So, uh... rats.

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TL
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So, uh... rats.

Post by TL » May 1st, 2008, 8:28 pm

I got bored and started fooling around in the GIMP. Yeah, not terribly original, I know--but hey, why not? I may or may not try expanding this into a faction, depending on how much time I have and how much time I end up spending with other projects.
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Re: So, uh... rats.

Post by turin » May 1st, 2008, 9:09 pm

A Wesnoth-Redwall hybrid would be actually be kind of fun to play; though obviously there would be copyright issues, and you'd have to present it as just a generic anthropomorphic-fantasy era.
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Quietus
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Re: So, uh... rats.

Post by Quietus » May 1st, 2008, 9:12 pm

I was thinking more along the lines of Skaven from Warhmmer fantasy. Obviously an exact copy of the army might have legal issues, though a concept like skaven might be rather cool.

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Re: So, uh... rats.

Post by AI » May 1st, 2008, 9:14 pm

Skaven act quite similar to devlings though, how will you differentiate them?

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TL
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Re: So, uh... rats.

Post by TL » May 1st, 2008, 9:27 pm

Quietus wrote:I was thinking more along the lines of Skaven from Warhmmer fantasy.
Hey, we've got already got chaos hordes. I can pop out a few more of these over the next couple of weeks and we'll be all set for all kinds of totally-not-related-to-Games-Workshop goodness.

Actually I think turin probably hit it right the first time. I think these guys may look a little too cute to be skaven analogues. :hmm:
AI wrote:Skaven act quite similar to devlings though, how will you differentiate them?
Still not completely sure where I'd want to take these guys in terms of gameplay. I was toying with the idea of making a stealth-heavy faction, though I'm not sure how well that would work.

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Re: So, uh... rats.

Post by Weeksy » May 2nd, 2008, 9:09 am

large quantities of units with skirmisher, plus l0 units in certain required roles, but perhaps with ambush analogues, so that they'd ZOC the first unit to go into their surrounding hexes, but not units on subsequent turns (until they moved to a hex that wasn't adjacent to an enemy)
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Re: So, uh... rats.

Post by uzytkownik » May 5th, 2008, 9:55 pm

The archer looks too strong. With such muscles he should be lv1/lv2 warrior (without bow).

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Re: So, uh... rats.

Post by TL » May 7th, 2008, 2:49 am

He doesn't really have muscles, he's just hunched over with a bulky cloak. I cleaned things up a bit to lose the illusion of muscles, though, and tweaked the fighter icon as well. Also here's a few other random rat-flavored units (yummy), including a possible upgrade for the fighter.
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Re: So, uh... rats.

Post by Sangel » May 7th, 2008, 4:33 am

This art's quite good, but you might want to post over in the Art Workshop if you want to get constructive critiques on how to make it better.
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TL
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Re: So, uh... rats.

Post by TL » May 7th, 2008, 5:00 pm

Good point. I'll move the art discussion over there.

My ideas on the faction itself are still a bit nebulous. I don't want too many level 0 units as that veers too far from the norms of mainline balancing for my comfort, but there should definitely be a level 0 presence. There should be a strong emphasis on "fighting dirty": poison, backstab, ambush-type abilities. I want an invisibility power of some sort to really distinguish the faction, but this seems to be a bit tricky since invisibility powers tend to be used for flavor purposes more than anything else. Nightstalk is really not the most important feature of shadows, and submerge sure as hell isn't the most important feature of skeletons! Proposing a unit that has invisibility as a major part of its role represents a fairly radical break. It's also fairly difficult to come up with rules for invisibility that are simple, make sense, and aren't too restrictive to be useless or too broad to be overpowered.

Current thoughts on invisibility so far: most of the ratfolk (truly the name drips with creative originality, no?) themselves get the concealment ability starting from level 1. It's a flavor ability, just a nice perk to have which distinguishes them without being all that powerful. One of the unit lines, however, gets the "hides" ability. Simply put, this is ambush for everything except grassland (fords/bridges count as grass for this purpose). To compensate, naturally, this unit line will be relatively weak for its cost.

