Secret Doors

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Secret Doors

Post  GM_ODA on Thu Oct 01, 2015 9:21 am

Friends,
OK our friend Roger_Dodger and I have been kicking around the new maze testing doors and secret doors, all the while it has been nagging at me; something here is not working quite as planned.

Consulting the rule books reveals:

DMG wrote:
Secret Doors: Disguised as a bare patch of wall (or floor, or ceiling), a bookcase, a fireplace, or a fountain, a secret door leads to a secret passage or room. Someone examining the area finds a secret door, if one exists, on a successful Search check (DC 20 for a typical secret door to DC 30 for a well-hidden secret door). Remember that elves have a chance to detect a secret door just by casually looking at an area.



SRD wrote:
Checks without Rolls
Taking 10: When the character is not in a rush and is not being threatened or distracted, the character may choose to take 10.
Instead of rolling 1d20 for the skill check, calculate the character's result as if the character had rolled a 10.
Taking 20: When the character has plenty of time (generally 2 minutes for a skill that can normally be checked in 1 round, one
full-round action, or one standard action), and when the skill being attempted carries no penalties for failure, the character can
take 20.

Instead of rolling 1d20 for the skill check, calculate the character's result as if the character had rolled a 20. Taking 20 means
the character is trying until the character gets it right. Taking 20 takes about twenty times as long as making a single check
would take.

So it was intended that searching for secret doors and the like would allow a PC to 'go slowly to improve chances of detection' with level gain (and commensurate skill improvement) - and NWN does a pretty fair job of slowing the PC down when they are in 'detect mode' but the original code (which follows) shows that it was not built to work exactly per the SRD nor D&D, instead of allowing a PC to 'take 10' or 'take 20' the script just rolls a D20 and adds search skill to it comparing the total against the DC of the hidden object to determine if the object was detected.

Code:

// Detection function for a secret item.
// Uses the specified skill (defaults to SKILL_SEARCH; use any of the
// SKILL_ constants here) and uses the key tag of the trigger as the DC
// of the detection check.
// Returns TRUE if player detects, FALSE otherwise.
int DetectSecretItem(object oPC,
                    object oDetectTrigger=OBJECT_SELF,
                    int nSkillType=SKILL_SEARCH)
{
    if (!GetIsObjectValid(oPC) || !GetIsObjectValid(oDetectTrigger)) {
        return FALSE;
    }

    if (QuickDetectSecret(oPC, oDetectTrigger)) {return TRUE;}

    int nDetectDifficulty = StringToInt(GetLockKeyTag(oDetectTrigger));
    int nSkill = GetSkillRank(nSkillType, oPC);
    int nMod = d20();

    //DBG_msg("Diff: " + IntToString(nDetectDifficulty));

    if (nSkill + nMod > nDetectDifficulty) {
        // Mark the PC as having found it
        SetLocalInt(oPC, sFoundPrefix + GetTag(oDetectTrigger), TRUE);
        //DBG_msg("Found it");
        return TRUE;
    }

    return FALSE;
}


soooo....

I am officially (in the next update) changing the default search system to be 'closer to D&D' but also unique to our needs considering this is NWN.

Changes include :

Elvish sensing of secret objects is legendary - but rather than give them a flat 1 or 2 in 6 chance (which may be greater than their 'search skill' would allow for the same PC who is actively searching) - we will allow non-detect-mode elves to 'take 10'. Those elves in detect mode will be allowed to 'take 20' and if successful will reveal the secret object.

NON-elves will have a chance of casually detecting a secret object based on a d8+search skill, thus scoring less than the elf who gets to 'take 10' automatically, and if the non-elf PC engages 'detect mode'. If in 'detect mode' these PCs will be allowed to 'take 10' when the check is made with success revealing the secret object.

Feedback welcome.

Oh, btw, detection benefits due from items and other races like dwarves who detect stonework abnormalities with ease likewise get the benefit of these classic D&D features here on Argentum Regio.


