by Spirogyra the wizard
Welcome to the world of MUD1/British Legends, or BL for short. You've finally found your way to the best (not to mention oldest) multi-player game on the Internet. If you haven't tried any other multi-player games....don't bother... because you have arrived! If you have, well congratulations... you've finally made the right choice! <grin>
As you will soon discover, MUD1/British Legends is a game of exciting and intense inter-player competition and cooperation set within a mystical world where magic is real and death is common. Here, you will meet many good, friendly people. You will also meet many scoundrels and evildoers...Which will you be?
One of the nicest things about BL is that it actually has an object...a goal...something which all players strive to reach: immortality. In a nutshell, you start out as a lowly mortal novice. You've got zero points, but that's just a temporary condition. Your job is now to score points and move up the levels. With each level comes new power and respect...and dangers. Score a whopping 102,400 points without dying and you win! How? Well that's a secret...but let's just say you will be transformed into an incredibly powerful being (within the game of course... no, I'm afraid you'll still be your boring self outside <smile>). You will be granted tremendous powers and will become a game-operator of sorts... and then the second phase of the game will just be beginning. But you'll have to score 102,400 points to find out about that!
Well you've taken the first step -- you've entered the Land! It's no small step because there'll be no going back now! But right now all you've pretty much done is stumble around in the dark without a light; gotten a good look at most of the game's error messages; let's face it, you're frustrated. Well, take a deep breath, stand up and take a stretch, and prepare for a big surprise. By the time you finish reading this document, you will be ready to go out there and start chopping up zombies! You're about to find out there is no game easier to pick up and start playing than BL.
If you've been in the game already, you've seen the * prompt. When you see this, the game is waiting for a command. All commands are entered at this prompt and terminated with a carriage return (<cr>). After you enter a command, your command will be carried out, you'll probably be given some sort of a message, and you'll be faced with another * prompt...The game's ready for your next move.
Commands in BL are very easy. For those of you who have ever played a text adventure, you will have no problem getting going. For those of you who haven't...no sweat...it's easy! The great majority of commands are just plain, simple English. For example, you'd probably like to get a look at your surroundings...type look<cr>. You see a stick on the floor, and you want to pick it up? Just type get stick<cr>. That door blocking your way? open door<cr> should do the trick! It's locked? No problem! Find yourself a key and unlock door with key<cr>. When in doubt, just type in simple English... it'll work more often than not!
Many commands require that you supply objects and prepositions with the command. open isn't much good unless you tell the game what you want to open... and with what if need be! If you want to put your key in your sack, well, you had best tell the game to put key in sack. If you want to take it back out again, get key from sack will do it.
Useful commands (capital letters indicate useful abbreviations)
Look QuickLook who QuickWho Get DRop put open close lock unlock Kill FLee RETaliate Inventory keep hug kiss light douse sleep laugh drink assist steal eXits VALue SCore QuickScore
For a more complete listing of commands, just type commands at the * prompt in the game!
Perhaps the most important commands for you now are the motion commands; you won't be able to explore your new surroundings unless you can move to the next room. The following list summarizes all of the possible directional commands...Again, capitalized letters indicate a possible abbreviation which you may want to use!
North self-explanatory, I hope <grin> NorthEast East SouthEast South SouthWest West NorthWest Up Down IN good for moving into strange openings and deeper into peril Out opposite of in, will move you towards the "narrow gap" at the Narrow Road Between the Lands JUMP good for certain rooms SWAMP moves you towards the swamp Back opposite of last direction moved
To move in the desired direction, just type the direction in, or the correct abbreviation. As you walk about, keep in mind that the reverse direction will not always bring you back where you started...If you go east, west will not always bring you back where you came from. If you wander into a room where you can't see, I suggest you type o (out!) repeatedly until you get out and find yourself a nice stick to make yourself a torch (called a brand in BL). Of course, you'll have to find a nice fire to light your stick on...
