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Video Game / Lost Souls (MUD)

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Lost Souls is a Multi-User Dungeon, or text-based online role-playing game, dating to 1990. It has strong influences from The Chronicles of Amber, The Lord of the Rings and Cthulhu Mythos.

Tropes found in this game include:

  • One-Gender Race: There are a few of these, starting with fantasy staples of male-only satyrs and female-only nymphs. In less prosaic fare, Kali has a servitor race, the dakshina, who only seem to come in a female model, and the aethoss tree-folk are all hermaphrodites (though this implies considerably different things in a plant lifeform than it would in a human).
  • One-Hit Polykill: Probably best seen in the Ringwielder rune "zerivalak", chain lightning.
  • One Size Fits All: Usually averted, as clothing and armour must be the right size in order to fit, but some items magically resize themselves to fit you.
  • Absurdly High Level Cap: The maximum level is 675. According to developers, the limit only exists because of integer overflow problems on Experience Point values, and if anybody were to actually reach level 675, experience would be re-implemented using floating point math, removing the cap.
  • Absurdly-Spacious Sewer: Losthaven and Liathyr have genre-conventional dungeon-style sewers.
  • Achilles' Heel: With great power often comes great vulnerability to holy damage.
  • Acquired Poison Immunity: Once you have any degree of poison resistance, exposure to poison will develop it further.
  • Agony Beam: The bezhuldaar (read "beholder") agony ray power.
  • Alien Geometries: Seen in R'lyeh, as one would expect. The game in general supports a concept of a fourth spatial dimension.
  • And I Must Scream: The sun is the elder god Hyperion sealed in a crystal sphere, with its light and heat produced by his relentless battering at his prison.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: If you complete the Lost Centaur quest as a new player, you get a very useful portable hole item. If you complete it later, you get... decorative hair combs.
  • Arrow Catch: Characters with the Situational Awareness trait (such as those using the combat meditation skill or the battledancer psionic talent) can do this..
  • ASCII Art: Shows up here and there, such as in depictions of Ringwielder power runes and chakra glyphs.
  • Auto-Revive: A variety of "life protection" effects, with the most classic being the Amulet of Life Protection.
  • Badass Creed: See Pre Ass Kicking One Liner, below.
  • Bag of Sharing: Played straight by the Ringwielder rune "glochar", which accesses a shared extradimensional storage space, and the Jinxian Plutocracy hoop, which is a portal to a shared vault.
  • Bandit Mook: Several cities are lousy with pickpockets who will hock your stuff at the nearest shop; they and plenty others will happily loot your corpse if you die.
  • Beast Man: Playable races include cat-people (sekh), wolf-people (garou), minotaurs, fish-people (urlnu), bug-people (invae), and spider-people (rachnei), among others.
  • Beneath the Earth: Massive underground cave systems with entire subterranean societies: check.
  • Berserk Button: Try mentioning the name of Dworkin Barimen to Charon, skiff pilot on the interplanar River Tethys.
  • The Big Guy: Fezzik, and the guild he heads, the Brute Squad.
  • Bond Creatures: A number of guilds are built around an empathic bonding faculty vaguely inspired by His Dark Materials.
  • Booze-Based Buff: For most people, being drunk increases healing/recovery rate a bit and increases both pain tolerance and pleasure tolerance (you can be stunned by sufficiently pleasurable sensations), but for the Brute Squad, it's the stuff of life itself, making them stronger, faster, better.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Some NPCs are aware that some of the people found in their world are the puppets of beings from an entirely different order of reality — that is, Player Characters. One has written a book about it.
  • Breath Weapon: A number of species breathe fire by way of phlogiston glands. Esoteric breath weapons are explained by phlogiston absorbing magical essences that infuse the glands' owner.
  • Came Back Wrong: Death, rather than resulting in loss of XP as typical of a MUD, causes random trauma effects, such as mental disorders.
  • Canis Latinicus: Lots of this flying around, especially in the names of the mage guilds. Sometimes aggressively averted, as with the association Collegium Magistrorum, which name features the correct declension of the noun "magister" in the plural genitive case.
  • Chunky Salsa Rule: Basically built in, by way of each limb, including the head, having its own separate hit points.
  • Church Militant: The Pantarchic Church of Yehovah.
  • Clairvoyant Security Force: Often seen in the guard forces of settlements, but also often justified by magical communication devices, command and control by psychics or magicians, and the like.
  • Cruelty Is the Only Option: Initiation into the Weapons of Vengeance association requires refusing mercy to a defeated and helpless opponent.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: The Pantarchic Church of Yehovah.
  • Cunning Linguist: Discordian adventurer Janid Suzak runs a loose group of language scholars he calls his Crafty Linguists.
