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Many of the mechanics and systems are designed explicitly to integrate.
One example may be the faction growth — tying into the plot generator.
Ideally, the plot generator should be able to seed an adventure one session in length, to six months’ of campaign, to multiple years (for those stories whose plots span hundreds or thousands of years).
But right now I’m focused on a six-month campaign.
A faction, at its simplest, spawns Player Characters. Well, factions provide the potential-energy equivalent of Player Characters. Factions are what make character classes possible. Factions provide equipment and training.
In the comments on my last post, I described the creation of a faction involving ability scores, assets (i.e. race), and sectors (i.e. class).
The scores of a faction are currently:
Industry informs a faction’s equivalent of hit points, “Capital.” When Capital reaches zero, the faction dies — much as a character dies at 0 hit points.
Sector contributes to Capital, as character class contributes to hit points. The sectors include: Criminal, Vigilante, Political, Military, Business, Commoner, Academic, and Spiritual.
Assets determine the sort of resources a faction can produce. There are nine assets: Needs, Cash, Labor, Goods, Favor, Magic, Land, Lore, and Power.
Some Sector/Asset combinations will appear intuitive:
– Business (Goods) -craftsman
– Business (Labor) -tradesman
– Business (Cash) -moneylender
– Business (Favor) -guild
– Commoner (Labor) -laborers/slaves
– Commoner (Needs) -farmers
– Commoner (Favor) -labor union
– Academic (Lore) -university
– Academic (Magic) -wizard college
– Spiritual (Favor) -monastery
– Spiritual (Magic) -temple
– Military (Power) -army
– Political (Favor) -aristocrats
– Political (Power) -government
– Criminal (Labor) -slavers
– Criminal (Power) -bandits/raiders
This list isn’t exhaustive, and may not be entirely accurate. I tried to come up with some obvious ones, I’ll leave it to you to find others.
I’ve been trying to come up with a resource/expansion system that will be abstract and flexible enough to represent most faction types, while being familiar, intuitive, and straightforward.
What I have now is a mashup of rules borrowed from Lords of Waterdeep, Decipher’s Star Wars CCG, Red Dragon Inn, Settlers of Catan, and Risk.
– A campaign is six rounds.
– Each round is one month.
– Each faction produces 5 resources on its turn.
(Resources may be of any asset type the faction produces.)
– Resources may be spent however the faction sees fit.
– Influence may be redeemed to advance faction level.
Here are some things which may be purchased with resources:
– Base of Operations (4) -produces one extra resource/turn
– Upgrade to Base (5) -produces one extra resource/turn
– Spread Influence (2) -redeem influence for faction XP
– Establish Outpost (4) -produces one influence/turn
– Recruit Follower (3) -function as bodyguards/generals
– Attack Faction (1) -must target a base of operations
– Seize Initiative (1) -take the first turn next round
Until a faction constructs a Base of Operations, it remains “only” a faction.
Once a faction constructs a Base of Operations (like a Town Hall in Warcraft), it becomes a “settlement” and is vulnerable to direct assault.
Factions can theoretically advance all the way up the ranks without “settling down,” but they’ll have to do it on a smaller budget of resources. Examples of “baseless” factions include hunter-gatherers. And barbarian hordes.
Attacking a faction is the easiest way to kill it, but you can only attack a faction that has a base of operations. Factions in some Sectors may still be able to whittle down baseless factions, but I’m still developing that element.
Redeeming influence to advance a faction’s level gets incrementally more difficult each time it occurs during a campaign. The first faction only requires as least four influence to advance. The next one needs six. And so on.
Now, the reason why it gets incrementally harder for factions to advance, is because every time they do — it advances the “plot line,” which is a function of my Plot Generator. (Which I haven’t posted about in some time… sigh.)
Depending on where the plot line started, it may be uneconomical for a faction to do anything beside expanding its influence and building outposts.
And that’s about all I have time for today.
Signing off for now.
