When it comes to roleplay, its best done in text. We've both been MUSHing since 1995 and continue to do so today, now on our own game,Blood of Dragons.
Mission accomplished, with minimal effort. Now if our plans for Blood of Dragons 2.0 would be coming along just as smoothly, I’d be feeling even better. Just what I need since work has been kicking our butts with vigour since before Christmas.
Now, back to The World of Ice and Fire. Which may include some 2.0 musings on the side; I am so looking forward to working in all the new history, even if it will mean a lot of restructuring too.
It appears we have acquired a particularly dedicated troll on WORA, a bold hero determined to continue his epic struggle to inform the world of the horrors of Blood of Dragons. And the horrors of Firan, too. Somehow he has managed to lodge two sticks up his ass at the same time, a pretty impressive feat I must concede. Apparently he has a habit of randomly dragging BoD into all sorts of topics, just to demonstrate how very unhappy we’ve made him. I was pointed to some choice quotes and one of the most recent was the most amusing, since it referenced a discussion on the Public channel that I witnessed around a week ago. That means that our troll—who signed up to WORA in 2011 and has been bitching about us with some regularity since then—is still on the game. Masochist, much?
Some of my favourite claims follow:
There have been questions raised now and then how it is that we can run a roleplaying game set in Westeros when we strongly condemn fanfiction set in Westeros. The latest iteration of this question coming up made me decide to write something more in-depth about the matter. It may have something to do with procrastination from other work, but hey, that’s always a good reason, right?
First of all, let us establish what we mean by roleplaying in this case. We are talking specifically about on-line, text-based roleplaying in real-time using a MUSH or MUX server and we are talking about the logs of such roleplay sessions. We are not talking about table-top roleplaying or forum roleplaying.
With a bit of time on my hands following the end of my literature class and the submission of my application for the doctoral program, I’ve really been diving into writing more material for the MUSH. We have a fabulous core group of roleplayers but we are also getting a lot of newbies who love A Song of Ice and Fire but aren’t used to MUSH roleplay or even roleplay at all. Hence the new Style Guide.
A day or two ago, one of our staff told me that he couldn’t quite believe how long he has actually played on Blood of Dragons, because he still thinks of it as his “new MU*”. I can only agree, it does not feel as if we had our beta opening in 2006 and our full opening in 2007.
But, its true enough. It also shows in some aspects of the game which have become a little worn down over the years. Not to mention the grand plans that were never fully realized… So, with the second season of “Game of Thrones” coming up, we’re focusing on a lot of improvements and additions over the next few months. The problem is just deciding what to do; our todo list is a few miles long and its not easy to pick the things that will benefit players the most.
We have settled on a few things, however. We are getting more articles up, such as Can I Play A… which tries to help prospective players by outlining available, difficult and unavailable concepts. The other key area we’ll focus on is establishing a better framework for political roleplay. We have some interesting ideas that we hope players will find very helpful.
Work is definitely never completed with a MUSH. But, that is part of the fun. Sometimes it is just a bit overwhelming.
I’ve previously posted about how one of the common complaints raised against Blood of Dragons is our applications process, or rather the fact that we have one at all, even with all the streamlining we’ve done over the years. The other common complaint we get from people who either never check the game out at all or log off as soon as they find this out, is that we’re a full consent game.
Now, many players simply prefer one to the other and spend all their time on either full consent or non-consent games. That’s a reasonable preference, either way. But when some players insist that a setting like A Song of Ice and Fire cannot be used for a full consent MUSH or that we’re ruining the opportunity given to us by having GRRM’s approval for the MUSH, then it goes beyond a matter of preference.
Of course, one could just settle for saying that we’ve definitely proven that its wrong to claim full consent doesn’t work for an A Song of Ice and Fire game—Blood of Dragons has been running since 2006 and while we have had some slow periods, we’ve done very well this year. Could the game be better? Of course, and we’re always working on it. But our consent policy is not a weakness, its a strength. So, in the hopes of scaring off less prospective players as soon as they see the words “full consent” we’ve updated our FAQ entry on this issue. Perhaps it might help players see that the policy is something we’ve carefully considered and which has a proven track-record on the game.
As so often happens when I write something longer, it changes shape along the way. Given some of the feedback (thoughtful feedback too, much appreciated), I have split off my comments on the casting and focused this piece on the MUSH. That said, the casting piece does depend a bit on the book facts presented in this piece.
Not surprisingly, the first post on this subject led to accusations of racism (and misogyny). The really fun ones even decided to go “OMG, she said purity. That’s what Hitler said too.” Never mind that I was talking about setting purity, not racial purity… However, given that the same group of people have also said that they thought Xaro Xhoan Daxos was supposed to be black in the books and didn’t realize that the Lyseni were uniformly described as blonde and blue-eyed, I don’t give a lot for their reading comprehension.
For funniest comment from a Guest in a long, long time, that is:
<Guest> Dragon Guest using mushclient telnet prompt_newlines has connected.
