Welcome! On behalf of the entire staff here at Shadows of Isildur, we're glad to have you join us. The following document was written with the aim of acclimating new players and easing what might seem to some as a somewhat steep learning curve. As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to visit our forums and ask a question.
Shadows of Isildur is a text-based online game of the variety usually referred to as MUDs, an acronym for Multi-User Dungeon. Perhaps the most helpful way to think of it would be to consider it an interactive novel; you will take on the role of a character in this novel, and you have the ability to shape its outcome in whatever way you feel comfortable.
Unlike most other MUDs on the internet, Shadows of Isildur is an RPI, an acronym that stands for Role-Play Intensive. Although our code is complex and enjoyable to play with, the main goal of both our players and administrators is to engender a realistic and engaging environment in which to roleplay. Therefore, the focus is on the characters themselves - their quirks, lives, and ambitions - not on numerical statistics or skill rankings. In fact, you will notice that we have taken great pains to hide things that are generally the hallmark of MUD mechanics: you will encounter no numbers whatsoever here. Everything is specifically engineered to help further the suspension of disbelief necessary to fully engage yourself in roleplay - which is strictly required and enforced.
Another important thing: unlike most other MUDs, in keeping with our aim to provide a realistic and well-crafted environment, the death of your character is permanent. Again unlike other MUDs, however, it is entirely possible to play through a character's entire life without ever needing to put him or her in direct danger - crafters, scholars, and other such professions abound. However, make no mistake: the moment you leave civilized areas, life can become nasty, brutish and short rather quickly. Combat here is realistic; and just like real life, combat here is harsh.
That said, we cater to the more adventurous player as well as to the socially-oriented ones. With more and more of Middle-earth coming online, dangerous and long-forgotten places to explore are not infrequent: some hold riches, while others hold only death.
Remember: here, at Shadows of Isildur, only you are in control of your PC's destiny.
The first step on the road to playing Shadows of Isildur is registering for a MUD account. Unlike most MUDs, our login system is account-based. Really, you should think of it like a handle for a bulletin board or an instant-messaging service. Although your character names will change during your time here, your account name will not; it is used to store past characters, as well as any roleplay points you accrue during the course of your travels. Choose your account name carefully - it is permanent.
To register for an account, you'll need to log in to our game at middle-earth.us port 4500 with your favorite mud client.
Once you have entered your email address and confirmed that it is correct, you will be able to create a character and/or log into the game.
Here at Shadows of Isildur, characters are by application only. This allows us to screen any new incoming PCs to ensure that the integrity of the roleplaying environment is preserved.
If for whatever reason you are interrupted in the midst of your application, you will be able to pick up where you left off by visiting your character stable, choosing the unfinished character and pick up where you left of by choosing the appropriate link.
The character generator will first ask you what you would like to name your character. There are a few rules you'll need to follow here in order to be approved. Primarily, you need to avoid using the names of characters from Tolkien's books; yes, this means no Aragorns, Gimlis, or Frodos. In addition, these should be proper names - not names made of compound words, like "DeathStrider BlackBlade". Save those for any hack-and-slash MUDs you like to play - they aren't allowed here. You'll also be asked to avoid famous names in literature, television and movies.
The next step in the process is to select your character's gender. As the prompt mentions, it makes no difference whatsoever in terms of the code; gender is an important element in roleplay, but not in mechanics. This, of course, leads us to the next point: generally speaking, we recommend that people play a character of their same gender. Although this is by no means a hard and fast rule, most find it easier to roleplay a character effectively when they share major elements of that character's psychology.
You will next be presented with a list of available races that you may choose from. As you become a regular player of Shadows of Isildur, and the administrators have an opportunity to gauge your roleplay, you will be awarded what are called roleplay points. As you earn more roleplay points, more of these racial options will be available to you for your next character.
Upon selecting your character's race, a dialog will be shown providing a bit of information about the selected race. You will then have the opportunity to either confirm your choice and continue, or select another.
After choosing your character's race, you will be asked to select an age. Generally, we recommend that starting players choose an age between 18-35 or so. People seem to have great difficulty playing children realistically - if you expect to be a hardened, orc-slaying soldier, and you choose age 13, you'll quite likely be politely asked to either act more appropriately or retire your character. Likewise, choose a 62 year-old, and don't expect to go jaunting around at whim; advanced age has its drawbacks.
Next, you'll have an opportunity to assign priority to your different attributes. Attributes are mainly used to determine your skill caps - that is, the maximum level to which your character's various skills can advance. Unsurprisingly, then, if you want a character highly proficient in academic skills, you would concentrate on intelligence and willpower; martial skills, strength and dexterity; so on and so forth. Note that you don't actually get to assign any values; rather, only the relative ranking of your attributes. Some characters are luckier in this regard than others.
