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Old 01-21-2005, 10:49 PM   #1
Ilkidarios
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I've been playing MUDs for a WHILE and I've always wondered this. Where is the originality in MUDs? I don't mean in concept, idea, and somesuch. I mean in the character races. I've always noticed that all MUDs seem to have the same people, elves, dwarves, and humans. Sure, they'll have some other races, but there's almost always the same ones. I think the problem lies in most MUDs basing themselves on already established ideas such as LOtR or other works of literature. I'm not saying these make bad MUDs, but I'm saying that at least with me, I want some more race ideas. Maybe basing MUDs on other peoples ideas removes your freedom in the design? Or tones down your creativity? Maybe a fewer amounts of races means that I don't have to familiarize myself with so many every time I pick up a game? Feel free to discuss how right or wrong I am, but please don't turn this into a flame thread. This is not a flaming thread! This is a discussion! Please treat it as such and be courteous to others opinions.
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Old 01-22-2005, 12:16 AM   #2
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Like you said, it's less time familiarizing yourself with something new. Plug-and-play, as it were. Players are inherantly lazy, and often have favorites coming into a game (I play dwarves, etc). The same often goes for classes.

Personally, I work on games with original races, and that's often the second largest hurdle people have to get over, after learning our theme. But there's a small subset of players that also enjoy unique stuff.
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Old 01-22-2005, 01:45 AM   #3
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Yeah, that's one reason that I wouldn't want original races is just so I didn't have to familiarize myself with new ones every game I played. Even some familiar race games aren't plug & play. Shadows of Isildur anyone? I'm currently submitting my third resum-I mean, character application, right now.
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Old 01-22-2005, 11:52 AM   #4
 
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You really think there's not enough originality or variety?
Here's a usenet post from five years ago.


-----------------------
From: Ilya <ilya@spam.free.gamecommandos.com>
Subject: Classes and Races and more (a BIG list)
Date: Monday, December 20, 1999 12:32 PM

Hello friends, and all,

Our current collection of all named races and classes in all
the games listed on www.themudlist.com currently includes
about four hundred and fifty names of races, species, and
ethnic groupings, along with a further several hundred
different names of classes.

Just for fun, and perhaps as a reference (what to DO, and
in many cases what NOT to do! I list them all here.

Note: this list is unabridged and uncorrected. If someone
really thinks Vampire is a class, and someone else thinks
Vampire is a race (to take but one of many strange
examples) we leave it in the list without further comment.

In short, this list is not our opinion, and it not some
sort of approval list. It's just what people have put
in for their race and class names for games in our list
of ORPGs, muds, etc.

Classes from www.TheMudList.com (MUCH longer race list
follows):

