Re: Religion

Carl Edman (
Wed, 26 Aug 92 09:46:11 PDT

Steve Chapin writes:
> The talk of godhood revives an old issue Rich and I had
> discussed long ago: an evolutionary path for players.

> After all, once one has become the biggest/most powerful
> player, what do you do besides try to stay big? I got bored
> and retired Rocko, and I don't know what keeps Chuk going
> with Prenola.

> The idea we bandied about was to have the really powerful
> players evolve into another level of existence. We
> weren't sure how to do that. Mayhap ascension to godhood
> could provide a mechanism for this. But then where do the
> oldest/most powerful gods go?

I see and have thought about that problem as well, but I think that
Godhood properly implemented could solve that problem.

Being a god should be very different from being a player. Godhood
should not quite simply be the next level of power to which every
player aspires to be able to continue his affairs with greater
efficiency. Instead I think of godhood as a combination of mandatory
retirement/absolute winner status. If you become a god, you should
lose everything you have or own or know, just as if you died. What
you gain in return should be a set of rather limited powers. Each of
these powers should take a certain amount of time to execute to
prevent abuse. Appropriate powers and suggested costs could be:

1. The ability to 'LOOK' anywhere (takes one day of time)

2. The ability to increase or decrease the loyality of any unit (with
effect proportional to the time spent)

3. The ability to increase the revenues from any province for the
province owner (lets say double normal revenues in every day the
deity spends i.e. if the deity spends the entire month the province
revenues for that month will be doubled)

4. The ability to strike dead any follower of that deity (30 days)

5. Various flashy but not really game affecting effects. Essentially
the ability to have any message appear in all the players or only
some players turn reports at any time. Gods can use this to speak
with thunderous voice across all the lands, let star constellations
appear and disappear, volcanoes erupt, earthquakes strike aso.

6. If Rich finds that he has a surplus of time, he could give every
new deity a power special only to that deity.

As you see deities can influence the game in many ways, but they can
do little to directly control the day to day running of the world. A
powerful player may at least in the short run openly defy a deity or
all deities without the deities being able to do _anything_ about it.
There is also little or nothing which deities can do to one another
(except causing their followers to kill other deities followers). On
the other hand deities can't really improve their own power in any
game internal way. All they can strive for is fame (no - not another
game variable, the real thing).

So why should anyone want to become a deity if this will likely
decrease the direct power in Olympia of anyone who would be
considered for that office ? Several reasons:

1. Mandatory retirement. The deity to be may not have a choice at
all. Possibly a strong majority of the players should be able to
elevate anyone to that position they chose to.

2. Safety. Any player no matter how powerful or careful has a chance
of being killed personally by another player who is powerful and
vicious enough. Despite a pretty huge and well trained personal
bodyguard and other precautions the first thing I do whenever I
receive a turn is to check to the end immediately to see if the dread
words "*** Thank you for playing Olympia ***" are to be read there.
Nothing can ever really happen to a god.

3. Boredom. If you are the most powerful player, who has tried
everything and knows everything, who has more gold than he can use,
what is the point of spending hours every week writing orders for
your 100 units just to stay ahead ? If you are a god you just have to
write a few lines which indicate which powers you use in which order
and that is that. Not that you can't do more if you should at some
time want to.

4. Winner status. This would be the closest thing to it within
Olympia. After you and many others have played the game for a long
time, this is worth quite a lot too.

So, in summary I think that it is important that any God status
leaves the center of action and power where it belongs, among the
mortals. God status should not be just another step in player power.
God status should be a way of removing those who have become too
powerful for the game to work without those who achieve godhood
feeling that they are being punished for their skill.

Carl Edman

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