IF with RPG elements?

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

Please forgive me if this has been addressed--I'm new to this group.

Essentially I'm looking for a single-player MUD (I know this is an
oxymoron, but that's the best way I can describe it). Something like a
hack-and-slash RPG experience but presented descriptively. And I don't
mean ASCII graphics (e.g. NetHack)--I mean text-based descriptions of
all events and environments along with a command parser. The game would
involve all the usual hack-and-slash elements: a variety of weapons,
armour, skills, hit points, experience points, shops, etc.

I've looked for this kind of thing many times, and surprisingly have
come up empty handed. If such a game really doesn't exist (surely it
must, though!), I might just have to write one myself. Likely the best
approach would be to modify MUD code (although Inform or TADS might be
suitable too).

Can anyone point me to something like this?

....Thanks in advance!
16 answers Last reply
More about elements
  1. Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

    > Please forgive me if this has been addressed--I'm new to this group.
    >
    > Essentially I'm looking for a single-player MUD (I know this is an
    > oxymoron, but that's the best way I can describe it). Something like a
    > hack-and-slash RPG experience but presented descriptively. And I don't

    You must indeed be very new to this group, since we are actively discussing
    the results of a competition where one of the entrants (Magocracy) was
    exactly this type of game.

    Andrew
  2. Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

    Andrew Krywaniuk wrote:
    > You must indeed be very new to this group, since we are actively discussing
    > the results of a competition where one of the entrants (Magocracy) was
    > exactly this type of game.

    Ah! Thank you. I didn't expect to find this sort of thing in IF Comp.
    I've followed IF Comp for a few years, but I hadn't gotten around to
    checking out the 2004 entries. In any case, is that the only such game?

    Since there have been dozens of MUDs over the years, I assumed there
    would be several similar games in single-player format. And since both
    Rogue-like games and IF have been around for decades, a synthesis of the
    two genres seemed inevitable.

    Anyway, thanks for pointing me to Magocracy. I'll have to check it out.
  3. Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

    In article <6oDnd.54222$Ho4.1831339@news20.bellglobal.com>,
    Daubechies4 <nospam@please.ca> wrote:
    >Please forgive me if this has been addressed--I'm new to this group.
    >
    >Essentially I'm looking for a single-player MUD (I know this is an
    >oxymoron, but that's the best way I can describe it). Something like a
    >hack-and-slash RPG experience but presented descriptively. And I don't
    >mean ASCII graphics (e.g. NetHack)--I mean text-based descriptions of

    Surprised though I am to say it, I believe what you want is
    Westfront PC. I think
    http://mirror.ifarchive.org/if-archive/games/pc/wfpc.zip
    is the newest release. I seem to recall You Are Here, from the '01
    comp, also had some hack-and-slash to it:
    http://mirror.ifarchive.org/if-archive/games/competition2001/inform/URHere/URHere.z5

    --
    Dan Shiovitz :: dbs@cs.wisc.edu :: http://www.drizzle.com/~dans
    "He settled down to dictate a letter to the Consolidated Nailfile and
    Eyebrow Tweezer Corporation of Scranton, Pa., which would make them
    realize that life is stern and earnest and Nailfile and Eyebrow Tweezer
    Corporations are not put in this world for pleasure alone." -PGW
  4. Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

    "Daubechies4" <nospam@please.ca> skrev i melding
    news:6oDnd.54222$Ho4.1831339@news20.bellglobal.com...
    > Please forgive me if this has been addressed--I'm new to this group.
    >
    > Essentially I'm looking for a single-player MUD (I know this is an
    > oxymoron, but that's the best way I can describe it). Something like a
    > hack-and-slash RPG experience but presented descriptively. And I don't
    > mean ASCII graphics (e.g. NetHack)--I mean text-based descriptions of all
    > events and environments along with a command parser. The game would
    > involve all the usual hack-and-slash elements: a variety of weapons,
    > armour, skills, hit points, experience points, shops, etc.

