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Additonal Attributes to better flesh out Characters in RPGs

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I'm trying to come up with a greater diversity of attributes and afflications to include in RPGs. I want things thats will have constant effects and have to be maintened. All in an effort to make the characters seem more real. They also have to be transparent enough so that the player doesn't feel bogged down by them. So far I've come up with. Hungery - Hunger would lower a characters efficancy and high levels reduce physical stats. High levels of hunger can result in perment reduction in physical stats and even death. Eating relives hunger. Thirst - Lowers a characters efficany and at high level can lead to death. Drinking relives thirst. Fatigue - Reduces physical and mental stats and high levels can result in loss of consiousness. Sleeping relives fatigue. Diseased - There are verity of disease that have long term effects, some can be threated lessing or eliminating the symptoms if threated in time. What are some other that people can think of? ----------------------------------------------------- Writer, Programer, Cook, I'm a Jack of all Trades Current Design project Chaos Factor Design Document [edited by - TechnoGoth on December 14, 2003 1:14:31 PM]

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I''m not going to offer any new ones, but I would personally hate to have to deal with hunger or thirst as separate issues (or even issues at all). If you really have to have them dealt with, I''d lump them in with fatigue and presume that when you stop to sleep, you also have a good meal. What do they really add to the proceedings?

TBH you can just go through a D&D rulebook and pick out a whole range of effects if you want to.

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I know sanity and its derivatives have been introduced to a few gaming systems, though this would obviously lend itself more to the horror-esque genres.

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how about Pain?


About hunger and thirst, to be honest I really do not think they add much to a game. Hunger was in the Exile/Avernum games and that wasn''t a bad idea really. All you had to do was make sure that you had enough food with you on your travels, if you didn''t you''d take HP damage.

But in most games, you can assume that the character puts aside enough money and enough inventory space and enough time automatically. If you plan to have your character have difficulties finding enough of (any one of) these three resources, then maybe it will be worth taking care of.

It also depends on how realistic you want to be, does food make you less hungry or does it work as a healing potion?


Some thoughts...

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How bout sets of stats for every major area of the body. Arms and legs could have 4 each. Speed, Strength, Stamina and Size. Your chest could have stats like a cardiovascular rating, strength (upper body), spirit (similar to charisma), hunger and thirst, fatigue, and the diseases. The head would have attributes like intelligence, wisdom, sanity, and disorders an curses. Karma could also be a stat where it changes based on evil and good quests the player has done.
With each limb having stats to it, you can determine if the character can hold a 2 handed sword in one hand because that one arm is strong enough. Strength from the chest area of the body should give bonuses to the arms the higher it gets because arm strength usually relies on your chest for alot of help. Lets say a player wants to kick a door in? Test his leg strength. With size stats on each limb you know the length of the characters arms and legs. You don''t even have to use a number. A value like large, medium and small could work. Different character classes could be limited to different sizes. Armours and weapons come in all variations to suit different sizes of people. Now your player has to chose the right size fit when shopping for armour. Some special armours and weapons may only be suitable for the extra large or the extra small.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
How about sense of humour.

There should be more stats that are effect by the way you. Therefore actions can efect the story of your game.

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a few good points. I think the main thing is no to think effects in terms of HP changes. Since I don't really have HP in the game. Instead there is Life Points, which are diffent in the fact that everything in the game has 100 Life Points. They represent the characters life. Injuries reduce this with 0 meaning death. Also a characters effectiveness drops in proportion to their LP. So at 10 LP your character is battered an bruised and performs task at only 10% of their normal ability.

As far as hunger goes, I don't plan on having something as plain as causing the character to lose LP since that adds nothing to the games. Instead I was think along the lines of high hunger would reduce your physical stats, and if you go for long periods with high hunger that reduction could become perment.

So if normally your endurance is 5 and your hunger is 90 your current endurance might only by 3. If you kept your hunger at the level for a long period of time say a week, your Endurance would drop to 3 and your current endurance would drop to 1. And if you kept your hunger that high for another week your character would die.

Eating would reduce hunger and not restore LP. LP can't be restored by taking any sort of magic leaf, or potion. Instead it requires either medical treament or time and rest.

I just thought of another, what about temperature?
To stop those people from running around in the artic wearing nothing but a loin cloth.

