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1. What is a MUD?

1.1 "MUD" is an acronym for "Multi-User Dungeon", or "Multi-User Dimension", or "Multi-User Domain". The exact terminology doesn't really matter. As the acronym implies, however, a MUD is an environment that is accessible to many persons at the same time. The environment itself is hosted on, and managed by, a computer, and accessible through your own computer. The output from a MUD is usually text-based, although the more advanced MUDs can employ ASCII art, overhead mapping, graphical interfaces and/or more elaborate graphics. You interact with the environment by typing commands into your computer, which are processed and executed by the MUD program. Commands can be sent either through a console client program, like Telnet, or a more elaborate MUD client, like zMUD or Mud Master. Later on, we'll discuss how to choose between these programs.

1.2 Some things a MUD is not:-

   (a) A MUD is similar to, but is not, a Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) like Everquest. The difference is largely historical - MUDs were around long before MMORPGs. In many ways, MUDs can be seen as the progenitors of MMORPGs (and you can see the undoubted influence of MUDs in MMORPGs). Also, MUDs often do not cost any money to play. You pay for your hardware or internet connection, but the MUD itself does not charge any subscription or other kind of fee.

   (b) A MUD is not just a computer game. MUDs have far more depth than regular computer games, because a good MUDs' development cycle never ends. Many MUDs have existed for years, and have gone through many iterations of code and game systems. Separately, and perhaps the most important thing to remember, in a MUD, you are dealing with real people, albeit in a fantasy environment. At a high level, always, always remember that even though the game is imaginary, the people are not. More on this later.

   (c) A MUD is not just a chat program, like IRC, AIM or ICQ. There is a social aspect to MUDs, and while some MUDs are more social than others, you remain in an imaginary or fantasy environment. Thus, unlike an ordinary chat program, a lot of the experiences you will have will take place in the context of the environment you are in.

   (d) A MUD is not a console role-playing game. Console role-playing games are often divided up into chapters or parts with one or more "boss" encounters which must be faced before progressing. This is often called a "linear" structure, because you're going from point A to point B (and understandably so, because these games typically have an end-game reward). While MUDs have a similar structure of zones and "boss" encounters, they are most definitely non-linear. The game never ends. Typically, all zones are accessible to anyone with the desire, and enough brains, to get into them. You could therefore find yourself in over your head if you wander into an area that is unsuitable for your current level of experience. Expect a challenge, and be prepared to step down a gear if you have to.

1.3 In a MUD, you will have a character. An avatar, if you will; an inhabitant of the imaginary environment which is controlled by the commands you give it. You can look at things, you can pick them up, you can wear them. You can talk to people through various means. You can gain access to different parts of the world by travelling, either on foot or on other means of transport. You can buy weapons and protective equipment, and you can manipulate the environment. As you do things on the MUD, you will gain experience (both literally and figuratively), and hence become more and more powerful.

1.4 MUDs have different settings, depending on the genre of the underlying storyline in the MUD. The underlying story can be fantasy, science-fiction or anything else the creators dream up. A lot of MUDs are slanted to the fantasy adventure role-playing genre; others are slanted towards merely socialising in a pleasant environment. There will also often be a technological context for the MUD, which determines the type of equipment you can get and the feats you can perform. These, in turn, dictate the general "feel" of the MUD. A fantasy adventure MUD will probably have swords and sorcery, while a science fiction MUD will probably have lasers and space ships. Thus, your choice of MUD is in a sense dictated by your preferred underlying story and technological context.

1.5 Necromium is a fantasy MUD with a medieval technological context. It has your typical swords and spells, and your typical towns and dungeons. You will have 5 major continents to explore, as well as a host of offshore locations. Necromium has zones which run the whole gamut of the power curve - when you start out you will be encountering rabbits and turtles in a sunny forest, but at the peak of your powers you and your friends will interact with the gods of Norse mythology and be involved in inter-continental wars against powerful demons invading the bastion of the most learned magic-users in the world. And yes, Necromium has dragons. Small ones just hatched, big ones (both good and evil), and legendary dragons that will rend you limb from limb, no matter how powerful you are. Come and try Necromium - the system is extremely friendly to new players, and many players who have been here for years are very willing to help out.

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