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Materials.

I'm currently working on the inventory and items system.
I've got a good idea of how it's going to work, and I've made a few test demos in blender so I know how it should fit together, but one area I had some trouble with is how to make the items more interesting.

I don't want to have just sword +1, necklace of AC +5 etc... I want items to feel like they are unique. So I'll be designing a few base item types and then having them generate some qualities.

[Real weapons have character!]


The first quality is status. An old broadsword, or a rusty helm. Or spoiled meat. These will be limited by item type, so you don't end up with rusty meat or rancid chain-mail. They add a modifier to elements of the item's stats, either a positive or a negative modifier.

The second quality is wear and tear. This is more dynamic since it can change, as you take or deal damage. This might not be seen in the item's name, but rather in a status bar or something. However, it could cause the item to lose some positive status qualities. A damaged sword would no longer be sharp for example. Really badly damaged items could pick up some negative status qualities, causing you to discard them or get them repaired. If your epic sword becomes bent, you might want to switch for a less impressive but more straight one.

The third quality is materials.


[exotic ore for special weapons]
Rather than use existing materials, like yew or oak, or bronze and steel, I've invented some new materials. This is a fantasy setting after all. I wouldn't expect to find tungsten or such there. Here are some examples:

Twisted-uylee-wood is like rattan or wicker. It is not tough or strong. It's the worst kind of wood to make weapons out of. In fact, it's not really a wood, but a kind of tough vine.

Beshe-wood is like yew. It's not that tough, but is very light and flexible. Not good for a staff, but excellent for a bow.

Akka-fur is actually short feathers from a feathered fire serpent. it has good padding potential, and good elemental resistance.

If you're making a stone axe, you could try tyule-stone. Like Basalt it is heavy and tough, but doesn't hold a sharp edge well. Or you could try Jolopian-stone, which is a bit like obsidian, or hardened jade. It has a very sharp edge, but is brittle, wearing out quickly.

For metals you can find everything from the light and soft ossyssian-galium which has some of the physical properties of aluminum to the non-conductive akkadite which is strong and insulating, protecting against elemental damage. Ossyssian is an adjective meaning flawed or impure or simply weak alloyed metal. Where as Cannise or Cannite is an adjective that means pure, or refined, or rather strong alloy. So that Cannise-akkadite is a stronger version of ossyssian-akkadite.

[Be-be-ivory] 
There are other materials too. Be-be-ivory which is from an pig/hippo/elephant-like animal. The Be-be offers other materials, such as the extremely tough leather be-be-hide. Other animals can give other materials. The Mocra, a domesticated magical giant spider breed supplies mocra-manashi-cloth, a silk like substance, as well as mocra-chittin, the best material for making light armor from. The rather more mundane Trotter is a horned hairless goat/pig hybrid which supplies meat, leather and horn for making bows. If you want a material which offers magical resistance you should try hunting the Gyium, a ferocious magical horned tiger. it can provide fur, leather and horn for making weapons, armor and shields which are resistant to magic.

These materials should make it fun to craft weapons and armor, as well as giving the player a meta game to play as they try to learn all the materials. Later on I may design a language generator which can generate new materials and adjectives to really randomize items.

There will be similar ingredients involved in crafting herbs or potions. A taru-taru is a sheep/lama like animal, large enough to be ridden by some mountain peoples. It's wool is a commonly traded material for clothes, but it's blood is prized also for a potion base.

[Kurgan! Bone armor for the win.]
 
The final quality for items will be magical or epic qualities. These will be applied as a suffix. An ancient mocra-manashi robe of hiding for example would give you much higher stealth abilities. Magic qualities will help to give an extra edge to the best treasures. A wicked hydrine-haldium axe of flaming death could be a top tier weapon, despite its mediocre material. Mixing high level magics with lower level materials and qualities can give a big range of unique items.

I may choose some more cryptic titles for magical qualities too. Instead of -of hiding I could use -of dark shadows, while -of flaming death could be replaced with -of the Rudde Akka-daemon.

I'll need to further develop the mythology to flesh out the names and make sure there's not too much repetition. I may spend some time further developing the language too, so that suffixes and even weapon names are described with the in-game language. In our own world there are lots of weapons which had a special name for a special shape, such as the khopesh or scimitar. I'd love to develop a world with that kind of depth. Maybe a procedurally generated language would be better adapted to the task. 

One thing this has helped with is brainstorming some new monsters. I can't wait to model and animate a ferocious Gyium or a huge wallowing Be-be. Even a wild trotter should provide some fun to design. And it also opens up the possibility of quests. People will always be looking for a rare material. Hunting a Rudde Akka Daemon could be a great mid level quest and the reward could be chosen to match the challenge.

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