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Heroes Community > Heroes 7+ Altar of Wishes > Thread: Differentiating the Dungeon and Swamp-Fortress
Thread: Differentiating the Dungeon and Swamp-Fortress This thread is 2 pages long: 1 2 · NEXT»
Alon
Alon


Known Hero
posted September 19, 2020 05:14 AM

Differentiating the Dungeon and Swamp-Fortress

These two towns are not very well-differentiated. In H3 the graphics portray the dungeon as an underground town and the fortress as a swamp town, and gameplay is that the fortress relies on special abilities + might whereas dungeon relies on heavy use of hero spellcasting, but it still feels pretty similar in terms of lore.

Of course, you can keep saying, the dungeon is underground and the fortress is in a swamp, but then you have to write the lore. For example, you'd think that dragons are underground and wyverns are in a swamp, right? But no, the legend of Saint George and the Dragon has the dragon living in a lake. In heraldry, wyverns are like dragons, and breathe fire rather than poison, and are distinguished only in that they have two limbs and two wings and dragons have four limbs and two wings. The mythological hydra lives in both a cave and a swamp.

So first, let's list some creatures that can be associated with these biomes and with dragons, and let's also avoid things that are too D&D-y like beholders (you can do an entire town with just D&D creations: troglodyte, gnoll, rust monster, gelatinous cube, carrion crawler, mimic, D&D-gorgon, beholder). We have:

- Lizardperson/reptilian
- Lizard archer, if that's a separate unit from lizardperson
- Giant rat/wererat
- Giant bat (but a werebat is just a vampire and belongs in necropolis)
- Giant spider (like the stalker in my inferno proposal)
- Dragonfly
- Cockatrice
- Basilisk (with poison breath, not stone gaze)
- Shapeshifter (although that can totally go in inferno too)
- Minotaur
- Gorgon/medusa
- Wyvern
- Hydra
- Dragon

If people like dividing this into two towns, I feel like the most logical way is to divide this into reptilians under the rule of the dragons, and the rest? So you'd have a dragon-run town with lizardpeople, dragonflies, basilisks, gorgons, wyverns, and hydras, and another town for the rest, and then the other town gets to be the dungeon and distinguish itself through being the sort of creatures on the underground margin of society.

Alternatively, the lore could even be that both towns were historically dragon-ruled, one rebelled and is now independent, and now the dragons are trying to reestablish control, and then the body types can go all over and the thematic unity is more about obedience to the strength of the dragons vs. rebellion...
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MattII
MattII


Legendary Hero
posted September 19, 2020 10:09 AM
Edited by MattII at 10:36, 19 Sep 2020.

Which environment are you looking at with that list? If you want to differentiate between the factions, you should make lists for each one.

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Jiriki9
Jiriki9


Honorable
Undefeatable Hero
Altar Dweller
posted September 19, 2020 11:06 AM

Quote:
These two towns are not very well-differentiated. In H3 the graphics portray the dungeon as an underground town and the fortress as a swamp town, and gameplay is that the fortress relies on special abilities + might whereas dungeon relies on heavy use of hero spellcasting, but it still feels pretty similar in terms of lore.


I'm not too deep into HoMM Lore, but this actually never felt to me that way...I was actually pretty surprised when they were merged into chaos. AS you mention, there ARE differences. And I think they would be easy to increase in a game with generaqlly more differencation between factions, like, f.a. H5. (speaking gameplay here, and leaving aside ashan lore problems) You could add a faction, more unit abilities (as H5 creatures HAD more of those) and they would be vastly different.

Interesting thoughts in this thread, still.

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FirePaladin
FirePaladin


Legendary Hero
Undorcover modder
posted September 19, 2020 11:09 AM

^
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Rimgrabber
Rimgrabber


Famous Hero
It's a fixer-upper
posted September 19, 2020 11:10 AM

I think the reptilian ruled by dragons faction you're describing is what was planned as the successor to Fortress in NWC's draft for H5. But honestly, I've never really felt like the factions were too different. There are some creatures that work in both like the Hydra, but overall they feel pretty distinct to me.
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http://heroescommunity.com/viewthread.php3?TID=46284&pagenumber=1
^ Part 2 of my proposal for Heroes 8 (Part 3 coming soon)

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MattII
MattII


Legendary Hero
posted September 19, 2020 12:17 PM
Edited by MattII at 12:17, 19 Sep 2020.

