Tag Archives: Leuthilspar Tales

Up All Night in Leuthilspar

Syl wrote about day/night cycles in MMOs a couple of weeks months years back.  Clearing of the drafts fodler here, as you might guess. Of course, one aspect of that is how long such a cycle should be.  At one end of the spectrum is World of Warcraft, where Azeroth turns on a literal 24 hour cycle, and server time is in-game time.

EVE Online also runs on a real-world 24 hour clock, though I am not sure that a day/night cycle makes much sense there.  It is always night in space, right?

Anyway, in Azeroth that means if you are like me… I live in the US Pacific time zone but play on a server in the Easter time zone, 3 hours ahead of me… you might spend most of your time in WoW playing at night.

Not that night is all that big of a deal in WoW.  Every single instance group screen shot has been taken during the night cycle and most of the time you couldn’t tell it was night.

The lair of Lockmaw

This is night. Stars in the sky.

There is, as Syl noted, a nice sunset period if you are on at the right time, and likely a similarly pleasant sunrise, though I’ve never seen that.  I’ve been online when it has happened, I was just deep in Uldaman at the time.

Other games have a much shorter cycle.  In EverQuest you passed through the day/night routine every 72 minutes if I recall right, 3 minutes per in-game hour.  That could leave you running around in the dark a few times in a single long play session.

Scarecrows in West Karana

Night, when the Scarecrows come out in West Karana

And at the extreme end is Minecraft, which has a 20 minute day/night cycle, which means if you play for an hour… and who plays Minecraft for just an hour when you’re into something… you will spend half that time in daylight and the rest in the dusk, night, and dawn portion of the cycle, during which time the night life will be coming for you.

Coming to get me...

Coming to get me…

Of course, the Minecraft example brings up what is probably the key question when it comes to a day/night cycle; should it have impact on game play?

In World of Warcraft there is almost no impact on game play.  As noted, you can barely tell it is night as the moon over Azeroth apparently reflects 80-90% of the sun’s luminosity during the night time hours.  And I am hedging by even using the word “almost” there, because something in the back of my brain believes there was a “night only” spawn at some point.  But that could be me.

At the other end of spectrum is Minecraft, which isn’t an MMO but is MMO enough for this discussion, where the transition from day to night changes game play dramatically.  It actually gets dark out, so lighting matters.  But even more so, as noted above, things come out at night.  Bad things.  Things that seek to kill you or blow you up.  So you either hunker down and wait out the night… or sleep if you’re alone on your server… or get out there and fight the encroaching zombie/skeleton/creeper menace.

Maybe that is an extreme example.

But I do hear calls now and again for not only a day/night cycle in MMORPGs, but that the cycle should impact game play, that night should be different than day, and that NPCs should behave in a way attuned to the cycle of the world and their lives.  They should go to bed at night.

That last bit… that is one of those things that always sounds better in theory that it does in reality.  And I say that as somebody who has lived a bit of that as reality in an online game.

Back we go again, back through the mists of time, back to TorilMUD and the days of text, triggers, and ANSI color characters as a substitute for graphics.

All text, all the time

All text, all the time

I’ve written about TorilMUD many times before, and specifically about the hardship of the elves of Evermeet, stuck until recently in their own little corner of the game until level 20 with few zone choices and not much in the way of gear available.  The sorrow of the eldar is never ending and all that, as my Leuthilspar Tales series has illustrated.

But we did have one advantage there on Evermeet, and especially in the city of Leuthilspar.  For the most part elves don’t seem to need any sleep.  Shops were open all night long and even the city gates, which the guards closed and locked at sunset, could be passed through after hours if you spoke the right word. (It was “peace.”)

The rest of the world however…

It was a sure sign that a player was fresh through the elf gate and in Waterdeep for the first time when, locked outside of town, they would stand there saying things like “peace” and “please” and whatnot trying to get the gates to unlock so they could pass through.

And imagine to confusion in the a poor elf’s eyes when a vendor in town suddenly announced they were shutting up their shop for the night and wouldn’t be serving customers until the morning.

Outside of Leuthilspar, shops had business hours!

The vendors wouldn’t go away… though I think one in Baldur’s Gate used to move into another room… they would just stand there as usual.  However, when you attempted to interact with them, they would announce that they were closed and admonish the player to come back later.

In a way, it sounds quaintly archaic in today’s world.  But TorilMUD, measuring from its predecessor Sojourn MUD, is past the 20 year mark as well.  It was a simpler time and a different audience in an era when game devs sometimes felt the user ought to conform to a much more rigid set of rules.

I couldn’t imagine a MMORPG today putting something like that in place.  But TorilMUD was smaller than even the most niche MMORPGs we’ve seen.  I would guess that maybe 10K people created accounts on the game over its lifetime.  During its peak it could get a couple hundred people online at the same time, which was considered quite the crowd.  In that sort of small, self-selecting environment, you can set different rules.

