Post by faroukel on Jul 31, 2019 9:54:50 GMT -5
Harshlands is a DikuMud derivative, heavily modified, and based on the Harn RPG tabletop system (roughly based on a 10th century Britain, with influences of Roman/Viking/Tolkien on theme).
Harshlands supplied the original code to Shadows of Isildur RPI. It has that same feel (green object text, purple pc/mob text, similar command structure).
Harshlands has no classes, no levels, and players progress in skills "by doing" or better put, "by failing".
Typical off-peak player counts are 5-10. Peak around 15-20. Very rare to see over 25 pcs, but does happen. Like most RPI's these days, there's dedicated core pcs and a heap of casuals, vice versa to the scenario of old.
What I like about Harshlands:
1. The staff. I actually like other things about the game a lot more, but this is number one due to the toxicity of staff throughout the Mud-verse. They have a roster of staff that have been around since, well, seems forever. Blackhorde, Revus, Horus seem to be the main triumvirate, with Blackhorde focused on code, Revus on canon/theme/playability, and Horus on building. This is just my perception, but I think it fairly accurate. There are a host of other staffers who fill in as needed. Crosis, Hugin, and Naga seem to focus on RPA, player petitions, etc. It just seems such a solid, behind-the-scenes crew that support the players, yet keep to the vision. I've heard complaints of favouritism and such, but frankly, have never seen it manifested IG/ooc beyond perhaps the Tharda region (similar to Romans in Britain), which seems to be Revus' baby, but realistically is the newest "player zone" and is getting fleshed out. One thing I will say, is that HL staff does not rush, maybe that's due to the duration of time spent volunteered to the game, where they realize that "nothing is that important", maybe its a tactic to keep player expectations reasonable, I don't know..but it can be a bit of a pain in the arse when waiting on an application approval, key petition response, etc...but really, not a biggie, just giving the full scope of opinion.
2. The lore. I admit freely...when I first started playing HL as a "side-mud" to SoI like in 2005, I didn't get it, thought it bland, boring, ect. Coming back like 10+ years later, giving it a chance..reading the docs, and getting to understand the theme, I really like it. Harnworld has a depth of detail similar to the Silmarillion (Tolkien). A bunch of it is boring. A lot of it is not. If you're a history buff, enjoy reading timelines, Wikipedia entries on events, then you'll probably get some satisfaction out of reading Harn lore. The main thing that captured me, was Harn religion and how it plays out IG (see next point). But it's also all the information that sets the scene for "today's Harn." The below link was canon that I used to create my last pc, for example.
3. Harn religion. I don't think I can do this justice in my brief descriptions...
So, here's a snippet of a religion (contact me if you're interested in playing!)
From Harshlands - help naveh-handout
Naveh is known as a bringer of nightmares, a doer of the impossible, and master
of lies and deception. He is oft worshipped by thieves and assassins, and is
possessed of cold, ruthless intellect.
The church exists solely to provide its own members with the discipline necessary
to carry out their tasks when the Chaos returns, it is taught that one day the
Concordat which regulates the behavior of the gods will be dissolved and
chaos will reign, and it is at this time that Naveh will put his master plan into
action, and his followers must be prepared for this time.
The church works to quietly destabilize other churches and institutions,
they not attempt to gain converts or spread their doctrine in a typical fashion,
they have no preachers and no organized laity. They have no ceremonies
for birth, marriage or death, and do not actively recruit many members.
Naveh has no true lay followers. There are, however, many who pay private
respects to the god, and worship in their own way, but these will rarely
come into contact with actual clergy. They are essentially, to use a
modern description, wannabee's.
Navehans are often "control freaks" and are very distrustful. Friendship and
love are considered weaknesses and luxuries which cannot be afforded.
The majority of clergy were abducted as children or youth and raised within
a temple or covert sect.
Symbols and Regalia
Loose fitting black clothing and robes are popular, although not symbolic of
Naveh exactly. Ranking clergy will oft wear a crimson or scarlet mantle or
robe over their black outfit, while temple assassins employ a white sash
against their black clothes symbolizing their role, and which will be returned
to the sect, stained with the blood of their assigned victim.
The most famous symbol is the skull mask employed by clerics during
Ritual murder and suicide are typical in the faith, clergy are indoctrinated
into a culture which does not permit disobedience, and takes a dim view
of failure. Those who fail an assigned task are often expected to commit
ritual suicide. Hallucinogenic drugs and stimulants are sometimes used
in ceremonies to induce euphoria, fearlessness, and susceptibility to
Once per month, on a night of the new moon, an involved ritual will take place
during which a gift of blood for Naveh is expected, most typically either
an aged cleric will commit ritual suicide, or the sect will attempt to
capture or abduct a victim to serve as a sacrifice.
On occasion, this ceremony will include a cleric, often one wishing to
become a Navas-Kara (temple assassin), being assigned a specific
victim to go out and kill. The victim may range from a beggar to a lord
but will be often chosen randomly by a higher ranked cleric and then
assigned. The killing must occur within one month, those who fail
are not expected to return alive, if they do, they are ritually murdered.
The Night of Shadows
Starting the night of the 30th of Navek, it closely mirrors the Dezenaka except
the night is much more holy, and at least three victims will be chosen, and they
must be slain before midnight of the next day.
