March 27, 2016

Beware the Lurkers

The Lands of Ruin Command Console version 0.13.x improves many visual aspects of the game as well as adds Lurker Rotters into the game. In this article we take a closer look at the improvements.



Lurkers

Lurkers are Rotters that lie in wait for someone to wander near them and then attack. These Rotters are typically lying on the ground, or hidden in rubble. Characters may not see them, or might confuse them for an inanimate corpse until they come too close. What this means in game terms is that, during each Environment phase, the Command Console app determines if a character is attacked by Lurkers.



When do Lurkers attack?

Lurker attacks aren't completely random. Before the game starts the Command Console distributes Rotters to the battlefield and to the surrounding areas (scenario's danger level defines how many there are in total). Rotters distributed around the battlefield area are either Lurkers or they're placed on the table during the Setup & Deploy phase. Randomly, some part of the total population will be Lurkers. These Lurkers are managed by the Command Console app.

Whenever characters enter a new map section where hidden Lurkers are present, the app determines behind the scenes whether or not the Lurkers attack. Lurkers will only appear in map sections that have not previously been entered by either player’s characters. Once a section has been traversed for the first time, it is assumed that any and all Lurkers would have been alerted, and no further hidden Rotters will appear upon further entries into that map section.

When a Lurker attacks, the Command Console designates the hidden Rotter’s target. Detected, and Attacking Lurkers must be immediately placed next to the target character. Note that for now all Lurkers are Shambler type Rotters but this is likely going to change in the future to include all Rotter types.





Attacking Lurkers vs. Detected Lurkers

You can see in the screenshots that there are two types of Lurker attack labels. "Attacking" and "Detected". What's the difference?

When a Lurker is attacking a character the Command Console automatically rolls for detection. Characters with higher detection skills are more likely to detect an incoming threat before it hits them. The detection roll is also modified with the map section type in which the character is being attacked. i.e. it is easier to detect a Lurker on a street than in the midst of rubble or ruined buildings.

Any Lurkers with the "Attacking" label will immediately attack the character. The owning player must add a Rotter attack when placing the Rotter model next to the character.

Any Lurkers with the "Detected" label are seen by the target character before they attack, and thus, the character manages to avoid the first hit. The Rotter model is placed next to the target character but it doesn't attack. i.e. the owning player does not add a Rotter attack this turn.

In all subsequent turns, the Lurker Rotters will move and attack using the normal Rotter rules.

In case it is unclear from the map graphic alone which character is being targeted, you can always confirm the target from the log below the map.





Changes in pre-game Rotters

As mentioned above some Rotters are placed on the battlefield before the fight starts. The Command Console app indicates number of Rotters each player gets to place During the Setup & Deploy phase at the beginning of each game.

In the Setup & Deployment phase, before the actual start of the game, the Command Console displays labels on the map sections telling how many Rotters each player is to deploy in each section. The player deploying the Rotters can freely place the Rotters anywhere in the indicated section that they choose.

Rotters labeled "you" are yours to deploy. You can also see your opponent's Rotter count below yours. This way, both players get the chance to deploy Rotters, helping to keep things balanced.





Explosions, explosions everywhere!

We also updated our explosion visuals on the map. Previously they were misleading and ugly. The new graphics help players understand what the explosions are as well as make it easier to determine who is being hit by which explosions.

The explosion indicators are now semi-transparent gradients, so they no longer fully overlap characters or other explosions below them. The radius of the explosion is still represented in inches in the center of the new graphic.