As far as movetype, I think the ratfolk will mostly stick to the smallfoot standard with some bonuses in caves, probably 1 move and 40% or 50% defense. Maybe slightly less crappy swamp movement as well. 0% resists except for 20% arcane (I'd lower it, but in vs. undead matchups they'd probably need the edge against ghosts since they have no fire damage), but below average HP. Plans for the recruitable lineup so far:

Ratfolk Goon lv 1: Chaotic, 13 gold, 33 HP, 5 moves. Has an 8-2 melee sword attack and a 5-2 sling. Basic grunt, low melee/HP compared to most grunts but inexpensive and a relatively good ranged backup. No concealment ability. Should hopefully be an effective staple vs. undead (like the footpad) without being too unbalancing in that matchup.

Ratfolk Archer lv 1: Chaotic, 16 gold, 28 HP, 6 moves. Has concealment, 3-2 melee dagger and a 7-3 ranged bow attack. One of the faction's higher-end damage dealers.

Ratfolk Sneak lv 1: Chaotic, 16 gold, 26 HP, 6 moves. Hides (ambush in all terrains except grassland), 5-2 backstabbing dagger attack. Crazy stealth powers, but even with backstab its damage is very low for its cost (to say nothing of its HP). Spamming these should be pretty worthless, but recruiting a couple for their hiding ability should be an effective way of keeping the enemy on their toes.

Ratfolk Apothecary lv 1: Chaotic, 15 gold, 25 HP, 5 moves. Has concealment and heals +4, 4-2 staff attack and a 2-3 pierce blowgun with poison. I figure for being a poison-oriented faction it ought to have some minor healing ability; considering ditching heals altogether and giving it only the cures ability instead, though.

Street Urchin lv 0: Chaotic, 10 gold, 14 HP, 7 moves. No concealment, but gets skirmishing. Elusivefoot evasion/resists. 3-2 melee dagger and a 4-1 thrown rock attack. These are human orphans who have fallen in with the ratfolk. Terribly weak, but good expendable scouts for village grabbing and setting up backstabs.

Giant Rat lv 1: Neutral, 11 gold, 28 HP, 5 moves. 5-2 bite attack with poison. Expendable poisoning unit.

Rat Swarm lv 1: Neutral, 12 gold, 38 HP, 4 moves. 4-6 melee blade attack with the swarm special. 20% pierce resist (skewering rats one at a time out of a horde of dozens or hundreds is not an effective way to thin their ranks), 10% blade resist (ditto, although slashing attacks cover a wider area), but -20% fire resist (fire can easily spread and cover a wider area of the swarm). Low evasion though (perhaps around -10% across the board, although maybe full 50% in forest/mushroom grove as there's plenty of cover). Very inexpensive damage sponges with an excellent starting attack, but slow and suffering under the liability of the swarm special.

Ok, this last one is kind of tentative. I was thinking, hey, the faction could use a cavalry unit. But ratfolk live in caves and sewers, which are not good places for horses. Also there's no water-capable unit in the faction yet. So I asked myself, what kind of large amphibious riding animal lives in sewers as its natural habitat? The answer, of course, is obvious:
Crocodile Rider lv 1: Chaotic, 18 gold, 42 HP, 4 moves. 5-4 melee spear, 7-3 bite and 11-2 impact tail slam. Fully amphibious (1 move on grassland and water/swamp) but low evasion (40% and under for all terrains except swamp, where it would get 50%). 10% blade/pierce and 30% impact resistance, but -20% cold. Well-rounded melee tank, slow, but too expensive to be effectively spammable.

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Re: So, uh... rats.

Post by peet » May 9th, 2008, 10:25 pm

I like the idea of this faction a lot.

Here's some suggestions:
Firstly, how about giving them the dextrous trait but NOT the strong trait? They are little guys, after all.

