RPG-Flavoured Parser Thing - A Penny For Your Thoughts

The rationale seems a bit similar to the core of a certain subset of RPG systems. The Neogames variant is one I think might want to check out. It’s essentially similar to what you’re doing, but uses a simpler mechanic, wherein you roll n number of d6 dice, which are exploding (so that a result of 6 on a die means you remove that die and roll 2 new dice, repeat ad infinitum).

Ah I see. Well, my system (called Player Zed), being primarily designed for improv play which is pretty unusual, might leave someone with no experience in tabletop play feeling a little lost, since there is no world or setting information at all: you are expected to make all of that up off the top of your head while playing, which could be a little daunting if you’ve never roleplayed at all, but once you get it going, it’s like… the most fun, ever. I like bars as a setting as it encourages people to take it a little less seriously than usual, which loosens people up for improv. Also: alcohol. 8)

Player Zed

(If you find this URL non-operational, try it again 10 minutes later. My server has a dynamic IP and this causes it to hiccup occasionally for a few minutes.)

Yeah there are a lot of systems that use pure d20s for skill rolls, and a lot of systems that use mutiple d6es for skill rolls. I suppose it looks like I just hybridised those two, but the actual inspiration for my mechanics was ‘how GURPS would work if someone way, way less obsessive had written it’. (Since I designed these rules in the early 90s, a lot of other game designers have had the same basic idea – like the designers of Over the Edge, and Savage Worlds, among others.)

So the origin of the d6 thing was me running the math and figuring out which type of dice would give me the most sensible set of probability tables, and that just turned out to be d6es. Each d6 added or subtracted changes the chance of success by at most 17.5%, although that number decreases as you get into the extremes, so that the difference between Extremely Hard and Tremendously Hard is as I recall about one percentage point or less, which doesn’t sound like much until you consider that it still make ‘Extremely’ several times easier than ‘Tremendously’.

If you don’t like all the improv stuff, skip to Section 2.2; after that it resembles a (simplified) standard RPG.

Some could even be learning, in a trivial way, the way those learning rock-paper-scissors programs work.
After all, what I described is basically a glorified game of rock-paper-scissors.

Hmm… that’s actually an interesting idea.

Rock/paper/scissors (let’s say, attack/lunge/counter?) would determine outcome (attack beats lunge beats counter beats attack, and the ‘winner’ does damage and the loser receives it; in a tie, neither side is harmed). Similarly, weapons could do more or less damaged vs. certain shields - ie, cutting weapons do 75% damage to bucklers, normal to triangular shields, and 125% to kite shields. Swapping armor and weapons would take multiple turns, which would let an opponent take pot-shots at you.

That would remove all the stats from the game except health, but allow for rock/paper/scissors statistics to be used: low-level foes would make random moves, mid-level foes would learn from a single fight, and high-level foes would use statistics from all the fights. Apart from the statistics, that would make the game much easier to write… and like in real life, one sword would be just as good as another. The only hard part is adding the statistics. Well, that and coming up with intuitive puzzles and an engaging story, of course.

If you set it up right, it wouldn’t be hard to add more actions, and more outcomes (new positions), slowly growing towards what I described.
I wouldn’t stress damage stats, but positions. Being brought to your knees severely limits your options (no running away, for instance, and getting up might work in combination with certain actions from your opponent). Falling down is even worse, of course.
I remember from Ace of Aces that tailing brought one in a better position.

Stats don’t lead to epic descriptions, I think, whereas actions and relative positions do.

Over at inkle we’ve been working on a RPG/CYOA hybrid (Sorcery!) for a while that comes out in, ooh, 12 hours or so. For the combat, we’ve taken a stat-light-ish approach but with no[t really any] randomness. The game is a kind of rock/paper/scissors affair where you and your opponent make simultaneous symmetric decisions on what to do; and then you reveal and see who wins - in this case, how much “attack power” to use.

