Ancient Anguish

Ancient Anguish

Ancient Anguish (commonly referred to in-game as AA) is a fantasy themed MUD based on the Amylaar driver which operates on the LPMud codebase. Coding for the mud by Zor and Drake started in 1991, and it opened to the public on February 2, 1992. [ [ November '95 Mud of the Month ] ] It is completely free to play, but has been supported by player donations since 1994. [ [ Ancient Anguish ] ]

Ancient Anguish is based on a "map-coordinate" system rather than linked areas, which contributes to the immersive feeling of entering another 'world'. Areas are then placed on the nearly 10,000 room 'map' and tied into the geography and history of the fantasy world, called Oerthe. In addition, the mud strives for a "describe-all" policy for all areas, whereby any item/object/feature should respond to as many of the five senses as possible, which adds to the immersive quality, although not all older areas conform to current balance and describe-all policies.

Administration and site history

In the early 1990s, most MUDs were housed on university mainframe computers, either illicitly or with tacit approval from the computer science department (many of whom played or created the games they hosted!).fact|date=January 2008 In late 1993, Ancient Anguish faced the threat of being shut down by the Swiss university that hosted the game, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich, for excessive bandwidth usage.cite web
title=Donators: 1993-1994
publisher=Ancient Anguish
] Hundreds of players made donations totalling more than $7000 (US) and bought a SparcStation 2 workstation, relocating the MUD to Washington, D.C..

At the same time, Zor (who functioned as "God", or chief administrator, at the time) abdicated his singular authority over the MUD and turned over control to a newly created Senate of Wizards, with Amante serving as the Senate President.fact|date=January 2008 The Senate appoints Archwizards of Law, Balance, Quality Control, Education, Mudlib, World and Map, and Driver.cite web
title=The Senate
publisher=Ancient Anguish
] The Senate consists of the "Arch Wizards" of the different functional administrations, plus additional Senators at large. In 1995, Amante abdicated his role as Senate President and the Senate assumed complete control over the MUD.fact|date=January 2008

Over the next decade, Ancient Anguish was hosted by a number of access providers:Mid 1995 to 1996: Pacific Rim Networks in Bellingham WashingtonMid 1996 to July 1997: Chaco Inc. in San Jose, CAJuly 1997 to Feb 2006: InReach Internet in Stockton, CAFeb 2006 to August 2008: Colocation America in Los Angeles, CA

Ancient Anguish continues to be supported entirely through voluntary donations.fact|date=January 2008

Though its population has never been as high as some other MUDs, it remains one of the more popular LPMuds on the internet today, despite facing stiff competition from commercial and/or graphical MMORPGs. [As of 2006, it was ranked 633rd out of more than 1800 MUDS listed on] [As of 2007, it was ranked 23rd out of more than 1800 MUDS listed on] [ [As of January, 2008, it was ranked 5th out of more than 1500 MUDS listed on]

Ongoing Development

New code is continually added to the game by a team of volunteer 'wizards', or coders. Players can elect to become a wizard upon meeting three requirements: 1.) achieving a minimum of 1 million experience points; 2.) completing a number of the quests available; and 3.) earning a number of exploration points (sometimes called "Gaius Points", named after the sage who provides hints to guide players to find them). Players may elect to solve more quests and fewer exploration points, or more exploration points and fewer quests.

Exploration points are generally completed by thorough exploration, prodding, touching, and otherwise investigating a given area or room, or completion of a mini-quest. The hints provided by the Gaius character are generally vague, and no direct statistic is available to players.

New wizards go through an educational process where they learn about coding enhancements for the game, develop an idea for a new area, and proceed to build it. The system was designed to provide guidance both to experienced programmers and those with no experience. These new areas go through a process of validation to ensure they meet the thematic, quality, and balance/playability requirements of the game, and are then opened to all players.

In late 2005, player levels were expanded from 19 to 50, although no player has yet achieved the experience point total necessary to progress above 39.cite web
title=Official player tools, list all characters by experience
publisher=Ancient Anguish
] cite web
title=Official finger tool, shows full title of all characters
publisher=Ancient Anguish
] cite web
title=The Approved List
publisher=Dafeon, Scythe Guildmaster

The game's move to the Michigan server brought several changes: during the move, the old site was available in "Anarchy Mode", a traditional experience when the game moved from one server to another, with all rules on player killing, multiplaying, wizard-mortal interference, and other guidelines of Law suspended. Since all player files had already been backed up prior to the move, none of this had any long-term effect on players and allowed them to "blow off steam". It proved popular enough that the Senate is considering providing regular Anarchy events on an alternate port of the new server. In addition, the move prompted a change from 25-hour mandatory reboots to 49-hour reboots, which were tested in late April and then made permanent. [These reboots, common in muds to recover memory leaks and to clear 'trash' items which accumulate, restore the world to a default state, leaving characters to regain equipment from scratch. All skills, stats, and gold are retained.]