-----------------------------------------------------
Writer, Programer, Cook, I'm a Jack of all Trades
Current Design project
Chaos Factor Design Document



[edited by - TechnoGoth on December 15, 2003 9:17:51 AM]

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What about some of the more unusual poisons? I mean, besides POISONED and DRUNK, come up with some different types of poisoned types to account for both Cyanide and a basic food poisoning. See, I figure with the stronger poisons, they''d degrade your LP, but something like eating some bad meat would just give the same effect as having lost some LP, but once you vomit, you''d return back to a natural LP.

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Techno, I like the complicated (not super complicated, but off of multiple numbers).

People generally hate to have to think about hunger. Its something we developers think is cool and realistic, but it can be a chore.

Dont get me wrong though. We''re going to have it affect our game as well. And I definitely think that adding time as an element makes it more sophisticated. Good thoughts.



Alfred Norris, VoodooFusion Studios
Team Lead - CONFLICT: Omega
www.conflictomega.com

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Attention could be an attribute. High attention values give you bonuses for detecting traps, hidden doors and compartments, etc. Also gives you a bonus when checking for surprize. High attention allows the character to memorize spells with less fatigue.

Additional afflictions:
too cold - from cold-based attacks or ambient problems when travelling in cold climates without proper gear

too hot- from heat-based attacks or ambient problems while travelling in how climates with excessive garments

low oxygen- from smoke-based attacks or certain subterrainian zones

allergies- hyper-sensitivity to various items or environments. Perhaps character can obtain certain potions to treat that in preparation for an expedition or something

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quote:
Original post by TechnoGoth
...hunger...
...temperature...

I really like both of those. In my obligatory side-game project as a progammer, I''m attempting to flesh out a Lovecraftian sort of tale, manifested as an interactive game. I''m doing my best to avoid hp and the "rpg" standard stats and equations, and I''ve found a number of interesting things to ponder, provided that my intended player is of the average investigator, professor etc profession. As it may entail a chapter in the arctic wastes I''ve found that hunger, sanity (as you''re not a hardened warrior most hostile, "alien" encounters tend to affect you, as well as loneliness etc), temperature, group interaction/status and perhaps managing your resources in how and when you plan to undertake certain parts of the game (you''re a small research team with limited funds in the 1920''s so everything comes at heavy expense). Granted I''m mostly rambling off of the top of my head and I''m more concerned with my research into the time period now, but I though I''d throw some of those ideas out. Cheers.

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I think that hunger and thirst are good ideas - at least from a gamers point of view. I am a gamer, I do mean gamer in the sense of pencil and paper DnD style RPG''s. When I play PC RPG''s they rarely offer enough of the Role Playing aspect that attracted me to RPG''s in the first place.

At the moment my friend and I are developing a traditional RPG and should have it published within a year or two. We are in the middle of final design stage of the rule book- meaning all rules are complete now we are laying out the print version. The we will layout our first universe book... but at any rate I would suggest that you use Hunger and Thirst together, possibly combine it with fatigue.... but I would make fatigue and extension of Constitution-

When you are developing your character attributes you should first analyze the primary attributes you want available to your characters, both PC and NPC. Next think about what these attributes will affect. Here is an example. Constitution will affect : Stamina (Battle, Running, Healing, Health Points, Fatigue), Strength (weapons and equipment a character is able to carry, damage modifiers for hitting kicking and forged weapons, jumping, climbing), Intelligence (comprehension, memory, enigmas, skill capabilities) The list can go on.

After you have decided what attributes you want to have and how they will affect the actions/performance of your characters interactions within your world you need to take the next step. I believe it was mentioned in this forum already; TIME. How long dies it take to perform certain attribute specific tasks, how long until fatigue sets it and how long does food and water sustain the affects? If you implement too many people simulating attributes, there is no way you could effective game-play action intensive, strategic gaming. Think about this- your character is now depressed because you didn’t maintain their happiness- whoops! Now you character will not use their weapon to attack. Think of how the EA games SIMS behave when they are unhappy.

Anyway-

That’s all I have to say for now.

Jeff C

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Hunger, thirst, fatigue, etc. are all good things to include in a game. Honestly, I can''t see why they aren''t stuck in there more often. In most cases it should be relatively easy to implement . . .
One thing I haven''t seen here is not exactly a new status, but more a bit of added realism. In most games, you get hit, you lose HP/hearts/LP/Life/whatever, and that''s it. But, if you think about it, getting hit in the face with an axe isn''t just going to hurt you. You''re gonna be disoriented, weaker, and slower, among other things. So why not have attacks injure more than just health?
Also, other ones I''m coming up with off the top of my head:
Angry/sad - well, why not? A few games have used these before (RAGE EXPLOSION!!!), but they''ve never been introduced really as an integral part of a game (except perhaps in Star Ocean, for the SNES, where anger could affect the ending to a degree).
Drugs - Well, yeah, done before, but usually they only affect one thing - slow you down, make you more powerful. I''d like to see more of the shrooms from Rise of the Triad. A drugged state that drastically alters the gameplay.