Also, they should be good in lots of terrain to compensate for their low HP. Including caves and swamps.
TL wrote:Ratfolk Goon lv 1: Chaotic, 13 gold, 33 HP, 5 moves. Has an 8-2 melee sword attack and a 5-2 sling.
I like this unit, but I think the ratfolk should generally have lots of small attacks instead of a few big ones. How about a 4-4 sword attack? If you take away their strong trait (as I mentioned above) then this isn't that big a deal.
TL wrote:Ratfolk Archer lv 1: Chaotic, 16 gold, 28 HP, 6 moves. Has concealment, 3-2 melee dagger and a 7-3 ranged bow attack.
I'm not too keen on the 7-3 attack... a little too close to the loyalist archer. Instead of 7-3 how about a 4-3 or 3-4 backstab ranged attack? There's no reason WML-wise that a ranged attack can't be backstab. If you're giving them the chance to be dextrous this could do up to 30 points of damage not counting day/night mods.
TL wrote:Rat Swarm lv 1: Neutral, 12 gold, 38 HP, 4 moves. 4-6 melee blade attack with the swarm special. 20% pierce resist...
I kind of like this but I think it is still kind of powerful, because it starts at 24 damage and should have good resistances. I would suggest the rat swarm get no traits and not be able to level. Possibly a 3-8 attack instead of 4-6...

Also, just had an idea. Tricky to code, but worth it perhaps.

Instead of giving it cool resitances, how about an ability that says that it can take no more than 5 damage from any pierce, impact, or blade attack? i.e. there are 8 rats each with 5 HP? So a sword swing or an arrow can only ever kill 1 rat at a time? Actually I am envisioning the WML now... get back to you.
TL wrote:Crocodile Rider lv 1
A necessary unit perhaps. I think there's already a lizard rider unit somewhere you could frankenstein if necessary.

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Re: So, uh... rats.

Post by peet » May 10th, 2008, 12:05 am

peet wrote:
TL wrote:Rat Swarm lv 1: Neutral, 12 gold, 38 HP, 4 moves. 4-6 melee blade attack with the swarm special. 20% pierce resist...
I kind of like this but I think it is still kind of powerful, because it starts at 24 damage and should have good resistances. I would suggest the rat swarm get no traits and not be able to level. Possibly a 3-8 attack instead of 4-6...

Also, just had an idea. Tricky to code, but worth it perhaps.

Instead of giving it cool resitances, how about an ability that says that it can take no more than 5 damage from any pierce, impact, or blade attack? i.e. there are 8 rats each with 5 HP? So a sword swing or an arrow can only ever kill 1 rat at a time? Actually I am envisioning the WML now... get back to you.
OK, here's a try:

Code: Select all

#define ABILITY_PACK
   [damage]
      id=pack
      name= _ "pack"
      description= _ "Pack:
This unit is comprised of a number of individuals and can receive no more than 5 HP damage from any mundane attack."
      apply_to=opponent
      [filter_base_value]
	greater_than=5
      [/filter_base_value]
      value=5
      [filter_opponent]
          [filter_weapon]
	      type=blade,pierce,impact
	  [/filter_weapon]
      [/filter_opponent]
   [/damage]
#enddef
Not sure if you can use [damage] in an ability. If not then you'd have to kluge something.

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Re: So, uh... rats.

Post by peet » May 10th, 2008, 12:07 am

Oh, one more idea:

If you need a leadership unit, call him the "piper." (i.e. the pied piper of Hamelin?)

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Re: So, uh... rats.