Abbot Abjurer Acolyte Adept
Adventurer Alchemist Amazon Angel
Anti-Paladin Arahkhan Archbishop Archer
Archmage Archon ArchPaladin Ascetic
Assassin Augurer Avatar Avenger
Bandit Barbarian Bard Battlemage
Beastmaster Berserker Blademaster Bladesinger
Blood Knight Blooder Bodyguard Bounty Hunter
Brawler Brigand Cavalier Changeling
Channeler Chaos Simyarin Chosen Civilian
Cleric Commando Companion Conjurer
Conqueror Corsair Crusader Cyborg
Daemon Daemonologist Daoloth Dark Esper
Dark Initiate Dark Knight Dark One Dark Spawn
Dark, The Defender Defiler Deikhan
Demon Demon Summoner Demon Worshipper Demonist
Diety Disciple Dragon Knight Dragonlord
Dragonslayer Drake Drifter Droid
Druid Elementalist Empath Emperor's Hand
Enchanter Engineer Esper Executioner
Exorcist Fallen Fanatic Fighter
Fisher Fool Forester Ghoul
Gladiator Gleeman Grolim Gunslinger
Gypsy Healer Hellion Herald
Herbalist Highlander Holy Jihad Horreur
Human Hunter Huntsman Illusionist
Inquisitor Inventor Invoker Jedi
Jedi Master Jester Kataan Kharon
Kinfolk Knave Knight Knight (Chaos)
Knight (Death) Legion Leper Lich
Loremaster Mage Mage (Blood) Mage (Red)
Mage (Star) Mage (White) Magic-User Magister
Magus Martial Artist Masters Mentalist
Mercenary Merchant Military Mimic
Mind Flayer Monk Mystic Navigator
Necromancer Nephandi Nightblade Ninja
Noble Nomad Occultist Paladin
Paladin (Dark) Paladin (Grey) Paladin (Holy) Paladin (Light)
Philosopher Pirate Priest Psionicist
Psychic Pugilist Pyromancer Ranger
Reaver Rebel Renegade Restorer
Revenant Roc Rider Rogue Rune Keeper
Runemaster Sage Sailor Saint
Samurai Savage Scholar Scout
Seeker Seer Sensei Sentaari
Sentinel Serpentlord Shade Shadowcaster
Shadowdancer Shadowmage Shadowsnake Shadowthief
Shaman Shao-lin Shapeshifter Shinobi
Siren Sirine Sith Sith Lord
Smuggler Social Sohei Soldier
Soothsayer Sorcerer Sorital Spellfilcher
Spellslayer Spy Squire Stalker
Starfleet Strider Summoner Swashbuckler
Swindler Swordmaster Technician Telemetrist
Telepath Templar Tempsorciere Thaumaturgist
Thief Tinker Trader Transmuter
Vampire Villain Wanderer War Wizard
Warder Warlock Warlord Warrior
Warrior (Road) Watcher Weaponmaster Werewolf
Whisperer Witch Witch Hunter Wizard
Wraith
---

The race list from www.TheMudList.com:

