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Sneak Peek: Loonyland: Titan Tunnels08:32 PM -- Tue March 13, 2007

A new shot! I took a hiatus from Grappling Skills, because I'm trying to get all the major new systems in rather than get every single skill in. So here's a major new system - Stealth! As you can see at the bottom of the screen, this comes from a new skill set called Thieving Skills. Here's the list of proposed skills for it:
  • Stealth - The key to most thieving. It's triggered like a spell, as you see in the shot, but it costs Stamina, not Magic. You can only become stealthy when you are out of sight of enemies, as I am in this shot. It costs a certain amount (level it up to decrease the cost), then drains Stamina over time as you stay invisible. As you can vaguely detect in the picture, being invisible makes you transparent, and throws up a cloud of smoke, because everybody knows that's the best way to hide. Attacking, casting a spell, or getting hurt will all end your stealth.

  • Blinding Trap - Also in the spell menu (the Thieving Skills make a set that you flip through just like a spell school). Much like the Axe Trap skill, this drops down a trap. If an enemy gets close to it, it explodes in a flash of light. This does some semi-decent damage to all enemies in line of sight, and stuns them for a very short time. Since they were theoretically blinded by it (hence the name), it also instantly switches you into Stealth mode for free, if you are not in the sight of other monsters (ones that weren't stunned). Stealth mode still drains your Stamina over time, of course. Blinding Trap costs magic.

  • Poison Trap - Same deal as Blinding Trap in terms of how it is used and how it triggers. But as you might guess, instead of blinding enemies, it poisons them! I have written that it fires out a ring of poison bolts, like a Plague Rat, but I don't know if that's right. Whatever it does, it poisons nearby enemies. It only does 1 point of damage, but it poisons for a very long time.

  • Decoy - Sets down a fake Loony which monsters may attack. For some unknown reason, as you level it up, it becomes more likely that enemies will decide to attack it rather than anything else, even if you or another goodguy are closer to them. It also has more life at higher levels. Costs Magic to create, of course.

  • Escape - The last skill that goes into the Thieving set on your spell menu. This is a general utility skill. LL:TT, like other Rogue-Like games (Angband, Nethack, Diablo, etc), has a town you start in that's above the dungeon. You get scrolls or something that let you teleport back to town, then return to whatever depth you had reached. This skill works like one of those scrolls. It costs more Magic the deeper you are, but leveling it up reduces that. You'll need to level it up to even be able to use it at very deep levels, because otherwise the cost would be more than your max magic could ever reach. But that's the price you pay for laziness!

  • Disarm - I haven't mentioned there will be traps in the dungeon, but now you know! I'll go into detail on them, and the whole "searching" concept, another day. You might want this skill - it gives you a chance to disarm traps (and earn XP and money from them, for some reason) when you step on them, instead of detonating them.

  • Pick Lock - Something else I need to cover on that other day is how the key system will be quite different in this game. But suffice it to say that having this skill can save you keys, since it gives you a chance to unlock doors and chests without having the appropriate key. If you fail, you get hurt, but you can always keep trying, at least until it ends up killing you.

  • Pickpocket - I said Stealth was the key to many thieving skills, and apparently I was wrong, because it wasn't until now that you actually find one that relies on it! If you are stealthed, and you bump into a character, friendly or evil, you attempt to pick their pocket! If you succeed, money and items pop out to collect. If you fail, you unstealth and lose all Stamina. You of course can't pickpocket the same guy twice. I suppose to make this fair to be used on friendly guys, I'll have to have mighty guards who pop out of nowhere if you fail on a pickpocket of a friend. Maybe even a special flag gets set so that a guy you failed pickpocketing says rude things to you if you try to talk to him again (until you leave that map and return of course - can't punish you that severely!).

  • Assassinate - And here's what you were waiting for with regard to Stealth! As you who are gamers surely suspected, attacking an enemy when you are stealthed is a good thing to do. If you have points in this skill, doing so costs all your Stamina, and does boosted damage according to the level of the skill and how much Stamina you spent. Specifically, the formula I came up with off the top of my head is that it adds 100% damage, plus 1% per level of the skill per Stamina spent. So at level 10, if you had 50 Stamina when you attacked, you'd do +600% (100% + 10% x 50) damage, or 7x normal. It also stuns the victim for 1/30 of a second per point of Stamina (so around 1.5 seconds in the above example). That's not all that long, but stuns in this game are always quite short, and coupled with 7x damage, you can't complain.

  • Toxicity - A very powerful passive boost. I noticed how poison and fire damage are so weak at higher levels. So Toxicity increases the damage poison does by 1 point per 2 levels, and as an added bonus, causes weakness in poisoned enemies. Specifically, their damage output is reduced by 1 point per level of this skill.
Those are the Thieving Skills! With all these new skills, I'm trying to not just create a new separate set, but to give you something you can use in concert with existing skills. Assassinate will be better the better your attacking is (I plan for it to work, by the way, with Throwing too - it just boosts the damage of whichever attack made your Stealth end). Toxicity obviously helps out many different skills. Stealth is just all around useful - being seen means getting hurt! Maybe too useful with stuff like Boneheads, but if your Boneheads are engaged in a battle, odds are you will get caught in the crossfire at some point. And you can't stay invisible forever. Decoy similarly helps you keep from getting hurt. There's a lot of just plain utility stuff in Thieving too, which I think is good. It broadens the gameplay to have you considering things like picking locks, and pickpocketing (which pretty much is just for fun... maybe it needs some kind of combat effect, like you are "stealing their weapon", so they do less damage after being pickpocketed, or maybe lower their armor instead).

What do you think about all that?
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