15 Years of TorilMUD

This past Monday was the 30th birthday of the original MUD, rightly noted and celebrated on a number of sites.

MUD 1 represents one of the roots of the game genre we refer to with the adjective “Massive” these days, an online user experience shared by many people at once.

This fall represents another anniversary for me.  I don’t recall the exact date, but it was in the autumn of 1993 when my friend and, at the time, co-worker Scott came over to my cube and told me there was an online game I just had to play.  It was a MUD called Sojourn.

And as surely as MUD1 was on the path to the MMOs of today, Sojourn MUD put me on the path to playing those very MMOs.

It wasn’t that MUDs were something new and different to me at that time.  I had played Gemstone on GEnie and a few other MUDs along the way, but none of them really captured my attention.

So what was so special about Sojourn MUD?

A friend of mine, Scott, was already playing.  I think history bears out that as the number one reasons for playing a given game; somebody you know is already playing it.

It was free.  We worked for a company that made modems at the time, so I even had access to terminal emulation software at no cost.  Unlike the early days when I was playing games on GEnie at an hourly rate, I was now working for a living, paying rent, insurance, taxes, and all that other fun stuff that finds a way to dun your savings every month.

It was populated.  One thing about a lot of MUDs is that they are often deserted.  Only a few make it into triple digits of users at any time in their life.  Sojourn had lots of players.  There were even problems at one point when they were limited to 127 simultaneous connections.  Queues to log in?  Been in that boat off and on for 15 years now I guess.

It was colorful.  Unlike a lot of other MUDs, Sojourn got on the ANSI color boat pretty early.  Very few items in the game were just plain white text unless that was the natural color of the item.  And because I had a fully functional terminal emulator, I could see all that color as it was meant to be seen, which was actually not that common back then.  A lot of emulators only had partial support for color.

It was Forgotten Realms.  In addition to real life, real job, and all that the days of my being able to devote time to live role playing games was diminishing both because of my own time constraints as well as the constraints on the people with whom I played.  The last campaign set we played with any regularity was Forgotten Realms, a setting that was developing both in depth and popularity.  And, suddenly, here before me, was Toril right here in text whenever I wanted, with people to play with and I did not even have to roll any dice.

And so off I went into this world of text.  A world alive in my mind.  To this day I can picture in my mind a whole host of locations despite never having actually seen them.  The descriptions and the things that happened there made a picture in my mind all its own.

Some things, of course, I had seen drawings of before I played Sojourn, like the City of Brass.  And, of course, every creature in the Monster Manual already had a drawing, sometimes a bit silly, associated with it in my head.

I was fortunate to also arrive in the game just after a pwipe, (I cannot believe that Wikipedia does not have an entry on pwipe!) which meant I was new and leveling up at the same time everybody else was starting afresh.  Veterans and noobs alike were leveling up together.  In the months that followed I made friends, some of whom I still chat with, or even game with, to this day.  I met Gaff somewhere near the Tinker camp, probably killing Bandor for experience. (What was the experience cirle we would run? Bandor, Kobold Taskmasters, and a couple other mobs, over and over again?)

I also ended up playing with people who went on to create EverQuest, Brad McQuaid being probably the most well known among them.  So, years later, when EverQuest launched, Norrath was a place both fresh and new as well as a place of familiarity and known concepts.  Those concepts included last names at level 20, stiff experience curves, required grouping, and a severe death penalty that included the possibility losing all your equipment should you not be able to recover your corpse.

Time passed.  Sojourn persisted at times, went away at others.  It changed names.  Sometimes it was Sojourn, sometimes Toril.  Then there was a point around 2000 where it seemed like it was going to be gone for good.

Then, a couple of years later, I got an email from Scott saying, “It’s back!”

And, sure enough, there it was again, up and running as TorilMUD.  We got on right at the end of a beta and were able to start fresh at a new pwipe and relive the joy of everybody leveling up together.

And everybody was about right, as people and names from as far as 15 years back (and probably further) showed back up to play.  It was glorious.  My druid, Zouve Telcontar, lived again to move groups around the lands via moonwells. (Who’s in Baldur’s Gate? I need a well target.)

Of course, time moved along.  We all hit level 50, did the MUD version of raiding (a 16 person group tackling a high level zone with bosses), made alts, had a good time, and then grew restless.

