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Video Game / Dark And Shattered Lands

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One of the oldest MUDs still up and running, Dark and Shattered Lands is a high adventure fantasy game, set in a world of constantly struggling good and evil. Roleplay encouraged and Player-Killing allowed, its loosely based on the world of Dragonlance but has since gained its own unique flavor thanks to the input of many talented and creative Admin and Players.


This game provides examples of:

  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality: Typical of most RPG's, some mechanics do not quite mesh up with reality, but players tend to not keep them from ruining the game. However, some mechanics have been addressed over the course of DSL's run, such as the idea that kender (three feet tall) can dropkick dragons and stun them.
  • Alien Sky: Three moons, one white, one red, and one only visible by the forces of evil.
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  • Allegedly Free Game: Apart from the price of the operating system (CMUD, ZMUD, etc.) Dark and Shattered Lands is completely free to play. However, certain benefits can be purchased for a modest fee to enhance characters quickly and easily.
  • An Adventurer Is You: To the point that a large amount of the in game history are just the actions of really old PCs.
  • Annoying Arrows: Arrows especially are rarely depicted as threatening, and few take up the bow skill to use them. Ditto with any sort of long-ranged attack, which rarely kills anyone definitively, but gives them ample chance to escape more often than not.
  • Anyone Can Die: While player characters die and are re-constituted after a short period as a ghost, virtually anyone else can be permanently killed under the right circumstances. Up to and including the very Gods of the world.
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  • Asskicking Equals Authority: In game, it's very common for players which are skilled at the incredibly complex combat system to be prime candidates for political positions. Not always the case, however.
  • Badass Decay: What was once cool may quickly fall to the wayside in favor of newer and better classes or mechanics. Overall, however, the elite CS Rs still rank up amongst the elite, averting this. Dragons, however, have been hit very hard by this, and as a result few play them anymore.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: Some of the older nobilities have many generations and tangled family trees thanks to marrying, divorcing, re-marrying, or the like.
  • Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism: Leonine males are Wemics, who are four legged centaur-like lions. Leonine females are Felar, who are two-legged and generally less furry cat ladies. How does that work? Some don’t even try to guess.
  • Blue Blood: Any related group of people numbering more than five can become nobility, with their last name becoming a greater part of themselves. Some of these are actual ruling families of their respective kingdoms.
  • Chaos Is Evil: Actually its considered worse than regular Evil.
  • Character Class System: One of a base five, then many varied and interesting reclasses to consider, from Paladin to Necromancer to Samurai.
    • Warrior which can become Barbarian, Swashbuckler, Ranger, Armsman, or Samurai
    • Mage which can become Enchanter, Illusionist, Warlock/Witch, Mentalist, or Wu-Jen
    • Cleric which can become Priest, Crusader, Shaman, Druid, or Shukenja
    • Thief which can become Bandit, Pirate, Assassin, Nightshade, or Ninja
    • Bard which can become Jongleur, Charlatan, Skald, or Brewmaster
    • And an assortment of Clan Specific Reclasses available through great time, devotion, and roleplay in several of the in-game organizations, like Knighthood and Conclave.
  • Character Level: Up to 51.
  • Child of Two Worlds: Rarely comes up, but can apply to Half Elves, Half Ogres, or Muls. Also giants, being the children of one mortal parent and one divine one. They get it worse than most.
  • City Guards: Attack any unwelcome in a given kingdom, then either kill you or throw you in jail, then fine you or kill you. Individually they’re tough, but can be beaten. The trouble is that there’s so many of them, and they’re relentless.
  • Crapsack World: It’s not called Dark and Shattered Lands for nothing. Evil is on the rise, frequently stronger or better than it’s Good counterparts, anarchistic organization called Chaos seek to destroy the Gods, vampires are prevalent, the kender nation was destroyed, and some of the Gods of Good and Neutrality are dropping like flies.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Vampirism. Your dead corpse is re-animated by a demonic spirit, who possesses your same memories and some of your personality. Also empowers you with great strength and power, at the cost of needing to drink blood and suffering damage from sunlight. Also, giants. Your mana and thus spell casting is unlimited, but just one death and it is final.
  • Determinator: Many characters, but special mention must go to those who’ve made the rank of High Priest. Three in total have had the tenacity to reach this rank.
  • Do Not Drop Your Weapon: Getting disarmed not only hampers your ability to inflict damage, but can be equally troublesome for certain skills to protect against, such as parry. Thus, it’s a common tactic of Clanners to do. And to defend again, which is why back-up weapons are often on hand.
