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Old 07-16-2002, 01:09 PM   #1
Burr
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Here's another idea for the public domain:

In most muds without perma-death, being killed turns you into a ghost so that a person can get someplace safer than where they died before regenerating. How boring. Some people spice things up a bit by using their ghosts to explore the world; that's a much more interesting idea, but it isn't very ghostly behavior, is it? Here's a much cooler, more plausible possibility: possession.

Generally, a person dying on a mud has died a violent death, and is probably rather angry about it. There's our motive. The very fact that a ghost can exit their body suggests that can also enter a body; so that's our means. And what an opportunity: the person who just killed them is standing right there!

There would, of course, need to be a short time limit. After all, taking possession of a body that you aren't accustommed to has got to tax your strength. And there needs to be some kind of equity: maybe because of the loss of strength, it takes your ghost even longer to regenerate once you are evicted from your host's body.

Taking possession of your killer's body could give you several options during the time limit. If the killer is a humanoid, you could use their body to carry and hide your loot. You could use them to attack their group members. Or to kill a nearby mob. There would be many ways you could use a host body to benefit you. One way it would benefit the mud community as a whole is that it give the killed person a way to vent their frustrations ICly.

Possession could make the tactics of pk extremely interesting. For instance, in a group vs. group fight, the first person killed will also get first choice when it comes to possession. People who can kill quickly in one vs. one pk would have to accept the fact that, if their victim decides to possess, they are the obvious target. All in all, possession would force people to think about pk, rather than relying completely on armor, weapons, and such. Anything you can use, the enemy's ghost could use if their attempt at possession succeeds.
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Old 07-17-2002, 02:37 PM   #2
Alexander Tau
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Well I took a day to consider your ideas, and I do have to give you full credit for original thinking.

I think though this is not something you could do in a normal Mud framework. What I mean by that is the whole game would have to be tailored around ghosts and the possibility of possession. I would also NOT love seeing this in a non-RP setting because of the grief it would cause.

In a real RP setting you can expect people to play not only with style but also with consideration for others. Cooperation is essential in an RP game. So in such a game if I were killed bu another player I might be able to find some interesting things to do as a ghost that my killer's player would actually enjoy.

However in a non-RP Mud ( or the farce that is 'role playing encouraged' ) things would be a lot different. In those sorts of games the ultimate challenge is battle with another player, that is the fun. Monsters just have a certain amount of power, to fight them you make a judgement about tactics and relative strengths but it does become somewhat cut and dried eventually. But other players, ahhhh... they are tricky, nothing is static and combat is always a risk.

If though my oponent could take immediate revenge by possessing me and getting me killed (or perhaps just dumping all my stuff in the ocean) I think that would pretty much remove the fun.

Group battles would be even worse. There would never be any winners just a lot of death.  Few players would be able to resist taking over one of the active enemies and things would go downhill pretty fast for both sides. Again, kinda takes the fun out of it if you know that 'winning' is never going to happen. Of course a low chance of possession would mute this problem.

There have been a couple of commercial graphic games in recient years that have used possession to interesting effect, perhaps one of these inspired your thought. But those are solo games where other players do not play a part.

But just to loop back around, as a basis for a pure RP game I can see where your idea could turn into a really great thing, unique and adding new RP challenges and possibilities. It is a unique idea, and we need more of those.


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Old 07-17-2002, 05:26 PM   #3
Neranz Laverani
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Problems and questions:

You get killed.
You possess your killer's body.
You kill your killer.
Your killer possesses your body.
Your killer gets you killed.
You possess your killer's body.

You've got the possibility for an infinite loop there, one that would eventually get tiring.


Now say you put some sort of protection in so that a player cannot be killed (or doesn't loose experience) while possessed.

Your friend kills you.
You possess your friend.
You take your friend's body to kill uber mob to get uber piece of equipment.

You've got the possibility for cheating now.

Careful consideration would have to go into developing a solution that limits the possibility of endless loops of vengence and cheating.

Is strength the right thing to limit? Someone possessing a mage or a thief doesn't suffer much if their strength is reduced because mages and thieves don't rely on strength as much.

How long would possession last?

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Old 07-17-2002, 11:04 PM   #4
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Personally I think possesion would be better put to use by it being an abilty of some sort of undead race. It could be limited to requiring the foe be weakened a certain amount in order to ensure someone doesn't just go around possesing anyone or anything.
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Old 07-18-2002, 12:04 AM   #5
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Yes, checks would have to be placed on it.

The time limit I mentioned would keep a person from doing someone too much revenge, thus keeping the fun in it. Put a short enough time limit on it, and it becomes much like the last stroke of a dying man. You could increase or decrease the time limit to find the best length of time to suit it. (And you could make it vary depending on the character class. For instance, necromancers could have a longer time limit than warriors.)

