[MUD-Dev] Life

Marian Griffith gryphon at iaehv.nl
Tue Jun 3 00:01:21 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

On Mon 02 Jun, Adam Wiggins wrote:

> > I am a roleplayer. The game to me is about story.
> > If you kill out my character before I have had a chance to fully
> > explore that story you have taken soemthing very personal and precious
> > from me.

> Ah...another good analogy.  Unfortunately, there's a small problem with it
> that I think is point of my argument.  *When*, pray tell, is the novel
> complete?  Never?  When you decide it's complete?

What hurts is not especially the fact that the character died, but the
fact that somebody else decided she should die.  Without any regard or
respect for my feelings.  Like you say further on,  if you RP you have
to be aware that your characters do dangerous things  and may die as a
consequence. This is true for AD&D style quest/campaigns. Should this,
however, allow other players intrude on your RP  without your consent?
This is a loaded question and one that I don't think can have a satis-
factory answer. Both yes and no are equally arguable, and this is what
differentiates the flavours of roleplaying games that are found on the
To further complicate things,  this is not necessarily true for story-
telling RP that are much more cooperative efforts  and are much closer
to the book examply I snipped above.  There a character is part of the
story told by several people and killing her does cut off a story that
is unfinished.

> When the admin decides it's complete?  I think the answer to this
> question probably will tell you a lot about the kind of game you want
> to play - there's certainly no 'right' answer.

Indeed.  And if we all keep this firmly in mind we might be able to
cut down the bitterness that seems to have crept up on this thread.

>  Personally, I believe that characters in a role-playing
> game are only members of a larger, more complex world.  They are 'born'
> when you create them, 'live' while you play them, and die either by
> bad luck or bad judgement, or more likely a combination of the two.

Having been mostly an immersive RP-er this is the kind of game I'm
interested in at the moment.

> I've sent more than one character to certain death, both because I found
> it a lot more fun to charge in on the dragon to give my friends time to
> escape, and because it was in character.

The trick here  is that you decided to do this.  It may have been in-
evitable, but you still agreed to it. If a player you don't even know
came in, mindcontrolled your character and sent him charging the dra-
gon barehanded would you still consider it equally fun? Maybe but I do
doubt it.  This is the perceived difference we are talking about here,
and people perceive this on a more or less personal level. Naturally.

> I'm curious, then, to hear from all the hard-core role-players on the list
> what they think the answer to this question is.  On every MUSH I've played,
> no one has complained that their character died 'before their time' or
> whatever, yet Jeff seems to feel that if you die before you really want
> to, the game is ruined for you?  (Tell me I'm reading it wrong, but this
> is what I seem to get out of your statements above.)

Like I said above,  it's more a matter of having the decision forced away
from you. A friend of mine had her character slowly go mad and eventually
walk away in frozen wilderness. Hardly heroic but done with excellent RP.
I am considering a  happily ever after for one of my characters.  In both
cases there is little left to explore  about those characters  and it may
be time for them to fade away. How exactly this is done must be the play-
er's personal decision  or you will to a bigger or lesser extend ruin the
game for her.  In the childmolester case,  had he had the decency to talk
to the intended victim perhaps something could have been agreed upon.  Or
maybe not,  but at least the victim's player had not felt violated by the
other player.

> But each player can decide this for themselves

As long as this is true there is no problem with players fighting players.
Things get nasty if some player decides the other players have no right to
decide for themselves. If the master swordman decides he doesn't like your
face when you enter the bar and in a single swift stroke beheads your lit-
tle thief there is no RP involved.  This kind of act is commonly termed PK
in the roleplaying community (a misnomer  and the source of much confusion
and occasionally bitter arguments  even on this list).  Disruptive playing
would be more accurate  but is rather a nasty and unpleasant phrase to use
instead of the easier PK :) Jeff mentioned PvP as opposed to PK,  where in
the first case there was an understanding about the possibility of combat.
The examples you give point in the same direction.
Maybe we should, for the sake of clarity, entirely drop the term PK. It is
too loaded with conflicting meanings for the people on this list.  Instead
we could opt for the terms that I've read somewhere:  constructive playing
(which still allows combat, murder and mayhem) and destructive playing.
Or maybe we should drop the entire discussion as Chris suggested and let
things cool off a bit.

Yes - at last - You. I Choose you. Out of all the world,
out of all the seeking, I have found you, young sister of
my heart! You are mine and I am yours - and never again
will there be loneliness ...

Rolan Choosing Talia,
Arrows of the Queen, by Mercedes Lackey

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