Sunday, April 28, 2019

MUD1: Postponed Victory.

And so, as promised, I come to the end of this blog's overlong involvement with MUD1. I never intended to spend so long playing it, and I certainly never intended to take a ten-month break between posts. Still, real life can be hard sometimes, and virtual life can sometimes be more enjoyable than you expect it to be. MUD1 was certainly far more involving than I was prepared for, even as a single player game, and I got caught up in trying to probe its every secret. It's well past time to move on though, as far as the blog is concerned, even though I'll still be playing it on my own time.

I had a few goals laid out for myself at the end of the last post, and I managed to tick all of them off. There are still two major obstacles in the game that I can't get past, but for the moment I'm completely stuck with them, and will probably remain so unless I can get some hints from another friendly player. I'll go through my goals one by one below.

1. Get past the gate in the tunnel leading from the beach.

The southern beach (the one you can only reach by jumping from the cliff with an umbrella) has a tunnel leading into the cliff. The tunnel is blocked by a gate that can't be opened by a single player. I took the most simple and direct solution to this problem: I created a second character and had them both running in the game at the same time. With the help of Kejakena, I was able to lift the gate and explore beyond.

I forgot that I had no light source the first time I did this.

There wasn't a lot to see, just a single cave where a pirate had stored some treasure: some pieces of eight, a sack full of doubloons, and a bottle of rum. All of these can be swamped for points, although the rum isn't worth anything until you take a drink. Doing so can make you drunk, and liable to move strangely or fall asleep at random for a little while, but one swig isn't too bad.

Later on I found an alternate solution to this puzzle: zapping the gate with a wand. The wand is the most useful tool in the game, but you can't use it effectively until you reach the level of Enchanter (at around 12,000 points). Before that level, you can wave it in an emergency, and it will teleport you out of danger. Doing so makes it disappear though, so it's really a last resort. Once you reach Enchanter though, you can start using the ZAP command on just about anything. Mostly it's good for killing monsters instantly, but it can also blow up most doors and gates. It sure beats typing UNLOCK DOOR WITH KEY followed by OPEN DOOR every time.

The gate mentioned above can be zapped in this manner, but doing so teleports you away to the house. Luckily, zapping gates doesn't make the wand disappear, and it's easy enough to get back and loot the place.

2. Open the gate in the Dwarf Realm.

This was one of the tasks I never completed. At the top of the Dwarf Citadel is a gate, with an inscription that tells you it will open if you "drop the key on me". I tried dropping keys in that area. I tried giving keys to the dwarves that roam around. I tried playing the flute and the violin, hoping a musical key might be the answer. Nothing worked.

I was able to get through in a later game, though. When I logged in another player had been through the game and looted just about everything. They had also left the gate open, so I went through and mapped the place out. What I found was a load of dwarven barracks and guard rooms, as well as a throne room and some treasure chambers. All of them were empty of both dwarves and treasure, but I have an inkling that there would be plenty of both if I ever managed to be the first one in here after a game reset.

Not the kind of throne I was talking about.

3. Explore the island to the south of the wrecked galleon.

South of the wrecked galleon is a small island called the Isle of Woe. It's easy enough to reach using the boat. The island is dominated by a huge arch, which you have to walk through to get to the southern area. There you'll find an effigy, which can be swamped for points.

The game makes it seem like walking through the arch could have major consequences, but I never figured out what they might be. The only thing I noticed was that the command prompt changed from "*" to "(*)". I'm sure there was some negative effect, but it's got me stumped.

Note the changed command prompt at the bottom. I still don't know what it means.

4. Figure out the mystery of the sliding panel rooms.

South of the goblin lairs are a pair of rooms with sliding panels. I never figured out the solution to this legitimately, and I'm thinking it might be one of those puzzles you can only solve with more than one player. Instead, I zapped one of the panels to smithereens and gained access to a "Blue Room" where I found a sapphire and an ornament. Swamped them both, of course.

That KAZAM was pretty satisfying.

5. Solve the mystery of the brass ring.

As mentioned in my last post, slipping a fossilized finger bone into the ring lifted the magic holding it down, and turned the brass ring to gold. It's one of the more valuable treasures, too.

