Home Druids Priests Sorcerers Lycanthropes Monks Blademasters  
Vote for Midnight Sun!
Login to the webpage
Play the game!
Time and game status


In the winter of 2004-2005, I (Pellevin) finished working on a new sac system for lycs. Then I somehow managed to fall off the face of the Earth for half a year, taking the system with me. But - now it's here! :) This page describes in detail how this new system works. It's a long read, but I strongly recommend you go through it all. The new system isn't overly complicated, and I'm sure you'll get the hang of it pretty quickly. But it still plays very differently from the old one, so be a good pup and do as daddy says - read!

Consider this system to still be in its beta stage. I've taken some effort to balance it of course, but mainly through the use of statistics, so your playtesting will be worth much more. But most importantly, what I want input on is not primarily the balance of it, but the concept - is this a road we want to walk down at all? Was the older system more fun, or should we maybe head in a third direction?

So - as I said, it's a long read, but please, take the time! Having to write this helpfile (which takes a LOT longer than you think) is what mainly put me off from finishing this thing. :) Which reminds me - if you have opinions on how to make this file more clear, or if something is missing, please do tell. Yada yada. Anyway. Good luck!

The 5 categories of weapon power

The first new concept in the new systems are the abolishment of sacvalues. Yep! Instead, we now have 5 categories. Previously, when you sacrificed a weapon, you got a stored sacvalue depending on that weapons powers and your level (!). Then when you change, you get the highest boost you have stored, slightly affected by the form you transform into - boar is stronger than Jaguar (what, you didn't know that?), etc.

The new system works very differently. Now, all weapons are divided into 5 different categories, according to their sacvalue. These are:

  • Courage of Mice
  • Wit of Rats
  • Gait of Hares
  • Flight of Ravens
  • Voice of Lions

The crappiest weapons will be deemed to belong to the Courage of Mice category, while the very best ones contain the Voice of Lions. Using the sacvalue command on a weapon will now show you which category it belongs to (without ever lying to you like the old command sometimes did):

You bury 100 gold coins in the ground. Instantly you sense that longsword
harbours the Gait of Hares.

..while actually sacrificing the weapon will of course also tell you which category you gained:

You place your longsword on the altar. In front of you it is suddenly as if
time runs with a tremendous rate. After only seconds, the longsword has
completely vanished, as if it had been left outdoors for decades. You feel
you've furthered your Gait of Hares.

In the old system, sacrificing a weapon away from the altar gave you less power. This is not the case here - the longsword would always contain the Gait of Hares. However, you will only get gxp when you sacrifice at the altar.

The guildlevel shard setups

So, does this mean there are only 5 different sacvalues now? Well, yes, actually. :) But here's were the fun starts! Depending on your guildlevel, you have a number of "shards" for each category. "Slots" would probably be a more logical name, but shards sounds cooler and more thematic. Each time you sacrifice a weapon, it will fill a shard in the category it belongs to. You won't get anything (except maybe gxp) for saccing a weapon belonging to a category in which you have no free shards - unless one of the shards is slightly used, then it will be replaced by the new full one. You can see your shards and sacs through using the sacview command. A player with guildlevel 3, having sacced one single Courage of Mice weapon, would get this output:

  Courage of Mice: [o][ ]            o = pristine         
      Wit of Rats: [ ]                                    
    Gait of Hares:                                        
 Flight of Ravens:                                        
   Voice of Lions:                                              

So at guildlevel 3 you only have 3 shards available - Two Courage of Mice shards, and one Wit of Rats shard. "Pristine" means that the sac is completely unused - just like before, sacs will fade with each change. The sacs in the lower categories fade much faster than the stronger ones! A guildlevel 20 player, with several sacs, might see this:

  Courage of Mice: [o][.][ ][ ]      o = pristine         
      Wit of Rats: [o][o][+][ ]      * = almost new       
    Gait of Hares: [o][*][ ]         x = somewhat faded   
 Flight of Ravens: [x]               + = half or less     
   Voice of Lions:                   . = almost gone   

So the higher your guildlevel, the more shards you have available, until you finally reach the max of 5 shards in each category at guildlevel 30. Note that not even a guildlevel 20 player can use sacs in the highest category!

Also note that it's only the right-most sacs in each category that get "eaten into" when you change. Presumably that second sac in the Mice category, now showing as "." which means "almost gone", will be completely used up with the next change. After that, the first Mice sac will be used.

