portion of your "spark of life" in order to make them anything more than corpese with heartbeats i.e. intelligent.
  • If they require essence, they would probably have to be very powerful as a result (to offset the apparently permanent investment of the game's most vital resource).
  • There was some talk about the weight of corpses: if heroes and other creatures' bodies stay behind after death, that would serve as a good "resource" for undeads i.e. you could raise a fallen hero, or resurrect a dragon.
  • This brings up the problem of resurrecting enemy units... maybe an increased essence cost or potential for the creature to return to its former allegiance.

That's about all for now.

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June 22, 2009 7:33:30 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Undead are pretty sweet...

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June 22, 2009 7:37:46 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Scoutdog,
... Also, it seems like undeads would also require a fair degree of essence ...

IMO, regular undead units should not cost essence, but an undead champion should, even if you just recruited the thing instead of raising or resurrecting a champion who'd died in your service.

In sloppy D&D terms, I'm talking about skeletons and zombies vs. vampires and liches. Other than being tagged with that 'undead' word, the former pair are no real comparison to the latter. Spending essence for zombies seems silly, unless perhaps that one-time investment spawns tens of thousands of zombies that you can keep going from that point forward with an ongoing mana flow. Spending essence for a lich-lord who can use some of your spare mana for its own spell-casting, on the other hand...

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June 22, 2009 7:51:04 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Well, of course different undeads would take different amounts of essence to wiork, but I don't think that any of them should be essence FREE. I am perfectly fine with zombies taking, say .01 essence point to make (thereby making hordes a real possibility), and I also think that most should not take essence to maintain.

I do, however, want undead tied in with the essence system, so that the people who go Gandalf can have an option when they want to divide their forces (which would be MUCH harder without it). If, say, the city-builder guy hits you with a baby dragon, you have the option of raising an army to back up your friends without wasting too many turns trekking to the other suide of the map yourself (when you could be dealing with the dragon).

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June 26, 2009 5:32:40 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Actually its "Fronkinshteen"

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June 26, 2009 8:48:09 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Scoutdog,
Well, of course different undeads would take different amounts of essence to wiork, but I don't think that any of them should be essence FREE. I am perfectly fine with zombies taking, say .01 essence point to make (thereby making hordes a real possibility), and I also think that most should not take essence to maintain.

I do, however, want undead tied in with the essence system, so that the people who go Gandalf can have an option when they want to divide their forces (which would be MUCH harder without it). If, say, the city-builder guy hits you with a baby dragon, you have the option of raising an army to back up your friends without wasting too many turns trekking to the other suide of the map yourself (when you could be dealing with the dragon).

On your first point, you say "essence to maintain," which makes me believe we agree that starting essence should not be all the essence you have for a game. But maybe not? Because the very idea of spending essence for maintainence sounds very wrong to me. If you sign up to spend essence every turn, you sign your death warrant.

Your point on 'going Gandalf' is interesting, if a little perverted-sounding for the Gandalf-was-always-pure-good crowd. But it sounds more like a late-game world-wrecking thing and not something to work into the mechanics that will be important from turn 0.

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June 26, 2009 10:04:03 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

My mistake on the terminology: no essence maintenance, unless it's something really, really huge. Like, dimension-busting huge. Even then it should not be a lot. I also agree that you should be able to gain essence.

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June 29, 2009 1:41:08 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think some people get the magic and Essence confused, They are related but not the same thing   Essense is for VERY powerful spells that are world shattering in their scope.  Making land able to have a city built on it. Hero's.  That's all I've seen from the Dev's so far (might of missed something).

 

magic is for everything else.  Heck when you spend essence you might have to spend mana too! 

 

For undead armies I'd love to be able to cast spells that bring the fallen back to life even if it's just some fodder troops.  You could make some very viable strategies with that.  Even gives an idea of high level enchantment spells (which might take essence) where anything you kill or your own fallen automaticly rise as undead the following turn!

 

While the idea of undead swarms is cool.  There has to be some balance of course to make sure that it can compete with most the other play styles who don't want to mess with undead units in their armies and would rather have bear calvery or Elite Solidiers ect.  But that's game balance and we don't know enough to even think of how to do that.  Mana upkeep can very easily fix that  

10,000 skeletons created by magic to serve you?  1000 mana

Upkeep to keep the army working for many turns until you attack the last city of your enemy?  200 mana

Running out of stored mana and not able to pay your upkeep JUST before the army get's to attack?  Priceless.

 

 

 

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June 29, 2009 2:23:15 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Maybe they should "go rogue" and stop being controlled by you if you don't pay their upkeep, as opposed to just up and (re)dying.