6. Enter the tomb in the graveyard.

Deep in the graveyard is a tomb that can apparently be pried open. There's no great mystery or puzzle here, you just need something strong enough like an axe. The tomb leads down to a room with a statue in it, and a tunnel heading south. When I went south, though, I was immediately torn apart by ghouls.


The trick to getting past lay in the statue. Whenever you look at the room, the statue's eye colour is mentioned, but it changes every time, cycling through the following colours with no seeming pattern: red, blue, yellow, green, and emerald. When the statue's eyes are red, you can get past the ghouls safely. There are clues about this written on a curtain in the temple below the yew tree.

Beyond is a room with a collapsed grave above. It also contains a golden disc and an old leg, both of which can be taken. The disc is worth points, and the leg can be used to solve another puzzle. The room also has a chute that leads into the temple beneath the yew tree, but you can't take any items through it with you. I tried dropping items into the chute, but that didn't work either.

You need to get back out through the tomb door, but the ghouls will tear you apart on the way back as well. Taking the statue with you is a simple solution, as you can always set it down and look at the eye colour. The statue can also be swamped, and its value is different depending on its eye colour at the time. It's worth the most when the eyes are emerald.

7. Get past the ogre.

There's an ogre in the cave near the swamp, and he'll squash you flat if you try to fight him bare-handed or to get past him. He'll happily accept the leg from the tomb as a gift, though, and will ignore you while he munches away on it. I also discovered later that you can zap him into oblivion, and that attacking with pretty much any weapon will give you an instant kill. This even works with the pickaxe. Apparently the ogre has no understanding of weapons beyond his own club, so he's easy to kill.

Past the ogre is a single cave where a leprechaun guards a pot of gold. He won't let you take the pot, and he doesn't accept any gifts or food that I could figure out. Eventually I tried just taking him, and much to my delight I was able to stuff him under my arm despite his protests. He can be swamped for points along with his gold, which seems cruel but is probably a just fate for any leprechaun.

I have Irish ancestry, so this is a racial stereotype I'm allowed to enjoy.

8. Explore the north-west island.

The island to the north-west is the other area of the game that I'm stuck on. Getting there is a little difficult. There's a chart with directions in the wrecked galleon, but one of those directions isn't given, and you have to guess. I figured it out through trial and error, as well as a lot of wrecked boats, and was soon on the island reading the following sign:


It's not wrong about dropping the boat; if you enter the water from anywhere other than this beach it's game over. As for the rest, it's a warning about a dragon, and a hint that it can be killed if you feed it something.

Said dragon flies around over the island, and will eventually swoop down and mangle you in combat. I never came even close to defeating it, and running away gets you instantly incinerated. The wand doesn't work on it either. Whatever you have to feed the dragon, it has the letter C as its first or second letter (I think). I've tried an acorn, a piece of coal, and a cross. None of them worked. (I was especially confident about the cross, because it's been warped by a great heat when you find it.) I've given up on this for the moment, as any experimentation here is a suicide mission. As with the dwarven gate, I'm hoping for a friendly player to help me out.

The island itself is dominated by a ring of stones, with a slab that can seemingly be moved. Scattered around the island are various items: a sickle, a chalice, an acorn, a broadsword and a bell. There's also a fairy ring with a poisoned toadstool. The whole set-up seems to hint at something druidic, and I suspect I might have to perform a ritual or a sacrifice of some sort to open the slab. It's not happening until I can kill that dragon though.

One of many ignominious deaths.

I also mentioned in my last post that I had transformed the ox into a worthless statue by hugging it. After some experimentation I figured this out. In the cave near the swamp there's a sacrificial altar, but the ox can't be dragged in there. You can get it in there after hugging it, though, and hugging it again brings it back to life. Then you have to sacrifice it and hug it again, which turns it into a golden statue. It's totally logical!

I also found some uses for the cat who is found in the Sorcerer's Room. Firstly, it eats the rats in the cellar, which can be very helpful when you're lower level. There are a lot of those things. Secondly, you can earn points if you kill the cat nine times and then eat it. It's just one of the sick, twisted acts that this game rewards.

