Here is your fifth edition of the Abermud Announcements. Many things occurred since the last edition, some were good, some were bad, and some were ugly. There were lessons to be learned as well, such as going after the person or persons that you know or think caused your pain may result in greater pain and not a cure. Another lesson: there is more than one side to a story. And the other lesson: NEVER, EVER trust someone who shouts "He didn't do nothin', there's ain't a shred of evidence, he's the greatest president that ever presidented!" Every time I hear that I want to reach out and clobber the idiot.

Starting off with the good...

Northern Lights celebrated its 6th anniversary on Saturday June 6th by opening a new quest called Watertower, which is based on the Animaniacs cartoon series. A day long party kicked off with a reflection from Vitastjern, who received a massive WWW greeting card at Then some surprise promotions and retirements were made, and weddings were performed in wild ceremonies. Also many assorted changes and additions to commands were put in.

The size game has gotten interesting of late. Right now, the top three contenders for the largest mud are Asylum (currently down), Black Star, and now out of nowhere comes Delusion! A point was made by some wizard saying something like "Size does not make the mud, the players make the mud." Well, if the players make the mud, then the number of Abermuds would number about 5 to 10, which isn't good numbers considering the number of people who play dikus are far greater. For a mud by mud comparison, here are the numbers:

Mud Name












Black Star


















Illusionary Realms II












Northern Lights
























Analysis: Being the biggest hasn't always translated into popularity. Asylum started out as a mid-sized mud, but it grew to a large sized mud, thanks to its sizable staff whom were able to put in new zones at a consistent pace. Black Star and Delusion started out pretty large, but do not as yet have a great following. Even though Black Star and Delusion's zone count is smaller, the number of rooms per zone is much greater. Camelot is the smallest mud around now, but only myself and another has run to wizard on that one. Illusionary Realms is considered the most popular small mud, which is interesting since does not change or expand much. Northern Lights and Phoenix certainly are certainly mid-sized and are in the top three for popularity. It should also be noted, the most popular muds have been open for four or more years (for Phoenix counting the years before the split when it was called Piglet and Vortex). Black Star and Delusion have only been around less than two years. The stats here include all things that are not accessible by mortals--a.k.a. wizonly stuff. The quest count on some of these muds could easily be a lot more, if only the muds counted certain areas as quests as do some other muds.

Asylum makes big news again, good and bad, the bad being below, but here's the good: A new kind of tournament will be introduced to the mud, which is something like a paint-ball war involving two teams that will be called Campaign, based on the Siege quest. This tourney area will be open for anyone, anytime. New quests added will be Gnome, EarthGod, Vortex, and Masquerade. A so-called AI mobile will be introduced that's practically a hint machine, certainly the wizards of the mud won't have to worry about being asked about quests they don't know about. Certain places will face invasions by seasonal maraders. And finally, last time I talked about XClient, which provides a graphical view of the mud you're playing, well Asylum will have such a multi-windowed client for its mud. Alas, it will not be compatible with any other mud--the source code won't be released for tinkering methinks. More extensive information can be read at

One Abermud is now a comic book! LexMorgan has created a comic called Land of Phoenix based on some of the characters and quests of Phoenix. Land of Phoenix will be distributed under the Marky Comics title and a public viewing and selling will occur at:

    The Canadian Comics Showcase
    Radisson East Don Valley
    1250 Eglington Ave East, in Toronto, Ontario CANADA
    November 6 - 8, 1998

The comic got a review from Paul Dale Roberts of Finding the review itself was too tough for me so this was sent it by LM himself (prices shown are most likely in CANADIAN dollars):

Marky Comics Overviews
Name: The Land of Phoenix #1     Price:  $1.75
Name: Marky Comics Alternate Lex and Rex #6     Price:  $2.00
Name: Jagger No. 1/2   Price:  25 cents
Publisher: Marky Comics
Written and Drawn by: Mark Cardosa
Overviewed by: Paul Dale Roberts

