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Lvl 1 Kill a Lvl 20 WTF?

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Now that I have your attention :D I am liable to get flamed alot for this idea, but here goes. Why can''t a level one kill a level 20 (DnD...), or a level one kill a level 65 (EQ). It comes from the unreality that comes from leveling up. When a person levels up the get more HP. This sounds logical, until you realize that HP represents a portion of a persons life. It does make sense that a rough and tumble fighter can take a blow better than an acedemic wizard. This is represented by a different in Hit Points, however what does not make sense is how after so many levels getting hit by a level one sword at level 65 does the equivelant damage of getting bit by a misquito. My opinion is that a level one character should have at his disposal th means to kill a higest level character. The balancing factor is not HP its skill. Should a level one fighter swing a sword at a level 65 fighter, the fighter should be able to easily block the swing, and then kill the level one without a problem....but in the case of a very lucky hit, attack from behind, or anything else that allows the level one''s sword to hit, it should do a substantial amount of damage. I am personally not in favor of having HP rise drastically as players progress in level, sure someone might toughen up, but the rate at which its done in games is rediculous.

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I can agree with that and there are two answers to that question that come to mind, the first is easy and that is games aren''t real, so designers can bend the rules and make characters almost superhuman in comparison to low level characters, the reward for putting time into the game.

The second is what stops designers from leaving the HP raising system in the dust, and that has to do with player skill and NPC''s. There are plenty of games that do what you say, where a level 1 can kill a level "20", one of the newer ones that come to mind would be planetside, or other first person shooters. Players health can raise, but not drastically enough that a skillful level 1 player can''t overcome. Now in games such as EQ, where fighting NPC''s plays a larger role, Designers use HP''s to balance out who can take on a rat, and who can stand up to a dragon. So when it comes time to pit player vs player, the system leaves an unbalanced taste in your mouth. Why not make monsters low in HP''s or at least make them killable by skillful level 1''s? because people wouldn''t play long after learning the tricks, and NPC''s AI isn''t at the point where this is feasable yet. Maybe in the future, you could be a level 1 adventurer who lucks out and stabs the dragon in it''s heart with your rusty dagger based on the fact that you out manuvered it and jumped over it''s attacks and doged his tail and ran from fire...

And if you could do all of this at level 1, why would someone play longer than a few months? No one has figured out a better way to draw players in then to put them on a tredmill. Blame EQ''s success.

Hope it sheds some light.

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The problem with this is that it encourages greifing, although it is more realistic. If a level 1 can kill a level 65 and has a good chance of doing it then what''s stopping someone with a newly created level one (with very little to lose) from killing a level 65 and taking all their loot? This is of course very game specific and you could design a game where is situation is ok. I think it is ridiculous in these types of games when 30 level ones are wailing on a high level character that''s just standing there and not even hitting him.

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Leveling is kind of a bad idea for a multiplayer game to me because of many things. If a lvl 65 dude comes up to a lvl 1 dude, the lvl 65 dude could sit there and completely own on the lvl 1 dude and keep doing it without worrying of losing. This makes the lvl 1 guy get discouraged from playing the game because of the bully (Whats the point in playing a game if your just gunna get slaughtered all the time?).

I think EQ''s(EverQuest) success is based on the leveling factor. Hardcore RPG''rs out there like to get huge levels and people like to be ultimate at stuff. EQ makes you level really slow so you HAVE to play to get higher levels to beat the dragons and other monsters and to have an advantage over the other players.

Just my 2 cents.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Remove levels alltogether. They''re the root of all evil. There are other ways to develop characters than levels. Attributes, skills etc. When was the last time you "raised a level"? Did you start looking down on your friends then because they''re "lolvls"? I find the "good old levelsystem" incredibly boring.

Just had to work some on my Anti-level campaign.
- Benny

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I think that the point of the level system was intended to represent in a tangible format the skill level of a character/player. Thus, a level one character represents an absolute beginner, with no experience whatsoever in combat etc., and this seems to be exemplified in a lot of single player RPGs where the player starts out a simple farmboy or whatever the situation demands. Also with this respect, it makes sense that even an incredibly lucky level one character would not be able to more than dent a dragon, or, say, a level 65 character, by sheer virtue of the fact that he has not yet learned the "tricks of the trade," so to speak.



