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Old 03-24-2003, 09:20 PM   #1
karlan
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It may have already been done here before but I was wondering about peoples feelings towards death traps. I have seen them handled well and handled badly.

Personaly I like to seem them in a MUD but only if they are done properly (ie there should be a reason for it and it should be more than just the flag set and insta death for anyone that enters). I feel that if they are done in code/scripts so as to handle special conditions (ie someone who is flying shouldn't die at a cliff death trap without a good reason)

Anyway, just a post to find out people opinions/feelings

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Old 03-25-2003, 09:52 AM   #2
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I hate death traps with a passion and they are one of the primary reasons I never play DIKU muds.

As a person if I am wondering along and I see a big cliff then I don't jump off it and go splat. Why should my character be any different?

On zeb we allow traps, just not death traps. The difference? Traps have warnings - ways to escape, possibly limitted damage, etc.

For example in one area there is a 'knife edge ridge' where you are balanced precariously at the top of the mountain being blown around by the wind. If you stay there for more than a few seconds you get a warning message that you are being blown around and barely keep your balance. After that your stats get checked and you keep trying to keep your balance. If you fail then you are blown off the ridge and fall - which does significent damage (so could kill you if you are injured) and you end up at the bottom of the cliff.

Another example might be a trapped lock - if you try to pick the lock you have a chance to get jabbed by a poison needle. The poison would do damage over time rather than instantly killing you so you can find a cleric to neutralize the poison or try to get healed enough to survive.

I can't list many other possible 'traps' since then it gives anyone reading this unfair warning - but anyone who has been ambushed by 8 trolls while another two stand on top of the hill throwing boulders at them can tell you that:
1: It hurts.
2: It really hurts.
3: It's possible to survive/escape.
4: If you paid attention you could have ambushed the trolls instead.

(In fact some of our more powerful characters have been known to deliberately let the trolls ambush them - just for the fun of a hard fight).
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Old 03-25-2003, 10:14 AM   #3
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I hate death traps with a passion and they are one of the primary reasons I never play DIKU muds.
Isn't that like saying "I hate muds where equipment doesn't save, and that's one of the primary reasons I never play LPmuds"?
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Old 03-25-2003, 12:28 PM   #4
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I'm all for situations where death is highly probable, but I don't care much for the idea of arbitrarily deciding that no matter how skilled you are and what decisions you make, you're gonna die.

In almost all situations, it should be at least slightly possible to escape death if you have the right skills or enough power or whatever. Sure the red sword temple should kill unwary newbies, but a decently skilled char who knows about the quest should have a chance of surviving it.

The ONLY assured death trap I can think of on DM was put in because idiots kept killing certain npc's over and over and over again. So now these npc's will call a souped-up critter capable of dispatching pretty much anyone on the mud. Even that might be possible to run from, but since I've never played with it I have no idea.
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Old 03-25-2003, 01:27 PM   #5
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I don't have a problem with death traps as long as they make sense, and usually they don't, or they have some form of a warning.
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Old 03-25-2003, 02:36 PM   #6
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Exclamation

I agree that arbitrary death traps are no fun especially if they appear without warning.

While I don't currently have any planned for my game world, Traps that a skilled person should be able to survive if they are paying attention are in the thought process now.

Since we are planning to open soon for beta testing. I have a bit more time to plan the traps/quests for the players and I will take the suggestions I have seen in these forums and on TMC into consideration when planning.
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Old 03-25-2003, 05:34 PM   #7
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I hate death traps with a passion and they are one of the primary reasons I never play DIKU muds.
I think most players hate DeathTraps, it's after all natural that they should.
But why bring the Diku code into the discussion? After all, Deathtraps are the choice of the Builders. Regardless of code, you can have as many or as few in a zone as the Builder decides.

I am no big fan of DTs myself, but some times they make sense to me. In our mud DTs are not common, but they do exist. We make a rule to be fair about them however, and always mark them out very clearly. It astonishes me sometimes, why people still choose to jump out from the edge of a precipice with circling vultures overhead and an exit desc that says ‘Only Death awaits you down there’. Or why they bumble into a booby-trapped room with a large sign in red capital letters saying; ‘Entering this room means Death!’ Perhaps it is the never-ending curiosity of the mudder.

