[MUD-Dev] Role-Playing Games Are Not Dead

Matt Mihaly the_logos at achaea.com
Wed Nov 28 20:31:54 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

On Tue, 27 Nov 2001, Travis Casey wrote:
> On Saturday 24 November 2001 6:47, Matt Mihaly wrote:
> Definitely; muds are not P&P RPGs, and to simply copy things from
> P&P RPGs without recognizing the differences is silly.  On the
> other hand, though, that doesn't mean that none of the techniques
> of P&P RPGs are useful -- only that they shouldn't be used blindly
> or unthinkingly.

No, but I don't see the techniques of P&P as being any more
inherently useful than the techniques used in French cooking. Both
can inform a MUD, and I don't see any real reason why one is
inherently more useful. Both are entirely different activities from
MUDing. (And if you doubt me about the French cooking, then you
should have been in my head yesterday.)

I'm overstating the case a little to make a point. I think many
people on this list have never played a MUD that wasn't trying to be
D&D. Most of them seem to try to be. Bash monsters to get kewl l00t
and xp so that you can bash more monsters to get kewler l00t and xp
so that you can bash more monsters. That's the basic D&D
experience. (Argh, don't flame me, you know it's true, regardless of
whether your particular D&D sessions were like that or not.) I think
because of this relatively homogenous experience, there's a feeling
that there is some fundamental relationship between D&D and P&P
generally, and MUDs. I would say there is no fundamental
relationship between the two, and I deny that P&P games have much to
teach us about MUDs.

I think your time is far better spent studying political science,
anthropology, economics, psychology and the other social sciences
than reading D&D rulebooks, which, I reiterate, I think is mainly a
waste of time if you're trying to learn something about MUDs.

> That mainly leads to differences in GMing technique, though.  A
> good P&P RPG system's *mechanics* are perfectly usable for group
> vs. group conflicts.

Again, I'm ignorant of most P&P systems. Are there systems whose
mechanics really are good for player-run governmental organizations
in opposition to each other? Who the heck do they govern? For
dealing with real hatred between the participants? P&P RPGs always
struck me as requiring cooperative participants to work. They also
seem to require roleplaying.


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