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[Room] The Asylum

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Jun 6, 2012
Just to preface this idea, the Asylum was something I'd seen suggested very vaguely in the 'What would YOU like to see in WftO?' thread. I really liked the concept, and since it hasn't yet been suggested in any detailed terms that I've seen, I thought I'd flesh the idea out a bit beyond just a name and a tagline, quickly being buried in a popular thread. Predominantly I see it as a potential alternative to the Torture Room (which, as far as I know, has had no replacements suggested yet). But it could work in parallel to a modified version of the classic Torture Room as well. I apologise if anything similar has been suggested.

Name: The Asylum (aka Madhouse)

Buildability: Buildable.

Cost: Medium-High (maybe around 500g per tile in DK1 terms)

Information: The Asylum houses inmates who require a little bit of 'correction' (in the darkest possible use of the word). Captured forces - be they a rival faction of minions or enslaved overworld heroes - can be brought to the Asylum to have their will crushed, their spirit broken, and their mind twisted into subservience. Through torture, deprivation, brainwashing and confinement, every creature will eventually reach its breaking point. On occasion, you may even find cause to incarcerate one of your own to this foul facility. For maximum effectiveness, this room must be staffed by one or more of your own creatures.*

Function: The Asylum serves several purposes, some of them rather minor, others fairly major.

1) Much like a Prison, the Asylum serves as confinement of captured forces. However, unlike a Prison, the inmates are not simply left to wither into skeletons or ghosts. Not all evil is uncivilised, and after all: your aim isn't to kill them, or you'd have done so on the battlefield. Food is occasionally delivered to the inmates, keeping them from starvation. However, inmates in the Asylum can never surpass 50% maximum health, even with the assistance of healing abilities.

2) It inherits a very similar end goal to the Torture Room of old. Over time, inmates spirits will be broken, achieving one of two possible outcomes: Conversion or Insanity. When an enemy minion is converted, it scuttles off to do your bidding as is. However, when a Hero is converted, he becomes 'Corrupted' (an idea I've seen suggested elsewhere, I believe), modifying his appearance to befit his new allegiance and possibly altering his abilities from his Hero form (possibly name, too? Knight = Dark Knight, Wizard = Blood Mage, etc).

3) Angry, troublesome or dissatisfied creatures of your own faction can also be confined to the Asylum. Over time, Angry creatures in your Asylum will become calmed without you having to pay them off - they and their peers may in fact demand less gold in future, for fear of your wrath. However, this can be a gamble: Angry creatures 'cured' in this manner may retain a propensity for becoming angry more easily in future. If a wider array of emotions/statuses of your creatures are present in WtfO (such as dissatisfaction, boredom, etc), a short spell in the Asylum may make them a little bit more productive.

4) The presence of an Asylum can have varying effects on the morale of your minions. Many creatures do not enjoy being in the presence of such a room, and their morale will suffer the longer spend near it - as such, it may be advisable to build an Asylum on the periphery of your dungeon, away from the busiest areas and rooms such as Lairs, Training Rooms, Taverns or Treasuries. However, some masochistic beings, such as Demons or those with a propensity to torture, will gain morale from time spent operating, or being in the rough vicinity of, an Asylum.

Associated Mechanics: In addition to converting/corrupting inmates, the room has two additional mechanics to pay attention to.

1) Fighting - Time in the Asylum isn't a pleasant experience, and it doesn't take much for those on the verging of breaking point to break into fighting at the drop of a hat. Once two inmates begin fighting in your Asylum, they will not stop until one of them is dead. That is, unless you intervene. A few slaps from the Hand of Evil should quiten them down, but any minions currently staffing the Asylum will immediately jump in to break up the battle. They need to be up to the task though, as the aggressor may well turn on them. Though uncontrolled fighting can cost the lives of minions you'd spared for a reason, the fighting process innately speeds the conversion rate of any units involved in the scuffle. Make sure it's kept under control, and it'll play it's part in ensuring you have once-proud Heroes falling at your feet faster than you can say "Impus Natum" or "Acceleratæ".

2) Insanity - When an inmate reaches breaking point, it may not convert to be the subservient little minion you'd hoped for. Rather, they have to chance to be permanently scarred by the experience, gaining 'Insanity'. Insane Inmates will never successful convert to your cause, and will have a greatly increased chance to start fighting until killed or until you can find another purpose for him: perhaps a sacrificial ritual, or grinding him down for blood? Insanity would initially be a rare occurrence, but in high-population dungeons where you already exceed your creature pool, the rate could increase slightly to limit your growth.

Creature Staffing/Operation: As with most rooms in a dungeon, for maximum benefit it requires that your minions interact with it. Creatures currently staffing your Asylum serve a couple of purposes: breaking up fights (to ensure no inmates are killed), reducing the risk of a break-out (which would occur when left unmanned, or when the number of inmates becomes too high), and helping ensure the inmates eventually come to see things from your point of view. This may include torturing, target practice, or - in the case of Demons or Undead - simply scaring the hell of them. The number of creatures currently staffing your Asylum directly influences the speed at which inmates convert/corrupt, and the chance of a break-out. Provided the room is sufficiently staffed, inmate deaths should not occur, the risk of a break-out unless the inmate population becomes critical should be minimal to zilch, and the conversion process should not take more than a few minutes (or slightly longer with strong-willed creatures).

Wall Decoration: Brick or Whitewash walls, with charts, medicine bottles and various cruel instruments on shelves upon the outer walls.

