[MUD-Dev] Something in the water

Ian Hess ianhess at hotmail.com
Tue Aug 7 01:26:43 New Zealand Standard Time 2001

>From: Travis Casey <efindel at earthlink.net>
> On Monday 30 July 2001 09:05 pm, rayzam wrote:
>> From: "Travis Casey" <efindel at earthlink.net>

> Pendragon uses the Runequest style of "learn by doing" for skills,
> and applies it to traits as well.  If a character acts honorably
> in a significant situation, for example, the character gets to
> check to see whether or not his/her Honorable trait increases.
> xxx >> Over time and staff effort, more and more drives could >>
> be added, such as wanting blueberries.

> Or, as I note above, you could have "generic" traits, which are
> assigned a target.

In the live action game Masquerade, which is the WoD Vampire
offering, each character muct begin with at least one 'Beast Trait'.
This trait is a situation, item, or action that, if encountered,
will drive the character into uncontrollable acts of Terror,
Control, or Rage.  Only the expenditure of a hard to acquire
Willpower Trait can keep a character from this state.  Most
characters never have more than one to three Willpower Traits for
every few games.

If a vampire commits an act against the 'Path of Humanity', murder,
torture, etc, the character must test with a GM to acquire a second
Beast Trait pertaining to the act.

If/when a character acquires his or her fifth Beast Trait, the
character irrevocably becomes an NPC under the control of the GM.
This was sometimes problematic in a live- action game because you
had to get a player to agree to play the part.  It wouldn't be hard
in an online game with good AI (which I will admit is a separate set
of problems), or GM's who are willing to take the character over.

Removal of Beast Traits is monolithically difficult, and must happen
at the discretion of a GM.

Most players regarded the possibility of acquiring an addition Beast
Trait with great loathing.  They still taunted, picked on, schemed
against, and generally made their enemies lives difficult, but there
was a line that few players crossed.  That line made several VERY
large Masquerade games work without almost any other PvP type
controls other than social concepts like allies of a slain taking

Its worth noting that an ally becoming a raving beast oftentimes
mobilized more emotional energy than an ally being butchered.  After
all, someone who knew how to take you out that no longer had any
compunctions was one of the most serious dangers possible.

The system also made for NPC's whose lives were less...  cherished.
Humans couldn't be counted on not to be unreliable, so they were
often rejected from positions of trust because of it.  Werewolves
and other supernatural foes who didn't have moral restrictions often
could attack characters simply by investigating and capitalizing on
the characters weaknesses, including Beast Traits.

Also, this concept of characters being lost to bestial states was
used by several players to have a defined, planned end to their
character's story.

I believe that mechanics like this that engender informational
warfare and social PvP sans character death are critical to the
success of a true large scale RPG.

Ian Hess
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