hope ya got some time to read. :)

Subject: hope ya got some time to read. :)
From: Rob Reed (robreed@usa.net)
Date: Tue Mar 28 2000 - 02:56:29 EEST

Hello all,

  I promised my rampant thoughts on things, so here they be. :)

I left them as an attached txt file...  damned netaddress screws up my
formatting badly when I try to paste it in here.... :(

Well enjoy the read. :)


Get free email and a permanent address at http://www.netaddress.com/?N=1

Hello again All,
As promised, a lot of information to be flamed. :)  The following LONG email is intended to help with the system design for playability. 
It is bits and pieces of typical sit down RPG's, Live action RPG's, CRPG's, and MPORPG's that I have dealt with, as well as a lot of off
 the top of my head stuff.  I tried to cover all the topics that would be of use, still in debate, and follow the guidelines of things I had seen 
posted in the desingers messages.  I don't expect everyone to like everything following, but I hope it will spur the creative process (And 
not get me booted from development for being a radical! ;0 )  
The numbers are purely arbitrary and used only for example, hell even the names are arbitrary come down to it, but the concept is what I 
wanted to get across.  So with Beregar's warning in mind (All new developers try this)  I submit my 25 hours of brain candy for abuse. :)


Topics covered;
Character Creation - how to build a better freak
     Attributes - Not enough power captain!
     Abilities - I need underwater basket weaving!
     Power lvls - how those numbers crunch
     XP - a reason for everything
     PK vs. non-PK - ARGH Dead again!
UI - Why can't I ever find what I need?
     Status Bars - Look at the pretty colors
     Chat box/window - Look ma, no clue!
     Quick keys/icons - I thought I put a heal potion there!
     Command bar/icons - Here there be settings!
     Combat Toggle - Doh! I went into peace mode again
     Compass - Lichen grows on the NORTH side of the tree
Chat System - Ugh, not again
     Chat Styles - it be like, gettin down funky bro!
     Colors - Gotta know the difference
MAGIC - The flames from this are really going to hurt!
     Divine Points - How to get/give em
     Symbol magic - This is where it really gets hot!
           Sample spell list - oh sure, just abuse me more, I like it!
     Allegience/Following a Diety - How to get/keep those faithful ppl
           Benefits - what? no insurance? forget this!
Equipment - Gotta have a place for my stuff man!
     Weapons - sharp point end goes where?
     Armor - Who said I couldn't wear plate mail?  I can, just can't move!
     Armor Placement - Anyone got a jock strap?
     Packs/bags/pouches - gotta have something for loot storage
     Sheaths - YOU carry a sword in your hand all the time and still make friends
     Jewelry - Like, oh my god becky, look at that horrid Ring she's wearing

Character Creation - How to build a better freak in 2000000000 easy steps!
Attributes - Things need em... how else ya gonna know whether or not to take on that dragon?  So here's what I cooked up for your amusement.  
Each primary attribute has 2 secondary attributes to go with it.  At character creation I was thinking 300 points to distribute to the primary, and 
that number could be divided by the player into the secondary attributes.  

Power - Creatures raw physical ability (also body size?)
     Load - Amount of weight a creature can handle
     Force - Brute strength creature can bring to bear (Bashing doors/Locks, bonus dmg in melee)
Manipulation - Creatures refined physical ability (Don't really like the name, but Dexterity is SOOOO cliche)
     Agility - Creatures innate effectiveness at dodging, climbing, balancing 
     Speed - How quickly a creature can recover from combat/Spell casting/Actions performed
Body - Creatures ability to sustain fighting/perform actions/take damage (Also body size?)
     Endurance - Creatures ability to resist system shock (mass dmg), natural healing rate
     Stamina - Creatures ability to fight, reduced by exertion, modified by other factors
Mind - Creatures ability to process thought, tap instinctual abilities, be in contact with Divinity
     Willpower - Ability to use/resist Symbol magic/Divinity/Psionics/Innate abilities
     Intellect - Ability to learn/teach/rationalize things

The following 3 Attributes are derived soley from the above attributes and cannot be modified at character creation.