The nice thing is, however, that using more this turn gives you less next turn and vice versa, and damage the loser gets is proportional to how high their power is - not their attackers. What that means is that the game is about trying to use as little power as possible to overpower your opponent; by playing a move which is just a shade above theirs – or defending completely if you think you can’t win. So it’s very analogue without relying on randomness to spread results out.

We then feed the player with clues as to the enemy’s choices - by the enemy’s character, by their previous plays (which affect how much power they have available), but also by a turn-by-turn description of the fight that’s pieced together from a database of content, which contains clues as to what they might be planning.

The result is quite a simple system - to play, you drag your dude left and right - but there’s quite a lot of follow-through from one move to the next. You could totally replicate it in parser IF if you found a nice way to make the input analogue enough (JAB QUICKLY, LUNGE CAUTIOUSLY maybe?)

Yay! Adverbs!

Very nice! It could be cool if the enemies learn as well, so you can’t just use the same techniques every time… One thing I’m determined to do is keep this simple, for me (by necessity) and from the player (for purposes of fun), so ‘pro rock-paper-scissors’ seems a good way to go.

Sorcery sounds cool, for sure. And, yep, adverbs can never be bad!

Adverbs are terrible!

I definitely agree. I really think adverbs are terribly bad. :wink:

Something I just thought of; has anyone here played Bastion? Throughout the game, a narrator told a story - a description of what was happening to ‘the kid’ as it took place. I think that might be a good way to describe action without long, wall-of-text events like this: “You hit the ogre in the leg with your knife. The ogre misses you. The ogre’s friend stabs the guard in the leg with her sharp halberd. The guard hits the ogre’s friend in the ear with his spear. The soldier swung at the ogre’s friend and missed.”

Instead, the narrator would sum up the battle:
“The kid skillfully stabbed the ogre, but got out of the way before it could get him back. Meanwhile, the ogre’s friend duked it out with the guard and the soldier.”

It describes the immediate action - what action the PC and those attacking the PC took - but leave the rest as a more cursory summation. Harder to program, but much, much better flow. (Great - now I’m reading everything in the Narrator’s voice…)

Some games even use adverbs in the commands!

I never actually got my penny, you know.

I refer you to the disclaimer in the OP.


That’s what I get for trying to be a smart alec after 1am.

Sorry about the smurf post. I put that in the wrong forum. My bad.

I was trying to puzzle that one out, yes. :wink:

Hello mostly useless,

Yes, very interesting. Trying to program something like this since a long time,
but not advancing towards anything even half finished it seems.

Two games more on the “dungeon-crawly” RPG side (without parser)

  • Legerdemain - (Not finished playing) So far it builds a nice atmosphere. The IF part is a bit rare though. Most of the game is a rogue-like, where from time to time you discover parts of a story.
  • Dwarf Fortress (adventure mode) - Also mostly rogue-like and still early in development, but what might be interesting: All stats and battle are rendered as text. At the moment it’s just too much text. You tend to ignore the details and just scan for decisive things (high-lighted in different colours).

A map. Some hack/rogue-ish kind of map to represent the situation.
Both Legerdemain and DwarfFortress are doing it this way
and I’ld like it also (both as player and author).

About stats:
I think it depends on the amount of different values. I’ld render 3-4 values as text
and everything above as numbers (maybe with an additional text hint: poor, average, good).
Dwarf Fortress renders ~ 20 skill levels as text, which keeps me constantly
looking at the wiki if “proficient” is better than “talented” or the other way round.

Simple battle system:
Moe (Mines of Elderlore) - Tried that a few years ago. There are four weapon types (axe,sword,hammer,?)
each with a special form of attack suitable for a certain situation. I don’t remember the details though.


Oh, hey, someone else is playing Legerdemain! I picked it up again after a very long time and am wondering how stuck I am. I’m certain that I’m only a little way in.

