Today I wanted to chat a bit about some changes being made to monsters in From Rust - where we came from, where we're going, and why.
Originally, when the game was a physical card game, we very early on reached the problem of how to handle loot dropped from monsters. You kill a monster, you get a reward. But how do we represent that? Have you draw from a separate deck of "loot"? Keep a bank of specific cards? Not have loot at all? Ultimately, we settled on monster cards pulling double-duty - each would have all of the information necessary for combat, and at the bottom, would say what loot they dropped. When you beat the monster, it went into your hand and acted as the loot.
As design went forward, we started to look at doing some cool things with the fact that you had monster cards in your hand, just waiting to be spent. We created cards like "Trophy Bag," which gave Lucky Jack CP for every monster card in his inventory; "Know Your Enemy," which gave Buster extra damage against monsters of the same type as in his hand; and other things that played on the monster-as-loot mechanic. It was something we looked forward to exploring more and more as we went forward.
And then, we went digital. Suddenly, we didn't have to worry about the mechanics of packaging up a game with loot cards. We could just create loot dynamically, and so we did - any time you killed a monster, another card was generated as loot and added to your hand. We still had Trophy Bag and Know Your Enemy waiting in the wings, though, so the monster card also went into your hand. Now instead of one card added to your inventory, we had two; a monster card, and loot (typically a rare resource).
When we went to the playtest at Playcrafting on Halloween, players we super confused by this. Where was the loot coming from? What can I do with this monster? The answer to the second question in particular was troubling, because the answer was almost always "nothing." As people tried to get the monster to fight for them during combat, we knew we had a problem.
The solution is multi-facted. First, we've combined our old and new approach to loot to keep the mechanics we liked from the physical version, but take advantage of the digital format. Monsters now no longer automatically drop loot. Instead, they must be salvaged while at camp (ie. discarded). When discarded at camp, monsters will drop a random card from the loot table. This means you'll only have one or the other - a monster card, or its loot. And we still keep the random draw in place.
But that seems to simply add an extra step. Why would you ever not discard a monster? Well we've added a new way for monsters in your hand to help. While all card game invariably resort to keywords like First Strike and Trample to create abilities during combat, we'll be using them to create abilities after the monster is defeated. The first is already in the game now - Mount. Monsters with mount grant an EP bonus to the character whose inventory the monster is in. Big, fast monsters that you can ride on can essentially be jerry-rigged to carry you across the Wastes. And you have a decision to make whether to scrap that mount for parts, or continue to ride on until the boss battle.
We'll be playtesting this change a lot and let you know how it goes!
Hey guys. I'm Dan, the co-designer on From Rust, and the guy who junks up your screens with words. I wanted to share a bit about the game's history!
Before it was the glorious pinnacle of cooperative card-collecting adventures it is today, From Rust was actually a tabletop setting. Just after roll20.net was released, my little brother and a couple of our mutual friends asked if I could run a tabletop session through it to test the site out. The first question I ask any group who asks me to DM is: What system?
They didn't know. They weren't veteran tabletop players; they'd played D&D once or twice and that was it. The only restriction was that one of my friends wanted to play, quote, a "mechromancer." The hell is a mechromancer?
So I started thinking about settings, and I guess I must've watched Terminator a little too recently, because rogue machines and a war-torn Earth were in my head. I wrote a quick and dirty setting and some basic character classes and we ran the session -- my brother and friends were scavengers in the wasteland, fighting machines and just trying to survive. In the tabletop game, you had a limited time out in the wastes before you were hopelessly overrun by enemies, so you had to get out there, grab whatever you could find, and high-tail it back to something called a Skylight, which was basically a fancy magnetic hook that could take you back up to the floating cities you came from.
The session was a hell of a lot of fun, and they enjoyed the enemies I'd made, the character classes, yadda yadda. So I kept expanding it and eventually made a much more fleshed-out system. Before I got to run a real campaign in it, though, another friend suggested that, hey, maybe this would work as a card game.
Huh. Maybe it would.