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Re: Secret Doors

Post  BenevolentDevil on Thu Oct 01, 2015 6:34 pm

A bonus of + 1 every two levels would help too. As characters go up in levels, they get better at things right? While someone min/maxing could probably find he most well hidden thing, ... one could also play a "normal" character , or even one thats basically pacifist/non-adventuring type. As long as some levels are gained, they could still have a chance at detecting some secret doors, even if they spend their skill points elsewhere.

The only reason I say this would be good, is because there are so many places, one needs to find the secret ways in and out. Or at least ... out, in our case. Wink
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More Thinking about Secret Doors

Post  Roger_Dodger on Fri Oct 02, 2015 10:42 pm

something here is not working quite as planned.

I, too, have been doing much thinking about the Secret Doors in the maze. I'm running a 6th level (now 7th level) Rogue (Scout). A good scout should pay special attention to his Search and Spot skills when leveling up, and I do. I usually bump both these skills up by two to make my Scouting job easier (and safer for the Party).

Presently my Search Skill is 14 and Spot is 11. The Amulet of the Master you gave me bumps up the Search Skill to 20 (no effect on Spot).

According to the SRD, The typical DC to "Notice a typical secret door or a simple trap" should be 20, and the DC of a "Notice a well-hidden secret door" should be 30.

The Formula in the Script says:
Code:
int nDetectDifficulty = StringToInt(GetLockKeyTag(oDetectTrigger));  // The Number on the LockKeyTag of the Trigger is what sets the DC (Difficulty)
    int nSkill = GetSkillRank(nSkillType, oPC);
    int nMod = d20();

    if (nSkill + nMod > nDetectDifficulty) {
        // Mark the PC as having found it
        SetLocalInt(oPC, sFoundPrefix + GetTag(oDetectTrigger), TRUE);
        //DBG_msg("Found it");
        return TRUE;
   

So, if I roll a 10 or better on a d20 during 'Search', I 'should' be able to Find a Secret Door (Total 'Detect' score = 30 if using the Amulet), assuming you 'built' a well-hidden Secret Door. A Search Skill of 20 'should' be capable of finding Secret Doors of DC 40, 50% of the time. So far, I have been able to find 'your' Secret Doors about 1% of the time. Hey! My d20 can't be that scewed.

What I am assuming is either, 1) your DCs (LockKeyTag) are set w-a-y too high, or 2) your trigger area is too small. The PC is supposed to 'Detect' a secret door within a 10' radius of the object. That's about the width of a typical corridor. Triggers only use squares, not radii, so should be adjusted for that - perhaps use a 5' square around those 'obelisks' for the trigger area, and extend it to include the Secret Door itself.

I don't consider the extra abilities of Elves or Dwarves since I am a Human PC, but it might be considered to re-write the scripting later to include them AFTER the above adjustments are made. The re-scripting can always be done later with a 'global' update to the script library, once the items are working for regular folks (Rogues in particular).

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Re: Secret Doors

Post  GM_ODA on Sat Oct 03, 2015 1:45 am

Friends,
All these are good points. NWN is a little different to D&D in a few ways. D&D has a DM to make secret die rolls and arbitrate results as needed in a thoughtful logical way. Scripts just fire, and NWN can be awkward for that reason if sufficient thought is not put into designing the script in advance. Here are a few issues illustrated for our mutual consideration.

Original NWN system for secret doors used a HEARTBEAT script that checked the distance from the secret object to the PC and if less than some critical radius it would check to see if the secret object was spotted - but the original script did nothing to check line of sight, so if a PC was on the wrong side of a wall to see a secret door, they still might detect it just by walking too close. More HEARTBEAT scripts are a bad thing to use in NWN as they fire every six seconds and with lots of scripts firing ever six seconds it can generate huge amounts of lag. In single player this can be bad but in multiplayer absolutely horrid (too many PCs to track distance from too many hidden objects).

