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Old 12-18-2007, 06:40 AM   #1
KaVir
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Dragons - God Wars II style

I've had to break this up into four posts because of the per-post size limit. If this were simply a regular advert then I would trim it down to promote just the 'coolest' parts, but my reasons for posting this require me to go into at least a certain amount of detail. To the best of my knowledge there are no rules against doing this - but if there's a problem please delete this thread entirely, and I'll repost it as a link and put the relevant information on my website.


INTRODUCTION

Back in December 2006, I started a thread asking for feedback on my design ideas for a dragon class. There were some useful replies, and an expressed interested in being kept informed about my progress. As one year has passed since then, I thought it would be worth posting an update (in fact I'd originally planned to do this exactly one year after my design post - but I only remembered a few days after posting my Winterland advert, and I always wait at least two weeks between starting promotional threads).

The first version of the dragon class was made available for testing in January 2007, about a month after my post - but it was an early and very incomplete prototype with only a handful of powers. Over the last year I've fleshed out the rest of the powers, constantly polishing, refining and balancing to create something that I'm now fairly happy with.

As with all classes in God Wars II, I wanted the dragon class to support a wide range of different playing styles, with sufficient variation that two dragons would rarely look or play the same - and I wanted this variation to allow players the freedom to create a wide range of dragon-like creatures from mythology and fiction. I also strongly felt that the dragons should really feel like mighty beasts of legend, rather than just the couple of stat modifiers and simple breath attack that most implementations seem to reduce them to.


THE BASICS

The dragon class is designed to cover most dragon-oriented concepts, including humans (dragon slayers, dragon riders, etc) and draconians. However I've already had to break this into four posts, so I've decided to focus exclusively on the third and more traditional advancement route - full dragons.

Although you begin play unclassed, it's possible to start out as a newborn dragon right from the start by taking the Dragon Hatchling talent. The easiest way to do this is to select 'concept' during character creation, and choose one of the three dragon concepts (Green Dragon, White Dragon or Red Dragon).

Dragons come in a range of different colours. By default they are green, but if they select one of the four lesser calling talents (Black Dragon Descendant, Blue Dragon Descendant, Red Dragon Descendant and White Dragon Descendant) their scales will adopt the appropriate colour and their breath attack will be replaced accordingly (white dragons breathe frost, black dragons spew forth acid, etc).


PEDIGREES AND BREEDS

At age 200, dragons may choose to branch into a specific pedigree or breed by selecting the appropriate subclass. A very brief summary of these options is as follows:

Chromatic Pedigree: The natural progression from the basic dragon, this includes the standard five chromatic colours along with a sixth - yellow. The chromatic dragons have exceptionally tough scales, and gain additional benefits from their treasure hoard.

Metallic Pedigree: The bronze, copper, gold, silver, platinum and brass dragons of this bloodline were the first to unlock the primal fury of draconic Rage. While raging, they get increasingly stronger the more injured they become.

Crystal Pedigree: The onyx, sapphire, ruby, pearl, diamond and emerald dragons of this bloodline were the ones who discovered the secrets of draconic elemental magic, which they wield with unparalleled skill and power.

Celestial Pedigree: The void, star, solar, lunar, astral and celestial dragons of this bloodline were the first to travel the planes and explore beyond the Dragon Realm. They have spiritually ascended, and are no longer creatures of pure flesh and blood.

Hydra Breed: The hydra are the multi-headed dragons, possessing at least three heads (but usually more). They aren't coloured by Dragon Descendant like regular dragons, but can instead choose up to three different colours along with a pattern. Their colouring indicates both their offensive and defensive capabilities (e.g. a black, blue and red hydra could breathe acid, lightning and fire from its different heads, and would be particularly resilient against those three damage types).

Serpent Breed: The serpents are the limbless dragons, although their tiny fins are still capable of drawing the sigils required for draconic magic. Their tail is considerably stronger than most dragons, and their bite injects a deadly venom. Serpents are very fast swimmers, but are also more than capable of slithering across solid ground.

Wyvern Breed: The two-legged wyverns are the largest breed of dragons, and their powerful tails are tipped with a deadly venomous stinger. Wyverns lack the forelimbs of most other dragon types, and instead rely on their huge spiked wings as their primary mode of attack.

