I've been looking into the game's current alchemy system, and the current trade seems rather barebones. Over the past couple of months I have been working on a rework of the alchemy system, and it's to a point where I would like to bring it to the attention of others. As I've explained to Ryan, this rework is designed to weaken early game potions, while expanding on what alchemy can do for Last Hope, including potions that provide buffs, and "bombs" that act like spells. It is also designed toward making potion brewing more interactive as a roleplay element, with potential for micromanagement. Some stuff was copied/pasted from the current trade manual (such as the required equipment), but almost all of it is original thought. Right now there are about 40 different bombs, buffs, poisons, and restoratives in total. I just wanted to throw this out here and get additional sets of eyes to look it over. I would love to hear your guys' thoughts on how to improve it. The link below allows for commenting within the document in case that proves to be easier. Cheers.
I'm going to preface this by saying that I agree, Alchemy needs some work, and that I'm not trying to shoot down your ideas, just trying to take a look at what I see as potential hiccups. It's an interesting idea, but I'm a little intimidated by the complexity. It would be one thing to put that complexity on the Alchemist, as they were the one that chose to take the trade skill, but I feel like it would be in everyone's best interest to simplify things for the consumer as much as possible. It involves reworking the potions we currently have in game (not a bad thing).
With the healing potions, I don't know how upgrading something from an open to a treated wound would work with a potion, since that is represented in-game with a bandage prop. Would the potion come with the prop included, or would you have to bring your own? I would personally like to see them as "Upgrades an open light wound to fine" or "upgrades an open mortal wound to an open light wound". It could be really neat to add in one that disinfects the wound, similar to a cleric's cleanse alternate effect, where taking the potion will allow your treated wounds to heal naturally by the next event. I'm also VERY wary of the more powerful medicine that grants 2 temporary HP: it seems too strong for a potion, since the only other way to get temporary HP is through the Prostitute which can only give a max of 1, or through skills. With this medicine, an Ulven warrior can get up to 8 hits, while no other combination of abilities in game can do that.
With the mana potions, I don't think they're powerful enough to be worth burning the reagents and time. Reagents are not common, so to be able to get a single Shatter Bolt off for the cost of 2 seems awful steep to me. This is especially considering the current Mana Potion restores all mana already (IIRC). Maybe making just 2-3 stages of potion (5/10/All or 8/all, for example) would keep it simpler and more worthwhile for the alchemist.
I don't have any issue with the poison/disease resistance potions, though maybe a "vaccine" option that will make the character immune for a set amount of time could be a fun addition.
For the "other" options, I'm not really familiar with any of those effects in game, so I'm not sure how useful they would be considered. I personally don't like the bombs concept you mentioned: it seems like a can of worms that would be tough to contain once introduced (If we can create controlled explosions, why not firearms?) and can really take away from the specialty of the mages on the battlefield. I do have a few ideas of other buffing potions if you're interested, too.
I think this is a really good base to build off of, but that the effects are going to need a good amount of work before they feel balanced.
Thank you for the response. Your comments and critique are exactly what I am looking for.
The complexity is partially intentional for those who want to "min-max" the trade, but is meant to be simple for someone who just wants to create basic potions: Plop some things together, roll a d10, and you either have a potion or not. Outside Catalysts, the potions/effects I proposed, and dividing alchemy into skill tiers, everything else is the same as the current system. It is possible things could be worded better or with more clarity; since I wrote it I "know" what everything means intuitively, but it may not be easy for others to understand. But alchemy, and crafting systems in general, are ways for players to express their characters - a healer would want healing potions, a rogue would want poisons, a warrior would want buffs, a mage would want damage. Therefore a crafting system has to accommodate to the needs of the players and the builds they want to play. Thus between the reagents, the %chance to fail, and the variety of craftable items, a crafting system is naturally going to seem complex to someone who is unfamiliar with the system, much like a magic ritual may seem complex to someone who doesn't study magic.
You bring up a good point about the bandages. Between them being provided with the potion and having to bring your own, I'd side with them being provided. I didn't see a "fine" as a possible status within the rules (and it's possible I missed it) for other methods of healing, so I went with "treated" as a default. I like your suggestions of upgrading to "fine" or the wound still being open based on the type of potion consumed.
As I've read through forum posts, I've noticed a lot of debate about the potential strength of magic (especially vs non-mages). The temp HP potions are meant to be a way so mundane warriors have access to another method of survivability. On top of that, these potions require a large amount of reagents, and have extremely long cooldowns. From what I have noticed most events hover around 6 hours in length. Even if someone optimized their consumption of Mega Nutrients (+2 temp HP) they should not be able to consume more than 3 in a single event. And as you said, based on the rarity of reagents (an increasing %chance of failure on the alchemist's part), that person may not even have access to that many potions, or have the means to afford them. If someone does have the means, however, I don't see a problem with them investing in being an uber tank if that's what they want to be. If it does end up being too strong or overpowered, though, I am open to nixing it and just having the +1 temp HP potion.
