[Idea / Discussion] Monster Lairs

By on October 5, 2010 12:25:03 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Gwenio1

Join Date 09/2010
+21

Branch off of an idea that was brought up at: http://forums.elementalgame.com/398418/page/3/#replies

Currently the game has quests (though they are buggy) and goodie huts (which support encounters and may one day evolve into dungeons / ruins to explore); however, it lack monster lairs.

having monster lairs that need to be cleared out. It would be especially good if they were near or on resources (or have quests that need to be completed before the resource and be used). And more valuable resources such as shards would have lairs with stronger monsters / harder quests. If monster lairs are included, the at a certain point (say when a player or AI move units too close) they could "activate" as start spawning creeps that will attack near by towns. Some of my favorite maps for AoW:SM have strong independants that need to be beat before you can move forward, and it can really make a game interesting even if the AI rolls over when you start fighting them seriously. In fact, the Majesty games (at least the first ones) are based on fighting creatures to build up your realm. It would also give the AI time to get to good units and be challenging... at least for a while till its forces have finally been smashed up.

Lairs, assuming that the game is tweaked so that you can begin serious adventuring / fighting basic creeps as soon as you have founded your first city (make starting equipment for sovreigns cost effective by giving a separate point pool for it and allow for picking basic spells), would give something interesting to do early in the game will your civilization is being built up. They would also add to the feel of a broken world where things have gone out of control.

Currently you can create lairs with events, but you would have to start from scratch for each and every one and they would be fixed - meaning no radom spawning of lairs. This is made worse by the fact that (as far as I can tell) you cannot define the effects of events in the map editor and must manually edit the xml. I prepose that it be possible to define lairs as a stand alone xml file and then imported and placed on maps like resources are or be randomly spawned in the game (if set to do so via map / game options).

This thread is to discuss what should be possible when defining a lair (how complex should the system be for defining when a lair is active and spawning mobs, deciding how strong the mobs should be, ect).

Note: this might already be possible with quests, but if that is so then it is not clear how at this time.

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Grizzyloins
October 5, 2010 1:01:32 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Spawn / Lair Level:

I think it should be possible to associate named, abitary, numeric values with lairs that can be used to determine how powerful of creatures it should pump, the chance of spawning something on a given turn, and how powerful the guards will be when someone comes to take the lair out (this is in addition to game modifiers like creature spawn rating). Then there would be a tags for defining the calculations spawn chance, spawn rating, and encounter rating. There would be a list for each ecounters and spawns, and in each you would define a group of creatures to defend / spawn. Each item in would be associated with a rating at which it shows up. If more than one is defined for a given rating, one is randomly selected. If there are none at the current rating level, then it would go to the item(s) defined for the closest rating that is less than the current value. If the rating is bellow all the levels for spawns / encounters, then there would be none.

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October 6, 2010 11:00:35 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I made a similar suggestion in Frogboy's all-purpose mega thread. It would add a lot of flavor to the map, and provide the players with some early obstacles when they start building their civilization... 

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October 7, 2010 10:29:28 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'd like to see 'clearable' monster lairs. 

 

The lairs would spawn monsters until you physically go in and clear them out. Using whatever 'spawning' formula is appropriate.

Finding them would probably involve moving into the lair square.  You'd get a dialogue stating you'd found the lair entrance, and it would ask you if you'd like to enter...

Even if you chose not to enter the lair at that time, there would be a chance of an immediate encounter, because you've run afoul of the lair guards.

Tackling lairs would be difficult, i.e. you'd need to face a LOT of monsters at once.

Obviously, lairs of the 'lesser' monsters would be easier to clear out than the tougher monsters.

Successfully clearing a lair would 'shut it down' for a number of turns, and upon successful clearing of said lair, you'd be able to raid the lair treasury, perhaps finding an artifact or magic item(s) along with the gildar reward.

New or recently reactivated lairs would become stronger over time.  So, if a recently cleared lair has just become active, that would be the best time to clear it out.  With this in mind, you might want to station a sentry/guard post near a cleared lair to keep an eye out for trouble.

If a particular monster is a 'resource' for your kingdom/empire (say Darklings, Spiders, or Wargs), perhaps you could discuss an 'alliance' with said lair instead of clearing it, allowing you to hire 'mercenary' monsters.

 

To make things more interesting, any monsters from a lair who successfully sack a nearby city would increase the strength of their own lair, and maybe add some gildar to their horde as well.

 

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October 7, 2010 10:46:06 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting tjashen,
I'd like to see 'clearable' monster lairs. 


The lairs would spawn monsters until you physically go in and clear them out. Using whatever 'spawning' formula is appropriate.