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June 29, 2009 2:52:48 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think if you're paying mana upkeep to a creature you created from magic you are paying that upkeep to prolong it's unnatural life. Therefore when the mana cuts off the life force does also

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June 29, 2009 3:02:59 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

ETHICS: I see the undeads summoned by "good" channelers as being gohstly or spectral in nature, and primerily defensive (hard to damage, but don't really DO much damage). Evil undeads would take physical form, and while they have more attack, they are esier to kill.

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June 29, 2009 9:40:31 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Sarudak,
I think if you're paying mana upkeep to a creature you created from magic you are paying that upkeep to prolong it's unnatural life. Therefore when the mana cuts off the life force does also

That's really a story (integrated metaphysics) detail. I'd buy things working like you describe, but I'd also buy a mechanic where your mana upkeep for an undead unit was about keeping that unit under control, and whatever mana (or essence for a champion) you spent was enough to make the thing undead.

Quoting Scoutdog,
ETHICS: I see the undeads summoned by "good" channelers as being gohstly or spectral in nature, and primerily defensive (hard to damage, but don't really DO much damage). Evil undeads would take physical form, and while they have more attack, they are esier to kill.

That's a very interesting line of variations to consider. MoM had Guardian Spirits, and those weren't particularly evil. Maybe if a good channeler in Elemental loses a champion and has strong life magic, she can summon that champion's ghost to help protect a shard site.

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July 1, 2009 8:29:53 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Scoutdog,
ETHICS: I see the undeads summoned by "good" channelers as being gohstly or spectral in nature, and primerily defensive (hard to damage, but don't really DO much damage). Evil undeads would take physical form, and while they have more attack, they are esier to kill.
No way. I want an army of polished alabaster-white holy undead warriors, serving their emperor and the holy empire in death!

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July 1, 2009 10:41:24 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I want a bunch of ghostly phantom warriors that carry spears with bright blue highlights but still mostly transparent.   

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July 21, 2009 2:41:50 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

It would be neat to go with the Erfworld model of undead. Basically the more energy and or time a necromancer spends working on an undead, the closer it will be to what it was alive. So a moderatly strong caster could raise one powerful champion or a whole horde of weak mooks.

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July 22, 2009 7:07:41 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Here's my problem with all this:

 

Undead, werewolves, goblins, etc.  They seem to be in every fantasy game nowadays.  Because everyone assumes that games will follow Dungeons and Dragons lore.  These ideas of what dark fantasy entails are so embedded in some people's minds that they cannot consider a game without them.

 

Tolkein's worlds did not have all of these things.  No zombies, goblins (goblins and orcs were the same race), vampires, werewolves etc.  The D&D model has almost every fantasy race ever created in one big pile.  Last time I checked there's only one major race on Earth.

 

Right at the start when Elemental was first announced, Frogboy and the others said that they did not want to create a D&D clone.  It has its own style, with Humans, Fallen and other beast and the like.  As soon as the game is released the modders are bound to make all the races that you can dream of, but I for one want to be playing Elemental, not D&D: Conquer the World.

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July 22, 2009 12:42:35 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Undead, werewolves, goblins, etc. They seem to be in every fantasy game nowadays. Because everyone assumes that games will follow Dungeons and Dragons lore. These ideas of what dark fantasy entails are so embedded in some people's minds that they cannot consider a game without them.



Tolkein's worlds did not have all of these things. No zombies, goblins (goblins and orcs were the same race), vampires, werewolves etc. The D&D model has almost every fantasy race ever created in one big pile. Last time I checked there's only one major race on Earth.



Right at the start when Elemental was first announced, Frogboy and the others said that they did not want to create a D&D clone. It has its own style, with Humans, Fallen and other beast and the like. As soon as the game is released the modders are bound to make all the races that you can dream of, but I for one want to be playing Elemental, not D&D: Conquer the World.

While Tolkein did not have zombies, it did have ghosts, elves, balrog, dwarves, giant spiders, trolls, mountable wyverns(nazgul), mountable giant eagles and more.  Tolkien was in fact a pioneer leader by merging so many different fantasy elements together into a single story. 

So you're saying not to include werewolves or vampires because these are fantasy variables where you don't like these type of creatures?  Or do you find something specific about these type of creatures which bothers you?  

Specifically what fantasy creatures do you want to see and what fantasy creatures do you not want to see in Elemental?

 

Most fantasy games include these popluar fantasy creatures because the customers already know their traits and abilities.  There's no need to spend time writing a description and history for the customer to learn the unit...  aka 'vampire'  will drain life blood, is undead and holy attacks hurt.   Why create a new unit called the Kabalkoz write a huge history and then add its description which does the same thing, when the gamer will just refer to them as vampires.  

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