Input on a new mush idea



  • I'm hoping this is the correct place to post this. It's not really an advertisement but a request for input. Feel free to yell at me or move it if you need to.

    So, I recently took a little break from MUing and now the itch is back and I'm feeling fresh-faced and inspired. At one point, I was working on a post-apocalyptic MU which never got off the ground due to some code complications. I've decided to have another go at it, with a slightly altered setting and some new game mechanics ideas. None of this is set in stone. I simply want to get a feel for whether or not there would be any interest in the game I am envisioning and perhaps get some input about things I should tweak.

    Ok, first, a bit about theme

    Basically, the game is set just months after a zombie outbreak. The world is still in turmoil. Very few people understand what is really going on. There's confusion and horror in the air. Survivors are just beginning to encounter one another. Settlements are unstable and temporary. Death is a constant threat and scavenged resources are the currency of the world.

    What are my goals?

    I want a zombie game that takes place just after the outbreak, so no one's certain of anyone's intentions and the zombies themselves are still a very big threat. Where no settlement is permanent and violence could erupt at any moment, with the zombies or between settlements. Where alliances can be made and just as easily broken, where members of a settlement don't always see eye to eye, where betrayal exists and there's a fuzzy line between heroism and cruelty.

    I want a game that mixes casual RP with extreme danger, the requires forging alliances and also sometimes breaking them, where even the landscape of the grid changes over time depending on the players' actions.

    The game would be World of Darkness, using GMC rules (but not so much the theme), with some minor modifications such as new merits fitting to the theme. All characters would be mortal, although I am contemplating allowing low level psychics (perhaps one dot allowed at Cg and working up from there). This is one of the points I'm still debating.

    Ok, moving on to the technical bits.

    • Grid - The grid will be composed of 7 zones. Each of the four settlements will have their own grid space, as well as three neutral zones. The neutral zones consist of one PvE danger zone (a ST may choose to begin an impromptu PrP in this zone), one potential-PvP-ish danger zone (players may go head to head with each other - but be warned the effect this may have on the relationship between your respective settlements!), one casual neutral zone (where people may RP, interact, without fear of imminent danger or death - the place where friendship and alliances are made). These zones may be expanded but for now I'm keeping it small and simple.

    • Settlements - There are four settlements. As the game progresses, old settlements will be destroyed and new settlements will be formed. How, you ask? Each season (every three months), a settlement will be destroyed. Members of that settlement may choose to rebuild or disband. If rebuilding, they use their Resources (see below) and get to vote on what sort of location/settlement they would like. The list for which settlement will be destroyed which season is created pre-game (for the life of the game) so that there is no question of favoritism. Because of this, there will only ever be four settlements at one time. Starting settlements will be:

      The Prison - Highly defendable but rather bleak. Bonus to Structure, penalty to Comfort (see Resources below).
      The Town - It's almost like old times. Bonus to Comfort, penalty to Power.
      Military Outpost - The last remnants of the military. Bonus to Power, penalty to Health.
      The Farm - Laying low and hoping for the best. Bonus to Health, penalty to Structure.

    • Resources - There are a total of nine Resources. Each settlement will begin with one dot in each Resource except their bonus (they will receive two dots) and their penalty (they will receive 0 dots), so that all settlements begin with 10 dots dispersed. At the beginning of each month, ever member of a settlement by choose to spend their Resource merit dots towards Settlement Resources at the rate of 1 to 1 dots. Settlements may also gain Settlement Resources through approved PrPs. Settlement Resources include:

      Building (materials) - Wood, metal, nails, etc. +1 to building new structures.
      Building (tools) - Hammers, shovels, limited power tools (available to those who have Technology (power), etc. +1 to building new structures.
      Food (supplies) - Scavenged, stolen, otherwise acquired food. Settlement uses 1 Food (supplies) Resource each month for every 5 members.
      Food (sources) - Gardens, livestock, etc. Provides nothing for it's current month but will provide Food (supplies) 3 for each dot the following month.
      Technology (power) - Allows the use of lights and some electronics. Level of Technology (power) determines how much energy is created (each dot can sustain 5 people in comfort).
      Technology (communication) - Allows for the use of communications devices. Requires Technology (power) of 1 and allows players to use radios, communicating with up to dots/players at a time (this can be used during scenes or for investigation but be careful - it's not telepathy and the squawk of a radio can give you away, not to mention they aren't always guaranteed to work).
      Armory (weapons) - Weapons. Each dot allows for an additional weapon in the Armory that can be used by any member. Uncommon weapons may require a plot to obtain.
      Armory (ammunition) - Allows the use of guns. Each dot will provide 20 rounds per month. Use them wisely.
      Medical - Medicine, equipment. Reduced healing times, emergency health boosts.