Naturally. For me, the main inspiration for lairs is Majesty, in which just about the entire game is about destroying monster lairs.

Quoting tjashen,
Finding them would probably involve moving into the lair square.  You'd get a dialogue stating you'd found the lair and it would ask you if you'd like to enter...

Even if you chose not to enter the lair at that time, there would be a chance of an immediate encounter, running afoul of the lair guards.

I think it should be easy to find, but  you should not be able to tell how heavily guarded it is.


Quoting tjashen,
Tackling lairs would be difficult, i.e. you'd need to face a LOT of monsters at once.

Obviously, lairs of the easier monsters would be easier to clear out than the tougher monsters.

Successfully clearing a lair would 'shut it down' for a number of turns, and probably involve finding an artifact or other cool items.

New or reactivated lairs would become stronger over time, so if a recently cleared lair has just become active, that would be the best time to clear it out.  Perhaps you might want to station a sentry/guard post near cleared lairs to keep an eye out for trouble.

If a particular monster is a 'resource' for your kingdom/empire (say Darklings, Spiders, or Wargs), perhaps you could discuss an 'alliance' with said lair instead of clearing it, allowing you to hire 'mercenary' monsters.

 

To make things more interesting, any monsters from a lair who successfully sack a nearby city would increase the strength of their own lair, and maybe add some gildar to their horde as well.

I like the idea that they would get tougher over time, though it might be based on a formula specific to the lair. The only ones that would need to be watched should be those specifically set to be indestructible. Having to actually negotiate rather that being handed a creature resource would make the techs for that feel more diplomatic. I like the idea for getting stronger / more reward for clearing, though that may be hard to implement.

I had been thinking of them as goodie huts that spawn monsters and are guareded, so treasure being possible is a must (otherwise clearing out a dragon lair would be anticlimatic).

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October 7, 2010 11:09:27 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

If this were implemented, I'd suggest that there would be special lair battle maps, in place of the plethora of battle maps we have now.  A single lair map would be easiest, but perhaps clearing a lair would involve two or three maps? I.e. Lair Entrance, Main Lair, Throne Room/Queen's Chamber.

If multiple maps were involved, a player could 'turn back/retreat off of' any given map and give up on clearing the lair, but of course the potentially weakened lair would still be active.

This would be a reason to introduce some maps with narrow passages, changing the dynamic of the tactical battles a bit.

 

Also, Gwenio1, I am in agreement with you, that you shouldn't know just how well defended a lair might be until you enter it...

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October 7, 2010 11:51:32 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting tjashen,
If this were implemented, I'd suggest that there would be special lair battle maps, in place of the plethora of battle maps we have now.  A single lair map would be easiest, but perhaps clearing a lair would involve two or three maps? I.e. Lair Entrance, Main Lair, Throne Room/Queen's Chamber.

If multiple maps were involved, a player could 'turn back/retreat off of' any given map and give up on clearing the lair, but of course the potentially weakened lair would still be active.

This would be a reason to introduce some maps with narrow passages, changing the dynamic of the tactical battles a bit.

 

Also, Gwenio1, I am in agreement with you, that you shouldn't know just how well defended a lair might be until you enter it...

For battle maps, I would say the XML defining the lair should provide a list of TC maps from which one is randomly selected.

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October 8, 2010 12:00:52 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Excellent ideas.  Add my vote.

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October 8, 2010 12:42:36 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

And mine.  Stardock, how about it?

Best regards,
Steven.

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October 8, 2010 10:26:56 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

And, only sovereigns, their champions and summoned creatures should be able to enter the lair.

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October 8, 2010 12:06:12 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Edwin99,
And, only sovereigns, their champions and summoned creatures should be able to enter the lair.

I would say when you reach a lair, it should be handled like a quest destination to avoid redundancy. However, quest locations need to be allowed to specify things like 'heroes only', 'limit to N people (with special units like dragons counting for more)', ect for who may participate in the enounter.

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October 10, 2010 8:54:10 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

 Something I posted:

    Elemental has a wealth of unique monsters and it determined to waste them. the four monsters per empire is a wasteful system, instead monsters should come from rare tiles like spider lairs that spawn randomly. Everything from rock spiders too ogres should be in the game, though monsters would be devided into neutral good and evil, with  only the corresponding empire able to summon good and evil. Also each "lair" would have mutiple levels of a monster like a rock spiderling lair that lets you summon spiderlings and giant spiders. You would be limited to what you could buy though by the level of a tech research with 4 levels, replacing the 4 researches now implemented. for example an ogre lair would require lv 2 research to create young ogres and lv4 to create ogres. While darklings, spiderlngs and wolves would require lv1. Lastly, remove the option to create a random monster as a prestige bonus, its a useless attempt to allow players to have fun with monsters.