Health - Creatures life force (Body +Load/3)
Mana - Creatures magical Force (Mind +Agility/3)
Faith - Creatures Divine Force (Mind +Stamina/3)

Abilites (Or skills or trades or whatever you want to call em) - All things must do something, and PC's are no exception... they 
want to build castles, ride horses, and in general do things that weren't planned for... sooo, the following is a list of abilities... 
some are trade skills (Armorer, Stonemason), some are martial related (all weapons, dodge), some are learned (Symbol Magic, 
Navigation), and some are just wierd (eavesdropping, loyalty).  Most of these I won't bother describing, it should be obvious, 
but some aren't, so they will be explained, also, the formula listed after them is based off of the attributes listed above and are the 
starting ability/skill rating only at character creation. This is by no means a complete list, just what I came up with off the top of my head.

Martial - 
Swords (Gen category) Force + Agility /3
Specific types - Short, Long, 2Handed, Bastard, Scimitar, Katana, Daikatana
Daggers (Gen category) Agility/2
Types - Short, long, knife, folding
Axes (Gen category) Force + Agility /4
Types - Wood, Hand, 2Hand, Battle, Horsemans
Blunt Weapons (Gen category) Force/2
Types - Mace, Club, Morningstar, Flail, Horsemans Flail, Small hammer, War Hammer
Staves (Gen Category) Agility/3
Types - Quarterstaff, Jo Stick, Bo Staff, Trident, Spear(non-throwing)
Long Weapons (Gen category) force + agility/4
Types - Pikes, Spear (non-throwing)
Thrown (Gen category) force+agility/3
Types - Hammer, Net, dagger, shuriken, axes, spears, darts, long spear
Bows (Gen category) Agility+Intellect/2
Types - Short Bow, Long Bow, Composite Short, Composite Long, Hand x-bow, lt x-bow, hvy x-bow
Dodge - Manipulation /3
Parry - Manipulation/5
Disarm Weapon - Agility+Force/5
Alertness - Mind/3

Bowyer - Make bows Intellect/4
Fletching - make arrows/quarrels Intellect/4
Armorer - make/repair metal armor Intellect+Force/3
Blacksmithing - make/repair metal non-martial items Intellect+Force/3
Weaponsmith - make/repair weaponry Intellect/4
Cooking - Intellect/2
Navigation - Intellect/5
Jeweler - Intellect/5
Tailor - Intellect+Agility/2
Farming - Intellect+Agility/3
Stonemasonry - Intellect+Force/3
Woodcrafting - Intellect+Agility/3
Play Instrament - This can be broken down into X other skills if each instrament type is used.  Agility/5
Hunting/Trapping - Intellect/3
Herbalism - Ability to make base healing items (Shamanism? Witch in the woods?) Mind/3
Brewer - Make alchoholic drinks Intellect/4
Fishing - Agility/2
Animal Training (Non magical) Mind/4
Animal Training(Magical) Mind/8
Creature Lore/ID - Ability to discern information about target creature (PC/NPC) Intellect/3
Armor Lore/ID(non magical) as above
Weapon Lore/ID(non magical) as above
Item Lore/ID(non magical) as above
Item Lore/ID(magical) intellect/5
Armor Lore/ID(magical) as above
Weapon Lore/ID(magical) as above
Deception - Ability to hide info (vs Creature lore and spells) and True name Intellect/4
Eavesdropping - Ability to 'listen' to whispered/party conversations (see chat system below) Intellect/4
Stealing - Intellect+agility/3
Mana Conservation - Ability to cast symbol spells for less Mind/5
Faith Convservation - Ability to cast Divine spells for less  Mind/5
Belief - belief in your chosen Diety Intellect/10 (see Divine magic system below)
Divinity - Ability to cast/confer divine spells  Willpower/10 (see Divine magic system below)
Prayer - Skill in casting Divine spells - Willpower/5
Symbol Knowledge (Lore) - ability to recognize/decipher Symbols.  Intellect/10
Creature Symbols (Control, explain below in symbol magic system)  Mind/5
Life Symbols - as above
Item Symbols - as above
Comabt Symbols - as above
Transport Symbols - as above
Alchemy - Create potions for 1(?) shot use.  Mind/5
Loyalty - Your loyalty to your liege.  Intellect /5 (see allegience/worship system below)
Leadership, ability to effectively lead your vassals Intellect/5 (see allegience/worship system below)
Shipcraft - Ability to operate a water going vessel  Intellect+agility/4
Horsemanship - Agility/3
Speak Languge (type) Ability to speak a given language Intellect/3
Write/Read Language (type) Intellect/5
Teach (ability) - Intellect/4
Teach Martial (ability) Intellect+agility/4
Teach Symbol (ability/control) Mind/10
Herding - Ability to herd animals in the open Intellect/2
Wagon Master - Setting up/running a wagon train Intellect/3
Barter - Negotiate/trade of items Mind/3
Forestry - Ability to determine/cut trees for building material Intellect+force/3
Mining - Intellect+force/3
Find Traps (non magical) Intellect/3
Remove Traps(nonmagical) Intellect+agility/4 (never bought that find&remove of AD&D, they're 2 dif skills)
Find Traps(magical) Mind/4
Remove Traps(magical) Mind+agility/4