The time limit also keeps the infinite loop scenario from happening. Yes, you could switch and switch and switch again; but the time limit is based ICly on strength, obviously you wouldn't get miraculously stronger each time you leave a body. Rather, when you enter a new body, the time limit would pick up again from where it left off. And because of the time it takes to enter a new body in the first place, as well as get used to the new abilities, if any are applicable, it simply wouldn't be efficient for a person to switch and switch and switch.

Finally, once a body is dead, the body is dead. You obviously can't take possession of an already dead body, else you would have just reentered your own. For this reason, possession does not enable cheating. Anyone stupid enough to take possession of their friend's body, will likely have killed them both instead of just themselves, since their friend is likely much more skilled at using his own body than the ghost is. And thus, not only would they gain nothing, they would likely lose a friend.

Of course, it does allow IC cheating, in that the unscrupulous ally could take possession of their friend and use their friend's life to finish the mob, hiding whatever loot there is for themselves. But there is nothing undesireable about IC cheating. The friend could always go to the local law enforcement and accuse their ally of being a treacherous necromancer, or worse.
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Old 07-18-2002, 11:14 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Burr @ July 17 2002,11<!--emo&[img
http://www.topmudsites.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wow.gif[/img])]Finally, once a body is dead, the body is dead.  You obviously can't take possession of an already dead body, else you would have just reentered your own.  For this reason, possession does not enable cheating.  Anyone stupid enough to take possession of their friend's body, will likely have killed them both instead of just themselves, since their friend is likely much more skilled at using his own body than the ghost is.  And thus, not only would they gain nothing, they would likely lose a friend.
Read the scenario again.

First, pretend there is some check placed on the damage a possessed person can take, to prevent vengeful, petty people from ruining the game for everyone.

Possible things that someone could implement:
Possessed people cannot die
or possessed people do not loose experience when they die

Person A wants a hard to get piece of equipment
Because possessed people are offered some protection, Person A talks Person B, his friend, into killing him.
Person A then possesses Person Bs live body (prearranged).
Person A then uses Person B's body to get the equipment because there is less risk now.  

If possessed people are granted any kind of protection, friends will find a way to use it to cheat. You can rule's lawyer me over the words and my example if you like. My point, however, is still valid.

Also if possessed people are not granted any kind of protection, then some possessors (IC or not) will first remove all of the possessed's  equipment, junk it, and get the body killed.  It does not take long at all to do that, so short times are irrelevant.  People are usually upset when they are pkilled.  You are offering the chance for immediate, essentially free vengence.  Even in IC games, not everyone will be able to resist that urge.  They will just make up a story that matches their self-gratification.



You are giving too much power to someone who was determined to be weaker in the first place.  Someone who was weak enough to be killed, shouldn't be rewarded with the chance to destroy their killer without working for it.  It reduces the need for cunning. You are saying that this would force people to think about pk rather than relying on armor, etc. I am saying that they already do think about it.

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Old 07-18-2002, 12:21 PM   #7
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I think it'd be interesting to have an entire mud based around 'possession'. Instead of creating a character, you'd create your ghost, perhaps with magical rather than physical traits. Players could spend points on moving over water (some supernatural entities have difficulty with this), moving through wood / stone / flesh, the level / state of the entity they need to possess (must they be low level, sleeping, weakened?), what kind of effect they can have on the living (cursing, providing aid), etc.

So players wouldn't necessarily create their physical form. They'd have to go out and find a suitable host organism and take control of it; perhaps accomplishing seperate tasks in order to possess that person. This would give the game a multidimensional aspect: Ghosts can simply go places and do things that the living cannot. One ghost might possess a peasent to stow away on a ship because he cannot cross over water on his own, then go and get the peasent killed so he can be free from his host in a new land.

Depending on the amount of time players can spend in the land of the dead, physical bodies could become highly transient. Advancement might come in the form of added ghostly abilities, enhancement to the physical form once possessed, or advancement of magical abilities. Or you can make the physical abilities the focus, and players would not like to discard their physical forms; they would want to build them up.

Regarding some of the previous posts in this thread: One can simply disallow possession of organisms that already have a host, although this may be counter to the strategy included in the initial writeup. Or perhaps a strong ghost in a weak body could force out the weaker ghost from their host, which would add an interesting player-killing strategy: Is that little girl your evil knight just killed really just a little girl, or a ghost planning on stealing your host =)?

All in all, I think it's a great idea =).
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Old 07-18-2002, 05:40 PM   #8
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The world of ghosts would be cool. Varying "strengths" of ghosts would be cool too.

