[MUD-Dev] Alignment & Introductions

Travis Casey efindel at io.com
Sun Aug 24 19:02:20 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

> lapsos <root at TDK.earthlink.net> wrote:
> Alignment.
>   One problem i see with using Alignment is who is to say what is evil
> what isn't?  Even from a mud point of view you will have players/zones
> based upon the belief that an iron fist is the true way of doing things,
> and thus would be good to them.  While you will have others that believe
> the opposite.  Some of the better ways i've seen to replace alignment is
> Factions and Legacy.  With both these systems you don't have good or
> Simply what you believe in and what others believe in you.  When using
> alignment you usually must decide on whos views are correct.  Is Killing
> Evil?  Is Killing Evil Good?  or both?  While these may be simple answers
> they might not(and almost guarenteed not to be) agreed to by the players
> and gods/immorts on those particular muds. Least with factions you can
> easily increase the size and meaning of the system with little/no hassle
> to either Coders or Players.  For most of these reasons i feel Alignment
> is not only outdated and to small but rather a Monopoly on views in most
> muds.  When forming a system like these for something as wide grasping to
> a mud you should usually use something that allows a wide selection and a
> wider acception of views and placement. While crude its still true `Its
> within the Eyes of the Beholder.'

First off, as someone else pointed out, in a fantasy world, there might
*be* someone who can say what is evil and what isn't.

Secondly, there's no reason why alignment has to have anything to do with
"good" and "evil".  On SWmud, we have three alignments:  Rebel, Neutral,
Imperial.  We're planning on adding a second "alignment dimension",
Dark vs. Light for jedi from Rebel vs. Imperial.  D&D (as opposed to AD&D)
has Lawful, Neutral, and Chaotic, with no Good or Evil.

Factions could *be* alignments.  On an espionage-themed mud, for example, 
"CIA" might be an alignment.  Under such a system, a character might have
multiple alignments -- for example, a double agent might have both "CIA" 
and "KGB" alignments.  A freelancer who works for both the CIA and Mossad 
might have those as alignments, but at a lower level than an agent of those

agencies would have.

Similarly, in a mud based on Feudal Japan, your alignment might simply be
whichever candidate for Shogun you're allied with -- or you could be allied
with some other group, such as a ninja clan.

On a more traditional fantasy mud, alignments could have to do with
guilds, and feudal lords.

These could be used in addition to a more traditional alignment system,
and possibly interact with it.

Of course, this doesn't necessarily mean that alignment should be kept, or
that it should be treated the way it traditionally is in muds --
I find it rather silly that you can simply look at another character and
tell whether he or she is good or evil.  A thought that I've had about how
to handle this is to assign two values to alignments -- one based on how
strongly the character really sways that way, and another based on how well
known that is.  For *real* fun, you could have the second number come not
from any game mechanic, but from input from other players -- thus allowing
for smear campaigns, mistaken identity, and other fun things.

You can also drop alignment entirely, and simply let the characters decide 
how they interact.  Or, you can keep alignment, and use it for things
like certain magical spells and items, but not have it visible to players 
in any other way.

In summary, don't throw out alignments simply because they've been badly
used in some games -- think about other ways that they could be handled,
and then make up your mind.
       |\      _,,,---,,_        Travis S. Casey  <efindel at io.com>
 ZZzz  /,`.-'`'    -.  ;-;;,_   No one agrees with me.  Not even me.
      |,4-  ) )-,_..;\ (  `'-'        rec.games.design FAQ:  
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