  • Death from Above: Once 3D mapping support came online, it became popular for flying pyromancers to drop fireballs on people's heads.
  • Death Ray: The bezhuldaar (read "beholder") death ray power.
  • Defend Command: Defensive combat mode.
  • Dem Bones: Animated skeletons are a staple opponent for low-level holy types.
  • Demonic Possession: The Kazarak guild. The process of "joining" this guild actually involves your character dying as its body is converted to a geomantic engine, after which you are playing the Kazar demon walking around in your former character's body.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Literally; there is a quest to kill Cthulhu. Cthulhu, as is its habit, reforms in a few minutes, of course.
  • Died Standing Up: A trait called "thanatogalvanism", naturally occurring in such notable species as chickens and giant chickens, as well as achievable by those in a berserker rage, results in one's body continuing to move, and even spasmodically fight, past the nominal point of death, including by decapitation.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Various guilds, particularly the Aligned, artist-philosopher-magicians with a huge array of abilities that work by highly esoteric logic, as well as the entire game, which doesn't have quite the learning curve of Dwarf Fortress but gives it a run for its money.
  • Dual Wielding: For the merely two-handed; see Multi Armed And Dangerous below.
  • Easing into the Adventure: Traditional sewer rat-bashing startup available, for the old school.
  • Easy Amnesia: Probably averted, though it's debatable. Both retrograde and anterograde amnesia occur, with anterograde amnesia having a Memento-style subtype referred to, again debatably, as Korsakov's syndrome. The possible aversion is that both temporary and potentially permanent forms are observed, though even nominally permanent mental disorders are curable by magical means.
  • Easy Exp: Exploration experience; i.e., experience for wandering around gawking.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Shoggoths are "organivores", able to digest anything with a significant carbon content that's not entirely acid immune. Since this includes most living creatures (shoggoth digestion can be a viable combat maneuver), they can and will eat things ranging from wooden barrels to live ogres.
  • Eye Beams: Used extensively by the bezhuldaar (read "beholder") race, and found in a number of other instances; the demonic fomor race has heat-vision-like eyebeams.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: Aggressively averted. No character classes, and the "guilds" that resemble them are highly idiosyncratic.
  • Finish Him!: Part of the same situation as Cruelty Is the Only Option, above.
  • Finishing Move: A number of guilds have instant-kill powers that can only affect mortally wounded opponents; players and developers alike generally refer to these as finishing moves, though there is no formal categorization involved. Some are up to Mortal Kombat levels of violence, like the Ringwielder rune "arkonaad", which causes the victim to explode with sufficient force that its flying limbs can cause serious injuries to bystanders.
  • Food as Bribe: The most pleasant way of getting past Kerberos, the three-headed dog guarding the fiery portal from the cave of Tainaron to the River Tethys.
  • Frankenstein's Monster: Flesh golems.
  • Game-Favored Gender: Arguably, females have it better due to the unmarried-female-only Spearmaidens and some divine sexism in Erisian Liberation Front invocations.
  • Gay Option: Marriage support contains no gender checks.
  • "Get Back Here!" Boss: The most notorious offender is Finwe, who, if seriously wounded, is perfectly willing and able to teleport himself to an extraplanar refuge and heal up before continuing battle.
  • Global Currency: Gold coins. A development initiative to create regional currencies stalled out.
  • God in Human Form: What players generally think of as fighting gods is generally fighting their avatars.
  • Green Rocks: Warpstones, which can randomize your race, sex, coloration (and we mean highly random, as in fuchsia eyes and pink polka-dotted skin), and attributes.
  • Hollywood Tourette's: Partially averted, in that the implementation of Tourette's syndrome does manifest physical tics, but 100% of cases also display coprolalia rather than 10%.
  • Hub City: Losthaven, the usual starting location for new players.
  • Human Cannonball: One of the methods of getting from the ground to the floating castle Darkhold is by being launched in a catapult.
  • Human Sacrifice: Preferred form of worship of the sun god Tonatiuh.
  • I Call It "Vera": Nicknaming support allows you to call your weapon, or nearly anything, whatever you like (and automatically continue to perceive it by that name).
  • Improbable Weapon: Basically any physical object is wieldable as a weapon, but yo-yos (note that the yo-yo was actually originally designed as a weapon), magical flowers and umbrellas exist in particular, as well as weapons that randomly shapeshift into odd forms. Players who achieve extreme size and carrying capacity have demonstrated a fondness for wielding the Losthaven clock tower as a weapon.
  • In-Universe Game Clock: Two Lost Souls seconds equal one RL second; six-day week, 10-month year, 30-hour day.
