[MUD-Dev] Re: Prescience Rules?

Scatter scatter at thevortex.com
Tue Jun 23 16:53:18 New Zealand Standard Time 1998

[apologies for any line-wrap weirdness]

I intend to have some forms of prescience or "seeing the future" in 
my mud since the form of magic in my theme is mentally based (that 
is to say, there is no arcane, wizard-like magic, but instead a system 
of powers of the mind which have some parallels with conventional 
magic systems) and as you say, prescience can be a strong element 
in a fantasy setting.

What I have in mind (completely unimplemented as yet) is that players 
with the appropriate skills may under certain circumstances see 
glimpses of scenes or events of what is considered (by the server) 
to be the most likely future to happen, based on the assumption that 
the player makes no changes to their behaviour following the vision.

That's a fairly horrible sentence so I'll give a few examples of the 
sort of things I mean.

1) A player with the appropriate mental abilities enters a room 
   containing a large treasure chest and has never been there before. 
   The treasure chest has a trap built into it and opening it will 
   probably be fatal.

   The assumption is made that players generally try to open chests 
   and so depending on the player's skills/stats, one of the following 
   could occur:

   - the player gets a strong feeling of danger, possibly focussed on 
     the chest

   - the player sees a vision of themself or a companion lying dead or 
     dying next to the chest

   - the player sees a quick vision of the chest opening, associated 
     with a feeling of danger or death
   - the player sees a quick vision of themself or a companion opening 
     the chest and triggering the trap

2) A player with the appropriate mental abilities reaches a certain
   level which unknown to them allows some npc elsewhere to assign them 
   a task, or to teach them something.

   The assumption is made that sooner or later, the player will
   that npc and be offered the task / tuition / whatever.
   The player therefore receives a vision of that event - the location
   perhaps a snippet of conversation.

Case 1 is very short term, near future and is effectively a warning - 
ignoring the warning could have dire effects almost immediately. This is 
a 'will probably happen unless action is taken' vision. Case 2 on the 
other hand is simply a "helpful hint" - it's not tied to any particular 
time in the future, its just extra information to the player. This is 
effectively a 'will definitely happen' vision - the scene will
happen at the point that the player meets the npc involved, but no 
specific time is attached to the vision.

Another type of vision is what I'd call the 'prophecy' type - where a 
dream sequence or poem of some kind is produced which is heavily loaded 
with riddles and symbolism. This has the advantage that it can be 
generated on the fly and doesn't absolutely have to be relevant to 
anything in particular. It could be a cryptic hint to a quest or puzzle 
that exists somewhere in the mud. It could be pseudo-random rubbish - 
chances are players will be able to match it to events after they've 
happened. "Danger threatens in the deepening storm" for example is 
totally lacking in context - player's won't have a clue what it is 
foreshadowing. But if by chance a few days later the weather system
happens to generate a thunderstorm and during it they're almost killed 
by an ogre or lightning happens to fry their friend then they'll 
remember the prophecy and associate it to the event.

It's amazing what players will believe the mud can do in this respect -
most will happily believe that they are really getting hints of what 
is in their future, as if the mud is planning such things out way in 
advance. Afterall I remember once doing a complicated series of emotes, 
pretending to curse someone with bad luck after he stole some money 
from me. Always after that he would moan and complain about the curse 
I placed on him everytime something went wrong for him - even to the 
extent of badgering creators to remove the curse. :)

Scatter ///\oo/\\\

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