Slaves to Armok: God of Blood Copyright (c) 2000 - 2005 by Tarn Adams
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The Future: Mental Aspects of Creatures

Personalities:  This can get messy. Some factors: bravery, intelligence, honor, civility, rationality, specific principles, charisma, pragmatism, etc. Personality factors determine: how many choices a creature has, which choice it actually picks, and how effective the choice is in some cases. The game should be able to keep track of the player's behavior and assess a general personality type for some purposes. Morbid and unhappy creatures might end up doing untoward thing, like burying small animals alive, animating their bodies, and then stopping the spell once the animals have crept into somebody's house. Maybe you can kill somebody, animate the corpse, have it sneak into somebody's house, and leave it to rot (in order to frame the house occupant for murder). Evil acts lead to temptation by evil beings, however... highly emotional creatures might lose control in one way or another, and grief stricken relatives might commit suicide. Personality can mix with entity allegiances to create some interesting conflicts.

Alignment:  There is often a notion of good and evil. This fits into the genre-plot-atmosphere model (some genres/atmospheres carry no notion of alignment, while others depend on it).

Better Creature AI:  They are, well, savagely stupid right now. AI should fit the abilities of the creatures (an iron golem might just fall over on smaller opponents, or crush them against walls, to be effective). Creatures should opportunistically grab equipment that suits them.

Material Familiarity Skills:  Just as creatures become more familiar with items and their own bodies, they learn their way around materials. This is especially important to artists and craftspeople, and maybe people fighting stone constructs...

Morale:  They need to get scared and run away when they are taxed (stuck-ins, severs, watching friends die, etc.). You should be able to tear the hearts out of the chests of enemies to frighten the afflicted opponent and those around him or her. Eat the heart for further effect.

Hunger and Thirst:  Creatures have these feelings sometimes.

Objectives:  What do creatures desire? How does the player "win"? What do entities of various sorts desire?

Mental Energy:  This gets used when you study, think, or possibly when you cast spells. I suppose it's a combination of "mana", patience, attention span, etc.

Concentration:  Creatures can become too focused on other creatures or tasks to notice important things (counteracted by situational awareness/attributes). If several things are being done at once, I may introduce "mental fractions" to determine how efficient each is being done and how many things can be done. This impacts spell casting - perhaps an outstretched hand controlling an automaton, rather than sheer concentration, is less of a mental burden. This may allow gestures to be a sensible method of reducing spell cost when the game cooks up magical arts (or when the player defines his or her own!).

Memory:  Creatures should remember things. At least, the important creatures should remember the important things. Then they can use this knowledge to make decisions and get revenge.

Other Skills:  There are other skills such as the use of various senses, knowledge about plants and animal of various kinds, language skills (not just knowledge of, but physical/mental capacity for ever using), preparation and extraction of various substances from plants and animals, knowledge of body/health/behavior of creatures, medical skill for plants and animals, cutting, hammering (chisel/nail/peg/spike), mixing, carving, diagnosing (creature/plant/stability/length), gardening, wrapping, stretching, pounding, fire-making, trapping, digging, stacking, sawing, sewing, tying, forging, balancing, gymnastic/tumbling, and dancing (including specific cultural dances). Most actions that a creature undertakes will have prerequisite skills and knowledge. Object familiarity skills can include wielding, constitution, history, etc. There should be some way to learn the lore of various things. Creatures might use sawing skills on immobile opponents (these opponents might panic and do irrational things).

Dizziness:  Creatures should become dizzy for a number of reasons.

Disorientation:  It should be possible for creatures to become disoriented in complicated passageways, etc.

Learning Impermissible Styles:  Some styles are specific to, say, humans or long swords. It might be possible for an orc to learn a human style, or for someone with a short sword to learn a long sword style. There are some problems: it might be hard to match body parts or item components. Even if I can get this working, there will be heavy penalties.

Brain Damage:  This sort of damage could come from various sources. As this game is now, that probably means massive head trauma. This could have all sorts of interesting in-game effects.

Sleep Walking:  The player might do various things while he or she is asleep (these events would be calculated by the same abstraction engine that controls far away actions). The dream engine could offer some clues as to what is happening (the player might even choose to play in the dream world -- with their actions influencing their sleep walking, which in turn influences the dream environment!). A similar mechanism can be used to determine what happens to a lycanthropic character.

Post-Decapitation Activities:  Perhaps players with incredible will power could take a single action after being decapitated -- if they can cast spells by blinking for instance, they might be able to repair or otherwise save themselves.

Random Attributes:  Mana, Innocence, etc., depending on world...

Random Skills:  like combat styles, but do all kinds of things depending on world structure.

Quest:  Gain a null attribute (like the scare crow or the tin man from the Wizard of Oz)

Don't Process My Buddies:  Things should not be enthused about seeing objects that have been constructed from the corpses of their species... there are exceptions (head-hunters, etc.).

Some other skills:  Acrobatics, Escape, Mimicry.