  • Intercourse with You: The Nizari, assassins in the service of Kali, sometimes earn a great deal of Kali's favor.
  • Item Crafting: Not that much of it, actually, but here and there.
  • Ki Manipulation: Sufficiently enlightened Aisenshi gain access to the chi punch and chi kick maneuvers, unarmed attacks that do a combination of physical and energy-based damage, not to mention leaving a sparkly trail behind in the air.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: The Knights of the Round Table guild.
  • Kung-Fu Clairvoyance: The combat meditation skill.
  • "L" Is for "Dyslexia": Played straight with a dyslexia disorder that manifests as read text displayed to the player having characters rearranged and rotated (though the implementation doesn't go so far as Spoonerisms).
  • Language of Magic: Most often Enochian.
  • Last Chance Hit Point: Being at zero HP (on a relevant limb, such as your head) is okay, it's negative HP that's trouble. In possibly an expansion of this trope, you can endure a degree of negative HP on your chest, but are mortally wounded and bleeding out while this is the case.
  • Last Lousy Point: Skill development slows down the closer you get to your maximum, making the last point exponentially harder to get than most of the rest.
  • Luck Stat: Luck was once, but is no longer, one of the core character stats, or "attributes". But luck is still around, now as a "trait" that a character may or may not have (and may be good luck or bad luck).
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Shields are very effective, and can block attacks like fiery breath and many magical spells that cannot be parried.
  • Ludicrous Speed: Seen in the Phylactery of Blinding Speed, a cursed item that makes you a lot faster... to the point that the vision centers of your brain can't process the incoming information any more and cease functioning.
  • Made of Explodium: The "clockwork orange" monster (oh hey, wonder if that's a reference), a sort of self-guided living bomb.
  • Magitek: Steampunk power armor that runs on fire and water elementals.
  • Mana Burn: Most prominent instance is the Reaper power "malign".
  • Mana Meter: "Spiritual energy" points. Some players store multiple types of magickal energy (elemental fire energy, electrical energy, etc).
  • Massive Race Selection: Forty-two initially visible to new players, with more available under unusual circumstances.
  • NPC Scheduling: Not universal, but a number of settlements have NPCs who, for example, run a shop during the day and go home at night. Tends to lead to more griping than anything, except in cases where the shop also has a night shift.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: The Knights of Purity, a human supremacist group of the old Altrian Empire, blamed by many for that empire's fall.
  • Organ Drops: Organs can be cut from corpses. Players, apparently all channeling their inner 13-year-old boy, cannot seem to get over their amusement at one of said organs being the anus.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: The Lupines, a guild that can only be joined by the garou (wolf-people) race, and which enables them to shift to a variety of forms comprising varying components of human and wolf. Clearly based on Werewolf: The Apocalypse, using some of its terminology, but goes off in its own direction.
  • Player Versus Player: There is a dedicated PVP group, the Soulburners, though it doesn't see a lot of action.
  • Powered Armor: Sentinel steampunk power armour suits, and arguably the paraxos class of chaos armours.
  • Praetorian Guard: Once upon a time, the Millenarian Guard, imperial guard of the Altrian Empire. Their remaining legacy in the present day of the setting is the spectacularly enchanted armour that was reserved just for them.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: The Wandslinger Litany, based on the Gunslinger's Creed from The Dark Tower, adapted for a slightly more medieval sort of fantasy setting. Wandslingers recite it in order to enter a Tranquil Fury state called "Wandslinger focus". If you hear this, duck:
    I do not aim with my hand.
    He who aims with his hand has forgotten the face of his father.
    I aim with my eye.
    I do not shoot with my hand.
    He who shoots with his hand has forgotten the face of his father.
    I shoot with my mind.
    I do not kill with my wand.
    He who kills with his wand has forgotten the face of his father.
    I kill with my heart.
    • The gendered pronouns will automatically change to match the speaker's gender. In a further homage to a particular scene from The Dark Tower, if the Wandslinger currently suffers from the mental disorder Tourette's Syndrome, the last line is replaced with, "I kill with my heart, motherfucker".
  • Punny Name: Usually kept a bit more subtle than typical of online RPGs, but they're out there.
  • Rage Quit: Has a locally coined alternate term for this phenomenon, the "emodelete".
  • Rebel Prince: Feanor, heir to the throne of Liathyr, chucked it and went into business as a gemcrafter.
  • Scaled Up: Seen in the Rogue Serpent quest in Corna.
  • Schmuck Bait: There are several locations where cruising around without reading the descriptions has results like barreling off an underground cliff or getting turned to stone by the basilisk in the next room.
  • Scratch Damage: Averted. Armour doesn't make you less likely to get hit, it absorbs damage.
