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Post by battlestar » March 20th, 2014, 1:35 am

When we talk about boss fights, most people would think about an RPG, but TBS like wesnoth have bosses just the same and can be integral part of any campaign/scenario. A boss fight in a strategy game can integrate the boss, the goons and minions and the environment the battle is fought on. I've given some thought to bosses, did some reading and looked at some other game bosses, here to open a discussion/idea trade regarding this topic (pertaining to what we can do in wesnoth UMC within what we can do with WML/lua).

"Boss fight is a reward, a goal, where player can demonstrate mastery of the game, where player build and relieve tension and walk away satisfied."

Boss making includes these steps:
- identify a theme
- identify skills/strategies to test
- train the player on the skills needed to win against final boss
- reveal the boss to sell to player how interesting the boss is
- first half of boss fight can involve setting baseline intensity of battle initially, escalation of intensity or difficulty
- midpoint such as false victory/defeat/transformation may be included to change things up mentally and emotionally
- peak of battle
- "killing" the boss sequence
- victory/reward sequence

A boss fight is meant to test the a combination of skills the player has with playing Wesnoth. To name a few below, but I don't know that much about battle strategies:
Resource management, army building, utilization of terrain (mobility/defense/etc), mobility, blitz attacks (ie griffons), hiding from enemy (thief), capture and hold villages, defeat in detail, misdirect, cannonfodders, switch out front line unit to heal (bounding), confine large enemy forces with scouts, backstab, poison (and other abilities), use flying/scouts to flank enemy along rivers/bypassing enemies in defensive structures, retreating with minimal losses, and what not.

Boss prepping: build up with minibosses/previous scenarios on how to fight the final boss, teach player to deal with complicated threats one thing at a time, mid-battle transformation/taunt

Revealing the boss: to show why this boss is so badass, to build excitement. Below are meant to be separate ideas, not all at once. This depends on who the boss is, and the story.
- show of strength: reveal the boss with roar, boss brutally kills something, show off his army, show off the palace
- environmental: shaking camera, thunder, darkness with flashes of light
- buildup: metamorphosis, having skirmished small sections of the giant boss's body
- Conversant: arrogant, taunt, remind you your deeds or failures, cite a nursury rhyme (like the red lantern)
- Other: slithers behind you

Boss defeat: Defeated doesn't always mean being killed.
- Open for sequel: lose a limb and retreats, retreats with threat for revenge, encased in stone, frozen, boss is freed from mind control, boss becomes friendly
- Personal: dies cursing, dies cowardly, pleas for mercy, groveling, suicide, mass suicide, kamekaze, disfigurement
- Spectacular: expells ghosts or other things the boss absorbed or is made of, swallowed by earth, crushed by boulder, explodes, incineration by burning or lightning, melts, etc.
- Brutal: impaled, torn, eaten by heroes, eaten by insects or carrion birds
- Other: a pathetic little creature crawl out of the big boss, sound of laughter as the boss's energy dissipates into the air, boss shapeshifts as being killed by you