There common misconception about the Night of Shadows, is the notion that all
the killing takes place during the night, when in fact the Navehan has from the
evening of the 30th Navek on through the night and all of Shadowmath (1st of Morgat),
until midnight that night.
In recent years however, the lay participation in the Night of Shadows has grown,
often resulting in utterly pointless antics and even murders at the hands of
self-styled Navehans who lack any connection with the church.
The discipline of a Navehan sect is supposedly unmatched by any military order
anywhere, adherants have been said to slit their own bellies at the mere command
of a high-ranking cleric, even without explanation being given. It is assumed that
the ranking cleric is carrying out some measure that will further the inexplicable
aims of the Lord.
Each temple or sect is independent, and do not rely on each other for supplies
or funding. Information or orders from other temples are carried between sects
by the Be'Ara Tulna, who serve as messengers and inquisitors.
Navehans place little value on a corpse. but they will revere the spirit of dead comrades in
a ceremony called the Shai-Tovakan, where they travel to the deceased favorite place
and stand vigil for three days, often engaging in chants and drug usage.
Garana - The High Priest is the absolute master of the temple, his word is law
and any deviation or questioning of his authority is dealt with immediately by death.
Dranatha - The Priests serve a variety of functions, in most temples and sects there
Arasha - The deputy high priest, who governs in the Garana's absence or if there is
no Garana at that temple/sect
Wolren - The master of archives and the treasury
Tarava - The master of discipline, who oversees the code of discipline and is responsible
for seeing punishments carried out
Prada - The master of acolytes trains the acolytes and is responsible for day-to-day operations
Dezena - The master of ritual oversees ceremonies and teaches the doctrine to the abducted
children/youth who make up the bulk of the temple recruits
Adranatha - The acolytes come from the abducted children of well-placed families, abducted
street youth, or on rare occasion, from a female cleric having a child. Formal training begins
at 11, they perform all the temples menial tasks and learn discipline and abject obedience,
there is no latitude for self-indulgence or ego-maniacals in the church of Naveh, those who
do not obey, die.
After demonstrating sufficient skill, they undertake a ritual rite of passage where they
are most often sent into a maze against another acolyte competing for similar advancement,
the acolyte who slays or seriously wounds his opponent without becoming seriously wounded
himself is permitted to advance. Those who fail are allowed to take the test one more time,
but a second failure results in the obligation of ritual suicide.
Why is this so cool? It provides you with goals, purpose, a reason for doing this/that. It gives you enemies, rules, allies. It gives you sinks to put in time/coin/energy that "aren't for nuthin." And it's very detailed and pushes player story across the game.
4. The code. HL code is updated literally almost on a daily basis, with updates posted to archived thread on the main forum. One thing that may turn off players is that player "Rank" and "Wealth" progression is in some instances controlled by code. Promotions within canon organizations (military, religious orders, temples, trade guilds) are controlled through weekly paydays, in which you collect tokens in your char sheet to put towards promotion (or other things too if you want). I initially DID NOT like this, as I preferred merit based promotions. Then, I kinda thought about it longer. There's no way to claim favouritism. There's no way for players to boost their buddies into ranking roles "just cuz". Everyones on the same page, and progression is based on dedication to the character, not who you know, what you've done (though merit/demerit does impact promotions to some extent), or what have you. It also, to a certain level, lets you plan out the progression as much as possible over the 20 week period. Income can also be regimented for certain pc types, such as guild folk with no practical outlet for pc sales (potters, millers, etc) when you basically sell a set amount of goods to a merchant each week. Same with military and most clergy, though there are opportunities for more earnings based on collecting tithes/donations, or bonus military play. Guild trades with a player-demanded product can also expect enhanced earnings, as pc sales ARE NOT controlled, and you keep what you sell.
The code itself is also solid. Poisoning for example, is IG and works pretty cool. Rituals based on Harn (think low-level magic) are IG and are very very cool. The things you typically demand on staff have been automated to most extents (purchasing houses, masters can customize objects, etc). There are things like encounter code (where mobs are loaded during travel that the player(s) have to deal with), and sailing code in the works. Anyways, there's a lot more, but the code is very solid from a player perspective.
5. The players. I won't lie, the RP on Harshlands isn't typically of the same quality as I was used to on SoI. But they do all RP, stick to their pcs, and are engaged. There are so many long-lived pcs, so many experienced players. It's great. I will note however, that due to the immense size of the world, you don't get the same concentration of players into single areas as I personally would prefer, but interaction is not lacking. I've heard back in the day that cliques were a big thing, but frankly, haven't really experienced this at all during my time on HL.
I'm going to pause for now, as I'm getting lost in my text, but may post round 2 at some point.
But before that, I will note a couple cons just to give a fuller picture. Crafting is not at the same level on HL as lets say SoI. There is a system, pretty robust, but it does not have the 1000's of crafts to produce products. Combat in my opinion is a bit slow, and easy to survive. Dying on HL is a relatively rare occurrence (it does happen tho!). There is not a staff-dominated metaplot going on, but rather, a slow advancement of the canon storyline. Metaplots aren't for everyone however, so this could in fact be a pro rather than con. Staff are rather hands off in terms of RPA'ing, but do occasionally let you know they're watching and keeping up-to-date with your pc.