Cracking Open The Difficulty Settings

Tactical Myzzrym
Level 14
Tactical Adventures Dev
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1 week ago

Hey there folks!

This week we'll be rolling Intelligence (Investigation) checks on the Difficulty Settings of Solasta. We briefly talked about them in a previous update, but it's time to get into the nitty gritty details - this way you'll know exactly your options at launch!


But before that, let's give a warm hello to our 3D Programmer's sleepy doggo, Newt.

Preset Difficulty Settings

As with most games nowadays, we will be offering you a few preset difficulty settings to choose from when you start a new adventure. Note that each of those preset can be manually adjusted at any time during your campaign (we'll be going into more details in the next section). 


Iron Man has not yet been implemented, but we haven't forgotten about it!

Story Mode, as its name implies, allows players who are not familiar with RPGs to simply enjoy the story. In this mode, damage taken by your party will be severely reduced and you will receive bonuses on most of your dice rolls, as well as having your character automatically revive at the end of each fight. Some features are disabled, among which needing food to rest, having to roll concentration checks when hit and spellcasting being restrained by the spell components.

Explorer Mode offers a more difficult challenge already. While the party still retains some bonuses to their rolls and a slight damage reduction, monsters will mostly be operating at full capacity so don't lure yourself into thinking that it will be a walk in the park. For players who aren't so familiar with the tabletop ruleset, Explorer Mode might be a good starting place. 

Authentic Mode is the game as we, the Tactical Adventures crew, play it. No modifiers, true RNG dice rolls that will make you curse the gods for making you miss 5 times in a row - only you, your characters, and the computer as a cold merciless DM. 


If you feel like the game is going too easy on you, Scavenger is here to spice things up!

Scavenger Mode will go beyond, making monsters slighter tougher... but much more vicious! At that level of difficulty, monsters will start attacking unconscious characters to finish them off, try to shove characters off cliffs and use powerful moves more frequently (still within the ruleset limits though).

Cataclysm Mode is there for those who've played the game in and out and are looking for the ultimate challenge. Monsters at this stage are not only vicious, they are also incredibly beefed up - on top of which your party will receive 50% more damage from any source. Prepare to die... A LOT.

Custom Difficulty - Battle

As mentioned above, you will be able to pick and choose difficulty settings to your liking - and you'll be able to do so whenever you want, even in the middle of a fight if you feel like things are getting too tough or too easy!

  • Damage Taken: Sets the damage taken by your characters from 20% to 200% (default: 100%)
  • Disable Enemy Critical Hits: If activated, disables critical hits for your enemies (default: off)
  • Enemy Health Multiplier: Adjusts the max HP of your opponent from 50% to 300% of their original value (default: 100%)


Health Multiplier in action! Slap some extra HP on them mobs if they die too quickly for your taste.

  • Ally Saving Throw: Adds a modifier to your characters' Saving Throws from -10 to +10 (default: 0)
  • Enemy Saving Throw: Adds a modifier to your enemies' Saving Throws from -10 to +10 (default: 0)
  • Ally Attack Roll: Adds a modifier to your characters' Attack Rolls from -10 to +10 (default: 0)
  • Enemy Attack Roll: Adds a modifier to your enemies' Attack Rolls from -10 to +10 (default: 0)


+10 bonus to attack rolls? Parry this you filthy casual.

  • Ally Ability Check: Adds a modifier to your characters Ability Checks, such as skill checks, from -10 to +10 (default: 0)
  • Enemy Ability Check: Adds a modifier to your enemies' Ability Checks, such as skill checks, from -10 to +10 (default: 0)
  • Deadlier AI: If activated, monsters will use their powerful moves (such as large AoE spells or powers) more frequently, although still within the ruleset limits - as well as attempt to shove characters into bottomless pits if given the chance. Off by default to avoid the frustration of being showered with lightning bolts straight off the bat when facing spellcasters, or having monsters open with their most powerful move too often (default: off)
  • Merciless AI: If activated, monsters will now target unconscious characters on purpose to finish them off (default: off)
  • Autorevive: If activated, characters will automatically revive at the end of a fight as long as one party member is still standing (default: off)


Are they gone now? No no no I wasn't dead, I was merely pretending.

Custom Difficulty - Health & Rest Settings

  • Companions Rest: Critical NPCs and companions fully recover their HP when doing a short rest (default: off)
  • No Food Required: Long rest no longer require rations (default: off)
  • Max Health on Hit Dice: When recovering HP during a short rest, Hit Dice will always roll their maximum value (default: off)
  • Max Health on Level Up: Sets the maximum HP of all party members to the maximum value allowed by their Hit Dice. This option is retroactive, meaning if you activate it your level 6 Fighter with 18 CON would see their max HP become (10 + 4) x 6 = 84. Deactivating it will also reset the party members max HP to their original value - in this example, our level 6 Fighter with 18 CON would go back to (10 + 4) + (6 + 4) x 5 = 64 max HP (default: off)


What do you mean, "am I cheating"? I absolutely rolled 10 on every single level up, promise!

