LOCKEZ DESIGNS A BOSS BATTLE FOR YOU

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LockeZ
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
6003
Science fact: If game design consisted of nothing but making bosses, and didn't include all that stupid stuff like graphics and programming and animation and level design, I would finish a lot more games.

I'm not going to claim to be any kind of expert - all I can claim is passion. And an abundance of free time to spend thinking about this stuff and wasting my days on game design forums, I guess. And two articles [1] [2] which you can read if you're intested and decide if you hate my style or not, maybe.

I'm talking about gameplay here, just to make that clear. How the boss plays, not how it looks or what its story is. A lot of you guys prefer to do different parts of game design though. I know there are a lot of people who mostly are trying to tell a story, or create an artistic experience, or build a world to explore, or something else and most of the combat gameplay they include is just whatever occurs to them; they care about the gameplay, but it's not where they want to spend their time. I feel you. Others of you are very interested in gameplay design, but might have a case of designer's block and could use a jumpstart for certain battle.

A few times I've seen people post topics or blogs or whatever specifically ask for help designing some interesting battles, and each time I was like "HECK YEAH, LET ME IN ON THAT." So I thought I'd invite more people to do that!

In lieu of joining a hundred people's teams I thought I'd just start a topic where dudes and dudettes can be like, "Hey, I want this boss to be climactic but I don't have any ideas on how to make it different without being annoying," or, "Players complain about this boss being unfair but I like the way it works and don't know how to change it without ruining it," or even just, "I have this idea and want a second opinion on how cool it is." Above all, it is just fun for me to design bosses, and it sounds even more fun to do it for a variety of different types of games.

What you need to post here if you want some boss design up in this bitch:
- Who or what the boss is, if you have decided that much
- Short summary of the player's party (like two sentences per party member probably) (if you have 150 party members or fully customizable characters, then tell me what are the main differences the player will look at to decide which characters/skills to take)
- Any key abilities the player has that you think are important in a boss fight or that make your game's battles unique
- Any ideas you think you would like to use, even if they suck
- Whatever you think is relevant

I will then probably ask a few more questions! But that'll give me an idea of what questions to ask.
This is an interesting topic. I'll take you up on your offer; if only out of curiosity. Maybe another head might produce a better idea. This is the current design of the story boss for the next dungeon of SEM.

---------- Boss Details ----------

A summoned water dragon meant to deter the party while the summoner move forward.

----- Stats -----

- HP: 12000
- PWR(Phys Damage): 340
- KNW(Mag Damage): 320
- PRY(Defense against both Mag/Phys): 400
- BAR(Cuts damage in half, but reduces with hits taken. No longer functions once depleted): 200

----- Elemental Attributes -----

- STR: Aqua, Air
- WK: Dark, Earth

----- Skill List -----

- Passive Ability: When Power Charge is active, he counters Ether skills with a blast of water that slows down the ATB of the afflicted character for several passing actions.

--- Offense ---
- Hydro Burst: Weak single Target Water Spell. Lowers Water Resist. Damage stat is KNW.
- Hydro BLast: Weak Multi-Target Water Spell. Lowers Water Resist. Damage stat is KNW.
- Mighty Deluge: Mid Tier Single target Water Spell. Lowers Water Resist. Damage stat is KNW.
- Aquatic Cacaphony: High Level Multi-target Water Spell. Lowers Water Resist. Damage stat is KNW.
- Splash Lancer: EX Skill. Hits the entire party 5 times for water damage. Damage stat is PWR.

--- Utility ---
- Undine Blessing: Regens 30 HP every passing action for 20 actions.
- Magic Boost: Doubles KNW for 15 passing actions.
- Power Charge: Dramatically boosts the damage of the next skill used.
- Guard Boost: Doubles PRY for 15 passing actions.

----- Action Order -----

The numbers correspond to the action the boss will take on that turn. Multiple numbers mean that it can randomly choose between those actions on that turn.

EX skills are used with 100% frequency after the boss has taken 10 actions. So in short, every 11th turn, an EX skill will be used.

