Social Combat/Politics
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Ashon



Joined: 11 May 2005
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Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I apologize for replying to my own post but as I though occured to me on using a consensual example to for social combat:



Code:

Bubba plays, Ballad of the long night <Scary story>
<choose: Disregard (Ignore), strongly disagree (Negative affect), disagree (slight negative), agree (slight positive), strongly agree(strong positive>
>strongly disagree
Bob enjoys, Ballad of the long night and is friendlier towards Bubba


or on the opposite side of it:
Code:

Bubba plays, Ballad of the long night <Scary Story>
<choose: Disregard (Ignore), strongly disagree (Negative affect), disagree (slight negative), agree (slight positive), strongly agree(strong positive>
>strongly agree
Bob is frightened by, Ballad of the long night, and is shaken by Bubba's performance


By using the same system that opinion polls use to gauge a persons interest and emotional responses to stimulus, you can build relationships and social standing by giving the players a chance to show how Bubba's interactions with that player. If a player continues to Strongly Disagree or Strongly Agree with Scary Stories, you can dramatically increase/decrease the power that Scary Stories have on that character.

The system could be built so that each social skill has it's own set of consent options that allows the 'attacked' player to decide how it affects them, always giving them the option to disregard (Neutral).

...
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shasarak



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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 10:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ashon wrote:
Shasarak suggests some emotions and axis that I would be highly reluctant to have PvP Social Combat on: Lust/Repulsion, Anger/Affection, Confidence/Fear, Guilt/Comfort, Corruption/Purity. These are values that are not easily translated from a player to character stat number. Tonitrus suggests that: Happiness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust. be the axis that are tracked. Again, these are more emotional stats that aren't easily transferred player to character.

Certainly my suggestions there were in the context of modelling an NPC's behaviour. If you want to intimidate an NPC into cooperating with you then you need to try to raise his Fear level; if you want to improve the chances of him accepting a bribe, then you need to raise his Corruption level (for example, by bad-mouthing his boss); if you want to goad him into attacking you (so that you can kill him and then claim it was self-defence and avoid prosecution) you need to raise his Anger level (but if his Fear level is also high he won't dare to attack) and so on. I agree that, on the whole, these don't map very well to player behaviour.

As I said before, you could perhaps introduce some aspects of emotional manipulation of players by affecting bonuses and penalties. For example, a player who has a massive phobia of spiders might be at a disadvantage when fighting a giant spider; a player who is angry might hit harder but less accurately when fighting the target of his anger.

You could potentially introduce more significant effects if you get the thematic background right. Consider, for example, a MUD based on the "Star Wars" universe. If you watch a battle between a Sith and a Jedi in the "Star Wars" movies then you'll often see that the Sith taunts and goads his opponent. This is not just "colour", it's a deliberate battle tactic: a Jedi's control of the force depends on his mind remaining calm and unclouded by negative emotions, and the Sith is deliberately trying to disrupt his Force skills. By contrast, a Sith's control of the Dark Side of the Force is actually powered by negative emotion; thus, a Jedi who is frightened or angry is weaker than normal, while angering a Sith makes him stronger. (There's a clear example of this in "The Phantom Menace" when Darth Maul pushes Obi Wan into the pit; he is able to do this because Obi Wan has momentarily lost his emotional composure after Qui-Gon's death. Of course, this Sith tactic does occasionally backfire when dealing with a Jedi who is on the cusp of turning to the Dark Side - as happens when Dooku battles Anakin in "Revenge of the Sith" and again when Luke fights Vader in "Return of the Jedi" - both Anakin and Luke momentarily tap into the Dark Side and gain strength from it.)

Tonitrus wrote:
Also I think that having a game without social combat heavily predisposes it towards killing. I have no problem allowing players to kill mobs or one another, but the idea of forcing them to do so to progress in the game is a bit disturbing to me.