Power Levels - Taking the above information, you could use the following structure (again, numbers are purely
arbitrary) for use in skill lvl of ability and attirbutes... also could be used for multipliers of difficulty (which I did) and 
any number of other things.... 

# range          Mortal               Ancient              Demi-God            Lesser God             Greater God           Elder God
0-49              Crippled                    -                              -                             -                                -                             -
50-99            Pathetic                     -                              -                             -                                -                             - 
100-149           Weak                   Pathetic                    -                             -                                -                             -
150-199         Sub-Average         Weak                       -                            -                                 -                             -
200-249           Average             Sub-Average        Weak                       -                                 -                             -
250-299           Average             Average              Sub-Average            -                                 -                              - 
300-349           Average             Average                 Average             Sub-Average               -                             -
350-399         Above Average  Average                Average                Average                     -                              -
400-449         Greater Mortal   Above Average     Average                Average            Sub-Average                -
450-499        Ancient Mortal   Greater Ancient      Above Ave      Above Average     Average                     -
500+               Ancient               Demi-God               Lesser God        Greater God         Elder God            All Elder Gods

XP/Attributes/Abilities/Improving them
No one likes to see negative numbers in relation to thier character
Everyone likes to see thier character advance
No need for levels (waste of time really) or # caps (except what might screw up the code)

XP is used to improve all attributes/abilities/Divine Points (explained in Divine magic system)/Allegiance Points(explain in 
allegiance system) To use XP to increase attribute/ability I used the following formula; Base + Current rating * multiplier.  
Simple and easy...  
Current Rating (CR)      Base Cost(BC)       Mulitplier(M)                                          
0-9                                         100                      Crippled x1                                             
10-19                                     200                      Pathetic x2
20-29                                     300                      Weak x3
30-39                                     400                      Sub-Average x4
.....                                          .....                      Average x5
90-99                                     1000                    Above Average x6
.....                                          .....                      Greater Mortal/Ancient x7
250-259                                 2600                   Demi-God x8
.....                                         .....                      Lesser God x9
500-509                                 5100                   Greater God/Elder God x10

Starting Character has 300 pts to distribute in Attributes and 300 in Abilities on a 1pt for 1 pt basis
Attribute            Score     Rating                      Ability                      Base                             +  Freebie pts   =  Total        Rating
Power (Primary)   75        Pathetic                   Long Sword               30(force+Agility/3)          70                   100             Weak
  Load                    30        Crippled                  Long Bow                   52(Agility+Intellect/2)     48                   100             Weak
  Force                   45        Crippled                  Dodge                         25(Manipulation/3)          56                    81               Pathetic
Manipulation(P)  75        Pathetic                   Parry                           15(Manipualtion/5)          35                    50               Pathetic
   Agility                45        Crippled                  Weapon Lore(NM)  12(Intellect/3)                    18                    30               Crippled
   Speed                 30        Crippled                  Alertness                   25(Mind/3)                         25                    50               Pathetic
Body (P)                75       Pathetic                   Leadership                12(Intellect/5)                     48                    50               Pathetic
   Endurance         35        Crippled
   Stamina              40        Crippled
Mind (P)               75        Pathetic
   Willpower         15        Crippled
   Intellect             60        Pathetic

