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Title screen of Accursed Lands captured by [1]

Accursed Lands, abbreviated AL, was a MUD, a text-based online role-playing game, founded in 1996 and operating until 2011.  It was an early example of the "Roleplay Intensive MUD", or RPIMUD, style of game.[1][2]

SettingEdit

The game was set in the post-apocalyptic world of Terrinor,[3] where a dark-ages level of technology predominated; the setting reflected low fantasy and gothic horror themes.  The game's history told of a cataclysmic event known as The Breaking, which took place during a war between the kiisic and rowan races.  A corruption of magic, the Black Blood, was an enduring product of this event.  Chaotic and largely uncontrollable, the Black Blood was feared by most inhabitants of Terrinor.

ConceptsEdit

In accordance with ALTemplate:'s development as an RPIMUD, the game's rules and game-mechanics placed a strong emphasis on roleplaying over powergaming.[1][2]  AL has been noted for having automated game systems in place where many other roleplaying-focused MUDs rely on human mediation.[4]

Players were allowed only one character at a time, and were expected to roleplay this character to the best of their ability.  An appropriate and expected behavior was for players to provide rewards to each other for accomplishments rather than relying on the game to do so.[4]

Game characteristicsEdit

Accursed Lands was a text-based game with a parser that tried to understand standard English. For instance, the player could type examine third man to look at the third man of a crowd. Accursed Lands used a classless system: players could practice and learn any skill they saw fit for their character.[5]  As the players practiced, their chances of success in that area increased gradually.[6]  The only way to gain proficiency in a skill was through practicing that skill.  Skill game mechanics were hidden from the player.  The player was provided with a subjective measure of his character's skill, relative to what his character would perceive as the racial averages.  This was done in order to preserve the player's immersion as well as to reduce the temptation to focus on skills above roleplaying.

When players met for the first time they did not know each other's names. To recognize each other later, they needed to find out the other's name and "name" them as such. Also, since skills build gradually with practice, it took time to become good at doing things, and some characters got better faster than others, due to their natural abilities. Most races had only two arms, and could therefore only hold two items at once, though wearing items such as backpacks or pants that have pockets allowed them to carry more items. The more weight a person was carrying, the slower they moved; a greater burden meant they had a more difficult time completing certain actions.

Movement was affected by the type of terrain a character was traveling through; each terrain had its own creatures, and some items could only be found in certain land types. A player's altitude and the height of things around them affected their field of vision, and different land types have different smells and sounds associated with them.

Accursed Lands provided two ways of looking at the player's surroundings: the wilderness view and the room view. The room view displayed a description of the room and any people or items that happened to be present. This was the default view while in a town or other location of interest. The wilderness view was an ASCII representation of the surrounding area and land types, as well as any locations of interest that are within view.  Both views were dynamic: the viewer's capabilities and other factors, such as the level of ambient light, caused the view to be displayed differently to different viewers.

The Accursed Lands world contained over six million ground level rooms, as well as rooms above ground level (in the air or in trees), below ground level (underwater), and in an underworld (cave system) that constantly grew, due to the ability of players to dig their own tunnels.  Most of these rooms were generated automatically by ALTemplate:'s wilderness server.

ALTemplate:'s wilderness rooms differed according to the type of terrain they represented.  They ranged from open desert and plains to thick forests and large mountains.  Each type had its own properties, items, native animals, sounds and smells. All terrain types affected the viewer's field of vision and speed of movement, some provided food or drink, and others shielded players from the sun or provided fire making materials.

When players entered a location of interest, such as a settlement, the game switched to local room descriptions for easier exploration. These locations usually provided things like houses, NPCs, libraries in which to study, shops to purchase or sell goods at, shops to rent so players can sell goods they find or craft, and resources to use in crafting.

Game economyEdit

The game economy was player-focused. Players could craft items such as weapons, armor, musical instruments and decorative items. These could be sold in towns or traded with other players. Economic skills such as hunting, gathering and logging could be used to earn money. However, money is not a necessity, as food and drink could be found in the wilderness.

Peer ratingsEdit

AL featured a peer rating system, which allowed players to rate others as either "good" or "bad" in two categories: their In Character (IC) contributions via their role-playing, and their Out Of Character (OOC) contributions on the game forums, via the chat communication channel, and by aiding new players. Every bad rating was accompanied by a suggested topic from the MUD's documentation, which was expected to indicate to the player how he or she can better contribute to the AL world.  As a number of races were difficult for new players to play well, a positive peer rating was required to create characters of these races.  This system was intended to promote a high quality of role playing and OOC interaction.

RacesEdit

The world of Terrinor was populated by seven playable races:

  • Aquaepurae were bipedal omnivores capable of living on both land and in water.
    * Bramen were slim, bipedal herbivores with hairless bodies and large floppy ears, reaching a height of about two meters.
    * Goblins were a small, scrawny race of bipedal omnivores with voracious appetites.
    * Halaks were bipedal carnivores, averaging about one and a half meters in height. They had feather- and down-covered bodies, two strong wings, and a sharp beak.
    * Humans wee a large, strong race of bipedal omnivores, reaching an average height of slightly under two meters. They tended to be social, though they lack the organization to create many large-scale governments; most human cultures remained quite barbaric and are never fully united.
    * Moloks were hairless, bipedal omnivores, reaching an average height of about a meter and a half. They were broad and muscular, with vaguely rodent-like features and a thick tail.
    * Mysrrae were fur-covered, bipedal feline carnivores, displaying many colors and patterns of fur.

Technical infrastructureEdit

Accursed Lands ran on the MudOS game driver and used a highly modified Lima Mudlib.  Its code was derived from that of DartMUD, where its founders had been developers.[7]

ReceptionEdit

File:Rpimud shield.jpeg

Accursed Lands was voted the RPIMUD Network's MUD of the Year for 2006.  This became the subject of some controversy, as the committee that operated the RPIMUD Network after the departure of its founder Wade Gustafson attempted to revoke the award.[8]

ShutdownEdit

Accursed Lands went offline in June of 2011 due to hardware failure leading to data loss, and lost its hosting provider.  Backups were recovered, but staff indicated that there were no plans to reinstate the MUD, citing a lack of volunteer support.[9]The game has been passed onto a new hosting provider and is still running. The new address for the game is https://mud.accursed-lands.com, so go on in and enjoy the game.

ReferencesEdit

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  8. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named gustafson
  9. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named al-offline

External linksEdit

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