|Developer(s)||Dan Brumleve, Nasri Hajj, Santiago Zorzopulos, Cat "Sanvean" Rambo, project community|
|Genre(s)||Low fantasy roleplaying MUD|
Armageddon, frequently abbreviated Arm, is a low fantasy MUD – a text-based online role-playing game – set in a desert world called Zalanthas. It was founded in 1991 by Dan Brumleve, Nasri Hajj, and Santiago Zorzopulos in Urbana, Illinois. It requires its players to focus on role-playing.
Armageddon's setting began with a heavy influence from Dark Sun, Dune, and other fantasy and science fiction sources, such as The Morgaine Stories by C. J. Cherryh, and Robert Asprin's Thieves' World, but has since grown and evolved. While some of these elements are still part of the campaign, ongoing development is not focused on maintaining a commitment to those influences.
The game world has two city-states called Allanak and Tuluk. The city populaces comprise commoners trying to live from day to day, nobles working to rise in power, and templars, civic officials who enforce the will of the cities' Sorcerer-Kings.
Allanak is the setting's original city-state, and is a class-based society with a long and decadent history. It once ruled the known world, but has since retreated back to its own borders. Allanak's expansion was orchestrated by the game's players, as was the subsequent loss of these territories. For many within Allanak, this collapse went unnoticed amid a self-absorbed orgy of violence and pleasure. Public displays of torture, violent and bloody arena matches, and tremendous indulgences of depravity are typical of Allanak, with the templars exercising power with near impunity.
The other city-state of Tuluk is a young, energetic caste-based society. Player-influenced events led to the people of Tuluk throwing off the yoke of Allanak's oppression, bringing a sense of growth, expansion, and opportunity that makes Tuluk a center of political maneuvering. Tuluk is ruled with silent oppression, with people who break the law simply disappearing, fostering a secretive and distrustful atmosphere.
During the occupation of Tuluk, the nobles survived by relying on the common caste to hide them. This developed a closeness between castes that survives to the present, with the nobility and the common caste often operating closely together, though social boundaries such as a taboo against sexual contact between the castes remain.
Outposts and Tribes
Smaller outposts and safe havens exist in Zalanthas, generally struggling to remain independent from the city-states. These communities provide sanctuary from the dangers of the wastes and from the deadly politics and tyranny of Allanak and Tuluk, but typically have harsh and unforgiving local law enforcement. Nomadic tribes have a precarious existence in the wastes, working to survive while fending off beasts, raiders and magickers.
Magickers, those who use arcane powers, are seen with dread, hatred and loathing. Tuluk bans them, while Allanak subjugates their elementalists with gemmed collars; sorcerers are killed mercilessly by either city-state. To survive, magickers must master their respective elements, or in the case of sorcerers, their inherently tremendous well of power. The magick system in Armageddon is robust and extensive, featuring eight distinct magick classes, seven based on elementalism and the eighth on sorcery. Each class employs its respective competency through numerous spells. However, as the setting is low fantasy, the intention is that it should be rare to encounter magickers.
Armageddon includes the mul race of human-dwarf crossbreeds found in the Dark Sun setting. They are primarily bred by noble houses as gladiatorial slaves for the arenas of Allanak and Tuluk. Roleplaying guidelines from Armageddon suggest that muls, being sterile, often suffer from a sense of meaninglessness.
In a departure from genre convention, there are no levels to be gained in Armageddon; a player character's fighting prowess, like his ability at woodcrafting or bartering, is measured by skills which rise through use, with no explicit statistical measurement provided to the player. "Perma-death" is another major game element; when a player character dies in Armageddon, it is a one-time, permanent matter. These factors are seen as helping players focus on roleplaying realistically through giving them a true fear of death and a greater concern for their character's interaction with the world than with a numerical skill percentage.
Players are allowed only one character at a time, with each successive one being tied to a single player account. The account then becomes a sort of personal record, storing staff comments about the player as well as a general measurement of trust called "karma". Karma allows a player to create a character using restricted classes and races, such as magickers and muls.
Players are expected to provide a detailed description for their characters. In a departure from how, in many aspects, Armageddon works to have the game heavily model characters and their interactions rather than relying on human interpretation, descriptions are "flat" text and "their effects are not regulated algorithmically".
Armageddon is unusual in having
feel commands, which allow one to silently express the thoughts and feelings of their characters without broadcasting them to everyone in the room.