"Skepticism.... that great rot of the intellect." - V.H.
Bah, what does HE know?


Albekerky Software

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One possibility would be to move away from DnD based level systems to something more like Shadowrun (I believe Vampire and the like are similar). Basically, you can never increase the amount of damage you can take. What does change is your skill level (which has an affect on how much damage you can do, or even your ability to find solutions other than fighting), your attribute ratings (measures of strength, intelligence, etc. This can affect the amount of damage you take, when your turn is in combat, etc.), and (maybe most importantly) your equipment. A new character doesn''t have access to the best equipment and hasn''t made connections with various NPCs. There are many tasks new characters can''t do, not because of lack of skill, but because of lack of equipment. No, you can''t hack into Aztechnology with your Allegiance Alpha. Don''t care how good you are, it''s just not going to happen.

Basically, there are other ways to deal with "levelling up" than levelling up.

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A simple way to get around the HP tradition is to institute Dodge(skill).

As each level is gained you may gain 1-5 HP so eventually you will gain a substantial amount of HP but not drastic

With Dodge, the more you fight/play the better (skilled) you become. Thus a level 1 could take on a level 30 character he just might have a hard time hitting him (unless weilding a good weapon)

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Have you played Asheron''s Call 2? That game sucks like hell, and compeletely out of balance.

Coming from a DnD background, I was thinking that a wizard may suck at the beginning, but own at the end (with uber spells and so on, while fighters just have lots of HP). So, without looking at guides whatsoever, I chose a wizard as my char and started playing. At first, it was fun. But, once you reach ~level 15, things start to get messy since ppl start killing you. I got killed by a level 20 with 3-4 hits, but I needed 100 hits to kill him. For some odd reasons, I kept playing that game until I reached lvl40 (God, why would I even buy that game?). I was basically in the high level areas, where hardcore RPG-ers hang around and kill everybody they see. I was level37, fought a level41 "bad guy" (he suddenly attacked me without reasons and killed me. Later on, he was sorry and allowed me to kill him. Seemed to be his guild was mad at him because I was hunting with some guys from his guild. And my guild was not in war with his guild.) How much difference is that? 4 levels. In real life, that shouldn''t take much of a difference. If you look at a learning curve (forgot what it''s called), more you learn, less you gain (it is an exponential function). So, it should be like that. The difference of lvl37 and 41 shouldn''t be that much. But what? I hit him: 50 damage, lots of miss (he was not wearing ANY armor because he allowed me to kill him). He hit me: 300 damage, very few miss (full armor and upgrade). WTF? I had no idea how that could happen because I didn''t know how uber his items/weapons were compared to me. But for a level37, my items could be considered uber (fellow 37ers had less damage). And 4 levels of difference should not mean THAT much!

Now, as a developer, of course, I always think what went wrong there. AC2 has the following system:
1. less HP gains. You don''t have 100HP at level 1 and 10,000 HP at level50. 100 at level1. ~1,200 at level50.
2. Evade system. There are skills that let you evade attacks automatically. These skills can be improved. Higher level on these skills increases the chance of your character to evade attacks.
3. Minimum level for items. Each item has a minimum level requirement. So a level 1 can''t use a weapon with 300 damage.

If you looked at each point above, they seem to make sense. You don''t have insane HP at high levels. To avoid lag issue, you implement an automatic evade system. To avoid n00bs using uber items, you set a minimum level requirement in every item.

So, what was wrong about it? If you looked at each item individually, they looked balance. But, if you looked at it as a whole, they suck.

Evade system can make your character evade attacks 100x from a much lower level, and one hit from you, he is dead. The difference is way too high. I once looted together with another guy. His evade skill was about 24 (evade skill also determines how often your character hits a target), and my evade skill was about 27. His level was one level above me, but we spent our points differently and he didn''t put much on his evade skill. The xp you got from killing monsters was determined by how much damage you hit that monster. For example, a monster with 10,000 HP. You hit 3,000 damage total. You will get 30% xp. We killed a monster, guess what I got, 70-80% of xp, while he only got 20%. Meaning I hit the monster 4x more often that he did. In case of PvP, imagine a lvl50 player (with lvl50 evade skill) fought a lvl40 guy (with lvl32 evade skill, due to the inversely exponential function), think how many times the lvl40 can hit the lvl50! 1 out of 10 with 50 damage each. While lvl50 hits lvl40, 9 out of 10 with 700 damage each.