Post by TL » May 10th, 2008, 2:16 am

Heh. I thought of the piper actually, but I figured the croc rider was enough silliness for one faction. Besides, I'm not sure I want them to have leadership.
peet wrote:Firstly, how about giving them the dextrous trait but NOT the strong trait? They are little guys, after all.
Thought about this, but this is kind of a kick in the pants if there are any units that don't have ranged attacks (wasn't planning on giving the sneak one, and was thinking about an alternate level 2 deadend path for the fighter that would just have one stronger melee and no ranged.)
peet wrote:I like this unit, but I think the ratfolk should generally have lots of small attacks instead of a few big ones. How about a 4-4 sword attack? If you take away their strong trait (as I mentioned above) then this isn't that big a deal.
Two things. One, 4-4 melee and 5-2 ranged looks awfully close to elf fighter. Two, more attacks doesn't necessarily mean faster attacks even if that's generally the precedent--watch a wose vs. a naga, and note the fact that the wose actually finishes their attack first. Fewer strikes just means they get their licks in faster, which is going to be very important for such relatively flimsy units.
peet wrote:I'm not too keen on the 7-3 attack... a little too close to the loyalist archer. Instead of 7-3 how about a 4-3 or 3-4 backstab ranged attack? There's no reason WML-wise that a ranged attack can't be backstab. If you're giving them the chance to be dextrous this could do up to 30 points of damage not counting day/night mods.
I always thought of the main point of the bowman more as being the relatively high melee attack/HP, which is a marked contrast with this one. Anyhow, the ranged backstab is an interesting idea and very thematic, but I'm somewhat reluctant as it would severely limit their non-backstabbing damage opportunities.
peet wrote:I kind of like this but I think it is still kind of powerful, because it starts at 24 damage and should have good resistances. I would suggest the rat swarm get no traits and not be able to level. Possibly a 3-8 attack instead of 4-6...
I was thinking of going the no-traits route as well. 3-8 would mean swarm would cut down damage faster, but it has an uncomfortably high amount of rounding error for a unit's primary attack. I don't think it would be too much of an issue as-is, so long as it's not going to be getting strong or quick traits. Pack idea is interesting, but a bit complicated for my taste.

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Re: So, uh... rats.

Post by peet » May 10th, 2008, 12:43 pm

TL wrote:
peet wrote:Firstly, how about giving them the dextrous trait but NOT the strong trait? They are little guys, after all.
Thought about this, but this is kind of a kick in the pants if there are any units that don't have ranged attacks
Well like the Dark Adept, who is human but not eligible for the strong trait, you make the sneak ineligible for the dextrous trait. I think most of these guys should have ranged attacks though.
TL wrote:
peet wrote:I like this unit, but I think the ratfolk should generally have lots of small attacks instead of a few big ones. How about a 4-4 sword attack? If you take away their strong trait (as I mentioned above) then this isn't that big a deal.
Two things. One, 4-4 melee and 5-2 ranged looks awfully close to elf fighter. Two, more attacks doesn't necessarily mean faster attacks.
Well, I suppose I can see a similarity to the elf fighter, though with a impact ranged attack usage will be somewhat different. But the 8-2 just seems to me to be too close to the orc grunt's 9-2. Orcs are supposed to be big, strong, and tough, basically the opposite of these ratfolk.

I'm aware that without the strong trait 4-4 is generally inferior to 8-2 but I think it fits thematically. You can adjust purchase cost to fit.

How about 4-4 marksman... that could be interesting.
TL wrote:
peet wrote:I'm not too keen on the 7-3 attack... a little too close to the loyalist archer. Instead of 7-3 how about a 4-3 or 3-4 backstab ranged attack? There's no reason WML-wise that a ranged attack can't be backstab. If you're giving them the chance to be dextrous this could do up to 30 points of damage not counting day/night mods.
I always thought of the main point of the bowman more as being the relatively high melee attack/HP, which is a marked contrast with this one. Anyhow, the ranged backstab is an interesting idea and very thematic, but I'm somewhat reluctant as it would severely limit their non-backstabbing damage opportunities.
Remember that at 7-3 this range attack is better than every L1 ranged unit except the mage and the drake burner. I don't think that this is supposed to be a race of "heavies."

If you don't like backstab, how about a new special called "Retreat" or "Withdraw." Basically after completing the attack (offense only) the unit steps back a hex if possible. Like the knockback power in reverse. It would allow other units to move in afterward and keep attacking.
TL wrote:Pack idea is interesting, but a bit complicated for my taste.
I don't see how it is complex. Here's the explanation: "This unit will never take more than 5 points of damage from any mundane (i.e. blade, impact, or pierce) attack."

It also makes for an interesting unit since it performs well against units with a small number of powerful attacks, while it does poorer against units with a lot of small attacks. So it can take on the Troll well but fears the Duelist. If the ability proves too powerful then you just tweak the number.

Peet

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