[MUD-Dev] Re: Levelless MUDs

Benjamin D. Wiechel strycher at toast.net
Mon Jun 15 16:11:06 New Zealand Standard Time 1998

>   o We'll have to move from a %based skill proficiency system, to one
>     which has no artificial ceiling (100% is max... hey, is anyone
>     perfect at ANYTHING?) where you have skill bonuses and penalties
>     (+8 on pick lock) and that each skill has a counterskill (working
>     on a -5 difficulty lock, for a net effectiveness of +3) while
>     throwing in some luck (so roll a 3d6 and get <= net effectiveness,
>     where 18 is always a fail, and 3 is always a win)

If you think about it, the equations that go along with this are already
built into the Paladian and AD&D role playing systems.  If you so chose, I
suppose you could use their equations, or you could write your own based on
what skills/stats you wanted to use.  One thing about them, IIRC, is that
you could have 100% in a skill, but often there were minuses (were you
shooting while running, did you have the proper tool, etc.).  This seems to
have been an effective way in regular role playing to handle skills.

>   o Remove the level restrictions on eq. This is what the builders
>     objected to the most (see below). I am of the mindset that levels
>     could still be left in place for deciding relative "power" of the
>     eq (and the goodies/bonuses/penalties/etc. which go along with
>     the more desirable eq), but that if player characters no longer have
>     player levels, then there is no level check for using eq: you
>     found it, you can use it.

Okay, call me crazy, but I don't think in 6 years of mud coding that I've
ever created a piece of equipment that was "level" based.  Strength/skill
based, yes, but I've never said, hey, if you're under level 15 you can't use
this.  Having level based eq seems to be a crazy idea to me.  If you think
about it from a real world perspective, most people couldn't use a
broadsword.  Why?  Because it's 6-8 foot long and quite heavy.  Likewise,
fine, okay, you can pick it up.  Great, do you have the agility to swing it
effectively?  What about strategic/tactical expertise with it?  Those strike
me as stats/skills.  Sure, if a 10 year old had the strength and agility and
desire, they could get to be darn good with one quickly.  But what does age
have to do with it?  A 50 year old man doesn't have as much hope of doing
what a 10-20 year old would with a broadsword.  As for what damage a weapon
would cause, that could be handled by values such as mass, or eq strength
(ie., likelyhood of it being of a stronger material than your opponent's

>   o Give players who wish to not killkillkill something else to do, which
>     represents well-spent time. Player houses, quests, let them run a
>     city, RP, etc.
I agree with this.  Why not let them open up shop and make money off the
adventurers.  A good shopkeep could make a heck of a lot of money in
trading.  Soon enough, if he makes enough money, perhaps he buys some
guards/mercenaries, and before long he's lord of the land.  Definitely
should be bonuses for brains over brawn. =)

>Essentially, levels are being used for two things:
>   1. Determining when you can learn a skill

How 'bout you can always learn a skill, but based on your stats and
profession, you have a predisposition towards some skills rather than
others.  For example, I have a disposition towards being excellent with a
computer, and my brother is more attuned with his creative side, more of an
artist/athlete.  What determines when I can learn a skill irl depends on
what knowledge and experience I already have, and what prerequisite skills I
already posess.

>   2. Determining when you can use eq
As stated above, based on your stats/skills.

>> How do you expect the playerbase to react?
>If it's anything at all like the staff members I've merely MENTIONED this
>to, as a possible *consideration* - with great bouts of gnashing of
>teeth, and with feelings of betrayal. And that's without even speculating
>aloud, what a change like removing levels would entail. Bleah.

Oddly enough, I'm working on a mud where we're all devoted to no one ever
seeing any sort of numeric value for a level.  My intention is to pitch
levels out the door, and maybe experience as well.  Although, I've got an
advantage, we're just getting started. =)  As far as reactions, the people
that I have approached with our basic concept of how the place will operate
seem very interested in the concept.

Anyway, just my initial $.02.

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