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Old 06-22-2003, 11:38 AM   #1
OnyxFlame
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Yesterday I was trying to convince a friend of mine to include permadeath in his MUD and I told him that most hardcore RP'ers prefer to have permadeath, but I don't really know for sure, so here goes.

Note: I'm not necessarily talking about 1 death and you're out. In fact I personally prefer that there be some type of resurrection spell(s) so that any given death may or may not be permanent. So if you prefer any particular "flavor" of permadeath, post that too.
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Old 06-22-2003, 02:08 PM   #2
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To be honest, I'm not entirely decided. I've never played a permadeath MUD before, but the one I am developing, the consensus was to use permadeath so I guess I'll get a first hand look.

I can see the necessity for a hardcore RP MUD, but at the same time, I'm also the type of person that doesn't like to lose all the time and effort put into a character. If only there were a way to do both

I'm very curious to hear about the different resurrection ideas.
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Old 06-23-2003, 04:16 AM   #3
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Cool

I voted 'maybe', meaning, 'it depends on the theme of your mud.'
I think most of the pro-permadeathers prefer it because they find it more realistic. On a mud with a realistic theme, it would be silly to meet the person you killed. But, in some fantasy themes, it can be handled well to make sense.
For example, in xyllomer, religion is a big part of the roleplay. Resurrections are just part of the many manifestations of divine power and rewards for faith that you see everyday. (Well, not every day unless you've got some serious issues). So if permadeath were put in, I think that the world would definitely lose something.
In general, I feel that if you can make resurrections make sense ic'ly, you should use them, because permadeath hinders gameplay somewhat. But then, I'm only 80% roleplayer, so the other 20% cares about silly stuff like that.
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Old 06-23-2003, 06:31 AM   #4
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I can see the necessity for a hardcore RP MUD, but at the same time, I'm also the type of person that doesn't like to lose all the time and effort put into a character. If only there were a way to do both
There is. When a character dies, you force the player to create a new one - but allow the player to carry over their experience points to spend on the new character. Thus the player now has a new character, with a new name, appearance, occupation, etc - but they're at the same level of power as the previous character (although that "power" might now be in a different field). Thus when Bubba the Barbarian is killed in combat, his player is able to create a Boffo the Bard, who's magical and musical abilities are at the equivilent rating as Bubba's fighting skills had been. This is also a good way of restricting advanced character concepts to experienced players only.
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Old 06-23-2003, 07:08 AM   #5
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I voted no, although that's not really a good way of defining my view.

Perma-death is realistic, and the most enjoyable system I've found for me is one where your character dies permanently after a set criteria has been reached (old age, set amount of deaths, etc). Permanent death on the first death is just plainly annoying to me. If you don't restrict it some newbie comes along and gets whopped by an aggro mob, boom bye bye character. If you restrict it to the first PK death and the MUD playerbase is fairly large, it's easy to get slaughtered by a group or killed by someone who has no real reason to kill you other than "I'm a mass murderer". You can put in RP restrictions and penalties to try and stop it, but once your player-base gets to around the 50 mark it's just too easy to have happen.

I've had this argument with many different people over the years. It ends up boiling down to them saying "It's more realistic" and me saying "If you want realism stop playing games and go live life". I think sometimes the really hardcore RP'ers can forget that what we are playing IS a game, and if it was entirely based on real-life following real-life rules I don't think it'd be anywhere near as fun.

The other thing I think people overlook is the "alternate reality" concept. Tells aren't realistic? Who's to say they aren't a normal form of communication in YOUR world? People shouldn't be resurrected? Maybe the Gods on your world are particularly benevolent. Magic isn't based on real-life, yet most of us put mage classes and magic spells in our games. It's all about the eternal compromise, making a game realistic and believable without sacrificing gameplay. If you stick in a feature that makes the game more realistic, but takes fun away from the majority of players (some people prefer realism over gameplay, bleh) then in my mind you made the wrong choice.

That said, I think penalties on dying in a lot of MUD's are ridiculously light, but that's another topic
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Old 06-23-2003, 07:27 AM   #6
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Having experienced both, I have to say I much prefer permadeath for a veriety of reasons.

The first, is that it just makes sense. I mean - okay I start my character as being 20 years old...and the world goes through however many game-years while I'm playing...and after a few years of playing, she's now 80 years old and is more powerful than she was when she started? That's just silly. 80 year old people break their hips, they don't go hunting.

The second, is that it promotes roleplay. How many people shrug off death because it's just a hit to their exp, no big deal? How many people start changing their focus from staying alive for RP purposes, to staying alive to avoid an exp drain?

