Video Game: Armageddon MUD
One of the oldest MUDs
still up and running, Armageddon is a low fantasy
roleplay-enforced game set in a post-apocalyptic world
with strong Dark Sun
influences. A good thousand years of magick further ruining the land
has only served to make matters worse
, and so the majority of the world's population spends their lives hoping simply to eke out a meager existence within the walls of the cities ruled by the despotic sorcerer-kings.Allanak
, ruled by Tektolnes
and his Templars oppresses the populace through overt brutality. Public executions are not uncommon. A corpse pile bearing both victims of the government's malice or starvation in equal parts serves as a prime landmark and a grim reminder of what becomes those who try to fight the ruling party. The populace is only hardened further by one of the few entertainments and escapes provided; The Arena, where both gladiators, criminals, or just those who have displeased the ruling parties are sent to fight for their lives. Tektolnes's Templars rule through overt fear, assisted further by sorcerous powers granted by their king. Also under their command is the city's military— The Arm of the Dragon — both a fighting and policing force. So thoroughly corrupt, that it as accepted as common knowledge among the populace that a militiaman is as likely to shake you down for your remaining coin as to pursue the thief who has stolen your purse.Tuluk
prefers a more subtle approach. Rather than bloody displays in the street, those who oppose Muk Utep
— or simply those who do not affect the demeanor of someone wholly loyal to the Sun King and his armies
simply. . . disappear, with their last sighting often a walk toward the Heart of the city, where Muk Utep makes his home in the Ivory Pyramid. Subtlety is an art in Tuluk, with those who fail to practice it usually reserved to subsist on the lower reigns of the social ladder. Assassination and thievery are considered an art form, and appropriately carried out most often by Shadow Artists: City sanctioned rogues. The stark contrast between the nobility and common people in Tuluk is less overt, though no less present, as the city separates its classes instead by a rigid caste system. Whereas a noble in Allanak may take a commoner as a concubine if they fancy them, no such blood mixing transpires in Tuluk. The Sun Legions put a more favorable face than the Arm of the Dragon, but they are no less crooked. An overt bribe to an Allanaki militiaman is more likely to be provided as a 'donation for admirable service' to a member of the Sun Legions.
One of Armageddon's key features is its intensity; not only is Zalanthas a hard, inhospitable world,
and is everything trying to kill you, once your character dies, he/she stays that way for good.
Another drawing point is the immense complexity of the world and its characters; Zalanthas is a large place with many secrets hidden in the landscape, there are many guilds and subguilds to be chosen from,
and even within the various races there are many kinds of social and cultural backgrounds you can pick.
Armageddon MUD can be accessed via browser at Armageddon.org
This game provides examples of:
- Alien Sky: Zalanthas has a red, a black, and a white moon, one sun, and a sky colored the hue of copper.
- All Crimes Are Equal: Red Storm village and Luir's Outpost both lack jails, and so the guard force has no way of stowing away criminals. Whether you tried to steal a bread or incinerated a tavern's worth of people, the guards will execute you summarily.
- All-Natural Gem Polish: Averted. Gems tend to be uncut when you first find them and sometimes aren't even explicitly named as such.
- An Adventurer Is You
- Annoying Arrows: Averted. Archery is a very strong skill, and it has even been stated in the past that arrows are unrealistically expensive because the staff doesn't want archery to be even stronger.
- Anti-Grinding: Invoked in both hard-coded and more subtle ways. Codedly, you're not going to raise your skills that much quicker if you keep using them on and on for hours on end. But since the game's staff tends to look down on people who play their characters as the sum of their skills rather than actual, well, characters, people who grind incessantly should not be surprised to find that they receive a backlash in some manner.
- Anti-Magic: All magic in Armageddon is based on the elements. One of these is Nilaz, the void element, which is strongest specifically in the absence of all other six elements; accordingly, Nilazi are able to counter and nullify the other elementalists' powers.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Since many organisations promote the people who survive the longest, and the people who survive the longest have had the most time to practice their skills, this is often how clans end up as.
- In a less meta example, the Templars higher up the picking order tend to be awarded stronger powers by their respective lieges.
- Awesome but Impractical: Muls are this from an IC perspective. Though they make the deadliest gladiators in the Known and are a typical crowd pleaser in the arena, they eat too much and require too much protection to be used as anything else than flashy fighters for organizations to show off.
