Combat Overview: The Basics
Combat is one of the biggest parts of Stash. Our design goal is to make sure combat is deep, engaging, highly tactical, and most of all: fun! We took inspiration from many turn based computer RPGs we love - SSI's "Gold Box" Dungeons & Dragons games (e.g. Pool of Radiance), Planescape: Torment, Temple of Elemental Evil, Bard's Tale, Wizardry, Might & Magic, Baldur's Gate - as well as pen-and-paper and miniature games (D&D, Warhammer). We combined those inspirations with over 20 years of RPG combat design experience. This update will give you an overview of how combat works in general. Keep in mind we are early in development and things can change significantly before the game is released.
A few definitions:
- mob = Generic term for a monster, NPC, etc. It originates from MUDs as it was short for "mobile."
- stat = Catch-all term for your primary stats as well as any other displayed or hidden stats for your character or a mob.
- living = Catch-all term for any living being: PCs and NPCs/mobs.
- CC = Crowd Control. Being CC'd often means a living cannot act until it wears off.
- round = The period of time where every combatant has had a chance to act (unless they are CC'd). The game treats a round as equivalent to 1 game minute.
turn = A specific living's opportunity to act during a round.
At the beginning of an encounter, each combatant makes an initiative roll modified by initiative effects from stats, gear, buffs, abilities, and other modifiers. Ties are broken by luck stat.
Portraits are displayed along the top of the screen showing the current order of initiative. If there is not enough room for all the combatants, < > arrows are added to scroll through combatants.
Battle Planning Phase
Players now have a brief amount of time to confer before the battle begins. The default time for this is X seconds but the party leader can end this by clicking [BATTLE] at any time before the timer expires. During Alpha and Beta testing we will figure out a good default time for X. Currently, X is 60 seconds.
A round of combat is defined by the time it takes for every combatant to have their turn. If they are CC’d they may not actually get to do anything on their turn. Players have X seconds to make their decision each round. Currently, X is 30 seconds. Group leaders may have the ability to change that. This is another area where Alpha and Beta testing will be huge. We want to keep combat fast paced while still allowing time to plan and execute interesting strategies. Options available to a character when their turn begins: :
MOVE - Move up to your max movement of squares.
ACT - Use an ability, attack something, etc.
BRACE - Brace yourself for an aggressor. Delay your ACT until an enemy mob enters an adjacent square. Bracer’s action then happens immediately.
DELAY - Before moving, acting, or bracing, you can DELAY and drop your character to the end of the round. This is permanent for the encounter. You can only delay once per round.
SKIP - Skip your turn.
If you MOVE first, you can move up to your max movement and click STOP when you are done moving. Then the ACT, BRACE, and SKIP options become available.
If you ACT first, you can move afterward.
If you BRACE, that ends your turn (until/unless the BRACE is triggered).
Once you ACT, BRACE is no longer available even if MOVE is still available.
If your character has a "secondary movement" stat, you gain another move-like option after using your first MOVE. This is generally linked to a special ability use. If you have secondary movement, you could move-secondary move-act, move-act-secondary move, act-move-secondary move, etc.
Number of Actions
Actions = Current number of actions remaining
Base # of Actions = Base number of actions per round. This is never modified. For PCs and the vast majority of mobs this is 1.
Actions Modifier = Buffs, Debuffs, etc. can apply a temporary or permanent modifier.
Having more than one action per round is extremely rare and very powerful. This generally only happens for very special boss monsters or really powerful, rare, and temporary buffs for players.
Every character has a "reactions" stat. By default this is 1. Modifications to this will be relatively rare and special.
If an enemy moves from a non-adjacent square to a square adjacent to your character, and your character has at least 1 "reactions" available, your character immediately interrupts the enemy’s movement and can perform one ACT. Think D&D’s “attack of opportunity” but a little more straightforward.
Your character's "reactions" stat is reset every round.
Crowd Control (CC)
- ROOT - Cannot move but can attack. Breaks on damage.
- MEZ (mesmerize) - Cannot move or attack. Breaks on damage.
- HOLD - Cannot move but can attack.
- STUN - Cannot move or attack.
- SILENCE - Cannot use any elemental action.
- DISARMED - Cannot use any weapon based action.
- CHARMED - Will attack allies.
- CONFUSED - Will attack random opponents.
BERSERK - Can only use physical attacks.
Charmed and Confused are forms of CC almost exclusively used by PCs on NPCs. If there are ever bosses who can do these things to PCs, they will be very unique, raid boss type encounters.
Single Target (ST) - A standard single target attack (ranged or melee).
Cleave - An attack that strikes the target and 1 or more adjacent squares.
Area of Effect (AoE) - AoE centered on a targeted object/creature.
Point Blank AoE (PBAOE) - AoE that originates from the character.
Ground Target AoE (GTAOE) - AoE centered on a specific square.
Cone - AoE that originates from the character in a direction with a given starting and ending width as well as distance.
Field - A stationary zone that covers a fixed number and shape of squares. Fields have a duration.
Trap - A single stationary or fixed number and shape of squares that triggers when the square is entered.
Friendly Fire - Some AoEs will harm your allies and some will not. This is part of the balance of those abilities.
There will be many abilities that allow characters to dash around the battlefield, guard their allies against attack, temporarily move more than their base movement, temporarily add "secondary movement", gain an extra action, etc. Intelligent use of the battlefield and objects on the battlefield will have a big impact on your overall combat capability.
Changing any piece of equipped gear requires and consumes an ACTion.
In Combat Healing sources: healers, potions, abilities, items (magic items, vampiric weapons, etc.).
Out of Combat Healing sources: food, making camp, healers, potions, abilities.
Expert players who are able to utilize all the layers of complexity and depth in Stash will be able to defeat much higher level challenges at higher difficulty settings. The rewards are commensurate with the additional challenge.
Players who are not as skilled can still progress by playing lower level dungeons on lower difficulty settings.
This rewards players who master all the layers of combat while still keeping the game viable for less expert players.
That is a lot of information to digest! We welcome your questions and hope this adds to your excitement for Stash!