Appearance: A bit like the Prison as it appeared in DK2, the Asylum serves as a 'room within a room', with it's own interior walls separated from the edge of the room itself by one row of tiles at every side. The 'inside' of this room-within-a-room would consist of padded walls, with doors that cannot be opened from within and small, barred windows for the minions staffing the Asylum (which wander the outermost tiles, between the main fortified wall and the 'inner' wall that forms part of the room appearance). The padded room, containing the inmates, would probably look a bit unclean... The very outer walls, your fortified ones, would be either plain brickwork or painted a cleanlier-looking white, possibly with charts, "medicines" or paraphernalia for electro-shock therapy or similar such laying around. Certain inmates may appear to be wearing straightjackets - probably for their own protection.
(Above images given as rough thematic inspiration)

*Depending on where you drop a minion - either within the middle of the room, or on the outskirts between the two walls - you can either make a minion an inmate or get him to staff the room.

Open to input - even if you don't like it, if you explain why, then it might help evolve the idea into something more preferential.
Likes: Fireeye
Jun 27, 2012
It seems like a solid idea, my only real concern is wether it fits in the medieval theme. Asyliums and straight jackets only started appearing after the american civil war.

Maybe some features could be merged with the prison? Spending time in prison could perhaps affect creatures and heroes differently. Some could be prone to fighting with others and could require a prison of their own.
Assigned wardens could perhaps be needed to keep them in check, and each creature could have their own way of handling prisoners.

A specific warden could maybe be required for some heroes to turn into a corrupt version of themselves instead of remaining a regular hero, they could turn into this in prison, and could then be converted to join your cause.

Say to turn a wizard into a blood mage, a demon warden could be required. Those dark powers need to come from somewhere after all.
Likes: Bertthehulk
Jan 22, 2012
It would be rather nice idea, but you'll have to have a lot of theese in form of small rooms to be effective
I do not think it should hold more than 1 cereature per room because heroes/insane creatures could kill each other :/

But as Rhalius mentioned it does not fit quite well thematicly, well the madder creature the better it is for the Underlord :p
Jun 6, 2012
The idea of straight jackets and padded walls is admittedly a bit anachronistic, but that's purely for the visual, cartoon-ish charm, and because when you think of an Asylum, that's the image you tend to conjure in your head (or is it just me?).

The Medieval Era lasted a hell of a long time, so I'm not sure precisely how advanced the world is supposed to be in WftO, but early lunatic asylums started to spring up before the end of that age. The Middle Ages/Medieval Era is generally considered to have ended at the start of the Renaissance, circa 15th Century. Rudimentary Lunatic Asylums were practiced in Europe in the 13th and 14th Centuries, possibly even earlier than that in some form or another. It wasn't until much, much later that they became widespread, but they definitely existed during at least part of the late Medieval Era. So whether it fits thematically and chronologically is up for debate - it just about fits the right timeframe. ;)

I do not think it should hold more than 1 cereature per room because heroes/insane creatures could kill each other :/
Providing the room is kept staffed, it shouldn't be a problem. If a Unit becomes insane and starts causing problems, any minions working there will intervene to knock out the Insane Unit temporarily. And if he eventually gets back up and starts another fight, they'll intervene to knock him out again. You'll eventually need to find a different use for them, since they won't convert, but becoming Insane doesn't necessarily mean the unit is going to kill all his fellow inmates and ruin your hard work. Since fighting increases conversion speed, having an Insane Unit kept in your Asylum (but kept controlled by staff) may be beneficial to you in the long run. It's a decision you have to make.

Basically, as long as your room remains staffed by creatures strong enough to tackle the inmates, the fighting process will control itself. Death will only occur if the fighting gets out of hand, i.e. your creatures aren't strong enough to cope, or you don't have anyone staffing the Asylum. Even in that situation, you can manually slap them into breaking up as an emergency solution. It's just a way of making sure that the room requires SOME input from you or your own creatures: any room that entirely runs itself is a little bit boring IMO. :) Plus, like any room, creatures staffing the Asylum will gain XP from their work, so it's not putting your minions to waste.

All that being said, I did actually toy with the idea when I was writing this that units would get their own personal cells, but A) I couldn't come up with an appearance for that model that I think would work well, and B) it'd end up feeling little more than a one-man Prison, since it deprives the inmates of the interactions that define the room. I quite like this idea though, so I might keep working on it and try to incorporate some of these suggestions.


Lead Audio Designer
Jun 6, 2012
North Nottinghamshire, UK
It seems like a solid idea, my only real concern is wether it fits in the medieval theme. Asyliums and straight jackets only started appearing after the american civil war.
Don't worry about that, The US only started using them around the 18th Century, but one of the earliest was in Cairo around AD 872. In Medieval Europe, a lot of towns build a Narrentürme ("fool's tower") where the crazies would be locked away.

Bare in mind the "Medieval" period covers everything from the 5th Century to the 15th, so there are a lot of concepts/technologies and even civilisations that came and disappeared in that time.

I'll stop sabotaging the thread with history... Nice idea though!

[EDIT] Spelling :p
Jan 22, 2012
Well yeah but most people while thinking middle ages see european castles, knights and that shiz. I honestly feel that 4example middle east had skipped those time and jumped straight to reneissance :p


Dwarven Worker
Jun 14, 2013
I like this idea, and as for people saying they didn't have asylum, well they didn't have ones to help people but they did lock crazy people up together in big buildings which were even worse than asylums are today. Basing it on those would actually be even more fitting with the theme
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