[MUD-Dev] Striving for originality

Matt Mihaly the_logos at achaea.com
Tue Jun 11 17:16:28 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

On Sun, 9 Jun 2002 caduvall at glue.umd.edu wrote:
> Matt Mihaly <the_logos at achaea.com> wrote:
>> To me, saying that something like magic, which doesn't exist in
>> the physical world, should have properties Z and effects A, B,
>> and C screams box-thinking. Surely magic can be whatever a
>> designer designs it to be.
> So far as I have kicked things around, if you use names with which
> people attach certain expectations to mean something entirely
> different, most of what you'll end up getting is grief and
> frustration on the part of the player. If you have something in
> your world which grows out of the ground, has petals, needs to be
> watered semi-reguarly, etc, then it is a daisy, not a raygun.

Yes, absolutely, people like that. However, sit 100 people down, and
ask them to define "magic." Or, compare, say, the magic of Gandalf
(he rarely used it, and it was not flashy) to a gazillion level D&D
magic user to the magic of a psychic (assuming they were
real). Magic is an almost meaningless word in terms of how it works
and what its effects are, or rather, it means something different to
nearly everybody.

I'd also say that using Achaea and Aetolia as examples, you
definitely don't have to try to imitate D&D to make using magic
appealing. Nearly all our guilds use magic of some sort (whether
it's a knight being able to order his falcon around at a distance,
or an Occultist summoning Chaos Entities, or a mage casting
stormhammer), and it's generally in very non-traditional ways (one
of our mage skills, for instance, with about 30 abilities in the
skill, involves them setting up ongoing location-based vibrations
using various crystals. The vibrations have different effects, from
increasing gravity to causing heart attacks.) A lot of players
appreciate it when designers use their imagination, though granted,
a lot of players just want to see D&D with the best graphics


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