[MUD-Dev] Character evolution

clawrenc at cup.hp.com clawrenc at cup.hp.com
Wed Aug 27 18:02:57 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

In <199708211911.OAA16855 at dfw-ix8.ix.netcom.com>, on 08/21/97 
   at 12:22 PM, "Jon A. Lambert" <jlsysinc at ix.netcom.com> said:

>I'm thinking along the lines of familial obligations like 
>maintenance of lands, livestock, feudal ties, arranged marriages, 
>political alliances, stewardship, etc.  Borrowing money is certainly
>a possibility too.

This raises a point I've been musing on for a while:

  The general approach (assumed orthodoxy?) of most of the list is to
create a game world which largely resembles or simulates RL in terms
of physical mechanics and such, and then attempts to extend it via
magic, religion and other similar techniques to add a fantastical
entertaining aspect.

This bugs me.  

I don't like the idea that I'm taking an incredibly flexible system
and working like crazy to only implement a variation on the world I
spend the rest of my waking hours in.  Why would I want to recreate RL
with a twist?  Why not take advantage of the flexibility that is
inherent in the system and create a different sort of universe where
the base rules *really* are different.

A few ideas that have been dropped on the list afore:

  Magic is actually a fluid which reacts nagatively to gravity.  The
more magic an object contains, the lighter (or even positive lift) it
has.  Ergo, Bubba the wielder of the Sword Of Super-Magical WubbaWubba
also carries a few tonnes of lead about just to keep his feet on the

  Make your world ala Clement's Mission into Gravity.  For those
unfamiliar with the book or world, this was an incredibly dense
rapidly spinning frisbee shaped world.  The result was that
gravitational density was massive near the poles, and not far from
null-G out at the equator.

  Larry Niven's Ring World.

  Larry Niven's Integral trees (interesting phsyics there).

  Vinge's "Fire Upon The Deep".  Again, for those not familiar with
it, it postulates that the base laws of the physical universe vary
dependnant on your distance from the galactic core.  Thus FTL
physically impossible close to the core, or even as far out as Earth. 
Sentient machines start being possible a little further out as the
physical laws of the universe change.  Anti-gravity materials can be
manufactured out by the rim but fail further out.  They work all the
way down almost to earth, but can't be manufacutred for most of that
distance...etc.  Fascinating concept.

  Change the base defintions of the game goal to be able to survive
and even prosper without worldly goods, money, magic, equipment etc. 
Possible approaches enclude standard western confusions of zen and the
old tantrics.

There are reasons not to do this.  Prime among them learning curve and
familiarity.  Present a system, world or even an interface which is
too far from your player's RL understanding and they will have a hard
time understanding or playing in it.

J C Lawrence                           Internet: claw at null.net
(Contractor)                           Internet: coder at ibm.net
---------------(*)               Internet: clawrenc at cup.hp.com
...Honorary Member Clan McFUD -- Teamer's Avenging Monolith...

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