Custom Difficulty - Inventory

There are three different options for the Encumbrance Rule (default: Solasta)

  • Tabletop: Characters can carry up to 15x their STR score, as per the official tabletop ruleset 
  • Solasta (Variant): Characters can carry up to 15x their STR score, but will be encumbered above 5x and heavily encumbered above 10x
  • Simplified: Characters can carry up to 150x their STR score - making their bags effectively portable black holes


Loot goblins rejoice, you can pick up everything and render Scavengers obsolete! They are now unemployed! Are you happy, you heartless monsters?

Custom Difficulty - Spellcasting & Spell Components

  • Never Lose Concentration: If activated, your spellcasters will no longer roll concentration checks when taking damage (default: off)
  • Universal Scrolls: If activated, scrolls will be usable by anyone. By default, scrolls can only be used by a character if the spell exists in their class' spell list (default: off)
  • Verbal Components: If activated, spells with the Verbal component can no longer be cast if the caster is Silenced (default: on)
  • Somatic Components: If activated, spells with the Somatic component will require a free hand to be cast. Two-handed weapons like quarterstaves don't prevent the casting of Somatic spells (default: on)
  • Material Components: If Basic mode is activated, spells with the Material component will require a spell focus or component pouch to be equipped to be cast. If Full mode is activated, some spells will also require specific items to be available in your inventory - such as a pearl for Identify or a diamond for Revivify (default: basic) 


Why yes, casting magic is complicated my good man! Without the proper conditions I cannot make miracles happen


Custom Difficulty - Dice Rolls

There are two options for the Random Mode (default: True Random)

  • True Random: Better pray to the gods of RNG, because true random can absolutely shaft you with multiple bad rolls in a row. Just like real dice. That's why dice prison is a thing.
  • Karmic Dice: For those who are tired of being on the receiving end of the fickle RNG gods, the Karmic Dice options will accumulate luck whenever you roll poorly or when your opponents roll particularly well. High luck will greatly affect your chances of getting good rolls as well as your opponents' chances of getting bad rolls, and will slowly decrease when you get good rolls. Note that there is no negative luck - Karmic Dice can only help you. At 0 luck, the dice behavior is the same as True Random

Other than that, there are two other options that impact the Dice Roll:

  • Guaranteed Critical: If activated, the game will guarantee to roll a 20 for the player at least once every 15 rolls (default: off)
  • Preserve Random Seed: Although not a difficulty setting, many players are used to reloading saves hoping to get better rolls when playing Tactical RPGs. This option, which is activated by default, prevents save scumming by preserving the random seed - meaning if you roll a 1, then reload to try again, you will just roll another 1. Deactivating this option allows you to roll a new number after reloading. Preserve Random Seed can be found in the Gameplay section, at the top of the Game Settings tab (default: on)


Deactivate that option and save-scum away! No one's judging you, it's a single player game

Custom Difficulty - Story

  • Force Dialog Roll Success: If activated, you will automatically succeed any skill checks during dialogs. Makes Intimidation, Persuasion, Deception and Insight obsolete (default: off)
  • Always Display Dialog Chances: If activated, you will automatically see the success chances of any skill check during dialogs. Makes Insight obsolete (default: off)
  • Unlock All Bestiary: If activated, unlocks all bestiary entries. If deactivated during the campaign, the bestiary will still retain the information of the monsters you already faced, provided you succeeded on your skill check to gather information (default: off)
  • Disable Random Encounter: If activated, disables random encounters when traveling on the World Map (default: off)


Honestly though, slowly filling your Poked... - I mean bestiary - on your own is a pretty fun thing to do!

Custom Difficulty - Exploration

  • Reroll Exploration Checks: If activated, allows you to reroll skill checks during exploration as many times as you want. By default, failing to open a open a lock or disarm a trap will prevent you from trying again (default: off)
  • Autodetect Traps: If activated, traps will be automatically detected when you get close to them (default: off)
  • No Tool Required: If activated, characters will be able to craft and unlock doors without needing to have the proper tools in their inventory (default: off)
  • Force Crafting Roll Success: If activated, crafting rolls will always be successful (default: off)


That's for all of you folks out there who can't find the damn Manacalon Rosary. Where the hell is it?!

Alright folks, this is the end for today! Thank you for reading, and don't hesitate to drop by our Forums or our Discord Server.

Read our previous articles here:

Article by Tactical Myzzrym

Jordus
Level 7
1 week ago

Karmic dice.....I am still cackling. If any thing moves me from official it will be this. Forgive me for I am weak.


Are you suggesting coconuts migrate?

Baraz
Level 12
Steam Link Newsletter Link Kickstarter Backer Weaponsmith (Bronze)
1 week ago (edited)

I have a rather specific question, which I could test in-game, but I am too lazy at the moment. 

