RE: [MUD-Dev] Re: Fantasy clichés

Zak Jarvis zak at
Mon Jul 10 02:01:59 New Zealand Standard Time 2000

> From: Ryan Schotte [schotter at]
> Sent: Sunday, July 09, 2000 10:41 PM

> on 9/7/00 11:27 PM, Michael Tresca (talien at wrote:
> >What disturbs me is that D&D is fast becoming a standard which
> >contradicts myth and legend.  It's one thing to stretch the
> >limits of what constitutes a dragon -- it's another when you
> >have an original creation or fantasy myth dating back several
> >centuries, base a monster off of it, then someone cries foul
> >because it doesn't fit the D&D paradigm.  D&D makes it very easy to
> >pump out stock monsters, but it can make a horrible noose for
> >creativity.
> <evidence>
> Indeed, one of my staff once started constructing a region based on the
> mythology of the Australian Aborigines (which has existed for
> around 40,000 years). It was a great area, but the players hated it,
> because whenever they stumbled across a Kurdaitcha they just had
> no idea what it was supposed to be... and few bothered to explore
> enough to find all the hints and history of the region - I suppose
> because they just felt it was all too obscure. But had there been
> dragons inhabiting the land...
> </evidence>

What context was given to this area? How were Kurdaitcha presented? (They
certainly wouldn't be neutral pronouns, as they're exclusively male).

If I were presented with 'A Kurdaitcha', I would probably not be
particularly impressed. If it were 'An emu-masked man', I might pay more
attention. The point here is how you convey information, and its context.

Were they just wandering monsters, or did they actually serve their

I know, as a player, I'd be quite interested to see one NPC stalking
another, and then pointing a sharpened bone at them and leaving.

You really cannot expect players to know what the Alcheringa is. It's truly
a wonderful word, but it's not common knowledge and treating it as such is
cheap and boring.

Of course, if I were playing an Elves and Dwarves kind of fantasy game, I'd
feel that accurate aboriginal encampment was well and truly out of place,
but I don't have a lot of patience with that kind of cultural cannibalism,
and I'm probably fairly unique in that.

-Zak Jarvis

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