A new set of MMOs came out that drew people away.  Some of us went to EverQuest II, more went to WoW, and a few are even lurking in EVE Online, but the memories remain.  The guild names you see me write about here are often reflections of the Toril guild I was in, Shades of Twilight.

Still, the game persists.  It is up and active and there are people there every time I log in for a peek.  I don’t play, having sold or given away almost every single item I had in the game so as to make a clean break from the game… at least until the next pwipe. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

And, for all that EverQuest borrowed from Sojourn/Toril MUD, it is also interesting to look at how much of the life of EverQuest was foreshadowed by it as well.

Sojourn was founded and run by people who had very set ideas on how the game should be played and they actively tried to get people to do things “the right way.”  For example, being able to solo was was frowned upon.  Experience, equipment, and abilities were altered or nerfed to discourage it.  But as time went along, as the gods in the game came and went and as the population fell, that changed.  In the current version there is a much friendlier attitude.  They even had a “multiplay” weekend at one point, where you could log on two characters at once to play.  That was absolute heresy at one point in the game, a character deletion offense.  And while that was a single event, it shows that views soften, especially when you need 16 people to do a zone and there might be as few as 25 people on at a given time.

The economy in the game mirrored what happened in EverQuest.  Platinum coins can’t buy you decent equipment because… well… you cannot spend that platinum on anything better.  People who have played the game since pwipe have piles of platinum stored away in the bank.  The economy is admittedly not that bad in EverQuest, but it is a matter of degrees in the MUDflation effect.

Finally, there is longevity.  People still play TorilMUD regularly.  Daily.  I see the some of the same names every time I log on. (I’m looking at you, Lilithelle… but Corth, you don’t count, you’re always AFK.)  The content has been updated and expanded regularly, there is still a team working on the code, and there is still a supportive audience, so people still play the game.  Some people still play it as their main game after 15 years.

EverQuest is coming up on the 10 year mark next year, and the same holds true for it.  And, as TorilMUD goes, so seems to go EverQuest.  Populations may diminish, but we will still see the game live and viable for years to come it seems, unless we hit a point where 3D graphics become dated more quickly than text.

And, so, after all that text, the real message here is, “Oh, wow! Has it really been 15 years?”

It has, and TorilMUD still lives on.  Go Team!

To celebrate this milestone I am going to go into the archives and fish out some choice items I have stored away from my time in the game to post.  I am not only a packrat in game, but in real life as well, so I have email from 15 years ago in a folder in Eudora.

Some of them will be generally amusing.  Some of them will be obscure.  If nothing else, Gaff and I will enjoy them!

[Addemdum: If you want to see what else I have written about TorilMUD, you can click on the tag… or you can just click on this link.]

42 thoughts on “15 Years of TorilMUD

  1. Spectre

    Oh man… MUD’s and text based BBS games brings back some serious memories. If you think 100+ users in Soujourn/TorilMUD was a lot, you should have seen Realms of Despair back in the day. I think there were times where it probably came close to hitting 800+ users on at once. Between that, Swords of Chaos, Tradewars 2002, Crossroads, Blademaster, MajorMUD, Tel-Arena and a number of other text based games I think I pissed away most of my teenage years sitting on my computer till 3 AM. Was so much fun.


  2. Gaff

    It would actually hit 400 or so–you were limited to one shout per minute or something in WD. Bandor’s flagon, which was the mob we met at, would sell for as much as 100-120 plat, helping we elves, always a minority, a bit richer.

    In the KV (kobold village) there was a bit of a circuit–the kobold miners, their overseers, taskmaster, kobold warrior, and then back around.

    The death penalty was harsh–if you wandered somewhere and died, you better hope you could get your corpse within two hours ( i think) or it was all gone.


  3. LurbyJo

    I remember MUDs SO fondly. They were my first foray into gaming and they hooked me instantly. I think I didn’t find them ’til 94 when I started hanging around the college at which my mother taught. :)


  4. Elisten

    TorilMUD. Ahhh yes. The good ole days when I first learned of online text based games. It’s been about 6 months since I last logged in. Remember Lirathal? He and I have kept in contact over the years. We decided to login one night and we saw Corth and Lili – they should be immortalized in Toril. :)

    I talk to Nilan once in awhile. I remember RP’ing as his elven priestess wife. Ahh, the times we had.

