Topic: Rules of engagement for adventurers in the wild  (Read 3299 times)


Utumno

« on: May 06, 2019, 10:24:51 PM »
Hi everybody,

I would like to propose a set of simple rules for making the interaction between the player and adventurers or hunters found in the wild more realistic and less prone to exploitation. Sami has said that next version is all about NPCs, so I wonder if there is still time for a simple fix regarding this aspect of NPC-player interaction.

As you know, when the player stumbles upon a pacific NPC in the wild, said NPC basically acts as if nothing interesting is happening. A completetely unknown person appears from nowhere, pointing a broadhead arrow to the NPC head. Nobody says anything, not even "hello?" or "hi, I'm gonna murder you while you are all alone here!". The NPC walks around, bored, looking at the trees, turns his back to the player and bang!, free equipment/clothing and food. Not that realistic. Luckily it is easy to remedy, in my opinion.

Two basic considerations:

First, if the NPC sees the player for the first time, the NPC should be able to react.

Second, that first-time reaction should depend on the distance from the player. If the distance is outside the "personal space" of the NPC, the NPC talks, asking if the player is friend or foe. If the player is inside the "personal space" of the NPC, it will assume aggressive intent, and the NPC will attack at once.

If the player said "I'm a friend", can he treacherously attack later? I'll say either no, or give the player such bad karma that is almost suicidal. I prefer that the player be prohibited from attacking, so he can't exploit, again, a naive NPC.

The player still has the advantage here, as he can still zoom in with weapons ready and at range while the NPC won't have his weapons at the ready, and has the option of stalking the NPC and shoot it with impunity. But once discovered, it is either challenged about his intentions by the NPC (if far) or directly attacked if too near.

The logic is pretty simple. In pseudo-pseudo-pseudo code: ;)

if (player_not_detected)
      do nothing
else
      if (distance > NPC_personal_space)
         NPC asks if player is friend or foe
                if (answer is foe) NPC attacks; else nobody can attack,
      else
         NPC attacks
     endif
endif


As you can see, it is nothing particularly complicated and solves the naive adventurer NPC exploit.

What do you think?

Regards,
Utumno

   




 

 

PALU

« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2019, 11:41:57 PM »
It won't work because half the times you encounter an NPC in spruce infested forests it's going to be bloody, because you won't see them until your nose bumps into theirs as your round a tree, not to mention zooming in right beside the NPC from the overland map.

Dungeon Smash

« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2019, 11:52:58 PM »
I really like this idea but I don't think NPCs should automatically attack when somebody enters "Personal Space", and should instead simply ask intentions, or give a shout to the effect of "Halt!  Come no closer!" and then engage in combat if the warning is not heeded. perhaps there could be another case to prevent constant bloodbaths.  Like perhaps "Cautious" state, similar to animals "Alert" state, where NPC will wield their weapons and will watch the PC continually until a certain distance is established, friendly relations begin, or combat begins.

Utumno

« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2019, 12:35:16 AM »
Hi guys,

Thanks for the interest!

Regarding the issue of the starting distance (the distance between player and NPC right after the auto-zoom), I think it is realistic that most of the time you'll see/hear each other coming, so that distance will be well beyond personal space. BUT, in a few occasions, you will almost bump into each other, and yes, if within personal distance a freak-out can occur.

Let's establish this 2 extra rules:

1: probability of starting distance < personal space = 5%

And:

2: If player has any weapon ready while spawning withing personal space, the NPC WILL go into attack mode. Otherwise, the friend-or-foe dialog occurs.

This mitigates the advantage that player has zooming in fully armed: there is a small chance that it will provoke an attack by spawning too close to a startled NPC.

The pseudo code needs to be changed for that possibility. Your homework, dudes :-)


 
« Last Edit: May 07, 2019, 12:37:12 AM by Utumno »

Saiko Kila

« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2019, 12:51:50 PM »
Why just don't give "negative karma" to PC attacking non-aggressive people (except maybe robbers, I always shoot the robbers on the spot and consider it justified)? The effects of negative karma can be for example bad luck (penalty to rolls) or inability to sleep (which already sometimes happen even if you are in good standing with spirits, though this can be alleviated by some beverages).

