Saturday, May 9, 2009

Knights vs. reality...

There has been quite a bit of chatter amongst the Lost Souls blogs about Knights, and how the Knights of the Round Table on the MUD stack up against the historical ideals/realities of knightly life. Now personally, I've never been a huge fan of reality in my fantasy RPGs. Certainly, certain impingements of reality upon the workings of a fantasy universe might be unavoidable, since it tends to be a lot harder to imagine a universe where things like physical laws or biological taxa are completely divorced from the common, everyday experiences of the players of an RPG. A world where things like gravity and rabbits exist takes a lot less explaining between the time where players are introduced to a game and when they actually get to start playing.

Now, on the topic of knights, I really have to say that the disconnect between what knights were romanticized as being and what knights (for the most part) actually were tends to be pretty great. The knights on the MUD tend to follow more in the path of the legendary knights, living in a world where things like chivalry, courtly love, and crusades against definable and indisputable evil actually exist. While knights in reality were often little more than deputized and ennobled tenant farmers and thugs with shit in their armor, the knights on the MUD live to serve higher ideals and higher powers. And seriously, I'm perfectly okay with that. After all, we've got wizards, the Green Lantern Corps, and clerics whose access to divine power goes beyond selling fake indulgences. So why not have knights who profess and actually live up to the romanticized Knightly Ideals?

The main problem I really have with the Knights of the Round Table as they exist on the MUD today, and where I think the guild could benefit from an increased tie to reality is that they're essentially feudal warriors who are completely divorced from all aspects of feudalism. The Knight of the Round Table on the MUD is basically an adventurer whose obligations to defend anything from the forces of evil are completely illusory. As it stands, a knight's upkeep and equipment are paid for no matter what, and an evil bastard (like Porphyria) can completely ransack Camelot without having any effect upon whether or not the Knights have any equipment or followers. And since there's no real incentive or reason to defend Camelot (especially since King Arthur and the NPC knights are inestimably more powerful than most PC knights), the smart knight will stay the hell away as aforementioned evil bastard razes and pillages her way through the Crown Jewel of Avalon. I half-jokingly suggested over on Gavadel's blog that it might be a cool idea to tie at least some aspects of a knight's power to the development and defense of a particular piece of land (and its people), whether that be Camelot itself or a small keep or fief that would have its defense charged to a knight (or perhaps a small company of knights). Injecting a bit of real feudalism into the role of the Knights of the Round Table would not only give at least some real reason for PC knights to actually uphold the chivalric ideals of protecting the weak and defending the Crown, but also perhaps give knights a bit of the coveted "alternative route from hack-and-slash for advancement".

1 comment:

  1. Nice post, yeah, adding some feudalism into the Knights as we expand past our hack'n'slash origins would be pretty nice.