Final reward: Whether not this was player's reason to fight the boss, it makes the player feel good.
- Gains: items, money, access to secrets, fame and honor, knowledge, friend, pet, significant other (love)
- Saves: cheering of people, saves society, restores land, rescues prisoner, safety and escape, saves the world,
- Destroy: destruction of terrain, sorrow of the people if heroes are evil
- Retirement: peaceful life
assortment of unpolished boss fight ideas
Combat/Story element: Super powers of nature, tornado, tsunami, earthquake, volcano, etc.
Arcane/Necro: boss transforms its minions
Arcane/Necro: enemy boss summons spirit monsters, which attacks and dissipates
Arcane/Organic: elemental fuses with the surrounding then reemerge elsewhere.
Arcane/Organic: Only valia can kill it, otherwise it regenerates upon death
Arcane/Physical: on occasions, enemy boss pulls in 6 units from nearby hex, dealing damage
Arcane/Stealth: enemies teleport amidst your troops
Arcane/stealth: enemy boss traps you in a dream/illusion where you face him alone, where he is much stronger. Escape to the exit portal to return to reality where your troops can help
Arcane/Stealth: enemy unit with high evade opening and maintaining portal. Land hit on it to break the portal.
Arcane: A boss that hosts five souls inside, each soul specializes in a powerful type of attack (arcane/fire/cold/slash/defense), and they can leave/rejoin the host body at will. When all five are in the body together, the body acts rather schizophrenic.
Arcane: as long as enemy leader is alive, enemy units nearly immune to damage
Arcane: boss that require a bell to stun when it stands next to it; otherwise it pop up at defined locations randomly and is immune to damage
Arcane: boss with shields (like halo), the shields regenerate
Arcane: destroy pillars to slow down magic generation of enemy’s final attack, which wipes all enemies out
Arcane: destroy power source or the enemy would be invulnerable and/or strong spineshield
Arcane: enemy boss immediately telepathically pushes out any units that approaches him
Arcane: enemy boss teleports adjacent unit somewhere else
Arcane: enemy can teleport
Arcane: enemy with godly prowess, but cyclically he spends up his energy in massive bursts then needing to regain strength while vulnerable
Arcane: every first attack per turn is negated because the enemy is a master of dreams, and after he falls asleep every turn, he needs to be woken up by a physical attack. All magical attacks and the first physical attack are negated because they belong to part of his dream and never happened.
Arcane: floating weapons
Arcane: highly evasive boss has a companion spirit companion that will disappear when boss is damaged this turn, and returns when boss is unharmed. Boss can teleport.
Arcane: slow chasing damaging orbs
Arcane: statues that become alive when the moonlight hits them
Arcane: twin bosses, when one is badly hurt, the other will shield it while it heals. Deal 20% hp damage to the unshielded boss to undo the shield
Arcane: unique rains (molten iron rain)
Arcane: When the elemental fuses with the surrounding, the surrounding environment attacks you (ie. Stone jabs)
Combat: capture useful buildings, meeting up with allied forces, taking over enemy commanded troops
Combat: carrier interceptors
Combat: destroy remaining trapped enemy groups
Combat: enemy augmentation of harmless things like light rain into a flood, meteor shower into gigantic meteorites, thunder rain into storm, small wave into a tsunami
Combat: enemy boss capable of one hit kill, must use Grycian racer or spells that freeze him to avoid deaths.
Combat: enemy obtains item/power and transforms into a more powerful being
Combat: grab something in overwhelming enemy force, and get out (need skirmisher for this)
Combat: illusion ensnarement, where enemy traps main character in an illusion within his murderous intent. As long as he attacks, he is trapped inside the illusion. While he is trapped, his real body becomes weaker.
Combat: innate transformation (ie susano, rock lee, tailed beast, dbz)
Combat: keep two enemies away from eachother, when they come together, major damage spell is cast or a major transformation happens
Combat: never initiates attacks, returns strikes without being hit, damage received based on receiver end’s health
Combat: twin or husband and wife enemy bosses
Environment/Arcane: pulls your units towards the object, then switches off with pushing your units away from the object, then switches back to stronger pulling, and any unit ends up in the center will be dead
Environment/Arcane: utilize enemy’s AOE attack to damage his own invulnerability-source pylons.
Environment/Fire: volcanic vent burst every few turns, limiting your field of battle and/or forces you to rush along the corridor.
Environment/Necro: undead popping out of graves
Environment/Necro: units dragged down into graves
Environment: a door that opens for a turn then shuts for a turn then opens for a turn, etc.
Environment: chased by lava filling each room
Environment: disable energy source to down the auto-defenses, and this lets enemy flood in, so have to hurry with errand before being overpowered.