1. Hydro Burst
1. Hydro Blast
2. Magic Boost
2. Undine Blessing
3. Mighty Deluge
4. Power Charge
4. Guard Boost
5. Aquatic Cacophony
EX. Splash Lancer

----- Other -----

Enters battle with two lesser minions. One to periodically heal it, the other to cast debuffs on the party. They don't revive when killed.

--------- The Party ----------

----- General Abilities -----

All party members can Scan, Heal their own HP/MP by using a resource, and revive after death in 6 turns(3 times each.). Mid-battle party change is also possible.

----- Party Specifics -----

- Gunnar: Balanced Stats. Can drain LF from enemies with his attacks, can add his KNW stat directly to his spell damage. Weak to Light and Water, Strong to Dark and Elec

- Veili: High PRY, Low KNW, Semi High PWR. Can boost her own critical rate. Can reduce the MP cost of her attacks by 10 MP by 5 turns. Weak to Fire and Elec, Strong to Ice and Water

- Priel: High PWR, Average KNW, Low PRY. Can extend her skills by activating an ability beforehand. Can Double the damage of all her attacks at the cost of negating critical rate. Weak to Ice and Air, Strong to Fire and Earth.

- Patchoulli: High KNW, Average PRY, low PWR. Can heal all allies with each hit of each skill she connects. Can negate skill costs for a short period. Weak to Dark and Earth. Strong to Air and Light.
LockeZ
Science fact: If game design consisted of nothing but making bosses, and didn't include all that stupid stuff like graphics and programming and animation and level design, I would finish a lot more games.


I know this may be off-topic but I'm just saying a game with nothing but bosses, that doesn't include all that stupid stuff like graphics and programming and animation and level design, would be a pretty badass game. I'd definitely give it a try. I reckon you should try making a game like that. Kinda like Wine and Roses, or Shadow of the Colossus.
LockeZ
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
6003
Skie: That is a ton of info you already seem to have laid out about the boss's abilities. So, at this point, my biggest question is: what about this boss are you most worried about or not happy with?

Every attack it has is water attacks and lowers water resist. This seems really suspicious. Does this effect stack with itself? What ways does the player have to undo or prevent this effect? What was your reason for including this resist-down effect instead of just making the attacks stronger to begin with?

Am I correct in assuming the EX attack is an enrage mechanic designed to force the player to win within 10 turns, and if the boss gets to that point the player is expected to get a game over?

Gunnar is weak to water so I assume he's the weakest link in this fight. If the boss uses its strongest non-EX attacks on him, how much of his health will he lose? With and without defensive buffs? If he goes down, how easy is it to revive him and get him back in the fight?
I have absolutely nothing that I'm not happy with. I'm just throwing this out there for you to offer your input on. Maybe you can offer some kind of insight that I may not see myself. Who knows?

All of those water spells do stack with their resist down effects, and they're also stronger on top of that. The player can counteract this by casting spells that increase water resistance. If this isn't done, they're probably get mowed down by startlingly higher damage than before. Proactively casting barrier spells before being hit by water damage will also dramatically reduce damage taken from them.

EX is pretty much that, yes. But it's not an absolute kill. It's something akin to...a limit break. Yes. They can be defended against and characters with correct elemental properties will take even less damage from them. It's only dangerous for the unprepared. In that respect, it's more like a wake up call. Also I forgot to note that it is used once on the 11th turn, then cycles back around till the 22nd turn.

Gunnar is simultaneously the weakest link and the strongest link. He's weak to water, but he possesses Dark skills to contend with the boss. With buffs and undefended, the weakest water spell will probably shave off about 2/3rds HP. Defending, he'll only take about 1/5th damage in HP. Mid tier and above will definitely OHKO undefended. defensive buffs won't help him enough in this case. Defending will help more in that it would reduce damage taken to about 1/3rd-1/4th.

If he goes down, then the player will simply need to let 6 actions pass before he revives automatically.

It's definitely possible to keep Gunnar alive without casualty though. By defending on Turn 1, 3, and 5, and taking action on turns 2 and 4, it's possible to keep his HP up while doling out key actions in combination with the other two party members.
LockeZ
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
6003
As I see it, the main problem with this boss is that all its attacks are more or less identical, just different amounts of damage. Water damage and the same debuff, over and over. It sounds like its main gimmick is the water resist down debuff, so let's run with that.

