So, I don't know if the general consensus is that the Wildewood attacks are wonderful... but I find them really difficult to reconcile with what I think of as the feel of Serenwilde/Hartstone lore.
The highest possible bashing attack is very little more than squirrels throwing nuts, which may be funny to some but which kind of makes me a bit embarrassed to be using too frequently. I don't even know why I need to wield a garland to get squirrels to throw nuts? Similarly, Treehug feels a bit weird to be using - I get that its a joke skill, but I certainly don't want to be hugging some of the dangerous beasts I'm supposed to be hunting.
Anyway, no point in complaining if you can't offer something better, so I thought I'd take a stab at an alternative flavour to the current Garland bashing attack!
For reference, the current skill is:
WILDEWOOD - GARLAND
Syntax: TREELIMB GARLAND
TREELIMB SPRAY <target> [<direction>]
Power: 10 (Moonhart Mother) (to create)
Outlay: wood 50 bluebell 100 hornedlily 100 moontear 100
Damage Type: 50% blunt 50% magic
Can Target Denizens (in room only)
A decorative garland can be tied around some of your branches to create
a devastating weapon, allowing you to attack a nearby or distant foe
with a spray of acorns.
1st person - Elryn turns a baleful gaze upon you, his eaves beginning to rustle with activity. Loud chittering announces a family of squirrels moments before they begin to pick nuts from the neighboring branches to chuck at you. As each one makes contact they break apart into shimmering energy, scourging the area of contact.
2nd person - You turn your baleful gaze on a coruscating wind zephyr, contemplating his transgressions against Nature. Chittering loudly, the family of squirrels dwelling in your eaves take to the branches, pelting a coruscating wind zephyr with your own nuts.
I'd like to suggest the following addition to the skill - leaving the current one in place in case anyone really enjoys using it. Note this would be identical mechanics-wise, just an alternate syntax:
WILDEWOOD WHISPERS <target> <direction>
1st person - You turn a baleful gaze upon Vorjel as an eerie wind rustles your foliage. You start to whisper in the ancient language of trees, invoking the enduring power of memory and stripping away all defences from the painful truths of the past. Vorjel visibly crumples, then violently strikes himself repeatedly in the forehead, leaving terrible bruising.
2nd person - Elryn turns a baleful gaze upon you as an eerie wind rustles his foliage. You catch fragments of indecipherable whispering at the edge of your hearing before a deep shame wells up inside you, vivid memories of your past regrets overwhelming you and driving you to violently strike yourself in the forehead until they fade.
3rd person - Elryn turns a baleful gaze upon Vorjel as an eerie wind rustles his foliage. You catch fragments of indecipherable whispering at the edge of your hearing before Vorjel visibly crumples, then violently strikes himself repeatedly in the forehead, leaving terrible bruising.
1st person distance - You turn a baleful gaze to the north as an eerie wind rustles your foliage. You start to whisper in the ancient language of trees, invoking the enduring power of memory and stripping away all defences from the painful truths of the past. A flurry of faeblossom petals and moonhart leaves dislodge from your garland and carry your words on a chill breeze heading towards Vorjel.
2nd person distance - A flurry of faeblossom petals and moonhart leaves blows in from the south on a chill breeze, carrying fragments of indecipherable whispering at the edge of your hearing. A deep shame wells up inside you, vivid memories of your past regrets overwhelming you and driving you to violently strike yourself in the forehead until they fade.
Could even expand it into a flavour group TELL alternative, if your target is standing in an environment with tree elevation, ie:
WILDEWOOD WHISPER <target> [<target 2> <etc>] WITH <text>
2nd person - An eerie wind rustles the nearby foliage, as the trees whisper to you with the voice of Elryn saying, "Be ready, everyone."
3rd person - An eerie wind rustles the nearby foliage, carrying fragments of indecipherable whispering at the edge of your hearing.
I know it's a bit long, and could be improved upon, but I'd feel so much better using something that felt like a penultimate attack of the Serenwilde itself. Magical, enchanting, hinting at secrets of the past and dangerous - all of which I don't get from a family of squirrels throwing nuts!
I'll see if I can come up with an alternative for Treehug too. Maybe something about encasing a target in strangling roots, which then shatters, potentially breaking bones.
Found it. I don't think anything was ever done about it?
