[MUD-Dev] It's About Time Department (Mule Characters)

Travis Casey efindel at earthlink.net
Tue Jun 18 15:58:59 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

Tuesday, June 18, 2002, 12:22:29 AM, John A. Bertoglio wrote:

> The recently released RPG from Microsoft has an unusual solution
> to "mule" characters. They allow you to add a real mule to your
> party! This the first time I have seen this in a game. Of course,
> a mule uses a slot that could be occupied by another fighter or
> magic user but the convience of not having to stop quests to
> unload loot is worth the loss of firepower. The mule tends to hang
> back in combat but has a fairly potent rear hoof kick attack (as
> well as amusing animations) and high hitpoints that allow it to be
> fairly self-sufficient in combat. The mule gets experience and
> improves its skills with time just like any other character in the
> game.

Of course, paper RPGs have had pack animals, riding animals, etc.
forever... I'm surprised that more computer RPGs don't make use of

> The use of pack mules (or pack "anything else" animals) in muds
> allows for a portable "house/locker/chest" without the persona
> needing to be burdened with adventuring gear. Seems like a good
> idea.

Yep.  And there are other possibilities as well.  On SWmud (a Star
Wars-themed mud I used to admin on), we had riding animals,
vehicles, and even droids that were designed to carry large loads.

Classic D&D and AD&D had "hirelings" -- NPCs who were hired to
perform dull or mundane tasks for the party.  Torchbearers (it's
rather hard to juggle a sword, shield, and torch while fighting a
monster), bearers (mules and horses don't usually do well getting
through dungeons and caves), spear-carriers (throwing spears can be
good weapons, but carrying a lot of them around gets burdensome),
and so on.

Different gaming groups made different amounts of use of such
characters, so a lot of gamers have never seen such things being
used, even in paper games... but they could be used in computer

An interesting note to tie into the magic thread... the old paper
game The Fantasy Trip had a setup where magic fatigued the magician,
effectively lowering his/her Strength.  However, there was a simple
spell that allowed a magician to "lend" his/her Strength to another,
effectively taking the fatigue for casting spells for the other
magician.  This was one of the main functions of apprentices -- an
apprentice might not be able to do much magic on his/her own, but
could function as a "strength battery" for the master magician.  NPC
"apprentices for hire" were available -- big, strong guys who knew
just enough magic to be able to lend strength to another magician.
Powerful magicians going on quests might take three or four of these
guys along -- it would be expensive, but you'd be able to cast a lot
more spells, and, since two or three of them can rest while you draw
from one of them, you'd effectively be able to recover points a lot
faster as well!

Travis Casey
efindel at earthlink.net

MUD-Dev mailing list
MUD-Dev at kanga.nu

More information about the MUD-Dev mailing list