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Kjartan



Joined: 13 May 2005
Posts: 110

PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2005 9:13 pm    Post subject: Alignment Reply with quote

I'm just coming down from a fairly painful alignment system change. I see that alignment can mean two things: it can be a guideline for how you are supposed to play your character, or it can be a computed quantity that says how you have been playing your character. As I have a H&S mud, it's the latter for me. I think the former is only meaningful in fairly RPish muds.

We had an almost unaltered version of the original diku gamma symmetric alignment. That is, I kill an evil thing and it makes me a certain amount more good, I kill an analogous good thing and it makes me the same amount more evil. Since most of our areas were evil-aligned, the result was that everybody was good basically all the time. Which meant there wasn't anything we could use alignment for.

The way I remedied this was to make very unforgiving gods. Specifically, killing one good thing, regardless of how strong it was, immediately dropped you down to the top (goodwards) end of the "evil" range. On the other hand, killing evil things only improved your alignment if they were challenging, and not by very much, so that it took ten or so to get back out of the doghouse. (An added bonus of this is that it makes yet another reason someone might go to a certain area: redemption in addition to gold, xp, and equipment.)

This immediately produced the problem that people would kill good-aligned beings either by accident (in the backblast from an area spell when some peasant wandered into the room while they were fighting) or to do some basically benevolent act helping other players. I dealt with this by allowing one "gimme" every 6 rl hours in the form of an atonement spell that can only be used that often. This seems to work reasonably well, not perfectly.

What are your experiences with alignment systems? Has anyone tried law-chaos, or some system that uses totally different axes from D&D?
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Marquoz



Joined: 17 May 2005
Posts: 2
Location: New Orleans

PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2005 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a player and immortal, I favor a set alignment system. In a non RP environment alignment only affects equipment. When I was playing, I found it very tedious to kill one or two mobs, get zapped, go kill another one or two mobs, re-wear, kill one or two mobs, get zapped, wash, rinse, and repeat.

What I tried to do was an alignment based class system. Clerics would have different spellbooks based upon an alignment chosen. Evil clerics would get a full set of damaging spells, but only a few healing spells. Neutral clerics would get a mix of both but not the best of either. Good clerics would get a full set of the healing spells, but very few damaging spells. This was also given to other classes as well. A good fighter wouldn't know some of the more "dastardly" moves an evil fighter would pick up. An evil thief would get the truly sneaky moves, etc.

With a system like that, there was also a way to shift alignment to another one, but through a very conveluted and arduous quest.

I eventually scrapped the whole project as it was more a lark, but the people I had testing it found it to be a lot of fun and made them think more on what they wanted to be when they created their character.
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Kjartan



Joined: 13 May 2005
Posts: 110

PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2005 9:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Marquoz wrote:
In a non RP environment alignment only affects equipment.

Actually it can affect all sorts of stuff. In my mud, it determines which mobs are aggressive toward you, whether you can cast certain spells, what certain other spells do when you cast them, and whether you have access to certain quests.
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Kyuss



Joined: 13 May 2005
Posts: 37
Location: Southern Hellinois

PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2005 11:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1st, you needed to change the alignment system. It needed changing,
However, you went about it all the wrong way and alienated half your
players. Its recoverable, how ever, thats for you to dissect though, not
me. Changing a 8 year old system as to which spells a person can cast
and not cast is not being fair to the players.

You gradianted align changes to show in list_to_char, which is good.
But does a char who is -500, kill a mob thats -400 align and still go
down? The align change shouldnt change on that because its the essence
of evil that the mob is that wouldnt make you gooder, or eviler for that
matter. Making it impossible to turn good is also very mean, as your
system is lop-sided and un-balanced and rather biased towards being
evil. The more eviler a person is, should reflect lesser alignment changes
and force them to kill more goody mobs to continue to go down, and on
the flipside, a good player should have to kill alot of mobs to turn evil.

The original align system wasnt bad.

In doing a system like this, your punishing your characters as to even
which areas they can kill or even go into.

By adding a 'gimme' spell, your essentialy telling your players the system
is broken and you dont want to fix it any morethen it has been.

Lets see, on Soul

Base Alignment affects (align picked at creation only).
-equipment a char can wear.

In game changeable alignment affects.
-Mob aggro (Evil mobs tends to not attack evil people).
---your system handles this with specials.mobact->act_align if I remeber
right from building. which leaves align aggro to the builders. This system
just handles it all its own.

-Vendor costs (good person buying off evil vendor is expensive).

-What rooms you can enter (some rooms are flagged evil only etc).