Add the two together so you need to conquer the monster spawning lair

 

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October 10, 2010 12:42:02 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums
Is this /not/ implemented? I've seen bandit camps, spider's lairs, and ogre dens in the game, which spawned one or two roaming units of that type and had a 'leader' unit of that type on the tile itself. But the only place I can say for certain that I've seen them is in the campaign mode, so they might not be randomly placed in the map generator?
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October 12, 2010 4:54:54 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting SeanenG,
Is this /not/ implemented? I've seen bandit camps, spider's lairs, and ogre dens in the game, which spawned one or two roaming units of that type and had a 'leader' unit of that type on the tile itself. But the only place I can say for certain that I've seen them is in the campaign mode, so they might not be randomly placed in the map generator?

As I stated, it *can* be done, but it is not possible to have them randomly placed and each and every one must be created with events.

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October 13, 2010 5:54:44 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Also if you walk on them they just dissapear and give you like 20 materials

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October 13, 2010 7:23:44 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting tjashen,
If this were implemented, I'd suggest that there would be special lair battle maps, in place of the plethora of battle maps we have now.  A single lair map would be easiest, but perhaps clearing a lair would involve two or three maps?

I'd go with a singular map. It would be far more important to adjust the monster placement and AI. Rather make it a bigger map than a more complicated system...
If you run the generic AI, all monsters all across the map would start charging the intruding player. That's pretty bland and doesn't make for a good dungeon crawl.

To make such a map interesting in any way, LOS rules would be required.  Kinda silly if you'd see all monsters on the entire level when entering...

The next step would be "assist rules" for the monsters. A classic "aggro chain" from the MMO of your choice. That allows you to ambush a monster unit in a dark alley of the dungeon without alerting their full force.
Some guard / patrol units could have a "shout" ability to alert monsters in a larger radius, adding more gemeplay elements such as backstabbing, stunning or silence spells.

Assaulting the throne room would not be as easy because the "boss" and some guards would be rather close together.



Also, Gwenio1, I am in agreement with you, that you shouldn't know just how well defended a lair might be until you enter it...

Without LOS and assist rules, the entire concept would just not be worth the effort.

Also a consideration: with the entire dungeon being a tactical battle, the map cannot be too large. Imagine moving all your units at 1-2 squares at a time. On a large map that would be a nightmare and anything but fun.

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October 13, 2010 9:02:32 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Definitely agree on the need to implement line of sight.  If the lair is underground, a 'fog of war' to hide the unexplored parts of the lair would be nice too.  One larger map would be simplest, IF the map itself didn't tax the system resources too much (i.e. chewing up too much memory).

I don't think any spell should have 'unlimited' range in any case, just more range than, say, bows.  On a larger map this becomes important.

Finally, to state the obvious here, underground tunnel lairs would by definition have limited frontage, so only a small number of your units (say 1 to 3) would be able to melee at any given time.  With the slower moves (usually 2), patching holes in the line becomes a tactical challenge. 

Also, missile weapon ranges should be shorter in these situations, but for simplicity perhaps squares are smaller (to use an old D&D convention, feet instead of yards for indoor situations).  Also, right now we don't have special rules covering the risks of firing arrows at/toward targets that some of your units are currently meleeing with.  But that's a topic for another thread...

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October 14, 2010 12:20:30 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Good ideas for encounters, though lairs should use the same mechanics as battles during a quest; therefore it is special encounters in general that need work. After all, at its heart a lair is a quest location that spawns monsters near it till the "quest" is completed (typically by clearing the lair out). Beyond that the only things that might go into the creation of a lair that a quest might not is ways to scale up the encounter / reward (if any) as the lair grows stronger (caused by global monster level increased, special events like having a spawned stack raiding a town, and/or having been active long enough). Of course, lairs should not be quests regardless of how similar they are. After all, they should not require research to clear / find.

One other thing that lairs should have availible when desigining them is ability to control where they appear, such as making yeti lairs appear in artic terrain and not deserts. Others might be more likely (or required) to appear on certain resources, such as a rift through which fire elementals emerge would be most likely to be found on a fire shard (or only found there). This way they will not have illogical placement. This might also be good for some quests, though most of those should be able to be placed anywhere. Edit: to keep the terrian from changing near the lair, there could be an 'anti-ZoC' that block ZoC from covering the land in a certain radius, prevents players from building near it of resources, and makes the land unchangable by magic.

For the spawned monsters, it would be good to be able to give them a behavior (such as having them wander near the spawn point or go far and attack towns), if the game ever supports such things.

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