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Old 04-25-2008, 06:56 PM   #61
Belenos
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Re: How many muds have permadeath?

This is to answer a portion of the original poster's question, "how does permadeath affect roleplay"

I staff on Armageddon and I have played there for a number of years. One significant aspect of permadeath is the level of emotional involvement it inflicts upon you. In all the games I have ever tried, never have I gotten the level of emotional attachments to online events than I have with this game. It is not uncommon to find your hands shaking in RL after having just narrowly escaped being killed, or to feel genuine loss when your character, or another character dear to you ends up dying. Most any long lasting player understands and has experienced this.

This is not true for every character you play, just those characters you find yourself attached to. With some of my characters I was pleased to see them finally die. There are also people who play more aggressively and tend to die with considerably more frequency than I did. These people are probably less inclined to become emotionally attached to a character.

In our game permadeath, complete and utter permadeath is not an incidental part of the game, it is key tenant of what we are about. I would argue that it has a significant impact on roleplay.
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Old 04-25-2008, 09:38 PM   #62
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Re: How many muds have permadeath?

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Originally Posted by Belenos View Post
In our game permadeath, complete and utter permadeath is not an incidental part of the game, it is key tenant of what we are about. I would argue that it has a significant impact on roleplay.
The death mechanisms on any serious roleplaying mud would play a significant part in the roleplay. It's a pretty major mechanic that all players have to deal with and very few (if any) ever get to opt out of it. I'm not sure if permadeath on a roleplay enforced game could ever be an incidental part of the game, could it? That's the end of your character and whatever time you spent on it. It'd be interesting to see if there could be a roleplay enforced mud where permadeath was just an incidental part of the game, that's for sure. I guess you could do something like "Toons" where you just don't get to come back.

Permadeath mostly just presents a challenge to me to see how long I can last or quickly I can die. I don't believe it really invokes much difference to me as long as the games I'm involved in have a pretty serious penalty. In permadeath muds, I don't spend hours creating my character and developing the details because it can all go up in smoke at the whim of a player. (And unfortunately, no matter how great a mud is, twinks manage to still find their way on.)

Now would permadeath enthusiasts be willing to play a game that mixes permadeath and non-permadeath characters assuming the story fits and the permadeath characters have certain advantages? Or is it all or nothing for most?
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Old 04-25-2008, 10:59 PM   #63
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Re: How many muds have permadeath?

I wouldn't.

It's hard to articulate this, but for me, death isn't a "feature." It's part of the life cycle. It's what happens when things go very wrong. It's heart breaking. Especially when it's not your pc who dies, but your pc's friend. Now there's a hole in thier life. Things have changed. Irrevocably. Things change every time you're presented a choice where there is danger.

It's almost impossible to verbalize it. It has nothing to do with equipiment or investment of time. It has to do with immediacy, with your heart in your throat.

Have you ever read a novel them made you weep? I've sat at my keyboard and wept when my pc died. Why someone else's pc died. When an npc died.

I've spitefully and gleefully laughed at the death of someone my pc detested.

It's a different experience. It makes the game experience round and full and whole for me.
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Old 04-26-2008, 02:34 AM   #64
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Re: How many muds have permadeath?

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When an npc died.
Now there's a novel idea. Does the permadeath mud force npc's to be permadeathed to? Or is this onesided? I mean realism would dictate that if you kill that city guard, he ain't comin' back.
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Old 04-26-2008, 04:19 AM   #65
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Re: How many muds have permadeath?

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Now there's a novel idea. Does the permadeath mud force npc's to be permadeathed to? Or is this onesided? I mean realism would dictate that if you kill that city guard, he ain't comin' back.
In most RPIs, any NPC with a specific identity (name and/or background) is likewise dead when killed though to combat twinks who H&S their way through, sometimes they "survive the attack" if it was carried out by someone who killed them by less than appropriate IC means.

NPCs who are anonymous (that is to say not given an name or background when built) are also considered dead though depending upon their description may or may not resurface. The RPI Engine, the basis of the majority of RPIs features auto-create NPCs with variable descriptions meaning that every time the game resets, those NPCs' descriptions change. The idea behind this is that you may have an army of 100, but only 10 NPCs representing them. The rest are referred to as VNPCs (Virtual NPCs) and the variable descriptions allow for the same mobs to serve as more than one.

