[MUD-Dev] "short" Introductory Message (fwd)

Martin Keegan martin at cam.sri.com
Mon Aug 4 12:31:09 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

On Thu, 17 Jul 1997 clawrenc at cup.hp.com wrote:

> In <Pine.GSO.3.96.970717005657.9947K-100000 at dryslwyn>, on 07/16/97 
>    at 08:16 PM, Martin Keegan <martin at cam.sri.com> said:
> >The magic system I'm working towards is based on "primitive" animism.
> >Basically, living things have a life force which can be tapped and
> >turned into magical power of various persuasions. Combining this with
> >a levels-based spells system is proving difficult. I think the latter
> >will have to be axed.
> What happens when a player taps a life form's energy?  Does it die? 
> Is it reduced in some manner?  How is it reduced?  What are the
> states, long term effects (penalties and benefits (eg does a
> many-times tapped body get stronger or weaker?)), and mechanical
> strictures?  Does distance control tapping power?  Or does some sort
> of harmonic relation?  Is there a concept of disharmonious (even
> conflicting) energies?
> Details man!  Details!

Living things pick up magical energy just by existing; not too interesting
there. It's not equivalent to life force ... you can use it up, and have
to wait for it to come back.

I've messed around with having energy of different "humours", but this
idea turned out to be crap.
> >I've also flirted with the idea of magical force lines found in
> >Robert Asprin's amusing Myth series.
> cf Ley lines?
> Any choice on the source of said energy?  Can said source be
> manipulated or can the Ley lines be manipulated?  Are Ley lines
> directional (ie upstream/downstream)?  Will tapping a Ley line at one

I have since implemented this stuff in CamMUD ...

There are invisible "lode-stones" (dunno why I called them that) which are
either positive or negative. Energy flows from positive ones toward
negative ones, and occasionally the route changes. Some classes of monster
follow the lines, which is how novices can tell where they are.

I toyed with the idea of having the polarity reverse during certain
events, but the lines take too long to reestablish themselves.

One interesting side effect of this is that magic energy doesn't flow into
dead ends.

> point reduce or effect upstream or downstream tappers/users?  How
> about a packet form where packets of "energy" traverse the topology of
> the Ley Lines in a predictable manner (and timing) so the task is to
> intercept the packet on the correct Ley line at the right moment.

Basically, the lodestones pump energy into and suck energy out of the
system. Energy flows in quanta from emitters to destroyers. There's no net
conservation of energy, though this would be nice. 

Imagine a race of squernies that tended to wander from east to west. Given
enough time, a westward skewed random walk will eventually get all the
squernies to the west end of the universe. Now think of having an
extra spatial dimension (hard to visualise). Call its directions 'in' and
'out'. Make emitting lodestones very 'in' and destroyers very 'out'. Have
any adjoining locations be pulled 'in' by the emitter (the way lowering
land in Populous lowers the land around it), etc etc ... Now let your
squernies meander from 'in' to 'out'.

Then go and play xbattle, and all will be revealed.

A fun part of this is that certain locations and routes are randomly
preferred from the millions of possible paths, leading to actual 'lines'.
I plan to make it that using magic degrades the ability of a location to
conduct energy ... eventually players will work out how to divert the
lines :)
>   Bubba fights the mighty wizard!
>   Bubba is being slaughtered!
>   Using the last of his strength Bubba maneuvers the fight so he's 
>   standing on the Ley line.
>   A magic surge hits the Ley Line!
>   Bubba's magic fireball ***OBLITERATES*** the mighty wizard and 
>   half the world along with it!  Millions of players die instantly.  
>   Bubba has a really bad headache.

Yeah, you've got the idea, but for the fact that asterisks and capitals
in combat messages are anathematic to me.


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