    • Settlement Resource Stats - The amount of Settlement Resources a settlement has determines their stats in settlement conflicts (because both diplomacy and warfare are options). It goes something like this:

      Attack (Power) - Armory (weapons) + Armory (ammunition)
      Defense (Structure) - Building (materials) + Building (tools)
      Health - Food (supplies) + Food (sources) + Medical

    • Policies - Basic stuff. I'm debating alts because I'm not sure if it'd cause conflict in the settlements or inspire RP and could use some advice there. XP, I'm thinking 1 experience a week, with the option of beats/aspirations (with a 1 experience per week cap), as well as ST bonuses, which I'll address below. 18 and up. Keep graphic sexual RP to private areas. Utilize a FTB policy when graphic violence may occur. I'm still typing these up but it's general common sense. I'll hit a couple of them, however:

      Plot and Incentive XP - Participation will grant 1 beat. The STer will get 2 beats. After that, it's the Exceptional RP bonus. Players can recommend other players, or staff. Staff can recommend players. If approved, player or ST can acquire an extra beat for the scene. I'd like to also extend this to Exceptional Staffing, meaning a build/admin/job staffer who is polite and prompt can also get get a recommendation to use on one of their characters. Each recommendation would be approved to prevent abuse.

      Harassment - None. 3 warnings at most. No warnings require for particularly grievous offenses (which are thankfully rare). This includes staff. IC douchebaggery is fine but none of us have time for that crap OOC.


    I know there's a lot of tweaking that needs to be done. This is a general idea and I left a lot out. What I want to know is whether or not anyone is interested in such a game. That said, I'm always willing to listen to advice and constructive criticism as well, so don't be shy. Just remember, rough draft! Just brainstorming here. So, yay or nay?

    Edit: I need to adjust things a bit. Comfort was originally going to apply as a bonus but I need to re-write that. I did edit for the settlement stats to make more sense otherwise.


  • Politics

    @Thisnameistaken said:

    I'm hoping this is the correct place to post this. It's not really an advertisement but a request for input. Feel free to yell at me or move it if you need to.

    So, I recently took a little break from MUing and now the itch is back and I'm feeling fresh-faced and inspired. At one point, I was working on a post-apocalyptic MU which never got off the ground due to some code complications. I've decided to have another go at it, with a slightly altered setting and some new game mechanics ideas. None of this is set in stone. I simply want to get a feel for whether or not there would be any interest in the game I am envisioning and perhaps get some input about things I should tweak.

    Ok, first, a bit about theme

    Basically, the game is set just months after a zombie outbreak. The world is still in turmoil. Very few people understand what is really going on. There's confusion and horror in the air. Survivors are just beginning to encounter one another. Settlements are unstable and temporary. Death is a constant threat and scavenged resources are the currency of the world.

    What are my goals?

    I want a zombie game that takes place just after the outbreak, so no one's certain of anyone's intentions and the zombies themselves are still a very big threat. Where no settlement is permanent and violence could erupt at any moment, with the zombies or between settlements. Where alliances can be made and just as easily broken, where members of a settlement don't always see eye to eye, where betrayal exists and there's a fuzzy line between heroism and cruelty.

    I want a game that mixes casual RP with extreme danger, the requires forging alliances and also sometimes breaking them, where even the landscape of the grid changes over time depending on the players' actions.

    The game would be World of Darkness, using GMC rules (but not so much the theme), with some minor modifications such as new merits fitting to the theme. All characters would be mortal, although I am contemplating allowing low level psychics (perhaps one dot allowed at Cg and working up from there). This is one of the points I'm still debating.

