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Accursed Lands MUD
Al-banner.png
Developer(s) Various
Engine MudOS
Platform(s) OS Independent
Release date(s) 1996
Genre(s) MMORPG, MUD
Mode(s) Multiplayer
System requirements Telnet connection

Accursed Lands (AL) is a free MUD that has been online since 1996. It was founded by six former DartMUD associates (5 creators and 1 long-time player) who wanted to make a new mud in Dartmud's image with a more flexible codebase. Over time it acquired a theme and vision of its own, but it still retains many of the characteristics and some of the fundamental philosophy of its parent mud. It runs on the MudOS driver and uses a highly modifed Lima Mudlib.

Accursed Lands was developed as a RPI (role-playing intensive) MUD. In accordance with this, the game's rules and game-mechanics place a strong emphasis on roleplaying over combat and powergaming.[1][2] AL is virtually all original. Its theme could best be described as low-fantasy gothic horror set in a post-apocalyptic world with a dark-ages level of technology.

Players are allowed only one character at a time, and expected to roleplay this character to the best of their ability. It is considered cheating to exchange information learned while playing a character in the game by any out-of-game means.

The game is located at http://www.accursed-lands.com/

Contents

Theme

The game is set in the post-apocalyptic world of Terrinor. The game's history tells of a cataclysmic event known as The Breaking, which took place during a war between the kiisic and rowan races. A corruption of magic, the Black Blood, was an enduring product of this event. Chaotic and largely uncontrollable, the Black Blood is feared by most inhabitants of Terrinor.

Players are given freedom to work within this theme and explore the tensions that arise from misunderstanding and abuse of magic. In addition, the near-total destruction of the largest empire of Terrinor has set the stage for racial tensions and occasional clashes.

The theme was created with the intention of escaping from the typical MUD model laid down by Dungeons & Dragons. There are no alignments, levels or classes; instead players are allowed to choose their own fate, and to live their character's life as they see fit; most in-character behavior is acceptable, so long as each action is motivated by IC concerns.

Gameplay

Within the MUD's helpfiles the creators' main aims are defined as such:

  • Make a game that creators enjoy working on.
  • Make a game that players enjoy playing on.
  • Make a game world that encourages fantasy role-playing.
  • Make the world believable.

Each of the game's features contribute in some way to achieving these aims. All mechanical elements of the game world are modelled upon their real-life counterparts. There is a strong focus on creating a world that encourages suspension of disbelief, and so OOC communication is restricted.

The game features a complex parser, which tries to understand standard English, rather than require the player to learn complex syntax. For instance, the player can type 'examine third man' to look at the third man of a crowd. This syntax is designed to be as intuitive as possible, and thus further the suspension of disbelief.

Unlike many MUDs, Accursed Lands is completely classless, which means that players are free to practice and learn any skill they see fit for their character. There are no OOC delays imposed upon crafting either. If a player attempts to craft something that requires skill beyond them, it is likely that they will fail and the materials will be ruined before they can complete the object. As the players practice, their chances of success in that art increase gradually. This means that the only way to gain a skill is through practicing that skill, which eliminates the possibility of players 'killing trolls to master literacy'.

All numbers relating to character statistics and skills are hidden from the player. Instead the player is provided with a subjective measure of his character's skill, relative to what his character would perceive as the racial averages. This is done in order to preserve the player's immersion as well as to reduce the temptation to focus on skills above RP.

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Realism

One of the main focuses of gameplay is making the gameplay realistic. The most obvious example is found when meeting other players. If you have not met them before, you will not know their name, and to recognize them later, you will have to find out their name and "name" them as such. Also, since skills build gradually with practice, it takes time to become good at doing things, and some characters will get better faster than others, due to their natural abilities. Most races have only two arms, and can therefore only hold two items at once, though wearing items such as backpacks or pants that have pockets will allow them to carry more items. The more weight a person is carrying, the slower they move; a greater burden means they will have a more difficult time completing certain actions.

The environment also is built with realism in mind. Movement is affected by the type of terrain you are traveling through; each terrain has its own creatures, and some items can only be found in certain land types. Your altitude and the height of things around you will affect your field of vision, and different land types have different smells and sounds associated with them.

Economy

The game economy is player-focused. With the ability to craft many different items—from weapons and armor to musical instruments and decorative items—players can work to create all their own items, create items to sell in towns and cities, or trade their craft items with other players. Hunting and gathering, logging, and smithing are but a few of the money skills that players can gain to earn money. However, despite all these skills, money is not a necessity, as food and drink can be found in the wilderness with a little effort. Money merely helps in the purchase of better equipment and goods, most of which can be crafted by players as well.

