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De Mortis - something new ?

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OK, I have read quite a bunch of posts about death, should it be final or not, how to deal with it, etc. So I''ll add my two cents to the thread, and since no one seems to have made my point before, I think it''s worthwile. As well, I''d like to see it noticed, let''s see if I can start a thread =) Some facts first. Why do we bother with this problem of death in the first place ? Because people don''t like it. Why ? Because they loose something. They lose a character they built upon time, they don''t want to start all over again. etc etc. No what can we do to prevent this frustrating situation. Again I''d like to point to my experience in table RPG... . The second chance : you are about to be killed, in a "fair" situation. The GM (Game Master) decide, be it because he likes you, because your character is central to the plotline or reason, to give you a second chance : your enemy leave you there, wounded, without anything on you, alone in the forest, but with a chance to continue... . The last chance : you can "buy" a last chance kind if ability. Whenever you are about to die, throw the dice, and a miracle may happen. . Prevent rather than cure. A good old one. In Real Life(tm), you don''t end up on an alien asteroid alone, with no equipment, and end up destroying a whole base of alien invaders (Quake II)... but thanks to the DESIGNERS, we get a chance to fight the enemy in a progressive, fair, manner. Getting harder opponents as we get new stronger weapons, getting medical attention when we are on the edge, etc. When we end up dying, usually it''s because we don''t think enough (it was a bad idea to attack the Boss without finding health first and reloading my guns.) All these are nice but have caveat. The chances things are nice, but hard to implement. It''s a bit like having credits in an arcade game. I think it''s fair, because the further you are in the game, the more you have to lose, but the less you are threatened by "stupid deaths", because you can get more and more second chances/credits. In pure RPG it''s a bit annoying, because it''s a bit hard to create a story and remember this "credits" system. e.g. This guy just decided to insult the king he is supposed to be working for. (typical grossbill/munchkin player). How the heck do you save his ass ? My answer would be to put him in jail, giving his friends an opportunity to rescue him before he is executed, but I don''t even want to imagine how to implement this kind of thing in a RPG. The second type of solution, preventing, implies that the designers have to become the user, in order to imagine what the user would do. Any developper/technician/etc will tell you that you should never underestimate the stupidity of the user ! (well, I tell you this... and I am a user as well as technician, so I should know Idiotproofness is desirable, useful, but never totally safe. So I''d like to give a new idea to everybody out there... I''ve been thinking about it for a while, and it''s part of some of my ideas for MMORPG, but as it appears, you could apply it to single player RPG as well. The problem is that we try to work in-game. Maybe we shouldn''t. Think about it that way. You have been playing this game for months, paid money to play it, and one day you die. Do you start again ? From scratch ? Well, maybe we could have a slight twist to this. Imagine that after having played for all this months, your character dies, having acquired all this experience, it seems like a waste, and very Sisyphean to start anew (Sisyphus was this guy in a greek legend that had to push a heavy round stone to the top of a mountain, and when the stone would be at the very top, being round, it would fall back to the bottom... do this for eternity). But now what if the PLAYER acquired experience, at the same time than the CHARACTER. When the character dies, the player creates a new character, and depending on the PlAYER''s experience, the choices are wider. Or when you get quite experienced, you could actually use your dead character again ? Or even better, make it become an NPC ! (that''s what I did with one of my characters in Warhammer RPG). This system actually exists just here in those forums. You wouldn''t let me (an Initiate) become moderator, but after having sent loads of posts, and been there for a long time, why not ? That''s exactly the same principle. This is interesting in the fact that it rewards the PLAYER for the playing experienced gained, rather than the character for its in-game experience. this is very similar to the concept of Experience points in paper RPG where the GM gives players XP for interpretation, good ideas, roleplay, etc. Yes I can see the critics saying, "hey but wait ! this guy is a Player Killer, and when we finally get rid of him, you want him to start at the same level of kickass power ?!". Well, yes, I want that. But I want even more than that, if this Player Killer likes killing players, I''ll offer him a place as a wandering Troll, or as an Evil Wizard; I''ll even give him a tower to live in. I would have a very motivated monster, with a incredibly realistic AI. Once in a while, I would ask him to take care of a little sub-plot I just imagined, and see what he comes up with, listen to other players feedback about the "Evil Wizard AI"...etc. In summary, reward the character ingame is what we have been doing so far, let''s start rewarding the player as well. How to apply this to single player RPG. The way I see it, when a character dies, the player gets a modified character creation depending on the level he reached in the adventure, and jsut like in a game where you can only save at some points in game, we would have some points in the game where a newly created character could actually be brought into the game without compromising the whole game. e.g. You and your party of NPC have been trying to cross the country to bring an important artefact from a Knight Order to the attention of the emperor''s coucil. But the player''s character, the Knight supposed to carry this artefact, just died in the valley leaving the town. Your companions decide to go back to look for a person that would have the skills they don''t have to continue their journey (you were the only wizard in the group, or the only member of this Knights Order, they don''t know how to find their way in this wilderness, etc). This kind of trick could only happen at some designated spots, but I think it would work greatly. Now let the feedback flow ! youpla :-P

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Damn this one really makes me THINK!

