Re: New study idea

Scott Hauck (
Wed, 19 Aug 92 01:21:04 -0700

Chuck Simons points out that my ideas for specific bit-vectors is a bit
imbalanced, with some classes too easy and others too hard. I agree with
this as presented, but I made some implicit assumptions:

1.) Levels wouldn't be obtained, only restricted by quests. Specifically,
a level 0 Mage handed all the magic books ever written would still be a level 0
Mage, but all his advancement restrictions have been met. He'd still have to
STUDY/TRAIN/experience enough to reach these levels. So, no skill would get
easier to achieve.

2.) The restrictions wouldn't be significant until level 5, but would get tough
by level 8. For skills like Equestrian, Trade, and the like, where the bits
are just gotten for visiting easy to find locations, you'd need 2-3 regions for
level 2, 4-6 for level 3, 10-15 for level 4, etc. However, for harder things
like Magical Tomes, only one book might be necessary for level 3, a second for
level 5, etc. For level 10, most skills would require ALL bits to be set.
Finding all 5 (or 7, or 10) Magical Tomes would be a significant undertaking,
but so would visiting EVERY Plains square in Olympia - this last might even be
too harsh.

Now, as you can see there's definitely need for some play balancing. However,
I think if the Great God Atnerks sat down and built up an effort formula for
all achievements, you could do an okay job of balancing the system.


Assume for level (n) we require about Dn days of work to fulfill the

For Equestrian, 1/4 of all regions are plains, and links average 15 days long,
so in Dn days you will find (Dn/15)/4 plains regions, so this is how many to
require for level (n) Equestrian

For General Magic, you need to visit a seer, which are scatter such that an
average of S days is required to reach one. Then, you'll have to travel to
and return to an arbitrary region on the map, where two arbitrary squares
average a T travelling time between. However, the player will most likely
get lost, so 1.5 this time is needed, and E time is needed exploring to have a
50% chance of finding the correct ruin. So, S+1.5*T+E days are needed per book.
So, the number of books required for the current level is round(Dn/(S+1.5*T+E)).

Yes, the above was a bit long-winded, but the idea is that via some thumbnail
calculations a reasonable set of requirements can be set up initially, which
are balanced for each of the skills, and which can later be refined from

BTW, I've mentioned my idea of a SEER several times. How I imagine a seer works
is that scattered throughout the land are temples to the Great God Atnerks
(in the current Olympia, I'd expect to find about 2-3 in the currently explored
lands, so that they're well scattered). Inside the temples are Seers, and the
Temples are COOPERATIVE to everyone (anyone foolish enough to attack one faces
the Wrath of Atnerks, as well as everyone else when they realise their access
to a Seer has just been cut). A Player can stack with the temple, and issue
the command:

CONSULT [skill]
Command costs X dollars, and can only be performed while stacked
with a Seer. If the skill is unspecified, the Seer will tell of a
location where either a random adventure or an unfulfilled requirement
for the issuing character can be fulfilled (note that the requirement
doesn't necessarily have to impede the gaining of the next skill level,
but will impede the gaining of the skill at some later point). If
[skill] is specified, only adventures leading to the fulfillment of
a requirement for the given skill will be reported on. Command takes
7 days to execute.

How it works:
For skills requiring obtaining an object or killing a creature, a
ruin or other adventure is created at a random location with enough adventure
resources left, and the adventure contains the target of an unset bit. The
Player is given a description like:
"Far off to the Northwest, about 3 months travel, is the land of Illion.
In this land the fabled necronomic can be found. But beware, the secrets of
this book are carefully guarded by the Hoards of the Dead".

Although this description is pretty intricate, a random generation system
could be very easily coded up. BTW, for skills requiring finding enough
regions, the quest probably should be oriented to the closest cluster of
unexplored regions fitting the need. Also, the [skills] argument could be
augmented to be [skill, item, or unit ID], so that a Seer's help could be found
in seeking out both the Staff of Calyx and the Dark Prophet (or similar goals).


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