Some of the list is going to depend on what creatures the other factions have.

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PandaTar
PandaTar


Responsible
Legendary Hero
Celestial Heavens Mascot
posted September 20, 2020 12:21 AM

A whole lot of insectoids fit both settings. Creatures with luring lights, probably classified as tricksters or shapeshifters, ambushers.

@Alon

Do you mean they get confused because you have lizards in both factions, or because they started to mix up in H4 and H5?

I have never felt they were similar. It struck me odd when they were merged together in H4, as it felt strange having a Necropinferno. In H5, we had these dark-elves popping up, which was the most aggravating thing in my opinion, taking space of other creatures. So we had more or less 2 factions being diluted away, losing their own identity.

But I see the prospect of having two completely different factions both starring lizard-like races without problem, as we have differences in real life between gecko, komodo-dragon, crocodile and chameleon. And although in fantasy settings we have cold-blood creatures underground, that is not advisable for their biotype.
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MattII
MattII


Legendary Hero
posted September 20, 2020 01:22 AM
Edited by MattII at 03:27, 20 Sep 2020.

I have to say, the Dungeon never quite gelled for me. Some of the creatures (f.e. the Harpy and the Dragon) never felt like they'd actually work too well underground. The addition of dark elves in Heroes 5 onwards didn't help either.

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Alon
Alon


Known Hero
posted September 20, 2020 04:43 AM

H1-2 has hydras and dragons in the same town; it's H3 that split them. It plays okay, don't get me wrong, it just feels weird.
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PandaTar
PandaTar


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Legendary Hero
Celestial Heavens Mascot
posted September 20, 2020 07:10 AM

Warlock town was completely split in H3. Centaurs went to Rampart, Gargoyle went to Tower, Griffins to Castle and Hydras to Fortress. Fortress was completely created and they fit Hydras there. Not having Manticore, but hydras back in Dungeon, just had to find a replacement in Fortress for them.
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"Okay. Look. We both said a lot of things that you're going to regret. But I think we can put our differences behind us. For science. You monster."
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Alon
Alon


Known Hero
posted September 20, 2020 04:16 PM

Yeah, I suspect that if the split is reptilians vs. non-reptilians then manticores get to be the highest-tier unit in the non-reptilian town. Or beholders if there's some D&D licensing (D&D beholders are comparable in power to dragons), but lol. Of course, here I put the hydras in the non-dragonborn faction... but as you can see I didn't work out the dragonborn faction either.

You could have a lineup like giant bat, wererat, lizardperson/troglodyte/reptilian at low tier, and then the lore would be that the lizardpeople are really one group but they have two names, depending on whether they're the ones that live under draconic authority or outside of it. Then higher-tier units could be the minotaur, the floating eye if that can avoid too much D&D-ism, the shapeshifter or aberration, the chimera, the werewolf, the manticore, maybe the behemoth if that's not in the stronghold town.
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PandaTar
PandaTar


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posted September 20, 2020 05:30 PM
Edited by PandaTar at 17:45, 20 Sep 2020.

Sounds like an idea. What I think it could become repetitive is having a full dragonborne town. Somehow, it would end up just like a Castle/Fortress town, full of humans/dwarves.

In my proposals, draconids are sort of spread here and there. You have red dragons in inferno, you have some reptilians in the swamps, wyverns as the only surface being in Atlantis, and some other dragon-related units in other ranks. Any of these species can be heroes (except those that are sort of ... too beasty, like a basilisk or hydra). Draconids are individuals half-way humanoid (although humanoid just in shape, because I am trying to write in the Lore that it's not a Human trait only; all old races have a humanoid counterpart) and half-way dragon. But there's the lizardfolk, akin to lizards and humanoids, but more diverse in biotypes.

You could use Dragonfly as an amphiptere (dragon without limbs), it doesn't need to be an insect either, but it can be a dragonling, small thing. Abaia, as a sort of acquatic wyrm, but not as huge as sea dragon/serpent. Janus, as a chameleon creature. Faerie dragon, perhaps. Sobek, humanoid crocodile. These beings can fit your dragonborn faction, and differ quite a lot one from the other. However, you would have to make them fit together in the same environment/cause.
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"Okay. Look. We both said a lot of things that you're going to regret. But I think we can put our differences behind us. For science. You monster."
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MattII
MattII


Legendary Hero
posted September 20, 2020 09:36 PM
Edited by MattII at 21:38, 20 Sep 2020.

