a "working" paper on olympia gaming

William Bruvold (wbruvold@weber.ucsd.edu)
Fri, 28 Jan 94 12:41:54 PST

To design group (rich if this shows up for you and not in the design
list b\please forward it, I have been having problems with the

OK here is a proposal for how to make Olympia II more
interaction driven. The specifics I am sure
need adjustment but I think the overall system makes sense or can be
justified. I leave it up to more creative people to fill in some
names that need to go in places with "Xs and Ys"

The goals of these are to
a) integrate political/religious/magic systems into a coherent
whole rather than simply have them "side by side" Some of this is
done, some still needs work
b) breed conflict/cooperation but still give newbies some hope (and
keep the incentives of killing them to an acceptable minimum).
c) Try to stay within the general game system for NPs/Skills

but the downside (which I realize, so comments should also) is that
this is a pretty radical step and will upset many existing alpha
player plans. I see this mostly as something that is either added a
piece at a time to the test without some of the restrictions or
discussed and put in place for the beta.


Biggest draw back in creating a kingdom is that you need a bunch of
valuable nobles to sit in each province and do nothing, while set on
hostile all the time. This necessarily restricts political
organization to a small percentage of the map and limits the
incentives to proceed in this manner. Building on a previous idea
of building kingdoms I suggest we proceed to .........

a) Establish the idea of a "capital" city. This would have to be
an "original city" (or eliminate the largely underutilized and
unimportant FOUND command) thus making it a bit more difficult to
establish the capital. I suggest that elevation to "KING" be a
skill in persuation. Would require a castle, perhaps one with at
least two towers build in the interior. (makes stones a bit more
valuable). Would have to be in a plain or forest (makes
oxen/peasants a bit more valuable) and so no more collecting stones
and building a castle at the quarry site.

b) Capitals would generate a bit more income than before and
increase recruitment possibilities. (the 10% _BONUS_ for each
province under control seems good). These bonuses would be
eliminated if a competiting capital was founded within 5
provinces of the original. If this were to occur a report would be
sent indicating that this had happened. Players would remain in
control of provinces controlled by the kingdom but face a threat to
their "control/tax revenue" that would require action.

c) To avoid the "under nobles" sitting around doing nothing KINGS
could have a command called "GARRISON" that would allow them to put
a number of fighers into a province that would
i) Tax
ii) Defend against all pillaging/recruitment
iii) If set, collect a toll from all passing nobles or bar
their way (makes kingdoms somewhat inconvient for
iv) Support themselve _IF_ a noble from the Kingdom makes an
inspection once every 12 months (increases the value of
riding horses also builds in a limit to the practical
size of the empire
v) They send a report to the Kingdom.

d) To increase the value of establishing kingdoms lets say for each
5-10 provinces under control and when no competiting capital was
present the faction would get an extra noble point for the year. Increases
the incentives to build kingdoms (and with e to oppose them)

e) There are incentives that also generate "bonus" points for
destroying the capitals/controlled provinces for the other
legs of the system. (see below)


We need to build in rivalry. With a huge map even "human" nature
toward competition won't do anything more than push the frontier
out. I would guess we would need over 300 players to really exhaust
the land mass and niches so that players were forced into building
alliances and enemies. So I propose the following system
Everyone MUST start off by swearing allegiance to one of the folling
gods. a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h and each of the gods has an enemy in the

GOD opposes GOD
a b
c d
e f
g h

a,c,e,g and b,d,f,h roughly cooperate with one another but not all
the time and not without conflicts. THe opposition dyads are sworn
enemies. Certain prayers restricted to particular god/gods. More
importantly, you win favor with your god for killing the follower of
the dieties opponent. Lets say for each two nobles killed you get 1
extra noble point. How do you know who worships who? With a
"prayer" that your diety tells you who is the closet noble to you
that is a infidel! One of the attractions of this is that it should
quickly encourage the followers of a particular god to cooperate
with one another to kill the followers of the other (but not too
much as you want those kills for yourself!). Probably restrictions
on the construction of temples should an opposing diety (or closely
opposing diety?) be close by; for example within five provinces.