In a nest above the secluded cove where the boat is found, I discovered a golden egg with a flame pattern etched on it. Once you take the egg you can't drop it, and you also can't pick up any other items. It can't be dropped in the swamp, but it gives plenty of hints that it needs to be dropped somewhere hot. Eventually I figured out that it needs to go in the fiery pit past the wolf, an area that had previously seemed a bit pointless.

I did some more reading up on the game, looking for a way to kill the dragon. I didn't find that, but what I did discover is that the swamp is also a maze. You can't map it with the usual method of dropping items, because they will disappear. But you can do it with multiple players, apparently. The reward at the end is a crown, which I hear is the most valuable treasure in the game. I might have to make some more guys and give this a try.

Similarly, you can apparently get some treasure by having three characters meditate simultaneously in the Shrine, the Sacred Chamber and the Ancient Chamber. This is another one I'll have to give a shot.

The last thing I set out to discover was the "reset button". During one of my first games of MUD1, a friendly player named Saruman took me under his wing and showed me a lot about the game as he was looting everything in sight. The last thing he did was summon me to a ledge overlooking the Dwarf Realm. After explaining that he'd swamped pretty much all of the treasure, he showed me a button that would reset the game back to its default state. I pressed it, and it did exactly that.

I hadn't been able to find it since. I thought it might be accessed through the Dwarf Realm, but I didn't find anything when I mapped the place. The other likely locations were the narrow cracks in the mines, which can only be accessed if you're not carrying anything. There turned out to be three of these areas, and mapping them with no light was a difficult task. One of them simply led to a "Doom Room", which was seemingly inescapable. Another just seemed to loop around, leading nowhere, but when I went through and typed GET ALL in every location I found a wand and a piece of tin ore. I couldn't move while carrying them, but I was able to wave the wand and teleport out with the ore. The wand disappeared though, so I'm not sure if or how it can be kept.

The third of the narrow cracks was a long, linear path, and it eventually led to the ledge I had been summoned to so long ago. I tried hitting the reset button, but it wouldn't let me reset the game as there was someone else playing at the same time. It makes me question this button's utility, because the game resets pretty quickly if there's nobody playing. You can quit and come back in a minute or so, and the game is back to its default state. Perhaps it was more useful back in the old days?

That leaves me with just one thing to discuss: becoming a Witch or Wizard. This is the ultimate goal of the game, and you need around 104,000 points to do it. From what I've read, doing so grants you immortality and a number of other powers. I'm pretty sure they can turn invisible; I've been trolled by mysterious voices more than once. Anyway, I'm trying to make Wizard as my ultimate goal with this game. It should be doable as long as I can avoid being killed by other players, but I've heard that once you reach the rank of Legend at about 50,000 points treasures are worth far less. This is apparently to encourage earning points through killing other players, which I gather was a large part of the experience. I've tasted a little of that, but I'm not really game to try it again. I don't relish killing low-level players, and I don't like the idea of being murdered when I'm close to my goal. I'll stick to treasure hunting, and take the long, safe road to Wizard.

With that, there's nothing left but to give this game a Final Rating. It should be noted here that I'm playing the version of this game available at British Legends, which is from 1987. It's probably more advanced than the 1978 game, but a look at the original source code shows that the content is pretty much the same.

Story & Setting: There's no story to this game, as a single player experience; it's a simple treasure hunt much like most other adventure games of the era. As a multi-player experience, I imagine that all sorts of emergent story-telling was happening, as well as organised events. As for the setting, the Land is evocative and mysterious, and is put together in a way that everything fits and makes sense. None of it is explicitly tied together, but it's all there in such a way that I couldn't help but make connections, and exploring the Land has been a joy. Rating: 2 out of 7.

Characters & Monsters: A lot of characters and monsters roam the Land. Some are combat obstacles, such as the dryad, the rats, the zombies and the skeletons. Others are involved in puzzles, like the ox, the beggar and the ogre. Pretty much all of them can be killed though, and they're all worth points in one form or another. None of them really come alive as characters though, and the combat isn't varied enough to make them stand out either. Rating: 1 out of 7.

Aesthetics: As usual, I have to knock this down for being a text adventure. I'm also tempted to dock it for the WizTerm client's ugly cyan background, but that's no fault of the original game. What it lacks in visuals, though, it makes up for with atmospheric writing that gives it a real sense of place. I mentioned before that I enjoyed exploring this game, and that wouldn't have been possible without the quality of prose. Rating: 2 out of 7.