Like Enigma, I prefer scripted traps, where the player has a chance until the last minute to get out. For instance, we have a room where the door slams shut when you enter, and then the roof and the walls start to descend on you. There is a pretty simple way of getting out, if you keep calm enough to read the descs. But recently one of our players told me how he felt like he was in an Indiana Jones picture, and decided to wait it out, just ‘to see what would happen’. What happened was of course that he wound up flat as a pancake with –1000 hp.

The funniest DT in our mud is a large snake, which swallows you whole. You get a choice between a slow death from the acid digestion fluids, or a swift one being crushed by the snake's stomach muscles. An amazing number of players have tried to attack the snake, regardless of numerous warnings. They probably don’t believe we mean what we are saying. But we usually do. *snicker*

From an Administrators point of view, I think DTs are used as a way to get some circulation on artifacts and other top gear with restricted loading. Unless the Mud is not rampant Pkill, the players tend to hoard these items until the max-load is reached and they no longer load. The occasional DT gives other players a chance of getting at those items.
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Old 03-25-2003, 08:18 PM   #8
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It astonishes me sometimes, why people still choose to jump out from the edge of a precipice with circling vultures overhead and an exit desc that says ‘Only Death awaits you down there’.
If a character is being chased, and is able to fly, then it would be the obvious place to hide.

There are hardly any DTs which should automatically kill the character. The automatic instant-kill DTs are a throwback to the stock muds of yesterdecade.
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Old 03-25-2003, 08:34 PM   #9
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sn't that like saying "I hate muds where equipment doesn't save, and that's one of the primary reasons I never play LPmuds"?
Yup, and thats a valid reason not to play them. On the other hand not all LP muds don't save equipment - just like not all DIKU's have deathtraps.

Me I judge a mud on its merits (whatever my statement might have implied). I have just never played a DIKU which didn't have deathtraps - and hence stopped playing and/or trying them.

(No need to suggest loads for me to try either - I don't have time to try loads of new muds out these days).

Quote:
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I think most players hate DeathTraps, it's after all natural that they should.
But why bring the Diku code into the discussion? After all, Deathtraps are the choice of the Builders. Regardless of code, you can have as many or as few in a zone as the Builder decides.
It's nothing to do with the codebase as such. Its just that all of the DIKU muds I have tried had deathtraps to some degree. Its pretty much built into the driver - and its dead easy for builders to add.

Either you lose all your eq, or you die, or both. In one case they made it so they didn't actually kill you - so you just wondered into one and then recalled out (like that makes sense - you fall down a cliff, splat you die - recall).

DIKU and LPC (or any other varient you choose), in all you can do silly things like that - but DIKU's are the only ones I have seen with it built in and used as such a common feature.

The simple fact that someone can say deathtraps and everyone knows what they mean should prove that.
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Old 03-25-2003, 09:44 PM   #10
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Unhappy

What about Deathtraps with plenty of warning, but little chance of escape, (I quite like as a builder the idea of scripted/coded DT's), as in :
You approach a cave,
"just outside is a skeleton, dressed in rags"
exa skeleton
"The lower half of the skeleton looks to have been crushed, a faint coil of wire is clenched in its fist"
You enter the cave,
"A faint graoning reaches your ears", "dust and grit sifts down from the ceiling
IF ( you can see in the dark AND have notice (or something like it on))
   You can avoid the tripwire,
ELSE
   You hear a twang,
   More dust sifts down from the ceiling,
   have a couple of pulses
   Big Rocks fall,
   You Die.
   Modify the exits to ajoining rooms to indicate they are blocked.

The builder could, and should, have any locals (if any) talk of the regular rockfalls in the caves around.

The player has had warnings if they take the time to look and listen, if they are really quick they could get out (if they lag at a bad time, they are unfortunate, I have a very laggy connection, and when it is bad and I am playing, I try and avoid going to any very dangerous places)
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Old 03-25-2003, 11:19 PM   #11
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Isn't that like saying "I hate muds where equipment doesn't save, and that's one of the primary reasons I never play LPmuds"?
Yes, it's exactly like saying that. Both of which you succinctly sum up in your next message "...Throwbacks to stock muds of yesteryear". It's all part of the same prejudices that I thought would be gone by now; *Mud are for this and this alone.

