Permanent Death

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Post by Grokk » Tue Oct 12, 2010 6:03 am

Permanent Death

I was going to post this in Arvernor's thread, but didn't want to derail the discussion there. Though Nitram's suggestion in that thread was clearly tongue in cheek, I actually do think that a permadeath system would do wonders for this game.

A simple clarification of the rules surrounding death is not going to solve the real problem. People are not going to start roleplaying better because of it. The inconsistency of the interpretation of death is an issue, but I think the main problem lies in the roleplay. Look at the offered interpretations: death followed by reincarnation, serious injury, knocked unconscious, and something involving ghosts and yellow crosses. All of those events involve something pretty shit (being killed/almost killed) and something pretty damn good (surviving). No matter the interpretation used, POs do not consistently roleplay the emotions that should be present. With any interpretation used, characters should fear the pain and be overjoyed at their revival, and experience strong emotions toward the parties involved on either side. They should probably not make a public announcement about being slightly miffed at the loss of their favourite "luthe".

I think the issue arises from the fact that without significant consequences in a game, there can be very little drama, tension, or emotional connection.

So a group of demons decides to invade your town, what happens?


Game with serious consequences: Characters do their best to protect themselves. They go into hiding, and stay in groups, refusing to travel anywhere alone. Commoners actively avoid the demons and, upon sighting of one, cower in fear or flee for their lives. Those few who stand against the demons are revered by their peers as the brave heroes that they are. Many people fall to the demons' wrath. Tears are shed by friends and family. Ceremonies are held to mourn the dead. Anger and rage develop. The demons are eventually defeated. The surviving warriors return to glory and celebration. All involved, alive and deceased, are immortalised within the pages of history.

Game without serious consequences: Characters carry on as though nothing has happened. They have no issues marching straight into the demons' stronghold, despite being all alone and but a simple cook. People can be seen calmly conversing with the demons, perhaps even sharing a campfire. It is not unusual to hear mortal laughter in the presence of the demons. Those who dare stand up against the demons are ignored by their peers, who are rather amused by the unnecessary, wasted effort being made. Despite their best efforts, the demons cause little harm of any real consequence. People are killed, providing them with a slightly humorous tale to share at the tavern a few hours later. The demons are eventually defeated. Those involved are treated no differently, and the entire event is soon forgotten.

I won't insult your intelligence by pointing out which example reflects Illarion.

Permadeath is a serious consequence. It creates emotion. People actually fear getting killed. This makes roleplay a heck of a lot easier. Death becomes something more than 'damn, better set aside a couple of hours to PG those skills back up'. Character actions become significant as they require risks to be taken. Heroism and bravery become real concepts.

In anticipation of heavy objection regarding a certain point, I shall note that such a system does not need to be universal nor enforced. I remember a game developer discussing the idea of 'main' characters and 'normal' characters. A 'main' character would receive considerable advantages, but only be given a single life. The 'normal' character would just be your ordinary everyday immortal one. I think SWG implemented something similar with Jedi, before the game turned to crap.

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Post by wolfsword » Tue Oct 12, 2010 6:49 am

Should it be a bit more strict? Yes.

Should there be a 1-life system? No.

So, I guess I agree. Samuel still acts horrified from past events though, he usually hides from anything bar mummies. :P

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Post by Kyre » Tue Oct 12, 2010 7:08 am

Personal thoughts on perma death and how it would affect my game play:

1. I have not joined some games when I found out there was perma-death, not wanting to get involved in the "lives" of my chars only to loose them before I was ready.

2. Would it affect my roleplay on Illarion when in game? No, but I can see how it may affect some others.

3. Would it affect when I play my characters i.e. when and who I get in game with? Sadly in a way. I would no longer join "demon quests", fight "iffy" monsters etc. with a character that could be perma'd that I wanted to keep. I would either not get in game during that time of the quest, or join/get in game with a temp character I didn't care much about.

Personal thoughts on how perma would affect roleplay in general:

The "good" roleplayers will be unaffected, the ones that need to learn and are sometimes playing themselves rather then playing a character may be encouraged to roleplay as desired in game on the surface. Would engine produced events actually be conducive to teaching cooperative roleplay, I am not all that sure.

