A Player's Right To Privacy
Letters to the editor
- Selina Kelley
Communicating on a Mud
Creators vs Players
- Anthony Peck
Denumerization of Muds
- Brad Smith
Around the World in 24 Hours
- Marcie Kligman
Use Your GDI!
- Aaron "Ajax" Berkowitz
Why use Artificial Intelligence?
- Tony Wilkinson
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Denumerization of Muds
by Brad Smith
Does it add up?
Continuing on my previous
article's idea of role-playing and multi-playing causing extreme
conflicts, another question comes to mind. Does giving players access to
all of their statistics in numerical form draw away from the ability to
There are two sides to this issue. Players typically have the mindset
of "Things shouldn't be too hard on us"; however, it is still a
persuasive argument. The worlds Muds create present varying degrees of
reality. Most base the amount you can carry on strength, hit points on
constitution, etc. Having access to your statistics in the convenient form of:
STR: 18 CON: 18 WIS: 10 INT: 12 DEX: 15 CHA: 5
equip their characters and prepare for upcoming levels by programming an
alias in Zmud to equip a full kit of +stat eq.
This helps lead to the idealized "power house" character that can take
down many a feared creature without blinking. And, from a player's
standpoint, this is a good thing. Also, it gives an easier way to fine
tune characters in departments such as alignment, amour class, and
However, the administrators of muds will quickly learn that if you wish for role playing,
too much information can be bad. First, most players will have the
gossip things like "I have a Strength of 18/90, does anyone have a heavy
sword?" The easiest fix to this problem is to place prime statistics in
general groups such as: "Below Average, Average, Above Average,
Exceptional". Second, along with the removal of numbers from prime
statistics, numbers can be removed from Alignment. Certainly, having the
knowledge that you are five points away from being evil is nice,
but it doesn't necessarily scream role playing. A better system, which promotes role playing,
is to have descriptive titles in blocks of, say, 100, 200, 300. Terms
such as "Holy" and "Truly Evil"
work, but even more descriptive phrases (like Demonic) work just as well.
I will concede that some numbers are necessary. Not having of idea at
hit points pushes the fine balance between role playing and realism. Hit points,
Mana, and Stamina are three statistics that hiding would cause more trouble
than benefit. Again, gold and experience fall the same way. A statistic that
lies on either side of the fence is Armor Class (AC). AC is easily
"AC: 15" or "AC: -15", but it could also be written as "Naked" or "Heavily
Armored". Again, AC usually doesn't come up too much in player
discussions, much less than Strength and Constitution, and shouldn't
really be worried about. The same holds true for damage effects and
hit roll effects. Those could be broadly described instead of saying "+55
damroll". Much like disguising the AC level, disguising damage and
hitroll effects is not a necessary change, but is a possibility (and might
be seen through with magic if desired).
A total change of perspective (depending on how "in depth" you want your
realm to be) would be the removal of levels from the mud. I'm not saying
that the complete idea of levels should be removed, players can still
progress from level one to level 200 if they like; however, broad class
titles such as "Swordmaster" or "Squire" create a better feeling of a new
realm where the knowledge your character carries matters as much, if not
more, than the player's skills. A mage,walking up on a warrior, might
infer that he is a skilled fighter, but a fighter approaching the same
might be the only one to deduce that he is in reality a blademaster.
Again, it is not necessary for role playing, but if you re going to
remove some numbers, this is a change that carries a great deal of benefit.
Once again, like mutlti-playing, too many numbers will not necessarily
create an environment not suited for role playing. However, it usually doesn't help
to contribute towards an ideal world where everyone picks a role for their
characters and leaves the numbers aside.
November 1999 Imaginary Realities, the magazine of your mind.
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