Aasimon Aelin Aiel Aireeian
Ai'tik'ka Ajaj Alaghi Alail
Alatharya Alien Amarya Anakim
Andorian Angel Anitre Apeman
Apskara Arachean Arachian Arakun
Arcane Archon Argus Arial
Artell Avariel Avian Bajoran
Balrog Barbarian Barnesian Barsoomian
Basilisk Bastet Behemoth Behir
Benzite Beoring Birdman Black
Numenorean Bloodworm Boden Bolian
Bothan Bovine Brownie Bugbear
Caladaran Cambion Canid Canine/Lhasa
Apso Canis Carcion Cardassian
Carrion Crawler Cartoon Catfolk
Celt Centaur Changling Chimera
Ch'taren Colossus Corton Cresner
Cromagnon Crystallis Cyborg Cyclops
Daemanathi Daemon Darkling Deep
One Demi-Lich Demon Deva
Devil Dhampir Dimonae Diva
Djinn Doppleganger Drachen Draconian
Draecarn Draghkar Dragon Dragon (Black)
Dragon (Blue) Dragon (Copper) Dragon (Crystal) Dragon (Gold)
Dragon (Green) Dragon (Jade) Dragon (Onyx) Dragon (Platinum)
Dragon (Quartz) Dragon (Red) Dragon (Silver) Dragon (Topaz)
Dragon (White) Dragoon Drake Drake (Chromatic)
Drake (Ether) Drake (Fire) Drake (Frost) Drake (Storm)
Drensieqi Drow Dryad Duck
Duergar Dunedain Dunlending Dwarf
Dwarf (Aghar) Dwarf (Copper) Dwarf (Dark) Dwarf (Deep)
Dwarf (Grey) Dwarf (Gully) Dwarf (Hill) Dwarf (Mountain)
Eagle Earthworm Easterner Efreet
El Aurian Eldar Elemental
Elf Elf (Dargonesti) Elf (Dark) Elf (Dimernesti)
Elf (Grey) Elf (High) Elf (Qualinesti) Elf (Sea)
Elf (Shadow) Elf (Sidhe) Elf (Silvanesti) Elf (Sylvan)
Elf (Vale) Elf (Valley) Elf (Wild) Elf (Wood)
Emp Ent Etherion Ethron
Ettin Fae Faerie Fairy
Felan Felar Felina Feline
Feral Ferengi Flor Flounder
Forsaken Fraggle Galandrian Gamorrean
Gargoyal Gargoyle Ghost Ghoul
Giant Giant (Cloud) Giant (Fire) Giant (Frost)
Giant (Hill) Giant (Stone) Giant (Storm) Gimp
Gith Githyanki Githzerai Glard
Glyph Gnoll Gnome Goblin
Golem Gorgon Gorgothi Gorn
Greek Griffon Grmkel Groll
Gryphon Guani Gungan Haikjadeam
Half-Dragon Half-Drow Half-Dwarf Half-Elf
Half-Elf (Grey) Half-Giant Half-Gnome Half-Griffith
Half-Kobold Halfling Half-Ogre Half-Orc
Half-Troll Harfoot Harpy Haruchai
Hephestian Heucuva ippogriff Hobbit
Hobgoblin Homarid Human Human (Algar)
Human (Asturian) Human (Cherek) Human (Drasnian) Human (Mallorean)
Human (Mimbrate) Human (Murgo) Human (Nyissan) Human (Rivan)
Human (Sendarian) Human (Synthetic) Human (Tolnedran) Human (Ulgo)
Illex Illithid Imp Inccubus
Insect Irda Ishan Ithorian
Kagonesti-Elf Kang Kankoran Katta
Kenda Kender Kenku Kestrel
Kestryl Kilrathi Klackon Klingon
Koach Kobold Korred Koutoa
Kristallyn Krynn-Folk Kunken Kycor
Lamia Lamina Leech Lemyrian
Leprechaun Lich Lithak Lizardman
Lossoth Louryl Luorsha Mage
Maiar Malif Mandrake Mantis
Manx Matmon Meercat Melnibonean
Mephit Merenthian Merfolk Merian
Merki(cat-people) Merman Mermus Merrow
Mhun Mindflayer Minotaur Molbach
Mon Calamari Monolith Montanox
Mook Mortal Mrem Mul
Mummy Mutant Myconoid Myrddraal
Nausicaan Nazgul Neanderthal Nefortu
NeoGor Newt Nicam Nymph
Ogier Ogre Ogre-Magi Oni
Orc Orc (Nimian) Pajaro Pangolid
Papua Pegasi Penguin Phagor
Phalanx Phantom Picaroon Pigt
Pixie Pokemon Predator Pudding
Quasit Quickling Rakshasa Raptor
Ratling Regenskind Remora Reptilian
Retch Rihannsu(Romulan) Rodian Roman
Rook Sahuagin Salamae Satyr
Saurial Saurin Scorpien Seascrag
Selkie Serdaen Serpentes Shade
Shadow Shadowspawn Shambler Shapeshifter
Shingyuen Shuddeni Shyft Sidhe
Silthan Silvan Silvesteri Sindar
Sivitri Skaven Skeleton Skulk
Slaad Sliver Slythiss Smurf
Snork Solar Solisnae Southron
Spectre Spider Sprite Srryn
Ssauran Stalker Stonedweller Stoor
Succubus Sullustan Svirfnebli Sylph
Tabaxi Tanarri Telexi Thrikhren
Thuul Tiefling Tigran Tigron
Tinman Tinmen Titan Toadman
Treant Trill Triton Troglodyte
Troll Trolloc T'Skrang Tsol'aa
Tywimn Unar Undead Unicorn
Uruk-Hai Uyaite Valar Valheru
Vampire Variag Veggie Viking
Voadkyn Vorta Vulcan Vulpin
Warg Wemic Werefolk Werewolf
Wight Wisp Wolf Wolfen
Wolfman Wookie Wos Wraith
Wyvern Xodar Xorrto Yeti-Kin
Yuan-ti Zhithan Zombie Zoog

That's all for now!

--
Ilya at gamecommandos dot com a mud list & review site
www.gamecommandos.com for ORPGs (online roleplaying games)
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Old 01-22-2005, 01:27 PM   #5
Ilkidarios
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The problem is, plenty of these races are just modified versions of one another. And most of them are copied from D&D and Tolkien. (and Star Wars? Sullustan?)
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Old 01-22-2005, 04:13 PM   #6
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Hmm. Odd. That like has several I thought might be unique to my mud, but spells Dunadan differently (if it is even the same one) and somehow missed Kitsune. Though, given the fact that the page you said they came from didn't load for me, I can't check the original list.

