I apologize for my silence, however I wanted to work out everything Owanted for a hypothetical default setting before posting. Due to post size constraints this is going to be done via Google doc link, but I will make a series of posts for each chunk to be discussed individually.
Default Setting Concept: Kaiju
There will be several posts following this for the document to go.What are Kaiju?Other than 'off brand pokemon' the idea of 'containers you can capture and house fighting monsters in' suggest spirit-based creatures. I do not want in ga!e to get overly religious on the matter, but my idea is they are much like the Kami from Japanese folklore and the Shinto faith. Spirits that share the world with men and beasts, but are not of the same physical substance we are.
Damaging a Kaiju to the point it cannot fight is easily doable, but outright killing one is next to impossible if one does not count infusion and fusions (which merely combines essence into a new instead of destroying it outright.) This has the side effect of making them useful not just for labor, but also entertainment since you can have two wail on each other and ultimately the worst that is expected to happen is it'll take a trip to the healer to make it all better.
To make this very clear. Kaiju are spirits that build bodies for themselves either out of the elements, ectoplasm, or whatever as the cases may be, but to anyone interacting with them they feel very much like flesh and blood creatures. They breath, have fur/scales/etc. And unless so damaged their bodies break down generally behave the same as living beings.... Except they don't bleed.
Their injuries look too sanitized. The Saturday morning cartoon version of getting hurt. This probably isn't something the game can show off, but I wanted it clear in design. Worst anyone would see is effectively tom and jerry/coyote & roadrunner type hurting. Why is very simple. I might want to include older people without making them feel embarrassed, but it's still a gain aimed at kids, and I don't want to go full on grimdark here.
Finally Kaiju by default are not sapient. They might appear clever, and some even come off as near human intelligent, but they tend to get stuck in routines they go through by rote, and the really clever ones mostly seem clever when they are working within their own domain (a kaiju that creates things can make furniture that are works of art, but other than building things it is basically as smart as a dog.)
This is not always the case, and there are hints here and about that trained/fused kaiju are growing beyond what their wild kin are capable of. Reasons are unclear, but for me the front runner is the containment systems more or less causing them to interact on an essence/spiritual level without the psudo-meaty wrapper acting as barrier. That allowing for concepts and behaviors to transfer far more readily than they could otherwise alongside constant exposure to humanity would have a slow, but real, effect even on the wild kaiju since people release these things all the time.
Containment: Mostly because the concept of 'spirits' rather than flesh and blood creatures I'd actually looked to the cartoon 'Danny phantom' and how it uses basically a thermos to vacuum up the ghost of the week.
Instead of a bunch of tiny pokeballs. You get a thermos or jug or something of the like that you dump captured critters in. This only does final containment rather than capture though, so you would still need to buy 'regular/great/ultra balls' to catch things. However those actual capture devices break after each use (one thing I hated about pokeballs. If you fail a capture why not pick the balls up to reuse?)
Thinking they should be called bottles. Not beer bottle shape, but still bottly shaped.
Anyway the thermos/jug can only hold so many creatures, but you can plug it into a device in healing houses to free up space. Those creatures are tagged as 'yours' by whatever this system is called so that they can be called back to you at need.
Think of the inside of the ghostbusters containment system. Its own world where these things can move and interact. Sure they aren't generally all that smart, but it keeps them less agitated than keeping them stuffed in jars.
Plus it gives potential for you having to go in yourself using special gear.
Kaiju Rarity:Not all critters are created equal. That fuel mouse you find every five steps is a lot more common than the big beefy dragon you find later. Commonality has its upsides and downsides.
Ultra common critters generally are weaker than their rarer counterparts. However if you level them correctly even a common can become strong enough to clean house with.
Note: this can also be done via stars. One star commons to nine star boss creatures. I simply use this rating system out of convenience to me.
Common: Level caps at 20. Has three moves
Common+: Level caps at 30. Has three moves. Not found in random encounters.
Uncommon: Level caps at 40. Has four moves.
Uncommon+: Level caps at 50. Has four moves. Not found in random encounters.
Rare: Level Caps at 60. Has five moves.
Rare+: Level Caps at 80. Has five moves. Not found in random encounters.
Unique: Level Caps at 100. Has six moves. Must be found in dungeon or story events. Cannot be used for infusions or fused together.
Unindexed: A special class of creature that isn't part of the Monster Book and isn't held to the same restrictions. These 'creatures' can be the bully you have to fight in the tutorial, or an anti-kaiju vehicle loaded to the gills with guns, corrupted/altered kaiju you have to purify after beating to be able to use, or even a wise old martial arts master that has forged a connection with the world that let's him stay alive for hundreds of years.
* Cannot be fused or used in infusions.
* Cannot be directly captured in the same manner kaiju are.
* Can drop 'normal' kaiju when beaten.
* Can be key items allowing trainers to enter battle directly.
* Can exceed level 100.
Currency: Energy based. Undecided on it's exact nature, but idea is small amounts get generated during kaiju fight. Shouldn't be difficult to tie a money value to monsters that get referenced at the end of a fight but gets ignored during trainer matches. Could be a formula that is 'level' * 'monster value' so people only have to set a per species value rather than a per area value.
