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VOLUME TWO, ISSUE NINETEEN                              Mar. 22nd, 1995

                          THE ULTRA-SPECIAL

                      ...:/:[ CONTENTS ]:\:...

                    - new fight system adopted -
                    -   magic spells altered   -
                    -      areas updated       -
                    -  new skills and teachers -

                - Living with the new fight system -

                         FUND DRIVE STATUS
                            SOCIAL EVENTS
                 -       A set of level 50's      -
                 -     a dragon eats a friend     -
                 - Eretz and Psychotic rhapsodize -
                 -        One's one-liners        -
                 -   Tempus and Ecstasy an item   -

As you have probably noticed by now, the new fight system that was under
testing last time this newsletter came out has been adopted. The results of
the test indicated that most players felt that this system worked better,
even though several of them also felt they were worse off under it.

The new system will permit us to have greater flexibility in designing the
martial arts system, as well as open up possible avenues for skills specific
to weapon type (beyond backstab) such as a mounted charge skill, or other

Unfortunately, installing the new system meant that all old weapons were no
longer compatible with the new ones. Accordingly, they were blipped from the
playerfiles. We are aware that many old and cherished weapons, including
oldstyle weapons and strung weapons, were lost this way. None of them would
have worked, so really it is no loss in terms of combat ability.

However, we recognize that the strung items often have personal
significance, and therefore will string whatever new weapon you settle on to
match the old strung item.

Likewise, we are aware that many low level players cannot afford to replace
their weapon easily. If you are one of those players, ask a god to supply
you with gold so you can buy one from a shop. You must know what weapon you
are getting and from where before you ask.

Most of this issue is devoted to changes related to the fight system. For
those who are at sea, the article below on "Living with the New Fight
System" may prove helpful.

                          MAGIC SPELLS ALTERED

**NOTE: the following has been coded but not yet installed because of some
technical problems with spell-casting weapons. Look for it soon. ***

In tandem with the fight system going in, direct damage-causing spells were
revised to fit a more standardized scale of damage. This was done so that
mages could rely on these spells to give them more predictable offensive
power. Similarly, the spells that follow were also given a fairly small
minimum mana fee, and then mana is deducted at a flat rate of one point of
mana per actual point of damage inflicted.

These are the spells that were altered along with their expected damage
ranges and mana costs:

cause light wounds  6-12                8-14
wither              10-20              14-24
beam of pain        10-20              14-24
evil thoughts       10-20              14-24
harm                10-20              14-24
poison              10-20              18-28
drown               15-30              23-38
gust of wind        15-30              23-38
flamestrike         15-30              27-42
lightning bolt      15-30              27-42
lava flow           20-40              32-52
noise               25-50              41-66
etheric void        25-50              41-66
immolation          30-60              46-76
watery death        30-60              46-76

wave of nausea      no victim          10-20              18-28
earthquake          15-30               1-10              27-42
whirlpool           15-30               1-10              27-42
noise               no victim          25-50              41-66
firestorm           30-60               1-10              46-76

*Given the way area spells work, your mana cost may climb dramatically from
those shown here. This is figured if there is only one other person in the
room. For each person you hit and do damage to, your mana expenditure will
keep climbing. If you run out of mana before you run out of victims in the
room, then they will not be damaged. In particular, spells like noise and
wave of nausea that cannot be targeted--especially noise--can result in
using ALL your mana up if cast in a crowded room (of course, doing 50 damage
to each of 5 people may use 250 mana but it could also be very desirable).

                             AREAS UPDATED

As of this writing, all the areas in the mud save Viking Scandinavia have
had their weapons altered to fit the new system. This means that there are
now weapons of high quality out in the mud. Under this new fight system, as
you have no doubt noticed, mundane weapons are now often more useful than
magical weapons, depending on the weapon and your particular fighting style.
So now there is a wide range of weaponry of all levels of damage for
whatever proficiency it is you pursue.

