How to start
How to start
So, you’re new to Shadowgate and don’t know where to start? As with many MUDs, Shadowgate can be very complex and difficult for newcomers to learn, so here’s a few pages with guides and suggestions to make your first days easier!
Port: 4016 or 8080
The following links are links to recommended Mud Clients to use in lieu of telnet:
Keep in mind, mobile gameplay might prove to be challenging!
For someone new to the Shadowgate MUD, there is a lot to learn. And sometimes it seems when you find the answer to one question, it only raises two more! Here’s a few hints and tips about creating a character, before you even reach the realm of Shadowgate itself:
Your name: Remember that this is a RPI (roleplay intensive) MUD, so alongside that we maintain a standard of names for characters. Names should reflect the atmosphere and setting of the game. You can look at help names in the game for a better summary of what we expect, but here are a few things to avoid:
-names that are too famous – gandalf, aragorn, belgarath
-names that are designed to give preconceptions about your character – stormfalcon, fear, agony, nightfall
-species names – troll, sphinx
-munchkin names – haytread, ymodos
Of course, the second point should not stop you from having names with a meaning. You may roll an elf with a name of Aryonendil, which may mean “stormfalcon”. And you may certainly introduce yourself under various nicknames or aliases when you play. Only the name you choose for your character at creation, should be sensible – remember, you will also be using it for OOC mails and board posts.
Your stats: In order to roll certain races and classes, you must meet specific stat requirements. You can look at in-game helpfiles or pages on this website to find out what they are. Having a required stat that is either too low, or too high, will mean that the race or class you are trying to get will not be offered to you.
All characters are now allocated 92 stat points, which can be distributed as desired. It is recommended, particularly for beginners, to allow 18 points in the prime requisite stat of your chosen class (again, see helpfiles or pages here to find out what the prime stat is for the class you wish to play). As the primary abilities of the class rely on that stat to be effective, having it at its highest possible amount will make combat much easier.
Another stat that may help beginners is constitution, as this will grant you extra hitpoints with each level, making you much hardier and more difficult to kill. This is a great help in learning what creatures you can handle, and which are too difficult for you.
Your race: It’s often suggested to play your first character as a human. This is for several reasons.
-Firstly, humans speak the common language at 100% proficiency. This is the language spoken by all characters with at least fairly good fluency, so it allows you to communicate.
-None of the above races suffer from vision drawbacks (though they may need lanterns at night!).
-Humans are well tolerated in nearly all towns, and by most races.
-They allow for the full range of classes and alignments, giving you the freedom to select any that suits you.
-They are particularly easy to roleplay – we are all (supposedly!) human in real life.
All of the above allow you to move and learn your way through the mud much more easily, than trying to deal with some of the complexities of other races. Remember, you are allowed unlimited alt characters as long as you handle them responsibly (see “help alts” on the mud), so you can always try other races once you have the hang of the game system.
A secondary alternative that is almost as good is a half-elf. They can be rolled with full common proficiency (50% chance), are fairly well tolerated and diverse, and mostly simple to roleplay well.
Your class: Fighter is the usual recommended class to begin with, due to its simplicity. They are able to wear heavy armor, tend towards high hitpoints, use a variety of weapons, and can handle combat with very few additional commands used. This results in them being much hardier than other classes, and far less complex to learn combat with.
Ranger and cavalier are similarly simple, but rangers do not have as much range in protective armor, while cavaliers lose some of their combat prowess when not on horseback. Casters classes in particular can be quite difficult to handle for a beginner, as many of them lack the ability to wear any armor at all while they are casting, and are not particularly adept with weapons. This means that to do damage effectively, they must cast spells each round, which can quickly grow problematic when you have many spells to choose from, and not enough spell slots before you must flee combat to prepare again.
Getting help: A lot of questions may arise when you first get to the MUD – both before and after you start playing. Don’t panic! We were all there once and know how complex the system can be to learn, particularly if you are not familiar with tabletop variants of the game. There are many places you can look to for help, both immediate and longterm:
-lines. You will have a number of lines available to you, which you can use to ask questions of other players and immortals that are logged in. “newbie” and “inform” will likely be the most helpful to you. Remember, lines are considered OOC (out of character), so it is the equivalent of speaking with the person behind the screen (you!) rather than your character. So some things that are IC (in character) may be up to your own exploration!
-in-game help files. There are countless helpfiles around the mud. “help” by itself will give you a menu of options, or just try “help command” – if a helpfile exists, it will be displayed.
-avatarmail. This usually takes longer to get a response, but if you find yourself unable to get the answer to a question, you can compose a short avatarmail to the immortals. They will attempt to get back in contact with you, or leave you an in-game mail.