I can't say for certain, but I'd wager most permadeath MUDs treat NPCs, even if they don't employ auto-creates, in a similar manner.

Take care,

Jason
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Old 04-26-2008, 04:25 PM   #66
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Re: How many muds have permadeath?

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In most RPIs, any NPC with a specific identity (name and/or background) is likewise dead when killed though to combat twinks who H&S their way through, sometimes they "survive the attack" if it was carried out by someone who killed them by less than appropriate IC means.

NPCs who are anonymous (that is to say not given an name or background when built) are also considered dead though depending upon their description may or may not resurface. The RPI Engine, the basis of the majority of RPIs features auto-create NPCs with variable descriptions meaning that every time the game resets, those NPCs' descriptions change. The idea behind this is that you may have an army of 100, but only 10 NPCs representing them. The rest are referred to as VNPCs (Virtual NPCs) and the variable descriptions allow for the same mobs to serve as more than one.

I can't say for certain, but I'd wager most permadeath MUDs treat NPCs, even if they don't employ auto-creates, in a similar manner.

Take care,

Jason
Must be something new. I never noticed anything but auto repop in locations with NPC's and one's with names would repop as well not be gone forever as stated above.
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Old 04-26-2008, 05:43 PM   #67
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Re: How many muds have permadeath?

No, it's not something new. Even Gemstone had certain NPCs who were permanently killable, and killed. In some games that -usually- have auto spawn hunting areas, it is assumed that these critters are -not- the same critter, reincarnated. It is assumed that the 3 bugbears you see every day aren't the only bugbears on the entire mountain. But that there are actually many many dens of bugbears that breed and live their lives. You just don't get to kill them all in one day. And by the time you think you've killed a few dozen, another few virtual dens have been bred.

This is not only not something new, but it isn't even uncommon. Perhaps your perspective of things is just a little more limited than you assumed it was.
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Old 04-26-2008, 09:21 PM   #68
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Re: How many muds have permadeath?

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Originally Posted by Fifi View Post
Have you ever read a novel them made you weep? I've sat at my keyboard and wept when my pc died. Why someone else's pc died. When an npc died.

I've spitefully and gleefully laughed at the death of someone my pc detested.

It's a different experience. It makes the game experience round and full and whole for me.
Yes, I have actually experienced a wide gamut of emotions in the roleplaying games I've played as I took my characters through various stages in her life. I've enjoyed it immensely, but none of the games that I have stuck with are permadeath games. The permadeath games for me have resulted in my characters dying too far too quickly for me to really have invested enough time or emotion into her. I mostly just experienced frustration and a mild send of annoyance that I'd invested so much time to get into the game only to lose out on any attempt at character development. I think it's very interesting that we get such different reactions from the presence or lack of a specific feature set. Do you never feel emotionally involved in your character in a non-permadeath game? What should I do to be able to get more fulfillment out of my permadeath characters? Is it just different wiring or different goals we're looking for when we game?

I've spitefully and gleefully laughed at the death of the hundreds of Albions I slaughtered on the plans of Emain Macha on Dark Age of Camelot. The roleplaying was minimal, and you didn't lose a darn thing (xp or gear, much less your character). Boy, me and a ton of others went at it like it was a holy crusade, though.

Somehow, I don't think the feelings that are evoked for us are that different when we're gaming or reading. I'll admit that I have no real specific feature sets that a game must have before I'll try it. As long as I've heard good things, I'll try it out and see if I like it. Do people who prefer permadeath usually limit themselves only to games that have permadeath?
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Old 04-26-2008, 10:05 PM   #69
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Re: How many muds have permadeath?

I played a game fairly intensely before the game I currently play. And loved it for the first two years. And then I felt like I only ever saw the same people doing the same things. And I grew frustrated and bored. Six years later, I don't feel that way about the game I play now. Not only is there great character development, but I get to play with new concepts and ideas.

As I said, it's very hard for me to articulate, these things so drastically change the experiences for me. but they do. For me these things make me feel very intensely transported. Like a good book. So, no, I will not play a mud without this feature and a few others, like detailed description, and a lack of ooc. For me, it's a deal breaker. And again, I'm fine with everyone playing the games of their choosing with the features they like. For me this is what works.
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Old 04-26-2008, 10:21 PM   #70
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Re: How many muds have permadeath?