Comments on The Land of Phoenix #1: Mark Cardosa makes this comment: "Welcome to the first issue of the Land of Phoenix mini-comic book series based on the mud game entitled Phoenix, which is established by Taras and Talan. The series revolves around a young boy named Elric, who quests the Land of Phoenix in search for the path to immortality. Elric is not a current runner or mobile on Phoenix, but the other characters and warriors in the book are. Even though the quests from the book are taken from the Phoenix. This book is in no way a means to tell you how to do the quests in the game". In this story, the interactions between the characters are quite dramatic and the interplaying roles are done well. Like in horror movies and something scary is about to happen, the same thing is here when the Fire Demon makes his appearance. A surprising turn of events as Lex Morgan from the Marky Comics Universe is part of the realm of the Phoenix. Lots of twists and turns in the story with surprises around each corner. Cool map is given of The Lands of Phoenix in the back of the comic book. Great fantasy fun and you can actually become part of the story, check it out and see what I'm talking about.

Comments on Marky Comics Lex and Rex #6: Mature themed story with some adult language and nudity. The story starts off with a chaotic situation that is happening in the city and Terry Ann Stone is reporting it live on the news. The Full-Figured Feminists are causing all this havoc and they are out for the throats of Lex and Rex. These women are big, I mean really big! Lex and Cammi have a fling in this issue..or do they? Very funny issue, that will have you laughing until you get a nose bleed!

Comments on Jagger # 1/2: An evil character named Mr. X, makes his terrifying appearance. A girl witnesses Mr. X's men kill a guy named Mike Capers and Mr. X wants to make sure that she doesn't live to tell anyone. Mr. X is a full fledged terrorist, that has this poor girl shaking in her boots! Great story that leaves you wanting more. All Marky Comics are black and white and are ashcan size. For more information about Marky Comics, check out their website at: or email Mark Cardosa at:

Phoenix has two other webpages dedicated to it aside from the site owned by the mud, one is by Heathens at:
another is by Rudolph at:
and of course the mud's own is:

Lastly on Phoenix a new zone called Malachite was created by Gorehound where you must wipe out a band of thugs trashing the neigborhood and murdering everyone in sight. Careful though, just skimming the text will result in you missing a lot of hidden items. Some interesting info files were created, one suited for a court reporter.

TerraFirma has changed its magic system a few months ago (not in time to make the last issue), so now here's the lowdown on it:

The TerraFirmA Majick System.

The following should give a good insight into the spell casting system designed exclusively for TerraFirmA. The sections are in logical order, and deal with finding the spells you are able to cast, casting, improving your casting ability, spell failures and cancelling active spells.

There are basically two types of spell available - Permanent and Timed. Permanent spells leave lasting effects on their targets, but can be removed under the following conditions.

If the spell affects a location, a reset or 'dispel' will dismiss it. If the spell affects a player, only an Untouchable or the reverse spell can remove it. The reverse of Curse for example is Purify. The Cure spell will cure all effects of Blindness, Deafness, Crippled and Dumbness. If the spell affects an object or a mobile, the spell will vanish at the next reset.

Timed spells are spells that run for a set duration before ending. The length of each spell is determined by the caster's level plus the 'base' duration of the spell itself.

All spells cost Strength to cast. Permanent spells do a set amount of damage to your strength at casting time. Timed spells drain your strength over the active lifetime of the Majick.

Typing in spellbook (or sb), will give a list of all the castable spells at your current level. The spells are divided into powers, so that Power One spells are the easiest to cast and Power Five spells are the hardest to cast.

Typing in spellbook 'spellname', will give details about that spell. Such things as the Strength penalty for casting, the damage if any the spell will do, area of effect, success rate and duration are given.


In order to cast a spell there must be a target to aim the spell at. Targets are Location (that is, the room you are currently in), Person (a mobile or a player), Yourself, or an Object. To invoke the spell, simply type the spellname with the target's name afterwards. For example, to target a

             room,  type 'darkness' (the spell knows to target the room)
             person type 'chill person', ie, 'chill sam'
             object type 'vanish object',ie, 'vanish boat'

The rules for targetting yourself with a spell vary slightly depending on the type of spell you are casting. If the spell has an 'affects' value of Self, you simply need to type the spellname on its own, e.g. 'Shield'. If the spell 'affects' a player you need to tell it which person, e.g. 'Cure me'.