To give context, I personally really, really dislike the 'neutral forest' description that Serenwilde currently has. I've always felt that organisations do better when they have positive roleplay concepts to build on (eg. the Wyrd, the Light, Art & Science, Freedom & Mysticism, the Taint) as opposed to being defined by what they aren't (Nature that isn't Taint/Wyrd). I'd like to see Serenwilde as the Enchanted Forest - a forestal realm of spirits and magic, dream-like bewitchments and ancient powers. Where Glomdoring is severe, dark and future-focused, Serenwilde is its counterpoint being dreamy, beautiful and past-focused. If anyone has seen the Mists of Avalon, I kind of think that island is a good analogy - a mystical place of collected wisdom and legend, but that deliberately isolates itself from the "real" world, sometimes to the point of being inflexible, slow to react and detrimental to its own survival.
So anyway, while little critters are nice and all, it doesn't really speak to me of Serenwilde, it seems a lot more like generic (neutral, ugh) nature. How about changing the messages so that the Wildewood is joined by the Music of the Forest, an aura of the song of trees that provides magical effects as it washes over the area? I'd also be inclined to change the mechanics a bit so they are more reactive than random (eg. being struck with poison damage begins to shift the cadence of the music so that the current sapling effect occurs after a given period of time, being hit with mana/ego drain begins to shift the cadence so that the current fawn effect occurs after a period of time, etc).
I love the idea of -woods being able to sacrifice movement entirely or in part to provide some kind of room or self-defensive buff. Making rooms unbreakable is the wrong way to go, but a "roots" concept is certainly something that should be pursued. This is where some kind of ticking heal room passive would go!
Wildecall is complicated, in that the design demands are pretty specific. Whatever the effect, it needs to come in the form of a hour long defense (That can do offensive things potentially) that scales down in strength some how over the course of that hour. Wildecall currently achieves this by increasing the time that it takes for a new animal to come to the side of the Wildewood. The issue I kind of hinted at earlier comes up here - Wildewoods are a pretty scattered mess, without a central strategy. That makes it hard to get a fix on what direction to go!
Later tonight, I'm going to look closer at your suggested messages and polish them up a little for reposting. You're also more than welcome to join the Hartstone combat/ooc channel for more idea mongering and discussion if you'd like. We used to have a wiki for that, but wikispaces changed their policies.
Edit: Alternatively, if 'wisp' is too common a word given the wiccan wisps, they could also be those adorable clicking kodama spirits, as seen in Princess Mononoke. Man, they were cute!
There are five types of skills in these skillsets. The first are general buffs, so we can ignore those for now. Second, each have four passive effects, ranging from damage to to afflictions. In general, these are weaker than what a melder can give. Third, we have reactionaries, which have a chance to proc when the chemwood is hit. The fact that these are so unreliable makes it virtually impossible to take advantage of these afflictions. Fourth, we have chembombs, none of which you should be using when you're alone. From my testing, you will generally be more effective just trying to damage people with the standard attack and keeping your passives up than to use the first three bombs as they pretty low damage for the 5 power + lost of some passives. The fourth bomb cost 10 power and all the passives and will scale in effect depending on the number of afflictions each enemy has from a list of affs that varies for each chemwood. At 0 affs, it does even less damage than the other bombs. At all 5 affs (at least for aerochem vacuum - I'm not sure how it works for ones like wildewood) it does comparable damage to a meldbomb with a significant stun. It's just... good luck sticking those affs on anyone in time for it to explode. Lastly you have the transcendent skills which range from actually being very strong in groups to being... not so good in any situation.
I think one important thing to note is that while druids and mages both have an instakill (viable or otherwise) in both of their primaries, chemwoods do not have one in either of theirs. This severely limits the kill condition of chemwoods. It's basically... damage, but again, a melder will be more effective at that in most cases.
AB W*WOOD WILDEAVES/WYRDENEAVES
Syntax: WILDEWOOD CANOPY [WITHDRAW]/WYRDENWOOD CANOPY [WITHDRAW]
Requires: Mossy or tangled branches to be grown, 5 hornedlily.
Using any mossy (tangled) branches you have grown, extend a sheltering canopy interwoven with your other protective boughs over the heads of nearby allies. Any attacks made against those within your verdant (shadowed) eaves also have a chance to dislodge one of your flowering, gossamer or knobbled (deadened, razor or thorn) branches, causing the attacker to be afflicted upon contact. Note you can only maintain your canopy while stationary, and your mossy (tangled) branch effects will only be triggered from attacks upon you and your canopy directly. You will need to withdraw your canopy before you will be able to move again, causing a short balance loss.