Mechanics: As a text adventure this game does okay, although it's nowhere near as advanced in this regard as Zork. Most of the impressive features of this game come from its multiplayer aspect, of which I sadly only brushed the surface. It should also be given some props for its magic system, something else I didn't get to try out much. Rating: 4 out of 7.

Challenge: I found this game difficult at first, but was able to gradually solve most of the puzzles through trial and error (and some help from my commenters with the Mausoleum). Most of the solutions were refreshingly logical, especially in comparison to most of the other adventures around at the time. I always had something to do, and it's only now after weeks of solid playing that I'm stuck. The only sore point I have is the possibility of being ganked by other players, but I guess that's intended as a feature rather than a bug. Rating: 5 out of 7.

Innovation & Influence: As the very first MUD - and the game that the entire genre is named after - I have to mark it high. It's also the first ever multi-player game on the internet, as in 1983 Essex University allowed remote access to their DEC-10 mainframe between 2 am and 7 am. Any way you slice it, MUD1 is a huge part of gaming history and I have to give it top marks here. Rating: 7 out of 7.

Fun: Here's how you know I've enjoyed MUD1: I'm still playing it. It took me a bit to warm up to it though, as the multiplayer aspect was a turn-off. Once I got going though I was really sucked in. At the moment it's gotten a little rote, though. I'm stuck with the puzzles and am pretty much grinding for points. Still, it has enough content to amuse anyone who likes old-school adventure games for a week or two, as long as they don't mind having no particular goal. Rating: 4 out of 7.

I am definitely awarding the bonus point to MUD1, as I'm still happily plugging away at it. The above scores add up to 26, which doubled gives a Final Rating of 52. That puts it at a very respectable third overall, and would place it second on the charts for both adventure games and RPGs. (It could go in either, but its RPG elements are about equal to those of Zork, albeit with a far more overt Dungeons & Dragons influence.) I think that's a fair rating, it's up there with Zork and The Game of Dungeons v5 as games I've legitimately enjoyed.

Next: My next target is a text adventure called Treasure Hunt, by Lance Micklus. It apparently draws a lot from Hunt the Wumpus, so it will at least be something a little different for the genre. I might be able to knock it off in a single post as well, if I'm lucky. Time to fire up the old TRS-80 emulator!

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

MUD1: Little Specks

I know that I promised that my next post would be my final one for MUD1, but I've only just started exploring the north-west island. It's very mysterious and intriguing, so I'm still playing. I also don't have much time or energy for a full post, so here are some minor tidbits that I've discovered:


  • There's a seagull fluttering around near the beach at the bottom of the waterfall. If you wash it in the birdbath it turns to solid gold and can be swamped for points.
  • There's a sundial in the pine forest, but it has no gnomon. If you put a stick on it, then TELL TIME, it zaps you with some energy and increases your score.
  • There's an Ox wandering around the Land, and for some reason hugging it turns it into a worthless statue. I'm not sure how to give it some value.
  • I'd been puzzled for a while by a hole in the ground, but it turns out it's just a rabbit burrow, and putting a rabbit in it earns you some points.
  • Another thing that had puzzled me for ages was a golden bolt that was stuck in the railroad track. A strong lever was required to pull it out, and on a whim I tried my axe. It worked, to my surprise. The pickaxe works as well. It's weird when real-world logic triumphs in an adventure game.
  • I've mentioned before that there was a pancake in the larder that was stuck to its pan by magic. I tried flipping it, which I was able to do, and again I earned some more points.
  • I also mentioned a brass ring that I couldn't lift due to a magical force. Elsewhere there's a secret room that can be opened by blowing a conch, and in the room is a finger bone. Stick the finger in the brass ring and it turns gold and can be taken and - of course - swamped for points.
  • I found a statue of a lion in the pine forest that I'd somehow missed. There's a sign not far from it that says it will point the way if dropped in the "garden of the dead". Sure enough, if you drop it in the graveyard it will direct you to the tomb.
  • Speaking of the tomb, it can be pried open with the axe or the pickaxe. I think I've explored it fully, but more on that next time.
  • Finally, with the help of commenter PK Thunder who told me that the relevant quote was "for all intents and purposes", I was able to figure out that the answer to open the west tomb was 1547. Inside I found a sarcophagus and a firestone. The firestone can be used a light source (much safer to carry around than the torch), and apparently makes you immune to being summoned by other players. The sarcophagus contains a body that can be swamped for points.
That's all I have time for at the moment. I should be back with a post in a week or so, and hopefully I'll have explored the north-western island. There's just the matter of the pesky dragon that keeps incinerating me... 

