[MUD-Dev] Level abstractions - Realism vs Game Issues

Matt Chatterley root at mpc.dyn.ml.org
Sun Jun 29 12:40:42 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

On Sun, 29 Jun 1997, Caliban Tiresias Darklock wrote:

> On Fri, 27 Jun 1997 22:07:31 PST8PDT, "Jon A. Lambert"
> <jlsysinc at ix.netcom.com> wrote:
> >   I prefer to store the result of all actions in the form of a point 
> >tally (XPs).  At a point-in-time the character will receive enough
> >of these points to advance (a level).  At this point a character
> >may "develop" the character (resource management, as someone pointed
> >out)  Sounds pretty much standard so far.
> >  
> >   However, it will take an extremely long time to advance a level in my 
> >game should one pursue the game only in this way.  There is a severe
> >declining-balance award for repetition of actions.  
> I like the idea of doing away with levels entirely, and instead using an
> array of skills. I also like these skills to increase with practice, but
> through experience points. In other words:

Well, if "level" is a measurement of power (standardised), then in a skill
orientated system, it can easily be thought of as "overall skill level" -
this translation works well.
> 	You use a skill: you get an XP. 
> 	You succeed: you get another XP.
> 	That XP is applied to that skill.
> 	When the XP applied to a skill is equal to the skill's level,
> 		the skill goes up by one point.
> 	When the skill is at its maximum level, the XP instead goes into
> 		a surplus XP pool.
> 	The surplus XP pool is used to buy new skills that one does not
> 		have, as well as to increase base statistics. 

Or something of this order, where having "XP" (read: experience in) aids
learning, but is not absolutely essential for it.
> Someone may point out, what about hit points or mana? These concepts, I
> feel, are not specifically relevant (I have other ideas on them), but
> they can also be increased like any other statistic when a player uses
> surplus XP. However, let me point out the following ideas about mana and
> hit points:

HPs and Mana aren't really relevant to this debate (unless you consider
how increase in "power" affects them). However, if HPs are viewed as
endurance, and Mana as magical capacity (think of the player like a
capacitor for magical energy), they don't have much to do with skill -
possibly Mana in the sense of "controlling" it.. but it depends on the
view your theme takes.
> 	Hit points are static. You have X hit points plus your usual
> 	constitution bonus, period. Your additional ability to survive 
> 	comes purely from skills like dodge, parry, and increased damage
> 	from weapon skills and multiple attacks.

Pretty much sums it up, although: Constitution/Endurance/Stamina
statistics should be increaseable, although not necessarily by a lot.
Depending on the influence they have over HPs, you may want to allow HP
increases without "whole" stat increases (or indeed, fractional stats
which are continuous, rather than discrete). Increasing your physical
endurance is easier (depending how good it is - going from couch potato to
superathlete is pretty damned hard, but going from total couch potatoism
to being able to jog up some stairs without being out of breath is easier)
than increasing something like.. say.. willpower. Of course, the increase
curve here is pretty much an exponential approach situation, the higher,
the harder. If you apply "stat decay" like Nathan(?)'s dynamic skills,
physical stats could become a LOT more meaningful.
> 	Mana is irrelevant. You cast a spell, and that spell's skill
> 	drops to 0. Depending on the difficulty of the spell, it can
> 	regain power quickly or slowly, sort of a spell level. As a
> 	rough guideline, every X seconds (X being the level the spell
> 	is currently gained at) you regain your intelligence or wisdom
> 	rating in the skill for that spell. 

Hmm, I have a rather different view on "Mana". To try and put it fairly
briefly (I'll probably fail):

The relevant statistics to spellcasting are "Learning" (in the learning of
the process of casting it, and development of the skills), and "Mana",
which is a measurement of the characters link to the flow of magic in the
world (tied into the stuff I spieled on about death in a separate post).

MPs (Mental Points) are the mental equivalent to SPs (Stamina points), the
latter dictating physical state (Normal -> Exhausted), as opposed to HPs
(Hit Points, which dictate injury level, to a degree - although being
somewhat linked to SPs, if you're tireder, you get hurt more). That made
no sense, so to state it bluntly: MPs dictate your mental state, from
normal to mentally exhausted, and are NOT used solely for magic, but for
anything which requires extra thought or consideration. That means mainly
magic, which requires mental (and sometimes physical) exertion.

Casting a spell drains your MPs, and tires you, but is related to your
Mana (the more Mana you have, the more MPs you'll tend to have - not the
sole factor - and the faster you'll gain them, but your magic will be more
powerful overall as well).

Spells also rely on skills (basic casting, offence/defence, and elemental
strands, as well as a couple of others, from which a spell uses 2-3). The
skills don't go up/down with use in this way, but it's possible that an
individual skill may have an effect on them, and I'm also considering a
sort of "temporary decay" during times of exhaustion, not sure on that.
> These are off the top of my head, of course, and I'm sleep deprived. I'd
> like to hear any feedback people have on this, in any case.

Don't know if thats really feedback, but still. :)

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

More information about the MUD-Dev mailing list