You could also look at dinosaurs if you wanted, they're reptilian-looking after all.

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Alon
Alon


Known Hero
posted September 21, 2020 06:08 AM

I'm trying to move away from D&D-like schemes in which dragon color differences matter, even if the color schemes of M&M and Heroes aren't quite the same as that of Dragonlance.

With reptilians, you have a ton of options that look pretty different:

- Dragon - possibly not even a playable troop but purely a hero
- Wyvern - probably replacing the dragon as a playable troop if the dragons are all heroes
- Hydra
- Tarasque/peluda - and this even has a recognized role in strategy because the ultralisk from Starcraft is based on it (there's even a hero ultralisk called that) so the "fast, tanky, expensive shock unit" role is easy to understand, and there's no other creature in this lineup that really fits this role
- Gorgon/medusa
- Chimera
- Basilisk
- Cockatrice/serpent fly/dragonfly
- Lizardman/troglodyte/reptilian/draconian - the draconian name has nothing to do with the Dragonlance draconians, but there is some hidden D&D lore in that D&D lizardpeople and troglodytes speak Draconic

Since I like having 9 units per town in 3 tiers, like in the various factional contest threads, this can go,

Tier 1:

- Spearman (who is a lizardman by some name)
- Draconic archer
- Dragonfly

The first two are like castle pikemen and archer but cheaper, weaker, and more disposable, and the spearmen can't operate battering rams because dragonflies have siege capability instead (they fly over walls).

Tier 2:

- Basilisk (with a poison attack but no petrification)
- Chimera (with a fire breath but no flying)
- Gorgon

The gorgon has a stone gaze but is not an archer, unlike the H3 medusa.

Tier 3:

- Tarasque
- Hydra, with a multi-headed AOE attack
- Wyvern, with wings and fire breath and some spellcasting

If there are so many towns there can only be 8 units per town and not 9, then the tarasque should go away and move to the non-reptilian town.

Then for the non-reptilians, you get,

Tier 1:

- Wererat - basic disposable infantry, with the ability to tunnel under city walls
- Lizardman (probably) - archer, same race as the draconians but preferring a different name to signal rebellion against the dragons
- Giant bat - light harassment flier

The one worry here is that there are too many tier 1 archers - castle archer, sylvan elven archer, draconic archer, lizardman - and it's hard to distinguish them. Likewise, the giant bat, the dragonfly, the necropolis ghost/wraith, the swarm in my inferno proposal , and the sylvan pixie all kind of do the same thing.

Tier 2:

- Werewolf - fast attacking unit, not terribly tanky, can leap up and down cliffs
- Shapeshifter
- Giant worm - based on sources like the D&D carrion crawler and the Lovecraftian dhole, slow and vulnerable to ranged units but tanky and strong

Tier 3:

- Minotaur - pure might
- Manticore - heavy flier with a toxic sting and the ability to eat victims, causing demoralization
- Floating eye - possibly too much like the D&D beholder, a magic flier with an assortment of spells

I guess with this many factions it might be worthwhile to drop a unit and go down to 8, as in H7? So the castle probably loses the court wizard that everyone complained about in my castle proposal, the inferno loses the slaver and splits its dismissal powers between the gog and geryon, the dungeon above donates the tarasque to the monsters, and the monsters get rewritten as wererat-lizardman-giant worm, shapeshifter-minotaur-manticore, tarasque-floating eye. (I don't mind how the angels, malebranche, wyverns, and floating eyes are all flying casters because they all cast different spells.)

But this is getting dangerously close to me just posting an entire proposal, either 6 factions with 9-10 units each or 8 with 8-9...
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MattII
MattII


Legendary Hero
posted September 21, 2020 11:00 AM

@ Alon

Why not just make a whole thread your your proposed lineups?

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Alon
Alon


Known Hero
posted September 21, 2020 04:57 PM

I should. Mostly I just keep going back and forth about a few things:

- Whether macro is to be done as I said here ("Early Modern system") or with production done entirely in fortresses and citadels ("medieval system"), and cities acting as just resource nodes with a nice graphic rather than things you build up and upgrade.

