I’ve been talking a lot lately about my new rogue-like game, The Curse of Yendor (tCoY for short). I went in-depth about some inspirations in a previous post, but now I’d like to get into the combat system.
Combat in roguelikes is often referred to as “bump to attack”: you move your ‘@’ into the ‘D’ until one of you dies. And since ‘D’ is usually a dragon, you’re the one who dies. Of course RLs (roguelikes) also have ranged weapons like bows and thrown items, and a host of magical items and spells.
In tCoY, you have your backpack full of items, and one weapon that is currently equipped. It can be a ‘bump to attack’ weapon, like a sword, or it can be a bow, which you can shoot several tiles away. You also have 3 spells handy: ice-bolt, fireball, and earthquake.
Combat in tCoY is all about choosing the right tool for the job. Most monsters are resistant to one or more types of damage, and vulnerable to others.
Each of your weapons does a certain type of damage: edged, blunt, or piercing. A sword (edged) does little damage to a Will-o-Whisp, but is very good for chopping up choke-weed.
All of your spells (and some of your weapons) belong to one of 3 elemental schools of magic: fire, ice, and stone. Spectres are weak to fire, but resistant to just about everything else. Shooting an ice elemental with an ice-bolt will probably just make it stronger.
Finally, there is the “BRY” system: blue, red, yellow. These colors represent a magical ‘aura’ that some creatures and items can have. Auras always make things stronger than normal. Auras also cause new complications.
BRY auras interact with each other in a rock/paper/scissors fashion. Blue beats red, red defeats yellow, and yellow beats blue. Attacking a yellow monster with a yellow weapon will do almost nothing at all. Hitting that same monster with a red weapon will cause lots of extra damage. A blue weapon will have somewhat reduced damage, since yellow wins against blue.
These auras also interfere with elemental magic. A blue creature resists ice, red resists fire, and yellow resists stone. For example, fire is the most effective weapon against spectres. But what do you do about a red spectre? RUN!
On top of all this, you will often find yourself dealing with multiple enemies of different types.
Here, our dark rogue faces a choke-weed, a blue stone elemental, and 2 daevas: one yellow and one red.
No single strategy will work here. A blunt weapon would be good against the daevas and the elemental, but not the choke-weed. Daevas are normally resistant to all magic, and now that they have BRY auras, they’re even better protected. Even running away presents some dangers: the stone elemental has a powerful ranged attack that will hit the rogue a few times before he’s out of range.