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Orc Play!

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Re: Orc Play!

Postby Throttle » Thu Dec 19, 2013 11:40 pm

metal will be extremely scarce throughout the game.


Just how scarce are we talking here? It shouldn't be made excessively rare just for the sake of it. Maybe high-quality alloys can be very rare but regular iron - and especially any lower-quality sort - shouldn't be "extremely scarce." It should be such that anyone can expect to have a metal weapon or two and can reasonably obtain the most basic form of metal armor available, such as a helmet and a shitty ringmail.

If you make metal so rare that people feel like they can't even get the fundamental necessities of their roles, players will be disappointed and discouraged. There's no canonical grounds for mandating that metal has to be particularly rare, it just shouldn't be so common that it breaks the game. This is still a setting where everyone has always been depicted as having at least a metal weapon, like literally every single person in the damn universe, as well as armor befitting their station. I hope you're not making fighters wear plain leather armor for months out of sheer unavailability of anything better.

I think it's important that there's two classifications of armor - light and heavy - even at the basic level. It's also crucial for crafts to be viable from the onset, and with a metalworking craftset, you can't really make all metal extremely rare. Low-grade iron should be accessible in enough quantities to enable crafters and frontline combatants.
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Re: Orc Play!

Postby benjaboonchar » Fri Dec 20, 2013 2:25 am

I don't think anyone's suggesting anyone uses steel, let alone dwarven steel. But throttle's question is worth asking- are PCs (human and orc) going to need to make a decision between a number iron spearheads and bundle sword. That is, is the sort of lower quality brittle iron that can make axes, shield bosses, tools and spearheads going to be more readily avaliable than the sort of metal required to make a sword that doesn't break in a couple of swings? If not then even humans are going to some sort of non-metal weapons. I assume bone headed spears and the like are already a given for orcs?

As for aspirations, it's a matter of setting the curve. People will want the best of what is avaliable, if that best is a heavy set of layed leather armour and a metal helmet then they'll want that. For this two things have to be true- iron armour needs to be pretty much beyond most people's imaginations and there needs to be a percieved heriarchy of leather armour- if there's two types of leather armour as per old SOI people will always be looking for the next tier.

I'm not sure how you'd keep swords and metal armour so hard to obtain that most people wouldn't think of it as an option though- except by making it so expensive to repair that it only ever came out for the biggest battles.
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Re: Orc Play!

Postby whitt37 » Thu Jan 02, 2014 1:40 pm

Some things that hasn't come up yet (unless I missed it in reading):

PC Numbers - Please bear in mind that in all the times I was playing a blackblood which was most of my time... I love the concept... there were never more than a half-dozen players actively playing other blackbloods. There was generally one and occassionally two others beside myself that had played their character for any real duration of time. Meanwhile, the human sphere had as many players in any one popular room.
While PvP violence within the Orc sphere needs to exist, it needs to be metered and carefully watched. It cannot be a knee-jerk reaction to just kill another orc, or even beat that orc unconscious and "take all their stuff". Whatever power that be over the orcs should make it clear from day one that orcs of the tribe are of the tribe and the enemy is man/elf/dwarf outside the tribe. Whether that is to keep the tribe strong or because the Necromancer will show the rebellious orc there are things worse than death... orcs should not view other orcs as prey.
This will create a violent community that may hate each other with a passion, may leave each other to die at a moments notice, but it won't push players out of the sphere which is the last thing the orc sphere can afford. More than the human sphere, the orc sphere needs long-lived PC leadership.

Orcs as crafters - This kind of feeds off the numbers above. Orcs are, as noted in several posts above, known to be devious crafters of tools for killing and protecting themselves. Given that - why not let each orc possess orcish-weaponsmithing or orcish-armorsmithing crafts regardless of their other "profession"? Perhaps worthwhile to consider lumbercraft, skinning, and cooking as well. It always seemed odd to me that an orc couldn't just hack a tree down and drag the thing back home... when that is precisely what the orcs would do to piss of the elves and men...