Form shard setups

Now for the clever part - not only does each guildlevel have a shardsetup, but so does each form! This means that depending on what sacs you have, you might get very different powers in different forms. To be able to determine this, sacview can now take a form argument. Without argument, it shows your shardsetup, like shown above. Think of that view as a basic overview of your power situation. However, if the same glvl 20 player would type sacview war (the mud will know he meant werewarrior), he would see this:

  Courage of Mice: (.)               o = pristine         ( ) = available
      Wit of Rats: (o)(o)            * = almost new       < > = out of reach
    Gait of Hares: (o)(*)( )         x = somewhat faded   
 Flight of Ravens: (x)< >< >         . = almost gone     
   Voice of Lions: < >                     

You would gain 6 of the 10 shards of werewarrior strength (60%).

Ok, so lets decipher this: The werewarrior has 1 shard in Mice, 2 in Rats, 3 in Hares, 3 in Ravens, and one in the last one (Voice of Lions). Compare this to the previous "screenshot" - you will see that the warrior has shards that the player have no access to! These are the ones marked as "out of reach". Note that this works both ways; the player has 3 shards filled in the Wit of Rats category, but as the warrior setup only has two shards there, the third sac won't actually help him at all when changing into this particular form.

Another small note: Changing into a form will only eat away at the involved categories - some forms only have shards in a few categories, so only sacs in those categories will diminish when changing into that form. As you can see in the example above though, the Werewarrior will utilise all five categories.

Resulting power

And finally, the key to all this lies in the last line of the previous screenshot. The player has filled 6 of the 10 werewarrior shards, meaning he would get 60% power. If he had one more sac in the Gait of Hares category, he would get 70%. He couldn't possibly get more, however, since the last 3 sacs are out of reach, as they aren't part of his guildlevel shard setup.

Ok, he would get 60% of what? This is one of the major changes in the new system, so stay with me now: Each guildlevel has a max power value. The player would get 60% of the max value for his guildlevel (like before this is then affected by which form he changes into). Previously, the highest available power was through getting the best sac in the game. This is no longer the case at all.

In some senses this is of course a downgrade - even low players would sometimes get hold of really good sacs. In the new system, this won't help them. However, it is easier to reach 100% power than to get hold of that brilliant sac, so I'm hoping this will end up playing well.

Armour in new system

Yeah, hey, what about armour? Actually I've simplified the above screenshots a bit. The full output that glvl 20 player would get from typing sacview is:

 A T T A C K   P O W E R

  Courage of Mice: [.][ ][ ][ ]      o = pristine         
      Wit of Rats: [o][o][+][ ]      * = almost new       
    Gait of Hares: [o][*][ ]         x = somewhat faded   
 Flight of Ravens: [x]               + = half or less     
   Voice of Lions:                   . = almost gone      

To see how strong you would be in a certain form: sacview <form>

 D E F E N C E   P O W E R
 ___ __________________________________________________

Notice the "4" to the left in the armour bar? That means 3 bars are already full, we are now being showed the fourth bar. And, when the same player would type, say, sacview tiger (or just "sacview t" would actually also work), he would see:

 A T T A C K   P O W E R

  Courage of Mice: (.)               o = pristine         
      Wit of Rats: (o)(o)(+)( )      x = somewhat faded   
    Gait of Hares: (o)               + = half or less     
 Flight of Ravens: (x)               . = almost gone      
   Voice of Lions:                                        

You would gain all but one of the 7 shards of weretiger strength (85%).

 D E F E N C E   C O S T
 ___ __________________________________________________

Now it says "defence COST" instead, and the bar shows how much armour you will lose for changing into this form (and this same amount is also directly tied into how much protection you actually get). So really the new system means only cosmetic changes for armour - everything is computed exactly like before. Ah, except for that special features (magical, etc) now gives higher sacvalue. Upgrade! :) Otherwise, the only difference is you don't have to bother about scaling the armour bar anymore, which mostly just made newbies very unhappy anyway.

Ah, almost forgot - using sacvalue on an armour gives you the same information as before, but also uses my new bar graphic:

You bury 100 gold coins in the ground. Instantly you sense that plate would
increase your protection by: 
 ___ __________________________________________________

Bonus shards

Now, what you've read so far is a complete description of the basic system. I've also coded two "special things", to allow wizards to code nifty things to tie into the system. The first of these two things is the bonus shard system.

