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Torment Kickstarter Update #22: On Companions, Crafting, Crises and more

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Torment Kickstarter Update #22: On Companions, Crafting, Crises and more

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 26 September 2013, 18:54:34

Tags: Adam Heine; Colin McComb; InXile Entertainment; Kevin Saunders; Torment: Tides of Numenera

After another two month break, Torment: Tides of Numenera is back in the news with another massive Kickstarter update. The update features all three members of the Torment Triumvirate. Colin McComb writes about the game's writing processes and its companions, Adam Heine writes about the crafting system, and Kevin Saunders writes about "Crises", which are...well, you'll see. As said, the update is huge, but I'll try to quote the most interesting parts.

On companions:

We’re tweaking, nudging, and adjusting the companions even now. One of our initial companion ideas has been changed to a major NPC role, replaced with another concept that better serves the narrative and party dynamic. Also, Chris Avellone turned in a proposal for his companion, and as you might expect, the companion has so much excellent potential for the game that we’re thinking of... well, I don’t want to spoil anything. Let’s just say this particular companion is really cool and effortlessly overturns one of the tropes of RPG companions. Which is to say: it’s great, and fits nicely into our roster.

Speaking of which, I put together a starting relationship chart for our companions. You can have up to three in your party at a time and they’ll all make their appearances fairly early in the game. We’ve been thinking about how they’ll interact with the Last Castoff and each other and talking about ways to improve the party’s overall dynamic... and, of course, ways to make the companions’ relationships with one another more compelling. We want to keep the process organic, rather than systematic, so having this starting point on how the characters interact will help push creativity and drive some narrative decisions further down the road.

For instance, we don’t want to have the Cold Jack simply count the number of times you’ve disagreed with her in dialogue before she suddenly becomes a (bigger) jerk. We want to have her relationship with you evolve. Perhaps she and another companion have important matters that they need your help with right away—and if you pick his over hers, she’ll remember that... and that will impact your interactions with her later in your story. Regardless of your relationship with your companions, during combat you’ll have complete control over them. But whether they stay by your side throughout your journey may be a different matter.​

On crafting:

We've leveraging our item design, and thus crafting, to support both the narrative and gameplay. I'll focus on the systems side for now. Here's the basic idea. There are items, which include both mundane objects and numenera relics. Most items are useful by themselves, but some are components that can be assembled with other items to confer additional effects, or disassembled to use the components elsewhere.

For example, you may have a disruptor device (component) that, when attached to a sword, adds +10 damage whenever it is activated. Or you have a bounder crystal (component) that, when attached to armor, teleports anyone who strikes the wearer; when attached to a weapon, it randomly teleports the target a certain distance away when they're hit; when attached to ordinary gloves, it enables this ability on an unarmed punch.

But the relics of the prior worlds are not so easily understood. That disruptor device might have been a sparkplug for an unimaginably complicated transdimensional engine, or the bounder crystal might have been some kind of child's toy (why would a child play with such a thing? That's the fundamental mystery of the Ninth World). The point is, you can never fully understand this stuff, and although you can figure out enough to make it work for you, there will almost always be unintended side effects and quirks.

Side effects is our term for semi-predictable consequences. The specific combination of items and components—based on what they do and what they're made of—determines what side effects a device acquires.

[...] Through lore skills or trial and error, you can eventually determine beneficial combinations, or at least combinations that work for your character build and/or the particular device you've put together.

Quirks, on the other hand, are random, unpredictable, and sometimes detrimental. A quirk might cause the device to make a loud noise everytime it's used; or cause the device to graft onto the user's body, so the character can't unequip it until it has been disassembled (also making disassembly more difficult); or it might occasionally knock down all characters within a set range, whether friend or foe; or strange fish appear in the air and swim around you, harmless, but killed by area effects.

A device can acquire a quirk when it is assembled. The chances of acquiring a quirk are increased by the quantity and power of the items you are trying to combine. The chances are decreased with training in the appropriate skills, access to good crafting tools and/or workstations, and applying the Numenera concept of Effort. An inexperienced, untrained character could slap a component onto their mundane sword with only a small chance of a Quirk appearing, but if the same character tried to cobble three components onto a piece of transdimensional armor, they'd find the resulting hack had one Quirk for sure and maybe even two (assuming they were able to successfully assemble it at all, of course).
As for the Crises, well, Kevin's explanation is so long that he had to put it in a separate document on Google Docs. Basically, a Crisis is a kind of puzzle-like combat encounter, which also includes non-combat elements and uses the full range of a character's skills. The document provides an example of such an encounter, and it sounds totally awesome. No word yet on whether said encounters will be turn-based, phase-based or real-time, although viewed in this context, it doesn't seem like it matters that much.

Besides all that, the update also recaps the latest news on Wasteland 2, Numenera, the novellas, etc. As always, I highly recommend that you read it in full.

There are 34 comments on Torment Kickstarter Update #22: On Companions, Crafting, Crises and more

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