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Island of Kesmai - old manual

Island of Kesmai

Inside cover image

Separator page - sword


Table of Contents

  1. The History of Kesmai … 1-1
  2. The Town of Kesmai … 2-1
  3. A Stroll Around Kesmai … 3-1
  4. Getting Started … 4-1
    • Game Menu System … 4-1
      • Instructions … 4-3
      • Create a Character … 4-4
      • Visit the Island … 4-5
      • Game Information … 4-5
      • Change Player Parameters … 4-7
    • Cursor-Control… 4-7
    • Multi-Player Games Forum … 4-10
    • Game Etiquette … 4-10
  5. The Player … 5-1
    • Personal Characteristics … 5-1
      • Gender … 5-1
      • The Primary Player Statistics … 5-1
      • Character Class … 5-2
      • Nationality … 5-4
      • Alignment … 5-15
      • Karma … 5-16
      • Age … 5-18
      • Experience … 5-18
    • Combat Characteristics … 5-19
      • Adds … 5-20
      • Encumbrance … 5-20
      • Combat Skill … 5-20
  6. The Display … 6-1
    • The Graphics Display … 6-3
    • The Other Players … 6-3
    • English Descriptions … 6-6
    • The Input Line … 6-7
    • Vital Statistics … 6-7


Table of Contents

  1. Death — What It Means in Your Life … 7-1
  2. The Commands … 8-1
    • Movement … 8-3
    • Swimming … 8-6
    • Looking Around … 8-7
    • Displays … 8-9
    • General Item Manipulation … 8-10
      • Picking Up and Putting Down … 8-11
      • Moving Items from Place to Place … 8-13
      • The Sack … 8-14
      • Examining Objects … 8-15
      • Moving Things Around … 8-16
    • Special Item Manipulation … 8-17
      • Bow Weapons … 8-18
      • Books … 8-19
      • Bottles and Potions … 8-21
      • Rings … 8-24
      • Gold … 8-26
      • Armor and Clothing … 8-27
    • Combat Commands … 8-28
      • Close Combat … 8-29
      • Fighting at a Distance … 8-32
    • Communicating with Others … 8-34
      • The Townspeople … 8-36
      • The Weapon Shop Attendant … 8-37
      • The Armor Shop Attendant … 8-39
      • The Bar Keeper … 8-40
      • Peddlers … 8-41
      • The Town Wizard … 8-42
      • The Temple Priest … 8-43
      • The Sorcerer Demon … 8-44
      • The Arms Master … 8-45
      • The Sensii … 8-46


Table of Contents

    • Demons … 8-47
    • The Banker … 8-49
  • Miscellaneous Commands … 8-50
  • Resting … 8-50
  • Stealing … 8-51
  • Doorways … 8-52
  • Leaving the Game … 8-53
  • Forgiveness … 8-54
  • Island Paging System … 8-55
  1. Magic … 9-1
    • Incantations … 9-1
    • Throwing Spells … 9-3
    • Resisting the Effects of Spells … 9-6
    • Learning the Spells … 9-7
  2. On the Nature of Magic … 10-1
  • Magic Skill … 10-2
  • Wizardry … 10-2
  • Thaumaturgy … 10-22
  • The Black Art … 10-38
  • Thieves’ Spells … 10-47
  • Knights’ Spells … 10-53
  1. The Combat System … 11-1
  • Blocking … 11-1
  • Adds … 11-2
  • Armor … 11-2
  • Combat Skill … 11-2
  • Weaponry … 11-3
  1. Inhabitants of the Dungeon … 12-1



We would like to give special thanks to a few people who gave us invaluable help in producing this manual. Brenda Spielman did a fantastic job of writing the descriptions of the nationalities and the stroll through town. She also extensively edited this document into English. The illustrations by Gail McIntosh exceeded our wildest expectations and really breathed life into the denizens of the Island. Kay Chretien of Black Cat Productions conquered the innumerable technicalities involved in producing a book of this type. Last but not least, we would like to thank all those nameless orcs, trolls, kobolds, and wyverns who gave their lives in the name of program development.

Kelton Flinn

John Taylor

(The Gods of Kesmai)

Copyright © 1985 by The Kesmai Corporation. All Rights Reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced, transmitted, transcribed, stored in a retrieval system, or translated into any human or computer language, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, magnetic, optical, manual, magical or otherwise, without the express permission of the authors.

CompuServe, VIDTEX and Professional Connection are trademarks of CompuServe, Incorporated.

Sword and title

Wizard and owl

The Island of Kesmai 1-1

1. The History of Kesmai

Kesmai is a small island located at the western tip of the Archipelago of Mu. Many aeons ago the island was used as the last sanctuary of the persecuted Brotherhood of Yasnac. The Yasnaki were once respected among magicians, but when their leaders yielded to the temptation to experiment with foul and blasphemous sorceries, they were banished from Mu by the Grand Order of Thaumaturges. The Brotherhood fled from imminent destruction and took refuge on the isolated, mysterious Island of Kesmai, where only pirates and other fugutives dared go.

The Brotherhood bargained with the pirates who were using the island as a headquarters. In return for sorcerous aid, the pirates yielded the center of the island to the Brotherhood, where they built a small settlement. The Brotherhood excavated a shelter deep beneath the city, partly to hide and protect the inhabitants from attack, and partly to provide the unending darkness required for their worst experiments. The underground shelter was slowly enlarged into a series of catacombs. Driven both by pressure from the outside world and by their own increasing craving for the Dark, the Brotherhood, after a time, moved completely below ground. A small fishing village was maintained to provide cover for the comings and goings of the underground city.

Evildoers came eagerly to the hidden headquarters, where opportunities for advancement in the Black Arts abounded. As the power and wealth of the Brotherhood grew, the foul experiments performed by the inner circle of the Brotherhood became more ambitious and even more perilous. The Brotherhood’s bizarre experiments in genetics, combined with the putrid mists emanating from the swamps, produced a myriad of peculiar species. Many of the higher forms developed extraordinarily assertive survival traits. At the peak of their power, the Sorcerers of the Brotherhood were known and feared all over the civilized world.

The members of the Brotherhood hotly desired revenge on the Grand Order of Thaumaturges for masterminding their expulsion from Mu, but for many years none of the suggested plans were dire enough to win general approval. Finally the Lord Emperor of Kesmai perfected the means to obtain the vengeance they longed for. The Emperor, strongest of all the

The Island of Kesmai 1-2

Brotherhood in the Black Arts, devised a way to summon one of the dreaded Dragons of Droon, and loose it in the gardens of the Imperial palace of Mu. The plan was accepted by the Brotherhood and the horrible ritual begun. In the middle of the last incantation one of the ruling circle of the Brotherhood died; the strain of working the power that they had unleashed was too great for his heart. The spell was incomplete, the Dragon awake and free of any compulsion to go to Mu.

The Dragon showed little gratitude to the Brotherhood for releasing it from its imprisoning sleep. It broke free of control, and crushed the Lord Emperor with one unanticipated sweep of its claw. The Dragon then flew into the laboratories, where the latest bizarre mutants were kept, and ate most of the ongoing experiments, apparently finding the mutants more tasty than members of the Brotherhood. A few fell creatures escaped, rampaging through the halls in search of their previous masters. Much bloodshed ensued on both sides, and many unfortunate Brothers were most cruelly slain (although likely not as cruelly as they deserved).

After gorging itself on mutants and Brothers, the Dragon returned to the temple in the depths of the dungeon and took up what appeared to be permanent residence. It was a Dark-Dragon, and thus much attracted to the smell of evil that filled the temple. A Dragon in the highest sanctuary prevented the Brotherhood from performing their most solemn rites so they undertook to dislodge the creature and regain access to their most powerful talismans and charms, upon which the Dragon was now resting. This they were unable to do, and the Dragon slew all those who dared further disturb its rest, including several mighty Demons conjured up for the occasion. The Dragon eventually cleared the region around the temple, and destroyed everything entering its diminutive domain.

The strange mutants freed by the Dragon continued to roam the corridors abandoned by the Brothers, and their numbers dramatically increased. As the population of monsters grew in the deeper recesses, the Brotherhood was forced to move ever closer to the surface. In time, the creatures from the depths overwhelmed the meager remnants of the Yasnaki, with the exception of a few who developed an uneasy truce with the monsters, and lived among them.

Kesmai was rediscovered by voyagers during the Age of Exploration. The first few colonizing expeditions to the island of Kesmai were decimated

The Island of Kesmai 1-3

by the exotic indigenous life, but in time the surface was cleared, and the village was rebuilt. When Zod the Mighty discovered the ancient library of the Brotherhood, the tale of the Dragon’s coming was unearthed and the great quest begun. Many brave and powerful warriors have gone down into the depths of the dungeons, only to be brutally slain by the monsters living there. The Dragon’s hoard, already large from the appropriated wealth of the Yasnaki, is now said to contain many enchanted weapons, which these mighty heroes had wielded in their unsuccessful attempts to kill the Dragon.

The commercialization of Kesmai in recent years has greatly increased the number of would-be heroes coming to the island. Although life is dangerous everywhere, the Island of Kesmai provides an unusual number of opportunities for advancement, hence adventurers flock to Kesmai from all over the civilized world, to visit strange places, to meet exotic beings, and to kill them.

The Main Island of Kesmai

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2. The Town of Kesmai

The town of Kesmai, located near the west end of the island, is a small collection of buildings grouped around a central square. The largest building in the settlement, facing the north side of the town plaza, is the local Temple of Thaumaturgy. Inside the temple, there are always priests on duty to take donations and convert nonbelievers. The main room of the Temple is an imposing expanse of expensive carpets and golden fixtures paid for by the donations of adventurers hoping to thus obtain favor before entering the dungeons beneath the city. To the west of the main room is a small chapel dedicated to the memory of the many great warriors who perished in the depths below. The main entrance to the dungeon is found just beyond the chapel, in an annex maintained by the Town Council. The Council is interested in catering to the influx of adventurers, since they provide one of the major sources of income for the city. In fact, the Town Council would be disappointed if some great Hero did manage to clear the dungeons, since if there were no monsters to fight, then there would be no profit in selling maps to the dungeons (some real, some not), weapons, healing potions, and herbs.

The other two buildings fronting on the plaza are the town saloon and the gymnasium. The saloon, on the west side of the the plaza, has a wide selection of local alcohol and information. The barkeeper likes to know what is going on in the city, and his information is usually reliable. The gymnasium is an imposing building on the east end of the town plaza. It specializes in offering short courses of instruction to adventurers on methods of fighting the local monsters.

The office of the local Sheriff is just to the southeast of the temple, behind the gym. He is, however, rarely in his office. The Sheriff spends most of his time walking the streets looking for evildoers. He is a dangerous fighter, and incorruptible, so it is prudent to avoid him if you are a doer of evil.

Main Street runs south from the plaza to the sea, where the municipal pier juts out over the ocean. The first intersection south of the plaza on Main Street is the Street of Thieves. The town armory, the most important shop in Kesmai, is located just south of this intersection, on the east side of Main Street. The armory sells a full line of new weapons and equipment,

The East Islands

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and buys used weapons and other paraphernalia, at reasonable prices.

To the west from Main Street, the Street of Thieves ends after a block. A local Martial Artist has set up a gymnasium where players get basic instruction in the Arts. A trail starting at the end of the street leads through the woods to the west coast of the island. On the coast there are some ancient ruins, which contain a second entrance to the dungeon. To the north of this entrance is a small islet where arcane rites are performed by those who dare not come into town by daylight. These ruins should be avoided, unless you are looking for a unique way to commit suicide.

The dwellings of the local peasants are east of Main Street, at the end of the Street of Thieves. They are too busy trying to provide themselves with food and shelter to take much notice of the random adventurers who come to the island. The plaza on this street holds an active market on most days. The town Wizard has his lowly abode just to the north of the plaza, off the alley. The Thieves’ Guild is headquartered on the south side of the plaza. A pawn shop is located just inside the entrance to their building. The Street of Thieves turns north after passing through the plaza, and ends at the edge of the woods. The path into the woods leads to the east end of the island.

Shortly after this path enters the woods, it forks to the south and east. The southern fork leads past the Swamp to the Southern Bay. Hidden in the swamps to the east of the path are the oldest ruins on the island. Within these ruins, practitioners of the Black Art perform their most solemn rites. Only the brave or the foolish dare explore the depths of the swamps. Across the bridge at the head of the bay to the east is another weapon shop which caters to those characters which do not want to enter the town. A little further to the east is the abode of Phong, the Martial Arts master. Several peddlers hang around this neighborhood, selling weapons to prospective Martial Artists.

There are several small islands farther to the east where the original wildlife of Kesmai still reigns supreme. Tales of strange ruins and lost treasures abound, but few who have followed their directions have ever returned to speak of it. Indeed, many now believe that it is dangerous to even whisper the old tales.

The island is surrounded on all sides by treacherous reefs that successfully

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bar all shipping. There are many varieties of wild and dangerous fish trapped on the inside of the reefs, and swimming in the ocean is at best a risky proposition. Even the bays and inlets are often infested with sharks. It is rumored that there are beds of oysters somewhere near the island, where pearls of great beauty were once found, but it is deemed safer to seek the treasures in the dungeons than to dive for the riches of the sea.

The map of the Island delineates several zones. These zones are regions wherein the Town Council, with the assistance of the Town Wizard, has prohibited certain kinds of magic, for the protection of the citizens. Zone One, which consists of Main Street, the plaza area, and the apothecary, plus the immediate vicinity of the Martial Arts master’s hut, is the most restrictive. Within this zone, any wizardly spell which induces a change of terrain will turn the caster Neutral. The town deputies will then proceed to kill the errant Wizard if they can. Area spells are to be avoided in this zone.

Zone Two, which is a broader area encompassing all of the town proper, including Zone One, has a powerful spell cast upon it to block the Make Permanent spell. The Town Council and inhabitants like the town the way it is, and do not want any uppity wizards rearranging it. Zone Three in the far west end of the Island has the same enchantment, protecting the western entrance to the dungeons, and thus the town’s livelihood. In these two zones, spells may be cast, but their effects remain only temporary.

The dock itself has a powerful spell on it which will cause most wizardly spells to fail in its vicinity. Youngsters disembarking from the boats are especially vulnerable to terrorist activities, hence the spell on the dock and the high concentration of law enforcers in the area of the dock and Weapon Shop.

The Island of Kesmai 3-1

3. A Stroll Around Kesmai

Late in the afternoon on a wet spring day, a trio of adventurers, Togg, a strong but not too bright Fighter, Eave, a diminutive Wizard, and Haver, a decidedly neutral Thief, arrived at the town dock of Kesmai. Togg displayed his interest in the town by staring intently at each new sight, while Eave contented herself with brief glances out of the corner of her eye as she tried to look the sophisticated adventurer. It was difficult to tell what Haver was doing, since he immediately slipped into the shadows in order not to attract notice, Thieves not being particularly welcomed — especially by the Sheriff.

There were three sharks swimming about the pier, hoping for a clumsy meal to wander by and fall in, as had occasionally happened. (If you look closely in the water below the dock, you can sometimes see a dorsal fin “^.”) There is no need for ’no swimming’ signs along the dock.

Togg and Eave started north toward the main village, with Togg gazing interestedly at the sights, and Eave pretending not to. Haver chose not to follow them; members of his guild don’t usually go sightseeing. (As you walk through the town yourself, type look around every few turns in order to see the sights that Togg found so interesting.)

After traveling twenty feet north (North two), Togg spotted the weaponshop to the northeast. Even though he had his weapons, Togg just had to windowshop. To his mind, there was nothing more beautiful than a well-forged sword. Togg had his first brush with danger on Kesmai when he voiced this opinion to Eave. The only thing that stopped her from throwing a fireball was the Town Council’s ordinance against such magic. Although she was annoyed at Togg’s barbaric attitude, Eave decided that being put in the local jail would be just too demeaning. Besides, it is rumored that a mighty demon guards the Forest around the town and she feared setting fire to a tree more than she feared the Sheriff.

Togg was delayed slightly by a peddler as he tried to enter the weaponshop, but he finally found his way to the counter of the store. (Go north once then east for the entrance of the shop, and east three times then north to stand before the counter). As they entered the weaponshop the propri- etor immediately walked over and asked him if he was there to buy or sell. Togg dickered a while, just for the fun of it, but decided not to buy anything

Stroll 1

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just yet. Eave bought an extra knife. (To purchase something, type <name of the storekeeper>, sell <weapon name>.) Since Ralph was working that day Eave said ‘Ralph, sell dagger.’ While she was transacting her business, Togg dropped one of his many knives to the floor — a not unusual occurrence since he carried too many weapons and was overburdened. The janitor promptly swept the knife up, leaving Togg looking for it in vain.

Eave was a little put out by the lack of manners that Ralph showed. He simply dropped her knife on the counter, leaving it for her to pick up. (You would say take <weapon name> from counter.) Such behavior is typical in Kesmai, and is intended as no insult, but rather, is simply the custom of the town.

Eave finally got Togg to quit looking for his knife by convincing him that he hadn’t really dropped one. Since Togg was better at using knives than at counting them, Eave did not have much trouble talking him into believing her. They went on down the street together, Togg admiring Eave’s new knife. (South west four north six.)

Not too far down the street Togg and Eave heard a peddler hawking his wares. Togg dropped a coin at the peddler’s feet and the peddler dropped a pamphlet at Togg’s feet. Togg was getting acclimated to the customs of Kesmai, but Eave still thought them crude.

At the intersection of Main Street and the Street of Thieves, Togg and Eave’s paths divided. Togg wanted to keep going north up Main Street, while Eave wanted to turn east to visit the town Wizard. They decided to meet again that evening at the local bar, The Blue Noose.

Togg kept going north for about twenty feet (North two) until he found the armor shop. He was a bit wistful that he did not have the resources (i.e., money) to trade his leather armor in on something more impressive, but consoled himself with the thought that the new armor would be his first purchase with the loot he was sure to gain in the dungeons of Kesmai.

He continued north fifty more feet (North five) and found the main plaza. A beggar also found Togg, but Togg ignored him, and he finally went away. Togg headed straight for the gym on the east side of the plaza (East three, north three) and spent a few moments admiring its entrance.

Togg entered the gym and walked up to the arms master Olaf (East four,

Stroll 2

The Island of Kesmai 3-5

south one). The arms master looked at Togg as if he were not entirely impressed by what he saw when Togg said ‘Olaf, train me.’ (Togg had a little gold left over from his last adventure before starting for Kesmai that he could use to pay for the training.) The warrior, with a shrug, consented to spar with Togg. Olaf is a tall, heavy shouldered fighter who is proficient in many weapons. He is equally proud of his fighting ability and his bushy grey moustaches. In his youth, he was a notable warrior responsible for the dispatching of many monsters, but after a while he became depressed at the inescapable fact that the monsters reproduced faster than he could kill them. For a time Olaf drowned this realization in the local ale, but his sense of duty finally drove him to open the gym, in order to train more fighters. He hopes that the fighters might someday be trained faster than the mon- sters reproduced.