To find out which spells you have active at any given moment, use the 'spells' command. This will list the spell name and an approximation of when the spell will end, and the target the spell is active upon.

There are many Majickal and powerful artefacts around the game world. Some of these can enhance your ability to cast spells, while others will act as protective charms and help resist the Majick of others. The effects of these items are cumulative, so find and collect as many as you can.

As Majick is powerful and chaotic by nature, when things go wrong, they really do 'go wrong'. The chances of a spell going horribly wrong depend on the spell you are casting, your level, the number of spell enhancing objects you have, and the number of protection objects your target has. The effects of a misfiring can be quite serious and can lead to a debilitating penalty, or in extreme cases a nasty, but colourful, death.

Dismissing a spell is similar in many ways to casting a spell in that:

To dismiss a spell targetted on a room, type 'dismiss spellname', e.g. 'dismiss darkness'. Note you must be in the room where the Majick is active to cancel that spell. To dismiss a spell targetted on yourself, type 'Dismiss spellname', e.g. 'dismiss shield'. To dismiss a spell targetted on an object type 'Dismiss spellname objectname', e.g. 'dimiss vanish boat'. To dismiss a spell targetted on a player, type 'Dismiss spellname player', e.g. 'dismiss charm sam'. Only spells that have a duration can be dismissed.

Hints and Tips.
 * Watch your strength when casting multiple timed spells.  It's easy to die of
 * Always make sure you have at least two enhancing objects when casting the
   higher power spells.
 * If a spell fails it could be dangerous to keep casting that spell in order
   to try to make it work.
 * Somethings are immune to spells....
 * Use claw and shield while running for starting equipment.
 * To rest in an unsafe location, use Bubble, you heal faster than the
   spell will drain your energy.
 * If you escape a fight using flash, be sure to let your opponent calm
   down before you re-enter the location.
 * If a location is a dead end, try to detect any Majickal activity there.

Some other assorted odds and ends:

There is an online magazine for mudders. It's called Mudzine and can be read at Anyone can submit news about their mud and new info is posted daily.

If you mud isn't listed on Mudconnector or Doran's Mudlist, you're not really running a mud...

Cabo Wabo: Land's End has reopened its doors to the public. It's at 5150.

Other new zones introduced: Elven has Snowscape (Legolas's version) and DeadSoul.

"Did I get that name right? [y/n]" -- a chronicle of Zarniwoop's storied past with Abermuds, read it at

AberMud Central--a source for code patches for your mud, submissions for Dyrt and C-Dirt are sorely needed. You can get patches for iDirt at

ZED Zone Editor by Rhadmanthus is now available on the Mudstuff section. Almost lost for good, this zone editor is practically online zone creation like you use the clone command on iDirts. Requires UNIX.

Check out Digifriends hosted by MadCat by checked on the name toward the bottom of this letter.

Expect a surprise debut of a certain mud in the coming weeks--no info is permitted to be given, I just happened to figure out which mud they were talking about. ;)

Now to the bad stuff....

Keeping a site isn't a sure thing, even if you are providing your own server. Asylum lost its site recently due to the ISP hosting it going belly up. Fortunately Asylum has located another site, but now they will have to cover bandwidth charges. Since the mud is based out of the United Kingdom, donations in British Pounds will be needed. The non-profit organization to be formed to handle donations will be called "Friends of Asylum". The owners of the mud will foot some of the bill, but to keep the mud going they will need a little funding. This is their comments on the situation:

Asylum's forthcoming site is hosted by a formidable Internet Service Provider who are offering us a permanent, secure and fast connection to the outside world. Bandwidth inevitably costs 'someone' something. There is no such thing these days as a free connection and our new connection does unfortunately carry with it an annual charge for hosting our service.

We seek to raise this money through a number of means. By our very nature of being a .ORG site, we cannot profit from our service and any funding we receive is ploughed back into running costs.

