Quickstart Guide

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If you are an experienced player you'll probably want to jump straight to the documetation on the Player Index page. If you're new at this, read on for a brief tutorial of the game.


Preface

HellMOO is very much a work in progress. You are doing us a service by playing and helping us find problems. We try to keep things running smoothly, but we can't guarantee that your character won't be the victim of a code bug. We may enlist your help in testing particular areas or concepts, if you're willing. We appreciate you taking part, and hope you have a lot of fun!

One more thing: if you're easily offended, this probably isn't the place for you. There are extremely graphic depictions of violence, harsh language, and completely inappropriate situations. YOU MUST BE AT LEAST 18 YEARS OLD TO PLAY HELLMOO.

Getting Connected

HellMOO can be reached at:

  new.hellmoo.org   port 7777

In order to connect you'll need some sort of MUD client. Our recommended client for Windows-based computers is SimpleMU [1] or MUSH client [2]. If you're using a Mac try Atlantis [3]. Any client that supports ANSI should do fine. Using color is optional, but it makes a lot of things in the game easier. We do not recommend that you connect to the game server with a raw telnet connection, as it will look like shit.

If you don't want to bother downloading a real client, you can try HellMOO using the client software we developed ourselves, Charon [4]. Charon has very few features compared to proper clients, but it will work fine if you just need to get connected and don't care about being able to do power-user stuff like spawning windows for chat channels. Charon, and indeed hellmoo.org is currently nonfunctional, so you're gonna have to get yourself a client.

Character Creation

The first time you connect, you'll need to request a character. You can do this from the login screen by typing:

  request <character_name> for <email_address>

Of course you'll need to substitute the name of the character you want and your email address, and leave off the angle brackets. In general, anywhere you see angle brackets in this documentation ( < > ) it means that you need to substitute the appropriate text there. The angle brackets are just a clue that you need to supply information in that spot.

Once you've done this, you should receive an email shortly with your character's password. You can change this password once you've logged in successfully with the @password command, like so:

  @password <old_password> <new_password>

When you first log in, your character will be an orphan in the basement of the orphanage in Freedom City. You can use this time to wander around and get familiar with the controls and the game at no risk. When you're ready to actually start playing you should head over to the Museum and also read Character Creation for information on growing up.

User Interface

HellMOO uses a command-line interface. Each line you type is interpreted as a command. Our interpreter has some interesting bells and whistles, reading the documentation and help files will help you understand how to format your commands. When you first connect, though, you'll probably want to get your preferences set up immediately.

You can customize your role-playing environment to your liking by setting your preferences. To see what's available, type:

 @prefs

You should see something like this:

 Category        Description                                                 
display         Visual / display related settings.                          
gameplay        Settings that affect gameplay behavior.                     
mail            Mail system settings, 'help mail'.                          
misc                                                                        
notifications                                                               
who             Settings to tweak 'who' behavior.   

From there you can view specific preferences within categories. If you wanted to see the gameplay prefs, for example, you would type:

@prefs gameplay

That then gives this list:

Preference      Value Description                                            
autobarge       off   barge into illegal places without confirmation         
autoeat         off   automatically eat when hungry                          
autofight       on    keep attacking once begun                              
autosmell       off   auto-smell when entering a room                        
autosmoke       off   automatically smoke cigarettes/blunts in your inventory
defendhome      off   defend your home when not connected                    
followleader    on    automatically follow party leader                      
hints           on    show hints every so often                              
opendoors       on    open closed doors automatically as you walk            
tersefight      off   reduce combat spam by not showing swings, etc          
unlockdoors     on    unlock locked doors automatically if you have the key  
wears           on    enable wearing messages  

Most preferences, and all of the ones shown, are 'on/off', or binary, preferences. You can toggle their value by typing:

  @pref <pref> is <on|off|1|0>

You can use 'on/off' or '1/0' notation when setting a preference.

If your terminal supports ANSI, you will probably want to turn that on immediately. The color and markup makes the text much easier to read.