Its kept very simple, by means of adding much more to it and it will
make things more complicated. Players dont like complications, and
players usualy have the ability to know everything about their characters
(I can tell you everything about my 2 avatars on Soul, and Even though
I havent played S3 in 5 years, I can still tell you everything about Diazz).

How ever, your alignment system changed the concept for every player
who even played and who now has to relearn their characters.

Prime rule: K.I.S.S (keep it simple silly)


Here, if you want to use this, just drop it in your fight.c and use away
at it. Its pretty cheesey, but it works out pretty well and the players
dont complain about it. It tends to take them 2-3 days of playing to
change alignments as to which vendor they want to go find, depending
on the severity of the mob alignments in the areas they are hunting in.

[Snip code snippet]

[Moderator's Note: Please don't post large code snippets in this forum. Algorithm discussion is OK, as well as pseudo-code.]

Tah,
~K
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Tyche



Joined: 13 May 2005
Posts: 176
Location: Ohio, USA

PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2005 1:59 am    Post subject: Re: Alignment Reply with quote

Kjartan wrote:
Has anyone tried law-chaos, or some system that uses totally different axes from D&D?


Original D&D used a law-neutral-chaos axis. AD&D introduced a good-evil axis making the nine-square alignment graph.

I've played games that used Karma or Piety stats. The latter sometimes dependent on a particular god or pantheon. I've seen it used to influence reaction, morale, luck, wishes, channeling and of course artifacts attuned to particular dieties or ethos.
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Sandi



Joined: 13 May 2005
Posts: 94
Location: Boston

PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2005 2:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kjartan,

My experience is very similar to yours, in fact, in DeepMUD, I've done what both you and Marquoz have done. There are eight classes, the standard four times the two alignments. Characters may not change their alignment, and it's much harder to regain your alignment once it slips than it is to lose it. Alignment affects XP recieved, which in turn affects alignment change, so once you approach neutral you're in a pretty steep gravity well. If you should slip past zero, you will lose XP for each kill. Nasty, huh?

On the other hand, I've removed many of the anti_good, anti_evil flags, as it's not practical to kill a Good mob just to get a Good sword. I'm not happy with this, and I'll revisit it later, perhaps with spells to remove the flags.

My motivation was dismay at the strategy of starting as Good, changing to Evil for levels where the Good mobs were softer, and then back... it's not that I don't think people can change, the RPer in me just couldn't handle such blatant twinking.

My XP_compute is all done with ratios, there are no if(align < 500), else... bagatelle boards such as ROM had. It allows Builders to set the xp given by mobs with the alignment, so soft mobs can also be worthless for XP. This is better than having level 4 servants in level 20 areas, especially with autoquest or constrained teleport code.

Like you, I have the problem of bailing out the fallen, which I solve by 'redemption' - an Imm directed quest.

I also have a system of "favour": that is, to what degree a character is favoured by the gods. I never could understand why the gods would give people money for sacrifices, it always seemed to work the other way in RL. :) Also, we have Gothar's bank code, which included an increase in spell duration, but again, it seemed odd to connect that with money. So, I swapped the two. Sacrifices now increase spell duration, and this affect is tied to alignment. Alignment and favour also comes into play when you die, and partly determines whether or not you have to retrieve your corpse.

The D&D law-chaotic stuff boggles me, I've never understood it and find it irritating. Maybe that's a personal personality flaw. :)
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KaVir



Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 565
Location: Munich

PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2005 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've not bothered with the concept of 'alignment', although I've recently been working on something similar - personality traits. The idea is that each character has a number of special talents (boolean abilities, rather like D&D feats), and some of these talents have associated personality traits. For example if you take Chivalry or Samurai Blade Mastery you gain the Honourable trait, which prevents you from then learning talents with the Dishonourable trait (such as Assassin Training).

Traits such as Lawful, Good, Evil and so on could also be represented by the same system, allowing players to have a rough 'alignment' of sorts which ties in with the rest of their character concept.
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Ashon



Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 86
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2005 1:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In regards to Alignment in general, it to me is an artifact of something. It has no particular use. And, while I think in an RP'ish game the idea of alignment are off. I much rather play and have my alignment come out of my previous actions.

Kjartan wrote:
Has anyone tried law-chaos, or some system that uses totally different axes from D&D?


This would take a lot a menial work to do. But go through the skills, and add an alignment modifier to it. There are skills which obviously break the law, and would shift the slider down the scale. There's killing NPC's in the city (CHAOTIC/EVIL) or subduing a thief in the city (NEUTRAL/GOOD) or killing the rats in the sewer (LAWFUL/NEUTRAL).

