[MUD-Dev] Re: Levels versus Skills, who uses them and when.

Caliban Tiresias Darklock caliban at darklock.com
Thu Jan 14 12:53:41 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999

-----Original Message-----
From: Koster, Raph <rkoster at origin.ea.com>
To: 'mud-dev at kanga.nu' <mud-dev at kanga.nu>
Date: Thursday, January 14, 1999 12:07 PM
Subject: [MUD-Dev] Re: Levels versus Skills, who uses them and when.

>I have been playing the same "character" on muds and in standalone RPGs
>for fifteen YEARS now.

In 1976, Caliban Tiresias Darklock was just a first-level D&D mage played by
a precocious kid (although he only had a first name at that point). Identity
is, obviously, rather critical to some of us. I actually won't start playing
a MUD where a character named Caliban already exists; the prospect of taking
another name is so distasteful to me I refuse to accept it without serious
motivation. On more than one occasion, I have lobbied the existing owner of
the name to change it, and I have even succeeded a couple times.

Yeah, I know, I'm really anal about this sort of thing. ;)

>5 ladders with 200 milestones
>each is better than 1 class with 200 milestones. But you're a lot more
>likely to end up with 5 ladders with only 40 milestones instead.

Or 5 ladders with 120 milestones, 100 of which are identical from class to
class. It is tough to build milestones for non-magical characters; anyone
can design or steal 200 spells for a wizard, but putting together 200 things
for a fighter or a thief to learn is Hard. Arguably, fighters have very
little in the way of unique ability; certainly they have less than a wizard
or psychic.

>> This disease, (of my naming)
>> refers to a person who, has only one character on a mud, who is
>> effectively, a supercharacter.
>Yes, this is what JC and I were talking about in that other post. It is
>a classic pitfall of classless systems.

I don't like discussing this. I'm always embarrassed by presenting these
particular thoughts in any form, because they just reek of elitism and
exclusion, two things I positively detest. However, I'm going to say these
things anyway, because they're my perspective and I don't think I'm alone in

The supercharacter potential is very important to me. I've been gaming for
over two decades, and it's difficult to find people who play at the same
level and in the same way I do. I *need* to operate solo most of the time,
because I can't find people who share my perspective on gaming very
easily -- partially because my perspective has taken a long time to develop,
partially because my perception of gaming is strongly colored by the types
of games I started out playing.

I know, this is a really terrible position. If you want to keep me off your
MUD, at least you know how. Just create a garbage character named Caliban.

When I *do* interact with others, they either neglect or overemphasise my
gaming experience... in other words, I am not treated as a "preferred
member" at any time, but as an equal member or as some sort of group
president. I don't like either of those dynamics. When a player in the group
has significant experience, that experience SHOULD be recognised, but should
NOT override the opinions and desires of others. In tabletop gaming, most
groups recognise my experience the way I feel it should be recognised...
there's some added weight, but not so much that I can't be overridden by the

You might compare the process of forming a band; in high school, it's easy,
because you're all basically beginners hanging out in a garage. When you're
gearing up for your fourth album and need to replace your guitarist before
you go on a world tour, it's a little harder to find someone that fits. Your
former guitarist, in turn, will have lots of trouble finding a band he's
willing to play in as well. If he can't find a band with the same level of
experience, and goes to a less experienced band, he doesn't want to be the
guitar god who carries the rest of the band any more than he wants the rest
of the band to completely ignore his experience through three albums and
innumerable live performances. Such bandless players often prefer to start a
solo career rather than sign up with some disappointing band.

>Does increased
>character interdependence REALLY result in more interaction? Or will
>people interact anyway?

People will interact anyway, and when they are *forced* to depend on others
they will resent you for it. Sort of like when you open a present on your
birthday and your mother reminds you to say thank you; it cheapens the act
no matter whether you intended to say it anyway or not.

| Caliban Tiresias Darklock            caliban at darklock.com
| Darklock Communications          http://www.darklock.com/
| U L T I M A T E   U N I V E R S E   I S   N O T   D E A D
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