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Post by Athian » Tue Oct 12, 2010 7:32 am

Permadeath should and I believe is an option under applicable circumstance and under the judgement of the staff if they believe the circumstance fits.

Everyone's character in there eyes is the main character of there own story and as such they want the right to decide how and when there character will meet there end (at least to a reasonable circumstance). Creating a system where someone like lets say myself (as I'm known for an occasional PK) for example could take that right away from a player by killing him off would frustrate others to no end.

Even If we reason this out in RP (Permadeath should not count without an RP reason) its still quite plausible that permadeath could be abused by temperamental powergamers who skirt the line validity.

It would be as simple as for example; Player X insults Player Y's character on two separate occasions. Player Y kills player X and permadeath ensues. Regardless or not if some IG authority punishes Player Y for his crime of murder, player X is now gone forever. What has player X been killed over? Insults; technically meaning he met an engine based end for roleplaying hostility.

We can say "Well then you shouldn't have messed with him/her." but if this is the case who ever is going to stand up to a PG'er(I mean powerful character >_>) who has just enough sense to know minimum required validity to permakill someone? No one would stand up to that character. Powerful characters could for all intensive purposes run amok (they already do for the most part) killing off anyone who spoke out against them(or annoyed them), for good. This in turns forces staff to intercede on every single occasion to verify or not verify the perma-death of a character. Next; flame wars, forum debates, people quitting the game at alarming rates, people being banned, and an IG community of 10% super badass and 90% meek gentlefolk or the juxtaposition of 90% PG'er and 10% noob who behaves like a soulless drone until his skills reach proper competitive levels.

I don't think Permadeath should ever be such an open system that it could EVER even feasibly come under abuse by players or force an excess of effort by staff rule enforcement. What would be nice however is to let future players and current players know that permadeath is a considered consequence when in player vs player and quest situation, but that the staff will monitor the situations and reserve the right to perma-kill a character who frequently behaves unrealistically (suffering many defeats but refusing to surrender because they feel they can't die) or haphazardly (smacked down by the quest baddies only to return a day later fully healed and ready for round 2). This has always been how the game behaves but it was mostly an unspoken and lightly enforced subtext. Bringing it out into the lime light and more rigorously enforcing the rule might help in the future.

p.s.
And all the staff will need extra accounts to handle the flood of Perma-death consideration PM's :P

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Post by Estralis Seborian » Tue Oct 12, 2010 7:59 am

A perma death system is currently not planned.

However, consequences of getting clouded are something that can be reconsidered. I miss the big "and here is my concrete suggestion..."-part of most posts I read about this topic during the last few years. Clouding, reviving and death penalties are virtually unchanged since 2001; the item loss was added I guess. With the big update, we'll have a change in this, but not the death penalties.

So, if you think death should have more serious consequences, I'm interested in those consequences. Perma death is one option, but there are tons of counter arguments and in all honesty, I doubt that I want to play a game without respawn. Like, I lose my character I played for three years just because a bunch of orcs goes rampage and hunts down my beloved halfling cook? Or my noble knight is perma dead because of some smiling lag while fighting the lich in the graveyard? I don't think so.

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Post by Aegohl » Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:05 am

I've played somewhere where there's a permanent death system and although it sounds great in theory it brings out the worst in people.

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Post by Athian » Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:15 am

One suggestion from me would be increased cloud time.

Rather then simply reviving with debilitated attributes. Frequent multi-deaths should make it harder for the character to resurrect each time.

Example: Every death that occurs in a game day of time add 20 minutes to your time as a ghost before you can resurrect at the cross.

Suggestion 1.5 (less simple approach)

Same idea except that after the first ghosting every death that occurs in the game day instead sends players to the underworld., a place where your character is transported (in normal status, not as a ghost). The underworld could be an interactive dungeon like area and a no Crtl-click zone where you cannot raise skill. Players could explore in and interact with the environment. You might even get good RP between lost souls, awaiting resurrection. After a set amount of time you should be able to exit the underworld either alive or as a ghost who must find the nearest cross and be revived. You still suffer the death penalty on your attributes, though perhaps the time period could be adjusted to longer or shorter, that's a matter of preference

Every death in your game day compiles your time in the underworld. The first death being void (and or 10 minutes), the second 20 minutes, the third 40 minutes etc. This would also be a great way to keep in game conflicts more fair by forcibly taking out the people who have fallen in battle for a period of time :wink:.

