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..../                /_/..\______/./_____/./__/.../__/./_______/ MUD
.../________________/       running on   bashful.cc.utexas.edu 9999
                                                 128.83.108.17 9999
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    http://www.cs.cmu.edu:8001/Web/People/johnmil/legend/legend.html
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VOLUME TWO, ISSUE TWENTY-NINE                             July 12, 1995
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                     *****************************

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

                           *CODE UPDATES*

                     -  Viking Updates  -

                             *ARTICLES*

                     -  New Site Info -
                     -  A Contest!!! -
                     -  Fundraising Update  -
                     -  Get Those Proposals In!!  -
                     -  An Interview with Ptah (Part 2) -

                            *SOCIAL EVENTS*

                     -  Peace in Our Time  -
                     -  RP updates  -
                     -  A word from Zandy  -

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Please send your responses to articles to the Legendary Times address at
legend@dbtech.net. Letters to the editor are welcomed :)
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                         VIKING UPDATES

A new time trans quest between the Viking area and Beowulf is now
installed. Charity (who is now administering Viking) notes that it involved
writing one new room (which is a bit of a hint in regards to finding it :).
Moreover, herbalists will be pleased to know that the herbs for Viking are
in!!

                  -=-=-=-=-=-=-==-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

                    THE NEW SITE IS COMING!!!!!!!

The machine's been late in delivery because of an incorrect address,
but we have that all straightened out now, so we should be taking delivery
soon. Once we have the machine in place, expect some time before we
move as we intend to test code extensively on the new site first before
actually moving.

The new machine also needs to be named....which means that there will be a...

                             **CONTEST**


We'll be holding a contest to name the new machine. All players are welcome
to submit as many possible names as they like, to be judged by the
immortals. All submissions should come to the following address:

legend@dbtech.net

Charity notes that the machine will be located on heaven.com, which may
give you all some ideas for names...:)

                       \*/*\*/*\*/*\*/*\*/*\*/

                         FUND RAISING UPDATE

Yes, we were able to order the new machine, but that was because Sadist
advanced us funds. So we still need to raise $400 from players :) We are
still taking pledges; as announced before, an anonymous player has
offered to match all (non IMM) pledges up to the sum of $200. If you'd
like to pledge, talk or e-mail to either Ptah or Kaige and they will send
you a pledge envelope (or talk to one of the other IMMs and we'll let Ptah
and Kaige know).

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

If you are an overseas donor who cannot write a check in US Dollars,
please email us at koster@dbtech.net.

               ********************************

                            PROPOSALS

The immortals of LegendMUD are now accepting proposals for areas and
applications for immorting from level 50 characters. Those who propose
should request a copy of the sample proposal and the proposing guidelines
from Ptah (koster@dbtech.net). Note that we ONLY accept proposals from
level 50 characters.

We've had around 10 different inquiries already, and we should warn you
that we will only be filling three slots!

The deadline is for now the date we move, although if circumstances change
that deadline may move up. Therefore you should get your proposals to us
ASAP.


                      \*/*\*/*\*/*\*/*\*/*\*/*\*/*\

                      AN INTERVIEW WITH PTAH (PART 2)

Recently, Laura, a player on Legend, conducted a lengthy interview with
Ptah on a wide range of subjects. She used this interview as the basis
for an article on MUDs which she wrote for "her last undergrad class"
(she's planning to submit it to a magazine such as "Internet World."

Laura, who graduates with honors this summer, will be starting
an MA program in Art History with a fellowship in the fall. In addition to
going
to school and raising a family, she has built and played on "Northern
Crossroads" (a Diku MUD), C'thulhu based MUD, and (briefly) our own Legend.

The LT is featuring four separate excerpts of this interview, arranged by
subject: muds in general, interaction on muds, the future of the internet,
and building on the mud. The first two excerpts were published in issue 27
and the second two follow..


                        ABOUT BUILDING:

Q: You majored in creative writing.  Do you consider yourself
primarily an author?

A: In many ways, yes. But hypertextual authoring is very different from
conventional storytelling.  Also, I do a lot of the system design these
days, so I approach it from the standpoint of handling both medium and
message.

Q: Can you describe some of the differences in writing styles?

A: Writing for a mud is primarily non-narrative.  In fact, you
have to avoid narrative in most cases.  In the cases where you do use
narrative, you have to consider the possibility of approaching the same
point from different directions.  In its most basic level, you may have to
describe a slope, but you cannot say that you are walking up or down it.

Q: What do you try to accomplish in your writing?

A: Well, I try to pull people in. My early areas for Legend were
rather flatly descriptive.  I have moved more and more towards a more
poetic or flowery style.  My unfinished Victorian London has a lot of long
descriptions and extra descriptions in it.