Scary to think there are that many We have had several talks about flaws in the existing system on the mud and the possibility that the staff will eliminate some and revamp the others at some point, and we only have 36 races. Of course part of the talk stems from lack of them being truely unique and some being virtually useless, save for a slight increase in the exp you can make initially while using them.

Frankly those are bigger issues than using the same race. Making sure they are not just cookie cutter versions, with nothing truely unique about them, so there is no real advantage or disadvantages picking one. RP places are a lot better at background data, but they also, by definition, are cookie cutter, since there is no 'in-game' trade offs, beyond playing the part, that really demands any care in making a choice. It usually won't have any effect on how, when and why you advance, if you even have such a thing as advancement in the normal sense. Sort of a catch-22. The RP muds emphasize difference, but give no tangible means to enforce it, H&S have very tangible effects, but often apply them in the simplest and most generic way, so that you end up with everyone being almost the same. Of the races where I play, there are maybe 3-4 that break that mold and provide a racial attack or unique bonus that others don't. And at least one of them are likely to be removed if a revamp happens, because it is no longer even 'in theme', given other changes that have been made.

The plan hinted at is to eventually make each race unique, with some ability of quirk and much better descriptions, but right now.. most people pick not based on the race they like, but what works best with a particular guild. An idea that imho, kind of misses the point of having races at all.
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Old 01-22-2005, 04:20 PM   #7
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I've seen plenty of places with other races. I've even seen several where there aren't humans, elves, and dwarves at all, and that's just in the small bite I've visited.

You can't base something off of nothing. No matter where you go, what you read, things are inspired by other things. You're obviously looking for originality, and that's what I look for too (amongst other things), but you might consider that MUDs aren't books. Different administrators might have different goals in running a game, such as playability, excitement, socialization, etc. From what I've seen of Shadows of Isildur, their emphasis is on roleplay, i.e originality in player concept rather than in world. Its areas are certainly beautifully built, but you couldn't say that their race selection or theme is original.

Of course, there are a lot of games out there which don't have -any- goals at all, but let us not speak of the dead.

PS:
Quote:
Originally Posted by
Here's a usenet post from five years ago.
Probably explains why it's not up there, SF.
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Old 01-22-2005, 04:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Ilkidarios @ Jan. 22 2005,03:49)
I've been playing MUDs for a WHILE and I've always wondered this.  Where is the originality in MUDs?  I don't mean in concept, idea, and somesuch.  I mean in the character races.  I've always noticed that all MUDs seem to have the same people, elves, dwarves, and humans.  Sure, they'll have some other races, but there's almost always the same ones.
Perhaps part of the reason may be that people find it difficult to relate to races they know nothing about - the race becomes little more than a name and a few stat modifiers. For muds which focus on roleplaying this can be quite a large problem. On the other hand, the typical fantasy races are fairly well defined throughout literature and provide a point of reference for new players.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
I think the problem lies in most MUDs basing themselves on already established ideas such as LOtR or other works of literature.
That's also a reason. People typically play fantasy muds because they enjoy that sort of genre - and for the same reason, they're likely to play muds based on a theme that they enjoy. Someone who's just watched LotR might fancy playing a LotR mud, while someone who's read Wheel of Time might want to play a mud based on that theme. But if I connect to a Lord of the Rings mud, the last thing I want to see is a cyborg squirrel-man race, no matter how original it might be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
Maybe basing MUDs on other peoples ideas removes your freedom in the design?
Every theme will place restrictions on your design, unless you're creating a inconsistent hodgepodge of anything that comes to mind (which is a bad idea). The disadvantage of basing your theme on someone else's work (aside from legal implications) is that the thematic restrictions are defined by them rather than you. The advantage is that you have a well-known theme which is likely to be far more complete and better thought out than something you could put together yourself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
Or tones down your creativity?
I don't think you can really define the creativity of a mud by its race selection.
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Old 01-22-2005, 05:53 PM   #9
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An elf by any other name is still just an elf folks. You get these muds with lots of races and classes and no balance. It's bloody POINTLESS.