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Originally Posted by Fifi View Post
I played a game fairly intensely before the game I currently play. And loved it for the first two years. And then I felt like I only ever saw the same people doing the same things. And I grew frustrated and bored. Six years later, I don't feel that way about the game I play now. Not only is there great character development, but I get to play with new concepts and ideas.
I definitely agree that non-permadeath muds can get very stagnant, especially if there are no remorts. You have the same people doing the same thing because they can't give up their characters. Permadeath does force you to give up your characters if nothing else.
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Old 04-27-2008, 12:59 PM   #71
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Re: How many muds have permadeath?

Individual, specific NPCs with names and backgrounds definitely die if they are killed in most RPImuds I've seen. Not long ago a favorite NPC of mine and one my character had often interacted with was cut down in a mass murder spree by another PC. The NPC was taken out of the game permanently and a new one was written to replace her function where she'd been.

Now other NPCs are more "generic", reflecting large virtual populations of the city they live in. If you kill the shoe merchant in the bazaar, he will probably repop eventually, because there are likely many shoe merchants in the same bazaar to take his place. Is it a little OOC that they look exactly like him? Certainly. You could write some code to dynamically describe NPCs each time they repop, I suppose, but I've never seen a game doing that.
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Old 04-27-2008, 02:56 PM   #72
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Re: How many muds have permadeath?

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Now other NPCs are more "generic", reflecting large virtual populations of the city they live in. If you kill the shoe merchant in the bazaar, he will probably repop eventually, because there are likely many shoe merchants in the same bazaar to take his place. Is it a little OOC that they look exactly like him? Certainly. You could write some code to dynamically describe NPCs each time they repop, I suppose, but I've never seen a game doing that.
It wouldn't be that hard to do, but it would take a lot of writing and careful sentence construction. Time is probably better spent with running roleplay events. I know that I usually prefer builders put their time into new content and cool events than to have every individual NPC be different each time they repop unless each NPC is vitally important and isn't being used for skilling up.
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Old 04-27-2008, 04:48 PM   #73
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Re: How many muds have permadeath?

<Snip - Xerihae>

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jherlen View Post
Now other NPCs are more "generic", reflecting large virtual populations of the city they live in. If you kill the shoe merchant in the bazaar, he will probably repop eventually, because there are likely many shoe merchants in the same bazaar to take his place. Is it a little OOC that they look exactly like him? Certainly. You could write some code to dynamically describe NPCs each time they repop, I suppose, but I've never seen a game doing that.
If you felt this was important enough, I think it would be pretty easy to do. Whenever you needed to create a new custom NPC, the code would through a series of steps:

1) Pick a random race (or pick from an array of specific races).

2) Depending on race, pick a random eye color. Then a random hair color. Then a random (whatever other features are commonly described on your game). You would probably want a list of at least 10-20 for each, all race dependent.

3) Randomly generate sex (assuming that race has male and female).

4) Randomly generate an appropriate height and weight for that race.

5) Randomly generate a name. You can either have a huge list of names, or have pieces of names. Just make sure you keep track of the ones used so you don't reuse them. Or maybe don't even worry about that. There is more than one "Bob" in our world. It is unlikely that your random generator would create two Bobs with the exact same descriptive characteristics.

Without a great deal of setup, you would easily have thousands of different NPCs. They wouldn't be terribly unique or special (since they are just a random combination of features), but they might do the job nicely.

Last edited by Xerihae : 04-28-2008 at 08:28 AM.
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Old 04-27-2008, 08:12 PM   #74
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Re: How many muds have permadeath?

