this is just a continuation of dark frontier work, on its own temporary placeholder page to keep the original DF page
The most compelling direction of Dark Frontier is that it is player driven. Not just driven, but literally only survives because of the players. The world is a hostile place, a vicious place. Darkness and evil grows in all corners. Settlement exists against the darkness, solely by virtue of players efforts to hold back the dark, to maintain the light. The chief design goal is the impromptu reconfiguration of a society, perhaps even empire, in a hostile world. However the players manage, the goal is to continue surviving, to flourish against endless ranks of monsters.
If man had eternal darkness to fight and unite against, perhaps he would never have turned against himself in the age of empires.
Players in Dark Frontier, thus far, have no skills. Skills suck. Where every door opened is another door closed, players hyperspecialize down a path of introversion. Roles in become defined by typecast ability sets, not by social dynamics. More than anything else, we wish players to feel invested in community, not a particular character. Equipment and resonance define their capabilities and interactions in the world, both of which are easily alterable.
Resonance is multi dimensional, in terms of both attributions and levels. In the trivial case of the former, a player might contain a strong positive resonance with both nature and water, and would have immense energy wielding within a quaint forrest stream. However, multi-dimensionality applies within a single attribution as well. A player who maintains a very strong “maximally valued” short term fire resonance across a long period of time would build up a second more longevitous attribution towards fire that holds a much longer decay rate. This cannot come to replace skills though. I'd wager that the primary effect of this would actually be to make it very easy to shift towards the fire resonance again in the future. You have an affinity for fire magic, you remember it so well, you've practiced it so many times.
Its important to note that resonance is, in the most case, extremely short lived. A player wanting to switch from a heavy Ice to a dedicated Fire magic user might have to spend thirty minutes doing so, at most, although they would be competent far before then. Also, to prevent the player from sitting around looking like an idiot throwing ice ball after ice ball, there will be routines for characters to deliberately focus their resonances. Resonance is not meant to exclude possibilities, to force actions and routines, its meant as positive reinforcement for concerted actions
This is still experimental, still being discussed, but as a potential developer, I ( Rektide ) would like to maintain a fairly strong adherence to the concept of Energy or Manna as a root metric underpinning the play systems of the game. Much of the systematics kicking around my head right now are about transfer functions and
To avoid creating a purely market based economy, to hopefully create some sense of connection within the world, we're looking at how to match resonance with equipment. The real power of most gear will probably be untapped until the player forges a deep connection with their gear (through use (which builds/and) resonances). A huge part of the original conceptualization for DF was item creation (largely improvement and enchantment), and we wish to embue this process with a deep personalization that is not immediately and immenantly transferable. Your effects are personal, and your mere usage of an item imbues part of yourself into that item. This system is designed to prevent wholesale trade of custom items, to foster a connection between a player and their gear and to create a symbiosis. Hopefully, we can create a forum where entire groups can participate in these self improvement quests, to merge individualization and cooperation.
Some defense of anti-marketibility is required. How is this system signficantly divergent from a skill based system if players rely on equipment to determine capabilities and we're trying to limit exhcange of gear? The main takeaway is that we wish to limit exchange, not to prevent it. You can achieve resonance with someone elses gear, learn to make it your own. But it takes a while to make anything your own.
Havent talked this with Reiny, but I believe death should be handled as a reincarnation event. Your resonance and actions in the past life help define your form in the new life. In a skil & ability less system, this would have to play out as inbuilt resonances, as natural affinities, but I think at heart its a far more just and significant way of dealing with death in game.
Cooperation defines survival in Dark Frontier. No one can man their outpost 24/7. The darkness will always come.
But what of society? Are we to think solely of a world of cities and and castles, terraced fortifications intent on buttressing the waves of undead? I'd propose perhaps the scope of what constitutes a civilization should be up in the air as we go into this project.
Although nature reclaims all, evil is drawn to man and man alone. Although certainly a rooted civilization is the chief target of Dark Frontiers, I believe there's much value in the notion of abandoned settlements (deliberate and otherwise) and migrant tribes. A druidic lifestyle might seek to avoid the hordes altogether by being light on their feat, by building out of nature itself rather than reckon with reclaiming a camp against nature every time they move back in.
The only real key off this is that form needs to be carefully thought of as we build the function of the world. Is a temple necessary for the creation of a sanctuary? Is economy a function of stores and merchants? How can we give players the ability to free form the essential operations of life in the Darkness? We need to think very hard before we assume the archetypes of our existing real world as the only means feasible in our new one.