Sample Offline Activity System
The character has a popup menu he can access via the GUI, listing the various offline activities he could possibly perform. You need to list as many as possible, since a character might disconnect anywhere by accident, and you don’t wantto require him to tailor 50 different lists based on all the places he might log out. A simple offline activity list might look like this:
|Heal||Being Wounded (default priority 1)||Damage is healed based on character’s medical skill, increased if he logs out near an appropriate medical facility|
|Forage||Hunger (wilderness default priority 2)||In town, character defrays his offline cost of living by scrounging for food, with possible loss to social standing due to trash-rooting. In the wilderness, player hunts/fishes/traps/whatever for as long as he needs to in order to feed himself. Possible small increase to appropriate skills and controlling attributes.|
|Train (skill)||n/a||Character has the possibility of gaining a small amount of the chosen skill and controlling attributes. Efficiency increases if he proximity to a suitable training facility that he has access to.|
|Voluntary Community Service||Criminal Points below the threshold of possible instant arrest||Reduction of criminal points, possible loss of social standing.|
|Court-Sanctioned Community Service||Being imprisoned when the ciminal point total on release would make instant arrest possible||Reduction of criminal points to just below the instant arrest threshold, loss of social standing. This activity precludes logging in until completed.|
|Mundane Job (description)||Job skills, being in town||Offline tax mitigation, possible small increase to job skills and controlling attributes.|
|Apprentice (description)||Artisan skills, proximity to an NPC artisan with room for an apprentice||Limited offline tax mitigation, defraying cost of living, possible small increase to job skills and controlling attributes.|
|Study (knowledge skill)||Proximity to an appropriate library facility or school, or possession of study materials||Possible increase to skills and controlling attributes. May incur additional fees or tuition if the knowledge type is especially arcane or otherwise valuable and being studied at a facility.|
|Social Climbing||Being in town||Possible increase to social standing.|
|Repair||Damaged equipment in inventory, appropriate skills and tools||Repair of damaged equipment, possible increases to repair skills and controlling attributes.|
Default settings for this selection screen might be Heal, Forage, Mundane Job (Laborer). The character would, on logout, sleep for an appropriate amount of time, then heal if he is wounded, then forage for food until he was no longer hungry, then (if he was in town) work as a laborer to mitigate his taxes, possibly getting a little bit of physique in the process. If he was out of town, the third possibility is gone, and so all he does is sleep, heal, and feed himself.
The player may wish to modify his selections. For instance, say the player wants to become a respected soldier, aspiring to become a Field Marshal or such, and has enough money to be able to pay taxes. He might then modify his list to read Heal, Repair, Train (weapon), Social Climbing. If he was in town, he would sleep, heal if wounded on logout, then repair any damaged gear, then split his time between training at the barracks and hobnobbing with the nobility. He must be careful to not do this too long, lest he become impoverished. If he was outside of town, Forage would be a default priority for him since he’s out of range of markets, and so he would Heal, Forage, Repair, and Train (weapon) on his own. Social climbing is not possible for him in this situation.
Note that there is no offline option to harvest resources or craft. This might seem strange, considering that realistic mining/lumberjacking/what have you is a slow and boring process that might be better performed offline. However, if such activities are allowed, one has to take special care to get around the phenomenon of "become a millionaire in your sleep," akin to UO macro-mining all night. The fact of the matter is that raw materials harvesting is an extremely hard and thankless job, especially preindustrially, and it takes a very long time to get iron out of the ground, UO’s mining system notwithstanding.
A generous system might allow for a small amount of iron to be given to a player who chooses Mundane Job (Mining), but most of what the players digs up is going to go to his employer. Likewise, a player who chooses Mundane Job (Blacksmith) might be able to select something he could have created when he logs back in, based on the amount of time he was logged out. More generous allowances might be made for players working in their own shops. Likewise, a lumberjack operating outside of town, like a criminal or a hermit building a cabin, might also get some leeway, but the guy who wants to harvest 2000 cords of wood for making bows to sell should not be allowed this abuse. Simply have another offline activity selection called "Construction" or such to allow for this eventuality.