Kefka's Discworld MUD ...Stuff

Robbery System


This is an idea for an Ankh-Morpork based system to dynamically generate semi-random houses for the purpose of having thieves rob them. This is to allow thieves to be more in line with the books, stealthily burgling houses rather than shoplifting. It would be a fun and challenging way to use covert skills in a non-combat situation, and earn some money/XP.

Starting Out

To begin the process, a thief first makes their way to wherever they wish to look for a house to rob. The choice of street and/or area could influence the type of house which is most likely to be generated - upper class areas, office buildings, slums, etc. The time could also play a part. Robbing a house at night would most likely involve the residents being asleep, while doing it during the day has a chance of the house being empty or someone being home...

The emphasis of the idea is that there are a lot of random factors, just like in real life, so no two robberies will be exactly the same. The various factors change probabilities, but never set too much in stone.

Once at the intended area, the thief performs a command ("case house", perhaps) which causes a semi-random house to be generated, and the thief to be placed outside it with an exit back to the street. For an in character touch, the command could involve consulting a ledger of which houses have not paid their fees or are due to be robbed. The house area exists independently from the rest of the city, and only for the duration of the thief's presence.

To prevent the houses from being abused as a safe hiding spot, a few conditions when finding a house should need to be met:

Furthermore, a time limit could be imposed when inside the house, to prevent people lingering or idling inside it. It would not be hard to justify this in character.

The Houses

Rather than coding a set number of houses, individual rooms - containing randomisable elements - would be coded, and then assembled in a semi-random manner whenever a house is generated. The rooms would be oriented to robbery, containing challenges that require covert skills and possibly some quick thinking. Examples of some rooms are...

Again, the idea is that the rooms have a large amount of minor random factors, and themselves are put together somewhat randomly, to create an almost infinite amount of different houses. Room descriptions could be pre-written, or have some random elements as well in terms of furniture and features.

To assemble a house, rooms would be selected and connected based on loose templates which ensure that the house "makes sense" - appropriate mix of living areas, bedrooms, etc.


So the thief hits the road and cases a house on the street, which generates an appropriate (for time and location) abode and places them at the entrance. They then have to rob the place. The rooms will determine how they get in, what challenges await them, what loot is available...

NPCs can populate the house, and chuck the player out if he's caught. They, like everything else, can be random. Different, different movement speeds (if they wander the house). A drunkard could catch a glimpse of you but not realise, if you leave the room in time... Hiding and sneaking will be valuable tools to avoid them, as will looking ahead before moving, and using alternative routes if possible, etc.

Loot! That's what the thief is there for. Depending on the area, different types and amounts of loot could be available. Wealthy houses may have jewellery boxes filled with shinies, or gems in a hidden safe, or a drawer full of expensive silverware, while slummy areas would be more of a money-under-the-mattress situation. The difficulty of skill-checks and overall security should suit the available loot, which could also be scaled to the guild level of the thief. This way, the system could be made to suit just about any level thief, assuming they choose the correct area. A newbie thief would be best sticking to the lower class areas, where security is low (and so is loot), while high level thieves could take on posh mansions with guard dogs, safes and big locks... for big rewards.

Wrapping Up

The value of everything removed from the house would go towards the thief's quota. While some other limiting factors to how many houses can be robbed make sense (see above), this would be a big one. Also, any items removed from the house would be labelled as stolen, and be treated as normal for stolen items in game.

In addition to the loot, some XP would be appropriate if the thief does a good job. This could be based on what percentage of the total loot available was stolen (taking quota into account), and if the thief was detected. Players would receive less XP if they were spotted, killed anything, missed loot, etc.