OasisOLC and Deaths Gate script reference
Are you ready?
Do you own a dictionary? Can you write in complete sentences? I
expect everyone to be able to write decent descriptions. I feel
like the kettle calling the pot black saying this, after all my
grasp on the English language is mediocre at best, but we will not
implement zones that are grammatical nightmares. Our goal is to
develop a perfect mud, part of this requires professionalism. If
you think you can't do this then either go to a mud that has no
standards or feel free to play as a mortal and submit ideas.
Writing an area requires inspiration and imagination before all
else. Ideas for areas often come from literature; for example, Dante's
trip through the Inferno. Areas should always start out on
paper long before they reach a computer; a general map of the region
can help to solidify the idea and a specific map of each individual
room is absolutely required so that the rooms can be linked together
in a way that makes sense geographically. Taking notes on
ideas for which monsters should be encountered in the area, their
descriptions, and in what location the monsters should appear can
also help when planning an area.
Do you know the mud you wish to build for? Do you know how the environment
of the mud is? Have you looked at the zones others have built? I
would suggest playing a mortal before attempting to build anything
to get a feel for the realm. Most importantly have you read the
background story? Now I was amazed at how few people read the background
story. Most muds have a theme, and it will have to be followed.
Now, to prove to us that you're worthy of the title builder, you
should propose a small (about 5-20 rooms) addition or modification
to the mud. Examples of a small addition might be: a new street
in one of the cities, a multi-story inn in a popular city, or a
new scenic path on a mountain trail. The idea is to propose something
simple and low-key. Don't try to add or modify a popular, complex,
or important set of rooms for this test. Projects like these will
come later. If you are serious about becoming a builder read this
entire document. It will help immensely.
Draw upon your extensive knowledge of the existing mud world to
come up with an idea for your modification or addition. Send a note
to the head builder or one of the implementers explaining your idea
and your intention to become a builder. Once your idea has been
approved you're *almost* ready to start implementing it. Before
you get your feet wet with builder commands, however, we need to
make sure we're all on the same planet. What you have to do now
is send email to Rumble with a copy of the room descriptions
you plan to use. Your descriptions should be edited and contain
no spelling or grammatical errors, and should explain where in the
world they are supposed to go (either which existing rooms you intend
them to replace or where you plan to add a few rooms). It is not
necessary, but you should completely read this document to avoid
making all of the common "new builder" mistakes. Your
room descriptions should be in a normal text format.
We'll review your room descriptions and may make suggestions to
rewrite parts. This is perfectly normal and should not in any way
be interpreted as an insult. The comments you receive may include
a lot of nitpicky details but once you're a full builder we won't
be going over your work and editing it as closely. Try and learn
as much as you can from this test-review process and keep it in
mind as you work on future projects; it's the most direct and concrete
way for us to tell you what we're looking for in terms of area writing.
If your work is approved, do a dance and proceed to the next section.
If for some reason it isn't approved try and figure out where the
problem is and how you can fix it next time around. If you still
want to be a builder wait at least a month and then propose another
test. We do want builders, but we need standards as well. We would
rather have one good area than ten mediocre ones.
The remaining part of qualifying to be a builder is not as difficult,
but may take more time. At this point in the process your character
will be given OLC (On-Line Creation) privileges and you will be
expected to implement your addition/modification proposal in a reasonable
amount of time. When you finish constructing your test proposal
let the immortals know that it is complete.
When it is approved let this document be the first to say,
"Congratulations! You are now a full-fledged qualified builder!"
Where do you go now? You now know how to tackle revisions or minor
additions to current areas, but most builders want to build a new
area. If this is what you're interested in, the rest of this document
will explain how.
There are many, wide-ranging mistakes builders can make when starting
new areas. We find that areas work out best when they are planned
ahead of time. The point of writing up an area proposal is so that
we can catch some of these mistakes early on, before you've spent
weeks working on your project. Believe us, this situation is no
fun for anyone involved. An area proposal consists of a simple mud
mail to the head builder or implementers of the mud.
The mud mail can be informal, but should tell us six things: the
location, level and alignment design, concept, plot, and size of
the area you would like to create. Detailed descriptions of these
items and some thoughts on how to avoid common traps follow below.
It's very important to know where an area is going to fit in with
the world before it is written! This may seem very obvious, but
it is a painful truth that many people make areas without regard
for where they will be placed on the mud. A character shouldn't
be walking around in an idyllic happy forest and suddenly come upon
an arctic wilderness. Likewise a character shouldn't venture a couple
steps outside a main human city and find themselves in an ancient
elven homeland. What is the moral here? Figure out where your new
area is going to go and make sure it doesn't grievously conflict
with surrounding terrain, climate, politics, mythology, and races.
Of course a simple portal can make location unnecessary.