The third, is because it makes me REALLY think hard about my character's behavior and reactions to her environment. She's not gonna just go off to the desert so I can check out her new skills, even though it doesn't make RP sense that she do so - because the moment I leave the gate, it could be the end of my character.

The fourth, is because there's nothing quite as awesome as sitting at your desk and staring incredulously at your screen during an assassination scene, with tears rolling down your eyes while your heart is pounding wildly, thinking two things at the same time: "WOAH - she's dead. I can't believe she's f-ing dead." and "Okay so what character am I gonna try next!"
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Old 06-23-2003, 07:33 AM   #7
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Perma-death is realistic, and the most enjoyable system I've found for me is one where your character dies permanently after a set criteria has been reached (old age, set amount of deaths, etc). Permanent death on the first death is just plainly annoying to me.
The main advantage of the typical (RPI) permadeath system - as well as the realism factor - is that it helps avoid stagnation. There is little point in assassinating the king if he's just going to respawn back at the temple and order your execution.

The main disadvantage of the typical (RPI) permadeath system is that most players dislike losing all the time and effort they've put into their character.

Allowing a set number of deaths therefore has the same disadvantages as regular permadeath, but without the advantages; you'll eventually lose all of your hard work, but equally you cannot assassinate your clan leader, king, or whoever, and expect to get away with it.

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I've had this argument with many different people over the years. It ends up boiling down to them saying "It's more realistic" and me saying "If you want realism stop playing games and go live life".
It's called "internal consistency". A mud should be consistent and believable within its own rules of reality. It might not be "realistic" to throw fireballs at someone in real life, but it is within the themes of many muds. Equally, while it may be realistic within some themes to be instantly and automatically reincarnated every time you die, within most it is not. This is also why it is generally undesirable to have the smurf village, the dwarven daycare centre and Mega-City One areas within a roleplaying mud - they are not internally consistent with each other (nor within the themes of most muds). Now you could well say "If you want realism stop playing games and go live life", but the fact is that most roleplayers would find such inconsistency anathema to an immersive roleplaying environment. As such, they're more likely to just leave your game and go find someone else's, which is not the sort of result most mud owners are aiming for.
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Old 06-23-2003, 10:22 AM   #8
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I've proposed a system for my friend's mud wherein a) spell(s) exist to resurrect people but have to be used before the person's body rots, b) otherwise there's permadeath, and c) people can reproduce and play their kids after their main char dies.

When a kid gets to a certain age, he'll automatically soak up knowledge from his parents. (Less abusable than being able to teach them.) So the longer the parents survive, the more "points" the kid will get. Thus a kid whose parents die when he's 20 will automatically be able to know more than if his parents died when he was 12, but he'll only be able to know the combined skillsets of his parents at first.

So when you start playing your kid, either his "points" are automatically assigned to random skills that his parents knew, or you get to assign them yourself. (The maximum initial level for any given skill would be relatively low.) Afterwards the kid can learn whatever he wants, that's just what he starts out with. Of course the kid's starting skills would be a fraction of his parents' skills, otherwise you end up with massive skill inflation, and it'd be somewhat rare for the child and the mother to both survive childbirth, so chances are after a few generations you'd hafta start a completely new char.

I think this method would keep the population of the mud from getting stagnant, and yet it'd be easier to stomach for the people who're so concerned about losing all their hard-earned skills. And it'd add an element of RP that isn't common in muds - kidnappings, heirs to the throne, orphanages, etc. It just remains to be seen how the guy implements it, and whether it's as good as I think it is.
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Old 06-23-2003, 10:53 AM   #9
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Character generations are a nice idea.  How about having a "protectiveness" rating that the parents can set, to indicate how protective they are of their kids?  The lower the protectiveness, the faster the kid learns - but the greater the chance of them having a fatal accident.  It would be an interesting experiment.  It might also be nice to let characters pay for schooling for their kids - and have random "interest" traits for the kid as well.  Can you imagine those young teenage players getting furious about their mud kids constantly skipping the school that they'd spent thousands of gold pieces on?  Discovering that instead of studying wizardry, their rebellious kid had been improving his "alcohol tolerance" ability?

Other issues you may want to deal with are deciding who gets to take over the kid.  Does the father get to play male kids and the mother the female kids?  Or can they choose?  Or is it "first die, first served"?  Can PCs mate with NPCs to ensure that there is no dispute over who gets to play the offspring?  Can you play characters born out of wedlock - assuming you even HAVE marriage?  Do characters actually have to have sex, or is it just some command they type?  What if a female PC gets pregnant by accident and doesn't wish to risk losing their character during childbirth?  If your "child" character dies, can you move further back up your family tree, or can you only play a direct child of your current character?

