Molly was just your average high school student until that fateful day when she came across a portal to another world on her way home from school. Molly was very excited to journey to another world. She imagined that it would be just like the fantasy novels she had read so many times, full of adventure and romance. She boldly stepped into the portal.
Unfortunately, she was killed mere moments after stepping into the new world simultaneously by a werewolf, zombie, and vampire. Fortunately, she then became Molly the Were-Zompire, champion of justice and defeater of bad guys!
So basically, Molly the Were-Zompire is this freeware RPG that I'm working on just for fun. It differs from your standard RPG in a few noticeable ways:
#1 - It's completely text-based. This is partially because I'm not a particularly good artist and partially because I want to get a working version of the game up quickly and not get bogged down with "prettying it up."
#2 - It's very focused. No exploration. Little plot. This game is all about the elements of gameplay that electronic RPGs are most known for: combat & character management.
Essentially, the game is a puzzle/RPG hybrid, but not in the way that Puzzle Quest was. Whereas Puzzle Quest was essentially a puzzle game with RPG trappings, this game will be an RPG with puzzle trappings.
#1 - The game is broken up into stages. Each stage begins as a clean slate: there is no character progression from stage to stage. Instead, each stage starts by giving you some characters to put in your party who start at preset LVs (some stages will give the player a choice in whom to include in your party, whereas others are fixed).
#2 - Stages consist of several waves of enemies with a boss wave at the end. Beat a certain number of enemy groups in a wave to advance to the next wave. Defeat the boss at the end to finish the stage.
#3 - Some waves will have a special optional challenge like "Win a battle without being hurt" or "Deal at least x points of damage in a single attack." If the challenge is met, the player is rewarded with stuff like additional XP, gold, points (no practical use but nice for the in-game leaderboard), items & accessories.
#4 - Character progression will be rapid within stages with characters gaining LVs and abilities frequently.
#5 - The game takes on a puzzle element in that the player can view detailed information about the various enemy groups beforehand (enemies, their stats, their attacks, and the rewards for defeating them) and so can use that information to determine their course of action: how to develop their characters, which enemy groups to attack and which to skip, what to spend gold on, and so on.
Basically, the idea for this kind of setup came to me as I came to the realization that I wasn't finishing a lot of RPGs that I was starting. Why wasn't I finishing them? Because I felt like your average RPG got easier and less interesting as the game progressed: by the mid-late game, you knew which characters you were going to use and how you were going to develop them, character progression generally had slowed by that point, and you had already figured out the nuisances of the battle system. I thus came up with the idea of an RPG that was essentially a lot of mini-RPGs where every 15-40 minutes, you started fresh with a new party & new enemies. Thus the idea for the stage based RPG was born.
As for the combat system itself, it'll be using a variable turn based system. Think FFX where everything is turned based, but how fast individual characters turns come up varies depending on their speed and what they're doing. Beyond that, so far, battles have a few unique features.
1 - The Star system - Each encounter, the player chooses one character to be the star of that encounter. Depending on the character, star status confers a different ability or effect, for example, no MP cost for spells, a new spell, or a boosted stat. Once a character is the star, they can't be chosen as the star again until every other member of the party has had their turn at stardom. I figured this would be a good way to keep battle tactics constantly changing as well as add an additional puzzle element to the game (which character do I match up with each battle?).
2 - DP (Defense Points) - For single target enemy attacks, the player determines which character is hit (to go with the non-random, puzzlish nature of the game). Whenever a character or enemy is hurt, they lose 1DP. When DP = 0, that character or enemy's defense stat is cut in half until DP is restored to max (at the start of each battle). Among other things, this is to represent fatigue and to prevent players from having one character take every hit.
I'm also thinking about throwing in some sort of combo system ala Chrono Trigger, but I haven't decided yet.
As for character progression, I was thinking about doing a Civilization-tech tree style system, but after thinking about it, I think that might be a little too complex. Instead I think I might just stick with a simple job system where each character has several jobs, generally unique to that character, and you LV them up by spending XP with increased LVs resulting in higher stats and new abilities. For example, Molly would have three jobs - Zombie, Werewolf, and Vampire - and you could try to LV them up roughly equally for a more balanced and varied character or focus on one or two jobs for a more specialized character.
Well, that's pretty much the gist of it. I hope to have the game up and running in a playable form with a few stages by the end of July (with more stages to come as I make them). I've done some of the preliminary code and planning and don't forsee any major problems arising, but with this sort of thing, you never know. I guess my two big questions are:
1 - Does all this sound fun to anyone besides me? I know a text based game based almost entirely on turn-based RPG combat and LVing up isn't exactly the most mainstream thing.
2 - Any suggestions? :)