Kyrandia was programmed by Scott Brinker and Richard Skurnick in March–June 1988, and is based on the multi-player interactive game concepts originated by Tim Stryker in games such as Fazuul and Quest for Magic.
The game is set in a classic fantasy world of magic and dragons. The player is tasked with becoming the "Arch-Mage of Legends", a goal achieved by exploring the environment, interacting with it and with other players, and casting spells to increase the player's level and abilities.
Kyrandia uses a command line interface and command set similar to those seen in MUDs and in games like Zork. Items can be carried, manipulated and dropped, and players can interact with other players logged into the game.
The game begins with the player standing beside a mystical willow tree, on a road winding through the forest. Following the road leads to a small village located centrally in the main game map. Surrounding this area are approximately 150 forest locations forming a rectangular shape. Many of these locations are indistinct, offering no identifying factors at all. Other locations do provide some landmarks, including a fountain, waterfalls, caves and clearings.
Navigating the forest is tricky due to the similarity between locations. This is complicated by the fact that movement out of the rectangular forest boundary causes the player to be moved to a random located within the forest. Playing without a map is not advised.
Objects can be located within the game, mostly gemstones. The types of stone, in ascending order of value as allocated by the game, are the garnet, pearl, aquamarine, amethyst, opal, sapphire, bloodstone, ruby, emerald, onyx, diamond and moonstone. These may be sold to the gem cutter in the village for gold, and are needed to solve several of the level progressions within the game.
As further progress is made, the player travels to a golden forest, and finally to a castle inside which a vicious dragon resides. The game is completed within this final area by entering a series of commands inside castle locations, allowing the player to become Arch-Mage.
- Discussion of how Kyrandia appears to have inspired elements of The Legend of Kyrandia
- Rick Gush, designer of The Legend of Kyrandia, comments on the connection between the names of the two games
- Information and the Elwynor BBS
- Kyrandia maps and walkthrough
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