[MUD-Dev] called shots

shren shren at io.com
Fri Apr 27 15:54:43 New Zealand Standard Time 2001

From: "Josh Rollyson" <dinodrac at summit.magenet.net>

> Just out of curiosity, I haven't seen any muds implement "called
> shots".  (Where a specific area of a player, mob, or object is
> targeted)
> When I played D&D we had called shot rules, you could try to aim for
> a percieved weak spot in an opponent's armor, or for the opponents
> head (possibly getting a critical hit of successful) or to maime the
> opponent, so that they couldn't fight effectively - cutting off an
> unprotected hand for instance.
> Does anyone have such a system in use, and what issues has it
> created?

My problem with critcal hit systems built around location aiming
is that they tend to, at least in the case of melee, break the
abstraction pretty badly.  It's generally assumed that someone making
a "generic" to hit roll is just going at the best opening he can
get.  In a real combat, the exact nature of the opening would 
change from second to second, based on terrain, the last strikes,
and a hundred other little details.  Just having one to hit roll
and assuming that you're just trying to do a damaging connect is
pretty good.  As soon as you say, "You can aim at the head", you
get Little-Bunny-Foo-Foo melee characters who scoop up all the 
monsters and bop them on the head.  Somehow the monsters never
figure out that they need to block high.

Or maybe they do.  Maybe you implement a system that solves this.
Maybe repeated critical strikes to the same area get penalties.  Any
really systematic approach to this, however, just opens up exploits
where the players will do the most statistically advantageous strikes
repeatedly.  "Dude, do aimed strikes, go head, torso, stomach, repeat.
You do more damage this way."  At this point I think that the average
sane admin would wonder why he put aimed shots on in the first place,
with players across the mud doing the three step tango to be
I guess if I were writing an aimed shot system, I'd slow down the
swings and build it into the combat system, so instead of the players
picking aimed shots, the system offers them good shots.  Like, halfway
through the combat, you get the message:

  "His guard drops some and his head is vunerable.  Do you want to go
  for it? (y to take the aimed shot)."

It might add some nice flavor to combat, maybe even a tang of realism.
After all, any combatant from martial arts or fencing will tell you
that you don't pick the good shots.  Your opponent does, by making

It occurs to me that you could build an entire combat system around
the "offered shot" system.  Instead of just normal swings on a ticked
system, you'd face off with your opponent and get streams of flavour
text, and respond to questions to fight.  It'd take a lot of work to
keep it from being too reflex intensive or lag-prone, though.  Maybe
I'll do a Perl proof of concept in my copious free time.

Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day.
Teach a man to fish, and you've created competition.
Competition keeps you on your toes.

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