Expanded options for sleep
In RPGs the concept of rest often leads to a suspension of disbelief. The characters need rest because of some game mechanic and bunkers down in a ditch. The game fades to black for a few seconds and then reappear with the text: You awaken, feeling rested.
I propose that when rest is selected, the player enters a rest screen with varying options. Here, the player could either respond to situations or do something active. For example, the PC needs to respond to a request from a companion, or could sense that the mood of his companions is low and try to raise it. He needs to care for a companion that has contracted a disease. He could actively choose actions like maintaining gear, exercise, relax, meditate, study, updating his journal, socialize with his companions, offering up special food or drink (to celebrate a victory). Socializing offers many options, like offering encouragement, trying to toughen up companions, tell jokes, play an instrument or take out dice. An option for default sleep or something would be needed, as not all players will be bothered with this.
This choices should affect the character´s legacy and his relation to his companions. In this way you could create a use for food or drink items other than crappy healing potions. Perhaps the quality of the campsite affects the resting quality/mood of the group. No campfire, no bedroll, no tent while it rains, crappy food, no fresh bandages, no jokes around the campfire would give much less benefit of the rest. I think this could create more immersion, perhaps alongside appropriate graphics.
There could be a tactical consideration also. For example lighting a campfire could attract unwanted attention, making the player choose between safe sleep and comfy sleep. As the characters move into hostile territory, the need for special equipment or skills or even magic increases to allow the characters any useful rest.
In a city, one can of course rest at inns, but it can be tiresome to have to walk back to the inn. A list of available inns could be added to the options when the player select rest (perhaps limited to those you have discovered), with a list of price, quality and perhaps even the PCs evaluation of their safety (if you are poor or dumb or careless, you could
end up being swindled, getting diseases from vermin, robbed etc). You can choose to rest in the gutter; free this could lead to arrest, robbery or lowered status.
In a city you could get the option of giving your companions some time of; perhaps they wander of to carouse, sleep, visit friends etc. A hurt companion could be cared for, by sitting vigil etc.
Lastly, perhaps the main character could have trouble sleeping due to past experiences. For example, the night after a terrible fight or other gruesome happening, the player is unable to sleep. Perhaps he has some meditation skills that can help, perhaps he has sleeping medicine or spells that would help, perhaps his reaction is unnerving to his companion (sitting the entire night muttering to himself or brooding), or perhaps he chooses to study. Again the choices could impact both game mechanics and legacy.
Another option for sleep is the ability to set a watch order for party members.
Don't shy away from an idea because of the potential work involved.
That should only come into play for a "work/reward" perspective. This might take work but would also be rewarding and help deepen the game by making even CRPG standards have some depth and options.
Why not make the rest system similar to that of "The Magic Candle"? I remember that each individual party member could take watch, repair gear, memorize spells, break off from the party temporarily (to study under a mentor, take a part-time job, gamble, chat with some NPCs, go solo-adventuring & etc.) or just sleep.
With the depth of this game, I'm just worried that having a system as varied as this will be a coding nightmare.
I like this. Resting almost always in CRPGs has just been a consideration of how close hostiles creatures are and a free/cheap way of getting HP back. Instead it can be used to enhance the thematic elements of a game. A couple notions off the top of my head:
While staying at an inn, one of the companions has a nightmare and it's screams wakes everyone up. The PC will need to figure out how to handle this (separate rooms? Convince everyone to ignore it? Try to help the companion deal with the nightmares?)
A companion that feeds on the pain of others cannot sleep if everyone is at full health.
The only inn in town doesn't cater to the sort of folk you or one of your companions are. It's either sleep in the wilderness or find some way to convince or force the innkeeper to change it's mind.
A newly discovered potent artifact has the side effect of making the wielder fatigue easier. properly. Take shifts using it? Sell it? Simply rest more often?
A newly discovered cypher has the side effect of preventing anyone who carries it from sleeping.
An important NPC will only communicate in dreams.
A long journey through hostile terrain means either an uninterrupted trek with mounting fatigue penalties, or risking sleep. There are rumors that SOMETHING in the area prevents people who fall asleep from ever waking up again.
Anon Of Holland commented
Yes, yes, yes!
If there's one thing that would be totally awesome it's bringing D&D's resting considerations to RPGs. Of course it might be a bitch to implement in a satisfying way since it would involve so much scripting but..hell, I love it.
Such a fan of this idea. +3.
I realize that mechanically, there has traditionally been a flat need for spellcasting characters to rest and restore their spells. I'm not sure how this works in Numenéra. If this is still necessary, perhaps it's always *possible* to perform a standard 'rest' action in any setting, but at a cost: poor conditions in the countryside do restore spells, but stats or morale are hindered the next day, or an excellent sleep yields temporary bonuses to certain stats or skills for a brief window early the next morning.
This would allow any player who doesn't care to just choose the default 'rest' option, but offer incentive (boosted skills from playing a game, richer relationships from conversation, enhanced atmosphere, etc.) to add a richer layer to gameplay & story.
As an odd parallel, I always found the mundane moments in The Sims to be some of the best — what if reading or hearing a story by firelight caused an insightful stirring of dreams as you slept... Or you simply received the joy of having finished a book over a fortnight?
From a mechanics perspective what if you could pick your rest bonus. Many RPGs have sleep bonuses like bonus to XP or extra health regeneration but what if you could 'slot' your bonus and set your goal for the 'day'. Are you grinding for XP or prepping for a tough battle or looking for loot etc.
You could mask each bonus under a different phrase like "plan tactics" which gives you a mana regen bonus or 'reflect on your actions' which gives you an XP bonus etc.
Resting becomes less about refilling yuour health bar and strategicaly planning your upcoming activities. Finally you make it so that you can't just keep resting. After the first 'rest' where you set your bonus if you try and rest again perhaps your companions will speak up, or even the PC will say 'I am rested, time to move on."
I seriously can't see myself playing the Last Outcast, being hunted down like a dog, having a picnic with companions consisting of murderers, abominations and other unspeakable horrors.
Oh, wait. I just did and found it hilarious.
Inn variance I have not seen before, and would enable diversity and reflexivity in Torment, though it might be accomplished more simply by having different inns rather than different sorts of rooms within inns, as has been done in a good few RPG's since InfEng games.
Ar Tonelico 2, visual novel elements that it had, allowed for nighttime chats with characters to develop them outside of plot when resting at inns, as well as a relatively tame bath house dialogue mechanic.
Citadel, of Mass Effect 3, also did this sort of thing wonderfully, allowing for characters to play claw games and chess in universe and become developed outside of the plot.
Examples aside, simple gatherings such as dinner, or a day at the zoo are events almost always ignored in mainstream video gaming, and I would be happy to see them here.
They could be used, maybe, to enable banter you would have missed by not having a given person in your party present with you in that there last quest.