[MUD-Dev] Integrating PK

Adam Wiggins nightfall at user1.inficad.com
Wed Jul 2 01:24:35 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

[Matt C:]
> >    at 08:44 AM, Jeff Kesselman <jeffk at tenetwork.com> said:
> > >Better roleplay my eye, which on of us, truely in the situation,
> > >would actually kill someone else becasue they said soemthing nasty to
> > >us (or did soem other non-life threatening annoying act)?  None of us
> > >who are reasonably sane....
> > 
> > This would seem to depend on the world definition.  Given a world or a
> > culture where life is pathetically cheap, then yes, I would expect it. 
> > It seems presumptuous to automatically extend current social
> > structures to the definition of RP.
> Plus it depends on a few other things - for instance the pressure (peer?)
> of honour, and such. I think it fully possible for a duel (of some sort,
> to the death), to break out over honour (etc) in a suitable environment.
> Or in a similar vein, a fight (not necessarily lethal) over an insult, and
> so forth - the lack of non-lethal conflict options on many muds where they
> might be appropriate would seem to add to the tendancy to "unwarranted
> PK".

This is a matter of magnitude.  If someone throws a verbal insult, it's
rarely cause for some sort of violence.  If someone came into my home
uninvited (ie, a thief) I would not hestitate to use whatever force I
could bring to bear to protect myself, my family, and to a lesser extent,
my honor and my belongings.

When I argue for 'PK', I'm not arguing for the ability to be able to
slit throats, although this is a (small) part of it.  I'm arguing for
unrestricted character interaction.  This includes violence such as fistfights,
wrestling matches, and duels.  It also includes thievery (pickpocketing and
otherwise), spellcasting (being able to cast silence, blind, curse, paralyze,
fear, or equivilent spells on other players), sports (jousting, boxing,
football, armwrestling), intrigue (posioning, 'coning' people out of money
and items), and so on ad naeseum.  The fact that character death could
come into play is relevant but not the whole picture.  Characters *will*
die at the hands of other players, if it is at all possible to die in the
game - via such innoncent seeming things as botched wound-repair, fly spells
which wear out too early, someone leading someone else into certain death,
or completely indirect situations like setting of an avalanche which
buries three other players.

The reason I keep harping on this is that I've yet to hear any answer.
'Any answer' as in, I've yet to see someone even some much as *attempt*
to answer this question, which either means that it simply doesn't have
an answer and this is (as I believe) a failing of no-PK games, or I'm
missing the point entirely, which is that none of these things can
ever happen on a no-PK game, which I find somewhat hard to believe (as
I said, if it is possible to die, it is possible for another character
to cause your death) or at the very least it seems so restricting as to
make the game either a complete social mud (builders/talkers, which is
fine, but this is pretty far removed from the idea of a 'game').

What about ambiguous actions?  Maybe you just have to avoid these...but
I build things to be neither inherently 'good' or 'bad', they just are.
Thus I make a spell which is helpful in some circumstances, harmful in others.
I'm pretty sure it would be downright impossible for the system to make
judgements about when someone is trying to use one of these ambiguous spells
'against' another player.  What to do, in this situation, then?

Example: Joe is fighting a dragon, and facing certain death.  Sue casts
'stone' on him, encasing him in a magical block of stone which is both
impentrable to the dragon's attacks, and which magically feeds him oxygen,
allowing him to sustain for hours or even days (at least, until he starts
to get thirsty).  She's just saved his life.  Once the dragon gets bored
and wanders off, she removes the spell and rushes in to heal his wounds.
In another situation, Meg is trying to cleave Sue in half with an axe.
Sue casts stone on Meg, in the same way she did to Joe.  Sue leaves.
Meg withers away within the confines of the stone, dieing a horrible
death, esentially at the hands of Sue.

Example 2: Meg, through a twist of chance, spies Joe talking to Ted.  As
it happens, Ted is a known leader of the underworld, and Joe is an aspiring
mayor.  Meg snaps a few pics with her insta-cam and has them published in
a local rag.  The character of Joe is esentially now ruined for his player,
since his hopes of a political career are completely ruined, and he's already
found himself to be completely incapable at the only other thing he considers
worthwhile, which is fighting dragons.  How does the system keep this from
happening?  If it doesn't, isn't this every bit as bad as PK?  Joe's character
is ruined, forever!

Example 3: (the one I use over and over) Ted, the slimy thief, tricks
Sue into purchasing a supposedly 'magical' artifact for large amounts of
cash.  Sue quickly discovers the ruse and decides to teach Ted a lesson.
Summoning a wolf with her druid powers, she commands it to hunt down
Ted (who has fled into the wilderness fear her wrath) and retrieve the
bag of gold she gave him.  She also tells it to give him a good fright
while doing it, including lots of growling and possibly ripping up his
clothes a bit - which should keep him from thinking about messing with
her, or her fellow druids, ever again.

Example 4: Sue has learned an 'enlarge' spell.  She casts it on all
her friends to aid them in combat, as it nearly doubles the target's
size.  Later on, thanks to her 'wolfeye' spell, she spots Ted hiding
in some bushes from some local guards who are searching for him.
Still bitter, she casts 'enlarge' on him, suddenly bringing him into
the view of the 20 guards standing nearby.  The quickly surround him
and club him to the ground.  His character will now be rotting in jail
for hundreds of game-days - esentially unplayable.  Does this make 'enlarge'
an aggressive spell?

So how about it?  Seems to me rather an unsolvable dillema - take out
all spells, skills, or other actions which might somehow 'hurt' other
people's characters, and you're left with a completely bland and
uninteresting game, or at least one in which you can hardly interact
with other players.  Leave them in and you run the risk of characters
being 'ruined' or otherwise 'hurt' by other players.

Maybe it's like the whole free speach argument - allow it and people
will inevitably get offended or emotionally hurt, don't allow it and
you cut out all the "good" stuff too.  Oops, answering my own question
there...but don't let that disuade you from answering.  I'm insanely
curious as to what people's stance are on this.  So far all the discussions
seem to revolve around silly examples like swordsmen running around
chopping off heads for no particular reason.

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