Comments from David Bedard

Rich Skrenta (
Wed, 16 Mar 94 10:29:18 EST

Comments from David Bedard <> follow.
My comments are quoted with "sk>".


About experience ... I have a suggession with experience based upon Legends
which I think works quite well in a game environment. Practicing attributes
should have a decreasing chance of increasing skill level. For example, for
someone practicing swordplay for the first time would have a 75 percent
chance of increasing skill, but for the sixth attempt the chance of sucess
would only be 10 percent. However, characters who actively use thier skills
in combat/magic get improved chances to increase skill level (ie. add 25 percent
to chance to increase when duel another character). In addition, skills
get additional chances when practiced in guilds etc. This summary forces
players to be active and doing things to improve themselves (ie. taking
out monster lairs etc.) and setting up guilds, marketplaces, etc. Under
your system someone can set up a castle and just sit their practicing swordplay
forever getting some ridiiculous skill level without ever interacting with
anything or anyone in the game. Luckily in Legends their are enough lairs
and things to kill that you don't necessarily need to go after other players
to get increases.

Castle building:

The construction thing sounds good on the surface looking at option #3.
However, one problem I see involves setting up a castle which seems to be
the first goal in this game. By the time a player has found a position
and picked up the skills and materials to create a castle he's struggling.
Modifying this skill would just make it that much more difficult to set
up castle. This would be fine if you modified castle types (similar to
Legends) where a character could set up with a wooden pallisade establishing
control over a province (but not city). Then allow the character to use
construction skill to develop stronger and stronger fortifications (ie.
move to improved wooden pallisade [wood construction], stone keep [stone
construction], greater gatehouses, etc). This allows the players to develop
a wonderful castle which they can personalize and improving their enjoyment
and interest in the game. At the same time would may want to include the
type of castle in an equation to determine civ rating for the city/province
which should be linked to income of province (another comment of mine from
my Legends summary). For example, a city/province with Civ level one produces
600 gold to owner, but by civ-2 the city/province produces 750 gold. This
forces players to take an interest in the city/province (like in Legends)
rather than being tyrants sucking gold from the city and pillaging the
countryside for every last coin of gold.

sk> I still like the wood/stone building skill split, and most of
sk> the design list did, too. However, I like the flavor of being
sk> able to customize your castle even further. How about adding
sk> these extra skills to construction:
sk> Stone building
sk> Wood building
sk> Improve castle walls
sk> Add crenellations to castle
sk> Dig moat for castle
sk> Add drawbridge to castle
sk> Add wooden gate to castle
sk> Add iron gate to castle
sk> Add iron porticullis to castle
sk> Build inner stone keep for castle
sk> A really cool castle might look like this:
sk> Castle Blood [xd87], defense 32: walls 4, moat, crenellations,
sk> drawbridge, stone keep, iron portcullis, iron gate
sk> Hits against the castle would take out these extra pieces before
sk> doing any real damage to the structure.


Now that I'm on the pillaging topic I think you should look at that. Some of
the players in our unannounced faction are going around the countriside just
looting and pillaging like crazy. First, pillaging as it tuns out it is
incredibly simple and easy given the rewards. This makes the game unbalanced
unless everyone is running around pillaging. Second, this kind of sucks for
players trying to establish a castle because they leave a wake of angry
peasants which seems to last for many turns. It seems to be an incredibly
easy way to get gold to the point of unbalancing the game. I would suggest
you discourage this by having messages/events happen to known pillagers (ie.
their reputation proceeds them). For example after the fourth pillage by a
noble have a message:

From the burning village an old man steps forward stating "You
defile the very earth you walk upon. Word will go out from this
village of your evil acts. All will be warned of your black and
greedy heart.

After this pillaging nets only 80 percent of possible totals. On the eigth
pillage a message is sent to all players indicating a mad dog on the loose.
And a message to the player stating:

Your troops scour the province to find little of value. Villages
are empty, only a few items could be found.

At this point reduce pillaging to 50 percent potential total. On the tenth
turn I would generate a noble and force of soldiers with a peasant mob who
stand their ground and fight the pillagers. Players should get a message

A champion emerges among the villagers gathering
XX troops and XX peasants in a mob. Their charge your force
with cries of battle.

