BALANCE CURRENCY AND ITEMS WITH DUNGEON CRAWLERS? MUST THEY REALLY HAVE EITHER A TOWN OR A MERCHANT?

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With a traditional JRPG, you usually have town spots to stock up on items and spend currency.

When a game is solely focused on dungeon crawling, you may no longer have towns.

How then would you suggest going about balancing the currency and item stock? If players were to gain items as drops from monsters, won't that be hard to balance well? If there aren't towns, how will players get better equipment, items and use up currency?

Can you think of any alternatives? Anyone making a dungeon crawler themselves?


My own thoughts on this, I really can't find a easy solution, so this makes my views come down to create an excuse to either have NPCs that will sell equipment and items around the dungeon, or place easy access to a town anyway and edit the story untill it fits.
Castle -> Town -> Dungeon -> Town -> Dungeon -> Castle -> Town -> Dungeon -> Town -> Dungeon -> Castle -> Town -> Dungeon -> Town -> Dungeon -> Castle -> Town -> Dungeon -> Town -> Dungeon ->

Some games literally follow this exact formula.

Why not have refugees hiding in the walls? Like they never left, but they just live there. I'm sure prisoners that escape prison do that. Why not have a mushroom village in a cavern? Imprisoned merchants that collect stuff? Theives that steal things from the guards.

Instead of gold, have trade value. There are scripts that let you set trade value so you can make it 100% instead of 50%.
Hexatona
JESEUS MIMLLION SPOLERS
3662
I'm making one myself, but I was planning on having a town on the world map, surrounded by several dungeons.

You could also go the nethack route, and have the occasional random shop in the dungeon, but the player could get extremely unlucky.

What you're doing sounds a lot like Linley's Dungeon Crawl - It seemed to be almost all dungeon - I don't know where in that game you could buy things, I never got that far, but that might be good to look into.

I know in Ragnarok, my favourite rogue, there was like ONE town in the whole game, and you often wandered far and away from it - and you had a time limit in the game! So you only went back to buy things if you really needed it. I think there may have been some random shops (or at least storehouses) elsewhere in the game, but it's been a while.

Basically, I'm a proponent of the Town principle. Although, it might be a nice idea to have a really really good shop hidden away in a dungeon, where the player can get some rare equipment at an inflated price or something. There's a money sink right there.

As for the "use up currency" aspect, it depends. Most roguelikes opt for the "food" mechanic. Myself, I'm going for a more standard rpg method of healing items, purchasing spells and gambits, Inns, and equipment.
kentona
One of RMN's Top 10 Admins of all-time
20520
I also went with the "single town on top of a sprawling dungeon" route, where you would return back up to town using a Town Portal spell and stock up and heal yourself. It worked for Diablo, I figured. But I also had random drops from monsters to make up for the lack of good stuff to buy in town. Random drops + single dungeon + town is a pretty good formula, though.

Alternatively, you could have pockets of goblins or gnomes living in communities underground with stuff to sell, as you delve deeper.
halibabica
RMN's Official Reviewmonger
11399
Spelunky never cared that it makes no sense for shops to appear underground, but there are other routes you could take with it, too.

Perhaps the player can meet other adventurers in the dungeon that are willing to trade their items for money (or anything else of value you might be carrying). Traveling merchants are great for this, too.
If you think to a game like Castlevania: SOTN, there was only one shopkeeper there, and he was a librarian who sold magic scrolls which were available ONLY through him, and armor/items that became outdated before you were halfway through the game.

While SOTN is definitely different in the sense that you can usually avoid damage pretty consistently through classic platforming maneuvers, they do have features that were meant to keep the player going without means of stocking up on items through a shop. Fully recovering HP/MP on levelling up, and at save points. Constant steady regen of MP. Finding potions, food, and armor along the way via secret treasures or random chance monster drops. Max HP boost items, which also restored HP to full.

These are the sort of features that should be considered in place of having a shop or an inn. Other ideas, perhaps players can farm easy monsters for those weak potions they need. Maybe players can create their own HP restorative items that can only be consumed outside of combat with things they gather on their travels.

There are plenty of games who don't rely on shops/inns to provide restoration! It's not only possible, but in alot of ways, alot more fun IMHO. Finding awesome treasure as a reward for a difficult battle or strenuous exploration is alot more exciting than gathering small amounts of gold until you can afford that big bad weapon you want.

Max McGee
with sorrow down past the fence
9219
post=135965
With a traditional JRPG, you usually have town spots to stock up on items and spend currency.

When a game is solely focused on dungeon crawling, you may no longer have towns.

