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LegendMUD Logo.png
Developer(s)Project community
Producer(s)Ruth Williams, Todd McKimmey, Mike Weatherbee
Designer(s)Raph and Kristen Koster, Rick and Sherry Delashmit[1]
Platform(s)Platform independent
Genre(s)Historical fantasy MUD

LegendMUD is a text-only MUD game founded by a group of friends including virtual world designer Raph Koster. It features historically significant story elements and award-winning[2][3] gameplay. It opened publicly on February 14, 1994.[4][2] It has received critical praise for its research and attention to detail in reconstructing past cultures within the game context.[5]

Game characteristics[edit]

A screenshot of LegendMUD's login screen

The thematic structure of LegendMUD is based on a literal interpretation of historical legend, with content based on real locales at various points in history, but with mythological elements included as concrete reality.[4][5] LegendMUD was derived from DikuMUD. At present, it features over 8,000 rooms contained within 60 areas.[4]

LegendMUD features several innovations, one of which was that players were not required to select a character class such as mage or warrior.[1] Rather, a skill system is used, which has been noted as extensive and original.[5] The player selects a hometown affecting the types of skills which are then able to be learned. For example, a character from the industrial period San Francisco has the opportunity to learn about guns, but cannot learn magic. In contrast, a character from ancient period Ireland is capable of learning druidic skills, but can never learn about more modern ideas such as field surgery.[5]

To further innovate on the learning of skills, the character must through interaction with non-player characters learn whatever that NPC had to teach, with some of these requiring a small form of quest.


In October 1995, LegendMUD was selected as The Mud Connector's Mud of the Month.[3]

Koster wrote "A Story About a Tree", a short essay and epitaph about the death of a LegendMUD player named Karyn. An investigative journalist later disproved evidence of Karyn's death.[6] Richard Bartle considered the incident to be a key event in the development of virtual worlds' ethics, similar to "A Rape in Cyberspace".[verification needed] The 'death' demonstrated that people can develop feelings for each other via the virtual world medium, thus experiencing real emotions about somebody they've never met, even an entirely fictional persona. A Story About a Tree is considered as a major counterargument against the "it's just a game" point of view on virtual worlds. Furthermore, it showcased that while being a very real object of grief to one party, it can indeed remain just a game for another.[7]


  1. ^ a b Bartle, Richard (2003). Designing Virtual Worlds. New Riders. p. 21. ISBN 0-13-101816-7. That people did play is a tribute to the game's design team, led by Raph Koster. Raph had a background in virtual world design, having worked on 1992's Worlds of Carnage (the first DikuMUD to have an embedded scripting language) before moving on to found LegendMUD in 1994 with Kristen Koster (his wife), Rick Delashmit, and others. [...] LegendMUD was itself an innovative game, boasting a number of features to promote role-playing that had never been implemented before. For example, unlike other DikuMUD derivatives, LegendMUD was classless (players don't elect to be fighters, magic-users, healers, thieves, or whatever); this concept was to shape the design of Ultima Online powerfully. The wide-ranging playing experience of the designers meant that they could draw on ideas from many other codebases, too.
  2. ^ a b Scott, Ryan (April 2006). "The CGW Interview: Raph Koster". Computer Gaming World (261): 37. Archived from the original on 2008-11-23. 1994: The award-winning LegendMUD, codesigned by Koster, launches (www.legendmud.org—still active today).
  3. ^ a b "October '95 Mud of the Month". The Mud Connector. Archived from the original on 2010-01-03. Retrieved 2010-04-07.
  4. ^ a b c "LegendMUD: An Overview". LegendMUD Official Website. Archived from the original on August 4, 2008. Retrieved April 14, 2010. LegendMUD is a text-based virtual world, or MUD (Multi-User Dungeon) based on "the world the way they thought it was." It's history with a twist: the game's world and its areas are based on real places on earth, but whatever the people of that age believed in is real on Legend. [...] LegendMUD opened officially on February 14, 1994, and has been operating continually since then. It was derived from DikuMUD, though it has been heavily modified over the years to the point where its codebase is now almost completely customized. As of Spring 2007, Legend has over 8,000 rooms making up over 60 areas.
  5. ^ a b c d Towers, J. Tarin; Badertscher, Ken; Cunningham, Wayne; Buskirk, Laura (1996). Yahoo! Wild Web Rides. IDG Books Worldwide Inc. pp. 162–163. ISBN 0-7645-7003-X. LegendMUD allows you to adventure through several ancient lands and historical eras to experience the world as the people of the past viewed it. This is travel through history the way it was meant to be! You can choose from several great time periods like Celtic Ireland, medieval Germany, and even an Arabian nights setting. Your hometown will affect your stats and determine what your character can learn based on the beliefs of the population at the time. Those of a more ancient period are more adept at magic, while abilities in a later industrial era will lean toward technology. ¶ Don't worry about being stuck exclusively in the time period you've chosen — no doubt you'll want to explore all areas of this great MUD. Luckily, it allows time travel between eras so you won't miss a thing! The skills available for your character are numerous and original, and the combat is fast and exhilarating. If you get stuck on something, there's a universal chat channel you can use to ask for help from the midsized player base. You usually end up getting the helpfiles recited back to you, but the players are certainly not a rude bunch. Also, make sure you rent instead of typing quit or you'll drop all your stuff. Equipment is level restrictive, so don't expect to be hanging on to very fancy weapons at the first level. ¶ It would be really great if more coders took the immense time and effort to study cultures of the past and put them into virtual worlds like this one. LegendMUD seems to be doing well and is becoming more popular all the time. There's no doubt we'll soon see more time periods. And there's an added benefit with this game — you can always justify the time you waste mudding by telling yourself and others that it's educational.
  6. ^ Spaight, Tracy. "Who killed Miss Norway?". salon.com. Archived from the original on 2009-01-29. Retrieved 2008-04-01.
  7. ^ Bartle, Richard (2003). Designing Virtual Worlds. New Riders. pp. "Chapter 8. Coda: Ethical Considerations", "Yourself". ISBN 0-13-101816-7.

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