[MUD-Dev] Combat systems, the good the bad and the ugly

Travis Casey efindel at earthlink.net
Sat Jul 8 14:06:08 New Zealand Standard Time 2000

On Saturday, July 08, 2000, Malcolm Valentine wrote:
> On Thu, Jul 06, 2000 at 02:08:31PM -0400, Travis Casey wrote:

> <snipped past quotes>

>> Looking at what I wrote and your reply, I can only come to the
>> conclusion that you didn't actually read my message, but just glanced
>> over it and fired off a response.  I specifically said that it's
>> possible to design rules in such a way that they can handle such
>> things *without* the GM having to step in constantly, then gave some
>> examples from paper RPGs of features that can help handle the
>> situation in question *without* GM intervention.  Indeed, I clearly
>> stated twice that I was talking about systems that don't require GM
>> intervention! 

>   Well, my posts tend to wander a fair bit, what I was really trying to
> say was that I don't think there is a "near perfect system" for most game
> mechanics, combat the specific example here. After all, it takes an entire
> universe to make our lives "realistic", what hope does a poor computer
> have. Whilst I said your suggestions were sound, my reply was more in
> general to the oversight many people seem to make in translating paper
> RPG's to muds (I meant to state in my last reply that it wasn't a direct
> response soley to your suggestions, sorry).

Ah -- I see.  It makes much more sense, in that case.  I tried to
indicate that at the start of my original message by saying at the top
that most RPGs handle that through GM intervention, but I probably
didn't hit that hard enough.

IMHO, there's a lot of ideas in paper RPGs that could work well for
muds, but I can't think of any paper RPG system that I'd want to
simply lift out and use as-is.  The two environments have a lot of
different challenges and limitations, so a complete system that works
well for one is likely not to be well-suited for the other.

>   The other problem with designing a combat system for a mud is that it
> needs to accomadate expansion with little effort. When I first started
> playing Car Wars, the combat system was very simple as there was one
> armour type, two weapon classes (vehicular and personal), and a total
> of around twelve weapons. Since then there have been hundreds of additional
> things created which can be added to your vehicle, and roughly a quarter
> of those bought with them additional rules for their use in the game. This
> is the game I think of whenever I'm tempted to write a "special case"
> clause into my mud (Though I still do implement them sometimes, the
> advantage of having a computer doing the rules referencing for you).

Definitely.  What might be best is an approach like that in the paper
RPG Champions -- define a large set of effects that equipment, powers,
etc. can use, and then define other things in terms of those effects.
That is, instead of special-casing things as they come up, try to work
out all the effects you think are likely to come up ahead of time.

(I'll note that WotC claims that 3rd edition D&D is taking something
like this approach -- instead of having every monster that has, say,
an improved surprise ability have that ability specially defined for
it, there will be one improved surprise ability that can be given
different levels of effect, and monsters that have improved surprise
will use it.  They're not going down to the same level that Champions
does, but they are trying to clean up and regularize the system more.)

>   I also meant my last reply as a hook to anyone out there running/playing
> a different combat system to gift the list with their experience of its 
> benefits and drawbacks, guess I used the wrong the bait.

Hmm... I've got a worm and a mouse here... <dangle, dangle>

> ps, having read your followup I feel mostly to blame for my poorly
>     constructed previous reply (Not that this one is much better :) ).

Well, I think it's a lot better -- if you'd remembered to include that
bit about the last one not being a direct response to mine, I'd have
agreed with you on the last one.  :-)  Oh well -- I've made similar
mistakes posting replies too.

       |\      _,,,---,,_    Travis S. Casey  <efindel at earthlink.net>
 ZZzz  /,`.-'`'    -.  ;-;;,_   No one agrees with me.  Not even me.
      |,4-  ) )-,_..;\ (  `'-'
     '---''(_/--'  `-'\_)      

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