Another thing you might consider (potentially as well as social combat, not instead of it) is non-lethal physical combat. In the real world, fights to the death are actually quite rare. If you want to get past a guard to enter a building then there are, of course, social combat options (point a gun at him and threaten to shoot rather than actually shooting) but there also physical combat options that are non-lethal - knocking him out, beating him enough that the pain persuades him to stop fighting, using tear-gas, or immobilising him and tying him up. Real life animals rarely fight to the death either (with the exception of primitive things like insects); sometimes a human may deliberately set out to kill an animal, but if the animal attacks first (from hunger or anger) then, if it finds itself losing the fight, it will almost certainly stop attacking and try to run or fight only defensively - it won't chase an obviously stronger opponent who decides not to kill it. So it's not altogether realistic for monsters to be so aggressive that they invariably attack and fight to the death; and for intelligent NPCs to do so is even less plausible.

I'd like to see options to surrender in combat (coupled perhaps with "feign surrender" and "detect feigned surrender" skills); I'd like to see NPCs run away when bested; I'd also like to see a combat system which allows opponents to be knocked out, immobilised, or otherwise disabled, and I think this should be a much more common outcome of a physical confrontation than death.
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Tonitrus



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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ashon wrote:
In my view there are two seperate systems that are being discussed, and the way that they are being presented as working together seems to take away players free will.

I still fail to see how this strips/reduces free will any more than combat systems already do, but I have some new thoughts on the issue that may reduce that concern.

Ashon wrote:
Shasarak suggests some emotions and axis that I would be highly reluctant to have PvP Social Combat on: Lust/Repulsion, Anger/Affection, Confidence/Fear, Guilt/Comfort, Corruption/Purity. These are values that are not easily translated from a player to character stat number. Tonitrus suggests that: Happiness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust. be the axis that are tracked. Again, these are more emotional stats that aren't easily transferred player to character.

I was discussing those emotions with respect to mobs, but I also was toying with representing those emotions on players via bonuses and penalties as shasarak later mentioned.

Ashon wrote:
The system could be built so that each social skill has it's own set of consent options that allows the 'attacked' player to decide how it affects them, always giving them the option to disregard (Neutral).

I don't really agree with this or the parts you posted above it, but I think it would be easy to give players a system of reactions that demonstrate their views on the issue. However, they wouldn't necessarily be able to ignore anything they didn't want, or react favorably to any stimulus. This would be the equivalent of having a combat system where getting hit is wholly optional.

shasarak wrote:
As I said before, you could perhaps introduce some aspects of emotional manipulation of players by affecting bonuses and penalties. For example, a player who has a massive phobia of spiders might be at a disadvantage when fighting a giant spider; a player who is angry might hit harder but less accurately when fighting the target of his anger.

This is what I was intending with respect to emotions. I got the idea of using emotions the way many games use "combat styles" after watching too much Lie to Me. I.e., fear predisposes you to certain actions at the expense of other actions. You're terrified? If your fear is 5, have -5 to damage, +5 to defense, +5 running speed, -5 to charisma, etc. If your anger level is 3, have +3 strength, +3 con, -3 to hit, +3 damage, -3 defense, and so on. When applying these emotion values to mobs, determining their behavior is simple, when applied to players, the bonuses/penalties received should affect their decision-making, if they're vaguely sensible players. If they're afraid and choose to run, they'll have bonuses, if they're afraid and choose to attack, that's fine, but they'll be fighting through penalties. Emotions predispose us towards actions, they don't determine our actions.

Anyway, as a more consentual extension to the system, how about something like this: Composure, as I mentioned, is the "hitpoints" of social combat. A person can increase an emotion at the expense of composure. Different social combat actions are affected by the different emotions. For example, threats don't work as well if the person threatening is afraid, while requests for help from a target who is afraid are more likely to succeed (well, not always, but you get the idea). Anyway, upon being hit with a new social combat tactic, a player would be given a generic penalty, something like surprise. The player could then raise an emotion of his choice in response to that action, but in doing so, increases the likelihood of that same action being undertaken reflexively every time. This last part is to prevent people from simply choosing whatever emotion is the best response in any particular situation. When a player selects an emotion in this way, "surprise" will be converted into that emotion, which is advantageous, as emotions will give bonuses in addition to penalties, and surprise will have no good uses and worse penalties than the other emotions.