And the vendors didn’t just have hours, but would also only deal in specific goods at times.

But, at least the day/night cycle was short.  The ration was one real life minute to one in-game hour, so a day went by in just 24 minutes.  Not as fast as Minecraft, but close.

Anyway, such were the was of the past.  How niche would a game today have to be to get away with that sort of thing?

Elves Unchained in TorilMUD

I have not written about TorilMUD in ages.  Honestly, I haven’t even logged in to check up on the place in a long time.

TorilMUD_logo

But the old world of text that I started playing in more than 22 years ago lives on and gets updated from time to time.  The last time I mentioned it was when they announced the end of their harsh death penalty, which was the model that EverQuest used back in the good/bad old days.  That was about a year back.

That have had a couple of other updates posted to their Tumblr news site since then, but last night one showed up that I had to mention.

The main topic of the update was the introduction of a new class of spells called “cantrips,” which my brain immediately parsed as “can trip.”  Hrmmm…

But what caught my eye about the update was this item listed under “other changes”

Elves can now start in Baldurs Gate and Silverymoon. They can also use the Leuthilspar elfgate as early as level 1. Free the elves!

Free the elves indeed.

For those unfamiliar with the game… which is probably everybody reading this… one of the quirks of TorilMUD up until this change was that elves had a single home town in which they could start.  That was Leuthilspar, on the island of Evermeet, a location those familiar with the Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms campaign setting might recall.

But elves were not just required to start in Leuthilspar, they were required to stay on the island of Evermeet until they hit level 20… because… well… level 20 was a special level back in the day.  It was the “coming of age” level.   You could petition for a last name.  You were finally allowed to see your stats as numbers rather than possible ranges.

Do I take Heroic strength?

Do I take Heroic strength?

And, if you were an elf… or a half-elf that chose to start in Leuthilspar out of some sense of masochism… you were finally allowed to use the elf gate at the east end of town and leave Evermeet for the big city, Waterdeep.

This was a significant moment in the life of any elven character because, back in the day, Evermeet was a bit of a dump.  There was the town itself, where the guards would slaughter you if they caught you fighting… and remember that whole harsh death penalty thing.  So, for adventures you had to head out to Kobold Village, which was fun but contained its own perils, the Faerie Forest, a place to get lost in, and the Elemental Glades, which had its own issues.

Short of starting in one of the evil race home towns, which were designed to be a challenge for experienced players, Evermeet was the worst of the home towns.  This wasn’t because its local area was bad.  Starting as a gnome, a halfling, a dwarf, or a barbarian meant having absolute crap content to hand.  But they could all head to Waterdeep, around which there was ample content for leveling up, content with plenty of drops that groups could tackle from levels 1 through to about 40.

Leuthilspar Locations

Leuthilspar Locations

Elves had to make do with what they had, and while the zones were not bad, they lacked in equipment drops.  You could always spot a newly arrived elf in Waterdeep because of the paucity of their gear.  They might have a bronze sword, a pearl earring, a bit of string tied around their finger, and the inevitable cloak of forest shadows.  And, of course, these elves would be gawking a the locals, amazed at all the gear they had.  Good gear.  With actual bonus stats and such.

Of course, the newly arrived elf couldn’t afford to buy any of that gear, because they had likely left Evermeet with only a few coins in their pocket and not much of value to sell or trade.  And it was always some work to get into groups because you couldn’t compete with the well geared locals.  But if you persevered, you could close the gear gap and catch up with the rest of the world.

And you were a member of a special club.  You had made it through the privations of the elf homeland.  You would, of course, help any new elf you saw standing at the gates of Waterdeep, trying to unlock them after they had closed for the night saying the word “peace” over and over. (That unlocked the gates of Leuthilspar at night, but for Waterdeep you needed the key that Lord Piergeiron carried on his person or a rogue with a high lockpick skill.)

And, as an elf, you might never go back home.  If you were a cleric or a druid, so your word of recall spell would bring you back to Leuthilspar, you might frequent the place after level 20.  But other classes had to take a ship to the Moonshaes and travel quite a ways in order to find the elf gate that would return them to their original home.  It generally wasn’t worth the effort.

Because I started most of my main characters on Evermeet, getting through those first 20 levels is very much a part of my memories of the game, much more so than any of the early zones in the main world.  I even wrote a series of posts about them under the tag Leuthilspar tales.

Over the years the lot of the elves was improved.  One of the players Xyd and I started playing with way, way back in the day, Rylandir, went on to become one of the game admins for a while and created a number of zones for Evermeet.  The first in, the Eldar Forest, was especially helpful, had some good quests, and dropped some gear.  Level 20 elves eventually stopped showing up in Waterdeep looking like beggars.

