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Zwackus

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Everything posted by Zwackus

  1. I really like the recently added "Explore the "Location"" options now available since the Content Patch. However, it seems like there should be a few more options added - Callomantia Gym and Tertulloid Observatory seem likely candidates. I find this especially important because I have yet to have a character who is capable of effectively using the explore ability. It almost always fails at the beginning, and thus I don't try. However, some of my characters have not even had the explore skills revealed, so I don't even have an option of improving my exploration ability. I know you've been tweaking explore and whatnot, so maybe this is already fixed. However, it seems there are a bunch of super-standard areas that I should be able to find, very easily, without any explore knowledge. Things like my school's Common Room, which I have never found, but know exists as a place because I randomly found one on a rare successful Explore in my very first playthrough. Perhaps if the roll for the explore ability was not of a sucess/fail nature, but rather common/uncommon/rare. That is, an incredibly low roll would revel a common location that should be findable by just about anyone. Higher rolls would pull from a list of more obscure locations, and the rarest and most secret of places would only be found by characters with exceptional Explore skills. As it is, the threat of failing an action entirely is sufficiently off-putting that I'm never use the Explore ability, even though I desperately want to find new locations. I have similar feelings towards research, which seems just as failure-prone, but as research really doesn't matter to anything, it's not such a big deal. In my current game I'm trying to research the Diary of Edward Lamont, just for the heck of it, despite near weekly attempts have yet to get past 3, even though my research skills are all between 7 and 10. Perhaps if research was performed on the skill-step system, and the research roll was not of the pass/fail nature, but of the "how many levels of success will I achieve" sort. Then every attempt will accomplish something, but more skillful researchers will be more quickly rewarded with progress in their studies. Oh, and finally, I found a revision sheet, an item that seems to grant +2 bonus to any skill I want, as many times as I want. While this is nice and all, it seems utterly absurd. It would be cooler, and make more sense, if I had to Craft the revision sheet myself, using Calligraphy skills, and possible enchant it with a pheme or two, and if it was set upon the time of manufacture to a single skill. So, I make a revision sheet for Geometry Problems, and it will temporarily increase my Geometry Problems skills upon use. The All-Powerful Revision Sheet of Awesomeness should be a rather rare, and highly valued, artifact.
  2. Amada Kieffler's quest has all kinds of problems. I'm not sure if this has been mentioned previously, so I thought I'd say something here. First off, the names are all bugged. Clique names appear instead of character names, character description instead of names, etc. Often the highlighted name section appears merged with a sentence of dialog. Second, the difficulty levels are just insane. I needed skill levels of 10 or more to get a purple chance, nearly every single challenge. For what I believe to be the final challenge, my dance skill of 9, insight of 4, and Charm of 7, and Sleuthing of 9, are not enough to get me even a purple chance at any of the options - they're all red! In some situations this makes sense. I totally understand that making the horseless carriage move should be difficult. However, given that the challenge is being asked to dance by a boy, and that my character is a well-trained and skilled dancer, that level of difficult just seems silly. If there are other sub-skills that are being referenced, like flirting, dating, or romance or whatnot, then some sort of hint that these are the stumbling block would be useful. There are too many possible skills in most situations to just guess. In my previous playthrough, I ran into similar difficulty issues with friend quests. Every single challenge required maxed out scores in random abilities, and even extensive training wasn't enough to get even a slight chance of success. On the other hand, the Captain of Mineta adventures were quite simple - most of the time, I was well ready to accomplish those tasks on the first attempt.
  3. Another idea or two for possible adventure threads . . . Who is the nurse? Help her out some. The groundskeeper is mentioned in the Lore - maybe an adventure focused on getting to know him, or helping him out. How about the master of the Forge, or the head Cook? The different head Librarians who work in all the schools' libraries? The School Stationer, if that idea from the other thread is implemented? How about the various farmers who work the fields? Conversely, if you want to play an evil little punk, maybe an adventure composed of nothing more than a series of nasty pranks on these people. The adventures could be exclusive, like the Pirates and Captain of the Guard adventures - you either help them out, as a good little boy/girl, or you terrorize them. An "annoying roommates" adventure might also be amusing - your dorm mates snore loudly, leave their messes everywhere, steal your stuff, etc., and over a series of several days or weeks you gradually come to an understanding with them. Or an adventure focused almost entirely on the gate guards, learning their schedules, and figuring out ways to get around them. OF course, this would work much better were the whole "1st year students can't go into town at all!" theme was better explained and implemented, with exceptions for some study-related things for which you can get passes from your professors. Several random encounters give you a chance to help out thieves . . . maybe have an adventure that expands on that topic, where you collaborate with the thieves guild and help them steal stuff. Or for that matter, the Swashbucklers. Any of the possible part-time jobs could be adventures - working at the newspaper, working as a bank clerk, working at the Corner Tailor, working at Brisbane's, etc. In fact, it would perhaps make more sense if the part-time job was made available only after completing the adventure tied to that particular location/job.
