The sun sets, and shadows begin to stretch across the walls as a figure ascends the cliffs beside the fortress. Listening intently, one can hear the padding of feet within. Clutching to the wall, the daylight passes into pitch black. Only the torches lend sight to the streetways and alleys that our thief has memorized. Hoisting herself upon the battlements, the path is set. A shout rings out — a thrall has spotted her. She turns its shout into gurgling death. Her glinting eyes spy a defender, now alert, come to investigate the death of his thrall, before the horrific realization of the predicament sets upon him, and he rushes back inside to take up arms…
For myself and those who I’ve played with, skirmishes are the most fun part of this game. Small fights, where nobody has anything more to lose than the shirts off their backs and the blades in their arms. They can be just as much of an adrenaline rush as heavy raids, which are usually only attempted when victory is all but assured.
Skirmishes, or ‘light raids’, give an opportunity for players to fight each other, without the heaviness of all-out warfare. A winner might take the gear of a loser, but at the end of the day, both sides can still sleep soundly in their bases.
This suggestion aims to promote more light raids and skirmishes, by way of introducing new mechanics for Thievery. This new system facilitates light raiding by giving special, non-destructive tools useful to players on PvP servers.
Light Raiding vs. Full Raiding
He pulls a blade from the wall, dons a horned helmet, and rushes out into the torch-lit streets. Nothing but the chirping sounds of night insects greet him as he stands and listens for the assassin. Silently behind him, she drops with a lithe quickness between him and the door, and slips inside.
Light raiding has the potential to let players fight each other in adrenaline-inducing encounters, while doing away with the frustration of losing cherished valuables. Crafting thralls, structures, and decoratives should all be more or less immune to light raids.
Heavy raids, meanwhile, have the drawback of necessarily crippling one side of the encounter. A winner will almost always get away with at the very least destroying walls, crafting stations, and taking thralls. Meanwhile the losers are set back a great deal, having lost both their most valuable gear, and the means of crafting it. This becomes a major game problem when the winners already have everything they could ever need, and are merely raiding for fun, against an opponent who is always at their mercy.
Comparatively, light raids don’t have major losers. They just have two sides of the PvP encounter. Winners in a light raid may take a single chest, or loot a single room. Light raids should be a ‘vent’ for PvP combat, allowing players to fight each other at a lower caliber than a full-on raid.
She enters the great hall, where diligent cooks churn away at stewpots, and elegant carpets and finery decorate the floors. A chest rests upon an altar, surrounded by grim skulls. Immediately she stalks up to the chest, and begins the process of unlocking it. It will take her precious minutes to stealthily unlock the chest. Meanwhile, the defender searches the battlements outside, finding no trace of this mysterious assassin…
Lockpicks could provide an opportunity for players to unlock chests and doors without breaking them. They should take anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes to find the correct combination — perhaps augmented by a player’s Accuracy attribute. There should be a large degree of randomness to the duration it takes to pick a lock, as well as the quantity of lockpicks therefore required. Imagine scanning the room as your character picks the lock; “C’mon! Come on…” The enemy meanwhile drawing nearer.
Lockpicks should be crafted from steel, by passing steel into a ‘lockpick mold’ in a furnace. They therefore would not require a noisy blacksmith. Accessible even to thieves with minimal bases.
The optimal balance goal is for lockpicking doors and chests to be more efficient than simply blasting them open with orbs. Even in a ‘full’ raid, a warlord should sometimes command his best thieves to pick open a door or chests rather than blowing it up.
Rushing now, she bounds for an exit. The guard is right on her heels. From a pocket, she draws forth a magic key. Not stopping for a moment, she shoves the key into the door’s lock, opening it instantly. The door opens, and outside, the dark skies are filled with bright stars and celestial auras. She leaps from the clifftop battlements down into the inky blackness below. The defender on her tail halts atop the fortress walls and does not follow, for the fall may break his legs. Instead he stares into the depths below, impressed.
Right now, Skeleton Keys are the ‘legendary keys’ used to open ‘legendary chests’. I would suggest renaming those keys as simply Legendary Keys and opening up the name for Skeleton Keys.
These keys represent the greatest blessing that Bel can bestow upon worshippers. Rather than an avatar, Bel provides the greatest of thieves with a unique tool with which to perform their arts.
The Skeleton key enables a user to open a single door or chest instantly, unlocking it until an owning player comes by and locks it again.
Skeleton keys are the only items capable of unlocking enemy vaults.
Religion: Bel, God of Thieves
Breathless and tired from running, she crouches down and peers into her bag to count her winnings amid the dawn’s rising light. Shimmering coins and jewels, lightweight and high-value, the hallowed prize of thieves. These she shall sacrifice at the temple, for a true worshipper of Bel steals not for worldly gain, but for sport and excitement.
The Bel religion should be fueled by theft, and beget further theft. An altar should represent a cult of Bel, where thieves offer up gold and silver coins in their religious pursuits.
Craft: Night Vision Potion
A potion that makes the darkness of night appear as bright as day for those that drink it.
Craft: Skeleton Key
An enhanced lockpick, capable of opening the most complex locks in a mere instant.
Craft: Bel’s Wisdom
A blessing that may be consumed to increase the speed of lockpicking thricefold, and halve the chance for a lockpick to break.
Craft: Padded Shoes
Shoes that deafen the player’s steps. Jumping, dropping, and running are half as loud.
While not exclusive to Bel worshippers, this item is used to unlock a door or chest. Doing so takes time, perhaps even up to three minutes for a layman. The lockpick may randomly open the door, or break. Upon shattering, the lockpick makes a distinctive click. Unlocking a Tier-2 door may take 1-8 lockpicks for a layman, or 1-4 for a worshipper blessed by Bel. Unlocking a Tier-3 door may take 1-16 lockpicks for a layman, or 1-8 for an expert. Each lockpick fails after a full minute.