If this boss is far enough in the game that the player is supposed to understand EX attacks, then the most interesting thing that happens is getting hit by the EX attack with up to nine stacks of water resist debuffs. I'm assuming the player can see the debuffs, and that 10 rounds is a recurring number when all bosses get EX attacks. So, the player's goal should be to make sure his characters don't have more than one or two stacks of it at that point. There needs to be a way to do that. Your water resist buff is one answer, but...

Here's a somewhat more interesting method: Right now, one of your two minions casts ailments on the player. Instead, make it repeatedly cast some sort of Boost spell on the boss that only lasts for one round. The boss will have two different sets of skills it uses depending on if it's Boosted or not. If not boosted, it will use water spells that simply deal damage. If boosted, it will use water spells that also inflict the debuff. If the player leaves the minion alone, the boss will always be boosted.

This'll give the player a second method of avoiding the debuff: disable the enemy minion. Killing the minion is a permanent solution, but I think it's important to make it also able to be stunned, put to sleep, etc. Whatever ailments the player has that keep an enemy from acting should be usable on it. Of course, then the healer minion will attempt to remove those ailments, so the player has to deal with that one too.

I think that this'll not only give the player a second way to deal with the water damage, but also help make the boss and its minions feel more like a single coherent entity instead of a set of three separate enemies that just have to be fought at the same time. Due to this, you might want to increase the HP of the minions but make them immediately die if the boss does. A lot of players will still kill the minions ASAP, but doing so shouldn't be easy and it shouldn't be required. You can probably also make the debuff more powerful, since the player has more ways to avoid it. Make it lethal at two stacks instead of four, or whatever.
That's not a bad idea. I think I'll run with that and adjust accordingly. Admittedly the minions were just there to give the player a hard time without really factoring in the actions of the boss itself. But if they can be made to be more meaningful, then I'll do so.

Thanks for the insight.
Ugh. The problem I'm having with Tales From The Reaper, is that basic enemy battles are so absurdly complicated anyway, with just a mixed party, that I haven't too much creative juice to pour in.

-Turn Bused (by template, not plugin)
-Skill Attacks (I wanted to be able to make custom immunity for heroes)
-Interrupted Skills/Attacks (courtesy of Millenin's Fade, I adapted the code a bit, so I could make enemies do "Immune" if they were attack or skill proof, or even have specific element immunities)
-An interesting battle system uses sort of rock paper scissors mechanics (monsters are either living and cannot be hurt by astral but can by physical weapons, or undead and they can be hurt by astral but can't by physical weapons, or elementals which can't be hurt by either but can be hurt with elemental, though its kinda WIP)
========================================
So beyond this overcomplicated system (more here), I'm trying to come up with strategies for monster bosses for each game episode.

Chapter 1 has basic enemies, and introduces ghosts and undead in the boss battle (fairly straightforward, they simply are immune to physical, except for astral weapons)
Chapter 2 has ghost monsters, and introduces Carbuncle (because of buggy reflect, I made him instead block all skills until defeated). It also has a miniboss that is completely immune to spells. And then the actual boss is another ghost (Weak...)
Chapter 3
By this point, I'm busy with work/life stuff, ad having trouble taking initiative with making new monster battles, but chapter 3 has elementals, creatures that are immune to all physical attacks but a specific one, and all magical attacks but one. The boss should be an extension of this.
Chapter 4 has humans and spirits (humans are basically normal immunity all around, but can't be hurt by astral weapons). Possibly humans have better strategy AI. This should especially be true for the boss.
Chapter 5 is actually the high point of the story, and probably has among the toughest enemies. Possibly death element monsters are introduced here (they aren't weak to death status, but can only be damaged with dark element weapons), and monsters that are only weak to skills by certain characters (the Reapers respectively control Afterlife, Death, and Life as skill subsets, maybe making them weak to Life for instance)
Chapter 6 is a major step down in difficulty, it's a breather level before the final, to focus more on plot. Another human strategy boss.
Chapter 7 toughest monsters (the entire mix too), and a boss that until a cutscene, is completely immune to everything. After that, Rinne's class changes and she can damage him with magic.