Example: Sounding a deep note from within his arboreal form, Elryn stretches his branches which suddenly bud and blossom with sinuous new growth, forming a verdant canopy around you.
With a forlorn expression, Elryn draws his branches inwards again, raining leaves and greenish twigs as his canopy falls away.
[Similar skills in the other chemantic skillsets could involve scattering droplets of sheen onto allies, or setting up smokefields/cloudbanks/fumetrails perhaps?]
AB W*WOOD RECLAIMATION/EVOLUTION
Syntax: WILDEWOOD RECLAIM <target>/WYRDENWOOD EVOLVE <target>
Requires: At least 2 types of spores or leaves active, consumes all spores
By concentrating your spores (leaves) and forcing them inside your unfortunate victim, you can cause a spontaneous eruption of renewing life anew (eruption of wyrden potential), connecting them willing or otherwise to the ancient power of the Wilde (to the glorious transformative power of the Wyrd). This will cause a small amount of damage depending on how many types of spores (leaves) you have grown, and if your target is prone and in an area with soft earth, will bury them alive. While the eruption remains on the target, it will cause a small ongoing mental and spiritual drain to be siphoned to yourself, as well as a small health drain if the target is in the treetops or underground. Killing the eruption will end the effect.
If you are able to grow the eruption to a size that covers most of the target's body, your next reclaimation (evolution) will end your victim's life, returning their essence to the wild woods (transforming their essence into superior wyrden life).
[So this is a targetted attack that causes your next passive effect cycle to skip, and summons/improves an easily killable mob that follows your target. After 3 improvements, it becomes an instakill.]
Example: His leaf-shaded eyes flashing with menace, Elryn shakes his boughs and you cough and snort as his pollinated spores drift into your lungs.
<few seconds later>
A sudden itching develops deep within your skin as sickly green tendrils snake along your veins. You scream as dozens of tiny leafy shoots bloodily burst out of your body, swelling into a cancerous eruption of plantlife sucking away your very life essence.
A small eruption of wild plantlife drains away your life energy.
You pale as dozens of new sickly green tendrils expand along your body to painful new areas, and the eruption of plantlife becomes more expansive as it tears open new wounds.
A dangerous eruption of wild plantlife drains away your life energy.
Note: there is no affliction (so hopefully won't interfere with the combat reworking in progress) - this is a physical object in the room that anyone can target and kill with a small amount of damage. Hopefully it's balanced out by the fact it disables your passive effects if you try to go for an active kill.
Skills in the chemantic equivalents could be suspending passive effects to attach an elemental parasite of some kind, but I'm not familiar enough with other mage skills to know what should replace the drain/bury effects.
Fire, on the other hand... Now there's a weakness that should be readily exploitable. :P
Any chance there have been any thematic changes to the bashing abilities of Wildewoods yet? Is there still a pending report on major druid changes, or has that already happened?
That said, all of those pure text changes are noticed and kept track of, so if there IS a big skillset change or balance change to affected abilities they sometimes get tacked onto the request for balance changes.
Racial resistances and weaknesses were a kind of bad idea, made even worse for a skillset that had no choice of race and just got saddled with (really harsh, actually) racial abilities. They're gone, good riddance. For the most part, the only sources of vulnerabilities left are from user-choice effects (gain vulnerabilities in exchange for benefits) or afflictions that temporarily alter resistances.
I like your two ideas for -woods.
I've always toyed with the idea of a -wood being able to "root" themselves in a room, slowing down their movement and giving them defensive strength by way of summon, damage, and even potentially affliction resistance. Your 'eaves' idea would clinch the choice: either focus the -wood themselves, who will soak up some of your attacks and generally be tough to drop OR suffer their passives if you focus someone else instead.
I really love so many things about Wildewood (hence all the suggestions!), it's just that I'd love to have a bashing attack message that resonates.
- The best bashing attack a Wildewood has involves them doing absolutely nothing, while squirrels attack for them. There's not even the sense you ask the squirrels to attack someone. They just... throw nuts.
- You have to wield your garland of flowers, in order for squirrels to throw nuts. Why? The garland isn't even mentioned in the attack message.
- Squirrels throwing tiny nuts apparently does more damage than turning someone's skin to bark, or making parts of their flesh melt off into mulch (which is incredibly cool!). Sure, they're magic nuts, but, really?
Anyway, how about the following being added as a second choice for the garland attack (keeping the first one in case anyone really enjoys it):