The mana potions were designed to be weak due to the low fantasy setting. I thought about something similar to what you proposed, but I came across a design problem: For someone who builds a human with only tier 1 magic (no reserves), something like 8/all is way too powerful to be practical for them, and would most likely be way too expensive for them to afford. The weaker mana pots are meant for lower level players, while the more powerful ones are meant for more powerful mages. The benefit to using the potions, however, is that the effect is instant as compared to meditating or mana transfering. This is more or less meant for people who want to be battlemages, but also applies to healers. The way I see it, it adds to their burst damage/CC/healing potential without making them godlike (at least, not without significant investment), but the cooldowns also mean they may not entirely negate having to meditate or mana transfer.
I thought about something like your "vaccine" idea, but thought it would be too powerful to just make someone immune to a damage type for a set amount of time. I do have the elemental resist potions, but those only negate 1 point of that type of damage. I'm certainly not opposed to it, but to an extent I envisioned potions that counter status effects to be reactive rather than proactive.
For your reference: Mana Burn is like poison, but hurts someone's mana pool rather than their HP. Blind is exactly that - in RPGs it usually hinders someone's ability to physically attack, but for mechanical purposes I made it function more like a "disarm" that prevents someone from being able to initiate a physical attack. Bleed is basically a poison variant that deals damage over time. Silence is like blind but for mages - it prevents people from casting spells.
I can't say I agree with your snowball concerns, but if over time an "artificer" or "engineer" type class emerges, and the person provided good arguments for their inventions in a way that stays lore-friendly, I personally wouldn't oppose it. Or, possibly more realistically, if someone wanted to create elemental arrows, I wouldn't see an issue with that, either.
Bombs are as class-defining as potions are for alchemists. To not have them is like having fighters that only have shields and no sword, or an archer with a bow but no arrows. But the bombs themselves are basically reflavored spells, with the tradeoff being that unlike arcane or divine magic, there is a steep skill requirement to access these "spells." They are effectively another type of magic, like arcane or divine, and are part of the reason why I turned alchemy into a skill rather than keep it a trade.
I definitely agree that what I've proposed is not perfect. Balance is always a concern for good game design. That's why games like MOBAs and MMOs are constantly patched if something is too strong or too weak. I merely wanted a platform to express my ideas to others and gain feedback to create a more balanced system. Everything I've mentioned above is not necessarily to defend my ideas from criticism, but to express my thoughts behind them, and to improve the system based on player input. And if you have other ideas - please! I would love to hear them.
I'm going to go through and respond in reverse order. Hope that's cool.
I would definitely feel better about bombs and some of the more powerful abilities if Alchemist was a class, but as a trade skill, I don't really feel they're needed. Alchemy would be an augmentation to a class, not a replacement for it. If you want to play a rogue and brew poisons to coat your blade, that's all well and good. Play a caster and use the potions to refill your mana in a pinch and keep yourself in the fight. Play a fighter and fight on past the point of exhaustion using healing potions. In all those cases, alchemy is being used to supplement the core character, rather than override it.
I'm aware of the concepts of mana burn, blind, etc. I just don't believe we have mechanics for those in game, and I don't imagine we are going to be adding them in for a trade skill, though I've been wrong before
With our current system for alchemy, a mana potion takes a handful of reagents and refills all your mana, if memory serves, and they are still few and far between. I worry about negating their usefulness altogether if we make them both harder to produce and less powerful. You'd be reducing supply and demand for an already low-supply good. Using the 8/all system would allow a minor potion to restore all mana to someone with 2nd level magic or less instantly, or mimic all but the most powerful meditations (I believe Syndar Weavers with Greater Meditation can get 9 back, correct me if I'm wrong). As a consumable item that burns multiple reagents (which can range from 3-15 silver apiece, on average), that seems fair to me. Sure there would be some lost potential if being used by a low-level caster, but it would be the same for a character without toughness using a healing potion to restore all their hits.
I like the idea of the nutrients giving +1 hit, since that it a mechanic we have already explored and while substantial, isn't necessarily going to affect the outcome of a fight except in very specific circumstances. As much as I would love to be able to walk into a fight with a potential 26 hits before I take wounds (1 protection, 17 armor, 8 hits with Brynja), that does seem excessive. There are other ways to increase your hit and armor totals, but each of them provide a maximum of +1, so I feel like Alchemist should stay in line with that.