The only reason to give the race 'elf' a different name is if you're planning on actually making up a history and a culture and the mud has any degree of rp in which that history and culture will make any difference. 90% of muds do not. Therefore if you're looking for names other than elf you might as well program your client to replace the word elf with fingernsatch or any other random string of charectors.

So far as I can tell with massively multiplayer games getting so popular and the technology going the way it is, there are only two reasons for playing text based muds.

The lack of restirctions, words gives more freedom. But if you're only going to play a hack slash without any interest in story, description or rp, you might as well do a graphical one.

The other reason is freedom, text gives lots of freedom for skills, powers, abilities and updates. But if you're playing muds that have no concept of balance, or just call fireball acidflute and it does the exact, or near to exact same thing, once again you might as well just play a graphical one.

So many muds are clones of things that it's a wonder anyone cares what names they use for races and spells.
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Old 01-22-2005, 05:58 PM   #10
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There's a reason that Tolkein used the races he did. They didn't just sprout from his mind. Tolkein was a mythographer, and the creatures he used were archetypes from European myths. The reason isn't so much familiarity as *resonance*.

On the other hand, most of the 'original' races I've seen just seem contrived. It's a bunch of attributes thrown together or some unusual feature that defines the race, but no thought has been given to where this creature fits in the ecology or why it might have developed. They also lack any kind of resonance or history unless the game creators have created reams of documents for each race.
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Old 01-22-2005, 06:53 PM   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Ilkidarios @ Jan. 22 2005,12:27)
The problem is, plenty of these races are just modified versions of one another. And most of them are copied from D&D and Tolkien. (and Star Wars? Sullustan?)
I don't think there's any way of knowing that unless you had checked out the muds. After all it's just a list of names of races culled from muds who that happened to be listed on the Game Commandos site in 1999. In many cases I'm sure the race was just a hollow collection of stats with a name slapped on it. Perhaps borrowed from something else and maybe all fluff with no fizzle.

Then again go to your public library and start pulling fantasy or sci-fi books off the shelves, and try to separate the original from the borrowed. But even then beware as dwarves, elves, trolls, ogres, gnomes, giants and dragons have had many different and original interpretations in fantasy literatiure under the same name.

Another poster used the word "resonance" and I think they hit the mark. Not only did Tolkein use it, but R.E. Howard did too. He chose names that were so close to ancient historical names that readers immediately felt comfortable reading his books. Even recent authors like Jordan and Rowlings use historical and mythical archetypes heavily.

Rice's interpretation of vampires spawned an entire genre of gothic-fantasy gaming including muds. Borrowed yes, but original definately.
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Old 01-22-2005, 07:23 PM   #12
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well, i personally play trolls whenever possible, so i like some non-original races. but a some are nice to have. I also think its not so much lack of creativity or fear of losing players, but more... eh... sticking with a classic. Not to say its a good thing to do, but im not saying it isnt.

BTW, i noticed on the race list there was smurf. whoever deicded to put that in a MUD... well... i cant say what i think of them on these forums.

TROLL POWER!
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Old 01-22-2005, 09:49 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Ogma @ Jan. 22 2005,16:58)
There's a reason that Tolkein used the races he did.  They didn't just sprout from his mind.  Tolkein was a mythographer, and the creatures he used were archetypes from European myths.  The reason isn't so much familiarity as *resonance*.
I understand what you're saying man, Tolkien drew much of his ideas from Mythology, Norse Mythology in particular.
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Old 01-22-2005, 09:49 PM   #14
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Actually, I believe people say they want something different, but when facing new territory they run back to the elves and the dwarves. My theme isn't original (Hyboria, famous for Conan), but I am certain I am the only MUD using the theme online today, and I was surprised that most fantasy fans today seem unfamiliar with the races. What true fantasy fan wouldn't want to play a powerful Stygian Sorcerer, after all? Granted, I made many newbie mistakes with the races at first... not enough information about the races, not enough real depth in the races to keep the player interested (getting them interested is easy... keeping them interested is another matter). I am still working on this. Theres a fine line between boring and exciting in the first 5-15 minutes a player tries your game out. I believe it is probably a sad truth that a stock MUD with Sea-elves and Pixies probably has a better chance of attracting a player than a MUD using unfamiliar races. 20 unfamiliar races is fine for me, personally, as long as there is something interesting about them that catches my attention. As soon as I see Elf, Dwarf, Giant, Orc...I am instantly bored and move on.
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Old 01-22-2005, 09:55 PM   #15
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What's a Zoog? I saw that on the race list and wondered what that was.
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Old 01-22-2005, 10:33 PM   #16
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I always get a chuckle when places advertise how many races (or classes) they have. The key thing is really diversity of play experience, and of the games I've played, the ones with 30+ races are the ones where:

