THEME: Ice Age race-war HnS/PK/RPI mud

 
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KaVir



Joined: 11 May 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2007 4:02 pm    Post subject: THEME: Ice Age race-war HnS/PK/RPI mud Reply with quote

This is just a random concept I've been thinking about, and rather than let it vanish into the pit of "Things I Think Could Be Cool, But Will Never Actually Implement" I thought I'd post it here.

The setting is a prehistoric ice age. Tribes of cavemen wander the land, trying to survive the harsh environment. Various wild animals also stalk the snowy wastes, including mammoths, woolly rhinos, cave lions, dire wolves, etc.

The caveman tribes represent the roleplaying aspect of the mud, while dire wolf packs are designed to appeal more to the HnS or team-PK players, and the sabre-toothed tigers are for the pure PKers. The three groups only interact with each through combat, and cannot communicate with each other except through socials (a caveman can see a wolf bristle or wag its tail, but won't understand when it 'talks' - it'll just sound like growls and snarls).



The concept incorporates several ideas that I've often thought about, namely:

1. The entire gameworld is a harsh and frozen environment (I've fancied this idea ever since reading "A Cavern of Black Ice" by J. V. Jones).

2. It combines RPI, HnS and pure PK in such a way that non-RPers can't ruin the roleplaying for the RPers (something I've heard people claim cannot be done).

3. It includes true animal races (not wierd furry humanoids, but real animals).


The three factions are as follows:


CAVEMEN: Focus on RP.

Tribes of Neanderthal fighting to survive during the harsh conditions of an ice age, hunting mammoths and other animals while avoiding sabre-toothed tigers and other predators. Various skills allow for hunting, tracking, skinning, butchering, firemaking, cooking, crafting (weapons, clothes and tools), simple medicine, cave-painting, etc.

Cavemen may communicate with other cavemen via the 'say' and 'shout' commands (with realistic ranges, not global channels), although these will sound like grunts and noises to non-cavemen, and the shouts (although not their meaning) can be heard by all creatures within range. They are expected to roleplay, remaining IC at all times, with a strong emphasis on social groups, contests of skill and strength, and storytelling. Lethal combat between cavemen is discouraged, although occasional fights between rival tribes are not unheard of.

Cavemen can light fires in their caves to keep animals out, although sooner or later they'll be forced to send hunters out to collect food. This does provide them with a safe place to rest and roleplay, however, and also ensures that non-combat cavemen don't have to worry about being attacked while painting cave walls or making flint weapons.


DIRE WOLVES: Focus on team combat.

Packs of dire wolves scouring the land for food. Many abilities geared around teamwork and group combat, making them a poor choice for solo play. Various skills allow for tracking, coordinating position (via howls), sharpened senses, improved healing (via licking wounds, only works on others), specialised attacks (hamstring, lockjaws, etc), etc.

Dire wolves may communicate with other wolves in the same pack via the 'say' and 'shout' commands (although these will sound like snarls and howls to outsiders) and via a wide range of socials with wolves from other packs. They are not expected to roleplay, the focus is instead on combat. Fighting between members of the same pack is non-lethal and used only to determine dominance, although two packs may (and often will) fight to the death.


SABRE-TOOTHED TIGERS: Focus on solo combat.

Individual sabre-toothed tigers hunting for food. They are strong and powerful, but always work alone. Various skills include tracking, stalking, specialised attacks (pounce, claw, etc), etc.

Sabre-toothed tigers can only communicate via socials, and most of these give no real information to non-tigers. They are not expected to roleplay, the focus is instead on combat, particularly PK (as normal animals can usually be either killed or avoided). Fighting between two tigers is expected and encouraged, although such encounters are almost always accidental.
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Jimorie



Joined: 18 May 2005
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2007 1:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think this sounds really cool!

In particular I like the aim of inviting different player types into one MUD. The theme appeals to me too, having also read the first two books by J V Jones that you mention. (Is the third book coming out anytime soon?)

