Dec, 17
Prisoner system discussion

One of the big things that KeeperRL is still missing is a good system of capturing and exploiting prisoners. I’m committed to fixing that in the coming patch, although I don’t have a very clear vision yet. I’ll lay out what I’ve come up with so far, and I hope to get some feedback from you.

At the moment prisoners can only be captured inside your own dungeon, and the rules of how it’s done are hidden, so the system is unclear and random for the player. The main goal is to make the requirements explicit, so it’s clear what you need to do to capture a prisoner.

The main approach that I’m looking at is using the immigration UI. In the example screenshot above the player can schedule capturing of prisoners, provided that the prison is big enough. Once the orders are placed, minions will try to capture prisoners at the nearest opportunity, for example when raiding a village.

The disadvantage of this system is that if the player forgets to place the order before a battle, they will lose the opportunity to capture anyone. It’s also unclear how captured prisoners should travel back to your dungeon. Should they join the raiding team and return with them? What if you want to continue raiding, are you going to drag the prisoners with you to the next battle? They could also return by themselves, but it wouldn’t be realistic – they could easily escape.

A much simpler idea is to implement prisoners as regular immigrants. The two requirements would be building a prison and capturing a village. The remaining civilians in the village would, at the press of a button, turn into prisoners and come to your dungeon.

Just like above, having prisoners travel alone would be unrealistic. The idea also seems too automated and lacking any challenge. The system also doesn’t easily accommodate capturing non-civilians. One major advantage is that it’s very easy to explain to and to use by the player.

There are some vague ideas of gamifying capturing a bit more, so that it requires more effort or strategy from the player than just killing enemies. A special “slave master” minion could be the only one capable of taking prisoners or there could be a special weapon, like a throwing net, or a trap. But I’m afraid of making the system unwieldy and requiring too much micromanagement.

Once prisoners are captured, we need to decide what to do with them. The current options are execution, which aggravates enemies, torture, which produces mana, or having them supplement your imp force. Every captured creature turns into a generic prisoner minion, and they are all identical.

There are a few ways to make things more interesting. One is letting prisoners retain their identity, making some more useful at certain tasks than others. Or even letting them join your armed forces. I think enemies should also try to break in and free prisoners.

I was also thinking about making prisoners more essential for progression by limiting the capabilities of imps. For example after some length of digging the rock could become harder and only possible to mine by prisoners. Same thing could be done to some or all minerals. Acquiring a large number of prisoners would thus be critical to have a successful dungeon.

All of the above are just ideas floating in my head or being partly implemented. I’ll do a lot of playtesting before I settle on a solution, and I also expect that things will need to be refined in later patches. Hopefully I can come up with a system that will add a lot of meat to the game. Meanwhile, I’m eager to hear your thoughts!

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Home Forums Prisoner system discussion

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  • #7225

    RTester
    Participant

    I’m eager to hear your thoughts!

    Sure.
    First, the systems presented. I think the first system is a good way to go about it. Yes, prisoners tagging with the raiding party may be a problem, but they may be passively just hanging around without participating in the battle itself and turning back into who they were should the raiding party be wiped out. If player wants to keep on raiding after acquiring some, I don’t see why they shouldn’t at the risk of losing those prisoners nor why would it be bad to have the troops return with their spoils if one’s concerned about prisoner safety. Seems like a very believable thing to do.

    If anything would need to be added here, maybe a way to split an unit from the party (as long as the party is bigger than one creature) so then they can be sent back with the prisoners, letting the rest of the force continue the assault.

    By comparison, while it may be simpler, capturing village and turning people prisoners that way would probably have issues in practice. At least till the village is captured, the villagers are counted as enemy combatants and that means that many of potential prisoners would be slaughtered. Unless one would combine both methods and be able to capture villagers – turning them into static/tied/chained props who then can be collected once the village is secured in about one in-game day or they can free themselves.

    As for usability of prisoners, I threw a few ideas regarding capturing people in general in some huge thread I’ve made in the past (which I don’t know whether you read or not) but in general, prisoners would be already quite essential with mana system as it is where even at the very end of the game player rarely has enough mana to invent and build everything and it’s where prisoners come in. Being able to brainwash some into joining the army would be nice too, as could be sacrificing them on the altars as per some creatures’ praying activity – possibly thus making shrine-dependant creatures to not be available for recruitment merely on the basis of one having a shrine and some luck, but also on the favor of the divine.