The strength of the ghost could be based on "Will" (which could be a new stat or a derivation of existing stats). Also giving players "Will" would allow them the chance to resist the possession (if players can be possessed, if players exist that are not ghosts).

What would be a ghosts motivation or goal?
There should be many ways to answer that question which allows for many ways for ghostly "players" to advance.

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Old 07-18-2002, 06:53 PM   #9
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Will could also be used to deplete the strength of a ghost, so that a recently slain player wouldn't fear possession if he has a high will. We could also remove the daisy-chain possession problem by giving the ghost a fixed amount of strength that is used up when possessing players of various willpower. Another interesting idea is assigning will to various tasks: Compelling a person to walk around in circles may not take much of the ghosts strength, but compelling that same person to walk off a cliff, or do something that they wouldn't normally do (due to safety reasons, or social embarassment) would eat up alot of strength, forcing the ghost to seek a new host sooner.

To change gears in line a little back to the "ghost mud", will power could play an extremely strategic role in the unlife of the ghost. Perhaps possessing somebody with a small amount of willpower is easy, it's getting out that's the problem =). Couple this with drastic depletion of ghostly energies on the death of the host, and players would likely not enjoy possessing a host they couldn't eventually flee when the physical world got too rough on them.

But a stronger-willed person might be difficult to coerce once possessed. I think there should be an amount of time before the ghost takes 'complete possession' of a person. Complete possession would remove the difficulties of compelling a person to do something. This would also limit the amount of problems occuring from vengence possessions, while still giving ghosts that have inhabited a host for some time a considerable advantage.

I'd also like to see soul hunters that hunt ghosts to add to their own supernatural powers, or teams of 'ghost busters' that are called when someone important is possessed.

Just remember not to cross the streams: "Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light. Total protonic reversal...."
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Old 07-19-2002, 06:44 AM   #10
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I agree with Neranz Laverani about the balance problems (ie that if they were weak enough to be killed, they should also be too weak to possess their killer), however it is an interesting concept and would work particularly well for a Wraith class in a World of Darkness mud.

I had actually thought of doing something similar for my old mud, for diablerie (when one vampire drains another vampire completely dry, then sucks out their soul) - thus the absorbed soul fragments of the victim could try and force the killer into performing certain actions.  This wouldn't really be possession - the killer had intentionally consumed the soul of their victim to gain some of their power - but the results could work in a similar fashion.  It would help provide some discouragement for those wishing to take the quick route to power.
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Old 07-19-2002, 01:02 PM   #11
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Funnily enough, that's just the type of thing I was thinking about before I started considering possession. I've been reading The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe, in which there is a type of animal called an alzabo. When the alzabo eats its victim, some gland in its body gives it the ability to imitate the victim for a time, speaking with its voice and memories and such, using them to draw out its next victim.

Give it the ability to change shape as well, and you will have created a kind of vampiric doppleganger. At day time they could walk about in their disguise, getting chummy with their next victim. Night would be the best time to absorb their victim's energy/form in whatever way. This could potentially kill the victim if the doppleganger is of high level/ability and very "hungry," but not usually (except indirectly, such as if the victim gets into a fight the next morning).

Because we'd want to give the doppleganger time to roleplay something other than "eating" and planning to eat, the form they choose could last several days. But because we want there to be incentive to eat, without their victim's form they would be very, very weak.
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Old 07-22-2002, 02:55 AM   #12
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A while back, white wolf put out a pen and paper game called Wraith: The Oblivion that dealed with ghosts and spirits, and it was one of the most fascinating looks at the subject that I have ever seen. Sadly, Wraith was canned, and it may be hard to get your mitts on a copy of it. Anyone who is already familiar with wraith and has any ideas for a W:tO style mud or a mud involving wraiths/ghosts, please E-Mail me at The_unspeakable@hotmail.com
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Old 08-12-2002, 12:14 AM   #13
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I was just reading what people have been suggesting, and thought of something that no one here mentioned. I know it's not really possession, but how about more of haunting with ghosts?

I mean people have said that some would abuse the system and possess their killer and make them die. But, in a true RP enviroment, the murdered were killed for a reason. In addition, the character would most likely want justice done IC. The person would want to do something.

Now, with sever limitations on what they could do, ghosts could be allowed to possess someone. Not get complete control of the character, but maybe be able to control a person's hand for a second, or say something from that person's mouth. Make the odds very low, and make what the ghost could do through a host very limited. Maybe also, a ghost might be able to appear to people. A friend or family member, and try to reveal some details about their death. They could show images, or appear themselves for brief moments. Maybe they could move objects, give someone cold chills, make something "feel" their presence, cause a wind to blow out candles indoors. Personally, I believe that this would add a ton of richness to a world in which a true RP enviroment exists. Also, don't make everyone a ghost. Have some system where it depends on how the person was killed and what the person was like to determine if the person becomes a ghost or not. This could be done through code, or immortals could review the death and decide if the death warrents ghost status.

