[MUD-Dev] Integrating PK

Matt Chatterley root at mpc.dyn.ml.org
Sat Jun 28 10:36:59 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

On Fri, 27 Jun 1997, Martin Keegan wrote:

> On Mon, 23 Jun 1997, Matt Chatterley wrote:
> > On Mon, 23 Jun 1997, Marian Griffith wrote:
> > things, without killing them, and this is also going to be available for a
> > player to teach another player a "lesson" without a sharp point. Death
> > will involve a form of quest for life from the other side, and be a
> > generally nasty experience.
> Tell us more about the quest for life. 

I'll try. A lot of it is still very rough because I'm in the process of
writing the background for the mud - a series of legends (each
geographical location has a roughly similar set of legends, with some
variations which cast them in different lights and such, as the
definitions for religions), and some "truths". The latter not being
available to players (it's kinda "this is what really happened" for the
immortals benefit when creating areas, and as part of a planned final-goal
type quest to become a demi-"god". Note use of "god" as a term, since the
"gods" of the world are really just a race of creatures VERY different to
anything normally perceived). Basically the legends all put together point
at a world, created by an immortal creature in a time of boredom, as an
escape for himself, from the cruelty of his peers. Having laid waste to
their first world, they fashioned a second, and he stole magic from the
construction to make the "game world".

So we have seven planes of existance. The game world, the immortals' new
world, their old world (the deadlands, or spiritlands), and one plain for
each commonly perceived "element" (the root of their "magics"); fire,
earth, air and water. The latter four play no great part in the game, and
are only roughly in existance, since they are so hostile to life that
nothing from the game world could normally survive there.. perhaps brief
interludes in quests at some point, at least for the final-goal.

The deadlands, a magically wasted world (each plane is the same world, but
dimensionally shifted, if you like) left behind by the immortals, is
irrevocably tied to the game world (since the game world was formed using
magics from the deadlands), and it attracts the life-force of everything
in the game world. Think of life-force at this point like.. er.. an
electron, in the full outer shell of an atom. When the outer shell is
filled, a great deal of energy is required to knock it off, when it's the
only electron in the outer shell, far less is required, since the atom
more or less WANTS to get rid of it. Life force is kinda like that - while
the being it belongs to is alive and well, it's held onto more strongly
than the attraction to the deadlands. When that being is severely injured,
it's as if several of the electrons have been removed - the force holding
onto it in this world is much weaker, and it's dragged towards the
deadlands. If the body is so badly damaged that it can no longer keep a
grip on the lifeforce, it's sucked away, through a rift, into the
deadlands. This lifeforce attraction/repulsion stuff is the basis for
necromancy too, btw.
Here we have our basic spiritual representation of the PC - they appear as
they perceived themselves in life, and initially may not realise they're
dead, except obviously for the strange, and destroyed lands around them,
mist.. etc.. basically a cross between your spooky graveyard from a cheesy
horror film, and a nuclear blast site. In spiritual form, they lose most
of the "stats" we use internally to track them in the real world - those
go with the body, keeping only willpower and chi (strength of will, and
the META-physical equivalent to bodily strength, respectively). Their
piety also comes into play (someone with a low piety who is very
analytical will fare better initially, but may find it hard after some

By teetering about in this new world, they can build up force of will (if
willpower decays to 0 in the spirit world, coherency of thought is lost,
and the character can never return - your permanent death. It'll only
happen if you're very slow on the uptake and don't realise what you're
meant to do, or are incredibly weak-willed), a bit like we saw Pat Swayze
in Ghost. As they roam, they'll encounter other spirits (mindless
wretches whose thoughts broke down through lack of will, coherent
creatures trying to return home, vengeful spirits of enemies, and so
forth). Combat is possible, in a sort of tangle-of-minds way, based on the
Chi and willpower of the combatants, and the loser is vanquished to a more
remote part of the deadlands, with a reduced willpower.

I should explain at this point that the deadlands are basically spherical,
with a temple (the last standing building) in the center. The more
powerful your life-force, the further you are flung from the temple upon
death - it's the focal point of the entire world. So, once the player
discovers this, they set off on a trek (around various obstacles,
including enemies they dispatched in life) to this temple. Once there, a
brief sort of temple-of-doomish setup allows us to get them to a room with
a strange portal, holding an artifact with the ability to allow them
passage. Once through the portal, they find a strange swirling corridor
made of fire, water, air and rock (all at the same time), with doors of
respective elements leading to each plane (somewhat like the hall of doors
in the riftwar books, before anyone points that out). They should work out
(with some thought) which door leads back to their world, and they can go
through it. The artifact they're holding vanishes back into the deadlands
(a sort of key), and a huge rush of life-force is blasted into the real
world, at it's equivalent of this focal point. Mages and priests there
will restore the body to the spirit of the player, and beat back the wave
of loose spirits which burst through at the same time (raw energy, which
will form into immaterial undead molestations given a short time). The
player can then be sent back to his home, after a stay in the city at the
center of the world.