The map is turned on by default, and makes it much easier to navigate, particularly if you're seeing it in color.

Of particular note is the "blind" pref. If you were to type:

@prefs blind is 1

This would automatically set several preferences in order to make things much easier for those who use screen readers to play HellMOO.

Status

Before you get too far, you'll need to know how to take a look at yourself and see where you stand. The simplest way is to simply look are yourself, as in:

 look me

That will get you your description and a general feel for how you're doing, but for a more complete rundown you can use the 'status' command:

 status   (or just 'st')

As you can see, some commands have shortcuts. Here we only need to type 'st', or 'sta', or 'stat', etc. We'll talk about this a little more when we get to the 'exam' command.

Anyway, your output should look something like this:

 Health   [|||||||||||||||||||]
 Thirst   [                        ]
 Hunger   [                        ]
 Stress   [                       ]
 You're horny.
 You're holding two Cab Colaway sodas.
 Your credit chip shows $300.
 You are unencumbered.

The bar at the top of the display is a quick representation of how healthy you are. The more of that bar that's filled in, the better off you are. When you take damage, you'll see your health bar go down, so that you have some sense of how badly you've been hurt. When you do get hurt, there are several ways to recover your vitality, which will be covered later in this document.

Next you get a visual description of how healthy you appear to be. This is how others will see you when they look at you as well.

If you're holding anything, it will show up on the next line. Other players can't see everything you're carrying, but they can see anything you're holding and the top layer you're wearing.

Then we get to how much money you have. There is no physical money in Freedom City, most everything here runs on a digital credit. All clones (players and NPCs alike) are spawned with the chip in them and the information of their credit stored on it, enabling you to save your money even in death.

Finally, the status command will tell you how encumbered you are. The more you're carrying the harder it will be to get around, and if you're carrying too much you won't be able to move at all.

Another thing you can do to see how you (or anyone else) is doing, is to use the 'diagnose' command (or just 'diag'):

  > diag me
  Spunky looks you over carefully.
  In your educated opinion...
  Spunky's wounds have left him with 99% of his functionality.
  Spunky is under the influence of horny.

Diagnosis depends on medical skill, so the better you are at medical the more info you'll be able to get about the state of other players. You are at a big advantage when diagnosing yourself, since you know how you feel, so that is a good way to get some practice. Diagnosis is particularly good for spotting diseases and drug effects!

Score

By typing the 'score' command, or just 'sc', you'll get a lot of information.


      brawn [16.60 /18]        cool [11.08 /12]    reflexes [14.83 /16] 
     brains [15.64 /  ]      senses [13.65 /12]   endurance [15.05 /16] 

Mutations // superclot, leapfrog, high density, twitchy nerves, rubberskin, flight, fuck machine, ripper, firewalker, brute strength

       XP // 63,129 total  // 1,090 to spend
       IP // 1,228 total equivalent //  50 available for gym

Skill      Raw    +   + Total Depends Improve    
dodge       6.18  +1  +1 [19] ref,sen  5578xp Dizzying combat reactions! (-5 to
fists       0.00  +2  +1 [13] brw,end  1568xp Street fighter.                  
fuck        5.09      +4 [22] end,sen  2548xp God, you sicken me.              
teach       1.00         [14] brn       504xp Experienced teacher.             
fish        0.01  +1     [13] col,end   332xp Gifted amateur.                  
wrestle     0.00  +2  +1 [12] ref,end  1344xp Tag-teamer.                      
climb       0.00  +2  +1 [12] ref,end   784xp Avid climber.                    
chemistry   0.00      -1 [ 9] brn      1120xp Let's mix acids and bases.       
pilot       0.00  +1  -1 [ 9] brn,ref   896xp Student driver.                  
focus       0.00      -2 [ 7] end,sen  1120xp Dim.                             
medic       0.00      -3 [ 7] brn      1200xp Dr. Kevorkian.                   
repair      0.00      -3 [ 7] brn       896xp Can change lightbulbs.           
locksmith   0.00  +1  -5 [ 5] brn,ref  1120xp You're clueless.                 
craft       0.00  -1  -4 [ 4] brn,sen  1120xp You're clueless.                 

