Dual-clan system

 
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KaVir



Joined: 11 May 2005
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Location: Munich

PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2007 1:41 pm    Post subject: Dual-clan system Reply with quote

I'm still toying with ideas for clans, but there's one idea that particularly appeals - the idea of a dual-clan system, whereby each player can belong to two clans at the same time.

The idea started when I was thinking about how to let clans pick power bonuses. Each class has a selection of powers, and different combinations result in very different styles of gameplay. Later on, players can pick subclasses which give small bonuses to certain powers, emphasising certain styles of play. It is my intention that clans should work in much the same way in terms of character builds, and to this end I want each clan to have bonuses to certain powers.

The problem, of course, is that most powers are only available to a single class, while clans are supposed to support mixed classes. If each clan could only pick a single set of power bonuses, it'd make it really hard to have clans with multiple classes. Most likely people would pick the few powers that are shared by more than one class, but that would be very limiting, and none of the powers are available to all classes.

On the other hand, if each clan could pick a different set of power bonuses for each class, it'd strongly encourage clans to place each class into a specific role - for example they might give buff powers to the mages, tanking powers to the werewolves, damage powers to the demons, etc. That's really not what I want; in the original God Wars mud each clan was available to only one specific class. While I don't want to be that restrictive this time around, I still like the idea of single-class clans being viable.

After pondering the situation, I started wondering if perhaps the two concepts should be split - instead of just having a "clan", what if there were "pantheons" and "bloodlines", and players could belong to either or both?

In mythology, a pantheon typically includes numerous gods, each responsible for different things - for example in Greek mythology, Ares is the god of war, Poseidon is the god of the sea, Hades is the god of the underworld, and so on. In the mud, this would be represented by the ruler of a pantheon being able to select different power bonuses for each class, strongly encouraging each pantheon to have at least one member of each class.

A bloodline, on the other hand, would be specific to a single class and therefore only permit bonuses for that one class. However, like a pantheon, it would also have a founder who could choose those bonuses, and would include clan-like options such as a private channel, internal ranks, and certain other special options.

When discussing this with a fellow admin, he raised the issue of split loyalties - what happens when two pantheons are at war, and members of the same bloodline find themselves on opposing sides?

One possibility would be to simply say there are no official loyalties between members of the same bloodline - but that feels like a bit of a cop out, and I really think the decision should be left to the founder of the bloodline.

Thus I've been toying with the idea of making the pantheons more politically-oriented, and the bloodlines more mechanically-oriented. Someone who kills other members of his own pantheon might find himself demoted or outcast, while the founder of a bloodline might instead be able to literally block two of his offspring from fighting at all.

I've also been thinking of other ways to differentiate the two - perhaps only pantheons can form external alliances or declare war on each other, while bloodlines deal purely with internal restrictions (interaction between two members of the same bloodline). Membership of a pantheon could be displayed publically, while bloodlines would generally be secret groups. Pantheons might have special clan equipment, while bloodlines might instead unlock new abilities. Rank within a pantheon might be handed out by the leader, while rank within a bloodline could be automated calculated based on your strength relative to other members. And so on and so forth.


In short, I'm trying to come up with two separate clan systems that run side-by-side in such a way that they complement each other, rather than get in each other's way. Mechanically it's not much different to a dual/multi-class system, but it's really the political ramifications that concern me - intrigue, spies and double-agents are all well and good, but I don't want to bog down clan wars with too much red tape and bureaucracy caused by conflicting loyalties.

Has anyone else tried (or seen) anything like this? Did it work? Any major pitfalls to look out for?
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shasarak



Joined: 29 Jun 2005
Posts: 134
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2007 11:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Although your proposed system is a lot more sophisticated, it reminds me slightly of the "race" system on some MUDs - and I think possibly risks the same problem, which is that it becomes simply an extension of the class system. In far too many MUDs it comes down to halfling = thief, elf = mage, dwarf = warrior; the race abilities are simply an extension of class, and very rew race/class combinations make sense. While your system is certainly more flexible, I think you run the risk of clan choice being effectively the same decision as class choice, e.g. a particular combination of class and pantheon/bloodline effectively constitutes a distinct subclass.

My instinct would be to try and make clan powers orthogonal to class powers - abilities that are the same for all members of the clan, but which are sufficiently different in kind from all class powers that there is no noticeable overlap.

This takes a lot of planning, and it's much easier to suggest in the abstract than it is to think of good examples of. Smile But, in the race/class case, you might perhaps have a particular race that has the ability to breathe underwater; that's a power that is of equal use to fighters, mages and thieves - but only so long as mages cannot easily breathe underwater by magical means. If they can, then the power is useless to mages, and you've lost orthogonality.
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KaVir



Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 565
Location: Munich

PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2007 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

shasarak wrote:
Although your proposed system is a lot more sophisticated, it reminds me slightly of the "race" system on some MUDs - and I think possibly risks the same problem, which is that it becomes simply an extension of the class system. In far too many MUDs it comes down to halfling = thief, elf = mage, dwarf = warrior; the race abilities are simply an extension of class, and very rew race/class combinations make sense.


A valid point, but I think it applies more to pantheon/bloodline combinations rather than class, as each pantheon would be equally beneficial to each class, just as every bloodline would be equally beneficial to every member of that bloodline's class.

Also worth pointing out, as I didn't explicitly mention it: My intention is that every player will eventually have the ability to create their own pantheon or bloodline (probably not both, although they could still join both). There will be advantages in belonging to one of the bigger pantheons, and advantages in being one of the higher ranked members of a pantheon - ideally balanced in such a way as to encourage people to divide themselves into a reasonable number of pantheons.

Thus the founders of a pantheon or bloodline will simply select the power bonuses they want, and try to attract those who favour a similar type of character build. Those who want something else will likely go off and found their own pantheon or bloodline.

shasarak wrote:
My instinct would be to try and make clan powers orthogonal to class powers - abilities that are the same for all members of the clan, but which are sufficiently different in kind from all class powers that there is no noticeable overlap.


The main difficulty lies in coming up with bonuses that are equally valuable for all character builds - and to be honest, I'm not entirely sure that that's even desirable. If a vampire looking for a pantheon has a dozen to pick from, but he can benefit equally from each, then he'll just go with the strongest pantheon (thus making it stronger). On the other hand, if he prefers fighting in wolf form, he's going to favour the pantheon that gives him bonuses in that form.

This means the pantheons have to choose between being more generalised and appealing to a wider audience, or being more specialised and appealing to a more niche audience (but an audience who will prefer them over the more generalised pantheons).
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