I have been trying to get this idea out of my head.
A few days after I picked up Fallout Shelter, I cracked something in faction development. But I haven’t been able to articulate it. I’ve been going around in circles ever since — almost a week — and I’m bound to go mad at this rate.
Let me see if I can break this down.
First, I figured out how to scale factions. That was the start.
In truth, factions scale just like characters do, but because they’re groups of people rather than individuals, they not only survive the death of their founder (like… a corporation?), they can wield a lot more power than an individual.
Which is not to say that a small group of dedicated PCs couldn’t eradicate a “faction” of orcs, goblins, or kobolds. Just that it would take some effort.
Second, I figured out what the auxiliary benefits of factions are: they “enable” individual characters to acquire features like race and class.
This blew me away. It technically enabled my first discovery.
At the lowest level, factions enable PCs to take classes — whether the PC belongs to the faction or not. This becomes a chicken-egg conundrum: did PCs found factions to train PCs, or did factions train PCs to found factions?
Character classes are here defined as a “martial philosophy.” No two practitioners of one class are exactly the same. You might even call it a “personal” martial philosophy, except for the fact that it’s a template applied to a character.
Moving up the ladder, factions then enable Trades — which are a feature I designed to replace the skill system. They provide an intangible benefit to PCs that enables certain social interactions. It’s straightforward enough, but I’ve explained it elsewhere. It’s kind of like a “social class.”
Continuing on up, larger factions enable races.
This goes beyond the typical RPG definition of races (physiology) and incorporates elements of culture. You can have more than one human race, for example. There will likewise be multiple elf and dwarf races. I think I’ve discussed how that will work elsewhere as well. I don’t have time for it now.
The next tier of factions enables the Masks.
I’ve talked about Masks before. They’re the secular Powers That Be, and include archetypal characters superficially similar to the Icons of 13th Age.
The next tier of factions — where we start getting truly fantastic — enables the powers. Powers include things that the PCs do, and are ultimately derived from The Seven States of Magic. These are always the same, but sentiments change.
The next tier of factions enable the gods.
When I build my setting — which uses this system — I’ll have just five gods. And I’ll recommend that anyone else who uses the system uses 3-6 gods. It may be possible to break from that mold, by reorganizing the power structure.
But that would be getting pretty abstract.
If you were to extend the tiers of factions one more step, beyond the highest tier, they would enable alignment. My setting has two: Destiny and Agency. As previously suggested, it may be possible to expand through reorganization.
What I realized while writing, was this: practically speaking, most PC organizations will only occupy the bottom-two tiers. It’s unlikely most will ever reach the third tier (race), and while I intend to make sure the rules function across all tiers, priority should be give to the first 2-3 tiers.
There’s still more to do, but I’ll have to come back to it.
Update: Someone posted the same thing on Reddit two days ago.
I may have discovered a bug that allows you to exceed the maximum number of stimpaks your explorers can carry into the Wasteland.
A hazard caused my vault to shut down moments after I ordered an explorer into the Wasteland, at which point he forgot the order and went on “Coffee Break.”
Once the hazard was dealt with, I ordered him back into the Wasteland and stocked him up with another 25 stimpaks. The game is reporting that he has 50, which is twice the maximum (normally 25).
My thought is this: if you order a dweller into the Wasteland from a far corner of your vault, then trigger a hazard before they can exit the vault, you may be able to stack more stimpaks on them than they can normally carry.
Let’s say you rushed a room until its hazard rate exceeded 50%. You could have a dweller in the bottom-right corner of your vault, then order him out: while en route to the vault door, you rush again to trigger a hazard. Your vault shuts down, your room deals with the hazard, and you order the explorer to leave again.
Seems simple enough. Has anyone else experienced this bug?
I started playing Fallout Shelter on cookiemonger’s iPad about a week ago.
I’m not sure how to describe it — first I suppose I should say it was exactly the game I needed at the time. Not that that has clouded my judgment, not really.
