[MUD-Dev] Limited character lifespans

Rayzam rayzam at travellingbard.com
Tue Feb 11 23:46:09 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003


From: "Paul Cobb" <pcobb at zona.net>

> I once had a character in an RPG that I had spent 6 months
> playing. I had invested a ton of time in the character and at the
> end of one of our big adventures, I had a choice to screw everyone
> over and save myself or sacrifice myself and save the team. They
> didn't know about this. I took the sacrifice and we've been
> retelling the story for about 6 years now. (It's a long story, I'm
> not going to relate it all here.)

> This was definately my most memorable character yet, even though
> I've had others that I've put years of time into.

Yknow, I always hear these stories, and I've been privy to some
myself.  I must say though, that often, after a character sacrifice,
the new character isn't a starter. The new character starts off
closer to the rest.  So in a level-context, if the level 10
character died in AD&D, bringing in a new level 1 is too great a
power-differential. So the new character to replace the heroically
dead one is often level 8 or 9.

This works from both the player and the GM's vantage points. The GM
won't feel bad if a player dies if they can have a new one that's
still viable with the playgroup, or else you lose the playgroup. The
player can make a sacrifice more easily if the gaming experience
loss is not that great, where gaming experience is a combination of
abilities/usefulness/interactions/social.

Yet when people talk about PD here, or limiting a character, or
being the first game to kill of a character for good, it's in the
context of the greatest differential loss available.

How's this for a possible system:

  - class based

  - limited lifespan or level-limit.

  - when you die, hit the lifespan limit, or the level limit, you
  get reincarnated with much of your gained experience available for
  use in the new character.

  - you can't reincarnate into the same class.

This last point is the point of interest/new idea. We have dying of
old age. We have reincarnation that returns 70% of the worth of a
character.  However, we have spells to make characters younger, so
noone needs to die of old age. And players can reincarnate their
characters when they want to enjoy more of the game.

But what if the game design forced more exploration of the game
space?  The game can even track the last X classes, and prevent
repeating a class in that range. So what's the advantage here?

  - there's a limit to a character and it's power.

  - the player knowledge is reincarnated like the character
  experience.  Playing a different class means that some of the
  specific player knowledge derived for playing one class isn't
  appropriate for another class.

  - exploration of game space and game options. Some players may
  find that they're second or third choice class is more enjoyable
  for them. And that's an option they might not have found
  originally.

  - game balance. If there's a stronger class, then the time spent
  in it is less than in a 'weaker' class.

  - game diversity. Flavors of the month in a class may fill it for
  a while, but as some people will advance faster than others, the
  switch over to other classes will occur with more time diversity,
  splitting up the bolus of players, and seeding them across other
  classes.

Just an idea,

rayzam 
www.travellingbard.com
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