The second generation of the scripts (released with the expansions) eliminated the 'PC in radius problem' - by adding triggers. This means a builder can have more control over where a PC needs to be located in order to find the hidden object (and eliminate the detection while not in sight of hidden object problem too). This is the script I quoted in the prior post.

Next up, DCs. In D&D the DM is usually working with a PARTY of PCs modest in number and of reasonably close range in terms of level spread. In NWN we have to account for PCs of all levels ranged 1-40, and some of those PCs will be built in the 'min-max' style. The maximum number of ranks in a single skill is 3 + character level, this means the range of skill levels to deal with range from 0 to 43. This can be used as a tool to control where PCs of particular levels can travel.

I had originally thought the scripts handled the notion of 'take 10' and 'take 20' but that was my error. In the MAZE, DCs for secrets range from 25 thru 45, with my mistaken thought being that PCs would (automatically) 'take 20', and the resulting range of outcomes covered secrets with DCs ranging from 20 to 63, all this without race and item based bonuses.

The current script in place, the 'second generation' nwn secret object script, does not account for race modifiers, nor does it allow 'take 10' or 'take 20', although using search mode does slow the PCs movement considerably. We find this unacceptable, so we are modifying the script to include all these in a modified (from D&D) way. Proposed changes include:

Elvish - we will allow non-detect-mode elves to 'take 10'. Those elves in detect mode will be allowed to 'take 20' and if successful will reveal the secret object.

NON-elves will have a chance of casually detecting a secret object based on a d8+search skill, thus scoring less than the elf who gets to 'take 10' automatically, and if the non-elf PC engages 'detect mode' these PCs will be allowed to 'take 10' when the check is made with success revealing the secret object.


Once the new scripts are in place, the DCs assigned should work better, for example the MAZE max of 45 for the hardest secret door to detect would be detectable by PCs as shown in the table below - note that in this table humans not in 'detect mode' are assumed to have rolled an 'average' roll (in this case scoring a 5 on the roll).


DCelf


(normal/detect)
non-elf


(normal/detect)
1auto/autoauto/auto
2auto/autoauto/auto
3auto/autoauto/auto
4auto/autoauto/auto
5auto/auto1/auto
6auto/auto2/auto
7auto/auto3/auto
8auto/auto4/auto
9auto/auto5/auto
101/auto6/1
112/auto7/2
123/auto8/3
134/auto9/4
145/auto10/5
156/auto11/6
167/auto12/7
178/auto13/8
189/auto14/9
1910/auto15/10
2011/116/11
2516/621/16
3021/1126/21
3526/1631/26
4031/2136/31
4536/2641/36
5041/3146/41
5546/3651/46
6051/4156/51
6556/4661/56
7061/5166/61
7566/5671/66
(to be continued)

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Re: Secret Doors

Post  GM_ODA on Sat Oct 03, 2015 2:18 am

Now, from a BUILDER's point of view, the above table is useful - when BUILDING for PCs of a given level, referencing the above chart can give the BUILDER an idea of what to set the secret objects' DCs to make them detectable to PCs of that chosen level range.

The numbers given in the table above show the SKILL TOTAL the PC must have to detect the secret object, this SKILL TOTAL represents both the PC's SKILL and any bonuses to that skill from items and race.

A BUILDER can presume that a typical PC will have 1 level of SEARCH per level of the PC, but also that some PCs may have as many as the PC level plus three.

In-game, PCs can boost their SEARCH SKILL by means of several items, these include:

SKILL BOOKS - active adventurers may have higher than average scores largely due to these.
ROBE OF EYES +10
LESSER ROBE OF EYES +10
GREATER ROBE OF EYES +10
GOGGLES OF MINUTE SEEING +5
THIEVES HOOD +2
WATCHMAN'S HELM +8
AMULET OF THE MASTER +6
LESSER AMULET OF THE MASTER +2

The min-maxer's pick from above would result in a robe (+10), watchman's helm (+8 ), and an amulet of the master (+6), yielding a whopping boost of +24!!! And that does not posit any use of the skill books either. So a BUILDER is cautioned, the range of variation may be wide given items and PLAYER tastes when it comes to creating PCs.


