Realm of Utopian Dreams
My character - Keeneye
A portrait of Keeneye
Zmud - the MUD program extraordinare
What is a MUD?
Basically the term MUD is used as the short description for Multi-User Dungeon. Most muds today are combat based muds where players play in real time (as opposed to turn based games where you can take the time to think of what your next step is) in order to try to improve their character's abilities and skills and become either one of the heroes of that realm or if they are a really good player, an Immortal in a particular MUD realm. The advantage to being a Immortal, as the name suggests, is that your character can never die and you have the option to create your own areas in the mud itself.
Much like the old text style Zork games from Infocom, you will see a series of text files where a room is described in rich detail with listings of any and all visible items that might be located in the room with you as well as any obvious exits are listed from within the room itself (but some hidden ones might not be listed so read the text carefully of the room that you are currently in if you have not been there before), and what creatures, if any, are waiting with their mouths salivating to start chewing on your leg or your arm or whatever they can get their greedy little hands on ("Yummy! Yummy! Fresh Meat", said the monster..hehe ). The only difference between mudding and turn based games like dungeons and dragons is that this is all done in real time meaning that if you do absolutely nothing at all, the monsters will keep on pounding on you until you die or until you flee from having taken too much damage. Your character will also get hungry and thirsty as time goes by and you gain experience and better weapons and armor as you defeat the monsters of the realm.
If you have
ever played Dungeons and Dragons with your friends or have played any role-playing
computer games like Ultima or Dungeon Master, then
you will feel right at home. Of course not all muds are based on Dungeons
and Dragons. There are MUDS based upon the worlds of Star Trek, Doctor
Who, Blade Runner and so on. The only restriction to a MUD is the imagination
of its creators but most MUDS as of this writing are of the D&D
Realm of Utopian Dreams
Anyway, Realm of Utopian Dreams -Formerly Land of the Lost Unicorn ( LUN for short) is a completely different kettle of fish all together. First off, the people that are on it were ever so patient with my constant barrage of questions and more than once, they would help my character get out of situations in the MUD that he would not have been able to get out of otherwise on his own. More than once, my character was saved because of the kindness of others and if you are just getting started into mudding like I was, I highly recommend that you try playing here first.
In addition to all the assistance that I have received when I started, I have also enjoyed watching my character, Keeneye, become more powerful in his quest to improve both himself and the fictional world around him. Often I would join up with other characters in a group to go out and conquer monsters that each of us alone would not have been able to do otherwise. It is fun to watch as we turn the tables on some of the monsters that we would not be able to face alone. It can get a bit frustrating at times when you invest countless hours in developing a character and then watch it come to a screeching holt when you face a monster that is above and beyond your ability to fight at that time and then hoping that someone more powerful with come along and help you out and get back the items that you might have lost otherwise without their help but such is the way of any mud in existence and you really do enjoy losing yourself for a few hours at a time, forgetting your real life and all of your day to day worries that are part of your real life and just having fun doing something that is both challenging and rewarding at the same time.
the players on LUN are willing to help you get out of a sticky situation
and that is probably one of the best things that I can say about Realm
of Utopian Dreams. More than once, someone would brave untold dangers just
to help out a fellow player like myself survive in what can be a sometimes
cruel fictional world and I know that I get a wonderful feeling when I
return the favor and help out a player that is less developed than my character.
Back when I was playing advanced D&D with my friends, we used to take about 2 to 3 hours to create a character from scratch to use when we would get tired of the same old characters that we had been using before. More often than not, we would create elaborate histories for our characters since we felt it was more fun to have a character that had a past rather than just having a character that was nothing more than a bunch of numbers on a piece of paper. The character that I have for Realm of Utopian Dreams is based on one of those characters that I created a long time ago who I originally called Darkeye. I have also mixed part of his characteristics with the Avatar from the Ultima computer role playing series from Origin Systems. I believed I tried for the name of Darkeye when I first logged onto LUN but it was already taken so I choose Keeneye instead. The Keen part of the name comes from Commander Keen, one of my favorite set of computer games from Apogee Software. Commander Keen is a child prodigy who builds a spaceship out of spare parts from around his house and uses both his intelligence and moxy to defend the universe.
