[MUD-Dev] Statistics

Travis Casey efindel at earthlink.net
Mon Nov 5 19:57:20 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

On Wednesday 31 October 2001 9:14, Ben Chambers wrote:

> What statistics do you consider necessary to define a character?
> I am planning on using a 100% skill based system, with no levels,
> where the more you do something the better you get at it.  The
> problem is I was hopping that the skills would be defined by the
> host.  The set of skills that seem most logical to me are:

>   Strength - How capable of physical feats this character is
>   Constitution - How resistant to physical damage he is
>   Intelligence - How quickly he learns new skills
>   Wisdom - How well he retains learnt skills

> The problem is I can't figure out where spells and stuff would
> come in.

Some paper RPGs use the idea of a two-dimensional grid of
attributes.  Thus, you might have:

  Axis 1:  Physical, Mental, Magical

  Axis 2:  Power, Resistance, Accuracy

  For a table like this:

                  Physical         Mental        Magical
                  --------         ------        -------
  Power           Strength        Knowledge       Aura
  Resistance     Constitution       Will         Spirit 
  Accuracy         Agility         Reason       Intuition

Of course, you can have more than two dimensions, and you could have
more or different categories on the different axes.

So I came up with this:

> If you reduce the system down to JUST the capability to learn and
> the retention of what is learned, Strength is no longer a
> statistic, but rather a skill.  The problem is too many things
> would be dependent upon this one skill.  The obvious solution (in
> my mind) is to define a basic skill for each item, and than any
> skill that you perform (attack) uses a modifier for how proficient
> you are with this weapon.  This however becomes to complex again.

Why go to the level of individual weapons?  You could divide things
up into categories of weapons instead of individual weapons.  You
can even use the same idea as above -- say:

  axis 1:  small, medium, large
  axis 2:  swung, thrust
  axis 3:  blades, blunt instruments

So a dagger would be a small thrust blade, an axe a medium swung
blade, a spear a large thrust blade, and so on.  You could also
allow a weapon to be used in more than one way -- someone could take
a short spear and use it as a large swung blunt instrument, as if it
were a staff.

Another way of dividing things up is by groups of weapons that are
learned together.  For example, you might have the skills:

  knightly combat
  battlefield combat

Someone who knows knightly combat can use it with swords, lances,
and other "knightly" weapons.  Battlefield combat can be used with
falchions, spears, halberds, and other weapons that the "rank and
file" in a medieval army would use.  Dueling could cover rapiers,
daggers, and other weapons popular with duelists in cities.  And
streetfighting covers some bare-knuckle fighting, clubs, broken
bottles, chains, and all that sort of thing.

> What would happen if we defined TWO types of skills?  I could have
> skills that describe the proficiency with different things, and
> than skills which describe what you can do.  The key is that I
> can't do a jump kick with a magical attack, even if I am
> proficient in magic.

I'm a bit confused here -- do you want *some* characters to be able
to do this, but not others?  If you don't want *anyone* to be able
to do it, then simply set things up so it can't be done.

> Any insight as to how to make a good skills system, 100%
> customizable by the host, that represents ALL actions (other than
> social commands) that the player can do?

There's a lot of stuff about skill systems in the archives, but
here's a few thoughts:

  * Remember that an action can use multiple skills/stats, either
    together or individually.  In the setup above, we saw that
    fighting with a spear could use different skills depending on
    how you wanted to do it.  As another example, your ability to
    fight with a sword might depend on Strength, Agility, and
    Knightly Combat.

  * Each action doesn't have to have a separate skill.  A lot of
    muds seem to get caught in a mentality where each one should.
    You could have a "fire magic" skill that covers all fire spells,
    for example.

  * Skills can be used as adds to do actions, enablers, both, or
    even as other things entirely.  For example, some games have
    systems where you must have a minimum "fire magic" skill of X
    before you can start to learn fire spell Y.  Fire spell Y might
    even have its own skill, and "fire magic" might be purely an
    enabler for it.

  * As another example, a skill in "defensive fighting" might not be
    usable for any kind of action, but might simply be a modifier to
    some other stat -- e.g., hit points or armor class in a
    traditional setup.

  * A skill or action might require multiple enablers.  For example,
    a spell of "summon fire elemental" might require a minimum level
    in "fire magic", and a minimum level in "dimensional magic", and
    a minimum level in "mind magic" (to control the elemental).

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