To see where the various directions will take you from a particular room, type exits. exits doesn't work in all rooms.
Object manipulation is also important, as you're going to want to pick things up, drop them, insert them into things, etc etc...To pick an object up, type get <object><cr> at the * prompt. To drop an object type drop <object><cr>. You can see what you're carrying at any time using the Inventory command (i for short).
As you explore, you may happen upon a container. Containers are objects which you can use to expand your carrying capacity by inserting objects into them. To insert an object into a container, type put <object> in <container><cr> (You can also put objects into other things... like holes, for instance). To get the object out of the container, just type get <object> from <container><cr>. To see what's in a container, type look in <container><cr>. The standard inventory command (i) will also list the contents of your containers. You can quickly drop all the objects in a container by using the empty command. Typing empty bag<cr> will drop everything out of the bag.
The game also recognizes the special words all and Treasure. If you wander into a room and find a bunch of objects on the ground, you don't have to waste time picking things up individually; g all will grab everything in the room. Treasure, or t for short can be used to refer to just objects with a positive value. When you go to the swamp, you can type dr t<cr> to drop all your treasure at once. To avoid dropping a particular piece of treasure when you drop t, you can use the keep command. If you are holding a sword which has a positive value and you wish to drop the other six pieces of treasure you're carrying quickly, you can type keep sword<cr>. Then you can type dr t<cr> and you will drop all your treasure, except the sword. You can only keep one object at a time!
Another very important aspect of the game is Communication. As you will come to learn, BL is a multi-player game where the multi in multi-player really means something. BL is a very social game. While playing you will come into contact with many different people some nice; some not-so-nice - you will need to talk to them.
There are four distinct types of communication available to you:
To send a private message to any player playing, regardless of their location, type <receiving player's name> <message><cr>.
To see who is playing, type who or qw (QuickWho). For example, if Eddie the enchanter is playing and you want to say hello to him, at the * prompt, you'd type eddie Hello <cr>.
When someone sends you a direct message this way, you will see <Name> the <level> tells you "<message>". If Eddie tells you Hello, you'll see Eddie the enchanter tells you "Hello".
It is also possible to send a message to everyone who happens to be in your room. To see who's in your room, type l (Look) or ql (QuickLook). To say something to everyone in your room, you must use the " command. At the * prompt, type "<message> <cr>.
To say hello to everyone in your room, you'd type "Hello<cr>. You only need a set of quotes at the very beginning; you don't need any at the end of your message.
If you happen to be in Eddie's room, and he says hello in this manner, you would see Eddie the enchanter says "Hello".
If you do use quotes at the end of a message sent this way, or any other way for that matter, people receiving that message will see "double-quotes" at the end of your message. Something that beginning players often have trouble understanding is that quotes are not used to mark off a string of characters to be used in a message, but are used as commands in and of themselves. The " command causes all characters that follow it to be issued as a message to everyone in your room and automatically surrounds this message with quotes. Thus, the only time you should ever use a set of quotes in your commands is when you are talking to everyone in your room, and then you should only put them at the very beginning of your message. If you are sending messages using any of the other methods, you should not use any quotes anywhere in your messages, unless you want those quotes to appear within those messages between the quotes that the game automatically surrounds your messages with.
It is possible to send a message to everyone playing in the game, by shouting. To shout a message, you must type SHout <message><cr>. To shout Hello, you would type shout Hello<cr> at the * prompt.
When you shout, most people will not know that you shouted. Your shout will be seen by most people as A male (or female) voice in the distance shouts "Hello".
Note that SHout can be abbreviated as sh.
This method of communication is not used as much as the others, but as you get better, you will use it. This method allows you to send a message to all players of a particular level. The general form of the command is <level>,<message><cr>. Note the comma after the level. You must include this comma; the command will not work otherwise.
To say hello to all of the enchanters, you would type enchanter,Hello<cr> at the * prompt.
