The West Marches mIRC Bot
I am once again thinking about another mIRC game bot that will probably never be made. Unfortunately I keep coming up with tons of ideas but have very little time and motivation to actually make them. However, I feel like documenting it here just in case that the opportunity ever comes up or someone else wants to tackle something like this.
So first off, what is The West Marches and why would anyone want to make a game based on it? Well, The West Marches is a style of play for Dungeons and Dragons. Before I can explain that I need to say that D&D is typically the same set of players playing in a set world with a dungeon master running the story. It's typically very story based and once the players die or the DM grows bored the campaign ends and the characters and settings basically disappear (unless the DM later revives it).
The West Marches, on the other hand, is more of a hex crawl style of play. It doesn't necessarily have to have the same players in it and the objective is up to the players. It's a little less story driven and is really up to the players on what they want to accomplish--almost a Choose Your Own Adventures style of D&D. If they've heard of a rumor of a dungeon to the north they can choose to investigate it at any level. Characters can live and die and whatever they do in the world persists (for example if a character dies exploring the ruins another group may encounter that body later on). The encounters (i.e. monsters) aren't scaled to the players so it is entirely possible that they may get in way over their heads. In other words, the combat is almost like a Dark Souls D&D style of play.
That's just a very basic overview. If this sounds interesting to you, you can always go read all about it from the guy who coined it. He explains it way better than I can ever hope to.
Now with that said...
Up until now, my bots and ideas have all revolved around a very simplistic automatic battle timer where players enter, win and move onto the next battle level. Even the FFRPG bot that I partially finished was going to be something similar but instead of 1 battle at a time it would be a series of battles for an adventure. With that in mind, this bot, should I ever decide to pursue it, would have to be a little different.
I think that for this to work there would have to be a grid-like system of "rooms" to make up a world. The rooms themselves would have encounter levels (from 1-20) and encounter tables that represent which monsters or things players may encounter when they encounter something in that room. So once the world is populated with encounters and levels, there would also be ruins, castles, dungeons, etc placed in certain random squares. These things would be undiscovered and once discovered would end up on a list of places that players could travel to, should they so desire. But until then players would have to embark on exploration quests to discover these places.
Players could choose to attempt to travel to any particular point on the grid. I say attempt because they would have to pass through the encounters of each square, if the RNG goes against them. The further out away from the main center town hub the harder the encounter levels would be--the more dangerous the things they encounter would be.
I think for something like this to work there would have to be permanent consequences of death. Perhaps permadeath. Should I choose that I think it'd be kind of neat to have the fallen bodies of players be a possible encounter on that square. By this I mean it might be possible to recover the equipment/items that was on them when they died, though having the ability to fight a zombied version of them would be kind of cool too.
For the loot.. I'm still leaning towards a Diablo style loot system. Things would drop and it'd be random on what it is, what augments (if any) it'd have, and what damage range it'd have (probably in accordance to the encounter level for this one, higher encounters will drop better loot over all).
For players.. I think players could create as many characters as they want but they wouldn't be able to switch the class of the characters they make. Every new char would start at level 1. I'm thinking maybe there'd be an estate or bank or something where they could store certain items or their gold/currencies.
Overall though, if I ever make another bot I think I'd rather make something different. I honestly don't know if mIRC would even allow me to make something like this but it'd be kind of fun to try.
Parties & Traveling
I think in order for a game like this to work a few things would have to be fundamentally different from BattleArena/FFRPG bot. Instead of allowing anyone to join in, I think there'd have to be some kind of party system with a solid party leader who would have to make certain choices and who the bot would use for rolls for determining things (such as whether or not the group finds anything in a certain area).
I'm thinking anyone can create a party but a character can only be in one party at a time. They can freely leave the party, if they're in town, and join another.. but only people who are in the same party can go on the same adventure/exploration quest. It'd probably just be something like !party create, !party invite, !party accept, !party decline, !party disband
As for traveling.. how would players choose to move through this massive world? I'm thinking the party leader would do something like !adventure 1n2e or !adventure 2w10s. This tells the bot how many squares to move through and in which direction. In the first example the party would adventure 1 square to the north and 2 to the east. In the second it'd be 2 to the west and 10 south. When the party reaches their final destination and finishes their encounter (if there is one) then they are automatically returned back to the safe city automatically.
There would probably have to be a limit of some kind so that players couldn't just type something like !adventure 10n5e80s9w1s8n etc and completely hog the bot forever and a day (assuming they could survive that many encounters lol).
Also at the end of each encounter and the square's event is done, maybe there would be a prompt for the party leader on whether or not to continue towards their destination or to return to town safely.
I'll probably write more later if I get more ideas later.