Keep in mind that this means that tried and true weapons may no longer work
very well for you, and weapons that before you dismissed as useless may
serve you better. See the article "Living with the New Fight System" below
for helpful hints on what sort of weapon to choose. Also remember that many
weapons which used to be normal now have quality points attached to them, or
have different weights or damages.

                            SKILLS TEACHERS

There are now skills teachers for all nine current weapons proficiencies.
The old teachers of the old proficiciences MAY NOT WORK properly; if they
tell you they teach swordsmanship or arms training but do not mention
"basic" or "advanced" or "expert" you can assume they are nonfunctional at
the moment. We are working on getting all old teachers converted to teach
the new skills.

If you had the old weapons proficiencies, you should find them converted to
the new profs at 'basic' level. If you have all three old proficiencies,
have no pracs, and wish to specialize, talk to an immortal, and your
useless extra proficiencies can be reimbursed as practice sessions.

The old and new skills are:

OLD                                 NEW
swordsmanship          becomes      basic swordsmanship
arms training                       basic arms training
fencing                             basic fencing

SKILL                     SKILL PREREQ        LEVEL REQ        STAT REQ
basic swordsmanship       none                5                40 str
advanced swordsmanship    basic swords.       15               60 str
expert swordsmanship      advanced swords.    35               80 str
basic arms training       none                5                40 con
advanced arms training    basic arms.         15               60 con
expert arms training      advanced arms.      35               80 con
basic fencing             none                5                40 dex
advanced fencing          basic fencing       15               60 dex
expert fencing            advanced fencing    35               80 dex

                       .'                       '.
                     .:          FEATURE          :.
                      '.        ARTICLES!        .'
                        '                       '

                                  by Ptah

After giving this lecture a heck of a lot of times, I decided maybe I should
get it down in the LT so that everyone could read it and refer to it when
needed. So what follows gives the fighting strategies of a few different
people who are succeeding under the new system, and explains why it is they
are doing well, plus offers advice on what is probably the hardest part of
the new system--choosing your weapon.


[In what follows, all important terms are given in ALL CAPS.]

Under this system as it went in, we still have ROUNDS. That means, all of
your attacks are done, followed by all of the opponent's. However, how many
attacks you get is determined by PULSES. A round consists of 18 pulses. Each
blow takes a few pulses--how many depends on various factors. If at the end
of the round you have pulses left over, they will be applied to the next
round. This means it is possible to have 2 attacks one round, have some
extra pulses left, and get 3 attacks the round after.

Mobs and barehand combat get one attack for every 18 pulses--one per round.
There are several factors which reduce the number of pulses it takes you to
get in a blow however. The first among these is the QUALITY of the weapon
you are wielding. This uses a scale of -5 to +5 (and so we speak of q3, q-1,
q5 or q0 weapons), and the armslore skill can tell you what quality a given
weapon is. For every point of quality, you can subtract a pulse from your
attack rate. A q5 sword will get a blow in every 13 pulses (18-5=13).
Quality represents the balance of the weapon, how well suited it is for what
you are doing with it. This means that a poorly balanced blade may have a
quality of -3 and thus SLOW your attacks.

The next element that reduces the pulse rate of your attacks are WEAPONS
PROFICIENCIES (or profs). These are skills you can learn, with names like
swordsmanship, fencing, or arms training. Each applies to a different type
of weapon. Different weapon TYPES give different messages in combat and have
different abilities. Different types also have radically different effects
when they hit items, in terms of damaging them. For example, slashing
weapons will damage cloth armor much worse than they will metal armor,
whereas bludgeoning weapons will hurt metal badly by denting it, but don't
do much to leather armor.