After an hour’s hard exercise with his various weapons Togg was content to go back to the plaza looking for the bar and a little refreshment while waiting for Eave. The bar is directly across the plaza from the gym. Since he arrived at The Blue Noose first, he sipped a cold tankard of the local ale and studied the new tricks that he had learned, considering how they would increase his fighting ability. (Type show skills. )

Young Haver, the devoted Thief, had not been wasting his time following Togg and Eave, for Haver did have some honor, and would not rob a friend. And anyway, he thought that Eave and Togg were both almost broke. Haver had been ‘shadowing’ an aspiring young Thaumaturge with more gold than sense. (‘Shadowing’ is a Thieves’ Guild term denoting following a prospective victim while hiding in shadows.) The young Thaumaturge had just gone to the temple off the main plaza (West three, north five, east two, and north three from the main plaza). Haver hoped that he would not spend all of his money at the temple, thus denying Haver the chance to steal it. Since there was a priest, a peddler and a janitor inside the temple, Haver decided against an attempted theft at that moment — too many possible witnesses — so he merely watched the proceedings, hoping for a chance at the young fool’s purse after everything was over. He decided he would be equally happy to have a few of the healing potions that the peddler was selling. The sharp eyes of the priest made being in the temple risky for a Thief; Haver stayed well back in the darkest shadow he could find.

The young Thaumaturge, whose name was Avor, stepped up to the altar

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(North one). He had just returned from his first trip into the dungeons, and his new gold was heavy in his pocket. Sven, the high priest, is a rigid, conservative man who will do nothing without the proper ritual being observed. He stood silently behind the altar waiting for Avor to ask the proper question that would establish his credentials. Sven did not prompt Avor, or even look at him with much favor; he merely waited.

After a few moments, and with much pride, Avor placed a bag of gold on the altar and said ‘Sven, train me.’ Sven nodded his acceptance, and began the rite.

After a time, the ritual was over. Avor looked pleased and thanked Sven. He reviewed the incantations for his spells which he had written on the sleeve of his robe for easy reference; he always kept his book safely in the bottom of his backpack. Haver loosened his knife in its sheath when it looked as if Avor was leaving, but instead of exiting the temple, Avor went to the entrance to the dungeon. (From the altar go south one, west four, north three, west one.) Just before he entered the dungeon, Avor muttered an incantation and then declared ‘cast prfire,’ giving him protection from fire. Haver waited until Sven’s back was turned, and then he, too, slipped into the dungeon.

Eave had continued east on the Street of Thieves. (East six.) She passed several peddlers and a couple of dogs, ignoring them equally. But she stopped for a moment to chat when she noticed a fellow Wizard, and gladly accepted his invitation to accompany him to the town Wizard’s hut. (North two.)

Oskar, the town Wizard, was home, as he usually is. Oskar never left the laboratory in his hut, as research is his all-consuming interest. He begrudgingly allots minimal time to eating, sleeping, and sometimes exercise only because he knows that these activities are necessary for the health of his mind. At all other times he will be found, a skinny man with a mane of poorly cut white hair, bending over one or another of his experiments. Oskar is, however, willing to teach — how else could he get his new variations of spells field-tested.

Oskar received Eave’s friend with surprising friendliness when they arrived; he had a new spell variant that he wished to test. The more experienced Wizard that Eave had met, Michi by name, began at once by

The Island of Kesmai 3-7

saying ‘Oskar, train me,’ and offering most of the gold obtained in his last quest. Oskar appreciated the fact that Michi did not intend to waste any of his time, and so quickly began the proper incantation. Eave still felt as if they were being rude, but she realized that Oskar seemed to be pleased with their shortness, so she concluded that this was the proper Kesmaiian manner. Oskar had already gone back into his laboratory before Michi had a chance to say ‘thank you.’ Eave bid Michi good-by as she slowly walked back towards The Blue Noose, daydreaming of gold and Oskar’s spells.

Eave was just about half-way to the tavern when she noticed the people on the street hurrying into doorways and alleys. Eave was both intelligent and prudent, so she stepped into a nearby doorway and watched with the store owner as a figure in dark purple cloaks hurried down the street.

‘Sorcerer,’ commented the merchant, and then spat into the dust. He had hardly finished speaking before another figure came around the corner. The newcomer was a good 6 and ½ feet tall, with wide shoulders and narrow hips. He was dressed in shades of grey, and strode along as if he were a new god admiring his domain. Eave did not need the merchant’s muttered identification to know who this was. She had heard stories of the Sheriff of Kesmai long before she had reached the island.

Long ago the Sheriff had possessed both a name and a family, but the family had been destroyed by evil sorcery gone wild, and the name had been abandoned. For a long time he had hunted evil so that no more families should die as his had, and also in revenge for those who had died. Killing Evil was the only thing that made his pain less. He had finally become the Sheriff of Kesmai because he realized that the most ambitious of the Sorcerers would be drawn to the dungeons. He never ventured into the dungeons themselves — if they were cleansed, then the Evil ones would no longer come to him.

The Sorcerer halted, turned, and spoke in a muttered tone. The force of his casting was like a strong wind, but the Sheriff did not even wince as the spell struck him. The Sorcerer stared in shock, not believing his dark spell had produced no effect. Although the Sheriff appeared not to hurry, he still reached the figure in the dark robes before it could loose another spell. Eave wished that Togg was with her to admire the deliberate and efficient way the Sheriff disposed of the Sorcerer. He left the body for one of the janitors to remove, or the rats.

The Island of Kesmai 3-8

While Eave was admiring the Sheriff, Togg had just invited a young Martial Artist named Tey to joing him in a drink. Tey had just come from Neela, the Martial Artist in town, where he had received advanced training just as Togg had from Olaf. Tey, however, was not as pleased as Togg about the results.

‘What I really want,’ he was telling Togg, ‘is to study with Master Phong, but he will not accept students of my level.’

He continued to tell Togg more than he really cared to know about Master Phong, the Martial Arts Master who lived in the woods, and who would only teach more advanced students. It seemed rather reasonable to Togg, to let the students learn the simple stuff from Neela, but luckily Tey did not stop long enough in his gentle complaints to give Togg a chance to say so.

Master Phong was probably the only fighter on the island who was as expert as the Sheriff. On several occasions warriors had asked Master Phong why he did not clean out the dungeons himself. (No one ever asked the Sheriff this question, since everyone knew that he wanted the dungeons as bait.) Master Phong would simply stare at the questioner long enough to determine if he deserved an answer, and then slowly reply, ‘We all do that which the gods of Kesmai set us to do.’

Warrior Neela, on the other hand, did sometimes go into the dungeons, but always alone; for she believes that a companion would only be someone to protect.

Eave’s arrival distracted Tey from his laments, and before Togg had completed the introductions, Haver joined them too. As they pulled up another chair and settled back around the table, Haver pulled out a small bag of gold and ordered a round of drinks. (Rats in the dungeon were feasting on an overconfident Thaumaturge.)

Ralff, the bartender, served them himself for they looked new to the island, and might have some gossip that he had not heard. Ralff was fat, lazy and an avid gossip, so he was willing to impart information and eager to collect it. While prying gossip out of the four adventurers, he also provided such useful information as to where the entrance to the dungeon was, and that they should all take 8-10 healing berries along with their weapons and spell books. He also mentioned what happened to the last Wizard who

The Island of Kesmai 3-9

had tried a spell within the town limits. Eave shuddered.

Togg, Tey and Eave decided to make up a party and enter the dungeon. Haver declined to join them, claiming to want a good night’s sleep first. Actually, Haver planned on following them, and letting them cope with anything dangerous while he hid in the shadows and looked for treasure.

All in all, it had been a typical beginning on the Island of Kesmai.

Separator page - sword

The Island of Kesmai 4-1

4. Getting Started

Your visit to the Island of Kesmai begins with logging into the CompuServe Information Service. Once you have entered CompuServe you type GO ISLAND at any ! system prompt to reach the Island of Kesmai kickoff page. This page will look something like the following:

CompuServe                 ISLAND

THE ISLAND OF KESMAI                   

 1 To Read Instructions
 2 To Play The Island of Kesmai
 3 To Multi-Player Games Forum

Suggested Age        :12 - Adult
Classification       :Role Play
Players (min / max)  : 1 / 75
Special Requirements :Cursor*
Screen Size          :40 x 24
Direct Access Page   :GAM-26

Enter choice !

Item 1 will give you a description of the game and brief instructions. Since you already have this manual selection 1 will not be discussed.

If you select Item 2 you will be presented with the Island of Kesmai Main Menu. All game functions are accessed via this menu. Section 4.1 discusses these menus in detail.

Menu item 3 will send you to the Multi-Player Games Forum where you can join in discussions about the Island and gain valuable playing tips. A description of this forum is given in section 4.3.

4.1. Game Menu System

All of the support functions of the Island of Kesmai are provided by a menu driven interface. Using these menus (or the command driven shortcuts) the user can create a character, obtain game related information, review the scores of other players and hold real-time discussions. Upon

The Island of Kesmai 4-2

selecting menu item 2 from the kickoff page the user will be presented with the following menu:

The Island of Kesmai

Main Menu (ISLAND)
1 Instructions
2 Create a Character
3 Visit Kesmai
4 Game Information
5 Change Player Parameters
6 Help!

Enter choice !

In addition to the standard CompuServe commands the following are available at any ! prompt:

ISLAND Go to the main Kesmai menu page.

ISLAND <number> will select the specified menu entry

INFO Go to the Kesmai Game Information Page.

INFO <number> will select the specified menu entry.

DOC Go to the Kesmai Documentation Page.

DOC <number> will select the specified menu entry.

OPTION Go to the User Parameters Page.

OPTION <number> will select the specified menu entry.

COMMAND Enter command mode. To exit use one of the above menu commands.

USERS List the current Island of Kesmai users.

USERS <text> Print the User’s List entries which contain <text>.

CONFER or TALK Go to the Kesmai Conference Center.

TALK <A to F> or

CONFER <A to F> Go to the specified Conference Room.


ENTER Go visit the Island of Kesmai.

SCORE Print your score.

VNOTES Print the version notes.

NEWCHAR Generate a new character.

The Island of Kesmai 4-3

4.1.1. Instructions

The Instructions Menu offers several different levels of game instructions. Any updates and changes to game commands will be documented here.

The Island of Kesmai

Documentation (DOC)
1 Introduction to Kesmai
2 A Stroll Through Town
3 Command Summary
4 Describe Nationalities
5 Describe Occupations
6 Version Notes
7 Help!

Enter choice !

The various menu options are as follows:

1 Introduction to Kesmai

This section gives handy information about the Island of Kesmai.

2 A Stroll Through Town

Follow a group of four adventurers around the various places of interest in the town of Kesmai.

3 Print Command Summary

This selection will print a handy list of commands that can be used while on the Island.

4 Describe Nationalities

This selection will print a description of the various types of people found on the Island.

5 Describe Occupations

This selection describes the different professions that an adventurer may select.

6 Version Notes

This option details any changes made to the game on a version by version basis.

The Island of Kesmai 4-4

4.1.2. Create a Character

The character generator will first prompt you for necessary information such as desired gender and nationality. It will then generate a set of statistics, or stats, that describe your character and print them for your approval. Once the program has produced a set of stats that is acceptable, you must decide on your character’s occupation. Choosing the correct occupation is potentially the most important decision you will have to make regarding your character. The usual basis for this decision is the character’s statistics, or stats. A strong showing in one stat can often improve a character’s potential for development, and a weak stat can often be a handicap.

Basically, most characters are Fighters, unless they have an exceptional ability which makes them stand out. Fighters benefit from strength, dexterity, and constitution. Intelligence, wisdom, and charisma are unimportant.

Wizards and Thaumaturges need a combination of intelligence and wisdom well above average to aid their success. Sorcerers need intelligence and charisma. A reasonable strength is always useful, as are acceptable constitutions and dexterities.

After you have decided on a character class, the program will age your character to third level (1600 experience points) and equip it with basic necessities of survival. The Kesmai Chamber of Commerce does not allow anyone below third level on the island so it is taken for granted that your character, although still wet behind the ears, has some formal training in a profession.

Players who choose the Fighter occupation will be issued weapons and armor which are typical for their nationality. In addition a single gold coin (lunch money) will be issued.

Players who choose a Magical profession will be initiated into the sect and supplied with a spell book, a staff and lunch money. The spell book will contain the secret knowledge required to throw your initial spells. Even though you have spent many years of education learning how to use these spells, it is recommended that you read your spell book when you reach the Island.

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Thieves typically are issued a sword and several of the small throwing weapons which are widely used by members of their Guild. Thieves also carry spell books since they have mastered a few simple magic spells. The power of the Thieves’ Guild is enormous; a thief that is not a member and is still breathing is indeed rare. The Guild has training facilities in just about any town that has anything worth stealing.

4.1.3. Visit the Island

This menu option will send you off to the Island of Kesmai and place you in the location that you left last time. If a new dungeon is in place then all Lawfuls will be started on the dock at the edge of the town and all others will be started at the eastern weapon shop. If this is your first visit, you should walk about the town a bit before rushing down into the catacombs. In general it is recommended that you check over your equipment and make sure you have a good supply of balm in either the berry or distilled form.

4.1.4. Game Information

This display contains the game scoreboards, a roster of current users, and an on-line conferencing facility.

The Island of Kesmai

Game Information (INFO)
1 Display Current Users
2 Talk To Current Users
3 Display Top Characters
4 Display Top Player Scores
5 Display Your Score
6 Help!

Enter choice !

1 Display Current Users

This option will list all users who are currently playing the game. Their location is also displayed.

The Island of Kesmai 4-6

2 Talk To Current Users

This selection provides a conference system that permits you to talk to other Island players. In addition to the following commands the CompuServe Navigation commands and the Kesmai Action Words can be used. i.e. /go MPGAMES.

/QUIT, /END or

/MENU returns you to the Info. menu.

/EXIT returns you to the CompuServe menu.

/ENTER sends you to the Island.

/PAGE <number> or

/PAGE <name> will page a user on the Island.

/OFF logs you off of CompuServe.

/HELP displays this list.

/TIME displays current time and date.

/ROOM A, B…F switch Conference Rooms.

/USERS displays the current users.

/USERS <text > display all the lines in the users list which contain <text>.

/STATUS gives a summary of current users.

3 Display Top Characters

This scoreboard serves as a kind of Hall of Fame for individual characters. A user is allowed to have only one character in the Hall of Fame at a time. The ranking is based on the experience of the character.

4 Display Top Player Scores

This scoreboard provides a ranking of the users based on how well they play the game. The score is the sum of all experience points earned in excess of 6400.

5 Display Your Score

This entry can be used to display your score that will be used in the Top Players scoreboard.

The Island of Kesmai 4-7

4.1.5. Change Player Parameters

This page allows the user to change the terminal type, and set the menu mode to EXPERT.

The Island of Kesmai

Change Player Options (OPTION)
1 Change Terminal Type
2 Change Mode to EXPERT
3 Help!

Enter choice !

1 Change Terminal Type

This allows you to change the program’s concept of what terminal you have or are emulating. This does NOT affect your CompuServe terminal definition. Section 4.2 below examines the possible terminal types that you can select.

2 Change Mode to EXPERT/ VERBOSE

This entry will suppress the printing of some text on the Island and will make COMMAND MODE your default on entering the menu.

4.2. Cursor Control

Most users of on-line services use personal computers with communications software to emulate computer terminals. Every make of computer has a different collection of communications programs, and many different terminals are emulated. The Island of Kesmai has the capability to use a wide variety of different formats, but to use them you must first decide how to tell it what you have. If you select the Change Terminal Type menu entry from the Change User Parameters page you will be presented with the following menu of supported terminals:

The Island of Kesmai 4-8

The Island of Kesmai

Island Terminal Type

1 Use CompuServe Default
2 VIDTEX 64 by 16 (TRS 80)
3 VIDTEX 40 by 24 (Apple, Atari)
4 VIDTEX 32 by 16 (TRS CoCo)
5 Adm3a, ADDS
6 VT 52
7 H19
8 Full VT100
9 NO Cursor Control
10 Teleray 1061
11 ANSI (VT100 emulators)
12 ADM5
13 PC3 (ANSI Color)
14 Help!

Enter choice !

The majority of microcomputer communications programs emulate some well known computer terminal. The three most common are the DEC VT100 (a superset of the ANSI terminal protocol standard), DEC VT52, and Lear-Siegler ADM 3a. Some public domain communications software does not emulate any specific type of terminal, but provides what is commonly known as a glass TTY (a reference to the old-style TTY, or teletype). It is highly recommended that you obtain a communications program that can emulate one of the terminals listed above, so that you can take advantage of the feature known as cursor-addressing. This refers to the ability of a communications program to move the cursor about the screen under the control of the host computer, to rapidly draw up neat charts and tables.

The Island of Kesmai makes extensive use of cursor control in both the menu and the game systems. The menu system will always use the CompuServe defined terminal type for its cursor control but the game system can be configured to use a different type. This was done since some users prefer to have their CompuServe wide terminal definition to be TTY or OTHER but want the actual game to use cursor control. The default option for the game system is to use the standard terminal.

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The most common and efficient form of cursor control used is DEC VT52 emulation. The CompuServe VIDTEX™ terminal package uses the VT52 protocol. The program will support three different screen sizes with VT52 emulation. Terminal type 2 is formatted for 64 by 16 character screens, such as older Radio Shack models. Terminal type 3 is 40 by 24 characters, which covers most home computers used with television sets or low cost monitors, such as Commodore 64/128, Atari 400/800 and descendants, Apple II series, etc.

Most newer and more powerful personal computers have larger screen sizes than the older designs. Terminal type 6 provides for a full size 80 by 24 screen, such as an IBM PC, Macintosh, or an actual VT52 would have. All of the remaining modes expect at least a 64 character width, so if you have a screen size narrower than 64, and cannot obtain a program that will handle VT52 emulation, you should use terminal type 9.

Terminal type 5 is for an ADM 3a emulator. This is a bare bones cursor controlled terminal, and you should use this one only as a last resort. The ADM 3a does not have a crucial feature, clear to end of line, that the game needs to make efficient use of the screen. The ADM 5, selection 12, does have this feature and works quite well.

