Author Topic: Muls: First Draft and Discussion  (Read 4300 times)

Only He Stands There

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Muls: First Draft and Discussion
« on: February 16, 2011, 03:25:04 PM »
As an avid player of muls and a huge fan of their mentality, I feel there are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to the tall baldies that wander the wastes from time to time. Many, if not most, muls are well-played, and while there is a fair amount of documentation on them, I feel it is necessary to expand upon it. More than once, I have found myself questioning how one of my muls would have reacted to something and using apocrypha to fill in the gaps.

In discussion of this article, please avoid discussion of stats, skills, and confirming/denying things which are not said explicitly in the documentation. There are a few loose ends to muls that should be loose, to be discovered by PCs playing them.

---------------------------------------
So You Want To Be A Mul
Concepts and Creation

A) Origin and Ownership
Muls are not born free - not ever. There is no recorded instance of a mul that has been born of a willing dwarf and human outside of captivity, and no records of any muls being born in any situation other than the secretive breeding pens of House Borsail of Allanak, and House Winrothol of Tuluk. The circumstances are known only to those involved in it, and even within their Houses, there is some degree of disinformation and secrecy, but what is known is this: it is always a dwarf father and a human mother, never the other way around, and it is always fatal for the mother upon childbirth.

Therefore, muls all boil down to one of two points of origin: Borsail, in Allanak, or Winrothol, in Tuluk. Even during their childhood, they are subject to small amounts of torment: constantly tested, provoked, and conditioned, they are raised from birth for one purpose: to serve. Since muls are prohibitively expensive to birth, raise, and condition, they usually fall into one of two categories: fighting or manual labor, with the vast majority being geared toward the former.

Muls always, always have a bondmate, and often are sold with said bondmate. The bondmate is any slave that the mul 'attaches' to at a young age, usually human but sometimes dwarven, and often of the opposite sex. The mul and bondmate are manipulated from a young age to spend time together and grow fond of one another, often to the point of brotherly/sisterly love. The purpose of the bondmate is a grounding agent and a constant in the mul's life - something that does not change, someone who is always there for them, someone with whom they can share their need for feelings and emotion. They also serve as a method of controlling the mul, for muls will rarely do anything that will risk harm to their bondmate. This prevents the vast majority of rebellious behavior and attempted escape. Whipping a mul has little effect, due to their tolerance for pain and their endurance; whipping their bondmate, someone they love and care deeply for, will hurt an empathic mul much, much more deeply.

Muls are, to their owners, solely an investment. They are not people, nor friends, nor allies, but a fine tool with an exorbitant price tag. They are status symbols, as slaves with the brand of Borsail or Winrothol are the most prestigious to own, and muls triply so. Those who cannot fight or show little aptitude for it, those who are scrawny or malformed, those who are less than perfect may find ownership for the same reason nobles may own a quirri: as a prized pet, queer and unique, one with little or no practical value.

Others may buy muls for other reasons, but this is often a gamble. Muls are known for their bloodthirsty, psychotic rage - where even the most placid and reserved of the species may suddenly snap and maul anything in their path. Most commoners and nobles have witnessed this at least once, and it is not something quick to leave their minds. For this reason, mulish bodyguards are exceptionally rare, with hunt-slaves and laborers being slightly more common, particularly in the Merchant Houses of Kadius, Salarr, Nenyuk, and especially Kurac.

One or more of these backgrounds may be applied to a single mul. Perhaps they were raised by Borsail, lived several years as a renowned gladiator in the arenas for House Rennik before being sold to House Kurac. Perhaps they were raised in Winrothol, sold to a Tenneshi as a laborer and escaped into the desert. Perhaps they are an older mul who was captured by a 'Rinth gang during the Gith War, when Borsail's estate was sunk. But why escape?

