[MUD-Dev] Re: Levelless MUDs

Larry Homer afn40452 at afn.org
Wed Jun 17 12:40:59 New Zealand Standard Time 1998

Relating to my query of a few days back about the proper regulation of
IC Telepathy, I now would appreciate hearing about anybody's experience
with regulating IC Prescience!

Prescience, i.e. "knowing the future," is a common talent in a variety
of pre-existing SF / Fantasy / Superhero themes, though usually the
writer tries to muddy the waters by having the "prophetic vision" be
loaded with symbolism, or only random "snapshots" of one second's worth
of something to come without knowing how it will happen or what will
occur after it, or just "feelings" that a particular person has the mark
on death on his brow and is not long for this world, etc., so that the
reader is left in suspense concerning exactly what will happen in the

I think the most in-depth examination of Prescience was given in Frank
Herbert's Dune series, but even then he had to stick in some limitations
to keep such characters from having the universe handed to them on a
silver platter, such as one Prescient could NOT see another Prescient or
those directly associated with another Prescient in his visions at all,
and sometimes he saw nasty things that he couldn't prevent from
occurring no matter how hard he tried, and so forth.

If we assume that "Prescience" in a given theme means, "Occasionally
sees visions that WILL occur," as opposed to "Sees visions that will
PROBABLY occur if things keep going the way they have been going, etc.,"
then you get into all sorts of knotty questions about predestination and
unavoidable doom versus free will and chaos theory.

So how do you handle it when your theme requires Prescient Characters?
One possibility I have heard of is to state that ALL Prescients are NPCs
who will be controlled by the Wizards if necessary, but rank-and-file
Players don't get them. Another is to insist that they can ONLY prophesy
things the Wizards tell them to, and/or minor things OOCly consented to
by anyone directly involved with the prophecied events. There may be
other solutions, but I have very little personal experience with such
Roleplay and would like to hear what else has been done, and why.

Larry Homer

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