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Old 12-13-2006, 08:06 AM   #1
KaVir
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We don't have a 'DESIGN' forum, but I think this is the closest match.

I'm hoping for some feedback from Dragon fans...

For the last few months I've been trying to design a dragon class, drawing upon suggestions and feedback from my players.  The existing four classes more or less evolved over time (they originally had designs, but most of those ideas were dropped by the time the classes came in).  However for dragons, I really want to get them fully functional before I introduce them into the game.

All classes in my mud are built around the idea of "flexibility" and "variety"; they each support many different builds.  Thus simply having a 'dragon' wouldn't do the job - there need to be different types of dragon, and different ways to play the class.  

The types of build I'm planning to support are:

* The typical dragon, in a variety of different colours.

* Other dragon-like creatures, such as oriental dragons, wyverns and hydra.

* Every conceivable type of lizardman/draconian (within reason).

* Powerful dragon-riders (a little bit like the Valheru from Feist's novels).

From a game design perspective, I've broken this down into three main mutually-exclusive routes that a dragon character can take:

1) Human Form: You despise and reject your dragon heritage, preferring to remain in human form.  Your draconic blood makes you the ultimate dragon hunter, and you use your power to dominate and slay other dragons.  You can summon a dragon to serve you as a mount (perhaps even collecting an egg and raising it yourself), and can craft the scales and bones of dead dragons into powerful weapons and armour.  You also learn various types of draconic glyph, which you can use to mark your body (rather like tattoos) for various benefits.

2) Dragon Form: You are a mighty green dragon (although this colour will be changed to reflect your Dragon Descendant talent, if you have one, and later subclasses extend this to other variations such as Metallic or Crystal dragons).  Although you cannot use weapons or armour, your claws, fangs and breath are more than sufficient, and you can draw power from magical items in your treasure hoard.  When you become more powerful, you may choose an alternative dragon shape: hydra (3 headed), wyvern (only has 2 legs, but powerful wings and a venomous tail) or serpent (no limbs, but levitates like an oriental dragon and can cast spells).

3) Draconian Form: You prefer to combine the best of both forms, becoming a human/dragon hybrid.  You have claws, fangs and wings, but can also use regular weapons and certain types of armour if you prefer.  This form can unlock many different 'warps', each of which provides different customisations depending on where it's applied - eg you might change the colour and pattern of your scales, your horns to a ridge or frill, your mouth into a beak, the shape of your tail, etc.  We're talking about 10-20 'warps', each of which can be applied to any or all of around 10 warpable locations, which would allow for a great deal of variation among draconians.


In terms of powers, I'm currently planning the following, divided by build catagory, with a brief explanation of what each does:

HUMAN

Human Form          : Improved toughness and healing in human form.
Dragon Mount        : You can summon a dragon to serve as a mount.
Draconic Glyphs     : You can draw draconic glyphs of power on yourself.
Dragonbone Forging  : You can forge weapons from dragonbone.
Dragonscale Crafting: You can craft armour from dragonscale.

DRACONIAN

Draconian Form      : Improved toughness and natural weapons.
Draconian Breath    : Enhances your breath attack.
Draconian Charge    : Enhances your headbutt attack.
Draconian Jaws      : Enhances your bite attack.
Chameleonic Gift    : On-the-fly modifications to draconian form.
Salamanders Gift    : Improved healing (shared with DRAGON).

DRAGON

Dragon Form         : Improved toughness and natural weapons.
Hydra Shape         : Your dragon form has a hydra shape.
Serpent Shape       : Your dragon form has a a serpent shape.
Wyvern Shape        : Your dragon form has a a wyvern shape.
Treasure Hoard      : You gain bonuses from your hoard of eq.
Salamanders Gift    : Improved healing (shared with DRACONIAN).

ALL BUILDS

Draconic Rage       : Short-term rage buff.
Extended Rage       : Extends and enhances the rage.
Lashing Tail        : Stronger tail attack and special bonuses.
Lord of the Skies   : Stronger wing attack and better flight.
Chill of the Tundra : Gives cold-oriented bonuses.
Eye of the Storm    : Gives shock-oriented bonuses.
Fires of the Volcano: Gives heat-oriented bonuses.
Fumes of the Pit    : Gives poison-oriented bonuses.
Winds of the Mind   : Gives mental-oriented bonuses.