The idea is very simple - each category has one potential bonus shard, which you will get access to if certain requirements are filled. This shard does NOT count towards the total shards for a form, which means you can actually fill for example 6 out of 5 shards, and thus get more than 100% power. Like this player in the screenshot here:

 A T T A C K   P O W E R

  Courage of Mice: (o)(o)(.)         o = pristine         ( ) = available
      Wit of Rats: (o)(o)\+/         + = half or less     \ / = bonus shard
    Gait of Hares:                   . = almost gone      
 Flight of Ravens:                                        
   Voice of Lions:                                        

You would gain all of the 5 shards, and 1 bonus shard, of wereboar strength

 D E F E N C E   C O S T
 ___ __________________________________________________

So what are the requirements behind the 5 different bonusshards then? I haven't completely decided on them yet, so not all are in the game. Here's what I've come up with so far:

  • The Courage of Mice bonusshard (which actually is the best to have since it's the easiest to fill) is avaiable if you raised your glvl within the last 2 hours.
  • If you try the moonphase command, you'll find that I've tweaked it a bit - it now not only shows the moonphase, but also which form(s) the moon is currently "in harmony" with. In these forms you'll get the Wit of Rats bonus shard.
  • For the Gait of Hares I was thinking of giving it to the top boot donor. Haven't coded this yet, and am not sure this is the best idea.
  • The Flight of Ravens bonus shard goes to the current Master of the Wild Hunt.
  • ...and finally, the Voice of Lions shard might go to the Packleader, or be his to give, or something. Haven't decided on this yet, so it's not in the game. Originally I had some plans to make the Packleader title less static, which would make this bonus shard work better. Not sure if this is the best idea in the current situation (sorry Vig). But actually this bonus shard isn't of that much use anyway, so not THAT big a deal.

Like I said, I'm not too happy with my ideas here, so input is very much wanted. Maybe one of the shard could instead be something you could get access to once a boot, and you decide when through activating it by praying to Selune? Etc etc.

Since some bonusshards are form-specific, I coded it so the bonusshards only show when you check your sacview for a certain form. Using sacview without argument will ONLY show you your personal shardsetup (which as you hopefully remember depend on your guildlevel), even if you do actually have access to some bonusshards.

Inner flames

The second "special thing" I coded is the Inner flame concept. It's very simple: an inner flame is a filled sac shard, that's used up immediately (instead of being slowly eaten away at with each change like a normal weapon sac). The idea is that these flames could be rewarded to you for doing certain things, giving you a temporary power surge (or just saving your sacs). Here's what it looks like:

 A T T A C K   P O W E R

  Courage of Mice: [o][o][.][ ][ ]   o = pristine         
      Wit of Rats: [o][o][+][F][F]   * = almost new       
    Gait of Hares: [o][o][*][ ]      x = somewhat faded   
 Flight of Ravens: [x][F][ ]         + = half or less     
   Voice of Lions: [F][ ]            . = almost gone      
                                     F = inner flame

To see how strong you would be in a certain form: sacview <form>

 D E F E N C E   P O W E R
 ___ __________________________________________________

So this (guildlevel 28) player has two flames in Wit of Rats, one in Flight of Ravens, and one in Voice of Lions. When that same player types sacview warrior instead of just sacview like above, the system will conveniently tell him how many flames will be used:

 A T T A C K   P O W E R

  Courage of Mice: (o)               o = pristine         
      Wit of Rats: (o)(o)            * = almost new       
    Gait of Hares: (o)(o)(*)         x = somewhat faded   
 Flight of Ravens: (x)(F)( )         F = inner flame      
   Voice of Lions: (F)                                    

Through consuming 2 inner flames you would gain all but one of the 10 shards of
werewarrior strength (90%).

 D E F E N C E   C O S T
 ___ __________________________________________________

Note that since the flames always end up "to the right" of the sacs in each category, you will always primarily use the sacs - only if you don't have enough sacs in a category will your inner flames be used.

Right now, there is no way to get inner flames. I planned to use them to solve the problem with lycs being really slow booters in the new system: if you meld with Malar at his shrine just after boot, he will fill all your available shards with inner flames (using you as his torch of wrath to baptism the world in fire blah blah blah). This means that with your very first change you will be really powerful, but completely crappy again in the second change (unless you of course use that first change to get some sacs).

But for many reasons, I'm not convinced that's a good idea. I've also considered giving you this boost the first change in a boot, but non-lyc crybabies might have opinions about that too (and probably rightfully so). So I'll do some more thinking on this matter, as should you. I'm not even completely convinced we need these flames at all - they are just really one-change sacs and as such aren't very novel or original, like the bonusshards.

