Monday, 8 July 2013

Party Helpers: Henchmen

It's been some time since I last wrote about the player's party, so I thought I would bring this blog up to date with some more information on the sidekick, the henchman. As The Scroll is designed for both multi-player and single-player, deciding upon whether to include any henchmen at all and if so, how many, have been in question for me. Note: The player already has the option to design their own party and/or complement the party with companions that are included in The Scroll. Therefore, henchmen may, at first thoughts, appear unrequired.

First, to remind the reader, in the post link above I define henchmen as those NPCs that the player can add to their party, but whom the player has limited access to ... or control of. Whereas the player can possess companions/cohorts, access their inventories and even control their development as they progress in levels, they cannot do so with henchmen. Therefore, at first glance, the henchman may appear to the player as the "poor mans" choice of party members. However, for some players (and especially at the lower levels), the henchman may be the preferred choice of party membership, and here is why:-

1) Henchmen will auto-level as the party increases in level: For players who like to have party support, but wish to avoid having to control their development, then the henchman is the perfect choice. Access to the main character screen for the party member will still be available to the main PC to monitor such changes in development.

2) Henchmen follow basic commands only: For some players, not having to issue commands beyond the basic ones like "Attack Nearest" or "Stand Ground" may be a preference. That said, greater AI control is still available if the main PC "examines" the NPC and alters settings via the "Behaviour" tab.

3) Henchmen support is unconditional: Henchmen, generally, will not object to a player's actions like a companion/cohort might. E.g. A companion/cohort may prevent or advise against certain actions that are against the party alignment, whereas a henchmen is simply along for the ride.

4) Henchmen deaths are at party level only: Whereas companions or cohorts die when they reach zero hit points (unless observing a Life Essence rebirth choice), henchmen simply fall unconscious when they reach zero hit points. If anybody in the party survives the battle, then the henchman will regain consciousness with 1 hit point. As a player has limited interaction/control over a henchman, then this level of "death control" was a good alternative in my opinion.

To remind the reader: Some henchmen may require payment, some may be less trustworthy than others, but in all else the henchman will provide company as the player carries out their adventure. So, whether the player chooses to build the entire party using only cohorts, or find the support of companions who may have their own opinions, or add a few henchmen, then in all cases, the player can be far from alone ... even if only playing single player.

And just to have an excuse to add a few screenshots, here is where the player can meet at least one henchman to aid them in their adventure:-

Coming into New Edgeton on a cloudy and rainy evening.

The rain has not kept the locals from coming out.

The shops look like they are still open.


Eguintir Eligard said...

Hmm... I don't see many people latching onto a mindless drone. They'll either go for their own party (control freaks/roll players) or enjoy the personality of companions. Henchmen fall into neither camp. But they can't hurt so long as their addition required minimal dev time.

Lance Botelle (Bard of Althéa) said...

Hi E.E.

I am trying to not make them completely without personality, but the "type" I am designing may well fit in with the "less input" type. :)

Dev time is minimal really ... ;)


Eguintir Eligard said...

then you can do no wrong