Environment: enemy fights on terrain that damages you, with few islands of safe haven
Environment: enemy mine field (may be invisible, may be mobile). Stationary: explodes when adjacent. Mobile: moves one hex in one random direction (direction predetermined and shown on sprite), explodes when runs into a unit.
Environment: entire map as a boss, fighting on its back
Environment: hidden towers that spring up when you get close
Environment: lava bursts through the ground and damages all nearby
Environment: Multiple destructible lightning rods generate lightning that doesn’t hurt the boss
Environment: multiple pylons, each make their designated areas explode every few turns
Environment: occupying a lighthouse will illuminate surrounding hex
Environment: quake that stuns everyone for a turn
Environment: quick sands that swallow up units
Environment: room with switches that turns the environment into different elements (fire, earth, wind, water) to deal damage per turn to enemies (ent, ??, ??, and fire elemental), while players units will also receive some effects
Environment: Secret tunnel leading into a well guarded castle
Environment: spikes that goes up and down each turn
Environment: summons obstacles in the fighting area
Environment: symbol marking the ground where next turn flame will consume/rock will fall on the ground
Environment: take control of tower that shoots at all surrounding enemies
Environment: the ground starts to erode away into nothingness
Environment: towers that strike surrounding hex land units.
Environment: traps and secret doors
Environment: traps set by enemy with your captured men as bait
Environment: turn/capture enemy long range turret against themselves
Fire: “Galaxian implosion” sucks in nearby units in next turn, and then tosses them out, as a larger area explodes and bursts into flame.
Fire: boss will constantly raise and drop ground into lava
Fire: burning sub-bosses that would be suicidal to attack while ablaze (so player will have to scatter units to high defense grounds), but they cool for a turn after every 3 turns, or you can lure them into rivers (they aint so bright for a brightly lit monster)
Fire: delayed explosion attacks
Fire: draw an aggressive immortal enemy boss to his own explosive/magma trap to melt/blow him to pieces.
Fire: enemy hit you, ground turns cracked, and explodes there at next turn
Fire-water combo: flaming boss cover you with damaging fire, inhibits you from damaging flaming boss, but allowing you to damage liquid boss (with fire attacks), and the combat will put out the fire. liquid boss also creats puddles that puts out your fire.
Holy: An enemy boss behind enemy lines that would heal any friend and foe. (ppl volunteer to fight for his protection due to his goodness)
Holy: any magical attack heals the being, physical attack works.
Minion/Stealth: highly evasive enemy boss summons clones of himself that are destroyed only when boss is damaged. Sometimes he will teleport himself out of melee after summoning clones to heal himself or attack with long range spells
Minion: minions hidden in food silo/village/etc
Minions/Organic: mother creature guarding its nest
Minions/Organic: tiny and weak enemies that turn big and strong after absorbing water from rain
Minions: a weaker enemy, as they fight, they sacrifice soldiers to slow you down, while their workers work on sealing off their doorways
Minions: destructable/indestructable spawn point with limited enemy spawns (maybe with a counter)
Minions: enemy comes out of the environment: big tree becomes ent, rock becomes rock monster, worms crawl out of the ground
Minions: enemy minions turn into something else upon death
Minions: enemy minions, kill one and rest gets stronger
Minions: enemy minions, kill one and rest retreats, comes back with improvement on the attack of your weakest defense
Minions: exploding enemy minions
Minions: limitless generation of weak and explosive units that take one turn to blow up
Minions: limitless generation of weak but annoying creatures
Minions: many of healer’s protectors know First Aid skill that heals self (priority) or a random nearby ally as long as dmg not over half
Minions: mercenaries you hired switches sides
Minions: minion that if not killed in one hit, it will split into two. Only applies to pierce and slash
Minions: people you control turn on you temporarily due to fear for the strong opponent
Minions: respawning mega unit
Minions: sea enemies craw up your boat
Minions: sends out other- ghost, banshee, bats, plants
Minions: slaves switches sides
Minions: sleeping enemies if gotten too close will wake up en-mass
Minions: statues unfreeze and attack
Minions: super armored, super slow enemy units
Necro/Arcane: enemy turns innocent civilians (maybe ones you were supposed to protect) into vicious hellhounds
Necro/Minions: enemy becomes the unit it last killed.
Necro/Minions: invisible enemies only attackable if adjacent to a mage of light
Necro: an enemy army with magic generator that keeps warriors undead after death. Destroy it to destroy the dead.
