Now Announcing the White Knight!

on Aug 25 in Blog tagged by

I usually take the time to divulge some of the fiction surrounding the new monster classes as they’re rolled out, but as the White Knight releases I’d like to go over the skills a bit more plainly, divulging instead how they shape the class’ identity and the design philosophy we’ve used with the monster classes.

At first glance, the Knight seems almost too powerful. His weapon deals more damage than most starting weapons, and he can take an area of effect spell as his first ability.

Wall of Swords: Spectral blades surround the Knight. At the end of each turn, each enemy occupying a space in the 8 tiles surrounding the Knight takes a bit of damage. This ability lasts for 10 turns, and deals more damage for each point put into the skill.

Stunning attack: What the Knight does choose to attack, he hits hard, and won’t let his targets escape. A Knight can learn to swing his sword so as to bludgeon as well as cleave, leaving the target unable to act for a turn.

Combined, these abilities can kill quickly and effectively. However, Wall of Swords does not scale damage over time, making the ability less useful later in the game. Stunning attack contributes to the Knight’s overall strength in carving a path to his goal and worrying less about monsters that get in his way.

The monsters that get in his way certainly don’t just let themselves get shrugged off, either. The potential damage that Zombies, Evil Rats and Bullies can deal in even one or two turns is life-threatening, even with the Knight’s naturally higher armor and health. Combat gets even trickier when considering that the Knight takes two hits each time he tries to move due to his hefty movement penalty. So, knowing and training to mitigate damage taken is another key component to playing a Knight.

Intimidation: A famous Rogue once said, ‘A shaky sword murders naught’. Taking a point in intimidation reduces the accuracy of all monsters standing adjacent to the Knight, which is ideal for helping dodge opportunity attacks as you search for treasure.

Monumental Protection: The Knight’s sheer force of will is impressive, to say the least. As the odds against him mount, a Knight can will himself to ignore pain. This effectively increases his armor more for each adjacent enemy.

Iron Stomach: A drawback to the strategy of cleaving through targets towards a goal is that it requires leaving foes behind sometimes in the interests of quicker progression. Not killing all monsters means that the Knight doesn’t get as much experience as the other player classes. To make up for this, the Knight has an extra defensive advantage against monsters that attack him from the direction in which he’s moving. This not only helps you move more directly, but also allows you to prioritize tougher monsters that yield higher experience, like other Knights or Mini Satans, which other player classes are more likely to avoid.

Improved Regeneration: Even with his unprecedented armor potential, sometimes the Knight will take more damage than he can possibly avoid, and needs a heal. If used effectively, Improved Regeneration helps the Knight get through the early stages of a fight and down a particularly tough creature, making it easier to mitigate damage through the remainder of combat.

There are times, however, when the Knight’s speed (or lack thereof) is a fatal liability. The class needed some potential to overcome the limitations of half-speed, so the Knight has two abilities to allow him to move more freely through the dungeons.

Jump: The Knight can move two spaces forward and one to the side in any direction. While the inspiration for the skill is obvious, its inclusion in 100 Rogues is indicative of long-standing goals to embody some of Chess’ founding design principles; strategic placement is key to victory.

Stomp: Sometimes there’s just no easy way out of a fight. When Jumping isn’t an option, Stomp helps to clear a path through a particularly difficult mob. The Knight bends at the knee, leaps upward, then crashes downward, dealing moderate damage to adjacent enemies and, more importantly, knocking them back and giving yourself a means of escaping from battle.

So, in general, it is best for the Knight to carve through the path of least resistance to his destination (the stairs to the next level).

RPGs have always had certain classes that are naturally better equipped to take more damage. Even our own Crusader dips its toe into Paladin or Fighter in ways. The Knight exacerbates these qualities, with extra means of dealing damage to single targets. While these are some nice advantages, they come at the cost of moving through the game at effectively half-speed; enemies hurt more and hunger is noticeably more imposing than other classes. Combined, these qualities give the Knight tools and challenges completely unique to 100 Rogues’ cast of characters.

As always, Happy Stabbing!

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