I would think however that what this design essentially creates, is a roleplaying MUD. But one where you invite non-roleplayers to act as fillers to do the non-speaking parts. This is a brilliant deal for the cavemen players. They get really dangerous antagonists (or curious friends in the odd case perhaps) out there to worry about, making the world just as harsh and lethal as the theme demands. But what makes the wolf or tiger players want to play there, instead of on a pure hack-n-slash or playerkilling MUD?

Much of the reason for asking this is that I feel a roleplayning MUD demands certain features that are usually not popular with hack-n-slash players. I am thinking mostly of permanent death (hack-n-slash and pk players tend to die quite often) and the lack of global channels (they also want to boast of their kills), which you already touched upon. (Although I am personally of the opinion that roleplaying MUD:s can have global channels, as long as your messages there are not connected with your in-game character.)

As another random thought, I am guessing you would need to put some sort of limit on who could play a sabre-toothed tiger or I feel you would end up having just as many such as dire wolves. And I guess again that that would be a skewed balance.

Intriguing post, thanks.
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KaVir



Joined: 11 May 2005
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Location: Munich

PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2007 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I would think however that what this design essentially creates, is a roleplaying MUD. But one where you invite non-roleplayers to act as fillers to do the non-speaking parts.


I think it depends on your perspective. You could also argue that it creates a PK mud where you invite roleplayers to act as victims Wink

Quote:
This is a brilliant deal for the cavemen players. They get really dangerous antagonists (or curious friends in the odd case perhaps) out there to worry about, making the world just as harsh and lethal as the theme demands.


An alliance between a caveman and a wolf might be potentially interesting, certainly - although (rather like trying to keep a wild animal as a pet in real life) the caveman would never know if or when the wolf might turn on him.

Perhaps this could even be extended to a form of 'taming' system, giving rise to a new breed - dogs. Perhaps not quite as powerful as the wolf, the dog would have the advantage of caveman allies and access to the caveman 'safe zones' (sitting beside fires). As 'mans best friend' they would be unable to attack cavemen.

Quote:
But what makes the wolf or tiger players want to play there, instead of on a pure hack-n-slash or playerkilling MUD?


It would only be a roleplaying mud from the perspective of the caveman players. For the wolves it would be a HnS/PK mud, while for the tigers it would be a pure PK mud.

The major difference is that there would be a large number of inexperienced PKers (i.e., most of the roleplayers). That's like a red flag to a bull for many PKers.

Quote:
Much of the reason for asking this is that I feel a roleplayning MUD demands certain features that are usually not popular with hack-n-slash players. I am thinking mostly of permanent death (hack-n-slash and pk players tend to die quite often) and the lack of global channels (they also want to boast of their kills), which you already touched upon.


You could certainly have permadeath for the cavemen without requiring it for the other factions. Perhaps a dead wolf gets reborn as a new pup within the same pack, needing only a few minutes of play before they're back up to speed. The sabre-toothed tigers, as pure PKers, might not even have any form of character advancement - thus you could simply give them the choice of creating a new character exactly the same as their old one, or changing to a different setup (a bit like many first-person shooters, when you can either respawn instantly upon death, or select a different setup such as 'medic', 'mechanic', etc).

Quote:
As another random thought, I am guessing you would need to put some sort of limit on who could play a sabre-toothed tiger or I feel you would end up having just as many such as dire wolves.


I think it depends on how it's handled. The way I envisioned it, a pack of wolves would be able to take down most sabre-toothed tigers - the tiger would only have the advantage against one, two or possibly three wolves. As such they'd be more likely to pick off stragglers or take down a pack that had already been weakened from an earlier fight. With the emphasis purely on player skill, only a very skilled tiger player would be able to take down a full pack of wolves or large group of cavemen.

