Here is the thing that got me thinking of this (plus my reply) to save you surfing time:
Big Mac wrote:Bonetti wrote:That being said, I'm still planning on using WoW bosses (instance, raid) as inspiration when I need some interesting Big Bad tactics or powers to ensure a fight is reasonably epic. I'm just ditching the "many attempts" idea, and I'll probably try to introduce any novel mechanics at least once before they're seen on a boss.
Hmm. Talking of instances, I wonder if they themselves could be used in a tabletop RPG. Maybe I should start a new thread on that.
As Wowpedia says: "Because instances are in effect separate from the actual main World of Warcraft maps such as Eastern Kingdoms, Kalimdor, Outland, and Northrend, much like the Battlegrounds, players too are literally moved from one part of the map to an artificial creation of the main map sections."
This is interesting, because it may mean that anything I think of for an instance area might also work for a battleground area. But lets ignore that for now. The thing I would like to concentrate on, is the concept of an instance as some sort of defensive feature (for the person who owns it - i.e. the big boss). If some of that works out for applying this logic to a battleground, I might suggest going with that too.
I'm thinking that an instance might be a plane (or demi-plane) created by shifting an area off of the material plane. Each instance has at least one portal and if that was treated as an in-character object, it would control entry to the area it protects.
http://www.wowpedia.org/Instance_portal wrote:An instance portal is the sparkling field that marks the entrance to an instance.
The color of the portal indicates the type of instance:
- Blue Instance Portal: Group (5 or less, Blackrock Spire is an exception)
- Green Instance Portal: Raid (10 or more, on a raid reset timer)
- Red Instance Portal: PvP Battlezone (battleground). These portals are no longer functional with the addition of battlemasters at the entrances.
- White Instance Portal: Transit. In the world pre-The Burning Crusade, the only such portals are at the ends of the Deeprun Tram and for the officer's lounges in Stormwind City and Orgrimmar for players of rank 6 and up. Patch 2.0, in addition to removing the rank requirements for those portals, adds at least one more: the portal used to enter the Ghostlands from the Eastern Plaguelands (requires expansion). These portals can also be found directly inside the Battle for Mount Hyjal instance, leading to each of the 3 camps.
- Purple Instance Portal: All instances in Outland, Northrend and Caverns of Time are this color. Indicates that the instance has a Heroic mode available.
- Skull with Purple Instance Portal: Notifies the player that the instance is on Heroic mode. Only available to Outland, Northrend and Caverns of Time dungeons.
The interesting thing (from a crunchy point of view) is that only 5 people can get into some instances. The next 5 people go to some sort of alternate reality version of the same instance (where they can not meet the first 5 people who entered). This is the thing I would like to "fluff-ify". But I wonder if all of the versions of the instance (including the first one) could possibly be alternate realities.
From an NPC-motivation point-of-view, an instance would protect a group from an armed invasion (as they would only ever need to fight five people), but would not stop the enemy from surrounding them and trying to wait them out.
Would be attackers could send people into the instance, but if no one version of the instance is definitely the "real" version it could be that the people inside might benefit from some sort of effect similar to the quantum physics effects which the Schrödinger's cat thought experiment highlighted.
Essentially, if PCs travelled into an instance, they could only kill one version of the "big boss" living inside it. Leaving and entering again would create another version of the instance, so continual attacks would not help you kill the "big boss". So long as one group of attackers failed to kill the "big boss", there might always be one copy of them who could somehow* turn off the other realities (where they are dead) and therefore ensure their own survival.
* = I'm thinking that there would be some sort of magical item, that every copy of the big boss would have. And the item would allow them to switch off the "alternate timelines" that do not contain themselves. (To avoid this being a PC killing device, I would have timelines end after the five people who entered an instance left it. So from an attacker's point of view, killing the "big boss" would have no effect. The timeline would vanish as soon as they left the instance and the boss would still be inside the instance.
This would effectively make a big boss unkillable, so it needs to have a weakness. I think that the instance itself could be the weakness.
