[MUD-Dev] Acting casual about casual gamers

Caliban Tiresias Darklock caliban at darklock.com
Mon Jul 10 10:27:34 New Zealand Standard Time 2000

Greg Miller wrote:
> Michael Tresca wrote:
> > Maybe I have a world populated by dragons who are only one-foot tall (like
> > the mini-dragons in Dragonrider's of Pern).  Maybe this world calls
> > dragonflies dragons.  Maybe dragons are the psychological manifestation of
> > the cumulative fears of the peasant populace.
> But why reuse the name dragon, then? If you don't mean it to refer to
> what people traditionally associate with the term, what good is keeping
> the terminology? You wouldn't use the term "shoe" to describe something
> worn on the head very often, would you?

There are a great many fantasy worlds I've played where livestock are
subtly different... like, say, the rabbits are the size of large dogs.
However, they are still soft and furry and eat grass and leaves and have
long floppy ears and buck teeth. But once you tell the player "rabbits
here are very large", he gets used to it. People will accept that.
(Personally, I would use this as an opportunity to make a terrible pun
and call them "rabs"... with the added explanation that in *our* world,
"rabbit" used to be two words.)

Now, let's take a dragon and say it's the size of a horse. Or a large
dog. Or a housecat. It's still scaly and reptilian and tends toward
intelligence and probably breathes something nasty or other when
agitated. Looks like a dragon. Acts like a dragon. Smells like a dragon.
What does that mean again?

Now, granted, you have to be specific about things. In the top case, you
can't say "a rabbit is in your way". You have to specifically note that
it's the size of an English sheep dog. Same with dragons. If dragons in
your world are very small, you can't just say "dragon" and expect such
an image to come to mind. You *can* say "miniature dragon" or "eight
foot dragon" or whatever. This really comes down to bad
descriptions/graphics (many GUI worlds I've seen aren't at all to

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