And now… well, elves can run straight to Waterdeep… which is probably a good thing.  The population of TorilMUD has dwindled over the years.  No longer can you log in on a Friday night and find more than 100 players online.  But there does seem to be 20 or more around whenever I take a moment to check in.

But there was a time, long ago, when the life of an elf of Evermeet was desperate and poor.  Somehow we survived.

Now that I look at my list of Leuthilspar Tales, I think I need to go back and finish it up by writing something about the Elemental Glades, the third… and strangest… zone of Evermeet from back in the day.

And, if all of this talk about the old days of TorilMUD has you in a nostalgia reverie, here are a few other choice posts about the good old days:

Or you can just look at the whole TorilMUD category.  There are only 56 posts total.

Some of those posts are old enough at this point that I am even feeling a bit of nostalgia for the point of time when I was able to remember that much about the game.  Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.

And, of course, if you are interesting in the game… because it is still up and running… you can find out more about it at their web site.

Fox Tails, Goblins, and Bandor’s Flagon

The MUD just crashed!

Hurry, you need to reconnect!

Come on young elf!  This is your opportunity to get a piece or two of badly needed equipment!

Run run run!

Forget Kobold Village.  There probably isn’t anything there you need.

You must run to the Faerie Forest with all haste!

That was the rhythm of life on MUDs in general and TorilMUD in particular.

Most of the NPCs in the game load up with equipment only after a crash or a reboot.  Once slain and looted their most valuable reason for existence, contributing to your wardrobe, is gone.  You can get experience from them sure, but you can do that when the MUD has been up for some horribly long time.  The entire economy of the game rested on a level of instability that would allow a crash at least once or twice a day.

That was the pattern into which I was indoctrinated all back when I rolled up my half-elf ranger in Leuthilspar more than 20 years ago now.  You had to get out of the inn and to the right mob as fast as possible, and the Faerie Forest had the most opportunities.

First you had to get to the dark path that lead to the zone, which meant searching for the hidden entrance.

< > A Large Clearing in the Forest Room size: Large (L:40 ft W:40 ft H:25 ft)
Exits: -W

< > You don’t find anything.

< > You find a secret exit south!

And then there were the wood rats.

< > A Dark, Hidden Path Room size: Mid-sized (L:75 ft W:5 ft H:500 ft)
Exits: -N -E

A scruffy wood rat is here slinking around in the gloom.
A scruffy wood rat is here slinking around in the gloom.
A scruffy wood rat is here slinking around in the gloom.

You had to get past the wood rats.  The tunnel rooms were flagged as narrow, so players could only go through one abreast and you couldn’t just spam past any mob as you would bump into them.  If you were quick and lucky, you could lay day (recline) and pass under the wood rats.  That was how you had to get past other players or reorder groups in rooms so flagged.  It does make you wonder how big those wood rats were, given that a full grown male half elf with a sword and motley collection of armor could pass beneath them.

And if you were not lucky, well, you had to take the time to kill the wood rats.  They were not tough.  I think they were level 1 creatures.  But you had to stop and take a few swings to slay them.  On the bright side, the next young elf trying to make it to the treasures of the Faerie Forest would be stuck behind you.  You couldn’t pass somebody, even when reclined, if they were in combat.  So you would be killing wood rats while they were bumping into you.

Eventually though you would win you way through and into the Faerie Forest.  Having spent time lost there, I made a map and soon knew my way around to all of the key locations.

No exit on this map

The Faerie Forest

What you needed dictated where you would head first.  Very early during my career, which came just after a pwipe, having a light source was of vital importance.  If you did not have one, you might want to go find the Silver Fox.

The Silver Fox’s tail, which you could loot from its corpse, was flagged as being lit, so you just had to have it in your inventory and any room you entered would also be lit.

A silver fox is here hunting in the forest, looking for a meal for her young.
Your blood freezes as you hear the rattling death cry of a silver fox.
You get a silver fox tail from corpse of a silver fox.
a silver fox tail (illuminating)

This was a huge advantage over torches, which had to be held in one hand (so you couldn’t then have a shield, a second weapon, or a two handed weapon) and which would burn out quite quickly. (Unlike those who started in Waterdeep, elves didn’t get magical torches that never burned out.)  I suppose this was a missed opportunity for role play, having to fumble with torches.  But since every priest class got the spell Continual Light at some point, torches were never going to be in great demand in any case.

CONTINUAL LIGHT
Spell
Area of effect: <object> | Room
Aggressive: No
Cumulative: No
Duration: Permanent unless dispelled
Class/Circle: Cleric/Druid/Shaman 6th, Paladin 8th
Type of spell: Enchantment

“Continual light” allows the spellcaster to enchant an item by giving it a light flag, making it a permanent light source. Not specifying an object causes the whole room to be permanently lit by a magical light. It is one way for spellcasters to create light in the darkness if they have no other lamps, etc. This spell can be countered (in rooms) with a “darkness” spell.

