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Old March 19, 2020, 20:06   #6
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 763
DavidMedley is on a distinguished road
Lightbulb Blackguard Candidate

As some of you know, I'm working on a significant revamp of the Blackguard with Nick. I'd like to describe what I'm shooting for. Hopefully I'll hear back that people can't wait to give the new model a test drive! But if people aren't enthused, that too is valuable.

We had some discussions when I got started, and I'd like to single out this gem:
Originally Posted by Nick View Post
their abilities and spells should be leading the player to stay in fights rather than escape, the idea being that the character is having too much fun to stop.
Armed with this principle and all of the other discussion I referenced above, I tried some things, bounced some things off Nick, and here's what I have tentatively arrived at.

  • Melee class
  • Maximize Action
  • Fun to play!
Melee class
  • Ability to close quickly or otherwise minimize enemy breaths and spells
  • Mitigate enemy melee tricks (confu, stat drains, etc.)
  • Staying power
  • Reward heavy weapons
Maximize Action
  • Give incentive(s) to keep moving rather than resting
  • Bad stealth / aggravate / other enticement to fight more often
Fun to Play!
  • Unique play style
  • Not much harder or easier than other classes
  • Optimal play close to theme (e.g., if the best play style is to avoid melee, we failed this test)

Blackguard in Prose

Blackguards love combat when it's up-close and personal. Whether laughing in the face of mortal danger or cursing the mothers of their adversaries, there's no place a Blackguard would rather be than in a fight.

Blackguards are no ordinary brawlers, however. They learn powerful Shadow Magics that help them harness their martial spirit and battle rage. With this power they bolster their strength, weaken their enemies, and sustain their life force.

Blackguard exemplars include Morgoth, Tulkas, Feanor, Boromir, and Uruk-hai such as Ugluk.

Mechanics Overview

Figuring out how to reward BGs for jaunting from one combat to another (without making them overpowered) is the defining characteristic of the current design. We encourage players to forge on relentlessly by reversing MP regeneration. BGs lose MP at half the rate other classes gain them. They gain MP by attacking in melee or getting damaged by enemies at any range.

So at the end of a battle if you have 50% or so of your HP and 50% or so of your MP, it should be optimal (given your arsenal of spells) to keep moving rather than rest to 100% HP and 0% MP. If you've played a Rage Mage in some other variants, the MP in this design rise and fall much slower so the BG has more time to find his next victim or cast utility spells.

As your MP degenerate or are spent, you get a small amount of HP back. The more damaged you are, the more HP you recover from this process. Even when very hurt this HP boost is not huge, but it's enough to keep you in the fight longer (25% longer seems about right). Degenerating MP giving some healing diminishes the (not fun!) urge to cast post-combat spells before your MP evaporate. And the increased healing while hurt lessens the impact of entering a battle when already banged up.

So while BGs have their HP regen reduced 50% and their MP regen reduced 150% (to -50%), they regenerate both faster in combat. They can also do a little thematically appropriate bullying to generate some MP or quaff a !Restore Mana to get ready for a big fight. (Might have to nerf those potions a bit for BGs only, if we continue down this road.)

BG spell arsenal, at present:
  • 5 buffs
  • 3 debuffs (debilitate monsters)
  • 3 attacks (2 melee and 1 to move-and-melee)
  • 2 heals (neither are direct HP healing spells)
  • 2 utilities
  • BG now uses 3 books

Attacks and debuffs will rely on scoring a melee hit - think how ?Confuse Monsters or Forceful Blow works, but you get one free blow. For example, one spell in the works puts ATT_STUN on the player and then attempts 1 melee blow on the target. If it hits, the target is stunned and ATT_STUN ends. If it misses, ATT_STUN stays in place for 10 turns or until the player's next melee hit. 5e D&D calls these "smites" and I think they're fun. I think the (not fun!) spell fail rates can be lowered on these spells since they have a potential secondary fail of missing the melee blow.

How bad to make their stealth is still under consideration. One version gave BGs permanent aggravation. This seemed way too hindering, though we could possibly change the range. The current nightly version gives BGs -1 stealth to start and -1 every 10 levels, totaling -6 at CL50. This would make everything wake up 4x as fast. I'm concerned with how difficult vaults in particular would be with either of these. The best alternative proposal that I'm aware of says BGs don't aggro everything, they only aggro things they think they can bully, like creatures whose native depth is much less than the BG's max depth.

Some things we are not doing: Direct healing of HP like Paladins. Vampiric attacks. Ranged damage spells. Spell damage without a successful melee strike. Teleportation. Some of these things could work in a Blackguard concept, but they're not part of story we're trying to tell.

Final Word

Thanks if you got through this whole post! None of these concepts are final. I'm interested to hear what feedback we get back from the community!

Last edited by DavidMedley; March 19, 2020 at 20:14.
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