Adventurers Club Ltd. Member's Dossier, June, 1988 Hat

Richard Bartle's Pages

When I used to write about MUD for the long-lamented magazine "Micro Adventurer", I spent a lot of time describing the game, how it worked, how to play it, what the commands were like, what the objects did, and so on. Then, after a while, I thought I'd risk an article on the most important thing to be found in MUD, the actual players. I was amazed at the response! I received bundles of letters asking about these weird and wonderful people I had described, and could I do some more? The magazine editor phoned me and told me that there'd been a lot of interest shown and I had to forget what I was going to write about before, and do a follow up. So I did. Next time he rang it was to tell me "Micro Adventurer" had folded. Hmm!

Well, since I think Henry is unlikely to fold the MD in the near future, it's about time I tried the same thing here. There now follows a series of brief sketches of some of the wizzes currently active in MUD2. Since they may disagree with how I describe them, I've not mentioned to them I'm doing this until it's too late for court injunctions!

SHERLOCK is my first victim, since he's actualLy an arch-wizard. This means he can boss wizzes around without fear of retribution if they don't like it (well, in theory at least!). His name reflects his amazing bug-hunting skills, which he uses whenever I make the most minor, insignificant changes to the MUD database. "If you're blind, carrying the wrong-sized key, and people are following you, then the message you get when you try to open the door to the sorcerer's room needs a return at the end", that sort of thing... In real life, if you put him in an identity parade with 10 people picked off the street, and you were asked to guess which one was a MUD2 arch-wizard, he'd be your last choice. Indeed, he blends into crowds so well you probably wouldn't notice him at all unless you had to pick the person whose face resembles that of a buzzard.

WABIT the wizard is the long-suffering editor of "Wabit's Waffle", MUD2's monthly on-line magazine. If I had to describe him in one word, it would be "verbose" (if he had to describe himself in one word, he couldn't). Everything about him is verbose. When you see him in the game he has a 4-line description when everyone else makes do with half a line. When he walks out of the room, you're treated to a short story describing how his silver horse rears up and flies off. If he re-appears, you may as well go and make a cup of coffee while the event scrolls off your screen. In real life, hmm, well he's the only person I ever met who has bags OVER his eyes.

ARRRGH, unlike the players mentioned so far, isn't so popular. Well, that's not true, he's popular when he plays as Arrrgh the wizard, but he can empty a game in two minutes when he plays as DUNKILLIN the mage (or could, he had a little accident recently...). As a mortal, he is deadly, the bane of all the higher-level players. He loves fighting, he loves the hunt, and he'll attack even when seriously out-gunned - more often than not his opponents flee merely because of his awesome reputation. Most likely targets quit as soon as they know he is on. Perhaps he should try a new deodorant. Meeting him face to face, he's like a huge viking, exactly as you'd envisage a Dunkillin, bearded, crazy eyes, looks as if he only eats raw meat that's still warm. He is always friendly, though, it's a pleasure being killed by him.

REVELATION the wizard is also a killer, in the person of OCELOT. Whereas Arrrgh enjoys fighting, Revs enjoys killing! None of this namby-pamby fleeing, be goes in armed to the teeth, stacked up with stamina-recoverinq wafers, spells flying in all directions, and if he doesn't kill you he's so upset he goes and kills two other players to make up for it. He is hated by all mortals above sorcerer level, and good few below who used to be above before he bumped into them... As Revelation, of course, his behaviour is completely different, charming and courteous. I don't think I've met him outside MUD - probably just as well if he inclines more to his Ocelot side than his Revelation persona!

MYCROFT the wizard is another who plays killers, since he was raised on CompuNet MUD where if you weren't killer you weren't alive! After a recent problem with his conscience, after being berated by a mortal from whom he had extracted a few thousand points with the aid of his longsword, he has now recovered and is expected to return with a vengeance (once he learned that the mortal was Sherlock in disguise, his killer instinct returned immediately!). Some would say he looks a bit nondescript in real liEe, but having sat next to him in an Italian restaurant for three hours, I can confidently describe him as being fair-haired and wearing glasses. I didn't really notice much else.

VISHNU the witch is, like all but one of MUD2's witches, actually male. The mortals all love Vishnu, mainly because she's one of the few wizzes who doesn't stay permanently invisible! Her patience with new players is legendary, and her feeling for the game and its traditions players is legendary, and her feeling for the game and its traditions is second to none. She plays less frequently these days because her real-world persona has moved north to Edinburgh, and I guess he must be spending all his money on fuel bills and warm clothes, and candles because it gets dark at 3 in the afternoon. Vaguely hamster-like in appearance (the white sort with the pink eyes), he is rumoured to be one of the few wizzes under 30 to possess a suit. Worse, once or twice a year he actually wears it!

SKIFF the wizard, hmm, now what can I say about Skiff? Nothing TOO bad since he is none otber than our own Henry Mueller, head man at the ACL and editor of the MDs! He has made it to wizard several times over in MUD2, but Skiff is the persona he did it as first. Definitely not one to stand for any nonsense from either the mortals or his fellow wizzes, his pronouncements on any aspect of MUD2 have a confident ring of authority and experience. This is because Skiff is universally respected as MUD2's greatest-ever player (I bet he does not edit that bit out!). His contribution to the game has been immense, sharing with Wabit the honours for suggesting the most useful (implementable!) improvements and ideas. In the real world, he's invariably armed with a pipe, he smiles all the time even if you're trying to argue with him, and if you mention coconuts he'll throw you out of the nearest window.

Copyright © Richard A. Bartle (
21st January 1999: acljun88.htm