  4. More silly ideas . . . In the Lore, there are several references to phemes being etched, carved, or written onto various objects, like clothes and whatnot. It seems like it'd be a cool ability, to either etch, carve, or embroider items (depending on their material components) with individual phemes. Have this as a combo of Orthography and the appropriate artisan skill, maybe. So, I could have an especially alluring hat, for example. Perhaps these are extra-detectable items, though, and they can easily get you in trouble - worth the risk?
  5. You take a quick shortcut between some hedges to avoid <Random Low Relationship Character>. “I saw you, @Player Name@!” <he/she> calls. <he/she> is following you! Just then, you spot a hole under an old stone wall. It’s just big enough to climb through, and you know <he/she> isn’t going to follow you there and get all dirty. You scramble through on your hands and knees and emerge on the other side just in time to hear <Character> run past. You’re safe now! Only then do you notice where you are . . . at the entrance to some kind of hedge maze! 1 – You’ve heard rumors of a dangerous maze that traps students, and you don’t have time to deal with that now. (Exit, -1 to Curiosity) 2 – Memorization – Try to remember if you’ve heard something about this before. Investigate – Success – Mysterious hedge maze, walled off, near Avila College . . . yes, you have heard something about that. Unfortunately, it was when you were listening in to a conversation between some older students, and you couldn’t understand most of what they were talking about. It definitely had something to do with geometry, though. – Result, show Geometry option. Investigate – Failure – You remember hearing a story <Random High Relationship Character> told you about a maze that closed up behind you. The only way to survive was to run as fast as you can! – Result – show Running option. 3 – Puzzles – Enter the maze, and leave a trail of breadcrumbs behind you so you don’t get lost. (Very Hard) Success – You enter the maze, confident that there’s no puzzle you can’t solve. The maze is tricky. It seems like it loops back on itself in ways that should be impossible, but you ignore that and focus on your goal. It’s a puzzle, and like any puzzle, there’s a solution. Patience, logic, and dedication eventually pay off when you emerge from the hedges into a small clearing at the maze’s center. There’s a small plaque on a pedestal. Etched onto the plaque is a map of the maze, which makes your mind swim if you consider it carefully, and a small caption explaining that the maze was built as a physical solution to Hans Edlun’s Fourth Geometric Quandry. <Insert better name/problem from lore here> Hmn, interesting. (Exit, +1 Puzzles, +1 Geometry Problems Research) Fail – You start off confident, but quickly realize that this maze is no ordinary puzzle. Straight lines are not straight, right angles don’t behave properly, and turning around has unpredictable results. When you unexpectedly end up back at the start of the maze, your frustration turns to relief, and you leave the whole thing behind you. (Exit, -1 Confidence, +2 Stress) 4 – Climb – Climb a nearby tree, and try to figure out the layout of the maze. Investigate – Success – You slowly make your way up the tree, looking carefully for branches that seem strong enough to hold you. When you look down at the maze, though, something is not right! The paths twist and fold into themselves in ways that are impossible, and seem to shift every time you blink. It makes you dizzy, and before you know it, you’ve slipped off the branch and fallen onto the soft ground below. You wake up hours later, just moments before curfew, and run back to your dorm. (Exit, Vitality -1) Investigate -- Fail – Climbing the tree is more difficult than it looks, and after fifteen minutes you’re right back where you started. (No effect) 5 – Geometry Problems – Tackle the maze as a giant geometry problem. Success – Four right angles make a squared triangle, but if you cut across the center vertex and divide by . . . the twists and turns of the maze become less a physical space and more an expression of profound and inexplicable geometric laws. The twists and turns are not directions laid out on a two-dimensional map, but rather arguments and statements in a giant geometric puzzle. Fortunately, it’s a puzzle that was solved long ago, and you studied it in class. Seeing the solution made into physical space is an incredible experience. At the center of the maze there is a small clearing, with a marble pedestal and a bronze plaque. The plaque shows the formal solution to Hans Edlun’s Fourth Geometric Quandry, the very same solution you just retraced in the maze. Cool. (Exit - +1 Confidence, +1 Geometry Problems, +1 Geometry Laws) Failure – The maze definitely has something to do with geometry – impossible geometry! You quickly realize that this is simply beyond your level, and make for the exit. ( Exit - -1 Confidence) 6 – Running – You set off at a sprint, pushing ahead at your top speed, turning the corners as quickly as you can. However, no matter how fast you run, you don’t seem to be getting any closer to the center. Still, you can’t shake the feeling in your gut that you’re getting closer . . . to something. Something important. Gasping for breath, you make one final turn . . . and see the entrance to the maze. All that running, and you’re right back where you started. Well, at least the maze didn’t eat you! (Exit, +1 Running)
