[MUD-Dev] Thought Experiment: Permanent Monster Death

John Buehler johnbue at msn.com
Fri Dec 12 10:51:43 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

Brent P. Newhall writes:

> After reading the massive -- and fascinating -- thread on
> entertainment, spawning, etc. in games, I had the following
> thought.  Would love to know what you all think.

>   What would a game look like, if monsters stayed dead?  E.g.,
>   monsters can only be added to the game if the admins explicitly
>   add them.

> Might this not create a game in which individual monsters are much
> more powerful -- thus requiring a lot of team co-operation to kill
> -- but less common?

> How might this affect the "levelling treadmill?"

It depends on the context leading up to monster 'death'.

My own preference has combat being non-lethal, which is why monsters
don't die.  Combat becomes focused on tactical advantage, not death.
So a troll gets beaten back, demoralized and then runs away.  A
dragon doesn't crush or burn its opponents.  It knocks them back in
bunches with head and leg bashes, sweeps its tail to knock down or
send flying a dozen opponents.  If flame were used, it could be used
comically, to just blacken a character from head to foot, while
still knocking them back or knocking them down.  All these
knock-backs could impair the abilities of the characters, eventually
making it pointless to attack any longer.

There can be 'destruction' of monsters that are the equivalent of
cannon fodder.  Non-lethal impact by quarter staff could shatter a
summoned creature.  Made of sticks, bones or other materials held
together only enough to carry out their own attacks.  The summoners
of such creatures are the true target of the player characters, and
they must be defeated and driven off.  Destroying the majority of
their summoned creatures might be enough.

Why drive them off?  Because they are guarding something that the
players want access to.  A water supply for a new town.  An old
library possibly having clues to new spells.  And so on.

In such a system, opponents could be named by the players so that
when they are again encountered, they can remember where they last
fought them.  (I just don't care for monsters that volunteer their
names to enemies.) The bigger monsters will tend to take more effort
to defeat, and some simply cannot be defeated.  They are 'managed'
while the remainder of the battle rages.

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