- 6 or 8 towns. I want to do fewer to focus on coherent storylines more, which I'll talk about either in the thread or when the contest gets to the stronghold, but I do like the idea of the trickster-inferno and the split between a dragon-dominated dungeon and dragon-independent monsters.

- 8, 9, or even 10 creatures per town. I like the 3-3-3 system of tiers, but it's de facto 3-3-2-1, and also if I go down to 8 since there are too many things that are a bit too similar, do I do 3-2-2-1 or 3-3-2?

- A bit more on what special abilities distinguish very similar creatures, beyond just what else they are combined with in the lineup (and as you can see, I'm still uncertain about how to split the dragonborn from the monsters).

- I'm sweeping the entire spell system under the rug to avoid detailing how to distinguish creature spells from hero spells. tl;dr: no, you do not get to split stacks like how in H3 you have 6 small stacks of master genies - spell effects depend on stack size.

- The upgrade system. I mentioned somewhere that there should be an independent tech tree for each faction, and some bits of it are easy enough, but I've also said, and still believe, the tech tree should include 4 upgrades for each creature, and the only creature for which I'm certain what those should be is the pikeman. 1 down, 53-71 to go.
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PandaTar
PandaTar


Responsible
Legendary Hero
Celestial Heavens Mascot
posted September 21, 2020 06:42 PM

Alon said:
No, you do not get to split stacks like how in H3 you have 6 small stacks of master genies - spell effects depend on stack size.



Yup, that's how I'm designing my system. And not only on stack size, but also on the difference between stack size of caster and target (either friendly or hostile spell casting). But this difference affects a lot of other mechanics as well. An outnumbered troop has much less capacity to affect effeciciently a more numerous opponent of similar tier.
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"Okay. Look. We both said a lot of things that you're going to regret. But I think we can put our differences behind us. For science. You monster."
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NimoStar
NimoStar


Responsible
Supreme Hero
Modding the Unmoddable
posted September 21, 2020 07:20 PM

H3 Dungeon and Fortress never felt similar to me.

Dungeon is like minoan/greek stuff (Labyrinth, Medusa, Manticore, etc.) while Fortress is aztec/mayan-inspired with the pyramids and all.

Dungeon spellcasters are powerful warlocks focused on damage while fortress spellcasters are wily witches focused on curses.


Asylum/Chaos never felt like a very natural faction to me in contrast, as it has elements of Inferno, Dungeon and Fortress (remember efreeti). In my H4 mod I make it a lot more swamp-oriented including giving it the Venom Spawns and take off the fire-related stuff.


My lineup for the H4 Chsos Swamp Faction, which IS sort of inspired in a D&D dungeon (like the H3 dungeon):
Lvl 1 Troglodytes
Lvl 1+ Bandits
Lvl 2 Harpies
Lvl 2 Venom Spawn
Lvl 3 Minotaurs
Lvl 3 Beholders
Lvl 4 Hydra
Lvl 4 Black Dragon

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MattII
MattII


Legendary Hero
posted September 21, 2020 09:46 PM
Edited by MattII at 02:40, 22 Sep 2020.

Alon said:
- I'm sweeping the entire spell system under the rug to avoid detailing how to distinguish creature spells from hero spells. tl;dr: no, you do not get to split stacks like how in H3 you have 6 small stacks of master genies - spell effects depend on stack size.
Hm, I don't know about creature-cast spells, but a variable cost for spells would be interesting to play with (right now in any game it costs the same to cast haste of a stack of 20 creatures or one of 1000).

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Alon
Alon


Known Hero
posted September 22, 2020 02:17 AM

MattII said:
Alon said:
- I'm sweeping the entire spell system under the rug to avoid detailing how to distinguish creature spells from hero spells. tl;dr: no, you do not get to split stacks like how in H3 you have 6 small stacks of master genies - spell effects depend on stack size.
Hm, I don't know about creature-cast spells, but , but a variable cost for spells would be interesting to play with (right now in any game it costs the same to cast haste of a stack of 20 creatures or one of 1000).


OOH! I like this idea. I was trying to figure out how to get into a situation in which a hero needs to have minimum X power to be able to buff a friendly stack of X units or debuff an enemy stack of X units, but just scaling cost is better.
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