Key point - Every orc PC needs a purpose other than killing. Failing to have one will result in ill-advised forays out to do the only thing that PC can do, either to other PC orcs or on a solo jaunt into the wild to kill ... whatever.
These craftsets would not be allowed to branch into the real crafts, but would allow an orc warrior to melt down that human sword into a slag of iron and use that slag to repair their own cleaver or maybe forge a fresh one. I think this is necessary to allow the minimal numbers of PC orcs to still have a functional trade system without the one PC weaponsmith being viewed as a god... until they got bored and disappeared... leaving no weaponsmiths.

Orcs in the wild - Orcs should travel in packs, there should never be one orc... unless its fleeing from the last terrible defeat at the hands of enemy X. Even scouting should be done in numbers. With the smaller numbers of orc PCs comes some difficulty here. So there needs to be a reason for the Orc players to gather and venture out. With the addition of the crafts noted above, everyone should have a purpose on a hunt. Orcs don't go out of the caves without purpose. See notes above for OOC enforcements to encourage orcy behavior.

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Re: Orc Play!

Postby whitt37 » Thu Jan 02, 2014 1:51 pm

Octavius wrote:Then back to my bigger question... Orc Play.

If the economy is simplified as above...
  • What will Orc players do with their discretionary time? What activities do you desire?
  • What resources do you need that don't come from the human settlement?
  • What should you be able to do that is orc-specific and doesn't include going after the Humans?


For discretionaty time - see my previous post. I believe all orcs should have a craft. There just won't be enough of them for there to be dedicated crafters like there is in the human sphere.

Resources - wood from the Mirkwood, hides from the Mirkwood, iron when it can be found from the caves, the only unique things I can think of would be dung as a coded poison causing rapidly infected wounds and perhaps something related to the Giant Spiders.

Orc-Specific activities - Are difficult. This really depends on what the long term goal of the orcses is going to be. The canon behavior of the orcs, to me, is to be completely unmotivated to do much of anything until their dark masters put the boot in and give them a motivation. In-game, to me this means nasty things like finding a way to poison the river, or damning the thing up to mess with trade, or cutting down all the trees in one part of the forest to make it easier for some other bad thing to happen, or killing all the critters in one part of the forest so the spider population gets hungry and moves in a direction that the orcs want it to go in. Devious things that take good amounts of time. This would allow the non-orc PCs to wander into the area and see something "wrong" maybe take steps to stop it. Or ignore it and find out that they probably shouldn't have done that.
Within the PC-sphere there is usually enough to keep busy with around gathering resources, crafting, and training to keep a PC busy for a good several hours. The downside is that when an Orc PC isn't busy working there is no tavern-time roleplay. An unmotivated orc is a dangerous orc. Keep the orc players busy with chores and things that need to get done. They'll RP throughout the chores and be miserable, but thrilled, at the same time.
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Re: Orc Play!

Postby benjaboonchar » Thu Jan 02, 2014 6:44 pm

Whitt makes relevant and important points.
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Re: Orc Play!

Postby Octavius » Fri Jan 03, 2014 9:40 am

Good post indeed. Keep brainstorming; we're reading. Here's some feedback.

whitt37 wrote:PC Numbers


The point about size of the player-base is well-taken. It is not, however, guaranteed. There are waxing and waning populations in both human and orc spheres that cannot be predicted or controlled and which have huge impact on PvP.

As Nimrod announced already, the Orc sphere for Alpha is a smallish outpost for a single Orc clan (not in Dol Gador) so will naturally minimize internal violence. Conflict will be rising within the clan, not inter-clan.