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Post by Kyre » Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:17 am

Quick death suggestions:

1. Decrease the number of crosses so a char can only go to one or two with a lot of other people around to RP with.

2. Have a "freeze" at the cross: Inability for the char to leave for a certain amount of in game time i.e. 30 minutes or so will discourage just walking away after ghosting and will encourage RPing of wounds etc..

3. I would actually like the delay in the health to be longer then it is and would be nice if this included other attributes if possible i.e. decreased strength etc. before the char is well enough to continue other activities.

4. Have the insurance system Cromwell mentioned for items chars don't want to loose.

5. Decrease the skill loss, or at least keep the same as it is now. It still is enough to discourage most.

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Post by Athian » Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:25 am

Kyre wrote:Quick death suggestions:
3. I would actually like the delay in the health to be longer then it is and would be nice if this included other attributes if possible i.e. decreased strength etc. before the char is well enough to continue other activities.
This already happens; all your attributes are effected when you die. The health bar acts like a pseudo indicator to the healing process i.e. once you reach full health your attributes have been fully restored.

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Post by Grokk » Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:36 am

I'll mention again, just to make it clear, that I am not going to try and argue for a universal, one-life, permadeath system. I don't think it would be possible to implement such a system in an already running game, for many of the reasons already mentioned in this thread. People grow attached to their characters, people began playing with the belief that their characters would not be forcefully removed, and there is always the possibility of exploitation.

Some possibilities that I would like to see:

- Optional permadeath system. Those players who choose to create a 'permadeath character' are given added bonuses. Perhaps they begin with a decent level of skill, or skilling up is easier, or some alternative benefit. Existing characters, and those people who choose to play ordinary characters, remain as they are. There is no way of knowing which characters are permadeath ones and which are not (other than killing them, of course.) Permadeath characters in this case can be almost like NPCs, stepping into a role straight away and help flesh out the game world; supporting characters to the main cast of normal characters.

- A 'lives' system. Upon creation, the game client randomly generates a number of 'lives' for the character (perhaps between 5 and 10). The player is not told how many 'lives' the character gets, so that element of chance and risk is always there. Death is treated in the same manner as it currently is, with each 'life' the result of the Gods' decision to return the deceased to Illarion.

- Permanent skill loss system. With each death, a specific amount of skill cap is lost permanently. I've got no idea about the numbers involved, so will just use an original cap of 100. A character, then, might have a skill level of 90 and a skill cap of 100. They die, and the skill level falls to 80 and the cap falls to 90. The character can train the skill level back up to 90, but can go no higher. After a number of deaths, the character's injuries, age, and whatnot will render them incompetent skill-wise. They can continue to play the character, but will struggle to compete with new, uninjured characters in terms of combat effectiveness and craftsmanship.
Last edited by Grokk on Tue Oct 12, 2010 10:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Seori » Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:38 am

Death seems bad enough to me.

Why are we thinking about ways to increase misery for players? Why not expend this energy to come up ways to make the game more enjoyable?

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Post by Felbion Lijawyn » Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:45 am

Seori wrote:Death seems bad enough to me.

Why are we thinking about ways to increase misery for players? Why not expend this energy to come up ways to make the game more enjoyable?
Amen.

As it is, being ghosted annoys the crap out of players already. We already got Newbies or people with lower skills utterly change their characters behaviour when one of the "evil" (high skilled chars) get around. Only very few people dare to react to insults / insulting behaviour of let's say e.g. Avalyon, Athian, Orteg even though they would RAGE if they just had the skills to survive it. No need to make that worse.

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Post by pharse » Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:54 am

"respawn time" should not be increased. It's boring to be a ghost. Penalties are frustating. So... try the opposite: a bonus for all those who haven't died for a long time. When ghosted, this bonus is set to null again.