The first three lines show your stats. Your character's stats are the basis for all rolls in the game.

Brawn: Your physical strength. This affects how much you can carry, and how hard you hit, the max speed you can achieve with attacks, among other things.

Brains: Cognitive ability. Intellectual skills like repair depend on brains.

Cool: Your ability to stay focused in hectic situations, it also helps with implants.

Reflexes: How quickly you're able to react, calculates attack speed and such.

Endurance: How much of a beating you can take and how long you can give it out, as well as drug resistance and disease resistance so forth.

Senses: How good you are at noticing things about the world around you.

You may have noticed that sometimes there is another number after your stat numbers. If this number is shown, this is your effective value for that stat. This means that there is something going on with your character that is boosting or hampering your stats (taking drugs, being thirsty, mutations affecting them, etc). Since all of your skills are based on your stats, when your stats are down, so are your skills, and vice versa when they are boosted. This brings us to the next bit of output from the 'score' command, which is your list of skills.

If you have any improvement points (IP) at all in a particular skill, it will show up in your character sheet when you type score. Improvement points are awards that you have a chance to earn when you use a skill. So, the more you use a particular skill, the better you will become at it. Once you have acquired 100 improvement points in a skill, the skill will go up to the next level, and you will get a bonus on all of your rolls using that skill. Every IP gained into a skill also grants you one experience point, so grinding a skill up to 6 RAW will grant you 600 exp as well.

In addition to skill improvement points, your character can also earn experience points (XP). You earn XP by doing things in the game, like completing quests and killing monsters. When you have acquired enough XP, you can use it to buy yourself a level of a skill (effectively giving yourself 100 improvement points). This is necessary as you can only improve skills to to 6 RAW max by use. But in order to do this, though, you must find a teacher (either another player or an NPC, see [trainers]). Some NPCs you encounter in the game might be able to teach you things. To see whether they might, you can type:

  learn from <person>

This will give you a list of subjects that person teaches. If you want to spend your XP to learn one of the listed skills, type:

  learn <skill> from <person>

Interacting with the World

Now that you know all about your skills and experience and your health, we can move on to how you actually play the game. First of all, it's important to understand that the game models a virtual reality. Things you see in the text descriptions are usually objects you can interact with. Everything in the world is an object, including you. You can interact with object by using the commands they provide. Your main tool in figuring out what commands you can use is the 'examine' command (or just 'exam'):


 You see a razor bat lying on the sidewalk.
 > exam razor bat
 
 razor bat (aka razor bat and bat)
 
 Several lengths of rusty razor ribbon have been wound around the end of a
   heavy wooden bat.
 Obvious commands:
   at*tack/kill/shoot/stab/hit/smash/break <something> with razor bat
   give/hand razor bat to <something>
   hold/wield/draw razor bat
   stow/unwield/rem*ove/sheath*e razor bat
   junk razor bat
   app*raise razor bat
     Use your appraise skill to evaluate its value.
   throw/toss razor bat <something> <something>


This command is giving you a list of commands that you can use with the razor bat. The commands are listed as you would type them. Commands with a '*' in them have shortcuts, the shortest alias for the command is the name up to the '*'.

Two commands that are common to all objects you'll find in the world are get and drop. In order to use most of the commands on an object you will need to be holding it, and you do this by using the get command:

  > get razor bat
  Spunky picks up a razor bat off the pavement.

Now that you have something, it will show up in your inventory if you use the inventory command (or just i):

  > i
  Carrying:
    a wristpad [10g]                a razor bat (wielded) [1kg]
  [ Total Load: 1 kilogram ]

Your inventory will list everything you're carrying, and how much it weighs if you have your 'weights' preference set. Note that since we just picked up the razor bat, we are now 'wielding' it. This means that it's in our hands, and we're ready to use it to attack. Whatever weapon you are holding is your wielded weapon. If you pick up something else, or use something else in your inventory, that object will go into your hands, and you will no longer be ready to fight. For this reason, you'll want to be careful who you're willing to accept gifts from, because if you end up in a fight with them they'll be allowed to hand you things, which will cause you to unwield your weapon. There is a permission system for allowing people to do things to you, which we will talk about in a moment.