Violence is an important factor for Orc society, though, and there needs to be non-death options for it to happen on the regular. There will be practice weapons for Orc RP and sparring, as that's simple and pre-built. We also earmarked for future (likely post-Alpha) implementation of the ARPI Arena code in a larger orc setting. Lessons learned that apply to how that worked are appreciated.


whitt37 wrote:Orcs as crafters


One of the code changes from old SOI that appears in the ARPI system is that all crafts are learnable. You don't need to find a teacher to open the skill before you can learn it - you can begin learning it via practice as soon as you start trying. (It is a long trip, weeks to months, but key for long-lived characters.)

Simple crafts to make Trash quality weapons and use of materials in Repair Kits to fix damages to your weapons both will slowly increase your metalcraft/stonecraft/woodcraft until you can make Basic/Poor quality weapons, then Ordinary weapons.

It is reasonable that Orcs would have more generally-available trash-quality crafts for weapons and armor. Humans would skip this level and start crafting with skilled artisians at the Basic level.

whitt37 wrote:It always seemed odd to me that an orc couldn't just hack a tree down and drag the thing back home... when that is precisely what the orcs would do to piss of the elves and men...


Of course they can hack down a random tree. Random trees in the dark, twisted, evil forest are themselves dark, twisted, and gnarled. These trees make fine firewood. The skill involved in foraging up a tree is to find a tree that is useful. A decent, straight-grained tree useful for making quality weapons and goods is indeed a skilled find.

whitt37 wrote:Key point - Every orc PC needs a purpose other than killing. Failing to have one will result in ill-advised forays out to do the only thing that PC can do, either to other PC orcs or on a solo jaunt into the wild to kill ... whatever.


So, if all orcs fight, and all orcs have rudimentary options to make weapons and armor to fight with, what OTHER purposes are we talking? That's what I'm concerned with. What skills are viable, and what craftsets do they need under them to support Orkish society?

I assume that Foraging, Hunting, Fishing, and Butchery are straight-forward and shared between humans and orcs with little differentiation. (Foraging, in particular, uses the Scavenge code from ARPI so will be identical for all races.)

Leathercraft, woodcraft, metalcraft, and textilecraft are different from humans, but pretty self-explanatory. Orc materials will differ slightly as will orc designs, but otherwise it makes sense.

Farming
- Mushroom cultivation
- Warg welping
- Livestock? Pigs?

Cooking... what are good and high levels of this?

Brewing? Assume it is desired. What's it look like?

Gardening/Herbalism?

Medicine?

Earthencraft? Are they working clay or glass?


whitt37 wrote:Orcs in the wild


Groups and numbers are indeed important.

There needs to be a balance that allows:
  • Orc PCs alone online to have things to do and ways to play/participate without giving them commandable NPCs.
  • NPCs for the opposition to fight that are governed/generated by actions of the PCs.
  • Tools to facilitate PvP - when one side mounts a force and goes out, the system should make sure the other side can respond.
  • Realistic behavior and AI for the NPCs to operate under.

We're working this out. Any comment, respond. We're reading all your brainstorms.
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Re: Orc Play!

Postby Throttle » Fri Jan 03, 2014 11:10 am

We also earmarked for future (likely post-Alpha) implementation of the ARPI Arena code in a larger orc setting. Lessons learned that apply to how that worked are appreciated.


I learned a few things about ARPI's arena system.

Lesson 1: Some players will live there. Most will use it more or less responsibly, but a handful of players will do nothing but train in the arena and sleep off their injuries. There were PCs on ARPI that were around for a month or more that I literally never saw anywhere but the arena, and even without the absurd monetary gain that came with it in that game, it's a combat twink's wet dream and those who abuse it will be the most powerful fighters in the sphere by a considerable margin. You can impose limitations on how high your skills can rise from arena combat, but then it gets a bit contrived and tends to remove the purpose even for those who use it responsibly. It also tends not to stop people from trying, it just makes them waste their time.

