[MUD-Dev] Death and Permadeath and Corpse Retrieval

Spot northspot at hotmail.com
Sat Jan 17 22:29:14 CET 2004

Sean Middleditch wrote:
> On Mon, 2004-01-12 at 15:01, Spot wrote:

> My personal preference with death is the simple 'credits' system,
> where credits are earned by pleasing your deity.  For evil
> characters, depraved and vile acts do best (defiling a holy
> temple, whatever), while for good characters it would be noble
> acts.  Obviously, in the case of either,it should be difficult to
> accomplish acts - killing a peasant wouldn't help earn credits,
> since you can kill them in large numbers very easily.

Your credit system is similar to my Soul Token idea, where the cost
of deity resurection is based on your current characters experience,
your alignment with that of the deities, the total number of
resurections you've recieved in the past, and the amount of time
since your last death.

There may also be an in game resurrect that your friends/allies can
sacrifice item/gold to lesson the soul token cost and allow your
charact to escape the afterlife...or if you've got no friends there
may be tasks that you can perform in the afterlife to work off the

> Likewise, rewards aside from death need balance.  Evil acts can
> indeed bring about the law (which should be avoidable), but doing
> so can gain rewards - loot from the guards/villagers you kill,
> pacts with powerful demons, whatever.

> Letting the game community build up not only good but also evil
> characters can be quite interesting in regards to role playing.
> Imagine an evil death knight who amasses a number of followers (in
> a guild, perhaps) who challenges the local high-level paladin to a
> battle for ownership of the temple of the sun god (or whatever) -
> kinds of intrigue and sub-plot which can shape your world and game
> story, but which no GM could orchestrate so well and hope to
> include the player base in the deeds.

> Of course, there is a difference between evil characters and bad
> players.  Evil doesn't mean the player runs about killing everyone
> she sees and looting the corpse; that's just being an ass.  If you
> don't have a mature and imaginative enough player base capable of
> making dynamic evil characters who enhance the game more than
> irritate other players, then it may indeed by necessary to simply
> limit the advantages of being evil, and thus reduce the number of
> players who would choose to walk that path.

I agree that there is a difference between evil and bad players, but
sadly its more common to see bad players than roleplayed evil
ones...I guess there needs to be a way to determine one from the
other, but in game terms as far as actions a player who is
roleplaying "evil" would seem awfully similar to some immature bad

I missed out on the whole anarchy of ultima online in the early
days, but it seemed even with their attempts at consquences you
still got killed by a group of PK'ers everytime you logged in.  Even
if you were only armed with a pickaxe and standing next to your pile
of ore...To me evil has more of a purpose behind it, and simply
killing helpless people falls into more the bad player category.

> Well, so far as looting, I personally dislike the whole idea.  In
> my ideal game, when you die, you are not lootable.  You can be
> resurrected or, after a set amount of time passes (based on your
> strength/level), you respawn with one less life credit.  If you're
> out of credits, your deity does not intervene with your death and,
> thus, you go on to heaven/hell, and are permadead.

> This also means there is no reward for killing other players.
> People have less reason to be dicks if there isn't a reward for
> it.  If players want to kill things for loot, there are NPCs for
> that.  NPCs don't get pissed and quit the game because of players
> with a violent streak.  ;-)

> Of course, death needs to be punished.  Life credits should,
> again, be hard to come by (and harder to obtain as you become more
> powerful), and other penalties could be applied - perhaps you
> equipment (or some of it) is indeed lost, just not sent to the
> killer.  (Maybe it is put in special market shops where you have a
> chance of repurchasing it, or it may be purchased by another.)
> You can also offer 'minor' loot to the killer - things like a
> percentage of gold.  Or, if you have advanced combat damage, acts
> like severing a limb/hand would make the victim drop whatever they
> held in that hand, which the attacker could then take. Altho, in
> most games, a weapon is a highly prized item, and that could be
> too much of a reward for the killer and too high of a penalty to
> the victim for merely being ambushed by a jerk.

> It would be nice to see your more-indepth ideas to comment and
> discuss the pros/cons of them.  ^,^

My more indepth system is similar to the system of ultima IV and
V...where gaining virtue is similar to gaining power, thus a robust
justice system is necessary, but I plan to have negative virtues as
well which gain similar power...However I want the "Evil" players to
be "Evil" more as a roleplaying choice, than just doing it to piss
off other players.

And actually the rewards for being evil, will be greater than that
of being good, but the best rewards will come from those in the
"Falling from grace" sort of the anti-paladin approach where going
from the most virtuest to the foulest villian will be the most
powerful character in the game, but there will be possibly the worst
fate to becomming this type of character and this fate would be

Of course even a permadeath can be escaped one last time by an act
of "selling ones soul", which if the character is powerful even
becomes an possibility, where the characters last visit to the
living realm is that of a powerful servant of death, that may be
actually able to gather souls...but this trip will be their
characters last as the keeper of their soul won't part with it next

The best Virtuest characters on the world will be equipted to handle
such a foe, but these battles will make the legends of the
game...and eventually even the most Virtuest character's death will
have a chance to be a permadeath, just the odds of this happen are
more common for "evil" characters...However, it would be a good GM
ploy to grant well played "evil" characters a chance at resurrection
again, as it would add a great player driven sub-plot as some of the
good heroes are called upon to once again slay this vile creature.

The game will have afterlife as sort of a mini part of the actual
game, that will be seen by the characters who don't have the soul
tokens to be immediately rewarded with deity resurection...ghost
wandering the country side unseen will be their own part of the game
with slightly different mechanics.

This is getting a bit long, but I think you get the idea...It's the
balance of keeping the immature players thinking that being bad is a
punishment, but allowing the good roleplayers a avenue to be "evil"
more as an advanced aspect of the game, and actually making them at
a slight advantage if done correctly.

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