Currency symbol is Æ. Shorthand for Alliance Economical Unit, or more commonly Æther.
With money you can do most expected tasks (buy things at shops, get passage to and from places. Buy Information. Used to upgrade kaiju. Etc.) However since it is a relatively renewable resource in universe there would be currency sinks to keep the market from flooding and its value dropping to uselessness. This can be solved by having uses not associated with real world use due to it being a form of energy.
Most immediate example that comes to mind are to buy increases to a move's use limit. That is you have an earthquake move. It defaults to having five uses. Paying x amount at the healing hut/dojo/whatever gives you another permanent use. Paying x + y gives you another use, and so on. This means you can upgrade your move pool, but upgrades eventually can get so expensive it's unfeasible to keep going.
Leveling Mechanics: In addition to the typical 'beat things up for XP' leveling mechanic there should be something to help those that don't want to level grind, or at least make the level grind less. The following ideas come to mind.
Infusion: Beating monsters gives you a token/essence/card that represents that monster, its element, move set, and level values. These Tokens cannot be used in battle (meaning you must still actually capture kaiju to use them.) However they can be used at medical hut/specific NPCs to help quick level your creature of choice.
My thinking is you are allowed to stack either as many tokens you like at a time, or if that leads to abuse in playtesting, limit to six/eight/how ever many team slots you have per visit. The latter's problem is that just adds tedium by forcing players to exit, leave, and return, which goes against the whole concept.
So you have a Water aligned kaiju
* Neutral elements to water give 100% the XP value the token's monster gave on defeat.
* Elementals that are strong against Water creatures give 75% XP.
* Elements weak against water or water elemental essence gives 150% XP.
* If the same monster is used in infusion as the monster being upgraded 200% XP.
Keep in mind the entire point is to give people a method to avoid having to break story flow to level grind just to progress. I am fairly sure this mechanic will overshadow actual 'beating monsters up' for XP since it obviously will provide a faster road. It also provides more flexibility since it allows you to save up and spend essence as you see fit. Dump everything on one creature? Fine. Split between lots? Do it.
Auto-Win: I've seen this in earthbound. If you are x number of levels above a non-trainer encounter you automatically win. This, combined with having a designated essence/token gathering kaiju would quickly allow you to gather material to quick level any new or under-leveled creatures.
On the one hand this may encourage 'one ultra powerful creature in your lead slot.' On the other, anti-grinding feature that let's you get on with actually playing the game. Plus on unique creature encounters, and trainer fights, this won't happen even if your first slot kaiju is over leveled for the area.
If you are strong enough to trigger autowin in an area trainers will not approach you to fight, and might have alternate dialog when you walk up and challenge them.
Lastly this would need to be togglable in case you taught Curbstompmon a 'leave opponent stunned/asleep/at 1-HP' move to make capture easier so you can find new critters to raise/train up.
Fusion: Take two kaiju. Instead of one being infused into the other the two are combined, their level set back to level one, and some mechanic to determine what the move pool is.
The +'ed creature's stats are what would happen if the base kaiju had leveled up again. So for a common+ it would start with the same stats a level 31 common would have if both kaiju are level 30 when infused.
Fusing two level one kaiju would get a +'ed kaiju at level one with level three stats. Granted the resulting kaiju can gain more levels than its base version, but the potential maximum takes a large amount of work on the trainer's part.
This leads to where a little grinding happens, and this feature is more intended for those wishing to optimize for PvP fights.
Note that fusion always destroys the two original kaiju. So only do it if you don't need both to keep going and or have resources on hand to quick level the fused version.
Each kaiju can fuse twice (commons turn into common+'s that can turn into Uncommon.) Uniques are the sole exception to this rule for indexed kaiju since they already can go forty levels past rates and would have high stats to begin with.
The 'best' path for this example is as follows for a Common:
* Fuse two max level commons together to form a common+.
* Then do it again to form another common+
* Level those two up to maximum and fuse them together to form an uncommon.
You cannot fuse creatures of different rarity types. So no fusing an uncommon and common.
I do want a limited amount of cross-species fusion to create new monster types. However I do not know the best method. Thinking limit it to requiring specific non-elemental kaiju that have elemental 'offspring' based off what they're fused with. This would mean while you can fuse it to grassmon A grassmon B would make a stronger version of the resulting creature.
Personally it would be nice if the third stage kaiju (an Uncommon based off of common+'s for example) looks different than it's base state, but not a full on evolution or having it's own dex entry. It's still a member of that species.
I sorta want creatures formed this way to jump up a full rarity class (uncommon or rare only) rather than start as a + version of its parents base class. This mostly because of the on page promise of fusing creatures to form stronger ones. I like this idea. It lets me have, example with a blind number, a third of the dex obtainable through simple catching critters.
Also it gives the potential for in-story events where you have to fight things made from attempting to fuse more than two at a time. Idea is group fusing together the strongest kaiju of each element they can find, potentially into a sixth non-elemental. This would be incredibly dangerous and failure prone due to the energies and stresses involved. However a success would be a non-elemental that has a gigantic move pool containing essentially every possible move (or at least a lot of them.) Basically this verse's version of Mewtwo.