-- Also we can build in ties between the religious side and the
magical side. For example, strengthening the two systems with a
bunch of good prayers, we could restrict the factions in respect to
which side of the "Power" they draw upon. You can either study
magic or religion (though you still are sworn to a god even if magic
focused) AND build in pretty powerful things that only mages AND
priests can do if working together. This brings us to......


Building on past suggestions, break the magic system up into
distinct categories that restrict what you can study and the bonuses
for destroying your opponents. Much like the Religous system. The
major difference I envision is that Mages are more "mysterious" in
that it takes effort to discover what path they follow (white, grey,
black, red?) and that you obviously can stay away from the magical
arts if you want to in your faction. Bonuses for killing opponents
could be extra manna, reduced time to cast spells, noble points,
super spells, research bonuses, etc. Again these would breed both
cooperation between different factions but also a bit of conflict
over who gets to kill of that one lone necromancer in his tower 3
provinces to the east.

IV. (Running out of Steam) COMBAT/GUILDS

I don't like the idea of "guilds" but since I can't think of
anything better at the moment.....

I also think that if you don't want to pray/study magic you can
choose "third" way that focuses on "combat" kinds of skills. I

4 combat schools (sword a vs. sword b)
(archery a vs. archery b)

that are in opposition to one anther (say noble points/combat
bonuses/ special recruitment skills for killing opponents) and
similarly oppositional guilds in

Woodcraft (elven lore vs. Goblin)
Sailing (Merchants Guild vs. Dread Pirates)
Mining (Dwarves vs. Orcs)

As in the other three areas, incentives to kill off those in
opposition. Skills taugth in cities would be of one or the other
type. Roughly Law vs. Chaos but fill in where you like.

VI. "Exit" options.

Some players are either going to want to never be part of the
conflicts, remain on the periphery of the great battles, or start
and then exit from them. Thus we need to create a "bard/sage"
system (merchants should be here but can't figure out how yet).

Bards would provide bonuses to tax bases
Sages would aid research

Both would be initial skills a newbie could sign up for or an
exisitng player could declare committed to( more below).

No religious allegiances (or to a 9th god which is apart from the
sqaubbles of his/her brothers/sisters).

Fairly severe restrictions on noble points. If players want to
"explore the world" they should be allowed to but with the caveat
that they are "different" than those that attract more and more
followers. Perhaps allowing 5-7 nobles to be part of the "touring

One also wants to set it up so that
a) Sages/Bards are useful only for some limited number of
turns to a faction until a longer period of time passes. (so they
are not useful as "virtual prisoners" to a faction).
b) They need to be "linked" together so that "kings" have a
disincentive to kill them once they are "used" up and want to move

Bards/sages could also go find valuable "items" that either provided
kings with new skills to learn ("the sages turtoring indicates that
a scroll of ancient times on how to "CATCH" a dragon can be found in
a city in Northern Greater Atnos") or Bards could discover great
songs in remote cities that could be "sung" in a castle and provide
the owner with an extra noble point. Gives these "faction types"
something goal oriented to do while being unrestrictive.

V. Summary

Taken together I think these fit together pretty well. It is
important that all these elements go in together as you want to
avoid making one particular "career" path conflictual while the
others sit on the side lines. I think that there is "overlap" here
to breed conflict/cooperation between the different elements, if
need be more explicit restrictions opportunities should be easy
enough to add to do this (i.e. perhaps temples need a magie of a
particular order to be present to build them or the presence of a
"choatice" guild in a nearby city requires that it be sacked before
a capital can be established by a noble trained in a "good"
construction guild, etc. etc.)

Comments welcome. (if you want to delete out all but what you think
I will collect; summarize; and revise)


Roack's Rangers

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