Sunday, April 14, 2019

MUD1: Drying Up

I've been playing MUD1 solidly since my last post, and I think I'm finally getting to the point where I've explored most of the game. There are still a load of things I haven't discovered a purpose for, and a few areas I can't get to, but I'm pretty sure I've experienced the bulk of the game. I have some time off work coming up, so I reckon that I'll be able to wrap this game up with one more post.

Because MUD1 is so large, and I've accomplished a lot in the last week or so, I'll break up what I've done into smaller categories.

The Mausoleum: I have to give a special shout out to commenters Brian and Voltgloss, who gave me some hints that allowed me open three of the six tombs in the mausoleum. The various riddles are shown below:


The answer to the north tomb's riddle was indeed 'one': if you begin with one rat, of course you will only have one at the end. This was the first puzzle I (okay, Brian) solved, but I did have a fair bit of parser trouble while figuring it out. I tried all sort of variations of SAY "ONE", or just "ONE" in quote marks, but the correct method was just to type ONE with no other command or punctuation. This opened the tomb, and inside I found a sceptre and a gold filling.

The south tomb's riddle was a cryptogram, which Voltgloss helpfully decoded for me: "A monument has a relief painting with three shepherds pointing at a tomb. Beneath it are eight letters. What are they?" A spot of Googling revealed that this was a reference to the Shugborough Inscription, a mysterious sequence of letters carved into an 18th century monument. Nobody is sure what the letters mean, but they read OUOSVAVV. Sure enough, typing that in opened the tomb. I didn't find anything inside though, which was a genuine disappointment. I don't think it matters really, but more on that below.

The southwest tomb's riddle is very clever, and again it was Voltgloss who alerted me to the answer being searchable via Google: the numbers refer to the birth dates of John Wayne (the Duke), Queen Latifah, and Elvis Presley (the King). The answer then is Prince's birth date, which is June 7th 1958 (or 6758). Based on this riddle, it seems as though the riddles are updated periodically, because I very much doubt that Queen Latifah was relevant when MUD1 was first created. Even Prince might have been a stretch.

Finally, the southeast tomb was the only one that I figured out myself. I didn't actually solve the puzzle, I just reasoned that if I kept typing out locations in the wilderness I'd hit on the answer eventually. It took a while, but the answer was RUIN.

You can see how many points any treasure is worth with the VALUE command.

Normally I'd be annoyed by the nature of these puzzles: two of them require a decent amount of research, and knowledge that exists outside of the game world. This is the sort of thing that breaks the verisimilitude of a game, but it works better for me here than it would in a lot of other games. Maybe it's just that they're not critical puzzles; you don't have to do them, they're just there as obstacles hiding some treasures.

There are still two tomb riddles I couldn't solve, but I'm not fussed about it. Every time I've been back the contents of the tombs have been different, so I figure that it's randomised, and I've probably seen whatever's in them.

Inside the Badger's Sett: I had previously found a badger's lair in the forest, but when I tried to enter the badger stopped me by trying to claw my face off. I finally went back, and I was able to get in. I'm not sure what made the difference, but maybe it was that I was higher level than the last time I tried. Inside I found a chamber with a magnifying glass and a belt buckle, both worth points when dropped in the swamp. The lens had a message that I'm pretty sure commemorates a former player who passed away in 2015.

The room description mentions that treasure can be stored safely in the sett, and that the badger will guard it. Maybe that's why I couldn't get in before? Perhaps the badger only allows the first person inside to enter, or the first person to store some treasure there?