The WorldLet's call this world Thea for no other reason than in document I want it established it isn't earth and does not have our history. In this world Kaiju have always existed and humanity feels they have a pretty good grasp of them, enough so that questions of ethics and whatnot really haven't been brought up since before the current systems of containment/battle.
The technology level is going to seem mostly simple, it with a bit of odd here and there (no cars, buses/trains, but you have TV and Computers, No giant pollution sewing factories or mines, but plenty of raw and refined materials, etc.) This being a side effect of living with creatures that can harness and use the elements and are more or less easy to train.
Towns: there will be one big hub town, six towns with Crests you can win to show progression through the game, and several smaller towns that don't have crest handing out gyms, but still have a local dojo/gym/arena along with potentially other tasks.
My biggest problem with the pokemon franchise is the towns don't seem functional, or often don't even have paved sidewalks (well originally. That was solved somewhat in the GBA games.)
Each major town will have the following buildings:
* Large Gym. In addition to 'fight these guys to get to the gym leader' on defeating the leader you get access to gym facilities. Unsure what they are, but can see a sparring ring so you can rematch versions of local trainers, infusion/fusion equipment, and an on site healer. Potential quest givers too. Nothing complicated. Just stuff for added flavor.
* Train/bus station. Pretty much so you can fast travel between cities once this becomes avalible in game. This gives players an option on if they want to explore the wilds, or think they can survive/level up just from what the town has to offer.
* Smaller Gym. No badges/crests here. Just beat up the people their, possibly getting a gym specific kaiju when you beat the gym leader, and having the chance for daily rematches. Does not include a healer.
* HealingCenter (don't know a better name for it right now.) Basically the same as pokemon. Get healed, swap out active creatures, eventual multiplayer, basic supply store, where you receive milestone rewards (oh you caught twenty kaiju? Awesome! You maxed out a Common/Fused to a common+? Here you go!) and the occasional quest giver.
Pokemon black/white did a great jobat streamlining things so the center was an all in one type place.
* shops. Could sell town specific gear, or decorative items for your home/base/what have you. Idea I had was being able to buy items for different NPCs 'since you're out and about' as potential quest/area unlocks, or just to unlock special dialog.
* Town Gimmick. Be it a sort of foot race event, find the widget, a dungeon walled up and guarded that you can go clear out, or... something. Unclear what, just something to have around.
* Gathering Place. Juce bar/burger place... Somewhere that seems fitting to stick a large group of NPCs. Mostly to show there's liveliness but maybe different NPCs need things. Would all be nice if NPCs rotated out several times a day.
* Homes. Not all are enterable, and generally you can't freely take things from them. However you can trade with npcs, or occasionally have to perform tasks.
Small towns contain the following:
* Small Gym.
* Healing House. Wouldn't have the same options as a full center. Item selection is less varied, still able to swap your teams out. and no multiplayer options.
Big Hub Town would have the same as large towns, but also other buildings, possibly with more than one small gym.
The Firetruce: Think Olympics here. Happens once every twenty years. Generally there's all sorts of events, but the only one that really matters is the battling.
Whichever country wins the battle gets to run things for the next twenty years. Note. We only go through one region of a single country. Still tryito figure out how to structure things. Will have to do a separate doc for the actual story.
Forge: This game's team rocketish group. Their motivation is actually rooted in altruism in that they believe Kaiju are growing/evolving and there are already cases of Kaiju being self aware with the likelihood existing more will become aware and humanlike as time moves on. These they label ad Kaijin to distinguish between their more animalistic acting predecessors.
* Typically will attack you even after their team is knocked out.
* I want the leader to be genuine in his goals and it being an underling that realizes they can game things for personal gain.
* Big Goal for them is to win the firetruce and start instituting changes to move basic needs away from kaiju dependence and to help secure basic rights for Kaijin as they emerge.
* The backup project that got usurped by the traitor is to combine five elemental kaiju into a sixth and use that as a chained slave to enforce his will on the world. Defeating it will cause it to dissolve, but leave behind a special essence that can be used to create a level one version.
Will do story structure and geography in a separate document.
* Large Gym. In addition to 'fight these guys to get to the gym leader' on defeating the leader you get access to gym facilities. Unsure what they are, but can see a sparring ring so you can rematch versions of local trainers, infusion/fusion equipment, and an on site healer. Potential quest givers too. Nothing complicated. Just stuff for added flavor.* Train/bus station. Pretty much so you can fast travel between cities once this becomes avalible in game. This gives players an option on if they want to explore the wilds, or think they can survive/level up just from what the town has to offer.* Town Gimmick. Be it a sort of foot race event, find the widget, a dungeon walled up and guarded that you can go clear out, or... something. Unclear what, just something to have around.
I like these ideas. I also like using bottles or cards for capturing.
Yes, I second cards especially, like magic cards or something of the sort gives it a cool mystic vibe. (unless that conflicts with a vibe we were already going for)