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Thread: Draconians, Insectoids, & Orcs: Any Last Thoughts?

  1. #21
    The discussion in the draconian discussion thread was essentially that they were all draconians, but like the equality of animals in Animal Farm, some are more draconian than others. The lowest caste is, mechanically speaking, lizardmen, but they're still members of the same species, and genetics can cause a higher-caste draconian to be born from lower-caste parents, or vice versa. (Although a child of lower caste is something that might be a shame to the parents and the child both - a common practise might be for such "throwbacks" to be adopted out or otherwise raised as if they were born to similar-caste parents all along. Similarly, having a child of a higher caste than you might formally be an honour, but may also have its downsides - the envy of your same-caste peers, while the higher-caste child is looked down on by their peers in the higher caste due to their lowlier origins.)

    Basically, not necessarily slaves, but certainly second- (or lower-) class citizens.

    The Spartan analogue is an interesting one, though. If we do feel it's appropriate to base draconian society so closely on the Greeks, it could be that lower-caste draconian troops are citizen-soldiers like most of the historical Greek states, expected to finance their own equipment through the funds earned through their peacetime occupations (with the usual breakdown that provides of light infantry from the lowest classes, heavy infantry from the middle class, and cavalry from the upper classes). Winged draconians, however, might be like the Spartans in that they HAVE no peacetime occupation - they're expected to spend all their time preparing for war, whether as fighters, spellcasters, or so on.

    This sort of society breakdown would also provide some cultural backing for how the draconian troops (if merged with lizardmen) would be likely to be used. Those on foot and from the citizen-soldier classes are more suited for use as garrisons - where they're close to their peacetime occupations - while the flying draconians are more likely to be spread out to the four corners, exploring and conquering.

    Thinking on this, actually, would a "citizen-soldier" or "reservist" mechanic be a useful addition to the game, not just for draconians but for other races as well? Basically, this would be an ability possessed by some units that means, when garrisoning a city of their own race (or at least a relatively friendly one), they require less upkeep than they normally do - because under these circumstances, these "soldiers" are spending some of their time engaged in peacetime occupations that cover part of their maintenance. A balancing factor could be that, if units in WoM earn experience per turn like they do in MoM, citizen-soldiers earn less while receiving the benefits of the citizen-soldier rule, since they're spending less time in training than full-time soldiers would be.

  2. #22
    Battlemage Cirno9destiny's Avatar
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    The citizen-soldier concept is a good idea but i'm doubtful it should be a widespread concept. I can see the Draconians having some, and the insectoids having similar but other than that no other race stands out as something that could have them in a way that makes sense. Plus the rarity of the unit type helps make those races a tad bit unique when compared to the rest.

    However I can't shake the feeling they are only really going to be useful early game and might be a bit hindered late game due to thier slow growth, if such a thing is a...thing in WoM.
    'Everything you wanted to know about Dark Elves that i'm allowed to post' - thread coming soon

  3. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Cirno9destiny View Post
    The citizen-soldier concept is a good idea but i'm doubtful it should be a widespread concept. I can see the Draconians having some, and the insectoids having similar but other than that no other race stands out as something that could have them in a way that makes sense.
    Haven't looked at the more conventional races enough to know whether they'd fit or not. For less idealistic medieval humans, for instance, the rule would work well for a unit that's basically a mass of conscripted peasants, since said conscripted peasants would simply be put back to work whenever they're not on the field - but I don't know if something like that is in the current High Men lineup.

  4. #24
    Battlemage Cirno9destiny's Avatar
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    I don't think they have. Unhallowed don't. Elves don't seem to atm. Dark Elves... might not need to due to reasons *innocent whistle* and Dwarfs are a mystery.

    Out of curiosity, would anyone want to see Insectoids to be influanced by Moe? My little slug-for-a-butt can't be this cute? Tsundere Maido insectoids going "I'm not fighting for you because I like you or anything, idiot." to the player.
    'Everything you wanted to know about Dark Elves that i'm allowed to post' - thread coming soon

  5. #25
    Out of curiosity, would anyone want to see Insectoids to be influanced by Moe?
    I might have missed it. Who/What is Moe?
    My RPG Design and Theory Blog: http://socratesrpg.blogspot.com/

  6. #26
    although the discussion has centered around Draconians faction in the game, I will try with a input to Insectoid fraction.

    I have the starting point that Insectoid fraction. Must be different than other factions if it is possible, Furthermore you have to try to get some of the things that makes insects so special.

    if we look at ants or bees, their communities very efficient and all working together toward the common good

    insect work should be among the game's most productive, on the other hand, there will be no need for gold in an insect society and it could be made somewhat similar to the undead faction


    when it comes to fighting there is not a group of animals which are more terrifying than insects, there is special soldiers insects that sacrifice themselves without blinking for community interests, moreover, insects are equipped with a formidable arsenal of weapons (Poison, web, claws , etc.) and an exoskeleton which acts as a natural armor.