1) You can't find examples of that race anywhere. You're probably the only PC of that race on, and there's maybe one area heavily themed around it.

2) You're essentially a human in a funny suit, and not a truly different character.

In 10 years (as a biggish MUD) , we've expanded to only 17 PC races (2 of which are crossbreeds, so really 15 main cultures), and at this point I'm much happier that we've been putting a lot of work into developing the existing ones, instead of worrying about race #18.
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Old 01-23-2005, 12:04 AM   #17
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Gemini @ Jan. 22 2005,18:23)
well, i personally play trolls whenever possible, so i like some non-original races. but a some are nice to have. I also think its not so much lack of creativity or fear of losing players, but more... eh... sticking with a classic. Not to say its a good thing to do, but im not saying it isnt.

BTW, i noticed on the race list there was smurf. whoever deicded to put that in a MUD... well... i cant say what i think of them on these forums.

TROLL POWER!
So what kind of trolls do you like to play? Are they like Tolkein's cave trolls, D&D green rubbery trolls, Runequest trolls, Warhammer trolls, the enormous Scandanavian ones, the old German trolls often confused with dwarves, or those real small cute trolls with big noses and colorful hair? What's a classic troll?

Just trolling' :-P
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Old 01-23-2005, 02:09 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Ogma @ Jan. 22 2005,16:58)
There's a reason that Tolkein used the races he did.  They didn't just sprout from his mind.  Tolkein was a mythographer, and the creatures he used were archetypes from European myths.  The reason isn't so much familiarity as *resonance*.

On the other hand, most of the 'original' races I've seen just seem contrived.  It's a bunch of attributes thrown together or some unusual feature that defines the race, but no thought has been given to where this creature fits in the ecology or why it might have developed.  They also lack any kind of resonance or history unless the game creators have created reams of documents for each race.
Actually, Tolkien invented Orcs, creatures that were not in classic European mythology. He also thought of changing the names of elves in his works to remove the ideas commonly associated with elves from classic mythology(you know the little tiny creatures with pointy ears and boots). Elves as they appear in most muds are original to Tolkien. Hobbits are original to tolkien. Halflings are from D&D where they were originally called Hobbits but changed due to coppyright problems IIRC. Even the word halfling was used to refer to hobbits in Tolkien's works. Tolkien trolls didn't fit mythology completely either. Mythological trolls were supposed to have magical powers. Tolkien trolls were too dumb for that and much bigger. Although I think the turning to stone durring the day was takin from mythology. I think that Ents are new to Tolkien as well. So were barrow-wights (a term that basicly means graveman and now used in D&D as wight which just means man yet in D&D they are still dead), although wights were used in mythology they were not undead gravecreatures until Tolkien. Mythological wights were land spirits and elves(not Tolkien elves). The only races I can think of that Tolkien actually pulled from European Mythology and didn't twist around completely are Dwarves and Dragons.
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Old 01-23-2005, 05:37 AM   #19
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Tyche, defiantly NOT the D&D trolls, nor the ones that you stick on the end of a pencil(despite what some people might say. Yeah, you know who you are). Anything that dosnt portray them as completely brainless or hella slow. I like when they are semi-fast, and very big, very strong. Not sure which ones those are First guess would be scandinavien
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Old 01-23-2005, 09:24 AM   #20
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Here is a nice troll:

http://www.aeonfalls.com/images/concept/swamptroll.jpg
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