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Old 05-04-2012, 03:26 AM   #1
Kitriana
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What do you look for in a mud?

Hi there

Was having a discussion with the Keeper of the mud I frequent. And we'd love to try to attract more RP style players to our mud. But I'm curious to know from some of you RPers -- what it is you look for in a mud? What kinds of features or interesting things would compel you to a mud?
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Old 05-04-2012, 11:23 AM   #2
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Re: What do you look for in a mud?

It can almost be night and day when you're comparing what attracts rp-focused players to a mud, and what attracts players, in general, to a mud. Here's what draws me, as a roleplayer.

First, your mud needs to be a roleplaying mud. Roleplaying needs to be required, enforced, and every single player needs to buy into that. I can't get into the rp scene of a mud if I'm limited to rping in a dark corner with a few other like minded players, while half of the playerbase runs around playing a non-rp mud. I need to be in an environment where every person I run into and everything I see is part of the in character game, and where I can expect every other player to act in charater wherever and whenever I run across them. This isn't to say that they have to drop everything and have a 10 line emote fest with me. They just need to not break character, and if they do interact with me or others, they have to do it in character.

Second, your mud needs to be very easy to get into. I don't want to have to spend two hours reading your website and learning all about your game's lore and history. The entry barrier needs to be low enough that I can just jump right in, learn things about the game world as I go, and use your website as a quick reference if I have to look up the name of a god or a city or something. If I enjoy the mud, I'll probably read through the rest of the materials in my spare time. This also applies to the mud's code. I need to be able to figure out, within 5-10 minutes of starting the game, how to move, communicate, and strategically use all of my character's skills and abilities (more complex is not necessarily better, especially if a game is focused on roleplaying). This also applies to character creation. If it takes me an hour, and I have to pick 50 different options, and waste time writing a bunch of descriptions, only to find out that I picked a bad starting city or race or class or whatever the mud offers and have to start again, I'm ticked off. And no mud that has any kind of application or approval process gets my patronage. If a mud wants to attract players, don't make me feel like I'm begging for permission to play and need to pass your scrutiny before I'm worthy.

Third, roleplaying needs to be fast and interesting. I can't stand muds where people sit in a public room and take turns emoting 4-6 line paragraphs, round robin style. I'll roleplay in a chat room if I want to write a shared storybook. I'm interested in what other people's characters say, do, and think, and what happens as a result, and in how they react to what my character says, does, and thinks. The content is important, not a bunch of colorful prose. Roleplaying should be about interacting and exchanging in character words, actions, and thoughts with other characters. Not about showing off your writing style and creativity. If I have to wait more than 30-40 seconds for someone to say or do something in response to what I said or did, I'm going to run laps around them, because I'm going to say or do something else before they've responded. Or just leave the room.

Fourth, gameplay needs to be interesting. Every character, new and old, needs to be able to have some sort of niche when it comes to killing mobs, making money, gathering resources, crafting items, or whatever makes your mud tick. There needs to be enough to do and enough ways to do it that I'm not suck in the same area grinding against the same mobs in exactly the same manner for 6 months. A roleplaying game is still a game. It needs to be fun and interesting even when I'm not actively roleplaying.

Fifth, the world needs to make sense. If death isn't permanent in the game, and people come back to life 30 seconds later, the world needs to reflect that fact. Murder would be a very minor crime compared to the real world, and violence would be a very common way to resolve issues. If the game has public in charcater channels, the world needs to reflect that fact. Think about how differently a world would evolve from ours if everybody in the world could talk to everybody else through this magic chat room in their brain, their whole lives. If the world has healing magic and it's fairly widespread, there'd be no such thing as a doctor or any knowledge of medicine, because a level 1 cleric can just snap his fingers and cure light wounds your pain away. And so on. The game world needs to be believable without the players having to bend over backward too much.

The above isn't all-inclusive, of course, but just some off the cuff things that I've learned about myself over many years of playing muds.
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Old 05-04-2012, 12:57 PM   #3
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Re: What do you look for in a mud?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowTroll View Post
It can almost be night and day when you're comparing what attracts rp-focused players to a mud, and what attracts players, in general, to a mud. Here's what draws me, as a roleplayer.