    What it boils down to is that the Insectoid fraction should be good to producer and have strong troops.
    To make a bance in the game this must be offset by a weakness, here one could make the insectoids in to a Hive mind, that is, each troop must have its own Hive mind, this Hive mind unit could be relatively weak and easy to defeat if Hive mind is defeated the rest to the units are going to stop fighting, and the battle would be won for opponents. This will introduce a unique style of play for this fraction where one will need to spend a certain portion of the troops to protect its Hive mind

    Just a input

  7. #27

    Insectoid fraction

    although the discussion has centered around Draconians faction in the game, I will try with a input to Insectoid fraction.

    I have the starting point that Insectoid fraction. Must be different than other factions if it is possible, Furthermore you have to try to get some of the things that makes insects so special.

    if we look at ants or bees, their communities very efficient and all working together toward the common good

    insect work should be among the game's most productive, on the other hand, there will be no need for gold in an insect society and it could be made somewhat similar to the undead faction


    when it comes to fighting there is not a group of animals which are more terrifying than insects, there is special soldiers insects that sacrifice themselves without blinking for community interests, moreover, insects are equipped with a formidable arsenal of weapons (Poison, web, claws , etc.) and an exoskeleton which acts as a natural armor.

    What it boils down to is that the Insectoid fraction should be good to producer and have strong troops.
    To make a bance in the game this must be offset by a weakness, here one could make the insectoids in to a Hive mind, that is, each troop must have its own Hive mind, this Hive mind unit could be relatively weak and easy to defeat if Hive mind is defeated the rest to the units are going to stop fighting, and the battle would be won for opponents. This will introduce a unique style of play for this fraction where one will need to spend a certain portion of the troops to protect its Hive mind

    Just a input

  8. #28
    Archmage of the Central Tower Happerry's Avatar
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    Not something that should be in this game, in my opinion. Look here.

  9. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Happerry View Post
    Not something that should be in this game, in my opinion. Look here.
    Thanks for the link, Happerry. And, uh, yeah that's definitely not for this game...
    My RPG Design and Theory Blog: http://socratesrpg.blogspot.com/

  10. #30
    Archmage of the Outer Ring jamoecw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ampoliros View Post
    @jamoecw - In the broad sense I know what efficiency is... What do you mean specifically with all your use of the word in your race descriptions?
    well i picked pretty general terms, mainly so that a balance of mechanics create a feel over lore (which should match the feel of the faction). so high efficiency of high level infrastructure means that cities that have been building up for a while produce more than a city from an average faction. so that if you need high end units a balanced (production wise) big city should be able to produce and care for high end units (upkeep and what not), while a small city wouldn't be able to as well (such as if you rushed military buildings for high end units but neglected everything else). in MoM this was the availability of more advanced production structures, and sometimes racial production bonuses, but it could be that a race got a citywide bonus to boost an empire with lots of small cities instead of per pop. ultimately something with high efficiency high level infrastructure would have more capable large cities than the average faction, of course high efficiency low level infrastructure would have better small cities, and if they have low efficiency high level infrastructure then as the city grows and you invest in its infrastructure it should get out paced by the average faction's cities at equal levels of growth.

    as for unit efficiency it means that overall a unit of a given tier should be either better or worse than average. high efficiency could mean anywhere from a flying unit with the same strength as a walking unit, to a walking unit that will beat an average faction unit of equal tier level and cost or upkeep. in other words if everything else is equal an army of low efficiency units should lose to high efficiency units (so a faction shouldn't have low efficiency without high efficiency somewhere to balance it out).

    Quote Originally Posted by Draxynnic View Post
    Right. *cracks knuckles*

    In order to give myself some more time to think about the others, I'm going to start on the draconians. Some of this is repeating stuff I've said before, but for the purpose of getting all my thoughts in one spot, I think it's worthwhile:

    Big-picture conceptual thoughts:

    The draconians in Master of Magic were, essentially, the ultimate mobility race. Between flight, the increased move speed of base units (in v1.31) and access to the fastest non-sailing mundane unit in the game in the airship, the draconians have an unparalleled ability to scout, quickly move their forces to a location, and generally to pick and choose their targets. The draconians are also the only race that can build a combined-arms air force without adding fantastic units or units for other races - while other races have a single token flying unit that is either a melee or shooting unit (okay, the Dark Elf nightmares can do both adequately, but that's their schtick), the draconians can build dedicated flying melee (basic infantry, Doom Drakes) and ranged (bowmen, shamans, airships, magicians) units.

