Post news RSS Ultima Ratio Regum: variation in creature brains!

Blood, guts, and creature brains - 'brainless', 'animal', or 'intelligent'? The implications of these...

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"The Titan picks up the Orc Chieftain and hurls him through the air!"
"The Orc Chieftain hits the wall, and is eviscerated by the impact!"
"The Orc skirmisher screams in horror."

How did things reach this delicious stage? The Orc skirmisher is so horrified due to the fact he has a brain, and can recognize the butchery being perpetrated upon his allies. This is because a major chance has taken place in Ultima Ratio Regum - the addition of various kinds of brains.

Creatures have now been divided into three broad categories based on their intellect, and assigned different behaviors, and interactions with morale, accordingly. The three categories are "brainless", "animal", and "intelligent", in terms of the complexity of the morale functions assigned to them.


These creatures either have no brain, or their brain is sufficiently primitive that they can think of nothing beyond attacking. Creatures in this category are the rarest, and include zombies, Shoggoths, various creatures in the 'inhuman' category, the eusocial creatures in the 'giant insect' category, some spirits, some other undead, and a few other things. These creatures will attack their foes unrelentingly no matter how dire the damage to them, and no matter how many limbs they have lost in the process. If you sever both a zombie's legs or destroy a Shoggoth's locomotor membrane, it will crawl/slither towards you across the ground; by contrast, any animal or intelligent creature having taken such damage will have given up the fight by then.


Animals can respond to half of the morale modifiers in the game: the negative half. Which is to say, they respond just like any intelligent creature when they are injured, or lose a limb, or whatever, and will be slightly weakened by seeing their friends hurt, but their morale is not increased by witnessing the martial triumphs of their allies. Therefore, each individual in a pack of wolves, for example, will fight until it is too badly injured to go on - they may attack as one, but ultimately they care only about their own survival, and will likely fight on if they remain unharmed but their allies are killed.


These creatures have brains, albeit of varying quality, and the capacity to recognize what's going on in the battle around them. Intelligent creatures respond to both positive and negative morale modifiers - they will be bolstered by seeing their allies succeed, and weakened by seeing their allies hurt. These foes are least likely to fight to the death - though they often will - but will be the most willing to back off, take stock, rally their team-mates and await a better chance to attack you and your allies.

As this change to the system is still in its early stages, I'd love any feedback on what you think might be the gameplay repercussions of these three 'types' of brain, so to speak. If you're interested, you can read more on my devblog, Facebook page, or Twitter feed!

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