September 17th

I have ripped out all the group attributes previously assigned to each fighter. That has created a great many syntax errors in the scripts, but I can deal with those. The task before me is the creation of character attributes for individuals.

At this point, most designers would haul out the old, tried-and-true attributes that we’ve been using since Dungeons & Dragons. Strength, Stamina, Agility, Charm, etc. I am NOT going to use that route, because the actor attributes I create will be used primarily to determine the text that will be presented when that fighter is engaged. This will overlap with some of the common RPG attributes, but only by coincidence. 

For example, I do want to use Agility as an actor attribute, but only because that is significant to the choice of text. Consider these two text descriptions of a fight:

<DirObject> waits patiently while his opponent approaches, then crouches slightly to permit a faster jump at the critical moment. The Saxon raises his battleaxe and brings it down hard, but <DirObject> easily evades it and springs to the right, slashing at the Saxon’s calf before the Saxon can respond. The Saxon loses his balance for a second, then recovers and turns to face <DirObject>. This time he attempts a shorter, quicker stroke, and again <DirObject> leaps, this time to the Saxon’s left, and again slices into the Saxon’s other calf. Again the Saxon bends in pain; this time his recovery is slower. He backs up a step or two, but his footing is uneven. His right foot strikes a loose helmet on the ground and he glances downward to check his step. That’s when <DirObject> pounces, driving his sword underneath the Saxon’s shield and up into his abdomen. The Saxon groans, swings his battleaxe wildly, and falls backward. Quick as a cat, <DirObject> pounces and stabs his opponent in the throat.

Now <DirObject> faces a Saxon wearing particularly strong armor. The man has chain mail covering almost every part of his body, as well as studded leather pieces at various commonly exposed points. He carries no shield; instead, he has only a spiked targ, a small round shield that can readily be maneuvered to deflect any blow. These targs are made of iron, not wood, so they don’t shatter when hit by an especially hard blow. His weapon is a short sword in the old Roman style. He seems to carry the weight of his armor easily enough. <DirObject> charges and attempts to knock the Saxon down with a body blow, but the Saxon steps aside and deflects the impact with his targ. <DirObject> doesn’t hesitate; he swings his sword laterally as he turns, but again the Saxon deflects the stroke with his targ; then he counterattacks, stabbing <DirObject> in the thigh. <DirObject> drops to his knees, but is quickly rescued by his comrades, who drive the Saxon back while they help <DirObject> to safety.

It should be obvious that a high Agility value would prefer the first paragraph, and a low Agility value would prefer the second paragraph. I’ll call it Clumsy_Agile.

What other attributes do I want? Obviously, I need something to represent the actor’s ability to smash, which would be called “Strength” or “Heft” or “Musculature”. I balk at “Strength” because it implies more than just the ability to hit hard. Nevertheless, I’ll go with “Weak_Strong”.

I have already entered “Cowardly_Brave” as an attribute. 

Next comes a measure of how much expertise a fighter has. This could be called “Young_Old”, or “Inexperienced_Experienced”, or “Beginner_Expert”. “Young_Old” implies that old means weak. How about “Green_Hardbitten”? I rather like that one.

Next we need to measure the morale of the fighter. “Demoralized_ChargedUp”? I have a better idea: I already have a mood called “Fearful_Angry”. I’ll use that.

Next comes the fighter’s armor. Each fighter has his own armor, with the older fighters having acquired better armor over the course of their career. “Bare_Armored”. 

Lastly comes the fighter’s weapon. Here we get into a problem: do we address the particular characteristics of each weapon, or do we simply rate weapons by how ‘good’ or ‘bad’ they are? No, I think it best to ignore this attribute.

Conclusion: I will use this set of attributes in battle: Clumsy_Agile, Weak_Strong, Cowardly_Brave, Fearful_Angry, and Bare_Armored.

I’ll want to let this simmer in my mind before I implement it.