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It was never about Hats!

Words do not have meaning. They represent meaning. When someone says 'bard', they came across this word because OUR culture - our REAL-WORLD culture - created it. When someone chooses to use the word 'bard', instead of inventing their own word, they are doing so because the concept associated with that word IS (nearly) identical to the concept in THEIR world. Differences are covered by additional documentation.

We do not need the theme of the world to allow using the definitions from the real world. We are not borrowing those definitions; without the real world to have them in the first place, we would not have anything! What the theme of the world can do is restrict what may be used. If the theme is 'medieval', it is safe to assume that no terms created after that will be in common usage. This includes modern names for political beliefs, haircut styles, and verbs for using missile weapons (the term FIRE came only with the gun; LOOSE was the command given to archers). The documentation CAN expand on the concept, once translated to that world - but will restrict it only if specifically so.

Some people are reluctant to use a concept derived from the real world precisely because it is derived from the real world. They believe that the Virtual World should be entirely separate, and they use this - in combination with their own personal, artificially imposed level of degree - to isolate chosen words from their conceptual meaning, to free themselves from the responsibility of using words as they were meant, and instead create their own definitions entirely at their own convenience!

It is also important to understand the layers of conception. In one Virtual World, a player chose to RP a character-type drawn exactly from the 'Tigger' character in 'Winnie the Pooh'. Is this in violation of the precepts - or not? The layer is the difference between roleplaying a fictional character from a book (that is, this being the concept presented through his roleplaying), and roleplaying a full person who merely happened to have the same attributes as the one described in a book in another world. If there is a reluctance to use a concept that you love and can roleplay merely because you learned it from what, in this world, was a fictional (and outside the apparent theme* of the Virtual World) source - consider this. The concept "drow" came from R.A. Salvatore. He wrote fictional books. Just how the hell do you all get away with playing drow, huh? Unless it is forbidden by the OOC Rules of the Virtual World (those being the only ones which can (on a metaphysical level) make a comparison to the Real World), the origin of the concept may be the real world - it is permitted. The only purpose of such distinctions, to ourselves (without being influenced by OOC Rules), between those who drew the concepts from their 'own mind' and some other source in the Real World - can be to judge the creativity of that player.

* Imagine trying to create an effect in a high fantasy campaign (with magic taking the forms defined by the user's imagination) that is perfectly acceptable by high fantasy standards - but the GM outlaws the effect on the grounds that it is 'too anime' style. It would have been high fantasy, before that area became diversified into something called 'anime'. Themes, genres, styles - they can all overlap. We should not lose our right to play legitimate characters because their 'type' overlaps with a niche taken by a different 'genre' geared specifically towards representing that style. We should not deny ourselves the right to roleplay legitimate character types merely because it already exists in a separate theme - many things are possible in different themes. Such as hats.

Hats are just a metaphor. They express (insufficiently, since no single concept can ever fully express the entire range thereof) the principle in action. It was never about hats!

Staff Comments

As of 24/08/2003, this, and all other articles authored by FireCat which are held on this site, have been released into the public domain. Please feel free to use them as such.

 


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