[MUD-Dev] Biosystems (was Fair/Unfair? Scenarios)

J C Lawrence claw at kanga.nu
Thu Dec 9 17:10:16 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999


On Thu, 9 Dec 1999 22:48:52 -0000 
Richard Ross <rross at rross.eurobell.co.uk> wrote:

> The basic idea (for me anyway) was to have creatures that only
> came out of their lairs when they were hungry.  A griffin that
> only ate once a month might seldom be seen out of it's lair
> (nest?), and when it is out (and hungry) it attacks smaller
> creatures it encounters on the way, roams around until it's full,
> then goes home.

Quoting from an old post of mine (minorly edited for clarity):

  http://www.kanga.nu/archives/MUD-Dev-L/1997Q2/msg01607.html

A model I thought of a long time ago which I've always liked:

  The world is an incredibly inhospitable and deadly place.  There
exists a castle/building/other location which offers significant
protection against the dangers of the world.  Following a very
regular schedule with a variance of only a few MUD days, a dragon or
similarly nasty/unkillable meanie travels to the castle, occupies
it, and aggressively kills or removes every other living thing in
it.  Following a similarly regular schedule it then leaves for some
other place in the great dangerous outdoors.  The scheduling is
arranged so that the dragon spends roughly half the time in the
castle and the other half "somewhere else".

  Note:  My original concept was to make the dragon a basilisk, a
creature of roughly adult doberman size but with the strength and
fortitude commonly associated with dragons, and the temperment of a
rabid shark on steroids swimming in blood.

Once that is arranged you can start having fun with the basic
structure.  You could have the movement pattern of the basilisk be
part of an annual breeding migration.  You could have more then one
basilisk.  You could have the basilisks breed in the castle.  You
could have laggardly basilisks which are a bit slow to leave once
their time is up, or aged basilisks which just don't leave at all,
waiting to die.  Next add serious and significant reasons to tempt the
players into the castle while the basilisks are still there: anything
from treasure, the only source of potable water for hundreds of miles
(cf Dune/desert), to weapon materials created as a side effect of the
basilisks habitation, etc.  

Want to get really nasty?  As a part of making the players the game's
prey species, make the entire native animal ecology based on the same
interesting adult/parent life cycle as in Niven's Legacy Of Heorot. 
For those of you that don't know the book (or the african toads the
story is based on) here goes.  

Note:  Its a great book, an uncommonly fine read.  If you haven't read
it, read it before finishing this post (in which case why did I bother
to type the below?)

  Take an animal.

  Have there be massively different, on the level of grubs->beetles or
caterpillars to butterflies larval and adult stages.

  Have it breed prodigiously.

  Have the young of the species be a prime prey/food source for the
adults.

  Have the mere presence of an adult be sufficient to prevent any
juvenile from morphing into the adult form.

  Have the adults be both violently territorial and rapacious.

Niven added to this by having the adults (he called them "Grendels")
be slightly meaner than the above descibled basilisk, /and/ possessed
of a gland which squirted a super-oxygenator into the blood stream
imparting unbelievable speed and strength to the adults for short
periods (modulo cooling problems (they'd boil themselves to death if 
not careful due to internal heat generation).

I could see this being profitably mixed with the Aliens movie
scenario for a rollicking good time.  Just take your prey, err,
players and drop them in the middle of the local grendel/aliens...

> On the same lines, how about having realistic player biosystems.
> I've played quite a few muds that either ignore food altogether
> (or just use it to heal players *shudder*), or have irritating
> "You are hungry." messages that don't mean anything (no game
> effect).

Make the cast off scales from the Basilisks the only (or a vital)
edible food on the planet for humans.  Implement nutrition,
malnutrition, and starvation.

Make humans a necessary part of Basilisk reproduction.  Wasp-style
you could use paralyzed humans as living food for Basilisk grubs,
tho this stretches the prolific breeding bit.  The amusing side
would be a character which has been paralysed, is still concious,
can still be logged into, is not removed from the game, has not
died, sitting in the cave ready to be eaten/being slowly eaten alive
and unable to do more than PAGE.

Oh, the possibilities are endless.

--
J C Lawrence                                 Home: claw at kanga.nu
----------(*)                              Other: coder at kanga.nu
--=| A man is as sane as he is dangerous to his environment |=--


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