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Designing a battle system for my MUD

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I'm currently developing a MUD, and I'm nearing the point of adding in a battle system more and more. However, as I'm not completely ready yet to start implementing it, I still have time to do a little research and take the time to developed a well weighted combat system. Like many other systems I want players to have HP/MP and be able to wear armor on their feet, torso/legs, arms, hands and a hat/helmet. Any ideas about a good combat design? Having only 4 abilities(STR/DEX/LUK/INT) seems a bit low to me, so I want more, however I'm not sure how to split these skills up in more. Next time I'm looking for is stuff like spells/weapons and how to apply damage to other players/monsters and how to apply damage in relation to damage and armor. Any ideas/tips? I'm not looking for a prewritten system such as D20 because of the royalties involved with it(IIRC you had to pay for the system last time I checked). Links to freeware systems seem ok to me. Toolmaker

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Who is your audience?

I have little to no experience with various rule sets and attribute algorithms. In fact, I don't even know what the "LUK" in "STR/DEX/LUK/INT" means...but I don't see why it must be so complicated for users.

Perhaps those games have been an esoteric genre because of that over-complicated player interface. I don't believe games should come with rule books--which is to say that I don't believe players should require them.

My first thought would be that strength modifies attack damage, dexterity modifies swing speed and endurance, and intelligence modifies magical abilities. Why must games seem so much more complicated than life! *shakes fists in the air*

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I'm not planning on requiring players to own the book. However, I want to implement a ruleset in which it becomes less easy for players to completely mess up their character. For instance, let's assume I'm playing as a magician in the mud.

Magicians require alot of INT to cast powerfull spells. To make it a bit less unbalanced I'll have them require a good dose of LU(c)K too. However, as a magician you could want to be able to use a sword in the beginning becaus your spells are weak. So, in order to be able use the sword, you invest some ability points on STR. Later on in the game, you'll regret this, as having 10 more INT points would have done 150 more damage in that spell.

I've considered the same skills as Neverwinter nights used: Wisdom, Constitution, stamina, etc. Because there are more skills, and every character type needs these abilities in some way, it because less easy to completely destroy your character. However, NWN used D20(As it carried the Wizards of the Coast logo). I'm looking for a similar ruleset, but less bloated and perhaps easier to understand.

Toolmaker

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Check out www.wotmud.org. It was the best MUD I have ever played because the combat system and the adherence to the books that it was modeled off of (Wheel of Time). It has been a couple of years since I played due to lack of time so it may have changed a bit.

Don't ask for their source code, they won't had it out. But you can get some ideas from playing or reading the boards.

Some of the features:
- Your stats were not known until level 5. So it may take a few times to stat a character that you are happy with.
- Your stats never really changed once they were established, but your HP did go up every level and you got more skill points. As far as I could tell your damage was directly related to what you were using, your level and what your strength was.
- Some warrior skills required about one tick to pull off. I.e. bash would take a round to two (depending on the players timing) and would knock the opponent to the ground making him a sitting duck for a round or two, again depending on the players timing with his/her bash.
- The more powerful channeler (wizard) weaves (spells) took a round or two to get off but could be devastating. So they work well if in groups or if their timing was very good.

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First off, for some free resources; check out the hundreds of muds in the public domain (circle mud for example).

Secondly; terms. Typically strength, dexterity, vitality, intelligence, constitution, luck, agility, power, focus, etc are generally referred to as stats or attributes. Skills are generally things like swords, daggers, fire magic, ice magic, etc. Abilities are generally things you can do with skills, such as hack, slash, fireball, big-freaking-ice-kaboom, etc. (note all the generally's).

Thirdly; a battle system. This is a complex beast (as can be noted by the countless PC game systems that are horrendously un-fun or unbalanced). Some examples of things to consider. Armor vs Defense (damage absorbed vs damage avoided). Attack power vs Attack chance (damage done vs change to hit). Inherent bonuses (does a lvl 5 with 20 attack power do the same damage as a lvl 10 with 20 attack power?). Is damage/hit chance just one values, or do different types of damage have different values (slicing vs hacking vs fire vs ice).

Fourthly; equipment/attributes. Do all your attribute bonuses come from eq, or also level (ex: 5 extra points per level)? Do weapons do damage, or just modify the timing of damage (a quick dagger vs a slow broad sword).

As you can see, there are a ton of things to consider for a fun, balanced system. Keeping it simple is more for the developer than the players, because every extra attribute/skill/ability can add a level of complexity.

So basically... analyze some of your favorite systems and imagine how they do it, and start with that.

-Alamar

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