Here is a table of the current weapon types along with what profs work with

The ARMS TRAINING skills apply to BLUNT attack types:
hit          crush         pound       bludgeon
bonk         suction       kick        smite        tangle

The SWORDSMANSHIP skills apply to SLASHING attack types:
slash        slice         whip        claw         lick        chop

The FENCING skills apply to PIERCE attack types:
pierce       stab          sting       bite

There are also some attack types not generally used by weapons, although
many mobs do use them. These attack types are not affected by any of the
weapons proficiencies. We call them NON-CONTACT attack types:
flame        freeze        poison      dissolve     shock       blast

Each of the three proficiency areas has three levels. Each of these takes a
skill to learn. They are BASIC, ADVANCED, and EXPERT, and they must be
learned in order. They have pretty stiff prerequisites you must meet in
terms of stats. For each level of a weapons prof you learn, you get to take
off one pulse from your attack speed *when using a weapon the prof applies
to*. So if you have expert swordsmanship but only basic arms training,
you'll fight faster with a sword than with a staff, all other things being

Each of the weapons profs has with it an associated stat, the PRIME STAT for
that proficiency. This is the stat that must reach extremely high levels in
order to learn the expert abilities. You should choose your profs based on
what stats you have extremely high and intend to keep that way. See above in
the earlier part of the LT for specific information on the stats and
prerequisites for the profs.

Every weapon you might get has a WEIGHT which can be seen by a variety of
means, including the armslore skill or identification spells. You can only
wield weapons that are light enough for you to handle. This means meeting a
minimum strength requirement. This is called the WIELD WEIGHT. You arrive at
this number by simply multiplying the weight of the weapon by four.

So you need a 40 strength to wield a weapon that weighs 10kg.
You can wield any weapon weighing 15kg or less if your strength is 60.

Your speed is also affected directly by how high your stats are. Each weapon
has a stat associated with it because of its attack type. The higher you get
this stat, the faster you will be able to use the weapon. If you take the
weight of the weapon and multiply it by four, then every ten points of stat
you get over that number confers an additional pulse of speed. For example:

Using a 10kg sword, wield weight is 40. With str of 50, you get a pulse off.

Using a 10kg sword, wield weight 40. With dex of 100, you get no pulses off
because dex isn't the stat that applies to slashing weapons.

Using a 1kg dagger, wield weight 4. With dex of 100, you get 9 pulses off.

Finally, the last thing to know is that the damage the weapon is most likely
the same as the weight. Every weapon does between 1 and its max points each
time you hit successfully. The lightest weapons will do around 1 to 4 with
each blow. The heaviest will do as high as 20. The armslore skill will soon
be fixed to once again give helpful values on weapon damage.

Given the above information, you should be able to precisely calculate your
attack speed, and average and maximum damage per round.

Now some typical approaches. These are all actual case studies of players
who have found niches in the new system. Keep in mind that one element of
the new system is that different approaches work for different styles.


Angus is a slashing swordsman who has learned advanced swordsmanship. He
tells us that, "my fighting strategy is I first start by using kill 
then rage, then if human I headbutt to death. For animals I alternate bash,
kick, and warcry." His weapon of choice is Freagra, the Answerer, which is
a magical sword of some power.

Angus' blade is high damage, which also implies a high weight. In fact, it
takes 60 strength to even wield it. Angus has a strength of 82, however,
so he gets two pulses off thanks to his strength when using even weapons
with a wield weight of 60. His high strength also confers an extra +5 dam
on him--points of damage which would be lost to rounding were he to attack
too swiftly.

In essence, Angus is attacking for high damage, willing to take the
pounding, and attacking slower because he gets a higher average damage when
he hits. Using headbutt, rage, or bash, he can more than double the damage
each of his blows does--which makes that +dam extremely valuable.

The loss of +dam to rounding means the loss of a significant advantage when
using fight skills that multiply damage by some factor, because it is the
loss of a reliable MINIMUM damage that can be reliably doubled. With a
successful headbutt and rage, Angus' +dam means a guaranteed 16 points of
damage if he hits once a round; twice a round it comes to 16, 8 per blow.
Look what happens if his sword didn't give +1 dam: 13 for one attack and 10
for two attacks. The reward in terms of extra damage is significant for
those who specialize as far as possible in strength.

How fast is Angus attacking? He gains 2 pulses from strength. His Freagra is
a high quality weapon, a q5; and he has advanced swordsmanship, taking off
another two. So he is getting exactly double attacks, which also works to
his advantage. Odd numbers of pulses and odd numbers of +dam that do not
happen to match up can lead to loss of damage to rounding.