Peer Ratings

AL also features a peer rating system, which allows players to rate others as either "good" or "bad" in two categories: their In Character (IC) contributions via their role-playing, and their Out Of Character (OOC) contributions on the game forums, [chat] discussion channel, and by aiding new players. Every bad rating is accompanied by a suggested helpfile, which should indicate to the player how he or she can better contribute to the AL world.

Due to the uniqueness of a number of the AL races and the difficulty new players have when roleplaying them, players are required to have a positive peer rating to create characters of certain races (See Races below). This peer rating system helps to ensure a high quality of roleplaying and OOC interaction.

Game World

Worldview

Accursed Lands provides two ways of looking at your surroundings: the wilderness view and the room view. The room view displays a description of the room and any people or items that happen to be present. This is the default view while in a town or other location of interest. The wilderness view is an ASCII representation of the surrounding area and land types, as well as any locations of interest that are within your view. Both views are dynamic: the viewer's stats and some other variables such as the level of ambient light will cause the view to be displayed differently to different viewers.

Size

The Accursed Lands world contains over six million ground level rooms, as well as rooms above ground level (in the air or in trees), below ground level (underwater), and in an underworld (cave system) that is constantly growing, due to the ability of players to dig their own tunnels. Most of these rooms are generated automatically by AL's wilderness server; they're unremarkable but they're intended to add a feeling of distance to the game world.

Terrain Types

AL's wilderness rooms differ according to the type of terrain they represent. They range from open desert and plains to thick forests and large mountains. Each type has its own properties, items, native animals, and sounds and smells. All will affect the viewer's field of view and speed of movement, some can provide food or drink, and others will shield players from the sun or provide firemaking materials.

Locations of Interest

When players enter a location of interest (often a town or city, sometimes something else), the game switches to local room descriptions for easier exploration. These locations usually provide things like houses, NPCs, libraries in which to study, shops to purchase or sell goods at, shops to rent so players can sell goods they find or craft, and resources to use in the crafting.

Races

The world of Terrinor is populated by twelve playable races, five of which are currently unreleased. Most of the races are totally unique to AL, and those which aren't have been adapted significantly in order to fit with its theme.

Atlasia

Atlasia are bipedal omnivores with prehensile tails and soft fur. They are lithe, agile, highly dexterous, and reach a height of around 1.4 meters (4–5 feet). Most atlasia live in remote treetop villages and tend towards isolationism; the close-knit extended families which form the basis of atlasian society offer very little room for outsiders. The few atlasia that leave their jungle homes tend to be viewed as flighty, unpredictable and somewhat cowardly, but their gifts as artists and artisans are undeniable. They greatly fear the effects of destructive magic, and have little magical talent of their own.

Atlasia are currently unreleased.

Aquaepura

Aquaepurae are bipedal omnivores capable of living on both land and in water. They are thin and reach an average height of about two meters (6.6 feet). Though not physically powerful, they are cunning and manipulative. When out of water, they are physically almost indistinguishable from bramen, and they quietly share much of that race's culture and living space; however, they are deeply (and some would say rightfully) distrusted by their unwitting patrons. They are primarily survivalists; the continued existence of their race is their only universal goal, which they often try to ensure by gaining dominance over the bramen they abide with. They bear a strong territorial enmity for livathi, and their deepest and most abiding fear is for the annihilation of their species. They possess an above average aptitude for magic.

Braman

Bramen are slim, bipedal herbivores with hairless bodies and large floppy ears, reaching a height of about two meters (6.6 feet). They are very intelligent and tend to be drawn to natural philosophy; consequently, many braman cultures are famed for their skills with alchemy, engineering and herbalism. Most bramen disdain violence, preferring intellectual and economic power, and are well-known as sailors and traders throughout the inhabited world. They tend to live in coastal towns and small cities on their home islands, which are Terrinor's oldest centers of civilization; their ships and navigational skills, too, are by far the best on Terrinor. They possess an average aptitude for magic, but tend to distrust the magical arts.

Gargoyle

Gargoyles are bipedal omnivores with membranous wings suitable for gliding. They are somewhat short, averaging a bit less than a meter and a half (4 feet) in height, and have tough, leathery, hairless skin. Gargoyles were created as aerial warriors by kiisic mages; they are also fine masons and stone workers, producing magnificent fortresses and carvings. Loyalty, honor, and strength are greatly valued by most gargoyles, and they only fear those that would harm them. They have a natural hatred for the halaks, whom they were created to combat, and despise those who attempt to desecrate their stonework, which for them holds religious significance. Gargoyles have a below average aptitude for magic.

Gargoyles are currently unreleased.