...snip...
My sentiments EXACTLY.
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Old 05-04-2012, 01:09 PM   #4
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Re: What do you look for in a mud?

Thank you very much for your lengthy reply -- much appreciated. Great points.

I guess for us -- the game over the years has tried to appeal to several playing styles.
So no one play style was enforced -- including rplaying. Its been highly encouraged.. but not enforced. I don't imagine thats going to change unfortunately because there are those still in the community who don't do it and I doubt the admin wants to push those people away from the game. Clearly in the past, we've had people who more into roleplay ... so there is plenty of means to do it. Lots of cool intrigue.

My question would be is this point of "100% rp enforcement" something you feel is a general must have for most rpers -- or that some can look past it if the other elements are there?

Last edited by Kitriana : 05-04-2012 at 01:20 PM.
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Old 05-04-2012, 01:40 PM   #5
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Re: What do you look for in a mud?

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My question would be is this point of "100% rp enforcement" something you feel is a general must have for most rpers -- or that some can look past it if the other elements are there?
You aren't asking me but I'll answer anyway, from my point of view.

I don't expect everyone in the game to jump into RP situations with gusto. Some people just want to gain levels and be left alone. But what I do expect is for all players to refrain from talking about their levels, their stats, Twitter and last night's ball game while they're within my gaming world. To me, it's not as important that folks stay actively in character as it is that they not actively venture out of character.

In this vein...

I detest OOC channels in role-playing games.
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Old 05-04-2012, 03:23 PM   #6
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Re: What do you look for in a mud?

I go a step farther. Nobody should be required or forced into interacting with anybody in a manner they don't want to, or required to enage in "actively roleplaying" if they just want to play the game. But an in-character enforced environment means more than just "not out of character." Each player has to agree to be part of the immersive game world. An in character part of that world. That means more than just not talking ooc when my character comes across yours.

There are non-rp muds out there, and honestly, most of them are full of great features and lots of fun. When you sign into a roleplaying mud, you did so for a reason. If you're just there to ruin the atmosphere for everybody by playing the mechanical game and peeing all over the roleplaying game, there are countless other muds. It's not like these muds were non-rp at first, you got into them, then suddenly the games changed to require rp and you were stuck. You knowlingly signed into a roleplaying game. So some part of you wants to roleplay, or at least part of you is considering trying it out, or at least watching others do it.

For me, it's all or nothing. A mud is either a roleplaying mud or it's not. That doesn't mean forced "active roleplaying" for people who don't feel like interacting with others in that way right now. But I can't abide by a mud that's just RP accepted/encouraged, where a good portion of the world just plain doesn't roleplay, and I have to tune out half the mud and focus on the three or four people who decided to join my small "roleplaying club" within this larger non-roleplaying mud.
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Old 05-04-2012, 06:03 PM   #7
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Re: What do you look for in a mud?

A fairly complete statement by SnowTroll.

However, that is only one part of the story.

I will quote parts of the comments by SnowTroll and write something about this:

Quote:
Each player has to agree to be part of the immersive game world.
One problem I saw with some new players was that they purposely made a scene and no real effort at all to fit into the IC game world.

They stayed IC, sure, but their young, new characters acted provocatively, purposely, for no real IC reason out of nowhere. Possibly because the player behind was bored, or did not know how to fit it - or worse, because that player did not WANT to fit it.

The last group of players is a problem. As long as I do not know whether a new player is not a troll, so long do I run a risk when I interact with characters of said player. This does happen much more often with new players than it does with players you already know can roleplay genuinely.

An attitude like "Here I come, entertain me, even if I am a drama queen" just is not going to work.

Quote:
There are non-rp muds out there, and honestly, most of them are full of great features and lots of fun.
I found non-RP muds a waste of time and extremely boring. The whole concept of XP and levels is overrated and distracts from roleplay.

