What is a MUD?

A MUD is essentially a text-based online role-playing game. They are generally based off of the concepts and ideas of Dungeons and Dragons and include a lot of the same feel, but they need not have the same theme. There are fantasy MUDs with dragons, knights and the whole deal but it goes a good deal further than that. There are MUDs based off of Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, real life cities and pretty much anything you can think of. You can look at the bottom of this document for links of sites that list MUDs, in which people vote on which MUDs they like so you can get a basic idea on quality. There are descriptions of the MUD so you can get into something you will enjoy. There are also different styles of MUDs. There are combat MUDs where your whole goal is to kill mobs (or mobiles, basically the bad guys, monsters, if you will), gain experience, train statistics and levels then get new equipment. This guide will mostly be focused on the combat type MUDs as they are what I am most familiar with. Then there are MUDs all about role-playing and submersing yourself into a different world. There are also MUDs where you can create a shop and just sell goods and services to people. This guide will mostly be focused on the combat type MUDs as they are what I am most familiar with.

To connect to a mud you will need to use a telnet client or a specific MUD client. The simplest way to get started is to go to your ‘Start’ menu, click ‘Run’ then type ‘telnet’ and hit enter. You will be given a black box with a blinking cursor. From there you will type ‘open ’ then hit enter. An example to connect to my favorite mud would be ‘open rotjmud.com 9400’. You will come up with a screen with directions; follow the directions and you should be good to go. Once you get in the MUD if you cannot see anything you are typing do this. Hold CTRL then hit ]. Type ‘set localecho’ if you are using Windows XP or if you are using 2000 or earlier type ‘set local_echo’. Then hit enter twice, this should fix that problem. As you get more advanced you may want to have a client that was made specifically for MUDs. The client I personally use is called zMud, but there are many other ones out there and there are even some free ones. A little time on Google can give you some good results. These other clients will give you the various features such as databases, triggers, tick timers and ways to map keys to do certain commands. A trigger is a basic if then statement: When a certain line of text is outputted by the mud, your computer will automatically give a command. An example would be if ‘You are hungry’ showed up it would enter ‘eat bread’ for me, making my life easier.

The absolute first thing to do when starting a new MUD is to try the help files. Generally a command such as help or just a simple “?” will give you a listing of help files. (Throughout the rest of this guide commands that you enter will be in italics and words you must plug-in will look like this ) Then after you have a list of help files you would enter the command help or ? . The first help file you should read is the one that pertains to new players. This will get you started on how to talk to people and how to get around. If you have a question about something first check the help files; if you can’t see a file in the list that seems useful, just try guessing on it. If I wanted to know about the combat system I would type help combat. If that didn’t get me anything I would try help fighting, and keep trying different things until I came up with a screen that gave me something I wanted. If you cannot figure it out simply ask someone; people are generally very helpful and will give you a hand, but I really stress figuring it out on your own because you will gain the skills in doing so older players will find it irritating to answer questions that are obviously answered in the help files. The commands in a mud are generally very simple. Movement commands are normally north, south, east, west, up and down. Sometimes that can be expanded to NE, NW, SE and SW also. Commands can generally be abbreviated so you could just type N, S, E, W, U or D for the movement commands. Try abbreviating things as you go; it can make things a lot easier. Every command should be followed up with hitting enter to send the command to the MUD. To look around a room you would use the look command and see what is around you. Kill is generally a pretty self explanatory command; normally the zones you start out in are very safe but still be careful when first starting in an area; you don’t know what might be around you. The command is utilized as such: kill . If the command doesn’t make sense alone to you then it probably won’t make sense alone to the mud. If you type kill with nothing else behind it, it won’t do anything. It doesn’t know who you are trying to kill. Then there are commands such as flee, if someone said flee to you, you would know to run. The MUD also knows you mean to run so there is nothing else that it needs to know. Flee will usually make you run from combat if you have second thoughts about the mob you are attacking. MUDs are supposed to be a very social game so there are also commands to talk. Say talks to people in the same room as you, and yell will talk to people in either the whole zone or sometimes the whole mud. There are hundreds of commands you can give a MUD, and I cannot begin to cover them all because they will probably be different for each MUD you might play. So for a full list of useful commands for your MUD take a look at the help file. When you type the command “look” you will get a room name at the top and then a longer description of the room. After the description you will have a list of items lying on the ground, a list of mobs in the room and a list of exits. Try typing take or get and see if you can pick up any of the items on the ground. They may be useful to you. Another important thing is that in some MUDs you cannot simply quit. Type help quit to find out. In some MUDs you must leave in a certain area or else all of the items you have will drop to the ground and will be gone forever. (You don’t want that, do you?)

