Remember text adventures like Zork or Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy?

Has anyone considered a recreation of Alfheim, Warp Shell, Ghost Mountain or any of the other amazing worlds from the community into a multi-user dungeon? (For a real-life example of this, check out DiscworldMUD based on the world of Terry Pratchett–its grotesquely popular for dial-up era game.)

Some of the core mechanics would be difficult (or impossible/impractical) to implement in such an environment, but many of the concepts (flexible class and ability sytem, loot as an element of stat progression, timers) could port reasonably well.

Granted, it would be quite a task for any single individual to write for an ongoing “GM-less campaign”, but the prospect of a persistent, potentially global role-playing community rooted in ICRPC sensibilities sounds like an amazing opportunity for the talents of the Shieldwall who may not have a regular gaming group to share their ideas with.

Just a thought! :slight_smile:



Hahaha, well, not until just now. That certainly brings back a ton of memories. I spent literally countless hours in JediMUD, HoloMUD, and GroundZero, and I was one of the original creators of CyberAssault, which I think is still up.

You’re right. Nearly every single core concept could easily be recreated in a MUD, as could all of the areas: an Alfheim zone, a warp shell
Zone, and a ghost mountain zone. But that would be a ton of work. Still, my wheels are turning a bit.


How fun would it be to work on a project like this, though! I think there are a lot of similarities between the MUD and Tabletop communities, they seem like natural allies. :grin:


Fernail’s general voice in a text game like that would be pretty great. That’d be a decent little side project for anyone with the know how.


Zork came with the first computer we ever had and I tried to play, but I found 0 instructions and I was never able to even get out of the first room. Granted, I under 10 years old…

I recently tried to remember what that game was called so I could run it on an emulator and give it another go, so thank you for posting this.


Here is your chance to redeem yourself! https://playzork.com/


That was satisfying!


Can someone explain MUD to me? It sounds interesting.


Hey @Looten, once upon a time, before the internet had pages or pictures, it was all text-based. Some crafty gamers (who also happened to be computer science majors) put together the first code of what was, at the time, one of the first kinds of online multi-player role-playing games, known as MUDs, and they were completely text-based. I’m thinking DikuMUD, one of the first, came out in 1991 or so.

A user used his or her computer Telnet feature to reach out to a server address and then connect the player to the game. At login, new players were greeted with a create character prompt, followed by stat generation, a choice of class and sometimes race, which was very much like traditional RPG character generation. From there, the newly minted player was deposited into a “room” with newbie gear, usually a wooden sword and newbie armor. A room had a text-based description like, “You are standing on a lush green hill. To your north, roughly hewn stones form the basis of a strong castle wall. A sign has been affixed to it. A well-traveled road runs to the east and west. To the south, you can hear the babbling of a small stream.

A town guard is here.”

From there, the game was controlled by various commands. Typing “East” made the player walk East, and his or her screen would update with a new room. Typing a verb command with an object might give additional information like, “look sign,” and then you’d get the update on your screen. The text constantly flowed upward from the bottom. You could “look south” and get more detail about the stream. There were also social commands of another player arrived in your room, “Alex has arrived.” You could also say, tell, group-speak, or engage in a million emotes. Alex Smirks

And then of course, there were fighting commands. “Attack Guard.” Typing this last part would cause combat to commence, which involved a large immediate influx of scrolling from the bottom:

Alex EVICERATES the town guard with his devastating slash!
The town guard hits Alex with a broad sword!
Alex DESTROYS the town guard with his devastating slash!

And so on. Meanwhile, you’d watch your hit points tick down. You could also cast spells on your self or others: “cast heal Alex” and then watch your mana go down.

The game operated on an internal clock known as ticks, which ultimately brought some health and mana regen naturally, though loot and spells could alter those rates. Resting and catching the tick before a major fight was a big deal.

And then there was loot and running around the zones for loot. As monsters (mobiles or mobs) loaded in, they also had random loading rates for gear. Some mobs could be farmed. Others only loaded choice gear randomly, and still others only loaded when the game was rebooted or reset, maybe because it crashed or came back up. In those instances, when people rejoined, they raced to choice spots to farm rare gear. You could also join up with players, forming a group: “follow Looten.” In that regard, every room I entered, you followed with me. Our group would have our own internal group speak, and we could monitor each other’s health and heal one another, with one player tanking the fight and the others joining in and providing support. In this manner, players formed natural specialized roles of tanking, healing, backstabbing, or casting offensive magic. In truth, the influence on modern day MMORPGs is undeniable.

But the one advantage of a purely text-based game is that The Pit Fiend, or Siawyn, The Champion of Rhyoden, will always be far more scary in my head then they ever would be in a video game with graphics.

I could go on and on about how cool these games were, with my buddies and me taking over a university computer lab to mud together all weekend, but the above should give you a decent sense of the game. There are a few good articles out there about them. I was privileged to play some of the early ones and meet some influential folks behind them back then.


MUDs are, in a nutshell, virtual worlds that can support RPGs ranging from automated hack-n-slashers like Diablo, to something purely RP like a vast elaborate RP space like a VTT without graphics driven by real live GMs.

They can be considered the text-based evolutionary ancestor of MMORPGs from the '90s. :slight_smile: There have been a few decades of modernizations, so it’s (relatively) accessible to non-programmers.


Oh wow, that’s awesome! I didn’t realize how in-depth it was but it seems to be able to handle quite a bit. I was thinking it was more of a text based adventure but it sounds like it was loads more fun than that. I was born in 90 so it seems like I missed the boat on that one (plus I lived in the sticks so internet was atrocious at best when we finally got it). Thank you for this, I’d be really interested in doing something like this if it ever got off the ground.


That’s really neat. I would really like to see how well ICRPG would translate to MUD and I’d be eager to join in.


It was cool. We were playing with folks from England, Ireland, Germany, and Australia, which was wild for back then … something we take for granted now.

You should do a little googling on dikumud, circlemud and Jeremy Elson at Johns Hopkins. Even mudding in general. A few are still up if you want to try it out for yourself. I suspect most are lonely places now, though.


After looking into it a bit, I’m pretty sure it was Zork III

Thanks for the link!