Goblin

Goblins are a small, scrawny race of bipedal omnivores with voracious appetites. They have large, wide eyes, large mouths, and large pointed ears. Reclusive by nature, they prefer to live in loose tribes in remote areas of murky swamps, shallow caves, or dense forests. Goblins are cunning and adaptable and they tend to fear and loathe the flying races. They harbor hatred for anyone better off than they are, and are in general a bitter race. Goblins are very superstitious, and tend to be fearful of anything they do not understand. They also possess a below average aptitude for magic.

Halak

Halaks are bipedal carnivores, averaging about one and a half meters (five feet) in height. They have feather- and down-covered bodies, two strong wings, and a sharp beak. They were created as agile aerial warriors by the rowans, and have more recently earned renown as fine woodworkers. As a race, they are rather purposeless and drifting, but seek an identity and niche for their people in the absence of the wars for which they were created. Halaks hate the rowans for casting them aside after the Rowan/Kiisic Wars, and they hate the gargoyle race for the losses they sustained at their hands during the same.

Human

Humans are a large, strong race of bipedal omnivores, reaching an average height of slightly under two meters (6 ft). They tend to be social, though they lack the organization to create many large-scale governments; most human cultures remain quite barbaric and are never fully united. Most of their acts can be traced back to their pervasive self-interest; in the pursuit of their goals, individual humans range from quite resourceful to downright catatonic. Most human cultures tend to be superstitious and very fearful of the unknown. Humans possess a below average aptitude for magic.

Kiisic

The kiisic race is composed of arachnoid omnivores with four arms and four legs. They stand about 1.3 meters (four feet) high, and have chitinous black skin and four compound eyes. They thrive on independence, disorder and political intrigue; while most kiisic settlements pay lip service to feudal or republican ideals, most are in practice closer to near-total anarchy. The race's greatest fear is for anything which threatens their rational thought or sanity. They bear an intense hatred for the rowan race, dating back to the first encounters between the two species; it is likely that this antagonism can be traced to the contrast between the philosophies of these two powerful cultures.

Kiisici are currently unreleased.

Livathi

Livathi are large aquatic carnivores with six prehensile, whisker-like tentacles and long eel-like bodies, all covered in small scales. They can move about and breathe on land, but are much more at home in aquatic environments. Feared by many races, they are indeed formidable in temperament and stature. Livathi are very accomplished at art, especially creating jewelry and sculpting. Livathi are quite narcissistic and often live for the moment. They fear cold places, and some are skittish about coming out on land. Their only hatred, which is very strong, is toward the aquaepurae, their archenemies and territorial competitors. Livathi tend to have a slightly above average aptitude for magic.

Livathi are currently unreleased.

Molok

Moloks are hairless, bipedal omnivores, reaching an average height of about a meter and a half (5 ft). They are broad and muscular, with vaguely rodent-like features and a thick tail. Moloks have an extremely strong work ethic, and are quite well suited for hard manual labor. They are native to the Underworld, and see best in near-total darkness. Moloks are a fearless race, but loathe their kiisic creators; most moloks despise magic as well, and some sects adopt a bloody, fanatical breed of isolationism. They have almost no ability at all for magic.

Mysrra

Mysrrae are fur-covered, bipedal feline carnivores, displaying many colors and patterns of fur. As a race, they are slightly below average in size and in strength, but are quick and highly agile. Mysrrae tend towards egotism, and usually maintain a fierce sense of personal independence. Most mysrrae consider fervent dedication to an idealized way of living to be one of the highest virtues, though some cannot cope with the intensity of such a life. They are usually very religious, and often believe with great fervor in the moral superiority of their race; this wins them few friends among neighboring cultures, though mysrrae can prove excellent allies for those that can tolerate their ideals. They possess a slightly above average aptitude for magic.

Rowan

Rowans are photosynthetic, quadrupedal beings with a trunk-like body and five tentacle-like arms. They have thin green skin, which is quite sensitive to heat and cold, and they have poor vision. Rowans are very intelligent, and often make fine craftsmen. They fear the wrath of their enemies from the Rowan/Kiisic Wars and the final destruction of their empire, which is now in shambles after the Breaking. They also fear that magic may no longer afford them the protection they once enjoyed; as a result, many rowan societies have come to depend greatly upon slave labor. Rowans despise the kiisic race above all else, but bear a more general hatred for anyone or anything that would stand in the way of what they perceive as their perfect social order.

Rowans are currently unreleased.

Awards

Accursed Lands has won the following awards from the online MUDding community:

  • Chosen Game of the Month for December, 2006 by MudMagic.com

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  • Earned a spot in the Diceroller's Top 100 at RPGgateway.com
  • Voted "Mud of the Week" for the week of June 3, 2007 at Mu*wiki.com
RPIMUD Network's Mud of the Year - 2006 & 2007

See also

External links

References


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