Getting Around the “Good Mule” Syndrome

A common tool for almost everyone but the most hard-core of evil roleplaying types is the use of an alternate character slot as the "good guy."  This is the character that can go into town for supplies, sell off loot, run a vendor… basically get around the sanctions and limitations imposed by the game on the criminal character.  It was not uncommon in UO for the 5 slots on an account to consist of one powerful good guy, 1 or 2 powerful murderers, and the rest mules of some sort or another.  This works because there is nothing connecting the good character and the evil character that is recognizable by other players, or the game engine.

To combat this, it may be necessary to implement a "known associates" black box system.  This means that all characters on an account are considered to be known to hang out with each other to some degree.  This has little meaning for the player who has all good (or all evil) characters who do things to justify their legal status, but an account with one crazed murderer and a few good guys will find that the good guys are being scruitinized by the local constabulary.  The noble Robin Glenn may find that his petitions for a title and holdings are being ignored and he’s not getting such a good deal from the local merchants because he is a known associate of the wanted killer Grom.  If Robin already had a title and lands when Grom began his spree, his worthiness will be called into question, and he may be stripped of his position, since he obviously can’t even keep his friends in line, and how can he be trusted to govern a fief?

The known associates system requires a somewhat complex system of reputation, fame and criminality, and server manipulation of these elements while the characters are offline (or done right at login, at the same time that the "offline activity" stuff is taken care of).  Its purpose is to encourage players who wish to be evil in their personas to own up to the consequences of this choice, rather than circumventing them with a stupid game mechanic.

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