Anyway, this is off the top of my head, so may contain any number of crucial flaws. On the surface, though, it looks like a system that would allow players to customize and develop their characters' emotional responses while simultaneously keeping a system of rules that don't allow people to opt out of all negative effects.

(Also, as far as non-lethal combat goes, I fully agree, and intend to implement a social system in addition to it. In games with human GMs, much more social interactions occur, but this is difficult to replicate on MUDs since mobs are so hopelessly stupid. I'm hoping I can develop a system like this to incorporate social elements in a game that will allow players to interact with players and mobs in a roughly similar fashion.)
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Ashon



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2010 8:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tonitrus wrote:
I don't really agree with this or the parts you posted above it, but I think it would be easy to give players a system of reactions that demonstrate their views on the issue. However, they wouldn't necessarily be able to ignore anything they didn't want, or react favorably to any stimulus. This would be the equivalent of having a combat system where getting hit is wholly optional.


In most RP-style muds PK is an option, so you can opt out of being griefed by and killed. And as a so-called, 'explorer' type I am not into games that do not let me spend most of my time either Roleplaying or playing against the game.

I'm willing to put aside the whole is it right for the game to make decisions on what my characters emotions are.

Tonitrus wrote:
Composure, as I mentioned, is the "hitpoints" of social combat. A person can increase an emotion at the expense of composure. Different social combat actions are affected by the different emotions.


Okay, I think we are onto something good. I like where this is going. I'll make a couple of suggestions, what if instead of a generic composure stat, you actually have a set of "hitpoints" for each emotion. Lust hitpoints, fear hitpoints, surprise hitpoints, and you can train these through mini-quest and buff them with spells. So that as you advance in the game you can build your emotions. One of my issues with the whole social combat system is as I've said emotions flow from the players 'ideal' of how the character should react to into each situation. But by giving the player the power to advance and build his emotional hitpoints for any given emotion pool, we are giving the player a way to describe the characters emotions in a way that can be fairly influenced and manipulated by the system.

Of course this introduces so many potential mini-games and quests and customization options that it adds some real depth to the game. A quick couple of examples, a character with lower then average lust hitpoints is someone who tries to seduce NPC's or PC's a lot, or someone who has a lot of fear hitpoints has been in an episode of fear factor.

Quote:
... (well, not always, but you get the idea).


Ha! I can be pretty dense most of the time depending upon my hours of wakefulness to caffine intake ratio!

Tonitrus wrote:
The player could then raise an emotion of his choice in response to that action, but in doing so, increases the likelihood of that same action being undertaken reflexively every time.

Yes, in any system that had social combat and reaction choices their should be a tracking system that gives an automatic response, and if a player chooses to use a different response it should negatively affect their overall response score.

I think this is going in a good direction and has huge potential for development and roleplaying.
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shasarak



Joined: 29 Jun 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2010 4:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tonitrus wrote:
I still fail to see how this strips/reduces free will any more than combat systems already do

Consider the case you told us about earlier:

Tonitrus wrote:
As an aside, in a recent table-top game with friends, my character got mind-controlled into assisting the enemy of an entity I had spent most of the course of the plot attempting to assist and who my character considered sacred (I was forced to return my enemy's magic sword). I fought the mind control so hard that I spent all of my energy points to do so and still lost. I was pretty unhappy about this particular situation, but it was a great game.

Now, imagine that in that situation the conversation had gone like this:

GM: (tells you about the mind control attack).

You: "Aaarrgghh!!! I will use up every available energy point to resist the attack!"

GM: "Sorry, you can't use any energy points to resist, you're just going to sit there and let it happen."

You: "What? But I've got loads of points I can resist with!"

GM: "Yes, but your character is the sort of person who wouldn't bother resisting, he'd just let it happen without a struggle."

You: "Shouldn't it be me who decides that?"

GM: "No."


Now imagine a number of subsequent conversations along similar lines.

You: "I attack the goblin!"

GM: "No, your character has just decided that he loves goblins and would never harm one."

You: "When did that happen?"

GM: "Just now".

You: "Why would he decide that?"

GM: "That's none of your business."


Or again:

You: "I'll search for secret doors."

GM: "No you won't, your character is too lazy to do that."