Another thing you may want to consider is allowing players to give control of kids over to other players who have recently lost their own characters. The nice thing about that is that it'll start to build up actual families of related characters, each played by different players. Code a few features for family members (eg the ability to legitimately PK someone who has murdered a family member) and it could have some interesting implications on gameplay.
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Old 06-23-2003, 01:31 PM   #10
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IThe following is an opinion. Mine. I do not intend criticism of anyone who feels differently.

I admit, I don't understand the allure of holding on to characters that should be dead. The idea of investing in a pc makes no sense to me. The thought of starting over doesn't bother me. After all, you can't "win" an rpi.

I need perma death. If a mud offers alternatives to a permananet and final end I can't bring myself to play. Or to even consider playing. This, needless to say, severely curtails my options.
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Old 06-23-2003, 04:45 PM   #11
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I need perma death. If a mud offers alternatives to a permananet and final end I can't bring myself to play. Or to even consider playing. This, needless to say, severely curtails my options.
You could just delete your character when you die...
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Old 06-23-2003, 05:10 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by (KaVir @ June 23 2003,16:45)
You could just delete your character when you die...
It's not the same. I want that immediacy. I don't want a choice. I don't want anyone else to have a choice. I think no death or a choice makes the whole thing feel contrived.
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Old 06-23-2003, 07:25 PM   #13
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Some intriguing ideas for rolling over xp/skills to new characters after one dies, but I am not sure if it solves the problem.
Is that time and effort invested in a char that people are worried about losing what they spent earning xp and learning skills, or what they spent developing their character socially? We are talking about RPI's here.
For me, when I've tried permadeath muds, I've been frustrated when my character dies, because I had (what I thought) was a good idea, and plans for the character that I hadn't a chance to see to fruition. Or as characters grow older, they get more complex, more interesting. It's really sad to lose them then. The xp and skills are just busy work, or part of what the character does because who she is.
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Old 06-23-2003, 07:51 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by (Kallekins @ June 23 2003,19:25)
Is that time and effort invested in a char that people are worried about losing what they spent earning xp and learning skills, or what they spent developing their character socially? We are talking about RPI's here.
For me, when I've tried permadeath muds, I've been frustrated when my character dies, because I had (what I thought) was a good idea, and plans for the character that I hadn't a chance to see to fruition. Or as characters grow older, they get more complex, more interesting. It's really sad to lose them then. The xp and skills are just busy work, or part of what the character does because who she is.
Exactly my point, it is sad to lose them. It's sad to see other people's PC's die. I want to be sad. I want to cry and laugh and sweat and have to make each moment matter. It you can't lose them, what's the point. Might as well just play the sims. If you can't die, what stops it from just being a big chat room?
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Old 06-23-2003, 08:04 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by (Fifi @ June 23 2003,19:51)
Exactly my point, it is sad to lose them. It's sad to see other people's PC's die. I want to be sad. I want to cry and laugh and sweat and have to make each moment matter.  It you can't lose them, what's the point. Might as well just play the sims. If you can't die, what stops it from just being a big chat room?
Well said, and that about sums up the way I feel.

With permadeath, you have to -care-. It's not just the code working, instead you create a -character- with a -life- and -feelings-.

Without it, it's just numbers and words, rushing about killing things. You die, **** it, just get your friends to help you get a new suit. That's not how I want to Roleplay.
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Old 06-23-2003, 11:12 PM   #16
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Well the family system would readily address this stuff too, because if you create a good reputation for yourself, then some of that carries over to your kids (although they may later prove themselves unworthy of it ). Sure their personalities won't be as complicated, but since you KNOW all their history, you could easily determine how it'd affect their outlook on life and just go from there. And regardless of how bad it hurts to lose a char, sometimes you just wanna move on.