<Guest> (Admin) Nymeria says, “Hi, Dragon Guest. You can use +g
to speak on this channel, and please let me know if you have any questions at all. :)”
<Guest> Dragon Guest says, “wtf”
<Guest> Dragon Guest says, “where is the graphics all i see is black screen”
<Guest> Dragon Guest has disconnected.
I guess it confirms that some (many?) of the Guest connections that end in a disconnect only seconds later are people thinking that the text-based game will have graphics once they log in.
The next mystery I want to solve is whether those who finish their character setup and promptly disconnect, never to return, also expected graphics to magically materialize at that point.
The question of race in A Song of Ice and Fire came up during the initial airing of Game of Thrones and, more recently, with the casting of actors of completely incorrect ethnicities for various roles for season two. My stance is that of a pretty hardcore purist: you don’t change a character that radically. Yes, you can’t get actors that look exactly right, but colour-blind (or for that matter, gender-blind) casting is not something that should be practised when adapting a book. As I have said more than once more, I find it particularly aggravating that it seems very likely that it was done because a few PC critics whined that the show was too white during the first season. Which, of course, lead to complaints about the books being too white. I don’t personally think this is a relevant complaint (it makes perfect sense that Westeros, which is the focus of the story, is a very white society—with the exception of Dorne, of course) and regardless of that the show shouldn’t be trying to correct a perceived error.
But what does all of this have to do with MUSHing in general and Blood of Dragons in particular?
Four hours of epic combat on Blood of Dragons, accompanied by all three CDs from the Lord of the Rings soundtrack. That’s what I call a really entertaining Sunday evening. We had so many players that we didn’t quite expect showing up that we had to whip up quite a few extra Dornish NPCs to face all the PCs on Daeron’s side.
Its funny, really, because I don’t care greatly for battle scenes in books. Oh, there are some very nicely done ones, and if I am really invested in a particular character I will tensely read through them, but they don’t get my adrenaline going quite as much as roleplaying a scene out. Or just watching a scene play out, as in this case, since I didn’t have a character in the thick of the fighting. It makes me sigh wistfully for the glory days of Elendor and the many fabulous battles in Rohan and Gondor. Unfortunately, epic battles aren’t likely to be happening during Baelor’s range, but at least the lead-up to Daeron’s death will have been suitably grand.
Ahh, text-based roleplaying. So much more fun than fancy graphics.
I continue to be amazed at the way some people approach MU*ing. Its a hobby, yes, and it shouldn’t feel like work…but when options are offered that don’t involve so much (or any) work, why complain about the options that do involve some? Lets start with the background, and then I’ll dig into today’s little mini-rant. ;)
A bit of shameless promotion for Blood of Dragons, our A Song of Ice and Fire MUSH. We are, as always, looking for more players for the game (I want enough of a population to open Dorne, darnit!), especially now that the usual summer slowdown has claimed a few more victims. We did have a well-attended execution yesterday, though, so maybe some of those idlers will end up a little shorter…
One of my semi-regular blog reads is Deep Genre, where a number of sf and fantasy authors post about writing and related subjects. This morning, a post from yesterday by David Louis Edelman caught my eye. Its called Building Character(s) and contains a concise list of ideas for how to make a fully fleshed-out main character.
Of course, some of it doesn’t quite translate to a collaborative environment such as a MUSH, and some doesn’t work so well for having a character that evolves during play. Personally, I like starting with a more-or-less fully fleshed-out character, but I know that a lot of people prefer having more of a sketch to start with and letting the rest come from being on the game and interacting with other players. Both approaches are equally valid, though from the point of view of a game admin, I prefer the former since its easier to deal with at the application stage.
In any case, I think I will have to write up an article on how these ideas could translate to MU*ing, though I am thinking it will show up on the Blood of Dragons webpage rather than here. Given our rather extensive CharGen system, that sort of thing could perhaps be helpful.
This is a bit of a repeat of something I wrote on ElectricSoup a little while ago. I figured it would fit right in here, as well as give me a chance to plug what did come out of that discussion, the new MUSHlist at community.pennmush.org.
Javelin (formerly the maintainer of the PennMUSH codebase and still the owner of M*U*S*H) has been running a series of MU*-related podcasts called Tinytalk for a while now. Some time ago, he contacted me and asked if I was interested in taking part in a segment he wanted to do focusing on women and MU*ing. Since I like what he’s doing (and okay, since I like talking, too ;), I said yes.
About a week ago, he sent some questions (originally, it was supposed to be a discussion with several women, but he had to do it as a montage instead since times conflicted) and last Friday we did the interview over Skype. As usual when I talk ‘in public’, I forgot to breathe and talked a bit too fast, though Elio insists I don’t sound too stupid. So, since I foolishly trust him, here’s the link to the show.
Hippoi Athanatoi is divided into four sections, covering various of our hobbies.