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Post by Felbion Lijawyn » Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:57 am

Wouldn't that give less active characters and/or characters with very high skill too much advantage? I can't imagine how let's say a mage with 70 - 80% skill, 90% magic resistance and parry and dodge around 60% would be ghosted. Over time, he would become so powerful because of the bonus, that not even groups of people could beat him anymore, while he can ghost his enemies every now and then to prevent them from ever standing a chance.

As for the inactive players, I don't log in = I don't get ghosted = my bonus keeps increasing.

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Post by Lrmy » Tue Oct 12, 2010 9:14 am

Felbion Lijawyn wrote: As it is, being ghosted annoys the crap out of players already. We already got Newbies or people with lower skills utterly change their characters behaviour when one of the "evil" (high skilled chars) get around. Only very few people dare to react to insults / insulting behaviour of let's say e.g. Avalyon, Athian, Orteg even though they would RAGE if they just had the skills to survive it. No need to make that worse.
That's just how the world is. You don't mess with the big guys. Those characters you mentioned have been around for a while as well and have reputations. I was banned years ago for not being scared of Athian actually. That was when the game didn't have any magic system in it. I wish rules were enforced as strictly now.

I like pharse's idea if some sort of cap on the benefits was in place like with character's diets.

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Post by pharse » Tue Oct 12, 2010 9:40 am

Lrmy wrote:I like pharse's idea if some sort of cap on the benefits was in place like with character's diets.
The diet system is exactly what I based my idea on ;)

We have seen there are clear evolution: from malus-bonus to bonus-only. This is state of the art and it is good.


A cap is of course needed. And whoever kills other chars only to null their bonus, well, this can be reported - and the bonus could even be restored.

PKing should not increase. The same restrictions will still apply (reasonable in RP). But "fear of death" is replaced by "will to survive".

All current death penalties should persist though. Players are used to this and *some* penalties are alright, no need to change :)

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Post by Skaalib Drurr » Tue Oct 12, 2010 10:05 am

I'd say that the problem is not just that players don't fear death enough.

It's also because all of the most powerful characters in the game behave similarly wickedly.

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Post by Grokk » Tue Oct 12, 2010 10:18 am

I dislike the bonus idea for the exact reason Felbion mentioned. The gap between new characters and highly-skilled ones is already far too great, such a bonus would only widen it.

I also don't think that it would have the desired effects. Death would still be nothing more than an annoyance, only a slightly greater one. The reason that a skill loss does not work is because those skills can be PGed back up. It is the same case with equipment loss. In the great majority of situations, the gear can be replaced easily enough. A bonus would be no different: just a nuisance waiting for it to come back. In each case, it is nothing more than time being lost. For a consequence to be serious, I think it needs to be permanent and something more significant than time loss.

edit:

And I also agree with Skaalib's second point. I think, though, that the behaviour of those players is a direct result of the first point. The reason that most of the powerful characters are played like they are is because there is no reason for them to fear death; there is simply no consequences for behaving in such a manner. You implement some serious consequences, and then just watch them think twice before insulting that lowly-skilled character sitting by the campfire....who knows what sort of friends they might share company with?

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Post by Estralis Seborian » Tue Oct 12, 2010 11:17 am

pharse wrote:"respawn time" should not be increased. It's boring to be a ghost.
Actually, "respawn time" will be reduced with the big update :-). All in all, I think current death penalties are rather severe. Players will always roleplay "badly". Illarion is a game afterall and no life simulation. So, the game engine can't really teach people how to roleplay.

In summary, I'd say small tweaks to current death penalties are fine, but big show changes are simply not necessary nor helpful. All you get when increasing the death penalties are pissed off players and we don't have too many content players, you know... ;-).