Sadly, most MUDs are like that. It seems to cater towards dumb players or lazy players who don't want to make any real effort to have anything else than XP or stat machine. This is not bad per se - I used to love Warcraft 3 and Diablo 2, gaining levels to be rewarded with a stronger character, fight stronger monsters etc... but it never managed to create the atmosphere of "REAL PEOPLE". I can't focus on a real persona when the display is "Fantasar, Level 51 Bard".

Quote:
When you sign into a roleplaying mud, you did so for a reason.
As said, this goes both ways, and I can give you many examples of players whose only purpose seemed to be to annoy as many other players as possible, before they quit again (permanently). I don't understand these players, they seem to just waste my time and their time too, for no real gain.


Quote:
If you're just there to ruin the atmosphere for everybody by playing the mechanical game and peeing all over the roleplaying game, there are countless other muds.
I concur but what are you going to do about these players? Admin is often overworked and has no time to deal with every problem that arises. My strategy is to simply ignore such players, because they tend to quit very early anyway, and I thus waste less of my own time.
But of course there are genuine newcomers who suffer from this too, so it's a complex problem really.

Quote:
But I can't abide by a mud that's just RP accepted/encouraged, where a good portion of the world just plain doesn't roleplay, and I have to tune out half the mud and focus on the three or four people who decided to join my small "roleplaying club" within this larger non-roleplaying mud.
Unfortunately there are not many roleplaying MUDs at all. When there would be an average of at least four other people online at any given time I'd connect to such a MUD, I'd guess I would always have someone to interact and roleplay with, even if those interactions only happen "accidentally" - i.e. never planned, only by chance. But sadly, often enough there are not many other players to interact with at all.
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Old 05-04-2012, 06:44 PM   #8
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Re: What do you look for in a mud?

That's not really much of an advocacy for a roleplay-accepted or roleplay-encouraged mud. Muds span all types because players span all types. I like advancing a character's levels and skills and moneys and titles and whatever else a mud offers. Sure, I prefer roleplaying, but I like a mud with neat gameplay features. A robust non-rp mud may be a complete waste of time to one player, and the funnest game ever to another. There are even players who think that roleplaying and playing make-believe is just stupid, but they're okay playing muds otherwise, as long as everyone logged in is on the same page about the mud being just a fun game without any of that rp garbage.

You're mostly anonymous on the internet. Really, wherever you go online, there are going to be occasional kids who just like to make a nuisance of themselves and try to make a big stink, roleplaying mud or otherwise. Whenever this happens, it is an absolute necessity that these people be 100% ignored. Act like you don't even see them. Whenever people are smart-alecky on public channels and gab about these types of people, and try to correct them and engage them in conversation, and the people in charge of the mud keep nuking them and they keep coming back, that's what they want. Nuisance players aren't trying to prove anything and don't need to be convinced of anything. They just want attention. They don't need policing. Policing is attention. The only solution is to act like they're not there and they get bored and wander off. I've never see a mud pull that off, though, because there are always idiot players who have to be smart-alecs whenever something they can talk about happens.

Same with attention mongers, on an rp mud or otherwise. There are always people who go, "Look at me! I'm typing emotes and making up an unfeasible situation centered around my character! If you don't react to me and cator to what I'm trying to start, you're not a real roleplayer, and this mud sucks!" But at least these people want to roleplay and are trying something. They'll get with the program or move on, as long as the rest of the players are all on the same page about roleplaying and the mud. On a non-rp mud, you get similar situations with the people who just chat all day on the game's channels, giving you a play by play of their undertakings every minute, like the gossip channel is their Twitter account. I don't care if your fireball just did 4413 damage to the blue dragon. I don't care if I made an Elf bard and that's a crappy class. I don't need a bunch of tells about how you already tried that with your last alt.

Sadly, the world's running out of good roleplaying muds mostly because mud players are slowly dwindling. It's old technology, and a mud gets more players as a whole if it's a lot looser about roleplaying. We're down to fewer than 10 elitist rp muds of any renown and size.
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Old 05-05-2012, 12:42 AM   #9
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Re: What do you look for in a mud?

