[MUD-Dev] Character development [was Re: ]

Travis Casey efindel at polaris.net
Thu Apr 9 22:30:59 New Zealand Standard Time 1998

On Thursday, 9 April 98, Vadim wrote:
> Travis S. Casey wrote:

>> Some paper RPers prefer to develop characters in play rather than
>> generating them at the start.  The idea is that the player may not
>> know enough about the gameworld when the game starts to be able to
>> generate exactly the kind of character he/she would want.  Thus,
>> some aspects of character generation are delayed.
>> A more concrete example of this is to give the players the ability
>> to "hold back" a few attribute/skill/whatever points and assign them
>> when they want to.

> Bad implementation may allow characters to change their stats right
> before they know they will need ones - say, I'm about to run for a quest
> which requires an enormous physical strength, so I just roll all my
> stats into strength... I believe, all those attempts should have a cost
> to them so it would be difficult to abuse that without suffering.

Whether that's a problem or not depends on your point of view -- if
there's a quest today that requires strength and the player chooses to
bump up strength to handle it, he/she won't have those points to use
to bump up willpower if a quest comes along tomorrow that needs it.

Thinking about it, though, I may not have explained too well.
Characters aren't infinitely mutable during the starting period;
rather, the player doesn't have to allocate all his/her points at the
start, but once they are allocated, the player is stuck with where
he/she's put them.

Also, the number of points that the player can hold back for later use
is often limited.  Thus, the player can choose to give the character a
few extra points in an attribute, but can't suddenly decide to go from
having a very low strength to having a very high strength.

>> Of course, some muds already use a variation on this sort of system --
>> allowing players to choose such things as guilds after their characters
>> have entered play.

> And also to be banned from the guild?

Yep.  :-)

> Next flamebite, what is a definition of a guild? Why it is there? What
> for? (I ask not because I don't know but because I want to analyze,
> decompose and generalize that).

Well, I think we all know what a traditional mud guild is -- basically
a D&D-style class that characters may join after starting the game,
and has the option of leaving.

Now, what *should* a guild be... that's another question.  :-)

Guilds have several aspects as they're traditionally implemented.

 - give characters special abilities

   As mentioned above, guilds in most muds are similar to D&D's
   classes.  Hence, they determine what special abilities characters
   have access to.  In a skill-based mud, this aspect could exist as
   well, but would have to work in a different way -- for example, a
   guild might be the only place that a character could learn
   particular skills.

 - provide a means for characters to advance

   In some muds, characters can only go up in levels at guild houses.
   In others, guild houses are places where characters can get training.
   In still others, guild houses have neither of these functions, but
   instead have only social functions as a gathering place.
 - are groups which characters belong to

   Guilds give the players who are in them something in common.  In
   addition to the mere fact of guild membership, the members share
   the same special abilities; thus, newer members will tend to go to
   more experienced members for advice on how to effectively use their

   These groups can also provide a point of conflict between
   characters who belong to different guilds, which can lead to more

So, what can we do from here?  What other things can we do to expand
on the role of guilds?  Well, one thing springs to mind for me --
traditionally, when a character leaves a guild, he/she loses all the
powers of that guild.  However, in most cases, that doesn't make a lot
of sense -- why should characters forget what they've learned from a
guild because they leave it?

What if characters who left a guild could keep the powers gained, but
were supposed to give up using them?  Those who didn't give them up
would be considered to have defied the guild and become renegades.

Of course, some sort of limits would be needed -- you probably
wouldn't want a character to go around and learn the powers of all the
different guilds.  Still, this could add an additional roleplaying
dimension to a game.

       |\      _,,,---,,_        Travis S. Casey  <efindel at io.com>
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