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Roleplaying and me August 14, 2007

Posted by Trezker in roleplaying.
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I just added a link to Cantr in my blogroll because it’s one of the sites I spend quite a bit of time on daily. Cantr is a menu based roleplaying game on the web where people actually roleplay instead of just killing and trading for better gear.

I am quite interested in roleplaying, pretending to be living different lifes and see what experiences I get. Sadly there are not many options for roleplaying that works well for me. Arranging group meetings for face to face play is tedious and studying those tomes of rules isn’t very attractive. Therefore I turn to computer games. But most of them suck because they’re all about grinding monsters to raise your levels, not to mention you can only play one character at a time while the others don’t get anywhere. I shouldn’t rant too much about this because there’s so much wrong with MMORPG’s and other kinds of roleplaying that you’d be bored out of your skull if I tried to discuss them all here, it’s subject I might be able to write a whole book on.

So what’s so different about Cantr that makes me choose a text/menu based game over stunning 3D graphic action? Cant, as opposed to just about all other “roleplaying” games I know, supports real roleplaing! Killing stuff in Cantr is not something you do for experience, Cantr doesn’t even have experience as a concept. You kill animals for their meat, skin and bones among other things and then you use these resources to make tools, food and other supplies that you need to survive and increase your wealth. That is if your roleplaying a vegan and refuse to hurt animals in any way.

So what do you do when you’re a vegan? You work with other resources, Cantr has lots of resources that can be gathered by hand or with tools and machines. You can build houses and ovens and whatnot, the lists of possibilities are loong.

Cantr is a game where you choose your own goals and a way to reach them. There is no preprogrammed plot, no quests and no given ends. Your own characters have to find a purpose for their lives. You can pursue trading missions, make maps (cantr has no complete maps), start up a business, become a thief, start a religion, join an army, form an empire… The choices are endless.

The beauty of Cantr is that you don’t have to focus on any one of your characters, all your characters are constantly online working on whatever your task you chose for them automatically. You only have to check in on them now and then and talk to other characters. You can live up to 15 lives simultaneously.

This does however mean that you can’t be everywhere at once and to keep the game playable it runs at a rather slow pace. This isn’t an action game, you won’t sit on the website hitting refresh all the time unless you get a very unhealthy addiction to the game. Cantr is a game that you log in to a few times daily to keep up with what’s happening and manage your characters.

To provide some perspective on how slow the game is I’m gonna tell you a little about what I’ve achieved with my characters. I’ve been playing the game for about a year now. (With the account I currently have, I had an account earlier that died because I left the game for a too long period.) I have six characters and try to establish interesting goals for all of them. Note that I only play Swedish characters.

One character is starting up a workshop business in a kingdom, he’s just about to start up production of tools. He’s almost done building the workshop and has a pretty good situation. Another character is a mapmaker who has been to 15 places and is trying to compose a nice map of the land he’s living on. As far as I know there is no good map available for the area. The other four have temporary goals filling the needs of characters around them or improving certain aspects of nearby areas.

If you really want to roleplay but don’t know any good games to do it in, Cantr is a good game to try out. It offers a lot of freedom and a very dynamic world. All it requires is patience and some creative thinking.

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