Sword & Pen MUD now has a new name, a new website, and a new codebase. I have decided to branch Sword & Pen MUD off, with a stand-alone website. This frees me to write about a wider variety of subjects here on Sword & Pen blog. The new MUD, called Undeath MUD, is built on the Dawn of Time codebase. The website can be found at sites.google.com/site/undeathrpg/home. To play, log on to 188.8.131.52:4000.
Undeath MUD is a roleplay enforced MUD with a dark fantasy theme. At the moment, it is still using stock areas, but I plan on replacing all of them. The story will revolve around a world racked by war, and a terrible curse, causing the once mighty civilization of Tullin to be overrun with demons and the walking dead. Now, boats of refugees have fled east, to the wild and untamed wilderness on the great western isle of Evendye, to try to rebuild, and make a home for themselves here in this harsh and beautiful land, all while the threat of the death plagues and demon swarms yet looms, just over the sea.
I will probably be redoing the class and race selections available for starting players, and use a tiered class system, with 5 remort tiers, each unlocking more classes and races. I need to figure out the quest system in this codebase, and see if I can build quests using the OLC. I would like to make this a quest heavy MUD, as well as a MUD that uses lots of mudprogs.
Progress is continuing nicely on the next version of Sword & Pen MUD. This time I am taking my time with it, instead of rushing to open an inferior MUD. I have been spending some time playing a couple of roleplaying enforced MUDs to help me get a feel for what it will take to run my own MUD with more of an emphasis on roleplaying. I still have not decided if I am actually going to go as far as to enforce roleplaying, but I am strongly considering it. At the very least, I am going to take some very strong steps to encourage and enable roleplaying. This includes things like building a world with a well thought out background story that players can use to craft unique and interesting characters, with strong hooks for roleplaying. I am also taking a look at Armageddon MUD‘s idea of permanent death. It has always been hard for me to reconcile the idea of infinite, and easy resurrections in a serious roleplaying environment. This is something that always seems to challenge my suspension of disbelief. I want to make death in this world be a traumatic experience, that is to be avoided at all costs. If we don’t have permanent death, I will have to look at other ways to achieve this.
I always liked when I played Ultima Online, how when you died, you turn into a ghost, and have to find a healer to resurrect you, before you could go try to retrieve your corpse. With the codebase that Sword & Pen MUD is based on, this would be as simple as changing a setting in the MUD’s .ini file. Still, would this do anything to help make Sword & Pen MUD a more interesting roleplaying environment? What if resurrection services were only available from other players? Then you would have to have at least some interaction with other players if you ever need to be resd. On the down side, this could turn into a huge pain in the ass if you die, and no one is around to res you. How could this system be used, in conjunction with maybe some other ideas I haven’t thought of yet, to help me meet my goals of creating a roleplaying environment that is fun, unique, interesting, and challenging?
Part of my problem at the moment is that some of my goals for this MUD sometimes conflict with each other. I have to make choices, and each choice involves some kind of sacrifice. I really wish I had someone else around, helping me with this project, not because of the workload, although help with that would be nice too, but more because I feel like I need some one just to be a sounding board to bounce ideas off of and get feedback and alternative viewpoints that I wouldn’t think of myself. Posting questions on the various MUD forums I frequent isn’t often as helpful as I would hope in this regard. If there is one revelation that is now finally sinking in, more than a year after first setting out to create my own MUD, it’s that any advice I get on the MUD forums must be taken with a grain of salt.
Up until now, I have avoided asking anyone for any help. There are always people on the boards looking for builders and coders, and I have read the kinds of responses they get, and justifiably so. No good coder or builder wants to get involved with another MUD that, in all likelihood, will just disappear overnight, especially when these days it is so easy for anyone without a lick of skill or talent can start up their own MUD. With this in mind, I have been very reluctant to ask for help, until I have a good bit of work to show for myself. Working by myself is lonely though, and for all the reasons I have stated above, I am getting closer to the point where I will be reaching out, both to the MUD community, and, perhaps even more, outside the MUD community for help on this MUD. I think I need to do things differently though. I can’t go out there with the same lame ass offer of yer another fly by night MUD look for builders to come rescue me from all this work I have to do by myself. No, there has to be a better way.
First, I am not going to pretend like I can guarantee the success of my own MUD. In the past year, I have started MUD projects with nearly half a dozen different MUD codebases, abandoned them, and then came back to the same codebases later, sometimes starting completely over from scratch. This may seem like one big huge waste of time, but I have actually learned allot, and have had allot of fun in the process. I now have a much better idea of what I want my MUD to be like. I have an understanding of the different types of codebases available, and their various pros and cons. I have learned a lot about building, and a fair amount about coding. I am now at the point to were I can develop this project to the next level, whatever that may be.