Thats pretty much it, but a bit cut down. It transpires, that the easiest
way to reach the land of the "gods" is to actually die, and find a way
through that door (!) rather than travel to the portal, and battle your
way through, to get to the corridor while alive. Of course, there are
disadvantages to this. Suffice to say, part of the final quest WILL
require you to die, and do something special in the deadlands.

> > > fights!) it is not so bad.  What particularly rankles is being attacked
> > > for no apparent (or valid) reason.
> > 
> > Yeah. The inherent problem here of course, is many players attack NPCs for
> > no reason at all, and the same to other players. I suppose what is worth
> > note is that you are to be equally reprimanded for killing an NPC or
> > player in a town, and not at all outside (unless they or their guild come
> > after retribution). Guild behaviour will be encouraged (ie: Fred killed
> > John, are we gonna let him get away with that?!).
> Having been in gang PK wars, I can confirm that they're a lot of fun.
> I've seen people on the NGs saying they've had year-long wars with other
> players.

I was involved in an incredibly fun conflict on a mud which *allowed* PK,
but didn't *encourage* it. Infact, it had two gods, one of whom didn't
mind us having our war (it was about 10 of us.. probably the 10 "top"
players, or "the top ten no-lifers", and we didn't upset anyone else), but
the other one banned half of us for it, eventually. It was the most fun we
ever had there, and it was *worth* being kicked off for! :P
> > > Most towns would have a law to forbid carrying weapons openly. Unless you
> > > are a guard or a -very- noble visitor or inhabitant. The amount of damage
> > > you can do  with a simple eating knife is far less.  And those fights are
> > > easier to break up for the guards.
> > 
> > Absolutely. Weapons are to be sheathed (possibly simply represented by
> > unwielded), or put away upon entry, and being caught with a weapon openly
> > in view is a punishable offence. Dodgy characters (if you've been in
> > trouble here before) may well be asked to surrender weapons at the gates.
> On Island, you acquired sin for walking round with a wielded weapon. You'd
> occasionally get a:
> Put it away, Elisheva!
> message warning you that you were racking up sin and likely to be tried in
> our outrageously unfair legal system.

Heh, cute warning. :) Hopefully one thing which will deter players
(regulars) from randomly commiting crimes - how many LPs have you seen
where townsfolk get mauled for XP, or somesuch? - is to be that the
"legal" system will be based on some popular interpretations of medieval
justice. To some degree "an eye for an eye", but to a greater degree,
appropriate preventative measures.. thieves get their hands cut off, and
so forth. Jail is also an option (although an escapable one) for very
minor, or first offences.
> > Your response is definitely valid, and most welcome - the fact that you
> > don't play "PK ok" games means you have a reason for it. I have no
> > objection with (and would like to think its possible to have) pk being
> > allowed (not necessarily encouraged), and treated the same as NPC killng.
> > :)
> This is another religious issue, and luckily one on which this list does
> not speak with one mind. PK is claimed to obstruct RP. If you prevent PK,
> you annoy one group of players. If you restrict it, you annoy both. If you
> allow it, you annoy the other group. It is not possible to build a mud
> which satisfies all people.

Yup. PK/Social/RP type interactions is an area where its very good to
disagree - we have people taking all different sides on it, and we're
getting some great debate on the subject (very productive too). I'm
probably going to restrict PK on newbies some how (not directly.. they'll
probably be in zones where bigger players won't bother to go to start
with.. and perhaps a tour guide who will defend them). I'm a big hater of
the "You can't enter the warriors guild, cause a big blue magic field
stops you.". I'd rather place two big, buff, mean guards there, and have
any wanna-be trespassers fight through them (or get past another way).

My basic slant against denying PK totally is that it's just completely
unrealistic, and moreover, not consistant with the rest of the game if you
allow h/s action. You can attack a human NPC, but not a human PC, when
theres very little difference? Making NPCs into pretty much PCs with no
human connection is one of the first things I strived towards.
> An interesting project would be to determine the minimum number of
> separate muds which together would cater for almost all tastes. You'd have
> to have a PK/!PK split, a mud conducive to RP, a lowbies can/cannot
> build split, skills vs XP vs no advancement, etc etc. Now, you could
> probably lump the !PK, pro-RP, no advancement and powerbuilders together
> on the same mud ...

Yikes. I fear trying to do that, the sheer volume of information to
process could be huge. It'd produce a heck of a searchable engine to find
a mud, though. I suspect the mud connector does something vaguely similar
(not in survey form or anything) with it's advanced search, but not in
this detail.

	-Matt Chatterley
"He can't stop us, we're on a mission from Glod!" - Soul Music (Pratchett)

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