So while I can imagine many players trying out sabre-toothed tigers at first, I suspect that the majority would soon move on to playing wolves with their superiority (and safety) in numbers.
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Sandi



Joined: 13 May 2005
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2007 6:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mmmm... yeh, I always wanted to be a cavewoman. Personally, I think you're going to have a very lonely group of cavemen. Smile

The whole scheme is just twisted enough to work, but I'd suggest making it an alien world, and having the cavemen instead be survivors of a spaceship crash. I think then it would have more appeal to your average roleplayer.
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ide



Joined: 21 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2007 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It sounds to me like it'll be important to maintain a certain ratio of sabre-tooth players to wolf players online at most times of the day, otherwise sabre-tooth players will just repeatedly trash undersized wolf packs -- thus making playing a wolf not as fun, and possibly leading to more sabre-tooths (or cavemen).

It wouldn't be too hard to have a pet system that adjusted itself for the number of active players logged in (otherwise you could throw the ratio way off with an overload of pets).

Also for the cavemen it could be interesting to have a few different racial sub-types. Recently I bought a collection of old 'prehistoric illustrations' showing the environments in which paleolithic and neolithic man lived in Europe. Besides 'cavemen' you could have 'lakemen' (perhaps in huts on stilts) and maybe even 'treemen'. Though this does stray a bit from a paleolithic/ice-age setting.

If you're going to combine a RPI with a PK/HS game, it might be fun to add elements of a RTS, particularly to the cavemen group hunting, foraging, fitting out cave complexes...some players might enjoy this as a break from all the grunting in their caves all day. On the other hand, would strategy game elements discourage the hard-core RPers?
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jmurph



Joined: 19 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great theme idea. I like the caveman concept alot! Though, it needn't be limited to Neanderthals. In fact, you might allow some role specialization by species clan. For example, Neanderthals were physically robust but, apparently, not as strategic as their AMHS cousins. However, in game terms, neanderthals would be vastly stronger and tougher than AMHS due to a heavier frame and thicker skeltomuscular systm. OTOH, neanderthals did not apparently make use of ranged weaponry and would be at a disadvantage against superior close combatants. Sophistication and crafting ability would be comparable to AMHS in this era. They would also appear similar enough to blend in with AMHS without difficulty (modern depictions often greatly exagerrate divergent traits- see a reconstruction at http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/d/d9/Neanderthal_child.jpg/477px-Neanderthal_child.jpg).

The problem is in the players. I can see many PKers and griefers flocking to the powerful Sabertooth niche, teaming up informally and savaging anything that pops its head out. The game then devolves to spam fights between sabers and cavemen hiding out, until they get frustrated with the roving bands of sabers and leave. Once the meat leaves, the PKers get bored and leave. Eventually, no one is playing. Much like what happened with UO, actually.
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Molly O'Hara



Joined: 11 May 2005
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 5:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some scientists claim that the Neanderthals were eventually hunted down and made extinct by a 'new' hairless human race, also known as Cro Magnon, (after the area in southern France - northern Spain where they lived). The Cro Magnon had a more developed culture, documented in amazing cave paintings in above all Lascaux and Altamira.

One not so scientific view is that the tales about trolls and goblins, which most human cultures still have, are referring to the remnants of the Neanderthal race, before it was made totally extinct. Some say that the Cro Magnon got the upper hand in the conflict because of their spoken language, while the Neanderthals didn't have the vocal cords for speak and instead communicated with sign language, grunts and telepathy.

Adding this kind of conflict between two very different human cultures, would give some extra interest for the roleplayers.
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Delerak



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is ingenius. I would totally play at this MUD.
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KaVir



Joined: 11 May 2005
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Location: Munich

PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2007 10:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The problem is in the players. I can see many PKers and griefers flocking to the powerful Sabertooth niche, teaming up informally and savaging anything that pops its head out.


Once again, it depends how its implemented - there are certainly ways to avoid sabretoothed tigers teaming up, even informally. The solution could be as simple as forcing sabretoothed tigers to attack each other on sight (unless already engaged in combat, or fleeing), or as complex as some sort of territorial-ownership whereby tigers must challenge and defeat the owner of a section of territory before they can hunt within it.
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Vopisk



Joined: 22 Aug 2005
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2007 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

KaVir wrote:
Quote:
The problem is in the players. I can see many PKers and griefers flocking to the powerful Sabertooth niche, teaming up informally and savaging anything that pops its head out.