See also: DARKNESS

Once Continual Light became common, people stopped running to find the Silver Fox.  But for a short time it was a key item.  You could sell it to somebody who was desperate and who couldn’t get to the Silver Fox or the fire at the tinker camp that, when search, would yield another illuminating item.

a glowing stick of faerie wood (illuminating)

There actually used to be two sticks of faerie wood, one in each of the fires.  The second one, which was an orange ANSI color if I recall right, had stats, so if you held it you got some benefit along with light.  It was something like a few hit points, but it was better than nothing, especially if you didn’t have something to hold in your off hand anyway.

Meanwhile, while you were down by the Silver Fox, the next big thing was the scrawny goblin who held the bag of snatching along with a few other goodies.

You get a bag of snatching from corpse of a scrawny goblin.

The bag was useful because… well… it was a bag.  And it was bigger than the bag you were handed as part of your new player kit.  And it was also displayed in a cool, dark ANSI color which I cannot quiet replicate here.  It was cool enough that even after we all had bags and had hit level 20 and moved out into the world, we could still sell the bag to people in Waterdeep simply because it looked cool.  In the end, I think it was heavy and only as good as a backpack you could buy from a vendor in town, but style sells.

The goblin was also the gate keeper to the room with the pile of trash.  Searching through it would yield a series of dubious treasures.

You find an ancient stone tablet!
You find a bit of string!
You find a wand of thunderous rage!
You find a moldy loaf of bread!
You find a steel shortsword!
You find a very dead rat!
You find a bronze dirk!
You search exhaustively and conclude there is nothing to be found!

Each had its use, if you include “able to be sold to a vendor” as a use.  The wand of thunderous rage was a particular heartbreak.  I knew people who held on to several of them until they hit a difficult battle, only to find that they didn’t actually do anything.  Wands were always strange birds in TorilMUD, though there was a wand of magic missile that was amusing to use from time to time.

But they key item in the Faerie Forest was Bandor’s Flagon.

a huge, drinking flagon

This flask looks like it could hold more liquid than possible. It must be that Tinker magic; making the most of space not even existing.
When you look inside, you see: It’s more than half full of a golden liquid.

When eventually everything else in the zone became just so much vendor trash, Bandor’s Flagon remained something you could sell in Waterdeep.  It was, for a long time, the largest drink container in the game.  And even when it was eclipsed, the flagons that replaced it were not so easy to obtain and did look quite so cool.  You just had to remember to pour out the alcohol in the flagon, lest you get drunk on Bandor’s brew.

And while there was certainly more to find in the Faerie Forest, from Habetrot’s stonewood cudgel to Vokko’s iron armor, the race to get those was never quite as intense as it was for Bandor’s Flagon.  It remained the one easy to get item that actually held value in the game.

The Age of the Discriminating Vendor

Another one of those posts that starts with “back in the day…” and which recounts how things used to be during the stone age of online gaming.  Writing about it is not necessarily advocating for its return, but it certainly made things different.  Anyway, on to it…

Back in the day, back in TorilMUD, there were things that were very different than we see them now in modern MMORPGs, and there were things that were very much the same.

All text, all the time

It was all text, all the time back then

One thing that was the same was money.

Everybody needed it, the economy needed it, but nobody started out with any and the only real way to get any was to kill NPCs that spawned in the world for their loot.

There were also quests.  But quests were not very common, annoying to find, and could be frustratingly difficult to complete.  I have gone into the way questing used to be back in the day.  There was nobody standing around waiting to tell you to kill ten rats.  And the end result was more often an item than any money.

So that left murdering the residents of the world and looting their still warm corpses as the only real money making enterprise.

Wholesale slaughter would get you some coins.  But for the most part that was a pretty slow way to earn money, at least at lower levels.  Later, in a leveling group in place like the pirate ship, a good group could end up with a nice pile of cash.

But you, new adventurer, won’t be doing that or zones or anything of the sort for a long while.

And that went double for elves and half elves who started on the Island of Evermeet, in the elvish city of Leuthilspar and were stuck there for the first 20 levels of their career.  I will focus on the plight of the elves, since that is what I am most familiar with.

So to supplement the tiny trickle of coins, you would have to also grab whatever else your victims were carrying.  Swords, bits and pieces or armor and clothing, random items of junk, whatever you could pry from their cold, dead fingers.  You would collect all of this to sell to one of the many vendors in Abeir-Toril.

As a young citizen of Leuthilspar, you would head out to Kobold Village or the Faerie Forest in search of adventure, experience, and loot.  At least, once you figured out how to get there.  Eventually, if you were successful… by which I generally mean that you did not die and have to go find your corpse in the dark… you would have a pile of coins and some items to vendor.

