[MUD-Dev] Integrating PK

Matt Chatterley root at mpc.dyn.ml.org
Wed Jul 2 16:20:15 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

On Wed, 2 Jul 1997, Adam Wiggins wrote:

> [Matt C:]

> > 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.

Well, in a suitable environment, an insult could easily escalate to
violence (which is what I originally intended to infer) - I was also in
part refering to the "shining" image of medival honour (etc) with knights
and so forth (quite unlikely in reality, IMHO). Bringing defence into it
isn't really an issue until the original PK dispute is settled - it's the
other side of the coin, if you like. :)
> 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.

This sums the situation up neatly. To put it in a different nutshell, it
is literally impossible to stop players being able to harm each other (by
deliberation or not), but that does not mean that they WILL harm each
other as a matter of course.

I believe that "unrestricted action" as you phrase it (or treating PCs
identically to NPCs) can work, and will not simply decay into anarchy. I
have yet to find a suitable approach to it though. I think the best way to
go is really as I said, to barely distinguish NPC/PC.
> 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').

Quite right. Of course, there are considerations (such as "level of
automation" present). MUSHes do not very happily support highly automated
environments (the very nature of setting up any sort of delay in them
dictates this), and so many games running on MUSH servers take the more
"RP intensive" view of things, and encourage full-interaction. Some allow
combat and subsequently (although not necessarily consequentially) death
to take place sponteneously, others require it be "pre-checked" by the
players involved, and so forth. Of course, this is not suitable for a
fully-automated 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?

Hopefully not what I've seen one or two muds do - post-death recompense in
the sense of, you can tell a wizard someone caused your death, and they'll
punish the other player (one mud actually had several players ridded for
this, before they realised the alleged "victim" was leading them along).

In a reasonably consistant and realistic environment, we shouldn't do
anything about them - just let what happens happen.

[Snip excellent doublesided examples]

> 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.

Yup. No comments here, nothing to add. :)
> 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.

Yeah. Heh. My main concern isn't this though, sub-consequential
actions/events of "PK" being possible are fine, it's idiots who just
wander about, kill lots of players, then leave that are (or were) an
issue. I've decided I don't really care about them now. :)

Freedom of Speech (as an argument, on usenet) is rather absurd, and
scarily relevant to this thread, with PK as a representative. Yipes.

	-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