Minimum level requirement sucks because some powerful items are meant to be used after your character reaches a certain level. If your char is one level below, you just suck your finger and eat your a**. For example, a weapon deals 280 damage min lvl40. A weapon deals 180 min lvl39. If you are level39, your damage is 180. If you are level 40, your damage is 280. That''s a lot difference. That''s why when I fought a lvl41, I barely did any damage.

Of course, there are always other factors, and one of them is class. But that''s offtopic, and I''m tired of typing.

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quote:
Original post by sliderag
I think that the point of the level system was intended to represent in a tangible format the skill level of a character/player. Thus, a level one character represents an absolute beginner, with no experience whatsoever in combat etc., and this seems to be exemplified in a lot of single player RPGs where the player starts out a simple farmboy or whatever the situation demands. Also with this respect, it makes sense that even an incredibly lucky level one character would not be able to more than dent a dragon, or, say, a level 65 character, by sheer virtue of the fact that he has not yet learned the "tricks of the trade," so to speak.
But I think experience point alone is enough to represent how experienced a character is, if you don't reset xp to 0 at each level.

Why do we need level anyway? Is there such thing called 'level' in real life? But there is such thing called 'experience.' I don't know who invented level system, but I think it sucks and unnecessary. It creates barrier between levels, especially when you introduce skill points every time your character levels up.

[edited by - alnite on June 5, 2003 4:51:40 AM]

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The real question, is why those beings in that virtual worlds create weapons that don''t kill...

When a weapon isn''t working as good as expected it''s replaced, it''s that simple.
No matter your ''level'', a longsword will hurt you as much as anyone else. The only difference SHOULD be that you have the skill to block or dodge it, such avoiding being hit, but you CERTAINLY don''t become sword resistant..

Ahh... how rules can be dumb sometimes... It''s forgivable for a very old game, a dinosaur like DnD, but for modern computer games...

-* So many things to do, so little time to spend. *-

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A while back, there was a game called Bushido Blade was supposed to be modeled after actual combat. One hit could kill a character easily. If you hit with your weapon and didn''t get a kill, you probably injured them pretty good and getting the kill would be pretty easy.

I played that game and I thought it sucked BIG TIME.

If I wanted reality, I''d go take a martial arts class (where they DO have levels, they are called belts ). What most players want is to be big and bad-ass. Being a bad-ass is fun, exciting and "an escape". That''s what entertainment is all about.

I agree that DnD or EQ or whatever isn''t realistic, but who cares? In reality, murdering someone has severe consequences, so it is a rare thing (compared to virtual ''murder''). You can sleep pretty well at night knowing that you are safe from crazy murderers, just because of the ratio of murderers to normals people.

In a game, the consequences are almost totally removed for murder, so you have to find another way to ensure the safety of your players. The fix that seems to work the best is to give higher-level players ''immunity'' to attack from lower-levels in the form of insane HP and dodge rates.

There may be other ways to ensure relative player safety, but nothing so far has worked as well (for NPC attacks as well as PC attacks) as the level-up fix.

Maybe you could have the penalty for murdering (and being caught) be character deletion? There''s a thought...regular death is only punished slightly, but a murderer who is caught is deleted from the server. Hmmm....

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Old game called Meridian 59 (the original 3D MMORPG) allowed for such combat. There were no levels, you knew you "leveled" by getting an extra hit point after killing so many monsters. The rest of your skills (magic, weapons, dodging, etc) was based of skill points that got better through use. In the end, someone could master 1 attack spell in a day, and have a chance to take out a very matured player that would have several more hp''s, mastery in many different magics, and even mastery in weapons and evasive combat. If you caught them off guard, you could take them down rather quickly too, which is very similar to AD&D. If a 20th level Wizard left no protection spells up and went to sleep with plain old robes on, a level 1 peon could slit his throat and kill him at any moment. Meridian 59 was actually quite successful as far as PvP went, unfortunately the company incharge of the game, 3DO, didn''t know how to deal with griefers, and eventually the game went downhill (although it''s back in action now).

This kind of PvP is possible, but most companies aren''t willing to invest into the research to make it viable since they''re after money, and the only people interested in this sort of gaming would be hardcore PvP''ers (ie. the minority of the online gaming community).