How then would you suggest going about balancing the currency and item stock? If players were to gain items as drops from monsters, won't that be hard to balance well? If there aren't towns, how will players get better equipment, items and use up currency?

Can you think of any alternatives? Anyone making a dungeon crawler themselves?


My own thoughts on this, I really can't find a easy solution, so this makes my views come down to create an excuse to either have NPCs that will sell equipment and items around the dungeon, or place easy access to a town anyway and edit the story untill it fits.


In Iron Gaia (which I didn't even know WAS a dungeon crawler until Iish or Bloodrose (I forget which) pointed it out to me) I solved this problem by having an automated shop (autoshop) every so often to buy things, and even more occasionally, a "recycler" where players could sell things. There were also "regenerators" where players could rest. If you don't have a science fiction setting...you could probably dupe the effect with inscrutable magical crystals.
post=135965
If players were to gain items as drops from monsters, won't that be hard to balance well?


Not really, because if stronger monsters drop stronger items, you got your balance right there.

There are plenty of ways to be innovative about this, but if you just want to be practical, make a single store the player can teleport himself to... something like kentona said.

You can also combine the two things: make stronger monsters drop stronger items, and have them be available for sale on store only after the player has found it for the first time.
In my dungeon crawler, I threw out the town altogether. There are just dungeons, and in between each one, players have access to the menu. The menu lets you equip items and upgrade stats, as well as visit a randomly generated shop to buy and sell. There is also a traveling merchant that reappears in several dungeons and sells exclusive rare items if you are lucky enough to find him.
My dungeon crawler doesn't use shops or towns at all - then again there are no monsters, either, so that part of the equation is out. Chests/treasures and other adventurers are all that's there, and if you run out of items, well... swap an item you own (usually gems or treasure) with a fellow adventurer for what you need, though some of them will rip you off. ^.^

Generally though, I like the idea of a single town where you can add more depth to the NPCs and history of the town via constant interaction to a line of towns, though one or two 'in-dungeon' towns are a plus, especially if they're something different like, oh, mushroom people or dragon clan. ^.^
Sated
puking up frothing vitriolic sarcastic spittle
4064
Other adventurers in the dungeon who you can trade with?
Yup! ^.^ They have certain items that you can get off them if you have the right item. You don't have to trade, but if you need to, they're there, waiting watching from the shadows...
After all, you're not the only awesome adventurer in the world now, are you? XP
Craze
i bet she's a diva with a potion popping problem
13230
post=135990
If you don't have a science fiction setting...you could probably dupe the effect with inscrutable magical crystals.


Yeah, In Praise of Peace is entirely dungeons. I just have Save/Heal/Item Crystals scattered about. You can either pay for a full heal, or pay 33% SP to revive the unconscious and set everybody's HP to 100% (but not cure other states and obviously not restore SP).
What if you had a village of civilized monsters who were willing to trade with you?
I'm not sure if anyone's said this yet but this script could help: http://www.rpgmakervx.net/index.php?showtopic=18405&hl=level+message+screen

When you level up, this script would let you receive new items. So it's like your armor and weapons level with you.
tardis
is it too late for ironhide facepalm
285
In Neverwinter Nights' second expansion pack Hordes of the Underdark, there's this great way they get around any 'shit gotta go back to town' inconvenience. A little way into the first chapter (it's a 3 chapter campaign) you beat up a Drow sorcerer and loot his stuff. In amongst the armours and staves and such is a Djinni Bottle- this lets you summon a hilarious Djinni to your side. He's not there to grant your wish- instead, he functions as a portable store with a currency cap for sellback. He carries some pretty decent gear (meaning you could grab stuff like ammunition for a ranged character in a tight spot or blow some cash on a differently enchanted weapon to beat that demilich you just can't seem to hurt) and will buy absolutely anything you throw at him for a maximum of 10,000 gold. Additionally, his wares change every chapter, meaning you get a fresh selection to choose from (he has some great enchanted rings and stuff later) as you progress deeper into the game. Literally deeper- this whole campaign takes place in caves and shit. Caves under caves inside caves under more caves. Crazy shit.
Going back to town is still obviously the better choice to maximize profits, this helps balance out currency gain/loot carrying (because they have carrying capacity and encumbrance in NWN) during the deeper dungeon-crawlier segments of gameplay.
Obviously none of you have ever played Vagrant Story. You can't make a topic about dungeon crawling and NOT mention VS which, to me, is king of dungeon crawling.

As for TC's question "How then would you suggest going about balancing the currency and item stock?"

VS did it by not having currency in the first place, you made everything yourself. And items, treasure chests and most enemies dropped items. If you must have currency, I can't see why enemies don't drop those.
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