  • Elemental Powers: The Wu-Jen are mages who specialize in one of the five Chinese elements: earth, water, fire, air and metal. To a lesser extent, all spellcasters tend to use spells that have some elemental affinity. Also, druids, clerics and priests can summon full elementals of the classic four.
  • Fantastic Racism: Commonplace, though usually never truly malicious between players (characters, on the other hand...). Elves and dwarves hate each other is easily one of the most prominent, though you’d be hard-pressed to find an evil character who didn’t hate kender.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Shokono is a stand-in for Japan, with some influences from other Asian cultures. Some other kingdoms have some strong influences from modern counterparts, such as New Thalos for the Middle East in general, and Nordmaar for Viking and Highland culture.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: Originally based primarily on [[Literature/Dragonlance]], as time goes on, DSL has come to incorporate ideas from all time periods of history and a multitude of fantasy and sci-fi franchises. The result is a wide variety of strange places to explore and things to find.
  • Finishing Move: Customizable at the cost of one blue diamond to be almost anything (Imm approved).
  • Functional Magic: Almost everyone, barring Barbarians and those who shun the Gods (or are shunned in turn) can cast spells, regardless of their class.
  • Global Currency: 100 silver coins to a gold coin, 550 gold coins to a blue diamond, ten blue diamonds to a jeweled egg. Across Algoron, everyone uses this currency, and all banks are largely the same (to say nothing of impenetrable).
  • Gold–Silver–Copper Standard: Skips copper, but otherwise played straight.
  • Gratuitous Ninja: Frequently an RP ‘persona’ adopted before with many Assassin class characters. Now doubly so thanks to the introduction of an actual Ninja class.
  • Guide Dang It!: New players to DSL can find it very frustrating at first, particularly when the "help" entry for what you are trying to do does not seem to exist. Asking other players is often the best solution, though this is sometimes discouraged or outright forbidden for certain topics.
  • Humans Are Special: Only in respect to certain classes and clans available to them, such as the Knighthood and Shadow. Otherwise, generally averted.
  • In-Universe Game Clock: Rarely used, except to judge the time of day for certain spells and abilities.
  • Interspecies Romance: Very common. Children, however, can only arise from compatible species. Human/Elf = Half-Elf, Human/Dwarf = Mul, Human/Ogre = Half-Ogre. Anything else is just boinking for the fun of it.
  • Item Crafting: Several tiers of crafting that can lead to very strong weapons and armor. Including dragonscale armors.
  • Just Before the End.
  • Kryptonite-Proof Suit: Several of the player races are vulnerable to elemental attacks (i.e. fire, cold, etc.) while several dragonskin armors provide some protection from those very elements. Thus, its common to see yinn almost completely decked out in red dragonscale armor to circumvent their natural vulnerability. Expensive as hell though.
  • Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game.
  • Massive Race Selection: Ignoring the Limited Races, Dragons and Giants, DSL boasts no less than twenty-two races, including four flavors of dwarves, five flavors of elves, three of ogres, two of gnomes, and a partridge in a pear tree.
  • Muggle Sports, Super Athletes: ACFL, or Algoron Capture the Flag League, is full-contact, no holds barred, fights between two teams of powerful warriors, sorcerers, and monsters... playing capture the flag.
  • Multi-User Dungeon: One of the oldest, and still one of the absolute best.
  • One-Steve Limit: Enforced by the game, which allows only one character per name. Still allows for many spelling variations, such as Vegeta, Veggeta, Veg’eta, etc. With a recent cleansing of old, unplayed names, its freed up a lot of options for players to try again.
    • Aerith and Bob: Crops up frequently as a result. A William standing alongside a Vegeta and a Eilistraee are common sightings.
    • Awesome Mc Cool Name: Also happens when good combos result.
    • Punny Name: Some of the less serious characters and players, such as the goblin family of Sack ('including such members as Sahd, Waak, Khrapp, and Bahl')
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: A frequent complaint, characters in-game can reach incredible degrees of power and yet be overshadowed by superior strength from vampires, manatonics, enhanced clanners with pkp points, and other factors. Someone with multiple factors can quickly become close to untouchable... in single combat.
  • Perpetually Static: Averted. Though the day to day routine is usually just that, whole Kingdoms have been destroyed, Clans ditto, new reclasses/races continually tip the balance of combat, an ocean appeared between two continents, a new continent was discovered, Gods have died, and the whole realm is a different place than it was two decades ago. Within individual clan/kingdoms, political upheavels (or successions) also typically happen from time to time.
  • Player Versus Player: The Clans, where Playerkilling is a common, daily way of life.