-tutorial and posters. There is a tutorial that you will encounter once you have created your character, before you are moved into the real world. It covers a lot of basic commands about your character and how to get started. There are also several rooms of posters that you will be able to find outside the tutorial, to give you a lot more information. Only three are compulsory reading, and they can be accessed using the “help” command from anywhere on the mud: “help newbie”, “help rules”, “help faq”.
So you’ve made your character, now what? Well, after you’ve made your character and been through the tutorial and poster rooms, you will find yourself in the first city of the MUD – Offestry. This is where your adventure begins…
So you’ve made it through creation and you have a character. You’ve gone through the tutorial and the posters rooms, and have found your way into Offestry square. You have a map in one hand, a weapon in the other, and nothing but the robe you’re wearing and a few hundred coins. What do you do now? Well, you should prepare to go adventuring!
Feats: These are something you would have read about in the tutorial – you can see them by typing “feats”. Now you’re level 1, which means you should already have some free feats from your class, as well as one point that you can spend on whatever you choose. You don’t have to buy it now, but remember that feats get more expensive as you level up. There should be helpfiles for all feats, if you are in doubt, so don’t forget to read them! You can “add feat xxxx” once you decide which one you want to take.
Arms and Armor: For some classes, these are the first things you should think about. You will already have one weapon and a robe, but if your class uses more weapons or armor than this, you will want to pick them up. You will have a map that can show you where to find shops in the town, so feel free to buy some armor or an additional weapon. Make sure you are proficient in whatever you buy (check your feats and the shop “list” of items for sale!), or you won’t be able to use it.
A few necessities: You can pick up a few other items that will help you in your travels. The general store and the healer’s shop are good places to start (check your map to find out where they are!). Also, the mage and psionic components stores are important for those classes, although you probably can’t afford much from them right now. Some items you may want to pick up:
-vials. These are potions you can use while in combat (but not too many at once!) to keep you alive if something is trying to kill you. They’re also far less tedious than trying to “heal” yourself between fights, as this can take a long time without proper training.
-a lantern (or dark lantern if you are a nightvision race – most beast races are). It’s no fun to run around blindly if you’re not even used to where things are yet!
-a pouch and some sacks. These are very handy to carry things in, and will alleviate the effective weight you’re holding, and the clutter to look through your inventory. You can have up to five sacks at once.
-climbing tools. Chances are your character isn’t very good at climbing yet, so you will need these to get up and down any climbable exits. If you don’t have them, you might end up stuck!
-sheaths, holsters or sleeves. You can buy these for weapons and shields, which make them far easier to handle and protect them from theft. You can “draw item” to take out a weapon or shield, ready for combat, and “sheath item” to put it back in the nearest available sheath.
-a horse. Cavaliers in particular should consider picking up a horse (or at least a donkey) before they leave town. They are much more adept at mounted combat, than trying to fight while on foot.
So let’s kill something! Now you should be ready to venture forth and try your skills! There are two gates to leave Offestry, which should also be on your map. West of town is one of the first areas to explore, Keep Kilgore. East and then south is another starting area, the Offestry Forest. These are both great starting places for a new traveller (once you’ve tried your skill on the rodents along the roads!), but be careful – each area has a few particularly dangerous creatures in it that might stop you in your tracks…
Oh no, I died! What can I do? Don’t worry! Kelemvor will be kind to new travellers and send you back intact, along with your body and your equipment. Don’t be discouraged, all you will lose is a little bit of experience. When you are returned to the church, you can “pray” to get a new body and your equipment, and you will be back safe in Offestry again. Don’t forget to heal up before you go back out into your next fight!
I can’t find anyone to play with! Offestry varies a lot in who you can find to play with, since only newbies are here; some days there will be many characters, but other days it might be just you. These can be good times to learn the ropes! You can always check what players are online by typing “who” – anyone with a bright blue “N” next to their name is a newbie, just like you, and they should be travelling somewhere around Offestry. If you already know them and have met them, you should try to use in-character means (the psychic traveller in town is one useful option!) to contact them. If there are other newbie characters on that you don’t know, though, you can ask over the newbie line if anyone would like to meet up for roleplay or an adventure party. It’s a good way to meet new characters – maybe they will join you on your travels! You may want to remember the “rumors” command for when you get out of the newbie zone, though. This will help you find people to interact with!
A new updated offestry have been implemented with a key quests introduction for new players. Follow the questline to learn the game, and when you are ready to advance to lvl 6 you will enter the new world.
If you are a returning player with a account and a lvl 30 character you can bypass offestry and start as lvl 6 in Tabor.
Roleplaying is the assumption of a character role different to your own. This implies that, within the world of Shadowgate, you are that character, and assume all their relevant attributes and attitudes. Leave the real world behind, and become your character. Likewise, you should leave game matters in the mud, instead of taking them into your real life. Two different people in two very different worlds.