  6. I can see that lending itself to a series of entirely inappropriate pranks . . .
  7. On that point, I do sort of wonder if it is sensible for things like Accept Comission, or being invited to use the Master's Forge, to be at all possible for students in Year 1, no matter how good their skills. I mean, I got a personal workstation more or less just by going to class. That seems way, way too easy. Further, my character has a puny strength of 1 - no matter how much theory and magic I know, you're not going to shape iron with the lowest possible strength a 13 year old can muster. You're not even going to lift the hammer more than twice! Super-stringent requirements, above and beyond those that might be attained in class, and perhaps only unlocked after a hard adventure?
  8. One thing I've been sort of thinking about is the Rimball system. I didn't see much about it when I played a female character, but when I played a male character, all of a sudden I was on a Rimball team, and kept having Rimball random events pop up. This is interesting and all, except I really think something like participation in organized sports should be a bit more structured, and a bit more open to player choice. Not everyone would imagine their character playing on a team, and characters who don't take Athletics, and have poor Strength and Fitness, don't make obvious choices for the team. First off, are Rimball teams created by student choice, or are the house-associated? Does every year have its own Rimball team, or group of teams? Basically, how is the game supposed to work in the lore? Is there any gender connection, or was that just random luck? If it's ad-hoc teams that play of their own volition, then I think a simple modification of the Clique mechanics could work to form Rimball teams. These ad-hoc teams would train and practice together, maybe as a scheduled event or something. Depending on the players on the team, their skills, and their abilities, you could have a set of Team Skills/Attributes, and then another score, like Study, representing how much the team practices together. Maybe certain more athletically or competitively minded characters could bring special Rimball-specific bonuses or negatives to the team. Finally, the players should have the option of joining a team, or trying to start one on his/her own. The next part gets more difficult, though. I think it would be really cool to have a system wherein the different existent Rimball teams challenge each other to matches, and then use a variant of the Dueling system to resolve the match. I guess you could have a series of plays or whatnot to choose from that would shift the momentum of the game in one direction or another, and this, modified with the Team Attributes and Practice Level, might give each team a greater or lesser chance of scoring in that round. Maybe have 4 or 8 rounds to play. Finally, you could tweak all those Rimball-match random events to only take place if you're involved on a Rimball team, and then adjust the results accordingly so that they have team effects as well as individual effects. Thinking about it, similar modifications of the Dueling mechanic might be cool for other contests, like crafting contests, debate contests, insult contests, etc. Then you could add the chance of starting a contest to several random events, making particularly aggressive event choices lead to real consequences.
  9. No, it's not a permenant loss, just temporary. Which is fine, really, except that it strikes randomly, and there's nothing in the text about it. I just wanted to point it out, so it could all be made consistent and coherent if possible.
  10. On the topic of "Not as useful as could be . . ." Flower Child's explore boost ability . . . instead of having it triggered +3, have it +2/+1 permenant, maybe? Or something.