That's just a simple idea on how to adjust the Standard Alignment systems that ship with must muds.

The problem with alignment systems is that it's had to adjucate them, especially in cRPG's. The best example of a system that handles Alignment well is Knights of the Old Repbulic. I understand that KotOR II, does it even better. When you start, you start off as neutral. And your breadth of dialogues, and actions are good/evil but as you move one direction you dialogues/actions are aimed at you being more of the direction you are heading.


KaVir wrote:
For example if you take Chivalry or Samurai Blade Mastery you gain the Honourable trait, which prevents you from then learning talents with the Dishonourable trait (such as Assassin Training).


Interesting. Interesting.
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Kjartan



Joined: 13 May 2005
Posts: 110

PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2005 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually I now remember Ultima IV which had a very non-D&Dish alignment system. It was good/not-good, but with 8 different types of good. You had to max out all 8 to get certain benefts (and also to win the game, iirc). Things like honesty, charity, humility, being forgiving, etc. They depended on your actions, but mostly they specifically depended on how you navigated the conversation trees.

The chivalry idea is sort of neat; you could merge it with an Ultima-IV-like system by putting in some alternate paths. One type of good maybe has humility as a virtue but chivalry has pride, or perhaps "correct behavior towards the different social classes" as a virtue. (e.g., you can't be chivalrous unless you treat the peasants like dirt.)

If you don't have a good number of fixed plots with conversation trees or something equivalent you're going to have trouble detecting whether someone is being humble or not, though. I don't think the repeated-play nature of muds lends itself to conversation trees. Surely players would get bored navigating the same tree over and over.
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Molly O'Hara



Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 99
Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2005 11:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While I agree that equipment that falls off you each time you change align is really irritating, I must still confess that some of our best equipment is set up that way. Mainly we use it for Quests, where you get the chance of choosing the way of Good or the way of Evil, while pursuing the Quest. There is an equal reward for each path, and I feel it is IC that 'the Sword of Good'' should react differently to your align than 'the Sword of Evil'.

But basically, align to me is a way to make Questsmobs send you along different paths, which in turn is a way to - at least to some extent - prevent 'blabbing' about Quest solutions.

So, while I use variables like race, class, level, clan, age etc. to add a random element to the Quests, I also use align. Also I think it's kind of amusing to have the Questmob ask the player if he is 'pure at heart' and then send him to hell if he lies. Laughing
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Trae



Joined: 14 Aug 2005
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2005 2:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Molly O'Hara wrote:
While I agree that equipment that falls off you each time you change align is really irritating, I must still confess that some of our best equipment is set up that way.


Falling off is really odd to me. Now holy items heating up and starting to burn the player, or evil ones reacting with the player’s skin and sweat to give the player a nasty rash…. Wink

I would much rather let them use the equipment to their detriment. Have the holy armor/weapons lose their gloss. Have the sword’s balance change, “Unable to find the sword’s balance, you swing wildly at the target nearly missing.” You twist away from the oncoming attack, yet the glancing blade finds an newly exposed vulnerability in the greaves!”
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Trae



Joined: 14 Aug 2005
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2005 3:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To me, good/evil alignments are simplistic systems inherited from pen & paper games. Even there they weren’t as lifeless as implemented in most MU*s.

Factions seem to serve a similar function, but it seems to me factions came originally for another goal (player controls over RP controls).

All these systems are to at least some extent arbitrary. I suppose many people include them simply because they’re expected.

Dragonrealms by Simuntronics mostly forgoes the standard alignment system, though I suspect under the hood it exists, though only for Paladins and Clerics. There a paladin can for instance try to pickpocket from someone, this puts a mark on their soul and then they need to redeem themselves. Rather than simply killing evil, they need to quest to a certain city and atone for their actions.

Instead of simple alignment systems I would much rather see a behavior modification system. If the MU*s system is based on Can/Can’t kill mindset, then it shouldn’t be surprising when some players jump and kill the special NPC you want to introduce to start a new event.

I like the idea of tracking as invisible attributes how players treat the environment. It seems preferable to track more than if an NPC should be favorable, neutral, or aggressive to an NPC.

If you’re constantly in bar fights perhaps there’s just something about you that any bouncer or barkeep might pick up on.

If you constantly frequent alleys and handle yourself well there, then perhaps the NPCs there give you a wide berth.

If you’re constantly attacking natural animals then maybe when you’re walking though town the stray dog cowers from you, maybe your friends cat scratches you when you try to pet the kitty.

If you failed to keep your end of the bargain with a shopkeeper, then perhaps he hikes up his prices a bit.