Dracolich Aberration: The dracoliches were created by a great ritual that went awry, causing them to descend into a state of undeath. Their animated rotting corpses are immune to pain, and they can breathe ethereal ghostfire. Upon reaching age 300 each dracolich is required to choose one of three subroutes: the Mummified Dragons are those who have preserved their flesh - they are exceptionally tough, and can infect their victims with a horribly rotting disease; the Skeletal Dragons are those who allowed their flesh to rot away entirely, making them more agile and removing many of their fleshy weaknesses; the Spectral Dragons are those who have transcended their physical body entirely, becoming ethereal beings - most physical attacks simply pass through them, while their ethereal talons and jaws are capable of ripping apart ghosts as easily as living creatures, and are unhindered by physical armour.
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Old 12-18-2007, 06:41 AM   #2
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Re: Dragons - God Wars II style

POWERS

The dragon class has three mutually exclusive core powers; Draconian Form, Dragon Form and Human Form. This post focuses on true dragons and the powers available to them, and for such builds Dragon Form should be one of your primary powers; the higher your rank, the tougher your hide, the stronger your talons and jaws, and the more potent your breath.

Most dragons cannot wear or use any equipment, which is quite a hefty penalty. To get around this, they may choose one of the following mutually exclusive powers:

Dragon Barding: This power allows you to wear up to five pieces of armour; a champron on your head and face, a criniere on your neck, a peytral on your chest, flanchards on your back and flanks, and a croupiere on your rump. You may also wear a pair of wing-spikes and two pairs of dragonspurs (or two pairs of wing-spikes and one pair of dragonspurs if you're a wyvern). As your rank increases, you get additional bonuses based on the precious metals your equipment is made from - gold improves your damage, silver improves attack, and so on.

Treasure Hoard: This power allows you to add items to your treasure hoard (as a form of magical fuel), and then draw upon your hoard to grant a powerful combat buff. The bonuses you gain from the hoard can be fully configured, assuming you've sufficient fuel of the appropriate types, with different items unlocking and enhancing different buff options.

Each dragon may also choose one of the following mutually exclusive movement powers:

Lord of the Skies: All dragons begin with wings, but this power strengthens them, allowing you to fly further and faster, as well as improving the effectiveness of your wingbash and swoop attacks. This power also negates the normal exhaustion penalties for remaining airborne.

Lord of the Lands: You're one of the wingless earthbound dragons, appearing much like dinosaur. Tougher and stronger than most dragons, you are a fast runner capable of leaping great distances, although you cannot match the speed of a flier. Wyverns retain their wings, but much like an emu or ostrich these vestigial wings will no longer be capable of flight.

Lord of the Seas: You're one of the wingless aquatic dragons, capable of swimming at great speed, although you are also able to move on land and even levitate into the air (exactly like Chinese dragons, who also happen to be strongly associated with water - no, that's not a coincidence!). Wyverns with this power develop pectoral wings similar to those of a stingray.

Dragons also have various other options, such as:

Lashing Tail: This power significantly increases the strength of your tail attacks. This is particularly valuable for serpents, as their tails are naturally enhanced and they lack the talons for making regular attacks.

Salamanders Gift: This power improves your regeneration rate, allowing you to rapidly heal injuries and even (at higher ranks) regrow lost limbs. This power is particularly important for hydra, as every 5 ranks gives them an extra head.

Draconic Rage: You're able to enter a mighty rage, giving you a range of different combat bonuses (most of which are tied into the five magic powers described below). At rank 5 you also unlock the Extended Rage power, which gives your rage further bonuses.

Draconic Aura: This power sharpens your senses, allowing you to detect enemies nearby. You may project either your awareness, an aura of fear, or an anti-magic aura, but it takes time to switch between the three options. Note that the anti-magic aura was directly inspired by Mabus's post in the original design thread (as I mentioned there, I felt it was too specialised to be its own power, but I think it works great as one of three options).

Dragons are magical beings, and this is primarily reflected by their five magic powers. Although dragons can train up all five of these powers, they get particularly strong bonuses for improving the one related to their colour:

Chill of the Tundra: Improves cold damage, protection and spells, and gives defence bonuses while raging. These bonuses are doubled if you have White Dragon Descendant.