The VT100 and ANSI modes are the most sophisticated that the program currently supports. If you have an actual VT100 terminal or compatible, or a very complete terminal program, use terminal type 8. This will take advantage of the scrolling regions, line drawing characters, and character attributes available on these very sophisticated terminals. If you try type 8 and get mangled output, try type 11, which is for ANSI terminals. This is a subset of the full VT100 mode, and will avoid the less common features. Note that VT100/ANSI cursor control is rather inefficient, and a good VT52 program is really preferable to using ANSI mode 11. Programs for MS-DOS machines that use the ANSI.SYS driver, such as a simple communications program written in BASIC, should work with mode 11. Terminal emulators that support the ANSI color sequences, such as CompuServe’s Professional Connection™, may use terminal type 13, and get their display in vivid colors!

The Zenith Z19/Heath H19 and Teleray 1061 are supported for historical reasons. If you happen to have one of these, you are in luck.

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4.3. Multi-Player Games Forum

The MPGAMES Forum is a discussion area on CompuServe where players get together and share Island lore, learn more about playing, or just “shoot the breeze” about their Island adventures. The MPGAMES data libraries contain much useful information on the game, as well as poems, chronicles, manifestoes and other neat stuff, including several specialized terminal programs to enhance game play. A weekly Online Conference is held Sunday nights, and Forum-sponsored Beginners’ Classes in Island play are held several times per month. If you become a regular Island player, or would like to, make sure you stop by (type GO MPGAMES from any CompuServe ! prompt) and Join the Forum - membership is free and open to all!

4.4. Game Etiquette

In a world where everyone is heavily armed and your average grandmother can uncork a twelfth level death spell, proper etiquette is not simply a good idea, it is a matter of life and death. There are a few things that a beginner can do that will reduce the odds of offending another player.

Wizards should be very careful with their terrain spells around other players. If you are running in a group it is a good idea to announce your spells before you cast them. Since you can append conversation to the end of any command, it does not take an extra round. For example:

nergal shunu namtar cuthalu / fireball north

cast fireball n n n / take that you silly orc

The most common form of problem involves splitting up the loot from a kill. If you are in a group it is best to have some kind of understanding on this topic before you set out. It is generally considered that looting someone else’s kill is just grounds for homicide.

In general, the golden rule is the best policy. There is nothing to prevent you from assuming the role of a nasty character, but you will find that justice will prevail in one form or another. This is basically why the Thief character class is so difficult; no one trusts them.

The Island of Kesmai 5-1

5. The Player

One of the distinct features of Kesmai is the detailed description which is used to represent both human and non-human players. This description can be subdivided into personal characteristics and combat characteristics. The personal characteristics describe the physical appearance and limitations of a player. Some of these are fixed at birth, others change with age and experience. The player’s combat characteristics determine how effectively he can use various weapons in a battle.

5.1. Personal Characteristics

Each character will have a personal description which contains the following characteristics: gender, primary player stats, character class, nationality, alignment, age, and experience.

5.1.1. Gender

The player’s gender can affect the various statistics used to generate a character. Women will have (on average) better stats in some areas than men and vice versa. Gender is also used in the formation of physical descriptions of the player.

5.1.2. The Primary Player Statistics

The characteristics and abilities of a player, human or otherwise, are represented by a large set of numbers. The most important of these are the six primary statistics. These are determined by random values ranging from 3 to 18, with the middle values most likely. The six characteristics are:

Strength This determines how much weight a character can carry around, and how hard he can hit in combat. Strength also regulates how much stamina a Fighter has. Strength is considered the most important statistic for a Fighter.

Intelligence Intelligence is important for all magic users. High intelligence gives the character more magic points (more magical endurance). For Wizards and Sorcerers, intelligence can affect the

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performance of the player’s spells. Wizards consider intelligence the most important statistic.

Wisdom Wisdom is vital for Thaumaturges, since it governs how many magic points the Thaumaturge has, which in turn controls how many spells the Thaumaturge can throw. Wisdom is also important for Wizards.

Dexterity Dexterity determines how quickly the character can move, which is very important during combat. Dexterity governs how effective a Thief or Martial Artist is in performing various complex maneuvers, so dexterity is the main attribute of Martial Artists and Thieves.

Constitution Constitution effects how much damage a character can sustain without dying. Constitution also figures into a character’s stamina. A high constitution also enables the character to be raised from the dead with few ill effects.

Charisma The charisma of the player reflects the strength and attractiveness of the character’s persona. Charisma is the primary statistic for Sorcerers. A high charisma can also protect a character from the attacks of a Sorcerer.

5.1.3. Character Class

Every player must choose one of six basic occupations or character classes. The character class defines the capabilities and weaknesses of the character. Although there is a great deal of freedom in how one pursues one’s advancement, the class chosen establishes a basic path to be followed. The six character classes are all very different, and the choice among them is far from simple.

The two character classes which are based on physical combat are Fighters and Martial Artists. These two classes advance more easily than the others, since they get direct experience for kills as well as for the gold they take. Running a Fighter is recommended for beginners, because it is the simplest of the classes. Fighters can generally use almost any weapon, and they can improve their combat ability through both practice and training bought in the gym.

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A fighter that has reached eighth level and has no karmic debt may become a Knight. To do this you must locate a hermit which lives in a rather secluded spot on the east islands and ask him to train you. If he deems you worthy he will give you a ring of Knighthood and teach you the ways of simple magic. All Knight spells require three magic points and are thrown without warning via the ring. You must be wearing the ring to use the magic. Knights have significantly increased odds of saving against magic spells. This means a Knight is difficult to stun or charm, and they will usually take less damage from fire or ice. If you are a Knight, all karma rules (see section 5.1.6. below) apply, plus you will lose your Knighthood for killing any lawful, not just humanoids. Self-defense still applies. If you did not acquire any karmic debt from the killing then you may seek a priest to regain Lawful status and then the hermit will take you back into the Knighthood.

Martial Artists dedicate their lives to the perfection of their fighting techniques. They learn powerful methods for unarmed combat and develop expertise with a variety of specialized weapons. The typical Martial Artist starts out life with a white belt and no weapons skills. Once he earns the yellow belt, he begins his weapons training with the quarter staff. As he progresses, more and more weapons are added to his repertoire, until finally, at black belt, he chooses his specialty, the one weapon which he will truly master. Since Martial Artists move rapidly, they tend to travel light, concentrating on outmaneuvering foes, rather than the frontal assault of the heavily armored Fighter. Martial Artists advance somewhat more slowly than Fighters do, but develop a wide range of skills.

The first magic-using character class is the Thaumaturge. Thaumaturges call upon the might of their gods through powerful spells (prayers), such as casting lightning bolts, or blinding foes. They also have the power to heal, and even to raise the dead. Thaumaturges get direct experience when they kill with magic. They have to be competent with ordinary weapons as well, since the gods which watch over Kesmai are often unreliable.

The fourth class is the Thief. Thieves sneak around, stealing objects from creatures they disable or kill, and fighting only when they must. Thieves fight well, but generally prefer picking pockets to taking chances in a fair fight. The ability to hide in shadows, thus remaining essentially invisible, enables Thieves to penetrate into dangerous areas where few other characters of comparable ability dare go. Thieves are also able to learn a

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few simple spells, such as hiding doorways and creating darkness, which can serve to protect them in their most daring escapades.

Wizardry is a discipline of pure magic. Unlike Thaumaturges, Wizards use magic almost exclusively; they have no spells to improve their combat skills, and have little time to practice anyway. The spells of Wizardry range from opening secret doors to setting off explosions that can knock down walls and pulverize opponents. The most common form of Wizardry alters the surrounding terrain, by creating a door where none was before, or materializing an inferno on an attacking group. Wizards live primarily by looting the bodies of creatures they have killed by spells, since only rarely will a capable Wizard risk attacking a monster with a weapon to gain direct experience. Although the majority of a Wizard’s experience comes from training with a master mage there is a slight experience gain for each successful spell. Wizardry is a difficult discipline to learn, but is very powerful once the character attains a high level.

Last, but certainly not least, there is Sorcery, or the Black Art. Sorcerers survive by forcing others to do their dirty work, and reaping the benefits themselves. Sorcerers can charm other players and control their actions and can summon forth Phantoms, Zombies, and Demons to command. Although the sorcerer has the fewest spells of the major magic-using classes, the spells are the most flexible, and change in power dramatically as the sorcerer gains experience. Unlike Thaumaturges or Wizards, Sorcerers cannot directly kill an opponent with a spell, but must rely on persuading someone or something else to do the job. Sorcerers have to be sneaky, since their presence in town is only barely tolerated.

5.1.4. Nationality

Adventurers who visit Kesmai are assumed to be from one of the seven major centers of civilization or to be barbarians that claim no homeland. Because of the harsh or, indeed foul, nature of the environment, there is no easy form of transportation between nations. This has caused various racial characteristics to predominate in each country. The effect of this is that a player’s homeland will bias the basic skills needed for an occupation. Some countries will produce, on average, players which are better suited to be Wizards than Fighters, and so on. The various countries and brief descriptions are given below.

The Island of Kesmai 5-5 Illyria

Illyria is a long chain of islands located in the far North. The Illyrians are a hardy seafaring folk, who gain their livelihood from the rich fishing off the shores of their islands, and from the mighty Illyrian merchant fleet. Illyrian vessels are common the world over except in Mnar, where Illyrians are most unpopular. The Illyrian Navy is also omnipresent, serving to protect the interests of the merchants, and to guard and govern the colonies from which Illyria obtains many of her trade goods.

The people of Illyria are generally tall and fair-complected. The nobility of Illyria claim descent from the Elves of old and make a point of never letting anyone forget it. They often have the long noses and somewhat pointed ears that Elves were reputed to have. Highborn Illyrians will often go to great lengths to emphasize whatever nasal elongation or pointiness of ear they are born with, resulting in some ridicule whenever they travel abroad.

Illyrians as a rule are competent fighters, specializing in bow weapons, which they use in ship-to-ship fighting, and in the use of the long sword. The rapier and parrying dagger are fashionable in Illyria since they involve greater finesse than a simple sword and shield, and therefore provide greater opportunity to show off the skill which one has as a result of one’s fine lineage. Wizardry is also common since IIlyrians tend to be practical people and quite distant from the hotbed of Thaumaturgy in Hovath. The Imperial Institute of Wizardry located in Illyrium, the capital city, is perhaps the finest in the world. Many aspiring young Wizards travel there to complete their education.

Illyrians affect many attitudes thet attribute to their Elvish ancestors, the strongest of which is their hatred of the Black Art. Sorcery is completely outlawed anywhere the Illyrian Navy can amass enough strength to make its force felt. Even thieves labor under considerable disadvantages in the Illyrian islands. Anyone in Illyria that is not strictly sworn to Light is highly suspect and closely watched. Even the famed Knights of Lemuria consider the Illyrians a bit too Good to be proper travelling companions. Of course, those Illyrians who take service abroad tend to develop a more liberal point of view.

The Island of Kesmai 5-6 Mu

Mu is the home of the Grand Order of Thaumaturges, who in days past drove out the Brotherhood of Yasnac. They still bask in the glory of having uprooted and destroyed the Great Evil, even though, in truth, they should share credit with the Dragon. Those high in the political structure of the Grand Order are aware that mere accident saved them from having an angry Dragon take up residence on their doorstep, but this is considered to be a state secret. The official version is that the Order itself moved to some purpose in arranging matters as they fell out. The citizens of Mu believe this implicitly, and outsiders find it politically unwise to disagree.

Mu is a monarchy. The ruling family has held the throne for six generations and the government, consequently, is very stable. Since the Grand Order of Thaumaturges is the principal advising council to the crown, the government is also very conservative. But, although the Grand Order does have much prestige, it can still only advise, and so change does come, although slowly.

Citizens of Mu tend to be stocky, heavy-set, and even the women are more muscular than average. They generally have brown eyes and exceptionally thick brown hair, which the women take great pride in letting grow long. It is not unusual for women to have hair that reaches to their waist, and their great beauties have hair that if unbound, would brush the floor as they walked. Although the men rarely have hair much below their shoulders, they do generally boast of luxurious beards. which they braid before battle to keep out of their way.

Thaumaturges are common among wayfarers from Mu, as are Fighters. Thieves are not unheard of, but Wizards are rare, and any Sorcerer from Mu likely left his native land for health reasons. Sorcerers are given fair trials, but they are never found innocent. The battle axe is a favorite weapon of Mu, and a muscular Muian Fighter with shield and axe is considered deadly by all other races, except Dragons, who consider nothing on two legs to be dangerous.

Desnoria, Queen of Mu and Grand Protector of its citizenry, has developed a feeling of unease regarding Kesmai. Because of a vivid dream that she had after the last Grand Ball celebrating her birthday, she fears that the Brotherhood is rebuilding. The Marshall of the Grand Order has

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tried to reassure her that the dream was most likely caused by an injudicious mixture of wine and cake, but she remains unconvinced, partly because she likes the notion of having received a prophetic dream. As a consequence of the royal nightmare, quests to Kesmai on the part of adventurous Muians are looked upon with favor, and anyone returning from Kesmai is sure to be summoned to a royal audience. Sadly, though, far fewer return from Kesmai than depart for Kesmai. Lemuria

The Commonwealth of Lemuria is noted for its calm good sense and practical attitude. They are basically a good people, but in a low key way, preferring to set example by actions rather than by preaching. They are governed by an elected ‘Council of Equals’ whose basic philosophy of governing is to do as little as possible. The essential good character of their people makes this a viable political philosophy. The people of Lemuria are a gregarious race who need the companionship of friends and relatives, and this need is one of the chief reasons that the governing rules may be sparse, for public disapproval is a potent deterrent.

Wizards, Fighters, and Thaumaturges are common in Lemuria, but Thieves are rare, and Sorcerers unheard of. The broadsword is the most common weapon in Lemuria, although they do favor pikes for ceremonial occasions. The Knights of Lemuria, the Fighters who are in charge of protecting the members of the Council and upholding the honor of the Land, are famed for their pike work, although the sword is their prime weapon. They make a grand show during the changing of their guard in front of the Parliament. Small brightly colored pennants float from the heads of their pikes as they march with great precision to the sounds of the small drums and shrill trumpets of their band. The Knights, though proficient at show, are also proficient at fighting, and it has been over 100 years since a Council member has been assassinated. During the last two years, the followers of the High Priest of Hovath have periodically made assassination attempts because their leader declared the Council unholy for refusing to return certain refugees to him for beheading. The Council of Lemuria is singularly unimpressed with the High Priest owing to the fact that three of the refugees which he had ordered executed were small children whose sole ‘crime’ had been who their fathers were. The Council, of course, does not deal with

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assassins, but if a chance to disrupt the plans of the High Priest should present itself, they would be delighted to accept it.

Lemuria was settled by adventurers from several different places, and hence no particular racial characteristics predominate. This history has made them somewhat more welcoming to strangers than average. One thing Lemurians seem to have in common is a love of bright colors. A Lemurian is most likely to be clothed in at least 3 shades of bright colors for their everyday wear. On ceremonial occasions they will want every article of clothing to be a different color; even their shoes or boots will not match. They also prefer bright gem stones such as rubies, diamonds and emeralds and would not wear onyx or pearls, considering them to be too plain. One of the chief attractions that the dungeons of Kesmai have for young Lemurians is the possibility of finding impressive gem stones lying about (mainly left over from when the Dragon was eating the Brotherhood).

It has been over 83 years since a warrior (whether man or woman) has been elected to the ‘Council of Equals’ without having quested to Kesmai, so those of Lemuria with political leanings usually. start by trying to kill someting noteworthy. in Kesmai. A quest to Kesmai is seen as demonstrating both a proper sense of public duty and a certain amount of intelligence, since stupid adventurers rarely return from Kesmai. The fact that the adventurers also frequently return with a handful of jewels is just considered to be proof that those who fulfill their civic duty reap just rewards.

Lemuria’s chief export is a potent wine of a deep purple color made from the berries of a ground-hugging thorned vine. The wine of Lemuria is valued everywhere, and there are a number of Wizards who declare that two glasses of it beforehand vastly improves their spells. Of course, there are other Wizards who declare that two glasses of Lemurian wine is more than enough to make one think that one’s spells have improved. The High Priest of Hovath has declared the wine to be sinful, and ordained that anyone caught drinking it shall have their noses cut off. Despite this harsh ruling, there is still excessive profit in smuggling Lemuria’s wine into Hovath, which is proof either of the excellence of the wine or of the lure of the forbidden — or both. Although generally law-abiding, the average Lemurian’s opinion of the High Priest is such that smuggling wine into Hovath is a favorite adventure, second only to venturing into the dungeons of Kesmai.

The Island of Kesmai 5-9 Leng

Leng is a dry, mountainous region ruled by the Autocrat of the Outer Ring whose name is never spoken. It is said that like Demons, the speaking of the name of this great Sorcerer can summon him, but that unlike Demons, he cannot be controlled. The Guild of Sorcerers is strong in Leng, but much hidden, for fear of the powers which drive out the Brotherhood of Yasnac, of which the Guild is a pale copy. The Autocrat has hopes of changing this, for he has heard rumors whispered in the underground ways of beings of darkness such as would make the most powerful Demon seem a child by comparison, and he has hopes of contacting them to offer his Guild as acolytes.

Gossip of this plan has made its way about the land and the population in general hopes it will succeed and bring power and wealth to Leng. Moral concerns are not very important in Leng. News of what the Autocrat would do has not left Leng, for the rugged land does not welcome strangers. The very few who did get wind of the scheme will never leave — they are buried too deeply.

The people of Leng are smaller than average, but very quick. They tend to be pale, owing to an aversion to the sun. Much of the life of Leng is carried out in the early evening and night. The members of the Outer and Lesser Rings, the ruling class, are never seen during the day. The people of Leng tend to have lank black hair and dark eyes that are flat and nonreflective. It is said that these eyes are the legacy of a strange race that came to Leng in the elder days and interbred with the inhabitants already there. But if the truth of this story is known, it is known only to the Autocrat and his Outer Ring, and they do not tell.

The Autocrat is the supreme ruler of Leng, with the power and right to order execution for no better reason than whim. The Outer Ring is composed of the Masters of the Guild of Sorcerers, and they act as the Autocrat’s chief administrators. The Lesser Ring is composed of elite Fighters who have sworn to die in the service of the Autocrat. (It is whispered that drugs and spells have made the Lesser Ring believe that vast rewards in the afterlife will belong to those who die carrying out the Autocrat’s orders.)