    Ok, moving on to the technical bits.

    • Grid - The grid will be composed of 7 zones. Each of the four settlements will have their own grid space, as well as three neutral zones. The neutral zones consist of one PvE danger zone (a ST may choose to begin an impromptu PrP in this zone), one potential-PvP-ish danger zone (players may go head to head with each other - but be warned the effect this may have on the relationship between your respective settlements!), one casual neutral zone (where people may RP, interact, without fear of imminent danger or death - the place where friendship and alliances are made). These zones may be expanded but for now I'm keeping it small and simple.

    • Settlements - There are four settlements. As the game progresses, old settlements will be destroyed and new settlements will be formed. How, you ask? Each season (every three months), a settlement will be destroyed. Members of that settlement may choose to rebuild or disband. If rebuilding, they use their Resources (see below) and get to vote on what sort of location/settlement they would like. The list for which settlement will be destroyed which season is created pre-game (for the life of the game) so that there is no question of favoritism. Because of this, there will only ever be four settlements at one time. Starting settlements will be:

      The Prison - Highly defendable but rather bleak. Bonus to Structure, penalty to Comfort (see Resources below).
      The Town - It's almost like old times. Bonus to Comfort, penalty to Power.
      Military Outpost - The last remnants of the military. Bonus to Power, penalty to Health.
      The Farm - Laying low and hoping for the best. Bonus to Health, penalty to Structure.

    • Resources - There are a total of nine Resources. Each settlement will begin with one dot in each Resource except their bonus (they will receive two dots) and their penalty (they will receive 0 dots), so that all settlements begin with 10 dots dispersed. At the beginning of each month, ever member of a settlement by choose to spend their Resource merit dots towards Settlement Resources at the rate of 1 to 1 dots. Settlements may also gain Settlement Resources through approved PrPs. Settlement Resources include:

      Building (materials) - Wood, metal, nails, etc. +1 to building new structures.
      Building (tools) - Hammers, shovels, limited power tools (available to those who have Technology (power), etc. +1 to building new structures.
      Food (supplies) - Scavenged, stolen, otherwise acquired food. Settlement uses 1 Food (supplies) Resource each month for every 5 members.
      Food (sources) - Gardens, livestock, etc. Provides nothing for it's current month but will provide Food (supplies) 3 for each dot the following month.
      Technology (power) - Allows the use of lights and some electronics. Level of Technology (power) determines how much energy is created (each dot can sustain 5 people in comfort).
      Technology (communication) - Allows for the use of communications devices. Requires Technology (power) of 1 and allows players to use radios, communicating with up to dots/players at a time (this can be used during scenes or for investigation but be careful - it's not telepathy and the squawk of a radio can give you away, not to mention they aren't always guaranteed to work).
      Armory (weapons) - Weapons. Each dot allows for an additional weapon in the Armory that can be used by any member. Uncommon weapons may require a plot to obtain.
      Armory (ammunition) - Allows the use of guns. Each dot will provide 20 rounds per month. Use them wisely.
      Medical - Medicine, equipment. Reduced healing times, emergency health boosts.

    • Settlement Resource Stats - The amount of Settlement Resources a settlement has determines their stats in settlement conflicts (because both diplomacy and warfare are options). It goes something like this:

      Attack - Armory (weapons) + Armory (ammunition)
      Defense - Building (materials) + Building (tools)
      Health - Food (supplies) + Food (sources) + Medical

    • Policies - Basic stuff. I'm debating alts because I'm not sure if it'd cause conflict in the settlements or inspire RP and could use some advice there. XP, I'm thinking 1 experience a week, with the option of beats/aspirations (with a 1 experience per week cap), as well as ST bonuses, which I'll address below. 18 and up. Keep graphic sexual RP to private areas. Utilize a FTB policy when graphic violence may occur. I'm still typing these up but it's general common sense. I'll hit a couple of them, however:

      Plot and Incentive XP - Participation will grant 1 beat. The STer will get 2 beats. After that, it's the Exceptional RP bonus. Players can recommend other players, or staff. Staff can recommend players. If approved, player or ST can acquire an extra beat for the scene. I'd like to also extend this to Exceptional Staffing, meaning a build/admin/job staffer who is polite and prompt can also get get a recommendation to use on one of their characters. Each recommendation would be approved to prevent abuse.