    The price for this, however, is fragility. Compared to the units of most other Myrran races, draconian units are rather weak, while they maintain the high price tag of Myrran units preventing them from being able to be built and maintained in the numbers that an army of Arcanus units can achieve. To be successful, a leader of draconians needs to use their mobility to outmaneuver the enemy - striking less well defended locations before the enemy can send reinforcements, using flying to stalemate attackers when possible (something that may or may not be possible at all in WoM), and when such stalemates are not possible, concentrating their forces to intercept attackers rather than trying to maintain sufficient garrisons in all of their holdings.

    In the structure of "rushers" versus "builders", draconians are a hybrid. While they have the ability to build nearly every building, their unique units (which most players are likely to concentrate on) are available quite early on (doom drakes as soon as most races get cavalry) while they lack access to high-power top-tier units like paladins or warlocks. Wizards starting with draconians as their starting city, then, are rewarded by quickly scouting out their surroundings and dispatching doom drakes and/or air ships to conquer whatever they find.

    Since we're looking at combining the lizardmen (albeit still called draconians, just a subspecies without the wings) with the draconians, it's worth looking at how they were used as well. Basically, while they lack actual flight and are denied most of the building list (putting them firmly in the category of 'rushers') lizardmen are, unsurprisingly, essentially the Arcanus equivalent of draconians in style - they can quickly scout over the map and launch amphibious assaults regardless of terrain. However, their units, including the dragon turtle, while solid, are nothing to write home about.

    Combining the two actually makes a lot of sense from a gameplay viewpoint as well as a thematic one. Myrran races are, inherently, more 'late game' than Arcanus races even if at a similar stage in development - they're balanced on the assumption that either the wizard has had to build up sufficiently to break through a wizard tower and capture a city to get them, or that the wizard has paid a stiff price in starting picks for the privilige of starting with one (and will, in turn, need to break into Arcanus before they can threaten any wizard who didn't also start with a Myrran race). Lizardmen, on the other hand, have generally plateaued by the time a wizard has the opportunity to punch into Myrror. A lizardmen/draconian combination, then, can roughly model the development of a player that starts with lizardmen, gains access to Myrror, conquers some draconian cities and begins producing draconian units to supplement and ultimately replace the lizardmen units.

    Some of the discussion I've seen has suggested not just starting with nonflyers to reduce the balance issues of gaining access to flight early on, but also removing swimming from the early units so water barriers are not negated right from the start of the game. There's some validity to this, although it really depends on how important water barriers are deemed to be - something that's probably worth trying either way in playtesting. Nevertheless, between swimmers and flyers, the draconians should have an easier time performing amphibious assaults than other races.

    Putting this all together, the general playstyle I'd expect from the draconians as they develop is one of trading off power for the ability to ignore and quickly move across terrain. This starts with swimming units (dragon turtles or the WoM equivalent of that MoM unit, if not regular wingless infantry) and rapidly transitions into an air force that is available faster and with more options than other races can build. The tradeoff, however, is that they lack the powerful ground units or the numbers of other races - once past any initial stages where the draconians are just as landlocked as other races, they need to make use of their mobility and amphibious capability to offset the more powerful (at least on paper) armies of wizards using other races.

    As a general idea of the sort of thing I'm thinking, imagine if we start with the MoM draconians without the growth rate and population penalties, except you get lizardmen spearmen, swordsmen and javelineers instead of draconian spearmen, swordsmen and bowmen, dragon turtles are available from stables and armorer's guild, and slightly buffed doom drakes from animist's guilds (hey, still earlier than the fantastic stable) and possibly requiring a maritime guild or a shipyard plus alchemist's guild for the airships, and that'd be about the general playstyle I'd be inclined to aim for, although the actual specifics of the units may vary.

    Unit details, fluff, and other nitty gritty:

    As an opening comment, I'd say that the suggestions of creating draconians through using existing OGL D20 rules such as applying the half-dragon template to lizardfolk or dragon disciple class levels is probably ill-advised... especially if we're looking at things like basic winged draconian infantry (and I certainly hope there will be some winged draconian infantry, rather than all winged draconians being characters and top-end units). Instead, I think it would be better to simply create a new draconian race to serve as a basis for the winged draconians - possibly as a lizardmen subrace mechanically-speaking, but not as much of a buff to the basic form as adding the full half-dragon template would represent (not to mention that that template technically wouldn't have the desired effect, as it only grants wings to Large or larger creatures). I'd also rather not see draconians showing up of all of the colours of dragonkind in the D20 system - instead, I'd advocate most draconians not being obviously linked to a specific colour of dragon, with those that do show signs of being related to a specific draconic subspecies being a small minority of powerful individuals that that hold a particularly strong link to dragonkind, such as dragon disciples and actual half-dragons.

    In the draconian discussion thread, as well as the idea of different castes (starting as basically lizardmen, then getting a breath weapon, then breath weapon and wings), one idea that seemed well-received was basing them loosely on the classical Greeks. If we take this to its logical extent, we can get some inspiration for what the land-based side of the draconian army might look like.

