The Making of a Pantheon
Letters to the editor
- Michael A. Hartman (Aristotle@Threshold)
Building the Land
- Jeffrey Laikam
Deciding on Mud Code Improvements
- John Patrick
The Power of the Written Word
Any Publicity is Good Publicity!
- Selina Kelley
Third Person Mudding?
- Ken McQueen
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Building the Land
by Jeffrey Laikam
Despite the distaste normally associated with stock muds, there is hope
for each and every one of them. The development of a concrete, expansive,
believable world is possible to all of you out there without the resources
to build 50 original stock areas before opening. The key word here is
layout and infrastructure.
A river to join up the parts of your country.
Anyone who has run a mud has encountered the lack of people willing to
build quality zones in a timely manner. Some advice for those of you who
are out there struggling to build a world, begin by laying down a structure
that will provide originality for your mud immediately. The infrastructure
of a mud world is every bit as important as original areas and code. A
layout unique to your mud will provide even the players familiar with the
stock areas something to think about and stimulate them to explore the
world more extensively. Building a network of roads and rivers provides
believability, makes the world stand out as original and sets down a
foundation for further evolution.
The main problem for muds with stock areas (the author considers
downloadable areas stock) is the placement and availability for placement
of these zones. Let's take for example a stock Rom mud. To the east lies
New Thalos, The Crossroads, Gnome Village, Smurf Village, out the south
gate of Midgaard lies the Miden'nir, to the west is Haon Dor and to the
north lies the Plains and Olympus. Ask yourself these questions: Why would
a town as large and as powerful as Midgaard allow the goblins to reside so
close to the Southern Gates? Why would the gods themselves be so close to
mere mortals? Some of the stock areas are definitely worth keeping.
Finding the ones that fit with the planned theme of the mud and the
placement of these zones is the beginning to a new world, one that is
unique despite stock areas. By adding infrastructure and placing these
areas in a logical (terrain) wise manner the "stock" world will begin to
take on a new light to the experienced mudder and still entrap the new one.
List the zones you want to keep and their terrain type.
Pull out some grid paper and place your major cities.
Determine the terrain around each city.
Map the major roads connecting the cities.
Map the rivers (this is optional but adds for a nice bit of reality if
the rivers travel through the land and eventually end up at the ocean)
Determine the boundaries of your world (these can always be extended)
Put in logical terrain features between all cities and extending to the
Begin to place areas in a manner befitting their terrain and level
range (putting a newbie area at the furthest point away from your starting
city is not wise).
Tear out the current connections (this task is easier if the mud is
closed or a separate build port is running).
Following the grid, build the road and river structure making sure the
number of moves is very close if two ways exist to travel from city to
Continue to add in terrain as the infrastructure develops. Making the
roads and rivers travel through fields and hills and crossing rivers.
Once the general layout for the road and river system is in place,
begin to connect the areas adding small flavorful rooms leading to the
entrances of these areas.
Convert the areas so that more than one entrance to each one exists,
remember to connect to the river system if water is present in the zone.
The Actual Building
This phase is the hardest but well worth the end result. Begin with the
roads and rivers since these will be the routes of travel between cities
and areas. Use your grid to make the roads connect logically between the
areas. Connect the areas in more than one place, either to adjacent trails
or the river system. Set aside vnums for the main roads and rivers, a
couple hundred should probably be enough. Use the remaining vnums of the
areas to make small introduction connectors. A bit of forest between an
area and a room can make all of the difference when attempting to produce
believability. Move the areas around, don't be afraid to move something to
a totally new location unrelated to where it was previously located. This
world is supposed to be yours, design it how you want it to be. The main
purpose is to make a world that makes sense to someone walking around in
it. What sense is it to build a beautiful 100 room area if you have no
place to put it? When building a house, start with the foundation. When
building a world, start with the infrastructure.
December 1999 Imaginary Realities, the magazine of your mind.
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