      Harassment - None. 3 warnings at most. No warnings require for particularly grievous offenses (which are thankfully rare). This includes staff. IC douchebaggery is fine but none of us have time for that crap OOC.


    I know there's a lot of tweaking that needs to be done. This is a general idea and I left a lot out. What I want to know is whether or not anyone is interested in such a game. That said, I'm always willing to listen to advice and constructive criticism as well, so don't be shy. Just remember, rough draft! Just brainstorming here. So, yay or nay?

    I'm into the idea, yes. I don't think I have time to commit to it, no. I think your biggest challenge will be in creating the political/off-screen system necessary to make the survival element prevalent.



  • This isn't particularly useful of me, but: although I probably wouldn't end up playing because I don't multigame very well these days, I quite like the idea in theory and I think the thinking so far is interesting.

    It seems like the terms may be changing between parts, though -- Structure and Comfort don't seem to have definitions anywhere, Power is only in there as Technology (power) and I'm not sure if that's the same thing, and Health is a Resource Stat rather than a resource, so I don't know how the bonus/penalty points would work. It says they're from the nine Resources, but the listed bonus/penalty items don't seem to be Resources.

    Also, if they get two in the bonus and 0 in the penalty and we ARE talking the nine Resources, they only get 9 points, not 10, since basically the penalty's point is going to bonus.



  • @Ninjakitten Thank you! I re-wrote at one point and apparently missed that. Edited to kind of fix (added to the list of things I need to smooth out).



  • @Ganymede Yeah. I'm aiming for a smaller crowd but if I go ahead I'll definitely a solid group of staffers to help with all the behind the scenes. First things first, though. Can't hire good staffers without a solid core theme/system/ideology, so I'm working that out first. Hell, this project might be six months out, the way I move.


  • Admin

    @Thisnameistaken

    This would work or fail based on two major factors:

    1. If resource deprivation leads to a dynamic environment where one group's gain is another's loss - with all the friction, politics, backstabbing and brutality that could entail - or if playing kumbaya with each other leads to a quick happily ever after. This includes dealing with a tilted demographic (why won't every new character go join the winning side until they take over through numbers alone) without adding too much micromanagement to people's gameplay.

    2. Whether players will have something to roleplay about outside PrPs, since STs will always be scarse. Also consider fracturing the playerbase too much might be an issue, especially if it's broken down into X IC sub-communities with little or no IC contact with each other.

    I'd focus on those two factors and design game mechanics based on those, especially (1).


  • Pitcrew

    I dig that settlements WILL be destroyed. One thing I learned from another zombie game is that characters and the settings, like Walking Dead, should be impermanent and mobile. Make the in between zones deadly enough so that they appreciate the camp, but do what you can so that the camp doesn't become bogged down with "playing house".

    Even pacifist, non-combat characters need to justify their survival, IMO. If the player believes they can hole up in a town and RP farming and forever be untouched...some players will definitely only take that option.


  • Pitcrew

    I am not sure you want to start out with four separate settlements.
    My concern is that it will likely splinter the player base and make finding rp harder especially in the very important early days when you are trying to build a player base.


  • Pitcrew

    Yeaaaaaaah, splitting your playerbase, particularly for a niche game, is a really really bad idea.



  • You could remove one of the settlements from the immediate area, or a pair I guess, and give them a significantly different experience and allow alts in each of the very different environments.

    EG one place is wilderness and somewhat isolated with trips into danger zones for supplies while the other focuses on people who have forts in the high rises of NY and face a very different world. A world rich in enemies, a cluttered tight environment, and a lot of dangerous people. I realize I just described The Division with zombies, but I meant more like Mad Max or sky cities with bridges between skyscrapers and rooftop gardens a la Freak Angels type setting.


  • Pitcrew

    Even when allowing alts in the various places (because both games I know of that were killed or nearly killed by a split of the playerbase in the last few years allowed alts in the different spots), splitting the playerbase is a bad idea.



