Re: Character Creation

From: Patrick Dughi (
Date: 04/05/01

> My point was that these sort of overblown, extended, advanced, uber
> character creation sequence that have people deal with minutiae and spend
> time and energy to create their character before they even know what
> they're getting into DON'T HELP you attract players in general, nor do
> they help you attract the players you want (whether this be role-playing
> or whatever).

        Well, as an FRPer, you don't want randoms.  You don't want someone
 who stops by and decides to stick around or not, after a few hours of
 light play.  Those few hours shatter the illusion that the rest of your
 characters and admin staff have been working to promote.

        Think of it like an exclusive club - you don't want just anyone;
 you only want the people that other members will vouch for, or who meet a
 set of given criteria.  Letting in just anyone potentially lowers the
 (high) level of quality of the establishment.

        It is not supposed to attract players; you're not doing it so
 people flood your mud. You'd be doing it to keep people from flooding your
 mud, unless they're the right people.

        Once again, if you're an FRPer, popularity and population are not
 your principal goals.  They're nice to have, but not at the expense of
 shattering your illusion of your custom made world.

        So, it's better to cull your potentials with the idea 'better to
 loose a potential player than allow a potential nuisance'.

 > I disagree that Muds oppose role-playing or that  role-playing is not
 > possible within the framework offered by Muds.
        I never said that you can't roleplay on a mud.  The fact of the
 matter is this:

 You can have a pure, goal-oriented game, numbers, virtual dice, accouting
 of stats and levels and all that - and still have massive amounts of what
 you and I tend to call role-playing.  They exist - for the most part - in
 a stable harmony as long as they're aware of eachother.  However,
 FRP-style roleplaying cannot co-exist with ANY other system.

 FRP-style roleplaying is well defined by the following quote;

 "They believed that characters, through their players, should imagine
 themselves as fulfilling a role in the real world, and further declared
 that each character should be a personality completely separate from the
 player, so that the player becomes more of an actor than a participant in
 a game.  <FRPer> disparage anyone who does not create an elaborate persona
 for each of his characters, each different from his own personality. The
 most hard-line advocates of this school of thought refuse to believe that
 there is any other "proper" way to play, and they measure the skill of a
 role-playing gamer in accordance with how closely he or she meets their
 notions of role-playing as theater."

        Perhaps you haven't met this type before; most who use muds
 actually use the emote command instead of cast/fight/<do_skill>/etc.
 Death of players is a consensual act.  Battles are simply rooms of people
 emoting their percieved actions at each other.  It is, literally,
 improvisonal theatre, and that's IT.

        This idea contrasts with a quote from the same article defining
 what I believe to be not only a 'better' (subjective view) form of
 roleplaying, but also what the majority of persons believe to be

 "<They> believe that the point of a role-playing game is to put oneself
 into a situation one could never experience in the real world, and to
 react as the player would In other words, the game lets me do the things
 I'd like to think I would do if I were a wizard, or if I were a fighter,
 or perhaps, even, if I decided to take the evil path. Consequently, it
 would be foolish for me to create a personality quite different from my
 own, because it would no longer be me. The game is not a matter of "Sir
 Stalwart does so-and-so" but "I do so-and-so." In my imagination, I am the
 one who might get killed - not some paper construct, however elaborate it
 may be."

        Which is probably what most people start out doing.. That's why
 you chose a fantasy or magic or sci-fi or whatever type of RPG you chose
 in the first place.  It's because you wanted to be a princess, or wizard,
 or killer cyborg or wasteland mutant, or whatever.

        Haven't you ever seen an argument about who gets which monopoly
 piece?  C'mon, that's just a tiny metal figure, doesn't even affect the
 gameplay.  But someone, sometime, had to make the dog bark, or have the
 shoe kick one of the other metal figures, or run everyone down with their
 car. (Ever notice how people will unconsciously scoot the rolling-type
 playing pieces, whereas they'll lift-move-tap lift-move-tap the other
 sorts?).  In their mind, they _are_ the piece, and that means alot to how
 they play - even when that doesn't affect the game.

 > But what must be understood is that immersion isn't about reality, it's
 > about realism.
        Though I don't think that the definition of 'immersion' is so
 clearly defined to anyone, I agree with your definintion in this context.
 The difference between an FRPer and a 'normal' mudder though is that
 realism comes first, last, and only; but only insofar as their actor
 (character) is concerned.  Not as far as the mud's internal representation
 of the world is concerned.  All the mud has to do is to not break the
 actor's percieved representation.

        When it comes down to it, many FRPers are troubled by mud systems
 which actually DO things like require an introduction method, or have any
 hardcoded rules or limitations on their characters, and ESPECIALLY on
 their characters interactions.

        Say I make a character who's a peasant boy, who has no plans in
 life until he sees a local warrior hero give a loyalistic speech in the
 middle of town.  Now, my character has just joined the local garrison -
 which is where I start playing him.

        Are you telling me then, that I don't know this person who has, in
 effect, determined the course of my entire life - that the player that
 runs him actually has to type 'introduce myself to peasant_boy as Bob'
 before it can be understood that I KNOW who this person is?

        This sort of thing pops up alot, though you see it first when you
 realize that everyone wants/needs customized descriptions for equipment,
 and most muds don't have a good way to do that - and also monitor for
 inapproprate descriptions.

        This comes down to several issues;

 1) We need the mud to enforce almost nothing
 1a corollary) We need the mud to be as limitless as possible.  Each player
 needs admin level control of the world (not the players).  Time to look at
 most MUSH setups.

 2) Players are responsible for acting within the tenets of the mud's RP
 rules at all times, especially enforcing a consistent FRP atmosphere.

 3) Any minor disruption to a players percieved view of reality is a major
 problem.   (ie, break of reality to an FRP is equivilent to having your
 character nerfed to level 1, and all eq removed for a powergamer)

 4) FRPers cannot peacefully coexist with anyone but other FRPers. (See
 #2 & #3)

        Thus, not only will one or two people be capable of totally
 destroying the experience for many people, if they're actually given the
 same abilities (like making items, etc), they can have a profound,
 lasting, and highly invasive effect upon ALL players, even those who have
 not yet started to play.
 > I strongly disagree.  My point was that these systems do not help any Mud
 > attract any sort of player.  At all.  Period.  Zero.  They deter all
 > players, even the ones you want.  Everyone.

        Again, they're not supposed to attract players.  At all. Period.
 Zero.  This system is to drive them away, the unwashed hordes, the
 unwanted biomass.  You want to hand pick your players, every one,
 though your complicated character creation system can be seen as marvelous
 filter, rather than just a stockade wall.  If someone, by themselves,
 actually does complete the character creation process, they're obviously
 very dedicated to the type of system which requires that creation process.

        ie, they're going to be a great addition.

        Even a small addition, like "please type a 3-5 line character
 history", or requiring that someone fill out their long desc before
 playing cuts out a great deal of not-very-interested-in-FRPing people.

        A nice step is requring that this history/etc be approved before
 the character is allowed to even log on - each extra requirement removes
 that many more lousy players who'd just muck up your game.


 * - article mentioned above was from Dragon Magazine, issue #, and author
 unknown.  I believe the article was called "The vicarious roleplayer"

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