    Baf has a list of RPG games http://www.wurb.com/if/genre/21 I don't know if
    any fits your description though.
  5. Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

    Here, Daubechies4 <nospam@please.ca> wrote:
    > Andrew Krywaniuk wrote:
    > > You must indeed be very new to this group, since we are actively discussing
    > > the results of a competition where one of the entrants (Magocracy) was
    > > exactly this type of game.
    >
    > Ah! Thank you. I didn't expect to find this sort of thing in IF Comp.
    > I've followed IF Comp for a few years, but I hadn't gotten around to
    > checking out the 2004 entries. In any case, is that the only such game?

    Infocom's _Beyond Zork_ had a little bit of single-player CRPGness.
    I'm sure there have been a few other examples since then, but I can't
    name any.

    > Since there have been dozens of MUDs over the years, I assumed there
    > would be several similar games in single-player format. And since both
    > Rogue-like games and IF have been around for decades, a synthesis of the
    > two genres seemed inevitable.

    (It's interesting, by the way, that you assume "MUD-like" means
    combat. The only MUDs *I've* played have been IF-like, with no combat
    or RPGish stats at all. That's a very small sample, and selected on
    the bias -- I don't like CRPGs much -- but it indicates that the MUD
    concept itself is quite neutral.)

    I think what's happened is that both genres have refined themselves
    and evolved towards their individual strengths. But those are two
    different directions.

    IF games work as hard as possible to make every location, every
    encounter, every interaction unique. Everything is supposed to be
    different and interesting. The player's job is to discover the new
    angle at every stage.

    Roguelikes (and other CRPGs) try to build a set of rule mechanics
    which apply to the entire game. The player gains new abilities
    throughout, but there's still a lot of repetition -- that's the whole
    underlying concept of "experience". The player's job is to use the
    rules optimally, to get as much advancement-per-minute as he can.

    This leads to practical differences right away. IF games have an
    "undo" command (and players really really dislike losing it) because
    the point is to explore. If you make a mistake in a puzzle, "undo"
    doesn't help you solve it, because it doesn't tell you anything new;
    it just ensures that you have a better chance to engage your
    brains.

    In a CRPG, "undo" makes no sense, because the mechanics (typically)
    rely on randomness. Both _Beyond Zork_ and _Magocracy_ had the flaw
    that you could win every fight. Just keep attacking, and "undo" every
    time you miss.

    Now I'm oversimplifying here. Some IF-style puzzles *are* spoiled by
    "undo". (Imagine a "help help do I cut the red wire or the blue
    wire??" scene.) However, IF authors have generally responded by
    working to create games that don't have those puzzles. That's what I
    mean by the genres evolving towards their own strengths.

    --Z

    "And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."
    *
    I'm still thinking about what to put in this space.
  6. Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

    Andrew,

    Sorry, I just have to get this out of the way first. I am deeply
    humbled by your response. I loved "Shade" and "Spider and Web." I
    haven't made it very far into "So Far" or "A Change in the Weather," but
    I intend to finish them someday. I've read interviews with you and
    spent quite a lot of time perusing your web site. I'm just going to
    sound like a giddy groupie if I go on with this, so I'll leave it at
    that and continue with my actual reply (but thank you so much for all
    your brilliant contributions to IF!).

    > Infocom's _Beyond Zork_ had a little bit of single-player CRPGness.


    Ha! That's one of the Zorks I've never tried.

    > (It's interesting, by the way, that you assume "MUD-like" means
    > combat. The only MUDs *I've* played have been IF-like, with no combat
    > or RPGish stats at all. That's a very small sample, and selected on
    > the bias -- I don't like CRPGs much -- but it indicates that the MUD
    > concept itself is quite neutral.)


    Now that you mention it, I did play on a MUD like this too. Most of the
    MUDs I ran across *were* more CRPG-ish, but you're right of course: MUDs
    aren't inherently CRPGs.

    > IF games work as hard as possible to make every location, every
    > encounter, every interaction unique. Everything is supposed to be
    > different and interesting. The player's job is to discover the new
    > angle at every stage.
    >
    > Roguelikes (and other CRPGs) try to build a set of rule mechanics
    > which apply to the entire game. The player gains new abilities
    > throughout, but there's still a lot of repetition -- that's the whole
    > underlying concept of "experience". The player's job is to use the
    > rules optimally, to get as much advancement-per-minute as he can.


