[MUD-Dev] DESIGN: Personal NPCs

cruise cruise at casual-tempest.net
Wed Nov 23 01:58:09 New Zealand Daylight Time 2005

Christopher Lloyd spake thusly...
It depends how much freedom you want your players to

> have. If I was an evil character, I might just want to butcher the
> old man and go off to kill the girl in her cell, and be expected to
> be rewarded for it.

Lydia Leong spake thusly...

> But I want to ask: How does one reduce or eliminate the treadmill,
> rather than just trying to cleverly disguise it?

I'm going to answer these two together, since the answer is the same
for both.

Why give additional rewards for performing actions that the player
should want to do anyway? If someone is evil, and they want slay the
NPC's, then fine, they can slay them. But the reason for slaying
them should be because they're evil - not because it gives them 5%
to the next level. PnP RPG's had to have numerical "levels" to
represent player advancement since there was no other easy mechanic
for reflecting it. Within a computer game, however, we have a
multitude of ways for players to cast spells, fight monsters,
etc. We don't have to rely on dice rolls and arbitary "levels" to
express the aracter skill anymore - we can use the player
skill. Imagine an RPG that used the combat mechanics from Tekken,
for example. Severance: Blade of Darkness was a good example of a
step in the right direction, though it didn't abandon the levels and
stats completely.

> Should you get experience for killing something, no matter how
> weak?  Perhaps you should get negative experience for killing a
> 'good' aligned NPC if you are 'good' yourself. Or more xp if you
> kill something evil.  Either way, it's probavbly even more of a
> reason to keep your character neutral so that you have a wider
> variety of targets to choose from.

> Personally, I don't like the whole good/evil alignment thing, but
> it's a reasonable way to demonstrate the point.

> This is also why a linear alignment system falls down - It's often
> fairly wasy to switch to the other end of the scale. Baldur's Gate
> had a particularily good system whereby a Paladin or Ranger's
> special skills would be permenantly cost if his/her reputation
> fell below the neutral level. It's a shame that this only worked
> for two classes, though.

The mechanics of an RPG should be to help the player /play a role/ -
the only role current CRPG's help the player with is cold merciless

> So if the player regularly rescues things/people, you'd want them
> to bump into a character that needs something rescuing. I like
> it. May I ask how many NPCs per active player you were thinking of
> having at any one time? Would one NPC be providing custom quests
> for several people?  Perhaps in this case, an NPC guildmaster or
> tutor would make a sensible option.

The initial implementation will apply the personalities to the
various guilds and orginisations - members of them are assumed to
have similar personalities. This is more to limit CPU load than
anything. Guilds have different reactions to each other, and react
to the player and offer quests based on the player's memberships,
and their current relationships with other groups.

[ cruise / casual-tempest.net / transference.org ]
   "quantam sufficit"
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