  11. This may well have been mentioned already, but in almost all forge locations, tons and tons of possible passive locations show up, several of which are incredibly strange looking. Even the Earth Sprite Nest suffers this problem. In other location news . . . J. Circus Freak Show - the passive ability there doesn't work, though it sounds like you're changing that to an active ability anyway. There's the location where you can Tour the Tapestry Room, an active ability. I failed to do it. That seemed odd. Are there supposed to be frequency limits on places like the Gamers Guild? I unpredictable lose the ability to go there. How about for some of the Libraries? I've been using the Library of Mantele quite a bit, and thus suddenly I lost the ability. Honestly, it would make sense to restrict both of these locations a bit, but just do it clearly.
  12. In the Lizard - Observatory Race adventure, if you succeed on the observe roll, you find a hole into the Observatory, which looks interesting, but then when it cycles back, there is no new option available - only the standard Compete, which I'm gathering is incredibly tough. Random Event Glitches . . . There's the event where you see a tail walk into the Janitor's Closet. The Observation roll told me that it was a rare Smoke Puppy, but then no extra action was provided as a result, I was left only with the Brute Force option - the text of which told me I should have paid more attention before charging! There's the event where you're helping people practice for a play, and you start speaking a magical dialect. I did the observation, found some gum in my pocket, but once again, nothing showed up. Fortunately I was able to use the Composure option to successfully complete the event, but . . .
  13. Typos or sorta-typos . . . There's an event where you help sort some animated Artifice books, and get one as a prize. The un-identified version is totally blank. Secure an Apprenticeship with Brisbane - in the description of the results are cut off with an etc., and after having accomplished it, all I see is something about Memory, etc. Looks like an un-filled placeholder. Isasos Holiday text - I changed places with professor He, who was soon revealed to be the History professor. Not He of the Grand Wizardly Army, sadly. The Merchant's Seal that one gains from the Vernin adventure has no description. It's also un-identified, which seems odd.
  14. Yeah, the cost/beneift ratio of the familiars needs to be looked at a bit, I think. So, you can train them in skills up to their bond level. Raising their bond level requires raising each of the 3 bonds by one point, so that's at least 3 actions right there. Then there's the actual skill training itself. And, there are no fancy bonus locations for familiars, like there are with people - when you train your familiar, it's slowly, one step at a time. A possible fix here would involve the fact that familiars seem to go off on their own and do their own thing during class and study time. So, maybe when you're in class, the familiar has a chance of auto-boosting skill points. Not necessarily in the class you're studying, but maybe from a set of skills that your breed might partake in. These skills won't surpass the bond level, I suppose, but it'd be something. Further, I'm really unclear on the relationship between character skill level and familiar skill level. If your character has 0 in a skill (Say, Navigation), but you train you familiar up in that skill, what does it mean? How should that even be possible? On the other hand, if I have a 10 skill in Navigation, and my familiar has 0, does my familiar get some bleed-over effect from my character's skill level? How exactly does that work?
  15. Yes, seen from that perspective, (which is not all that uncommon amongst gamers), shortcuts here and there do make quite a bit of sense.
  16. The more I'm playing, the more I realize the truth of it.
  17. Since people are talking about studying and whatnot . . . I was wondering if this is working as designed. In class, you automatically train up your skills in a semi-random fashion. This is fine and makes sense. However, in Geometry, Astronomy is never trained, and in Dialectic, Sleuthing is never trained. If there is a reason for this, (investigation can't be taught in the classroom, maybe . . . but astronomy?), okay, but if it's a bug . . . Have other people noticed skills like that? On the previously mentioned issue regarding Mix/Maxing Study habits, I'd agree that some sort of gentle discouragement might be in order. Stress gain is already possible, maybe emotional problems? Specifically, something to gently discourage one from doing Study/Study/Study days, or Train/Train/Train days, would be atmospheric and in line with what you are already trying to do. Maybe it gives you complexes, or gives you different sorts of social penalties, or you lose friends, or whatever. Oh, and I like the aforementioned idea of Bullying Skills, perhaps cross-referencing Schoolyard Education with Malice, Ambush, Gossip, Sleight-of-Hand, and Practical Jokes. However, having these run as contested rolls versus different reasonable counter-skills, like Danger-Sense, Perfect Timing, etc., would make it more interesting. Other things I've thought of after several more hours of play . . . You should be able to exchange locations with your friends, or at least learn a few locations from your friends. Maybe give each character a list of 5 "Favorite Places" that they know, and which you will have the option of exploring together once befriended - as a mini-adventure, maybe, or just a simple ability. Speaking of locations, when an adventure takes place at a particular location, wouldn't it make sense to add that location to your list? For example, in the Adventure associated with that annoying girl who wants the "Pauper's Bane," we go to Uptown . . . but my character has no Uptown locations. Maybe something similar for the random encounters as well. Given that I've never played a character with significant explore ability, and that explore thus fails more often than not, thus making it a waste of time to try, I find myself rather lacking on locations other than the ones I get from class.