about Commander Keen. Back to my discussion of my character, Keeneye. Here
is the tale of the one person that I called Keeneye:
One day, he was out on one of his usual excursions in the forest when a lean and hungry wolf chanced upon him. The wolf started to lick it's chops on having found such a tasty morsel after having gone for more than a day or two without any food. Keeneye knew right away that he was no match for the wolf and immediately began to run for his life. He was running as fast as his little legs could take him out of fear of being attacked by the wolf. In fact, he ran so fast that he got himself lost and he could hear that the wolf was slowing gaining on him. As he ran, several pieces of low tree branches and other sharp objects got into his left eye, causing him to lose sight in that eye. Because people need both eyes to gain perception in depth, he was not able to tell that he had gotten too close to a ravine in the forest and began to tumble down. He managed to grab onto a large branch as he fell that was growing out of the side of the cliff and with what little strength he had in him, managed to steady himself on that branch. Weak from his climb and from the chase given to him from the wolf, Keeneye thought he was going to die and he knew that he should have listened to his parent's warning about the dangers to him from the forest and began to cry meekly for help hoping that someone nearby might hear him and bring help to him.
The wolf arrived at the edge of the ravine but was not able to go after Keeneye since it was too steep for it to go down after Keeneye without the wolf itself possibly coming to harm. It growled at it's frustration that this meal was going to get away from him and left after a short while in the hopes of finding something else to feed it's belly. Although the wolf had left, things still did not look good for Keeneye's chances of survival.
Keeneye was lucky this day for the gods were smiling on him. On this day, a retired ranger who lived in the nearby village was passing through the same section of the woods that Keeneye was in at the time. At first, Keeneye's sobbing was hard to distinguish from the normal background noise that one hears in a forest but as he got closer to Keeneye, his ranger senses took over and lead him to the child. Much to his horror, he found that the child had fallen quite a distance into the ravine and was badly cut and bleeding all over his body. If nothing was done soon, the child would die from the loss of blood in but a few hours. He recognized the child from the monthly town meetings that were held at the village and though he and Keeneye's father did not see things the same way most of the time, it was different with Keeneye. He had a fondness for the boy because the boy reminded him of what he was like at that age.
At great personal risk, he tied a rope to a large nearby tree, testing it to make sure that it could hold his weight and used the rope so that he could lower himself as fast as he could safely down and retrieve the boy from the branch before the branch possibly gave away. After what must have seemed an eternity, he managed to reach the boy and asked him if he had the strength to hold onto his back as he would climb back up with the boy in tow and get them both back out and take him to a healer as fast as he could. Keeneye grabbed onto the man's back, holding him as tight as he could because he knew that his very life depended on it. The ranger did manage to get the boy out of the ravine, nearly slipping in the process of climbing back up and after getting them both out and bandaging him as best as he could with a torn part of his clothing, he began to run as fast as he could to take Keeneye to the town's healer, all the time while cradling Keeneye in his arms.
He managed to reach the healer after about 20 minutes of very exhaustive running and put the boy gently down on the examining table that the cleric used to examine patients that were brought to him.Despite the healer's best efforts, he was not able to heal the boy's left eye and there was a chance of the spread of infection if nothing was done quickly. Because Keeneye's family lived in the other direction from where the ranger had brought the boy to the healer, there was not enough time to consult with Keeneye's parents and given the possible threat of the infection spreading quickly to the rest of Keeneye's body, the healer was left with no choice but to remove Keeneye's left eye and thus he would need to wear a patch over it for the rest of his life. Keeneye was glad to be alive and while he did not like having to suffer the lost of his left eye, he considered it a bargain indeed for the cost of saving his own life.
