[MUD-Dev] A new combat system

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Fri Jul 14 15:04:14 New Zealand Standard Time 2000

On Fri, 14 Jul 2000, Travis Casey wrote:
> I would guess that Joe is referring to an effect that happens in some
> round-based paper RPGs that have action points and use them for
> timing.  Namely, characters who have fewer action points suffer an
> apparent "freeze" or "idle time" at the beginning of each round.
> Here's a simple example; this is the same in principle as many paper
> RPGs, but isn't exactly like any one in detail:
> [snip]
> This "I can't move for a while, then I'm just as fast" method makes it
> seem as if the slower characters are periodically "freezing" or
> "idling".
> If everyone starts acting at the same time, then uses the same number
> of action points to do things, you get the reverse effect -- namely,
> that the slower characters "freeze" at the end of each round.  Either
> way, it doesn't feel right.
> Now, it is possible to build action-point systems that don't have this
> problem, but such systems are usually more complicated.  (Typically,
> they involve faster characters not getting more action points, but
> instead being able to take an action by spending fewer points than
> others.)

There's another system, one which I'm sure has been used in a number of
places (wargames, maybe?), but which I recall most fondly from the computer
game Wizardry.  (At the moment I'm thinking of 6 & 7, the two I played the
most, but they probably all use something similar.)

At the begining of a round you assign actions to your characters.  This
can be attacks (slash, chop, thrust, shoot, etc depending on the type
of weapon they are wielding), defend (there was just one generic catch-all
for simplicity), casting a spell, hiding, doing a surprise attack (if
you're already hiding), reloading your weapons, changing equipment, using
an item, and so forth.

Once all actions had been assigned for all combatants, the round begins.
Combat proceeds in timeslices very similar to a realtime game (eg, the
Diablo system that started this thread), except you have no input over
what happens.  The order in which things happen is based on the speed of
the characters and what they are trying to do.  So a fast character with
a fast attack is likely to get off their attack close to the begining of
the round, and vice versa.  Some actions were inherently very slow - changing
equipment, for example, almost always happened towards the end of the round.
This meant that if you encountered a bunch of fire-breathing creatures and
decided that you wanted to change into your Cloak of Fire Protection, they
had a very good chance of roasting you at least once before you could

I liked this system because it retained the turn-based feel for
control, but the actual resolution was more like a real-time game.  That is,
if your mage was in the middle of casting a large spell to roast all your
enemies, but he got hit by a successful "paralyze" spell before he finished,
it simply meant that you didn't get to cast the spell.

I think this system could fit into a mud with some work.  You would
have to put a time limit on the "decision" time for each round to keep
someone from stalling indefinitely, of course.


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