Pet Peeves...(long!)

From: Danhiel Baker (
Date: 03/15/94

Here is yet another (verbose) idea listing that I've been working on.  I
hope that this will either stir up some discussion/debate or actually incite
coders to get to work on changes :)  I personally am interested in seeing
'learning mobs' and will write up pseudo-code for it if there is anyone
seriously interested in tackling it (nope, I don't code in C *yet*, but
~5 years of programming in Turbopascal should allow me to do most of the
logic and details work for a C coder to work from with minimal effort).
Anyhow, here it is... Enjoy!

Some ideas I've had on how to deal with some of the trouble that CHARMed
MOBs and pets cause, as well as some nice mods for them both...

	Have the CHARM spell also make the MOB act wimpy while charmed; have
	 the spell "broken" if the MOB does ever flee.  Alternatively, give
	 the mob an 'Intelligence check' to see if the spell breaks - this'll
	 give the MOB about a 55% chance(with the "base" 11 stats) to break
	 the spell - which is a bit more "mage friendly".  See the 'charm 
	 vengence' note below...
	Make charmed mobs and pets automatically ASSIST their master
	 when their master is in battle (unless the follower is resting/
	 sitting/sleeping, of course). Be sure that this only works
	 for the duration of the charm, and not simply because they are
	 followers of a PC.
	If the MOB has MEMORY, then when the charm spell runs out the MOB
	 should have a chance to "remember" the person that has subjected
	 them to slavery and forced combat.  This chance could be based on
	 MOB and player levs, or simply be a set chance.  The "memory"
	 would work by putting the players name/whatever (I'm a architect,
	 not a coder...yet) into the MOBs memory (replacing/bumping off
	 others if need be).  This would make it less clever to have a
	 whole platoon of cityguards with you (though I think that I may
	 have made them anti-charm by giving them a CHARM flag to start
	 with...) in hopes that they'll stick around and help you kill
	 evil things even after the charm runs out (heh..if you think that
	 trick is good, you haven't heard half of 'em!).
	Don't allow charmed mobs to either change in alignment or affect
	 another mobs alignment.  Pets affecting other mobs alignments
	 can be abused...and sense charmed mobs are basically mindless
	 slaves, they really don't _have_ a true alignemnt beyond neutral.
	 Doing what the master orders is basic training, not a thoughtful
	 attack, and therefore shouldn't affect alignment IMO.  Likewise,
	 no mob is going to aggressively attack another mob, so the attacker
	 shouldn't be "penalized" alignment-wise for self-defense.  Heck,
	 mob alignment changes due to killing something else as a whole
	 seems a bit shaky, and perhaps could be junked...
	Pet Items - currently in circle code pets cannot get/be given any
	 items.  Implementing a PET_ITEM object flag could add a bit of
	 flavor to the mud, as well as providing yet-another outlet for
	 the players money.  'Pets', for this purpose, will be considered
	 any mob that has IS_CARRYING_W set to 1000 and and IS_CARRYING_N
	 set to 100 (which the pet shop proc does automatically).  Only
	 pets will be able to wear these PET_ITEMs, though they still will
	 not be able to pick up these items - being given the item is OK
	 (will require a couple of additions to the GIVE and related 
	 procedures, possibly allowing for NOT adding the PET_ITEM to the
	 total weight/items carried).  These items could be such things
	 as some types of barding or additional weapons (such as metal
	 claws, which could either be 'worn on hands' to add damage or
	 wielded as a weapon, depending on how you want to build the
	 items themselves - though the natural weapons may be better
	 in some cases; the PCs won't know...).  non-pets loaded with this
	 armor on should also be possible (ie, the were 'E'quiped with it
	 by the .zon file upon loading).  Unless you want to implement
	 mob types - humanoid, quadraped, blob, flying, etc - then this
	 is the best way I see to handle allowing armor and weapons
	 to be used by pets (though it does leave out "charmed" mobs,
	 I can't see a good compromise - a charmed Cityguard shouldn't
	 wear Leather barding and wield metal claw extenders, while a
	 charmed fido could... it's easier just to settle on pets, which
	 have the distinctive 'full' setting - also, currently the charmed
	 fido could end up wielding a long sword and wearing full leather
	 armor, so.... ;)
	Modify the Pet Shop to actually deal with supplies - ie, randomly
	 generate the number of each type of pet present to be sold at 
	 start-up (based inversly on mob exp, so there are fewer wolves,
	 more kittens) and allow for a random "replenishing" of stock
	 weekly by 0-3 new pets of each kind, never exceeding some set
	 maximum number of each kind.  This would keep players from
	 having huge "kitten trains" following them in an attempt to simply
	 out-fodder and brute-force a mob to death, as players wouldn't
	 always be able to buy up all that they can afford... Could even
	 have the ratio of pet-price:pet-exp raise from the standard 3:1
	 when supplies begin to run low (like when only 15% of max number
	 are available)