Necro: black arms stick out of the ground and attacks for 2 turns, can be killed easily and automatically disappears
Necro: dark corridors with lurking super powerful invincible enemies that avoid the lighted areas. Light candles to keep safe.
Necro: enemy arises after death 8 times (9 lives)
Necro: enemy boss immobilize with invulnerable shield, three ghosts drift out of him, each one resistant to all but one elemental damage. Boss himself summons creatures. Killing the ghosts will stun the boss and drop his shield. Then the boss heals itself and repeats.
Necro: enemy boss takes ability for your troops to heal in any way possible, in addition to slowly bleeding out every wounded’s health.
Necro: enemy boss with fear/daze/control foe
Necro: enemy every few turns will separate soul of its opponent from the flesh, entraps them in nearby prison, dodgable. Destroy the prisons and walk the souls back to their bodies to recover the units
Necro: transformation of allies by vampire/werewolf bites
Organic/Minions: slime monsters with ability to slow down any enemy that attacks it. Can regenerate very fast, resistant to physical attacks, vulnerable to fire and ice
Organic/Necro: body morph into extensions, extra appendages/heads of ppl you know (to replay your nightmare)/decoys, reattaches body when hacked to pieces, heals pierced wounds instantly
Organic: adjacent enemies can combine into bigger enemies
Organic: all your units are affected by greed/rage/sickness/madness/etc
Organic: an enemy that sacrifices body parts in attacks
Organic: area infested by spiders is covered with spider webs that slow down units, accumulatively
Organic: controls animals in the map
Organic: enemy boss summons a monster
Organic: enemy eats your units and grows bigger (more hp with more physical resist) and slower (movement and evade down)
Organic: enemy lays destructable eggs that hatch minions
Organic: enemy will split into two every turn, retaining parent's hp, up to 10 each
Organic: giant ant lions at the bottom of sink holes
Organic: mudcrawler in mud pond, if you kill it it doesn’t go away and resurrects in a turn or two
Organic: spawning pool
Organic: Spews out cocoons that contains minions
Organic: spider trap, once you walk onto the hex, you’re immobilized and attacks slowed, the only way out is to fight the adjacent spider and win, before struggling for one turn (1 turn if adjacent friendly units) to break free
Organic: sudden appearance of wasp that would inject its eggs into the victim, and after several turns the unit would die as young wasps burst from its corpse
Organic: when enemy boss is damaged he teleports to a beacon, leaving a chunk of him behind. The chunk then moves towards its master. If reunited the boss will be healed. Only way to damage is to kill the chunks or kill boss before any chunks return.
Physical/arcane: enemy boss with area of effect stun
Physical/Fire: enemy attack marks the ground where it would explode the next turn
Physical: a boss that is vulnerable only to the direction of his back.
Physical: an enemy with a charge up attack
Physical: disable enemy weapon before massive army can advance on position
Physical: enemy boss has knock back attack
Physical: more damage it takes the more damage it dishes out
Physical: returns strikes received on the same strength-> doubling strength
Physical: strong enemy boss with a few turns of recuperation when it’s exhausted
Situation: activate your own automatic defenses
Situation: bait by having a defeat, losing a city (because no food left anyways) then fight with back against river, morale boost
Stealth/physical: enemy attack by burrowing then popping out at its target with an uppercut
Stealth/Physical: status of hero/boss being drugged and hard to hit anyone else
Stealth: Ambush, random location generator.
Stealth: An attack that changes your attack type to do less damage to him
Stealth: an enemy with so high evasion, only way to hit him was if he missed on first hit when attacking
Stealth: decoys
Stealth: enemy can go and travel underground, then pop up to attack
Stealth: enemy memorizes your attacks, same attack would not work a second time
Stealth: shadow clones
Stealth: When enemy kills your unit, they'll be able to hire that unit type.
Water/Organic: tentacle monster shoots tentacles from the ground/sand/water (round prior shows shadow in water), which damages units and pushes them aside, then tentacles act as immobile units until destroyed.
Water: an icy boss that start out melee with great resists (an icy shell) and high impact melee (body slam), with impact, holy and fire attacks (ranged to be safe) will shed the armor and lose impact attack and gain great ranged icy attack but no melee.
Water: enemy ambush from underwater, appears on surface (without moves), then able to attack, then resubmerge
Water: lake monster will retreat into deep lake if injured, destroy the dam (destroys/floods villages and bad karma) to drain the lake will force it to appear
Water: Slash away boss's amorphous body and attack the defenseless core.
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Re: Bosses