  18. Merit Prizes XIIII and XV, one of which increases a skill and one of which increases a Professor's relationship. Oh, and Merit Prizes 12 and 13 (Champion's Room and Reflection) weren't clearing after used, they stuck around on my abilities list.
  19. Yeah, I suppose I took an odd class routine with my characters - with the thought that I'd build a solid foundation for future study, I chose Grammar, Rhetoric, and Dialectic! I like that Dialectic comes with all of these kick-*** locations, but they seem a little too good.
  20. It seems as if the passive abilities of several locations along the C. Trail make it incredibly, incredibly easy to get very VERY high levels of Dialectic with little effort. The Lone Pine is particularly bad in this regard - I can set every study or train action to take place there, and watch my Dialectic ability soar! I kind of thing that passive skill-expansion abilities might need to be dealt with in some way in a future patch, because they really are a fast way of building rather improbable skill levels in fairly difficult-seeming topics with no effort or risk. This is especially the case with the C. Path locations, as there isn't even a risk of detection there! However, the Puzzle Block and its boost to puzzles, and the Ballos News Stand are also suspect in this regard. Maybe reduce it to a 50% chance of skill gain, with multiple points awarded for exceptionally lucky rolls? This would give a bonus to those who chose Lucky . . .
  21. I was lucky enough to be in a house full of over-achievers, Vernin (who, now that I think about it, have been at the top every game I've played), and so got a lot of Merit Prizes - even though I added no Merit points to the house! However, I find that these are rather useless, as more often than not, I fail when I try to cash them in. I've failed twice to cash in a "Increase Random Skill" prize, though I did manage to cash in the "Champions Hall" location and passkey. Now, maybe the skill increase is for more than 1 point, but . . . I could just train, and be sure of getting a skill point, or take a risk and try for the Merit Prize. Even if cashing them in was automatic success, it's still not necessarily better than training on my own, or using Impression of Dilligence (for the improve instructor relationship prize).
  22. I got this once as well, Patch 2. Only CTD I've had in this game. And I agree with the OP, that ability does seem really weak. Maybe if it increased by 2 skill points, or you could improve 2 skills, or got a skill you didn't know about, or it came with a location knowledge, it'd be cool, but now it's really weak as is it's no better than train. Getting to know whatshername should have a better Clique ability.
  23. Possible areas for adventures . . . 1 - Class related adventures - field trips, study retreats, subject-related locations, library or museum visits, visiting lecturers, etc. 2 - Professor related adventures - professor takes an interest in you, professor challenges you, try to gain professor's approval after mishap, professor's dark secret, expose inappropriate conduct by professor, participate in inappropriate conduct with professor 3 - Friend related adventures - friend has fight with parents, friend wants to get X, friend wants to go to X, friend wants to get back at enemy, friend wants help with his/her romantic interests 4 - Parent/family related adventures - visit by parents, fight with parents, parental demands, relative visits, go to visit parents, go to visit relative 5 - Explore locations on/around campus - spend time in the kitchens, spend time in the boilers, explore the libraries, spend time with the groundskeeper 6 - Rimbal adventures - train for a big game, develop a new formation, sabotage enemy team, start a cheerleading group, ask a pro for advice, go to a professional match with friends 7 - Detention adventures - cleaning challenges, library challenges, do dangerous stuff for the professor, avoid abject humiliation, etc. 8 - Creatures of the woods - meet pixies or fairies, meet other forest creatures, discover bad stuff in the forest and deal with it, find a spooky cave and explore it, climb an enormous tree 9 - Town related adventures - make friends in town, get to know shopkeeper, get a part-time job, accused of a crime, steal stuff, join a gang, look for patron, go to a ball, participate in town festivals, adventures concerning the Magicians guild, deal with town punks & bullies
  24. It's interesting you should mention the time-based Friendship Adventures. Originally, many were designed as such, but the overwhelming feedback was that our testers preferred more control, to less, in the timing of these. There are some friend-related Random Events (and more to come in the DLC, specific to each Character), but the real balance will be struck in Year 2. We *may* do some timed Adventures there. In regards to Relationship maintenance, this was another area where our testers came down firmly on the negative. Originally, Relationship did decay, but we pulled it from the design relatively early. We are considering a few ways to add something like this into Year 2, but we're not sure yet what the implementation will be. The eternal game-design challenge, balancing challenge and annoyance. I