Your idea is a good one Threshold. The problem is that on these muds each npc (and pc) has a written description one paragraph long consisting of at least four lines of descriptive text. Of course that doesn't make it impossible, just more difficult to randomly generate.
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Old 04-27-2008, 08:39 PM   #75
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Re: How many muds have permadeath?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jherlen
Now other NPCs are more "generic", reflecting large virtual populations of the city they live in. If you kill the shoe merchant in the bazaar, he will probably repop eventually, because there are likely many shoe merchants in the same bazaar to take his place. Is it a little OOC that they look exactly like him? Certainly. You could write some code to dynamically describe NPCs each time they repop, I suppose, but I've never seen a game doing that.
Well, the SoI RPI Engine creates the dynamic short and long descriptions while the full description remains the same for the most part. Now, unless someone RPs with the NPC and staff animates it, they won't learn the name anyway (since names are not known just by looking at someone) so generation of a specific name isn't necessarily needed (though a staff-written note denoting a combination and name used during an animation is always a good idea). As most of the time, PCs deal with the specific NPCs, not the generic ones, this is rarely a problem. And even when they do interact with the generic ones, it's been my experience that most times they're not doing so in a context where they a) need or ask for personal information, b) are likely to interact with them again even if they did.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mina
It wouldn't be that hard to do, but it would take a lot of writing and careful sentence construction. Time is probably better spent with running roleplay events. I know that I usually prefer builders put their time into new content and cool events than to have every individual NPC be different each time they repop unless each NPC is vitally important and isn't being used for skilling up.
Yep, priorities are probably necessary. The reason it's probably been experimented with in RPIs is the lack of emphasis on "skilling up" via NPC use, ie. killing them. Even still, most such generic NPCs are meant as crowd filler. Look at a busy street and you see dozens or more people walking on the sidewalks. Depending where you are, stand there for an hour and you'll see hundreds if not thousands pass. You don't interact with any of them. For all intents and purposes, they're generic entities just going by you. And in most cases, that's all they're there for as far as your life is concerned. Same thing with MUDs. The specific NPCs most people interact with, shopkeepers and the like, all have names and individual descriptions and personalities. The people passing by the shop while you're in there talking or by the pub while you're in hanging with friends are just the window dressing.

That said, when I imm'd I prefered any instance where I was likely to interact with a PC while animating to occur with a specific NPC. Had one instance where I used an auto-create and noticed that a player or two didn't react quite the same way I think they would had they not realized it was an auto-create (ie, they knew it was a staff animation and not another PC). So for that reason, if I choose to animate an NPC for the purpose of interaction, I like having a closet full of generic specific NPCs for use (generic in that they serve multiple minor uses with little or no modification necessary, specific in that they have a complete short, long, and full description which is not of auto-create origin).

<Snip - Xerihae>

Quote:
If you felt this was important enough, I think it would be pretty easy to do. Whenever you needed to create a new custom NPC, the code would through a series of steps:

1) Pick a random race (or pick from an array of specific races).
Actually, depending on how you intend to use such NPCs, this would be a bad idea. If you feature elves, dwarves, and orcs in a game and orcs are known to be violent toward the other two, a random race generation might result in the local guard auto-create in the elf king's castle to generate as an orc. A better option is to create a template for a variety of different forms.

That said, the SoI RPI Engine does just that. Only descriptions are subject to the randomized auto-create code. Elements like enforcer flags, gender, clanning are built into the auto-create allowing for various types of such NPCs to carry out different functions.

Quote:
...pick a random eye color. Then a random hair color. Then a random (whatever other features are commonly described on your game). You would probably want a list of at least 10-20 for each, all race dependent.
Yep.

Quote:
3) Randomly generate sex (assuming that race has male and female).
Again, if females in a culture wear dresses and males do not, having an auto-create randomly assign gender would be a bit embarassing for the poor NPCs turned into public cross-dressers.

Quote:
4) Randomly generate an appropriate height and weight for that race.
Some MUD codes, an example already noted, do this already.

Quote:
5) Randomly generate a name. You can either have a huge list of names, or have pieces of names. Just make sure you keep track of the ones used so you don't reuse them. Or maybe don't even worry about that. There is more than one "Bob" in our world. It is unlikely that your random generator would create two Bobs with the exact same descriptive characteristics.
Entirely possible though I'm not sure if it's been attempted yet. Emphasis on yet.

Quote:
Without a great deal of setup, you would easily have thousands of different NPCs. They wouldn't be terribly unique or special (since they are just a random combination of features), but they might do the job nicely.
Agreed!