Effects of the new sac system

To summarise, the new system will have the following implications on the game:

  • Lycs will suddenly be interested in sacrificing "crap" weapons too. That there was no reward whatsoever to do this was one of the major gripes I had with the old one.
  • Previous system was too good at letting lycs tell how good a weapon is through sacvaluing it. New one isn't.
  • Since lowglvls won't have any shards in higher categories, they have no use for highlvl sacs. This should mean that the availability situation improves significantly (which is one of the major reasons behind this recode).
  • When all shards are filled, the boost you get depends solely on your glvl, and nothing else (apart from the variations depending on the form). For better or worse.
  • As the lower forms have fewer shards, everyone will use them in the beginning, as a 100% bat is much better than a 15% dragon. This also is one of the main advantages with the new system - it promotes the use of lower forms, and there will be more brains to choosing the correct one.
  • Lycs might be slower in the start, as saccing 1 superweapon gives you exactly the same power as saccing 1 crap one. But usually you will come across a number of crap weaps on your way to the superweapon, so by that time you should have filled all your shards anyway.
  • Since the NK has lots and lots of shards, it will be more limited (without being directly downgraded, which is what I wanted to avoid).
  • The old system used your level in many different ways, which kind of bugged me. New one uses only guildlevel.

Balance of the new system

First off, again, it's important to appreciate how difficult this new system is to balance by just comparing to the old one. The fact that you have a built-in max power (for each guildlevel) will make for very different play, as will the category-hunting as opposed to the single-minded hunt for CB. It simply is a major change, with implications for gameplay which aren't that easy to foresee. Still, I'm quite sure balance will need to be severely tweaked. This is what factors in now:

  • Guildlevel shardsetups
  • Form shardsetups
  • Guildlevel maxpower (by far the most important factor, and what I'll primarily play around with)
  • Form strength (just as in old system, different forms have different power multipliers)
  • The speed at which changing eats away at the different categories
  • The formula that determines what category a weapon belongs to (it will be very important that we get a suitable number of weapons in the last two categories).

So opinions on all these factors are needed, even if of course the guildlevel maxpowers are what will play the biggest part. Also, there are parameters that aren't tied in to this new system but that might also need tweaking in this new environment:

  • Shadowself cost for the different forms
  • Change duration
  • And of course, the strengths and weaknesses of the forms themselves will play a bigger part now, since everyone suddenly has an interest in bats and boars, etc.

All these things need to be taken into consideration. I strongly urge you though - don't judge or jump to conclusions right away! Give it time, and do some thinking. Because, we have a...

Major decision

...to make. Which is: Do we want this new system? Because if you don't like it, I can change back to the old one through the flick of a switch. I'll give you a few weeks (during which time we'll of course work on balancing it), and then we'll try to come to a decision on what we want. Because contrary of common opinion, the motivation for us wizards when changing things isn't arrogance, self-glorification or random stupidity - I want to make for a better game. Maybe this new system completely crappifies the game instead - fine, then no problem, we'll change back and forget this ever happened. So, hope we're all on the same page here? :)

Another thing which I should add - my future is currently a complete white canvas. I no longer have a job, flat or girlfriend, so I'm free to float wherever the wind may take me. Which I intend to do. Which means that I might have lots of time for mudding, or maybe it'll be as bad as in the spring. Point is - this new system obviously needs quite a bit of wizard support, and I cannot guarantee I can offer that. But, we'll just have to let everything play itself out and take it as it comes.

Yada yada. Anyway - I hope this system makes for more fun play. If it doesn't, well - at least I had fun when coding it. ;) But, like we said, we'll see. Talk to each other, post your thoughts on the guildboard, mail me - get to work!

Happy hunting!

June 2005


Ok, so the blood, sweat and tears are all mine, but some others deserved to be mentioned for the part they played in the creation of this system:

  • Angie for housing me, safely far away from all distractions
  • Loke for patiently letting me bounce things off his brain
  • Eddy for sharing his wisdom without making me feel like a dumb-ass (which I actually am in comparison)
  • Weirdo for providing perspective with his there-from-the-beginning thoughts
  • Vigilante for allowing me to take advantage of his ridiculously thorough knowledge of the game
  • ...and perhaps most importantly - Farseer, for hatching the ideas missing from my original, rather bland, vision.

Amen. Still here? Go play!


By voting at Top Mud Sites every 12 hours you help new players find the game.

Give your vote to Midnight Sun now!