British Legends Hat

Here's some of the stuff from my archives concerning BL. Most of the postings to S10 (the CompuServe forum for wizzes - S9 was for mortals) were written in the months of May or June, which for some reason is the season during which BL tempers flare.

I removed almost all of these files from my web site when "the wizzes" objected, starting rumours behind my back that I had contempt for the game. As BL left CompuServe back in 1999, though, I thought it was probably safe now to put the files back.

Mortals of other incarnations of MUD may find some of this interesting, as a lot of it is wiz-related.
Mitre Email to SETH, the first person to make wiz on BL. Although it contains some general points about what being a wiz involves, I was in something of a hurry to send it (SETH had completely the wrong idea of wizhood and I had to get something to him quick) so it's not as complete or as well thought-out as it should have been. I include it here as an historical document; it was sent early July, 1987.
Mitre The so-called sermon I posted in response to an apocalyptic view of a wiz-dominated world described by MERLIN (which he called "1989" - this all took place in 1988). MERLIN was prompted into action by an incident where UTHER the wiz told (DR) STRANGE the mortal not to do a WHERE in START, posting messages warning of a FOD if he did. STRANGE did do a WHERE there, though, apparently by accident, and was FODded. UTHER restored him, minus 20K; many wizzes wanted him restored fully instead. My response outlines many of the themes that would come up time and time again in dealing with BL and MUD2 wizzes. I only wish I'd been able to prepare the posting off-line, instead of having to do it on-the-fly in an effort to stop the flames of vindictiveness from spreading further.
Mitre How to deal with leaks of wiz-privved information. This is a message I posted for wizzes in response to a rather muddled discussion of the issues back in 1989. It includes a formal, step-by-step method of dealing with the situation (which, to my knowledge, has never actually been followed by anybody!). Of course, what was a big issue at that particular time would be considered unimportant at many others, but here it is ready for those occasions when "leaks" catalyse wizzes into acrimonious behaviour.
Mitre Guidelines for testing mortals, a set of proposals I put together to try to put an end to an interminable dispute among wizzes as to what they could and could not do using the excuse "I was only testing them..." when applied to mortals. I actually made the guidelines far more formal than I felt was warranted - there are often better ways to do most of the things listed - but the wizzes seemed to think that I was issuing a decree and adopted the guidelines wholesale. A re-occurring problem with BL is the way wizzes will often withdraw from all debate once a "higher authority" has joined in - even if no pronouncement is being made, and the arch-wiz concerned is simply trying to participate as an equal.
Mitre BL's worst weekend, 17th/18th June, 1989. One of our most fractious players ever (in any incarnation of MUD), TONDRA, was hounded out of the game by other wizzes. In the aftermath, CompuServe's (CIS's) Games Product Manager (GPM) banned half a dozen of these other wizzes, plus TONDRA herself. TONDRA was not happy. That at times she was almost infantile in her behaviour is not disputed, but I felt that she had been treated dreadfully in this particular instance. I reproduce my posting on the subject here mainly for historical interest, but also to provide a context for the sermon I gave the previous year. TONDRA later fell out with me when I refused to back her up after she'd told another wiz I would support her, and it took me nearly two years to patch it up with her (a week or so before she died of cancer).
Mitre A pronouncement on wizzes switching to mortal personae, giving some of the underlying reasons why it isn't a good idea. As usual, I'd have liked to have gone into more detail but was in the business of bud-nipping at the time...
Mitre My MUD philosophy. I posted this as an impulsive response to one of BL's periodic spates of "Richard says this...", which I felt was misrepresenting me. I do have other philosophical view concerning MUD and MUDding in general, but this one explains why I approach the running of these games the way I do.
Mitre An explanation of the "No Change" rule, which stops wizzes from undoing the actions of other wizzes. As with most rules in MUD, it's actually more of a guideline in that there are circumstances in which you can argue that you were right to break it. This particular posting gives the rationale behind it, anyway, in response to a question by EVANGELIN (who noticed it wasn't covered by the Good Wiz Guide).
Mitre Transcript of a September, 1994 interview I did, edited slightly for formatting. I've undergone several of these on-line interviews over the years (which invariably involve my staying up late to some hideous hour because of the time difference between the UK and USA), but this is the earliest one for BL of which I have a copy.
Mitre My response to the infamous petition, which was sent to "The Arches" concerning a number of issues which had arisen in BL around the same time (early May, 1995). Some 49 wizzes signed it, and although I was impressed that they were trying to be responsible about airing their grievances, the fact that matters had got this far without anyone thinking of contacting me about it was something I found rather saddening (especially as each issue would have been so easy to deal with on a case-by-case basis). In my reply, I raised a number of home truths about the relationship between wizzes and arch-wizzes, which all wizzes present and future on all MUDs ought to bear in mind...
Mitre An explaination of the principles of Looby-Looing, and their scope. It's my intervening in support of STINGRAY during a message thread in which newer wizzes seemed to have a rather bad misunderstanding of what exactly constitutes Looby Looing. There's a second posting to JOANNA answering some of the queries she raised in response to my first post.
Mitre Practical Advice for Handling Mortals, an article on wiz behavious which I wrote for the April, 1997 issue of BL's online wiz-only magazine, The Wiz Biz. I meant it as a somewhat sarcastic admonishment, but as most of the wizzes in the game live in an irony-free culture I doubt that many took it in quite this spirit...
Mitre A snapshot of the wiz list from 12th February, 1997. I don't recall how I come to have a copy of this, but here it is anyway!
Mitre Transcript of a March, 1997 Interview which was conducted live by RANDOM for The BL Rag. I prefer one-on-one interviews, because they allow me to go onto more depth than the "questions from the floor" ones do. I also believe it's fairer if I do them live without having seen the questions first, so I usually turn down any opportunity to find out what I'm going to be asked in advance.
Mitre The synonyms available in BL. I constructed this list in response to an informal competition for wizzes, organised by SHERLETTE to find out who knew the most synonyms for commands and objects. I guess one day I might get around to alphabeticising it; as it is, the words appear in the order they do in the MUDDL definition files.

Copyright © Richard A. Bartle (
5th August :\webdes~1\ bl.htm