I opened the Devilfoot Bridge and have been exploring the Bagah dungeon – one time before I made it all the way through and found myself in an ammunition dump but didn’t see any way further to go. Anyway I think I got killed on the way out of that so it’s not still in my map. To the east of Hamdon I am blocked by impenetrable fog and to the south the road is blocked by rubble. I explored the monastery to the north and found a plumeshroom, but I have no idea what it does. From a Satori Whisper I get the impression that I will need to learn a chant in order to disperse that fog.

Earlier I got stuck for a while due to a silly oversight:

I didn’t get into the hillfolk enclave because I didn’t talk to the guard properly, and that meant that I failed to unlock the conversation chain that led to repairing the bridge.

I have a finished game that is an IF-RPG mix, as described by the OP.

It works fine, it won a price at a competition, you can even try it online, there’s only one problem you may have… it’s in Spanish :wink:

In case anyone knows Spanish, the game is called “Wizard’s Quest: Morluck’s Lair” (yes, the title is in English… but the game is still in Spanish. The title is a kind of tribute to classical RPG/adventure games). If you speak some Spanish, you can get it with the “AGE Player’s Kit” here: caad.es/aetheria/morluck/

Some information for the OP in case he can get any ideas for this. The combat system this game uses is the one built-in into the Aetheria Game Engine (AGE). It is described in some detail in translate.google.com/translate?s … as&act=url

Anyway, an executive summary: this is a time-unit based combat system, i.e., each action (attack, defense, spell cast, etc.) consumes a given number of time units, so that e.g. if you are faster than an enemy, you will get more turns than the enemy. You know what I mean if you have played any of the classic tactical X-COM games, or some roguelikes like ADOM. You can configure the system to behave in a synchronous fashion, waiting for your decision when it’s your turn to act (like X-COM UFO defense) or to work in real-time (better for multiplayer).

For each action that you perform, your skills related with that kind of action (e.g. “swords” for attacking with a sword) determine (1) the success probability of the action, (2) the time it takes, and (3) the efficiency (e.g. damage of an attack or a spell). The internal representation of the value of a skill is a linear amount (you can see it as “number of times you have used the skill”) but the relation between skill and these performance measures is a logarithmic-based curve that models real-life learning. Dice rolls are used by default only for (3). For (1) and (2), instead of using dice, the values obtained from these formulae are “blurred” with a normal distribution, to provide the feeling of randomness and uncertainty (to an extent, of course).

Even though the system uses a lots of numbers, those are never shown to the player. Instead, the player sees things like “moderate damage”, “slightly bruised”, “almost dead”, “slight damage”, etc. so that the combat actually looks like a story.

Combat actions include attacking, blocking (with weapons or shields), dodging, and of course casting combat spells.

The AGE system includes a system for narrating combat that basically writes things always in the same way (i.e. you get lots of "you attack the foo), but “Morluck’s” adds a layer on top that randomizes messages and joins sentences in various ways to make the narration less monotonous (you get output like “you attack the goblin with the long sword, but he blocks your attack, and he comes back at you with the club” or things like that).

The combat system in this game received very positive feedback, winning the “best combat” award in a Spanish fantasy-themed IF competition (Orcoscomp).

It’s also worth noting that with this system you can have one-vs-one combats, or combats involving multiple creatures (friends and foes, AGE is a multiplayer IF system). “Morluck’s” only has one-vs-one combats. There is another Spanish game made in AGE (“El Karma de la Cepa”, by Arthur Dick) that has many-vs-many combats (the game is single-player, but you team up with NPC’s), although the combat is less advanced than “Morluck’s” in other aspects. But it does have wizards and androids in the same game! You can get “El karma de la cepa” here: dl.dropbox.com/u/30286209/Ultim … -1.0.0.zip

By the way, AGE can be used to make games in English (it has been localized into several languages, including English, and there is an example English game). The problem is that the documentation ( caad.es/aetheria/doc/ ) is in Spanish. Any offers of help translating it would be very welcome.