When creating your character, you are able to select all of their attributes, including stats and alignment, age, weight and height, etc. In choosing these, we expect you to play them accordingly, including both their strengths and their weaknesses. Ignoring a weakness you have included in your character simply because it is inconvenient is not acceptable roleplay.
Alignment is an important aspect of your character, and should reflect their moral code. It should influence their thoughts and actions. This should not limit an evil character from doing an action that appears to be “good”, but the true motivations of that action should still reflect the character’s alignment.
Interactions in Shadowgate are what bring this MUD to life. Leave your real-life issues outside of the mud, and expect that other players will do the same. Your actions should not reflect on your real life personality, nor should those of another character.
Interactions of any kind within the bounds of roleplay are legal. This includes many adult situations that may arise, as this is a mature game. However, some situations may arise in which a player is uncomfortable in roleplaying through – situations that may cause unnecessary trauma to the player behind the screen (such as torture or rape). In these situations, the player is entitled request a fade to black (see “help fade to black” on the mud), by indicating in some OOC manner that they are not comfortable with continuing the situation. The opposing player must immediately cease their actions, and the roleplay is considered to be over. A simple explanation of “what happened” may be given by the opposing player, and both will go on their way. Should the opposing player refuse to stop, they will be subject to punishment by LAW. This is the only case where quitting out of a roleplay situation is legal, and LAW should be informed at the next opportunity.
Please note that using OOC information is a violation of roleplay standards. For example, using outside information to chat with another player, using knowledge from a past character to find items for your present character, or using “quit” to escape a legitimate roleplay situation.
We truly feel that fun is achieved in the development of a character to the maximum of the mud’s capabilities, both good and bad. All of your IC experiences should shape the character, which means playing through bad situations as well as good ones. If you were to quit a character as soon as a potentially poor situation arose, what have you accomplished? How will your character grow?
Finally, we are always looking for ways to improve our game experience, and welcome constructive player suggestions as to how to do so
There can be some confusion when it comes to terminology used during quests, etc. This article is an attempt to classify the various adventures your characters may participate in, as well as a brief look at how to get Immortals involved.
Quests: MUD quests are preexisting adventures, coded throughout the ShadowGate world. They are not normally repeatable but there are a few exceptions to this rule. In general, MUD quests involve speaking to a mob (sometimes called the quest giver). These mobs are not easily identified, so try interacting with lots of people. MUD quests typically reward currency, experience points, magic items and deeds (a special note made on your character listing their accomplishments).
It is illegal to give out quest information or clues to other players. If you insist on trying to help a new player with a quest, you are advised to consult with an Immortal. For the purposes of the previous rule, areas with special or hidden features and puzzles are also considered quests, sometimes called ‘quest areas.’
Autoquests: Autoquests are scripted quests designed to be repeatable. Currently, two types exist:
1) Quest items. There are boards in major cities accessible regardless of race or alignment. These boards list unusual items that are lost. These items can be found and returned to the board for experience points. Quest items have a three part name following the format: [color] [object] of [quality]. They serve no other function other than use during this autoquest. These quest items may be lying on the ground in certain locations or carried by various monsters. If you successfully find one of these items it can be returned to the appropriate board with the command ‘claim [itemname]’. There are three levels of difficulty for quest item lists. The beginner list locations are mentioned below, but you will have to discover the locations of the others.
Beginner Quest Item boards: For non-monstrous races, the list is located in the Crown and Castle restaurant of Tabor. Monstrous races may view the same list in the dining area of the Muul’daan cavern town. ‘read list’ is the appropriate command to see which items are lost.
2) Shapeshifter tokens. There are three wagons full of magical items located throughout ShadowGate, operated by a gnome. If you visit one of these gnomes, be sure to ‘retrieve box’ to get ‘a small box for tokens’, used to store tokens. Ask the gnomes the story of the shapeshifters. Characters may then ‘read list’ to see where shapeshifters are located and challenge them to combat. Defeated Shapeshifters drop tokens which may be exchanged for magical items at the gnome wagons.
Shapeshifters are very dangerous single enemies ranked into three levels of difficulty (one list per wagon). While it may be possible to defeat a shapeshifter alone, it is advisable to attack them in parties. The beginner cart and shapeshifter list is located south of Shadow, along Royal Southern road. Players will have to discover the location of other carts on their own.
Immortal Plots: Immortal plots are dynamic and attempt to simulate the Dungeons & Dragons game in the ShadowGate environment. During a plot, an Immortal (most often an Avatar but some wizzes also enjoy running plots) functions much like Dungeon Master and creates a story. The Immortal may also make use of unique NPCs and monsters, items and locations. You will usually be notified in some fashion if you are participating in a plot, but this is not always the case (sometimes the element of surprise is better).