So how is Angus doing? Assuming he hits (and he can still afford a 60 dex
and a 58 con even with this strength stat):

assuming rage and headbutted victim:
18 max on the sword                  18
+6 dam (+3 in one blow)           +3=22
all times 2 from headbutt         x2=44
additional 1/3 from rage        +33%=58 per blow, or 100+ a round.

And as a minimum, because of the +dam, he does 10 points of damage per blow.
And he's hitting twice a round. At what point would he want to consider
moving down to faster attacks, at this point? When his damage is high enough
that he is losing significant amounts of it to the 60 point cap on
damage from a single blow. When that happens, it will become more profitable to
spread the damage across three blows and avoid losing it to the cap.

(Yes, he also gets cut to ribbons while he does this, has a worse chance of
fleeing, of tumbling away from headbutts or bashes or dodging blows, but he
tells us he is killing "everything in the dun  except a few of the more
powerful" mobs.)

When asked for a quote, he said, "I can't really think of a quote except to
say that now I am able to win battles by brute strength."


One exemplifies one of two common approaches to fighting with piercing
weapons. In contrast with Angus, who wants to use the heaviest weapon
possible, One prefers to get in as many attacks as possible, because
piercing weapons are limited to 10 damage maximum. This means that single
blows will never for him reach the extreme ranges they do for Angus. Yet One
has been soloing the lion and the black rhino. How? He says, "It's all in
the kazoo."

One is a specialist in bardic skills. This means he uses the two most
powerful skills in the bardic arsenal: calm and entrance. His weapon of
choice is a poisoned katar.

The katar is a lightweight weapon--the wield weight on it is only 8, which
puts it within the reach of even some of the wimpiest mages. Since One has a
dexterity in the high 70s, this means that he's already getting 7 pulses
shaved off his time. Since the weapon is also high quality and One also uses
expert fencing, the result is an attack every 4 pulses, which translates to
between 4 and 5 attacks a round.

Now, let's be honest. The damage on the katar is crummy. It only does 1d5.
BUT it's poisoned, and that means that he can count on that doing damage as

Attacking straight, no +dam or anything else, One can max out at 25 damage
in a round. BUT he can also count on an additional 40 from the poison in
every round. He's up to 65 now; put in entrance, and you have an extra 66%
damage, for a whopping 100+ damage a round.

The danger? Well, he hits often. But poison isn't always going to trigger.
When that happens, his damage falls to a max of only 35 or so. If his
entrance wears off, it falls even further to 25. And if he gets hit,
headbutted, bashed--well, he's dead. He's not going to get any second
chances in fighting mobs like the rhino.

One is an extraordinary case because he managed to get that poisoned katar,
and he uses "calm when things get hairy." But the real power here is the
entrance. Without that skill, this bardic knifer only does half as well as
he does now. He can't afford to get hit, and has to rely on others getting
hit for him. "Inspiring my hps slave works too," he tells us, thus giving
that hps tank an extra 33% damage from rage.

As One put it so eloquently, "don't leave home without your kazoo."

OK, so those two managed to find a way to do what they do and excel. But how
do you yourself go about choosing a weapon?

First step--learn the proficiencies for the stat that you habitually keep
highest. (With the new magic changes, this is mind for all the mages. Once
martial arts is in, it will rely on spirit, and gunmen will of course focus
on perception).

In general, it is not likely that you will go wrong with the highest quality
weapon you can get. As a rule, high quality weapons are very rare, are
pretty expensive, but also often have extra bonuses associated with them,
such as extra ac, stat boosts, or +dam or +hit. All of these things can be
*more valuable than damage* in the long run, so don't neglect them.

Don't assume that faster attacks is always better. Heavier weapons do more
damage (your heaviest swords can do on AVERAGE what the best dagger in the
game does as maximum). The tricky thing about the system is that depending
on your approach, the best weapon may vary. As a rule: someone short on hps
and higher on dex will do better with quick darting attacks, lots of flees,
perhaps backstabs, plenty of kicks and tumbles. Someone big and tanklike
should go with a high damage weapon, because you can withstand the blows of
the opponent, and the +dam you can get is more important than the extra
you'll get from faster attacks.