    And, yes. “Oh, Wow! Has it really been 15 years?” LOL – such good times.




  5. brent

    I haven’t played that one, but my mud of choice, also hits 15+ years at this time. In the fall of 1993, I started playing 3 Kingdoms (3k.org – either http or telnet of course) and it is still around and thriving today. Yay for 3K and the lp muds!


  6. Xyd

    Ahhh, Toril! I mean Sojourn. Er, I mean Toril. I lost so very many countless hours to it but mostly good memories and 80% of my time as a grey elf.

    Most vivid memories:
    While mapping all the paths around that ridiculous lake outside WD I discovered the Automaton and discovered just how hard getting your corpse can be with single-file rooms, the door that auto-closes and a room that is!magic. Who was that killer tank that helped me…?! Busiest tank on Toril back in that day, began with a “T” or a “G”…

    My first encounter with that damn cat from west of Waterdeep… what was its name?? Regardless, it tracked. I word-of-recalled back to Leuth, went back toward WD and it, well, tracked me. Good fun for all.

    Recovering my corpse while my wife waited “patiently” to leave for dinner and a party. For two hours.

    Re-discovering the infrequently traveled parts of Evermeet where the ethereal wraith was and finally killing him solo. *ROAR* What were those gelatinous cubes for…?

    Spending HOURS in that damn roller trying to roll the perfect stats, then discovering zMUD and writing an autoroller to do it for me.

    And my most vivid Toril memory ever was real life tears I shed for an in-game friend I have, to this day, never met. We met as grey elves – he, a goofy ranger and me a cleric. He lived in Hawaii and shared with me some personal… issues… on the health front. He is an absolutely amazing and strong person.

    I remember so many friends on Toril — Zouve, Meclin (and all his personalities), Nilan/Mori, Rylandir, Mikar, Aragorn, Mplor, Kelieia, Elisten, Corth, Starq, Gormal, Salen, Toddrick (who influenced me more than he knows)… and so many more whose names I cannot pull from this old brain.



  7. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    I remember the Automaton. One of those three-letter-named barbarian warriors came by and saved the day. I got a good chuckle when Miax declared at some point that there were no “death traps” in the game. That might not have been, on a technicality, but it was pretty darn close!

    Oh, the displacer beast past the buffalo fields. I was very happy when I could finally solo him.

    I remember getting a group together to do buffalo… they were hot experience for elves fresh off the island and in Waterdeep.

    And didn’t you wife not only wait for two hours, do her actual waiting in the car? I remember that tale.


  8. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    Yeah, somewhere along the way, mobs that did not have a class associated with them ended up being worth a lot less experience than mobs of the same level that were flagged as warriors or whatever.

    But at one time, hunting buffs was the thing that level 20s did.


  9. Xyd

    Displacer Beast! Yes, that lil cat cost me dearly.

    Indeed, the wife did wait in the car. That was a life-changing event and probably a contributor to the fact that I’m now on Wife 2.0. That upgrade cost me half my xp and cut 15 off my max_hp.

    Mec! Man it’s great to see your name again. We should find a way to journey together again but EQ2 requires too much time for my current situation. My current addiction is Battlefield: Bad Company on xbox which is rather un-RPG-like. Email me, let’s catch up.


  10. Chandigar

    Oooh Torilmud… those were some good times. I think I started in 95 or 96 and played until 2000ish. Dropped it for a couple years then got hooked again when I discovered I could play it from work. Good times.

    I distinctly remember being talked into logging in by a buddy at work and rolling an elf right away… then spending 20 mins trying to ask “a red shape” for help in the mage guild before giving up and hanging up the modem to call and ask WTF was going on.

    Still stay in touch with a couple buddies from there too… I actually ended up living near Okina whom I hang out with once in a blue moon.

    Moved on to mud building in the down time before Sojourn and Torilmud then built a couple zones on Torilmud. That was fun… but peeking behind the curtain ruins a lot of stuff for you.

    PS you can thank me for putting Trollbark right off of the road on the way south from WD ;) Screwed up a lot of people’s autowalk scripts… (including myself – not so fun)


  11. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    If I want EQ memories, I’ll go play EQ.

