[MUD-Dev] DGN: Lords, Vassals, Serfs and the Clergy

Paul Schwanz pschwanz at bellsouth.net
Wed May 18 04:29:29 New Zealand Standard Time 2005

Jaycen Rigger wrote:
> Paul Schwanz <pschwanz at bellsouth.net>   wrote:

>> I think you make some good points, but why be so prescriptive?
>> Perhaps there will not be one "best" governmental system.  Some
>> players may prefer one approach and others may prefer another.

> Because when you leave holes in the system, players will drive
> trucks through them.

I have no idea what that means.  What holes?  What trucks?  I'm not
talking about leaving holes in a design.  I'm talking about giving
players a choice of governments instead of prescribing one for them.
If I had to express that in terms of holes and trucks, I suppose it
would be like giving players a choice of many different trucks with
which to plug holes instead of prescribing only one, but I don't
suppose that analogy really serves to clear things up any more than
talking about offering many forms of government to fill the need.
:p So, why not give the players choices about whether to fill the
hole with an eighteen-wheeler or a dump truck...err, a king or a

>> You could let the players select their own sort of government
>> with their own rules.

> I do.  But it must be done within the context of this system.
> They can make up any rules they want and then try to enforce them.
> The ones that make up dumbass rules will be deposed quickly.

You do to an extent as it pertains to the rules portion of my
statement, but you certainly don't seem to as it pertains to the
government.  I believe that you have it exactly right regarding the
rules.  I'm simply wondering why you don't make the logical
connection to: Players who make up dumbass governments will never
attract any citizens and will drive current citizens away.  Of
course, the same could be said of developers who make up dumbass
governments, (not that I think the one you proposed is, but many
others might) so why force some players to play another game up
front instead of giving them an alternative?  In the end, the
government is just a specific sub-set of the rules that involve
mostly how power is given and taken away from leaders.  I just don't
understand why you are choosing to not hand this sub-set of rules
over to the player along with the others.

> If it isn't coded, it doesn't exist.  Roleplayed stuff is the
> worst.  No one will agree as to what "good" role-playing is.
> You'll notice that I don't try to outline it, either.  You can
> role-play anything you want in my system, but you can't
> "role-play" around the mechanics, therefore 1 jackass (or 3
> socializer twits who can't keep from whining that one in their
> group isn't role-playing something right) can't choose to derail
> the entire system.

I think I feel a lot like you do regarding role-play.  Which is to
say that I'd very much rather play a simulation where I didn't have
to role-play at all.  To me, having to role-play is a hint that the
mechanics are not up-to-snuff.  We all have to *act* like we are in
a particular setting and that contextually appropriate events are
occuring because they so obviously are not.  But that's just me.
And I've had plenty of conversations with other gamers that make it
glaringly obvious that they don't share my sentiments in this
regard.  As a designer, I must constantly make choices about whether
I attempt to see things from their perspective or not.  Will I
blindly implement only what I like and marginalize alternative
opinions as coming from "socializer twits?"  Or will I try to expand
my design in a way that accomodates those who don't share my narrow
perspective on an issue?  (Not that there is anything wrong with
designing a game just for me, as long as I realize that I am a niche
and that such a design will result in a niche game.)

That's why I think you got it right when it comes to (some of) the
rules.  You are recognizing that one size (your particular size)
doesn't fit all, so you are giving the players the ability to set
their own rules while also coding a design that will automatically
select for "good" rules and against "dumbass" ones as defined by the
players.  To me, that just seems at odds with your stance on the
governmental system (which could be implemented based on pretty much
the exact same concepts), and especially at odds with the tone of
your last paragraph here.

--Paul "Phinehas" Schwanz
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