[MUD-Dev] The limits of system

Matt Chatterley root at mpc.dyn.ml.org
Sun May 18 00:28:13 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

On Sat, 17 May 1997, Jamie Norrish wrote:

> Wow, this list is busy! I'm only sorry I haven't had time to do any
> posting. Hopefully this message will contain bits and pieces relevant
> to several of the current role-playing threads.

<g> I lurked for a goodish while before saying anything at all, then
suddenly had a burst of verbosity. Time related, too. ;)
> First, a quick word about skill development. I think no one can deny
> that we get better at doing something the more we do it (within
> limits, of course) - regardless of whether we "succeed" or "fail".
> Equally, it's apparent that receiving guidance and instruction from
> others can be very helpful. So, it should be clear what to do.

This is a good assessment. It's also fair to say that if you have a
degree of success in a very hard task, you may learn more than total
success in an easy (or easier) task, but you would learn very little from
complete failure in an incredibly hard task.
> Now, the main subject: I may be misunderstanding one or two messages
> that I quickly read recently, but it seemed that the idea of coding
> was sneaking into place where I don't believe it has any right to be.
> One example given was a player character setting up a guide of
> thieves, and being able to code the place to meet, the paying of dues,
> and so forth. Now, in the case of a room, perhaps there is the
> necessity of having someone create one somewhere, if there hasn't been
> sufficient building before-hand, or if the characters modify an
> existing place. However, I am firmly opposed to the idea of the system
> of the game having anything to do with what is a social function. Take
> tithing, for example - aside from the code needed for giving objects,
> etc, there is no mechanics needed for this. The guildmaster asks, and
> is given (or not), at its barest. *This* is where interesting
> interaction comes from - setting up the guild and running it isn't a
> step towards some goal, it is part of the goal itself.

I'm not entirely sure what you're aiming at.. but in an RP environment, I
find it desirable to completely isolate the players from all notions of
coding and so forth (beyond suggestions to improve things). It's
theoretically possible to RP very nicely in one empty room with no
description, but not really very nice (or easy) to do, so we make more and
more complex things trying to improve status quo. Complication isn't
desirable, and things get confusing. :)

> The same with martial arts belts - anyone, if they find or make one,
> can wear it, and many people familiar with the use of that symbol may
> naturally assume that the person has the skills that belt is
> associated with.

This is quite true, and worth bearing in mind.. although I fear I may have
missed the point. :)
> On a slightly different note, I think such statements as "Bob enters
> the traditional stance of the Foo masters" are dangerous. I would much
> rather see an actual description of the stance (thus not assuming any
> knowledge on the part of the perceiving character); perhaps the system
> can interpret the description for those familiar with Foo styles, but
> that seems needlessly complicated.

Yes, definitely, on all counts.

	-Matt Chatterley
"Fishing is complete and utter madness."  -Spike Milligan

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