Sorcerers, Fighters and Thieves are numerous in Leng, and Wizards not too uncommon, but Thaumaturges are unknown. The few Thaumaturges

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who visit Leng from other lands have a tendency to have fatal accidents. The short sword is a favored weapon of Leng, as well as the bow. Their Fighters more than make up for their lack of size by their speed and training — and their lust for blood. When Leng’s inhabitants journey to the dungeons it is most likely for the twin purposes of seeking lore of the Brotherhood while also finding things to kill. The Autocrat allows no killing in Leng that he does not personally order, since he sees such deaths as robbing him of a useful servant. There have been a few emigrants from Leng who left because they were disgusted by the practices of the Rings, but they are always silent, knowing that the Autocrat has fell assassins to deal with those who lightly talk about his business.

The outer world is generally unaware of the doings of the Autocrat and his Ring, for their delving into the dark lore is quietly done in the dark caverns that are common under their land. Unlike the Brotherhood, the Autocrat prefers to move about his purposes subtly rather than bombastically. To the outer world Leng is simply a backward place with a provincial attitude toward strangers. Their chief export is furs from animals that live in the high forests of their land, and a delicate fabric woven from the webs of giant spiders that inhabit those same forests. Draznia

Draznia is a fertile, flat island whose wealth comes from the exporting of grains, and from a potent, fiery drink distilled from those grains. The climate is moderate, with just enough change during the year for them to claim to have seasons. The predominant color of the island is green, the cool green of growing things, from the pale green of newly budded leaves to the deep black-green of the evergreen forests. This green is echoed by the clothing of the people, for only rarely will a Draznian be seen without at least one article of his apparel being some shade of green.

There is much magic on this island, some say that it even sparkles in the early morning sunlight, although others say that it is merely dewdrops. Still, there is no doubt that Draznia has produced many, perhaps even most, of the great Wizards of history, and is likely to produce more. There are three great schools for Wizards on the island, each with its own philosophy. The details of dispute between the schools are aired frequently at conferences designed to spread the knowledge that the master Wizards have

The Island of Kesmai 5-11

uncovered, but these differences are so rooted in wizardly theory that they are generally unintelligible to any save the master Wizards themselves.

A typical Draznian will be of average height and build with yellow to yellow-white hair and light grey or light blue eyes.

Wizards are very common among the travelers from Draznia, as are Fighters. There are a few Thaumaturges and some Thieves, but rarely any Sorcerers. Their favorite weapon is the two handed sword, but the broadsword is not rare, and bow weapons are also popular for use against wild animals.

Draznia is ruled by a Council composed of the Masters of the various Guilds, and most of their political considerations are decided on the basis of what is best for trade. Draznia has very few natural resources other than her fertile fields, and so most of what her citizens require, other than what can be grown, must be purchased by the profits of their grain exports. At the moment, there is a power struggle going on between the Guild of Farmers and their adherents and the Guild of Merchants and their supporters. The Merchants take the position that without their trading ships the Farmers would be unable to sell their products, and the Farmers take the view that without their crops the Merchants would have nothing to sell. This struggle has been going on for several years, and is expected to continue for several more since both sides are aware of the truth of their own position without accepting the equal truth of their opponent’s position. Since the power struggle is taking place mainly through abusive speeches in Council and verbal attacks, it has little effect on the day to day affairs of Draznia. All three of the schools of Wizardry have ignored the political debate, and may not even know that it is going on. Hovath

Hovath is a theocracy. The High Priest of Hovath is the supreme theological and governmental authority in the country, and he rules strictly, with harsh penalties for all that he deems harmful for his people, such as perjury, murder, the Black Arts, and Wizardry, to name a few things that are crimes punishable by death. Thaumaturges are supreme in Hovath, provided they observe the proper rites, otherwise they are heretics to be burned at the stake along with Wizards and Sorcerers.

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The people of Hovath are a tall, dark people with heavy black hair, usually worn short, and dark, bright eyes. They are strong, but only average when it comes to quickness. The bow is a favored weapon, as is the spear, but for close work they prefer a knife or short sword. Thaumaturges are numerous among the population, outnumbered only by Fighters, and there are also many Thieves, even though theft is also a capital crime. The few Wizards and Sorcerers that are in Hovath are still living only because they are well hidden, for the High Priest considers them equally unholy, and death is the automatic sentence if one is captured.

The climate of Hovath is hot, but the people are well adapted to it, and spend the middle part of the day napping rather than fighting the heat. Hovath is rich in natural resources, but her riches are not apparent, since most of the luxuries generally associated with wealth have been declared sinful by the High Priest. Many valuable minerals are exported from Hovath, but the wealthy have very little to do with their riches except count them, and pay taxes. The High Priest is as abstemious as he desires his people to be, and used the taxes thus collected to build hospitals, roads, schools and temples. Of course, the hospitals are also used for such operations as removing a wine-drinker’s nose, and the schools teach only what the High Priest believes — several major parts of which actively contradict what the students could easily observe. Disagreeing with any of the not overly clean priest-teachers is also a crime. The most devoted of the priests are neither clean nor well groomed, a fact that is taken to demonstrate their concentration on higher things than the mundane details of this world. In Hovath it is claimed that you can smell a truly holy teacher from 1000 feet away, and more if you are downwind.

There are two major reasons why Hovathians venture to Kesmai. The first is to win honor for the High Priest by proving that his adherents are stronger and braver than anyone else, because they follow the pure way that the High Priest has set for them. The second reason is to get away from the High Priest.

There is much dissatisfaction in Hovath, but it is totally disorganized since most are afraid to speak their minds even to their closest kin for fear of the many spies that the High Priest has among the citizenry. The High Priest encourages this fear, believing that fear is a good method for keeping his people on the path that it is best for them to follow. He has a cadre of

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powerful assassins who aid him in this objective, assassins who are just as fanatical as he. They attack from behind with a curious weapon that consists of a thin wire with two wooden grips on its ends Once this wire is about a victim’s neck, he is doomed. But for all that the dissatisfaction is silent, it is still building, and may someday ignite in bloody civil war. Mnar

Mnar is a land of roving herders. Since the people spend much of their time moving behind their herds as they shift from one grazing land to another, there is little central government. Instead, they are organized into clans that are based mostly on bloodlines. When a matter must be decided that affects all of the clans, they call a meeting of chiefs and shamans, and argue until an answer is reached, a procedure that is often time-consuming. To a Mnarian, it is only reasonable that any important decision should be a long time in the making, but this attitude has often frustrated other races trying to deal with Mnar. Not long ago, with the best intentions, Illyria tried to introduce a more centralized concept of governing, with the result that their fleets are no longer welcome on Mnar. The clans resent any outside attempt to influence them.

Mnar exports dried meat and fine leathers, and they import very little other than grain and wine from Lemuria. Their people are tall and strong, with light skin and straight blond hair. Their eyes are almost always green. Light grey eyes are thought to denote a person with more than average magic, and black-eyed people are thought to have the evil-eye. Mnarians are happiest fighting with axe and shield, but they are noted warriors and can make do with just about any weapon. Most Mnarians are Fighters, but all other professions are also represented: Wizards, Thaumaturges, Thieves, and Sorcerers. Thieves can gain much honor in Mnar, provided that they do not steal from their own clan, and Sorcerers are tolerated, as long as they only practice their Black Arts on strangers, and not on clansmen. This is one of the main reasons that Sorcerers from Mnar travel to Kesmai: to find strangers to practice on.

The rich grassland of Mnar offers the perfect environment for the Mnarian herd animals, and the tribes have very little to do other than see that the herds do not over-graze, and protect them from the various wild

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animals of the plains. This peaceful and productive life frequently drives Fighters of the clans to Kesmai looking for excitement. Barbarians

Many bands of barbarians wander on the wide plains and deserts of the central continent, moving constantly in response to the demands of their environment. Some of them are hunters, some are gleaners, and a few are herdsmen; all periodically pack up their villages and move, searching for new grazing or hunting grounds.

The tribes are similar physically, big-boned and strong, with thick black hair and dark brown or blue eyes. They are not overly tall and their wide shoulders and thick necks make them appear even shorter than they are. All of the tribes produce Fighters. Their love of the battle axe or mace is one of the few things the tribes have in common. Also the barbarians share a great disdain for distance weapons which they consider suitable only for cowards and civilized fops. Once they have obtained a satisfactory weapon, they will seldom replace it since they believe each kill bonds the weapon to the warrior thus making it an extension of himself. They firmly believe that if a weapon is treated honorably and fed red blood in battle enough, the bonding becomes so strong that if the weapon is taken from its owner it will magically return to his side.

In general, the tribes are ruled by a paramount chief, chosen from the chiefs of the clan. To be considered a chief, a member of the clan would have to be a great Fighter or Thaumaturge1. It is considered acceptable to gain wealth through theft from other tribes, but no thief, however rich, would be considered a chief unless also a proven Fighter or ‘Speaker.’ The warrior is the only export from the barbarian tribes.

Five of the tribes have gotten large and powerful enough to be recog- nized by outsiders. These are:

Shriker Clan — This clan has many great Speakers. Their life is or- ganized around elaborate ceremonies that their Speakers to the Wind per- form at various times during the lunar month. They believe that if the

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entire cycle of moon ceremonies is ever performed flawlessly, without the slightest wrong inflection of voice or the smallest deviation of ritual dance, then the Shrikers will be given dominion over the entire world.

Wind Knot Clan — This group consists mostly of Fighters, they generally import their Speakers from other clans, and then pay very little attention to them. The only reason that they bother with Speakers at all is that they do not wish to be without something the Shrikers have, however useless they deem it. The average member of the Wind Knot Clan has faith in nothing but his weapon.

Grass Snake Clan — This tribe has many Speakers who tend toward mysticism and even more members who are nimble fingered Thieves. It is one of the few tribes with a woman for a Paramount Chief. She is said to be very powerful, even for a Speaker, and is said to be able to summon a recently departed soul back into its body.

Mountain Cloud Clan — This is the only barbarian clan to have any Wizards. Needless to say, conducting Wizardly experiments is very difficult in a nomadic environment, but the clan is so proud of having something no other clan has, that they will help out whenever they can. They are beginning to be rewarded for this devotion, since their Wizards are reaching levels of power where they can be useful, rather than expensive luxuries.

Dark Moon Clan — This clan is famous, or rather infamous, for producing Sorcerers. They perform dire ceremonies during the dark of the moon, seeking to summon things best left alone. Rumor names them murderers and cannibals, but in reality they are much worse.

While these are the most well known of the tribes, there are many more, some consisting of only a few families, and others with hundreds of warriors and their kin; each with their own beliefs and ceremonies.

5.1.5. Alignment

All players and objects have an alignment which tells whether they basically serve Light or Darkness. Although there is incessant warfare between the minions of Light and Dark, Chaotic creatures generally do not attack their own kind any more than Lawful creatures do. A player’s alignment can affect the behavior of other creatures strongly, since some are very

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sensitive to the company they keep. Among humans, alignment has no direct effects, although causing harm to another of one’s own alignment can have dire effect.

Besides the two primary alignments of Lawful and Chaotic, or Light and Dark, there are two other alignments. Neutrals are neither Lawful nor Chaotic, but somewhere in the middle. Evil characters and monsters serve Dark as Chaotics do, but in an especially unrestrained manner. Evils devote their entire existence to unmitigated destruction; Sorcerers and all who deal with Demons are Evil. Others may earn the distinction through persistence in antisocial activities.

Lawfuls will sometimes tolerate the presence of Neutrals, but Chaotics rarely will. Thieves are Neutral (although they will appear to be Lawful to less discerning characters). Lawful players who kill other Lawfuls may also become Neutral. If you have committed a deed which has made you Neu- tral, you can go to a temple and ask a priest to intercede on your behalf. Forgiveness can be obtained for a donation of 100 or 200 gold coins, if you have only sinned once. The priest will require a larger donation if you have committed several foul deeds and he will most likely slap you a couple of times to test if you are truly repentant. After being forgiven by the priest, you may want to stay away from the town for a while since some of its inhabitants might not trust you. The priest will not forgive Thieves or mass murderers.

5.1.6. Karma

The concept of karma is used to keep track of a character’s misdeeds. Whenever a character kills a Lawful human, the character’s karmic debt is increased by one. For the purposes of karma, any player or monster that represents a human, such as a beggar or peddler, counts as human. If you kill a lawful animal, you’ll turn Neutral, but won’t incur any karmic debt. Killing a town deputy will both turn you Neutral and increase your karmic debt. The price a priest charges to turn you back to Lawful doubles with each increase.

Karma has an additional effect in some areas of the game. On the island of Kesmai, and in adjoining scenarios where beginners may come and go freely, additional strictures known as the karma rules are in effect.

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Anywhere these rules are being applied, the gods are coming down strongly in favor of Lawful behavior. There are two basic karma rules. When your karmic debt exceeds three, i.e. you have killed four or more lawful humans, you are turned irrevocably Evil. This marks you as a dangerous character to anyone who might encounter you on the street. Additionally, if you continue to kill Lawfuls, there are continually increasing odds that you will be seized directly by the gods and vanish in a clap of thunder, every time you kill again! These very harsh rules are designed to discourage improper treatment of new players and townspeople.

In more advanced areas, namely those reachable only via one-way gate- ways from the Island, the karma rules are not applied. Since these areas will eventually constitute the majority of the world, the karma rules are only being applied in the relatively small area where new players will be learning the game. If you are a Thief or a Sorcerer, or are intent on running a Neutral character anyway, your karma is relatively unimportant in these advanced areas.

The severity of the karma rules requires that Lawful players have a means of defending themselves against Lawful attackers, and a way to recompense accidental killings. The concept of self defense is used to deter- mine whether the killing of another Lawful is justified or not. If you as a Lawful are attacked by another Lawful player named Lancelot, for in- stance, the message “You have been attacked by Lancelot!” will be dis- played. This indicates that you may kill Lancelot in self defense, because he initiated the fight. A special character, @, will appear in front of Lancelot’s name on the display (in the alignment character field) to indicate that he may be killed without increasing your karmic debt. You should be aware that only one player may have this status at a time, so if you are being attacked by two Lawfuls, you will have to be careful which one you strike back against. Self defense status will be preserved across trips to the conference room, but not if you leave the Island of Kesmai to go elsewhere on CompuServe, or log off the system.

Some of the townspeople have a concept similar to self defense, where they remember who was harassing them. Even if you have been gone for a while, perhaps even been forgiven by a priest and turned Lawful, some townspeople may still hold a grudge and shoot you on sight. If they witness the priest forgiving you, they generally cool off, but they do not accept

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hearsay that you have repented. It’s best not to get on the wrong side of these hot tempered Lawfuls.

If you kill another Lawful accidentally, you can have the karmic debt removed if the other player forgives you. If he or she issues a forgive command any time during the current session (both must be in play at the time, although either or both may have gone to the game menu and back), the karma hit will be removed from your character. The best thing to do is to convince the ghost to forgive you before it gets away, but the player can still forgive you after creating a new character or being raised from the dead. You will still be Neutral after being forgiven, and will have to make your own peace with a priest.

5.1.7. Age

As in ‘real’ life, the character has a finite life span. The exact time of a character’s death is determined by the Fates at the instant it is born. As the character approaches a natural death it will exhibit the various aspects of aging. An average player can expect to last for about fifteen thousand battle rounds.2 It is rumored that high-level magic users can actually cheat the Fates and prolong their lives, but only if they are very high level.

5.1.8. Experience

Experience points are the means of quantifying the successes and failures of a character. All characters can earn experience points by buying training in the skills they need to survive. Fighters who train in the Gymnasium increase their skill rating, and therefore acquire additional experience points. Magic users gain experience every time they learn a new spell, for the same reason. Fighters and Martial Artists also gain experience points every time they defeat a foe in combat, because they are actively applying the skills they have learned.

Thaumaturges and Wizards gain experience every time they successfully

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use their magic. The gain for a Wizard is very slight compared to that of the Thaumaturge. The only way Sorcerers can gain experience is to acquire gold, unless they are willing to wade into battle armed only with staff or dagger. Needless to say, many magic users die an early death.

To classify the advancement of a character by stages, the continuum of experience points is divided up into discrete levels. Players start out life at first level, and advance as they gain experience. Once a character has 800 experience points, he advances to second level. 1600 points means third level, 3200 means fourth, and so on. It is assumed that by the time a player reaches the Island of Kesmai he has received basic training in some profession and is at least third level. To advance a level the character must have the required amount of experience and be fully rested. Once rested, additional rest commands will cause the player to actually advance to his new level. When a character gains a level, adjustments are made in his statistics, commensurate with his increased prowess. There is no limit to the level a player can attain.

5.2. Combat Characteristics

The second important group of numerical statistics are those pertaining to combat skills. In general these characteristics increase as a player gains age and experience. The three most important combat characteristics are:

Hits The number of hit points of damage a character can sustain is what determines when he has died of his wounds. This number is determined randomly to start with, and increases gradually as the character gains experience.

Hits On The number of damage points currently sustained tells the player whether he is in danger of dying at that particular moment. If the number of Hits On equals the number of Hits available, then the character dies.

Stamina The stamina value gives a measure of how far the character can exert himself before he must rest. The stamina rating is used whenever a player moves faster than the normal pace. Stamina points can be restored by resting, or simply waiting for a long time. Moving rapidly while badly wounded will expend stamina at a very high rate.

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5.2.1. Adds

If a player is especially good at something, he often has some bonuses attached to his statistics. For both strength and dexterity, the adds valued indicate whether the player has such a bonus. Strength adds increase the effect of successful blows in combat, and dexterity adds decrease the chance of being hit in combat. Both strength and dexterity adds increase as a player’s level increases, to represent increasing ability.

5.2.2. Encumbrance

The encumbrance system keeps track of the weight of all the items that every player carries. A player’s strength determines how much weight he can carry. The average player is allowed to carry up to about 50 pounds, and a strength of 18 allows about 90 pounds. When more than one-half of the full limit is carried, however, a penalty is assessed for moving faster than the normal rate. Typically, a sword weighs a pound or two, armor several pounds, a ring or gem a few ounces. Each gold coin weighs one-twentieth of an ounce.

5.2.3. Combat Skill

The weapons skill of a player is the one factor which distinguishes a good warrior from a poor one. Players have a skill rating in each of the ten weapon types: swords (edged weapons), rapiers (point weapons), maces (crushing weapons), bows, daggers, two handed swords, staves, thrown weapons, flails, and bare hand. Every weapon also has a skill rating. During combat, it is the skill rating of the weapon and the player which determines how effectively the weapon is used. If the skill rating of the player is higher than the skill rating of the weapon, then the player can use the weapon effectively. If not, he will most likely fail. If the player’s skill rating is very much higher than the weapon’s rating, then the player is considered a master of that weapon and gets combat bonuses. Skill points are obtained by training in the Gymnasium, practicing with a Martial Arts instructor, or through success in combat. In general, training in a discipline outside of your character class is very expensive.