Last edited by Xerihae : 04-28-2008 at 08:34 AM.
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Old 04-27-2008, 09:14 PM   #76
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Re: How many muds have permadeath?

<Snip - Xerihae>

Quote:
Your idea is a good one Threshold. The problem is that on these muds each npc (and pc) has a written description one paragraph long consisting of at least four lines of descriptive text. Of course that doesn't make it impossible, just more difficult to randomly generate.
Actually the SOI codebase and Argila 2.0 codebase already do it quite well. The randomly generated content is simply stored in the code somewhere and you can alter the sdescs/mdescs to whatever you see fit. It works very well.

Quote:
I played a game fairly intensely before the game I currently play. And loved it for the first two years. And then I felt like I only ever saw the same people doing the same things. And I grew frustrated and bored. Six years later, I don't feel that way about the game I play now. Not only is there great character development, but I get to play with new concepts and ideas.

As I said, it's very hard for me to articulate, these things so drastically change the experiences for me. but they do. For me these things make me feel very intensely transported. Like a good book. So, no, I will not play a mud without this feature and a few others, like detailed description, and a lack of ooc. For me, it's a deal breaker. And again, I'm fine with everyone playing the games of their choosing with the features they like. For me this is what works.
You summed up a lot of how players feel about permadeath right here. I did a video about this and how permadeath changes your outlook entirely upon how you roleplay at a mud.

Last edited by Xerihae : 04-28-2008 at 08:34 AM.
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Old 04-27-2008, 09:15 PM   #77
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Re: How many muds have permadeath?

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Originally Posted by prof1515 View Post
In most RPIs, any NPC with a specific identity (name and/or background) is likewise dead when killed though to combat twinks who H&S their way through, sometimes they "survive the attack" if it was carried out by someone who killed them by less than appropriate IC means.

NPCs who are anonymous (that is to say not given an name or background when built) are also considered dead though depending upon their description may or may not resurface. The RPI Engine, the basis of the majority of RPIs features auto-create NPCs with variable descriptions meaning that every time the game resets, those NPCs' descriptions change. The idea behind this is that you may have an army of 100, but only 10 NPCs representing them. The rest are referred to as VNPCs (Virtual NPCs) and the variable descriptions allow for the same mobs to serve as more than one.

I can't say for certain, but I'd wager most permadeath MUDs treat NPCs, even if they don't employ auto-creates, in a similar manner.

Take care,

Jason
This is certainly true at my mud.
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Old 04-27-2008, 10:45 PM   #78
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Re: How many muds have permadeath?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fifi View Post
Your idea is a good one Threshold. The problem is that on these muds each npc (and pc) has a written description one paragraph long consisting of at least four lines of descriptive text. Of course that doesn't make it impossible, just more difficult to randomly generate.
This is a tiny bit harder, but still not that difficult. You just have to create sentences in logical groups, and then add them together when needed. We do this with wilderness descriptions in a number of places, and have considered doing it with some NPCs. Although right now we simply hand code all of our "individual" NPCs.

This is a very simplified example (with rapidly churned out descriptions, just for this post), but it demonstrates the concept adequately I think:

Code:
string gender, race, subj, poss, obje, description;

gender = (however you query an NPC's gender);
race = (however you query an NPC's race);
subj = (however you get this NPC's subjective pronoun);
poss = (however you get this NPC's possessive pronoun);
obje = (however you get this NPC's objective pronoun);

// The A category has information related to the NPCs appearance.
long_desc_a = 
({
"This "+gender+" "+race+" does not appear to put much effort into "+poss+
" appearance. "+capitalize(poss)+" hair is unkempt, "+poss+
" clothes are heavily worn, and "+subj+" most likely hasn't spent much "+
"time with soap or water in recent days.",

"Every stitch of this "+gender+" "+race+"'s clothing is in just the right "+
"place. Not a smudge or stain is visible, nor are there any visible patches "+
"or darning. It is evident "+subj+" is fastidious in his daily ablution, and "+
poss+" personal grooming is impeccable.",

"This plain, simple "+gender+" "+race+" is average in almost every way. "+
capitalize(poss)+" clothing is drab but in decent condition, and "+subj+
" seems clean for the most part."