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quote:
Original post by Rick Scott
I agree that DnD or EQ or whatever isn''t realistic, but who cares? In reality, murdering someone has severe consequences, so it is a rare thing (compared to virtual ''murder''). You can sleep pretty well at night knowing that you are safe from crazy murderers, just because of the ratio of murderers to normals people.

In a game, the consequences are almost totally removed for murder, so you have to find another way to ensure the safety of your players. The fix that seems to work the best is to give higher-level players ''immunity'' to attack from lower-levels in the form of insane HP and dodge rates.
...
Maybe you could have the penalty for murdering (and being caught) be character deletion? There''s a thought...regular death is only punished slightly, but a murderer who is caught is deleted from the server. Hmmm....


So you NEED to level to be ''safe'' ?
First, you''re not safe, cause other char are high level too.
Second, you mentionned 2 games, both are RPG... So what about those (like me) who don''t care about leveling but role playing ?

Does that mean my char should be easier to kill because I play the game as it''s meant to be played ?
No way.

Even the PK problem is solved with this. Since they''ll not be able to be all powerfull and somwhat immune to lower levels, they will think twice before trying to kill someone. Add to this some guards and a PC militia to frighten PKs away.


-* So many things to do, so little time to spend. *-

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First of all: the 4-levels-difference-at-high-level-and-he-still-kills-me.

It was mentioned that a learning curve is exponential, thus one should gain less at higher levels. However, this is not true. Levelling from level 39 to level 40, might mean getting 10,000 XP, and that might mean killing one dragon. Going from 40 to 41 most likely will cost a lot more, 15,000 or 20,000. So the step from 40 to 41 is a lot harder then from 39 to 40. Voila, here is your learning curve The curve is the XP list, the level list is the XP curve on logaritmic paper :D

Second of all: a first level character CAN kill a 20''th level character in DnD, just not with direct damage :D Even though... Chopping of a head is considered instagib. If you sneak up to a sleeping wizard, and chop off his head, he is quite dead. Okay, you can''t do this in combat. Why not? The wizard is quite able to dodge the sword. The fact that a first level character is killed by one hit, and a wizard isn''t even dented, is because the wizard (allthough he HAS been hit), still partially dodges the blow. Instead of chopping his head off with your throw of 19 and damage of 10, the wizard ducks away and you merely scratch his arm.

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quote:
Original post by PouyaCat
Second of all: a first level character CAN kill a 20''th level character in DnD, just not with direct damage :D Even though... Chopping of a head is considered instagib. If you sneak up to a sleeping wizard, and chop off his head, he is quite dead. Okay, you can''t do this in combat. Why not? The wizard is quite able to dodge the sword. The fact that a first level character is killed by one hit, and a wizard isn''t even dented, is because the wizard (allthough he HAS been hit), still partially dodges the blow. Instead of chopping his head off with your throw of 19 and damage of 10, the wizard ducks away and you merely scratch his arm.

This argument is a little weak. As characters level, and as their dexterity increases, they can get armor class bonuses. That''s supposed to represent their ability to dodge better. Picture this: you tie up a level-1 warrior and a level-20 warrior, strip them down to their skivvies, and throw equal amounts of burning oil on them. (This is purely in the interest of scientific inquiry.) The level-1 warrior is a smoking crater; the level-20 warrior is calmly whistling. How exactly is this possible?


How appropriate. You fight like a cow.

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Bad DM

If I was leading the game, the fighter would be scarred for live, and get a tremendous penalty on his fortitude saves. He does survive though; he isn''t KILLED by it, but he won''t be happily whistling either.

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well, as many as said, if the point if being "safe" do it trough dodging instead than not being hurt sooo much, then add critical hits on the mix (and in rare cases a lvl 1 will actually hit and kill that high level guy), aditionally add the "depending on the where the attack is coming" modifier and a low level guy sneaking a high level guy or getting behind him really fast have more chances, ... now if it is multiplayer punish them hard! (I like the example up there of deletion when getting caught after a major offense, I would define the major offense differently tough), ...

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Most RPG''s are unrealistic to the extreme. When D&D first came out, it too had the same criticism leveled at it....why should a level 10 fighter with say 50 hit points not get killed as easily with a stab to the gut as a first level character? The GM''s rulebook slightly got around this by saying that Hit Points weren''t just a measure of a character''s stamina and health, but also a measure of experience and luck.

