[MUD-Dev] Re: Prescience Rules?

Richard Woolcock KaVir at dial.pipex.com
Fri Jun 19 01:34:17 New Zealand Standard Time 1998

Dan Shiovitz wrote:


> I'd be curious to know how you implemented a "detect lie" skill that
> works on other players without invoking OOC negotiation. Or telepathy,
> for that matter.

Well I admit that they are not coded very well, however I will describe
them and then go on to describe how I would like to expand them.

Detect lie:  Players have access to an 'announce' command, which can be
followed by a couple of parameters.  For example:

   ]announce diab no
   You announce 'I have never committed diablerie'.

Then if someone examines your aura they get the message:

   Bubba has recently lied.

I would like to (when I have the time) replace the announce command with
a parser to check through spoken strings and determine what the players is
actually saying, creating a 'TRUE/FALSE' lie detection accordingly.  I will
have to add the parser anyway for the mob speech code I am working on, so I
may as well use it here as well.  It won't be perfect, but it will work.

Telepathy: Well to be honest I think I missed the thread on this - I will
assume it is referring to mind control.  I have a power called 'Unveil the
Shrouded Mind' which allows you to in effect 'snoop' other players.  The
responses you get are things like:

   Bubba thinks: look
   Bubba thinks: examine kavir

Not very good, I know, but it could be expanded with a bit of effort to 
create more descriptive messages, for example the 'look' might come out

   Bubba's mentally surveys the area.

While the examine might come out as:

   Bubba examines you.
   Bubba remembers that he saw you kill Boffo.

Note also that in my code the lies are picked up with the telepathy as
well, for example:

   Bubba thinks: announce diab no
   Bubba announces 'I have never committed diablerie'.
   Bubba is lying.

If I've mistakenly identified your meaning of telepathy then please
correct me - I checked back but was unable to find any reference to

> I looked at your other email (woo, archives) and have
> to say I don't think any of them give the feel he's looking for, IMO.

It really depends on what it is he is after - there are some things that
just cannot be coded.  I remember a while ago trying to think of a way to
allow players to co-exist at different periods of time (prehistoric, roman,
dark ages, modern day, etc) with actions they perform in the past affecting
things in later times.  Short of having buildings appear/vanish in explosions
of paradox, I cannot see how it could be done - and equally, trying to predict
the future properly is either impossible (a word I am loath to use) or beyond
my humble abilities.

> At least, to me it sounds like he's looking for prophet-types that see
> for sure what will happen, not people that get impulses/feelings about
> what might happen. So it's no good to say "you see your corpse lying
> at Bob's feet" if there's a possibility you might win (and it's a
> tricky thing to predict the outcome of combat, of course). You *could*

In many novels/games, predicting the future isn't a clear art - there are
many futures, and you have to follow the most likely route.  Thus you could,
in the combat example above, determine the outcome of a fight between your
character and Bob, as well as any people grouped with either of you.  The
combat would not, therefore, take into account Bob's big brother, standing
in the other room with a nuclear warhead strapped to his forehead, practicing
his 'headbutt' skill in preparation.

> maybe do it by deciding in advance the results and then fudging die
> rolls extensively to make it work. I think, though, this might seem a
> little obvious to the player sometimes (eg, Bubba gets a vision of
> getting killed by Bob, but halfway through Fred comes in and blasts
> Bob with the magic bazooka of slaying. You could have the bazooka
> magically misfire or the blast somehow miss Bob, but ...) The other
> ones are kind of interesting but seem to be more like knowing the
> present rather than predicting the future (which is of course also a
> useful skill but still not what he's looking for. I don't think, anyway.)

True, it could be used as more of a 'danger sense' ability.

> > > Suggestion #2: Occasionally, immortals give visions to prescient
> > >                characters. Prescient characters are free to do
> > >                whatever they want with these visions, including lie
> > >                about them. For other times, they should get good at
> > >                making up plausibly vague prophecies.
> >
> > This is one way to do it, although a rather poor way IMO.  I prefer
> > code to be as automated as possible rather than rely on imm's to do
> > all the work.
> Yeah, me too, but I don't see a better way to get around it. I guess

But how does it get around the problems described above?  The only thing
you could do would predict things like "A great orc warrior shall arise,
and lead his army against the forces of this town"...but the mud could
be coded to do that as well.

> some automation is possible if you stick to preventing events and not
> outcomes. F'instance, "You get a vision of a tribe of orcs attacking
> the city" and then enqueuing an event to start an orc attack three

*chuckle* maybe I'm developing prescience? ;)

> days later. This would provide a chance for the prophet character to
> try and warn the guards and gather up defenses into the city to
> prepare for the attack. Or not get believed, as the case may be. I
> think, though, that prophets are most interesting when they get
> visions of Big Events, which are IMO the sort of things that immortals
> ought to be scripting anyway. Sending out visions would be just
> another part of the setup (alternately, if immortals design scenarios
> like "Orc Attack" that get played several times, adding a vision onto
> the prophet queue would be just another command in the scenario).

Hmmm I'd still rather put the effort into something automated which
created a similar result.  Perhaps some other people could give some
suggestions on writing code to enable the mud to develop and control
its own plotlines?


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