You: "Remind me what the point is of my being here...?"


And so on. Can you understand how this kind of thing might be more annoying than your character falling victim to thematically justified magical mind-control? It's not that it's messing with your character's free-will, it's actually messing with your free-will, the freedom of action that you expect to have as a player to decide what sort of person your character is.
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KaVir



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2010 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

shasarak wrote:
Tonitrus wrote:
As an aside, in a recent table-top game with friends, my character got mind-controlled into assisting the enemy of an entity I had spent most of the course of the plot attempting to assist and who my character considered sacred (I was forced to return my enemy's magic sword). I fought the mind control so hard that I spent all of my energy points to do so and still lost. I was pretty unhappy about this particular situation, but it was a great game.

Now, imagine that in that situation the conversation had gone like this:

GM: (tells you about the mind control attack).

You: "Aaarrgghh!!! I will use up every available energy point to resist the attack!"

GM: "Sorry, you can't use any energy points to resist, you're just going to sit there and let it happen."

You: "What? But I've got loads of points I can resist with!"

GM: "Yes, but your character is the sort of person who wouldn't bother resisting, he'd just let it happen without a struggle."

You: "Shouldn't it be me who decides that?"

GM: "No."


That's not what Tonitrus described though - nor is it what he's proposing here. The idea isn't that players have no chance of resisting, it's that the outcome is determined by mechanics rather than choice. Thus the proposed scenario would go more like this:

GM: (tells you about the mind control attack).

You: "Aaarrgghh!!! I will use up every available energy point to resist the attack!"

GM: "Okay, that gives you a massive +10 bonus, make your saving throw."

You: "Damn, natural 1 - a botch!"

GM: "Well, despite your best efforts, the raw strength of the mental attack overwhelms you."

You: "Shouldn't it be me who decides that?"

GM: "No."

Of course you could make it purely consentual, and there are certainly muds that do work that way - for example, completely roleplayed combat where the players agree on the outcome. But IMO that's not really a "game" any more, it's more like improvisational theatre.

If players can choose not to be scared, not to be mind-controlled, not to be attacked, not to be killed, then those actions lose any meaning from a gameplay perspective.

Worse still, if the physical character can kill the social character against his will, but the social character cannot scare the physical character against her will, then social combat becomes little more than a mild curiousity for people who don't mind building inferior characters. Tonitrus has said he wants social combat to be an important part of his mud, but that's not going to happen if social combat is clearly inferior to physical combat.
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Tonitrus



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PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2010 4:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ashon wrote:
what if instead of a generic composure stat, you actually have a set of "hitpoints" for each emotion. Lust hitpoints, fear hitpoints, surprise hitpoints, and you can train these through mini-quest and buff them with spells. So that as you advance in the game you can build your emotions.

Interesting. How would these hitpoints work? Would losing an anger hitpoint give you a level of anger (i.e., grant you a level's worth of anger bonuses/penalties)? Or would you only start to accumulate anger after you ran out of anger hitpoints (i.e., if I have 5 anger hitpoints, I would ignore the first 5 points of anger damage (absorbed by the hitpoints) and for every point after that, I'd begin to accumulate anger levels)? What about emotional "armor". If you have 5 points of anger armor, all "anger damage" is reduced by 5. These armor ratings could still be adjusted by quests and such and generally work similarly. Emotions would be like hit locations in this case, with each "attack" having the possibility of hitting different emotions. Of course, after armor loss, you'd still get composure loss, but I don't think that'd tie in too well with the ability to select emotional reactions. Maybe players could partially select which "emotional hit location" a particular attack hit, with a tendency to favor the same selection chosen in the past. After that selection, the armor levels would come into effect, although this seems weird to me. You'd be able to react to everything with anger, while simultaneously being very resistant to anger. I would think if a person is resistant to anger, anger would not tend to be the emotional response that results. Maybe "armor" won't work at all. I'd like to hear a bit more about the emotional hitpoints idea, though.

shasarak wrote:
You: "I'll search for secret doors."

GM: "No you won't, your character is too lazy to do that."

You: "Remind me what the point is of my being here...?"