In a MUD you have hitpoints (health), mana (energy to cast spells) and movement points. These will run out as you get hit, cast spells, and move around and they must be regenerated. Some MUDs work on a tick system where everything so many seconds you get a tick which regenerates some of your stats. A lot of the time you will get a better tick if you are sleeping while the tick happens. This is where the tick timer comes into play from the MUD clients’ section. You can set it up to count down until the tick so you know exactly when it will happen. That is really more advanced knowledge and you can find guides to doing that when you get to that point. For now, if you get low on health type sleep and wait until you are back to full health. then start fighting again.

The other type of MUD is one that when you are sleeping you are continually gaining back stats. Combat is done in turns. You will attack a mob then get to attack it then. Then he will attack, and then you will attack. This cycle will repeat until one of you is dead. If you have spells or special abilities that can be used in combat they can be used in between rounds of combat. Normally you can only use one ability per round, so if you are running low on health and you have a combat healing spell by all means use that first. Your survival should come first.

There are a few main types of characters you can create in a MUD. There are physical damage dealers (rogues or bounty hunters), magical damage dealers (Mages, Wizards or Sith), healers (medics, clergy, or Jedi) and tanks (Warrior or Mercenary). Generally the damage dealers, especially the magical ones, are looked at as glass cannons. You die very easily as one but you do the most damage in the game. They are normally a harder class to start out with. Healers have mediocre damage and have average hitpoints but they have the advantage of being able to heal. These are all good classes to start with. The healing factor can make mistakes easier to get over but in some games they [healers] do very low damage and are more of a grouping class. Then the “tanks” have the most hitpoints and armor. They are the hardest to kill but they do average damage in the game. These are typically good classes to start out with because you will have the easiest time when you accidentally attack a mob you shouldn’t have. More hitpoints will give you more time to flee out of combat or figure out a plan. I am happy to say none of the classes in my favorite MUD, Revenge of the Jedi, are really horrible classes to start out with. There are the Bounty Hunters, Mercenaries, Technicians, Siths, Jedi and Smugglers. The hardest for a first time player would be a Sith, then the easiest to pick up are the Mercenaries and Jedi. This is not to say Mercenaries and Jedi are bad players. They are just easier classes to start out with because you have less to juggle in the beginning and you either have high hitpoints or have the ability to heal yourself.

Races can also play a role in the game. When you start your character often you will be asked to choose a race. Use the help files to figure out which race is right for you. Some races will get bonuses to different stats or classes. This will change on every MUD you play so make sure to check the help files. If you absolutely cannot decide on our MUD just choose a human. You cannot go wrong with that; they are the most balanced race usually and will do fine doing anything.

There are statistics (stats, for short) in MUDs you have to pay attention to also. Some games will allow you to put points into various stats yourself when you start and in other MUDs you will be given random stats when you start. Don’t worry too much about what you are doing at first. If you make a mistake you can always go back and remake your character later. When I start a new MUD I like to create a character I think I want to play, select stats that seem fitting for the character, and then play for a bit. I usually find out I should’ve put stats into a different place so I delete my character then try again. It won’t hurt you to try a few times and it is better to do it now instead of waiting until later in the game. If there is something severely wrong with your build you will notice it in a few hours and you can just redo it. No harm done at all. On our MUD, constitution will give you better regeneration and more starting hitpoints. Intelligence and wisdom will give you better spell casting, quicker learning times, cheaper spells and more mana. Dexterity will help your physical attacks and help you avoid attacks. Quickness will give you more attacks per round. Strength will give you harder hand to hand and melee attacks, and will let you pick more stuff up. Finally, charisma will help you get more when selling items to vendors, as well as avoid being aggressively attacked by monsters. More specific uses for each stat should be found out through your specific MUDs help file. They can change for each MUD in their specific functions, so make sure to check what they affect. As you kill mobs you will gain experience from killing them. In some games the experience will be spent for you automatically on levels, so there is no need to worry. But on many other MUDs, including the MUD I play, you must spend the experience yourself. You will be able to spend your experience on levels to gain new skills, on getting better stats or on your weapon skills. Naturally there are better orders to do things in, but that depends on both the player and the class. In reality it really doesn’t matter which order you go in. It cannot hurt you if you spend it in the wrong place so when in doubt just do what you THINK is right. If you don’t notice anything different then you should try something else. But that experience was not wasted. You will have to train up everything eventually. It is simply that some uses of experience will help more in the immediate future, and some you will need further down the road.

A MUD is about having fun with people online. Try to be friendly to people and they will be friendly to you. It is a social experience so start talking with everyone and get involved. This way not only do you get to meet new people and have a good time but so that when the time comes that you need help with something, you’ll have people you know that will help you. You won’t be shouting into the wind asking for any person to help you. If you are a jerk on the MUD no one will help you; it is our way at getting back at people who are mean for no reason. So just have a good time with it all. And if you get really irritated with someone follow this rule that I happily stole from the help files of ROTJ. “If all else fails, I am reminded of a rule from another mud I’ve played…eat some ice cream, calm down, chill out…and then plot your revenge. 🙂 Happy hunting. :)”


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