Either way, it's going to take work to be a superkiller like either of the
above two examples. Max out your chosen stat--it may make your blows faster
but also has all those other little advantages (dodge, hps, damage in kicks
and headbutts, flees, +dam, +hit). Be sure to use a weapon that suits the
stat you are developing. And keep an eye out for skills that fit the stat as

In the end, the choice of which weapon is best for YOU will likely be a
personal one. Happy hunting!


                            FUND DRIVE STATUS

We've heard nary a peep from anyone regarding donations in around two weeks
now. Please do donate if you want to see Legend stay alive. We are still
expecting to lose our current site in early to mid-May, and although we may
be able to find a temporary residence when that happens, we should not count
on it.


We suggest that those who have the money burning a hole in their pocket
go ahead and send the checks directly to the following address and we will
get the letters out to them as soon as we can, perhaps even crossing in
the mail. This is the address to send donations to:

           (make checks payable to Raphael and Kristen Koster)
                     Raph and Kristen Koster
                     University Station
                     PO Box 1114
                     Tuscaloosa AL 35486-1114

If you are an overseas donor who cannot write a check in US Dollars, please
email us at the LT address given at the end of this newsletter.


            /                         \
        o O | Wonder what folks are    |
  `\|||/    | doing over at LegendMud? |
   (o o)     \________________________/

                          \|/  \|/  \\||//  \!/

We've got a few new level 50 characters on the mud! Rusalka and Bart pulled
off a nice trick by both hitting level 50 simultaneously. They did it by
killing the man eating lion in the Savanna, with the help of a few friends.
Count on those lovebirds to do it together... Eretz also reached level 50,
though the LT lacks any details on how he did it, or with whom...

                          \|/  \|/  \\||//  \!/

Alas, not all is celebration. The mud has suffered the loss of another level
50 character, who went out in style. The world was shocked to see the
following scroll by them recently:

[Info]: Rachael killed by a massive red and gold dragon with nasty razor teeth
and beady eyes that suck your soul in and devour it.
[Info]: Rachael is permanently DEAD!

Alas, it is true, the flame-haired warrior lass is dead. However, her soul
did manage to escape from the tummy of the aforementioned dragon, and found
its way to the afterworld. Look for Rachael to be installed in the Hall of
Legends sometime soon.

                          \|/  \|/  \\||//  \!/

The following exchange was recently captured, and judged too fun to pass up,
given the recent concerns about the fight system. With no further ado, I
present to you Eretz, Master Bard, doing his thing, and Psychotic of Clan
Connaught, with the help of Bay_El-Lor and a few others!