Feedback please?

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Skill Books???

Post  Roger_Dodger on Sat Oct 03, 2015 1:59 pm

Skill Books? Skill Books? I could use a couple, like for Tracking or finding Secret Doors.

I don't normally search every bookcase, and when I do, about all I find are more Log Books. Mad Is there a library in town with such books? I haven't noticed any Booksellers in town, but that doesn't mean there are none. Are there???

A useful class for the College would be for 'Thief's Skills' (with appropriate books) for advanced training. I've never found the Thieves Guild, but probably would not get along with them anyways, given my alignment. Evil or Very Mad

Speaking of 'Tracking Skill': Anytime I find tracks (even my own in the dust), I can only tell that 'something' passed this way, no other information. Anyone with half a brain should be able to tell if a 'track' was made by 'a humanoid', 'a boot print', or a 'horse, cow, or deer hoofprint', or just a 'cloven hoofed beastie'. Maybe a book would help??

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Re: Secret Doors

Post  Animayhem on Sat Oct 03, 2015 8:48 pm

There are modified scripts out there for tracking. Usually, most places tracking works best with the Ranger class and rogues.
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Re: Secret Doors

Post  GM_ODA on Sun Oct 04, 2015 4:15 am

Friends,
Here, on this server, 'nature class' PCs are the best trackers, this means ranger, druid and barbarian. This is what they do on a regular basis; tracking/hunting and living by wildsigns. Civilized classes do not have these skills. Because tracking is not a skill you can purchase with points, we hooked it on certain classes as made sense thus ensuring that city slickers were going to need the services of trackers if they trekked off the cobbles.


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Re: Secret Doors

Post  BenevolentDevil on Sun Oct 04, 2015 11:21 am

Oda, I can see your point on the items in a way ...
But I am going to point back to the Min/maxing thing ... Not every player does this.

As a builder, do you want your creations explored/survived ... or forever worry over a character or two with all sorts of lavish "search/spot" gear , is going to be able to souly explore what's there in place?

Natasha , uses what she thinks will be handy , but probably would not use many ( if any) of the above items ... as they kinda are just not her "style".

I think you could always script restrictions on how much you can "stack" skill points from items right? Or script in restrictions if you have "x in inventory" you will never discover/find " y in drops/loot". That doesn't means players wouldn't gain other items by other means, buying/selling/trading or DM hand-outs ... but helps manage that min/maxing issue in big ways right?
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Re: Secret Doors

Post  Roger_Dodger on Sun Oct 04, 2015 1:11 pm

GM_ODA wrote:Friends,
Here, on this server, 'nature class' PCs are the best trackers, this means ranger, druid and barbarian. This is what they do on a regular basis; tracking/hunting and living by wildsigns. Civilized classes do not have these skills. Because tracking is not a skill you can purchase with points, we hooked it on certain classes as made sense thus ensuring that city slickers were going to need the services of trackers if they trekked off the cobbles.

Much of the time I would agree with you. In RL, I'm probably as much or more of a City-Slicker than most of my 'country' brethren, but I have done a little deer hunting too. Without being taught the difference by 'someone in the know', I can't tell the difference between a Moose track and a deer track (except for size), or between a buck track and a doe track (there is a difference, ya know, although subtle). One of a 'nature class' would know the difference in an instant. There are also differences between 'Scat' (poops) the different game animals leave behind, although I can't tell the difference anymore, but I can certainly tell the difference between 'Fresh' and 'Old and dry'. I couldn't tell the difference between 'Humanoid' and 'Pig' scat, but I could certainly tell that 'Something took a dump here, probably not a herbivore'.