A newly classed dragon could train 3 powers up to rank 10, and have another 10 ranks divided as required.  For example a red dragon might select Dragon Form, Draconian Rage and Fires of the Volcano as his 3 primaries, then have a smattering of points in some of the other powers such as Lashing Tail, Extended Rage, Lord of the Skies, etc.

As the dragon gets older, it would be able to train more powers (and raise them to a higher rank), but there will always be 3 primary powers which are kept at the maximum rank.


There are also a few talents related to dragons.  These are boolean abilities (you either have them or you don't):

Dragon Rider             : Gives bonuses when riding a dragon mount.
Dragon Blooded           : Various bonuses to dragon/draconian form.
Dragon Hatchling         : A pre-classing baby dragon form for newbies.
Black Dragon Descendant  : Colours Dragon Form and gives poison bonuses.
Blue Dragon Descendant   : Colours Dragon Form and gives shock bonuses.
Red Dragon Descendant    : Colours Dragon Form and gives heat bonuses.
White Dragon Descendant  : Colours Dragon Form and gives cold bonuses.

Note that the Dragon Descendant talents are mutually exclusive, and double the bonuses of the appropriate power (eg if you have Red Dragon Descendant, the bonuses of Fires of the Volcano are doubled).  If you don't select any Dragon Descendant talent, you'll be a Green Dragon (or Emerald or Brass, if you've selected one the Crystal or Metallic Dragon subclasses).



I know there are a lot of people interested in dragons.  If you're one of those people, I'd very much appreciate some feedback - in particular, would this allow you to create the sort of dragon you like?  If not, what sort of dragon would you like to see in a mud, and what else would be needed to support your 'ideal' dragon?  New shapes?  Different colours?  Hybrid variants?

Please note that dragons are NOT coded, this just a design draft.  I'm simply trying to get some last-minute "outsider" feedback on the design before I go ahead and develop it, so that if I've overlooked any particularly cool builds I can incorporate them into the design now rather than hack them in at a later date.
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Old 12-13-2006, 11:41 AM   #2
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Looks pretty good, I could be wrong but I'm guessing some of the ideas for the Dragon Form and the Human Form may have been drawn in part from the DragonLance series? (More so the Dragon Form than the Human Form)
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Old 12-13-2006, 11:59 AM   #3
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Actually yes, the Dragon Highlords from DragonLance were part of the inspiration behind Human Form wearing dragonscale armour and riding a dragon.

Dragon Form draws some ideas (such as Wyvern Shape) from D&D in general, but not specifically DragonLance. The dragon Soletaken from the "Malazan Book Of The Fallen" were perhaps a greater influence, while Eastern mythology and "The Liveship Traders" (by Robin Hobb) provided much of the inspiration for the Serpent Shape. Wikipedia was probably my main source of looking up ideas
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Old 12-13-2006, 01:16 PM   #4
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I like these ideas a lot from a thematic viewpoint, but you'll forgive me for the following observations from a gameplay viewpoint.

For the most part, all the abilities and powers look like yet further renames of the other class powers, which are already indistinguishable besides in name. It looks like you are planning a generic armor-enhancing system (just like every other class); a generic weapon-forging system (just like every other class); a generic mount-summoning system (just like every other class); a generic shapeshifting system (just like every other class); etc.

The only thing which stands out gameplay-wise about what you wrote, is the lack of any explicit mention of a teleport variation. Either this is included as part of the mount system (fly your dragon to a destination) or some other of the powers-- in which case we have yet another teleporting class-- or it isn't, in which case the class is crippled. Since you decided to give teleport variations to all four original classes (whereas I'd argue it should be mage-only), you've painted yourself into a corner now and any new classes must either have another teleport variation, be helplessly crippled, or else have some damn interesting innovation to make up for it.

