13 Apr, ’21

Discword MUD is possibly the best MUD I've ever played

by Cal

So I found out about the Discworld MUD a few weeks back, really, and I was intrigued by it, but I'm not really A Discword Fan so I didn't know the setting, and I'm familiar enough with MUDs that survive for years and years to know how many of them wind up being really, really hard to get started in and how they tend to be really overwhelming, so I just sort of glanced over a few of the docs and filed it as a "maybe later".

Anyway, then for completely unrelated reasons, last week I happened across it again and discovered that. They had. Added. HORSES. Rideable horses. Not just "a car styled as a horse", but an equine companion you have to feed and groom and care for AND that you can ride.

Of course I had to join immediately. And let me tell you, it is amazing. So technically it's a "kills-based" MUD, which means the easiest and most efficient way of earning exp to level is to fight and defeat things. The combat system sounds pretty thorough and well-implemented and for skills in general, it uses a mixture of "put exp into your skills to level them up" and "level up your skills by using them".

You'll notice I said the combat system sounds pretty thorough. You see. There is a "missions" mechanic, where you can go pick up odd jobs and complete them for money and experience. No combat involved. I have been levelling mostly through those, along with an unhealthy dose of scavenging the streets of Ankh-Morpork for things I can sell to NPC shops for extra cash.

The jobs. The jobs. The creators of this game wanted to keep the tone of Discworld and by golly did they succeed. One of the jobs you can pick up is a street advertiser. You have to go to a specific shop in AM, report for work, put on your sandwich board, then head out into the streets and harass-- I mean, advertise to twenty NPCs. (Or to PCs, which count double.) The NPCs respond about how you'd expect the residents of Medieval Fantasy London to respond, a mixture of polite inattention and blatant disrespect, and it's fantastic.

Then, then there's McSweeney's. The Discworld version of McDonald's. You can take a shift of cleaning, kitchen, or cashier duties, and it's basically a restaurant management minigame done entirely in MUD-style text and it's amazing.

Also my character's a wizard because I decided I liked the tone of playing a Discworld wizard better than any of the other six available Guilds and y'all. It's everything that I'd hoped. As an example of the sort of thing I mean, here's what casting a spell called Collatrap's Instant Pickling Stick looks like to me, the wizard:

You sniff the air carefully. You think about cured skins and pickled eyeballs. You close your eyes and think of wands. You spin slowly to the floor. Suddenly, a small stick appears in your hands. It pulses with energy.

And this is what that spell looks like to an innocent spectator:

Calcifer sniffs the air carefully. Calcifer stands dead still for a bit, looking blank. Calcifer closes his eyes and looks long and hard. Calcifer spins around slowly and curls up on the floor. Calcifer looks slightly confused as to how he ended up carrying a small stick.

Anyway I'm working on improving at cleaning the McSweeney's, almost to guild level 40 and looking forward to being a completely combat-useless crafts wizard by joining the Brothers of the Silver Star and then braving the Wide Open World to try travelling to other cities and I'm having a blast.

OH YEAH and I bought a pet rat and you get to pick exactly what they look like and I was very excited about it but it turns out the adjective that goes at the beginning is randomized so my rat got 'evil-looking' and I was like oh noo but she's adorable so I've decided that I love her anyway.