Join Date: Jun 2005
Explaining Respawning in MMORPGs
This was originally posted over on the official forums - I think it's a very interesting challenge - explaining what is basically a convenient game mechanic. I'll post my own attempt, but would love to hear other versions, in whatever format.
Originally Posted by Tagad
Most times that I've heard lore talking about why people come back to life in these games it ends up sounding well... "hokey".
Has anyone out there heard of a good storyline as to why this happens -- or does anyone want to suggest one?
Lost deep in a collection of Lord Farat's letters, Mazhar did not see Erol till the boy was at his elbow. The scholar suppressed his shock, for his eager listener of the past few weeks was vastly altered, his eyes downcast, his shoulders hunched.
"What is-?" Mazhar began, then stopped, an instinctive recognition bringing immediate understanding, and a sharp stab of pain. There was always something in the eyes of the Tempered. "You have been Renewed."
Erol hunched his shoulders further, the motion nod and shrug combined, speaking loud the confused embarrassment underwrit by fear which was a child's response to the Tempering. Setting his hand on the boy's shoulder, Mazhar squeezed gently, then guided him to sit on one of the wide, flat cushions in the centre of the room.
"Tell me," he instructed, settling his old bones down. "Your turn to be historian. How did it happen?"
"I was climbing Kaleet's Lap."
"Falling, then." Mazhar could barely say the words. The great statues of Ahgram were a magnet to the city's children, but sitting Kaleet was the most dangerous. Handholds and ledges and the wide platform of Her Lap to draw the scamps too high. He closed his eyes against the image of a child's thin arms flailing as he plunged, closed his ears to a high shriek of fear, closed his mind to a still, broken figure shattered on unyielding stone.
"Do you remember the fall?" he asked, forcing strength and comfort into his voice as he rang the bell for tea to be brought.
A sharp, decisive jerk of the head this time, which said 'no' and screamed 'yes'. The Tempered were often spared a clear recollection of their deaths, but too many were haunted by it. Imprinted forever, the plunge, the inescapable halt.
"Where did you Return?" Mazhar asked, knowing that there was nothing he could do to make Erol forget, but he could distract him, move him forward.
"Lord Lethron's Temple." Erol wrapped his arms around his knees, staring at his feet. Then some spark of indominatable imp resurfaced, and he pulled an expressive face. "I didn't have any _clothes_ on."
Mazhar chuckled, then allowed the distraction of tea-serving to bring the boy further back to himself.
"I remember some of...After," Erol confided, when he had scalded his mouth and warmed his stomach. The tone now was proud, for few brought with them any fragment of that passage between death and rebirth.
"The sign of a hero," Mazhar said encouragingly. "Your will must be strong indeed."
"Not much," the boy confessed. "Just a greyness, and a sound. Like singing. Singing in whispers."
"You must write it down for me," Mazhar said, very solemn. "All you remember. Another coin to add to the library's treasures." He nodded toward the shelves which housed the many accounts of Tempering, and those fragments of the journey between death and being made anew.
"Do – do you remember any of your times After?"
"I have never been Tempered." Mazhar smiled. "The library's dangers are few."
"Oh." The note of disappointment was unmistakeable, followed by thoughtful consideration. "Sissa says the Morbedi don't think we're Tempered so we can enter Paradise."
"That is true. The Morbedi believe in the Aegis of Destiny. That we are each set to this world for a particular purpose, and until we have fulfilled our destiny we will be made anew and anew. All around Telon, you will find different reasons for the Tempering. Many believe as the Ahgraman do: that each soul is in balance between Paradise and the Pit, and each act of ours takes us one step closer or further away from that balance, until finally we Fall or Rise."
The scholar stroked his wispy beard, pondering the Morbedi idea of destiny, and the question of what his might be, and whether he had fulfilled it. Asking himself whether a child, Tempered or under the Aegis, could break from the cycle of death and renewal. He looked down at Erol's curly head and discovered the child unconsciously aping his pose. It woke a thrill of proud pleasure, to teach, to pass on his knowledge to a mind which thirsted and wondered.
"There are others, in farther lands, who believe it is simply a matter of Will. We are minds clothed in flesh. And if the flesh fails us, the mind, the Will, persists. That Will is drawn to certain places where there is a power of Making. And so the dead are made anew, and their old, discarded flesh fades and dissolves. Again and again until body and mind grows weary, the Will falters, and there is no renewal. For some, whose Will is weak, that end comes in youth. Others, the heroes of Telon, burn bright and strong, refusing any death. Even when they are far from a place of Return they refuse to simply fade, and travel vast distances After, until they find a place where they can make themselves again."
"What _is_ After?" Erol asked, fascinated, the shadows driven back by curiosity.
"You tell me, child. A historian must pass knowledge forward to enrich the future."
Erol hesitated, then his chin firmed. "It – I think it was a place. Really a place. I remember -" His eyes widened. "I took a step! I remember, I took a step. But – but I didn't have any feet."
"A number of the histories mention the sensation of travel – the movement toward a place of becoming. Some do this in a flash, in a moment. Others...there are tales of the Tempered being made anew months, even years after their deaths, because they have become lost or confused. But they continue, so long as the Will persists." He smiled down into that eager face. "You must write an account of it to add to the Library. Would you like to do that now?"
"It would go in the Library? Truly? For the future to read?"
"That is the purpose of libraries. Of history."
Soon the boy was bent over a fresh sheet of parchment, pen scratching. Mazhur watched him fondly then returned to his desk to frown at the letters of Lord Farat, which no longer held the same attraction.
Retrieving a key from a hidden nook, he unlocked the lowest drawer of his desk and drew out a curl of parchment. The once-supple surface crackled as he flattened it, a reminder of the passing of too many years. He looked down at a child's face, a quick artist's sketch which had captured the dark eyes, the sharp mind, the stubborn chin. Assan, his son, his only child. Again memory brought too much. Flailing limbs, a high shriek. The sudden halt.
Assan had not been made anew. Why? Well could Mazhar testify to the strength of his spirit, of the wilfulness which had taken him always away from the safety of the Library, climbing too high, too far. He had waited and waited, and his child, his heart's delight, had never returned. He waited still.
But the raw edge of loss had long faded, and perhaps it was time to set his son to rest at last. Mazhur returned shattered joy to its drawer, and looked across the room at the future.