The Hills Have Eyes, Legs and Fangs - Dev Blog 6

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The Hills Have Eyes, Legs and Fangs - Dev Blog 6

Greetings everyone and welcome to the sixth Goblin Storm dev blog!

Today I will discuss the majestic (and murderous) beasts of Goblin Storm. Beasts come in a wide variety of types. Some are weak and very common, like human Brigands or Centaurs. Others are far more dangerous such as Dusk Reapers, Deathstalkers and the infamous Black Knight.

I will begin by explaining the unique traits pertaining to beasts, then I will explore the different behavior types, before discussing a couple special rules.

Beasts are easily identifiable because of their green chits.

In addition to the traits they share with normal units, such as their melee value, fire value, unit type (heavy inf, light inf, light cavalry) and the like. Beasts possess a series of special traits that govern their behavior.

Action: Action determines the % chance that a beast will move in any given turn. Some beasts will move every turn, like Basilisks. While others are far less likely to move, such as Shadow Lurkers, who are perfectly happy to lurk in the forests, waiting for your delicious scouts to run into them and get ambushed.

Aggression: If a beast decides to take an action in a turn, aggression determines how likely they are to attack your units. Some beasts are incredibly aggressive, such as fearsome Deathstalkers which are guaranteed to attack whenever they believe they can win.

Alignment: Alignment determines which side beasts are friendly to. The vast majority of beasts are hostile to both sides. Currently, unicorns are the only beast that is friendly to humans and they are marked with a blue stripe to denote this. There are no beasts friendly to goblins, although code exists to support it.

There are 3 broad categories of beast behavior. [i]Patrolling[/i] beasts who patrol in a radius around their lair. [i]Targeted[/i] beasts who seek specific targets such as gold. Finally there are [i]roaming[/i] beasts who wander around the map without a specific objective

Patrolling beasts possess a lair, like the one pictured below. They will patrol within a specified distance of the lair and will only leave this radius if they spot a unit which they can easily kill within their sight range (2 hexes) and they decide to be aggressive that turn.

Targeted beasts are far more diverse and generally more dangerous because they are free to move wherever they wish. The fact that targeted beasts frequently attack the same objectives as goblins can lead to tug-of-war battles between the humans and goblins over large loot piles accumulated by beasts. There are four different target types:

  1. Units: Beasts who target units will spend the entire game ruthlessly seeking out and destroying any hostile units they can find.
  2. Gold: Beasts who target gold will attempt to steal loot or even attack poorly defended villages/towns if given the chance. It is not at all uncommon to see a stack of brigands running down a road with a village or two worth of loot under their belts.
  3. Slaves: Beasts who target slaves will prioritize towns, villages, or loot containing large numbers of slaves.
  4. Relics: Beasts who target relics will attack abbeys. They can be a major security risk for a defending human if they acquire a stack of relics and then lose them to the goblins.

Roaming beasts wander across the map without any specific plan. They do not have lairs, and they do not relentlessly hunt units. Their actions are entirely governed by their action and aggression stats. Most roaming beasts are only a threat to you if you are within their sight range of 2 hexes. Or if they happen to accidentally run into you and a battle breaks out.

Beast Spawns:
Beast spawns are determined on a per map basis. For instance, the Forbidden Mountains map has a far higher spawn chance for Gryphons than The Vale. Each beast has a specific type of terrain that they can spawn on. For instance, Gryphons always make their nests on mountains. There is also a chance for beasts to spawn in groups as well. Such as 3 flocks of Gryphons all operating out of the same nest.

The number of beasts that spawn is determined by the beast setting chosen at the beginning of the game. There are 4 levels:

  1. Civilized = No beasts at all.
  2. Developed = Few beasts, usually 3-5.
  3. Frontier = Many beasts, approximately 10.
  4. Wilderness = Lots and lots of beasts. Sometimes over 20.

Special Rules:
Flying Beasts:
Basilisks and Gryphons are both flying beasts and they ignore all terrain costs. This makes them virtually impossible to plan for, because they move exceptionally fast and extremely far. It is virtually impossible to predict where a Basilisk will be from one turn to the next. This, combined with their high melee, fire and skirmish modifier is how the "giant screaming death chicken" meme got started amongst beta testers.

Unique Beasts:
Some beasts are unique, and only one can spawn at the start of the game.

Before we tie this dev blog up. Here are a few of the charming beasts in game to sate your curiosity:

Tying it all together:
Beasts can have many different effects on game play. Beasts are rarely powerful enough to turn the tide of the game on their own, but they do become more dangerous as the game goes on and armies become less effective due to rising casualties and loss of cohesion. Nothing wreaks havoc on a crippled and battle weary army like a flock of Basilisks descending upon resting regiments.  

Targeted beasts tend to have the most direct effect on game play. On the higher beast spawn settings (Frontier/Wilderness) you can expect to fight with roving bands of brigands - or worse - attempting to burn down towns and villages.  

Even lair based beasts can have a significant impact on your strategies and tactics. If there is a colony of a couple hundred giant spiders (Shadow Lurkers) dwelling in a mountain pass. The odds are you will think twice before you march your army through!