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I'm developing a turn-based RPG with Pygame as a hobby to better learn Python. I am inspired by NEO Scavenger, Fallout and Mount & Blade. I like the idea of equiping the character with the stuff you loot anywhere but I don't know how I could handle the impact of equipment in combat since in the game you can recruit some guys to fight with you. In NEO Scavenger, you are alone so turn based fights are easy to manage and in M&B, the real time battles allow the equipment to directly impacts your character while giving orders to your party.

But, in a turn-based game with hundreds of units on the battlefield, how can I deal with the impact of equipment on the player's character ?

I thought of auto-resolution battles a bit like in Paradox games or tactical battles like Heroes of M&M or some traditional wargames, or even of the player commanding units like in Total War and one units is the general (so it would be the player's one) but these different systems don't solve the problem of the equipment impact.

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    \$\begingroup\$ How do you want the equipment to impact battle? Give your player extra skills? Increase available max troops? Just add stats? \$\endgroup\$
    – Zibelas
    Oct 3, 2022 at 17:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Zibelas I'd say like in Mount & Blade, equipment must protect and give more power/abilities to the player. If he has a bow so he is able to shoot from long distance. But I don't know how to realistically represent that when you have multiple units involved in the same battle. \$\endgroup\$
    – user203520
    Oct 3, 2022 at 17:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ You would need to first figure out how your ideal combat round should look like. Do some play testing with a paper and dices. If it seems fun, figure out how equipment would make the battle even more fun. Hundreds of units are probably not where the player starts. Start small, go big. Maybe equipment is good early game and not needed when numbers of units are making up the difference. Or your equipment gives aura and is more valueable the more units there are. It really depends what makes the combat fun and that is in the end your decision \$\endgroup\$
    – Zibelas
    Oct 3, 2022 at 18:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Zibelas Maybe you're right, equipment is not so important. I should insist more on character's traits and artefacts he collect in the way of Heroes M&M rather than the "complete" RPG experience with equipment, mounts etc ... In my mind, the equipment system allowed to begin small and see bigger with the hours played, however the turn-based system comes with many restrictions. \$\endgroup\$
    – user203520
    Oct 3, 2022 at 18:14

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Assumption: A typical battle in your game is between armies that consist of about 1000 "soldiers" (nameless soldiers who are not more than a unit type) and one "commander" (with name, face, complex stats and an inventory).

How do we make the inventory of the commander matter?

  • Make the commander a unit that is extremely strong compared to the regular soldiers. When a commander with bad equipment is as powerful as 200 soldiers and one with good equipment as powerful as 400 soldiers, then their equipment can decide a battle. In a more simulationist game, such a huge power discrepancy between named heroes and unnamed soldiers can strain the suspension of disbelief. But in a game that goes for more of a heroic fantasy atmosphere, it can feel far more believable for individual heroes to be just that powerful on the battlefield. Compare the heroes during the battle scenes in Lord of the Rings and the TVTropes article Authority Equals Asskicking.
  • Make the commander the leader of a regiment, and make the equipment of the leader representive for the equipment of the units they lead. That means when the commander of a 100 soldier regiment gets equipped with a flame sword and adamantine armor, then all the soldiers in their regiment now carry flame swords and wear adamantine armor, and become accordingly more powerful.
  • Make the equipment of the commander confer passive bonuses to the whole army. Like equipping the commander with an awesome sword gives 10% more attack for the whole army.

Yes, I am aware that neither of these options is particularly plausible. But plausibility in game design is often overrated. Most players will gladly accept any contrivances as long as they aren't completely counter-intuitive and the result is an enjoyable game experience.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thx for your complete response. I didn't think of some of the mechanics you describe. I thought of another battle system that can be used whether the player is fighting enemies alone or in large battles. According to your level and the balance of power, the game chooses some individuals enemies (like 2-3 units) then if you succeed in the fight so your army gets a moral boost and this will affect enemy casualties. In addition you can give some basic orders (from which flank to pass), thus you can impact the global conflict while you're playing as a "normal" character. \$\endgroup\$
    – user203520
    Oct 5, 2022 at 18:32

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