B) Escape - How, When, and Why
Escape, for most muls, never enters into their minds. Those that do escape are often spoken of in the pens as being "dead in the sands" and foolish. The life of a gladiator is prestigious and glorious, and the sound of the crowd roaring in pleasure is music to an indoctrinated and conditioned mul's pointed ears. Many muls who follow the whims of their masters are comfortable and coddled, getting nearly anything they wish for their comfort - from luxurious quarters compared to other slaves to finer food and water, to even access to pleasure slaves. Laborers are usually given 'rank' amongst the other slaves and, being more hale and physically stronger than other slaves, generally find their share of the work to be easier. Owners are generally leery of upsetting muls for fear of triggering their infamous rages, and so are more lenient with them.

So why revolt? Many muls are comforted by their routine of ownership, mollified by doing the same tasks regularly, and so when they wind up being sold, transferred, or change hands, it can spark a deep-seated resentment in them. Muls who are moved from the arena to manual labor are often resentful of the implications. Should the noble that favours a mul die or step away from public affairs and another take control, the slave may find irritation in the slightest difference -- from as big a thing as giving them different task than normal to as little a thing as being slightly nicer--and therefore weaker! The way a mul's mind works is confusing to many other races. Resentment may also breed from the realization and constant reminder that they are nothing more than chattel, tools, and bartering chips.

Survival instinct is another drive for many muls to escape. As they age, it becomes clearer and clearer to most muls that they are there for the enjoyment of others, and the gladiator pits are a deadly place to live one's life. Increasingly difficult fights may lead a mul to believe her owner wants her dead, and the irritation of many self-righteous nobles may hurt a prized mul far more deeply than necessary. Mulish minds can latch on to these displeasures and see them as much worse than they really are. The death of a bondmate, mentioned before, can effectively destroy the conditioning of a mul in one fell swoop.

Finally, perhaps a mul didn't escape at all, but was stolen, kidnapped, or lost. Perhaps he was owned by the Allanaki Templarate and being led to the obsidian mines for work when the Soh Lanah Kah attacked, managing to escape but become supremely lost - and terrified at returning to the city only to be re-enslaved and given to a new master, or punished for attempted escape. Perhaps they were working on construction in the city, only to be kidnapped by 'Rinth gangs that see an opportunity for ransom. The possibilities are fairly endless, but it is the duty of the player to ensure that their background is cohesive and fits with the gameworld.

C) Freedom! ... oh, damn.
To many muls, freedom is an alien concept. The first feeling of many who escape is not a glorious relief, but rather a second-guessing dread. What have I done? Why did I let myself do this? I can never go back, now -- never return to the comfort of my pen, of my routine, of my coddled life. Never again will I be handed food, water, and entertainment solely for what I am - now I have to truly earn it. It is similar in concept, to them, as a noble running from their citystate to live in the desert.

It can take years of soul-searching and second-guessing for a mul to finally become accepting of his lot in life as a freed person, thanks to the years of indoctrination and conditioning thanks to their owners. Even then, the mul will continually be searching for more, for answers that will not come, for acceptance that cannot come. Similarly to a half-elf, they crave acceptance and friends, but will be leery of any they actually accrue: many of these 'friends' will only 'accept' them because they seek to use them. Even in freedom, muls are tools, and even in freedom, many seek a 'master' to give them orders.


Will be editing this post to include other topics of discussion. Currently on the agenda:
2) Mulish mindset
     a) Search for Identity
     b) Necessity of Ownership/Orders
     c) Friendship and Empathy
     d) Bondmates and Their Replacements

3) Muls in society
     a) Allanak
     b) Tuluk
     c) Red Storm
     d) Luir's Outpost

EldritchOrigins

  • Posts: 391
Re: Muls: First Draft and Discussion
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2011, 05:36:12 PM »
You may want to add something about them being gladiators.  Muls are primarily bred and owned as gladiators.  It is rare for them to serve any other function as a slave due to the danger that they pose to those around them.