Another example could be 'something has made a dim path through high (12"-24" tall) grass'. This could be a couple of large animals or a line of orcs; a 'nature-class' PC might be able to tell 'what' made the track, whereas 'I' wouldn't. However, a path is a path, and a quick check of which direction the grass is bent in would give even a casual observer a general direction. 'Click' on the 'Tracks' placeable would show "Something has passed this way, but you can't tell what." 'Examine' the tracks (right-click on the 'tracks', click on the 'eye') might say something like, "Something has made a dim path through the grass. You can't tell what made the path, but it is going in a Northerly direction." A nature-class PC might get something like, "A small herd of deer have made a dim path through the grass. They are traveling Northwards".

With a good print in soft dirt, anyone with normal intelligence (10 or above), should be able to tell the difference between "A large (or small) cloven-hoofed animal (or horse)" and a "Boot (or bare-footed humanoid) print, heading North". A 'nature-class' PC could probably tell if the [bare-foot] print was made by an Orc, a Goblin or a Kobold, whereas I couldn't tell the difference.

One other clue 'Examine Tracks' might give to any PC might be, "These Fresh Tracks look like YOUR boot-prints. Are you traveling in circles?" Good clue here. Very Happy

Can you see what I'm getting at? 'Tracks' and prints can give even a novice, non-nature-class PC 'some' valuable (or not) info if he's paying attention. Which Class(es) gets what information would have to be done with intricate 'scripting' in the 'Identified' portion of the 'placeable' tracks, or prototypes (with general scripting) of several types of tracks could be made to save time.

Details == Immersion BUT also take up a lot of valuable time (your time) to script the details. Perhaps you don't feel this may be worth the effort, or maybe I could help out once you get back to the 'Guest Builder' program.

Your thoughts?

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Re: Secret Doors

Post  Roger_Dodger on Sun Oct 04, 2015 2:15 pm

BenevolentDevil wrote:Oda, I can see your point on the items in a way ...
But I am going to point back to the Min/maxing thing ... Not every player does this.  

As a builder, do you want your creations explored/survived ...  

My own philosophy for Building in NWN or DMing (they are actually the same), is, first and foremost, IS IT FUN?

FUN has almost as many definitions as 'The Pursuit of Happiness'. Consideration of FUN has to include:
1) Will the 'dungeon' challenge the Party's (or PC's) abilities?
2) Is the 'dungeon' survivable, OR is there a way to 'Flee the Dungeon' if the PCs get in over their heads?
3) Is there a good balance between RP and Combat? Too much RP can be boring to many (RE: the popularity of 'First-Person-Shooter' games - NO RP at all - Boring to me, exciting for others)
4) Is there enough Treasure or Rewards to at least 'break even' for the effort? Let's face it - Adventuring is expensive, and MY PC doesn't appreciate going bankrupt, and he doesn't work for free.
5) For a Persistent World (like ArgentumRegio), can the PC or PC Party 'solve' the dungeon in one session? DEFINITION: A 'session' would be Two to Four hours of gameplay. Its really hard to keep a party together if I am playing from Oregon, and another PC is playing in Germany.
6) Can the 'dungeon' be 'found' easily enough by the PCs to play, or is it so hard to find that the whole session is taken up just looking for it?

DEFINITION: 'Dungeon' means any 'adventure' made up (in the form of a 'Module') by the Builder or DM for 'The World' of the PCs. 'Dungeon' is NOT restricted to an underground cavern.
DEFINITION: 'Monster' means ANY NPC opponent. a 'Monster' may be a Human, Humanoid or a non-human/humanoid, usually there to cause the PCs 'Problems'.

When building, I try to design the 'dungeon' to be playable (and survivable) by a party of around 10-15 total levels. 'Items' that enhance PC abilities are NOT taken into consideration when designing the 'dungeon'. That could include a Solo-PC of level 10, or a Party of three PCs of level 5. If the 'dungeon' is too hard, the PC gets trashed every time, and the 'dungeon' isn't much FUN. On the other hand, if its too easy, it becomes "ho-hum", just another orc. Believe it or not, there is a lot of 'thought' behind any of these adventures to maintain proper balances, let alone, learning the Aurora Toolset (and associated scripting) to make 'My' ideas come to life for the players.