    It's the repetition, the lack of a story, and the dearth of atmosphere
    which bore me. I love being able to plan my avatar's development,
    however, and explore various strategies. I really enjoyed
    Planescape:Torment, for example, because it had a nice mixture of IF
    elements and RPG elements.

    What I would really love to see is more of a puzzle-like quality to
    combat--the ability to research the biology and behaviour of your foes
    and learn their strengths and weaknesses. Few monsters would be
    straightforward to defeat--you couldn't just walk into a room and start
    hacking away. Well, you could, but it wouldn't be very effective.

    For example, you might lay siege to vicious mountain tribe which seem
    much too powerful for you. Back in the town, you encounter a historian
    who tells you a little of their history. Apparently they originally
    occupied the surrounding areas but were driven into the mountains by
    devastating army who wore characteristic red sashes. If you adopt the
    same uniform and renew your attempt, your adversaries will be greatly
    demoralized and fight weakly or attempt to escape from you.

    Many other examples come to mind, but I'm getting off track here.
    Ultimately, I just want the planning, the stats, and the optimization
    aspects to CRPGs without losing the atmosphere, the puzzles, and the
    narrative of IF.

    > In a CRPG, "undo" makes no sense, because the mechanics (typically)
    > rely on randomness. Both _Beyond Zork_ and _Magocracy_ had the flaw
    > that you could win every fight. Just keep attacking, and "undo" every
    > time you miss.


    Yeah, "undo" should, at the very least, be prevented during combat. It
    would be shame to see it removed altogether, though.

    Thanks very much for your reply!
  7. Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

    The Prophet Andrew Plotkin known to the wise as erkyrath@eblong.com, opened the Book of Words, and read unto the people:
    >In a CRPG, "undo" makes no sense, because the mechanics (typically)
    >rely on randomness. Both _Beyond Zork_ and _Magocracy_ had the flaw
    >that you could win every fight. Just keep attacking, and "undo" every
    >time you miss.

    In fairness, Beyond Zork as originally distributed _didn't_ allow UNDO
    (or SAVE during fights). Modern interpreters work around that, though.
    --
    D. Jacob (Jake) Wildstrom, Math monkey and freelance thinker

    "A mathematician is a device for turning coffee into theorems."
    -Alfred Renyi

    The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily endorsed by the
    University of California or math department thereof.
  8. Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

    Here, Jake Wildstrom <dwildstr@euclid.ucsd.edu> wrote:
    > The Prophet Andrew Plotkin known to the wise as erkyrath@eblong.com, opened the Book of Words, and read unto the people:
    > >In a CRPG, "undo" makes no sense, because the mechanics (typically)
    > >rely on randomness. Both _Beyond Zork_ and _Magocracy_ had the flaw
    > >that you could win every fight. Just keep attacking, and "undo" every
    > >time you miss.
    >
    > In fairness, Beyond Zork as originally distributed _didn't_ allow UNDO
    > (or SAVE during fights). Modern interpreters work around that, though.

    I thought it did allow undo... but I was playing on the Apple, and
    Infocom's Apple interpreter never supported undo at all.

    You could save *before* a fight, which allowed the same amount of
    unfairness for somewhat more work. I'd forgotten that detail, thanks.

    (Of course, the fact that it took more tries to cheat didn't make
    the game more fun.)

    --Z

    "And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."
    *
    I'm still thinking about what to put in this space.
  9. Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

    Daubechies4 wrote:
    > Essentially I'm looking for a single-player MUD (I know this is an
    > oxymoron, but that's the best way I can describe it). Something like a
    > hack-and-slash RPG experience but presented descriptively. [snip]
    >
    > Can anyone point me to something like this?