Although, like I said, thematically it all sounds pretty awesome and cool.
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Old 12-13-2006, 07:27 PM   #5
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For the most part, all the abilities and powers look like yet further renames of the other class powers, which are already indistinguishable besides in name.  It looks like you are planning a generic armor-enhancing system (just like every other class); a generic weapon-forging system (just like every other class); a generic mount-summoning system (just like every other class); a generic shapeshifting system (just like every other class); etc.
Except they're not generic - each is unique, has its own pros and cons, its own strengths and weaknesses.  You might as well say that the fighter, thief and mage classes in most muds are "indistinguishable besides in name", because they all have "generic ways of inflicting damage".

Yes, dragons have powers for enhancing equipment, shapechanging, and summoning a mount.  No, none of those powers are 'generic'; each is unique, like all item-enhancing, shapechanging, and summoning powers.

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The only thing which stands out gameplay-wise about what you wrote, is the lack of any explicit mention of a teleport variation.  Either this is included as part of the mount system (fly your dragon to a destination)  or some other of the powers--  in which case we have yet another teleporting class--  or it isn't, in which case the class is crippled.
Dragon Form and Draconian Form can innately fly.  Human Form builds can either use a Dragon Mount, or shapechange into Dragon Form to travel to their desired location.  Such means of travel is a core element of the movement system.

They can also walk, but I wouldn't call them "yet another movement class" either.
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Old 12-13-2006, 07:37 PM   #6
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The last two posts raise an interesting question regarding class differentiation.

Would it be more engaging for players if there really was one class for inflicting damage (although I'd always want a physical and magical version), another for healing it, another for stealthy exploration, etc?

There can be a lot of overlap between classes if one steps back and categorizes their abilities.

-Gromble
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Old 12-14-2006, 12:09 AM   #7
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Great initial designs. In most game-fiction isn't there a magical resistance associated with dragons? Perhaps balancing this with a susceptibility to specific weapon types (possibilities of material-based, damage-type, non-magical, etc.).

As I am not familiar with your codebase I am just "brainstorming" this idea out there. Keep us informed as you progress, please. Sounds dang interesting.
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Old 12-14-2006, 05:21 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by (Gromble @ Dec. 14 2006,01:37)
Would it be more engaging for players if there really was one class for inflicting damage (although I'd always want a physical and magical version), another for healing it, another for stealthy exploration, etc?
Well 'physical' and 'magical' are still doing the same thing at the basic level - they inflict damage. So to keep the class abilities completely separate you'd want one class to have all of the damage inflicting abilities - physical, energy, mental, directed, area-affect, eq-damaging, etc. You'd have to have someone of this class in your group, otherwise you wouldn't actually be able to hurt anything.

Similarly, you could have a 'healer' class with all the healing/repair skills/spells, a 'buffer' class with all the buffs (bless, sanctuary, enchant weapon, etc), a 'curser' class with all the curses (blindness, weakness, etc) a 'conjurer' class with the ability to create things (pets, mounts, portals, equipment, etc), a 'summoner' with the ability to move things (teleporting, summoning players and mobs, stealing, transporting objects, etc) and a 'seer' class with the ability to gather information (the weaknesses of a mob, the location of various things, statistical data, etc). Off the top of my head, I can't think of any ability that wouldn't be covered by one of those categories.

It'd be an interesting experiment, as you'd be pretty much forced to form a group in order to play (only the 'damage' class could play solo, and they'd quickly die without healing or buffs). On the other hand, perhaps all classes should be able to perform basic attacks (otherwise, by the same logic, you'd need a conjurer in the group in order to actually move anywhere). Either way, it would create a strong symbiotic relationship between group members. The idea rather reminds me of Head Over Heels and The Lost Vikings.
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Old 12-14-2006, 05:51 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by (Mabus @ Dec. 14 2006,06:09)
Great initial designs. In most game-fiction isn't there a magical resistance associated with dragons? Perhaps balancing this with a susceptibility to specific weapon types (possibilities of material-based, damage-type, non-magical, etc.).
Well there are the five damage-oriented powers (Chill of the Tundra, Eye of the Storm, Fires of the Volcano, Fumes of the Pit and Winds of the Mind), which would also protect against spell attacks of the appropriate type - but a power geared specifically around magical resistance is a nice idea. My only concern is that it might end up being a bit too specialised (very strong vs spellcasters, useless against others)...I'll definitely think more on it though, thanks!