Utumno

« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2019, 01:17:47 PM »
Hi Saiko,

I think robbers should always be considered aggresive. It simplifies things, and the player needs some righteous targets for his innate violence  ;D.

I think in this game karma is not a strong enough deterrent. You can weather a lot of bad luck, and still be alive, especially knowing that you will have bad luck and prepare accordingly. Players will just continue to kill pacific NPC all the same. That's why I'll like to see an enforced peace, if that's the decision of the player.

Regards,
Utumno.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2019, 01:36:40 PM by Utumno »

Ara D.

« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2019, 08:37:05 PM »
More difficult on the coding side I'm sure but what if tribal NPCs go missing/murdered their villages become more suspicious of strangers, or items are given a taken tag, for example you try and sell an axe to the wrong village old man and he like why do have my son's axe? And is that blood stained coat his too? Hey this guy killed my son get him!

Utumno

« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2019, 08:53:54 PM »
Ara, that's an excellent addition, and not that hard to implement either.

You just need a field for "taken with violence" in the items' inventory data structure, plus another field for "from which tribe?". Then, if you try to sell it to said tribe, there will be some probability that it is will be recognized, with instant (and letal) consequences. 

How big the probability? Well, no idea. Let's say 50%, to have it be really dangerous. Also, don't show any indication/mark in the inventory about the "taken with violence" and "from where" fields to the player. The fun is facing the consequences of remembering (or not!) where your nice masterwork northern bow came from!


You know, the more I think about all this, the more I'm convinced these changes can be done relatively easy, and would really make the game more challenging and realistic without becoming too hard or boring. So Sami, if you happen to read this, please give it a whirl in your brain! 



« Last Edit: May 07, 2019, 08:59:08 PM by Utumno »

PALU

« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2019, 11:36:31 PM »
So:
- The PC hires Jurkka to help out with the the village's quest to get rid of a robber band.
- Jurkka drops his axe during the battle and gets killed a bit later (possibly by Osmo, who made a pin cushion out of Jurkka's back during the fight, as the player was too careless/inexperienced to realize ranged NPCs are bad for the group's health).
- The PC pick up all the stuff laying around after the fight and gives Jurkka a fire burial.
- The PC returns to the village and reports that the robbers are all dead, but unfortunately, Jurkka was lost as well (that part is not available in the game).
- The PC tries to get rid of the junk collected, and gets lynched by the villagers for murdering Jurkka.

or:

The PC encounters the dead body of a hunter in the forest (which ought to be a possible outcome of the hunting the more active NPCs are going to engage in), takes farewell of him through a funeral pyre, picks up the items dropped by the body and goes to the nearest village, tries to get rid of the items he's got no use for, and gets a summary execution.

Utumno

« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2019, 01:30:30 AM »
So:
- The PC hires Jurkka to help out with the the village's quest to get rid of a robber band.
- Jurkka drops his axe during the battle and gets killed a bit later (possibly by Osmo, who made a pin cushion out of Jurkka's back during the fight, as the player was too careless/inexperienced to realize ranged NPCs are bad for the group's health).
- The PC pick up all the stuff laying around after the fight and gives Jurkka a fire burial.
- The PC returns to the village and reports that the robbers are all dead, but unfortunately, Jurkka was lost as well (that part is not available in the game).
- The PC tries to get rid of the junk collected, and gets lynched by the villagers for murdering Jurkka.

or:

The PC encounters the dead body of a hunter in the forest (which ought to be a possible outcome of the hunting the more active NPCs are going to engage in), takes farewell of him through a funeral pyre, picks up the items dropped by the body and goes to the nearest village, tries to get rid of the items he's got no use for, and gets a summary execution.

Well, that's solved if the "taken with violence" flag is only activated if the PC does the killing. That is, all items of the victim get that flag if killed by the PC. No biggie.