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The tenth weapon skill, bare hands, indicates a player’s skill in unarmed combat. The power of this method of combat can be so great that a group of players, the Martial Artists, have dedicated their lives to its pursuit. Since most players do not have much initial skill in unarmed combat, they must pay for their instruction from a Martial Artist once on the Island. As to be expected, only members of the Martial Arts character classes can receive instruction in the most advanced techniques. Given time (and gold), any player can advance in skill until he has a black belt in hand to hand combat. At this point he can safely dispense with mundane weapons. Players who choose to be Martial Artists not only advance much faster, but they also can continue their training past the black belt level. Players should take note that many of the local residents have high bare hand skill ratings so an unarmed creature is not necessarily easy prey.

Separator page - sword

The Island of Kesmai 6-1

6. The Display

The screen is divided up into several fields, or windows. Each of these areas is used by the program to display a different set of data. The major windows are:

  1. The graphics display of the surrounding terrain, with other players indicated.
  2. The list of other players in sight, with an indication of which player corresponds to which spot on the graphics display.
  3. A window where the program communicates to the player in English.
  4. The input line, where the player enters his commands to the program.
  5. The vital statistics display, where the Hits, Hits On, Experience, Stamina and Magic Points, and the contents of the left and right hands are continually displayed.

The basic layout of the 80 by 24 screen is as follows:

Graphics                               List of
Display                                Visible

English Descriptions and
Combat Results

Input Line

Right Hand              Vital Statistics
Left Hand

The Island of Kesmai 6-2

The basic layout ot the 40 by 20 screen is as follows:

Graphics                     Vital Statistics
Display                      Right Hand
                             Left Hand

List of Visible Players

Input Line

English Descriptions and
Combat Results

The Island of Kesmai 6-3

6.1. The Graphics Displey

There is a small picture of the surrounding area in the upper left-hand corner of the screen. When a player is in the dungeon, this picture generally represents the region lit by his torch. A typical picture for standing in a corridor:

          []  []
          []  |
          []  [][][]
          []  [][][]
          []  []

Each square, as defined by one row and two columns, represents ten feet. Your current location is always at the center of the picture. The brackets represent walls, and the | and / are closed and open doors. A typical room:

[]        []
/   .     []
[]        []
[]        []

Every different type of terrain is represented by a pair of characters.

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Terrain Types
Character Terrain
open space or sand
[] wall or hidden doorway
[_ a ruined wall
-- closed horizontal door
` `
/ open door
up up stairs
dn down stairs
h a throne
@ trees, or thick forest
~~ water
** flames
~ ice, or glaciers
@@ a spider web
== a counter in a shop
:: a bridge or dock
() a boxing ring, or a pit
mm an altar
$ items on the ground
o a trash can
OO mountains
## a grate
.. open air
"" grass

One of five characters will be printed in the center of the display to indicate the direction of your previous move. Either one of the four directional arrows will be shown, or a dot will be printed, indicating a vertical motion.

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Upper-case letters of the alphabet indicate the presence of other players. For example:

[]       $[]
/   ^   A []
[]    ****[]
[]dn  ****[]

The asterisks are a fire burning in the corner of the room. The dn indicates a down staircase. The dollar signs ( $) indicate some treasure on the ground, and the A indicates another player.

If there is more than one player in the same space, you will see only one of them in the picture. This means that you will have to follow the movements of the other players carefully if you want to be certain of where everyone is in a crowded room. Also, if another player is in the same space that you are in, you will not necessarily see any indication of his presence. The graphics display will usually tell you where another player is, but it gives no indication of who it is or what he is doing. For this reason, the program also prints a list of the other players in sight.

6.2. The Other Players

Eight or ten lines to the right of the graphics display are used for printing a list of the other players. A line on this display can have one of two formats.

If the other player is not in the same space you are in, its location will be indicated on the graphical display by an upper-case letter. Somewhere in the listing of other players, there will be a line with this same letter. This line contains the number of players represented by the letter, and the type of player. For example:

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[][][][]--[]      *A 3 orcs
[] B     $[]      *B kobold
/   ^    A[]
[]    ****[]
[]dn  ****[]

The display indicates that a group of three Chaotic Orcs is standing twenty feet to your east, and a Chaotic Kobold is ten feet north and ten feet west.

If the other player is in the same space you are in, the display uses a different format to indicate this. Suppose, in the example above, the Orcs were to move into your space. The display would then be:

[][][][]--[]      *orc sword shield chain
[] D     $[]      *orc mace    |    plate
/   ^     []      *orc staff   |    leather
[]    ****[]      *D kobold    |
[]df  ****[]

The display indicates that there are three Orcs in the same space that you are in. One is carrying a sword and shield, and is wearing chain armor. The second is wearing plate armor, and has a mace in his right hand. The last Orc has a staff in his right hand, and leather armor. From left to right, the fields are: alignment, name, right hand, left hand, and armor.

6.3. English Descriptions

In the center of the screen there are five to ten lines devoted to English language output. The descriptions of the surrounding area, the combat results, and data requested by the players is printed here. If more than ten lines need to be printed, the eleventh line will start again at the top line.

Information printed in this window only stays on the screen for one turn. This means that if you are reading a large block of text, you must either finish in one turn, or have the text reprinted again the next turn.

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6.4. The Input Line

When the program is ready for input from the terminal, a prompt (>) is printed. If no prompt is visible, the program will not accept input. If you make a mistake typing, you can use a Control-H (backspace) to delete the previous character. A carriage return will terminate the input.

6.5. Vital Statistics

The program displays the current contents of the hands just below the prompt line. The letter L signifies the left hand, and R signifies the right. The current values of Hits, Hits On, Experience Points, Magic Points and Stamina, are printed to the right of the hands.

Separator page - sword

The Island of Kesmai 7-1

7. Death — What It Means In Your Life

Eventually, you will die. This disaster can befall you in several ways. The lucky ones will die of old age after a long and, hopefully, productive life. If you die of old age, your corpse will decay instantly, and no magic or sorcery can bring you back.

If you are so unfortunate as to die with your boots on, your corpse will fall to the ground, and you will become a ghost. As a ghost, you may use only the following commands:

  • help
  • quit
  • again
  • redraw
  • show stats
  • talking to other players

Your corpse will last for several minutes, during which you may try to attract the attention of a passing human, or perhaps another member of your party if you are running with others. If another player picks up your corpse, or rolls it across the floor, decay is staved off. A member of your group can use the spell of raisedead to bring you back to life, or your corpse can be taken to a temple, where a priest can raise you. When you are raised, you will regain full control over your character again.

If your character is Lawful or Neutral and has a high enough Constitution to withstand the shock, there is a good chance that the gods will take pity on you, and transport your corpse to a temple or another safe location rather than permitting it to decay. You will lose two Constitution points if you are revived in this manner. If you are impatient you can use the quit command, after waiting sixty seconds from the moment of your death, to grab the attention of the gods. Of course, you will lose what you were carrying in your hands, and will have to go back down into the depths to retrieve it. Neutral characters will generally be deposited in secluded areas. A badly wounded Neutral in a temple would be quickly slain again.

There is a chance that the gods will overlook your death (perhaps they are asleep). Another possibility is that a Sorcerer might animate your body and force it to do his bidding. In this case, you are gone forever. In

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addition, if you perceive that your character was obviously cursed on the day of its birth with exceptionally bad luck, then you may generate a new character by calling the character generator from the menu.

The Island of Kesmai 8-1

8. The Commands

The commands are presented below mainly by example, and there are ways to phrase commands that are not explicitly mentioned. A general form was followed for the creation of the commands in the grammar, though as the subset of English became more complex, the number of exceptions and unique forms increased. Most of the commands are composed of a subject part, a verb part, and various direct object and prepositional phrase parts. Prepositions are built into the commands on an individual basis rather than being abstracted to separate grammatical constructs.

A final feature of the command language is the extraction of noise words from the command line before parsing. As a result, most common modifiers, articles, and various nouns and verbs that can be inferred from the command or context may be inserted at will.

The previous command may be repeated verbatim by typing again. There is only a one round buffer, however, and the command is remembered as text, not as the actual action performed. Commands can be repeated more than once, by typing again (or simply a) as many times as necessary.

The program has a built in abbreviation facility which allows you to define up to ten frequently used phrases. To define a phrase you type:

define <0 to 9> “phrase text”

For example:

define 0 “take berries from sack and eat them” define 1 “aazag duppira marduk kanpa” define 2 “and draw greatsword”

will define three abbreviation strings. To use them you type:

$<0 to 9>

at the location you wish to have the string inserted. For example, using the strings defined above you can type:


(will cause you to take and eat berries)

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(will warm a spell)

w w $2

(will draw your blade)

Macros $0 through $8 must each be less than 45 characters in length and $9 must be less than 65. You can perform up to two substitutions per command line. To examine your string definitions type:

show abbreviations


show abbrevs

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8.1. Movement

The most basic command is to move one square in any direction. To move, type


where <direction> can be either north, south, east, west, northwest, northeast, southwest, or southeast. Thus


will move you one square east. More concisely, the eight directions can be abbreviated to their first one or two letters. The command


will move you one square north and


will move you diagonally one square to the northwest.

It is possible to move 2 or 3 spaces in a single round.

north north north

will move to the north three spaces.

north west

will move one space north, and one west. Of course, all the abbreviations for the directions apply in repetition also. In general, if an abbreviation is illustrated in one place, that abbreviation will also work in any other command, even if such is not explicitly stated.

Sometimes you may wish to simply follow or to catch a particular group of creatures that are in your range of vision. You can do this by entering:

chase <group>

Using chase and the repeat command feature you can follow a wily creature or rapidly moving group leader. For example

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chase centaur again again

When you move more than one space per round, you are moving at greater than the normal rate, and may become exhausted. You may use up stamina points from double or triple running. The numbers of points lost depends on the weight of the items you are carrying versus your strength. It is possible, if you are relatively unencumbered, to move two spaces, or even three, without incurring any penalty. Once you have run out of stamina points, you may only move one space per turn, until you have rested.

Changing levels of the dungeon is done by going up and down stairs. If you are on a staircase, you can go up with


and down with


This can be shortened to u and d. Moving up and down cannot be mixed with horizontal motion.

In addition to staircases you can attempt to climb up and down pits, cliffs and walls. A character’s climbing ability depends on strength, encumbrance, character class and luck. Martial Artists and Thieves receive special training in climbing so they have a strong advantage. Anyone can climb down a pit, to climb up you must have reasonable climbing ability or you will fall. To climb down a pit you would use:

climb down

If you try to go down a pit with the down command you will most likely fall. To climb up a pit use:

climb up

From time to time you will find yourself in a situation where you can’t see where you are going, and you do not want to risk running into or falling off of something. The crawl command will allow you to move one space in any of the eight directions without fear of falling. This command is much

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slower than normal movement. To safely move one space to the northwest you would use:

crawl nw

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8.2. Swimming

It is possible to swim across bodies of water if your encumbrance is lower than one-third of your maximum. The command to swim is

swim <direction>

where <direction> can be north, south, east, west, northwest, northeast, southwest, or southeast. Because of swift and treacherous currents, it takes longer to cover distances by swimming than by walking. Since sea creatures are built for such conditions, these limitations do not apply to them; sharks can swim much faster than you can. When you reach the shore, you can leave the water by giving the appropriate normal movement command.

To dive down into the water and perform actions on the bottom, type:

dive and <command>

where <command> is any command that handles items, looks around or performs an attack. Once you are in the water, you must swim or dive every round unless you have thrown the spell of water-breathing, otherwise you will drown within a few rounds. Diving enables you to dive down and spend a single round on the bottom, then return to the surface for air.

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8.3. Looking Around

To obtain a lengthy English description of your surroundings, type

look around

This command will describe the terrain you are standing on, point out important features on the landscape, and list the various items laying on the ground within ten feet.

To list only the items on the ground, you can type

look look here


look north

will list the items laying on the ground one space to the north. You may use any of the eight adjacent spaces for this command (north, south, northeast, southwest, etc.). If you wish to look at a specific item on the ground (at your feet) you can say,

look at <item> on ground look at <number> <item> on ground

For example,

look at second hammer on ground

will give you a detailed description of the second hammer in the pile of items at your feet.

To get a description of the terrain above or below you, type

look up look down

If there is a counter or altar to the north, south, east, or west, you can look on top of it by saying

look on counter look at altar

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This command is the only way to look on top of something you cannot step onto.

To look at the contents of your rucksack you can say,

look in sack show sack

If you wish a description of a particular item in your sack use

look at <item> in sack

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8.4. Displays

There are a number of characteristics of a player which are not displayed continuously on the screen, but which are available on request. The contents of the left and right hand, the number of Hits and Hits Taken, the Stamina and Magic Points, and the Experience Points are always on the screen, but everything else must be called up. The commands to do that are:

show stats

will show the six primary statistics, the strength and dexterity adds, the alignment and the character class.

show skill

will display your skill ratings for the ten weapon classes.

show belt

will list the items being carried on the belt, and also the armor being worn.

show rings

will show the four ring fingers of each hand.

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8.5. General Item Manipulation

Every player has two hands, a belt with five slots, eight fingers for rings, and a rucksack. The contents of the hands are always displayed on the screen. The contents of the belt, rucksack, and fingers can be displayed on request.

A player can hold any object that he can lift and he may hold it in either hand. Most weapons can be put onto the belt, including shields and greatswords. Only rings may be placed on the fingers. The rucksack can hold up to twenty items, with each item limited to a weight of 16 ounces. Note that this excludes all weapons except daggers and shurikens.

All objects have a number of properties in common. Every item has the name that it is known by, weight, size, combat characteristics, and alignment. All the commands in the following sections apply to all items, whether they are weapons or not.

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8.5.1. Picking Up and Putting Down

To pick up an item lying on the ground, you use the take command.

take <name>

will take the item you name from the ground, and put it into your character’s hand. If the item is a shield, it will be picked up by the left hand if the left hand is empty. Otherwise, the right hand is used to lift items. If only one hand is empty, the empty hand is used. The name should be the name of the item as it appears on the ground, as shown by the look command.

take sword

will have your character pick up a sword with its right hand. If its right hand is already full, then the character will pick up the sword with its left hand.

If there is more than one item of the same kind on the ground, you have to specify which one you want, or the first one the program finds will be taken. This is done by specifying the number of the item.

take second sword

will have your character pick up the second sword. It is difficult to know which item to look at when there is more than one, but a couple of simple rules will help. Generally, items are listed in the reverse order of when they were placed on the ground. Thus, the first sword is the sword last dropped on the ground, and so on. If there is doubt, and it is important to check every item, you can always pick them all up one by one, and deposit them elsewhere.

If you are standing next to an altar or counter you can take objects off of the top of the counter, with

take sword from counter

As a Special case, you can generally pick up a rock anywhere in the town or the dungeon. Rocks are not generally displayed on the ground, however, as they blend in with the surroundings.

take rock

will attempt to pick up a rock. Your odds are one in three of finding a rock

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in a given round, as you may have to dig around for one.

To drop an item, use the drop command.

drop sword

will cause your character to drop the sword in its hand onto the ground. If your character has two swords, one in each hand, the sword in the right hand will be dropped first. This command uses the individual name of the item, which is the name displayed on the screen.

drop right

will drop the item in the right hand, and

drop left

will drop the item in the left hand.

put sword on counter

will put a sword onto a counter in an adjacent space.

You can also throw an item.

throw sword north

will have your character throw its sword ten feet north. You may specify any direction or sequence of directions, but the spot where the item is to land must be within your sight. You cannot throw through a wall or a closed doorway. The usual maximum range for throwing is anywhere you can see, but some items are so heavy that you can only throw them a limited distance. For example, a greatsword can only be thrown ten feet.

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8.5.2. Moving Items from Place to Place

You are allowed to carry 120 ounces on your belt (about the weight of three swords), plus one large object slung over your back. Items which must go over the back include greatswords, staves and bows. To put an item in the hand onto the belt or onto the back, use the sheathe command.

sheathe shield

will move the shield from the hand onto the back.

sheathe right sheathe left

also works.

draw sword

will have your character draw the first sword on his belt. The same hand preference rules are used as with the take command.

draw second mace

will draw the second mace on the belt.

There is a command to move an item from one hand to another.


will transfer an item in either direction. One hand must be empty. This command will not exchange the contents of two full hands.

Movement can be combined with the commands to sheathe, draw, and swap items.

north north and draw sword

will move north two spaces, and also draw a sword. The ‘and’ is required. The ‘swim’ command should not be combined with handling items, unless you wish to die of water inhalation.

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8.5.3. The Sack

Items are put into, or taken out of, the sack by adding into sack or from sack onto a take or drop command.

drop gem into sack

will have your character drop a gem that is in its hand into the sack.

drop right into sack drop left into sack

also works.

take gem from sack

will have your character take the top gem in the sack into its hand, just as a take command would.

take third book from sack

will get the third book from the top of the sack. Items are retrieved in the reverse order that they were put in.

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8.5.4. Examining Objects

An individual item can be carefully examined while it is in your hand or when it is on the ground if you are standing in the same space as the item.

look at sword

will describe carefully the sword in your hand. If there is no sword in your hand, then the sword on the ground will be described.

look at second staff

will describe the second staff on the ground, if there are no staves in your hand.

You can also directly specify a hand to examine.

look at right hand


look at left hand

will look at the item in the appropriate hand.

look at second ring on the right hand

will examine the second ring worn on the right hand.

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8.5.5. Moving Things Around

If there is an item too heavy to lift and you need to move it somewhere, you can push it along the ground, and, if you are strong enough, up and down stairs.

push corpse north

will move the first corpse in the pile at your feet one space to the north.

push second bottle north

will move the second bottle north. You will move along with the item that you are pushing.

If there is an item at your feet that you want to move to a place that you personally do not want to go, such as into a fire or off a cliff, you can roll it.

roll corpse north

will move the first corpse in the pile at your feet one space to the north while you stay safely behind.

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8.6. Special Item Manipulation

Some items have special properties. Bow weapons can be loaded and unloaded. Books have pages, and can be opened and read. Bottles contain liquids, which can be drunk. Rings can be worn on fingers, and can convey special powers to their wearers. Gold coins serve as the standard of value. All of these items are manipulated by special commands.

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8.6.1. Bow Weapons

Bow weapons can be loaded by saying

nock arrow


load bolt

If the weapon is a short bow or long bow, it can be nocked while moving, so

west and nock

is acceptable. The ‘and’ is required. You can move two spaces and nock a short bow, or one space and nock a long bow.

A crossbow will remain loaded while you walk around, but a short bow only remains nocked as long as you remain stationary. The presence of an arrow or bolt is indicated on the screen by an asterisk next to the left hand display. To be loaded and used, a bow must be in the right hand, and the left hand must be empty.