- Ban on Magic: Zig-zagged
- In Tuluk, every kind of Magick was made completely illegal after the destruction of Old Tuluk by powerful elementals, and anyone found out to be a magicker is killed on sight.
- In Red Storm and Luir's Outpost, users of the the various elemental powers are allowed, though Sorcerers and Nilazi are still outlawed, and no Magick may actually be used within the settlements themselves, forcing the magickers to either practice their craft outside the walls or never use it at all.
- And finally, Allanak retains the ban on Sorcery and Void Magicks, but actually allows elementalists to cast their spells within the city, as long as they do so within specific areas. The common populace avoids the place like the plague.
- Bigger on the Inside: Movement in Armageddon, as with most MUD's, is done by manner of rooms. Since a room can be both a small walk-in closet or a stretch of desert, Allanak isn't even ten rooms if you pass it by in the desert, whereas it contains more than a hundred rooms upon entering it.
- Blue Blood: Nobility occupy the upper tier of society in both cities. They are divided into separate, often conflicting Houses.
- Allanak, sorted by their ranking.
- House Borsail: The current premier noble house of Allanak. Along with the money they are given by the city, they maintain an extremely lucrative slave trade.
- House Valika: Padding the wealth they've already afforded, Valika are canny investors, and most of their income is earned either through these investments, or through payment from loans to those who would invest themselves.
- House Oash: Unique among the nobles houses— and of most organized institutions in the entire Known World —in that they hire magickers, who are otherwise scorned and hated by the populace. They also maintain a luxury wine trade.
- House Kasix: Often considered just a cheap imitation of Borsail, Kasix also makes a fair share of its income through slaves, though they are often considered a lower quality than Borsail-bred ones.
- House Tor: A military House. Those highborn in Tor are often trained to fight, perhaps just as well as the elite military units that they themselves train. They also operate the Tor Academy, where those well-off of Allanak's clans can send their members to be trained as military officers.
- House Fale: Camp incarnate, House Fale's defining characteristic is simply how decadent, foppish, and all around odd most of their members are. No less clever than the other Houses, their scheming is often rendered indecipherable simply by how zany they seem to the uninformed observer.
- House Rennik: House Rennik gains much income from the farming villages surrounding Allanak, as well as settling foreign affairs for the city, as rare as it is that those affairs aren't simple conquest.
- House Jal: Responsible for the maintenance of the city, the most notable of their projects being the Absurdly Spacious Sewer system beneath it.
- House Sath: Scholarly and private, Sath occupy the lowest ranking among Allanak's noble houses. They are, however, still considered still quite a step above even the most important commoner. They also boast an extremely expansive library.
- Cannon Fodder: A popular use for independent mercenaries and the T'zai Byn mercenary company.
- Cast from Hit Points: One of the ways in which sorcery works. Preservers use their own life force to power their magick, rather than defiling the land and life around them. Preserving is slower to grow powerful, as their main source of magickal power is their own life force.
- Child by Rape: The game's documentation outright states that many, many half-elves are this. Don't even ask about Muls.
- City Guards: Allanak, Tuluk, Luir's and Red Storm all have their own guard corps. They patrol the streets, guard the gates, catch murderers, and chase down petty thieves equally viciously.
- The City Narrows: The Labyrinth, the part of Allanak where there are no soldiers, no Templars, and where accordingly, a very large amount of the city's criminals make their living.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Templars in Allanak have robes of varying colours to denote their rank. From high-ranked to low-ranked: black, red, blue, white.
- Crapsack World: The greatest powers in the world are ruled by immensely powerful Sorcerer Kings, the people in charge everywhere are crooked to the point that bribes and corruption are ubiquitous, immense amounts of people starve everyday, and there seems to be no sign that things are going to be lifting up anytime soon.
- Crapsaccharine World: Tuluk is as much of an oppressive and impoverished place as the rest of the world is, but the resident nobles and Templars do their best to make everything in Tuluk appear peaceful and stable.
- Cursed with Awesome: Magick is generally thought of as a curse, and something turning a person into an abomination, but there are always those magickers who like what they are.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Drovians are Magickers whose spells focus on darkness and shadow. In doing so, they are no more or less evil than the other kind of elmentalists.
- Determinator: Dwarves are an entire race of this trope. From the docs: To fulfil foci, dwarves have been known to fight off tens of men; walk across the deserts barefoot and weaponless (and somehow surviving none-the-less); and gone through unspeakable tortures.
