[MUD-Dev] Logical MUD Areas

Derek Licciardi kressilac at home.com
Mon May 7 21:57:35 New Zealand Standard Time 2001


Greg Munt writes:

> While I completely agree that goblins should be defending their
> homes or actively trying to push away competing populations, I
> disagree about the whole empathy thing.  I believe that things that
> we kill must either be non-sentient or they must be inherently and
> immutably evil.  That means that they are not misguided beings just
> doing their thing and that works out to be something that the player
> characters don't like.  It means that they are soulless beings that
> exist in order to destroy that which is good.

> Why do this?  Because players should not be encouraged to kill
> things that they are also encouraged to empathize with.  It's a
> recipe for disaster.  Sure, it should produce some significant
> emotional reactions as one group of players sides with the goblins,
> but those aren't the sorts of emotions that I think we want in
> gameplay.  Do we also go in and kill goblin children?  Hopefully,
> you see the effect that I'm worried about.  To go to an extreme, do
> we want to produce screams of children as they're killed?  I'm sure
> plenty of people would empathize with *that*.

I am not sure if this view of evil you hold is one that I like to believe.
My view of the 'evil' topic is not so cleanly defined as yours is and tends
more towards eastern philosophies.  Evil is one side of an extreme.  The
overzealous paladin can be just as dangerous to society as can the blatant
rogue who undermines the law.

How do you translate this into gameplay, create a fun game, and avoid
having the next Democratic president try to hang you as a poster child
for all that is wrong in this country.  Good question.  I do know
this.  Creating evil monsters that are immutably evil removes entire
dimensions from your ability to compellingly tell a story.  In your
world there would be no Drizzt, there would be no Artemis Entreri, and
there would be no Robin Hood.  Drizzt is far too complex of a
character and Artemis is Drizzt's identical twin regardless of the
difference in the coloring with which they see the world. Robin Hood
is a thief and therefore is evil because no good NPC could possibly be
a thief as well.  My problem with your approach is that it is way to
heavy handed and sweeping in its assumptions.  Some of the most
fascinating works of literature, art and film have been derived from
the greyness that is the human moral struggle.  (ie the desire to blow
up your boss and provide your family with food) These mutually
exclusive decisions is what makes conflict exciting, life rewarding
and existance interesting.  Your system would tell the players that
they were not free to make the choice unless they were ready to become
immutably evil with no return.  Its a little too black and white for
me and I feel that you lose a dramatic ability to tell your story by
not greying the lines.

As for the effects such a system would have on the children, well lets
leave that up to the guidance of the parents to teach their children
what they should learn from a given encounter or story.  I personally
do not believe I should create the most gory game on the planet, but I
am a firm believer that it is not my responsibility to care for the
health and welfare of someone else's kids because the product I
produce is voluntary in nature.  If the parents do not like my
product, then stop their kids from having it.  Taking it one step
further, if the parents would take the time to talk to their kids
about the games they play, there exists a great opportunity to
properly solidify the child's moral beliefs by examining the decisions
they make during gameplay involving those grey areas.  (end soap box
cause I could go off on this topic)

Derek


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