[MUD-Dev] Rumours

Marian Griffith gryphon at iaehv.nl
Tue Jun 24 19:25:44 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

On Mon 23 Jun, Shawn Halpenny wrote:

> Alex Oren wrote:

> > Apart from rumors and "wanted" lists there are other possibilities:

[snipped, read the original post :]

>     # l
>     You see Bubba and Boffo on the side of the street.
>     A shopkeeper is sweeping his front steps.
>     # 'I saw Humperdink kill two dragons and an elderly lady!
>     You say it.
>     Bubba says 'No kidding!?'
>     Boffo says 'The murderous rogue!  I knew she was no good...'
>     The shopkeeper looks aghast in your direction and scurries inside.
>     # snicker
>     You snicker to yourself.
>     # 'Oh, did I mention that my new china and flatware finally arrived?
>     etc.

> Now the shopkeeper heard the Humperdink and elderly lady bit and
> chalks that up as a rumor which he can pass on to as many people as
> he wants to (a rumor juiciness factor comes to mind).  However, the
> bit about the china and flatware would make a pretty shoddy rumor,
> IMO, and the intent is to have NPC passers-by disregard things like
> that.  I cannot, however, think of how an NPC would distinguish the
> two.

I don't think it's that hard. Think about what makes the best gossip,
and you find part of your answer.  If it is about other people, espe-
about famous people,  it makes good gossip.  If it is about crime  or
love it also makes good gossip. So all you have to do is see if there
is enough words matching names and synonymous words for death, murder
crime or love (and add a few other juicy subjects)  and you get a way
to rank the message for gossip value. Especially if the player who is
targetted by the gossip either has a similar or a completely dissimi-
lar reputation.  Everybody loves to hear about notorious people,  and
everybody loves to hear that that perfect person is not so perfect.
Of course,  in the later case the believability of the rumour must be
fairly low (you like to hear it but you don't easily belief it). This
thing gets to be really fun  if you manage to make the inhabitants of
the town repeat the message with some embellishments,  making the ru-
mour sound grander.  I.e. replace 'slapped' with 'hit', and that with
'smashed' until you eventually end up with 'murdered' <gr>.  You pro-
bably need to make the victim of aggressive actions more anonymous if
you want this to work,  but for the love category there's no need for
that.  A relation between two famous people is just as interesting as
a relation of one famous person with somebody unknown.  (e.g. the ru-
mours about Hugh Grant  after he was caught with a prostitute and the
persistent rumours about Michael Jackson).
To make the whole thing work  you probably need to have  rumours fade
with time, or if they go round they won't get passed on again, unless
they are really, really, juicy. Further should each inhabitant of the
city have a choice of not further passing on the rumour (i.e. not be-
lieving the rumour)  but this should be in relation to  the juiciness
of the rumour and it's believability.  If you want to do it right you
might have gossips who more or less believe and pass on anything they
are told and sceptics who do not readily believe gossips.  And people
have less chance of believing a gossip if they know of something even
more interesting.

Yes - at last - You. I Choose you. Out of all the world,
out of all the seeking, I have found you, young sister of
my heart! You are mine and I am yours - and never again
will there be loneliness ...

Rolan Choosing Talia,
Arrows of the Queen, by Mercedes Lackey

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