  • Seers: The soothsayer psionic talent.
  • Set a Mook to Kill a Mook: The Paratheo-Anametamystikhood of Eris Esoteric (or POEE) power "discord".
  • Shapeshifting Squick: Players seem oddly fascinated by the... possibilities presented by shoggothim.
  • Shout-Out: One of the major forms is the inclusion of quotes from players in the Discordian Quotes File.
  • Soul Jar: Necrolak's big black gem.
  • Sssssnake Talk: Sentient reptilian species tend to display this. It isn't applied when they speak in their own languages, as extended sibilants are assumed to be an ordinary part of those, so it's mainly seen when snakey types talk the local equivalent of English, Anglic.
  • Stance System: Combat modes.
  • Starfish Aliens: The lloigor, the first beings to come into existence, of godlike power and formed without any relationship with human-scale beings (as opposed to the kathexoi, the beings to whom the term "elder god" best applies, corresponding to the Titans, who had some sentient feedback in their origins, and plain old gods, who are shaped mainly by sentient consciousness). Only a few of them are capable of things like language use or anything a human would recognize as thought.
  • Status Effects: Poison, blindness, silence, paralysis. Could be considered averted by the addition of deafness, anosmia, ageusia, anhedonia, and an entire host of mental disorders.
  • Status Line: "Show vitals", also known as "hp", plus an entire customizable status bar faculty.
  • Stuck Items: Some cursed items display sticky behavior. Hijinks ensue when players decide it is more cost effective to have their buddy hack off the hand with the cursed ring on it, then reattach the limb, than to get a remove curse spell cast on them.
  • Subsystem Damage: Limb-based hit points, and one of the sources of mental disorders is getting smacked in the head.
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: Aggressive monsters do not display a lot of common sense.
  • Super Swimming Skills: People routinely swim between continents, though flying is preferred because it's immensely faster. Trying to swim between continents wearing plate armour may not work out, though.
  • Tarot Motifs: Seen in the popular gamble-your-character mechanism, the Deck of Changes.
  • A Taste of the Lash: The priestesshood of Tolmet from Temple Bloodmoon.
  • Tech Points: Skill advancement is determined by experience gained with that skill through practice and training.
  • Technical Pacifist: The Web site has leaderboards for these, usually people who have their minions do all their killing for them.
  • Telepathy: The mindreader psionic talent. Players with this ability have been known to entertain themselves for hours by sitting in a tavern and quietly monitoring half a dozen people's thoughts.
  • Theme Naming: Seen in Imptropolis, home to the chaos imps Impartial, Impassable, Impassioned, Imperceptible, Imperfect, Imperious, Impertinent, Impinge, Impious, Implacable, Implicated, Implode, Impolite, Important, Importune, Impossible, Impostor, Impotent, Impound, Impoverished, Impractical, Imprisoned, Improbable, Improve, Impulsive, and Impure.
  • Third Eye: The ajna chakra, which grants various perceptual benefits, including astral perception, when energized.
  • Training from Hell: Some forms of training from such notables as Sulin, the Spearmaiden trainer, and the Shatterspire drill sergeant Sthlar cause physical damage. Request pain tolerance training from Sulin to get tied to a rock and beaten with a leather strap.
  • The Undead: You bet. Undeath is handled as a general term for any situation where a being's continued existence is being sustained by processes other than its natural biology; player characters have a number of options for becoming undead.
  • The Unintelligible: A mental disorder, productive aphasia, converts player characters and NPCs alike into this. Hilarity ensues.
  • Viral Transformation: In a local implementation of NetHack's "eating a mind flayer makes you smarter", eating the neural tissue of the vlekthid (read illithid) or gogtzul (read Star-Spawn of Cthulhu) races results in that neural tissue colonizing your own nervous system, making you smarter and less emotional, and giving you both psionic powers and often-crippling mental disorders.
  • Visible Silence: If you can hear part of what somebody is saying, the parts you can't hear are converted to ellipses.
  • Wallet of Holding: Money capacity is limited, but money is weightless.
  • Warp Whistle: Usually freeform rather than preset, as with the planeswalker psionic talent and the Stalkers of the Gate portals.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Green Lantern Corps rings don't work against iron.
  • Welcome to Corneria: NPCs are not generally great conversationalists; mostly when they have anything useful to say, the out-of-character "info" command shows you what verbal cues they will respond to. (An exception is that in several towns, NPCs can be asked for directions to interesting places in the town in a fairly freeform fashion.)
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Arguably, Kalyxes the Shadow Lord, who imprisons people he has determined to pose a threat to "balance", based on magical divination — that is, he locks them up because of what they otherwise would do, in a fantasy version of "precrime" a la Minority Report.