    On thinking of classical Greek armies, in my mind there are two troop types that immediately come to mind. Hoplites would serve as the equivalent of MoM swordsmen - traditionally these came from the middle classes of Greek society, which for our draconians could mean the middle, firebreathing caste, or just better-equipped members of the lower caste. Peltasts are javelineers (fitting that the culture also happens to bring javelineers back) - more lightly armoured, and coming from the lower caste. The equivalent of spearmen could be lower-caste warriors that fight unarmoured, harkening back to the classical image of the Greek warrior with helm and shield but otherwise naked (although of course a scaled draconian warrior would be less vulnerable in that state than a human).

    Moving up, the equivalent of halberdiers could be the sarissa-armed pezhetairos - less armoured than the hoplites, more suited to repelling cavalry, but not as effective as the true pikemen that I expect to see from more medieval races. Ground-based cavalry, whether riding dragon turtles or some other suitable reptilian war beast, are among the most elite of non-winged draconians, including having the capability to breathe fire.

    Obviously, once we get to flying units, we leave the area of inspiration from historical units. Flying infantry (which I hope to be there) I'd see using a weapon designed for flying combat - I'm visualising something like a double spear with the blades designed for slashing as well as stabbing, which can be used to thrust down at a ground target from above, or wielded like a quarterstaff against an aerial opponent. Flying ranged troops could be archers, spellcasters, or a special cadre of firebreathers that have practised at spitting fire over longer ranges.

    As has been observed, the true D20 dragons are a bit too tough and intelligent to serve as mounts for any but the most powerful individuals, but as was also observed in the draconian discussion thread, there should be some suitable dragon-like mount that fits. Wyverns are probably a good option, or simply follow in MoM's footsteps and have firebreathing drakes. These I see as being ridden by members of the winged caste - the justification they give to lower castes is that it's not safe for them to take to the air on a flying mount without having their own wings to fly off a dying or otherwise compromised mount if necessary. The truth, though, is that they're simply loathe to extend the honour of riding a wyvern or firedrake to the lesser castes.

    One controversy that I observed in the discussion thread was on airships. In Master of Magic, airships were widely viewed as the main combat unit you'd build out of a draconian city, while in the discussion thread there was a common opinion that the draconians wouldn't bother with ships at all, flying or otherwise.

    Personally, I'm inclined to disagree. Partially because I like the idea of flying ships, but more because, practically speaking, I'd expect them to recognise that their flyers can't necessarily carry everything they need on campaign. Supplies and siege weapons could possibly be carried across water on the backs of dragon turtles and the like, but personally I'd rather that the swimming cavalry was just swimming cavalry and the draconians do in fact have ships they use to transport things that can't swim across water - although these 'ships' may lack sails and oars, and instead be effectively barges that are towed by swimming draconians or trained amphibious reptiles.

    On the air ship specifically - a similar level of practicality would suggest that if the draconians have the magical skills to make flying ships, they'd do it. This may be done as the form of airship in older versions of Master of Magic, as a means of transporting the nonflying lower-caste troops so they can keep up with the flyers. Alternatively, the airship could be treated as the airship in later versions of Master of Magic - unable to carry extra cargo, but its purpose is pretty much purely as a flying platform for a siege engine that the draconians wouldn't be able to bring with them any other way. In designing the airship if it is to be included, though, it's worth thinking about the practicalities of a ship that flies through the air - a flying ship with a conventional sail would likely be prone to being blown over. Instead, the airship concept would probably work better if it had multiple small sails around the hull rather than one or two on the top, or even if it went without sails entirely and was instead towed by one of the flying beasts raised by the draconians.

    Well... that went a little longer than I expected. Now to think on the insectoids and refresh myself on any previous discussions on them...
    very well thought out, i'm not 100% sold on everything but i am sold in general. perhaps the flying units could use voulges? as for the bow used by the flyers, how about the bows used while sitting in the movie hero? have the bows attached to their feet and drawn back with their hands, which would allow a higher pound pull and would naturally aim it at the ground. as for the flying barges, a similar concept was done by alexander the great when he needed to take an island.

    spartans conquered other minor city states and used their troops as auxilia units 'unfit' for spartans, so the flying units could be like the spartans, and the others could be the conquered auxilia units, as this still leave lizard factions open for dlc. spartans would also send the kids to be raised by the state by the age of 5, this was to break the family unit as a means of something to compete for the loyalty of sparta, so kids didn't know their parents and vice versa. having all eggs brought to a hatchery and having them raised by the state then placed into castes when their features developed is also a possibility (not necessarily mutually exclusive either).

    ultimately the idea is a kinda like the battle for wesnoth's drake faction, a flying race that breathes fire mixed with a swimming lizard race, both relying heavily on mobility to win.

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