And so on. Can you understand how this kind of thing might be more annoying than your character falling victim to thematically justified magical mind-control? It's not that it's messing with your character's free-will, it's actually messing with your free-will, the freedom of action that you expect to have as a player to decide what sort of person your character is.

I can understand how frustrating your examples are, yes, but I don't see what those examples have to do with having social combat. I've played in games where such things happened constantly without regard to any sort of social/emotional situation, the GM just liked to try to strong-arm us into following the plot. As a made up example:

You: "I'll run to save the princess!"

GM: "You start to run to save the princess, but then get shot in the knee with an arrow and fall on your face."

You: "I'll yell out a warning to the rest of the party."

GM: "As you get ready to yell, the poison in the arrow kicks in, rendering you mute."

You: "I'll try to pull out the arrow."

GM: "As you attempt to pull out the arrow, another arrow hits both your hands, pinning them to the wall."

You: "..."

In both these scenarios, you've either gotten exceptionally unlucky, or you have a horrible GM who, for whatever reason, really doesn't want you to save the princess. Probably because he wants his pet NPC to do it. (Meh)

KaVir wrote:
The idea isn't that players have no chance of resisting, it's that the outcome is determined by mechanics rather than choice.

Exactly. I wouldn't mind players trying to influence rolls with some sort of expendable stat, either, as with the "energy points" example I mentioned earlier.

KaVir wrote:
If players can choose not to be scared, not to be mind-controlled, not to be attacked, not to be killed, then those actions lose any meaning from a gameplay perspective.

Worse still, if the physical character can kill the social character against his will, but the social character cannot scare the physical character against her will, then social combat becomes little more than a mild curiousity for people who don't mind building inferior characters. Tonitrus has said he wants social combat to be an important part of his mud, but that's not going to happen if social combat is clearly inferior to physical combat.

Exactly. Also things like being influential, famous, and so on, which can require tremendous amounts of effort, wouldn't have any effect on gameplay, since people could simply choose to ignore all social effects. For a good example of potential effects of a social combat system, see Doctor Who. The Doctor ends up, in nearly episode, in a situation where some horrible catastrophe is occuring and people want to arrest, maim, or kill him and/or whomever he is with. He's usually completely unarmed, and survives each episode by convincing people not to kill him, at least temporarily, while he tries to work out a way to solve whatever problem is at hand. If you were to try to play a character like that in most muds and game systems, you'd be incredibly disappointed, and wouldn't live very long.
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shasarak



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PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2010 8:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

KaVir wrote:
That's not what Tonitrus described though - nor is it what he's proposing here. The idea isn't that players have no chance of resisting, it's that the outcome is determined by mechanics rather than choice.

You've entirely missed the point, there, I'm afraid. Smile

The point is that the game should not be making decisions about the nature of the character's personality. Whether the mechanism for making that decision involves rolling dice has no relevance whatever. Whether there's a 50% chance of my being prevented from attacking someone because I owe him a favour or a 100% chance doesn't matter; the game has no business EVER deciding whether or not my character is the kind of person who would attack someone to whom a favour is owed. Whether the attack happens or not is my decision; the game's responsibility is to apply the physical laws of the game world to determine whether or not the attack succeeds, not to decide for me whether or not I even make the attempt.
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Ashon



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PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2010 9:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tonitrus wrote:
Interesting. How would these hitpoints work? Would losing an anger hitpoint give you a level of anger (i.e., grant you a level's worth of anger bonuses/penalties)? Or would you only start to accumulate anger after you ran out of anger hitpoints (i.e., if I have 5 anger hitpoints, I would ignore the first 5 points of anger damage (absorbed by the hitpoints) and for every point after that, I'd begin to accumulate anger levels)?


Since we are using the term hitpoints I'd assume that you can take x amount of hits before you are affected by the affect. That way if you have built up your Anger Hitpoints you are less likely to become angry instead of becoming angry slower. It would also simplify the solution as you don't have to implement a system where you the Begining Anger Effect and the Ending Anger Effect scale along a system.

