Travis Casey efindel at polaris.net
Sat Apr 4 21:28:43 New Zealand Daylight Time 1998

On Saturday, 4 April 98, Maddog wrote:

> Lately I've been thinking again about the virtuality of virtual characters.
> A few years ago I posted to rgm.something about having transportable 
> characters, i.e. characters that could roam from mud to mud and
> essentially be the same character.  At the time I was looking at muds
> as a traveler might, such as Dr Who.  I think only two people liked the 
> idea,  me and someone who wouldn't publicly admit it.

I remember the thread, having been one of the major partakers in it.
I thought that the idea had merit and was workable, but I didn't think
that many admins of existing muds would be interested in opening their
muds up to such transportation.  However, if you build it, they will
come.  :-)  That is, I think that if you can create a workable system
for intermud character conversion and transportation, at least some
people building new muds will use it.

> So of course now I'm thinking  in terms of virtual virtual characters.
> Partly, its because I've had an email conversion with the creator of
> the Window-- a generic RPG and some other material that I've been 
> looking at.  And partly because I like to try out new ideas but 
> I don't want to rebuild big chucks of work.  It's the same sort of
> idea that drove GURPS, RIFTS, and FUDGE.  Now I'm thinking in
> terms of GRUMPS (GeneRic Universal Mud Playing Syste.  
> One advantage to creating GRUMPS is that anything
> could be converted to GRUMPS, or GRUMPS converted to anything.

> The pencil-and-paper people (yes, real people made of 
> pencil-and-paper, it's amazing technology), have conversion charts
> to do essentially that. But in a MUD I could use GRUMPS to build
> a horde of things and just work with  GRUMPS,  or have my things
> go through a GRUMPS->something converter and I could enter a world 
> based on the new system.  

This is basically the idea that I espoused on the newsgroups, except
that I don't believe the conversion medium has to be a "game system."
Rather, all it needs to be is a way of specifying characters and

A mud that wanted to use the system would need two converters:  one to
convert characters to the specification, and one for converting them
from the specification.  Extra converters could be added as well, for
muds that have special agreements with each other for converting

Note, by the way, that even if you have a "universal" RPG system,
there may be things that can't be conveniently expressed in it, and
things that it won't work for.  GURPS, for example, breaks down at
high power levels unless you do a good bit of modification.

FUDGE isn't technically a game system; it's a metasystem.  In order to
use FUDGE for an RPG campaign, the GM will usually have to specify
what attributes, skills, etc. will be used.  Thus, two campaigns using
FUDGE may not be compatible!

> So...does anyone have a suggestion of where I can start?
> The groundrules are such that the engine must be completely open,
> freely distributable, and no restrictions on its use.  This just
> about eliminates everything that is currently available.  

If you want a character specification format, check out WotC's Envoy
system.  It was to be the starting point for creating a specification
format for universal paper RPG adventures, but it never got far off
the ground.  It is freely redistributable and can be used in any sort
of product, with the only "restriction" being that the people involved
in creating it must be credited.
       |\      _,,,---,,_        Travis S. Casey  <efindel at io.com>
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