i.e. Power from 75 to 76... well BC + CR x M (800 + 75 x 2) = 1750 xp to raise
i.e. Long Sword from 100 to 101 BC + CR x M (1100 + 100 x 3) = 3600xp
i.e. Load from 30 to 31 BC + CR x M (400 + 30 x 1) 430xp
This way is pretty quick to get out of the crippled/Pathetic category.  Raising any primary attribute 2 points after character creation, raises 
the secondary attributes 1pt each (basically splitting the primary) This is a also non-direct way to increase you abilities as well.
A Teacher/Trainer can reduce the XP cost by his CR x M.  
Trainer has Power 300 (average)  and his Multiplier is x5  - 300 x 5 = 1500.  1500 would be deducted from the cost of 1750 = 250xp to raise 
Power from 75-76(above i.e.)

The benefits to the teacher mode of this is encouraging ppl to RP and specialize...  "You want me to train you for how much? HAHAHA"
"I don't train beings whose name I do not know"  "When you can take the pepple from my hand..."

You want an ultima online?  Roving packs of PC just abusing any newbies?  Give the players a choice betteen PvP mode.....
Have altars where ppl can change thier status from PK to Non-PK, or align themselves with Evil/Negative Dieties for PK
and Good/Positive Dieties for Non-PK...  my 2 cents on that topic.

UI - User Interface time. :)  As everything else, the placement of damn near anything is arbitrary, but I think other than 2 things the base idea
I have works pretty well for everything. 

First, take a look at the UI.jpg I attached, that will make the explanation of everthing make a bit more sense. :)
1- 5: Status Bars - Health, Mana, Faith, Stamina, Recovery....  pretty direct... no real need for explanation
6: Chat Box - Normally displays only 3 lines of text - Hit enter to open 1 line for you to enter your text, hit enter again to send your text.
6a: Style of Chat Box - See UICSSB. jpg and Chat system
6b: Expand chat box to display 10 lines/scrollbar to scroll back)
7.1 - 7.9:  These are quick keys/icons(1-9) for Physical Equipment (armor/weapons/potions/etc)
8a - h: Command Button/icons - Each one is explained below - Clicking on these expands the right half of the screen to view them
8a: Stats - 2 Tabs under this category - Attributes/Abilities whenon self, just attributes when viewing another Creature(PC/NPC/Critter)
                  When on Self, shows current ratings for Attribute/abilities
8b: Inventory - 2 tabs here as well Worn/Packs - Worn shows a body with spots for items (see body places below) and Packs show all 
                   packs/pouches/bags carried on right side with the left showing the highlited carrying item's contents
8c: Spell Books - 3 tabs  Divine/Symbol/Research - Divine lists all the spells the caster can use, Symbol shows all the Symbol spells they know
                   Research allows for creation of Symbol spells (see Divine/Symbol magics lower)
8d: Allegiance - 3 tabs here Liege/Diety - Vassals/Worshippers - Party ---  Liege/Diety display who you have sworn to and who you worhsip
                  with a button to toggle between their Title/Rank & DP/XP given (see allegiance/Divine below) and a check box to accept
                  Vassals/Worshippers.  Vassals/Worshippers show who follows/worships you, with a toggle button for title/rank & XP/DP recieved
                  and a break allegiance botton. (see Allegiance below).   Party - Used to make a temporary adventuring party where XP is shared 
                  between the players based on Killing blow, most dmg done, and leadership ability
8e: View - Used to view the stats of an item - based on Lores/ID rating for info displayed (doors, magic items, etc)
8f: Map - 3 tabs - shows 100mi radius, continent, World.  (Not too sure how to handle this one, but a map is a good idea)
8g: Settings - System settings (graphics, screensize, misc), Yell for Help/Help, and Naming/Names (3 tabs? how much to put under setting?)
8h: Exit - Log out of game
9:  War/Peace Toggle
10: Compass - Shows immediate 100ft(?) of area with colored dots to represent critters/Things of note

Chat System 
Styles of Chatting;  (See also the UICSSB.jpg)
  General Chat - Everyone in immediate vicinity can 'hear' you.
  Personal Chat - Click on a PC/NPC and 'whisper' to them
  Party - To talk only to your current adventuring Party
  Liege - Talk to the one you are sworn to directly
  Diety - Send a prayer up
  Vassals - Talk to all vassals below you.
  Worshippers - Talk to all worshippers below you
  Languge (type) - Speak in a specifiac language known to you (Drop down box for known languages?)

