I’m gonna just use this Design section as my idea splattering canvas if y’all don’t mind.
Anyways, I’ve been trying to think through the Fatigue system for a while; one of my friends mentioned it as something to consider for Exalted Legacy, so here I am, considering it. I read a thing about sportsball injuries today, and it gave some ideas for how fatigue might work better as a gameplay mechanic.
Part One: Fatigue as a gameplay mode?
Ignore this section it was a half-baked idea.
In Exalted Legacy, I’ve already decided to include a Casual Mode option. Fatigue, as I’m envisioning it, would be a good complimentary addition, because players can challenge themselves with a Casual/Fatigue combination (creating more gradients of difficulty). Ideally, players would be greeted by a screen resembling this mockup after starting a new game.
Perhaps players could even be allowed to access this menu freely from the preparations screen (undecided on this myself). I wrote about the merits of free access to a difficulty toggle in my last concept post. The other options were thrown in there to illustrate the overall point; perhaps allowing players to freely toggle between fixed/random growth would also help make the game more accessible, and the rankings toggle seems self-explanatory enough.
Part Two: Fatigue Mechanics
Anyways, here’s some thoughts on how fatigue could work as a mechanic.
- Unit actions are counted, like in FE5. +1 to the fatigue counter for each attack/staff use.
- The fatigue counter can be decreased by visiting a village for -3 fatigue. While a unit is being rescued, their fatigue decreases by -1 each turn. Using a recovery item decreases fatigue in progressive amounts (-1 for Vulnerary, -2 for Tonic, -5 for Elixir; there’s no need for the Stamina Drink, in FE5 the unit was basically either sitting out, or at 0).
- The basic goal is to integrate the fatigue counter into a wider variety of actions, so that it becomes more of a present factor in gameplay decisions.
- Fatigue is represented to the player as a status condition: Rested/Normal/Tired/Fatigued. A unit is “Rested” when their fatigue counter is > 1/4 of Max HP. “Normal” ranges from 1/4 Max HP down to the 3/4ths mark, when the unit becomes “Tired.” The “Fatigued” condition only applies at 0.
- When a unit sits out for the chapter, their fatigue gauge refills to the max. At the end of each chapter, a deployed unit will recover 1/4 of their Max HP to their fatigue gauge (otherwise it carries over).
- Various penalties come with the “Tired” and “Fatigued” states. When “Tired,” a unit will lose their weapon triangle advantage boosts. All of these penalties carry over to the lower states; when “Fatigued,” the unit also cannot Rescue others, and expose themselves to the risk of injury. If a fatigued unit loses over half of their Max HP total in a battle, they now have the “Injured” status. “Injured” units retreat from the map, and will be forced to sit out the next chapter (perhaps if we wanted to get super hardcore, injury could result in permanent stat loss–could be a “harder modes only” thing). After sitting out one chapter, they will revert back to “Normal” status (i.e. their fatigue counter gets reset to 3/4 Max HP).
- Otherwise, if you’re good enough to avoid injury and fight through the penalties, you can keep using your units. It still encourages party rotation by making the only fatigue reset available through having units sit out, but does not overtly force this penalty upon players. In conjunction with Casual mode, Fatigue can be a compromise mode for players who feel that permanent death is too high of a price in an RPG. With the traditional Classic players, it gives them a nice throwback mode that adds additional challenge with every combination.