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  07 June 2016 - Age, aging & death and how to implement them (if at all) :: Posted in d20 project

Progressing well through the d20 Modern rules, I desiced to implement the occupations compeltely. That means that I still have to allow the player to add a couple of skills to the character, which will add a +1 to the class skill use as well as a feat that some occupations give. But one of the things to implement is a minimum age requirement that all occupations have. And this kinda made me wonder...

Where in pen-n-paper RPG playing age is a thing that would allow the DM to to add timed progress for the character and even death (both being killed or even old age), in a computer game this is something that's less used. Where in the pen-n-paper campaign you can easily reate a new character at any level to match your fello friend's characters and the DM can give you a certain amount of ''starter equipment", in a computer RPGs this is not so much the case. Also, the DM can at any time change the course of the planned story the way he wants to. This is to match the development of the characters and how the story evolves.

Computer RPGs are far less flexible than pen-n-paper RPGs for the simple reason that the DM (the computer in this case) has a set story and can't change things at all when the character evolves and the story unfolds. It's a rigid path that has a start, middle and end. There's no evolvement of the story other than what's been programmed on the character's statistics and how the player interacts with the NPCs. Of course computer RPGs can have a certain amount of flexibility, but that would mean that the game must have tons of options ready along with multiple possible endings of the story.

That all being said, now lets return to today's topic... Age, aging and (permanent) death. In computer RPGs you barely see these them. Age is mostly used for cosmetic purposes only while aging is mostly null and void in computer RPGs, if aging is implemented at all... While death in most computer RPGs is nothing more than a setback with some optional XP loss and a restore to a previously set point.

But what if both aging and death are implemented in a game..? Aging would mean that at a certain age your character would become wiser and physically weaker, until at a certain point it will die of old age. Would this mean the end of your game, or can you continue with a child of that character? And if it has a child, it should have had some interaction with the opposite sex to concieve the child and should have spent time to raise it. This child in turn could inherit some (or all) of the original charatcer's items and continue with the story. But would that be fun..?

Then an other thing, I'm right now busy coding d20 Modern, which is somewhat set in our world. Death in this world is more permanent than death in a fantasy setting where a diety can grant new life to the character. If you die in this world, you're just DEAD! Perhaps in the (near) future there are ways to cheat death (cloning to name one), but right now you can't.

This brings me to an other problem with d20 Modern as computer RPG system: how to handle death? If computer RPGs are about the story the character goes through, how will it be challenging if your character can't die to be able to reach the end of the story? This means death MUST be inplemented along with some of the earlier mentioned setbacks. But I can't just figure out how to resurrect a player in our current world, other than those few lucky ones which were clinically dead for a couple of minutes and got revived by CPR...


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