    I played Vanguard during the open beta. As with Tabula Rasa, there wasn’t anything there that thrilled me.

    I did go back at one point earlier this year and let Station Launcher install it for me again. While some stuff had gotten better, the avatars were still ugly (and missing eyelids for some reason) and there was nothing there that grabbed me. A couple of hours of play were all I needed to remove the game from my hard drive, never to be installed again.

    I might consider Vanguard if there were not so many better games in the genre to play. If WoW, EQ2, LOTRO, EQ, and WAR all closed down suddenly, I might give it a try again. Maybe.


  12. Tain

    Good times. I think those two words sum it up the best. I lost so many hours, days, months, and even years in play time dinking around on Sojourn or Toril or whatever it was called at the time. It’s 12/2008 and the above comments walked me through one great span of memory lane. I definitely recall playing with Xyd and Toddrick along with so many others and their alts. Good Times…
    – Tain, Twyl, Tailz, Goku, Gonad, Gonan, and more


  13. Nilan

    Hi Xyd! His Elisten! How are you all doing? I am doing okie dokie too. Great finding this cite, saw your posts so figured I’d post one too. Still chat to Elisten (I still remember the “Dream” Elisten, my rp Elven Priestess wife). We sure had fun even if things got all messed up after stabbing your elf queen….but the spider made me do it!!

    Miss all the guys that I used to adventure with and have fun with. Betandor, Gurns, Tanjor (Tamil), Gwyddy (who I still occassionally chat with), Deshana, Teej, Sylvos, Ragorn, Mikar, Diac. And my Ogre and Troll buddies Moogrok and Flozk.

    Miss my old fun rp guild Vermillion Shadow and all the folks in that one. We had lotta fun then.

    Thought I saw you online the other day Xyd but ya logged when i typed a tell to ya :(

    Miss Zouve !!! Hey Zouve remember when I was dragging your body all outta bloodstone and through the woods…. Drag corpse w, Drag corpse n….then when I got to ya, I said here ya go Zouvie…You just started laughing and we both realized ooopsie…no Zouve, but instead I drag a nice very dead stirge outta that stronghold. LOL – too funny.

    Well have fun guys,

    Morianthis (Mori)
    Drazyrr (my outcast Monk)


  14. ssar

    Yea, ToilMUD is fantastic – for a text-based game it is so rich, many-faceted and interesting.

    Some great memories stirred up by this thread, cool.
    Love those rhymes Zouve!



  15. Noldalie Laranna

    Wow, what can I say… I know who you are, and this article rings so true. I remember being one of the first outcasts, my sorc being fed up not getting into docks groups, and met funny trolls south of WD and the rest is history.

    Being punished by Mystra, having my home set to the desert maze in the south… Racing to the Ancient Brownie for my first real income. Turg and I killing the Bloodstone mage (?) for days for xp. Kanthas and crew joining us poor outcasts finally bring a raiding group together. City of Brass and Invasion. Duergar earrings and lava torques. A freind logging my character after a particularly devastating City ofBrass wipe and Mystra finally getting her chance to delete me. My ogre warrior Burga!
    Good times.


  16. Necasio

    hey Zouve! Great post! great to see all these familiar names! Never forgot Yurax and me coming up with Shades of Twilight! Its great to see the name lives on. You were always cool about welling me all over :P i will never forget you guys thats for sure ! I play sometimes on DDO orien server from time to time! Nilan, Elisten, Narrisse, Telor, Touk, LIlithelle just to name a few off the top of my head


  17. John

    Wow indeed!! I can’t believe it has been so long. I was a member of Shades of Twilight maybe for a year, playing from work. Wasn’t able to make the connections or the time from home. Does anybody else remember Wuve? She was a mean tank. Meclin was a new guy when I was playing if I remember right. But reading all the names just brings back really fond memories. I played Adana a paladin. She was my first and only 50 on the game. I leveled a shaman, Anrial, up to 48, but couldn’t get the rest of the way. I had a bunch of alts too, even playing an ogre for a bit.

    I will never forget practicing the rescue skills in the cave of skeletons!! That was a trip.

    I remember seeing Meclin afterwards in NWN for a little bit until he quit for WOW or Everquest. Not sure which one.

    Anyway, thanks for the memories. :)



  18. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    I remember Adana!

