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Old 01-23-2005, 10:37 AM   #21
ning03
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what are your opinions on having one race MUDs?

a MUD with only humans or elves or trolls . . .

this is just a general question.
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Old 01-23-2005, 11:50 AM   #22
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I am considering having very few races, probably three, but basing those races off of mythological "races" that vary to extremes individually. Consider the almost unlimited variation in faerykind, for example. This allows the player to tailor their character the way they want without necessarily changing the character's identity. The key is deciding on such races that could still be distinguished between each other without making the theme seem hodgepodge.

I also want every player to be in appropriate scale with every other player, which means, IMO, I can't have both Lilliputan-sized PCs and human PCs, nor gnome PCs and troll PCs, nor dwarf PCs and giant PCs. Dragon PCs would have to be limited in size to scale well with human PCs, etcetera. But since there are more small creatures than large ones, I will probably favor that extreme in any case. That also has the benefit of making the monsters (whether trolls, giants, or dragons) seem larger by contrast. This relativity also allows players to still get their brutishly strong PCs, if that is what they want; it is simply a matter of comparing them to the typical PC rather than comparing everything to humans.
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Old 01-23-2005, 03:12 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (ning03 @ Jan. 23 2005,09:37)
what are your opinions on having one race MUDs?

a MUD with only humans or elves or trolls . . .

this is just a general question.
Avalon, a fairly small but long-lived commercial MUD (been around since 1989) only has one race: human.

--matt
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Old 01-23-2005, 03:23 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (ning03 @ Jan. 23 2005,09:37)
what are your opinions on having one race MUDs?

a MUD with only humans or elves or trolls . . .

this is just a general question.
I don't enjoy one race muds myself. Of course, I'm the one that said there was a lack of race originality, so you probably already knew that.
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Old 01-23-2005, 05:42 PM   #25
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Where I play, there is exactly the symptoms mentioned, where things are little more than a label. Now staffers are working on a) a detailed history, b) possible redesign and expansion of what makes races unique, etc. Unfortunately, these are all things they should have done before the mud ever left beta. In the early days there was no QC, no interest in a real history to tie it all together, etc. The newest areas, under the QC till don't tie into each other clearly and probably won't until we have a real history to work from, but they are a great improvement. I have had ideas and some hopes to eventually become a member of the design team, but frankly, without a history to work from, I can't be sure how or even if I can work 'my' history into it. I can't makes links and connections to other groups or events, I can't design a culture for the area that distinguishes it from the rest of the mud and more specifically give a reason 'why' it differs or be at all sure that it will. I don't even know if the race I wanted to focus on might be irrevocably changed in some way that makes my ideas useless. My hands are tied. The people designing new things though go on as before. Introducing stuff that is generally in theme, but disconnected from the overall reality of the game.

This is also what I suspect has buried the small RP society that was officially added. Some participants just don't get how to do it on the channel, the game world doesn't give much opertunity for it and other than a few conflicts, like the Kitsune vs. everyone that hunts foxes, stuff that was sort of fun for a while, there is almost nothing to drive it. The fact that we might *eventually* get those things that are needed to change this, doesn't matter *now*.

Frankly, I think the idea, as little imput as it got, of having the players provide history to flesh things out was better than waiting for the unpaid and overworked staff to do it. Many hands could do what one person (and sadly it is only one of the staff on it) can achieve. Unfortunately, the idea got derailed when the wizard who offered the contest found out someone else was already writing it. Races and how unique or well they tie into things all depends on the history and details behind them. You can't build consistently without that, you can't make races more than cardboard cutouts without it and obviously, any attempt to RP without it will collapse.

Even H&S can't survive without at least some limited dedication to the 'idea' of the character and his background, not just how many exp points they have. The prior staff didn't really get that, so they gobbled together ideas, areas and pieces of things, without ever truely connecting any of them. Now 90% of the time spent by the current staff involves not making the 'basic' adjustments needed to tie things together and make the world consistant, but fixing all the balance issues, bugs, etc. that resulted from not taking design seriously in the first place. I suspect that this is invariably what would happen with most H&S muds at some point, if they take the story behind there world at all seriously. Races that don't look like they where simply xeroxed from someplace else require that such things be taken seriously.
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Old 01-24-2005, 05:56 AM   #26
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9-->
Quote:
Originally Posted by (dragon master @ Jan. 23 2005,00[img
http://www.topmudsites.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wow.gif[/img]9)]Tolkien trolls didn't fit mythology completely either.
...
although wights were used in mythology they were not undead gravecreatures until Tolkien ... The only races I can think of that Tolkien actually pulled from European Mythology and didn't twist around completely are Dwarves and Dragons.
I think that's the point Tyche made.  Most things in literature, movies, and games are inspired from somewhere else.  They may not be the exact same ... but the name or the makeup resembles something else.  So Tolkien's races are "different" or "twisted" but MOST are ideas that came from other sources, IE classical mythology.