Sample room:
A Hidden Tunnel
It feels like a feather, but you know it must be a leg. Probably a
cockroach leg, long and spiny, delicately rubbing against your ear. You
can't feel the beetles and larvae crawling over your hair except when they
weigh down one strand or another and a lock dangles before your face,
holding multifaceted eyes inches from your nose. Slimy trails of gunk drip
from your hands as you climb, crushing bugs with every grunting inch you
move. Long legged creatures whisper their trails along your cheek and
brush the palm of your hand, bubbling and boiling all around you in a
metallic refracting mass of black and brown and feathered antennae and
pincer legs.

Now, this place is sort of over the top, of course.

Q: Over the top?

A: Rather than physical description of the location, you get description of
physical sensations.  Most rooms need a balance of both, and it is very
risky, artistically, to portray only sensations, as you run the risk of
imposing them on someone who does not feel that way.' All around you the
sounds of the jungle suddenly hush, then resume. Atmosphere is crucial,
for me.  In the jungle, for example, there are two controlling metaphors.
One is that the jungle is alive.  In the descriptions throughout the
jungle, it breathes, it moves, it slithers, it bleeds.  Another is that
when seen from outside, the jungle resembles an ocean.  There are constant
descriptions of trees like waves, of a cliff like a breaker, etc. etc.,
giving the sense of warm, sticky, constantly in motion, salty :).

Another sample:
The Bottom of the Stairs
The heat is oppressive, slick and humid. Sweat pools on the floor, as the
rocks themselves release what moisture they hold. Spittle on the rocks
vanishes in an instant without even having time to become mist and smoke.
Something moving in the dark to the west generates this hideous warmth,
with sulfurous breath; all thought of the cross and the coolness of blue
and pastel shaded depictions of Christ are gone, and here you can only
think of the muspilli of old tales, the destroyers of the world. Perhaps
one lurks here, to provide the unearthly fires that must heat the metals
worked by the svart alfs deep in the underground.

A: Beowulf is largely written in the style of the poem.  A controlling idea
for the area's writing, aside from emulating the style, which is stronger
in some parts than others, is to emphasize the conflict between the
Christian ideas and the older ones.   it's a tension inherent in the poem
itself, and the design of the quest and the map purposely plays with it,
particularly here in this vicinity, near the Nordic part.  There are less
Anglo-Saxon kennings and more references to religion and mythology.
Whereas out in the Geatish village, Christ is mentioned more often and the
style of the poem is adhered to more closely.' A ferret has arrived from
the west.

Q: I'd like to discuss the future of muds and your own personal goals
for Legend.  Where are you hoping to go from here?

A: I want Legend to keep expanding, of course, but I always am looking for
ways to increase the depth and by that I mean ways for people to get
caught up in it.  For example, I feel a terrible tension right now between
the caliber of the writing in some areas, and in others. Or, worse
still--between the writing in the areas and the stock messages given by
the server.  So I've been working gradually on things like adding player
descriptions, adding cosmetic skills like play instrument or whatever.
There is a lot of debate about realism on muds, as it applies to the
gaming part--a lot of valid and tangled debate.  What I worry about
lately, I find, is realism in environment.

I've been working for the last week on a speech system that permits the use
of tags in different places, punctuates more normally, and adds emotional
content.  In other words, makes our usual communications resemble
conventional prose.  I want to add a weather system that has more
flexibility and reality, in other words, environment.  Some of these
things do impinge upon gameplay of course--a better system for how you
learn to do things (i.e. skills) for example.


                             THE INTERNET:

Q: How would you describe communication on the internet in general?

A: Sometimes I think it is a venue of publication.  Other times I think it
is a more direct communications medium.  I think that if that tension
could be resolved, legislation of it would be simpler.  And muds, I tend
to think of as parks :).  Playgrounds.

Q: Up to now the Net has run in its own anarchic way.  Do you think there
is a *need* for legislation?

A: There is really only one valid purpose for legislation of any sort, and
that is to protect. The Net constituency is quite sure that it does not
need protection--just as with any frontier people.  But the frontier is
getting settled, and that means that there will be people in need of
protection--including the naive frontier people.  Whether or not we need
it, it will happen.  What's more, it will function no better and no worse
than any other legislation designed to protect.  Which is to say, you can
only protect people willing to hide behind the laws and even then, not
against determined parties.

Q: Since the government seems determined, what effect to you think this
legislation will have on the developing society?

A: Oh, the dinos will complain that it ain't like the old days when
everyone was honest, quick with a flamethrower, and stood up for
themselves and they'll be right--the net won't be as callous, as cruel -
not as honest.  And the people who seek out the stuff likely to be
restricted, such as porn, will have to go to red light districts and show
IDs, just like they do on a street.

Q: Is there anything I've forgot to ask or that you particularly want to
say or would like to clarify?