That being said, there is still no guarantee that this MUD will be successful, whatever that means, anytime soon. It probably won’t be. This is just another project to learn and have fun with. So why should anybody be interested in helping me? Well, that’s really up to you, but for starters, anyone who builds areas, contributes codes, or helps me with this project in any way will own all of their own work, and if this doesn’t work out, you will still have all of your files you can take to any other MUD, especially other coffeeMUDs, and they would be glad to have you. You could easily take any work you do with me, and use it to start your own MUD. Hell, in addition to work you do, I will even give you copies of my own files. Go nuts! Second, I am not looking to be your boss. I want to be your collaborator. I really just want someone, or even better, a few someones, that are interested in the same things I am, to come over to Sword & Pen, hang out on the MUD, chat it up, and come up with cool ideas. Yes, I do have standards for what will go into the public areas on the MUD, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work on any kind of areas you want, at your own pace, and if it happens to be a good fit for the MUD, great! All the better.
Anyway, I am not quite ready to take my pitch to the MUD forums yet, but I am getting close. I still want to have more to show for myself, and I still want to refine my offer in such a way as it might actually interest someone to come an join the team. In the meantime, leave your thoughts and comments.
- Sword & Pen MUD is Moving (swordnpen.wordpress.com)
- Proposed Changes to Sword & Pen MUD (swordnpen.wordpress.com)
- Work Continues On Sword & Pen MUD (swordnpen.wordpress.com)
- MUD Connector Owner Stepping Down (swordnpen.wordpress.com)
- Sword & Pen MUD Launches This Week (swordnpen.wordpress.com)
- WTF is RP Anyway? (thehumanfloyd.wordpress.com)
- [Not The Singularity] Six GMless Roleplaying Games by jim pinto (Post World Games) (notthesingularity.com)
- Writer’s Tips for Roleplaying (mindseyegeek.wordpress.com)
- The Bio Template (momolastair.wordpress.com)
- Table Top Roleplaying Games as Literature (ianeller.com)
As you may know, sword and pen mud hasn’t been very accessible lately. I posted a notice on Top MUD Sites describing the problems. I haven’t had much time to mess with the MUD lately, because I have been busy working on some freelance web design work that has fortunately come my way lately. However, I did manage to get a copy of CoffeeMUD up and running on my VPS. I will soon be moving Sword & Pen MUD to this new host. This will provide a faster and more stable connection than is currently possible with our current host, which is just a copy of the MUD running on my friend’s server at his house. While I am very grateful he provided me the use of his hardware, and internet connection, the time has come to move to a bit more reliable set-up.
With this move, changes will be coming to Sword & Pen MUD. These changes will take me some time to implement, so it may be a little longer than I would like before Sword & Pen MUD is fully back online, but I can assure you, it will be well worth the wait. First, Sword & Pen MUD has been upgraded to a newer, more stable version of the CoffeeMUD codebase. Also, you will find that the stock world is now gone, and I am currently building new areas to replace it. As previously discussed on this blog, nights will no longer cause room darkness, and players will no longer be affected by hunger and thirst. Food and drink will now exist only for roleplaying purposes, and as healing items. I am also enabling the player introduction system in order to encourage roleplaying. Players will now have to introduce themselves to each other by name before they can see each others names.
Sword & Pen MUD is really more of an experiment in building and running a MUD, rather than a serious MUD right now, but I hope this project will continue to grow and evolve into something myself and others can enjoy, and something we can all be proud of. If you have any additional tips or ideas that can help me out, share your thoughts in a comment!
The problem with area links on Sword & Pen MUD seems to be fixed. Now I have to stop being lazy, and get to work on some new areas. Also, while I have been testing out the MUD, I have been pondering some changes. First, I would like to add a simple tier system to the MUD. The way this would work is that all new characters would start at tier zero. Any time after reaching level 91, a player may contact an Archon to retire their character. When that player creates a new character, that character would be at tier one. Any unspent quest points from their previous character would be transferred to the new character, and tier one characters would start the game with one extra training point. If a tier one character is retired, a tier two character can be created, with two extra training points, and so on. Retired characters would be moved to a special account, and the player would no longer have access to that character, except for special events. The tier system could be used in conjunction with the remort system I already have in place to create characters that are both tiered and remorted. See HELP REMORT in the MUD for more details on my remort system.
In addition to the tier system, I am also considering changing the lighting rules. In most outdoor rooms, especially in populated areas where streets would be lit, time of day would no longer cause total room darkness. In Sword & Pen MUD, there are four moons, and plenty of moonlight, so darkness shouldn’t be a problem in outdoor areas, except perhaps on exceptionally cloudy nights.
I am also looking at hunger and thirst. I feel that our current hunger and thirst messages are a bit spammy, and don’t really add anything to the game. I am considering disabling hunger and thirst entirely, and making food and drink only for roleplaying purposes, and perhaps make it possible to create food and drink items that provide healing and other effects.
I would love to hear some thoughts about these proposed changes. Leave a comment, and let me know what you think.
- TorilMUD offers a Web Client (tagn.wordpress.com)
- Work Continues On Sword & Pen MUD (swordnpen.wordpress.com)
- Aardwolf and MUSHclient (swordnpen.wordpress.com)
- Sword & Pen MUD Launches This Week (swordnpen.wordpress.com)
- Free for All: Interviewing Achaea’s Matt Mihaly for MUD May (massively.joystiq.com)