1, 5, and 7 I'm satisfied with the bosses. But that means I basically need 4 monster designs. Mainly though, the two human bosses. I want good strategy enemies.


Five dollars says this thread will boil down to which World of Warcraft bosses LockeZ can adapt to your ideas.
LockeZ
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
6003
@bulma:

Chatper 2: Carbuncle as in the Final Fantasy summon, it sounds like? If you've already got ghosts and reflections, then why not make the chapter boss a ghost with a bunch of mirrors? This would fit thematically, right? And ghosts going in and out of mirrors is a typical ghost thing anyway.

Here's my idea: Make three enemies that are all mirrors. They'll be targetable enemies. A ghost randomly appears in one of them. If any of the mirrors take damage, including the one with the ghost in it, the damage is reflected onto a random member of the player's party (detect if the mirrors lose HP, and heal them and deal the same amount to the player). This'll make AOE attacks a terrible idea, heh.

The ghost can stay inside the mirror until it takes damage, at which point it comes out of the mirror and becomes a fourth separate target. Attacks the player two or three times. Goes back into the mirror for one round, then moves to a different mirror and repeats the process. Keeps rapidly changing mirrors until you hit it successfully. When the boss is in the mirror, attacking it reflects the damage onto the player... but doing so is required to make it emerge. Player then gets a couple rounds to go crazy dealing damage (since damage doesn't get reflected when it's outside of the mirror) before the boss goes back into the mirror.

Key to making this battle interesting will be to have the boss attack all the time, even when it's inside the mirrors, and actually do less damage when it's outside the mirrors than when it's trapped inside. Otherwise the player has no real tension during the mirror phase and can just sit and heal to full health before continuing the fight. If it's dealing heavy damage during the mirror phase, then the player has to take one big reflected hit to stop the heavy damage. Then the player gets a chance to do damage, but the time when he can do damage is also the easiest time to heal, so he has to make choices. ~Tension~

As far as the boss's attacks, it would be interesting for it inflict berserk status on the player, to make the player hit mirrors. Other than that it can just deal damage.

Any problems you can foresee with a boss like this in your game's systems?

Chapter 3: "Elementals that are immune to physical attacks" includes a lot of different types of battles - each element tends to have different themes and play styles associated with it. Fire tends to be very offensive and self-destructive for example, while earth tends to be very slow and hard to kill. Any particular element you want the boss to be? Maybe like a summoner who controls elementals of several different elements at once? Are you considering fire/water/wind/earth to be the only elements that elementals can be formed out of? Or are you using a different set of elements, or using the term "elemental" in a more general sense? World of Warcraft has lightning elementals, void elementals, mud elementals and even beer elementals...

Chapters 4 and 6: "Humans" might be the most generic enemy description I've ever been asked to brainstorm off of. Who are the humans? What organization are they with? What powers do they have? Where is the dungeon? How modern is the technology? If very few enemies are human, they might have many of the same skills as the player party. What does the player party look like at this point in the game?
masterofmayhem
I can defiantly see where you’re coming from
2610
I love that mirror idea. I may heave to steal that.
Oh hey, you're actually doing this eh? You have come up with some pretty nifty ideas before in the past, and if this is what you like to do, I'd say go for it! Go make that game that's just boss fights without all dem special graphics and whatnot!


That said, I may have to pop back in and actually ask for help on bosses again~ Depends on how far I get to that point and whatnot...hmmmm.
Blew blew. As background, the game is about non-humans, creatures called Reapers (Grim is "offensive" to them, as they oversee basically every aspect of life, and not merely death)

author=LockeZ
@bulma:

Chatper 2: Carbuncle as in the Final Fantasy summon, it sounds like? If you've already got ghosts and reflections, then why not make the chapter boss a ghost with a bunch of mirrors? This would fit thematically, right? And ghosts going in and out of mirrors is a typical ghost thing anyway.

Here's my idea: Make three enemies that are all mirrors. They'll be targetable enemies. A ghost randomly appears in one of them. If any of the mirrors take damage, including the one with the ghost in it, the damage is reflected onto a random member of the player's party (detect if the mirrors lose HP, and heal them and deal the same amount to the player). This'll make AOE attacks a terrible idea, heh.

