KotC Preliminary Analysis: Casters of the Eternal Chalice

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KotC Preliminary Analysis: Casters of the Eternal Chalice

Postby Endarire » Thu Oct 11, 2018 5:49 am

Greetings, all!

After playing Knights of the Chalice for about 10 hours locally with a friend, I wrote a preliminary analysis that includes suggestions for the sequel.

Enjoy!
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KotC Preliminary Analysis: Casters of the Eternal Chalice

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Re: KotC Preliminary Analysis: Casters of the Eternal Chalic

Postby BlueSalamander » Fri Oct 12, 2018 8:07 am

Hello and welcome Endarire :-)

Wow, looks like a very in-depth analysis of KotC 1. I'll read it a bit later on. Thank you very much!
'Say there is a chunk of meat. Pirates will have a banquet and eat it! But heroes will share it with other people. I want all the meat!!' - Luffy in One Piece
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Re: KotC Preliminary Analysis: Casters of the Eternal Chalic

Postby Endarire » Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:46 pm

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Re: KotC Preliminary Analysis: Casters of the Eternal Chalic

Postby Endarire » Fri Oct 19, 2018 2:02 am

Greetings, Sal!

It's been about a week and was curious about your response to this. Reply when convenient to you.

Thankee!
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Re: KotC Preliminary Analysis: Casters of the Eternal Chalic

Postby BlueSalamander » Tue Oct 23, 2018 5:59 pm

Hiya, Endarire! I hope you're well. I've read your document and here is my reply:

First of all, I think that a number of your comments are due to the fact that you played the full version of KotC 1 without having played the demo version of KotC 1. The KotC 1 demo is a stand-alone adventure. It also serves as a tutorial for KotC 1. For example, playing the demo, you immediately learn how to level up your characters. Also, it's a great adventure, so please do try it!

A small correction about what you said on Feats and Fighters: there is Bull Rush (and the feat Improved Bull Rush) in KotC 1. It's great to combine Bull Rush with braziers or magical walls of fire. And even more so in KotC 2, where Bull Rush can be extraordinarily useful. The AI in KotC 2 makes full use of Push / Pull / Slide / Swap, even on a distance of several squares sometimes.

On KotC 1 Feat selection: it's greatly expanded in KotC 2, as you can see in the KotC 2 webpages. Also, feats in KotC 2 are no longer restricted to a single weapon, as there are Weapon-Group proficiency feats, and simple Attack Focus and Damage Focus feats that cover all weapons.

Archery in KotC 1 can be very useful when your Fighter is using a Blinding longbow, see the list of weapon enchantments in KotC 1.

Race selection is greatly expanded in KotC 2, see webpages: Races and Subraces.

Invisibility, both in KotC 1 and KotC 2, does not mean that enemies cannot target you. It would be too complicated to handle invisibility as a spell that makes it difficult for enemies to target the square you are standing on.

There are storage containers in KotC 2. Also, enemies drop much less loot. They only drop those items that the map creator has marked as lootable and intended as such. This way, the map designer does not have to worry about the player getting his hands on too many magic items, just because he wanted the player to face many enemies that use magic weapons.

Point of no-return: Thank you for bringing this to my attention. Your party got locked out of the Orc Fort because I did not expect anyone to play through the Orc Fort the way you did. When I get KotC 1 on Steam, I will correct this by having the wall disappear if/when the party escapes through the tunnels. Spoilers follow (highlight the text to display it): if I remember correctly, the wall disappears as soon as you kill Icarus, the Commander of the Fort's upper level. You fell into his trap by listening to him and trusting him. You could say that Icarus is the one that locked you out on purpose.

To be honest, Teleport is a spell that is just too much hassle for any CRPG map designer. Often times, you want the player to go through a sequence of events / places / combat encounters. A true Teleport spell would be very likely to break that sequence, lock out the player and make it impossible to finish the game.