Plots vary in duration and structure. This is highly dependent on the individual Immortal and their schedule. Some quick plots can be completed in as little as an hour. Others may extend into months of real time. Because of the variability, it is perfectly acceptable to ask for the name of the Immortal running the story to get additional details. Although plots are highly variable, some conventions occur so often that they can be mentioned:
-Conclusions: Although you may not know when you enter a plot, you will often be notified when it concludes.
-Rewards: Plots carry rewards commensurate with challenge and duration. You may be awarded currency, experience, magic items, deeds or non-standard awards in the form of favors, repuation, etc.
-Something different: By virtue of the activity, plots involve something unusual taking place outside of the scope of the coded game. You will encounter something new or perform exceptional actions. Generally, you have a lot more flexibility in your actions when an Immortal is in the room with you and able to adjudicate results.
-Echoes: An echo is a special message on the screen which does not originate from normal mobs, your items or another player. They originate from an Immortal and are often used to describe things happening which the game code otherwise does not recognize.
-Tells: During plot time, Immortals may send you tells similar to the clerical spell of telepathy. You respond to these tells with the “reply” command.
-Thought: You should use the “thought” command if you know the Immortal running your plot is online. Use thought to notify the immortal what your intentions or actions are.
Interactions: An interaction is distinguished from a plot in that it may not have a formal structure or reward. An interaction is usually instigated as a response to a player’s action and, once set in motion or resolved, may not involve Immortal intervention afterwards. Interactions take place because realism or enjoyment dictate they should take place. conversation with a town guard, houses catching on fire after a player lobs a fireball, throwing a party, or ending up on the wrong side of the law could all be Immortal interactions.
It is a simple fact that Immortals are not always watching you. They are not able to respond to every action and you are expected to have some understanding of the “normal” repercussions of your actions. You may use the ‘thought’ command if you want to warn the Immortals that someone is taking an action that might inspire an interaction. Acting out in such a way that provokes an Immortal to intervene in the form of an interaction is not a successful way to create change in the game. If you wish your actions to have an effect outside of the MUD mechanics you should consider sending an ‘avatarmail’ which may inspire a plot. Interactions take place when they can, where they can, but they are an exception, not a rule.
World Plots and Events: World Plots are the culmination of a long, MUD-changing plot or series of plots now coming together. In most cases they will touch nearly every character playing to some degree. World Events are usually invitations for a special event or activity open to everyone. The two are lumped into one category here because they have procedural similarities; World plots and events will often be announced on the boards for everyone to see. Any special rules attached to the plot or event will be described in that post. Some examples of special notices attached to World Plots and events in the past:
-Characters have been asked to appear in costume.
-Characters have been asked to prepare stories or songs.
-PK restrictions have been waived in a certain location during a world plot
-Party level differences have been waived in certain world plots
Behavior During Plots: Certain behaviors will ensure that you get the kind of attention you desire from Immortals during a plot. These are suggested courses of action.
-Use “avatarmail” to request any activity which has a lasting impact on the game. Waiting for an Immortal to chance by you doing something interesting will likely cause nothing but frustration. Use “avatarmail” to request plots, intervention, update us on player-initiated activities, discuss downtime character activities, discuss the progress of your character, or brainstorm.
-Involve other players in your activity or personal storyline. You will find it is possible to enjoy a player-motivated storyline with little or no Immortal intervention. If, during the course of this storyline, you find you require an Immortal send “avatarmail” requesting a sponsor for the storyline.
-Identify the Immortal in charge of the plot. You simply need to ask. In a few cases, more than one Immortal may be in charge. In this case, using “avatarmail” to post your questions or activites is probably preferable. Otherwise, mail the Immortal in charge of the plot.
-If you wish to progress a plot, ensure that the Immortal in charge is online and available. Use “thought” and (sparingly) tells to ask if the Immortal in charge is free to progress your plot.
-Use the “thought” command to tell us what your character is thinking. Also, use “thought” to tell the Immortal overseeing your plot what you plan on doing, or that you are ready to proceed to the next plot step. Become comfortable with “thought” because it is not always possible for an Immortal to be in the room with you even during a plot involving your character.
-During Immortal “face-time” please be patient. Immortals have to sift through a lot more text than players and they are likely multitasking. Unless you are told otherwise, they will get back to the action as soon as they are able. Furthermore, Immortals suffer from the same technological issues that affect players like lag, disconnections and cats spilling drinks on their keyboards.
-As an example, if you use the ‘track’ command during an interaction, wait for the Immortal to tell you what you find rather than relying on the mechanics.