It'd be better if I explained the chapter (spoilers though). Carbuncle is a normal enemy (puzzle though) blocking progress in a room. The goal in this chapter is to find out why reincarnated people aren't being reborn properly at the Well of Souls. There is a mid-boss (a giant dream fish, which basically looks like a Koi) that blocks all magic, and then you find out humans have been willingly turning themselves into monsters, without any outside cause. So after beating a ghost boss (this one is the problem, since the last chapter boss was a ghost too) the Reapers basically have to kill everyone. What? It is a horror, and it happens offscreen.

The ghost can stay inside the mirror until it takes damage, at which point it comes out of the mirror and becomes a fourth separate target. Attacks the player two or three times. Goes back into the mirror for one round, then moves to a different mirror and repeats the process. Keeps rapidly changing mirrors until you hit it successfully. When the boss is in the mirror, attacking it reflects the damage onto the player... but doing so is required to make it emerge. Player then gets a couple rounds to go crazy dealing damage (since damage doesn't get reflected when it's outside of the mirror) before the boss goes back into the mirror.

Key to making this battle interesting will be to have the boss attack all the time, even when it's inside the mirrors, and actually do less damage when it's outside the mirrors than when it's trapped inside. Otherwise the player has no real tension during the mirror phase and can just sit and heal to full health before continuing the fight. If it's dealing heavy damage during the mirror phase, then the player has to take one big reflected hit to stop the heavy damage. Then the player gets a chance to do damage, but the time when he can do damage is also the easiest time to heal, so he has to make choices. ~Tension~

As far as the boss's attacks, it would be interesting for it inflict berserk status on the player, to make the player hit mirrors. Other than that it can just deal damage.

Any problems you can foresee with a boss like this in your game's systems?

Chapter 3: "Elementals that are immune to physical attacks" includes a lot of different types of battles - each element tends to have different themes and play styles associated with it. Fire tends to be very offensive and self-destructive for example, while earth tends to be very slow and hard to kill. Any particular element you want the boss to be? Maybe like a summoner who controls elementals of several different elements at once? Are you considering fire/water/wind/earth to be the only elements that elementals can be formed out of? Or are you using a different set of elements, or using the term "elemental" in a more general sense? World of Warcraft has lightning elementals, void elementals, mud elementals and even beer elementals...

I was vaguely thinking of something like Seymour, which cycles through elements while casting, or something where there are some sort of satellite that blocks magic on the boss until attacked with its weak element. Four of them. But there are only three characters, and only two can wield elemental weapons, so this is sorta limited unless I can put together something.

Chapters 4 and 6: "Humans" might be the most generic enemy description I've ever been asked to brainstorm off of. Who are the humans? What organization are they with? What powers do they have? Where is the dungeon? How modern is the technology? If very few enemies are human, they might have many of the same skills as the player party. What does the player party look like at this point in the game?

Chapter 4 is a sort of cliffhanger chapter. It's called The Girl who Can See Ghosts, and starts as slice of life creepy. However, it's also a tie-in episode since there was a problem with Elementals, and before that a problem with the Well of Souls, and recently (Time isn't normal for Reapers, btw, so there isn't a standard before and after, and one of the Reaper's first cases is way in the future) there is a mass of souls fleeing the realm of Death and a ton of psychic humans (next chapter deals in why all this stuff has been happening). Uhhh, think Akira, I guess.

Chapter 6 originally had a different plotline, but I decided to make it a spy story (because the premise was interesting, seeing as Reapers are basically aloof from human intrigue). Lacking an original name for these groups at the moment, they're based on Spy Hard's Kaos/Control dichotomy (except in this one Chaos is the more "good"). But some heartbroken lover gets them involved by praying on behalf of his spy gf. So it's sort of a fight versus humans and possibly their summoned "personal demons" on the way to get said girl a new body (since straight reincarnation would leave him dating a ten year old). Chaos agents if you fight them (you may be able to pick sides in this coflict) tend to attack randomly and use self-buff tactics, while Control agents should execute plans and use teamwork. Not sure here, but probably some heavy strategy puzzle boss that dodges alot of your more destructive attacks (since Reapers are powerful, it has to make sense that a human boss is not so much strong as crafty).


