[MUD-Dev] Affecting the world

Jon A. Lambert jlsysinc at ix.netcom.com
Tue Sep 16 10:46:17 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

On 12 Sep 97 at 15:30, Matt Chatterley wrote:
> > On Thu 11 Sep, Jon A. Lambert wrote:
> > 
> > > So then the question might be:
> > > Outside of traditional muds, what games attract a large female 
> > > following?  
> Just a side note. How would one define a "traditional mud"?

Erm. Got me. Ignore my use of "traditional" and gender references 
and substitute the following:

The majority of existing muds allow one to succeed/win/maxout/havefun 
without any imperative need for player cooperation.  There also exist 
many varieties of RP-only games (talkers, mushes, etc.) in which 
success/fun is impossible without player cooperation through social 
interaction/storytelling/judge adjudication.

Perhaps the gist of this is how to design game(s) where player 
cooperation or interaction is required for success/fun and can be 
mechanically or automatically adjudicated?

> There are lots of approaches to combat (strangely it always seems to be a
> key issue in any game beyond a talker): The lo-tech (such as Riverworld
> *plug* which has no hard set combat system beyond a command enabling you
> to die with a given reason), hack'n'slash (stock diku, et al), and so
> forth. Personally I plan on offering combat as 'one means to an end'. It
> will probably be utterly inavoidable for 99% of players, at one time or
> another - even a baker could get into the odd scrape!

Is there any difference between economic combat, political combat, 
miltary combat and individual HnS combat?  Could the mechanics of 
scale make player cooperation imperative?   

> Allowing statesment to control taxes / pass laws / commission buildings /
> regulate guides / raise armies:
> I handle this by not preventing it. I refuse to have admin-endorsed PC
> governments in any form (a personal objection which I feel VERY strongly
> about), but I do NOT prevent players from assuming power in some sense.
> The governmental structures in any given place will be semi-invisible NPCs
> (rarely will actually be present), and if a player wishes to set himself
> up as being 'ruling body' its fine. Its more feasible to actually mass an
> army and stomp the town (conquer it), but still. :)

Yes, but are there mechanical constructs to "enable" it?

For instance, Bubba is "elected" king of Frobovia.  Bubba decrees a 
20% tax on all goods entering Frobovia.

What are the mechanics in electing Bubba king?  Is this done by 
players only or in combination/cooperation with mud NPCs?  How does 
one replace/remove Bubba?  What can Bubba DO as king?  What must 
Bubba do to hold on to this position?  Is there a way to get 
"elected" and hold such a position with a minority of player support?

Is enforcement of the taxes done through voluntary means?  Or through 
"player" enforcers?  Or are there NPC guards, custom agents or tax 
collectors who attempt enforcement?

I think the latter enforcment method is more interesting as it gives 
Bubba some special powers over game constructs which can be sources 
of player conflict and cooperation.

> Players could set themselves up to tax / enforce laws on each other, and
> could request something be added in terms of a building (we are pondering
> some sort of dynamic building handling). 

Building/creating of items, structures (outside of magic-use) might 
require a reasonable implementation of an economic model.  An 
economic model would generate subsystems of inflation, pricing, 
supply, demand, labor, competition and cooperation.  This can also be 
vast sources and sinks of player gold.  Is becoming the mud "bread"
magnate any less fun than slaying all the orcs?  The "bread" magnate 
might move on to conquer the dairy market, while the orc-slayer moves 
on to trolls. :)

Magical building/creating has largely been a solo game also with 
wizard quotas/mana being player dependent.  A notion of a mana 
economics subsystem might be useful in advancing cooperative and
competitive group mechanics.

> Since guilds are largely a social
> orientational grouping, influencing them is fully possible, and as to
> raising armies.. that is one of the two main 'high level' options.

Why not provide guilds with mud mechanical structures and enforcement
mechanisms?  Allow the guild leadership positions to be occuppied by 
NPCs and PCs with access to those mechanics.

Jon A. Lambert

If I'd known it was harmless, I would have killed it myself.

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