When the father was finally contacted and was made aware of just what exactly had happened to his son and how the man had risked his own life to save Keeneye, he made him a honorary part of their immediate family and often Keeneye would call him his uncle when he would come to visit them. The man taught Keeneye in the ways of the forest that only a ranger could understand and Keeneye grew up to be one of the finest rangers ever in the history of the village. Always ready to lend a hand in a just cause, he resented tyrants who would oppress those less fortunate and was considered by some to be a outlaw by some for not always respecting the ruling class. (hmmm..sounds kind of familiar...maybe ROBIN HOOD? <G>
One time, a evil tyrant from one of the surrounding villages, who practiced daily torturing of his subjects if they did not obey his each and every command, was defeated with the help of Keeneye and several others. The people of the village that the tyrant ruled with his iron fist were all set to kill the tyrant without so much as even a fair trial for the tyrant when Keeneye stood up and shouted to the villagers "Stop! If you kill this man right now, you are no better than he is. I instead give a counter proposal. Banish him forever from this land and do not allow him to return unless he has given up his evil nature and evil ways and is able to demonstrate that he has changed. Should he return and fail to demonstrate that he truly has had a change of heart, then you may do to him as you see fit."
After hearing the words spoken by Keeneye and giving
much thought to those same exact words, the villagers finally decided to
accept Keeneye's proposal and allow safe passage out of the village to
the tyrant who they all so hated with a passion but just before he was
allowed to leave their land forever, Keeneye went to the tyrant alone and
spoke to him directly. "You have learned a valuable lesson today sir",
said Keeneye. "Today you have learned the lesson of mercy. Go now and never
let me see your face again in this village until such time as you can demonstrate
that you have changed your evil nature and evil ways. I believe there is
good in all of nature's creations and you are no different in that regard.
Seek to be a better person than you were before all of this occurred, and
never ever forget the lesson that you have learned this day". The
tyrant left the village forever, never to return and though he never really
changed his evil nature, he did feel strongly that he owed a large debt
of gratitude to Keeneye for speaking up for him when no one else would
and sparing his life and thus whenever he was made aware that Keeneye
was nearby, he would not trouble him any further.
I downloaded ZMUD and I was immediately impressed by the program. This program takes most of the drudgery out of playing a MUD by having the program issue commands for you automatically when certain text appears. So I no longer have to issue commands myself for my character to eat when he is hungry or drink water when he is thirsty. The program takes care of the busy work for me and allows me to concentrate on the adventuring part. It will automatically re-active a spell whenever it wears off assuming I have enough magical energy to cast that spell. You can also set aliases for long commands so that you can have the command issued with only a few keys. For example, I can just type gac and the program converts that into the command "get all corpse" so that my character can search a foe after I have beaten it in battle and take any belongings that might be useful. This ability to issue long commands with just a few keys is very important during times of battle. It evens has a auto-mapper so that you can create maps that you can use while you are playing without having to actually sit down with a pen and paper and draw them out.
It also has what is called speed walking where you just record a starting point and a ending point and the program remembers which direction you took to get there. You just save it and give it a name that makes sense to you. Often I call it the name of the place where I wind up. Then whenever I wish to go there without having to issue 8 or 9 or more directions, I use click on the name of where I want to go and it just takes me there, issuing the exact directions as though I was actually typing it myself but at a much faster speed then I could do myself. With all the wonderful features that this program has, it was only $20 to register it (currently the fee is $25) and you can even register on-line since they use a secure server. Plus the program has pre-programmed settings with several hundred muds for you to try with just a click on the mouse. You can even have the program update the mud list from within the program itself by issuing a command. The program goes to the mudconnector web site and obtains the latest list for you.
You can even ask the program to automate the log in process for you as well to each individual mud that you play on so that it enters the name that you use to log onto that particular mud and enters the password for you thus relieving you the drudgery of both entering and remembering what your login name and password is for that mud.
If you are as into mudding as I am, I highly recommend this program.