The Graveyard: I did some poking around on Richard Bartle's MUD1 site, and found a map of the graveyard. Following it led me to another tomb, and a silver cross that I was able to swamp for some points. I wasn't able to open the tomb, but I was given this clue "A prise will open the tomb". I can't think of any items I've found that would suffice.

The Mine: Looking over my notes, I saw that there was a shed in the mine that I hadn't unlocked and investigated. Inside I found a pickaxe (good for mining tin ore from certain mine areas) and a safety lamp. The lamp is a handy item: it replaces the flaming brand, which has a tendency to explode in certain areas (most notable the swamp). Unlike the brand, it has a time limit, as once the wick is burnt out it can no longer be used. I haven't found a way to replace the wick, if it's even possible.

Also in the mine are some narrow cracks that can only be explored if you're not carrying anything. This includes light sources, so these tunnels have to be navigated in the dark. I went in, carefully mapping the various exits and rooms, hoping I'd eventually get to a lit area. I never did, and I'm pretty sure I explored every possibility. Obviously I've missed something here.

The Dwarf Realm: Quite a while ago I'd made it through the mine and into the dwarf realm, only to be immediately killed by a dwarf (what else?). This time I was armed with an axe and some extra levels, which meant that I could kill those dwarves with impunity. There were about half a dozen roaming around, as well as a golden eagle that very nearly did me in.

About to murder some dwarves. Wizterm, the program that I use to access MUD1, logs every single game you play as a text file, so I grabbed some images from there because I'm terrible at remembering to get screenshots.

The realm itself was little more than a large cavern with some forested areas and a fortress. At the top of the fortress there was a gate that I was unable to open. A clue read "Drop the key on me and I shall open". I had the key with me, but no amount of dropping could get the gate to open. I wonder maybe if I had to drop it on or give it to a dwarf, or maybe the eagle? It's something else for me to try.

The Cellar: Previously I've mentioned that the cellar under the house is crawling with nasty rats. After gaining a few levels and arming myself with the axe I was able to head down there and clear the place out - I swear there were over a dozen, and you can only fight them one at a time. There are two exits from the cellar. One leads into a coal bunker, which will explode if you go in with a brand. The bunker is filled with more rats, and a piece of anthracite which can be swamped for points.

South from the cellar is a tunnel with soft, earthy walls. You have to be careful navigating this tunnel, because the walls will collapse with one wrong move. You also can't turn around to go backwards once you're inside, as the tunnel is too narrow. It leads to a chamber that's underneath the woodsman's hut, containing a moose head and a marble pillar. The pillar is valuable, but it's also too large to get back through the tunnel. I remembered that there was a space for a moose head in the hut though, so I went back there and hung the head on the wall, which opened a trapdoor in the floor. I was then able to get the pillar out and swamp it for more points.

The Attic: Also in the house is a cupboard with a stepladder inside that seemingly led nowhere. The ladder was too heavy to move, so I figured that there must be a way up from the cupboard, but every time I tried to climb it I was asphyxiated due to its cramped confines. Eventually I figured out that this was due to the flaming brand, as I was able to climb the ladder safely once I had the lamp. It still didn't lead anywhere, until I climbed it with the cupboard door closed. This opened a secret door, and I was able to get into the attic.

The attic is a treasure trove. Inside I found all sorts of stuff: a candlestick, a doll, a painting, an issue of "Micro Adventurer", a cricket bat, the fabled "Goat Cup" (whatever that is), and a violin. All of these are worth points. There's also a trapped chest that kills you if you open it, but that can be swamped as well if you just take the chest without looking inside. Alongside all of this is a canvas bag, which greatly increases your carrying capacity. Getting into the attic was definitely worth it, but the problem was getting out. You can't get in without closing the cupboard door, but you also can't open the cupboard from the inside. The game flat out tells you that the only way out is to wait for another player to open it. In 2019 this is a much less viable option that it originally would have been. Instead I dropped all of my stuff, quit the game, restarted, and went back to the cupboard. I was then able to open it and claim everything, which probably would have been harder back in the day when the game would have been full of other players scrambling for treasure.

The Attic. It's a lot to take in all at once.