As a result of internal controversy, the MUD has developed player conduct rules regarding cybersex that require prior consent for anyone to roleplay sexual interaction with another player character.
In 2006, a major overhaul to Armageddon called Armageddon Reborn was announced. On May 15, 2012 the project was officially cancelled.
Armageddon has been praised as a "complex and professional" MUD that facilitates "high caliber role playing".
Over a period of years ranging from 2012 onward, many of the Armageddon MUD veteran players have left, and have expressed their disagreement in what they have identified as unreasonable actions by the MUD's staff team. A separate discussion board centered on discussion without Armageddon's rules controlling the content posted regarding the MUD was founded in early 2013, and it is populated by a number of these veteran players. The discussion board also hosts a sample of these players' complaints.
Points of interest
The MUD's staff take pride in having a mission statement that describes administrators' accountability and priorities, which include stability, game balance, consistency, and a "Gee-Whiz Factor".
- Merlini, Marco (1998). Pescatori di anime: nuovi culti e Internet [Fishers of souls: new cults and the Internet] (in Italian). Awerbi. p. 107.
Sarà più facile capire come comportarsi al momento supremo, se ci saremo allenati con il gioco di ruolo Armageddon Mud, ambientato in un pianeta post-disastro, deserto e riarso: Zalanthas (http://www.armageddon.org)."
Translation: "It will be easier to understand how to behave at the supreme moment, if we have trained with the role-playing game Armageddon MUD, set in a post-disaster world of parched desert: Zalanthas (http://www.armageddon.org).
- Moss, Will; Pantuso, Joe. The Complete Internet Gamer. John Wiley & Sons. p. 141. ISBN 0-471-13787-1.
Armageddon is a Mud that takes place on the hostile, desert world of Zalanthas. The game is based on a DikuMud code, but it has a heavy emphasis on role play and character interaction. This is a very challenging Mud to play successfully, and experienced Mudders looking to stretch their skills may want to give it a try. Beginners shouldn't avoid it, but they should be aware of the challenge. Competition between players is normal in this Mud, as even water is a precious commodity. Knowing when not to be hostile will be key to survival as well, of course. This Mud has strict policies for staying in character and communicating out of character [...] The managers of Armageddon are strict, but it has paid off. They maintain a complex and professional Mud where players can participate in high caliber role playing in a large environment. [...]
- Zorzopulos, Santiago (1992-04-03). "Armageddon DikuMUD.... Play or die". rec.games.mud. Retrieved 2010-04-15.
- Rambo, Cat; "Krrx" (March 2000). "Clans in a Role playing World". Imaginary Realities. Retrieved 2010-04-17.
- Harrell, D. Fox. Kroker, Arthur; Kroker, Marilouise, eds. "Toward a Theory of Critical Computing: The Case of Social Identity Representation in Digital Media Applications". Code Drift: Essays in Critical Digital Studies. CTHEORY.
For example, the MUD Armageddon features a race called 'Muls', described as 'sterile crossbreeds of dwarves and men, bred almost solely by Templar slavers and nobles for combat in the Arenas of Allanak as well as those of Tuluk.' Players provide their own descriptions such as: [...] The main feature of such flat files is that, while they allow players complete textual freedom within length constraints, their effects are not regulated algorithmically. Hence, MUD informational sites often provide written descriptions of how to perform identity categories such as race or sexual orientation; for example, Muls are provided the following personality guidance for appropriate role-playing: 'being sterile, and thus outside of the typical chain of reproduction, muls often suffer from a sense of meaninglessness.'
- Rambo, Cat (January 2000). "I Think, Therefore I Roleplay". Imaginary Realities. Retrieved 2010-04-15.
- Rambo, Cat (2006-05-02). "As Sands Through the Hourglass: The Evolution of Armageddon's Policy on Roleplayed Cybersex". The Escapist. Themis Media (43). Retrieved 2010-09-18.
- Adhira (2012-05-15). "Armageddon 2.0 Update". Retrieved 2012-05-30.
- "Armageddon MUD Discussion Board". 2016-06-15.
- Doheny-Farina, Stephen (1996). The Wired Neighborhood (pbk. ed.). Yale University Press. p. 154. ISBN 0-300-07434-4.
- Rambo, Cat (2006-05-30). "Sponsored by Microsoft and Apple". The Escapist. Themis Media (47). Retrieved 2010-09-18.