Multiclassing and simultaneous multiple metamagic use are NOT in KotC 2. Again, it's just too much hassle for very little gain, IMHO. However, in KotC 2, you can now cast spells using spell slots of a higher level than the minimum required level. I totally disagree with you when you say that multiclassing is a major strength of the d20 system.

Totally agree on Weapon Sizes. In KotC 2, weapon sizes are treated the same as armour size: everyone can equip everything. The character's size affects the damage dealt with the equipped weapon.

In KotC 2, you can cancel the level-up screen. No more problem there.

In KotC 2, as part of the character sheet, there is a 'Respec' tab. It allows you to change your character's feat and spell selection. You can only change the selection made in the last level-up.

In KotC 2, Clerics can cast somatic spells while using a two-handed weapon, while dual-wielding, or while using a one-handed weapon and a light shield. Only the heavy shield and tower shield require the use of Still Metamagic.

Just imagine that the high-level characters in the Keep are busy fighting high-level forces of evil while you are out dealing with lower-level threats. These high-level characters return from time to time, allowing you to talk to them.

In KotC 2, you can rename the characters that you have created at any time during the adventure.

The Delay action works the same in KotC 1 and KotC 2. Sure, you think it's too simple. But have you seen the AI ever using Delay in ToEE? No. Because it's too complicated for the AI to use. In KotC 1 and KotC 2, the AI can use Delay to its advantage. That's more important to me.

In KotC 2, spells like Protection from Energy are no longer split into several versions. You just select the energy type upon casting of the spell.

In KotC 2, there is a limit of one summon per character. This may change if we get the Summoner class in the game through a Kickstarter stretch goal. Please see the post about the Summoner Class.

In KotC 2, you can play in full-screen mode. The game then displays a bigger area. Please see KotC 2 screenshots.

Units are not animated in KotC 2. I do really like the animations of KotC 1, but this is not an essential aspect of gameplay. Removing unit animations allows the game to have a far wider range of monsters, PCs and NPCs.

Intelligence and Charisma are more useful in KotC 2. Sometimes they are extremely useful. For example, Charisma determines the duration of the special Summon granted by the Justice domain of Clerics and Bishops. Also see the Summary of Abilities at the bottom of this page.

In KotC 2, each square can contain both a ground effect, like Web, Entangle and Energy Wall, and an air effect, like Stinking Cloud, Solid Fog and Acid Fog.

In KotC 2, many spells are shared by several classes.

In KotC 2, crafting is different. It's not as easy as in KotC 1. You can no longer mass produce spell scrolls. You can Forge weapons and armour, but you need an ingot of the appropriate type. You can Enchant weapons and armour, but you need a magic gem of the appropriate type (as well as gold, experience points and an NPC who does the enchanting for you).

In KotC 2, the feat-selection exploit you mention is no longer possible. When you change any feat in your feat selection, all of your selected feats are reset, forcing you to meet the feat prerequisites.

There will be even larger-scale battles in KotC 2. Please see the October 2018 update.

There is no longer a level cap in KotC 2. Past level 20, simple levelling-up rules apply. Please see this KotC 2 webpage for more information.

Sure, there will be a few pre-generated PCs in the KotC 2 Character Roster. But it's more fun to create your own characters.

I don't like the idea of a long-term minion who would not be receiving Experience Points. If anyone joins your party, they are considered to be like any other party member and they receive their share of Experience Points.

In KotC 2, there is no pre-defined limit on the number of characters in the party. Each adventure module can have a different minimum and maximum number of characters at the start of the adventure. In the prologue adventure, I recommend creating four or five characters, and then having two companions join the party when you meet them.

In KotC 2, you can set certain characters as being Inactive at any time, using the Formation screen. Inactive characters do not gain experience points and do not take part in the adventure until you make them Active.

Yes, there are Reach weapons in KotC 2 and many monsters with natural Reach.