})

// The B category has information about the NPC's overall health.
long_desc_b = 
({
"With a slightly hunched posture and a glazed look in "+poss+" eyes, this "+
race+" appears to be in a state of deteriorating health.",

"This hale and hearty "+race+" looks to be in excellent overall health.",

"It is difficult to tell if this "+race+" is unwell or simply tired, but "+
poss+" squinted eyes and frequent sniffling imply a lingering or brewing "+
"illness.", 

})

// The C category has information about the NPC's overall demeanor.
long_desc_c = 
({
"This "+gender+" "+race+"'s constant fidgeting belies the air of calm "+
"confidence "+subj+" he trying to project."

"From the way this "+gender+" "+race+" carries "+obje+"self, "+subj+
" gives an impression of haughtiness and arrogance.",

"Small, controlled movements and a downcast glance make this "+
gender+" "+race+" appear timid and perhaps fearful of "+poss+
" surroundings.",

})

description = 	long_desc_a [ random(3)] +
		long_desc_b [ random(3)] +
		long_desc_b [ random(3)] ;
Depending on what your MUD's standards are for descriptions, you then apply the appropriate indenting and word wrapping. You could even set it up to use the categories in random order, for more variety.

Obviously, this is still going to be more generic than hand coding your NPCs. But it is certainly an option if someone wants to make "invidual" NPCs die and stay dead, but be easily and conveniently replaced so their function is not lost (shopkeeper, banker, etc.).

Last edited by Threshold : 04-28-2008 at 12:41 AM.
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Old 04-27-2008, 10:58 PM   #79
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Re: How many muds have permadeath?

That's rather nifty!
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Old 04-28-2008, 01:14 AM   #80
LoD
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Re: How many muds have permadeath?

I've played several MUDs over my many years and Armageddon since it began almost 18 years ago.

People seem to be drawing conclusions that personal preferences or opinions on the benefits of permadeath somehow discredits or trivializes the experiences they have on their non-permadeath MUD. It does no such thing.

Some people are seeing the statement, "Beef is only good when it is cooked."

What people are saying, however, is more akin to the statement, "I can't appreciate Beef unless it's been properly cooked."

What's further true is that there are unique properties to cooked beef that are simply not possible without the cooking process. The same can be said of permadeath and non-permadeath systems. There are unique textures, tastes, and experiences inherent to -both- systems that simply cannot be achieved without implementing one or the other. And many people in the permadeath camp are likely of the opinion that slaying someone only to see the exact same person, with the same personality and the same agenda any time in the future would pose several major problems with their role-play.

How could a character truly feel a sense of loss for another character if they cannot actually perish?

How could a character truly feel victory over a bitter rival if they could never truly be killed?

How could a character truly make the ultimate sacrifice or show extreme bravery if there is no ultimate price?

How could a character truly feel frightened if their character cannot truly die?

How could a political assassination work if the character isn't truly dead?

How could you frame someone for murder if the murder victim can simply come back?

How can you truly savor narrowly escaping death when you know full well that even had your character perished, you'd simply be penalized rather than killed?

There are entire ranges of emotions, felt both by the character and the player both, that many feel exist only under a true permadeath system. From what I've perceived on both sides of the fence, I definitely have to lump myself into that same category from the many years I've played. There are countless situations and actions that would've been completely trivialized or rendered completely pointless if characters were allowed to return from the dead.

Imagine two 30-year old soccer players; one is a professional and pursues his game for a living while the other one enjoys the sport as an amateur and plays pick-up games with friends.

The professional and amateur both appreciate soccer. They could both be fans of professional soccer players. They could both spend a lot of time playing the game, but they both may have very different goals and opinions about what makes a good match. Saturday afternoon kicking around with friends at a park might be enough to satiate one man's needs, to give him the experience that he was after, while leaving the other one completely unfulfilled. Does this make either man appreciate the game any less?

The professional may have a different (not necessarily higher) set of standards for what must exist for the "game" to be exciting and rewarding compared to the amateur. That isn't to say that permadeath supporters are professionals and the rest are amateurs at their game -- but that everyone has different expectations and requirements to find their MUDing experience exciting and rewarding.

And the group that favors permadeath are simply after a different experience. The fact that RP can exist within both systems should be a given, not a point of contention.

-LoD
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