    Yeah, I see Wuva on the Eldre’Thalas server in WoW pretty regularly. Quite a few TorilMUD players went there at one point. In fact, our guild, Twilight Cadre, was as close to Shades of Twilight as we could come our old guild name.

    Go over to the side bar and select TorilMUD from the “Categories” drop down. I’ve tried to collect some memories of the game over time. You can look at what I’ve got and help me correct it!


  19. John

    Nice memories there too! I checked out Eldre’Thalas server and the guild. I recognized a few names there too. I am (mostlly) on Agamaggan server in a guild called The Achoo Train. Just joined them after getting my fourth toon to 80. All 4 of them are in that guild, with Adana my paladin. :)

    I just loved that name generated by Sojourn. Every game I have played my first character was named Adana and a paladin if they had the class.

    As I was in Sojourn, I am an altaholic in WoW. Mostly it comes from not knowing when I can play and for how long. I log in and play when I can. The LFD has made my life much easier, the leveling too. WoW would never survive if they hit people with the same death penalties. ;)

    Cheers for now!!!


  20. Angel

    Heya Zouve! Great Post! Great people..Adana, I’ve been tripping over my laces for years! :lol: wow, lots of familiar names! I don’t think I played quite as long but rolled Iduna in 1999 I believe.


  21. Lorendel Ebonmist

    Hi you all,

    I figured out The ancient Gaming Noob was Zouve after having read/been refferred to the Noob several times doing searches, well about 2 years ago.. I first started playing in late 95 early 96….nice to have had you all as mud friends and just plain friends.
    Thanks to Lilithelle and Lase and Dugmaren for keeping Toril alive, albeit not single handedly, thanks to all those who still come and play.
    Thanks to all who mentored us in our infancy, my mentors….Trener (Mirn), Lithius Silverstorm, Adriorn Darkcloak, Lorsalian Silvermist, Erarim and to those Rangers that didnt teach me directly, but were much inspiration: Necassio, Waelos and many others.

    Glad to have met you all at least in Toril. Toril is one of the things and holds some of the memories of this life I will try to take with me in the next one…..well, I just awoke from a very strange and prophetic MUD-Dream, so gonna go check in on the MUD….got sucked into facebook a few weeks ago (Group: TorilMUDDERS Unite).

    Including an URL to a story that will bring back some good olde memories for those of you who can handle the nostalgia…makes me feel warm and fuzzy when ever i read it…just like seeing you oldtimers posting on here.



    Lorendel “GladeShadow” Ebonmist- N’Vaelrn en Shilmista


  22. John

    I think I remember Iduna as a cleric? Lots of names to remember. :)

    I have checked out the WoW guild on Eldre’ Thalas server but some of the toons don’t appear to exist. :(

    Very sad.



  23. Elorin

    Wow, started playing the game back in 1993, was never hugely active but played of and on for quite some years, rather sentimental read this. Almost only played Grey Elf rangers for some reason, Elorin, Eldarin and Almarin I belive, though last one was a warrior. Really bad at names, Krish and Kasha, and some russian dudes, Gorets is the only one im sure about. Its been a while for sure…


  24. Lirefas

    Wow! The post and the subsequent comments brought back a LOT of memories… I just happened to find this site after googling ‘shades of twilight’. I just got nostalgic all of a sudden and felt the urge to type the old guild in…

    I forget when I joined, but it was the same time as another grey elf enchanter whose name also started with an ‘L’ (Lene-something-something… damn crazy elf names :P ). Maybe 2001-2003. We both came in after our elf only guild folded :D.

    After Toril, I went to WOW, rolling a troll holy priest… because there were no “stoning” classes and power word: shield was the closest I could get! :) You guys probably don’t remember me, but I had a great time in Shades! Thanks for the memories!

    Lirefas: the other ‘L’


  25. Kifle

    Hah! I stumbled here trying to log into the forums… they are down. So, I’m just bored waiting for my flight back from NZ.

    Those were the good ol’ days. My final break came when Lonel asked for my gear and I tossed it off to him.

    The think I will miss the most is exploring. There isn’t much to “explore” in WoW — especially not like in Toril/Sojourn. Being a rogue really made exploring zones I wasn’t supposed to be in very fun. Finding hidden items in MD was the best.

    Thanks for bringin up the memories, Zouve.