- Dirty Cop: Played straight to the point where this is expected of every figure of authority out there. Being rich or well-connected enough can make your character get away with most anything.
- Dual Wielding: Every class gets the ability to do this per default. Some classes are better at it than others.
- Dumb Muscle: Half-Giants are this in spades.
- Elemental Powers: How Magick works when it isn't sorcery. Elemental magicks are innate to a person rather than actively learned like sorcery is, and its power regenerates naturally rather than through a sorcerers defiling or preserving. An overview:
- Making a Splash: Water Elementalists, called Vivaduans in Zalanthas, have spells focused on restoration and healing.
- Playing with Fire: Fire Elementalists, who go by the term Krathi, use magicks mainly to burn and destroy.
- Dishing Out Dirt: Earth elementalists, Rukkians in Zalanthan terms, have protective magicks to use.
- Blow You Away: Whirans, who are Zalanthas' resident Air Elementalists, have powers based around movement and stealth.
- Casting a Shadow: Zalanthas' Shadow Elementalists are called Drovians, who have spells centered around deception and secrecy.
- Shock and Awe: The Lightning Elementalists of Zalanthas can be named either Elkrans or Elkrosians, being able to apply force in a quick manner using their magicks.
- Power of the Void: And finally, there are Void Elementalists who are the dreaded Nilazi, with power over death and the nullification of the other elements.
- Evil Tower of Ominousness: The Highlord of Allanak, Tektolnes, lives in one of these.
- Failed a Spot Check: Mekillots are utterly humonguous creatures the size of several houses that dwell in a completely flat, barren land, with no visual obstructions. Since the game does not allow people to move diagonally, your character will be utterly oblivious to the largest creature in the Known standing idly by.
- Also partially applied when searching for someone while lacking any detection skills. Someone can hide from you in a five by five barren apartment, and if you lack the proper skill to find them, they may as well be invisible.
- Fantastic Racism: Played straight like an arrow. What makes it interesting is that often, the grounds for such racism are perfectly legitimate.
- Humans see elves as thieves, swindlers and conmen, who will do everything in their power to cheat anyone else out of their last ten 'sid, and hate them for it. The elves are guilty of these accusations and embrace them fully. Dwarves are seen as subhuman, stubborn idiots, who can't think straight and are really only good for menial tasks. Half-elves are viewed with much the same suspicion as elves, seeing as half-elves try to blend into the elven culture(thus becoming thieves themselves) as much as they do so with humanity.
- Elves view pretty much every other race as slow and stupid, which they pretty much are compared to elves. Elves also have an innate distrust of everyone not part of their tribe or immediate circle of most trusted friends, and since elven tribes are comprised of elves, they tend to distrust members of any other race immensely. Of special note are half-giants, as elves find their inability to stay loyal for more than two minutes infuriating.
- Dwarves don't quite hate any race so much, though some might be disgusted when/if they find out that striving towards a focus isn't something the other races do. If a dwarf should decide that a certain race may prove detrimental to their focus, or even worse, makes the downfall of said race the object of their focus, they will fit this trope to a T.
- Half-giants may happen to hate a race if all their friends do so.
- Final Death: Well, yeah. Your character dies, they stay that way.
- Fragile Speedster: Amongst the races, elves are these. Their endurance scores are the lowest, but their agility ensures that while they may have low hitpoints, they will land a lot of blows on whomever they attack, and their natural inclination to running ensures that they are good at staying out of fights, too.
- Gladiator Games: Zalanthas has a few arenas with all kinds of gladiatorial combat. Due to the two city states' noble houses being rich beyond decadence, these tend to be filled with highly exotic creatures and spectacles, too.
- Global Currency: Played straight. Justified, since the Known's currency, obsidian coin, tends to be the domain of the banking House Nenyuk, who maintain a presence wherever money would be used.
- Half-Breed Discrimination: Very much played straight. Half-elves are shunned by both the world's races, which is a further problem when you consider that humans and elves are the Known's most numerous races. Muls have it even worse, since they may only choose between being either slaves or fugitives.
- Half-Human Hybrid: Half-giants, half-elves, and muls.
- Half-elves are the most standard example, with them being born of relations between a human and an elf.