"Fine" in regards to wounds simply refers to them being treated and healed away. I feel like, considering the investment in the item, a fully healed light wound or upgrading a mortal wound to a light wound is balanced and means the staff don't have to remake the potion cards
It's possible that with different wording that the proposals you made would make more sense to me, and I would love to hear input from other people as well; like I said, I've been wrong before. However, I am worried that making things too complicated, while potentially fun and allowing for more creativity, creates a higher barrier to entry for new or casual players looking to get into the trade. Some kits have extensive physical props needed (looking at you Blacksmiths, Healers, and Barkeeps), and some can be a little wonky (Healers, Weavers, etc.), but they're all ultimately pretty straight forward. Keep in mind, the rules are meant for the players, but they also need to be easy enough to comprehend that a staff member can quickly and fairly make a judgment call on the fly if an Alchemist has a question. The more complicated the trade is, the harder it will be for someone who hasn't practiced it to make such a decision. Also, the potions listed in the current trade manual are not a comprehensive list. If you want to develop a new potion, a fun poison to play with, or potential buffs, you can do so! Just work with a staff member, put in the leg-work on screen, and keep at it!
I'm glad you took the time to write out your defense of the trade. I think you have a lot of really good ideas in there.
I'll simply follow along with your points in response.
To begin: What I have created here is effectively an alchemy class, expressed in tiers like arcane and divine magic are, and balanced under that presumption. I just want to be clear on that point. This system does allow for splashing if a rogue wants to learn basic poisons, or if a mage wants mana pots, or a healer wants health pots and buffs. It's designed with that philosophy in mind, so I think we are at least in agreement on how alchemy should work. But to me it seems you may be conflating using potions with being the one who creates them. None of those archetypes are famed for consuming potions, they're famed because the warrior held the line, or the rogue executed a perfect flank, or the mage used a game-changing spell, or the cleric brought someone back to life miraculously. They may use potions and poisons but that doesn't necessarily have to define their character unless the player wants it to. Again I think we are in agreement on this.
The forms of crowd control listed are all pretty common (if not standard) in most RPGs and MOBAs, so I have no doubt most players would be able to pick up on them. As you mention later, though, some do have effect cards to help players. Personally I'm not fond of mana burn, but I thought I would include it for those that do appreciate it. It is effective vs mages to help keep them in line, but I see it as a rather anti-fun mechanic.
I've unfortunately not had much luck in speaking with players who have invested in the current alchemy skill, and I would certainly like more discussion with them. But frankly, the current baseline potions (as found in the trade manual) and what you propose with the 8/all for mana goes back to the design flaw we've now both mentioned of not catering to lower level characters. It makes sense the current baseline potions would be rare because they would be considered too powerful to be considered baseline potions in just about every other game. What I have done here is provide scaling. The simple solution, as I've proposed, rebalances the number the reagents required to produce lesser and greater effects. What I've devised gives something to players of all power levels, however, I recognize it also relies on the logic that weaker potions are made using cheaper, more common ingredients, whereas stronger potions like the current baseline potions would be relatively rarer due to using rarer and more expensive reagents, and that's kind of a point I want to make with this system. I kept the reagents simple with just 3 classes (healing, mana, poison), but I'm certainly up for discussion about using specific ingredients. For example pineed sap could be a common reagent for small health potions and is relatively cheap, and gold fynch leaves would be rarer and more expensive, but used to create large health potions. That goes back into the complexity issue, however.
I understand the precedent set of only +1 bonuses. I'm not opposed to ways that go above that precedent should other skills and trades get buffed in the future, but for now I think you're right in that it makes sense that if everything else only gives +1 bonuses to things, then alchemy would be capped at +1 as well.
I understand what "fine" would mean mechanically, but again I didn't ever see it as a result of providing other forms of healing. If I'm wrong on this, then I'm certainly happy to adjust accordingly, but based on my current knowledge I worried turning wounds to "fine" would be too strong compared to other healing methods.
This goes back to what I mentioned before about how my perceptions may be skewed but to me the system I created really isn't that complicated. There is a skill curve, yes, but it's not much different than having to learn the mechanics behind spells for example. They all require at least some effort on the player's part to understand them and gain any system mastery. However, I think one perception issue with the document I've created is that because it includes everything for tiers 1 through 3 it looks daunting. But as an example, if each tier was separated, you can see that tier 1 alchemists can only create small health and mana pots (or some weak poisons if they go that route). Perhaps manuals could be made by or provided to the alchemist that only lists items based on the tier they belong in (so a tier 1 manual only lists tier 1 potions, a tier 2 manual only lists tier 2 potions, and same for tier 3). This is similar to the current trade manuals, but I definitely think having an easy way to reference what the alchemist is making for the alchemist and staff alike is important.
Slightly related, slightly tangential, but one thing I wanted to bring up is that arcane and divine magic have cyphers that have to be solved to unlock stronger abilities. I didn't come up with anything pre-planned but I'd be interested in the idea that something similar can be used to represent a player's or character's understanding of alchemy to unlock stronger potions. If you have any ideas on this I'm all ears!
Thanks again for your input. I appreciate having the outside perspective. I didn't mean to be so long-winded about this but writing it out has definitely helped me assess my work and organize my own thoughts. Cheers.
Last Edit: Mar 25, 2020 18:03:16 GMT -5 by yossarian