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Post by Colin Smalls » Tue Oct 12, 2010 11:31 am

Lrmy wrote:
Felbion Lijawyn wrote: As it is, being ghosted annoys the crap out of players already. We already got Newbies or people with lower skills utterly change their characters behaviour when one of the "evil" (high skilled chars) get around. Only very few people dare to react to insults / insulting behaviour of let's say e.g. Avalyon, Athian, Orteg even though they would RAGE if they just had the skills to survive it. No need to make that worse.
That's just how the world is. You don't mess with the big guys. Those characters you mentioned have been around for a while as well and have reputations. I was banned years ago for not being scared of Athian actually. That was when the game didn't have any magic system in it. I wish rules were enforced as strictly now.

I like pharse's idea if some sort of cap on the benefits was in place like with character's diets.
I think having a RP reputation based of powergaming is lame personally.

This would've worked a couple of years ago when an evil character could actually suffer consequences for murdering someone due to the ingame justice system, but the game seems too dead right now for this to work.

I think there are more important things to focus on in all honesty.

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Post by Junior Giant » Tue Oct 12, 2010 12:08 pm

Since this seems to have turned into a "How you would like death and injury to be handled by the game engine".
I would like the critical hits, the ones that splatter blood, to be more severe. Lets say anyone can get lucky and make a good hit, regardless of armor or skill. If that hit is made, the person falls to the ground senseless. One more good hit can finish them off. This would close the ground between powerful old characters and newer ones. This would make risk of death much more real.
Then the penalties of death, or going to the cross, also become more real. A character should think carefully before any bout because no matter the others ability they just might get lucky.

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Post by Felbion Lijawyn » Tue Oct 12, 2010 12:30 pm

Junior Giant wrote:Since this seems to have turned into a "How you would like death and injury to be handled by the game engine".
I would like the critical hits, the ones that splatter blood, to be more severe. Lets say anyone can get lucky and make a good hit, regardless of armor or skill. If that hit is made, the person falls to the ground senseless. One more good hit can finish them off. This would close the ground between powerful old characters and newer ones. This would make risk of death much more real.
Then the penalties of death, or going to the cross, also become more real. A character should think carefully before any bout because no matter the others ability they just might get lucky.
That's rediculous. If it worked like that, my warrior would be ghosted about 30 times each training session even though he usually doesn't even get below half hp. (And that only if I'm unlucky and get like 4 skeletons on me at the same time)

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Post by Arvemor » Tue Oct 12, 2010 12:46 pm

Whats ridiculous is that "levels" play such a role in combat. People *do* get lucky in battles, real ones. Just because you're character has fought wolves and zombies his entire life in Gobiath (for no adequately explored reason) doesn't mean he won't fall to a hit from a human. (Think of every underdog hero you've ever read about... they're heroes because they managed to defeat baddies who've been doing this for ages!)

My biggest wish is that people wouldn't squeeze every little stat and level out of the game as possible. Wishful thinking I guess. People are naturally exploitative. None of this would be a problem if everyone didn't consider their character's uber-heroes, who laugh in the face of death and act cool in every situation.

I personally am in favour of the Underworld system. It doesn't force people to perma-die, it fixes the current suspension of disbelief with ghosting, and it's inherently cool.

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Post by Felbion Lijawyn » Tue Oct 12, 2010 1:11 pm

I'm not considering my warrior an uber hero that should be invincible, but I don't see a point in having warriors if any random cook/carpenter/goldsmith can walk up to someone who has trained for years and bring them down with one random, lucky hit.
If we made such things based on randomness / luck, we could just remove any skillsystem we have.

In my opinion what you're suggesting fits into a pen&paper roleplay game but certainly not into a roleplay game that is based on any kind of engine.

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Post by pharse » Tue Oct 12, 2010 1:22 pm

Illarion is full of randomness. You can find it everywhere. But it is all in moderation, such that higher skill still results in better results. And I think this should stay as it is.