LockeZ
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
6003
Well, ghosts and mirrors are a common thing anyway, regardless of how important Carbuncle is in the chapter. I just used that as a jumping point for inspiration. Is there a problem with the ghost mirror boss? Is there something about it you just think isn't a good fit? It doesn't seem like it would interfere with your story. It's still a ghost boss so everything you described would still work the same way.

Regarding the elemental boss, if you can only use two elements and you have to choose them before the battle starts, then requiring the player to use specific elements in any battle is obviously impossible, bosses included. Don't the characters have elemental skills too though? What sorts of skills do these two characters have? Elemental damage? Healing? What kinds of buffs do they have? How are you handling ailments vs. bosses - are they all allowed, or are bosses immune to different ailments each time, or are bosses immune to stuns, or do they work on minions but not the boss, or what?

So would you say the boss of chapter 4 should be a psychic, and the boss of chapter 6 should be the leader of one of the two agencies? Or do the agencies keep existing later in the game, in which case the chapter 6 boss should be one of their most elite agents or something? Are you thinking of having a different boss depending on which agency the player sides with?
The problem is mainly that chapter 1 boss was also a ghost. I'd want it to have some added challenge at the very least. Maybe the ability to drain hp every few turns or something.

Well, yea there are elemental skills. I suppose I could make the main boss completely immune to all attacks/spells until all satellites are dead.

They conceivably do still exist, but well, it's like this. These are episodic tales. The first chapter is called The Sick Girl and neatly sums up a Reaper's job description (it's a branched quest, meaning you can either give the herb you gather from the Reaper of Nature straight to the girl, or spend extra time making it into medicine, and depending on which you choose, you've either saved her life or your have to take her to the Afterlife), the second deals in a corrupted Well of Souls and that's the title, the third is called Earthbound Spirit and is a "ghost story" which is actually about elementals, the fourth is called the Girl Who Saw Ghosts and is about a sudden rise of psychics (along with a lead-in to the fact that another Reaper might be pulling the strings), the fifth is called Lost Ones and is basically the collapse of the system with souls disappearing instead of being reborn or going to Afterlife (it ends with a face-off battle and explanation from the Reaper of Free Will), The Great Conspiracy is sorta a break-off story involving spies and yes you can pick sides though the better ending comes from answering the guy's prayer and helping the dead girl get a new body, and the last chapter is called Reaper In Love which basically involves two of the main characters falling for each other and being encouraged by the Reaer of Free Will to act on it (he's not all bad).

Right now, I've done about two of these chapters of seven, but I'm not totally satisfied with boss two.

==========================================
In terms of characters, I'll try to explain things.

The characters are generally hooded most of the time (because I suck at drawing faces) because like the Grim Reaper, that's how they appear except when using signature moves. They have a few major attacks: tools (a skill subset, each has a certain effect), skills, combos (integrated within Attack, allows 2-9 attacks, with the combo rate rising as levels improve and 2 attacks being more common than 9 attacks), and signature moves (these replace tools under certain conditions, ad are sort of the game equivalent of limit breaks, they can only be used once per party per battle). Also, as I say monsters are set up by a pretty complicated system, and can interrupt turns if they are "immune" to something. There is both attack and skill immunity. Now for the specific characters...

Rinne
Weapons- Scythe, Elemental Scythe
Afterlife- Sorta a mix. She gets magic regen, light and dark spells, light and dark proof (this is what I mean by immunity, it blocks the turn, which took some doing by tweaking turns and status), and basic stat debuff, healing, and revive.
Tool- Staff of Love (a chaos effect status). I may be able to change her tools on chapter three to help with the battle, since it's not that valuable.
Signature- Send Beyond (Saves >= battles) gets rid of ghost enemies.

Seishi
Weapons- Scythe, Astral Scythe
Life- Light, lots of healing/revive/recover spells, and elemental proof spells
Tool- Mirror of Faith (physical proof as long as you defend)
Signature- Life's Web (full hp) 9999 heal/revive/recover.

