On the cold October morning in 1989 that Mudguard first logged into The Land, he was unusually confident: confident that *everyone* was out to get him. He had been introduced to The Land by an intrepid party of adventurers who had trecked to the Adventure 89 gathering at Bletchingly. It was on a deceptively-small black-box that Mudguard scored his very first points. He inserted a Baton into an old stone sundial that was covered in ivy. As the day progressed he became enthralled at the prospect of encountering Invincible Dragons with eight hundred stamina points, and infamous backstabs conducted in a perilous Dwarfen Realm. He heard of a mysterious sword that was defended by a menagerie of magical guardians. He was hooked.

His first tentative steps in The Land took him to the "Admiral Bombow" inn. It was here he read that the land had once been a "merry" place, but was no longer. It was also there that he met a generous friend; Bupu the swordswoman. She took him to a deep underground library and he discovered that a great shadow had hung over the land until it was banished by Faramir the Wizard. These great historical events left a deep impression on Mudguard as he slowly emerged through experiences to the level of superhero.

Gradually, he appreciated a cause of the anarchy that saturated The Land. Always vigilant, some of the most powerful forces in The Land lurked in wait for the unwary or unprepared. They scored endless victories against countless victims, paying no heed to justice or honour. Mudguard suffered the losses of close friends Tweedle, Rosewood, and Pugsley. He resolved to make a vow of pacifism, intending to explore The Land unmolested. Alas, it was only a brief moment before he scored too many points and was plunged to the hapless level of necromancer.

Many months past, and Mudguard began to learn the ways of the Land. In those days the killers had different names. Typhoid and Squeaky were two who often assailed him. On rare occasions an experienced killer would pay the Land a visit and test Mudguard's abilities. One such was "Buried the mage" who left a deep impression on Mudguard (when Mudguard managed to snoop him). Buried would type in incredible strings of commands with commas between them, and leap from one end of the land to the other with a kill command at the end. Mudguard resolved it was time to make a *proper* map. One which was complete.

There were many adventures more on Mudguard's first trip to wizdom, he was once caught in a closed tomb by Seaslug the mage. Only by dint of good luck did he survive. In August 1990 he gained his goal and first learnt the true secrets of the Land.

Many happy days followed. But one day the Land had to leave the BT VAX where it lived at that time. For many years Mudguard had no Land to play on, and reverted to his old hobby and became a chess master.

Years later, an old and ancient Dragon settled down in "Drachen Fels" and found a new home for the Land. Here Mudguard was welcomed immediately as a wizard - an honour which he did his best to repay. As Mudguard revisited the Land and became familiar once more with its mysteries, he found the knowledge to bring new creatures and puzzles into being. These challenges would reveal new heroes in the mortals at that time, and showed who were capable of really discovering new secrets for themselves. When the ancient Dragon finally came to the end of his time, Mudguard left the Land once more and concentrated on other tasks, like the magnificent dwarf city of Tourever where his D&D (TM TSR
ltd) players would adventure.

It seemed as though the Land had left for good.. but one day in March 97, out of the blue, Mudguard heard once more that the Land had returned. Far out in Canada - where Mudguard had recently gone skiing, a group of players had joined a new leader under the name of Viktor - to Live and Die in the Land once more.

With a new name of Hakuman - the "H" is silent - Mudguard quietly slipped back into the Land he loved. He hoped his new identity would fool some of his old adversaries long enough to let him get up a few levels.

He soon found many new friends who proved loyal comrades in the fight against the evil killers in the Land. Cat and Jillithe were reliable comrades who would always help when Hakuman was in a tight spot. Although the Land was subtley different since he had last seen it - all of the familiar creatures (like the fearsome skeleton1!) were still there to do battle with. Many other friends like Mithriel and Belgarath were around to help each other at that time - and many progressed to the high reaches of magedom.

Hakuman rose quickly through the levels and started regularly to meet opponents to challenge him. Notable among his adveraries was Prophet the warlock, who was always prepared to do battle with Hakuman no matter how well-equipped he was.

One day Hakuman received the "Player of the Month" award. Soon after he was fleeing the banshee in the swamp on 1 stamina, and was lucky to survive. On other occasions he found that the Dragon was hungry for more delicate comestibles than his usual fare (like Hakuman). It seemed that being Player of the Month was not without a certain element of danger.

Near the end - Hakuman lost tricky fights against Prophet and Sassenach, and wondered if he would ever reach wisdom again.. until he finally cast aside his doubts. In a final charge he slew the Dragon once more, and plundered the ancient druidic chamber. He sought the fabled woodnymph of the Land - and was bestowed the gift which led him to the Land's most valuable treasure. Finally in a last dash to the line - he crossed the magic total to take him once more to Wizard - defying the curse. He once more revealed his true identity - "Mudguard the Wizard". It had taken a month of nerve-racking tension and he was proud to have survived against such fearless opposition.

Mudguard is now aged 32, and lives in Dorking in Surrey. He aspires once more to be a true servant of the Land. He respects those who show courage and also wisdom. Those who explore the hidden depths of the Land will find secrets that help to keep them alive. Always learn - and remember the words of the ancients: "Fas est et ab hoste doceri"