If you were an enchanter and Eddie typed the above command, you would see this: Eddie (enchanter): "Hello".
NOTE: You cannot send messages to wizards and witches this way...you will have to resort to wishing (discussed in the Magic section later).
As you play, you will undoubtedly run into a few bizarre terms as you talk to people. The two most prevalent ones are <g> and rofl. In BL-speak, <g> means a grin. Rofl means rolling on the floor laughing. There are others, but if you understand these two, you're ready to talk to any BLer!
As you type commands, often a message will flash across your screen, interrupting your command and causing you to be presented with a brand new * prompt. Don't start your command over...just keep on typing. The game will get the whole command when you hit <cr>.
If you type a long command and you discover that you've made an error, Ctrl-K will erase your entire command. After hitting Ctrl-K, retype in your command.
Remember to type commands at the * prompt for a more complete listing of all the useful game commands!
When you get to the very bottom of it, this game's about getting points. You need to get points to progress up the levels and make it to immortality (wizdom). Points can be scored in three different ways:
- by dropping valuable items in the swamp
- by performing certain actions
- by killing and/or defeating other players or 'mobiles' in combat
When you find an object laying around, you will want to value it (val for short). Let's say you find a widget laying around. While holding it or while standing in the same room as it is, type val widget<cr>. You will be given two values, the object's base value and the object's current value. You will want to focus on the latter value, the current value, as it tells you exactly how many points you will get if you drop that object in the swamp. The significance of the base value is beyond the scope of this reading. For our purposes, the base value is important for one thing: if you value an object and see that it has a positive base value, but a zero current value, it's a good bet that you must do something special with or to the object to make it worth something. As you play, you will undoubtedly notice that the values of objects are not static, but change over the course of the game. The object values are dependent on a few factors, including the number of mortal players currently playing and how much remaining treasure (often referred to as t) is out there.
The swamp is where you'll want to drop valuable objects to increase your score. The swamp is very accessible and can be reached from anywhere on the mainland by simply typing swamp over and over until you arrive. Once in the swamp, just drop (dr for short) any objects you want to convert to points and you should see your score go up. Players refer to dropping an item in the swamp as swamping the item. Be careful not to swamp something you might need later! Once an object is swamped, it is gone for good (unless a wizard or witch decides to unswamp it). So you probably won't want to go swamping your keys right away!
When a game is emptied of most of its treasure, a reset will often occur. Normally this will occur with the help of a wizard or witch. When a reset occurs, a new game will be initialized and you will be told to quit the current game and reenter. When you reenter, you will be put in the new game. BL is unlike many other similar games in that you don't get to keep items indefinitely. You only can have any items you happen to find and then only for as long as you stay in the game...when you quit, you will drop everything you are carrying, and will return empty-handed.
As you wander about, you will bump into two types of creatures: other real-live players, and computer-controlled monsters referred to as mobiles. It is possible to fight with either variety... you will have to fight sooner or later. To initiate combat with a mobile or another player, you must use the kill (abbreviated k) command. The correct syntax for the kill command is kill <player name/mobile> [with <weapon>]. The second half of the command is placed in parentheses because it is not necessary. kill <player/mobile><cr> will start a fight just fine, but it will be a bare-handed fight. But if you happen to find an axe laying around, and you wish to use it (generally a good idea <g>), you'll have to include that second half of the command. To kill that annoying zombie which is always blocking your way with your trusty axe, you should type kill zombie with axe<cr> (or k z w ax<cr> if you really want to be slick!). This attack will be much more effective than the regular barehanded attack. Similarly, if you grow tired of Eddie the enchanter's annoying greetings you could always track him down and type kill eddie with axe<cr>. Eddie probably won't appreciate it, but Eddie deserves to die anyway!
