DULMF Expanded Details

Mar 28, 2009
My continuation of DULMF is in most-all ways identical to the original. It is freeform, gives a good amount of control to the players, and it applies Schrodinger principles to its universe – that is, anything can potentially exist or not exist in the game’s universe until someone explicitly uses it.

About the game itself: Defend ULMF takes place on the Internet. The Internet contains basically anything that can be imagined, from the most mundane and normal everyday things to hundreds of kinds of magic and thousands of dimensions and pocket-universes. The Internet itself is an infinitely long and infinitely wide stretch of land, with an infinitely deep underground, containing all the things you would expect the ground to have, like dirt and magma (, and some things you wouldn’t). Above the Internet is a sky, then outer space – again infinite, full of stars and planets, usually arranged into solar systems and galaxies in the same manner as real life, but sometimes arranged in more physics-defying manners. (…though technically all of them are physics defying, as the Internet’s gravitational pull should be pulling them all out of the air…)

In something of a deviation from the way Burrito had it, however, the Internet and the way things in it work are going to be far more defined; a good deal of the things on the Internet in DULMF will have some relation to the way the Internet works in real life.

The Internet, for all its vastness, is still teaming with a stunning variety of life, from the most mundane animal and plant, to the most impossible abominations. The sentient creatures among these lifeforms can be grouped into three general categories; Fantasy, Modern, and Sci-Fi.

Fantasy civilisations are pretty easy to recognise: they typically have monsters, magic, and are generally less technologically advanced than the point of constructing a decent gun. Compared to modern societies, they live in poverty and squalor, but with liveable standards. Most fantasy species on the Internet are either arrogant, xenophobic, expansionistic dictatorships or just downright stupid, though some break the mould. Fantasy species are a general analogue for the noobs, newbs, spammers, flamers, trolls, lurkers, and hackers on the real world Internet. Emphasis on the GENERAL part – species’, individuals, and by extension, fantasy-race player characters do not have to be this way; however, most of the Internet does have a prejudice against Fantasy creatures.

Modern civilisations are even more self-explanatory. They are comprised almost exclusively of humanoids, and within that, somewhat largely of humans. They are an analogue for forums, and can have a range of ideas and values.

Sci-Fi civilisations take up the space above the Internet more often than not; to the extent that living in space is used as one of the criteria for determining if a civilisation is Sci-Fi, along with having exceptionally advanced technology. Sci-Fi species tend to be zealous, devout, and easily angered, though just like Fantasy species, it is possible to break that mould. They are generally quite accepted among forums, if thought to be a little odd. Most Sci-Fi civilisations are very likely to be almost constantly warring with other Sci-Fi civilisations. They correspond with the fanboys and girls of the real Internet, and especially those of duelling fandoms.

The Internet as a universe is quite unusual. The universe as we know it has strict and uniform rules; the Internet does not. Any one part of the Internet could be following the rules of the reality we know and are used to, the rules of a strategy game, the rules of a dramatic TV series, or whatever damn rules it happens to feel like. A good deal of the time, an area will always have the same rules. Some of the time, an area will have slightly changing rules – and some of the time, you get truly chaotic places that change so rapidly and so dramatically that nothing can live there, and travelling through it is incredibly dangerous.

On top of that, almost all non-chaotic parts of the universe will obey odd rules that just don’t exist in reality; for example, most of the Internet has the Rule of Cool as an actual physical law: the cooler something is, the more they can ignore the inconveniences of reality. Falling into water might be the same as falling onto concrete for normal people, but to a sufficiently cool person, it won’t hurt them at any height.

Rudimentary Power Scaling: The Internet, on top of a bunch of weird Original Characters and things, also contains basically everything from every TV show, video game, movie and just fiction in general that has ever existed. A good deal of these have some inherent problems, like that they weren’t meant to be on the Internet, and their stories just don’t fit well there. Still other works of fiction have creatures or devices that are ridiculously powerful, and would basically destroy the net the moment the game started if they were actually included as-is. The most common and most disastrous problem, however, is that of power discrepancy; some works of fiction have heroes able to take out a tank; others have heroes able to take out planets. This is most blatant in Sci-Fi comparisons. The Terran civilisation has a small handful of planets and a few fleets of ships, but is supposed to be an economic powerhouse; the Imperium of Man is also an economic powerhouse but has millions of planets and vast fleets of ships that can individually destroy planets – not exactly a fair matchup. So, to avoid things like the Imperium from dominating the factions of the game, as a general rule, I will make significant changes to all necessary factions to make most-all groups able to realistically compete with each other within their technology grouping.

Between groupings, balance is close to impossible; the squirrel archers of Redwall are never really going to stand a chance against an Imperial Star Destroyer. Of course, the game isn’t focused too heavily on big inter-technology grouping conflicts with anything other than the addbots, but considering that the players are very likely going to be bringing in content I can’t really predict, I’d like to have it balanced just in case.

Modern and Fantasy are fairly well balanced with each other, if the Fantasy in question has some decent magic or monsters, and even if it doesn’t, the fact that fantasy races are able to recruit spammers/flamers/etc allows them to be a threat, especially if they take advantage of the mechanics of the universe to fight in ways or places that make guns less useful.
Sci-Fi and Modern is also a decent matchup, especially when the modern civilisation has nukes or other, ’20-minutes-into-the-future’ superweapons. WW1/2 era modern civilisations may have more trouble, but that’s what communication is for – just get a more advanced modern civilisation you’re allied with to help you out.

The only really horrible imbalance, then, occurs when pitting Sci-Fi against fantasy. The first balancing factor to fix this is that Sci-Fi civilisations, even if they have large fleets, are going to be spending much of their military might fighting OTHER Sci-Fi civilisations, and so can’t bring much against Modern of Fantasy opponents. The second balancing factor is that most Sci-Fi civilisations will probably not be allowed to have planet-destroying-level weapons, and probably not even all that many large AoE weapons, stopping them from 1-hit-KOing enemy species. The last balancing factor is that anything that a, can get high enough, and b, is cool enough, can survive in space with no problems. Even things which fly with wings, which oughtn’t to work in space either. Yes, Rule of Cool allows for spaceship vs. dragon battles. (Again, if you don’t have dragons, point out to a fantasy civilisation that does the fact that the aliens are probably going to come for them next.)

As a second general rule, an actual Internet thing is generally better than any intellectual property; things like Google, 4chan, bots, and TVTropes are more dangerous than the orcish horde or the particular group of Nazi’s from Wolfenstien. A good example is that, if a player of DULMF’s character was a copy of Samus, and had a fight with the real Samus, the player would very likely win.

What is important to note, though, is that these are less rules and more general guidelines – it is almost certain that I will break them, numerous times, in order to create an enjoyable game for the players.
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