I see the same situation for reputation. People don’t have just one type of reputation, but several. Maybe you keep your word, yet are known for shoplifting. Are you reliable and do you follow though? If so NPCs might be more likely to come to see you. Maybe you have a Robin Hood or Zorro type character and the rich should hate you, but the villagers sing your praises.

Players and NPCs should have levels of trust between them. With the ability to work up to a trusted level or enemy status. Maybe the whole city hates you, but Bob the tavernkeeper never forgot that you always tip and once helped put out a tavern fire.
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Huri



Joined: 18 Jun 2005
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2005 9:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like the idea of certain action causing a "stain on the soul", which npc's, and maybe even other players notice. It takes away some of the control a player has over his character, which can be a bad thing, but might also make players more responsible in their rp:ing. This could be implemented fairly simply; kill a innocent child and you get a permanent "'s expression is tortured, as if he is wracked by a feeling of immense guilt" attached to your description, as well as a flag for the game affecting how npc's treat you. A more advanced system might take into account past actions as well.
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Massaria



Joined: 14 May 2005
Posts: 31
Location: Denmark

PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2005 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
...so once you approach neutral you're in a pretty steep gravity well. If you should slip past zero, you will lose XP for each kill. Nasty, huh?

It's not only nasty, it's silly - but sadly it's a sillyness most alignment systems that I've seen, is guilty of.
The notion that people who change their perspective is somehow worse of than people who stubbornly stick to whatever mindset they've been given by their parents, doesn't seem realistic to me - quite the contrary.
When justifying a system like this (that a change of perspective equals, if not a direct XP loss, then a detrimental effect on future XP gains), the most common reason is that re-evaluating your view of the world is taxing on your psyche, and therefore you can't absorb as much new knowledge as normal.
While this is to some extend true, I would argue that the experience and wisdom which is gained through the change itself, could easily make up for the loss in attention to other areas of life.
For example, when discussing the subtleties of various religions, I would value the opinion of someone who had joined and left several religions higher than someone who had been a devout whatever his whole life. This is experience, wisdom, if you will.
If the discussion, on the other hand, pertained to details of the heavenly hierarchy or specific passages in scriptures, I would probably lean towards the person who had spend a lot of time in the religion in question - but that's not experience, that's knowledge - something that most anyone could learn by deligent study.

Quote:
My motivation was dismay at the strategy of starting as Good, changing to Evil for levels where the Good mobs were softer, and then back

Quite right, it is a disconcerting behaviour, and leaving out a system for regulating alignment will surely lead to players adopting it. In RL, I would argue that someone who has gone through many and major changes in perspective, will have more experience - a deeper knowledge of life and its' meaning - than someone who hasn't. This won't work in most games, of course... not MUDs anyways Wink

I'm not familiar with the intricacies of Kavir's system, but I would probably try to use a similar implementation, with the important addition of awarding players who stay true to their path, not punishing those who don't. In stead of taking away expeirence from those who can't make up their mind, award those who 'stick with it' through all the hardships that this entails. It should still be balanced, naturally, only the reason to why you gain the XPs you do will change dramatically.

Quote:
I've seen it used to influence reaction, morale, luck, wishes, channeling and of course artifacts attuned to particular dieties or ethos.

Now we're getting somewhere. A change in perspective doesn't make you dumber, but it might very well incurr a period of depression, and whichever god or pantheon you followed might be displeased to various extends.

Quote:
When you start, you start off as neutral. And your breadth of dialogues, and actions are good/evil but as you move one direction you dialogues/actions are aimed at you being more of the direction you are heading.

I'm not sure I understand this. How is this, essentially, different from a quest mob sending you to hell for lieing about the state of your heart?

Massaria,
who is just in alignment.
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Ashon



Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 86
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2005 4:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Quote:
Quote:
When you start, you start off as neutral. And your breadth of dialogues, and actions are good/evil but as you move one direction you dialogues/actions are aimed at you being more of the direction you are heading.


I'm not sure I understand this. How is this, essentially, different from a quest mob sending you to hell for lieing about the state of your heart?


It's more of a roleplaying alignment system. As you start using actions or partaking in threatening (Evil) dialogue, you start to slide down the scale of alignment. The further in either the direction you are rewarded with newer types of actions or dialogue. It goes so far as to even allow you skills/Jedi Powers which are only available on the different sides of the scale.

To roll the thought process back into the fold of actual design it means that every action, every conversation has an affect on your alignment. So that Alignment becomes a reactive system.

You can say, it's pretty close to the original DIKU system. But I'd rather see alignment be affected by more then just killing a good or evil mob. And I'd rather it [Alignment] react to how the player chooses to guide their character.
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