And if the PC accidentally kills the NPC in a group fight, well, you can say that the relatives will get mighty pissed off anyway if PC tries to sell something from the dear deceased by the side, no?

Regards,
Utumno




Utumno

« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2019, 01:53:35 AM »
So, to resume, we have two suggestions:

1. Rules of engagement for NPC, as described above, and
2. Possibility of discovery if trying to sell goods, obtained by killing, to the same tribe as the victim, implemented via a new flag.


Sami

  • UnReal World creator
  • Administrator
  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 684
  • Total likes: 1491
  • UnReal World creator
    • View Profile
    • UnReal World
« Reply #11 on: May 08, 2019, 11:40:12 AM »
All this assumes that most of the time human <> human encounters in the wild are hostile. They are not, in our opinion, and in (our) NPCs opinion too - though it seems to be many play the game differently. So, to me, this is a wrong point of view to start with.

Back in the day, as people still want to play the game the hostile way, we had a system where villagers would react to player characters entering the villages with wielded weapons. Coming too close, the villagers would attack. Nobody really wants this system, and we removed it too, as it's so burdensome to constantly answer to NPCs if you are friend or a foe.
And you make mistakes too, and get attacked even though you would want to play really peacefully.

- Sami | UnReal World creator

Utumno

« Reply #12 on: May 08, 2019, 02:15:02 PM »
Hi Sami, nice to hear from you!

The rules of engagement I am proposing are limited to one-on-one encounters in the wild, not to villages, where they would indeed be quite tedious.

The rules I'm proposing don't assume hostility or peacefulness. That's the whole point. They assume that you don't know what are the intentions of the other guy, because this is the first time you see him. And besides, you are in the wilderness, meeting someone completely unknown, miles and miles from help if something goes wrong. It is natural to be careful (more so in tribal times!). And that's the idea: to be careful, and have some interaction to determine intention. And also, to give a fighting chance to the NPC, if it is the PC  the one not that peaceful, otherwise it is open to an obvious exploit.



All this assumes that most of the time human <> human encounters in the wild are hostile. They are not, in our opinion, and in (our) NPCs opinion too - though it seems to be many play the game differently. So, to me, this is a wrong point of view to start with.

Back in the day, as people still want to play the game the hostile way, we had a system where villagers would react to player characters entering the villages with wielded weapons. Coming too close, the villagers would attack. Nobody really wants this system, and we removed it too, as it's so burdensome to constantly answer to NPCs if you are friend or a foe.
And you make mistakes too, and get attacked even though you would want to play really peacefully.

Sami

  • UnReal World creator
  • Administrator
  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 684
  • Total likes: 1491
  • UnReal World creator
    • View Profile
    • UnReal World
« Reply #13 on: May 08, 2019, 09:16:23 PM »
Hi Sami, nice to hear from you!

The rules of engagement I am proposing are limited to one-on-one encounters in the wild, not to villages, where they would indeed be quite tedious.

The rules I'm proposing don't assume hostility or peacefulness. That's the whole point. They assume that you don't know what are the intentions of the other guy, because this is the first time you see him. And besides, you are in the wilderness, meeting someone completely unknown, miles and miles from help if something goes wrong. It is natural to be careful (more so in tribal times!). And that's the idea: to be careful, and have some interaction to determine intention. And also, to give a fighting chance to the NPC, if it is the PC  the one not that peaceful, otherwise it is open to an obvious exploit.

Yes, I understand you talked about wild encounters, but we like to think that when two woodsmen meet in the wild they are by default more friendly than suspicious.
This is the cultural basis we are building on. (Things would be naturally different if there were known hostilities like tribal wars etc.)
The problem also is that if the same woodsmen keeps circling at your area you would basically have to define your good intention every time you meet him.
Or, if you would have to say it only once, and then could later approach the same NPC with wielded sword or readied bow the exploit would be right back.
Believe me, people would get bored to constant "friend or foe?" questions and they would sometimes forget to unwield their weapons, and unexpected mistakenly initiated troubles would arise.