Simple. I need a roleplay enforced environment, at least.

Coded combat and areas to explore and hunt in is a must.

A solid well-described world. I hate items that are 'steel shortsword' 'you see a steel shortsword' etc.

At least one large main town/city with multiple RP spots.

Some kind of crafting/custom items.
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Old 05-08-2012, 04:04 PM   #10
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Re: What do you look for in a mud?

What a fantastic thread!

I'm Gorboth, the lead admin for the game Kitriana is from (Genesis LPMud). It's been fascinating to read the posts here. Snowtroll, you make so many keen observations on the realities of managing the issues relating to roleplay in a modern mud - thank you for this. One of my challenges has been trying to balance what the game offers for various populations. As the saying goes, if you try to please everyone, you often end up pleasing no one. Our mud, while definitely featuring roleplay and having enjoyed a long and rich history of that roleplay over the decades, is not what you would call "roleplay enforced."

That term, though, is interesting to me. I tend to feel that the further we can point the needle toward roleplay, the better off the MUD is. In the games you've experienced as your favorites, how was this "enforced" status of roleplay policed and monitored by the admin? Was it up to players to report non-roleplay behavior, and then for the admin to respond? Were admin always on-hand to "snoop" players to make sure roleplay was involved?

In Genesis, we have a fairly wide blend of players. Most will call themselves roleplayers, but of course the talents, standards, and inclination of these people to make it happen is invariable to say the least. What I've found is that as the "typical" mud player has gotten older (30+ with spouse, job, kids) the ability to delve into long roleplaying sessions has soared off a cliff. Back when we were all students, we could happily procrastinate from all of our studies and eschew our anxieties by taking on the mantle of our favorite RP character in the mud, spending hours banding together for advantures, or running our favorite guild with all the politics and intrigue that may ensue. But nowadays? Sadly, so many of us just want to log on, grab our favorite (and immediately available) gear and get a bit of grinding, crafting, or whatnot in.

I've been involved with Genesis for 20 years now, and the game has continued to attract new players and keep many of its old stalwarts present. As Keeper (lead admin) of the game, I've had us experiment with many new offerings for players (flashy new web page, custom game client, Diablo-esque random loot, dynamic maps, external game forums) but all of these accomplishments seem to just distract from the fact that we all wish we had the "magic" of the old days with the rich roleplay and stories to live out.

So ... Snowtroll ... I'd love to hear some specifics about how that has worked in MUDS you play, especially in these modern times.

G.
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Old 05-08-2012, 05:12 PM   #11
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Re: What do you look for in a mud?

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all of these accomplishments seem to just distract from the fact that we all wish we had the "magic" of the old days with the rich roleplay and stories to live out.
In my opinion, the decline of role-play in MUDs began, at least in part, with the introduction of ICQ, then AIM and all kinds of other modes of instant OOC communication, and has escalated to today where we have smartphones, text, Skype and all kinds of social media. The atmosphere is completely different. Everyone is in constant communication, and it changes the ability to suspend disbelief.

I am among those who would desperately love find the old magic, but things just aren't the same.
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Old 05-09-2012, 12:13 AM   #12
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Re: What do you look for in a mud?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghostcat View Post
Simple. I need a roleplay enforced environment, at least.

Coded combat and areas to explore and hunt in is a must.

A solid well-described world. I hate items that are 'steel shortsword' 'you see a steel shortsword' etc.

At least one large main town/city with multiple RP spots.

Some kind of crafting/custom items.

It depends on how the discription is handled in the sword's case.

I would believe that, "you see a richly orimated steel short sword with artisticly etched blade, dark handgrips and jeweled pummel' would be much better than 'you see a steel shortsword'.

Such vivid discriptions can be easily handled by leaving any additional examinations up to the player to perfrom or not.


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Old 05-09-2012, 11:38 AM   #13
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Re: What do you look for in a mud?