Post by Velensk » March 20th, 2014, 2:19 am

I don't know exactly what you're trying to do here. I think most of us are familiar with why boss fights and some ideas but I don't see a lot here that would be particularly relevant to Wesnoth.

An important thing to remember, is that although you can do cool boss fights in Wesnoth (I'm sure several existing examples could be give), you generally have to add to or work against the general concepts of the system. Almost universally, Wesnoth focuses around army vs army combat and the skills of play focus on those skills. As a result, most climatic battles in wesnoth, emphasis enemies with huge and/or powerful armies. This tends to have the negative effect for the drama of everything where the enemy leader remains in their castle summoning a trickle of reinforcements as you have to deal with the massive waves of their army leading to a rather anti-climatic clean-up afterwards. It doesn't have to be this way (and exceptions can be found) but the basic mechanics and the primary skills worked with focus towards this. There is further some difficulty in coming up with what skills the player is supposed to be using if not their ability to command an army as by and large the turn-based and simple nature of Wesnoths mechanics make it easy once you're experienced at the game to come up with the optimal choices to resolve small scale engagements which can make even a very original and unusual boss with plenty of gimmicks, fairly boring to actually play against.

As a side note since this is vaguely related. I have a finished campaign with an unusual enemy for the last scenario (boss designed to make army and territory control decisions difficult). I am waiting to distribute it normally until art for a faction is done (it's an EoFM campaign) but if anyone wants an advance copy I am looking for testers.
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Re: Bosses

Post by Dugi » March 20th, 2014, 8:41 am

I don't know what is exactly your point here. But I've made a campaign where some parts had a boss, and some of the ideas I implemented there aren't on your list. Adding:

Revealing the boss:
The boss appears himself at the beginning, trying to persuade the heroes to join him.
Having to fight a weaker version of the boss before the final fight, to let the player know what awaits him.
The existence of the boss is known for a long time, just identifying what the hell that boss is takes a lot of time.
The boss appears to be an ally initially, but then is revealed as an enemy, attacks the heroes, is defeated and returns to his lair, where the final fight awaits.

Boss defeat:
Revelation that there is a bigger bad behind the big bad, and defeating the big bad was a part of the bigger bad's masterful plan.
Boss seemingly dies, but then returns, much weakened, as an ally to help against a common enemy (tyrants don't like destroyers of worlds).

Boss abilities:
An important thing to note is that wesnoth is about fighting armies with armies, so the boss should have some minions.
Recruiting boss: the boss occasionally teleports to a keep to recruit some minions.
Summoner boss: the boss summons minions periodically.
Reflections boss: the boss summons decoys of himself that can't be told from the boss, but vanish after taking some damage.
Other abilities:
Shape shifter boss: the boss changes appearance and abilities every turn.
Achilles-like boss: immune to everything except a single type of damage. The single type of damage that harms him can change.
Splash damage: the boss can hit many targets at once.
Agile boss: if you miss the boss, he tries to find an empty location next to him and move there, stopping the combat.

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Re: Bosses

Post by Xudo » March 20th, 2014, 4:26 pm

Wesnoth is RPG in many addons.

Scripted bosses:
Invulnerable. To win fight you need
to kill specific summoned enemies (and not to kill other specific ones)
place all player characters on specific tiles

"Splash" kills on next turn
"splash" created if player character stays on same tile for two turns
"splash" created beneath player character, who has done most damage in previous turn

Big room with boss+thin doorways on its sides+infinity additional enemies = check how good your tank

Big room with four types of terrain. From time to time, boss takes big advantage (100% def) on one of these terrains and big vulnerables on others (0% def)

Though nothing new for game industry.

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Re: Bosses

Post by battlestar » March 21st, 2014, 12:52 am

Well the point of this thread is simply an idea exchange, a discussion to stimulate more ideas. Wesnoth bosses can be rpg style, can be an army vs army battle, it can be whatever achievable by WML and lua. Dugi is right, having special minion mechanism is important in army vs army boss battles. I think having an unique environment to battle in can also make it interesting. Furthermore, a "boss" doesn't always have to be the "leader".
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Re: Bosses

Post by iceiceice » March 21st, 2014, 5:18 am

Idk I still don't really understand the point of the thread. It seems like you are recreating what is likely already a page on "" in the wesnoth forums.