  • It'd be something different.

    Maybe that kind of concept failed elsewhere, but it doesn't mean it can't be implemented in a better way.

    If we cut out all the concepts that have at one point failed, we'll be left with the same old shit.

    It's lame if someone proposes a different idea and all the feedback they get is "that won't work." It's more productive to try and figure out how to counteract the reason it failed before.

    For instance, Serenity MUSH had people separated in small crews on ships, but they all met on the Eavesdown docks. So it's not necessarily a bad idea, you just have to build the theme to make it work. Maybe make a large resource that they all have to visit, but can't stay there. I wouldn't use alts to counteract the separation. Imagine getting to meet people from a group you don't even know OOCly. You don't know how the characters breathe, how they function, who's their leader.

    As players we also have to give a chance to different concepts.



  • What is the difference between differing spheres, alts, and alts who are in different locations?

    I, personally, have never been at a place where that seemed to matter. Being in another sphere was like being on another planet often. Sure I was in public places where other supers were at some other point, but rarely with any interactions, and sphere specific places had almost none.

    I do agree that four separate places seems like it might be too many, but you can't have competition without at least two sites.

    I suppose if you liked modelling social change more than supplies and such, you could battle for the soul of the survivor culture that comes out of the apocalypse.


  • Pitcrew

    @Misadventure
    For me the difference between splitting spheres and splitting locations, is I can still easily rp with folks in different spheres. Take Fallcoast for example, if nothing is going on my my sphere I can rp social things with others or even small scale PrPs I have been in a couple where the other PCs were mortal and had fun with my character not using powers for the IC fear of being discovered but still getting to contribute to a story and have fun.
    Now and games where things are separated by location travel can be an issue, both with time and with theme. Time can be hand waved to a certain extant but for a zombie theme I think travel should be dangerous, but If I am +meetme'd to the neutral area every couple of days for rp then travel is not really dangerous on an IC level. Since ICly my character would be traveling back and forth fairly willy nilly.

    For the star I would say two sites with contested resources could work but four seems like a lot right away.



  • My approach was aimed more at allowing the players to always have things to do, without rushing events at any one site, or forcing all themes and characters to be in one place. I hadn't intended on any transfer between the two.

    However, I am fond of downtime being used off screen, and I haven't played daily in years, so I don't want pressure to fill my onscreen time with fluff.



  • @ThatGuyThere said:

    Now and games where things are separated by location travel can be an issue, both with time and with theme. Time can be hand waved to a certain extant but for a zombie theme I think travel should be dangerous, but If I am +meetme'd to the neutral area every couple of days for rp then travel is not really dangerous on an IC level. Since ICly my character would be traveling back and forth fairly willy nilly.

    Just like they clean up major settlements, you could say that people cleaned up a major safe path towards that neutral zone or resource point. Veering off that path would still be dangerous, and even the path itself could still pose relative danger that you could RP about. But it would be believable that it's being maintained by the survivors who need that trail to the neutral zone. Major nests around the road would be eradicated, etc. You could RP about maintaining the path, or about an outbreak, or some danger gathering nearby. You'd still be able to handwave safety for the good of RP, when needed. The road was clear enough that day to get through, but who knows what will happen tomorrow? In itself it could be great RP fodder, the fact that the road isn't too safe.

    There are so many possibilities if you just think about it.

    In fact, if you ask me, I don't see the point of having one settlement. Sounds boring, incestuous, and soon it'd turn into a TS dramafest (ok, that's any game). If you have the drive to meet those other people there, and if there's danger involved in this, that's so much more interesting. The survivors would have to overextend, travel, they'd be able to reach out to these other people to exchange stories, resources, and just plain socialize. Especially if they're specialized communities - if one has more food and the other has tech stuff, and the third has weapons. So yeah, the idea of more than one settlement is way more interesting in this context.

    You could even seed each settlement with just one person + important resource, and have the others trickle in ICly as the apps come. The seed character could be an NPC, just to keep the continuity and theme going. A curmudgeon in his fortress with a shitload of weapons, some hippy guy with a hidden grow facility who used it for weed but now it's for food, a religious end-of-times enclave... It's writing itself.

