[MUD-Dev] Life

Jamie Norrish jamie at sans.vuw.ac.nz
Wed Jun 4 16:06:45 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

Adam Wiggins writes:
> [Jamie L:]

BTW, what does the L stand for?

> This is an inherent problem with playing a character with weak
> survival skills.

Well, to be more precise it's an inherent problem with playing a
character with weak survival skills in a game in which the system can
kill you. In most MUSHes, for example, that system doesn't exist -
outcomes may be determined by consultation or decision.

> The dragon breathes fire, and your body is burned to a husk.
> Does this make sense to you? (y/n)
> > n
> Okay, you stay alive.

This is in fact very similar to what I posted about a few weeks back
(and which seemed to be ignored by everyone), with regards to
"dramatic" roleplay in a computer-simulated world. It's a technique
not without its problems, but I think it's a viable option for some
styles of play.

> *grin* Seriously, life doesn't always make sense from a single
> person's standpoint. If you don't have senseless death, then
> 'meaningful' death is no longer meaningful. (Everyone dies saving
> the town or dueling their mortal enemy - no one dies by that suprise
> orc raid or by falling off a cliff in the dark, breaking their leg,
> and then starving to death.)

Hmm, I think though that people might have different ideas about what
is meaningful. Something may be meaningful to a player but meaningless
to the character, or vice-versa, for example. Also, not everyone would
mind a meaningless death, perhaps. And how often would death come up?

[Note that my bias, in probably all my posts, is towards role-playing
games where violence is entirely possible (it's an application of the
physical laws, no more, no less), but rare due to a number of

> Yes. *But* - the computer cannot decide what is senseless and what
> is not.

Hence asking the question above, in fact.

> If you don't accept this from the outset, you're going to be in for
> some troubling gaming. In addition, I don't see this as being 100%
> bad - it makes the game world seem more comprehensive, like the
> player is immersed in a world bigger than themselves (and in fact,
> they are).

Oh, I don't see it as bad either - it's a perfectly valid playing
style, and if everyone knows that's how the game works when they
begin, then there shouldn't be these problems. Personally, though, I
find that I can be immersed in a world bigger than myself simply
through interacting with other characters and the world, in a
non-lethal way (or rather, a non-sudden-death way).

What if, in response to the "Does this make sense to you?" question
above, I said, "No." and it proceeded not to kill my character, but to
do something which meant I could continue playing the character, but
with some, perhaps grievous, effects incurred? It is much more
interesting, to my way of thinking, to deal with this sort of
challenge than it is to be simply faced with, in essence "We're taking
away the point of the game for you, ta ta."


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