Also, it's already been stated - but I think having "familiar" races is very important for a game.  From my 12 years experience, most new players to a game pick the familiar.  Mostly only veterans of a game choose the other "original" races/classes.  And that's usually because of in-game benefits.

And despite what someone else said (can't remember who) - I think you can judge MOST muds by their races.  Maybe not just from their names, etc.  But by knowing how much time and thought when into a games races AND classes, you can get an idea of what the game is like - and what type of people play the game.
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Old 01-24-2005, 07:08 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Lanthum @ Jan. 24 2005,10:56)
And despite what someone else said (can't remember who) - I think you can judge MOST muds by their races.
Probably me, when I said "I don't think you can really define the creativity of a mud by its race selection".

The original poster implied that following a theme tones down your creativity, and that's something I disagree with. It might restrict you when it comes designing races (and other parts of the theme), but I don't see that as a lack of creativity - and it can often require more creativity to make a race faithful to the theme while keeping it fun to play and retaining game balance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
Maybe not just from their names, etc. But by knowing how much time and thought when into a games races AND classes, you can get an idea of what the game is like - and what type of people play the game.
If you see a mud with stock races and classes, then that can imply a lack of creativity in the game in general. But the selection alone isn't really much to go by - it's possible to have a mud with all original-sounding races that are nothing more than labels, or a mud with human, elf, dwarf and halfling which has provided each of those races with numerous background story and unique game options.
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Old 01-24-2005, 02:20 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Lanthum @ Jan. 24 2005,04:56)
Quote:
Originally Posted by (dragon master @ Jan. 23 2005,00<!--emo&[img
http://www.topmudsites.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wow.gif[/img])]Tolkien trolls didn't fit mythology completely either.
...
although wights were used in mythology they were not undead gravecreatures until Tolkien ... The only races I can think of that Tolkien actually pulled from European Mythology and didn't twist around completely are Dwarves and Dragons.
I think that's the point Tyche made.  Most things in literature, movies, and games are inspired from somewhere else.  They may not be the exact same ... but the name or the makeup resembles something else.  So Tolkien's races are "different" or "twisted" but MOST are ideas that came from other sources, IE classical mythology.

Also, it's already been stated - but I think having "familiar" races is very important for a game.  From my 12 years experience, most new players to a game pick the familiar.  Mostly only veterans of a game choose the other "original" races/classes.  And that's usually because of in-game benefits.

And despite what someone else said (can't remember who) - I think you can judge MOST muds by their races.  Maybe not just from their names, etc.  But by knowing how much time and thought when into a games races AND classes, you can get an idea of what the game is like - and what type of people play the game.
Wights from classic mythology and Barrow Wights from Tolkien have nothing in common except part oftheir name. D&D Wights are taken from Tolkien where Barrow Wight(grave man) has been shortened to Wight.

Orcs? Original completely to Tolkien. Ents, wargs, Nazgul...

All ideas come from somewhere but that doesn't mean that having something completely different will automatically fail. Tolkien's works are still being read today and much is based of them or something else that is based of them...
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Old 01-24-2005, 02:49 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (dragon master @ Jan. 23 2005,07:09)
Elves as they appear in most muds are original to Tolkien.
What about Lord Dunsany's "The King of Elfland's Daughter", which was first published in 1924 (13 years before The Hobbit)?
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Old 01-24-2005, 06:21 PM   #30
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Let's just put it this way... The elves in stories that are tall and have pointy ears aren't the pinnacle of creativity they're cracked up to be. Anyone can slap some pointy ears on a person and give him some superpowers...
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Old 01-24-2005, 06:24 PM   #31
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And also, I love Tolkien's books, but he didn't just come up with these races from nowhere. Tree-people (Ents), Grim Reapers (Nazghul), and Wolves (Wargs) are not that hard to come by.
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Old 01-24-2005, 06:31 PM   #32
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Ilkidarios, why don't you give us some examples of what you consider original/creative races?
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Old 01-24-2005, 06:33 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Ilkidarios @ Jan. 24 2005,22:21)
Let's just put it this way... The elves in stories that are tall and have pointy ears aren't the pinnacle of creativity they're cracked up to be. Anyone can slap some pointy ears on a person and give him some superpowers...
Actually that argument has a lot of merit in numerous things. One of the reasons alien races were far more interesting in Farscape than in Star Trek for example Although I suppose they did try and justify it with the whole "life-seeding" thing in Next Gen.

If I ever get around to making up a new MUD, I plan on writing a story first of how the world was created and the various races will come into play with a specific purpose. Generic races are all well and good but it's nice to play in games where races are not just picked for their stat-mod value and I guess considered secondary to your class selection.
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Old 01-24-2005, 11:55 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by
Let's just put it this way... The elves in stories that are tall and have pointy ears aren't the pinnacle of creativity they're cracked up to be. Anyone can slap some pointy ears on a person and give him some superpowers...
This kind of thing sort of annoys me. Whenever something new is invented, a certain kind of person is sure to moan, "I could have thought of that!"

