[MUD-Dev] Alignment

Jessica Mulligan jessica at gamebytes.com
Fri May 5 10:39:02 CEST 2000

On Wed, May 03, 2000 at 7:21pm , Malcolm Valentine wrote:
> > Paul Schwanz wrote:
> I'm not sure what case you are covering by "two wrongs don't make a
> right.", but I for one have no problem with helping an evil creature being
> an evil deed. Why would healing a demon while it is battling a paladin be
> a good deed?

>  Well, as the heart of this discusssion shows, good and bad are very
>difficult to determine. Sure, your demon battle example is a bad thing,
>however, giving food to someone so they don't have to steal it should
>be a good thing, whatever their alignment. Also, IMHO and in general,
>the actual act of deciding who is good and who is evil is an evil act,
>for the character that is, not the game designer, and so the character
>must in general treat everyone as though they are "good". Obviously
>slavering demons are an exception.

>  Malcolm V.

Actually, what this shows, and what others have previously alluded to, is
that good and evil are *relative.*  To the "good" observer, being kind to a
demon may be bad; to the "evil" observer, it may be a good thing.  The logic
and results need to be relative to the observer.

There is a technique for stage directing and acting called the "rite/role
method."  Basically, the method says that everything we do is a rite and
that we play roles within that rite.  The method is used to help actors and
directors define the basics of what is happening on stage and give a clue to
how the actors (and the observers, the audience) might respond to the
situations posed by the script.  It is a point from which to start
interpretation of the script; where it leads from there is up to the
director and actors.

For a simple example, take the rite of a family of four sitting down to
dinner.  Some of the roles the older woman plays are Mom to the two kids,
but also the role of wife to the older man and the role of "experienced
woman friend to teen-age girl."  The expected actions and results of those
actions are different for these three roles.  Just observing such a
situation for 5 minutes, you naturally expect each person to play different
roles with each of the other three participants.  You also might expect to
see other rites played out within the family dinner rite; teen-age brother
mercilessly teases older sister about her latest beau, for example.

Interpretation comes in when you decide what to do with the rites and roles.
The director might decide to play around with the younger brother's role,
for example, making him more or less sympathetic to the sister, hates Dad
but has unclean thoughts about Mom, et al.

If you translate that general concept to MMRPGs and start laying the
standard rites and roles the players take on, it can give you an excellent
starting point for giving them tools to start interpreting those acts in the
context of the game, relative to themselves and the other players.  If the
act of feeding a demon is relative to the participants and observers, then a
"good" player feeding an evil, but hurt, demon may be doing a good deed in
his/her mind and expect to be rewarded in some way for it (Demon becomes
less evil?  Player gets good karma for a kind act?  Both?  Neither?), even
if nearby companions view it as an "evil" act and begin treating him/her

Jessica Mulligan

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