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Post by Athian » Tue Oct 12, 2010 6:06 pm

Grokk wrote:And I also agree with Skaalib's second point. I think, though, that the behaviour of those players is a direct result of the first point. The reason that most of the powerful characters are played like they are is because there is no reason for them to fear death; there is simply no consequences for behaving in such a manner. You implement some serious consequences, and then just watch them think twice before insulting that lowly-skilled character sitting by the campfire....who knows what sort of friends they might share company with?
Don't mean to burst your bubble here but this is entirely incorrect. Perma-death would not bring fear to powerful characters. Most of illarions powerful characters have a begrudging respect for one another. They might talk big, threaten each other or thwart each others mischief on occasion, but for the most part the equal sized lions don't waste energy trying to knock each other off unless they have a clear and absolute advantage. Otherwise you run the risk of dying during your attack. This is actually quite realistic. Military strength is often a deterrent toward conflict, its the same idea on an individual scale. Perma-death would instead make players less willing to help others against powerful characters. Even if you bring two friends to battle with you, each one that died would be gone forever, so why would they risk there life for you? Even the powerful friends wouldn't help out in this case, because if something goes wrong they die forever. Even in groups its very possible that one or two people might die, and it would be permanent.

In this case fear of death would only enhance the bridged gap between the weak and the strong. As with all the other points made seem to state, perma-death should not steer RP, as it would send it in a very wrong direction.

@Skalibb

Those people who play powerful characters are all quite different. If they all behave in one manner toward your characater then maybe it your character that just happens to be good at getting on peoples bad side. :P

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Post by Illal » Tue Oct 12, 2010 6:57 pm

There should be an underworld system, and the only way to get out would be RP.

That way you'd have a dungeon filled with babbling ghosts. (Or half a dozen Virgils)

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Post by Lrmy » Tue Oct 12, 2010 7:37 pm

Colin Smalls wrote:
Lrmy wrote:
Felbion Lijawyn wrote: I was banned years ago for not being scared of Athian actually. That was when the game didn't have any magic system in it. I wish rules were enforced as strictly now.
I think having a RP reputation based of powergaming is lame personally.

This would've worked a couple of years ago when an evil character could actually suffer consequences for murdering someone due to the ingame justice system, but the game seems too dead right now for this to work.

I think there are more important things to focus on in all honesty.
Athian didn't have a reputation because he was stronger than most people then. It was purely a RP thing.

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Post by Grokk » Tue Oct 12, 2010 9:02 pm

Athian wrote:Don't mean to burst your bubble here but this is entirely incorrect. Perma-death would not bring fear to powerful characters. Most of illarions powerful characters have a begrudging respect for one another. They might talk big, threaten each other or thwart each others mischief on occasion, but for the most part the equal sized lions don't waste energy trying to knock each other off unless they have a clear and absolute advantage. Otherwise you run the risk of dying during your attack. This is actually quite realistic. Military strength is often a deterrent toward conflict, its the same idea on an individual scale. Perma-death would instead make players less willing to help others against powerful characters.
With a system of serious consequences implemented, the landscape of a game changes drastically. Illarion would not be like it currently is. It is simply not true that serious consequences do not impact the powerful characters. As you said, "Most of illarions powerful characters have a begrudging respect for one another." With serious consequences in place, it only takes one or two of those people outside this to throw every single relationship on its head. Why would two powerful characters fight, when the one slain will simply return the next day to fight again and waste away everyone's skill points? If a character actually dies/permanently loses their combat effectiveness after so many fights, then duels, assassinations, conflict, feuds, and so forth actually come to mean something.

Since it has been raised in this topic, I thought I'd make a few points on the subject of high vs low skilled characters. I've said it before, but the gap between characters needs to be reduced. Introduce a higher element of luck? Maybe, but it shouldn't be anything too drastic. I think the main change that needs to be implemented regarding this is for some sort of balancing, allowing perhaps 6 or so untrained characters to compete with a single maximum-skill character.

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Post by Illal » Tue Oct 12, 2010 9:24 pm

Grokk wrote:Since it has been raised in this topic, I thought I'd make a few points on the subject of high vs low skilled characters. I've said it before, but the gap between characters needs to be reduced. Introduce a higher element of luck? Maybe, but it shouldn't be anything too drastic. I think the main change that needs to be implemented regarding this is for some sort of balancing, allowing perhaps 6 or so untrained characters to compete with a single maximum-skill character.
With something like that, six or so people taking on a high skill player, it would probably be better to just ask for a GM to help. That way it's supervised, and everyone has a chance.

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