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I like hunger and thirst as well, but within reason.

When I''m walking through farmland, or forests that clearly have fruit trees and streams, I expect my characters to be eating along the way. Rations are for dungeons or barren areas, not verdant lands.

I guess what I would want is for hunger and thirst not to be linear scales (for every hour since eating, hunger++), but to vary depending on terrain. In some areas, as long as you aren''t fighting/running/etc, hunger should decrease!

I don''t think that harms the realism. After all, no games that I''ve seen keep a meter for "need to use the bushes". It *could* be treated as an affliction (and might be nice if ill), but that''s not really something I want to need to consciously control...

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quote:
Original post by Merle
I like hunger and thirst as well, but within reason.

When I''m walking through farmland, or forests that clearly have fruit trees and streams, I expect my characters to be eating along the way. Rations are for dungeons or barren areas, not verdant lands.

I guess what I would want is for hunger and thirst not to be linear scales (for every hour since eating, hunger++), but to vary depending on terrain. In some areas, as long as you aren''t fighting/running/etc, hunger should decrease!

I don''t think that harms the realism. After all, no games that I''ve seen keep a meter for "need to use the bushes". It *could* be treated as an affliction (and might be nice if ill), but that''s not really something I want to need to consciously control...


uh huh.... Tell me how often does walking through a field or forest make you less hungry? That really comes more under the idea of foraging. Being able to gather supplies while in the wildrenss useful since you don''t need to rely on bringing all your food and water with you.

I hunger, thirst and fatigue would increase at rate proptional to your enviroment, actions and stats. Afterall running through the dessert in a parka, is going to make you thirster then say wearing a parka to dig in the snow.


-----------------------------------------------------
Writer, Programer, Cook, I''m a Jack of all Trades
Current Design project
Chaos Factor Design Document

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I think one should be careful with implementing all of these extra ideas into an RPG. It''d probably enhance some of the role-playing aspects, no doubt about it. However, it can prove to be a big problem when you focus on balancing the gameplay and producing an experience (or several) for the player. For example, if the player can go at max 7 hours before getting hungry again after eating the best meal possible, and only has enough encumberance leeway to carry an extra hour of food, any quests longer then 8 hours would be impossible to finish.

Incidentally, hunger is what it feels like when your stomach has emptied. While its usually the case that extended periods of hunger can lead to death, I could make it a point to just eat a single saltine whenever my stomach pangs a bit and I assure I''ll of died without ever going hungry. About all Hunger does is distract me, same as pain does. So, its a design question about how malnurishment should kill a player, if it even should.

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quote:
Original post by TechnoGoth
quote:
Original post by Merle
I guess what I would want is for hunger and thirst not to be linear scales (for every hour since eating, hunger++), but to vary depending on terrain. In some areas, as long as you aren''t fighting/running/etc, hunger should decrease!



uh huh.... Tell me how often does walking through a field or forest make you less hungry? That really comes more under the idea of foraging. Being able to gather supplies while in the wildrenss useful since you don''t need to rely on bringing all your food and water with you.


True, it is foraging... and I had left out my unconscious assumption that foraging was part of the model. (seems to me that if you have hunger, you should have foraging)

But I do think it makes sense to have automatic foraging, with results depending on the environment.

The attribute of searching is (usually) implemented as a background skill: the character "notices" things for the player. I would expect foraging to work the same way. True, you can explicitly forage (and search) with greater yield, but I feel it should generally be a background task.

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quote:
Original post by TechnoGoth
Afterall running through the dessert in a parka, is going to make you thirster then say wearing a parka to dig in the snow.
Not necessarily. If the dessert you''re running through is ice cream, then you''ll be thankful you have the parka, and I don''t see how you''d get thirstier then if you were digging in snow.

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Inmate2993:
I should point out that just being hungry doesn''t mean a whole lot. Its only when hunger get high does it become an issue. The human body can go for long periods without eating or only eating small amounts. So if the player doesn''t mind the drop in performance their character could go a week or two after eating a good meal. If we assume a standard field ration could satisfy a normal persons hunger for 8 hours.