Erythil

  • Posts: 1254
Re: Muls: First Draft and Discussion
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2011, 11:04:43 PM »
This is a fun doc.  I approve.  Muls are cool and I hope to play one some day.

Play one in D&D right now!

Mooney

  • Posts: 458
Re: Muls: First Draft and Discussion
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2011, 02:22:22 AM »
I love how clearly this details the roots and frame of mind of the mul, yet leaves enormous room for a player's imagination.

Will definitely try for a mul when I get the chance.

Barzalene

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Re: Muls: First Draft and Discussion
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2011, 08:49:07 AM »
I've always wanted to play a bondmate and never get the chance.

Good article.
Varak:You tell the mangy, pointy-eared gortok, in sirihish: "What, girl? You say the sorceror-king has fallen down the well?"
Ghardoan:A pitiful voice rises from the well below, "I've fallen and I can't get up..."

drunkendwarf

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Re: Muls: First Draft and Discussion
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2011, 11:35:33 AM »
I'm curious as to the staff's position on muls at the moment. Do they all have to be escaped slaves, or can you actually arrange something ahead of time to have a mul that still is a slave, perhaps to a noble House? Or even just a mul that's yet been sold, still belonging to Winrothol or Borsail? Are bondmates something you need to arrange ahead of time? How would you actually go about doing that without basically advertising on the GDB you're about to roll up a mul?

smcdonald

  • Posts: 49
Re: Muls: First Draft and Discussion
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2011, 01:27:42 PM »
"There will be no PC slave roles permitted on ArmageddonMUD until this announcement is rescinded.  We have been stopping them in the application queue for quite awhile, and we have posted on various clan boards in the past that this was no longer going to be permitted, but this is the formal, general posting describing the current policy."

http://www.zalanthas.org/gdb/index.php/topic,38017.0.html

Wasteland Raider

  • Posts: 366
Re: Muls: First Draft and Discussion
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2011, 01:41:55 PM »
As far as I can tell, the only "role" you as a mul can play is escaped slave. There have, in the past, been looser, not quite so rigid 'slave' roles in Merchant Houses that allowed them some degree of freedom, but I'm not sure if those will be continued. That doesn't stop them from JOINING the Merchant Houses as an employee, but it would have to be handled ICly, and likely be tricky.
↑ ↑ ↓ ↓ ← → ← → b a

drunkendwarf

  • Posts: 584
Re: Muls: First Draft and Discussion
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2011, 02:45:29 PM »
Yeah, I guess I was more asking about a pre-designed 'slave' role that had more freedom associated with it. I can think of one mul in particular that fit this, but it was quite awhile ago. May or may not have been more than a year so can't mention names, but said mul was allowed to wander freely while still technically being a slave.

Taven

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Re: Muls: First Draft and Discussion
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2011, 03:15:59 AM »
This was really interesting and I think would be really useful as well. I can't wait to see your next sections.
As of February 2017, I no longer play Armageddon.

Kismetic

  • Posts: 7006
Re: Muls: First Draft and Discussion
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2011, 06:17:14 AM »
I can't help but think that mul is short for mulatto.

 :-\
"Well, Gary, if that even is your real name ...  somebody stole my computer.  Now, if you're a criminal--  Look at me! ... You have to tell me, legally, or else it's considered entrapment."  -- Andy Dwyer

brytta.leofa

  • Posts: 9480
Re: Muls: First Draft and Discussion
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2011, 10:10:54 AM »
I can't help but think that mul is short for mulatto.

The word "mule" predates the word "mulatto" in English, but I think they're essentially the same word, arrived in our language by different routes.

Really interesting doc, OHST.
The sword is sharp, the spear is long,
The arrow swift, the Gate is strong.
The heart is bold that looks on gold;
The dwarves no more shall suffer wrong.

