Next Steps (And Spoiler Alert Starting Midway Down)
As mentioned yesterday, I'm looking into which next steps I should take in my remaining time (about 4 weeks). Yesterday, I mentioned a med-evac service as a "second chance" for characters that have reached the mid-late game.
However, as many have pointed out in the comments, there are both pros and cons to such a system. And it's possible the system may not be worth the effort. I've tried to post my response to these concerns, and more detail on my plans, but I'm still unsure if it's the best thing to work on.
In the spirit of open development, one other feature I'm considering is a "legendary reputation" system. Fair warning, if you're spoiler-averse, you may not want to read about it.
In practice, this tends to be limited to stuff that is plausible to large numbers of people. So change tends to be slow and unremarkable. However, long-standing superstitions and folklore have centuries of head starts, which is why local legends such as dogmen and enfield horrors walk Michigan.
Since this mythology rule is the central premise of the world, it would make sense if Philip was affected by it. If enough people believe something to be true about Philip, it will start to be true. Therefore, I've tinkered with the notion of awarding Philip one of two special abilities if he follows a path that exemplifies those abilities: legendary reputations for being either "unstoppable" or "elusive."
Basically, if Philip narrowly escapes situations often enough in the public eye, he gets "elusive." And if Philip publicly overcomes adversity through brute force enough time, he earns "unstoppable." "Publicly" just means there were enough witnesses to be non-trivial. So a simple battle isn't enough, but evading the SkyCorps hoverbike in full public view is (news reports of a fugitive on the loose, SkyCorps rumors start). Similarly, single-handedly whaling on a robot in Zom Zom's before a cheering crowd is going to garner a rep, too. Each of these abilities can then be used in future encounters or combat.
Part of me worries that this may be too much of a shock for some players, as many people seem to be unaware of NEO Scavenger's supernatural hints. However, it's also kind of the point of my game's universe, so ignoring it sort of betrays the purpose of making this game world have supernatural stuff. In this battle of desires, mine wins :)
My other concern is that the reward makes sense. Assuming Philip is "unstoppable," I'm thinking that this might mean he can now do all the same things a strong/melee/tough person could in encounters, using "unstoppable" ability as a substitute. And ditto with "elusive" substituting for athletic and hiding. It's a lot of rewiring, probably, but I think doable.
The other possibility is to award new special moves in combat for either of the legendary reputations. E.g. maybe a powerful attack/escape that always succeeds, but isn't always available.
If you have thoughts on either the med-evac or spoiler systems, I'm interested to hear them!