[MUD-Dev] Affecting the world

Matt Chatterley root at mpc.dyn.ml.org
Wed Sep 17 17:19:53 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

On Wed, 17 Sep 1997, Jon A. Lambert wrote:

> On 16 Sep 97 at 9:22, Matt Chatterley wrote:


> > Sorry, more a nitpick on my part than anything else. :)
> Not really. I had an urge to give them a common name so there 
> would be no need of further explanation and they might be used as a 
> point of contrast for the group mechanics aspect.
> Might I call them 'solo-hack-n-slash' muds?

Since I would depict this as 'one type' of game, I have no objection. This
is also quite a good term as it is simple, and fully self explanatory.
> > > 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?
> > 
> > Or where players are 'subtly' thrown together to cooperate against the
> > environment.
> >
> Yep.  Being subtle is a key element.  Player's should be given the 
> opportunity of discovering these subtle mechanics.  Once the 
> subtleties are known and repeatably exercised dynamics may change.

Yup. Subtlety is very important (even if I can't spell it). I suspect
players would complain if there were a written stipulation that they play
in teams of certain numbers - whereas if the game nudges them into doing
so, very few will harbour such a grumble.
> Perhaps the nature of group mechanics can be divided into two 
> categories (so sayeth Socrates). 

> Direct group mechanics.  Your adventuring party would fall within 
> this category, as well as haggling, bartering, trading, socializing 
> at the individual level.

Yup. Something along the lines of 'shared and unshared skills and
abilities' too?
> Indirect group mechanics.  Economy, ecology, politics.  

Eg, things with globally reaching influence, both social and actual?
> A simple but odd example:
> 1) Players kill all the cats in Ithaca or King Bubba decrees all cats 
> are illegal.
> 2) Rat population increases.  
> 3) Grain storage decreases. 
> 4) Disease chance increases.
> 5) Bread prices inflate. 
> 6) Population begins to decline.
> 7) Boffo makes a killing importing dogs from Troy.
> 8) The alchemist Al finds en excellent source of income in selling 
> poisons. 
> 9) Bob starts a grain import business.
> 10) Perhaps at some threshold the peasants revolt and depose King 
> Bubba or attempt to lynch the offending players. 
> 11) Bob goes bankrupt. 
> 12) Boffo now imports cats as well.
> 13) Bread prices deflate.
> 14) Al has stumbled onto something a bit more deadly...
> ...

Woah. :)

> Part of the problem with the solo-hack-n-slash mud is the ability for 
> characters to become jack-of-all-trades.  There are a few likely 
> causes.  Skill advancement is too fast and there are so few really 
> used/useful skills available that it's easily possible to build the 
> perfect character in short order through min/maxing, remorting, etc.

Definitely! I intend for PCs to only be able to become proficient in
chains of things which make 'sense' together (by implementing something
along the lines of skill decay, in part).
> A few cures are possible without getting into the "class"ifying of 
> characters.  Increase the number of skills and/or their 
> specialization.  Make skills harder to obtain both in time and cost. 
> Link some skills to membership or knowledge obtainable only from 
> certain guildlike organizations.  Creative building of adventuring 
> areas/quests/situations that requires more varied skills.  

> Hired help in itself is very interesting.  There are many ways an 
> available pool of labor can be used by players.  Mercenaries for 
> hire, shop help, builders for castles and residences, specialized 
> services outside of player playable roles (architects, shipwrights, 
> jewelers, armorers, weaponsmiths), adventuring NPCs, baggage 
> handlers, slaves, castellans, valets, etc.

Absolutely - there are many many things you may want hired help for. To
take the perhaps most obvious one (cannon fodder as you adventure), they
aren't likely to live long (if they do, they will probably proove quite
expensive). Our plans are rather complex on this front, since we would
also like to build in some uncertainting (for instance, just how honest is
that mercenary behind you with the big sword?).
> You mention the amassing of player armies.  The cost and logistics in 
> labor and resources would be vast.  The effects of this on local 
> economies can be both explosive and devastating, even excluding the 
> effects of actual warfare (the old guns or butter issues).  Then 
> there's those elusive things called morale, training, and readiness 
> which might make it all for naught.  

Absolutely. This will probably work over long periods of time (both real
and virtual), and from a small point up. If you have the money to finance
a large or modest army from scratch, good for you - if you can't, you need
to work up from something smaller. For instance, Robin Hood's merry men,
or a band of thugs (synonymous with each other, based on your
> > > 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. :)
> > 
> > Hmm, interesting. ;)
> Another thought. Why should thieves be stuck with such petty 
> activities as pickpocketing.  Implementing interesting systems for 
> second-story work, black-marketing and shopkeeper shakedowns might 
> provide more desireable and realistic fun than sneaking about dragon 
> lairs.  Allow group mechanics in pickpocketing (it's more often done 
> that way ain't it?).  Bands of highwaymen or brigands ambushing 
> caravans or coaches, yada, yada.

Yup! This is something that could be tremendously fun to play. :)

> > There will probably be some means for entering the 'higher up' positions
> > in guilds (since the guild will only be a small group to start with).
> > Pondering this in more detail at the moment. :)
> I was thinking along the lines of traditional medieval occupational 
> guilds and other organizations like schools, universities, political 
> and religious institutions, in addition to player implemented 
> societies.  Some might be already in-place thematic constructs and 
> while others might be primarily social player constructs.

Could be interesting. Think along the line of the guilds in Pratchett's
Discworld books. ;)

	-Matt Chatterley
"Smoking is one of the leading causes of statistics." -?

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