[MUD-Dev] RTS aspects in MUDs (LONG)

holding99 at mindspring.com holding99 at mindspring.com
Thu Dec 6 16:50:19 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

At 03:17 PM 12/1/01 -0500, John Robert Arras <johna at wam.umd.edu> wrote:

> In this setup, players don't get to order things around ike in an
> RTS. They are a part of a team. When they do good stuff for the
> team, they get points (like quest points), and they can alter
> things by spending the points.

Actually, as soon as I read this I realized this could become a
political achievement game, much like the level achivement game most
muds implement. Only instead of manipulating NPCs (and PCs, in the
case of PvP environments) for xp, you'd be manipulating NPCs and PCs
for influence (which is what I call the points described
above). With a little imagination this could become quite involved.

Imagine, for example, a PC (let's call him Bubba) enters a new town
(called Foo) in a new kingdom (named Bar). He is completely unknown
there, and so has 0 influence. It takes 100 influence to become a
citizen of Bar. Bubba has several options available to him to get
the influence necessary to become a citizen:

  1.) He could join the town guard; since they command great respect
  in Foo, each day of service (with all that entails) may net Bubba
  2 influence. (Note that the first month is training, and thus
  gives no influence, and the second month only gives 1 influence
  per day as people get to know him.) Thus, after 95 days of service
  Bubba can become a citizen.

  2.) He could spend lots of money in town. Money is power, as they
  say, and having money to throw around can get people to listen to
  you. Of course, in a gold standard he'd have to spend at least
  100,000gp overall (at 1,000gp per point of influence) at 10 or
  more merchants (since no single action or interaction can deliver
  more than 10 influence at a time).

  3.) He could get lucky. Maybe that adventurer he saved in the
  swamp south of Foo was actually a nobleman, and would be willing
  to write Bubba a letter of sponsorship, granting 100 influence.

  4.) He could use some combination of the above. For example, maybe
  that adventurer could only give Bubba 20 influence, but he also
  handed over two gems worth 20,000gp each. Bubba could use the gems
  to purchase items (gaining 10 influence from each), and then join
  the town militia for two months to get the remaining 60 influence

Ultimately, once Bubba has 100 influence, he can effectively
purchase his citizenship with those points. Now he's a citizen of
Bar, but he is back to 0 influence. What did he gain? Well, perhaps
he's been wanting to own a home. Buying it would require 20,000gp,
Bar citizenship, and 50 influence (it's in a relatively nice part of
town). Now that he has the citizenship, the remaining cash he had
from selling the gems and another month in the town militia are all
that he needs to get his dream home.

With this basis, possiblities become ludicrously easy to define:

  Goal:                Influence: Other Costs:    Requirements:
  Citizenship             100         ---         No law trouble
  Home                    50         20k gp       Citizenship
  Shop                    75         25k gp       Home, appropriate skill
  Militia Promotion       30*Rank^2    ---        Militia Member
  Nobility                3000       100k gp      King's commendation, 
                                                  maybe more etc, etc

  [Note: the numbers mentioned above are in no way tested, and
  shouldn't be taken as values set in stone.]

Effectively, this is an xp system where the "xp" (influence) is not
gained by fighting and killing NPCs, but instead by working with
them and doing what they want. There are no levels (no, you don't
start as outsider and automatically gain "Citizen" when you reach a
certain influence total), although the total influence you can spend
or possess might be influenced by your social standing (ie, a noble
will have more influence than a mere shopkeeper, and will be able to
bring more of it to bear at any given time too). Instead, the "xp"
is spent for some specific benefit, such as citizenship, nobility,
or maybe even lower prices (perhaps at a ratio of a 100gp discount
for every influence spent). Large amounts of influence, as John
Arras noted, could even be used to change the course of a kingdom:

> They can spend money and points to alter the kingdom AI. This
> should be so expensive that it would take many players to alter
> the direction the kingdom takes. For example, asking the kingdom
> to declare war on someone, or to make peace with them, or to order
> the local populations to beef up security or production.

Anyhoo, I am quite open to observations, improvements, and feedback
on this, and would be interested if a system like this has already
been implemented and where.

         T.H. Cooke

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