The character you play in the game is called your 'persona'. You have three such personae on your account, and you can play them as differently as you please. All that is frowned upon is using one persona to collect treasure for another persona to score for, a process known as 'looby-looing' for reasons too arcane to discuss here!

Your persona has several attributes, as follows. The first two are chosen by you when you first start off a new persona:

  • name
  • sex
  • strength
  • dexterity
  • stamina
  • magic
  • points

Initially, your strength, dexterity and stamina will total 150. On average, female personae start with a strength 10 less and a dexterity and stamina 5 more than do male personae, but otherwise there is no difference between the sexes. Your points are 0 to start with, but go up as you collect treasure, as explained later. When your points total passes certain threshholds, you go up a 'level', and your strength, dexterity and stamina are incremented by 10 points until they reach 100. Although strength and dexterity are normally otherwise static, your stamina drops as you accumulate injuries, and you need to sleep or quit for a while to recover it.

Magic also starts off at 0, and remains there until you perform a certain dangerous act, that of touching an object called the 'touchstone'. This has a fair chance of wiping out your persona, but the risk reduces as your level increases. It is guaranteed to kill novices! If you touch it and survive, your magic will be set to the same as your maximum stamina, and you can then cast spells (about which more later).

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Essentially, MUD is an adventure game for several players. Hence, if you enjoy adventure games, certain elements of MUD will be familiar to you. However, because of the extra dimension of its being multi-user, it will rarely adhere to the conventions you may be used to. In particular, MUD is a role-playing game, and this may affect your relationships with certain of the most deadly creatures you will encounter - the other players. As well as friendly advances from people who talk to you as if you've known them all your life, also be prepared for a strained, even hostile approach to something even as innocuous as unsolicited communication. As in real life, some people are extroverts, yet some are shy of newcomers and take time to adjust to them. Part of the attraction of MUD is that you can never quite predict what's going to happen next, or how other players will react to what you do.

MUD's scenario is called 'The Land', and is a timeless, fantasy realm of open pastures, vast forests, tormented seas, and deep, subterranean passages. Part of the purpose of this Beginners' Companion, is to help you understand the peculiarities of The Land, and the nature of its inhabitants, so better to survive its often hazardous ways.

The overall 'objective' of the game is to become a wizard or witch - a 'wiz'. You will probably find wizzes are the least hostile of characters, since they have suffered most of the problems and inconveniences the game has to offer, and are likely to be sympathetic to the difficulties met by a newcomer. However, they will not look too kindly on continuous 'whining', and some of their replies to your questions may be very cryptic. Specific requests from a novice for information or assistance may well be answered, though, and so long as you pay attention to what is said and thank the wiz concerned afterwards, the wiz's respect for you will increase, and you may soon find that you have made a most useful friend.

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You are about to enter The Land of MUD, the Multi-User Dungeon.

This section contains the basic information you will need to play MUD, and it should be read before you commence playing the game (unlike the MUD De-Mystifier, which will help you through your first few sessions but needn't be read just yet if you are keen to start as soon as possible).

There are two main parts to the Beginners' Companion. The Overview gives information regarding a number of important topics in MUD, and if you have time then you should read it. If, however, you prefer to delve straight in, skip it and go straight to Practicalities.

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Now, what sort of help is available to you here? Well, a lot less than there should be, because it hasn't all been written yet! There are descriptions of the various support programs that make up the non-game part of the MUD system software, but they're probably not too interesting to rank amateurs. If you're a complete beginner, take a look at the Beginners' Companion for a brief explanation of how to get started in MUD. Later, the MUD De-mystifier may prove useful if you have any questions you'd like to ask, but which you are too ashamed to voice in case people think you're an idiot. In either case, before you play MUD you should read the terms and conditions first - they indicate the extent of the powers of the game owners (which, in layman's terms, are that the game's owners can do pretty well what they like!).

I won't bore you any further by telling you things you don't really want to know. Go back to the main Library page now, see what information is available, and have a pleasant browse!

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