secrets and rumors

For my side mud project, Sub Rosa, I want to create a system of secrets and rumors, where the accumulation of ‘secrets’ in-game and the manipulation of rumors increases a player’s influence.

Here’s a possible system. Every game object, room, mob, player, item, has a set of keywords. Players can create their own rumors about the object out of the keywords (which they discover in-game). Also, each object has pre-created secrets out of the same keywords, and players can set their own secrets, which become available to discovery. Also they can set their our rumors and attempt to disseminate them. Players can create counter-rumors to increase their own influence in the face of existing rumors.

Players ‘earn’ keywords in-game for their characters as well.

It’s possible for one player to tell their friend about a particular secret, but until the friend ‘earns’ the secret in-game it won’t have any game effect (influence adjustment) for their character. Cheats and walkthroughs are inevitable enough that I’d rather focus on game development than police action.


1 comment so far

  1. Mike Rozak on

    I assume you’ve read Chris Crawford’s ideas.

    I haven’t gone that far: NPCs don’t pass around secrets/rumors. PCs can learn “factoids”, basically stored in a journal. The factoids can be told to other NPCs, to differing effects. Alternatively, the factoid AND the source NPC can be revealed. John Smith might tell you that “The mayor is a vampire”. Telling a vampire-hunter NPC that “They mayor is a vampire” has one effect, but telling the mayor that “John Smith told me that you’re a vampire” has another.

    As you stated, while players can tell each other factoids, there’s no way to transfer the usefulness of the knowledge, since this might harm the game aspects.

    NPCs also keep a record how much they like/trust a PC. NPCs are in factions, so making a good/bad impression on a NPC will also affect one’s standing with the NPC’s factions. Rumors can do much more than affect like/trust though since they can trigger various scripted AI responses.

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