P&C RPGs - Chapter 19, "You Really Stepped In It, Mate"

P&C RPGs - Chapter 19, "You Really Stepped In It, Mate"

A Chapter by dw817

This week we're going to go over the different types of terrain that the player may cross, or may not - depending upon their transportation and/or worn artifacts.



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Chapter 19: "You Really Stepped In It, Mate"

Some details, ideas, and musings I've had experiencing effective RPGs and RPG Makers

© June 2019 Written by David Wicker
Please do not reprint without permission

Last week we talked about the importance of sub-quests and how they can nicely shape up a full RPG.

This week we're going to go over the different types of terrain that the player may cross, or may not - depending upon their transportation and/or worn artifacts.

And yes, =IF= you really did step in it, then perhaps you ought to start wearing shoes outside ? Eh, mate ?

Okay, let's focus. One of the earliest negative terrains you could step in for a RPG would be a swamp or some type of "awful" area where with each step it takes away your strength.

You know the kind. You've seen it in the original Dragon Warrior 1 game in their swamp and for the more modern Chrono Cross for their, "Hydra Marshes."

It encourages the player to either find a way around this without stepping in it, using some transport vehicle to go through it, or to find some magical or mystical talisman that protects the player from its effects.

And it's not just a little bit of damage. Ultima 2 introduced the force-field on their map to protect valuable treasures and passages and you would receive a whopping 100 hit points of damage by trying to cross through them without the proper protection.

. . .

Okay, so these are damaging fields, but what other terrain types can cause the player to think for a bit ? Well, there is ICE.

And with ICE you can make all kinds of interesting puzzles, where the player steps on to it and CONTINUES to SLIDE in that same direction until they hit a wall or a non-ice patch. By doing so the player will indeed have to use their brain to slide around and get to certain placed treasures and exits.

Underwater poses a new challenge - that is, unless your player was born with gills. You will only be able to stay underwater for a certain period of times or game moves. Naturally you want to have somewhere in your game an area that cannot be reached by the player because they run out of air and have to immediately resurface.

It is here you want to have some special talisman or water-based transport to get them to this inaccessible location. Water of course also means that random encounters will be water-based. Fish, Sharks, and Electric Eels just to name a few.

. . .

And do not forget one of the sneakiest terrains of all time in RPGs. That is the INVISIBLE or very hard to see. In it you can apparently walk right through a wall and although you cannot see the terrain, you CAN see your player, walking directly in a completely black tile or very close to black tile.

And you can add invisible obstacles and paths to direct the player to secret rooms with rare treasures this way to reward the watchful eye.

Other things a player can walk over are switches. That may invert a set of barriers to passable whereas their counterparts now become impassable.

You can see in this example that there are places the player can cross if the switch is ON and cannot cross if the switch is OFF. In this case, two types, purple barriers and orange barriers. Only one can be down at a time whereas the opposite is always up.

So touching a switch above, for instance, would lower the purple barriers (allowing the player to enter the hole and fall down a level) and it would also raise the orange barriers preventing the player from traveling to the left door from here. Switches can most definitely serve an important purpose in adding thinking puzzles to your dungeons.

You could also have floor-plates that when touched do all manner of dire things to the player, much like Indiana Jones in his temples of doom. Touching a floor switch could cause doors to close and lock behind and in front of player, could launch a volley of arrows, and might even drop a stone from above directly on the hapless adventurer.

Touching an out-of-the-way tile may also suddenly unlock a door ahead of the player that previously was locked with no other way seen to open it.

Some floor-plates could light up making a puzzle where the player should only touch each once and, interconnected, could make a challenging mental puzzle indeed, especially if they combined to make a shape that is not a simple rectangle but may even have a hole in the middle or on the sides.

In early Final Fantasy, there was a tile you could touch in a dungeon and you would ALWAYS immediately be attacked by several Fire Giants, and these tiles were several, invisible, and led to a great treasure if you could survive the suffering of these Goliaths in multiple combats by struggling from one tile to the next.

A player not paying attention might get themselves deep in to trouble by traveling through this terrain without thinking if they are going to survive or how difficult it might be to get out of this area.

Some RPGs had hidden pit traps in one room dropping the player to a level below (useful for towers), and only after the player traveled through the room without touching the completely hidden and tainted tiles (through memorization), could they continue on to the next room.

. . .

And that's it ! Of course you can use terrain and floor plates for so many other things, it's left only up to your imagination !

. . .

Next week is the FINAL CHAPTER !

Yessirree, we certainly have covered quite a bit so far, haven't we ? As to what the final topic is going to be I'll leave that a mystery for now. But you certainly won't want to miss the very last exciting and informative chapter of Prose And Comms of RPGs !

Until then, bye for now ...

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