Yomi
Weapons- Death Scythe, Elemental Scythe
Death- (She's the grim reaper btw) Dark, elemental spells, some debuffs.
Tool- Sword of Sorrow (you may recognize this weapon from Oracle of Tao, if you got insanely far/lucky, it deals astral damage (which btw heals living targets) and then uses a revenge effect if you are damaged)
Signature- Death's Embrace (low hp) kills all living.
LockeZ
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
6003
Draining the player's HP is fine and wouldn't interfere with how that boss works, though it might complicate the way you keep track of the boss's HP, since the fact that it has one HP pool but changes targets means you'll need battle events tracking damage (and now also healing) done to the boss. And I'd wager that the added complication of the mirrors is probably enough to make it feel like a bigger deal than the first boss did.

If you're worried about having two ghost bosses in a row my personal suggestion would be to include a miniboss or two in between, or use the boss somewhere else in the game. Though, I mean, you're the one who said chapter 2 was about ghosts, so I used what you said.

---

Here's an idea for an boss that has four elemental satellites surrounding it:

What if the boss had two satellites, and the satellites each cycled from one type of elemental to another? They could change either in a pattern or at random, just make sure that they're never the same element as each-other. Easy way to do this is to have them both change elements at the same time.

Make sure the elementals keep their current HP when they change elements, otherwise this'll obviously be an impossible battle.

I feel like the satellites should have different types of skills depending on their element, instead of just damage. This will make it feel more like a culmination that all the normal battles have been leading up to, instead of just a bigger battle. So, to give the player a good set of challenges, you could make the fire elementals inflict a strong but short-duration gradual damage ailment, similar to poison, or possibly an ailment that makes the afflicted character explode next time they take a turn (taking away like 75% of their max HP). Make the earth elementals create a temporary barrier that protects the *other* elemental, not itself. Make the water elementals use healing spells. And then make the air elementals dispel the player's buffs, including elemental immunities. Of course, all four should *also* use attacks of their own elements.

Your idea of making the boss immune to damage until the satellites are dead isn't the only way to do a boss like this, but it's a perfectly good way. The trick is what to make the boss do when the satellites are dead. If it just stands there and waits to die, the battle is very anticlimactic. It should become more powerful. Just need to make sure it's a different kind of power than the boss has otherwise.

I'd recommend giving the boss itself a short-duration buff skill that it casts on a satellite, which makes one of the two elemental satellites far more powerful on its next turn. If possible, make him alternate predictably, casting it on one satellite and then the other. If that's not possible (I know RM2K3 has shitty targeting options even when using battle events), then picking one at random is fine. This buff will keep Seishi busy deciding which element to protect against. It'll also explain why the boss becomes more powerful when the satellites die: he stops using that skill and starts attacking instead. His attacks probably don't need to be super powerful; the player is supposed to feel like he's beaten most of the battle. Just not feel like he's practically beaten the entire battle. I would give the boss single-target attacks and the satellites AOE attacks (especially since if the satellites have single-target attacks, Seishi's elemental immunity buffs will feel wasted if you cast them on the wrong person*). But then make the boss's single-target attacks do like 50% more damage than the satellites' AOE attacks did, so that there's at least a little bit of a threat.

*I'm assuming Seishi's elemental immunity buffs are single-target. If they're party-wide buffs, then my above suggestion is reversed. Give the boss the lower AOE damage and the satellites the higher single-target damage instead.

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Let me know what you think of this one; I can try to help solve any issues you have with it. If you know what sorts of abilities your other elementals have in normal battles, I can revise it to try to incorporate the same ideas.

If you want more help I can certainly try to think of bosses for your other two chapters, but not until you decide what you want the bosses to be. Last time I thought you had implied it should be a ghost, but then afterwards you didn't want to use it because it was a ghost. So first, figure out enough of your story that you know who or what the boss is gonna be, then come back, and I'll be glad to help.
(This requirement doesn't necessarily apply to everyone else - if you don't care what species or occupation a boss is then I'll be glad to decide for you.)
So is this thread still a thing you are doing because guess who's considering resuming work on a game that's nothing but boss battles.
LockeZ
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
6003
A day may come when the courage of designers fails. An hour of slimes and instant death, when the age of RPGs comes crashing down at last. But today is not that day! This day I design a boss for you!
unity
You're magical to me.
12403
I fall kind of under the " most of the combat gameplay they include is just whatever occurs to them" category, though I do try to go back after the fact and polish the gameplay a bit and make it feel engaging, though I'm not sure how well I do at it.