Once again, it depends how its implemented - there are certainly ways to avoid saber-toothed tigers teaming up, even informally. The solution could be as simple as forcing saber-toothed tigers to attack each other on sight (unless already engaged in combat, or fleeing), or as complex as some sort of territorial-ownership whereby tigers must challenge and defeat the owner of a section of territory before they can hunt within it.


The territory idea is a good one, especially considering that aside from wolf packs, human colonies will I imagine be largely clustered in specific small areas, make the territory nearby those caves/whathaveyou prime hunting grounds for sabers. So I would see a need arise for a constant "king of the hill" sort of contest between sabers, always trying to have the most premium hunting grounds and constantly challenging and combating one another.

Perhaps as part of being a saber-tooth is that when you die, you lose your territory and must start again on the very fringes and work your way back up to the top of the pecking order. I imagine you would need to have AI saber's that could fill in when players weren't online so that saber's are not completely confined to a REALLY small little area in which they can move, or then again, there could be "roads" or "game trails" if you like that connect the different territories, perhaps even allowing a saber to "smell" and discern who's territory he's in, perhaps it is his arch-rival tiger and therefor he hunts that one down wherever he goes, or perhaps it's another tiger who was nice enough to let him lick the remains of his last meal when he was just a little kitten. Either way, a territory system allows you to expand the saber-tooth class both within itself and in gameplay terms to make there be more incentive to play a saber-tooth without getting overly bored.

Vopisk
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bullseye



Joined: 19 Jul 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really like this discussion.

I think the biggest hurdle is making the content interesting enough to the players. For instance, I'm not sure incorporating conventional magic into the caveman's skill set is a good thing, but treating elements such as fire as a type of magic might be. Roleplaying would be awkward for many because there just isn't a lot of references on how to be a caveman. I do think the addition of the "races" you've described I think is a great step in helping form some sort of purpose, provided that there is enough in-game urging to force conflict. Perhaps a perpetual territory struggle between the men and wolves could be implemented, with the tigers as an impartial threat to either side. In fact, tigers could be rewarded solely by body count, keeping them untrustworthy and continually bloodthirsty.

Rather than ramble on about all of the ideas that suddenly come to mind, I'll just say I'd love to see games get away from the traditional medieval setting...

-Bullseye
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KaVir



Joined: 11 May 2005
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2007 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bullseye wrote:
Roleplaying would be awkward for many because there just isn't a lot of references on how to be a caveman.


That's not really any different from a fantasy theme, though - there's no reason why the staff can't just design their own caveman culture, building on what little is known.

A larger concern from my own perspective would be the probable simplicity of such a culture. I guess you could get a similar theme with a more advanced human culture by replacing the cavemen with a colony of futuristic humans who's spaceship has crash-landed on a primitive ice world...it's just that I always fancied the idea of cavemen :)
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Alayla



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2007 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bullseye wrote:
Roleplaying would be awkward for many because there just isn't a lot of references on how to be a caveman.


I don't know if you've ever tried Age of Reptiles, but it was great fun. Now, roleplaying a dinosaur, that's crazy!
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ide



Joined: 21 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2007 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

KaVir wrote:
A larger concern from my own perspective would be the probable simplicity of such a culture.


You're right that you wouldn't get the large settlements and craft industries of say a Mesolithic culture, ca. 10000 BP, but if you set the starting date around 35,000 years ago in the Upper Paleolithic you'd hit both the entry of the first modern humans in Europe, the end of the Neanderthals, the earliest records of complex art, burial practices (religion) etc., a pretty good craft system, in short I think it would be rich enough for good social RP.

And oh yeah, you're still in the Ice Age.
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Mangan



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 12:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Forgive the necro.