In Kobold Village there was a couple of vendors, but as your became more seasoned you began to notice that those vendors paid very little for your items.   That was the way of the world.  The buy and sell prices from vendors were influence by your race, your class, your charisma stat, and the general level of wickedness of the person who created the zone.

The young elvish adventurer could make much more money, multiples of what the stingy vendors out in the world were offering, if said adventurer just dragged all of that loot back to a vendor in Leuthilspar.

The key was, which vendor.

Leuthilspar Locations

Leuthilspar Locations (click to embiggen)

The good part was that all the vendors were pretty close to the square at city center and near to the bank.

The down side was that the vendors were all pretty picky about what they would buy.  Your options were:

1 – Talidnal’s Goods and Supply Shop – Sold random supplies like rations and small bags, would buy miscellaneous items of the same sort.  You had to sell the red feather from the traveling faerie here.

2 – The Weapon Shop of Leuthilspar – Bought and sold weapons and only weapons.  Notable for being one of the vendors with special responses.  Would point out in all caps that this was weapon shop if you tried to sell something else and would claim that they could buy items flagged “no value” because they just bought a Doombringer earlier.

3 – The Scribe Shop of Leuthilspar – Sold scroll, including the scroll of identify.  These cost 2 platinum coins, which was more than any new player could afford, but which was the only way to see the full stats and information on any given item.  Except, of course, if the item was flagged as “no identify,” in which case you just wasted 2 plat.

4 – Silyonlanster’s Fine Gems and Jewels – Sold some gems that had no purpose I ever found, and would buy any gems you happened to have.

5 – Norlan’s Pet Shop – Bought nothing as far as I could tell, but would sell you a very expensive pet that would fight for you and which would be gone forever if it died… or if you logged off.  A lot of us bought one of these exactly once.

6 – The Armorer of Leuthilspar – Sold some very heavy bronze armor and would buy anything flagged as armor, which did not include leather armor from Kobold Village or the Cloak of Forest Shadows.

7 – The Leviathan Shipwright – Sold rafts and canoes for crossing water.  You just had to have one in your inventory (but not in a container) for them to work.  Would buy them back at a deep discount.

8 – The Green Griffon Pub – Sold alcoholic beverages.  Never bought anything I had to sell.

9 – Tilanthra’s Shop of Alchemy – Bought and sold potions.

10 – The Magic Shop of Leuthilspar – Sold a number of scrolls and wands, despite there already being a scroll shop.  Would only buy wands and the like.  This is where you would sell that Wand of Thunderous Rage that was in the garbage heap and which never worked for me over the last 15 years.

11 – Morlanthrtilan’s Fine Clothier – Had nothing for sale as I recall, but would buy that leather armor from Kobold Village that the armor shop turned its nose up at.

12 – The Blue Dragon Inn and Restaurant – Sold oddly specific and very expensive food at various times and would buy, for reasons I could never determine, arrows and quarrels.

13 – Qulazoral’s Barrels and More – Sold you a skin or a barrel of water after your first issued water skin evaporated after you emptied it (I think they finally fixed that) but before you finally got a flagon from Bandor.  Would buy liquid containers, if you ever found one.

There were some other vendors in town.  Each guild had a vendor that might give you a few more coins for specific items.  But in general, it was vendor row on main street that handled your needs.  You just needed to run around a lot until you figured out who bought what.  It helped that what vendors purchased ended up in their inventory for sale again, a feature I miss, and which was last seen in EverQuest as I recall.

And even then you would end up with a few items that no vendor would purchase, but which were not flagged “no value.”  There were a few items I would have to travel to Mithril Hall, way up in the north beyond Neverwinter, in order to vendor.  I think the dead rat was on that list.

Still, in some ways, the elves did not have it so bad.  The vendors gave decent prices and were all centrally located.  This was not necessarily the case in Waterdeep or Baldurs gate, and good luck selling things way down in Calimport.

And vendors in Leuthilspar never closed.  Elves don’t need sleep.  In other towns vendors would often close for some or all of the night cycle of a given day.  The time translation was one real world minute for one game hour, so you might end up sitting in a shop for 6 or 8 or 12 minutes waiting for the vendor to open up again.

And with all of that, you still ran the risk of selling something of value to other players… something you could sell or trade… to a vendor without knowing.  As I mentioned above, you needed a scroll of identify to see what an item did.  There were no stats on demand and equipment was not color coded by the now standard formula (gray, white, green, blue, purple) to indicate relative worth.  Of course, once you sold the item to a vendor, it cost you a lot more to buy it back.  It seemed that vendors were in the business of making money… or at least acting like they were there to make money as opposed to just being a place to dump your crap.

Today though, we can see it all.  Stats show up when we hover the cursor over and item, and it will even show what we have equipped in the relevant slot so we can instantly compare.  Items names are color coded, as noted above.  And not only will vendors buy just about anything you have (and sell it back to you at the same price if sold something by mistake) but we are at the point in games like Rift where there is a button that will automatically sell all of your “trash” grade loot to the vendor with a single press.