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As I am not familiar with your codebase I am just "brainstorming" this idea out there.
I actually consider that an advantage - I'm primarily after feedback from people who don't think in terms of what already exists within the codebase.
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Old 12-14-2006, 09:50 AM   #10
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I prefer dragons kept natural. You'll find dragons in various forms across cultures and still very prevalent in fantasy fiction for a good reason--they are a powerful icon. There's no need to mess with them, adding silly things like glyphs and shapeshifting and metallic colors, and geeze, draconians?
Dragons. They fly, they breathe fire, and they're effing huge. All the other fancy things are just like putting ketchup on filet mignon.
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Old 12-14-2006, 10:17 AM   #11
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Dragons. They fly, they breathe fire, and they're effing huge. All the other fancy things are just like putting ketchup on filet mignon.
But some people like ketchup - and not everyone likes filet mignon. I'd rather let everyone pick their own meal than force them all to eat filet mignon without ketchup.

What I'm trying to provide is a class with sufficient flexibility that each player can create the sort of character they would like to play - whether it be a traditional dragon, an oriental dragon, a dragon from non-mythological fiction, or even a lizardman/draconian, or a human-like character that only rides dragons. In short: If someone likes dragons, this class should support the sort of character they want to build.

If all you want is a big dragon that flies and breathes fire, then you can create exactly that, but if someone else wants to create a character modelled after the Dragon Kings from Exalted, or the Valheru, or the Dragon Highlords, or the Pern dragonriders, or a Tiste Andii Soletaken, or a Japanese Kappa, or whatever else, then they should be able to do that as well. I'm open to suggestions for expanding the class choices, but I've no interest in restricting the class to a single very specific build. It should be up to the individual player to decide what sort of dragon they're going to play.
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Old 12-14-2006, 01:45 PM   #12
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Well, since you want players to be able to make dragons however they like, if I were playing, I'd want to play a dragon like Glaurung from the Silmarillion. This means:

* Hypnotic eyes capable of paralyzing people, erasing peoples' memories, and deceiving them into going on hopeless self-destructive quests
* Ability to defile springs and rivers to thwart the Valars' attempts to use them for good
* Ability to sense enemies from afar (well, technically this part is from Unfinished Tales, not Silmarillion)
* Armies of orcs and such at my command
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Old 12-14-2006, 02:09 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by (erdos @ Dec. 14 2006,7:45)
Well, since you want players to be able to make dragons however they like, if I were playing,
Within reason - obviously no matter how much I incorporate into the design, it'll always be possible to come up with additional things. But I'd like to cover most reasonable dragon-oriented concepts and avoid any glaring omissions.

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I'd want to play a dragon like Glaurung from the Silmarillion. This means:

* Hypnotic eyes capable of paralyzing people, erasing peoples' memories, and deceiving them into going on hopeless self-destructive quests
Could be added as a Winds of the Mind spell (if you have Psionics, it unlocks various mental spells). I'm not sure if you could reasonably force players to go on quests, but paralysis would be an option, and perhaps short-term memory loss could be handled as skill penalties.

That also reminds me of the 'dragon fear' that some dragons have (D&D?).

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* Ability to defile springs and rivers to thwart the Valars' attempts to use them for good
The Fumes of the Pit power handles poison spells, but I'm not sure what sort of in-game benefit you could provide for someone who poisoned a river (unless you like collecting dead fish). It's more of a storyline feature that would benefit an RP mud, but that's not what I'm aiming for.

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* Ability to sense enemies from afar (well, technically this part is from Unfinished Tales, not Silmarillion)
Ranged-senses are already supported, and I definitely agree that dragons should have acccess to such an ability (it's a pretty important part of PK navigation, so it's really something I missed on the design).

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* Armies of orcs and such at my command
The mud isn't really set up to handle entire armies at this time, and even if/when that changes, it'll be outside the scope of classes. I'd rather just concentrate on ideas for the dragon itself for now.
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Old 12-14-2006, 05:41 PM   #14
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Incidentally, the spring-defiling power would actually be extremely powerful for PK in the SMAUG codebase. I don't know if Thoric put this in while you were still leading a clan or if it's after your time, but these days in SMAUG, one's ability to quaff potions depends on how full one is, and the only way to magically empty one's stomach is to drink from a mystical spring. Defile the spring, wait 10 seconds while your opponent spams quaff, then watch them choke
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Old 12-15-2006, 07:05 AM   #15
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Hello,

I'm not much of a pk mudder but when it comes to races and classes, I like the idea of evolving over the standard race class systems. Most muds have remort or something simular but I think that classes that start as, say a red dragon, which is already powerful can later evolve into an even more powerful version. I don't really know the exact terms of this but there are various evolving type classes around. It sorta gives you something else to work for race wise instead of just class wise.