The issues I saw with the OP is maintaining faction critical mass. For dire wolves, one way to allow for a pack without multiple players is to have pups. NPCs would act as pups, and if in a larger group of just players where the pups became more of an annoyance to keep alive, you could perhaps tell them to run off and hide. This isn't the most RP solution, but it fits since the wolves are designed for HnS players and not the hardcore RPers.

These NPC pups will allow for a player, in battle, to act as a pact. The pups would have some basic combat AI, perhaps being able to take orders as well. A real interesting twist here would be to allow you to train the pups in a manner that strengthens them in different areas. This could be done via player-created scripts, or just by assigning them to different types of wolf (assuming there are some basic strategy concepts that can be mixed and matched in combat). Getting more involved, if the programmer had any kind of AI background, the NPC pups could learn from actual PC actions. This would allow them to train up skills automatically via watching (and doing) along side the PC wolves.

Why do this? There are two main reasons.

1) Keeping critical mass - allowing a group-oriented class to play as intended, without an actual player group.

When someone logs on as a wolf, something meant to be used for group play, but no other wolves are on: This system allows the player to still train in a group setting, and more over, it is actually training/forcing the player to be better, as the NPC wolves aren't necessarily as responsive as normal humans, thus keeping the player as the target of the attention and forcing them to make leadership decisions (amongst the NPCs).

2) Perma-death (extending KaVir's idea for wolf rebirth)

KaVir wrote:
Perhaps a dead wolf gets reborn as a new pup within the same pack, needing only a few minutes of play before they're back up to speed.


Extending this to the pups, if a player dies then they could rebirth into one of their pups. If this pup (as an NPC) was setup to follow similar combat strategies as their parent (PC that died), then they'll have similar combat styles already, and likely not have much left to close the gap between their new "level" and their old "level" of skill.

On the other hand, if the player decided they didn't like that particular style of wolf, then they could come back as a different pup that they did train in such a way as they wanted. If it was thought of as the "dire wolf" being a class and the style of wolf being like "skill/talent trees" from Diablo2 or WoW, then death could be a suitable option for re-speccing.


(The rest will be shorter, as the basic reasons have been listed.)
As for the human critical mass, we can have NPCs present to make up for missing PCs. They don't need to have names or anything too intricate, but they could perform more mundane tasks. Similar to the RTS concept listed, they could do more boring tasks (at a lesser rate). If they are scouting as defense, they probably won't have as good of a detection system as a player, nor would they recognize intricate strategies as well as a real human. Never the less, it will allow the RPing humans to play as part of a tribe without being so out-numbered that they are completely vulnerable to genocide (via the animals). The campfire idea also comes into play here. As for permadeath, it's already been established that it'd be acceptable for humans, and even expected. As for NPCs, they never whine about perma-death.

KaVir wrote:
The sabre-toothed tigers, as pure PKers, might not even have any form of character advancement - thus you could simply give them the choice of creating a new character exactly the same as their old one, or changing to a different setup (a bit like many first-person shooters, when you can either respawn instantly upon death, or select a different setup such as 'medic', 'mechanic', etc).


I love this part of the idea. For rebirth in an RP sense, it's just that a smaller tiger population will allow for other tigers to migrate there, as they see fit. Being individual-designed and non-group-enforced, the critical mass is 1. If it's too high, they'll naturally kill each other off. If there are none, then there are none... no tigers to be mad. It takes away an element of game play from wolves and cavemen, but not much can be done about that. (Unless you wanted weak versions of NPC tigers... not a bad idea, since it prevents a single tiger from logging on and instantly having full claim to all land, assuming the idea that tigers could only hunt non-tigers in lands they hold claim to.) The only thing I disagree with is saying there is no character advancement... although the character doesn't personally advance in terms of skill, it does advance in power with claiming more lands. This is a necessity if you want the players playing tigers to fear death and not just go on random suicide missions.

This would be a really awesome game, imho. Has anyone ever started such a project and even got to alpha testing stages?[/list][/quote]
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