>the absurdity of putting an imageboard post through proper cycles of revision, editing, and proofing that struck me as a little too much.
Almost every time I've posted in this thread I write out my response in a separate program like word or whatever because I know I'm going to need to write it out and then edit it to have it make any semblance of sense. You're just taking that strategy to its logical conclusion. Makes sense to me
>Which TTRPG did you previously run
I've run two D&D campaigns and a vampire: the masquerade campaign. All of them were homebrew campaigns I made from scratch, but the D&D campaigns were set in Skyrim, so I was pulling on a lot of existing lore there so I was more free to improv and tell new stories riffing on the commonly understood source material. There were only a few times where my vision of elder scrolls differed with players, but that could also potentially mire such a campaign. I love the freedom in games like these, but after group conflict shut down two of those three campaigns I’ve been left quite jaded now so I don’t know if I’ll actually do it again. Though if I do, I’m better armed for it.
>what sorts of things change in these post-battle scenes, and on what basis do they change?
It has been a minute since I played, but some of the stuff is obvious, like if your sex bits change or you grow a new body part (like becoming a centaur or a naga) then that can trigger a different version of the scene than you saw before. Like if you didn’t have a dick and now do, the scene is going to mention your member now when it didn’t before. The game also makes use of “corruption”, so some scenes have different descriptions/events based on your corruption level with more corruption leading to you acting more depraved. For persistent NPCs, their sex scenes can change slowly over time. For instance, there's a lizard girl whose anal sex scene changes as you have anal with her more and she gets more into it, a centaur who gets more dominant the more he tops you, and a shark girl who gets more dominant if she bests you in combat and vice versa. I like the idea of gradual change, but I have a pretty distinct memory of having gotten a scene with a character once, then the same scene the next time I took the same action with them so I assumed that was just the only outcome. As I continued taking the action (I was trying to increase their affection for me) I was just scrolling past it when I noticed a scrap of text I hadn't seen before. I re read the scene and found that while the first paragraph as the same following ones were now different and the scene was going differently than it had previously. I have no idea when that happened, since I hadn't been paying super close attention to the text, so my only guess is the game was changing the event as the character and I grew closer to eachother, but since it had spit out the exact same text 2-3 times and the new text looked superficially similar I was conditioned to not read it and therefore almost missed that change.
>I'd like to avoid the "mana as root resource" pattern, That said, it's such a fundamental thing that I suspect one can only elaborate on it rather than eliminate it.
I always liked the way it was implemented in the EO games. You can heal with spells (spending mana), health restore items, the tent item that lets you camp in the field, or by returning to town and resting at an inn. The obvious choice is to heal with spells until you re out of mana, then return to town to get your spell juice back. This also makes sense since survival early on is based heavily on skill you, you need to spend your TP to kill enemies that are at your level without taking a ton of damage. Later on, you can supplement with healing items, but those cost money and take up inventory space that could have been used for loot, so you’re essentially trading the resources you got through grind for the ability to extend your dungeon stay by adding to your resource pool you can draw from. Tents act as a buffed form that heal way more and even restore TP, but they can’t be used in combat. All this winds up working out because EO makes heavy use of shortcuts, warp wires, and incremental progress. That first time through you run out of resources a quarter of the way through the floor, and you have to bail but you got more money and xp. If you have a warp wire, it’s easy to just push as hard as you possibly can, then warp out once you’re fully out of mana. When you come back, you can get further with your new levels/gear/good map that helps you avoid dead ends. You get even more money, maybe you use a tent you bought to help you get to the end of the floor, where you find that there’s a hidden shortcut that will allow you to skip ahead next time you come back to the dungeon. All this links up with the desire to explore and map the whole floor, because the mapping is kind of its own reward. I have found the stairs to the next level several times, only to mark it on my map and keep looking around the floor I’m on right now so I can finish my map or get more exp or fill my inventory with monster loot. The games might be objectively grindy, and yes I have lost 45+ minutes of progress because I pushed too hard and died because I made a mistake in my planning/ran out of resources/that stupid monkey FOE just popped out of nowhere how was I supposed to know it was going to do that and you can only run from combat by walking backwards so if there just happens to be another foe behind you and you cant kill this one then you are dead.
All this is to say I hear you, but with the right supporting systems mana can make a solid limiting resource, and like you mentioned mana can be so core that it is difficult to eliminate entirely. I don’t know if I have suggestions for improving/modifying a mana system, other than a general statement that you have to think about how mana interacts with everything else in the game since it’s never going to exist in isolation.
>Related is the "walk three steps and sleep" pattern, where a rest mechanic means you end up progressing through somewhere at a stutter-step because resting is the only way to replenish the resources that allow you to survive.
Ok, totally different game, but elder scroll daggerfall is a game where you can only heal and regenerate your mana by resting. In that game I think it works because it’s part of the game’s difficulty and progression curve (and also I just like those kinds of immersive sim games, that helps for sure). Most every quest you receive is on a time limit of some kind, it may be very generous like a month, but it’s still there. Early on your character is low in skill, they fail their spell casts, they get hit often, they struggle to hit enemies, etc. When you are new to the game you may make bad choices which lead to you wasting health/mana and requiring you to rest more, potentially failing your quests if you make enough mistakes or your character isn’t prepared for dungeon delves. But with use your skills go up, and eventually you can cast that healing spell with no fail chance, you hit enemies more often, you are less likely to be hit yourself, and you even have a skill that increases the health you heal by resting. All this means that as you progress in the game, you need to rest less and when you do you spend less time doing so. I definitely smashed that rest button a lot in daggerfall, but after playing a while I found myself getting into the dungeons way more than skyrim/oblivion, since I the later games any mistake I made that didn’t result in instant death would just go away with time as the resources I spent all passively regenerated. It’s not for everyone, but I find these systems that treat your resources as something that can be depleted interesting to play around.
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