Frayed Knights 2 Development Update

In the latest development update blog for Frayed Knights 2 Jay "Rampant Coyote" Barnson goes over the progress he made with his procedurally generated spells system. The initiative system apparently was revised too, making it look like there will be some substantial gameplay changes in the sequel:
One aspect of making the spells was to make them sound over-the-top, a little like spells from old-school Dungeons & Dragons, Tunnels & Trolls, or the original release of Hackmaster. I think I succeeded. Here are some of my favorites:

(Baba Yaga's Unbelievable Armor Intensification)
(Primordial Magic Defense Impairment of Ariel)
(Underwhelming Revival)
(Fangal's Cryptic Magic Defense Bonus)
(Arkan's Introductory Magic Defense Failure)
(Sufficient Vim)
(Cleansing of Apuleius)
(Penelope's Occult Boon)
(Oakfather's Empowerment)
(Wimpy Spellwipe)
(Wussy Crawl)
(Worthy Armor Restriction)
(Brutus's Explosive Core Punishment)
(Zalem's Unfathomable Spiky Devastation)

I'll tell ya I want to use Zalem's Unfathomable Spiky Devastation just based on the name. (For the record, it's a Sorcerer spell that does piercing damage to a single target). Sadly, the random tables are pretty large, so the chances I'll ever see that spell again are almost non-existent. To be honest, I learned quite a few new words as I was putting together the tables. I'd never even heard the word, (caliginous) before (and it still fails my spell-checker). Pretty cool stuff, really. I learned a lot of new words reading Gary Gygax's text back when I was a kid, too.

Although if I decide to localize for other languages, I've got some serious challenges in hand.

Of course, amusing-but-plausible spell names are only a tiny part of the equation. Most of the magic of the magic system, so to speak, comes from the formulas that make it work, and how they work with the rest of the system. Now, as far as balancing is concerned, we won't know (for sure) until we're deep into testing. But since it's all based on what worked and was (reasonably) balanced in FK1, I think we're going to at least start out in the same ballpark.

Since the action system has been completely redone from the ground up, there are a few things that may need addressing. For example, in FK1, all (Mass) spells (which affected an entire group) required the use of a spellstone. They were just too powerful without that limiting factor, even with a high endurance cost. Now, although they currently still have a spellstone cost, mass / group spells also require a higher action tier, which slows down their use. Will that be enough to balance them all by itself? I'm not sure.

In FK1, I had never-exercised code that also handled '˜rank' area effects a spell that could effect all enemies within a single rank (distance). All two of them, max, as it turns out. But as the list of spells started getting out of control, I realized there was just not enough room for it, so no spells took advantage of it. But now it's entirely possible to generate all kinds of potential spells, and let players mix and match their (optimum loadout) for whatever situations they can expect. In addition to (rank) based area effect, there are more: (Penetrating) area effects that actually affect creatures behind your target. Then there's (explosive,) which might be the most challenging one to balance. It's sort of a lower-strength (Mass) spell effect: The primary target gets hit with the full effect, and all other members of the target's group get hit with reduced versions of the effects. Then there are (self-only) spells. These spells can't be targeted and only affect the caster. but they are more powerful than normal.

Also, since I didn't find some space to post it earlier, you might want to read Jay's ideas on how to make exploration more interesting in CRPGs. It's good stuff.