>From this turn onward I would have this encounter for each pillage, but
increase the difficulty (ie. more/stronger military and peasant forces)
and decrease the pillage to 30 percent potential total. This should even out
pillaging making the game less unbalanced and pillaging a less attractive
means for gathering wealth.

Combat styles:

One thing I like a lot about Legends is the ability to choose a combat
style. In Olympia players learn the combat skill and then swordplay,
archery, etc. However, I perfer Legends approach where you choose the type of
warrior/combat style you prefer (beserker, knight, etc) which have various
advantages and disadvantages (ie. berserker excellent increase on attack
but loss on defense; knight good increase to both attack and defence -for
example a Berserker may have a attack rating of 130, but defense of 50,
without any archery ability). This allows the player the some choices
increasing interest in the game. In addition, the player can select weapons
to specialize in (swords, axes, etc) which allows the player once again to
take further interest in the character and increase enjoyment. I suggest a
similar system where players under combat can have one combat style and add
to this the various weapon types. Unfortunately I do not have a tower to
research combat, but combat should have skills equally powerful to necromancy
(ie. tactics to improve use of soldiers etc.).

sk> There are currently limited ways to alter your strategy:
sk> Choice of attacker types
sk> Layering of attackers/defenders with BEHIND
sk> Fight to the death combat skill
sk> Perhaps some further strategy-choosing mechanism could be
sk> allowed. Right now attacker and target selection is random
sk> within the front lines. Perhaps some way of saying "archers
sk> go first, then pikemen, then ..." and "target enemy's elite
sk> guard first, then X, then Y..." Target selectability would
sk> be within the front only (as defined by the enemy's behind
sk> flags).


Another addition you may wish to consider is the use of guilds. Guilds
dominated the activities of the middle ages. You could establish guilds
in cities where skills are taught and practiced. In my last message I discussed
how I don't like your practice/use system. Guilds would be a place where
practice has an improved chance. However, players have to become part of
the guild, pay dues, etc. This also allows the opportunity for guild wars
etc. But, also force players to find the guild they joined (ie. it seems
every city has combat and it's too easy to get those skills). Also, you
should allow players who have established castles to form their own guilds
which would once again improve the enjoyment of the game. This means changing
your code quite a bit and the flavour of the game.

sk> The current land ownership system was the first step to a
sk> full political system with organized game groups.
sk> However, actually working out the specific mechanics for a
sk> guild/organziation system is more difficult than it looks.
sk> I'd like to have some kind of guild system, but don't have
sk> a solid plan to implement. Suggestions welcome.


Being a geologist I find mining to be one of the poorest skills available.
Most role playing games and fantasy novels poorly contain basic geology.
One idea I have (unrelated to Legends) is to form a second two dimensional
layer (I'd love a 3d layer, but that's just introducing too much complexity)
with this layer containing mineral potential, underground monsters, cities,
etc because many landscapes contain minerals (ie. Canadian shield, praries,
artic planes near Yellowknife currently undergoing boom etc.). Perhaps
increase percentage chance of mineral when establishing mineral potential
for mountains and rocky hills, but all landscapes should have potential for
mineral wealth. I would then add a skill prospecting which allows the
player an idea of the mineral potential for that province. I would also
move quarry skill (stone cutting) to mining. Another thing you could do is
have wandering underground monsters who move around on this second plane and
stationary ones who guard underground cities/castles with enormous wealth.

sk> This sort of idea comes up fairly often. Everyone wants to make
sk> Moria, with twisty deep tunnels, lord-knows-what kinds of evil
sk> monsters lurking in them, multiple entrances, fantastic treasure
sk> jackpots, etc.
sk> There aren't any implementation reasons why something like this
sk> couldn't be done. We just need a new system. Something like:
sk> build mine as now: one per province
sk> mine [x] mine current location for X
sk> current location runs out eventually
sk> tunnel <dir> attempt to create a new underground
sk> location in direction <dir>
sk> (note that the depth concept is gone, replaced by actual locations
sk> that you'd have to MOVE through).
sk> Do comment on this, especially if you like it and want to see it
sk> implemented.

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