[MUD-Dev] Character evolution

Travis Casey efindel at io.com
Fri Aug 29 16:40:03 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

coder at ibm.net wrote:

> Of all the membership of this list, other than myself and Nathan, are
> there __ANY__ not doing a fairly standard variation on a fantasy
> world?  Oh, I know the details will be different, you'll have various
> forms of internal economies, or magic systems, or family or clan
> systems, or interesting forms of heavy/light RP, or whatever.  But the
> base structure of a glorified medieval world overstocked with magical
> touches...

Well, my current mud project is on hiatus right now, not having a site
to work on, but it's not fantasy, it's SF.  The short version is that
it's a post-holocaust cyberpunk world with psionics and aliens mixed in.
The long version follows... feel free to skip it if you want.


World War III happens in 2012.  An apparent terrorist group starts it,
but no one is ever sure; the glass crater left where the first missiles
were launched from yields no evidence.  A few days after that, the
first aliens arrive.  Seeing the destruction, they offer to help us 
rebuild, using their advanced technology to help with medicine, even to
the level of doing genetic repairs on cells damaged by radiation.

Fourteen years later, the first humans with psionic powers turn up.  Many
people blame the Sshiran (the aliens), who themselves have limited 
telepathic abilities.  The Sshiran deny having reengineered people with
psionics.  Things continue all right, but uneasily, for about five years. 
Then the first powerful psis start to turn up.  Accusations against the 
Sshiran grow, and many areas adopt laws to control psionic individuals.

Things get worse for about eight years, until the Sshiran finally decide
to leave; we no longer need their help to rebuild, and they have no 
desire to stay on a world where so many hate them.

Then the *other* aliens show up.  Lots of them.  We hadn't known it, but
the Sshiran had been keeping others away from us... and now they'd left
us wide open.  Thank God, they were peaceful -- just wanting to trade 
with us and visit our world.

The mud will open twenty-two years after the Sshiran left.  The first
generation of powerful psis are now approaching thirty, and the second
generation is just starting to come into adolescence and manifest their
powers.  Technological advancement has more than recovered from the 
blow it was given by WW3, thanks in part to alien technology.  Humanity
has had contact with at least a half-dozen alien races -- and none of
them are "humans with strange foreheads."

> >I can't think of *any* SF or fantasy world that doesn't mostly 
> >resemble RL, and I think there's a good reason for that.  Quite
> >simply, if you came up with a world that was different from RL even
> >down to the basics, there would be no frame of reference for readers
> >or players to understand things -- the only real possibility would be
> >to start things off with a long lecture about what the basic rules of
> >this world are.  Even then, most people probably wouldn't be able to
> >"wrap their heads around it."
> True.  It is for the same reason that so few have read "The Well At
> Worlds End".  Its adherance to the actual structure of its time is so
> authentic (including language) that few have the perseverance to get
> much further than, "Uhh, yeah.  Weird words."

Exactly.  As someone (I forget who) once pointed out, the few Western
movies which tried to actually portray the American West as it really
was in the 1800's were commercial failures.  The ones which did well
were those that used characters with modern attitudes in an ostensibly
"Western" setting.

> On the same chord, I've long wished to do a game based on Laumer's,
> "The man in black."  Such a personal hounding by a diety and creator
> is intensely attractive to me.  The problem of course it that no
> everyone can be the Man in Black with his single nature.

Was that a novel, or a short story?  If so, do you know a collection
it can be found in?  Laumer is one of my favority writers...
       |\      _,,,---,,_        Travis S. Casey  <efindel at io.com>
 ZZzz  /,`.-'`'    -.  ;-;;,_   No one agrees with me.  Not even me.
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