The Aurora Toolset is the most powerful AND easy-to-use program I have ever tried to use, BUT it does have limitations. Some things are easy to build, others take a lot of 'tinkering' to make happen, and some things are not possible to build at all. One thing Aurora cannot do - it cannot DESIGN the Adventure - THAT is all up to the Builder/DM (and his/her philosophy).

Cheers!

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Re: Secret Doors

Post  GM_ODA on Sun Oct 04, 2015 5:21 pm

Friends,
It _sometimes_ does cut-off some portion of a dungeon from lower level PCs when we set the DC high on certain secret doors. There are reasons for this, often there are high level monsters behind the door somewhere.... Perhaps more often, the high DC secret doors are there to hide a route rather than a whole dungeon section; imagine the delight of high level PCs who are able to detect a shortcut lowbies would never find.

There is a method to the madness here, bear with me as it reveals please.

ALL THAT SAID, I will review the DC of all secret doors (starting with the Maze) and with an eye toward our new table above to ensure the right passages can reveal to the right range of PC levels.

I do want PCs to see all of the module, but a few living to tell the tale is good too.


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Re: Secret Doors

Post  Animayhem on Mon Oct 05, 2015 2:24 pm

There are items already in NWN which could be modified to assist those who cannot find a secret door to escape.

Maybe the lens of detection used to find traps could be modified to help find trap doors or secret doors, especially if a person is solo and needs to get out.

Item could be bought but be pricey and maybe have dice rolls as to success rate.
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Re: Secret Doors

Post  GM_ODA on Mon Oct 05, 2015 4:01 pm

GM_ODA wrote:

In-game, PCs can boost their SEARCH SKILL by means of several items, these include:

SKILL BOOKS - active adventurers may have higher than average scores largely due to these.
ROBE OF EYES +10
LESSER ROBE OF EYES +10
GREATER ROBE OF EYES +10
GOGGLES OF MINUTE SEEING +5
THIEVES HOOD +2
WATCHMAN'S HELM +8
AMULET OF THE MASTER +6
LESSER AMULET OF THE MASTER +2

The min-maxer's pick from above would result in a robe (+10), watchman's helm (+8 ), and an amulet of the master (+6), yielding a whopping boost of +24!!! And that does not posit any use of the skill books either. So a BUILDER is cautioned, the range of variation may be wide given items and PLAYER tastes when it comes to creating PCs.

I would agree that the 'robe of eyes' (all of them) need some adjustment since all are identical but for the name... likely I'll reset them to +4, +8 and +13 respectively. Given the number and scope of these items I am not certain that adding one more item is the solution. Also note there is a custom magic spell that reveals secrets.

With the above listed items (not counting the modified robes) a PC could have +24 on search skill, with the modified robes that goes up to +26 ... this means that without ANY search skill on the PC itself, an ELF could defeat any secret door up to DC 45, and a non-ELF could defeat any secret door up to DC 35. Granted not all PCs have all these items, especially in the right combo to make the max bonus, BUT, builders must consider that some PCs may have these, and more, such a PC may even have some points in search skill. As you can see from these numbers, and especially given that PCs could have up to 43 additional ranks of search skill ... for a total max of 69!!! Due to the importance of secret objects in this game it can be presumed that a PC will have at least a few points in search and at least seek one or two items to boost the PC in that quarter.

I like that the server is built to play out secrets slowly over the career of the PC - meaning that an area your PC has visited before perhaps many times over, can still have some interest and something new to reveal once your PC achieves a high enough level to appreciate the secret revealed.


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Male Number of posts : 2648
Location : USA East Coast
Registration date : 2008-10-17

Character sheet
Character Name: Firkin Alechugger
Race: Dwarf
Overall Level: 11

http://playnwn.hopto.org/

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Re: Secret Doors

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