    Also, many of the creatures one acquires seem to be coming from nowhere. What if some of them, like werewolves, some types of undeads like vampires or ghosts, magical creatures or one created through mutant-making projects would require live humanoids to be subjected to some transformation? That’d make acquiring better troops somewhat more demanding also making them worth more. Currently there’s no point to have some of them if the better version (and as I’ve mentioned in the past, some creatures are objectively much more capable than others despite not particularly greater requirements in acquisition) is available, now creating and army of better-class minions would be harder, making the prospect of keeping core group of lesser monsters more tempting despite severe population limitations.

    I am kinda skeptical toward making dungeon expansion dependant on them. It’s already quite bad one has to limit their digging tendencies due to questionable geology mechanics (which I also addressed in aforementioned thread), to have it restricted even further would only drop additional restrictions of one of the main features of the game – dungeon building.

    #7226

    If anything would need to be added here, maybe a way to split an unit from the party (as long as the party is bigger than one creature) so then they can be sent back with the prisoners, letting the rest of the force continue the assault.

    Yes, I was thinking about that too. There is another idea to have a special creature with a giant bag on their back that can hold all captures, as a slightly unrealistic and humorous alternative to the annoying micro-managing of a group of prisoners. You can continue raiding or split that creature from the team. If it dies then the prisoners are let loose, so there is still a risk element.

    I threw a few ideas regarding capturing people in general in some huge thread I’ve made in the past (which I don’t know whether you read or not)

    I probably read it, but I’ll go take another look.

    At least till the village is captured, the villagers are counted as enemy combatants and that means that many of potential prisoners would be slaughtered.

    I’ve already modified AI to not chase civilians (they will be attacked though if they get adjacent). They are also visibly tagged so the player knows who can be captured.

    Unless one would combine both methods and be able to capture villagers – turning them into static/tied/chained props who then can be collected once the village is secured in about one in-game day or they can free themselves.

    That’s also a nice idea.

    prisoners would be already quite essential with mana system as it is where even at the very end of the game player rarely has enough mana to invent and build everything and it’s where prisoners come in

    I’m probably going to remove the tie between torturing and mana.

    What if some of them, like werewolves, some types of undeads like vampires or ghosts, magical creatures or one created through mutant-making projects would require live humanoids to be subjected to some transformation?

    That’s a very cool idea, I’ll think about it.

    and as I’ve mentioned in the past, some creatures are objectively much more capable than others despite not particularly greater requirements in acquisition

    Also great point.

    It’s already quite bad one has to limit their digging tendencies due to questionable geology mechanics

    I was thinking here about something that could substitute the geology mechanic, which I also don’t like. I should have mentioned that in the post.

    #7228

    red_kangaroo
    Participant

    There is another idea to have a special creature with a giant bag on their back that can hold all captures, as a slightly unrealistic and humorous alternative to the annoying micro-managing of a group of prisoners.

    That would be a cool way how to use imps in a raid. 😀

    Being able to brainwash some into joining the army would be nice too.

    Yes! I always very much liked how you could torture enemies in the original Dungeon Keeper until they either died, or joined you.

    It would be great to see this in KeeperRL, especially if you could capture some of the more special villains that way – elves for their vision, dwarves if they retained their ability to dig and thus help your imps, etc. Maybe you could even capture, imprison and tame dragons? That would require “prisoner” to be something like a status effect rather than a generic NPC, though.

    • This reply was modified 6 months, 1 week ago by  red_kangaroo. Reason: I still have no idea how quoting works here
    #7435

    Trayvonis
    Participant

    A reskin/rename of the club to a Slaver’s Club or something along those lines. Give it 1 attack power and a 70% chance to stun on hit.
    One option could be to use iron to make shackles, apply the shackles to the stunned target then a pop-up appears in the upper left corner like the one for incoming enemies. This one however would let you know Imps are on the way (two Imps to pull one humanoid). Once they arrive they take the prisoner back to the dungeon. This would require they player to keep an updated count on Imps at all times since they need two Imps per prisoner.
    Another option would be to stun the target then use a Portal or potion/scroll that would send them through the portal the player has built on and surrounded prison tiles.
    As far as some fun uses, want more Elven swords/bows? Whip some Elves, want Dwarvish two-handed weapons and armor, whip dwarves, want accessories and potions carried by humans, whip some humans. Whipping enemies could act as a strong moral booster for the Keeper’s minions and provoke members of the whipped characters race to send raiding parties.

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