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8.6.2. Books

To read a book, you must put it into your hand. The next step is to open the book, which is accomplished by

open book


open scroll

whichever is appropriate. When you do this, the first page of the book will be displayed on the screen. Once open, the book stays open until you drop it or put it into your rucksack.

open book to third page

will open the book and print the third page.

close book

will close the book, although it is not necessary to do this, since the book is automatically closed after moving it.

read book

will also open the book, and display the first page. This command auto- matically turns to the next page after displaying the current page, so successive commands will read the entire book.

Once the book is open, you can move from page to page by flipping the pages.

flip page

advances you one page. The current page is displayed on the screen.

flip forward 3 pages


flip 3 pages

will go forward three pages, and display the page.

flip back

will flip back one page.

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flip back 2 pages

will go back 2 pages.

flip to page 4

will go to the fourth page.

flip to the last page

will go to the end of the book.

look at book

will tell you what is on the cover, which is usually the title of the book. Books and scrolls are all manipulated in the same way.

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8.6.3. Bottles and Potions

Bottles often contain liquids. These liquids may be good to drink, but since the opposite is also true, the functioning of poisons is particularly important to understand, as prompt application of the proper treatment may save your life.

Every time you drink a poisonous substance, you accrue some number of points of delayed poison, with some number of rounds of delay, depending on the poison. If the delay is ten rounds, for instance, the poison will take effect in ten rounds, and there will be no ill effects until then. Once the poison takes effect, it gives hit points of damage according to the following scheme:

One point of poison will give one hit the round it takes effect. Two points of poison give two hits the round the poison first acts, and one hit the next round. Three points of poison give three hits the first round, two the second, and one the third, and so on. Thus, the total amount of damage taken follows a sharply increasing sequence. The difference between five and six points of poison is six hits, so it should be apparent that if you ingest a poison, you should do everything possible to reduce its strength as soon as possible.

To drink, first put the bottle or flask in your hand.

open bottle


open flask

will open the container. If you then look at the bottle, you will get descriptions both of the outside of the bottle and what you can see of the liquid on the inside. If the bottle is clear, you don’t have to open the bottle to see the liquid. Of course, you can always see the contents of a cup.

The command

break bottle

will break the bottle. This will allow the contents to escape, but makes the bottle a better weapon.

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Of course, the main use of liquids is:


which will let you do just that.

There are several common liquids that you should be aware of, in case you run across one of them.

Ale This local beverage is found in the saloon. One bottle of ale will remove three hits immediately, but also gives one point of delayed action poison (the hangover), with a delay of twenty rounds. Ales are addictive, so drinking three quickly results in three points of delayed poison (a big hangover). Note that as long as you keep drinking, the hangover will never catch up to you, since each time you drink, the delay time is set to twenty rounds for all the poison in your system. This means that in an emergency, a swig of ale every ten or fifteen rounds will keep a bad dose of poison from taking effect until a healer can be reached and the poison counteracted.

Antidote There is a universal poison antidote available on Kesmai, but it is expensive.

Cyanide For those of strange inclination, the local bar keeps cyanide on draft. Few buy it.

Naphtha The saloon sells jugs of distilled petroleum, which can be used for starting fires. To use naphtha, open the jug, and then throw it. Upon impact, the naphtha will explode into flame. If you don’t open the jug before you throw, no fire will result, and the liquid will quietly evaporate. Never drink naphtha.

Balm Various peddlers sell a liquid known as Balm of Gilead, which will heal wounds. With high quality balm, one dose will remove all the damage from a serious battle.

There are other mysterious potions, whose properties can only be determined by experimentation.

A note about setting bottles on the ground. If you place any sort of bottle on the ground while it is open, the liquid inside will spill out. Always close a bottle before dropping it if you care about what is inside. Throwing

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an open bottle also causes the contents to spill, and glass bottles break when you throw them, so be careful. Putting an open bottle in your sack will also cause it to spill. Putting a mug or cup on the ground does not spill the contents.

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8.6.4. Rings

Rings can be worn on the fingers, and can confer other benefits to their wearers besides ornamentation.

put on ring

will have your character put a ring in its hand onto a finger of the opposite hand. If your character has the ring in the left hand, the ring will be put on its right hand, and vice versa. The ring goes onto the first available finger.

put ring on third finger

will put the ring onto the third finger. Again, the ring goes onto the opposite hand.

take ring off

will remove the ring from your character’s finger. The right hand will be searched first, then the left, with the first ring encountered being removed. The ring switches hands, so that a ring worn on the right hand will be removed by the left, and vice versa.

take ring off left hand

will remove the first ring on the left hand and place it into the right hand.

take ring off right hand

will remove the first ring on the right hand and place it into the left hand.

take third ring off left

will remove the ring from the third finger, left hand, and place it into your character’s right hand. Again, this works for both hands.

Many rings have special spells which they activate when they are put on. If you have a ring of Strength, for example, when you put it on, you will have the effect of a Strength spell applied to your character’s statistics. The effect remains until you remove the ring.

A Recall Ring can be purchased from one of the peddlers in the Market Place or magically created by a Thief. When you put on one of these rings, the location where you put the ring on is recorded. Removing the ring will

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immediately transport you back to that place, along with everything you are carrying. The ring only works once, so it should be saved for times of grave danger or great profit. After use, the ring turns into a piece of relatively worthless costume jewelry.

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8.6.5. Gold

Gold coins weigh one-twentieth of an ounce, and have a value of 1 gold piece (gp.) each.

take gold


take coins

will pick up all the coins on the ground.

put gold in sack

will put all the gold in one hand into your sack.

A pile of gold may be subdivided by referring to the number of coins. For example,

take 10 coins

will pick up 10 coins, and put the pile of 10 coins in your hand.

drop 10 coins

will take 10 coins from the pile in your hands, and drop them onto the ground.

drop coins

will drop all the coins.

take 32 coins from sack

will take 32 coins from your sack, and put them in your hands.

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8.6.6. Armor and Clothing

Armor and other items of apparel can be worn. A character can wear up to two items, only one of which may be armor. To put some leather armor on, say

put leather armor on

for example. To take it off,

take leather armor off


take armor off


remove armor

The well dressed adventurer may wish to wear furs or other apparel over their armor. This is done in same manner as armor.

put fur on


take fur off

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8.7. Combat Commands

The second major class of commands are those that deal with combat. There are two basic types of combat, close and at a distance. Close combat is possible if you are in the same space as the person you wish to hit. Range combat is possible if you are not in the same space as the person you wish to attack.

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8.7.1. Close Combat

The other players who are in your sight are displayed in the combat-display portion of your screen. This display may have either of two different formats. If the other players are not in the same space as you then you will see:

  • alignment symbol
  • a letter of the alphabet
  • the type of creature
  • the number of creatures if there is more than one

If the other players are in the same space as you then the display format will be:

  • alignment symbol
  • name or type of creature
  • its weapons
  • its armor

The first column of a combat display line indicates the alignment of the creature. The alignment symbols are:

Lawful or none (townspeople) (a space)
Neutral !
Chaotic *
Evil +
Self-defense target @

Thieves will show as lawful according to the usual rules. The self-defense target flag indicates that this character has attacked you recently, and may legitimately be killed in self-defense, regardless of alignment (see the preceding section on Karma for more specifics.)

Creatures which are in the same space as your character may be swung on directly. It is possible that the graphics display may give no indication of a group that is in the same space as your character, thus the difference in format in the combat-display portion of your screen may be your only warning — so watch for it. If you see the display of armor and weapons, you may swing a normal weapon at that creature.

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fight <name>

will swing the weapon in your right hand. Thus, if you see

*orc sword shield leather

you can say,

fight orc

If there is more than one of the same type creature or being, as is usually the case, this command will hit the first one. If you want to hit a different one, count down from the top of the screen and give the number of the one you want to hit, counting only players of the type you want to hit. If you see

*skeleton  greatsword          chain
*skeleton  sword       shield  none
*orc       short bow           leather
*skeleton  mace        dagger  plate

and you want to hit the Skeleton with the mace, you would type

fight third Skeleton

To hit the Orc, you would say

fight Orc

Anywhere you need to give the name of a player or creature, such as with a fight command, you can abbreviate the name to the shortest unique abbreviation. For example, you could say:

fight wy

to fight a wyvern, but

fight w

would not be correct, since w can be interpreted as a direction.

You should be aware that although a player is in your space at the start of the round, and shows up on your screen, this does not mean that he will still be there by the time you actually swing. If the player’s dexterity is higher than yours, he might run before you can hit him. On the other hand you can also try to run from an attacker, but, if you are slower than the

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attacker, you might still get hit before you can run away.

To hit an Orc with your bare hand, say

fight Orc

with your right hand empty. If you are skillful enough in the Martial Arts you can use your feet to attack an opponent. To use these commands you must be lightly encumbered. Kicks use your bare hand skill rating and are not affected by what you have in your hands. To kick a Troll that is in the same space as you are, type

kick Troll

To kick an Orc that is fleeing from you, type

jumpkick Orc

This will move you one or two spaces, and then kick at an Orc in that space. Using jumpkick, you don’t have to figure out where the target will be, as long as it is within range. Jumpkicking takes longer and costs more stamina than simply punching the target, so it should only be used to close with an opponent, or drag down someone fleeing from you.

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8.7.2. Fighting at a Distance

If your screen shows that you can see a group, and that they are not in the same space you are, you can use a range weapon. Two simple range weapons are the throwing dagger and the war hammer, both of which are thrown at the enemy.

throw at <group>

will throw the item in your right hand at the group specified. For example, if your screen shows

*A 2 orcs
*B orc
*C 5 skeletons

you can throw a dagger at the Skeletons by typing

throw at Skeleton


throw at Skeletons

If you want to throw at the lone Orc, you would say

throw at second Orc


throw at Orc

would have your character throw at the first group of Orcs on the screen, which is the pair of Orcs. Note that it is not significant whether you pluralize a word or not — the program will ignore the ’s.’ The only way to shoot any other than the first group of a type is to specify the number. As an example of a more complicated case, suppose you see

*A  dragon
*B  2 zombies
    Pherd      staff  leather
    *kobold    sword  shield
*E  orc
*F  zombie

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To throw at the Dragon, you would say

throw at Dragon

To throw at the lone Zombie, however, you would say

throw at second Zombie

Throwing things at the enemy is not generally the best way to attack, a bow weapon is better. To use a bow weapon, you first have to load it, with a nock or load command. Then the bow is shot with

shoot Dragon

for the example above. Shooting a bow is identical to throwing an item, except that the bow becomes unloaded, whereas a thrown item strikes the opponent and falls to the ground.

To use a halberd, a similar command would apply.

poke Dragon

would swing a halberd at a Dragon one space away.

You can throw an item in your left hand, by specifying the name of the item.

throw rock at Orc

will throw a rock, whether the rock is in your right hand or your left hand.

You can throw any item you can pick up. It is perfectly legal to throw rocks, bottles, staves, swords, and even gems. None of these items is particularly effective, but there is always the chance of a fatal blow. Likewise, you can swing anything at an opponent.

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8.8. Communicating with Others

The following commands are used for talking to the other players, primarily those controlled by the computer. The general format for com- municating (bespeaking) to a creature run by the program is

<creature’s name>, <some command or response>

All the town commands given below fit into this category, but there are many other things you can say to a monster. Bespeaking is generally overheard by the other players within earshot. To bespeak a player, you name him, and then give a command. For example,

Orc, follow me

will command the first Orc on your screen to follow you. The legal commands, the things you can order a creature to do if you either control it or it feels like doing something for you, are:

stop — stop what it is doing
run — run away
follow me — follow you around
follow <name> — follow someone else
fight <name> — attack someone
guard — guard this spot
resume — resume free will
take <item> — pick up an item
drop <item> —drop an item
drop coins — drop all gold
drop all — drop everything
<direction> — move one space

For example, you see

*A  orc
*B  2 trolls
*C  Sheriff
*D  troll

and you have gained control over the lone Troll through a charm spell. To command the Troll to attack the Sheriff, say

second troll, fight sheriff

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Note that you have to give the proper number of the group, to specify exactly to whom you are bespeaking. When you cast a charm spell at a group of monsters, the one charmed is separated from the group. You must specify the number properly to gain the attention of the charmed creature, and to make it pursue the proper target.

If you need to command several creatures at once, you can issue a general command, which will be received by everyone you can see.

all, follow me

will cause every player following your commands to walk after you.

The following sections describe the particular commands that creatures and.

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8.8.1. The Townspeople

There are several establishments in town where players can purchase items which they can use in the dungeon. To use one of these places, you enter the building, stand in the appropriate place and give commands re- quired to obtain the service you desire.

If you get lost in the town, many of the shop keepers and street peddlers can give you directions. To ask questions, go up near the person, and say something like

<name>, where is the <place>

Replace <name> with the name of the person you are asking, and substitute the place name. For example,

Lars, where is the bar?

will ask Lars where the bar is. The places that are generally known are:

Name Place
bar or saloon town saloon
gymnasium or gym gym
plaza plaza
temple Thaumaturge’s temple
dock municipal pier
armorshop where armor is sold
armory or weaponshop where weapons are sold
pawnshop pawn shop
magicshop wizard’s abode
swamp Great Swamps
entrance or dungeon older entrance to the dungeon
dojo martial arts gymnasium
library library

You must give the place name exactly as it is spelled above.

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8.8.2. The Weapon Shop Attendant

The weapon shop, or armory, is the most important place in the town. Here players can buy the standard weapons manufactured by the local smiths, and sell everything they haul out of the dungeon. The shop will buy gems, books, rings, potions, and magical implements, as well as ordinary weapons. There is also a pawn shop in the Thieves’ Guild, where special items sold to the shop are kept, and from which they can be bought back. To use the weapon shop, stand south of the counter.

show weapons


show prices

will display the standard items available, with their prices. To buy an item, you have to ask the shopkeeper behind the counter to fetch the item for you, and place your payment on the counter. If the name of the shopkeeper is Harald, a typical command sequence to buy a sword might be

take 10 coins from sack and put it on counter Harald, sell me a sword

(Harald takes the gold and drops the sword)

take sword from counter

To sell a greatsword, place it on the counter, and tell the shopkeeper to buy it.

Harald, buy the greatsword

(Harald takes the greatsword and leaves gold)

take gold from counter and put it in sack

The shop keeper may take a cut on an item, so if you buy something and then sell it back, you could lose money. Also, be careful of leaving things on the ground in any of the shops, as the janitor out front will take anything you leave on the ground, even if you are standing there!

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Harald, appraise my sword

will ask Harald to give you a detailed description of the sword located on the counter.

The owner of the armory can answer questions about weapons. If you want to know what a spear looks like, for example, say

Harald, what is a spear?

The Sheriff and Olaf can also answer questions of this type.

You can ask a shopkeeper to buy more than one item at a time. For example, you can pile all of your loot on the counter and say:

Harald, buy all

Harald will total up the value of all the items on the counter and replace them with the appropriate amount of gold. If you wish him only to buy the gems you can say:

Harald, buy gems

You can place multiple items from your sack onto the counter with the dump command.

dump rings on counter

will place all the rings in your sack onto the counter.

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8.8.3. The Armor Shop Attendant

The armor shop is just south of the plaza on Main Street. To buy armor, stand south of the counter.

show armor


show prices

will give you the prices of the various armors and other apparel.

Steen, sell me leather armor

will buy leather armor. Likewise for chain and plate. The command se- quence is the same as in the weapon shop. Used armor can be sold in either the weapon shop or the armor shop.

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8.8.4. The Bar Keeper

The town saloon is where liquids are bought and sold. To buy some- thing, stand south of the bar.

show booze


show prices

will display the various potables.

Ralff, sell ale

will buy a mug of ale. Pewter mugs are given out with purchases. Hang onto your mug, since refills are cheaper if you already have a mug (put the empty mug on the counter).

The bar keeper is a very talkative fellow, and will answer just about any question you can ask. He will answer all the normal questions, such as directions and weapon descriptions, for free. In addition, the bar keeper will also answer questions about monsters, and sometimes on how to kill them, but he expects to be compensated for his time. A few gold pieces on the counter will generally do. Then, ask him the question in the following manner:

<name>, what is a <word>

will ask the bar keeper what an object is. The <name> is the name of the bar keeper. You put the name of what you want to know about in <word>. For example,

Ralff, what is a Kobold?

will question Ralff on the nature of a Kobold.

To question the bar keeper on how to slay a creature, say:

Ralff, how do I kill a Dragon?

for example.

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8.8.5. Peddlers

Peddlers and beggars frequent the streets of Kesmai. The beggars are mainly a nuisance, but should you desire to give money to a beggar, just drop it onto the ground. To buy something from a peddler, walk into the same space as the peddler, and drop the proper amount of gold (don’t expect change if you drop too much). The peddler will pick up the money, and drop the goods in a round or two. Give him time to respond.

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8.8.6. The Town Wizard

The Master Wizard’s hut is located in an alley behind the armor shop. He will train Wizards in the use of spells, and can answer questions about the various spells. In order to get the Wizard to teach you spells, you have to make ‘donations’ to him. To make a donation, place some gold on the altar, and say to the Wizard

Oskar, teach me

After making the donation, you can find out which spells you can learn by saying

Oskar, show spells

To learn a spell, say

Oskar, teach me fireball

You must have your spell book in your right hand whenever you speak to the Wizard, so that he knows who you are, and that you have earned the right to be taught spells. Oskar will keep track of all the donations you have given him.

If you want to know what a spell does, you can ask

Oskar, what is fireball?

to obtain an explanation of the spell.

Wizards can also receive training in magic by making donations. Put gold on the altar, and say

Oskar, train me

Wizards receive experience at a greater rate if they study with the Master Wizard than if they obtain combat training in the gym.

If you were unlucky and lost your spell book you must replace it to learn new spells. Oskar will sell you a copy for a 100 gold piece fee. Place the gold on the altar and say:

Oskar, sell book

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8.8.7. The Temple Priest

The Temple is where Thaumaturges go to receive training in spells. The procedure used is identical to that for a Wizard in the magic shop. Thaumaturges may only train, they have the potential for throwing any of their spells from first level, if the gods decide that their need is great enough. The Master Thaumaturge is the priest behind the altar, so you must again place your donations on the altar.

If you turn Neutral, and wish to become Lawful again, the priest in the main room of the Temple will grant a dispensation, after you make an appropriate donation to the Temple. Simply drop the money on the ground, say priest, forgive me and stand there until the priest picks it up. He may slap you once or twice before he forgives you, but be patient. The priest will not forgive Thieves and will not even consider forgiving any who consort with Demons.