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So ... Snowtroll ... I'd love to hear some specifics about how that has worked in MUDS you play, especially in these modern times.
I don't believe in traditional "enforcement" in a mud. I think that when a player logs into a game and flagrantly works against the game's rp atmosphere and rp rules, that attention-seeking player should just be ignored until he gets bored and goes away. If the player is really persistent, I suppose somebody with the power to do so can ban the player's IP address, but there are countless ways around that.

Likewise, there isn't a good way to "enforce" roleplaying in a traditional sense. You can't have players calling in a mud's administration every time they think another player isn't roleplaying right or roleplaying well enough, or every time another player, whether intentionally or unknowingly, breaks the atmosphere for a moment by asking you what level you are or where he can go kill stuff. The only way a game like this can be effectively enforced is if the dominant majority of the players are all dedicated roleplayers. If 90% of the people you meet in the game are going to ignore you if you talk out of character, or politely correct your behavior on a public out of character channel/newbie help line/message board/whatever, you'll either get with the program if you like the mud and want to give things a shot, or you'll quit and find something more your style. This isn't something that can be engineered with traditional rules and enforcement. It's something you create by advertising your mud as a roleplaying mud, making it clear from the get go as players go through the initial stages and the character creation process that it's a roleplaying mud where roleplaying is expected, and attract yourself a playerbase looking for exactly that kind of mud. If the players like your mud and stick around, they'll foster the rp atmosphere and ignore or correct non-roleplayers themselves. If your mud isn't a full-out, roleplay-required mud, then the people who get corrected and ignored are often the roleplayers. They can't tell others how to enjoy the game or what they can and can't or should and shouldn't do. They're relegated to a dark corner where they chat with each other all day and pretend the other half of the world doesn't exist in their little in character exchange.

On a personal note, I'm exactly the kind of player you described. I used to play muds daily and get heavily involved in hardcore roleplaying. Now I'm in my 30s with a full time job and family. I barely have time to play muds at all, much less get involved with intense rp situations where I'd have to be around each day to participate, help steer events, and keep tabs on things. When I do play games now, I actually look for more "rp-lite" muds with interesting gameplay. I still strongly prefer required roleplaying, but like a game where I can just log in for a little bit during what little spare time I have, kill, craft, or practice something if I don't have time to interact or don't feel like interacting, and just have some basic in character interaction when I feel like it, without having to worry about major plots and advancing my character socially by being around 23 hours a day to maintain my status. I don't know what the other 30-somethings prefer now that they're older. Maybe they like less roleplay-centered muds now and figure that if you're not going to rp hard, you might as well not rp.
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Old 05-09-2012, 07:05 PM   #14
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Re: What do you look for in a mud?

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Originally Posted by Kitriana View Post
But I'm curious to know from some of you RPers -- what it is you look for in a mud? What kinds of features or interesting things would compel you to a mud?
I think the first thing that caused me to begin playing MUDs was a circle of RL friends that played and drew me into it. Following that was the torrential joy of friendships, emnity, and roleplay both good and bad from people who were strangers turned internet-friends. There was a sense of community & belonging to something special, and looking back, a lot of fine memories.
I can remember being hunched over a keyboard, typing madly during the rare adrenaline-crazed pkill. Shaking with emotion afterward, for good or ill, it felt like a good book times ten, and one where I am not content to read as an outsider, but was involved in crafting the story - and that alone made all the time worthwhile. I was greatly saddened when the day came that this game shut down.

Now I've built, with the aid of many other friends and strangers alike, a MUD of our own, and am seeking to regain that feeling of community and story. This work has spanned many years, almost a decade, of on-and-off players and builders and betas and it has been quite fun! Watching a game from an Administrative perspective is much different than a player's.

I've always been in agreement that the mechanical gameplay, aside from roleplay, should be varied and interesting as well. Different character classes, or more to the point, the choices characters make (from ability scores to skills to guilds) should hold different strengths depending on the situation. The advantage is twofold - you don't get players who flock to a particular class in order to become the 'best' PC possible with numbers (lol whyd u pick an ELF BARD noob!), and, given the chance to pick and choose some, but not all, of your skills (as my MUD does), it encourages customization to make you stand out from others who favor the same class. Balance is a delicate thing and it is something that should be constantly tweaked, from an Admin's perspective.