definitely understand how automatic decay would be annoying - there have been several games where the entire experience bogged down at some point because fighting auto-decay in various levels became time consuming. On the other hand, presenting players with hard choices - do this, or lose that - can enhance game experiences if done properly. So long as the choices are clearly understood, the alternatives are balanced, and some level of success is usually possible. I can definitely see the donwside to time-related adventures, if the adventure requires skills that the players simply does not have and cannot build up in the allotted time. One way to deal with this would be to have a sort of graduated success range. I don't know how possible it is to have branching paths within an adventure given the engine you are using, so I'm not going to suggest solutions that would require such. However, you could have three possibilties for such an adventure - 1 - You ignore the call for help, and suffer a relationship hit. 2 - You make an effort to help, but fail - this avoids the relationship hit, but provides nothing positive. 3 - You succeed, boost your relationship, and get a bonus. This way, the player is only penalized if they choose to not even bother to help their friend, but is not blamed if the task is simply beyond their means. However, if the player really works hard to help their friend, say skipping classes for a few days to build up the necessary skills before the timer runs out, then they will be amply rewarded. I really like the idea about Student-specific Actions that are overtly time spent. Every Student has a Clique Ability, but it's not quite the same thing. The community might be able to help with this if posted on a separate thread - a list of all characters, and suggestions for what activity one might do with them, and what benefits it might provide. Giving Gifts is a quick way to improve Relationships, in answer to your question. Is there some special skill needed before this becomes possible? I never even ran into the mechanic, or saw it as an option. It does not seem like giving gifts should be an obscure ability that is only learned after great study and difficulty. :-) Thanks for the response!
  25. I've played around with the game for 10 to 15 hours or so, and have a few comments and suggestions. First off, though, it's always fun to be involved with the early progress and development of an incredibly detailed, comprehensive game like this, and I feel lucky to have found this game through a random ad on Impulse. Hopefully some of my comments can be useful, and through the writing submission process, I may be able to address some of these myself! First off, I agree with several of the previous posters who have called for Friends and Classes to have more content associated with them. For friends, as previously said, more actions and abilities related to friends would be nice. But just as important, I think, is that friend-related adventures, etc. should have some sort of time based immediacy. You can't put off your friend's crisis until next week! For example, Emilia Piccoti's adventure regarding her perfume. That's really the sort of thing that should just hit you some random afternoon, and you should be forced to pursue it over the next couple of days or lose her as a friend. Auto-schedule it onto the calender? Set and use flags that trigger after the first event fires, setting up a "Break up with Friend" event if an effort to continue the adventure isn't made within a certain period of time? Also, an idea would be a "Spend time with x" ability. Based on their character blurb, each friend comes with an action representing the two of you hanging out and doing something your friend likes doing. So with Emilia, it could be Gossiping with a random student, and improving the relationship between all three parties by 1. That would be slightly better than normal gossiping, and it would be much more specific. Another student could have the "Study at the library with X," or "Wander the Forest with X." This would make friends more important by giving you access to activities and whatnot that you might normally partake, and to skill training that you would otherwise ignore. A few more abilities along the lines of "Set an Example" could work as the converse of this - that is, your friend hangs out with you, doing stuff you're good at, and both of you improve as a result. If one of your friends ends up in the infirmary, there should be some sort of even that triggers as well. That's important enough that it shouldn't go unnoticed. There is also something at the bottom of the character's display about gift preferences. I was playing a poor character, and never bought anything, so this part of the game totally escaped me. Maybe I shouldn't be allowed to ignore it so thoroughly? Or rather, maybe gifting would be a way of strengthening friendships. The two of these could then tie into a "friendship meter." Each time a positive action with a friend is taken, an extra level is added to a hidden code in the database. Should the level fall below a certain point (as a result of not hanging out with your friend for too long, being friendly with people they don't like, refusing to help them out in their