Well, enough of my blabbing. I'm trying to come up with a good idea for the first boss in my VX Ace RPG, and nothing good is coming to me. He's a skull-plant monster at the end of a cavern. Not sure if it matters or not, but here's what he looks like:



I don't have any solid ideas, but I kicked around the idea of him having minions and/or poisoning the party, but nothing's really gelling with me so far.

I'm using a CTB battle system with MP acting like it normally does, tho I renamed TP to "Rage" and it only builds when you take damage (in other words, I went through and made skills/items not add to it) to feel more like a limit breaker system.

The party has just gone through a single dungeon and is pretty puny so far. The two characters thus-far are the hero, a speedster with, aside from agility, otherwise balanaced stats, and the warrior, who is strong but slow, takes physical hits well but not so well from magical hits, and has healing magic.

At this point in the game, under Magic, the hero has a defense-buffing spell and a light wind spell. Under Rage, they have an ability that costs 30 and does normal attack damage but adds stun.

As for the warrior, she only has a basic single-target healing spell under magic, and a normal-damage-but-with-drain 30 cost Rage power.

I don't really have any ideas for the "feel" of the battle other than I want it to be memorable and engaging. Anything you could suggest would be greatly appreciated :D
LockeZ
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
6003
The stun and drain skills are your party's most interesting skills right now, so building the boss around the player using one or both of those makes sense. It also helps that they both cost rage - even if the boss requires using those skills, you don't have to go out of your way to create boss mechanics that encourage the player to also use other skills, because they player has to also use other skills. The boss can respond in a pretty simple manner to stun and drain, which is appropriate for the first boss.

The basic idea with the stun skill would be to give the boss a self-buff that improves its offense for one round by a lot. Like, my rule of thumb is that a buff like that should make the boss deal three times the damage it otherwise would, so that stunning the boss becomes more effective than defending or healing. Of course, this means most of its attacks will need to deal damage that's less than 1/4 of the player's HP... which is fine.

The drain skill also being on the healer limits the situations where you'd use it. You'd need to be low enough on health that you need to heal, but you'd also need to be in a situation where it's important that you deal damage. Also, the healer has to be the one that's low on health.

So here's my suggested solution: you were gonna make the boss summon minions. Do that. It makes the warrior's offense matter. Make it so the boss summons new ones periodically, but it's infrequent enough that killing them is worthwhile. Probably they don't need much HP - two hits to kill them is plenty. I would probably not make them weak to wind, since making them die in one hit is too fast. They don't need to do much besides a normal attack, just enough to make the defense buff and the healing spell matter in the battle. And then, to make sure that the warrior is the one who needs to be healed most of the time, give the player a poison-immunity item that only the hero can wear, or else give the hero a spell that removes poison from himself but can't be targeted at allies. This'll make the drain skill more useful, since the warrior will need to continuously heal while the hero will only need to heal occasionally. The warrior's drain skill is designed to serve two purposes at once, and the boss will be making those purposes be necessary more often than usual, so the player will feel like it's extra useful if used correctly.

Final result:
Boss skills
Damage skill dealing 1/4 to 1/6 of the player's HP
Self-buff, tripling damage for only one round
AOE poison
Summon a minion, used every 3-4 rounds or so probably
(Make sure it can be stunned, and if the stun skill usually has a failure rate, make this boss weak to stun so that it works every time)
(Give it enough HP to last through four or five minions being summoned at least)
(If you're gonna make something weak to wind, it should be the boss, not the minions)

Minion skills
Damage skill dealing about 1/3 to 1/5 of the player's HP
(Give it enough HP to die in about two hits, maybe three if the player's unlucky)

Edit: If the player doesn't have a Defend command, give the self-buff to the minions instead of the boss, so that the player has a second way to survive the triple damage when the hero doesn't have enough TP to use his stun attack. (they can survive it by killing the minion before it attacks) I was kind of assuming the player had a Defend command, but I guess that's not necessarily a safe assumption. If the player has a Defend command then ignore this and leave it as is.
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