But they didn't. So really, they couldn't have. Because they didn't. End of story, as far as 'could have' is concerned.

*stomps off muttering* I'll be in the angry dome.
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Old 01-25-2005, 11:20 AM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (dragon master @ Jan. 24 2005,12:20)
Wights from classic mythology and Barrow Wights from Tolkien have nothing in common except part oftheir name. D&D Wights are taken from Tolkien where Barrow Wight(grave man) has been shortened to Wight.
Well, I'm no mythology, Tolkien, or classic literature buff (and I didn't even stay at a Holiday Inn Express lastnight   ) but I remember reading a few things and so I did some digging.

Wight has as part of it's origin the Old English and German word "wiht".  And from Scandinavian, Norse, and more recent German mythos and stories - wights were typically used to descibe particularly unpleasant human folk.  Stories abond in those three cultures about wights staying in places like sewers and graveyards after dark to scare people.  And even Francis Gummere's translation of Beowulf in 1910 uses the term "wight" to describe someone taking corpses from a grave: "Unhallowed wight, grim and greedy, he grasped betimes, wrathful, reckless, from resting-places, thirty of the thanes ..."

So what does all that mean ... exactly what I said in my first post.  I barely did any "research" and I was able to draw a line of inspiration from it to envision a nasty grave-robbing creature.  I didn't say Tolkien's creatures were rip-offs or direct correlations.  I said I am pretty sure he was inspired by other people's work.  IE stories and myths.  Which I used as support to say that sometimes it's not bad to have a "lack of originality" when it comes to fantasy work - especially in races.

I hope that clears the air a little.
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Old 01-25-2005, 01:14 PM   #36
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Also worth noting is that Tolkien adapted the word 'orc' from the Old English word 'orc' (meaning 'demon').  Tolkien also said that orcs "owe a good deal to the goblin tradition, especially as it appears in George MacDonald" (author of "The Princess and the Goblin", first published in 1872).

Some more interesting reading here:

http://www.ansereg.com/TheUnnaturalH...lkiensOrcs.pdf

The above article also includes a rather appropriate quote from fantasy critic Terence Casey, in which he says:  "Someone who's familiar with fantasy isn't generally going to have a problem with "orcs" being in a novel or game - they know what an orc is and are used to it.  If you start making up your own monsters instead of drawing from "generic fantasy", however, the mere newness of them can make it harder for people to suspend their disbelief."
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Old 01-25-2005, 10:27 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (KaVir @ Jan. 25 2005,12:14)
"Someone who's familiar with fantasy isn't generally going to have a problem with "orcs" being in a novel or game - they know what an orc is and are used to it.  If you start making up your own monsters instead of drawing from "generic fantasy", however, the mere newness of them can make it harder for people to suspend their disbelief."
I believe Casey is on to something there. Like I said in the first post, you are more comfortable with less new races and less to get used to. But is it really worth the sacrifice of potentially brilliant new ideas to stick to what has been proven to work?
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Old 01-26-2005, 05:13 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Ilkidarios @ Jan. 26 2005,03:27)
But is it really worth the sacrifice of potentially brilliant new ideas to stick to what has been proven to work?
An excellent question.

From a business perspective (or from the perspective of a mud which wants to be popular), there are obvious benefits to sticking with what has been proven to work.

On the other hand, in a community where thousands of almost identical muds are struggling to distinguish themselves from each other, anything that makes you stand out from the competition is going to give you an advantage.

And that brings us neatly back to your original post, where you pointed out that most muds have the standard races as well as some extra ones. This would seem to imply that most muds have chosen a compromise between the tried-and-true races and 'original' races.

Of course 'original' is relative - every fictional race, be they from books, movies, muds, or other computer games, are all influenced or inspired to some extent by something else.
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Old 01-26-2005, 04:48 PM   #39
 
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Originally Posted by (Ilkidarios @ Jan. 25 2005,21:27)
I believe Casey is on to something there. Like I said in the first post, you are more comfortable with less new races and less to get used to. But is it really worth the sacrifice of potentially brilliant new ideas to stick to what has been proven to work?
Methinks the brilliant new idea is the realm of sci-fi. Fantasy is retrospective romanticism. New interpretations of old stuff. It's seems best when grounded in the vaguely familiar. And as time moves on new fantasy is born. I'd suggest that the newer novels and games revolving around the steam era and wild west era are essentially fantasy.

I think race is too misleading a word, not from the viewpoint that it's really species, but that what one really means are new and interesting cultures to play. That's why it doesn't matter to me if the only species available to play is human, as long as there are multiple cultures to play. And frankly the differences between cowboys and indians, spanish conquistadors and pilgrims, stygians and cimmerians, are probably as interesting and fun as trolls and orcs, or artichokes and pineapples.

Of course the best games have dozens of different elf cultures. :-P
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Old 01-26-2005, 07:06 PM   #40
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When I say race, I actually mean species and different types of humans. There are plenty of MUDs that have variety simply in the large numbers of different humans.
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