Identify spell : in the tabletop rules, the material component (Pearl of 100 GP) is not consumed. So as you say, you only need a Pearl in your Inventory. Is this how it is implemented in Solasta ? (when Spell Components Full Mode is used) I was under the impression, probably false impression, that it would cost 100 GP per cast, which would be insane.

( Note to readers : some spells do have a material cost every time, like Revivify which cost 300 GP every time it is used.)


Steam profile : https://steamcommunity.com/id/baraz/

Jordus
Level 7
1 week ago

I have a rather specific question, which I could test in-game, but I am too lazy at the moment. 

Identify spell : in the tabletop rules, the material component (Pearl of 100 GP) is not consumed. So as you say, you only need a Pearl in your Inventory. Is this how it is implemented in Solasta ? (when Spell Components Full Mode is used) I was under the impression, probably false impression, that it would cost 100 GP per cast, which would be insane.

( Note to readers : some spells do have a material cost every time, like Revivify which cost 300 GP every time it is used.)


In game spell description reads not consumed.


Are you suggesting coconuts migrate?

Steelaw
Level 1
1 week ago

brutal settings i love it

Loswaith
Level 4
Newsletter Link Kickstarter Backer Armorsmith (Bronze)
1 week ago (edited)

Looks good, choices for all.

Interestingly, I been using the 'Universal Scrolls' option in my home games since AD&D 2nd ed.  The interesting quirk there was non-casters coveted them more than the casters did.
Going to be hard to choose whether I use it or not though


- Loswaith

DrDarkspeed
Level 1
1 week ago

These look excellent, very good for customising and accessibility. I'll probably go for the default 5e rules, with the AI deadliness cranked up. But it is very nice to allow players to play the game in the way they find enjoyable.


I think some players enjoyed your original, more punishing lighting system. Will that be a difficulty option too?

IXI
Level 5
1 week ago

can there be a true RAW setting? it seems the 'authentic mode' is close but little things like Encumbrance Rule are different.  if not maybe a disclaimer/pop up/mouse over info-graphic to advise how to make it RAW?  of course that would need to heavily modify the existing crafting rules which might take too much work?  and then there is the action economy of changing weapons or shield.  mmmmm, might not get a true RAW game, but solasta is by the far the best thing out there.  thanks for your efforts


yellow flower of courage

Thomson
Level 3
6 days ago

You are absolutely amazing.

Thank you so much for your work!

6 days ago

Keep up the good work Tactical.  Difficulty settings make lots of sense.  You really are making an impressive and customizable gameplay in an attempt to really meet the demands of the players.  And thanks for autorevive.  It definitely beats game over.  😀👍

6 days ago

i've never liked encumbrance in games

although  I like that my elven wizards can use long/sword/bow unlike wizards D&D


Solumncrow

6 days ago

is the party stash chest in town a bag of holding?  ie can hold anything.



Solumncrow

IXI
Level 5
6 days ago

i've never liked encumbrance in games

although  I like that my elven wizards can use long/sword/bow unlike wizards D&D

by RAW in 5th your elven wizard should be allowed a long/sword/bow, who is telling you otherwise?


yellow flower of courage

KillerRabbit
Level 5
6 days ago

Looks great.  Nice to have so many options with the rules -- that's the right way to do homebrew!

Can you give us an ETA on the next patch?

Heldred
Level 7
6 days ago

Great options and flexibility!  

I look forward to seeing what Iron Man looks like, but I sense it would entail everything fixed to the worst possible setting (for the player).  I wonder if monster HP and player damage adjustments might cap at +50% in Iron Man, but if it went all the way it would be an insane challenge.  

Baraz
Level 12
Steam Link Newsletter Link Kickstarter Backer Weaponsmith (Bronze)
5 days ago (edited)

can there be a true RAW setting? it seems the 'authentic mode' is close but little things like Encumbrance Rule are different.  if not maybe a disclaimer/pop up/mouse over info-graphic to advise how to make it RAW?  of course that would need to heavily modify the existing crafting rules which might take too much work?  and then there is the action economy of changing weapons or shield.  mmmmm, might not get a true RAW game, but solasta is by the far the best thing out there.  thanks for your efforts

Hi. The Variant Encumbrance rule is actually a "rule as written (RAW)" in the Player's Handbook, but the DM decides which to use.  Either the default simpler and much more generous one or the other one which is a lot stricter!  In Solasta, the DM went for the more hardcore encumbrance rule, but you can choose otherwise. 

I have gotten use to it, especially with the Scavenger Faction that let's use leave non magical stuff on the ground.  Without scavenger allies, I would hate it and use the generous rule.  And I also got use to it in Pathfinder: Kingmaker (Owlcat video game) where a character with 8 Strength cannot wear armor without being encumbered! 


Steam profile : https://steamcommunity.com/id/baraz/