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Infinite monsters

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An interesting thing that I''ve noticed in RPGs over the years, is that there seem to be way more monsters then NPCs, always. Also, most towns in RPGs lack anything resembling a military force. If there are so many monsters, why don''t they just eat everyone in the towns, and take over the world? Just an interesting observation...

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More important, RPGs need a creative team behind them to write a story and script quests, the best choice here would be some instances of ye good ole smilin'' dungeon master. Even if they don''t know what a computer is, some of that rare species must be involved.

---
rm -rf /
(Best compression everywhere. Kids, don''''t try this as root.)

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So at the design stage, make your map first, and use that when designing things like city vs monster layout. The field outside of town shouldn''t be swarming with monsters, or if it is, the town should be fortified and at times under attack. This would require that miltary force of NPC''s to be defending, killing monsters, and, at times, dying. The Hero can assist the town (helping out his karma).

Now, for an unfortified town, the field shouldn''t be filled with 10,000 goblins. But perhaps there is a quiet whisper among the NPC''s generally acknowleding that something lurks in that cave to the east, and you shouldn;t be out there at night.

To alleviate the lack of monsters, increase the size of the playable world. Now the mountains to the north are teeming with monsters, but it isn''t productive for either thte monsters or the humans to try and mount a campaign towards extinction, because neither side is strong enough to take the offensive so far from home.

Now, the hero can go hack and slash after a day''s ride, or he can attempt to vanquish that hidden thing in the cave. Best of both worlds??


--OctDev

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You know what the problem is here? Implications. I think designers have it worse than fiction writers because players can scrutinize the designers world in much greater detail. If a writer makes up something about the world, readers don't necessarily have as much access, and thus can't verify whether or not the implications of what a they make up have any impact elsewhere.

If you take implications to their logical conclusion in design, you may end up over-designing and over-engineering your game. How do you know that monsters don't have an aversion to angular structures? Or fire? Or the concentrated smell of people? What's the monster's command and control / leadership structure? Why don't monsters have a culture? If they're like animals, is there a monster mating season? If they're like barbarians, then what about rights of passage? etc., etc., ad naseum...

What I'm saying is that while it's perfectly fine to add levels of realism, remember that reality has tons and tons of layers. Every time you add one layer, you leave many implications unanswered. (Why do monsters prey on settlements? How did monsters arise? What efforts towards ending the threat have been made? etc.)

If you're doing a game that is only supposed to have a semblance of reality, but the main thrust is in mowing down hordes, then variety of encounter is a good thing. Hence you want a bazillion monsters.

If you're doing a fantasy sim, though, that's another thing. But watch out for those layers of implications...


--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...


Edited by - Wavinator on June 21, 2001 7:44:09 PM

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Guest Anonymous Poster
The reason used commonly that there are generally more monsters than NPCs is that there is a "growing evil" or that there have always been more monsters, but there has always been infighting before to stop them from advancing on the NPC population significantly.

Also, there isn''t always more monsters than NPCs, it''s just that you can only interact with a very few of them and those are the only ones that are engageable or even visible. The rest are around, but they do nothing to advance the storyline and are, as a result, simply left out of the game to save on space, graphics and other such commodities.

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Well, I think that variety may be well and good, but you still need to provide the player with a challenge. It should be well past the game ending (ie, still able to play after all quests have been complete, ie Diabloish replaying in the beginner levels) before you can wander into a horde and come out RELATIVELY unscathed.

Make the individual Monster-NPCs to be challenging and capable of sustaining themselves. Give them at least SOME intelligence more than "Aaaarrrggghhh die big thing!" and the occassional "Aaaaarrrggghhh my friend died, I might run just off the screen"

Anyway... I rant about this too much

-Chris Bennett of Dwarfsoft - The future of RPGs Thanks to all the goblins in the GDCorner niche

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Sorry for that one, guys, I know it''s off topic, but I cannot reach Dwarfsoft other way.
Dwarfsoft, do you plan an update/new release of the "TFoRPGs" article? As far as I know, it was not updated for a while and I''ve seen many nice ideas and concepts around lately. You could reply by mail, if you want (my mails to you were returned by crosswinds.net with user unknown error, that''s why I use the forum).


Boby Dimitrov
boby@azholding.com

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[Still OT]
(*My email is in my sig... I fixed the crosswinds problem*)

TFoRPGs was going to be updated, and I had all of the files to do it, but I couldn''t access ftp->GDNet to upload them because of the Uni proxy. Then I had the absolute catastrophe of my partitioning information being lost on ALL of my HDDs, so I lost everything (except for what I had left on disk and on the internet). I am just licking my wounds at the moment and getting my disks refilled with most of what was lost (aarrrggghhh, my MP3s!!! And my GAME!!!! Frig!!!!) and as soon as that is done I am going to trawl through Game Design from article 1 and rebuild my stash (I had a full disk of these threads) and then I will start updating the doc.

Aaarrrgggghhh... I lost about 2000 words though from my Additions file that didn''t have a backup... serves me right tho for not having a backup
[/OT]



-Chris Bennett of Dwarfsoft - The future of RPGs Thanks to all the goblins in the GDCorner niche

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