Eye of the Storm: Improves lightning damage, protection and spells, and gives speed bonuses while raging. These bonuses are doubled if you have Blue Dragon Descendant.

Fires of the Volcano: Improves heat damage, protection and spells, and gives damage bonuses while raging. These bonuses are doubled if you have Red Dragon Descendant.

Fumes of the Pit: Improves poison damage, protection and spells, and gives attack bonuses while raging. These bonuses are doubled if you have Black Dragon Descendant.

Winds of the Mind: Improves mental damage, protection and spells, and gives resistance bonuses while raging. These bonuses are doubled if you have Psychic Mastery, and if you have Psionics this power unlocks a range of psionic spells.
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Old 12-18-2007, 06:41 AM   #3
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Re: Dragons - God Wars II style

MAGIC

Dragons cannot use normal magic, as they lack hands - however upon reaching rank 10 in Dragon Form, they gain the ability to draw spell sigils in the air with their talons (or fins for serpents and wingtips for wyverns - hydra cannot cast spells at all). The five magic powers described above each unlock a sequence of crude attack spells based on the appropriate damage type, but in addition there are three specialised talents for dragon spellcasters:

Terrestrial Sigils: Allows you to draw spell sigils regardless of Dragon Form rank, and unlocks 6 non-offensive spells, as well as 1 offensive spell based on your Dragon Descendant talent. This talent can also be purchased by Dragon Hatchlings.

Celestial Sigils: Requires Terrestrial Sigils, and is only available to classed dragons. This talent unlocks 7 offensive spells (although you may already have 1 of these from Terrestrial Sigils), and enhances some of your existing spells.

Khaos Sigils: Requires Celestial Sigils, this represents the final level of dragon magic. This talent unlocks 3 powerful spells (one offensive, one defensive and one functional), and enhances some of your existing spells.

If you focus on creating a dragon spellcaster you should also invest in Elemental Spell Focus and perhaps Enhanced Deflection. If you've spare talent slots left over, have a read over the three Improved Spell talents as well.


DRAGONHIDE

Most dragons have a scaly hide, and can draw upon their natural abilities to lock their scales together for a temporary bonus - however they can enhance or exchange this bonus by selecting one of the three mutually exclusive hide talents:

Tough Hide: Doubles the resistance bonus of your tough dragonhide.

Thick Pelt: Replaces your scales with a coat of thick coarse fur, providing a defensive bonus in addition to the normal resistance.

Rigid Feathers: Replaces your scales with long rigid feathers, providing a huge defensive bonus instead of the normal resistance.

These talents are primarily for cosmetic purposes, but they can also work their way very nicely into both effective and thematic builds - for example Serpent Breed combined with Lord of the Seas and Rigid Feathers would allow you to create a wingless Feathered Serpent modelled after the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl, and the combination of talents would result in a very strong defensive build capable of extremely fast water-based movement.

These three talents can also get a strong boost from the Strong Magical Shields talent.


OTHER USEFUL TALENTS

There are of course many other talents that work well with dragon builds, but some are particularly useful:

Dragon Blooded, Iron Talons and Powerful Metabolism double the Dragon Form bonuses for your breath, talons and jaws respectively (something you'll really need to do if you want to use them as primary forms of attack). The Dragon Blooded talent also counts as 5 ranks of Dragon Form for the purposes of natural armour.

Natural Fortitude (requiring Toughness) can provide a solid boost to your natural armour.

Berserker Rage and Tireless Rage can give a big boost to your Draconic Rage.

Martial Gnosis (requiring Serenity, Mind Over Matter and at least one Style Mastery) is a very viable alternative to the powerful Draconic Rage.

Unarmed Mastery aids most of your attacks, but don't forget to take Whip Mastery for your tail.

Sure Footed and Evasion are normally weak choices for dragons because of their bulky scales, but are very effective when combined with Lord of the Seas or Dracolich Skeleton.


DRAGON GAME MECHANICS

Because each class in God Wars II has so many options, and they can often emulate each other to a certain degree, it can become difficult to really make an individual class stand out from the others. One of the ways I did this with dragons was to explicitly introduce some new game mechanics for them.