Your short and long descriptions are what other characters in the game will recognize you by. Unlike other MUDs, as an RPI Shadows of Isildur never reveals your PC's name in a coded way to others. Thus, if you choose the short desc of a burly, black-bearded man, that is what other characters will see whenever you act. Likewise, setting your long description to 'A burly, black-bearded man is here, gazing about.' will display that line to other characters when they LOOK inside the room you're standing in.
Often the most difficult part of a character application, the full description is an elaboration on your character's physical description. It should be at least four sentences in length or so, and should not contain any references to things that aren't physical in nature. For example, you shouldn't tell people that your character is kind, or mysterious, or battle-hardened; rather, describe something physical about him that might lead people to believe so. Also, another common mistake we encounter is the inclusion of objects such as clothing or jewelry in these descriptions; in Shadows of Isildur, these are in-game items that you will come across during the course of the game, and thus should not be included.
Think of the full description as a photo of your character in a neutral state, but instead of a picture, you're showing other players your character through words. Avoid action or poses in the full description. Just the facts, please.
Next, you'll be asked to supply a list of keywords for your character. This keyword list contains all the words that people will be able to use to interact with your character. Generally speaking, they should include your character's name, as well as any important words in your short and long descs. So, to continue with our example, a burly, black-bearded man named Kelron might have 'Kelron burly black-bearded man' as his list of keywords. A few important things to note: first, there should not be any commas, as this is simply a list of words. Second, if you include, for example, black-bearded, and someone types look black, this will still bring up your character; so, there is no need to add long strings of every possible variation of 'black' and 'bearded' to your list.
A note of caution: Many times players are inadvertently targeted by their in-game friends because their keywords match the keywords of an npc (non-player-character). For instance, if your character is 'bearded' and you are in the same room with an npc bear, it is possible that someone may accidentally target you instead of the bear, because the bear will have the keyword 'bear' which is also short for 'beard'. Avoid keywords such as 'wolf' or 'warg'. Do not purposely cause confusion by limiting your keywords so you may not be targeted.
You're almost there! After the keyword list, you'll need to choose a height and frame for your character. This section of the process is relatively self-explanatory, but one thing bears mentioning; these are relative between races. That is to say, a tall, massive Hobbit is probably about the same size as an average, medium Human.
After selecting your height and frame, you'll be asked to choose a list of starting skills for your character. If you're unsure what skills you'd like to select, we offer a bit of help for each skill. Just click on the question mark next to the skill and you'll be presented with a lovely pop over that explains the skill in detail. If you are unable to select a skill, it may require you to first select a different skill (a prerequisite) or it may be restricted by your rpp level.
Finally, the last step! This is your opportunity to flesh out your character's history, motives, desires, and generally, his or her story. Tell us why she has the skills she does; how she came to where she is today; what she's looking to accomplish in her life. The background is a valuable resource to both the administrative staff as well as to you; a well-written background can provide a continuous source of roleplay once you're approved and in-game. Also, note that your background will be available for you to peruse from inside the game, via note one in your journal
Upon completing your background, you will be taken to the main character generation menu, where you will have the opportunity to review your application and ensure that everything is in order. If you see something amiss, you may go back to that particular stage to correct it by using the appropriate command from the list. Otherwise, click SUBMIT at the bottom of the page and a staff member will review. The review process often takes up to 24 hours, though more often than not it will be less than an hour.
So, now that you've done all that hard work and submitted your application, you're likely wondering what to do while waiting for an administrator to review it. An excellent place to start is our guest lounge, where you may peruse our entire listing of helpfiles to familiarize yourself with the game's concepts and commands before logging in and playing on the grid for the first time.
Logging in to the guest lounge will also allow you to chat with any of our players who happen to be in the OOC lounge, catch glimpses of various parts of Middle-earth.
At this point you'll have received an email response to your application; in many cases you'll be asked to make some changes before you can be approved, and in others you'll be allowed into the game directly. Don't panic if your you've been asked to make some changes to your character. Quite often it is simply a typo that only takes a few moments to correct. Many of our guides would be willing to fix these typos for you, as it would be quicker than explaining it to you and then having you fix it, but this particular function is not available to staff during character generation. Don't worry though... the game will still be here, ready for you to play.
Once you are approved, you can then choose to log in as that character. The first time you will log in, you will be dropped into our OOC outfitting area You're free to stay there as long as you like, and indeed you're advised to remain there, if you need to speak with an administrator about any issues regarding your character before you actually begin play.
Once you are ready to enter the gameworld proper, type COMMENCE at the prompt.
Again, welcome to Shadows of Isildur. Best of luck, and have fun out there!
Posted by Nimrod on Sep 28, 2015
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