As I said at the top, I am not exactly hankering to go back to the way vendors used to be.  But it is interesting to see how much has changed, and one wonders if it was all for the better.

A Visit with the Tako Demon

Leuthilspar Tales – Part V

About two years back I was working on a series of posts tagged as Leuthilspar Tales.  The idea was to recount what life was like, back in the day… or even today… for a player on TorilMUD who chose to roll an elf.  I had about a dozen topics to cover… and I managed to write about three and a half of them.  The I got distracted and went on to something else.

Recently, with the updates to TorilMUD, there has been something of a resurgence of interest in the game by myself and a few friends.  And so last night found Gaff and I roaming about Leuthilspar and the island of Evermeet looking for nostalgia.

We went to visit Kobold Village, which due to changes in the geography outside of Leuthilspar, is even more difficult to find and enter.  It isn’t just .10w4n from the gates any more.

Outside Leuthilspar

Once there, we wandered around slaying things.  There was not a lot of challenge.  Gaff was on as his level 50 conjurer, Nerral,  and I was on as a level 47 druid. (Used to be level 50, then I started a strange game… to be covered at a later date.)

We went and kill various key mobs on the surface.

Kobold Village - Surface

Then we headed down into the mines where, for no real reason, I lead us into the Kobold Temple of the Unholy.

There are not many rooms down there.  And most of them are occupied by mobs that were not going to be a problem for us.

So, of course, I lead us into one of the problem room, that of the high priest down there, who is really a mob a full group should be taking on.

He wailed on me, I had wimpy set, which caused me to flee when my hit points dropped below a certain threshold.

And then the real fun began.

You flee westward!

The Sacrificial Pit
Exits: -U

< 160h/835H 165v/165V >
< > You try to leave but are grappled backwards by a snaky tentacle!

< 160h/835H 165v/165V >
< > You try to leave but are grappled backwards by a snaky tentacle!

< 160h/835H 165v/165V >
< >
A summoned tako demon misses you with his pummel.

< 160h/835H 165v/165V >
< T: Zouve TC: pretty hurt E: tako EC: excellent >
You miss a summoned tako demon with your slash.
YIKES!  Another hit like that, and you’ve had it!!
You try to leave but are grappled backwards by a snaky tentacle!
PANIC!  You couldn’t escape!

A summoned tako demon misses you with his pummel.
You try to leave but are grappled backwards by a snaky tentacle!
PANIC!  You couldn’t escape!

A summoned tako demon barely wounds you with his weak pummel.
You try to leave but are grappled backwards by a snaky tentacle!
PANIC!  You couldn’t escape!

< 75h/835H 165v/165V >
< T: Zouve TC: awful E: tako EC: excellent >

You start chanting…

< 75h/835H 165v/165V >
< T: Zouve TC: awful E: tako EC: excellent >

You complete your spell…

Temple of Rillifane Rallathil
Exits: -N# -E
A young elven druid is standing here, getting in tune with nature.
A young elven druid is standing here, getting in tune with nature.

Fortunately, druids have the spell “Word of Recall” which return the caster to his guild hall.  It does not work in all rooms in the world, but it is apparently an escape from the Tako Demon.

I rejoiced in my escape!

You group-say ‘hah, was in with Tako demon!’

And then I got another, less joyful message.

Nerral stops following you.
Nerral has left the group.
You disband the group.
Nerral has quit the game, consent lost.

Oops.  Dead.  Never good, not in with the Tako Demon.

And, in TorilMUD, on which EverQuest was primarily based, when you die, you are faced with the naked run back to your corpse.  And the lair of the Tako Demon is not a place you want to go naked by yourself.

And I could not help out.  The Tako Demon is a world tracker, which means as soon as I step out of town, he gets up out of his lair and starts looking for me.  So I start seeing this.

A black rift in space opens next to you, and a summoned tako demon steps out of it grinning.

Yeah, that is bad.  Fortunately there is a couple second delay after somebody steps out of a dimension door like that before they can attack you.  Enough for me to scurry back to town.

Fortunately, there were quite a few people in the game, including Lilithelle, a player who has played on TorilMUD so much that she once gained so much experience, it broke the game.  In TorilMUD you apparently do not stop gaining experience when you hit the level cap of 50.  Lilithelle kept on to the point when her exp hit the most significant bit of the number, which was signed, which meant that her experience went negative and the whole MUD went down.  They had to fix the game just for her.

Anyway, she is the master of such rescues and had the time to help us, so Nerral’s corpse was recovered and restored to him.

But that is a lesson from the age of MUDs.  The deadly Tako Demon basically lives beneath what is mostly a level 5-20 zone.

Fun!

