Monsters And Statistics
So, I have this dim view that soonish… maybe by the end of April, if I have time… I will officially declare Earth Delta to be in Beta. This involves deciding exactly what needs to be done to establish "Beta State". I want the game to be playable to level 10, which means as cool as power armor and death machines might be, most of my design work is focused on filling in the Heroic Tier experience, with just enough stuff for higher levels to:
- Satisfy my desire to work on them
- "Scout out" high level stuff to make sure nothing I do at low levels will break
- Serve as a "teaser" for interested readers as to where the design is going.
Since one of my core design goals is that Earth Delta not be relegated solely to the "Beer & Pretzels"/"Pickup Game" ghetto, making sure that "epic level play" is supported is important, but it has to rest on a solid foundation of low level play.
Until now, I’ve been mostly making monsters based on whims, or whenever a horrid pun comes to mind. Certainly, some has been niche-driven; I knew there had to be mounts, there had to be Cryp… er… Cataclysm Cult representatives, there had to be hungry plants, and so on. However, design has mostly been driven thus far by simply getting an idea and running with it. I decided to take a good look at what I’d done so far, and work out what tactical, as opposed to conceptual, niches were unfilled.
Dungeons & Dragons & Databases
Someone, somewhere, has got to have written a program that combines a word processor and a database. So much of what you do when writing an RPG is managing structured data — powers, skills, feats, monsters, whatever, it’s all formatted information with blocks of fluff text. Unfortunately, if such a program exists, I haven’t found it. So I went through all my monsters in Word and typed them into Excel, organizing by role, level, and so on. This instantly showed me where the gaps were. I don’t want to artificially create a monster for every intersection of role and level, but when I’ve got 9 Skirmishers and 3 lurkers, something’s off. Ditto 6 level 2 monsters and 2 level 9s. Some serious hole plugging needs to get done. Ultimately, I’d like to "ship" the beta with 75 or so critters. I’ve got 48 so far, so this isn’t an unreasonable goal, and looking at the empty spots is a good way to get my mind working.
In the interests of providing some actual content, here’s the current critter selection. This may or may not be what shows up in the next alpha, never mind the beta, but it’s what I’ve got on disk now.
|Annihilation Army Rampager||1||Minion||Minion|
|Alpha Class Child Guardian Unit||2||Standard||Soldier|
|Annihilation Army Fury||8||Elite||Brute|
|Annihilation Army Paindancer||5||Standard||Skirmisher|
|Annihilation Army Spiker||2||Standard||Soldier|
|Beast Legion Centurion||4||Standard||Soldier|
|Beast Legion Milites||2||Minion||Minion|
|Beta Class Civilian Security Bot||3||Standard||Artillery|
|Bloodger Slasher Knight||5||Standard||Soldier|
|Bloodger Slasher Squire||2||Standard||Skirmisher|
|Cleansing Flame Abjurer||3||Standard||Artillery|
|Cleansing Flame Fanatic||4||Minion||Minion|
|Cleansing Flame Purifier||7||Standard||Controller|
|Cleansing Flame Templar||5||Standard||Soldier|
|Crazed Beta Class Civilian Security Bot||4||Standard||Artillery|
|Gamma Class Emergency Medical Bot||6||Standard||Controller|
|Scorpant, Acid Spitting||8||Standard||Artillery|
|Scorpant, Greater Crimson||9||Elite||Soldier|