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

Nathan Yospe yospe at hawaii.edu
Thu Aug 14 03:56:59 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

On Sun, 10 Aug 1997, Adam Wiggins wrote:

:We have a lot of different stats for general physical stalwartness.
:The one which is not changable is constitution, which basically represents
:your body's actual resistance to damage - the traditional example being
:that dwarves have high constitutions due to very strong bones, thick limbs
:(relative to their height), and are very 'meaty' in general.  All
:the other stats can vary dramatically during the character's life, and

Of course, I don't have anything exactly like this - much of this sort of
thing is centered in the part of the body involved, rather than the
character, which makes sense in a setting where, for example, an arm could
be replaced with a steel cybernetic arm... but there are places where we

:physical fortitude (ability to take pain without crying like a baby)
:mental fortitude (ability to watch someone be beheaded without puking)
:long-winded stamina (ability to run a marathon)
:short-winded stamina (ability to sprint 100m)

The second element, in particular, is something I use a lot. Except that,
for my characters, both the taking pain and the not puking are mental
attributes... the physical attributes are more along the lines of taking a
steel club in the arm and still having enough arm to punch back with. Do
you, like me, force some of this behavior on players? I allow "force of
will" (player commands) to override some, but not all, of this sort of
reaction. Mobs are weak willed.

:Dividing it out like this makes it possible to have a fairly wide
:range of characters as far as this is concerned - you can have a burly
:young hero who turns green at the sight of blood and whines like a baby
:when he cuts himself; an old lady whose body is frail but who is highly
:resistant to pain and emotional trauma; or a doctor who has no problem
:watching open-heart surgery and eating lunch, but isn't all that physically

Or, possibly, the big bad hero who acts like the blood isn't bothering him
until he thinks he is alone and unobserved, and then has a nervous
breakdown, the shakes, yada yada?

:Also, at high levels the first two (fortitudes) have a large affect on
:your text.  Ie, Bubba the newbie sees:

:Buffy swings her axe in a deadly arc, decapitating Bruno in a shower of
:blood!  You gag at the overwhealming smell of blood and death which
:suddenly fills the air.  Buffy turns and burries her axe into your arm!
:Agh, the pain!  THE PAIN!  The world turns red and begins to spin...

Ah, you DO do the same things to your poor players that I do...

:Boffo the hardened killer sees:

:Buffy swings her axe in a deadly arc, decaptitating Bruno in a shower of
:blood.  Buffy turns and burries her axe into your arm, making you
:very angry.  You yank the axe out of your arm and raise your sword...

I hope that reaction (yanking the axe and drawing the sword) was a
computer handled reflex... this list is populated with wimps (kidding,
really, c'mon guys, put down that LART, it was a joke...) who don't want
to offend people's senses of dominance over their mud bodies by letting
the bodies act instinctively or reflexively, even in high stress

:Mobs also take advantage of this when relating events to players:

:You ask the shopkeeper, 'What happened?'
:The shopkeeper says, 'Buffy KILLED Bruno!  It was terrible!'
:You ask Boffo, 'What happened?'
:Boffo says, 'Buffy killed Bruno.'

   You (who happen to look like Aahz) smile politely at the guard and say,
"No, I am absolutely certain we had an appointment with your king."
   The guard's face turns white, and he faints.

:> Hmm, I have a rather different view on "Mana". To try and put it fairly
:> 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.


Interesting! Mental exhaustion independant of pain/stress induced shock! I
must do something like this myself....

:> 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).

:So is mana also a stat 'contained' in characters?  We currently have it
:set up so that actually holding mana in your body is very difficult, hence
:it only tends to be drawn from its source (depending on what school(s)
:you follow) immediately before the actual spellcasting is going to take
:place.  This makes drawing and channeling the mana generally more involved
:than the actually spellcasting itself.

Heh. Now this has possibilities...

"You? We can't take you," said the Dean, glaring at the Librarian.
"You don't know a thing about guerilla warfare." - Reaper Man,
Nathan F. Yospe  Registered Looney                   by Terry Pratchett
yospe at hawaii.edu   http://www2.hawaii.edu/~yospe           Meow

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