Hey there folks! Today we'll have our Gameplay Director Zaz give you a bit of insight on the Game Design side of things. If you want to know how we at Tactical Adventures are adapting Tabletop rules into video game, you're at the right place!
Hello fellow adventurers,
Here’s the first of a series of game design articles where we will be sharing some of our ideas, decisions, questions and philosophy with you. As you may already know, it's not always easy to adapt a Pen & Paper rules to PC. Sometimes though, it can be surprising how Tabletop rulesets naturally fit into a video game system.
What happens when the Mage goes in front of the Rogue? Trap happens.
Today we'll take a look at the reaction system. It is a great feature and helps to add variety in combat, to provide cool moments and finally let you fully exploit specific spells like Shield or Feather Fall. Would you know, these were actually one of the first features we showcased in our early prototype! Now, we can’t wait to play with Counterspell - that's going to be quite something.
But reactions are not only used for spells - and if you're a fighter or a rogue, you'll be wanting to dish out opportunity attacks. Say you build an AI that only focuses on efficiency, you may never get one since the enemy might never walk out of attack range. That... would be a bit sad, wouldn't it? We want the AI in Solasta to not always do the most optimal action. They might simply get too scared to stay and try to escape, or decide on a whim that they have a more important enemy to attack than the one facing them, thus taking the risk of receiving an opportunity attack. Which is fine, as long as is doesn’t look stupid. But if we start talking about AI we won't ever be done, so we'll save it for another article - there’s plenty to say about it.
Looks like Violet is having a really bad day, first a Pitfall Trap and now Spiders...
We also have reactions that naturally work very well with a cell-based tactical game, like the Protection Fighting Style which allows you to impose disadvantage on an attack roll targeting an ally next to you. We liked the system so much that we added new reactions in our custom Solastan archetypes, and we’re still working on cool ways to use the reaction feature extensively so that smart players can optimize their efficiency by putting their characters in situations where reactions will be triggered.
Please note that while we like to give the player some time to think about whether to use their reaction or not, they still have a limited time window to make their decision. For something like an opportunity attack, you might think there’s no way you’re not going to take the reaction, so why are we not making automatic? Well... For instances where the reaction consumes a spell slot, you might want to think about it…for a few seconds. That’s why we have a countdown so you can take your time to decide, but not too much. Once the sandglass is empty, the reaction is cancelled, pure and simple.
The system also works for decisions you take after certain conditions are met, such as Divine Smite
This is it for today, we hope you enjoy reading our train of thoughts! Don’t hesitate to toss in some comments and ideas.
This is a very cool and almost completely neglected aspect of D&D. I'm really looking forward to it, because it can add layers of complexity and fun! The only tricky bit I think is finding the right balance with this system, as it could slow down combat too much. But I'm sure you'll find a good compromise, or allow players to decide how often often this triggers (or the countdown length).
I really love how you can be actively playing, and having impact on the fight even when it's not your turn! That's really something I find frustrating in most game, having to wait for enemies to do things while you cant react at all... Really looking forward for more on this topic :)