  26. Gaff

    @ Lirafas–

    The other grey elf was Lenefir–he went to EQ2 with us and Oteb–oteb left for WoW after a short while. Lenefir was in EQ2 for a long time on the Crushbone server. Not sure he plays anymore.



  27. Flib

    hey zouve, good post :) ya.. I’m currently playing again. I’ve had an off and on again love affair with Toril since like 1996 heh. But ya, those were great times.. I remember being a complete noob and someone gave my level 15 warrior the “flame of the north” and it had like that called proc on it when you said “flame on” and it went out when you said “flame off”. Honestly that was like the coolest thing ever for me and really cemented my love for the game.

    I do really wish there was still 100 people around :0 but it’s still a great time.


  28. Lokar

    Very nice post Zouve :) There are some names I haven’t seen in a very long time. Does bring back a fuzzy feeling reading all the posts. It’s amazing how much fun a text based game interacting with real people actually delivered. Opened up ZMUD tonight and went on toril briefly to check things out. Not quite the same with only seeing 17 heads on at a time, but still looking at all my old stuff was cool and brought back memories. Miss doing all the old “raids” MD, Jot, Brass, CC etc. Thanks again for the old memories Zouve.


  29. Wade Burch

    Wow, has it been that long? I was first a conjie, Redos, and begrudgingly switched to a voker, Nikelon, after the mud reincarnated (which time?). I remember the first time I was asked to lead a group (the ship!) and realized I could. Soon enough I was soloing the smoke plane and zoning. Hah, and getting myself killed in the Arena. As young as I was, that game taught me a lot about confidence, teamwork, and friendship.

    I miss Zazure, Wuva, Jalahon, Lili, Moritheil, and many more. Gee, time flies. I agree with Kifle – I played WoW until I felt like I’d hit the 85 plateau, and I rarely felt like I was discovering something new. Not like on Sojourn. Anyway, thanks for the post, Zouve =)


  30. Kanenan

    Zouve, I love your trips down memory swamp! So great to see so many names being mentioned and even better to see them post!

    I played mostly my rangers Armanaraen, who never made it to 40, and Kanenan. I’m still around from time to time and it’s totally great to keep seeing old faces pop into the MUD.

    Toril has always had something MORE that Graphic MMOs have never fully satisfied, and that something less that keeps me wandering away from it at times. But it’s been an 18year fling for me, having started on Soj1 with a monk about two months before the pwipe that led to Soj2. I recall exploring so far that I was actually in uncoded and in un-named rooms that somehow ended up on the live server and the only way out was to piss off the gods by shouting swear words until they zapped me back to my class trainer :)

    The good times are continuos, Vernestra has written some great zones recently and a lot of old old items have had properties given to them. Or been made to work.. Slime Whip !! Hahaha!! Will love Dug for that forever.

    Toril, for me, has been a big part of my life and the players and attitudes to be key. Good luck finding a more helpful and involved pbase anywhere.



  31. Anonymous

    Nice to see some old adventuring companion names! I’ll name drop few more I remember (thanks all) that were not listed above: Gurns, Trilca, Varia, Verlia, Katra, Trogar, Touk, and that dwarven bard named W…something :-) I wish I had kept all the adventure logs. I met so many great people. So many names and good memories. I have found too many other games to keep me busy since the mid-90s, but Sojourn/Toril was special.
    This is a fun TorilMUD thread: http://www.torilmud.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=258

    — Lynnette the enchantress, Alluriel the Invoker


  32. Kerg

    Many hours spent, so many maps drawn. So many nights stayed awake when should have been sleeping, or studying. Reading the room descriptions for clues, on the northern road, waiting for ferry. The vault of Icecrag. Roots. Purple potions of the lizardmen. The elite guards. Elemental tower. Astral plane. Jotunheim. The killing of Tiamat :-)

    Things worked out well, nice to hear the game is still up. Amazing amount of work went into the detailed design and content of that game. Thank you to all who stole years of my life… :-)

    Kerg, the Bard, still waiting for ferry.


  33. Jhorr

    nice post Zouve! yes it’s still up and running after > 20 years in one form or another. i enjoy all the memories and I also like to think of all the money i’ve saved over the years by not needing to play anything else :) Would be nice to see some old names return!


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