EG: Thief can evolve into Assasin, then to Ninja or something.

Races like Verbit (Small size + low stats), can evolve at level 25 into a Vermin Verberg (Medium Size, better stats).

And then of corse, you add other things to the races.. Like Kziniti are racial no flee. Draconian's have no corpses upon death so eq is scattered in the room.. Loss to char if someone gets thier eq.

Overall, I don't know the details of evolving in muds as I've only played one that does anything simular. I'm a bit braindead on ideas so I don't know if this will be of much use or not.. Was just some ideas.

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Old 12-15-2006, 08:43 AM   #16
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I'm not much of a pk mudder but when it comes to races and classes, I like the idea of evolving over the standard race class systems. Most muds have remort or something simular but I think that classes that start as, say a red dragon, which is already powerful can later evolve into an even more powerful version.
Well I briefly mentioned subclasses in my first post, and they already cover that sort of thing. The basic subclass is a Young Dragon, and it later branches into Adult Chromatic Dragon, Adult Crystal Dragon, Adult Metallic Dragon, Draconian Warrior, Dragon Knight, Lesser Hydra, Lesser Serpent and Lesser Wyvern. Later still you'll be able to branch into something even more specialised (eg the Draconian Warrior can pick from Draconian Warlord, Draconian Berserker and Draconian Shaman).

So yes, you'd start as a Young Green Dragon, Young Red Dragon, Young Black Dragon, or whatever (depending on your talents) and would later evolve into something more powerful.
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Old 12-15-2006, 05:37 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by (KaVir @ Dec. 13 2006,08:06)
DRAGON

Dragon Form : Improved toughness and natural weapons.
Hydra Shape : Your dragon form has a hydra shape.
Serpent Shape : Your dragon form has a a serpent shape.
Wyvern Shape : Your dragon form has a a wyvern shape.
Treasure Hoard : You gain bonuses from your hoard of eq.
Salamanders Gift : Improved healing (shared with DRACONIAN).
I think this looks pretty neat overall. The only thing I don't like from a purely cosmetic perspective are the different "shapes" that (for me) brings to mind non-dragon images. In other words, I've never really thought of a hydra as a dragon, and always viewed wyverns as lesser dragons (i.e., non-intelligent dragons). When I see 'Serpents', I think of large evil snakes rather than oriental dragons (though I know that was the intent).

If I were a player, I'd personally prefer to have add-on components so I could customize my dragon. If each component had a cost and you start with X dragon points, you then can build your dragon. For example:

Wings : Flight and Wind Attack (25 dragon points)
Cloud Aura : Float/fly (15 dragon points)
Hood : Spit Poison (10 dragon points)
Extra Head : Extra breath weapon/attack (25 dragon points)
Stone Eyes : Freeze Attack (10 dragon points)
Ridged Spine : Extra toughness (15 dragon points)
Spiked Tail : Spike attack (15 dragon points)

So if you start with 50 points to spread around, you can have a flying dragon with a hood and ridged spine, or a 2 headed dragon that floats on a cloud and has a spiked tail, etc. Maybe you can upgrade later (grow more heads!. Of course, you can call yourself a hydra or wyvern if you want but you aren't limited to any species.
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Old 12-15-2006, 06:51 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by (KaVir @ Dec. 14 2006,06:17)
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Dragons. They fly, they breathe fire, and they're effing huge. All the other fancy things are just like putting ketchup on filet mignon.
But some people like ketchup - and not everyone likes filet mignon. I'd rather let everyone pick their own meal than force them all to eat filet mignon without ketchup.

What I'm trying to provide is a class with sufficient flexibility that each player can create the sort of character they would like to play - whether it be a traditional dragon, an oriental dragon, a dragon from non-mythological fiction, or even a lizardman/draconian, or a human-like character that only rides dragons. In short: If someone likes dragons, this class should support the sort of character they want to build.