Quite several good points you mentioned there. I think they could be really part of upcoming RPGs. I hope other ideas will be brought up in this forum regarding this topic. Now after all I''m motivated (again) to make an RPG. I hope that this are the things upcoming RPGs will take care of, and not only implementing better Graphics. I want realism, but this doesn''t mean only Graphics at all. Maybe one day with the help of this Forum a whole new type of RPG will appear. I''ll pray for that.

Well, I''m in such a decent early-morning-let''s-philosophy mood...
(listened too much to the V:tM - Redemption Soundtrack =) )


i give no guarantee on the correctness of what i said

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Death is fine as it is if you want your game to be a materialist/murder-based system. I say that with no contempt at all, sometimes the way things are is perfectly fine. If you are going with an experience system, particularaly a murder-based one, you''re going to end up with a combative environment. I think that for the type of game, I think they''ve handled death rather interestingly.

Death becomes a really intriguing problem when you take the game''s focus off of advancement. All of a sudden, it might not be so bad to lose your character and start over... so what is the designer to do? But we''ve already discussed that at length in other posts.

I cannot stress this enough: Different things work for different games. If you''ve thought through the mood you want to create and it requires murder-based experience and simple reincarnation, DO IT! But to do that, you must also CONSIDER other possibilities, and you''ll be a better designer for having done it.

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The idea of the player gaining the experience as well as the character is pretty neat. In an MMORPG (which, BTW, is an acronym I''m beginning to get sick of on this board) this saves players from having to build their characters all over again--they just have to collect their items again. However, I think this is too easy, and they should maybe be penalized a certain amount--like if they have (for the sake of argument) 256,349 XP, and they need 256,350 XP for the next level, and the previous level was gained at 128,125 XP, maybe they should be set back to 128,125 when they die. This way they still have to work to get to that next level, rather than killing a GOBLIN (hehe) or something.

In a single-player RPG, this is immaterial, I think--if a player dies, they will 9 times out of 10 have a save fairly recently. In addition, this may make certain portions too easy--if the Player gains XP and then starts a new character at the very beginning with this XP, then they will start out with levels leaps and bounds beyond what was intended. They will simply flatten all opposition, and when they get back to the place they last died, they''ll be about the same place they would have been if they would have restored a save or started out at square one--maybe a level higher, or maybe even two or three, but nothing significant.

Another problem is this system lends itself abuse by players. In D&D, different classes need different amounts of XP for levels. A fighter may need 8000 to level from 1-2, but a thief or mage can go from 1 to 3 or 4 with the same amount of XP. People could play as a warrior, get to level 35 (for arguments sake, again), stash all their gold in a house, hide the key to the house, and then sacrifice themselves to the Evil Dragon King (reference to FF7...) They could then create a mage, who will probably get to level 50 or 60 with this XP amount, buy a few basic supplies, then go get the key, get into the old house, and voila! They''re rich, they''re god-like in level, and how long has this character played?

30 minutes.

Not to knock your ideas, because I think they''ve got their strong points, and it''s always great to see people thinking about making games better, but I just thought I''d toss these ideas out.

Sorry if I went on too long...


All hail the Technoweenie!

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First off, thanks for the feedback. I thought my post had been totally ignored by everyone. I guess next time I''ll choose a better title

I think you misunderstood me slightly.
I don''t want the player to keep the experience of the character. I''d like to see two DISTINCT systems. One, the traditional one, I won''t talk about right now, especially since it''s ... pff.. stupid.
My idea is to take the time spent by the PLAYER into account. As well as the level at which he reached his previous characters.
For instance a guy playing for 40 hours but killing 10 characters wouldn''t have a "player experience level" as good as a person playing the same character for the last 40 hours of connection.
When the first dies, he would get a slight advantage compared to a newbie player, but not as good as a player of same level that had a more succesful character. You habe to reward the player for simply playing, and give better player an opportunity to show off by having more interesting characters to play.

You will ask me why not give everybody all options at the beginning. Well ... it''s called gratification. People LOVE feeling they have accolplished something, even more than being given stuff freely.

As well, keeping track of the better players would be useful in the context I offered, where players would have the ability to play "monsters". I don''t want to give my "Evil Wizard on the Hill" role to a long time player if this guy never made a character last more than 10 hours . I''d rather choose a player killer, and a good one at that :->

For single player, I just wanted to offer an alternative. As well, my solution offers dramatic advantage, if you want to have some sort of plot linearity. It would offer an excuse to create some real roleplay (the party NPC will want to avenge the previous incarnation of the player, you would have the problem of integrating the new character into an existing group.)
etc etc.

I agree with your last point about abusing the system, but I think you based your argument on a bad understanding of my ideas.

anyway thanks again for the feedback.

youpla :-P

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