[MUD-Dev] Logical MUD Areas

Scion Altera keeler at teleport.com
Thu May 10 18:33:11 New Zealand Standard Time 2001

Tuesday, May 08, 2001, 9:12:18 PM, John Buehler wrote:
> S. Patrick Gallaty writes:

>> What, might I ask could be more unhealthy than to have immersive
>> games in which the 'enemy' is a demonized, nonhuman, alien force
>> which we do not have -any- empathy for because they are "without
>> merit" (your words.)  All of the worst of humanity comes from a
>> lack of compassion.  You are encouraging it.


> Ever read "The Swords Trilogy"?  In it, there are these mud-based
> creatures that rise up out of a swamp and attack the good guys.
> Soulless, beings without senses, but with weapons for arms.  This is
> a pretty good starting point for what I'm talking about.  These
> aren't beings with babies.  They are the medieval equivalent of
> robots.  You don't kill them, you take them apart.  Meanwhile,
> they're emotionlessly trying to kill you.

Maybe that's the way it appears... Having never read "The Swords
Trilogy" myself, I can imagine any number of storylines where one of
the main characters discovers that an evil necromancer is trapping the
souls of children to use in bringing the mud to life, or that these
mud beings have families and cities down there under the swamp, or
perhaps they're just very territorial, or the good guys smell bad to

My main question: why are they there, and why are they killing
adventurers? On a secondary note, can anyone tell me why they were
included in the book? Surely they weren't just some random encounter?

...and there you have the basis for a wonderful moral struggle on the
part of that main character who now has to reconcile the fact that
he/she has been mercilessly slaughtering these innocent "evil" mud
critters on every single trip through that swamp.

Now transpose this scenario to a multiplayer game.

It is quite likely that if the player were roleplaying a good
character and were presented with the fact that suddenly these mud
creatures were not evil afterall, AND were given an opportunity to
reconcile the misunderstanding and redeem him/herself in the eyes of
the mud people (notice the progression from 'critters' to 'people'),
the player would take that opportunity and rectify the unfortunate

Naturally, I am not in any way suggesting that it should be a trivial
excercise to reconcile the killing of someone's family and friends. It
is quite likely that the mud people would require the penitent
character to perform some arduous task, and reward the completed task
with banishment and a warning never to return upon pain of death.

My goal in all of this would be "punishment" for making the initial
assumption that the mud people were soulless and evil in the first
place. A character who had instead questioned the mud people, or who
had simply left the area without killing any of them would have been
able to avoid the negative experience, or even befriend the mud
people. I would hope that counts as enforcing moral behavior in your
view as well.

By allowing truly soulless creatures in your game, you are asserting
that such a thing even exists, and that is not a belief I share.

I personally do not see the value in simplifying all moral judgements
in my game. There may well be soulless armies of undead in my game
that don't feel a thing when you kill them. However, I would very much
like the necromancer who raised them to have a better reason for
raising them than simply "he is an evil necromancer, and does stuff
like that".

As for the hunting-for-food issue, I personally am not vegetarian and
had not even considered it until now (sorry!). Now that I am
considering it, it doesn't seem to me that a vegan solution would be
impossible. If the sentient mobs in the game do things such as
farming, then food that is not animal based should be readily

I am definitely opposed to eliminating hunting as an option, and I do
not intend to make all my mobs vegan... but I don't want to trivialize
the lives of the wildlife either. If the fact that the deer in my game
will reproduce through mating means that you don't want to hunt them
for food, then I'm not going to stop you from buying bread at the
local baker. In fact, I think I'll join you, and leave the deer for
the wolves ;)

The trick, as always, is balance. Is it cost effective to buy bread
instead of hunting deer? Is it possible to get armor that is better
than quilted armor but isn't made from leather?

And finally, is it possible (and fun) to play the game without killing
anyone at all? I'm hoping that in my game, the answer will be yes.

-- Scion

"Man invented language to satisfy his deep need to complain." -- Lily Tomlin

-- keeler at teleport.com -- peter.keeler at brokat.com -- ICQ: 1824934 --

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