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Re: Bosses

Post by Xudo » March 21st, 2014, 7:38 am

I don't understand point of most threads in WML Workshops and Ideas sections, but I don't blame them for their existence.
We have a freedom of speech, aren't we?

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Re: Bosses

Post by Dugi » March 21st, 2014, 7:57 am

Furthermore, a "boss" doesn't always have to be the "leader".
This is quite important. If a boss is also a leader, he tends to stay around the keep, giving the player a time for relief if he moves his units from the keep's reach, and even if the player is nearby, the boss isn't very active. I was using a code that makes the boss stop being a leader when the player approaches him, and becomes a leader again when his hp drops to low values and his recruits might be potentially more dangerous than the half-dead boss himself.

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Re: Bosses

Post by mattsc » March 21st, 2014, 4:51 pm

Dugi wrote:
Furthermore, a "boss" doesn't always have to be the "leader".
This is quite important. If a boss is also a leader, he tends to stay around the keep, giving the player a time for relief if he moves his units from the keep's reach, and even if the player is nearby, the boss isn't very active. I was using a code that makes the boss stop being a leader when the player approaches him, and becomes a leader again when his hp drops to low values and his recruits might be potentially more dangerous than the half-dead boss himself.
Just as a side comment, in Wesnoth 1.11 and later, there is now a leader_ignores_keep AI parameter that lets the leader participate in the action just like any other unit (although the AI is still more careful with the leader in some respects).

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Re: Bosses

Post by Blarumyrran » March 21st, 2014, 7:37 pm

wesnoth discourages save-loading, i think it's never intended for a player to do it as part of the mechanism of solving a level. Save-loading is a meta thing outside of game mechanics, mostly a measure to overcome your previous bad judgment, not a way to react to new information received about the level.
- first half of boss fight can involve setting baseline intensity of battle initially, escalation of intensity or difficulty
- midpoint such as false victory/defeat/transformation may be included to change things up mentally and emotionally
- peak of battle
- "killing" the boss sequence
^ with stages like that, if they are of reasonably hard "solving" difficulty level, the player will pretty much have to play through them once to see what they are. So save-loading is now pretty much a game mechanic. This is horrible. It's not unprecedented but I think it's towards the very bad end of the is-save-load-a-game-mechanic spectrum.

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Re: Bosses

Post by battlestar » March 21st, 2014, 9:22 pm

Just to further clarify, this is a thread to discuss about the concept of making better boss/boss battles. It can be about concept, mechanism and setup like Blarumyrran is talking about, possibilities in abilities like dugi and Xudo posted, or an idea to code for a boss as mattsc suggested. It's not so straight forward in turn based strategy to hash out a good playable and interesting boss that's not just another simple leader with a background story. That's why I thought it would be of benefit to discuss about it in the "idea' forum. It takes many ideas of multiple individuals to refine game design (again, not referring to mainline). Maybe a some people are born with perfect ideas but I feel the need to gather information and listen to other people's ideas while I'm working on my project.

Some of you may remember this thread: ... =boss+vote. Similar goal for a thread but differently about the discussion.
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Re: Bosses

Post by Xudo » March 22nd, 2014, 9:22 am

Wesnoth lacks "Threat logic", unlike many other cooperatve and multiplayer RPGs. That's why you need some creativity in tactics planning.

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Re: Bosses

Post by firefox » March 22nd, 2014, 10:17 pm

some time ago i had an idea for campaign bosses that combines the "boss fight" idea with the "units larger than one hex idea".
it's an immobile oversized boss unit, made up of individual units.
the sprites would work like a puzzle, so that it looks like one big unit.

an example: the boss is a giant golem
it has a "head unit" and two "hand units". the body could be part of the terrain,
as if the golem would be coming out of a huge chasm, the torso image merges with the terrain image.
the head is a unit that is protected by the Zocs of the hands, wich are also units.
(the hands float in the air to make it easier to draw)
to attack the head, you have to defeat the hands first.
to make it more interesting, the head could have the ability to revive the hands.

the same principle could be used for a three headed dragon.
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