Game Type: MUD (Multi-User Dungeon)
This, to me, is the Daddy of all MUDs. It's the online incarnation of Terry Pratchett's Discworld and it captures the essence of the books so well that it really does seem alive.
Behind the MUD are several layers of coders ranging from Liasons and Lords to Highlords and Creators. These people, basically, rule to Disc - they code all the quests, they make sure everything ticks over nicely and they clean up when something goes wrong. Assisting them is a team of Playtesters, who make sure things work before the players get their hands on them.
To say the Discworld MUD was big would be an understatement. They player base is big (avarage of around 150-200 players every time I check) but the world itself is even greater. Have a look at the map of Ankh-Morpork in the Atlas section of their website and gasp. That city alone is almost as big as all the areas of Exile that I ever went to put together. And it's just one part of the Disc. Okay, I'll admit it's a pretty hefty part of it, but there's more to the MUD than just Ankh-Morpork.
But enough about the size of it. What about the guilds? The clubs? The families? Well, let's start at the beginning; 'cause it makes more sense that way. Discworld is a very friendly game, with a pretty shallow learning curve. Before you even get into the game, you'll be presented with the very helpful 'Newbie Area', which consists of about 10-15 rooms, all giving you information to help you get to grips with the game. There's an area here where you'll be able to buy equipment for your character, an area that tells you all about the six guilds and an area where you can practice with whatever equipment you've bought, allowing you to advance your fighting skills before you're plunged into the main MUD. There's even a quest available here which, if completed, gives you enough experience points to be able to advance a few levels in whichever guild you choose.
Which brings us to the main area. Once you leave the Newbie Area you'll find yourself by the bar in the Mended Drum (for anyone not familiar with the Discworld books, this is the most notorious drinking establishment in the vast city-state of Ankh-Morpork). You'll have a whole wealth of commands at your disposal and you'll find that everything you were carrying when you left the Newbie Area is still with you, including a nice Newbie Book. If you haven't read it already, do so now - it doesn't take long and you'll be glad you did.
As I mentioned earlier, there are six guilds on the Disc: Wizards (two guilds: one based in the Unseen University, Ankh-Morpork, and the other in the Wizards' Guild, Khot-Lip-Khan), Witches (one HQ somewhere in Ankh-Morpork, the other in the house of Granny Weatherwax, Badd Ass, Lancre), Priests (loads of churches to choose from, each offering different abilities - see the Discworld MUD website for more info), Thieves (you really can steal from other players, but they'll probably take it personally), Warriors (the 'hard men' (and women) of the game - if you want to hit things with this, this is the guild for you!) and last, but not least by any means, there's the Assassins (if you manage to survive to graduate from this guild, you're an instant playerkiller and people will most likely be very nice to you). Each guild gives you certain commands, but choose your guild carefully - you can't change it once you've joined.
From the Drum, you can do anywhere on the Disc - and I mean anywhere. Want to visit Granny Weatherwax? Leave the city via Sator Square (where you'll find the famous centre of magic, Unseen University) and head for the Ramtops, passing the Lancre Town and the small town of Ohulan-Cutash which, to the locals, is a vast city. Want to go to Klatch? Visit the Travel Agency (after stopping off at the Klatchian Embassy to exchange some of your hard-earned Ankh-Morpork dollars for some Klatchian money, of course) then you'll be able to reach the MUD's second-largest city: Khot-Lip-Khan. Travel Agency too expensive for you? Then type 'refer taxi' and ask one of the online members of this club to come and make a magic portal for you - it'll cost you AM$5 to get to Khot-Lip-Khan.
What's this about clubs, I hear you ask? Well, okay, maybe I don't hear you asking that but I'm going to tell you nevertheless. Clubs are, in a way, small guilds. You can be a member of as many of these as you like. They don't have a great deal of influence on the game, but they mean you'll have friends and allies should you need them. To find a list of clubs, you'll have to go to the Patrician's Palace in Ankh-Morpork and contact the leader or recruiter of the club or clubs you wish to join.
There's also the matter of Families. These have no real bearing on the game other than to further develop your character and give them a sense of belonging. Families are more scarce than clubs and cost more to maintain (something of the order of AM$100 each quarter of the Discworld year, plus 50p per member of the family - this is expensive). Joining a family gives your character a surname, which very few PCs have in this MUD.
Finally, there's the matter of the skills system. When your character is first created you have two skills and nothing more. These are the ability to speak, and read/write the 'common' language (aka 'Morporkian' - it's the language of Ankh-Morpork). In the newbie area you'll be able to develop some fighting skills, which is a good idea, as fighting is something members of any guild will do - it's the easiest way to gain experience. Typing 'skills' will show you the skills you have. Doing this right away will serve no purpose - you don't have any except speaking and writing common, so you'll just be shown a list of the top-level skills available: covert, fighting, magic, faith, crafts and other. Typing skills followed by one of these will show you the subskills available in that set. There are lots. At first this is daunting, but play for a while and it all becomes clear.
You can advance your skills through using them - this is the easiest way to advance fighting skills - and also by using up experience on them; which happens in two ways: you can 'advance' your skills in a special room in your guild or you can ask another player to 'teach' you a level or two of that skill. Ask politely when you want people to teach you, though.
As you can see, this is a complex game but also one that's pretty easy to get into. Other players will help you if you ask nicely and although the skills system is complex at first, you soon get the hang of it and you'll also find it makes for very clever character development.For Further Details
Visit the official Discworld MUD website for more details on the game.
If you're interested, click here for information on my characters and a few tips for newbies.
Nob T Mouse
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