[MUD-Dev] Expectations of in-game reality

Daniel.Harman at barclayscapital.com Daniel.Harman at barclayscapital.com
Thu Oct 25 12:26:57 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001


From: Matt Mihaly [mailto:the_logos at achaea.com]

> So why are all of us (including myself) willing to accept
> fire-breathing dragons more quickly than respawning mobs as 'real'
> within the fiction of the world? Is it because fire-breathing
> dragons have a long tradition of being an element of 'fantasy'
> worlds?

My take:

The argument that 'the world must be internally consistent' only
goes so far. It neglects to mention that the element must have an
underlying explanation which again is consistent with the game
world. If it doesn't, then people liken it to the real world and are
disappointed when it doesn't fit.

So if we were to say these monsters came through a dimensional gate,
that fixes the problem, although its derivative and
contrived. Although you could have some great fun letting players
step through these temporary portals into the monster dimension...

Or you could create some Gaea type mythos whereby the world abhorred
a vacuum of life, and thus assembled it to fill the gaps. Whatever,
as long as it has a back story, and ideally one that is well fleshed
out.

> What about other, even more improbably things, not found in normal
> 'fantasy' worlds. For instance, Achaea has 'humgiis' that serve as
> garbage cans. They're cute little creatures that can eat anything,
> of any size. It makes no sense at all that something the size of a
> small dog (even with its big mouth) would eat, say, the corpse of
> an elephant. Yet, I've seen 'em do it, with my very own eyes, and
> didn't have any problem believing it.

That concept isn't nearly as alien to our expectations (based on the
real world) as creatures popping into existence from
nothing. Creatures eat things and maybe it has extremely high
density faeces etc. Furthemore, in these game worlds, we've already
accepted magical creatures - they are genre stereotypes. So if one
leverages them, you can get away with certain things without
building backstory. If however you are contradicting these
stereotypes, you need to explain what the differences are. After
all, the RPG genre stereotypes generally have death as a finality.

Dan
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