The high-powers of Asylum (i.e. those designated with the responsibility of advancing the game and co-ordinating the efforts of those who administer it on a daily basis) have agreed in principle to fund up to 70 percent of our initial costs. We are looking to powers and players alike to help us raise the remainder and continue in our funding. In the next year, we hope to produce some merchandise to expand our fund raising activities. "Friends of Asylum" has been created to give players a chance to contribute to the running of the game. Depending on the level of contribution, we aim to commemorate this gesture by creating a reminder of that player, within our Sanctuary village. Think of this as rather like having a brass plaque on a park bench in your honour! Of course, Asylum is adamant that we retain the game balance, so therefore we cannot provide any extra advantage to players within the game.

"Friends of Asylum" are also given a special p-flag which allows them to communicate on a special "Friends" line, and use the Friends bulletin board. They are also invited to participate in the testing of various new concepts and code where appropriate. A new "Friends" area will be constructed for Friends only to socialise.

There are other such concessions planned for Friends and we look forward to expanding the concept to meet the needs of those who want to put something back into the game. Donations are already pouring in from players who can't wait for the mud to reopen.

A couple other muds were forced to move as well, these being Dark Cloud 2 and Promised Land plus a bunch of other kinds of mud, because Dataserv.Net were forced to close shop. No official reason was given by the company, only that out of the blue we were given 30 days to download the muds off the server and then a week later our time was cut down to 5. My guess is that they weren't making enough money to get by so they chose to get out before getting too far down the road of financial ruin.

And finally the ugly....

Geocities recently decided that their name wasn't being seen enough, and many websurfers didn't know they were looking at a Geocities webpage even though an overwhelming majority of the URLs contain in it. If the requirement of the Geocities icon with "Get your free homepage", the pop-up advertisments, and the Geoguide weren't enough to promote Geocities, they MANDATE, without doing any sort of communication with the homesteaders to gauge approval, this so-called watermark, or Geobranding. If you watch television at all in recent years, you probably see the station's logo in the bottom right corner--that's there at all hours of the day and night, except during commericals. So Geocities (which happens to be the first to ever use such a thing) created this transparent graphic, and shoved in onto your webbrowser window, covering whatever was displayed there, and making the material harder to read and hijacking any links it was over top of. Supposedly this graphic was designed to "increase" traffic, but in reality it just steals readers from your own page and sends them to another. According to Tom Evans, the CEO of Geocities, claims to have gotten nothing but positive feedback about the thing...this is of course before the mandate was made. After this branding began showing up everywhere in sight, thousands of people quit Geocities in protest, many thousands more of complaints were sent, protest webpages were put up, and Geocities staff responded like this: some used censorship, some used threats, some used intimidation, some used suspensions, and some deleted people's accounts--that's pretty low. Excuse me, where the heck does Geocities reside from? The United States of America? They aren't based out of Cuba, North Korea, or China the last I checked. The last time a government treated people like this was when the British ruled what were the colonies in the 1700s and pre-dating the United States. We all know what happened shortly thereafter. In 1765 the British led by King George the III enacted a law called the Stamp Act tax which was basically stamping the British royal seal on anything made out of paper, being newspapers, licences, legal documents, even playing cards. This only lasted a year, but it was one of the factors that led to the American Revolution. If Geocities continues on this current track, they could end up like the British and find themselves with not many homesteaders left--those disgruntled users will be heading to competitors like Xoom, Fortune City, The Globe, or Tripod. This in turn results in bad public relations, fewer people looking at Geocities pages, and fewer products bought by sponsors of Geocities. Yes, history DOES repeat itself--and the people repeating it are those who flunk Jay Leno's jaywalking quizzes. I of course am not moving--it is too much of a hassle to get your site listed in the major search engines and with some taking several months before they list you. If they actually pulled the plug on my webpages, it would be a major act of desperation for them to do so. to get rid of that watermark and those pop-up windows? A lot of people haven't figured out how the thing gets in's a couple of HTML statements that are appended to the end of the file starting with a [script language="Javascript"] statement. Adding ANOTHER statement like this but with something other than Javascript makes your web browser try to use something that doesn't exist FIRST. The following script statement will be either ignored or cause later statement to work improperly, and now when you view the page, the pop-up windows and the watermarks don't appear anymore. Problem is, Geocites does not want you to KNOW or USE this trick, and they're threatening to punish anyone who does so. Too bad, people didn't come here to see a stupid watermark, they came to read this newsletter!

