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Drizzt Do'Urden must die!

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Something has been bugging me for a while, how do you deal with race & alignment in a RPG? Drow are evil. Everyone knows this, as a child you are taught this. Never trust them, they''ll torture and eat you, every last one of them. These Drow all look alike don''t they? You see a blue skinned elf with white hair and you kill it. Questions come later right? So why does Drizzt, a chaotic good Drow get such a good reception where he goes? Is he famous? Sure maybe elves in the same region know him, some might even recognise him. But why does he get such a good reception wherever in the world he goes? It can''t be fame, the grapevine isn''t that good - people may have heard of Drow and fear them, they won''t recognise Drizzt and welcome *him* though. So how do we deal with race in a multi player RPG? A dark elf isn''t welcome in the elvish towns (ever) but happily associates with high elves controlled by other players. Surely they should kill each other on sight, and how do we allow the Drow to prove his goodness and ally with the high elves at the expense of the ties with his homeland? Baldurs Gate had an interesting character, an evil Drow who had been excommunicated from her civilisation, yet was barely tolerated on the surface.

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One way I think of tackling this (probably isnt ideal from the memory usage sense) is a method I''m planning to use in the RPG I''m writing (Note I''m still working on it to reduce the memory usage aspect).

Each ''race'' (I''m using race here, but it could easily be a faction, sect, etc..) has an opinion of all the other ''races'' in the game [this is predefined before the game starts]. They use this opinion figure to decide how they react to a unit (NPC/Player) of a certain race, i.e. a low opinion and they will give that unit a frosty reception, maybe even trying to kill them.

When they come into contact with a "Hero" [hero in this case is a special NPC good or evil] (e.g. Drizzt):

If they have not met that Heros before then they instinctly react based upon thier races opinion value for Heros race, and they are then given a personal opinion value of that Hero. If the Hero is ''nice'' to them then their opinion of that hero goes up, if the Hero is nasty to them then thier opintion goes down.

If they have met the Hero before they use their personal opinion value to decide what thier reaction should be.


This is a slightly simplified view of what I''m doing, but I hope A) you can understand it and B) it helps

NightWraith

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Have you read the books? Drizzt was KOS wherever he went, and in fact had to wear a magical mask for a while until his deeds outspoke his Drow heritage.

However I agree, Drizzt must die! Can you spell OVEREXPOSED? I don''t think there''s a D&D product out there without him in it.

-B

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I haven''t read the books, and have no intention of doing so

I did want to provoke a debate about attitudes and racism, primarily from my experiences of Everquest. I think they got it right from an NPC perspective, but it was never pushed to hard for a player character.

How can you make a Dark Elf PC have racial pride and hatred? How do you make it possible for a Dark Elf to be a widely known, loved ranger?

It is easier in literature, how can we allow this in a game?

99% of Dark Elves should be proud of their hatred of the light and enjoy this feeling, 1% should be able to change others opionion of them.

It does suck that the NPC''s have strong attitudes, and that the PCs ignore this background for the sake of another +4 longsword. How can we work around this?

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Take away the advantage of alliance. Put in incentives for conflict and predatory behavior.

To keep the players in character, two sides should find it costly, dangerous and difficult to work together. If there''s an alliance system, enemies can''t ally. They can''t give items to each other. They can''t heal each other.

Or, let the player do all of this but force the alliances to be stated so the system can recognize it: Then, make the NPCs and towns treat someone who''s been allied with an enemy like a traitor. That way the player has freedom, but still pays a price (this is close to how racism really works).

Players WILL be able to find a way around this, but if you make it highly inconvenient it''s easier to play in character AND you still get the exceptions.

As to this famous enemy character, you could make it so that slowly he''s recognized as a friend, and the penalty for allying or sharing items w/ him (etc.) is lessened.

--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...

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Sure,

it''s easy to structure the game rules so that someone who has bad faction/ratings/percentage whatever with your race is physically unable to trade or heal.

That''s not the issue, a Drow would heal a High Elf if it was in her interest. She''d kill them if it was in her interest.

How do we convince a Drow player that High Elves are scum without bludgeoning them with artificial game mechanics?

And yes, High Elves are scum

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Most RPG players fall in to two categories: The goal based (powergamer) type, and the role-player type.

If you don''t want to focus on mechanics, you''re going to have to restructure the focus of your game from mechanics to community, or you''re going to have to bar goal based gamers from playing. I don''t think you can have your cake and eat it, too.

The powergamer player doesn''t play to be a part of your world''s fiction. They''re not escapists. They just want to finish the game with the most points. This personality type is going to ally with whomever provides the most advantage, whether that screws up your milieu or not.

--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...

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This isn''t really a comment or suggestion more of a memory.

I use to play UO - from beta and for the first 3 years of production. Way back in the early days, I was running around playing with a group of like minded adventurers - Lawful Good would probably be a good description.... at any rate, one of the chaps that I played with had named his character Drizzt Do''Urden. Well on this one night he and I got into some trouble and were running low on just about everything - we had just done battle with some Etins NorthWest of Brittania and as we were making our way back to Brit; Another character name Drizzt Do''Urden chased my friend down and killed him. UO was like that in the early days (this made some people very angry). There was literally nothing I could do to help as I was beat down and had very little HPs left. Instead of one of us dead there would have been two. At any rate, I just thought it was funny that someone would PK another player for having the same name - When in RL if you see someone with the same name as you - and they are a stranger - you marvel at this novelty

Anyway - thanks for stirring some memories.

Game On,

Dave "Dak Lozar" Loeser

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I read the books which introduced Drizzt back in the day...
They are rather well done books, but, of course, Drizzt caught on as this ''cool'' character and now you see him in all kinds of products, as you see drow...
Ah, well, blame it on the capitalist pigs at WotC!!


-Ryan "Run_The_Shadows"
-Run_The_Shadows@excite.com
"Doubt Everything. Find your own light." -Dying words of Gautama

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