Lost in the Faerie Forest

Leuthilspar Tales – Part IV

As an elf starting out in the early days of TorilMUD you were stuck on an island for 20 levels.  An island with a home town and three zones, Kobold Village, the Faerie Forest, and the Elemental Glades.

Kobold Village, once you got in, was the preferred place to grind levels experience the game as a young elf.  But a zone like Kobold Village begins to feel crowded when even a half a dozen people are active in it.

So, looking for adventure, you might opt for the second best zone for young elves on Evermeet, the Faerie Forest.

(Not to be confused with the Faerie Forest outside of Waterdeep in Crushk or the Faerie Forest that was later added to the Moonshaes.  Look for a Faerie Forest franchise near you!)

In the MUD learning experience, Faerie Forest had a few things to teach you once you had grown used to Kobold Village.

If you could find it.

The entrance was hidden.  You had to get to the right room, which was located in a loop of rooms off the forest road, and search for a secret door.

You find a secret exit south!

Ah, there it is.

Once you opened up the door (keyword “open secret”) and entered, you had to face a couple of aggressive monsters.

A scruffy wood rat is here slinking around in the gloom.

Okay, a wood rat isn’t exactly fearsome, unless you are really low level and/or naked because you are trying to get back to your corpse.  The thing with the wood rats, they were in a set of three single-file rooms, which meant you could not just spam past them. (Unless you figured out that you could “recline” and scoot under them.  I’d like to see that in real life.)  You would just bump into them, and then they would attack you.

Once past the rats, there was another door (keyword “open foliage”) through which was the Faerie Forest.

And once you went through that door, you were in trouble.

That was a one-way door you just walked through.  The way out of the Faerie Forest lay somewhere else.  You had to find your way out, which meant exploring the zone.

No exit on this map

Welcome to the Faerie Forest

Not that it was too dangerous.  Compared to Kobold Village there were only a few aggressive creatures.  There was another nest of wood rats and a anti-social goblin, neither of which were very fearsome.  Oh, and then there was Chacodyn up in his tree.

A malevolent chacodyn snaps into visibility.

OUCH! That really did HURT!

Now he was bad.  Stay out of the trees.

I well remember my first visit to the Faerie Forest.  I tailed in behind somebody else then went off exploring.

I explored for quite a while, then decided I really needed to get back to town.  So I explored some more.  I went back and forth through the zone.  I grew quite frustrated.

You see, I had not yet learned the secret to getting out of the Faerie Forest, a secret that can be summarized as:

nueuuedenensn

No, that is not the capital of Estonia.  Those are the directions to get from one landmark, the legendary Finn McCumhail, a verbose NPC on the path through the Faerie Forest (“Travel these realms with care!”), and the front door of Anna’s cottage, inside of which was the exit from the zone.

That translates as “North, up, east, up, up, etc.”

There is a trick in that path though.  You’ll notice that the last three directions you need to travel are north, south, then north again.  If you don’t do that little trick, you just end up back on the path you just came through.

I had narrowed down that area as the most likely way out, but could not get past that trick.

So I shouted.  I yelled for help.

Fortunately, back in those days it was uncommon to be alone in any of three Evermeet zones.  Eventually a ranger named Morianthis found me and led me to Anna’s house, telling me the path and its trick, so that I wouldn’t get stuck in the Faerie Forest again.

Morianthis became one of my friends in the game from that point forward.  And, in an ironic twist, it later came to pass that I was the mapper of zones and rarely lost if I could find a landmark, while Mori tended to get turned around once off the beaten path so that I got to come to his rescue a few times in later days.

But this time, Mori was the hero, delivering me to Anna’s house.

Before the Oak Tree Cottage

This is a pathway before the front of a large cottage which fills a clearing in the Faerie Forest.  The cottage is an interesting sight to behold.  Mammoth oak trees support the four corners of the cottage; the walls of the cottage seem to be grow right out of the oak trees. The branches of the four, towering oak trees, grow so close together they seem to form the roof of the cottage.  One cannot begin to fathom the time it must have took for this cottage to have been created. There is a small gravel pathway which extends around the cottage to the east and west.  The front door of the cottage is directly to the north.  To the south is the beginning of the clearing.

And quite a house it was.  The previously mentioned Chacodyn lives up one of those trees that forms the cottage.

AnnasHouse

Anna's House

Once at Anna’s house, you went inside, up stairs, and to the library:

Library of the Oak Tree Cottage
Exits: -S
A mysterious orb of shifting colors and light floats here.

Fortunately, the orb was labeled.

The orb is a giant globe of swirling colors and humming magical energy.
In tiny letters near the bottom of the orb it reads:
“For proper use, see library entry on returning home”

And once you figured out how to use the library (there is a sign in the room) you will find out how to use the orb.

Simply touch the orb in the library and you will be teleported out of the realm back into mortal lands.  Be warned though that once leaving the faerie realm, few find it easy to return again.