Okay for aguments sake we will bring in numbers, afterall it will be handled by an algorithim. So a normal character at normal exerition accumlates 1 hunger point an hour. A field ration restores 8 points of hunger, a feast 25 and an apple 1. Also lets say a performance loss doesn''t occur until 12 hunger is reached and at 168 hunger death occurs. So if the charater sets out with 0 hunger and an apple then there not going to die for a while.

Merle:
I don''t think foraging should be automatic because it really isn''t. If you want to forage you have to spend time to search and gather/hunt for food and supplies. It just not a simple as noticing that there is an apple tree over there. You have to take time to stop and gather apples. Or taking time to hunt and catch a rabbit. Afterall depending on the characters skill and environment it could take several hours to find food and water.

Although I agree that some aspects of eating and drinking should be automated. For instance if you make camp to rest for the night. The player can safely assume that character eats and drinks if they need to before sleeping. As well possibly allowing an adjustable automation to eating and drinking that the player can set. So that if the player wants there character to eat every 8 hours while traveling the character will provided they have food. As well a little message could pop up saying that the character went to eat but ran out of food.

That brings me to another idea and that is weight. What about including that in a game? A characters wieght would change based on how much the eat, how often, average hunger level and activity. So if the characters eats alot and never lets hunger get more then a couple of points. Then that character would start to put on weight. Or lose wieght in the opposite case.

weight could then apply bonus or penalites to activites based on the activity. for instance agility based test could recieve a bonus for have low weight and a penalty for high weight. While a Strength based test would have the opposite modifers.


bishop_pass:
If you don''t understand then I suggest you try running through a field of chocolate icecream. Then try digging in the snow you''ll notice a diffrence.


-----------------------------------------------------
Writer, Programer, Cook, I''m a Jack of all Trades
Current Design project
Chaos Factor Design Document

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quote:
Original post by TechnoGoth
That brings me to another idea and that is weight. What about including that in a game? A characters wieght would change based on how much the eat, how often, average hunger level and activity. So if the characters eats alot and never lets hunger get more then a couple of points. Then that character would start to put on weight. Or lose wieght in the opposite case.



I think players would have a lot of fun with that, especially in a multiplayer environment.

quote:

bishop_pass:
If you don''t understand then I suggest you try running through a field of chocolate icecream. Then try digging in the snow you''ll notice a diffrence.



I never could find that hidden level... **grin**

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Maybe you could adjust your character''s diet, like in Oregon Trail, with basic guidelines. Based on what you''re doing and how much food you have, you''d have to set yourself to different rates of consumption.

Hiking the Alps? Get about thirty pounds of pemmican, and eat it real slow.

Training up your strength? Try the Atkins diet!

Working in the desert (one "s")? You''ll need plenty of fluids, and keep those electrolytes and minerals up.

Meager rations would cause you to take a hit in the performance department, but if you don''t, and you run out of food, you''ll take an even bigger hit. This could be an interesting feature. Barbarians and knights will be roasting cows every night, while wizards and clerics will have some tea and a little rice.

But actually pulling food "items" out of your bag and "using" them to kill hunger bites the big one.

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Give the player a seperate bag from their inventory bag? its seperated into different types of food. Grains, meats, veggies, fruits. Those 4 sound like a good enough combination. For each section you could set a ration guage. Turn it up if you want your character eating more of one thing more often, turn it down if you want less of it less often. All that is required is that you buy or find the food often enough to keep it filled for rationing. The meat section could go bad after time, so holding onto alot would be a bad idea. If you did want to hold alot you could use salts and spices to prolong the life of it. Fruits would go bad to over time. This would encourage the player to only take what he''s going to eat. Rotten food in your bag only serves to spoil the rest of the food in the bag. For fluids players could carry cantenes, filling them with wines, water, holy water, nectars, milk (can spoil), or whatever they want to put in their cantene at that time.
A simple dietary system that determines what types of food eaten how often affect different attributes of the character. Making this area of a game to complex would shoo players away. Keeping it simple with a simple face would add a neat aspect to the game. It shouldn''t be something the player would have to worry about to much, mostly kept automatic if possible. Yet for the players that know how to use the system effectively and do, it could mean the difference between who has the better level 22 character

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Or it could influence what is increased at level-ups. If you''re playing as a fighter, stuff him with meat and potatoes, so he''ll be big and strong. Result: more strength bonuses at level up. Magic user? Get some pricey herbs and potions, to "open his mind" and increase wisdom and MP at level up. That way, you could groom your character into a specialized role without actually choosing a class at the beginning.

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