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The Diamond Key




ffproject
Fri Mar 2 13:40:42 2007
The Diamond Key

I've added this new gamebook by Ulysses Ai to the downloads page. My intention is that there will be an online adaptation, but due to the sheer size of this one it may take some time.

James H
Wed Mar 7 13:03:32 2007
In 'The Diamond Key', it seems to me that a spear will always be better than any other weapon (and in general, that the smaller the skill penalty and damage bonus, the better the weapon is).

slejfund
Thu Mar 8 13:56:28 2007
weapon choice is like a difficulty setting, where spear is easy.

Al Sander
Fri Mar 9 02:20:28 2007
That's one way of looking at at.
Another thing is that you very early in the adventure get the chance to gain one or more fine or magic weapons which are better (in some case much better) than the base "regular weapons."
One easy fix is to change the base damage from 2, 3, 4 and 5 to 2, 4, 6 and 8. This will make an axe do 3 extra points of damage on a successful hit, but will hit much less often (due to -3 SKILL penalty). Still better to use a spear, but not as good.

Ulysses Ai
Wed Mar 14 09:09:53 2007
Hello.
I am definately interesting in feedback about the combat system in The Diamond key. The values for SKILL Penalty and Damange Bonus definately need to be calibrated. The idea was for different weapons to offer a stategic choice rather than any one being better than the others. I wasn't sure if I achieved this with the current values.

Thanks

Al Sander
Wed Mar 14 22:20:05 2007
At your current damage values the spear is always better. The sword does 1 extra damage but has -1 SKILL so for any particular dice roll it does exactly the same damage as the spear - and it fails to win the attack round more often. Same (but even moreso) with the other weapons.

I have suggested one fix above, but as I noted you get access to magic weapons and fine weapons pretty quick which throw out these base comparisons anyway.

Ulysses Ai
Thu Mar 15 01:04:13 2007
Thanks Al and others.
I just checked my values for SKILL Penalties and Damage Bonuses. I always meant to do this, but I procrastinated, and now I look like a fool!

With the current values, the range of possible damage is always the same. For example, with a SKILL of 9, the raw damage (assuming an opponent with an Attack Strength and Armour of 0) possible is:

Spear:
SKILL - SP + DB + MIN. DICE ROLL = 9 - 0 + 2 + 2 = 13
SKILL - SP + DB + MAX. DICE ROLL = 9 - 0 + 2 +12 = 23

AXE:
9 - 3 + 5 + 2 = 13
9 - 3 + 5 + 12 = 23

Meaning that all the weapons can inflict the same range of damage with varying handicaps. This certainly wasn't what I intended.
The solution is as Al suggested, to change the Damage Bonus values; but with DB values going up by two, the range of raw damage increases only by one.

Spear: (DB 2) Range: 13 to 23
Sword: (DB 4) Range 14 to 24
Mace (DB 6) Range 15 to 25
Axe (DB 8) Range 16 to 26

The difference between a spear and an axe is supposed to be much greater that 3 points of damage, since an axe can sever limbs and so on.

Therefore I will probably revise the Damage Bonus as follows:
Spear: (DB 2) Range: 13 to 23
Sword: (DB 6) Range 16 to 26
Mace (DB 10) Range 19 to 29
Axe (DB 14) Range 22 to 32

That should fulfill the original intent. Let me know what you all think. Andy has agreed to test out this new combat system in the online version, so it's important that it works effectively.

Thanks again.

Ibrahim
Sat Mar 17 08:46:56 2007
Hi Everyone.

I like the new book The Emerald Key. Could I please just ask the author to correct the numerous typographical errors in the document before it gets published online? As I am blind and use screen reading software, it is extremely annoying for me to come across these as it makes the text difficult to understand at times.

Ibrahim
Sat Mar 17 08:48:32 2007
Hi.

Talk about errors, who am I to complain when I get the dam title wrong. The book I am refering to of course is the Diamond Key. Wish you could review your entries before they appear on this guestbook thing.

All the best, Ibrahim

Al Sander
Sun Mar 18 23:22:03 2007
Ulysses Ai: Regarding your adjustments to the damage values. You may have swung too far the other way. I have gone through the figures for spear user vs sword user. Given equal skill and equal armour values, if there is no armour worn (armour value 0), the spear does about the same damage per fight as the sword (over all possible results the spear does 3941 damage (51%) and the sword 3813 damage (49%)) which means about equal stamina lost by each side.
By the time both combatants have armour value 3, these figures are spear 1778 damage (41%) and sword 2508 damage (59%) which means about 12 stamina lost by the spear user for every 8 stamina lost by the sword user.
Spear looks worse and worse as armour values increase from this point.
Damage bonus spear (2), sword (5), mace (8) and axe (11) might be good values. This would make the spear useful against lightly armoured opponents and the other weapons useful against progressively more heavily armoured opponents.

I will run through the figure as time allows if you like.

Ulysses Ai
Mon Mar 19 08:59:49 2007
Hi Ibrahim.

'Numerous typographical errors'? Ouch!
Unfortunately once the gamebook is submitted for online adaption, any further editing is out of my hands. At 1000 references the webmaster certainly isn't going to trawl through for errors. I ran a spell-checker and read through it twice looking for errors. I apologise for those that escaped by attention.

Were they really 'numerous' in number???
There are quite a few, although I suspect that most of them are the same one : writing "you" instead of "your", and the fact that you have obviously used copy and paste a fair bit probably makes the problem appear worse than it is.