Well, these are just my thoughts on the issue. I honestly hope that someone puts an idea like this into use. I'd love to play a mud like that. (If anyone ever does, please send me an e-mail, you'd have a very interested player guaranteed.)
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Old 08-12-2002, 11:15 AM   #14
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Warning! Long post!  Worth the read!

Ways to prevent this from being too powerful and to prevent cheating:

I agree with the idea of some sort of will being used to perform a possession.  If your mud has any sort of willpower or "feat" stats or anything, that'd be good.  I remembver in the old Warhammer pen and paper rpg all characters started out with some sort of feat points that could be used for an automatic success on an action or to cancel an action done against them -- typically used as a "nine lives" sort of thing.

My mud has "feat points" that can be earned through extended playing time or awarded for good rp.  These allow a character to stave off death for a bit, (almost) automatically succeed on a single action, or temporarily extend a player's abilities beyond the norm.  (Like cast a 50 cubic foot fireball when they can normally only do a 20 cubis foot fireball).

Requiring the expenditure of a point like this for possession would ensure that it was not used frivolously.  Players would have to do a cost-benefit analysis of spending the point, and hopefully this would make it so they only did so when they had a truly compelling RP reason.

But what if their reason was pure OOC vengeance or to cheat?  I had the same concerns as many of the rest of you did when I first read this idea:  Players are going to possess other characters and run them straight into the maw of the big red dragon, or go empty out the character's bank account and dump everything down a well.  Or, if safeguards against this are put in, people will use it to cheat -- you run straight into the maw of the big red dragon knowing it can't kill you in order to slay it when otherwise you couldn't.

I suggest a limited sort of possesion.  It would be more like snooping the possessed character for a period of time, with limited control over their actions.  A limited form of whatever score or status command you have in your game could be given to the possessing character so that they can learn a bit about the character that killed them.

Maybe the possesor could take control of the possessed character's vocal faculties for a bit too.  The possessed player would see what they themselves are typing and everything would *appear* normally, so as not to tip them off.  To everybody else, whatever the possessor was typing would appear.  The possessed character would probably know something was fishy by the things other people were saying to them.  A log of the possessed conversation could be given to them after the fact so they know what they actually said

Carte blanche control of movement and combat functions should absolutely not be given to the possessor.  Based on a comparison of willpower scores or what you may, a limited number of single actions could be entered by the possessor, with a timer between actions.  Thus you couldn't use all 10 (or whataver number) actions to suddenly run down the street and off the dock..  Or attack something big and nasty and continuously move the character back into harm's way after they flee combat.

In all cases, I don't think the action being forced by the possessor should be displayed to the possessed character's player.  If I'm standing still and not typing anything, and then suddenly see "You move north", I'm instantly going to know what's up.  While I like to think I could properly RP the situation, twinks would probably just logg off or something.  If instead, the character possessing mine decides to move me north, I should simply move north, unaware of my new location until I look around or notice everybody I was talking to starts yelling for me to come back -- or whatever.  Likewise, if the possessor makes me attack a guard or something, and the guard attacks me back, that's all I should see -- the guard attacking me.  i will think the guard initiated the combat because I did not see my initial swing of the sword as it was caused by my possessor.


As a twist, actions performed could be limited to those actions that could normally be done by the possessor's character.  Mage guy posesses thief guy, but cannot then pick somebody's pocket because mage guy does not know how.

In rp games, knowledge is power, and these abilities of possession would give the possessor knowledge of the other character, their actions for a while, and allow them to have a conversation as the possessed character without that character being immediately aware of it.  Sounds kind of fun to me!
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Old 08-23-2002, 06:11 PM   #15
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I had thoughts about doing something with ghosts once, but it's not like we'll ever get that game done so I guess I'll blab some of them.

We were planning on having ghosts have a separate set of skills, although we hadn't decided whether to implement possession or not. Moving objects, walking through walls, blah blah blah. Well, our idea for possession was this: the ghost's soul and the target's soul would basically duke it out, and if the ghost lost, bam permadead. I think that would be a deterrent...either get good, or die totally. I don't remember if we came up with details of what happened to the target's soul if he got possessed.

Basically our idea for ghosts hinged on the fact that there were monsters who could permakill ghosts much easier than they could permakill skilled players. You choose to play a ghost, you're taking your soul in your own hands because no matter how good you get, there's always something better.

If I remembered more details I'd give em, but at the moment I'm half asleep anyway.
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