I appreciate the input, faithful servant :P It helps me tinker with the suggestions and improve them as much as possible.
Bolas probably aren’t European enough, but Goblins will be introducing the nets. Perhaps composite bows could be implemented as more powerful versions that take more AP and fatigue to use. More variety like that would be nice to have.
They’d be minor differences for the most part, so it’s mostly for the psychological effect of not knowing for certain what you’re getting. That keeps picking recruits fresh without affecting stability too much , while also making the different backgrounds feel a bit more meaningful, since you’d associate the changes with the different background (even though this wouldn’t be the case).
It’s actually quite interesting that the background penalties and bonuses tend to be minor, but still play a big role in what people choose. While it’s the stats and traits you get that tend to have a larger impact. A small change like this might encourage them to spread their attention a bit more.
Not mutants, as that that’s implies a humanoid starting point or a deviation from the normal. You don’t want that, because being able to mentally place them as being similar to something else prevents them from being incomprehensible. Check out Ascendancy and Tone Rebellion (Sacrifice too, to a lesser extent) and you’ll see what I mean. In fact, just play them anyway since they’re amazing games.
The click between this group and the world itself is that they would evoke the feeling found in old mythology and folklore of the world beyond your borders being unknown, frightening and incomprehensible. This is hard to get across with modern examples, as our world is far more charted than it was back then, but it’s part of why the woods are meant to be so terrifying in old stories – it’s beyond the realm of man and anything can be in there. We now ‘know’ more about the contents of the forests and what’s below the mountains and so these stories don’t have the same effect on us, but any setting that does not account for this fear loses a fundamental aspect of the way the world was perceived back then. What better way to reflect this than to add something incomprehensible that the player cannot place? Something unexpected that makes them less certain of what they think they know and don’t know? Just think of people finding creepy glitches in games and flipping out about it, since it shows that what they thought hey knew turned out to not be so certain. That surprise is not close to the fears found in the past, but it does induce the kind of uncertainty that undermines people taking certain aspects about the game world for granted, which helps bring it closer to the medieval time period. In fact, I’m starting to like it more and more as I think about it, providing that the devs are capable of executing the correct atmosphere.
How would it overpower it? Since it only applies to the first hit and not to any that follow (regardless of whether the first hits or not), it can’t be used to create a reliably high defence rating. It’s indirectly actually a slight nerf to the Swordmaster build that stacks melee bonuses and never gets hit, while making the actually viable perk for regular builds. Fiddling with the percentage a bit to not have it give too much is fine, but you probably wouldn’t need to go under 10%.
The once per turn thing would be prevented from getting too powerful by basically giving you an almost guaranteed injury (which I expect to stack and be nasty – like losing an arm) in the midst of battle and how it would only help if the last hit on the turn is the one that nearly kills you. Hanging on with 1 HP and probably neither armour nor a shield, is almost always a death sentence if you’re still in combat.
I can see your point though that having it be once per turn effect might be too good for a tier 1, while a once per battle is still far too weak. How about keeping it tier 2 and have it keep the merc alive once per turn when hit with an attack that what would have been a killing blow, at the cost of sustaining an injury and only working when the attack would not have resulted in a fatality. That would make it more of a toughness based perk, rather than luck, and make it fit in better with the Defence tree. More powerful than the current version, though you’d keep the problem of surviving with 1 HP being next to useless when it’s not a wide-spread ability.
I’ve just got an idea though that might be the solution to the Nine Lives problem of being left with 1 HP being useless. Make Nine Lives tier 1 utility. Keep the ability as it is (once per turn), but change how end-result of when it goes into effect. Rather than the unit being left standing with 1 HP, it falls down as if dead and can therefore no longer targeted. Next turn, he gets back up, pushing away anything that was standing on him, and rejoins the fight with 1 HP. Basically, you give him a one-off second wind similar to that of the wiedergängers, except the merc was never technically dead (meaning that if the fight ends before the next turn, he counts as being alive and with 1 HP in the post-battle screen) and can only do it once. The only one capable of attacking him while down would be then be the ghoul with its cannibalize ability. Naturally other units could also take his gear while he’s on the ground. This would remove the problem of Nine Lives leaving you with 1 HP and then immediately dying to the follow up attack. Seems like a great solution to the problem, without making the perk itself overpowered.
Leader type units:
Yup, they’d be a nice way of creating some variety and a tool they can use to work on internal faction differences, while also allowing for more scaling between the different stages of the game. They’re probably planned already, but I thought it wouldn’t hurt to make some suggestions on cool mechanics!
The thing with Lovecraft horror is though that it relies on the monster not being seen and that it can never be beaten, only delayed. A monster that is just there, out in the open, and that can be fought is not Lovecraftian. Might as well try and do something a bit more fitting and interesting (deformed!).
Rat-men are great and criminally underused. If you haven’t played it yet, you can have your party members be Rats in Legend of Grimrock 2. One of the few games that lets you do that.