Lesson 2: You can't afford not to use it. In a might-makes-right culture, the availability of such an effective and freely accessible skillgain option means that you either join or you lose. The opportunity cost is too great to opt out unless you're content with being the bottom feeder, and since raising combat skills exclusively through actual in-field combat is prohibitively slow and will never really lead to you becoming a solid fighter, frequent use of the arena will be a plain necessity if you don't want to be left behind in the arms race that is Orkish culture. You can do conventional sparring, but the need to find a sparring partner whose playtimes match yours and whose skills are at a level where you actually learn something from fighting them makes it nowhere near as effective as the ability to jump into the arena anytime you want.

Lesson 3: It's frustrating for clanleads. Half your clan will constantly be sleeping off injuries and can't go on outings. Players will not be able to help themselves from going to the arena at all times of the day and will get extremely angry, to the point of quitting the clan, if you tell them not to do it. You either have to be the asshole who tells players they can't train their skills or you have to lead a clan where half the members are perpetually benched with injuries. It's plague or cholera and it's very irritating to deal with.

Lesson 4: It'll artificially shrink the playerbase. People know that arena-grinding is a bit faux pas and will try not to get a reputation for being an arena twink, so if they do go to the arena, they'll go somewhere private and sleep off the injuries instead of roleplaying. Nobody wants to be the guy bar-sitting at three stars nursing severe wounds in plain view, especially when everyone can deduce where those wounds came from. Sparring bruises can be ignored, and wounds earned on clan outings tend to be worn with pride and turned into roleplay, but arena injuries were usually dealt with by skulking back to bed and sleeping/crafting for 3 RL hours.

I hated the arena system.
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Re: Orc Play!

Postby Octavius » Fri Jan 03, 2014 12:13 pm

Very informative, thank you.

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Re: Orc Play!

Postby Brian » Fri Jan 03, 2014 7:16 pm

Throttle speaks truth.
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Re: Orc Play!

Postby MrT2G » Sat Jan 04, 2014 12:27 am

Just gimme a sharp stick and a loincloth.

A single tribe is fine, but there should be divisions within that tribe. Otherwise, it will become a circle-jerk. Orc spheres have only been successful when there was a natural leader with IG-acquired power. Artificial leadership roles will just hamstring the sphere.

Alpha could be a good time to establish player leadership through inter-sphere conflict since this will naturally decrease Human-Orc PvP which could be counter productive at such an early point.
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Re: Orc Play!

Postby Pallando » Sat Jan 04, 2014 4:22 am

MrT2G wrote:Just gimme a sharp stick and a loincloth.

A single tribe is fine, but there should be divisions within that tribe. Otherwise, it will become a circle-jerk. Orc spheres have only been successful when there was a natural leader with IG-acquired power. Artificial leadership roles will just hamstring the sphere.

Alpha could be a good time to establish player leadership through inter-sphere conflict since this will naturally decrease Human-Orc PvP which could be counter productive at such an early point.


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Re: Orc Play!

Postby Burke » Sat Jan 04, 2014 7:01 pm

Octavius wrote:
whitt37 wrote:Key point - Every orc PC needs a purpose other than killing. Failing to have one will result in ill-advised forays out to do the only thing that PC can do, either to other PC orcs or on a solo jaunt into the wild to kill ... whatever.


So, if all orcs fight, and all orcs have rudimentary options to make weapons and armor to fight with, what OTHER purposes are we talking? That's what I'm concerned with. What skills are viable, and what craftsets do they need under them to support Orkish society?


Maybe take what elves do and do the opposite. :D

Actually, I'm serious. Elves are preservers and value beauty. Orcs, in contrast, could value ruining things--a clearing of nice trees, a field of wheat, a house, a section of road, captured foodstuffs. Obviously, the larger the item or area that needs to be ruined, the higher a Ruin skill or the more PCs with Ruin you'd need.

ETA: I know nothing about code, but here's how I can imagine Ruin might work. On objects, it could invoke the wear/spoilage code in steps according to the success of the Ruin roll. That seems relatively straightforward.