If all you want is a big dragon that flies and breathes fire, then you can create exactly that, but if someone else wants to create a character modelled after the Dragon Kings from Exalted, or the Valheru, or the Dragon Highlords, or the Pern dragonriders, or a Tiste Andii Soletaken, or a Japanese Kappa, or whatever else, then they should be able to do that as well. I'm open to suggestions for expanding the class choices, but I've no interest in restricting the class to a single very specific build. It should be up to the individual player to decide what sort of dragon they're going to play.
Well, I suppose that it all depends on what sort of mud you are creating, and what you want it to be. You're the author, so the choice is yours, but you solicited feedback, and this is mine.
Keep it simple and keep one eye on the whole world. Don't try to allow any sort of dragon (or race or class) any player might like. You can give your dragons depth, but define them sharply and narrowly, and make sure they fit in seamlessly with the world as a whole. Make the dragons (and the whole world) so awesome that your players forget all about those other lame books and RPGs and the dragons that aren't nearly as awesome as yours.
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Old 12-16-2006, 10:46 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by (Estarra @ Dec. 15 2006,11:37)
I think this looks pretty neat overall. The only thing I don't like from a purely cosmetic perspective are the different "shapes" that (for me) brings to mind non-dragon images. In other words, I've never really thought of a hydra as a dragon, and always viewed wyverns as lesser dragons (i.e., non-intelligent dragons). When I see 'Serpents', I think of large evil snakes rather than oriental dragons (though I know that was the intent).
A lot of mythology describes dragons as being more like serpents, although many of these are serpents with clawed feet (while I've described them as serpents with fins). The reason for this is primarily to provide a clear mechanical difference between the shapes - the standard dragon form has five combat locations with which it can fight: head, left foreclaw, right foreclaw, tail and feet/wings (combined into a single location).

The three Shape powers then switch various combat tables to something more appropriate - the hydra shape replaces the left and right foreclaw locations with additional head locations, the serpent shape replaces the left and right foreclaw locations with fin locations and discards the wings option from the feet table, and the wyvern shape replaces the left and right foreclaw locations with left and right wing locations and discards the wings option from the feet table. So while there is certainly a thematic parallel, the primary difference is really one of functionality.

Wyverns are certainly portrayed as "lesser dragons" by D&D, but there are alternative ways of viewing them. Wikipedia, for example, mentions that "The wyvern is a type of dragon with two legs and two wings. The rest of its appearance can vary, such as appearing with a tail spade or with a serpent-like tail...Wyverns have been described as the largest form of dragon, so large that they prey from creatures such as elephants and rhinos."

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If I were a player, I'd personally prefer to have add-on components so I could customize my dragon.
Draconian form will allow that sort of customisation with warps (10-20 warps, each of which can be applied to the 10 warpable locations such as mouth, head, arms, legs, wings, etc). Hydra will also be able to use something similar to select their three different heads, while wyvern will be able to customise their tails.

I'd originally avoided the idea of warps for dragon form partly because I wanted to keep them different from draconian form, and partly out of the fear that each dragon would become some sort of bizarre mutant. However I can also see your point in that it would greatly increase the amount of variety, and as long as the warps were handled carefully it shouldn't cause any thematic clash. I'd probably still keep the alternative shapes as separate powers, but other things (such as scales, wings and such) could perhaps be adjustable with warps.

It's certainly something I'll have to think over - thanks for the suggestion.
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Old 12-16-2006, 10:50 AM   #20
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Name: Richard
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Kallekins @ Dec. 16 2006,12:51)
Well, I suppose that it all depends on what sort of mud you are creating, and what you want it to be. You're the author, so the choice is yours, but you solicited feedback, and this is mine.
Well it's an open forum, and of course anyone can voice their opinions, but to be fair the feedback I asked for was "would this allow you to create the sort of dragon you like?" and not "what sort of dragons should other players be allowed to create?"

I also clarified in my first post that "All classes in my mud are built around the idea of "flexibility" and "variety"; they each support many different builds". A narrowly defined dragon class would fit poorly with the rest of my game.
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