[MUD-Dev] Storytelling Games [was: Ray Feist interview]

Christopher Allen ChristopherA at skotos.net
Fri Dec 29 23:39:26 New Zealand Daylight Time 2000


John Buehler wrote:

> What percentage of folks here are interested in trying to move
> players (independent-minded as they are) through a story of their
> own making?

Our first game, Skotos, has been doing exactly that. It is in the
style of a MUSH, but with more of a MUD style commands (i.e. no free
form emotes or emits). However, unlike a MUSH, we have written the
major story-arcs (which may last years) and have some hosted NPCs that
set the baseline for some of the more common "plots", however, almost
all of the day-to-day plots are created by the players between
themselves.

For instance, recently one of our players discovered after 6 weeks of
mage classes that he was incapable of doing magic. He was warned that
the 6 weeks of effort could be wasted, but he went ahead and did so,
not really believing us, and then he failed the mage test. At first he
complained, but then said:

Retribution wrote:

> I thought about this today, so I might as well comment, since I am
> one of the failures.... (Hey, I want a t-shirt that says, "I gave
> away my soul, and all I got was this lousy t-shirt") Anyways, I was
> thinking this. Most games you play for enjoyment, and this is no
> different from other games. In these games you always try to win,
> which might be various different things to different people.

> I can understand how some people will see being told, 'Yes, you
> don't have mage talent', as... 'No, you can't win." and get very
> distressed. I myself, had a difficult time with it OOC, until I
> realized something.... This is a great RP experience. I mean, think
> about it, here Retribution is, and he is pissed, but he is stubborn
> and unbelieving that it is true... perhaps another test?

> But also it gives him reason to be even more of an outcast, for he
> can no longer do powerful magic, or do dueling... so what
> next... thievery... And perhaps, with enough persistence, you may
> grow magic talent... who knows....

For those of you interested, the complete thread is at:
http://www.skotos.net/ubb/Forum6/HTML/000081.html

There is also an article in our ongoing weekly column "Trials,
Triumphs, and Trivialities" that deals with this particular issue at
http://www.skotos.net/articles/TTnT_Dec21.html , but also discusses
such issues as the different styles of games -- some quote from the
column:

> Right now we envision our games as existing in a two-dimensional
> space with two axes. Along the horizontal axis games range from
> cooperative to competitive. Along the vertical axis they range from
> social to solitary.

...

> Castle Marrach: Our first game, predominantly about participating
> jointly in the plots and arcs of the Castle, as players and
> StoryTellers both. Almost entirely social, though there will be
> minor ways to have solitary play as crafting systems come on
> line. Almost entirely cooperative, though there is some competition
> for positions in the Castle and related intrigue.

Not all of our games will be Socially Cooperative games -- our next
game will be almost on another edge of the types of games and be
Socially Competitive, and others will be other spots on the Axes. But
I think that Castle Marrach proves that you can have a good
"Storytelling" online game.

-- Christopher Allen

------------------------------------------------------------------------
.. Christopher Allen                                 Skotos Tech Inc. ..
..                           1512 Walnut St., Berkeley, CA 94709-1513 ..
.. <http://www.Skotos.net>               o510/647-2760  f510/647-2761 ..

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