Wizzes' Mortals Hat

        Some of the longest-standing complaints we get are from mortals and wizzes alike regarding the use of mortal personae by wizzes. This text is an attempt to clarify the situation, and to address some common criticisms.

        There is no question whatsoever that wizzes shouldn't be allowed mortal personae. Of course they should! Even Superman liked to be Clark Kent once in a while. If all there was to being a wiz was holding guests' hands and stopping people swearing, then no-one would play once they reached wiz. Wizzes like to take an interest in mortal affairs, and there's no reason why they shouldn't play as mortals if they want. If you're not a wiz, wait until you are and you'll soon see what I mean..!

        Now this has been tried and tested over many years on Essex University's MUD, and works well (some wizzes have made it several times over!).

        As with our MUD, there are occasional misunderstandings, all of which boil down to: (from wizzes) "the mortals don't trust us"; (from mortals) "we don't trust them"! The way to satisfy the wizzes is to enlighten the mortals, so that's what I'll try to do now.

        There are five common objections by mortals to the way wizzes use their mortals, and I'll take these one by one.

1)      "Wizzes mortal personae are unkillable."

        Utter rot. Of course they are killable, they wouldn't be mortal otherwise, would they?! They might be harder to kill on account of wizzes being, in general, more skillful players, who know when to flee and remember to use weapons, but there's nothing intrinsic in the game which puts them in the Captain Scarlet class.

2)      "Wizzes can cheat to build up their mortal personae."

        Well, yes, they can. They don't, but they can. We know they don't because as soon as we find out, then they're no longer wizzes! If you have a reasonable suspicion that some particular wiz is cheating somehow, then let us know by mailing MUSE. If it looks like there's a chance you're right, we'll log the wiz's games to see if anything is amiss. If so, then we can stomp on them, and if not, well, no harm done, the VAX has gigabytes of free disc space just waiting to be used up (now aren't you glad we didn't implement it on a micro'?!). We already log random games to see if anything wierd is going on, and some wizzes have asked to have their games logged when they have been persistently accused of misdemeanours. We can, if you're convinced they're misbehaving, log them without their knowing. We don't log FORUM, by the way, if you want to moan to each other about us!.

        "Cheating", in this context, is wizzes using their wiz persona in any way at all to help their mortal ones. All they're allowed to do as a wiz in this respect is to see who's playing, anything else and things start getting shady. Dropping T and weapons in handy places is certainly taboo.

3)      "Wizzes help each other."

        Well no doubt some of them do, yes, while they're both playing as mortals. If one is a wiz, then that's being naughty and if we catch 'em at it then they'll have a lot of explaining to do. Any "I'll scratch your back and you scratch mine" between wizzes and their mortal personae will, again, be dealt with harshly if discovered. Wizzes can't do ANYTHING as a mortal they couldn't have done if they weren't a wiz, and helping hands from other wizzes WHILE PLAYING AS WIZZES is disallowed. There is nothing to stop wizzes helping each other while using their mortal personae, because there's nothing to stop mortals "ganging up" either if they feel like it.

4)      "Wizzes couldn't care less if they get killed."

        Anyone levelling this complaint has obviously never heard a wiz winge for a mortal persona back after it's been deaded under dubious circumstances! Of course they care! They pay money to play just like everyone else. Even if they really didn't care, so what? When you're fighting someone, MUD makes no distinction between whether they care about dying or not. If YOU care, flee and quit! Fighting is an integral part of MUD, it's the heart of the game, and if you don't like the idea of being killed, then that's all the more incentive to keep your wits about you at all times. It's part of the game, and it's highly unlikely that you'll get to wiz without being killed several times, so get used to the idea!

5)      "Wizzes can make life hell for you if you kill their personae."

        That's right, wizzes can make life hell for you anyway! This is the exact opposite of the previous point, and assumes that, rather than being happy go lucky about losing mortal personae, wizzes are vengeful demons who stalk The Land, pockets full of supercharged mobiles and FOD finger at the ready. Look, wizzes follow a very strict code of conduct, and this sort of thing is not allowed. If a wiz gets a mortal killed by you, their worst reaction will be to feel philosophical about it, more likely they'll respect the fact you managed to do it! However, if you think you are being victimised, it's a simple matter for us to log your games. Then when you're suddenly attacked by the dragon while in the gazebo, we can take a look and reinstate you. Any hint of wiz involvement in your death and we'll put it to rights.

        "Victimisation" here means your being harrassed most of the time, in preference to anyone else in the game, and your life is generally being made a misery. Wizzes have always tormented mortals, that's allowed and is part of the fun of being a wiz; it helps give you the drive to become one yourself. So if T disappears from where you just slogged your way to get it, well, c'est la vie. However, if you're systematically picked on, THAT's victimisation. Wizzes may set up sticky situations for you, but not to cause deliberate death on your part unless you're an incredibly poor player. Most deaths at the hands of wizzes are accidental, unless they're a FOD, which is deliberate, and reserved for serious misbehaviour like trying to crash or otherwise spoil the game.

        If you think a wiz is after you for no good reason, then better ask us to log you. NOTE: being close to reaching wiz yourself is a "good" reason for wizzes to attack you with their mortal personae, to test your mettle. It happens to everyone who makes mage, but once you get to that level there's no reason you should EVER be killed in a fight if you know the game well enough, except for appalling luck.

        So that's it. To summarise, then, wizzes can use their mortal personae to do anything which any other mortal persona can do. If you think someone's doing more than that, let us know and we'll log their games, then we can check up any further complaints that arise. If you actually want us to log your games, again, let us know and we'll do it, then if you have any cause for concern we can look into it.

        MUD without fighting loses an awful lot. MUD without wizzes loses a lot more. If you get killed by a mortal, accept it and start again. If that mortal is being played by a wiz, it makes NO DIFFERENCE. Remember, you haven't lived 'til you've died in MUD!

Copyright © Richard A. Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk)
21st January 1999: mortals.htm