It’s a fun game. Build rooms, assign vault dwellers to them, attract new vault dwellers, build more rooms. Balance food, water, and power.
That’s all there is to it.
Your vault’s population limit is 200, and there are about 24 floors for you to build rooms on, not counting the ground half-floor. You protect your dwellers from periodic incursions by scavenging weapons and armor from the wasteland.
As far as I know, there’s no endgame, so it’s kind of like Dwarf Fortress Lite.
I say that because some of the hazards can wipe out your dwellers if you aren’t careful. When I was somewhere in the 40-70 range of my population, a radroach infestation spread through my rooms and killed off about half my population before I could move or heal them. It took me a while to recover.
What I noticed was that while hazards like fire or roaches can spread horizontally or vertically, sometimes jumping elevators to reach other rooms on the same floor, they can’t move diagonally. I went to some pains after that to stagger my rooms so another outbreak couldn’t wipe out my vault.
Doing that almost made the game too easy.
I haven’t had another major catastrophe since then — the most difficulty I’ve had is after I’ve sent out a major expeditionary force or had a “baby boom” and my resources go out of whack. I’ve had some gear shortages from time to time…
Actually, what I noticed was this: in the early game, it makes sense to put gear where you need it. Once you can field large numbers of explorers, you want to start assigning gear to keep your storage clear. It doesn’t make sense to stockpile gear because it literally does nothing for you while unequipped.
What I’ve noticed is that perhaps the single most important stat for the Wasteland is Luck. Because Luck is what gives you the good loot. Sure, a high-level explorer can stay out longer, but a luckier dweller will find better stuff.
I have one dweller at the level cap (50) who routinely finds low-level garbage. His Luck is middling — somewhere in the 4-6 range. Meanwhile, I have some very lucky neophytes with 7-8 Luck who routinely find plasma weapons and railguns within the first four to six hours of exploring.
Charisma isn’t… entirely useless. I’ve seen the positive effect the radio station has on my vault. And I assume it plays a role in Wasteland exploration. But the fact that dwellers don’t get experience from the radio station is terrible. They routinely get slaughtered, in spite of good stats and gear.
Hazards seem to be based on dweller level and room size.
If you have low-level dwellers in a room with a high-level dweller, your low-levels will be ganked by roaches. I’ve found it most effective to keep dwellers of about the same level together. If you have merged rooms, try to keep them full.
I’ve noticed that 2-3 dwellers in a x3 merged room will be worn down. It’s better to move the dwellers to a smaller room than leave them with too much space.
Apart from my early- to mid-game catastrophe, my vault has always been exceedingly happy. I’ve never seen my happiness drop below 80%, and that was with rooms full of dead bodies (waiting to be revived) tanking my happiness.
My recommendation is to try and keep dwellers in rooms where they do well — Strength in power plants, Perception in water treatment, Agility in diners, and everyone else either breeding, training, or exploring.
I really do not recommend picking up the radio station until later. If you can avoid it, there’s no point unless your dwellers are super-depressed.
Your main way of expanding your population will be through breeding your dwellers. Bear in mind that pregnant women won’t defend a room. This is both good and bad. Good that you can’t lose them to a hazard — bad that they will abandon the room to be defended by whomever remains behind.
For that reason, I recommend segregating your male and female population — remember, this is a game about survival. If it were about social equality, you could be more egalitarian about it.
The women in my vault tended to have higher Agility, so they were in food services until I could afford training rooms. Once I could train my dwellers in every stat, my rooms tended to be a little more diverse.
I don’t know what I’d change about the game — with the lack of anything like Perks, skills, or “special abilities,” and without variety in room effects, the game is straightforward. Given time, every vault will look the same — or fail.
Once I hit the population cap and “stabilize” my current vault (#385), I may create a new vault to test out the lunchbox bug I’ve been hearing about, and maybe implement my staggered-room strategy a little earlier. Otherwise, I don’t see this game holding my interest more than another week, tops.