In May 2006, a new continent named "Infidian" was opened after several years' wait, nearly doubling the available landmass space on the map for areas and alleviating overcrowding of older areas on the main continent of "Anguish" (from which the game gets its name). Several areas have already been placed on its map, and more will be 'discovered' in the near future. Infidian is reputed to be the historical homeland of the humans who came to Anguish, where the rest of the races already lived, and is nearly pacifistic. At present, Infidian has few explorable areas, although many more areas are in development.

Classes & Combat

On Ancient Anguish, a player can choose between fighter, mage, ranger, cleric, shapeshifter, necromancer, paladin and rogue for their character class. A new class, called Artificers, opened in late June 2006.

Several years ago, a major overhaul of the combat system was coded. Players become more proficient in different types of weapons after gaining experience using them. The more proficient they are, the more damaging weapons they can use. Fighters (who lack the powerful spells/special abilities of other classes) are able to skill more quickly than other classes, making them excellent at dealing damage. At the same time, a wide variety of non-combat abilities are available, including fishing, origami, pottery, prospecting, seduction, and weaving. There are also poker tables, several chess boards, and trivia games within the game site.


Players can join different guilds on the game, for social or adventuring-related benefits. Each guild has its own purpose and restrictions, along with a guildhall and guild-oriented chatline. These guilds include:

* The "Knights of Drin" are the personal knights of the king, Drin Trueheart. Orcs are not permitted to join, and most NPC's found in the guild's home base of Nepeth will attack orcs on sight. Because of the martial focus of the group, only fighters, clerics, rangers, paladins and adventurers are permitted to join.
* The "Scythe" are an anti-establishment group of barbarians and hedonists that deny access to anyone with a drop of elven blood. For classes, paladins and artificers are refused admittance. The Scythe formed as a result of opposition to the Knights of Drin.
* The "Monks of Antana" are a strong religious force for good. Dwarves and orcs are not permitted to join; neither are necromancers, due to their evil acts.
* The "Courts of Chaos" are a loosely knit cult that worship the forces of Chaos. Only the evil can join, therefore paladins are refused. Clerics on Ancient Anguish are not required to worship only "good" gods/goddesses (such as Antana), and are therefore welcome to join and worship the gods of Chaos. Fighters are not permitted either, as the guild has a spellcasting focus (rogues are allowed, however).
* The "Black Bear" is a group of nature lovers, allowing all races to join. Paladins, necromancers, and rogues are not permitted to join.
* The "Eldar", a coalition of elves, half-elves and humans. Any class is permitted to join, as the guild focus is mostly social. The guild's purpose builds on the historical alliances between elves and humans, even during wars between the two species.
* The "Society of the Raven" is a band of cutthroats, brigands, footpads and other denizens of the night. Rogues of any race may join, but no other classes. Population has been light lately, due to a heavy crackdown by Law on stealing from players, one of the rogues' primary abilities. However, the population does seem to be on the rebound, perhaps because recently, rogue theft and several in-game "anti-theft" devices have been "rebalanced" in favor of rogues.
* The "Snowfolk" guild was most recently added. They make their home far to the north on the Arctic glacier. They are fundamentally survivalists with a cheerful disposition and promote good natured attitudes. Their powers are based on the icy materials of their home. The only limitation in membership is that necromancers are not permitted. Most distinctive is that members are more resistant to cold and more vulnerable to fire.


External links

* [ Ancient Anguish website] , which includes a link to telnet://
* Colored maps of the [ Anguish] and [ Infidian] continents
* New Graphical map of the [ Anguish] Continent, [ Infidian] continent and [ World Map]

Player Pages

* [ AA for Dummies!!!] , compiling information on various aspects of playing
* [ Ancient Anguish forum] , run offsite by players at ProBoards
* [ ancient_anguish] , a LiveJournal community for both players and former players

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