Well, as easy as getting past those wood rats again, anyway.

And once you touch the orb (assuming you are not wearing or carrying  something with the keyword “orb,” in which case you will have to take it off and put it in a container) you are teleported out to the start of the zone, on the other side of those wood rats, able to head back to Leuthilspar.

You now know the way out.  You need not feel lost in the Faerie Forest again young elf!

Next time, the bounty of the Faerie Forest.

Leuthilspar Tales – Part IVAs an elf starting out in the early days of TorilMUD you were stuck on an island for 20 levels.  An island with a home town and three zones, Kobold Village, the Faerie Forest, and the Elemental Glades.Kobold Village, once you got in, was the preferred place to grind levels experience the game as a young elf.  But a zone like Kobold Village begins to feel crowded when even a half a dozen people are active in it.So, looking for adventure, you might opt for the second best zone for young elves on Evermeet, the Faerie Forest.(Not to be confused with the Faerie Forest outside of Waterdeep in Crushk or the Faerie Forest that was later added to the Moonshaes.  Look for a Faerie Forest franchise near you!)

In the MUD learning experience, Faerie Forest had a few things to teach you once you had grown used to Kobold Village.

If you could find it.

The entrance was hidden.  You had to get to the right room, which was located in a loop of rooms off the forest road, and search for a secret door.

You find a secret exit south!

Ah, there it is.

Once you opened up the door (keyword “open secret”) and entered, you had to face a couple of aggressive monsters.

A scruffy wood rat is here slinking around in the gloom.

Okay, a wood rat isn’t exactly fearsome, unless you are really low level and/or naked because you are trying to get back to your corpse.  The thing with the wood rats, they were in a set of three single-file rooms, which meant you could not just spam past them. (Unless you figured out that you could “recline” and scoot under them.  I’d like to see that in real life.)  You would just bump into them, and then they would attack you.

Once past the rats, there was another door (keyword “open foliage”) through which was the Faerie Forest.

And once you went through that door, you were in trouble.

That was a one-way door you just walked through.  The way out of the Faerie Forest lay somewhere else.  You had to find your way out, which meant exploring the zone.

Not that it was too dangerous.  Compared to Kobold Village there were only a few aggressive creatures.  There was another nest of wood rats and a anti-social goblin, neither of which were very fearsome.  Oh, and then there was Chacodyn up in his tree.  Now he was bad.  Stay out of trees.

I well remember my first visit to the Faerie Forest.  I tailed in behind somebody else then went off exploring.

I explored for quite a while, then decided I really needed to get back to town.  So I explored some more.  I went back and forth through the zone.  I grew quite frustrated.

You see, I had not yet learned the secret to getting out of the Faerie Forest, a secret that can be summarized as:

nueuuedenensn

No, that is not the capital of Estonia.  Those are the directions to get from one landmark, Finn McCumhail a verbose NPC on the path through the Faerie Foresy (“Travel these realms with care!”), and the front door of Anna’s house, inside of which was the exit from the zone.

There is a trick in that path.  You’ll notice that the last three directions you need to travel are north, south, then north again.  If you don’t do that little trick, you just end up back on the path you just came through.

I had narrowed down that area as the most likely way out, but could not get past that trick.

So I shouted.  I yelled for help.

Fortunately, back in those days

The Kobold Temple of the Unholy

Leuthilspar Tales – Part III

Since I am probably done with Kobold Village for now, I thought I would add the description from the room directly below the three kobold sentries and directly above the Tako demon, the high level, deadly monster that lives deep below Gwark’s town.

This is the secret temple of the dark kobolds.  A secret sect of kobolds still worship the primal magics of their ancient past; dark rites are practiced here which even the kobolds themselves had outlawed as their civilization moved on.  The temple is a huge cavern, carved out in the depths below Gwark’s settlement.  The walls of the cavern are made out of the bones of kobolds which have been spirited away down here to be sacrificed to the demons which the high priest invokes from the dark magic.  The air is chill with the presence of evil.  A large, dark pit in the cavern floor gapes to the east of here, a huge and dominating presence.  Across from the pit, through the gloom of the cavern, you think you can see a giant altar of sorts.  It looks possible to climb down into the pit, though why one would want to is boggling.  One can follow the temple walls around the pit to the north and south of here.

Did you catch this sentence?

It looks possible to climb down into the pit, though why one would want to is boggling.

That is all the warning you get not to climb down into the lair of the Tako demon.  Welcome to the age of MUDs, where a seemingly innocuous phrase can mean life or death.

I do like that the kobolds have a dark past alluded to in this description, making them perhaps a bit less comic that their Azerothian brethren:

A secret sect of kobolds still worship the primal magics of their ancient past; dark rites are practiced here which even the kobolds themselves had outlawed as their civilization moved on.

You no steal candle or we’ll summon up something nasty!