- Muls are a trickier example, being human/dwarf crossbreeds. Muls are stated to never occur naturally, but because Muls make such incredible fighters, the Known's various slaving Houses are willing to breed them in order to die in grand and spectacular gladiator shows.
- Half-giants are this to a degree. The help files state them to be some kind of crossing between humans and giants, but hand waves the problems of actually crossing humans and giants, as that would raise questions as to how a human and an actual giant would get it on. The current explanation is that some kind of Magick was involved.
- Hidden Elf Village: Cenyr. Unlike the game's other permanent settlements, it has no sorceroe-king or badass militia to speak of. It remains unspoiled despite that, few people even know its location, and its inhabitants' primary source of wealth is the working of all sorts of fine glass products.
- Hive Mind: Mantises have this within their respective packs or clutches.
- Humanoid Abomination: How pretty much anyone sees Sorcerers, Nilazi and Mindbenders. Tuluki tend to extend this to all magickers out there.
- Humans Are Special: Played straight with mindbenders. The stated reason for Humans being dominant is no other race being able to become so powerful in their use of the Way.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Mantises and Halflings will happily eat the corpses of their fallen enemies. Humans or other humanoids are no exception.
- Interspecies Romance: Possible, but in-universe Fantastic Racism means the lovers are bound to get shunned.
- In the Hood: Many cloaks in the game allow their hoods to be raised, which conceals a character's short description. Many NPCs wear them as well, with the most obvious example being the labyrinth.
- In-Universe Game Clock: A Zalanthan hour is ten real life minutes. A Zalanthan day is a real life hour and a half. A Zalanthan week is 16.5 real life hours. It gets more complicated after that.
- Item Crafting: Crafting works by using the craft command on up to five items the player can use. As there is a large number of items you could combine, the amount of items a skilled craftsman can make is well into the dozens.
- Killed Off for Real: If your character dies, your character dies. Unless the death was due to something completely and certainly out of the player's hands(mostly server lag of the worst kind of Game Breaking Bugs,) appeals for resurrection will not be granted.
- Kill It with Fire: Magick is a deadly thing, but Krathi are outright stated to do little else rather than turn people into roast chicken.
- Land of One City: Both Tuluk and Allanak are this.
- Magic Is Evil: Though the various elemental Magicks are not inherently good or evil, Defiling Magick involves the Sorcerer in question sapping the area around them of lifeforce in order to replenish their Mana. It is implied that the God Kings' usage of this is why the Known is such a barren place.
- Magic Knight: Southern Templars are not only immensely deadly with weapons, they have an array of Magickal spells they receive from their superiors, too.
- Mana Meter: All Magickers have one. Elementalists have mana meters that regenerate gradually, whereas sorcerers need to replenish theirs by employing more. . . active, methods.
- Master Poisoner: If your character has the poisoning skill leveled to master, they qualify as this.
- Mighty Glacier: Half-Giants fit this role. They have such high endurance that poison affects them only in the rarest of occasions, and their strength allows them to lift up logs like toothpicks and dish out hits that may very well knock out weaker humanoids with but a single blow. Don't expect their attacks to be quick, however.
- Misfit Mobilization Moment: When Tuluk drove out the Allanaki forces occupying their cities, a large part of the liberating army was comprised of the normally hated and reviled mutants.
- Mook Chivalry: The game's hostile NPC's avert this one with style: not only is there no limit on the number of attackers a person can have, said person will actually receive combat penalties on account of being surrounded. Averting this trope is the way many a powerful warrior has died to spiders, gith, or another such creature.
- Money Spider: Averted. Skinning animals can leave you with a lot of various materials and useful things, but the only things dropping money are those carrying it in the first place.
- Multiarmed And Dangerous: Mantises have four armed instead of two. They are also highly aggressive to any kind of intruders, due to their thoughts revolving for a large amount around the hunt for food.
- One Steve Limit: Zig-zagged. Averted in that there is no limit to an amount of PC's having a particular name; there can be any given amount of Amoses, Maliks, and Talias alive at any given time. Played straight in that every player can only ever play one character with a certain name. After said character's death, they'll have to move to other names.
- Our Dragons Are Different: Zalanthas has two instances of Dragons appearing. The first is the historical Dragon, which is held responsible for the Known being the wasteland it is today. The other is the Highlord Tektolnes of Allanak, who is often depicted as a Dragon and has even appeared as one before.