If it's a city, the main gates probably aren't going to open out
onto an existing road or in the middle of a forest. Give some thought
to using a few rooms to link the "main" part of your area
to a spot that's already in the mud (be creative - as well as roads
and pathways, there are waterways and other means to reach places
...) If it's more of a wilderness-type area, then the way it links
might be a bit more vague, and it might link in more than one place
- when was the last time you saw a forest, field, or desert that
could only be reached in one way?
As important as where the area should begin is where it should end.
A city or even a village might have walls and a logical "edge,"
but if you're working with wilderness or even just the surroundings
beyond the city itself, it's hard to know where and how to draw
the boundaries. Natural formations seem like the perfect answer
-- rivers, mountains, and so on -- BUT (and I think this is a huge
but) the problem with these is that they are extremely prominent
geographical features and are not a good "throwaway" solution.
If you're writing forest room upon forest room and think you'll
never get to the end, don't just write in an insurmountable mountain
range or a gratuitous river. That'll lead to questions like, "What's
on the other side of the mountains, and why can't I approach them
or even see them from anywhere else?" or "Why did this
river suddenly come to an abrupt end as soon as I left this forest?"
Far better is to do something on a smaller scale -- the trees just
get too dense to move on --.
Even better, of course, is to integrate your area seamlessly with
the rest of the world, rather than allowing for one connecting point
and sealing the area off from its surroundings in all other directions.
It's not easy to do this, of course, and it's not always even possible,
but it's worth spending some time working on the rooms that link
the "area" as you first conceived of it with what's around
If you haven't noticed by now, this is a particular obsession of
mine, and not only will I be especially impressed by a proposal
that includes thoughtful, innovative suggestions on the area's place
in the world, I'll be sure to get on your case if, after all this,
you write a gratuitous river into your area. Be forewarned.
Give us an idea of what levels your new area will be geared for.
Many good areas stick to a defined range, such as 10-20, 35-45,
or 5-15. Don't try and make your new area cover the entire range
of levels. Every area should have its moment in the sun. Conversely,
it would be nice if there was something really unique and challenging
to do at every stage in a character's history.
Don't build areas for levels higher than those you've actually attained
with your character(s). Your area might be the most successful if
you can gear it for a range of levels that people believe is otherwise
Tell us whether your area is mostly good, neutral, or evil. If it's
mostly good or mostly evil, is it strongly good or evil or just
weakly aligned? In any case try not to make your area completely
homogenous. In neutral communities there's going to be some evil
and good elements, and likewise with other communities. To some
extent this goes along with the question about area level; consider
what seem to be "gaps" among the areas in the world as
far as good or evil aligned areas for a particular level range,
and try to fill those needs.
People's first tendency is to make extremists--The ultimate evil
hell area, or the blindingly good paladin fortress. Keep in mind
that there are many layers in between, and these are often more
The "concept" for an area is its reason to be. This is
where you tell us what's so interesting about the place. A concept
can be a simple statement like "I want this area to be the
homeland of a few loose-knit families of storm giants." or
"This area is a part of the sea where a merchant ship from
Anon is engaged in battle with a pirate ship". Concepts can
also be much more elaborate and include insight into the history
of the area, how its society and economy work, current plots or
conflicts going on in the area, and how other people in the world
view the place. The more work you put into the concept the better
it will be, and the better other areas will be that build off of
Feel free to discuss concept ideas informally as well as other aspects
of your proposed area before handing in the full area proposal.
The immortals will be glad to help you out--you might even get some
ideas you hadn't thought of before.
The size of an area is measured by its maximum number of rooms (also
called vnums). One of the most common mistakes a new builder makes
is to misjudge the amount of time it takes to build. What typically
happens is that the unsuspecting builder starts a grand project
only to find himself over his head with work after two weeks. The
result is almost always a sloppy, hastily finished product or a
perpetually unfinished one. Either way the builder ends up discouraged
and their area is unusable.
Don't let this happen to you! If this is your first area, keep it
under 50 rooms! You'll soon see this is a fair amount of work and
gives you quite a bit of room to accomplish what you have in mind.
Once you've completed something of this size and are proud of your
work, you can always add on to it or make larger areas later. In
your new area proposal tell us how many rooms you think you'll need
(a preliminary map or sketch of your area idea may help you figure
this out). Even if you have a 500-room center-of-a-thriving-civilization
concept in mind, try to divide it up into sections and work on them
one at a time. A cluster of small areas that get phased in gradually
is much better than one gigantic area that never gets done. Trust
us when we tell you a 500-room area will never be finished without
Herculean effort of which most of us are not capable.
Some numbers to give you an idea of area sizes, these are only suggestions:
Temples 20-30 rooms
Villages, forests, mountains about 50 rooms
Towns, deserts, plains, oceans about 100 rooms