[MUD-Dev] Balance... RPG or Role-Playing Game?

Travis Casey efindel at earthlink.net
Mon Jul 24 14:57:48 New Zealand Standard Time 2000

Sunday, July 23, 2000, 6:58:39 PM, Ben <bjchambers at phoenixdsl.com> wrote:

Well, as someone giving what most will probably consider a fairly
extreme definition of what roleplaying is, I thought I'd respond to

>     RPGs today have come to mean something completely different than the
> exact meaning of their acronyms.

I'm not sure what you're talking about in that sentence -- it doesn't
seem to relate to the rest of the post.  Can you elaborate?

> Usually you Play the Role of a Hero.  NOT
> an ordinary person.  I feel that a MUD such as DartMud lacks that aspect.

I haven't played DartMud, so which aspect is it lacking?  Being a
hero?  Or being able to play an ordinary person if you want?

> People play games today for the combat.

I'd say that people have *always* been playing RPGs for the combat --
most early RPGs had almost no rules besides character creation and the
combat system.

> If you take that away, what does
> the game ammount to... at toddlers RPG.  I feel that Role Playing is good to
> a point. If you play a role as deeply as some people feel you should, you
> don't just get to fool around and have fun, it becomes a serious, full time
> endeavor.

Why don't you get to fool around?  Wouldn't that depend on *what* role
you choose to play?

To me, the essential key to what makes RPGs fun is that you get to
create your own role -- you're not fixed into playing what someone
else thinks you should.  The key to having fun, then, is to pick a
role that will be fun for you to play.  If you want to crack jokes
constantly in-character, you can play someone who likes to make jokes.
You can play a lecherous character, a buffoon, a sarcastic seen-it-all
warrior, or whatever else you think might be fun.  And when that role
stops being fun, you can either find a reason why that character might
change, or start a new one.

Now, going on past that, nothing says that you have to stay "in
character" 100% of the time to be "roleplaying".  I don't think of
roleplaying as a continuous process -- when playing the game, you
don't get "in character" and stay there all the time, you simply
"think in character" when you need to.  Thus, when you're not in
character, you're perfectly free to make jokes about what's happening
in the game, kibbitz, make bad puns, and do all the other sorts of
things that many gamers like to do.  Even if you're playing a dull,
boring person, *you* can still have fun while out of character.

I think you're confusing playing a role "deeply" (which I interpret to
mean "strongly in character") with playing it constantly and/or trying
to play roles that are "high art".

By my definition, you can be "really roleplaying" whether you're
playing a stereotypical elf-hating, ale-swilling,
I'll-solve-it-with-my-axe dwarf or some "deep" angsty character.

> Personally I prefer the kind of game that has you play the role
> of a hero.  It provides a greater relief from everyday life, and let's you
> play occasionally for entertainment, instead of playing constantly to build
> an online fake 'life'.

Not playing a hero doesn't prevent you from playing for entertainment.
I've played heroes and had fun -- but I've also had fun playing
wise-ass sidekicks, English butlers who never bat an eye at anything,
shopkeepers with incredibly thick accents, a villainous necromancer
who was out to get a particular paladin's goat (figuratively, not
literally), and other minor characters.

Roleplaying (again, by my definition), doesn't require you to build a
fake "life" -- you can assume that all the boring stuff happens
"offstage" and just play your character doing the interesting stuff.

       |\      _,,,---,,_    Travis S. Casey  <efindel at earthlink.net>
 ZZzz  /,`.-'`'    -.  ;-;;,_   No one agrees with me.  Not even me.
      |,4-  ) )-,_..;\ (  `'-'
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