Brandon J. Rickman ashes at pc4.zennet.com
Sun Apr 5 16:44:09 New Zealand Standard Time 1998

On Sat, 4 Apr 1998, Travis Casey <efindel at polaris.net> wrote:
>On Saturday, 4 April 98, Maddog wrote:
>> 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

"special agreements" cause endless grief because they tend to develop into
"proprietary extentions".  But then those extentions are usually important
features that were left out of the spec because of lack of concensus.
(I'm thinking of the horror of VRML, which has things like the rather
pathetic Box node and the inability to pass integer events without using

The conversion of characters should be "easy"; it would be more of a
challenge to make sure the characters are secure/certified.  Maddog
mentioned LEDOs, which are pretty much a marketing ploy, trying to
turn character attributes into a commodity is a pretty iffy business but
would be interesting in the short term.

% Welcome to GenericMU XVII!  
% checking your secured character profile....
% Found character: Bubba - class 14 rogue/warrior, 237 equipment units
% It will cost US$2.35 to transport this character to GenericMU XVII.
% Please enter your payment method:
% [V]ISA/[M]CARD/<N>o thanks:

>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.

Yah, but most muds break down at high levels too.  Or rather, they fragment
when there is too large a disparity between new, low level characters and 
the older, elite characters.  Maybe powerful characters would migrate
to more difficult muds if they could.

I'm in favor of adding disadvantages as part of character development: scars
from past battles, a slight limp, fear of lizards.  It would be up to each
mud to enforce or ignore these disadvantages.

That is the easy part.  The hard part is figuring out what a particular
mud world knows about lizards.  Does the player have to
roleplay when someone gives him a lizard-engraved sword?  Is flying a
physical ability (does the world have aerodynamics), or are flying creatures
simply immune from the effect of gravity?  To me these are the interesting
differences between mud realms, that Doctor Who effect from the original

>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.

How about investigating ways to keep high level characters more balanced?
Once someone figures out how to create a god-like character the fun
is over.

(Maybe I have something against superstar gamers, the kind that keep
their character in a thick binder.  I tend to die or suffer critical injuries
within ten hours of play.)

"Yes sir, you certainly meet all the skill requirements of our little
brotherhood, but... you are left handed, and we have strict rules against
that kind of thing."

"Yes, we _do_ have a number of quests that need doing, but we feel you are
perhaps a bit overqualified."

"Congratulations, you are now a Guild Master.  Have you filled out the
proper paperwork?"

- Brandon Rickman - ashes at zennet.com -
While I have never previously found a need for a .sig, this
may be considered one for the purposes of this list

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