crises or failing to help them, stealing their boyfriend/girlfriends, etc.), you'd lose the friend. This meter would only really decline through deliberate malice, failure, or neglect, and I think would be comprehensible. Maybe it could be represented by a phrase under their name in the Clique menu - "Best Friend," "Close Friend," "Friend" "Drifting Apart", etc. Enemies and rivals could definitely use some work, though as I never really developed any I can't say how. Just making sure that, even if you're not a target of constant bullying, you will always during the year develop a few serious rivals, for good or bad reasons, would go a long ways. I suppose that you could have two categories - academic rivals, drawn from your classes, whom you MUST out-do, and on the other hand, social rivals, who you just don't like for whatever reason. These could be randomly chosen, but I think it would be better if the various characters in the game were assigned a few attributes that they particularly dislike, or people that they particularly dislike. For example, X really dislikes people with intelligence above 2, and so you're more likely to become his/her particular social rival. Colleges could play a role in that as well, I guess. I dunno, I don't have as good an idea of the mechanics for this, but some sort of database-driven probability matrix that will assign a rival or two or three to you during the term. Once the rivals are set, there could be a series of challenges and adventures tied to your rival, and at the very least you could be the target of bullying/sabotage/demeaning/rumors/nasty spells, etc. from your rival. As for classes, I totally endorse the prior suggestions regarding test scheduling and students in the class. Perhaps even have a special title for "top of the class," some combination of study, ability, and teacher relationship. It really seems like there ought to be a "Classes" window, in which all of one's classes are shown, with teachers and students, and Exam scores, if there are any. An earlier poster had suggested that the tests be re-done in favor of an adventure system. I think this is an excellent idea, though I understand that it's probably not possible at this point to entirely replace the tests. However, could the test scoring be modified so as to take into account the results of such adventures? For example, particular outcomes in the adventure would be worth X points on the final test? If you had a rival in each class, this could be worked into the adventure as well. Further, these adventures need not be confined to the test itself - a series of class-related adventures during the course of the term could provide a variety of merit bonuses, glory, skill bonuses, and teacher approval ratings, all the while making the class part of the game far more immersive. These could be choosable adventures, but given that they are related to classes, I'd suggest they be unavoidably triggered, perhaps as one-off adventures, or perhaps as a series of events across several days. Another angle would be based on the teachers. Right now, they are really shadowy presences, who you can entirely avoid if desired. They ought to be much more active presences in your characters' life. Event sequences based on particular teachers, triggered if you are in their classes or their house, would make this happen. Perhaps teachers could become your rivals, harming your performance in their class and forcing you to work extra hard to pass, ala Snape. Finally, many of the random events refer to classes that my character does not take - particularly Incantation and Negation. My character had a schedule of Astrology, Geometry, Grammar, Rhetoric, Dialectic, and Glamour - almost none of which provided much in the way of adventure hooks, save Astrology. It seems odd to have events trigger that deal with classes one doesn't have. An adventure or two for each subject would be interesting - for Dialectic, maybe exploring the Chandruligar (excuse my spelling) path more fully, with a challenge at each step, or for Rhetoric, some sort of debating society or contest. Geometry brings to mind all sorts of horrible Lovecraftian adventure opportunities involving the many angled ones living at the bottom of the Mandelbrot set, but I'm not sure how well that would really fit with the setting - though I did note with approval the one Geometric attack spell that messed with the opponent's distribution in space. On a related note, given that schedule, I had TONS and TONS of phemes, but almost no way to use any of them. The lore would often reference spells and whatnot that used the phemes I was studying, for example economy spells, law spells, and whatnot, but those don't seem to have been coded in. I realize that I've said a lot, and much of what I've said would require a LOT of work to properly implement, even just at the content writing level. However, when I think back to my prior experience modding a kitchen-sink game, Europa Universalis III, I can't help but think that with dedicated support from the developers combined and the active involvement of the community at the modding and content creation level, much of what has been suggested on these boards can be made possible.
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