While we're on the topic of fighting, it's a good time to bring up your stats. If you type SCore or QuickScore, you will be shown several special numbers which are of importance. First, your score of course...but your stamina, strength, and dexterity are also important, especially while fighting. They are fairly self-explanatory. The mechanics of a fight are fairly simple. Basically, one party initiates the fight with the other, and in so doing gains a certain advantage as the aggressor (especially if the fight is initiated with a weapon). Once the fight begins, each participant takes turns taking swipes at the other, trading blows until one guy runs away or dies (this is an oversimplified description of fighting, and in actuality fighting is a very complex affair). Your three main stats play very important roles in the outcome of a fight. Your dex determines whether you will hit your opponent or not, and how well you will dodge his/her blows; your str determines how much damage you will do to your opponent when you hit him/her; and finally, your sta determines how much life you have left. Every time your opponent lands a blow, your stamina will be reduced - when it expires, so do you (it's a good idea to monitor your stamina closely with liberal use of the QuickScore, qs for short, command).
But what do you do when you're on the defensive? How can you respond if Eddie, the blood-thirsty cur, decides to attack you? Two commands are of particular interest here: RETaliate and Flee. The correct syntax for these commands is retaliate with <weapon><cr> and flee <direction><cr> (ret w <weapon><cr> or f <direction><cr> for short). If you're fortunate enough to be carrying that axe around with you when Eddie launches his attack, you'll probably want to bring it into play: ret w axe<cr> will do that. If you decide that you'd rather run away and live to fight another day, f <direction to run><cr> will get you out of the fight.
The victor of a fight will receive points for their effort! The loser will lose points... if you die, you'll lose them all, if you flee you'll lose a few. If you successfully kill someone, you will receive more points than if your opponent flees. You will also receive points for killing mobiles.
If you successfully escape a fight and your stamina is diminished, it can be recovered in two ways. You can remain in the game and sleep until your stamina reaches its peak...or you can leave the game for a while, and let your stamina regenerate at a rate of one stamina per minute that you are outside the game. Sleeping will work faster, but if you are being hunted you will be very vulnerable while you sleep (being attacked while you are asleep puts you at a severe disadvantage).
This brings us to death. Death is a fundamental part of this game, and you will probably be experiencing it often at first. There are two types of death, temporary and permanent. Temporary deaths include doing stupid things, like jumping from high places or setting off a booby trap. When this happens, you will be booted from the game and you'll drop everything you were carrying. You'll then have to reenter and recover your stuff, if you can, but other than that you'll be fine. Permanent deaths are a much more nasty variety...any time your stamina drops to 0 or below (almost always from a fight), you will suffer a permanent death. Permanent deaths are exactly what they sound like...permanent. You will lose all your points and you will have to rebuild a whole new persona. One should always try to view permanent deaths as learning experiences - try to learn from them and figure out how you could have survived. If you do this, you'll find your characters living longer and longer, before they are mercilessly cut down.
Depending on your score, you will be assigned one of 10 levels, listed below (this table can be recreated by typing LEVELS in the game):
score male female 0 novice novice 400 warrior warrior 800 hero heroine 1600 champion champion 3200 superhero superheroine 6400 enchanter enchantress 12800 sorcerer sorceress 25600 necromancer necromancess 51200 legend legend 102400 wizard witch
As you progress up the levels, you will find your character will grow stronger and will possess certain advantages over lower players. Your magic will work better and physically, you'll be more powerful. All the levels are similar, with the exception of wizard and witch, in that they have the same magic at their disposal...the only difference between them magically is that the higher levels will successfully cast their magic more often. Higher levels also come to possess certain other advantages which I will not reveal.