If each instance contained something that allowed it to be turned off (temporarily or permanently) then the way to kill the big boss would be to first shut down the instance, so that they could be killed (and not come back). I think it might be fun to put the control that turns off the instance, actually inside the instance, itself.
PRE-POST EDIT: Having thought about this some more (while typing), I think that I might make the instance itself work like a magic item and have it "attach" itself to one person (who would normally be the boss). That one person could then overide the normal limitations to bring unlimited numbers of people and equipment inside and then restart the instance.
Collapsing the instance back onto the material plane** might even only be a temporary thing (so that you only have X minutes to take down the big boss - or remove them from the area) before the instance restores itself. I think I might be tempted to go that way as it would allow (some) instances to persist for generations, rather than exist for one man and then be destroyed.
** = Maybe it wouldn't even need to be collapsed onto the material plane. Maybe you would just need to do something like Schrödinger suggested in his experiment. Maybe somehow "opening" the instance in a special way would remove all probability and turn many parallel copies of the instance into one remaining copy (which could stay as a demi-plane or plane).
But when an instance was collapsed, I would have all copies of that area merge into one single copy. Maybe I'll refer to this as "resetting" the instance, as I'm thinking more of turning it back to one timeline than doing anything destructive to it.
If one of the big boss's minions was killed in 75 percent of the copies of the instance, then I would rule that there would be a 25 percent chance that the NPC would continue to exist when the instance collapsed. As I already said, I would give the big boss, themself, a way to bypass this risk (by removing the copies of the instance that introduce a possibility that they will die).
So, if an army attacked an instance and dozens of teams killed half the minions within an instance...but not necessarily the same half each time...the NPCs working near the portal of the instance would be a lot more likely to wink out of existance (and be replaced by dead bodies) while the people further in might (individually) have a much lower chance of winking out of existence. I haven't quite got my head around that mechanic yet, but it would make instances valuable territory.
Maybe "resetting" the instance when you enter could still only allow a party of five people to enter, but could remove the "backup copies" of the area inside the instance, so that anyone who gets killed (including the big boss) stays dead when those people left. Of course, if the limit of five people remained, then it would be essential to guard the entrance, because sending another party in would split the instance into two and start the entire "Schrödinger's cat" nature up again.
I'm not sure what to do about treasure. I could apply probability to it (so that some of it vanishes when you leave). Alternatively, an instance like The Deadmines might allow different groups to mine the same material more than once. There could even be a few rare instance-metals or instance-gems that could provide some sort of probabilty benifits (a luck bonus) when used to make things (maybe you would need to "reset" an instance and extract the only copy of this sort of thing for it to qualify as a special material).
Looking again at the instance limitations in World of Warcraft, there is a lot more to it than only being able to take in 5 people. I think that all of that could be fun to import into a tabletop game, although some things might seem to be more useful than other things.
Characters can only enter 5 instances (apart from battlegrounds) per hour, but I can't see PCs doing that many on a tabletop game. However, I can't see it hurting to port that over. It could add a bit of extra flavour.
Heroic instances can only be entered once per day (that definately sounds good) and reset at a fixed time of the day (sending players to their hearthstone location). I'm not sure yet, if I would want to be using hearthstones***. But the idea of kicking people out if they don't finish the instance within a time limit sounds fun.
*** = Do other people use these in their tabletop games?
The player limit would seem to not apply, but it could allow PCs to take in followers, hirelings or maybe even summoned creatures. (In the MMORPG, these would go in for free, but for tabletop, it might be good to enforce the limits as the limits on characters - rather than player characters.)
Finally there are level limits. I see these as less useful for tabletop gaming. I think that instances would need to be given levels, but if a 1st level character wants to attack a 20th level dragon, I wouldn't see the need to stop them from doing it. Nevertheless, I suppose that instances could block travel by low level characters (or low HD creatures/followers with those characters). So, I would probably create a mechanic for this and review it for individual instances.
That is all I can think of at the moment.