While the shapechanging powers of other classes are often interconnected (allowing players the possibility of using multiple forms in the same build), the three dragon forms (human, draconian and dragon) are both mutually exclusive and first-tier (i.e., they've no requirements, but are themselves required for several other powers) - thus the forms are more like three separate mini-classes with some shared powers. Furthermore, most of the shapechanging forms for other classes tend to require multiple powers - for example a vampire using Wolf Form will also rely on Claws of the Wolf for offence and Lupine Fortitude for protection. For dragons, however, all three options are bundled together into the Dragon Form power, which then relies on different talents to strengthen them to more potent levels.

Dragon Form does suffer from a lack of non-physical protection, however, which is where the five magic powers come in. These magic powers utilise a mechanic called 'scaling', whereby earlier ranks give larger bonuses than later ranks. For example the Fires of the Volcano power gives +10% heat armour and +5% heat immunity at rank 1, an extra +8%/+4% at rank 2, +6%/+3% at rank 3, +4%/+2% at rank 4, and +2%/+1% for every rank after that. This mechanic only applies to the dragon class powers, and encourages them to spread many of their ranks around, rather than focusing like most other classes.

Precious metals (and to a lesser degree gems) are heavily tied into many of the dragon colours and powers. For example a Metallic Pedigree dragon with Red Dragon Descendant will be a gold dragon. Red Dragon Descendant also doubles the bonuses of Fires of the Volcano, which in turn gives a damage bonus while raging. Wearing gold Dragon Barding also gives a direct bonus to damage, while adding gold items to your treasure hoard provides fuel for (and improves the scaling of) your damage buffs, as well as unlocking bonuses for heat attacks. The same is true for White Dragon Descendant/silver/cold/defence, or Blue Dragon Descendant/copper/lightning/speed - and so on. This provides a certain degree of consistency, and also encourages dragons to greedily hoard precious items, which I rather like from a flavour perspective.

Another important detail I wanted to take into account was the dragons' renowned affinity for magic. While most classes will either go pure magic or pure combat, I wanted dragons to always be at least passable in both - thus even a pure spellcaster dragon will have powerful talons and jaws, and even a pure combat dragon will have the ability to draw spell sigils if he wishes. I also factored this in to the breath weapons; every dragon has two breath attacks, one of which is classified as 'physical' and is based on their combat skills, the other of which is classified as 'magical' and is based on their magic skills. Dragons invariably favour one or the other depending on their build, but the option is always there for them to revert to the other should they wish to do so.

In an attempt to make the dragon form feel more like the dragons 'normal' shape, I made many of the commands that are normally human-only also work for dragons - for example a dragon can change their gender (and get the appropriate messages) while in Dragon Form, and also change their appearance via the 'appearance' command, selecting from various dragon-specific features. Although classed dragons automatically have the ability to shapechange between human and dragon form, I didn't want this option to be available for hatchlings - so I had to ensure that it was possible for a Dragon Hatchling to class as a full dragon without ever needing to be in human form. This required some reworking of the classing system (as the other classes are required to earn and wear a black sash from the dojo, while hatchlings cannot wear any equipment), but the result once again helped to differentiate dragons from the other classes.

Last edited by KaVir : 12-18-2007 at 12:02 PM. Reason: Removed duplicate paragraph
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Old 12-18-2007, 06:41 AM   #4
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Re: Dragons - God Wars II style

MAKING THE DRAGONS FEEL EPIC

In most muds that have implemented dragons, their bonuses seem to consist of little more than a simple breath attack and some stat modifiers - they still feel just like any other race, even getting themselves killed by snails and beastly fidos. As I mentioned earlier, I strongly felt that my dragons should feel like the mighty beasts described in fiction and mythology. They should look and feel epic.

He looks terrifying, with cruel yellow eyes set in a wedge-shaped head, and a wide mouth filled with rows of crooked teeth. Bony ridges protrude from the joints of his tattered wings, which are covered in the same rotting red scales as the rest of his decomposing maggot-infested body. Twin plumes of smoke rise from his nostrils, while a powerful tail stretches out behind him, the tip flicking from side to side.

-------------------------------[ ASHWOOD FARM ]--------------------------------
Task objective______: Travel to Ashwood farm and destroy it
Task difficulty_____: Age 100
Task status_________: You have completed one of the two parts to this task
Task reward_________: Two thousand five hundred primal points
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The villagers of Ashwood have been left in peace for far too long. They have
rejected their belief in gods, and no longer fear the mighty dragons who rule
the skies, lands and seas. The time has come to restore that fear, and remind
them of their lowly place in the world.