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8.8.8. The Sorcerer Demon

Sorcerers and Neutral Thaumaturges obtain their training in spells at forbidden altars hidden in ruined temples. The Sorcerer’s temple is in the middle of the Great Swamp, and Neutral Thaumaturges worship at the ruins on the small island to the northwest of town. The procedure is the same as in the temple, except that the attendant is a Demon who must be summoned from Hell before he can be spoken to. The incantation to bring forth the Demon is inscribed on a stone near each altar. Read the incantation, then proceed as above. As long as he stays on the altar, the Demon will not harm you.

Sorcerers can also receive training in magic, by making donations. Put gold on the altar, and say

demon, train me

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8.8.9. The Arms Master

The gymnasium is the center of activity for Fighters. The Arms Master in the gymnasium will train characters in the use of weapons. To train in general weapons skill (any character class can do this), drop gold at the master’s feet, and ask him to train you.

Olaf, train me


Olaf, train <amount>

will cause Olaf to take the money off the ground and give you experience and skill points. You gain as many experience points as the value of the gold, and gain skill at the ratio of one to sixteen.

Fighters or Thieves can train with a specific weapon or can just request general education. To receive general training your right hand must be empty. To train in the sword, for example, place gold at the Master’s feet, and, holding your weapon in your right hand, say

Olaf, train me

Special training gives skill points at the ratio of one to two.

All laws are suspended in the boxing ring, and players can slay others of the same alignment with impunity provided that the body falls in the ring. This is also the only legal way to slay a beggar.

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8.8.10. The Sensii

Purchasing training from the Martial Arts Master works in a similar manner. Walk into his space, and drop the amount of money you wish to spend. Then ask the Master to train you following the format used in the gym. The Master will pick up the money and tell you whether you have gained any new skill or not. If you are not a Martial Artist, you need at least 2000 experience points before the Master will consider training you. If you are a Thief or a Sorcerer, or an unlawful person, stay away from the Master if you value your life.

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8.8.11. Demons

Deep in the bowels of the earth lies the abode of the Demons. Although no man may venture there and live, the inhabitants of Hell may be forced to do the bidding of mortals under certain circumstances.3 There are two ways to call forth a Demon. The best method is to use the spell ‘summon demon.’ This spell, usable only by Sorcerers, will bring the Demon out, and sometimes bind it to the will of the Sorcerer. A somewhat riskier way that may be used by any player to summon a Demon is to simply state the Demon’s name. For example,


will gain the attention of the Demon ‘Asmodeus.’ It is also rumored that there exists a special incantation that will summon any Demon. The Demon will not always come when called, unless a summoning spell is used. Once summoned, the Demon will appear in the same space you occupy, accompanied by a sulphurous stench. The Demon will usually start talking to you. Do not be overly alarmed by what the Demon says, since even tamed Demons are rude and obnoxious. The time to start worrying is when the Demon stops talking and starts acting on his threats.

The spell of summoning can place the Demon under your control, but if you call the Demon by using only its name, it will not be controlled. A controlled Demon can be commanded just like a charmed creature, and will also answer most questions. If the Demon is successfully controlled, it can be dismissed by

demon, begone

Dismissing the Demon when you are finished with him is the safest policy.

Summoning Demons, either with a spell or without, is a risky business, since there is no guarantee that the Demon will not decide to slay you immediately. One way to reduce the risk (in a manner of speaking) is to bargain with the Demon. In exchange for your soul, the Demon will pledge faithful service, for a while. To sell your soul to a Demon, call the Demon, then say to it

demon, serve me

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The Demon will acknowledge the transaction, and will then be under your control. You can command the Demon as you wish, once you have done this, because the Demon has become your patron and will always be controlled when you call him. Once you have chosen a patron Demon, you are pledged to this Demon, and attempting to sell your soul again to another Demon will have grave consequences. Anyone can sell their soul to a Demon, so even non-sorcerers can have a Demon of their own.

There is, however, a small catch involved in selling your soul to a Demon — the Demon will rarely be so polite as to wait until you die to collect. The greater the difference in power between the Demon and yourself, the sooner the Demon will lose patience with you and snatch your soul away to damnation. If you are as powerful or more powerful than your patron, you will get a long period of service, whereas dealing with a Demon more powerful than yourself involves a significant risk of early death. Of course, so long as you do not call your patron, you need not fear. Only through the act of being called can the Demon seize control. If you are carried off to Hell, however, don’t lose heart, as you will become a Demon yourself, and other players can then summon you.

If you have grown old and weary of life, and wish for the dubious immortality of Demonhood, summon your patron, and say

demon, take me

Your worries will be over.

Another valuable use for a Demon is as protection against hostile spells. If you tell the Demon,

demon, protect me

the Demon will follow you around, and attempt to ward off certain spells. The more powerful the Demon, the more protection you will be offered.

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8.8.12. The Banker

Most towns have a bank, where characters can deposit their gold for safekeeping. To use the bank, bring your gold in and put it on the counter. Then address the bank teller with your requests. To deposit your gold, say something like the following (all three statements are equivalent):

<teller>, deposit <teller>, deposit gold <teller>, take gold

To find out how much gold you currently have on deposit, ask the teller to show your balance.

<teller>, show balance

To take money out of the bank, request the teller to withdraw the appropriate amount from your account.

<teller>, withdraw <number> <teller>, withdraw <number> coins

There are two rival banking chains, one based on the island of Kesmai, with a branch in a remote corner of Leng. The other, larger, chain has branches throughout the world. The two banks are not on friendly terms, so transferring an account between them has to be done by carrying the loot from one to the other.

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8.9. Miscellaneous Commands

8.9.1. Resting

If you have sustained damage, the command


will restore one hit point every round, or one stamina point per round. Also, if you have passed one of the level marks in experience (800; 1600; 3200…), resting after you have removed all your hits and recovered all your stamina points will update your stats for the new level. When you advance a level, you acquire more hit points and more magic and stamina points. Every fourth level (third for Fighters), you gain strength and dexterity adds.

There are several ways of recovering from damage taken in battle. The easiest is to simply wait. Every thirty seconds, you will recover one hit point or one stamina point. This is usually too slow. Resting is faster (one hit every ten seconds or so), but still a lot slower than the monster put the hits on in the first place. Healing potions and spells are much quicker and more reliable, but are harder to come by. Normally, potions of healing are sold by a peddler in the Temple. Out in the woods, balm berries — from which healing potions are made — can be found. To eat berries, say

eat berries

Berries are usually found in thick forest. Be sure to pick only ripe berries. The Temple in town usually maintains a bush in its garden.

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8.9.2. Stealing

Thieves can steal items from the rucksacks of other players.

steal from Orc

will grab for something from the sack of an Orc in your space.

steal gem from Joe

will grab for a gem from Joe’s sack. The odds of success depend on the difference in level between the Thief and his mark, and the Thief’s dexterity. If the Thief is hiding the round he steals, his odds of being caught are drastically reduced, since his mark will probably not see him coming. Non-thieves can also attempt to steal, but they are not likely to succeed.

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8.9.3. Doorways

When you walk through a door, the door is opened automatically.

close door

will shut the door in the current space. Closed doors will not slow down pursuit, but they will block arrows and spells being thrown at you. You can close a door either before or after you move. For example:

s s and close door

would move south two spaces, and close the door there.

close door and e

would close the door in the current space, and go east one space.

The search command is used to locate secret doors.

search north

will check the space to the north of you, and will open the door if there is one. You may use any of the eight adjacent spaces with this command. Once opened, the door will remain open for twenty battle rounds and then will be closed by an internal mechanism. Secret doors also reseal if they are hit by some forms of magic such as a fireball or an ice storm. Lightning bolts, however, do not trigger secret doors.

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8.9.4. Leaving the Game

When you have decided that it is time to leave the game

quit end exit

will remove your character from play and save him (or her) in the game data base. Your character’s ranking on the game scoreboard is also updated at this time. If you return to the game while the same dungeon is in use, you will be returned to the location where you were when you left. If a new dungeon has been generated, all Lawful characters will be returned to the dock at the south end of town. Neutral and Evil characters will be placed at the river dock in the eastern forest. Quitting is not permitted while standing on closed doorways or spider webs, or in certain special areas of the catacombs. Quitting is also not permitted within 30 seconds of taking damage, as an incentive to bravery.

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8.9.5. Forgiveness

If your character is killed by another player, and you do not want him/her to receive a karma point (for instance if it was an accident), you can forgive the killer. You can enter the forgive command at any time during that session, until you get killed again or leave the game. Entering the game menu system or conference area will not cancel your ability to forgive, but returning to the CompuServe menus or hanging up the phone will. Your killer must be in the same scenario as you are, but not neces- sarily within sight, for the forgiveness to succeed. You can issue the forgive command as a ghost. To forgive someone, you would say


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8.9.6. Island Paging System

Players in the conference rooms have the ability to page players on the Island. On occasion this can be a distraction. The following commands allow you to control the pager.

  • pager off shut the pager off
  • pager on turn the pager back on
  • pager print the status of your pager

The pager is automatically turned on every time you go from the menus or conference rooms into the game.

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The Island of Kesmai 9-1

9. Magic

There are six basic types of characters. The first two are the Fighter and Martial Artist, who make their living through physical combat. The other four types can use magic: Wizards, Thaumaturges, Thieves, and Sorcerers. Although the four differ in the styles of the magic they practice, the methods they use are essentially the same.

9.1. Incantations

All magic is structured in the form of spells. When a magic user wishes to do something magical, he has to throw a spell. Throwing a spell consists of two steps. First, the player chants a magical incantation, which summons the forces required to cast the spell. (Only a few exceptionally ancient Demons actually understand what the magic words mean. Avoid these Demons.) Then, he directs the spell to its specified target. Every spell has a different incantation, and every player has a different set of incantations. Learning the incantation, however, is only possible under special circumstances.

To throw a spell, you should first ascertain that you have enough magic points. Every spell requires from one to eight or more magic points, depending on the difficulty of the spell. If you lack the points required, the spell will fail. Magic points are regained at a rate of one point every twenty seconds, provided you have no damage on you, and have all your stamina. Magic points cannot be regained by resting, or any other direct action.

Throwing a spell also drains life force, which results in shortening your life span. The greater the spell power the more life force it will drain.

If you are ready to throw the spell, type in the incantation, which consists of four words of the Old Tongue. You must give the words exactly, or the spell will fail. Remember, your incantations are different from anyone else’s, and the use of another’s incantation has dire consequences. The following are examples of possible incantations:

aazag duppira marduk kanpa nergal shunu namtar cuthalu kima qutri shadu muxxisha

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After the incantation has been given, the spell has been warmed. The spell can be thrown the next round, or can be held for a few rounds if necessary. Every round you hold the spell without throwing it, you lose one magic point. If you take any damage while the spell is warmed, the spell will be disrupted, and the incantation will have to be repeated.

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9.2. Throwing Spells

Once the incantation has been given — if the spell has not been disrupted by any hostile attacks on your person — you can direct the spell to its target. Spells can be divided into several categories, by how they are directed and by what type of target they have.

The simplest type of spell does not need to be directed at all.

cast fsdoor

would cause all the secret doors within sight to open.

cast identify

will throw an identification spell on the item you have in your right hand.

The first type of directed spell enchants other players, giving them special powers or conferring benefits upon them. These spells are effective only on players in the same space as yourself, and can be thrown on yourself as well. They are cast by commands of the following type:

cast heal at Merlyne

for example, might be used by a Thaumaturge to throw a heal spell on another player named Merlyne, who is in the same space.

cast at Merlyne

would be equivalent. Since every incantation is different, once you give a specific incantation, it is apparent which spell you are going to throw. Therefore, you do not need to give the spell name when you cast the spell. It is, however, often a good idea to do so, to guard against throwing the wrong spell by mistake. If the spell name you give is different than the spell you prepared, the spell will fail, but the failure of the spell is preferable to throwing the wrong one.

cast spell

or simply


will throw the spell on yourself.

The second category of spells is cast at a group of enemies, whether they

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are in the same space or not.

cast stun at Trolls


cast at Trolls

would be used by a Thaumaturge to stun a group of Trolls. Some of these spells select a random member of the group and some of them affect the entire group. For example,

cast magicmissile at Skeletons

would strike only one Skeleton, but it is still directed at the entire group.

Many spells, especially spells of Wizardry, are directed at a particular spot, rather than at an individual or a group.

cast fireball north north west

for example, would cause a fireball to go off 20 feet north and 10 feet west of the Wizard. Some spells are limited only by how far you can see, such as fireball or lightning bolt. Others have a shorter range. In all cases the sequence of directions that you give must be a legal path to the space in which you want the spell to work, and must not pass through walls or closed doors or secret doors. Throwing spells over water also can have undesirable effects since water may warp the path of the spell. If there is an obstacle in the path of your spell, the spell will go off in the space before the obstacle unless it is the type of spell which must by its nature strike an object in order to go off, such as portal. Such spells go off on the first obstacle they strike.

There are many types of magical implements which enable the user to cast a spell he does not already know. To use such a device, simply give the appropriate cast command, including the spell name. With a magical weapon, no incantation is required.

Unlike all the above spells, the Wizard’s spell cast illusion requires more than one piece of information. You must specify both the type of illusion, and the location.

cast fire north

would create an illusion of fire, one space north.

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There is one very powerful spell which does not fit these general classifications.

summon <demon name>

will call the specified demon. For example,

summon Asmodeus

will summon the Demon Asmodeus4 from Hell. In general the names of these demons are hard to come by.

In summary, to perform magic a player must first chant an appropriate incantation and then direct the spell. Since this requires two rounds to accomplish, care must be taken. The following is an example of a Wizard throwing a fireball.

enmeshir khitum gallu littuk

(first round—the incantation)

cast fireball north north west west

(second round—the casting)

In general spell casting commands are less forgiving than most other commands. If you misuse a spell, such as omitting the direction of a fireball, the spell will go off but not in the manner you intended. Be careful when using magic.

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9.3. Resisting The Effects of Spells

Many spells are directed at living targets. Since living things by their nature often can resist magic, a properly thrown spell will occasionally fail through no fault of the magic user who threw it. Generally, the more powerful the magic user, and the more powerful the spell, the more likely the spell will succeed. With many Wizardly spells, such as those that create fires, the victim may only take half the normal damage if he is powerful enough to resist the spell. It is rumored that high level wizards can use their magic points to deflect damage from spells. Some spells of Thaumaturgy, such as blindness, will fail completely if the target is strong enough. The nature of Sorcery makes its spells even less reliable than the other arts. The Sorcerer must win a direct contest of wills to force his spell to take effect. The level of the Sorcerer and his charisma, contrasted with the level and charisma of his victim, determines whether the spell succeeds.

There are a few magical spells which will aid the player in resisting magic thrown at him. For instance, protection from fire (prfire) will cause the player to take the minimum damage from fire. Potions and rings which convey resistance to spells are highly prized.

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9.4. Learning Spells

Every magic user, be he a Sorcerer, Wizard, Thaumaturge, or Thief, has a spell book, wherein are written the incantations of the spells he knows. Your spell book is presented to you when you declare your character class. In order for the spell to be written into it, the spell book must be in your right hand when you request to learn a spell.

The best policy towards your spell book is to keep it in your backpack at all times, unless you are reading a spell or learning a new one. You do not have to have the book out to throw a spell, so it is a good idea to write down the incantations on a separate piece of paper (in the real world), so that the book can be kept in a safe place. Characters have come to grief by using their books as weapons, or by laying them down only to have them carried off by other players.

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The Island of Kesmai 10-1

10. On the Nature of Magic

Modern magic falls into two orders, Wizardry and Thaumaturgy — not counting the Black Art, which is not proper magic. The modern development of Wizardry has led to the acceptance of physics as a general science. Wizardry is a science based the fundamental principle that reality can be modified through the application of modern physics. Of a different nature, the ancient religion of Thaumaturgy still flourishes as a complementary form of magic. Thaumaturgy deals with the powers of life and death directly, working its arts on living creatures. Sorcery derives its power from dealings with supernatural beings.

The application of magic will exact a toll from the practitioner in the form of Life Force. The more life force a character loses the older it gets. As a general rule, the more powerful the spell the more life force it requires. In the following documentation the amount of life force required to cast a spell is given in terms of battle rounds.

Magical training in some disciplines requires that the initiate donate a certain amount of gold to the master before being taught. Most masters are fairly good about keeping track of how much each student has given them so the best practice is to donate early and often.

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10.1. Magic Skill

The power and effectiveness of magic users is dependent on their magic skill. Skill in magic can be obtained by training with a master, successfully casting spells in practice and killing an opponent with a spell. The magic skill level system, analogous to the experience point level system, is used to determine the power of a spell.

Magic Skill Magic Level
100 1
200 2
400 3
800 4
1600 5
3200 6
6400 7
12800 8

10.2. Wizardry

Wizardry is based on two phenomena often exploited by nature, whose effects can be greatly increased by the proper application of scientific principles. First, the ability of life to decrease entropy locally and increase organization, can be amplified by the Wizard through training. Secondly, the use of the Uncertainty Principle gives the Wizard the raw materials for his spells. A typical spell involves creating a local vortex of falling entropy, where the form of matter and energy is under the control of the Wizard, and propagating the effect through the Uncertainty Principle. It has been theorized that if Planck’s constant were small, the Uncertainty Principle would be so restrictive as to make Wizardry impossible. Give thanks to the gods that this is not so.

The most powerful magic spells are those which perform temporary alterations in physical reality. Some of the spells change one form of matter into another, and some create new matter for short periods of time. Fireball and cast illusion are members of this group. The term illusion is used in the jargon of Wizards to refer to short-lived changes. Such changes are not

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illusory, however, but are as real as ordinary matter for the duration of their existence. All the effects of fire, ice, webs, secret doors, and darkness are created using such illusions. An understanding of the mechanism by which this is done will greatly increase the power of the Wizard who uses these spells.

Magic missile is a simpler spell, based on the same principles, but of a much more transient nature. Rather than producing a complex alteration in the surrounding terrain, the Wizard creates a short-lived fast-moving projectile.

All terrain has an innate resistance to change, called inertia. Whenever a spell is thrown that creates a temporary reality, the spell must first overcome the inertia of the terrain already there. The normal reality that one commonly sees is in what is known as the ground state. This means that although normal terrain is stable, it does not resist spells effectively. Temporary terrain created by a spell, on the other hand, has more energy associated with it, and resists further change. The more powerful the Wizard, the more energy in the spell, and the more inertia the terrain will have once the spell takes effect.

