[MUD-Dev] [MLP] Why care about levels? (was: The use of ecology models)

Sean Kelly sean at ffwd.cx
Wed May 1 11:57:20 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

From: "shren" <shren at io.com>
> On Sat, 27 Apr 2002, Sean Kelly wrote:

>> At the same time, levels (especially in CPRGs where there is no
>> human arbiter) can give rise to absurd situations, like a naked
>> 20th level mage wh o has 20d4 hit points needing to be stabbed by
>> a dagger 20 times before he dies, even if he stands still and
>> does nothing at all.  A DM can adapt to the situation and make it
>> more fun/plausible than current AI can.

> Sidenote.  In second ED, a mage never had 20d4 hit points.

Thought hit points were 1d4 per level for a mage?  Or did it cap at
some point.

> In third ED, one can safely divide this into two situations.  > In
> the first, the mage is aware of his attacker.  A 20th level mage
> fights as well as a 10th level fighter (minus the feats) - one
> would expect a fighter of such skill to take a lot of defensive
> wounds before the knife fighter got him.

Certainly.  The misleading factor with D&D is that hits are actually
"hits that do damage," and a player's ability to reduce damage by
avoidance and whatnot is dependent on their fighting skill.

> In the second, the mage is unaware.  If a 20th level rogue is
> sneaking up behind a 20th level mage, the rogue can get 3 attacks
> with his dagger from behind, each doing 1d4+10d6 or so.

I grant that D&D 3E is much improved over earlier versions.  And D&D
in general is better than misc CRPGs that derived some concept of a
level system from its rules.  However I think the level-based hit
point system is misleading, as it implies that high-level characters
have Rasputin-like fortitude (because of the implication that a
mobile person will always be actively defending).

One P&P system I played thqat I liked was in Top Secret -- each body
part had a fixed number of hit points and could take either bludgeon
or piercing damage.  With repeated injury, limbs became less useful,
and a good knock on the head could knock you out.

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