This command allows you to perform a weapon kata ("an exercise consisting of several of the specific movements of a martial art"). How well you succeed in this kata - how well your movements flow and whatnot, indicated by the messages received - gives you an idea of how close your fi.me.** bonus is to the bonus required to use the weapon effectively. I don't know much about weapon code, but it's long been believed that more powerful weapons require a greater melee skill bonus to wield optimally - ensuring that a newbie can't pick up a high end sword and become instantly uber. I don't know if this is expressed as a property in the weapon itself, or something which happens as the result of your bonus going through the combat handler... either way, I'm sure it would be possible to in some way come up with a "melee skill bonus required for optimal performance with this weapon".
Unfortunately though, there's no way other than trial and error to get an idea of the bonus required to use a weapon effectively. I'd like this command to be able to give a vague idea, but require a decent amount of work if someone wants to try and precisely quantify a weapon's effective range.
Syntax: kata with <weapon>
(so simple, even a warrior can use it!)
Cost: 50 fighting GP
(since it's a non combat command, I think a high GP cost is fine)
Requirements: 100 levels in fi.sp.we
(like "judge", the command could be a bit inaccurate if you don't have a high enough fi.sp.we bonus)
Restrictions: Warrior only.
(performing a kata is a very warriorish thing to do)
Each weapon class (dagger, sword, axe, mace, etc) would have its own kata. Each kata could take 6 seconds or so to perform (3 messages, 3 seconds apart) - although if you fail it too badly (either by having a poor fi.sp.we bonus or a melee skill bonus that is just WAY too low to use the weapon well at all) it could end sooner (and more embarrassingly).
Adjectives/Adverbs in the messages indicate how well you're doing, as used in several other skill-related messages on the MUD. Alternatively, complete sentences could be written to reflect your performance, but that takes more work.
The adjectives/adverbs fall into 5 "ranges", indicating how close to the weapon's optimal melee skill bonus you are. The ranges, in percentages, could be:
1. 0 - 40 (Amateur)
2. 40 - 60 (Average)
3. 60 - 80 (Proficient)
4. 80 - 100 (Expert)
5. 100+ (Master / Overkill)
These ranges are percentages, so if a certain sword needs a 500 bonus to use with optimal efficiency then the ranges would map out to the following fi.me.sw bonuses:
1. 0 - 200
2. 201 - 300
3. 301 - 400
4. 401 - 500
As an example, here's a simple sword kata:
>kata with long sword Taking a sturdy stance, you clutch your long sword before you for a few moments before <adverb> performing a forward thrust, followed by a/an <adjective> parry motion. Turning to the side, you swing your long sword upwards <adverb> in a diagonal slash, before spinning and executing a/an <adjective> horizontal slash. You take a step forward, launching a series of <adjective> thrusts and slashes, before lowering your sword.
The <adjective> and <adverb> placeholders would be replaced with words from the range your melee bonus falls into for the weapon you're using.
Here are some words which could be used. I'll list the adverbs - am sure you can figure out the adjectives from them:
1. poorly, clumsily, amateurishly, ineptly, sloppily, crudely, feebly
2. passably, plainly, simply, reasonably, decently, <nothing>
3. confidently, aptly, neatly, capably, assertively, smartly
4. proficiently, deftly, gracefully, professionally, efficiently
5. perfectly, flawlessly, masterfully, impeccably, expertly
Your bonus in fi.sp.we (which I feel it should be possible to TM by using this command) can influence how "accurate" the results are. This could be done applying a modifier (positive or negative) to the weapon's optimal melee skill bonus when it is used to calculate the ranges and messages you get. The lower your fi.sp.we bonus, the bigger the modifier - to the point where there is no modifier when you have sufficient fi.sp.we (hence obtaining an accurate result). The same principal could be applied to your melee skill bonus when calculating, with much the same impact.
The fi.sp.we bonus needed to get an accurate result shouldn't be too harsh, in my opinion. It could be fixed at 200 or 250, or it could be relative to the weapon itself - perhaps you could need a fi.sp.we bonus of at least half the weapon's optimal melee skill bonus in order to perform an accurate kata?
Perhaps it would be possible to indicate in some way when your kata has been influenced by an insufficient fi.sp.we bonus.
Q. How do you justify being able to do the same kata perfectly with sword A and poorly with sword B?
A. The same way you justify weapons having an optimal melee skill bonus in the first place - why can't I use sword A as effectively as sword B? I think it boils down to one of those "gameplay vs. realism" tradeoffs in the end.
Q. Will this give too much away about weapon statistics and whatnot?
A. Given that there are five ranges with several adjectives/adverbs each, and fi.sp.we possibly making things even more obscure, it takes a fair amount of work to quantify a weapon's exact optimal melee skill bonus. I feel it's something that people SHOULD be able to discover with a bit of effort, as it really isn't one of the "essential" statistics like damage and speed and whatnot.
Q. Wont it be hard to write katas which are appropriate for all weapons in a class? Your sword kata example assumes the sword is not purely piercing.
A. There's plenty of examples of messages which don't match things 100% on the MUD. That said, if there's a bit of code to check what attack types the weapon has and produce suitable messages then that problem is easily solved - at the expense of writing some more messages.
Q. "Kata" sounds like a very Oriental thing, suitable to Agatean warrior specs but not so much to the rest..?
A. The soldier specs would all have "weapon drills" which equate to the same thing, and other specs like barbarians and weapon masters would no doubt practise their weapon wielding in some way. I'm sure that messages can be written to be as generic as possible. Also, we have the "iai" command. It could be renamed as "drill" if more suitable.
I think this command would be a nice way of letting people discover a little more about the weapons they use or are planning to use. It will allow people to make better choices rather than just grabbing the current popular favourite, and make it possible for more people to recommend suitable weapons to others. This will no doubt result in a wider variety of weapons being used.