Enigma: I understand it may be built into the server but unlike a split-design of LP the whole server of most diku-derivs is the whole mud, everything is built into the server (exception of zones, nitpickers). We all know that muds and the mud community constantly change. Besides, the vast majority of LPMuds i've played have some form of equipment saving *grin*

I also haven't seen a DUMB insta-kill deathtrap in a long while now, and my remembrance of them aren't really from Diku (though I have some), they are from their precursor Abermuds. Worse than death alone,  they logged you out of the game as well. Aieee. How annoying.

Back to the point. I believe death traps should be done intelligently, and have something more substantial to them than just.....

[code]
The mountain path.
The mountain path continues upwards and a little shelf juts off the path to the east.
Exits; Up and East
> East
The rock shelf crumbles under your weight.
AIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!
Obvious exits; None
You died.
[/quote]

Other than that, I really have no problem with death traps, if there are ample descriptions given to show. Also, if the main purpose of the area is exploring, in some cases descriptions need not even be near the death trap.

To Sum: If it's tastefully done and well written or if I find out later that by exploring better I would have bypassed my demise then I probably will not be upset.
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Old 03-26-2003, 05:40 AM   #12
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I also haven't seen a DUMB insta-kill deathtrap in a long while now, and my remembrance of them aren't really from Diku (though I have some), they are from their precursor Abermuds.
Old Diku had them, I believe. The Merc branch of Diku, which came out in 1992, and which the majority of Diku muds belong to, removed the whole "death" aspect of deathtraps - instead they simply became rooms with no exits, forcing you to recall back to the temple. Circle and some other Diku derivatives retained the feature, and I suppose the occasional Merc-derived muds may have put it back, but we're still talking about a minority. Refusing to play a whole family of muds based on a feature which was removed over a decade ago is really quite silly, IMO.
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Old 03-26-2003, 11:01 AM   #13
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That's exactly the sort of thing I like (and zeb encourages) - traps but not deathtraps.

You have a few seconds in which to escape (although if its as little as 2 seconds then instant death that probably still wouldnt be allowed on zeb since people dont have time to read the message and then do anything about it - perhaps if after 2 seconds you started taking 50 or 100 hp damage a round (our players range from around 100 to 800 max hp approximately) that would be better). A message several lines long about the roof collapsing takes a while to read and process. Your HP dropping like a stone on the other hand most players are well conditioned to respond too :-)

The troll ambush I mentioned before I always found amusing because there is a notice on the signpost leading to the path with the ambush on saying that the path is closed until the emperor is able to investigate since no-one has travelled it and returned in several months. Then players blunder into the ambush and claim they werent warned ;-)
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Old 03-26-2003, 11:13 AM   #14
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Sorry guys, it wasn't meant as a dig at the whole DIKU community. All the DIKUs I tried (and this was back in around 1996/1997) had them, so I stopped trying.

To be honest I did the standard mudder thing of finding a MUD I liked (i.e. Zeb) and mostly sticking with it. The other muds I tried and liked were all LP muds though - so as a result I have a preference for LP muds.

I disliked DIKUs for a number of reasons - probably due to trying the wrong DIKUs - including the unimaginative square grid areas, the deathtraps, the lack of interesting monsters/items etc.

This wasn't from one DIKU, this was from trying several - and becoming a very powerful character on one.

I don't doubt that DIKUs have advanced as much as other MUDs in the intervening years (and no doubt I found bad ones to try at the time) but at the end of the day that was my experience - and hence that was the opinion I formed.
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Old 03-27-2003, 09:37 AM   #15
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Personally I dislike any deathtrap which causes you to actually die. Ok so let me rephrase that...any TRAP which does so. Especially if the effect is instant, not giving the player the chance to react.

Traps should always have warnings. This does raise a problem though. You can find general inconsistency between coder's warnings. You might see a monster with a description 'this is a really huge monster, you can barely summon the courage to approach it, whatever you do don't annoy it' that turns out to be medium level. on the other hand you might get a small warning 'you hear some loud noise to the east' to find an aggressive high level monster awaits you.

Then there is the issue of how to give a warning. The most effective (non-tacky) ways are probably:
room 'chats' (ie timed messages)
a sign appearing as an object

So to sum up, I think traps make things more interesting, they certainly encourage players to look around carefully, not just to run head first into new areas. But they need careful monitoring to keep them fair.
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Old 03-27-2003, 02:12 PM   #16
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If balance is properly in place ona MUD, deathtraps will should not only be non-existent but impossible to add anywhere, be it a room, or a box you open, or a lever you pull.