The Wrecked Ship: In my last post I mentioned that I had found a boat, and using it I was able to head out into the ocean to the wrecked ship. The ocean is somewhat dangerous: a shark that's difficult to kill is swimming about, and if the weather gets rough you're likely to get killed. There are a few useful items to be found on the ship: some earrings in the crow's nest, some silk and a raft in the hold, as well as some gunpowder and a fuse. There's a wafer that can be eaten to restore some health. The captain's logbook has some cryptic clues that seem to involve a wizard.

From the crow's nest I was able to see two islands, one to the south and another to the northwest. A chart in the captain's cabin has incomplete directions for getting to the northwest island, so I gather that one will harder to reach. I'll try to explore them before my next post.

The Goblin Lairs: With a weapon, a key and some levels I was finally able to wipe out all of the goblin lairs and raid their treasure chamber, where I found a gold plate, a flute and a bracelet.  Past the goblin lair I found an area with two rooms and some sliding panels. One of the panels I couldn't move, and another caused a force field to appear and block me in. I have no idea what to do here.

Not far from the goblin lairs I had previously found a cannon, and now I had some gunpowder and a fuse. Together with a platinum sphere that I used as a cannonball, I was able to use the cannon to blow apart an especially sturdy door. Behind the door was a magical fountain, which gave me loads of points when I jumped in. The water turned yellow, and I was tempted to take another dip, but caution held me back.

Blasting my way into the Fountain Room.

Following another tunnel out of the goblin lairs led back around to the gate near the idol. I wasn't able to open it from this side either, but at least I knew where it led now. In this area I found a brass ring, but due to a mysterious force I wasn't able to lift it.

Also nearby was a guardroom, wherein I found another axe, a die, and a carpet. The die increased in value depending on the number that came up when you rolled it, but constant rolling is a risk because a 1 will kill you. The carpet is magical, and when you unroll and ride it, it transports you to the temple under the yew tree.

Under the Yew Tree: With the lamp I was finally able to fully explore beneath the yew tree. As I probably mentioned before, there's a tree you can chop down with the axe, opening up some tunnels below. I'd been there before, exploring some temple chambers, but there was one tunnel that I hadn't been able to get past with the flaming brand due to some very dry and flammable roots. Cue the lamp, and a new area to explore.

This tunnel lead to a large chamber, with three branches. The southern branch led to a room with a barrel full of reddish liquid, and another room with muddy walls. I wasn't able to figure out what to do here, although emptying the barrel did give me a description of the water running away and soaking into the walls, so I gather that has something to do with it.

The west branch leads to a steaming pool, with a pendant on the far side. Crossing the pool is deadly, but it can be frozen with an icicle that can be found not far from the temple. The pendant, of course, can be swamped for points.

The east branch is the most interesting, and potentially the most deadly. The first room has a vicious wolf, which might have killed me had I not remembered the wolfsbane in the garden (which you might recall drained my score quite significantly when I tried to smoke it). After a quick trip I returned and fed the wolfsbane to the wolf, which killed it. The rooms beyond were all scorched with fire, and I started to suspect a dragon might be present. Instead, they ended at a fiery pit, that served seemingly no purpose. As I've discovered, there's very little in this game that's just for show, so I figure there's something to do here that I haven't figured out.

Killing the wolf. That number in square brackets lets you know when your score has been increased.

So that's my progress for the last week-and-a-bit, which feels pretty significant now that I've typed it all out. The ultimate goal of the game is to become a Wizard, but with a requirement of over 100,000 points I'll probably skip it. I'm currently an Enchanter, with a score of around 7,000. I'd probably be able to reach the Wizard level with some perseverance; instant deaths don't wipe your character, and most of the battles aren't a problem for me anymore. Other players are the only real danger left.  Even so, if I do try to go for Wizard it's going to be on my own time. The blog must progress.

Here's a list of the most obvious loose ends and mysteries that I'd like to take another stab at solving before I finish up:

  • The gate in the tunnel leading from the beach
  • The gate in the Dwarf Realm
  • The northwest island
  • The southern island
  • The sliding panel rooms
  • The brass ring
  • The tunnel that's guarded by an ogre
  • The tomb in the graveyard
That's a decent amount to go on, and I'm thinking now that this game might have more left to offer than I had thought. Regardless, my next post will be my last for MUD1. It's time to wrap up the next few games, and get out of 1978.