Quote:

What about emotional "armor". If you have 5 points of anger armor, all "anger damage" is reduced by 5. These armor ratings could still be adjusted by quests and such and generally work similarly. Emotions would be like hit locations in this case, with each "attack" having the possibility of hitting different emotions.


Yes the best type of emotional "armor" would be one that reduces the amount dealt rather then absorption. I'm even stretching for for something that could be emotional armor other then spell affects, emotional affects (Being kissed by your mud s/o, seeing the sunrise, praying in your temple... whatever) and I'd be at a total loss of some sort of emotional barrier that completely failed until you are out of hitpoints. Think emotional 'Crashes'.

Quote:

Of course, after armor loss, you'd still get composure loss, but I don't think that'd tie in too well with the ability to select emotional reactions. Maybe players could partially select which "emotional hit location" a particular attack hit, with a tendency to favor the same selection chosen in the past. After that selection, the armor levels would come into effect, although this seems weird to me.


Yikes, I seem to have lost you somewhere, or maybe you lost me. Let's take a step back here, my vision of what I am proposing is that you have attacks that single out Anger/Lust/Single Emotion. For example you could be leecher who gives people the embarressed status for being seen with you, or the guilty Status for having given into your advances, or whatever. I kind of discounted the 'composure' variable.

Your example shows what would happen if someone completely tore down every emotional stat another player has. And that is where the wierdness I think comes in.

Quote:

You'd be able to react to everything with anger, while simultaneously being very resistant to anger. I would think if a person is resistant to anger, anger would not tend to be the emotional response that results. Maybe "armor" won't work at all. I'd like to hear a bit more about the emotional hitpoints idea, though.


In my mind, I substituted the response mechanism skill, with the hitpoints. But perhaps there is a way in here to add some real depth and complexity by having the attack/response mechanisms affect both the attacker and the defender. Interesting...

Quote:
In both these scenarios, you've either gotten exceptionally unlucky, or you have a horrible GM who, for whatever reason, really doesn't want you to save the princess. Probably because he wants his pet NPC to do it. (Meh)


I would almost immediately stop playing with said GM. I can take some railroading, but to be denied any kind of satisfaction would drive me from the game completely.

KaVir wrote:
If players can choose not to be scared, not to be mind-controlled, not to be attacked, not to be killed, then those actions lose any meaning from a gameplay perspective.


I would argue that most games that are heavily RP enforced, do not have PvP that is not consensual, or Admin approved simply because of this reason! And any so-called roleplaying mud that allows unrestricted PK, has a heavy amount of griefers, unless the admin is very heavy handed in their administration.

shasarak wrote:

The point is that the game should not be making decisions about the nature of the character's personality. Whether the mechanism for making that decision involves rolling dice has no relevance whatever. Whether there's a 50% chance of my being prevented from attacking someone because I owe him a favour or a 100% chance doesn't matter; the game has no business EVER deciding whether or not my character is the kind of person who would attack someone to whom a favour is owed. Whether the attack happens or not is my decision; the game's responsibility is to apply the physical laws of the game world to determine whether or not the attack succeeds, not to decide for me whether or not I even make the attempt.


At first I completely agreed with you, and in most cases I would agree with you, that the game has absolutely no right to tell me how my characters emotion is, or what his actions are going to be. And here's where I came around, if part of the character creation process was to develop the emotional stats of the character, and to design said personality on the axis that we've described, there would be a certain amount of 'buy-in' on the concept. I as a player then understand that in this game; Mechanics, which I can influence, may determine some unexpected or undesired outcomes which clash with my character concept. I also understand that for me to build the type of personality and emotional state that I am looking for in my character, I must train in not being afraid, that I must practice being leecherous, that I have to maintain being kind all of the time, if that is the character that I want to develop.

But social combat where there isn't some sort of consentual agreement and ignore options available to me on a game that is not primarily about emotional development would make me very upset.
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KaVir



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PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2010 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

shasarak wrote:
The point is that the game should not be making decisions about the nature of the character's personality.

Interesting perspective. Supposing I were to take that same quote and change the last word from "personality" to "physiology". Would you feel any differently?