But I had problems with this. First off, how come fighters got to roll 1d10 for each level to increase hit points, but mages only 1d4? Afterall, luck is luck and experience is experience. While perhaps a fighter might gain better experience with rolling with punches and dodging, a mage might for example be better at poisons or magical damage due to his alchemical and wizardry knowledge. So I found that excuse lame at best.

Some games instead had a seperate "luck" pool, which you could use to change certain events to your character''s favor. I much more preferred this method because it added a certain strategic element to the game (do I use my luck now? or wait a bit?). I even GM''ed some games in which only the GM could use the luck pool at his discretion, so the character wouldn''t know when he''d "run out of luck" or instead, have a variable luck pool in which only the GM knew how many luck points the character really had.

The same went for hit points. I GM''ed most of my games towards the end with "blind" stats. Meaning that character''s had an adjective to describe their stats...like "good, "very good", "excellent", "poor", "pathetic" etc. This way, a character can''t say "well, I have a 16 intelligence, therefore I can make a deduction roll on a 13 or less! Or, "phah, that guy only has a dagger, at best he can do 6pts + a max of +6 from strength bonus for 12....I can take 5 hits without sweating". If a character''s hitpoints r life level was unknown to a precise degree, it introduced a totally differnt kind of gameplay.

I even dislike the entire concept of hit points. Let''s say you have 100 hit points, and have just been in a nasty battle and are down to 1 hit point. So your dex is bad, and you stumble a bit and stub your toe taking 1 pt of damage...so now you''re dead? A much better system is a system which takes the human ability to take damage based on the type of damage and severity of the wound. Hands down the best damage system I''ve seen for a roleplaying game (and I''ve literally played probably 50+ systems between the years of 1982-2000) comes from the Blackburg Tactical Research Center called Timelords. They make a new edition using newer rules I haven''t played yet, but if you can find the first edition, I highly highly recommend it for damage capabilities alone. They also put out an excellent gun creation supplement called 3G. These rules were partly designed by Greg Porter, who while not as famous as Gary Gygax, is still one of the old hands of the RPG world, and was influential in both the Champions system (formerly from Hero games) and in several of Steve Jackson''s games.

So experience should relate mostly to ones skills and perhaps attributes, but not ones ability to take damage per se. You can factor in luck as a seperate quantity to help simulate the more experienced character pulling off more extraordinary things. But I agree, a 20th level character should die just as easily if I sneak up on him with a cloak of invisibility and a ring of silence, and stab him in the back with a dagger as much as a first level character.

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quote:
Original post by PouyaCat
First of all: the 4-levels-difference-at-high-level-and-he-still-kills-me.

It was mentioned that a learning curve is exponential, thus one should gain less at higher levels. However, this is not true. Levelling from level 39 to level 40, might mean getting 10,000 XP, and that might mean killing one dragon. Going from 40 to 41 most likely will cost a lot more, 15,000 or 20,000. So the step from 40 to 41 is a lot harder then from 39 to 40. Voila, here is your learning curve The curve is the XP list, the level list is the XP curve on logaritmic paper :D
True. However, in real life, for example, a person whose 15 years of experience working in game industry compared to another person whose 20 years of experience working in game industry. There are very few differences between them, not a lot.

I don't blame the xp. You are right. To level up from 39 to 40 requires less xp than from 40 to 41. However, this should be balanced out in the character's skills/stats. A level40 should do slightly better than a level35. A level37 should do slightly (a little bit more) better than a level32. But, a level10 should do somewhat a lot more better than a level5.

while it completely doesn't make sense why 10vs5 is better than 40vs35, I think this will encourage players to level up at the beginning because he "feels" that his character is getting stronger at a fast rate.

He plays more, and once he reaches lvl40, he got killed by a lvl37. Then he started to question "why was I killed by a lvl37? it took me 3 days to lvlup from 37 to 40. that is not fair."
At this time, a player has learnt much about the game. The deadly skill combos, how to dodge, when to attack. At higher levels, player's (not character's) skill matters a lot. Level just increases a character's strength slightly, but not a lot. This encourages a lvl37 to lvl up or play more because he knows he could kill a lvl40 if he plays it well. Bad dudes can't kill everyone else just because they are lvl50. A lvl45 can kill lvl50, with right combos, skill, and strategies.