Kismetic

  • Posts: 7006
Re: Muls: First Draft and Discussion
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2011, 12:41:42 PM »
Oh, yeah, the doc is great.  I read it all.  Bump for updates!
"Well, Gary, if that even is your real name ...  somebody stole my computer.  Now, if you're a criminal--  Look at me! ... You have to tell me, legally, or else it's considered entrapment."  -- Andy Dwyer

LauraMars

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Re: Muls: First Draft and Discussion
« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2011, 06:26:04 AM »
...Hey.  I like this!  It makes me want to play armageddon as a mul.

(However, I have always wanted to play a jolly mul, and I don't think that would go over very well with anybody.)
Child, child, if you come to this doomed house, what is to save you?

A voice whispers, "Read the tales upon the walls."

Erythil

  • Posts: 1254
Re: Muls: First Draft and Discussion
« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2011, 02:33:01 PM »
...Hey.  I like this!  It makes me want to play armageddon as a mul.

(However, I have always wanted to play a jolly mul, and I don't think that would go over very well with anybody.)

I don't see any reason why you couldn't choose to play someone who had become well-adjusted, with the proper backstory to support it.

brytta.leofa

  • Posts: 9480
Re: Muls: First Draft and Discussion
« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2011, 05:41:29 PM »
(However, I have always wanted to play a jolly mul, and I don't think that would go over very well with anybody.)

I don't see any reason why you couldn't choose to play someone who had become well-adjusted, with the proper backstory to support it.

I'm pretty sure that LauraMars could play a jolly mul who was not well-adjusted.
The sword is sharp, the spear is long,
The arrow swift, the Gate is strong.
The heart is bold that looks on gold;
The dwarves no more shall suffer wrong.

hyzhenhok

  • Posts: 1664
Re: Muls: First Draft and Discussion
« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2011, 01:03:20 AM »
(However, I have always wanted to play a jolly mul, and I don't think that would go over very well with anybody.)

I don't see any reason why you couldn't choose to play someone who had become well-adjusted, with the proper backstory to support it.

I'm pretty sure that LauraMars could play a jolly mul who was not well-adjusted.

A jolly mul.

Who kills people.

Jollily.

EvilRoeSlade

  • Posts: 2657
Re: Muls: First Draft and Discussion
« Reply #17 on: March 16, 2011, 12:32:53 AM »
1) The website indicates that House Kasix is also capable of producing muls.
2) It is possible for a human woman to survive the breeding process, though extremely rare.  When that happens, they are bred again whereupon they do not survive.

Other than that pretty good work though I disagree with any implication that Borsail and Winrothol are in any way experts at the process of indoctrinating slaves.  Societies with far greater access to research, technology, and writing have done extremely poorly in this area, always fearful of slave revolts.  If anything a mul would be far more difficult to indoctrinate than a human - Borsail and Winrothol don't do it because they're good at it, they do it because it's a high risk, high reward gambit.
Back from a long retirement

My 2 sids

  • Posts: 1921
Re: Muls: First Draft and Discussion
« Reply #18 on: March 16, 2011, 02:18:36 PM »
Flesh out what they're good at ICly:  talk more about arena and fighting styles.  

Docs are there to help players, so in this case I'd take the wide world of MULs and shrink it down to "what would a player interacting with a mul   and    what would a player playing a mul" need to know.


« Last Edit: March 16, 2011, 02:21:36 PM by My 2 sids »
"The Highlord casts a shadow because he does not want to see skin!" -- Boog

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Re: Muls: First Draft and Discussion
« Reply #19 on: April 24, 2011, 06:50:43 PM »
You might also want to mention that muls can't be magickers. I suppose ICly they can, but they're intended to be super-ultra rare. The idea is that generations upon generations of expert mul breeding has basically 'bred out' any magickal talent.

I submitted a special application for a mul Whiran for a few months ago, and I was basically told in so many words that it wasn't ever going to happen, ever. So I feel like that's good information to disperse throughout the playerbase, just so other people don't get their hopes up.
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