If so, is it that you're assuming an implementation in which players put more detail into their physiology than their personality? What if that wasn't the case - what if players had to specify their personality during character creation, and only the personality elements supported by the mud could be influenced by mechanics?
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Ashon



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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 9:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Social Combat

... This is mostly a place holder for me to come back and review the discussion here, but thought others might be interested in reading it.
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Tonitrus



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 8:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I played a game recently (a fairly complex boardgame) called Age of Renaissance. At the beginning of each turn, you had to write down how many tokens you were going to buy for that turn, and then turns were simultaneous. If you were going to buy 10 tokens, for example, you wrote it down. The trouble was that all sorts of other things could happen to your money supply in the meantime, and when the time came to pay for those tokens, you might not have any money at all. If this was the case, you obviously couldn't pay for it (and didn't have to), but the game penalized you through an interesting system called the "misery index". Basically, for each dollar you were forced to spend and couldn't, your "misery index" increased by 1. Each of the slots on this index had a cost associated with it. For example, the first several slots were worth 10 each. If you overspent yourself by 1 dollar, you'd gain a misery that would cost 10 to undo. And as it got higher and higher, the cost went up. At a certain point, maybe 20 or so on the index (I didn't count), your population would be so unhappy that chaos would result and you were out of the game.

The idea behind it basically is that you can force your people to do things for your gain, but doing so makes them unhappy, and it's much harder to make up for that unhappiness than to simply avoid it in the first place. It got me thinking that perhaps this would be a nice addition to the social combat ideas mentioned above. Certain occurances could give you a point of "misery" or "dislike" or "resentment" or whatever else regarding one person, and it'd give you a bonus to resist some "social attacks" from them (it might possibly make others easier, though, depending on the thematic description).

If we took the game's version and applied it straight to this concept, you could have situations where a person you do not owe (enough) favors forces you to undertake an action give you a fairly lasting "resentment" of that person. In other words, if your resentment is worth 3 favors, you'd have to owe them more than 3 favors before any sort of penalty kicked in. There could possibly also be a way for people to "make up" for whatever resentment you have, but it should be optional. I'd probably have the resentment levels slowly drop over time, or, eventually, everyone might end up hating everyone and negate the whole social combat system in the process.

I think this concept lends itself better to situations of coersion than simply having the forcer owe the forcee.
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Ashon



Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 86
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let's talk about the favor system and what you do to gain/give favors.

Here's what I understand:
train a pc
loan money

but what else can you do to gain/give favors? Having a theme or idea about how you get a favor might help formulate the system a little better.
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Tonitrus



Joined: 11 Feb 2010
Posts: 20

PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 3:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ashon wrote:
Let's talk about the favor system and what you do to gain/give favors.

Here's what I understand:
train a pc
loan money

but what else can you do to gain/give favors? Having a theme or idea about how you get a favor might help formulate the system a little better.

Apologies for the delay in responding, I completely drew a blank when I read this and couldn't think of anything particularly interesting to say. I still haven't, but I may as well respond.

Theoretically with some sort of quest/task system, you could do tasks for people/mobs to gain favors.

From a more practical perspective, we could say that money is the basis of favors, and things that would otherwise cost money count as favors if done for free. That would give tremendous leeway in a favor system, especially if it were granular.

Example:

I give you a beaten up breastplate, this counts 2.2 favors, your benefit. You repair it. You give me back a completely repaired breastplate, counting as 4 favors. This negates the 2.2 you owe me, and leaves me 1.8 in your debt.

Adopting this approach, things like selling something at a discount could count as a favor, as well as overpaying. Not sure I care too much for that in all situations, though.

[Edit: Theoretically anything could count as a favor, but "theoretically anything" is pretty hard to discuss and quantify.]
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KaVir



Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 565
Location: Munich

PostPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2010 10:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just dug up my old Last City code to have a look - it seems I only got around to adding boons (favours) for the teaching of abilities and out-of-clan disciplines. However this was the only way you could improve them, so you didn't really have any choice; your character's advancement would be stunted if you weren't willing to trade favours with other players.

This did actually work pretty well, encouraging interaction and enforcing social bonds between the players. It could have been abused by multiplayers, but the playerbase was pretty small and the issue never came up.
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