Re: Brave New Olympia

Rich Skrenta (
Thu, 13 Aug 1992 10:45 EDT

There are two major ideas that arise from this discussion.

One is essentially men-as-inventory.

The other has units representing groups of men which can be
somehow be gotten to work for you, but are not under your direct
control. They have a mind of their own, so to speak.

The first idea achieves the primary goal of the Brave New Olympia
thread, but is somewhat limited and sterile. It must be seriously
considered, however, since because of its simplicity it has the
highest chance of actually getting implemented.

The second idea has much more flavor, but I'm worried that each unit
will need to be controlled by a little AI, and players will be confused
as to how to interact with these hired units.


Each player-controlled hero character may be accompanied
by unskilled henchmen.

Osswid [501], with 10 men

These men do not have skills; stats are not tracked for them at all.
They would help with some tasks:
sailing a ship
major construction tasks, such as castle or ship building

They would not help with others:
crafts, such as sword making
menial labor

They would need to be HIRED, and would only work for pay.

This idea has a number of flaws:

It is confusing when these men help you, and when they don't.

Since stats are not tracked for them (no skills, no loyalty),
they are rather uninteresting, and we are limited in what
we can do with them. We can not use loyalty to allow you
to TERRORIZE them to keep them instead of paying them, for

The advantages of this idea are that it is implementable, since it
is simple and clean. It achieves the goal of putting individual
characters in the player spotlight, and turns around the economics
of having lots of men: instead of "the more men, the more money I make",
it's "the more men, the more money I spend".

Hired Hands

Players could hire groups of men contained in units into their service.

There would be three functions which hired groups of men could assist in:

armed groups of soldiers
unskilled labor for large construction projects
crew for ships

Unemployed groups of men would be seen looking for work and could be HIREd.

I am useasy with other methods of bringing these units into existence,
such as allowing the player to FORM/RECRUIT them. Letting the player
pull helpers out of thin air seems to subvert the essence of this plan.

To build a ship, for example, one would first need to find a group
of laborers looking for work and hire them. They would help the heroic
character build his ship, and be released from service (they would
return to seeking work).

The character would then need to find out a crew for his ship and hire them.

These units could not be ordered directly, but would automatically
assist tasks which they were hired for (sailing, combat, construction).
They can't STUDY, but they will learn by doing, so some units will
become better than others.

I love the feel of this idea. But there are many unspecified issues:

if you GIVE stuff to a group, it can be seen as equiping
them. But they would probably keep anything you give them
and not return it.

how does the number of men in a group fluctuate? What if
one dies? Is a replacement automatically hired? Does
the player have any control over this?

What of the mechanics of the association between a hired
unit and the character? Are they simply stacked together?
What if they get unstacked? What if you leave an elite
sailing crew abandoned on a desert island?

Can you hire as many units as you want?

Who gets to name these units?

What algorithm keeps locations stocked with useful groups

What if you get into a battle with men you hired to do
shipbuilding for you?

Rich Skrenta <>  N2QAV

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