- Our Elves Are Different: Zalanthan elves are swindlers who will try and scam everyone who isn't part of their immediate friend circle or tribe, consider scams of any nature an art form and as of such consider quick minds and bodies their reason of being the superior race, are immensely distrustful of any kind of stranger, will remember any slight made against them in order to repay it in full once their day comes, and are fond of running.
- Orcus on His Throne: Muk Utep and Tektolnes don't leave their respective pyramid and tower very often. Due to the immense power both sorcerer-kings wield, this is, gameplay-wise, probably for the best.
- Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Averted with a vengeance. Dwarves have very specific traits, but they do not at all adhere to the forging, beer-drinking, axe-swinging dwarves of other settings.
- Physical God: Though canonically, the Sorcerer Kings are or were at least human, they enforce worship of themselves as Gods. The immortality and nigh-endless power probably helps, too.
- Private Military Contractors: The Byn is this. They're willing to work for any organization or individual with enough money, and as of such are known for their neutrality and efficiency in the field.
- Psychic Powers: Every living creature in Zalanthas is stated to have at least a trace of what is called the Way, but all (former) playable races, and even some other creatures, have developed Psionics to an extent where they can speak to each other telepathically across it.
- Mindbenders take this up to eleven, with their psionic capabilities being powerful to the point where they are considered as dangerous as Sorcerers are.
- Psychic Static: The barrier power works this way, in a sense. It isn't quite explained how it works, so it may not be static, but it stops your mind from being messed with in either case.
- Punishment Detail: Latrine duty. Anger the sergeant, fuck up on a mission, or slack off too much? Off to clean up ungodly amounts of dung with you
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The T'zai Byn mercenary company maintains an open policy of hiring any person of any race and of any background. This is often the result, with varying combat effectiveness.
- Reduced to Ratburgers: Among the lower classes in Allanak, rat kebobs are a common source of food.
- Sand Is Water: Played with in the form of the Sea of Silt. On the one hand, the silt is fine enough that there are skimmers which exist to traverse the sea. On the other hand, there is no swimming in it, and finding yourself deep enough into the silt will mean instant death.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: There are times when NPC's will flee and run for the hills rather than fight you to the death.
- Self-Made Orphan: Tektolnes originally rose to power by killing his own father and usurping his position as tribal leader.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Armageddon's cynicism is heavy enough for the scale to outright break.
- Sorcerous Overlord: Tektolnes and Muk Utep are this in their respective city-states.
- Stupid Evil: Some of the creatures out in the wilds will attack nearby PC's no matter what. The amount of PC's is not taken into consideration. Unintelligent animals charging in is one thing, but sapient creatures like Gith blindly assaulting bands of better-equipped warriors outnumbering them greatly on their own are no exception.
- Talking Is a Free Action: Actions like crafting an item, sending telepathic messages, fighting things, or even walking around, tend to be impossible to do simultaneously. Talking is one of the only actions in the game that does not interrupt any of these things at all.
- The Unfettered: Again, dwarves. They fit every aspect of the trope, and should they accomplish their chosen focus, they will simply find a new, often more challenging goal to attain.
- Throwing Your Sword Always Works: There are throwing sword items within the game. They're just another, if fairly unique, weapon however.
- Too Dumb to Live: Due to the game's codebase, your character will automatically move in the same direction as the person you are following, which unfortunately means that if your Sergeant Amos walks off the mahoosive cliff that is the shield wall, you and your entire company will gleefully join him like lemmings walking off a beam.
- Due to the poison code, drinking beverages requires you to type drink <container> rather than drink <beverage>. This can lead to shenanigans where people fill bottles or cups with substances that contain less than healthy substances such as bleach or feces, which can often lead to death if you assume the drink you've just been offered is a hearty mug of ale.
- Unproblematic Prostitution: Played very, very straight. Prostitution is viewed as just another job, and being a whore isn't treated very differently from being, say, a cook.
- Unstoppable Rage: Muls fly into these from time to time. It's part of the reason why they're such effective gladiators.
- Walking Wasteland: Sorcery can be fueled by either defiling or preserving. Defiling invokes this trope beautifully, with ashes marking the destruction the sorcerer causes to fuel themselves.
- Wide Open Sandbox
- Wizard Needs Food Badly: All characters need to eat and drink regularly, with failing to do so resulting in starvation/dehydration, and eventually death. Since Zalanthas is a world with few resources, this is at times more problematic than it sounds.