    I can't point you to it, but FYI: Long ago on a mainframe that is currently
    leaking heavy metals into somebody's water table, there was a game called
    "dungeon" (no, not the "dungeon" also known as Zork). Play was similar to
    regular text IF, but you had to "wield sword" (etc.) and fight with
    opponents, upping stats, etc., the whole RPG shtick. There were also some
    regular IF puzzles, but I didn't play the game far enough to know the
    balance. Despite being called "dungeon", all the bits I played (not much)
    were above ground in a typical D&D village or nearby. I saw the game in late
    1980 or early 81, so it probably dates back to the late 70s. It was probably
    written in Fortran or B.
    --
    David Tanguay http://www.sentex.ca/~datanguayh/
    Kitchener, Ontario, Canada [43.24N 80.29W]
  10. Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

    Daubechies4 <nospam@please.ca> wrote:
    > Essentially I'm looking for a single-player MUD (I know this is an
    > oxymoron, but that's the best way I can describe it). Something like a
    > hack-and-slash RPG experience but presented descriptively. And I don't
    > mean ASCII graphics (e.g. NetHack)--I mean text-based descriptions of
    > all events and environments along with a command parser. The game would
    > involve all the usual hack-and-slash elements: a variety of weapons,
    > armour, skills, hit points, experience points, shops, etc.

    Several months ago, Muffy St. Bernard was calling for beta-testers for
    her game Wumpus 2000. I tested it, and ultimately I decided not to try
    to win it. I didn't enjoy the fighting (I mostly got beat up), and
    there were maze-like elements.

    But it was a creative adaptation of the original game, well-written,
    as I recall, and well-programmed. The best part was that it had an
    interesting story, unlike the original Wumpus game. I knew why I was
    there in that cave, and I wanted to explore and learn more. Also, it
    had some nifty gadgets.

    So if you're looking for an IF game with RPG elements, I'd say Wumpus
    2000 is a must-play.

    I guess she doesn't have the Wumpus page up on her web site anymore,
    so maybe she is not planning on releasing it. That kind of makes me
    sad, because I liked it in some ways. I think she was also
    disappointed that she couldn't release the game in the IF Comp, since
    it's based on a copyrighted work, but she could get around that if she
    got permission from the copyright holder.

    The original announcement, which tells how to contact Muffy if you
    want to try out this game:
    http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=&safe=off&selm=u6-dnSOloLWR3z_d4p2dnA%40golden.net

    Greg
  11. Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

    David Adrien Tanguay wrote:
    > Daubechies4 wrote:
    >
    >> Essentially I'm looking for a single-player MUD (I know this is an
    >> oxymoron, but that's the best way I can describe it). Something like
    >> a hack-and-slash RPG experience but presented descriptively. [snip]
    >>
    >> Can anyone point me to something like this?
    >

    If you find it, let me know, too. :) I've been looking for something
    like this for a long, long time. I've even gone the route of designing
    one, but I just can't balance the combat system and the plot. :S

    ~Poster
  12. Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

    Daubechies4 wrote:
    > Essentially I'm looking for a single-player MUD

    Those words immediately brought a whole series of games to my mind.

    They're somewhat old and buggy, and you have to be willing to use an
    Apple II emulator (at least the PC versions have never worked well for
    me), but I enjoy an occasional afternoon with the EAMON games. They are
    a couple hundred PD games based on a common combat system. Check it out at:

    http://www.eamonag.org/
    http://www.lysator.liu.se/eamon/

    or in the archive at:

    http://www.ifarchive.org/indexes/if-archiveXgamesXappleIIXeamon.html


    --
    This message has been brought to you by

    Baggins of 41


    *****
    "What's a mathematical hobbit doing here?" you say? Check out
    www.dorm41.org and things may become clearer. <g>
  13. Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

    Daubechies4 wrote:

    > It's the repetition, the lack of a story, and the dearth of atmosphere
    > which bore me. I love being able to plan my avatar's development,
    > however, and explore various strategies. I really enjoyed
    > Planescape:Torment, for example, because it had a nice mixture of IF
    > elements and RPG elements.

    As a pen&paper-RPG aficionado, I have to step in at this point of the
    discussion and protest against the use of the phrase "RPG elements" that
    is made here! :) Hit points, statistics, experience, leveling up,
    explicit rules for combat, character classes, etcetera are NOT to be
    found in every RPG. One very short, freely available RPG that will cure
    anyone of this impression can be found here:
    http://www.randomordercreations.com/thepool.html. RPGs are
    extraordinarily diverse, ranging from the combat-happy dungeon-crawl
    'Dungeons and Dragons 3E', via the narrative-based game of gothic
    tragedy 'My Life with Master', to the story-engine 'Universalis' where
    there is no GameMaster and players do not have their own characters.