	 Alternatively, limit players to a certain number of pets at one 
	 time, giving the players a random bit of appropriate sagely advice 
	 from the petshop owner (ie, "Them kittens just play too much to 
	 be any good in a fight if ya has more than 5 of them together... " 
	 or "Didn'tcha know that when ya get that many canines together 
	 all they do is bark and fight with each other... ").
	Dealing with the business of MOBs and experience is rather tricky IMO.
	 My interpretation of experience points in Diku is "knowledge and
	 skills gained through some course of action, and the further
	 refinement of such" (yeah, not the most clear def., but it's the
	 best I can put into a short statement ;).  Thus, at least upon 
	 first examination, it seems to me that a MOB *should* earn
	 experience in a fight; however, MOBs cannot advance levels, so 
	 they really are not becoming harder to kill due to this increase
	 in "knowledge and skills". (I'd love to see a mud that had
	 mobs that could learn! Hell, that'd probably even work as a 
	 great justification for having the MUD running on a University
	 machine [No Mr. Root, it's not a MUD - it's a human-aided machine
	 learning simulation I'm working on; those people logging in to
	 port 4000 are my research assistants] ;) Therefore, short of
	 keeping track of a MOBs original Exp Value and granting it
	 hitpoint and toHit bonuses based on what percentage of their
	 original Exp they'd gained (hmm...the more I think about it,
	 the more I want to see it in action!!), then there is little
	 reason to pass on the exp that a fido gained from killing Joe
	 the Spell-less to Bob the Sword Dropper who later kills the
	 same fido.  With no reason to pass it on, there is no reason
	 to even mark it in the first place by adding it to the MOBs
	 -- Getting to the point....
	 Charmed MOBs/pets help out in battle, both through attacking
	 for and often taking the hits for their master.
	 This, unto itself, is a great boon to anyone lacking a group,
	 or simply light on firepower/cannon-fodder.  However, the
	 general attitude that players take is that they should also be
	 able to gain more exp than they normally would by "splitting" a 
	 tough kill with a pet and then later killing it for at least a 
	 percentage of the exp that the pet earned.  IMO, a wolf that has
	 helped kill 20 cityguards but is just as easy for a player to
	 kill as an un-blooded wolf should be worth the same amount of
	 experience.  Several ways to handle this come to mind:
	 *	Make mobs 'transparent' to exp gains - they simply
		do not gain exp from fighting.  If loyal to a PC, they
		will automatically ASSIST the PC in battle or attack on
		command, but they will stop attacking when their victim
		is within 2 average-dam rolls (from the attacking, charmed
		mob - basically they are trained to stop just short of
		killing something) from death (or maybe just
		when victim is at 5% of their max hp).  If the mob is 
		being attacked by the victim at this time they could either
		flee or simply sit still and take the hits until their
		master kills the victim.  See the notes on "pets" fleeing
	*	Again, prevent mobs from earning exp, but instead of
		having loyal mobs stop attacking, allow them to keep 
		attacking even if it will kill the victim.  If the mob
		is grouped with their master (who *should* be in the
		same room at least, if not also fighting!) then the kill
		is split amoung the group with a share subtracted for the
		pet (include the pet's lev in the total if exp division is
		level based, but never actually credit the pet with any
		exp - simply provide a bit less to the players to reflect
		the added ease of the kill), though if the pet actually
		delivers the 'killing blow' do NOT figure in a bonus share
		for this!  (I'm not entirely sure that the actual "killer"
		gets extra exp compared to the group, but if so the "pet"
		should not get this; ie, extra should not be subtracted
		just because the pet made the kill - it should be just the
		same split as if someone else made the kill...I hope at 
		least *someone* can follow what I mean!)
	*	Add a 'exp gained' field to all mobs.  Any exp earned
		by a mob for fighting be added into this field (exp lost
		for fleeing should perhaps be subtracted from the field,
		though at a slower rate...not sure, as subtracting may
		make it too complex).  As the ratio of 'earned exp' to
		'base exp' increases the mob will gain HPs up to their
		max (ie, max for 2d5+45 is 55), slowly gain damage up
		to +their lev (ie, a lev 9 mob could end up going from
		4d3+2 damage to 4d3+9 damage, at a slow rate), or gain
		thAC0 (not sure where to max this one out; I only really
		forsee a few bonuses to thAC0 and Damage, while most go
		towards increasing the mobs HP to their max lev, and
		perhaps a *little* beyond in extreme cases).  Killing
		such a mob will grant you the original exp plus some
		percentage of the mob's "earned exp" (as in this case
		they actuall have to work harder to kill the mob).
		Charmed mobs/pets should gain "earned exp" slower IMO,
		simply to reflect that they are primarily following

Lemme know if you want more ideas/details on something I said here, or
if I seem to have left something out...


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