    (Edit: I probably should've read the opening post before commenting, but I skimmed over it now, and I see I wasn't too far off the mark. Haha. :D)


  • Coder

    I don't know if this has been said, I am at work atm and can't be sure if I've read everything due to customers but I would vote against having so many settlements.

    Having that many clusters for RP will diffuse the RP, spread it out, make it so that there's very little actual RP on the grid because your player base is all scattered.

    The other thing is it will invite a pvp scenario, and pvp only really works if there is a large player base on /every/ side, or things just get out of wack really fast.

    I love the idea of a Zombie Apocalypse game, I would be all for it, and I might even help with code (I can't do everything, but I can do a fair bit), but I'd need to see it toned down in scope a bit or else it's just doomed to failure (in my opinion) and would take time from my other projects which seems counter intuitive to do so for something I don't think would succeed.

    Now I could very well be wrong, but, I think you'd get a lot more play out of having one major established settlement or safe zone, and then having that place fall under seige, would it survive, would it fall, the survivors would have to go on the road, in the zombie apocalypse to try and find some place new.

    There's a real opportunity here to see some good horror based roleplay, but you have to be careful that the zombies don't just turn into a wussy threat that will become not much of a threat if pc's get to much power or whatnot.

    It's a delicate balancing act.



  • I think you're all imagining the various settlements as being miles and miles away. Instead, it's probably better to envision them as various city quarters within the same city. So in a mundane situation, you'd easily go to a cafe and meet up with someone. I think @Misadventure was on the right track with comparing it to different spheres or factions within one game. On one hand, spheres are insular by theme, but they're not separated by distance. A mage can physically meet a vampire within the same city, we see no problem with that.

    I'd envision the settlements as being within walking distance, say half an hour walk. No cars. So, meeting up is, distance-wise, as much of an investment as walking to a cafe in a city. Or from one address to another.

    The world becomes much smaller after a disaster. Distances that can't be reached within half a day, they might as well not exist anymore. Unless someone's mounting a special expedition for some reason. But for everyday life, nah. If it's not within walking distance, it's out of reach. At least that's how I see it, dunno about the OP.

    If there are cars, then that's different and settlements reachable by car would be more insular than what I'm imagining. Then you'd have the problem of fuel supply, more danger on longer trips, etc. I wouldn't advise that.

    I'd view the settlements more like factions diversified in resources and worldview, rather than groups separated by distance. Farmers have food, ex-mil has guns but no food production. So they have to cooperate, and bam, there you have it, reasons to RP that aren't just zombie-flavored bar RP.



  • Also, zombies are lame and so overdone. Come up with your own apocalyptic bad guy. Alien infestation. Triffids. Monsters from a secret government laboratory... well, okay, the horror of zombies is that they were once human, so you have to kill a decayed former-person. That's pretty cool. But the way they've been overplayed, especially in computer games like L4D, it's just gratuitous slaying of hordes. Zombies work best when it's not strangers, when the zombies are humanized. When they are family and close friends that the protagonist has to confront/kill. I guess ease of infection is a significant factor in this regard.

    It'd be super cool if there were metaplot-like hooks through which players could eventually find out what caused the zombie outbreak. Not something over-arching, just nice juicy theme-dumps that can be discovered if the character makes an effort to search for it. Ideally, this info would also help figure out better ways to deal with them. So, even if you have zombies, figure out a cool origin story for them, so that they're not just mindless hordes.


  • Pitcrew

    If the settlements were all within walking distance I would consider them the same place.
    Kind of like how suburbs of major cities tend to get considered part of the city even when though they are separate legal entities.
    Yeah if there is no significant distance between them I don't see and issue with different neighborhoods as a way of organizing the player base.



  • Being within a half hour makes competing groups more like street gangs. They will be in each others face often, which makes sense if they are out there to grab from the big pie of illicit gains, or have cultural divides. For survivors? Why wouldn't they merge?

    If they had radically different behaviors, maybe. Perhaps one side is a cult, or believes in slavery. I don't see players digging deep into that RP though.


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