The Adventurer's Guide to Discworld MUD

Communication

Any MUD is as much an environment for socialising in as it is a game, and like any other MUD, the Discworld provides you with a variety of ways to get to know your fellow denizens. My various characters have spent some very pleasant hours hanging out on the talker channels and bulletin boards.

So, let's have a quick look at a fundamental aspect of the MUD - its multiple methods of communication.

The newbie_channel

NEWBIE (n.)
Web slang for a person experiencing a new web environment such as, for e.g., the Discworld MUD.
NOOB (n.)
Short for NEWBIE.
Discworld MUD help files:
http://discworld.atuin.net/lpc/playing/documentation.c?path=/concepts/newbie_channel

Ten minutes into the game (unless you're in under a guest account), and you'll have probably seen messages like this flash across your screen:

> (newbie) Sothis: Hey there newbies!
(newbie) Severus maintains a haughty silence
The newbie_channel is a free talker automatically available to all new characters until they're eighteen hours old. The only characters on there apart from newbies are the newbie-helpers (some of whom may or may not be Creators1) - and, as the name suggests, these are the kind people who have bravely volunteered to answer any questions you have, no matter how silly2.

For a list of newbie-helpers currently logged in and on hand for your assistance, simply type helpers.

The newbie_channel is also a place where you can simply chat with your fellow newbies! For a list of fellow noobs, type who newbie. To talk to them, type newbie followed by whatever you want to say, e.g.:

newbie Hey there newbies!
You newbie-tell: Hey there newbies!
And everyone else on the newbie_channel will see:
> (newbie) Sothis: Hey there newbies!
You can also "emote" on the newbie_channel. An "emote" is when you "do" something rather than "say" something, and while a piece of speech is indicated onscreen by a colon (:) after the speaker's name, an emote just appears:
> (newbie) Severus maintains a haughty silence
So how did he do that? By typing either the "at" symbol (@) or a colon before the emote text; e.g.:

newbie @maintains a haughty silence

or

newbie :maintains a haughty silence

After every act of speech or an emote on the newbie_channel, you'll notice the following message:

Remember: You will lose this channel at 18 hours old - if you want to chat after that time, please get a talker (see 'help talker').

Talkers

A talker is some object with which you can communicate with other people en masse. You can get one for free in a number of shops, depending on where you entered the Disc (there are three places in Ankh-Morpork where you can do this, and two of them are very close to the Mended Drum). You can also pay to have some item converted into a talker.

Free talkers are received in exchange for a voucher which automatically appears in your inventory as soon as you leave Pumpkin Town. You can read the voucher for instructions, or, since you've yet to leave Pumpkin Town, you can read mine instead:

r voucher
You read the voucher:
Written:

Take this voucher to a talker shop to "exchange" it for a talker item.  A talker will let you chat to more Discworld channels.
See "help talker" for more details and locations.

Typing help talker will fill your screen with a mass of very useful information which is much easier to read on the web page here:
http://discworld.atuin.net/lpc/playing/documentation.c?path=/helpdir/talker.

Talkers work in the same way as the newbie_channel, but they comprise a range of channels (including one, two and the name of whichever guild you're in, such as Adventurer) on which to chat rather than just the one; and a surprisingly big collection of additional commands to go with them. Typing syntax talker will give you a nice readable list.

The commands shown above work just the same as they do on the newbie_channel - you just type in the name of the channel followed by your speech or action. However, while the newbie-channel is with you permanently for eighteen hours3, talkers can be turned on and off, by simply typing talker off and talker on (new talkers are set to on by default).

Personally, I was disappointed to discover that emote works slightly differently on the normal talkers - instead of seeing an action directly, you get this:

one @maintains a haughty silence
> Severus whispers that he maintains a haughty silence
I think this must be because the talker is intended for nothing else but talking - if you want to "do" stuff with other people, you have to meet up with them as you would in real life rather than wave at them across the æther. Pity, though, because this:
one @swings from the chandelier
is so much more fun as:
Severus swings from the chandelier
than this:
Severus whispers that he swings from the chandelier
But more on emotes later.

Talking to people without a Talker

Being as you are in Pumpkin Town, the chances of seeing other people to play with are a bit slim. Once you're out in the big wide Disc, however, you'll be fighting your way through crowds of people! So, how do you go about introducing yourself and engaging in pleasantries?

Basically, you just precede whatever you want to say with the word say. Or you can use an apostrophe (') instead. For example:

say Hi everyone!
You say: Hi everyone!
or:
'Hi everyone!
You say: Hi everyone!

In addition to say, you can shout, whisper and just talk loudly (lsay). The helpfile below gives a brief overview of communication on the Disc, and links to the fun range of commands that make whatever you want to say to the people in the same room as you appear on their screens.

http://discworld.atuin.net/lpc/playing/documentation.c?path=/concepts/communication

But... supposing you've met someone special? Someone to whom you wish to address clandestine comments, secure from inquisitive eyes?

