Maelkoth's Corner : Morale and Leaders

Morale and Leaders

Some of us remember the days when a few morale debuffs were all you needed to secure an easy victory. These days, it is nearly impossible to kill an opponents morale, mainly due to rally. This ability allows players to reach insane numbers, and seeing 800 morale vs 600 morale a few battles in is a bit insane. The problem with this is that it makes abilities such as presence, iron will, and even debuffs such as taunt, howl, and non aura skills almost irrelevant. I have a few ideas I hope will help this, and yes rally will get its own numbered section.

1. Rally needs to have a duration. Every other similar ability does, as well as all of the debuffs, so making this skill permanent and immune to dispelling does not fit well with the game mechanics right now. I do think that it should not be able to be negated, but since all morale debuffs wear off, this needs to have a duration such as 3-4 rounds.

2. The numbers should be reduced. 2 lvl 5 rallys give all of your army basically double morale, and here you run into the problem right away of having those other morale boosters be rather meaningless. I think something like 10/15/20/25/30 is fair.

3a. Morale should gravitate towards each characters base morale much faster than it does currently, maybe something like 10% of the difference per round, with a small reduction/boost based on will and the leader’s will. This will make it much more difficult to maintain ridiculous morale levels. I think it is fair that an army can be in a kind of frenzy from rallies and good leadership and fight extremely hard but I think it is fair that it takes about 10 rounds to return to normal.

3b. As an alternative that I am starting to like, perhaps some abilities, and especially these morale buffs/debuffs, start to lose their potency each round. So a rally that gives +20 morale for 4 turns, after 3 turns would give 15, after 2 would give 10, and so on, and the reverse for abilities like howl. The mechanic has apparently been introduced with illusion to gradually change a buff/debuff so this might be a cool way to utilize that.

These changes would make the relative difference between army morales much less, so I think an increase in the bonus based on that difference might be appropriate, hopefully making an ability such as iron will more useful. Presence, by the way, could possibly be a skill that has a nerfing stack applied to it.

As an extra feature with morale that has been talked about a lot recently, I agree that multiple combats should wear a squad's morale down, allowing multiple squads to possibly have more effective attacks against the big monster squads. I would not be entirely against a fatigue type penalty as well or in place of this, cause debuffs to AF and/or DF or whatever else fits.

As far as the actual morale effects, I think we could diversify the penalties for having low morale as well as the bonuses for high morale. I think if under a certain number, for example 50, there would be a chance of a character 'Breaking' or Panicking and losing their turn, and I think we could also have a method for units frenzying here as well, where you lose control of them and they randomly attack enemies or something along those lines. This roll would occur at the end of each turn, so you would know at the beginning of the next turn if a character was affected by this. Having exceptionally high morale could give bonuses to things such as initiative and resistance type rolls if introduced in some way, as well as anything else we can think of! Maybe having high morale could allow for a special status effect similar to having a low morale, that would give a specific set of bonuses of successfully rolled. I imagine seeing your leader panic would be bad news for squad morale…

Speaking of leaders. I have already introduced the idea of having a leader’s intelligence help targeting, and I think could be very interesting. But the leader who plans out the strategy from behind is not the only kind of leader, and it should certainly be possible in this type of game to create a melee leader that charges in with the front lines. One idea to have this more viable is to create situations that have will have an effect on your armies morale. For example, if your leader kills a unit in melee, it would boost your other melee troops morale as they watch their heroic leader tear through the enemy. Perhaps also if your hero is wounded, their morale would raise as the rush to try to aide him, or perhaps there is another effect we could create for that.

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