Ulysses Ai
Tue Mar 20 00:53:40 2007
Hi Al.
Thanks for your analysis.
If I understand your conclusions correctly, you have found that in a spear vs sword contest, the spear is increasingly an inferior option as opponents are increasingly better armoured.
When I was working all this out, I was working from principles of realism. A spear is a weapon that is relatively cheap to make, and easy to use. For people to bother making something as expensive as a sword, a weapon that is not as easy to use as a spear, the payoff in terms of effectiveness would have to be justified, otherwise no one would bother to make or learn to use swords.
Rather than all weapons being equally good for all players, the process I was envisioning was that low SKILL characters would chose the spear because they would need to win as many Attack Rounds as possible in combat. Higher SKILL characters can afford to use a weapon like a sword, or even an axe.
If a spear wielder (SP 0) with a SKILL of 9 faces an axe-wielder (SP 3) with a SKILL of 12, after the subtraction of SKILL Penalties, they both have a Combat SKILL of 9, but the Damage Bonuses are very different, justifying the axe-wielder's weapon selection.
Thus, the figures you provided don't concern me too much. A sword is a better weapon than a spear, if you are skilled enough to use it.
Even so, I may have gone too far and your suggested values for Damage Bonuses might be better.
How did you calculate your figures?
Thanks again for your assistance.

Al Sander
Tue Mar 20 05:26:39 2007
How did I calculate the figures?
Just went through each of the 1296 combinations of rolls possible in each attack round and worked out the damage done with each possible combination of rolls.

Lucky I've got a computer ;-)

I will go through and work out some figures based on unequal SKILL levels and let you know how they look.

Ibrahim
Tue Mar 20 14:49:17 2007
Hi.

Mostly these are spelling issues. Some words have missing characters, some words are missing altogether as to make incomplete sentences. When Andy puts this book online, it would be easier to spot these and we can correct them by submitting a series of passage numbers and the corrections. It is then a piece of cake for Andy to make these adjustments. Of course, running it through a speller would be a pain in the ass as numerous words like characters names will of course not be recognised. If you leave me your email address, I might be able to set you off on the right track with the typos and we can get them sorted before the book goes online for website play.

My email address is "ibrahim(underline)gucukoglu(at)mail2world(dot)com. Sorry for the anti-spam munging but guestbooks like this are easy pickings for robots to harvest from.
It's a generous offer, but if you are interested in getting the spelling mistakes out of the online version you would probably be wasting your time as I have already started the adaptation using an edited version of the original text. However, I am correcting the spelling mistakes as I find them and am reasonably confident there won't be too many left in the finished article.

Al Sander
Wed Mar 21 00:03:22 2007
Ulysses Ai:
If you want a copy of the excel file I used to derive the above figures e-mail me on metro(dot)aaron(at)xtra(dot)co(dot)nz
I've polished up the excel file to make it more comprehensive - now all you need to do is type in SKILL, ARMOUR, SKILL MODIFIER & DAMAGE MODIFIER values and it spits out the answers

Ulysses Ai
Fri Mar 23 09:56:44 2007
Hi Ibrahim.
I would definitely like to have the book with no typographical errors, but I feel like I have already made a lot of trouble for Andy by making such a long gamebook, changing the Damage Bonus values, and some other corrections as well. I am very reluctant to bother him with anything else.
When he next checks this guestbook he will be alerted to your concerns and then we'll see what he wants to do. I'm happy to do anything I can to fix things, but what that is exactly we will have to wait and see.
My apologies again for producing such a low-quality product ;)
As I mentioned above, I am removing the errors (from the adaptation) as I find them so there shouldn't be too many at the end of the process. I'm going to leave the damage bonus stuff right to the end. Despite the spelling mistakes, this gamebook is emphatically not a low quality product, as will become apparent to those who read it or play it online later.

Ibrahim
Sun Mar 25 18:33:06 2007
Hi.

I never intended or even stated that the game was a low quality product and I am extremely sorry if I came across that way. I only intended to point out that there were a large number of spelling and other gramatical errors in your work. I actually quite enjoyed playing it although truth be told, I do prefer playing online through this site.

I will have a look and see what I can do with regards spelling. Please let me know how I can get in touch with you so I can send you the fruit of my labour

Ulysses Ai
Tue Mar 27 12:42:04 2007
Hi Ibrahim

I called my own work a low-quality product. I was just making fun of myself. I appreciate any and all comments about my work, and I am very thankful in particular for being informed about the typographical errors, as I was not aware that it was as bad as it is.

A question about screen readers. On this site the guestbook entries are written in white text, with the webmaster's comments in orange text. Does the screen reader tell you when the text changes colour?

Binki
Fri Mar 30 08:55:18 2007
Hi All

I have a question about Diamond Key - on market different weapons like hatchet and warhammer can be bought - but what are skill penalties and damage bonuses for them?

Ulysses Ai
Sun Apr 1 03:14:32 2007
Hi Binki.

Weapon-class Weapon SKILL penalty Damage Bonus
Axe Battleaxe -3 16
Axe 14
Hatchet 12
Mace Warhammer -2 12
Mace 10
Club 8
Sword Fine Sword -1 10
Broadsword 8
Longsword 6
Shortsword 4
Spear Trident 0 4
Spear 2
Staff 0




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