Psychotic: All these newfangled pieces of gear...  I remember hwehn all
           we had on this MUD was loincloths and we liked it!
Eretz: Time Transfers! I remember when we had to walk 800 years from
           London to Sherwood!
Eretz: and we liked it!
Psychotic: Hah!  I remember when we couldn't even GET to other areas.
           And all you heard was how neat London was while you were stuck
           in Eire!
Random: You serious??
Psychotic: Yay!  This is as it should be!
Bay_El-Lor: weapons?!! I remember when all we could do was headbutt mobs
           and then leave them stunned on the ground ..
Eretz: AND...I remember when giant vorpal squirrels popped in ireland
           every two ticks and killed you with one blow...
Eretz: And it was much better that way!
Psychotic: Hah!  I remember when all we had were socials!  Couldn't even
           fight, just had to spit on each other!
Psychotic: And we were grateful!
Eretz: I remember when we periodically ran out of spit and had to buy
           new spit at the inns for 1000 a mouthful!
Bay_El-Lor: :)  I remember when all we had was binary code, and you had
           to look at a string of zeros and ones and go OOOOH! I got a hit
Eretz: And it was far better than these soft days!
Psychotic: Hah!  Well, I rememeber when you had to code your own spit!
Eretz: I remember when we didn't even have computers and I had to write
           each order on a piece of paper and fly it to Texas!
Psychotic: Yeah?  Well, I remember when you couldn't do that, either!
           Had to take a year off work, walk cross-country and hand deliver
           your own orders!
Psychotic: And things were much nicer those days!
Eretz: I remember when we couldn't even write so I had to run to Texas,
           and yell into the mud 's hearing aid!
Psychotic: So?  I remember when you had to fight your way past rednecks
           to do the same thing!  And you had to do it in a loincloth,
           weaponless!  It was tradition!
Eretz: And we did it and liked it!
Psychotic: Damn right.  So we don't want to hear all this whining, do we?
Eretz: I remember before we had speech and I had to run all the way to
           Texas, fight past the rednecks, and grunt into the mud's hole!
Eretz: Right! And...I remember that when you were killed on the mud the
           mobile showed up at your door and actually killed you!
Eretz: blood all over the floor, it was terrible
Psychotic: Yeah!  But they were nice about it, mind you.  Very polite.
           Not like these mobs today...
Eretz: true, those mud mobs today have no manners! They used to say
           thank you, sir when you killed them
Eretz: In fact...
Eretz: the mobs used to chase you around begging to teach you something!
Psychotic: *ahem*  Sorry.
Eretz: Give you! they'd come to the front door of your house and thrust
           them into your hands--or ankles as the case might be!
Eretz: they'd pay you money to take eq! And I don't mean mud money I
           mean actual currency which you could use to buy things
Psychotic: I remember you couldn't kill mobs with weapons then! Had to
           headbutt and roll over mobs to kill 'em!
Eretz: Right, Psy! In fact you couldn't kill the mobiles at all! The
           just closed their eyes and lay there pretending!
Psychotic: Aye, and they were awful at it!  Kept asking you if they
           could get up again...  It was disgusting...
Psychotic: And the Gods!  They didn't listen to anything the players
           said! Didn't ask if somebody wanted to do something!  Ran the
           mud for their own amusemnt...
Eretz: Gee! I'm really glad all that's changed now!!!
Psychotic: Hmmm...  well, you all get the point!

                          \|/  \|/  \\||//  \!/

Seems that deadly little musician One has been making fun of an awful lot of
people lately. here's a selection of the choicest satires and praises to be
heard on the mud lately:

Tales of a man-eating lion's involvement in that disney fiasco are heard of
        all over the world thanks to One's satire.
One sings the praises of Hayden's shiny lights!
One sings the praises of Crowe's bootlicking!
Tales of a cheetah's stupid corpse rending and stuff are heard of all
        over the world thanks to One's satire.
One sings the praises of an indian elder's silly dance steps!
One sings the praises of an indian elder's bad case of dead!
One sings the praises of a swarthy captain's experience at levelling
One sings the praises of a swarthy captain's loverly experience!
Tales of a bootblack's annoying yelling are heard of all over the world
        thanks to One's satire.
Tales of Amanda's loose ways and lewd behaviours with sailor and
        vampires are heard of all over the world thanks to One's satire.
One sings the praises of the Bengal tiger's beautiful pelt!
One sings the praises of Victor Laszlo's loverly chocolate bonbons!
Tales of Big Jim Southland's cheating blackjack games are heard of all
        over the world thanks to One's satire.
Tales of the eccentric old man's stupid closing times and proclivities
        with sheep are heard of all over the world thanks to One's satire.
One sings the praises of Cian's several wounds!
One sings the praises of Gawain's disco duck dancing!

                          \|/  \|/  \\||//  \!/
For those who follow the romances of Legend: It seems that Tempus and
Ecstasy are once again reunited happily. During the past week the
relationship has been quite tempestuous, with various of those involved
threatening suicide. Tempus is championed by Silk, but Silk has no comment
on the affair at the moment. When tempus was asked what he had to say, he
said "Just that I'm very happy."

                          \|/  \|/  \\||//  \!/
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