[MUD-Dev] Character evolution

Marian Griffith gryphon at iaehv.nl
Mon Aug 18 18:48:55 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

On Sun 17 Aug, Adam Wiggins wrote:

> > Okay we've talked about the world evolving, but what about players?
> > I have often thought about coding it so that players hair/nails slowly
> > grow, causing them social/combat problems unless they do something
> > about it.  Players would therefore have to trim their nails every so
> > often, and get their hair cut (unless they wanted it long, in which
> > case they would need to tie it back).  Shaving would be another option.

> We have hair growth and cleanliness factors.  No nails, as I couldn't
> think of anything interesting about those.  It's all very race dependant -
> we even have one race of completely hairless humanoids.  Many races don't
> have facial hair (hobbits and elves).

Depending on race there could be a severe penalty to having your nails
clipped.  E.g. cats are pretty much harmless without their nails.  The
same almost goes for many birds.  Too long nails make wielding weapons
difficult or even impossible. Or typing (and I should know)

> The way we work it to keep it from being annoying to players is that you
> get an automatic bath/shave whenever you stay at an inn, unless you've
> specifically set an option for your character's appearance like 'grow
> a goatee'.  Result is that people who always sleep out in the wilderness
> start to look grubby and unkempt, while those who sleep in inns every
> night tend to look a bit more presentable.
> Naturally this would be pretty boring if it weren't for the actual
> *effects* these things have.  Here's a few:

Which is the only valid reason to have details. However I don't feel
that the effects must necessarily be functional. They also can serve
to enhance the 'feel' for a character. Somewhere else in this thread
there was mention of characters sneeze when they have a cold. Unless
the player was trying to creep unheard through a goblin warren there
is not much (negative) effect to the sneezing and other assorted ef-
fects of a cold but it certainly makes things feel more natural.  Of
course there is also the little fact that to -have- a cold a charac-
ter isn't required to do anything.

[examples snipped]

> > In addition, what about eating and drinking?  I think I have heard
> > before the suggestion about players who eat pies all day should get
> > fat...but has anyone actually coded anything like this?  You could
> > in theory even code some sort of 'energy' system for players, so that
> > players who don't eat enough - or just eat junk food - would get
> > exhausted faster.  Chocolate would be great for a quick energy boost,
> > but if you did it all the time your teeth would rot and you would
> > start getting very fat.  Thus different food types could have different
> > advantages and disadvantages.  Note also that chocolate is mildly
> > addictive.

It might even be worthwhile to just give a message according to how
the character  appreciated the food.  Nothing that actually affects
gameplay but just something of a little added fun.

[more snipped]

> > Age is another factor that could be taken into consideration.  As your
> > character got older, your hair would go grey - maybe fall out - and
> > your skin would wrinkle.  You would start losing attributes and maybe
> > pick up some mental conditions.  Eventually you would die of old age.  

> Again we have this as well, although our time scale is so large that it would
> take something like 6 RL years for a character to age to death.  The only
> exception would be if the player choose to be very old at the outset,
> or is playing a short-lived race.

I think this is the only way to handle this without seriously annoying
the players. There are many good reasons to force aging on characters,
but it also is not funny  to have your character die on you for no ap-
parent reason.  And worse if you find that it is permanent.  On a game
with a strong roleplaying content it might be a good solution to allow
players to have children that inherit some of the knowledge and equip-
ment.  And better if you can't have your own new character be a child.
That allows for children that are dissimilar from their parents and it
allows for fights over inheritance and such.  Of course this partially
defeats the reason for having children in the first place.

> > This is one of the reasons I am thinking of using my mudsex/pregnancy/
> > birth code for - so that players can 'prepare' their child (thus passing 
> > on their skills and knowledge) for when they themselves die.  This would 
> > effectively allow you to 'live forever' in theory, even though you
> > would be living through several different people.  It would, however,
> > require some planning by the player.

> We are still pondering players being able to create family names (which
> they could potentially share with other players) in order to give
> continuity and make death a little less aggrevating.  There was a pretty
> good thread about this stuff about six weeks ago.

And it works especially good with having valuable equipment being seve-
rely limited,  up to the point to be truly unique in the history of the
game. Families establish an armoury of equipment and weapons that young
members can draw from as they go out to do famous deeds.  And of course
they would face a rather annoyed family if they managed to misplace the
famous dragonslaying sword tailcrusher during their forray into town.

Yes - at last - You. I Choose you. Out of all the world,
out of all the seeking, I have found you, young sister of
my heart! You are mine and I am yours - and never again
will there be loneliness ...

Rolan Choosing Talia,
Arrows of the Queen, by Mercedes Lackey

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