Shameless plug: Arantha is a roleplay-enforced medieval fantasy game with a custom campaign setting and is loosely based on AD&D 2nd edition rules. We seek to marry the tabletop rules of yore with a group of exciting and friendly players. Indeed, one of our rules (and the most important one in my eyes) is: We are Here to Have Fun. I would invite anyone who is interested (especially if you miss the feeling of those 'golden days') to come on by and check us out! (arantha.net:4000)

Last edited by realmsofvalor : 05-09-2012 at 09:48 PM.
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Old 05-11-2012, 10:11 AM   #15
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Re: What do you look for in a mud?

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Originally Posted by Darren Brimhall View Post
It depends on how the discription is handled in the sword's case.

I would believe that, "you see a richly orimated steel short sword with artisticly etched blade, dark handgrips and jeweled pummel' would be much better than 'you see a steel shortsword'.

Such vivid discriptions can be easily handled by leaving any additional examinations up to the player to perfrom or not.


darren Brimhall
I'll just put up this example from my favorite MUD. A weapon I bought off the rack at a faire a little while ago.

Quote:
a damask smallsword.

Polished and acid-etched in order to bring out the wavy rifts of deep amaranthine and emerald inherent in the cobalt metal, a moderately long length of damask forms a stepped colichemarde blade with a flared ricasso. Formed from delicately pierced and chiseled scrollwork and ivory, the grip is set below a pierced rounded guard with a pas d'ane and short, upwardly-curved quillons. A squared, D-shaped damask knucklebow entends from the fore quillon to the acorn-shaped pommel.
Now THAT is what I like.
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Old 05-11-2012, 01:27 PM   #16
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Re: What do you look for in a mud?

I'm not into rp muds, personally, but:

Ghostcat, that description requires the reader to know a great deal of medieval vocabulary. I, for one, got lost after the short desc, and know only that it's a somewhat short sword; while the example is indeed detailed, it doesn't actually say anything to someone who's not familiar with swords.

Just saying. I think that it's a nice description, even if I have no idea what it's saying, but it does raise the entry barrier a lot, doing it that way. I agree, personally, with the leave the examination to the player, kind of. It's important to distinguish two swords, for instance, by their short description, but perhaps hide away the "I'm a medieval swordsman" description in some sort of material component identification spell, or something.
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Old 05-11-2012, 04:00 PM   #17
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Re: What do you look for in a mud?

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I'm not into rp muds, personally, but:

Ghostcat, that description requires the reader to know a great deal of medieval vocabulary. I, for one, got lost after the short desc, and know only that it's a somewhat short sword; while the example is indeed detailed, it doesn't actually say anything to someone who's not familiar with swords.

Just saying. I think that it's a nice description, even if I have no idea what it's saying, but it does raise the entry barrier a lot, doing it that way. I agree, personally, with the leave the examination to the player, kind of. It's important to distinguish two swords, for instance, by their short description, but perhaps hide away the "I'm a medieval swordsman" description in some sort of material component identification spell, or something.
Ah, that's not a regular weapon. The faires are when exceptionally described things for us vocab nerds are released. The normal items are much less overwhelming.

For example, my seax looks like this:
Quote:
sharpened high steel seax
Crafted from pattern-welded high steel, a medium-sized broke-back blade with a single cutting edge culminates in a guard adorned with an intricate knotwork design. Thin strips of softened leather wrap around a hilt of animal horn assuring the owner a firm yet comfortable grip.
Oh, and a basic spear
Quote:
long iron spear
Consisting of an ox-tongue spear head attached to a long wooden shaft, this fierce weapon is excellent for thrusting and its balance allows it to be easily hurled at an enemy.

Usually only one or two words that someone might have to look up.
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Old 05-11-2012, 04:07 PM   #18
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Re: What do you look for in a mud?

Yeah, those are better.
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