However, for rooms that have resources Ruin would have to spoil those resources and, I would think, change the room desc to match the new ruined state. Multiple rooms would be worse because, if I understand these things, not only would the room desc and exit desc change, but all of the connected "building" room and exit descs would have to change as well. I know that I've seen things like this on games, but I don't know how easy that was to do or even how possible on the codebase you're using. I'd bet that there's no way to make any but a few such rooms "ruinable" if for no other reason than the sheer tedium of building and checking all those alternate room and exit descs.

Also, re: orcs' religion – I think anything but the barest suggestion of religious ideas in a Tolkien game risks going pear shaped very quickly because he was so careful to depict neither any sort of non-Christian religious practice nor any sort of allegorical Christianity. However, if there has to be something like religion, I could imagine that an orc's emotional/spiritual relationship to Morgoth and his lieutenants would be something like Gollum's to the Ring: awe, fear, and a hatred based in an unconscious but nonetheless real knowing that it was Morgoth who corrupted orcs beyond redemption. Orcs are utterly debased, but I would bet that part of that debasement is also the knowledge that they (or at least their ancestors) might have been different and that this knowledge drives them to hate even more.
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Re: Orc Play!

Postby Matt » Sat Jan 04, 2014 10:14 pm

TEK anyone? I really like all these suggestions for orcs.
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Re: Orc Play!

Postby Nimrod » Sun Jan 05, 2014 12:21 am

MrT2G wrote:A single tribe is fine, but there should be divisions within that tribe. Otherwise, it will become a circle-jerk. Orc spheres have only been successful when there was a natural leader with IG-acquired power. Artificial leadership roles will just hamstring the sphere.

Alpha could be a good time to establish player leadership through inter-sphere conflict since this will naturally decrease Human-Orc PvP which could be counter productive at such an early point.


I think you'll be extremely happy with what we have planned, MrT2G. I'm not going to spill all the beans, but just know that we are looking forward to player-led orc clans.
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Re: Orc Play!

Postby Matt » Sun Jan 05, 2014 3:04 pm

Here's an idea... the ability to be a 'roaming' tribe. It seems unlike a relatively small band of orcs to stay in one place very long. Crafts to build all the necessary crafting items for armor/weapons and things similar to the building crafts in Parallel would be neat. Those dirty humies struck back at the tribe? Move the hideout!
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Re: Orc Play!

Postby Manarath » Sun Jan 05, 2014 3:29 pm

Cooking... what are good and high levels of this?

Brewing? Assume it is desired. What's it look like?

Gardening/Herbalism?

Medicine?



Cooking is easy enough to figure out if you ask me. Even the trolls in The Hobbit (The book) knew enough how to cook mutton on spits over a fire, and while those three seemed to not be the norm of their kind, I would still put the basic orc equal or above their skill. Still, I doubt even the best of their ilk could, or would do anything truly fancy. I more imagine the higher level cooking skills for them would be more akin to roasting a whole boar or deer. Also, since they are well known for their taste in eating humans, perhaps something could be done with that. Perhaps they could get creative with mushrooms. Though I do imagine them having their.....own version of blood pudding.

As for brewing I don't see why they would not have some sort of skill in it. Mushrooms, blood, perhaps even a dash of spider venom could be used to make all sorts of little concoctions. We are in mirkwood in this setting, and all sorts of foul plant-life could be utilized along with less wholesome things.

This also bleeds into the gardening/herbalism because while I can't imagine an orc tilling the earth and planting crops, I can picture one using rotting flesh and vegetation to form compost heaps. Mushrooms would thrive perfectly in such settings, and again, the setting is in mirkwood and all sorts of new dark plants could arise that would thrive in such a setting. The real problem would be just figuring out what purposes these plants serve besides just eating and why they would go through the trouble of doing it.