[edited by - alnite on June 5, 2003 3:41:22 PM]

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Well, I see 2 problems arrising, both which require you to think realistically...

1. So HP doesn''t increase... but everyones ability to attack well does. You eventually get to the point where whenever anyone hits, its a death blow.

2. So HP doesn''t increase but agility/skill does. You eventually get games where it''s "miss miss miss... hit... miss miss miss miss etc..."

I think HP may be partially used as a symbol to provide an element of ''progress'' in your battles without instant deaths. Anyway, I totally agree, and if I were to take on an RPG it most definately would be a more subjective system than "numbers".

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Ok, I''ve been playing a text mud for the last 3 years so I don''t have much clue what actually goes on in these graphical games, but here''s my 2 cents worth anyway.

To me it just seems silly that people even WANT to PK each other for no reason other than to see if they can do it. This is because the mud I''m used to is firmly rooted in RP (you don''t kill *anyone* without reason), and because it has permadeath. Permadeath IMO is a pretty good inhibitor of random killing, at least if it has RP thrown into the mix too.

Also, this mud has no numerical report of HP. Your health is divided into health of specific limbs and your overall health, which factors the health of your limbs and body in, and these are displayed in terms such as "very healthy". It''s impossible for ANYONE to gain more HP (we also don''t have levels), although a big ogre will have more HP than a tiny gnome. However, considering this isn''t something like EQ where killing is the main object, I''m not sure how much relevance any of this has because the stuff that''s commonly killed is actually just wild animals and the occasional armored orc in a quest.

Anyway the general idea still holds true. As you progress, you should be harder to kill because you''re more highly skilled, not because you have 9999HP. (HP can be fun, but it isn''t terribly realistic.)

If a squirrel is chasing you, drop your nuts and run.

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What about Localised Wound system ?

Damage is more detailed, penalties may be applied where needed, you don''t die immediatly except with severe chest or head injury.

The only point I can see about increasing HP, is to measure how ''softened'' a blow is by your skills. Somewhat an automatic skill which raise your hp to avoid being rolled everytime, still goind from 10 to 200 is VERY exagereted IMO.

To keep HP at the same level, maybe you can do something like:

Attack - dodge = result.
If result <= 0 : no damage.
If result > 0 : result is used to cap maximum damage.
Damage pseudo code:
Damage = min( Damage, result )

Damage counted in points is then applied on the member hit, different members having different Wounds depending on the Damage points.

Head : 1=soft wound, 2:wound, 3:severe wound, 4:blown
Body : 1= soft woound, 2=softWound, 3:wound, 4:wound, ...

You get the idea, 1 and 2 only produc a softwound, 3-4 a wound... and so on

-* So many things to do, so little time to spend. *-

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In connection with that, I have a friend trying to make a mud where the main cause of death (barring severe hits to head/vital organs) would actually be blood loss.

Ok, so if we want realism, what we do is this. Take your system for determining damage, and then give each type of wound a certain amount (or maybe time/rate) of blood loss. (You''d hafta factor in different damage types too, since some types of wounds may automatically cauterize and result in less blood loss than it seems like they would.) Then, providing a vital area hadn''t been hit in the process, the target would experience various effects according to the amount of blood loss it suffered. The target may become disoriented, some of his stats would lower, and so on and so forth until the point of death if his wounds aren''t healed in some way.

Of course if you''re gonna do this you may as well go all out and include broken bones, twisted ankles, perhaps even a minor slash in your forehead causing you to be blinded from blood running into your eyes. (And getting into alien physiology could be REALLY interesting. Just TRY to shoot that Gylmorg in the chest, you''re just gonna puncture a sac of poison which splatters all over you, because his heart is actually in what amounts to his buttocks. But you get the drift. )

Speaking of which, if you had a system of bodypart damage, you''d need a means of aiming at specific areas of the body, which could get tough if your hand-eye coordination sucks as much as mine heh. (This is why I don''t play bang bang shoot ''em up games. I''m just trying to figure out how the heck you''d do this in an RPG. ) And of course that''s totally apart from the decision of whether to leave in all the attendant gore (which would probably satisfy a lot of 15 year old boys) or figure out some way to not gross people out, heh.

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