KaVir: Really nice ideas, most of which I'll hafta discuss with the creator of the mud. For now, here's what little I know:

- The parents will probably choose which one of them plays which kid, or whether some other player does. The mud creator says that the kids could be given passwords if they survive to a playable age, and the passwords can then be given to whoever is agreed on to play it (and the new player can of course then change it).
- PC's will be able to have sex with prostitutes (if he puts prostitutes in) which will occasionally produce a baby, and then the PC has to go to the city rulers to determine whether he gets to keep the baby or it goes into an orphanage. There'll be birth control methods, which the prostitutes will generally use. (Note that if I get my way, an encounter with a prostitute will be portrayed as inexplicitly as possible, due to the minors that might be playing and the inability to 100% accurately determine who the minors are.) However, we've decided that making you able to have sex with any npc would just cause a lot of guys running around raping them for the #### of it, so it probably isn't a good idea. Also if pc's were allowed to initiate sex with npc's, then npc's should be allowed to initiate it with pc's, and that might cause problems as well.
-Marriage will exist, possibly including polygamous or homosexual marriage, depending on what the coder feels like allowing, and what various city laws are created. Any female pc can potentially get pregnant by any male pc regardless of whether they're married or not, if the conditions are right and neither one of them is sterile. I'm not sure exactly how sex between pc's will work, but probably similar to with the prostitutes (although some will wanna rp it out in detail, which I'm not particularly in favor of but it'll end up happening regardless).
- There may be some method of abortion, but the coder isn't sure yet. It'll probably involve taking some kind of herb or something. However, the abortion process may be as dangerous to the woman as childbirth would be.
- Theoretically, a player could ask permission to play Grandpa Joe if they really wanted to, but it wouldn't be an automatic thing.

Whew, really long post and I probably revealed too much, but I couldn't resist.
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Old 06-24-2003, 05:17 AM   #17
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Some intriguing ideas for rolling over xp/skills to new characters after one dies, but I am not sure if it solves the problem.Is that time and effort invested in a char that people are worried about losing what they spent earning xp and learning skills, or what they spent developing their character socially? We are talking about RPI's here.
The solution here would prevent you losing everything. You'd still lose the social development of your character in terms of interaction with other players - and therefore, death would still be a serious issue. However you would at least salvage some of your work, so players wouldn't feel as if they'd lost everything that they'd spent the last few hundred hours working on. Furthermore, even from a social point of view, as the son or daughter of your previous character you'd have good grounds to retain relationships with those you knew in your previous "life". From a game design point of view, it would encourage players not to simply quit for good when they die.
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Old 06-24-2003, 02:04 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (KaVir @ June 23 2003,05:31)
When a character dies, you force the player to create a new one - but allow the player to carry over their experience points to spend on the new character.  Thus the player now has a new character, with a new name, appearance, occupation, etc - but they're at the same level of power as the previous character (although that "power" might now be in a different field).
I'm not sure I see this as a solution to the whole problem though.

First - this could be abused by anyone who is "tired" of their old character.  Don't want to play Bubba the Barbarian, just kill him off and start up Reggie the Ranger.  And since all of us game designers know game balance is very hard to attain - imagine a problem in design where certain levels are easier for different classes because of skills and spells.  Any Industrious player with a brain will abuse it by "changing" his class at the "required" level to be able to level faster.  I know we could code in "safeties" for this ... but it's the principle that lacks I believe.

Second - I don't really think that type of system addresses the issue of permadeath vs. "resurrection" anyways.  Permadeath offers finality in it's most extreme.  The character is done.  The there is no undoing it.  The time you spent on him/her/it, while not "lost" perse (based on what you learned and the fun you gained while playing), is over.  This character can never be used again.  Allowing players to "recreate" based on their last character's level and exp while an inconvenience, doesn't really offer the "loss" that permadeath does.  I think the one post in this thread hit it spot on - permadeath "forces" you to care more about the character than any sort of resurrection system.

Now I agree - that spells and a deity system where resurrection CAN happen, but is not guaranteed, is the best.  This is what I am coding into my Mud.  This allows for a higher caliber of Roleplaying, AND offers a system where dying isn't just an inconvenience.

One last point (in this long ramble), I think it is important to note, that no one system is better than the others.  I feel it comes down to which type of player do you want to attrach.  "You can't please all the people all the time.  But you can please some people most of the time."  Which 'people' do you want to please most of the time?
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Old 06-24-2003, 02:29 PM   #19
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I believe that one of the biggest advantages of permadeath in a PvP system is the ability of the populace to eliminate jerks who need it. The ability to keep some or all of your skills just obviates the whole point of permadeath.
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Old 06-24-2003, 03:06 PM   #20
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When having character generations, I would actually suggest that neither parent be the one to play the kid. Rather, let the parents set a total time played or highest level reached, such that any player who dies and is above that level or time can choose to play the kid (except for the parents, who are completely restricted from playing the kid.) That way, you maintain character separation and ensure that the kid will be roleplayed as an individual rather than as puppet of his/her parents. Whether friends with the parents are also friends with the kid or not will depend on how much the kid takes after his parent's likeable characteristics, or on how much the players feel they have a duty to their friends' children.
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