What it comes down to is that there is always an alternative to coding a deathtrap and those who can't possibly think of something more "challenging" ought to consider their wizhood and/or creativity.
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Old 03-27-2003, 05:50 PM   #17
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I see death traps as viable ways to get people to read room descriptions, if used in moderation. On our Star Wars MUSH, I put in an exit that said "Into the Sarlaac" in the middle of the appropriate pit, and the room desc before the exit described in detail the terribleness of what lied below, and the stories about it taking 1000 years to digest you. Yet we still had three players who fell down that hole.

Granted, if the description and logic isn't there, this point is moot. And I agree that if your mud has effect flags that could reallistically affect the death trap situation, that those should be taken under account. But for the guy who just speedwalks through places he's never been before,  I have little pity for him if he falls in a well-designed and described death trap.
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Old 03-27-2003, 08:20 PM   #18
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I am interested to know why you feel that balance is upset by the presence of a hostile environment grey (NOTE: this is not a flame/dis/criticism/etc... I am interested, pls do not start a flame war over this)

I just consider that any death trap should be rare enough that it should be coded to handle exceptions (ie the flying person leaping off the cliff, but it should kill anyone else, and if the coder is a bastard he could have different warnings - one of the vultures flies into a downdraft and plumets out of sight - then the char has to ask them selves whether it is really a safe place to fly, wind currents can be wierd around cliffs).

I can think of quite a few places where more than the creatures in an area are dangerous, if you are wandering around a cave with a fractured looking roof, and plenty of fresh ruble on the ground, expect to see more rocks fall. If you going running blindly through a boggy/swampy area, expect to fall into quicksand (code the quicksand so they can try and grab a branch, if they perform too many actions then they are considered to be struggling and they should #### well sink faster - if they can fly they shouldn't sink, if they fell in while they weren't flying then how do they fly, should you allow them to flap their wings if they are stuck.

A well made dt should keep players wary of the area, I find they can be a great leveler, a dt (again well made, not just enter room - die) can give that level 5 a chance against a level 50 if they know the area better than the high  level player. (I played a mud with a command to lay false trakcs, so I ran towards the dt, layed some false tracks into it and then hid, my pursuer was tracking me and ran right into it (a patch of quicksand), yes the equipment they were carrying was lost, but now, their lower level companion was alone in the zone, in the dark with me   Players are warned that the area is dangerous, there are many remains of people killed by the creatures, there are stories being told in the tavern of the nearby town (scripted) talking about how old .....(forgot) was sucked down into the ground, and how the lowland swamps are full of trecherous bogs and pits. He should have known not to take a lowlevel char and leave them alone.
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Old 03-28-2003, 05:25 AM   #19
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I'm all for traps when they make sense. I'm just curious. What's the difference between a death-trap and a trap?

I prefer realism in a MU* so if it's realistic to die in a place, then I expect to die there. It also doesn't make sense to give the players warning all the time. If the "trap" is falling off a cliff, then you should give warning in the description in adjacent rooms that the room next to it is air. However if there is a ledge and when someone walks onto the ledge it crumbles, that ledge should stay crumbled and it shouldn't auto-pop back up.

I also prefer objectivity in descriptions so having "death only awaits you there" IMO isn't good. Also with the cliff example, it shouldn't be coded to auto-kill anyone who enters it. Someone might have climbing gear so depending on how good a climber they were they'd probably be safe.

It also makes sense NOT to have warnings. Such as in a tomb that has traps. You might have a few skeletons but that'd be it. How the tomb operates should also be taken into account. Does it shoot arrows at people? How does it reload? Why hasn't it run out of supplies. Is there a room that shrinks to squash people? There would probably be blood that you could see. Also, the room probably wouldn't shrink straight away, there'd probably take time for the roof to come down which would give people who have teleporting abilties time to escape it.

I'm all for traps that make sense. But I'm not for insta-kill ones, as SOMEONE is going to EVENTUALLY escape the trap.
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Old 03-28-2003, 08:57 AM   #20
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I'd refer to a death-trap as a trap that causes death with a high probability. For instance, obviously instant death would be a death-trap, but also capturing a player in a room with a high level aggressive monster would be. Other traps might cause death, but I'd just refer to those as traps. Just personal preference tho.
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