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

Travis Casey efindel at polaris.net
Fri Apr 10 21:54:27 New Zealand Standard Time 1998


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

>>    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
>>    powers.

> There's a fine line between IC and OOC communication levels - the
> newbies will do that anyway, so I don't consider this aspect as
> important

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

> Like, can the Caballist be a Paladin? I have my own way of implementing
> that - in short, in a actor/target/context scenario the effect and the
> counter-effect will be determined based on the properties, and if it
> happens, say, that the one who is a Caballist will try to perform some
> good (positive-aligned) actions, the backfire will be tremendous, but
> anyway one would be able to do that.

I'm thinking more in terms of social conflicts -- e.g., inter-guild
rivalries or warfare.  The guild creates a sense of a group by giving
the players who are in it something in common, and that sense of being
a group is reinforced by the fact that the guild members turn to each
other for help in learning to use their abilities effectively.  This
creates mentor-student relationships.  Of course, once the
relationships are established, they can branch out and become more
complex.

In a system where characters can only belong to one guild at a time,
the mere fact that the characters belong to different guilds will tend
to create in-group out-group polarities and conflicts.  The mere fact
of having a distinction tends to cause people to favor their own group
and denigrate or dislike other groups; if the different guilds compete
for resources in any way (e.g., by trying to recruit new players), the
tendency towards conflict will be strengthened.

As mentioned above, in most muds, guilds correspond to what would be
termed classes in D&D.  However, there's no reason why this has to be
true -- there could be multiple guilds whose members are of the same
class.  I would guess that inter-guild rivalries would be even
stronger in this sort of setup, because the different guilds would
tend to have more resources that they are in competition for.  (For
example, a warrior's guild and a mage's guild aren't going to tend to
compete for the same items -- the items which are most useful to
warriors aren't as useful to mages and vice-versa.  Two mage's guilds,
however, would be in competition for the same items.)

>> 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?

> Exactly the point I mentioned above. Knowledge is a power, which is a
> stat (property, as I put it), and it cannot be just taken away. There
> are workarounds, though - say, some substance (as above) or, if it's a
> religious guild, the influence of a certain god, but that's a different
> story.

Not being able to "lose" the powers, but only being able to give them
up, can also create suspicion of those who change guilds -- especially
if a training system is implemented where PCs can train each other in
skills.  A guild-changer may be pressured by the new guild to give up
secrets of the old guild.  Alternatively, a guild-changer might be
suspected of still being loyal to the original guild -- of intending
to steal the guild's secrets.

In the case of a religious guild, things can be even more fun if some
of the priests who leave the "guild" do manage to keep their powers --
is the god showing favor to them still?  Have they taken up commerce
with demons to get their powers?  If you wanted to, you could have
heresies, rival sects, the two hierarchies excommunicating each other,
and all sorts of fun!

>> 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.

> And/or haunted, with a significant shift to the negative alignment, with
> all the consequences. But then, also, alignment communities, if you
> remember what I'm talking about...

Personally, I don't tend to like alignment systems.  In particular, I
don't like systems where a character's alignment is easily discovered.

> Also, there's a complicated issue here - what is a generic mechanism
> which will support the concept of 'didn't give up'? Or, more general,
> for example, I know that killing someone innocent makes me more evil
> (the detection is clear, just analyze the alignment), but what if for
> some reason I'm not supposed to use this lamp as a nightpot (due to my
> guild's rules), but I do?

> See, here's a possibility to drown in an ocean of particular cases -
> have anybody come up with a general solution for this problem?

Well, not liking alignments or similar mechanisms, I'd tend to let
this be handled in the same way as in the real world -- no one knows
that you're cheating on the guild rules unless you slip up and someone
finds out.  This can allow for more internal conflict in the guilds as
well -- people can make false accusations that a character is
violating guild rules, or can suspect (or even know) that someone is
violating the rules, but not be able to prove it.

In such a system, the only rules that would need game enforcement
would be those that can actually effect the character's powers --
e.g., violations of a god's requirements for priests of that god.

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