In KotC 2, there are combat manoeuvres like Trip, Disarm, Feint, Sunder, Bull Rush, Pull, Slide, Grapple, Whirlwind Attack, Rapid Shot, Careful Shot and Critical Shot. If you have the feat Greater Trip, you can trip as part of an attack of opportunity. KotC 1 has Bull Rush, Grapple and Whirlwind Attack.

Several non-casters in KotC 2 have their own interesting abilities. See the Gladiator, Monk and Death Knight classes for example.

Capturing and then improving a stronghold or city is certainly an interesting idea for a module where the player characters are high level. I liked it in Neverwinter Nights 2 and that would be my model for city building in the future.

I hope I have addressed most of the issues that you raised in the document. :) Feel free to post comments. Thank you, have a great time!
'Say there is a chunk of meat. Pirates will have a banquet and eat it! But heroes will share it with other people. I want all the meat!!' - Luffy in One Piece
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Re: KotC Preliminary Analysis: Casters of the Eternal Chalic

Postby Endarire » Tue Oct 23, 2018 11:29 pm

Sal, thank you for your detailed reply!

Since we have played further (even restarting the game due our Ironman party dying in an ambush under Northglade, but also because we didn't get the key to the Mountain Pass in the Orc Fort), we have noticed the power of spells, especially AoE spells, generally tremendously outstripping single-target abilities (melee, archery, and spells) to the point that these are novelties in comparison. This was initially noticeable in the Orc Fort, but grew in prominence since: Why use a single target ability that has a chance to fail when we can use web, fireball, or some AoE spell to affect a larger amount of foes at a time? (The somewhat obvious answers of 'resource management' or 'we don't have these abilities' I disregarded in this case.)

Another very mixed aspect we found was (effective) character level-based EXP gain. Being able to stay a level or few behind to craft stuff is one matter. Purposely squatting to gain many levels at a time drastically changes the game. For example, we squatted at level 8 throughout the Orc Fort so we could get more than 25 EXP per fight, but, along with some farming, had enough EXP midway through Taneliz to reach level 17! Our Clerics accepted the full level gain, but our Wizards stayed at level 15 to craft and gain more EXP. (Level 8 felt approximately balanced for Taneliz, with the fights even being a bit difficult, but a major reason we leveled was so we could learn all the spell scrolls we found and gain s'more inventory space!)

Tutorial: If the demo is meant as the tutorial, include a tutorial option on the main menu which is the demo and make it clear that these are the same. I was so excited that this game existed that I got the full game without trying the demo, figuring that the demo was just a small part of the full game. I was wrong, but I assume many others unfamiliar with the game would assume similarly.

Archery: Upon further reconsideration, my initial concerns of low damage are largely allieviated by crafted weapons. For example, a +1 Holy Axiomatic Destruction Composite Longbow is still a handy weapon, one that has a notable amount of range, and one for which the 5' step limit when full attacking is less of a hindrance; however, to obtain such a weapon to my knowledge, the group needs a caster crafter. The same thing applies to physical combat in general: It's a lot more effective for the player party with at least 1 player character caster crafter handy.

Status Effect Weapons: These (Blinding, etc.) would be more appealing if the DC scaled somehow. Perhaps make it 10 + (optional arbitrary bonus akin to spell level) + BAB or 10 + 1/2 BAB + 1/2 character level to encourage full BAB classes.

Something that seemed like a bug was mousing over something (an object or character) paused the game. For example, when walking, mousing over a party member paused the game. Also, mousing over an item in a shop prevented using the keyboard to switch characters. I understand how this can be useful, but this is more handy as a toggle.

Knights of the Chalice 2: The two of us and the KotC community likely expect much more from the sequel, and having read the October, 2018 update, the two of us at least are glad to hear that it's generally better than the first game! Our main concerns are the lack of unit animations and the new crafting system, but these require proper use in-game before fairly commenting.