A: I think that one thing to emphasize is that net or mud, we are still
talking about community.  Some communities are ruled from outside and it's
never very healthy, and some are unwilling to impose rules upon
themselves.  What the mud or the Net ENFORCES on us, oddly, is a
hierarchy.  There's never been a human society where there was not one, of
course.  Anarchy tends to kill itself.  But the Net's communities find
themselves in the inevitable position of having people make laws not
because they are some poor slob who got elected, and not because they are
acclaimed to the position...

Q: You could say we (the citizens) insist upon a hierarchy - we ask you
immortals to rule us :)

A: And not because they were savvy enough to get there, but simply because
they had the technical know-how to set up an environment.  The fact is
that, that is just as poor a basis for letting them set SOCIETAL laws as
all of the above.  Yet this cannot be avoided.  One MUST be technically
savvy enough to enforce and make the 'laws' (system rules, whatever) to
take the job.  It may be the key to why so many mud admins on so many muds
are lousy with people.

Q: And people-savvy enough?

A: Nope, people savvy is not required.  That may be the final flaw in
virtual reality.  Until a system is established that is powerful and
flexible and NEEDS NO SUPERVISION,  the community cannot rule itself
fairly and we'll never know.

Q: You don't think you have to be (at least somewhat) people-conscious to
*keep* the position?

A: Nope.

There are plenty of people willing to live under the rule of jerks.

An issue in the whole political debate right now is that it's the techies
carrying the crusade.  The netheads, the old guard, the net community
reacted, but it still did it because the immortals said to.  Someday the
Net , and muds, will have an environment stable enough, extensible enough,
real enough, that they can rule themselves--but right now, the
implementors still call the shots and it is hard to tell how much that has
stunted the growth of virtual realities as a viable political and social
force.


***********************************************************************
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            /                         \
        o O | Wonder what folks are    |
  `\|||/    | doing over at LegendMud? |
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                      PEACE IN OUR TIME

The OTS and Kiera are now offically at peace -- Greyscot, as acting
Guildmaster, made the payment (reported to be some three million coins)
to Kiera only hours before press time.

                       **************

And in other news...

...Executioner is now the first character to have NEGATIVE experience to
level (-293825 to be exact :); the result of gaining the huge amount of
exp "needed" to level to 51 (since you have to get immed to be 51, his
exp reversed itself instead)..residents of Legend recently learned that
a girl named Savana claims to be Tempus' fiance, a bit of news which is
quite surprising considering that Tempus is ALREADY married to Ecstasy
(neither Tempus nor Ecstasy was available for comment at press time)...Moira
seems to have gotten got sacked by the Dark Lord in an especially deadly
fashion (seems that there's no such thing as job security these days) but
seems to have made a come back (apparently, it didn't consume ALL her
soul ;) ....After an especially heavy bout of drinking, Malorn is back "on
the wagon" (or the cart, depending on your era :)...Seph has been drawing
quite a bit of religious interest with her assertion that the Divine is
present in all characters (wonder if she's met Mitra, the Goddess
follower)...and finally, Rusalka (your fearless editor) was suddenly and
abruptly transformed into a mermaid this morning (so far, things are going
quite smoothly except when my tail drips water onto the keyboard :)

                    //\///\\\\\\\/\/\/////\//\

(OOC)  Zandy would like to mention that he often plays from work and gets
dragged afk suddenly. So, if you try and talk to him and he ignores you,
it's most likely not that he's being snobbish or rude, the scrollback
buffer only goes back so far. . . just keep telling him and eventually
you'll catch him.  This is not, however, a request not to pkill him. (He
realizes that if he dies while afk, it's his own damn fault for going
afk.) Don't pkill him just to be nice, or anything, but don't think that
he's whining to be left alone because he's frequently afk.  The point
here is that he doesn't mean to ignore people, so don't think he's
intentionally being a jerk.

                                -Zandy

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 Legendary Times is put out by the gods of LegendMUD. Please send all
 replies/additions to Please send items and your responses to articles
and to our address at legend@dbtech.net. for inclusion in the
next edition. We, however, reserve the right to moderate this discussion,
and may object to some submissions. If you feel we have wrongly omitted
 one of your messages, please talk to Rusalka online or through EMail
 and see if I did indeed receive it in the first place.
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 The LegendMUD anonymous ftp site has all back issues of the Legendary
 Times available for anonymous ftp. Its address is given in the banner
  at the top of this message. Once connected, cd pub/users/legend/lt,
  and you will find directories containing volumes one and two, broken
 in sets of ten issues. The anonymous ftp site also houses other files
      that may be of interest to you. Visit our Web page too!
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           LegendMUD : History the way it should have been
                    bashful.cc.utexas.edu 9999
    http://www-cgi.cs.cmu.edu/Web/People/johnmil/legend/legend.html
                         legend@dbtech.net
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