    Greetings,
    Victor Gijsbers
  14. Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

    Here, Victor Gijsbers <victor@lilith.gotdns.org> wrote:
    > Daubechies4 wrote:
    >
    > > It's the repetition, the lack of a story, and the dearth of atmosphere
    > > which bore me. I love being able to plan my avatar's development,
    > > however, and explore various strategies. I really enjoyed
    > > Planescape:Torment, for example, because it had a nice mixture of IF
    > > elements and RPG elements.
    >
    > As a pen&paper-RPG aficionado, I have to step in at this point of the
    > discussion and protest against the use of the phrase "RPG elements" that
    > is made here! :) Hit points, statistics, experience, leveling up,
    > explicit rules for combat, character classes, etcetera are NOT to be
    > found in every RPG.

    When talking about computer games, you can assume "RPG" means exactly
    the stuff you just listed. It's got nothing to do with "playing a
    role", or with the term "RPG" in the pen-and-paper RPG sense.

    I try to use "CRPG" ("computer role-playing game") to make the
    distinction clear, but again, when talking about computer games, it's
    easy to leave off the "C".

    Yes, the labels are misleading. No, it's not fixable.

    --Z

    "And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."
    *
    I'm still thinking about what to put in this space.
  15. Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

    Andrew Plotkin wrote:
    > Here, Victor Gijsbers <victor@lilith.gotdns.org> wrote:
    >
    >>Daubechies4 wrote:
    >>
    >>
    >>>It's the repetition, the lack of a story, and the dearth of atmosphere
    >>>which bore me. I love being able to plan my avatar's development,
    >>>however, and explore various strategies. I really enjoyed
    >>>Planescape:Torment, for example, because it had a nice mixture of IF
    >>>elements and RPG elements.
    >>
    >>As a pen&paper-RPG aficionado, I have to step in at this point of the
    >>discussion and protest against the use of the phrase "RPG elements" that
    >>is made here! :) Hit points, statistics, experience, leveling up,
    >>explicit rules for combat, character classes, etcetera are NOT to be
    >>found in every RPG.
    >
    >
    > When talking about computer games, you can assume "RPG" means exactly
    > the stuff you just listed. It's got nothing to do with "playing a
    > role", or with the term "RPG" in the pen-and-paper RPG sense.
    >
    > I try to use "CRPG" ("computer role-playing game") to make the
    > distinction clear, but again, when talking about computer games, it's
    > easy to leave off the "C".
    >
    > Yes, the labels are misleading. No, it's not fixable.

    I quite disagree. There's no hard and fast rule stating what a computer
    RPG is or must be. Just because the inclusion of hit points, combat, and
    so forth has worked in creating some simulation of reality does *NOT*
    mean those are the only elements that can be or have been borrowed from
    the RPG world.

    Excellent point Victor. I hadn't really thought about the spectrum of
    RPGs before, but that's mainly because I was always the DM. :)

    ~Poster
  16. Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

    On Tue, 23 Nov 2004 12:02:38 GMT, Poster scrawled:

    > I quite disagree. There's no hard and fast rule stating what a computer
    > RPG is or must be. Just because the inclusion of hit points, combat, and
    > so forth has worked in creating some simulation of reality does *NOT*
    > mean those are the only elements that can be or have been borrowed from
    > the RPG world.
    >
    > Excellent point Victor. I hadn't really thought about the spectrum of
    > RPGs before, but that's mainly because I was always the DM. :)
    >
    > ~Poster

    Well, I think you'll find that the majority of people who play computer
    games will aggree that they consider a game where you play a character and
    develop their stats in order to advance a plot - an RPG.

    This is important enough for shops to classify the games as such, so you
    know where to look when you're looking for something that doesn't classify
    as a FPS or strategy game, for example.

    --
    http://www.rexx.co.uk

    To email me, visit the site.
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