Medicine is a must in a culture as brutal as orc society, since things like infection is still a major concern, along with sowing up bad cuts and whatnot. Actually I remember another part of the books where Uglúk smeared some sort of black paste on a gash Merry had and healing very quickly. Though it did leave a ugly scar. Things like that would be great as the peak of orc medicine, while the lower end would be a little more brutal. Spider silk could be used for stitches, bandages, and perhaps higher versions could be infused with substances to make it more affective, putting herbalism to use, while giving the need to harvest spider silk.
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Re: Orc Play!

Postby Hawkwind » Sun Jan 05, 2014 3:51 pm

Matt wrote:Here's an idea... the ability to be a 'roaming' tribe. It seems unlike a relatively small band of orcs to stay in one place very long. Crafts to build all the necessary crafting items for armor/weapons and things similar to the building crafts in Parallel would be neat. Those dirty humies struck back at the tribe? Move the hideout!


We've tried that, players are retarded and don't want to do that despite having all the resources, the players and the ability.
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Re: Orc Play!

Postby Octavius » Sun Jan 05, 2014 4:08 pm

Good post, Manarath. I'd like to see brainstorming of the details. Yes, these things are feasible, but this is ultimately fan fiction being written by you all as the orc playerbase. I want to see desired details if you want them coded and possible. :)
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Re: Orc Play!

Postby Matt » Sun Jan 05, 2014 6:35 pm

Hawkwind wrote:
Matt wrote:Here's an idea... the ability to be a 'roaming' tribe. It seems unlike a relatively small band of orcs to stay in one place very long. Crafts to build all the necessary crafting items for armor/weapons and things similar to the building crafts in Parallel would be neat. Those dirty humies struck back at the tribe? Move the hideout!


We've tried that, players are retarded and don't want to do that despite having all the resources, the players and the ability.


Tried it where?
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Re: Orc Play!

Postby Matt » Sun Jan 05, 2014 6:38 pm

Warg trainers? Since we're going for a barter system we'll need a way to raise our own mounts. Should be a lot of time and energy to even get anything out of it. Better the trainer better the ride.
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Re: Orc Play!

Postby Emilio » Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:18 am

Matt wrote:Warg trainers? Since we're going for a barter system we'll need a way to raise our own mounts. Should be a lot of time and energy to even get anything out of it. Better the trainer better the ride.


Do I ride the warg or the trainer?
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Re: Orc Play!

Postby Matt » Mon Jan 06, 2014 10:07 am

You ride the trainer if you want a warg.
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Re: Orc Play!

Postby Lungorthin » Mon Jan 06, 2014 11:59 am

Matt wrote:Here's an idea... the ability to be a 'roaming' tribe. It seems unlike a relatively small band of orcs to stay in one place very long. Crafts to build all the necessary crafting items for armor/weapons and things similar to the building crafts in Parallel would be neat. Those dirty humies struck back at the tribe? Move the hideout!


Go for it! If you can convince enough of your little orc buddies to follow you that is.
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Re: Orc Play!

Postby whitt37 » Mon Jan 06, 2014 3:52 pm

Octavius wrote:Good post, Manarath. I'd like to see brainstorming of the details...I want to see desired details if you want them coded and possible. :)


I think the best route, though sort of double work, is to create an orcish craft that creates an orcish equivalent of a normal item. Same effect, just two different sdescs created from two seperate crafts each with their own appropriate materials. Eg bandages made of clean linen vs bandages made of strips of torn cloth or a healing salve vs the aforementioned tarry, black ooze.
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Re: Orc Play!

Postby Nimrod » Mon Jan 06, 2014 4:20 pm

Matt wrote:Here's an idea... the ability to be a 'roaming' tribe. It seems unlike a relatively small band of orcs to stay in one place very long. Crafts to build all the necessary crafting items for armor/weapons and things similar to the building crafts in Parallel would be neat. Those dirty humies struck back at the tribe? Move the hideout!


I would be willing to support this idea for a player-run clan.
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