General Chat Color - White
Personal/Diety/Liege chat color - Red
Party/Vassals/Worshippers chat color Yellow

Names in chat;
unknown speaker - Brown
PC named speaker - Silver
Speaker self named - Green
True name -Blue

Divine Magic/Divine Points (DP's)

ALL PC/NPC's have the abiilties Belief and Divinity Ratings (see abilities section above).  These points are passed from the lowest(Worhsipper)
to the highest(Namhas) ..  Worshipper to another mortal, to an ancient, to a demi-god etc....
Divine points are earned with this formula (Well at least the formula I used. ;p)
XP earned x Belief Rating divided by a Percent rating.
Divine Percent rating - Mortal 1% - Ancient 3% - Demi-God 5% - Lesser God 10% - Greater God 15% - Elder God 20%

Joe Worships another mortal, Grog.  Joe earns 100xp and has a Belief rating(BR) of 4.  XP x BR/1%  100x4=400/1% = 4 DP's earned for Grog
Grog worships Namhas directly.  Grog earns 100xp and his BR is 12.  100x12=1200/20% = 240 DP's for Namhas.
Might not seem like a lot, but consider this, Namhas has 100 Worshipers with the above stats, he earns 24,000 DP's!!!!

Using DP's
A PC uses thier own Faith Rating (FR) before he asks his Diety for aid.  He also is restriced to the types of Divine Spells(See below) he can use by his
Divinity Rating (DR - See ability Divinity).
Divine Spell Categories/Control/Spheres/Whatever
Base 5 Divinity to cast
Minor Boon 15 DR to Cast
Major Boon 30 DR To Cast
Great Boon 50 DR to Cast
Miracle 100 DR to Cast

How it all works
Grog has a Faith of 150 and a Divinity of 18 (DR 18)  His Prayer Rating is 36 (crippled category x5 multiplier).  Grogs follower Joe hurts himself and needs a
Minor Boon healing spell. Minor Boon spells base cost is 15 x Prayer Rating Multiplier 5 = 75 DP's needed to cast this spell.  He only has 18, so he needs
to ask Namhas for 57 DP's.  Namhas has this and passes it down.  The 57 DP's are subtracted from Grog's Faith Rating leaving him 93 Faith.  When Grog
reaches 0 Faith, he cannot cast any more Divine spells without Praying to his Diety (Diety Chat) and his Diety can answer or not. :)

Symbol Magic - Here I expect the most Flames. :)
Symbol magic is broken down into Control, Power, Core symbols
Control Symbols are the Schools/Spheres of magic - I divided them into the following Schools; Creature, Item, Life, Combat, Transport
Power Symbols consist of; Charge & Power levels - Power Level Symbols; Base, Minor, Major, Greater, True.  Charge Symbols; Positive/Negative
Core Symbols consist of Verbal, Somatic, Component
Required Symbols for Casting - Control, Charge, any 1 Core.

Mana Costs
Base cost for;
Base Symbol Spell - 5
Minor Symbol Spell - 15
Major Symbol Spell -30
Greater Symbol Spell - 50
True Symbol Spell - 100

1 core Symbol x3 mana cost
2 core Symbols x2 mana cost
3 core symbols x1 cost
Control (type) Ability multiplier (same as Divine Magice/Attribute/skills)

So a base spell (Control, Positive, Verbal) would cost base 5 x 3 = 15 Skill is weak(5 multiplier)  15 x5 =75 mana to cast.
It does get expensive, but it also means that only players serious about casting spells (Divine or Symbol) are going to take the time to do it right
and they are not very likely to share thier Symbol combos. :)