Finally, thank you for your thorough reply and your dedication to this game! Do you intend to put Knights of the Chalice 2 in Early Access on Steam to get more feedback, tweaks, and money for the final release?
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Re: KotC Preliminary Analysis: Casters of the Eternal Chalic

Postby Endarire » Wed Oct 24, 2018 2:11 am

This is a separate concerns reply:

I'm unsure if the OGL allows using Thri-Kreen (since they're seemingly copyrighted/trademarked), but maybe that OGL version permits it. Formians are a fair replacement.

Second, the EXP requirements per level to my knowledge are not OGL. Perhaps doubling the costs (for crafting and leveling) and gains (from combat and quests) would be enough.
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Re: KotC Preliminary Analysis: Casters of the Eternal Chalic

Postby BlueSalamander » Wed Oct 31, 2018 6:11 am

Why use a single target ability that has a chance to fail when we can use web, fireball, or some AoE spell to affect a larger amount of foes at a time?
I know, it's a D&D thing. Personally, I don't have a problem with that. Are you saying that all single-target spells should be as good as same-level area-of-effect spells?

As for melee and ranged combat, they do have their uses when you are running low on spells or when you are fighting a boss enemy who's immune or resistant to your best magic, but could be dealt with by a Fighter, Samurai or Barbarian in one or two rounds of massive melee damage dealing. :D That is quite often the case in KotC 2, anyway.

character level-based EXP gain.
IMO this is just an exploit. It never came to my mind to play a D&D CRPG like that. I level up my characters as soon as I can, because that's more fun! Anyway, in KotC 2, you cannot farm for experience points, and you cannot mass produce spell scrolls. So it will be much more difficult to go through a whole module at a low level just to gain more combat-based experience points.

Tutorial: If the demo is meant as the tutorial, include a tutorial option on the main menu
Mmm, I have to think some more about this. At least, I will make it clearer when KotC 1 goes to Steam that players should play the demo first.

The same thing applies to physical combat in general: It's a lot more effective for the player party with at least 1 player character caster crafter handy.
Yes, this is true. And a high-level Fighter dual-wielding a heavily enchanted Longsword and a heavily enchanted Short Sword is a true engine of destruction IMO.

mousing over something (an object or character) paused the game
It's by design. Otherwise, it would be difficult to look at or talk to a moving NPC.

Do you intend to put Knights of the Chalice 2 in Early Access on Steam to get more feedback, tweaks, and money for the final release?
I don't know much about the Early Access thing so I can't answer that for now.

I'm unsure if the OGL allows using Thri-Kreen
I don't know. In any case, in KotC 2, they are called the Mantis people.

EXP requirements per level to my knowledge are not OGL
Experience requirements, or any actual rule from any game, cannot be copyrighted or trademarked. The things that are protected by copyright are text and images.
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Re: KotC Preliminary Analysis: Casters of the Eternal Chalic

Postby itsdat » Fri Nov 02, 2018 6:56 pm

BlueSalamander wrote:
Do you intend to put Knights of the Chalice 2 in Early Access on Steam to get more feedback, tweaks, and money for the final release?
I don't know much about the Early Access thing so I can't answer that for now.


Early Access is a common model nowadays. :) [Like I've said in in another topic, the Realms Beyond developers will release their toolset as well during the EA period for example. I think that it's a decent idea, since the KS backers will be able to start working on their campaigns well before the "final"/full release.]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_access

"Early access, also known as early funding, alpha-access, or paid-alpha, is a funding model in the video game industry by which consumers can pay for a game in the various development cycles (pre-alpha, alpha, beta) and obtain access to the pre-full release versions of the game, while the developer is able to use those funds to continue work on the game. Those that pay to participate typically help to debug the game, provide feedback and suggestions, and may have access to special materials in the game. The early-access approach is a common way to obtain funding for indie games, and may also be used along with other funding mechanisms, including crowdfunding. Many crowdfunding projects promise to offer access to alpha and/or beta versions of the game as development progresses; however, unlike some of these projects which solicit funds but do not yet have a playable game, all early access games offer an immediately playable version of the unfinished game to players.
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