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Social Combat (Update)

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It’s interesting how quickly a thought can be flipped on it’s head. In trying to balance a fine line between player free will and a scripted believable social combat mechanism, the conversation has taken a very interesting course.

Somehow the conversation got turned to emotional hitpoints. So with a list of Emotions, you can begin with a pool of emotion hitpoints and you assign them as you wish to outline the emotional status of your character. If you want a fearless fighter, he might just have 10 Fear Hitpoints, and 0 Purity Hitpoints or he could be more balanced. Whatever the system pans out to be, the breakthrough really comes from the concept of a developing a hit location system for social combat.

Tonitrus asked, “Could you have emotional armor? Or emotional Weapons?” The Answer of course is YES! What are they? I don’t really know.

Well, I actually do have some vague outline’ish type ideas on how they could work… Emotional Armor… It’s not really Armor, it’s more events that provide you with Damage Reduction to a Specific Emotion. An Example of play:

Your mudwife kisses you (+2 DR to Happiness Attacks)
Bubba, your boss, yells at you for doing bad job.
(Happiness Attack!)
(Bubba recieves +1 to his Social Attacks against you, because of his Social Standing vs You, [He’s your BOSS!])
Bubba seems furious.
(Bubba’s Anger Level gives him +2 to attack)
You are stressed.
(-1 Emotional Defense)
(Happiness is affected by 4 Points of damage)
Your Wifes’ kiss reminds you of good times.
(Damage Reduced to 2 points)

There’s all kinds of interesting ‘armors’ that you can provide examples for. Weapons I am still fuzzy on. Of course built correctly this system could be huge in a game where there are a lot of players interacting with each other at the same time and would make an interesting experiment.


Written by Troy

February 21, 2010 at 1:53 am

Consensual social combat

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Over at http://www.mudlab.org last night I proposed a method of consensual PvP Social Combat that lets players really customize their responses to attacks.

It works like a survey.  You have five options:
Disregard (Ignore the Attack)
Strongly Disagree (Fully Reverse the Attack)
Disagree (Partially Reverse the Attack)
Agree (Partially Accept the Attack)
Strongly Agree (Fully Accept the Attack)

My core development value on social combat is the fact that in no way do we allow griefers to take away player’s free will to play their characters the way that they want too.  Since there is a large complexity to translating emotions to stats that can be affected without removing that sacred free will.  This is not a problem when it comes to PvE and social combat with NPC’s. Each skill will have two resolution systems that need to be determined.  The first and most important is the PvP Resolution.  Each Combat skill has four player responses which allows the attacked to determine how it affects them.  The second resolution system is PvE.  Which will need to evaluate the emotional state of the NPC and determine the NPC’s response.  The PvE response will be the most complicated system to develop as it the writer of the skill needs to progmattically determine what emotional state the NPC needs to be in for the skill to affect them. 

Let’s start with an example:

Bubba is a bard who wants to tell a scary story that he learned to have Bobby be afraid of him:

Bubba begins a story called, Scary Night [Fear Affect]

“Night fell upon … ”

Select Response: Disregard (Ignore), Strongly Disagree (Become Friendly), Disagree (Increase Relationship), Agree (Gain Shaken Response to Bubba), Strongly Agree (Become afraid of Bubba)


Bobby is slightly shaken by Bubba’s story.

Simple enough, now we have allowed Bobby to determine if his attitude and emotional state is in the same direction that Bubba is trying to force it too.  Perhaps Bobby enjoys Scary Stories, or maybe Bubba is telling the story during brunch with Bobby.  And Bobby finds it amusing. Or again Bubba may be telling it at night around a spooky campfire.  These are things that make it progmattically difficult to force a response from another player, and even if it did, it would revoke player free will.

PvE example: anything in [] is going to be proto-code to highlight what is going on behind the scenes.  Bubba is trying to scare Nancy away so that he can get past the receptionist.


Nancy the NPC is sitting behind the desk, blocking access to her bosses office.

>Orate Scary Night to Nancy

You begin telling Nancy the Scary Night Story.

[Poll Emotional Axis: from -10 to +10

Lust/Repulsion:  – 1

Anger/Affection: 0

Confidence/Fear: +1

Guilt/Comfort: 0

Corruption/Purity: 0]

(Nancy is in a pretty blah emotional state, she can be scared, and she can be seduced)

[Poll Knowledge and Responses to Bubba:

Nancy’s reputation + Nancy’s Prestige = Nancy’s Response Modifier

Bubba’s reputation + Bubba’s Prestige + Bubba’s Fame = Bubba’s Influence Modifier

Compare Faction Allegiances]

[-Fear/Courage Axis * 1/Nancy’s Response Modifier] + die Roll vs [Scary Night Skill * (Bubba’s Influence modifier/100) + die Roll + Faction Difference.

then the system evokes the appropriate response.

 There is the possibility for Attack/Defense combo’s that would mimic physical combat, but that’s another thought process that would have to be gone down later.

Written by Troy

February 18, 2010 at 9:33 am

Posted in Design, Social Combat