The process of overcoming the inertia of the previous terrain is a simple subtraction of energies. If the new spell is more powerful than the previous spell, it replaces the old spell, but its energy is weakened by an amount equal to the strength of the old terrain. If the new spell is weaker than the old spell, it will dissipate some of the previous spell’s energy but will not succeed in replacing it. Of course, if the two are of equal energy, they will simply cancel each other out, and the spot will return to the ground state. When the new spell is of the same type as the old, the two will reinforce each other, and the terrain they create will have twice the energy that it would have had if created by only one spell.

The existence of inertia has several important effects for the Wizard. First, the use of spells to cancel previous spells enables the Wizard to dissipate the actions of others. Secondly, the reinforcement effect allows a Wizard to compensate for his own feeble ability by repeating the spell several times. The reinforcement effect can be used for both attack and defense.

Most normal terrain rests in the ground state all the time and thus has

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little inertia. There are a few unusual substances, however, which possess unusually high resistances, and can only be overwhelmed by the most mod- ern equipment. Impervium, an important commercial product discovered by the Ancients, defies all known spells and resists scratching as well. Many minerals containing cobalt also prove to be immune to common magic, and as a result, magic-proof bricks can be obtained in most large cities. Magic-resistant materials are common in fortresses and castles built in the last millenium.

Of course, there are some spells which do not rely on altered terrain, and it is equally important to understand how these spells work. Magic missile is not affected by the nature of the terrain, and can be used even when the enemy has powerful protective forces at work. The shield spell is equally immune to the nature of the terrain. This spell puts up a protective barrier around the Wizard, warding off blows and arrows. The lighter the object trying to penetrate the field, the more likely it will be turned.

Lastly, some living things have special properties with respect to changing reality. Since it is common for some wild animals to start widespread fires to trap their prey, most wild plants have evolved the capacity to short circuit spells and return their surroundings to the ground state as quickly as possible. This ability is especially well developed in deciduous forests, where the trees often work together to rapidly dissipate potentially harmful forces. Among animals, the resistance to the effects of magic is not uncommon, especially with regard to fire. Most highly developed in this regard are the true Dragons, who are sometimes said to be totally immune to most types of attack, although individuals in the species vary greatly. It is not well understood what mechanism enables these creatures to defy the very nature of their surroundings, and this may be the most significant research problem of the decade.

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Magic Missile

This spell casts a magical missile at a group of enemies. The missile strikes one of the members of the group. It is the only spell the Wizards use which is directed at a particular group rather than at a place. This makes it very useful in fighting an enemy that moves rapidly. Chant the incantation, then say

cast magicmissile at <name>

to throw the spell. For example:

cast magicmissile at kobolds

Although it is learned early, this spell is of value to older Wizards because its power increases with skill level but the life force used does not. The spell typically does about twice the Wizard’s skill level in damage.

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Create Bonfire

This spell creates a small bonfire which covers a single space and burns for about ten rounds. The damage done by the bonfire is comparable to that done by a fireball. Bonfires are useful for destroying corpses and spider webs, and blocking passageways.

To throw the spell, give your incantation, and then say

cast bonfire <path>

The path must lead to a place you can see, passing only through places you can see. For example:

cast bonfire north north west

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Close / Open Doors

This spell will close or open a door from a distance, which is useful whenever you want to know what is on the other side of a door, but don’t dare walk over to see. To close or open a door first recite the proper incantation. Then say cast codoor, followed by a path to the door you wish to affect. For example:

cast codoor north north north

will open or close a door 30 feet to the north. This spell will not affect secret doors.

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Magic Shield

This spell gives temporary shielding to its recipient. First, chant the proper incantation. Throw the spell by saying:

cast shieldspell at <name>

where <name> is the name of the person on whom the spell is to be thrown. If you wish to cast the spell on yourself, say

cast shieldspell

Wizards cannot wear metal armor because it inhibits their ability to focus the energy needed to successfully throw a spell. If a Wizard tries to throw a spell wearing metal armor, the energy of the spell is drained by the metal armor (i.e. the Wizard is ‘grounded’ and cannot raise any terrain above the ground state). Wizards have developed this spell to compensate for this inability. The spell has a probability of blocking any blow made at the Wizard proportional to the power of the spell, and inversely proportional to the mass of the object. Thus, the spell is very effective against arrows, but much less so against massive objects like greatswords or Dragons. Shieldspell also provides some protection against concussions.

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Find Secret Doors

This spell will open all the secret doors in the vicinity of the Wizard, and keep them open unless they are closed by another Wizard. To use the spell, chant the incantation, then say

cast fsdoor

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Create Web

This spell creates a web similar to a web made by a spider, except much larger. This web will prevent creatures from passing through it, and may immobilize creatures standing in it. The spell web is thrown in exactly the same manner as the spell bonfire, with the same restrictions. As with bonfire, you may direct the spell to any place that you can see. The web covers a ten-by-ten foot area, and lasts until dispelled or burned.

To throw the spell, chant the proper incantation and then say

cast web <path>

The path must lead to a place you can see, passing only through places you can see. For example:

cast web south south

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Create Darkness

This spell enables the Wizard to create regions of darkness. The spell is prepared by chanting the appropriate incantation, and cast by saying cast darkness followed by the direction the spell should go. Thus, saying:

cast darkness north north

will cause a region of darkness centered 20 feet to the north. Both the radius and the duration of the region of darkness vary with the power of the spell.

Once the Wizard’s magical skill passes the fifth level, he can control the power of the spell. For example:

cast darkness 3 north north

will create a region of darkness twenty feet to the north, of power three. The radius of the spell varies with the square root of the power, rounded to the nearest integer, so a level three darkness spell would have a radius of two, but a level six spell would have a radius of three. A Wizard can never throw a spell with power greater than his own level.

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Breathe Water

This spell gives the Wizard the ability to breathe water. After giving the incantation, type

cast breathewater at <name>

Using this spell, you can remain in the water for about five minutes without drowning, regardless of how much you are carrying. A ring of water-breathing will give the capability as long as the ring is worn.

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Create Portal

This spell enables the Wizard to create a short-lived opening through any normally impassible material, with only a few exceptions. The Wizard must first chant the appropriate incantation, then say cast portal and the direction he wishes to go. For example:

cast portal west

will create a hole in the wall to the west. The spell creates a hole in the wall, which lasts for a number of rounds proportional to the skill level of the Wizard. Take care not to be standing in the portal when it closes!

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Fire Ball

This is probably the Wizard’s most important spell. Fireball, in its simplest form, causes a 3 by 3 area (30 feet by 30 feet) to be engulfed in fire. Any creatures standing in the blast will take damage from the heat. The spell gives hit points of damage equal to roughly 3 times the skill level of the Wizard who throws it.

To throw a fireball, give the incantation to prepare the spell. Then say

cast fireball <path>

For example:

cast fireball north north

will cause the fireball to explode 20 feet to the north.

When the Wizard’s magical skill reaches fifth level, he can vary the radius of the fireball. To do this, say something like

cast fireball <radius> <path>

For example:

cast fireball 1 n n

produces a fireball only one by one in area, but four times as hot. Likewise,

cast fireball 3 s e e e

will form a fireball that is five by five, but only one-fourth as hot.

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Wall of Fire

This spell enables a Wizard to create a wall of fire. After repeating the proper incantation, say cast firewall, followed by a direction. For example:

cast firewall north

will create a wall of fire 30 feet wide, 10 feet to the north of the Wizard. The wall runs perpendicular to the direction it was thrown. The wall of flame will last for 10 seconds times the level of of the Wizard and does roughly the same damage as a fireball.

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Dispel Illusion

This spell will dispel any illusion that is active within the specified ten foot area. The spell is thrown in the same manner as portal, and can be thrown into any of the adjacent eight spaces. For example:

cast dispel north

will dispel magic in the space to the north of the Wizard. This spell is used for eliminating walls of fire, illusory walls blocking passageways, and other enchantments created by a Wizard’s spell. Dispel illusion always succeeds, regardless of the magical resistance of the terrain, whereas using another illusion to overcome an obstacle requires overcoming the resistance of the magical obstacle. Dispel returns the area to the ground state.

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Ice Storm

This spell creates ice storms, in which raging winds and massive hailstones batter creatures to pulp. An ice storm is cast in exactly the same manner as fireball, and affects the same size area, but is about twice as powerful. A concentrated ice storm is the most powerful offensive spell a Wizard has. To create an ice storm you must chant the incantation and then say

cast icestorm <path> cast icestorm e e e n

Wizards of sixth level magical skill or higher can control the radius of the ice storm in the same manner as for fireball.

cast icestorm <radius> <path> cast icestorm 4 e e e n

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This spell creates an explosion which can stun and maim creatures nearby, and can knock down walls and doors. The power of the blast varies greatly with the level of the spell. A low level concussion will knock down creatures in the same space as the blast. A higher level spell has a larger radius. When the spell is sixth level or higher, stone walls within the blast are pulverized. Wizards using this spell must be careful, since the radius of the blast can be thirty feet or more for very powerful Wizards. Careless use might produce more devastation than desired. To create an explosion you must chant the proper incantation and then say

cast concussion <path> cast concussion north north north west

Once a Wizard’s skill reaches seventh level, he can control the power of the blast.

cast concussion <radius> <path> cast concussion 5 north north

will cast at fifth level concussion 20 feet north. The life force used by the concussion is proportional to the level of the spell thrown. As with darkness, the Wizard cannot throw a spell more powerful than his own level.

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Cast Illusion

A Wizard can use this spell to modify his surroundings by changing the physical nature of the terrain. To do this the Wizard must give the incantation, then say

cast illusion <terrain> <direction>

where <terrain> is one of the illusions listed below and <direction> is one of the eight adjacent spaces. Illusions remain for 20 rounds, but may be dispelled or cancelled out by other illusions. For example:

cast illusion fire north

will create an illusion of a raging fire 10 feet to the north. Note that even illusionary fires burn!

Possible Illusions
wall empty fire
ice sea (water) ruins

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Make Permanent

This spell is used to make a previously cast illusion permanent. For example, a bonfire can be converted into a permanent flame, or an opening made with portal can be made permanent. After chanting the incantation, say

cast permanent <direction>

where <direction> is one of the eight adjacent spaces. The range of this spell is ten feet and its effects cannot be dispelled. Use this spell with caution, since it is very expensive. Permanent does not succeed in certain restricted areas, especially on the surface of the Island, where powerful mages have created special enchantments to protect the town of Kesmai.

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Wizard’s Spells

Spell Name Magic Skill Magic Points Cost Life Force
Magic Missile 200 1 0 1
Create Bonfire 200 2 50 1
Close / Open Door 600 1 100 2
Magic Shield 600 2 150 3
Find Secret Doors 600 1 50 3
Create Web 800 2 100 2
Create Darkness 1200 2 150 4
Breathe Water 1200 2 100 2
Create Portal 1600 3 200 7
Fire Ball 1600 3 100 6
Wall of Fire 2000 3 300 8
Dispel Illusion 2400 3 300 8
Ice Storm 3200 4 300 10
Concussion 3500 6 400 12
Cast Illusion 6400 6 400 14
Make Permanent 12800 8 400 30

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10.2. Thaumaturgy

The art of Thaumaturgy, or miracle working, is basically a religious order. Thaumaturgy as an established and organized practice has its roots in the tribal witch doctor and the temple high priest of the early days of civilization. Unlike Wizardry, Thaumaturgy is set up as an organized religion, with temples and dedicated priests. Unlike Wizards, an acolyte in the Temple has the potential to throw any spell, provided he can convince the gods of his need.

The art of healing is accesible to devotees of Thaumaturgy, and several spells are taught for the healing of wounds. Even the ability to raise the dead is not beyond the reach of powerful Thaumaturges. Conversely, Thaumaturges can also inflict serious damage on their opponents. Spells that cause blindness, fear, and even death can be learned by the initiated. The Thaumaturge’s most potent spell is the lightning bolt. A lightning bolt can annihilate a large crowd of evildoers in a single instant — the gods willing.

The conflict between Wizardry and Thaumaturgy, waged so violently in the last century, has many facets. The clash between the rigid institu- tionalism of Thaumaturgy, and the informal, practical approach of the modern Wizard is more than just politics. The differences between the two branches of true magic are fundamental. Wizards are often accused of being impersonal and inhuman, since the development of their science takes place in the sterile world of the laboratory. Thaumaturges, on the other hand, once they advance beyond a practice in the field, often lose touch with a changing world. The Brotherhood of Thaumaturges is often charged with being the world’s most conservative organization, as well as one of the most influential. Since the science of Wizardry is in a state of rapid change and development and is inducing radical changes in the society around it, it is only natural that the Temple priests should come to oppose all forms of Wizardry. It is often said that the rise of Wizardry has led to the downfall of religion and the decay of the family in modern times.

The spells of Thaumaturgy fall into two broad classifications: Fighting and Healing. The simpler spells deal primarily with combat and weaponry. Since Thaumaturges spend most of their working hours running around as magically-enhanced fighters, the emphasis within their spell system falls

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11. The Combat System

The combat system used by this program is a logical blend of several systems, with many original features. Each weapon is characterized by its probabilities of hitting and its damage potential. Also, the probabilities of blocking the blow are determined from the characteristics of both the attacking and defending weapons.

11.1. Blocking

Whenever an attack is to be resolved, there is always a possibility of the defender’s blocking the swing with his own weapon or shield. To determine whether this does occur, the combat system looks up the chance of blocking in a 3-dimensional table. The attacker’s weapon, defender’s weapon, and defender’s armor are all used in determining the blocking results.

Every weapon has two attack factors, one for close combat and one for range attacks. The program determines which of these numbers to use for the attacker’s weapon, providing one index into the blocking table. If the attacker is fighting bare-handed, his hand-to-hand attack rating is used.

The second index into the table is the defender’s armor class. The reason that the armor class is incorporated into the table is that the defender’s armor may serve to slow him down, and thus reduce his chance of blocking a swing. In general, the blocking probabilities for a character in plate armor are lower than those for a character in leather armor. Of course, the plate itself will block more swings than leather, but the distinction is made nonetheless.

The third index is for the defender’s weapon. The probability of the swing being blocked depends very strongly on what weapons the defender is using. If the defender is carrying two weapons, or a weapon and a shield, the weapon in the left hand will be used three-quarters of the time. If the defender has only one weapon, that weapon will be used for blocking.

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11.2. Adds

There are several categories of combat bonuses which affect the results of a swing or shot. The attacker’s strength adds, as discussed above, increase the damage done by the swing if it hits, but this add does not affect the hit probabilities of the attack succeeding. Any adds from the skill bonuses increase the probability of hitting but,do not directly increase the resulting damage. Combat adds on the attacker’s weapon (i.e., a superior or magical weapon) both increase the probability of hitting, and add to the damage.

The defender’s dexterity adds and any adds on the defender’s weapon or shield subtract directly from the hit probability. A shield spell also reduces the chance of hitting.

11.3. Armor

Armor is custom-tailored for each player by the armor shop. Armor provides protection from physical assault, but is ineffective against magic. The player can choose from three types of body armor. Plate armor offers the most protection, but is heavy and expensive. Chain mail is cheaper, but offers less protection against crushing weapons. The lightest and least costly of the three is leather armor, which provides only minimal protection.

11.4. Combat Skill

A player’s proficiency with a weapon is determined by a function of his skill rating with the weapon and the weapon’s required skill. Each weapon has a minimum skill for effective use. Weapon skill is broken down into ten different classes:

  • Swords
  • Maces
  • Bows
  • Daggers
  • Thrown Weapons
  • Two-handed Swords
  • Rapiers

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  • Flails
  • Staves
  • Bare Hands

The skill rating for thrown weapons refers to such items as shurikens and thrown daggers, not any weapon that is thrown. A thrown sword will use the sword skill rating. A dagger that is used as a slashing weapon or to parry a blow will use the dagger rating. In addition most small items like rocks and bottles will use the dagger skill rating if used as a weapon.

Skill can be gained from training with a master or by killing an opponent. If you kill a creature with your sword you will receive some addition skill points in swords. The amount you gain depends on the victim’s skill with its weapon, the amount of skill you already have, the base skill required by a particular weapon and your character class. Thieves and Thaumaturges receive fewer points per kill than Fighters, Knights, and Martial Artists. Wizards and Sorcerers get even less. In addition, the skill gain with a particular weapon is further limited as follows:

  • Fighters, Knights, Martial Artists : twice the base weapon skill
  • Thaumaturges, Thieves : the base weapon skill
  • Wizards, Sorcerers : one half the base weapon skill

As with experience points, you can never gain more than your current skill level in additional points from a single kill.

11.5. Weaponry

Every item can be used as a weapon, although, of course, many do not work very well. A total of twelve characteristics are used to determine the combat effectiveness of an item. First, there is a minimum and maximum range, to tell how far the item can be thrown or shot. Every item is also classified by the four possible actions which can be taken after it is used as a range weapon. The item can land at the attacker’s feet, or it can land at the defender’s feet, or it can become unloaded (like a bow), or it can remain ready (a returning hammer, for example). There are also two sets of combat ratings, one for close fighting and one for distance fighting. The distance fighting rating covers the firing of bows and the throwing of ordinary items, and the rating for close-in fighting covers swinging the items directly.

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The combat ratings consist of a combat table index, a damage rating, a blocking index, and a blocking-avoidance index. The combat table index indicates which table of hit probabilities to use, and the damage rating tells how many hits the item can deliver. The blocking index and blocking-avoidance index are used to determine the probability of the swing being blocked by the defender. Both the hit probabilities and the blocking probabilities are cross-indexed by the defender’s armor class. An attack is resolved by a four-step process.

  1. Determine whether the swing is blocked. The probability of blocking is determined by cross-indexing the attacker’s weapon with the defender’s weapon and armor in the blocking-probability table.

  2. Determine whether the swing hits or misses. The probability is obtained from the main combat table, using the defender’s armor and attacker’s weapon. The attacker’s skill bonuses and weapon adds, and the defender’s skill bonuses and dexterity adds, modify the resulting probability.

  3. Determine whether the defender’s armor blocks the blow. The probability of blocking is obtained in an analogous manner to the weapon block, except that the attacker’s strength adds are factored in.

  4. If the swing penetrates the armor, one die of damage is done, modified by the attacker’s strength adds. Then, the probability of a critical hit is obtained. If the blow is a critical hit, additional damage may be dealt out, and extraordinary effects, such as stunning the victim, can also be applied.

  1. Actually they do not use the word Thaumaturge, but instead say that such people Speak to the Wind↩︎

  2. The battle round is the standard unit of time measure in this simulation and is analogous to a “turn.” The usual duration of a battle round is twelve seconds, but this can vary, depending on the particular command being performed. For example a fight command will take four seconds longer than a movement command. ↩︎

  3. Be aware that dealing with Demons is often grounds for an alignment change to evil↩︎

  4. The reader is urged not to try summoning this Demon (the Prince of Darkness) without due cause. ↩︎