There will be people to exploit, the innocents to attack, for those who are into it and as it's not (hopefully) the leading playstyle it's not even all that worthwhile to start cutting it down with laborous mechanics. As we've noticed of this thread already that exploit-proof intention declaration towards NPCs is hardly going to be exploit-proof at all.

If the exploit itself really is the problem then kind of "negative karma" is the best way to fight it. There are several folklore based means that include for example the restless dead souls haunting their murderers, but it could be also made so that one day, when murderous player character happened to turn their back at random seemingly peaceful woodman they got attacked instead. Now that would be karma. And probably also encourage to be polite towards fellow woodsmen. 
- Sami | UnReal World creator

Utumno

« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2019, 10:42:36 PM »
Hi Sami,

I see what you mean, that you prefer encounters to be peaceful by default. I can't agree that it is realistic, or that there aren't solutions to the "repeated encounters" issue, but anyway it is your game, not mine ;). So ok, let's keep it in the gentle, unsuspicious side.

I like your idea of bad karma for murder expressed as meeting, sooner or later, a "pacific" NPC that suddenly attacks by surprise, preferable in a very unfair way (attacking from behind, as you suggested). As a player if that happens I would like it to be clear why: for example, a message saying something like : "Aha! Last night the spirits revealed to me in a dream who murdered my cousin! IT WAS YOU!!!", and bang, hit to the head from behind  ;D. If karma is the solution, it needs to be made clear why, otherwise it would appear arbitrary, not funny at all, and the player won't learn not to murder vagabounds on a whim, at least not without consequences.

Another variation: if the "karmic dream" NPC recognizes the PC as a murderer in a village (of the same tribe as the victim, of course), it shouts out the "killer!" message and the whole village attacks. Either death or a good mauling plus robbery of most items follows, as in an encounter with robbers.

So, let me change my first suggestion for dealing with the adventurer's exploit, and keep the second. That is:

1. Allow the killing of the NPC, but with clear and terrible karmic consequences (pacific NPC turning violent and attacking treacherously)
2. Possibility of discovery if trying to sell goods (obtained by killing) to the same tribe as the victim, implemented via a new flag.

How about it?

Regards,
U.
 

Hi Sami, nice to hear from you!

The rules of engagement I am proposing are limited to one-on-one encounters in the wild, not to villages, where they would indeed be quite tedious.

The rules I'm proposing don't assume hostility or peacefulness. That's the whole point. They assume that you don't know what are the intentions of the other guy, because this is the first time you see him. And besides, you are in the wilderness, meeting someone completely unknown, miles and miles from help if something goes wrong. It is natural to be careful (more so in tribal times!). And that's the idea: to be careful, and have some interaction to determine intention. And also, to give a fighting chance to the NPC, if it is the PC  the one not that peaceful, otherwise it is open to an obvious exploit.

Yes, I understand you talked about wild encounters, but we like to think that when two woodsmen meet in the wild they are by default more friendly than suspicious.
This is the cultural basis we are building on. (Things would be naturally different if there were known hostilities like tribal wars etc.)
The problem also is that if the same woodsmen keeps circling at your area you would basically have to define your good intention every time you meet him.
Or, if you would have to say it only once, and then could later approach the same NPC with wielded sword or readied bow the exploit would be right back.
Believe me, people would get bored to constant "friend or foe?" questions and they would sometimes forget to unwield their weapons, and unexpected mistakenly initiated troubles would arise.

There will be people to exploit, the innocents to attack, for those who are into it and as it's not (hopefully) the leading playstyle it's not even all that worthwhile to start cutting it down with laborous mechanics. As we've noticed of this thread already that exploit-proof intention declaration towards NPCs is hardly going to be exploit-proof at all.

If the exploit itself really is the problem then kind of "negative karma" is the best way to fight it. There are several folklore based means that include for example the restless dead souls haunting their murderers, but it could be also made so that one day, when murderous player character happened to turn their back at random seemingly peaceful woodman they got attacked instead. Now that would be karma. And probably also encourage to be polite towards fellow woodsmen.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2019, 10:53:26 PM by Utumno »

 

anything