Travel to Ashwood farm and destroy it. Leave no building standing. Execute
any villagers who dare to oppose you, and liberate any wealth they may have
selfishly hoarded for themselves.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------


You fly down from the sky, and land on the ground.

Your wings stop beating, and fold up behind you.

You breathe a blast of fire at the small farmhouse, blowing the top of its roof off!
The farmhouse burns down, leaving behind only a smoking ruin.
An angry man clambers out of the wreckage.
An angry man draws his cudgel from his belt with his right hand.
A slender woman clambers out of the wreckage.
A slender woman draws her knife from along her left forearm with her right hand.

You rake the claws of your front right foot across the slender woman's stomach, disembowelling her!
The slender woman's body goes limp.

An angry man swings at your face with his cudgel.
His bash bounces harmlessly off your rotting red scales.

The dead woman crashes to the ground.

You grab the angry man with your front right foot and bite his head off!

The dead man crashes to the ground.

You leap into the air, wings beating furiously.

You beat your wings furiously, preparing to gain altitude.

You soar up into the sky.

______........__________A settlement (position 0 1980).
__++++++====++++++++____Destination: 0 1980.
+..................+____-------------------------------------------------------
+..................+____You are hovering inside a settlement. Scattered lamps
+..................+..__mounted on the nearby buildings illuminate the
=.........><.......=..__darkness. Rain falls all around you, running off the
=..................=..__roofs of the buildings and splashing into the street.
+..................+..
+..................+
__.................+
______++====++++
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A village hall stands right beside you.

You soar down from the sky.

You beat your wings steadily, keeping yourself airborne.

You breathe a blast of fire at the village hall, burning its door.
A mob of angry villagers come charging out through the door.

Several of the villagers stab you with pitchforks, spilling forth maggots.

You snap at the mob of angry villagers with your powerful jaws.
A couple of villagers are crushed as your bite passes through the mob.

You concentrate deeply.

Several of the villagers thrust at you with torches.
You fly around the torches.

You swing at the mob of angry villagers with your front right foot.
A couple of villagers are sliced apart as your claws pass through the mob.

You swing at the mob of angry villagers with your front left foot.
A couple of villagers are sliced apart as your claws pass through the mob.

Several of the villagers beat at you with clubs.
The clubs miss you.

You concentrate deeply.

Several of the villagers beat at you with clubs.
You fly around the clubs.

You swing at the mob of angry villagers with your front left foot.
A couple of villagers are sliced apart as your claws pass through the mob.

You swing at the mob of angry villagers with your front right foot.
A couple of villagers are sliced apart as your claws pass through the mob.

You breathe a blast of fire at the mob of angry villagers.
Dozens of villagers fry as your flaming breath passes through the mob.

Several of the villagers beat you with clubs, cracking ribs.

You concentrate deeply.

Several of the villagers hack away at you with scythes.
You fly around the scythes.

You lash at the mob of angry villagers with your long tail.
A couple of villagers are crushed as your long tail passes through the mob.

You breathe a blast of fire at the mob of angry villagers.
Dozens of villagers fry as your flaming breath passes through the mob.

Several of the villagers hack away at you with scythes, spilling forth maggots.

You concentrate deeply.

You breathe a blast of fire at the mob of angry villagers.
The remaining villagers burst into flames, their blackened bodies falling to the ground.

You land, your clawed feet digging into the ground.

Your wings stop beating, and fold up behind you.

You throw back your head and roar triumphantly.



FURTHER INFORMATION

You can read more about dragons on the wiki page: classes:dragon [God Wars II]

For some information about classing as a dragon, check here: God Wars II - The Book of Wyrm Knowledge

For a general newbie guide to the mud, read here: God Wars II - New Player's Guide

To try playing a dragon hatchling right now, telnet to godwars2.com 3000, select 'concept' creation, and choose Green Dragon, Red Dragon or White Dragon. Make sure you read 'help newbie' once you enter the game.
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Old 12-22-2007, 07:40 AM   #5
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Re: Dragons - God Wars II style

This looks sooo ****ing badass. I think I'm gonna come back and play some GW II after my holiday vacation.
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