Classes of Control - Each Control symbol has classes under it.
Control - Creature - all spells in this Control have a self/other version
    Classes - Enhancement/Dehancement of Attributes  (With Self/Other and Enhance/Dehance spells you get 48 spells off the bat 12 attributesx4)
                     Enhancement/Dehancement of Abilities
Control Item - All spells in this Control are Other only
   Classes - Enhancement/Dehancement of Armor/Weapons
                    Enhancement/Dehancement of Items (Doors, wands, piece of wood, etc)
Control Life - These spells all have Self/Other Positive Charge only
   Classes - Protection
                    Nature Positive
Control Combat - These spells are Negative charge only
   Classes - Vulnerability
                    Nature Negative
Control Transport
   Classes - Teleport

By no means does this limit us to these controls or classes, in fact it leaves it wide open to add as needed.  
As far as spells go, just sitting down and screwing around, I have a base of 275 spells between the 5 Control Symbols.  Multiply that by the 5 Power levels
and it starts off with 1375 possible spells... and I know I forgot a lot of spells. :) specially in the divine category.  

Spell List - After seeing how huge this email is turning out to be, I'll send out a spell list as a seperate email.

Allegiance System
Joe elf thinks that Bob troll is pretty spiffy and wants to have him as his liege, bob agrees.  Joe goes to his allegiance (control button) icon and choses
Liege/Diety Tab.  His Liege is currently blank (unsworn) and he clicks on Bob to highlight him, then on the "swear allegiance" button.  Now his Liege shows
as Bob Troll. and Bob Trolls Vassal/Worshipper list shows Joe Elf as a vassal.
Exact same thing for Choosing a Diety, except have a drop down list or pop up window of the Known dieties with desc. 

Vassal - Liege helps (theoretically) with equip, money, info, hunting pal etc... no palpable benefit
Liege - Gains Rank (haven't done that yet), XP (explained below), and Fame/Reknown(??? undecided about this)

XP gained - Works similiar to the DP system except Loyalty replaces Belief and the modifier is Leadership skill

It would be possible for someone to have their Liege and Diety be the same person and earn them XP and DP's

Weapons - all weapons have a weight, Speed factor (used with Recovery) Damage base, Quality rating, Difficulty (skill required), and Cost (In stamina)
i.e.  Long Sword Weight:7#  Spd:40  Dmg: 2-8  Quality: 40  Difficulty:8   Cost:5

Armor - Armor has base attributes of it's own; Weight, AP (area protected), PV (protection value), Quality (how well it withstands dmg), and 
type (name of armor, what kind of metal/leather)
i.e. Chainmail Hauberk (type) Weight: 50#, AP: Torso, Upper arms, Lower Arms, Girth  PV:50  Quality:90
(the numbers are arbitrary)
PV and Quality are worn down over use of the item until they reach 0 and are destroyed

Armor Placement - Body spots for armor; Head, Neck, Torso, Upper Arms, Lower Arms, Hands, Girth(waist), Upper Legs, Lower Legs, Feet

Packs/Bags/Pouches - Places to hold things that hold - Pack(main): back - Pouches: Neck, Waist - Small/Medium Bags: Left/Right Hip(s)

Sheaths - Swords: Back, Left/Right Hip(s), Dagger: Lower Back, Left/Right Lower Legs/Lower Arms, Left/Right Hip(s)

Jewelry - Rings: all Fingers/Toes on Left/Right Hands/Feet, Wrists/Ankles, Neck, and Head

All Equipment should have a quality rating - Quality = High, lasts longer, perhaps more value?  Quality = 0 Item destroyed.

As I said in the beginning, all the numbers are purely arbitrary, hell, most of the names/phrases are too. :)  And yea, I know, my graphics suck.  That's why 
I'm not a graphic artist. :)   Some of the ideas/concepts listed above I didn't go fully into, but I will be more than happy to on any of the topics, some of them
are just idle thoughts that I figured went well with the overall.

Okay, that's All I'll subject everyone too right now.  I think I'll actually go work on some humans. ;p

Let the Flaming Begin! 
*puts on flame retardent suit*



This archive was generated by hypermail 2b25 : Tue Feb 12 2002 - 00:03:12 EET