The finish the zone writing contest didn't seem to go over well, as there was just one entry submitted. Supposedly it is harder to finish someone else's zones than write one from scratch. Nevertheless, Sanyth from Northern Lights took up the task of finishing the Batcave zone and now it is up for download on the zonelist section of TCAL.

Should a zone author write a zone for only ONE mud, or should a zone author write a zone to be used on ANY mud? As it is with a couple of muds, certain zones and quests can only be found on that one mud and not anywhere else. One certain aber, Asylum prefers exclusive zones (custom written for that particular mud too) and does not want the author to peddle the zones they write to other muds, some others with high attendance have a similar preference, but will take a zone from anyone if it's considered to "fit" into their mud. And there's the others who will take any zone that comes along if it's decent. The only thing that stops a mud from adding any particular zone is a lack of time and coding knowledge. So here are the sorted pros and cons starting with the pros on one zone one mud:

And now the cons for one zone one mud:

Now the pros for one zone many muds:

And finally the cons:

My personal opinion is spread the thing. Since I tried writing a zone for one particular mud, it not only got rejected, it ended up in limbo land for a few years cause no one could convert this particular mud's catch special format that automatically generates code for them. The best examples of lost zones comes from some of the muds around during the early to mid 1990s, each mud closed down and the authors who wrote the different zones did not pass them around at all, Purgatory and Aetheria come to mind as where created worlds vanished.

What is TRUE spam? Is it advertisements of products you don't plan to buy? Is it the send a dollar to the five addresses show scheme? Is it call this or that XXX-rated hotline thing? Is it repeating yourself to someone or group repeatedly? Can it be answering someone else's spam? Could it even be opening your mouth at ALL??? In this case, a few have attempted to broaden and stretch the definition of spamming in new and interesting ways. An individual sent out a note to several people asking to boycott a certain mud (some of you know which one it is, for those who don't, I'm not going to say which or whom the person calling for the boycott is) and that person said don't reply to it. The boycott in my view was ludicrous, since the offense alleged was hotly disputed. So I felt it was the right thing to do to respond and promote the fact that there was a second side to the story, since some of the people who got the mailing weren't active participants in this part of the mudding community. Well what happened next was truly UGLY. Someone decided I was on some trip and put up a slam page against me. Some others claimed I created this mailing list that this other guy started and proceeded to send me some rather unkind responses including a threat to complain to my ISP (which to this day I refuse to believe my ISP would have done ANYTHING against me for what was going on). And I of course fired the salvos against the wrong targets in retaliation. While the targeted mud for the boycott didn't suffer, they got more players as a result. But I ended up burned badly playing with the flamethrower.

Just as ugly and continuing...the last edition had a paragraph on disrupting mud harmony. Some of those who have suffered from such action praised the piece, while others who were guilty of such conduct were NOT happy. No big surprise there. The muds which were disrupted have banned all sites some person could possibly connect from and avoided joining online services that would allow unwelcome communications into it. And now one person decides to become a vigilante against that some person by running all the way to wizard then go zapping everyone in sight...that's right, innocent send a message and acquire some pride. Pardon me, but there are many better ways to get AT someone, but zapping everyone in sight who is not involved isn't gonna win friends and certainly not gonna win you greater trust or respect among your peers. And whatever message you're sending gets tainted, valid or not, the Unibomber didn't enhance his message when he went around killing people. Powers gained can easily be taken away. There is some good news, the two muds previous referred to have agreed on a resolution settling the dispute on both sides achieved by an unexpected meditator.

That's enough for this edition, hope it was informative and helpful to you. The next issue may appear in the next couple of months.