Wizards and witches are the immortals...they are The Powers That Be. They possess tremendous powers. They can kill you instantly. Wizzes (the generic term used to refer to wizards and witches) function much like game-operators. They make sure that things run well. But at the same time they are players, and they will take an active role in the game. As a mortal, you are expected to always obey an immortal. Disobedience will often mean harsh penalties. While wizzes may sound dangerous, they are really helpful in most cases. They are accomplished players who know the ins and outs of the game. They can help you when you are experiencing difficulties. They may also test you as you progress to gauge your skill. They will only become angry if you flout their authority or do certain no-no's, like shout obscenities. While this authority may seem overwhelming at times, you should always remember that that power is available to anyone who can beat the game! If you do it, you will be granted the same awesome powers! Because all wizzes are individuals who struggled up the ranks, they understand what being a mortal is like...they have experienced all of the difficulties you will have as you get better. They enjoy this game and they want you to enjoy it too.
There are a few singularly powerful individuals in the game called arch-wizzes. You will not see them often, but they are there. Arch-wizzes are owners or operators assigned to oversee the game. If you have any major problems concerning the game, they are the people to contact.
This is a realm of mystery and magic plays a large role here. All players are capable of casting magic, but higher levels are better at it than lower levels. To get a detailed listing of the spells available to you, their syntax, and explanations of their success rates, type spells<cr> at the * prompt in the game. Magic is very important and you should become acquainted with all of the spells... there aren't that many, and they are very simple. Magic can be especially useful in fights!
The wish spell is a spell you will want to learn how to use early. With it, you can communicate with the wizzes, even if they are invisible. To use the wish spell, you just type wish,<message><cr>. This syntax is very similar to the syntax used in player-to-level communications. A comma is necessary between wish and your message. If you should run into difficulties, or you have an important question, you can use wish to get help from the wizzes. You should be careful not to overuse it though as many wizzes will find that annoying. wish should not be used to ask for treasure or ask for the answer to a puzzle, as this will really irritate the wizzes. All players can successfully cast the wish spell all the time.
Room descriptions come in two flavors, long and short. When you first start out, the game will automatically set you up so that you get the long descriptions. This is verbose mode. When you get a little better and start to learn your way around, you'll want to get into brief mode so you see the short descriptions. In brief mode, you'll be able to move around a lot faster. To move from verbose to brief, at the * prompt, type brief<cr>. To move from brief to verbose, type verbose<cr>.
One thing that most beginning players will want to do is make maps of the Land to help them find ther way around. Something you will want to keep in mind, if you decide to map, is that the Land isn't laid out in a perfect grid, and going east and then west will not always bring you back to the room where you started. Rather than try to map the entire mainland, I would recommend mapping areas of special interest. Like the mine or the goblin tunnels. Personally, I don't feel that a comprehensive map of the entire game is necessary. But as with many things, this is a question of personal preference. I know several people who have mapped the game completely and they claim this has helped them greatly. I know of other people who didn't map at all, but rather recorded sequences of directions to get them to special rooms. Everyone has their own system, and if you feel like mapping every room, Godspeed to you! In actuality, though, the Land is quite small, relative to other similar games, and is quite memorizable. All the really good players have the whole Land memorized.
For further information, type the following commands at the * prompt: commands, help, info, spells.
If you still need help, try talking to a more experienced player on with you at the time. If they can't help, try wishing... the wizzes will be happy to help with any confusion you may be experiencing.
What follows is a listing of suggested 'quests' you may want to attempt as a new player. All are designed to encourage initial exploration and some may lead to other secrets. See what you know... see if you can do them all! And don't stop exploring after that!
- Find a stick, find a fire, and make a fire brand
- Find the mausoleum
- Find the portcullis and open it
- Find the golden apple
- Find the mine entrance
- Flood the mine
- Find the jetty
- Find the sorcerer's room
- Find the attic
- Find a light source other than a fire brand
- Get into the badger's sett
- Find the magic spring
I hope this helps you to become more comfortable within the BL environment. I am confident that once you play a while, you will become as hooked on BL as I am. If you have any questions/comments about what I've written here, please email me. If you see me in the Land, please say hello!
This document is based (with mainly typographical changes) on the September 30, 1995 version of the file newbie.txt, which was located in the British Legends section of the library of CompuServe's now defunct MPGAMES forum.