[MUD-Dev] Character evolution

Matt Chatterley root at mpc.dyn.ml.org
Tue Aug 19 07:24:42 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

On Mon, 18 Aug 1997, Marian Griffith wrote:

> 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)

This reminds me I need to trim my nails. :P Long nails are also quite
nifty weapons for scratching with - but get weaker as they get longer, and
are prone to break.
> > 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.

Hmm, you do need some effects to make things more interesting -
particularly in a non, or low RP environment (in a high RP environment you
would get the main effect - other peoples reactions and adjustments to how
they treat you in RP, based on appearance). Things such as 'harmless'
symptoms and effects of 'diseases' are good ways to let the player know
the PC is ill too - but you probably wouldn't fight very well while
sneezing your head off. ;)

> [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.

Not functional in a low RP environment though - once a player realised the
food only gave him different messages, he would simply buy/eat the
cheapest/most efficient foods for the healing effects (assuming they
bestow some - mine does, but only in a roundabout way), or to fill
themselves up. Representing malnutrition and such can be very useful to
add a further, subtle threat to characters out in the wilderness with only
poor rations.
> [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.

Yeah. Of course - if you know you will age, and are given SIGNS of that
aging along the way, it is not sudden. If you are suddenly told. "You are
60 years old, you die of old age." out of the blue, I agree. :)
> > > 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.

Heh. "rather annoyed"? ;)

	-Matt Chatterley
"Speak softly and carry a big stick." -Theodore Roosevelt

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