  • Purple Prose: Crops up occasionally. Some players probably need a thesaurus to read through the more well thought out notes and descriptions.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: Running is a common tactic when faced with something too big or dangerous to fight. Running and re-engaging is also an excellent player killing tactic.
  • Sexy Cat Person: Felars are this. Wemics, not so much, unless you're into that kind of thing.
  • Sliding Scaleof Idealism Vs Cynicism: Some will do nothing but endlessly whine about how unfair the game mechanics are, the player ability, or the needless drama. Others will adapt to adversity, enjoy their time, and promote fun Roleplay. Likewise in the game, player alignments of Good and Evil tend to reflect this.
  • Space Cold War: Shalonesti and Thaxanos have been at so-called ‘war’ for centuries now, but they haven’t been able to make a dent in each other, so they’ve settled largely for posturing and fortifying their borders, not interested in losing any more soldiers to one another. Likewise, Arkane and Verminasia are in a similar situation, unable to make any progress. Averted with the forces of Good and Evil, who despite being in a stalemate for millennia are finally starting to make progress against one another.
  • Summon Magic: Spellcasters can often summon creatures to serve them, elementals, animals, golems, undead, or others. In addition, the summon spell allows you to bring other characters to you, saving on travel time.
  • Taking You with Me: Seppuku, a Samurai ability that allows them to stab through their stomach and kill their enemy with them. It’s rarely effective and even rarer to use, but it does work. To a lesser extent, sometimes applies to group combat.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: For Kingdomers, frequently. For Clanners, it tends to take time away from more important actions, like kicking or fleeing or acid blasting, so they can be less chatty.
  • The Many Deaths of You: Dying turns you into a ghost, returning you to your point of origin, and leaves you that way for a short while before restoring you to life. Dying to a mob loses all of your experience for that level. Dying to a player provides a brief Death Illness to keep you from charging back into the fray (though some do anyway). None of it is permanent. How players interpret this game-mechanic for their characters roleplay varies from one to another.
  • The Watcher: The Balanx are Kwainin’s creation to help with this endeavor, constantly updating the history of the world. They rarely interact with people (though they do occasionally interview witnesses) and even less often fight, though they are intensely powerful, on par with the Angels and Demons.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Players who obtain the rare CS Rs frequently find them vastly superior to regular classes.
  • Vague Age: Happens when birth, aging, and (far less frequently) death occur based on player interests that do not always align/match-up, even within the same family.
  • Violent Glaswegian: Nordmaarians and Thaxanos tend to lean towards this, being boisterous bruisers who love their drinking and fighting.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Shamans are able to assume the form of animals, and dragons can assume the forms of humanoids to blend in.
  • Warp Whistle: Everyone (and we do mean everyone) can recall to their point of origin in order to leave dangerous places and get their bearings again.
  • Weapon of Choice: Defines a lot of what weapons you use and how. Swords, Daggers, and Staves are most popular, but Whips, Polearms (like Lances) and Bows and Arrows have some merit and use. Pirates can even use Flintlock Pistols.
  • Winged Humanoid: Ariels, or bird people, who mostly resemble angelic human beings with feathered wings. There's also the pixie. Angels, Demons, and Balanx are also this, to an extent.
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: The hunger/thirst code begins at level five and is a constant thorn in the side of everyone who plays, who must always seek out food to eat in great quantities. Thirst can be offset by a decanter of endless water (with almost any other liquid within) and the priest spell nourishment can temporarily alleviate hunger/thirst, but after level five they are a constant part of the game. You will not starve to death, but you will fall unconscious if you go long enough without eating.
  • Wizarding School: Arguably, the Conclave and it’s three Towers of White, Red, and Black. In practice, they don’t often do much teaching beyond how to PK, but they do offer the very rare Invoker, Transmuter, Battlemage and Necromancer books.
  • World of Badass: Fully trained characters are powerhouses that can routinely slaughter entire villages, if so inclined. That said, there are levels even higher than that, which can lead to Overshadowed by Awesome.
  • World of Jerkass: Can be this at times, with a lot of older players either being selfish or bored, and having no interest helping or contributing to anyone’s cause but their own. And, whether they are genuinely jerkish or not, Evil characters can sometimes come across as this to new players. As the saying goes, however, you don't have to be a jerk to be Evil.
  • World of Snark: Given it’s in text, people like to talk, a lot. Clever quips and retorts are par the course.
  • You Can't Get Ye Flask: The syntax for certain commands can be tricky to learn, not all are written down in the help files either. Older, more experienced players know them like the back of their hand, however, and usually are quite willing to help teach.