Tell

The command tell allows you to speak privately to another player, no matter where they are on the Disc. And, while all the other forms of communication seen so far require you to either be in the same room as someone else or have access to the same talker channel, tell can be used by someone in the Newbie area to talk to someone in the main Disc4.

tell sothis Hi Sothis! Love your website :D
You tell Sothis: Hi Sothis! Love your website :D
Sothis tells you: Thanks, o person with excellent taste :)

Of all forms of communication, tell could well be the one you end up using the most. It's the one which is least likely to be missed in the maze of onscreen text by the person you're trying to talk to - and if a tell does get lost, you can just type in htell to get a history list of the previous twenty or so tells exchanged between the two of you.

For more information, check out the helpfile here:

http://discworld.atuin.net/lpc/playing/documentation.c?path=/helpdir/tell

Emote and Remote

You've already seen, and possibly tried out emotes on the newbie_channel and the talker. But what about emotes in the room you're in, visible only to those present?

Basically, you just precede whatever you want to do with the word emote. Or you can use a colon (:) instead. For example:

emote swings from the chandelier
You emote: Sothis swings from the chandelier
- and anyone in the same room as you sees:
> Sothis swings from the chandelier
The remote command works the same way, except that it's like tell - it's directed at one recipient and invisible to everyone else, and it doesn't matter how far away the recipient is.

NB: Unlike say and emote, which can be substituted with the single characters of an apostrophe and a colon respectively, the commands tell and remote have no alternative forms.

For more information, check out the helpfiles below:

Emote: http://discworld.atuin.net/lpc/playing/documentation.c?path=/helpdir/emote

Remote: http://discworld.atuin.net/lpc/playing/documentation.c?path=/helpdir/remote

Oh dearie me... and probably lawks

Fully equipped with every command you need to interact entertainingly with everyone else, you attemt to emote a warm woolly hug to someone nice. And you get this:
emote gives Womble a warm woolly hug
> You do not have that ability yet
Yep, frustratingly, the emote and remote commands aren't automatically bestowed upon you by the game like the others... you have to win them by doing quests. And even more tragically, it's against the rules for me to tell you which ones5! All I can do is give you a few oblique hints: Good luck in your quests to control expression & display your feelings - and don't forget your carrot.

Soul Commands

At the time of writing, there are 619 soul commands. What they are and how they work can be found at this address:
http://discworld.atuin.net/lpc/playing/soul.c

Soul commands, or "souls" are commands which perform an emote with a specific output, e.g. "smiling" at someone:

smile severus
You smile at Severus.
You can use soul commands on NPCs as well as other players, and there is a limited capacity for modifying them, e.g.:
smile severus warmly
You smile warmly at Severus.
- but they are stock commands. You also earn experience points (XP) and social points when you use them. The biggest number of XP is gained on the more unusual souls, but the more often you use them, the less XP you earn each time.

Souls brighten up your interactive social experience, especially if you haven't managed to discover which quests confer the Emote and Remote commands - and if you're a couple of XP short of learning a skill, they can come in very handy. Enjoy!

And finally... Earmuffs

So, even though you have yet to leave Pumpkin Town, you already know multiple ways to communicate with all the lovely people you're about to meet. Fantastic!

But... What if you merely want to mooch the mean streets of Morpork, alone with your thoughts and the occasional NPC?

What you need are some earmuffs.

earmuffs
Your earmuffs are off.
You have nothing set to be earmuffed.
Earmuffable events are shout, newbie, remote-soul, multiple-soul, multiple-tell, teach, tell, remote and multiple-remote.

The earmuffs allow you to block various messages from appearing on your screen. This can be very handy if you need to concentrate on something; being as the Disc is entirely text-based, there's so much to read that the screen can sometimes get a bit crowded - potentially fatal for your character if engaged in battle.

For example, you can put earmuffs on for the newbie_channel, then just do earmuffs on and earmuffs off to :

earmuffs newbie on
You are now earmuffing newbie events.
The command earmuffs newbie off, obviously, gives you back the newbie_channel.

Type syntax earmuffs for full instructions on how to work them, and have a read of the earmuffs helpfile, which gives you full details as well as handy links to other related commands. Investigate them all through the link below:

http://discworld.atuin.net/lpc/playing/documentation.c?path=/helpdir/earmuffs

And for more information about screen spam and how to get rid of it, type help spam protection. Unfortunately, this rather lengthy file isn't available via the website - but it's well worth a read.

So, what's next?

Okay, that's more or less the basics for getting around the Discworld MUD itself, including one or two things you won't need until you actually arrive.

But you don't want to leave the safety of Pumpkin Town just yet! There are crucial questions to address first, like:

Time to tour... Funky Town! (er, sorry) Pumpkin Town!

  1. Creators are the players who actually code the MUD. Most of them don't actively play any more, but there's usually a few of them online.
  2. Trust me on this.
  3. Although the earmuffs command can stop messages from the newbie_channel appearing onscreen. Click here for information on earmuffs.
  4. Technically, so can shout. But it's just not the same! ;)
  5. You can get banned if the Discworld MUD admin discover you've been giving away Quest solutions.