If you want to get out your weapon, use the 'wield' or 'hold' command:

  > hold razor bat
  Spunky gets out his razor bat.

If you want to put your weapon (or any other object) away, use the 'stow' command:

  > stow razor bat
  Spunky puts away his razor bat.

The 'appraise' command comes in handy when you're trying to figure out if an item is of any use to you:

  > app razor bat
  You take a careful look at the razor bat...
  Several lengths of rusty razor ribbon have been wound around the end of a
    heavy wooden bat.
  It weighs 1 kg.  You think it might fetch about $110 on the market.
  It's a one-handed weapon requiring skill in clubs.
  It's a normal-speed weapon.
  It does very slight beating and slight slashing damage.
  A skilled fighter could do a little more damage with this.
  A brawny fighter could do a little more damage with this.

Depending on how good your appraise skill is, your character may not get this much information. But remember, the more you appraise things, the better you will get at it, so keep trying!

Permissions

There is a generalized system in place for allowing certain classes of actions to be performed on you by other players or NPCs. You can see the different categories by typing 'allows':

  > allows
  You allow medical from friends, and refuse medical from anyone else.
  You allow gifts from friends and kevlar, and refuse gifts from anyone else.
  You allow sex from friends, and refuse sex from anyone else.

Allowing medical means that you will allow someone to use medical equipment on you, like a suture kit or a healer. Allowing gifts means that you'll allow someone to hand you things. Allowing sex means that you'll allow them to perform acts of a potentially sexual nature on you, like taking off your clothes, or sucking your dick.

If you want to allow someone to do one of these things to you, just type:

  > allow medical from <person>

You could also allow gifts or sex, but you get the idea. If you want to take someone off of your list, you can use the 'refuse'; command in exactly the opposite way:

  > refuse medical from <person>


As you can see, there is also a built-in provision in the system for keeping track of who your friends are. You can list your friends by typing the 'friends' command:

  > friends
  You consider Gilmore, djpie, poot1, Eclipse, and zeek to be your friends.


To add someone to your friends list, type:

  > friend <person>

Strategy

At first, your main mission will be to stay alive. You are liable to get into fights wherever you go, so it really pays to protect yourself however you can. You'll want to buy yourself some armor as soon as you can. You can get some at Protect Ya Neck in Freedom City, on High Street, or check out a more extensive selection of wardrobe at Threads on Third. If you are brawny you may be able to get by with your fists for a while, but sooner or later you will probably want to pick up a weapon. In order to do much shopping, though, you'll need some way to make money.

A good way to start out is at the orphanage on Fourth in Freedom City. You can make some money there by 'taking care of' the rabid orphans. The nun who runs the place will give you $50 for each rabid child you 'take care of'. There is also a nice blade to be found in the orphanage. This is really of the utmost importance, because you'll need a blade to stay alive as you make your way through particularly bloody adventures. This is because the way that you heal your character is by eating food and resting, and things you kill are usually a pretty good source of food. By eating the meat of your kills, you can heal up and prepare for the next fight. To do this, you'll need to know about the 'hack' command that you'll find on corpses:

  > exam corpse
  Obvious commands:
    cut/hack/butcher <something> from generic corpse
      Butcher a piece of the body for yourself.
    get/take <something> from generic corpse
    search generic corpse 
    kick generic corpse
    diag*nose generic corpse
      Use your Medic skill to see what's wrong.
    cure/treat <something> on generic corpse
      Use your Medic skill to treat a condition.
    pay/transfer <something> to generic corpse

The first command here is the important one. If you just type:

  > hack from <corpse>

You'll get a list of things you can hack off of the corpse. Sometimes the name 'corpse' will actually work, but other times you'll need to use a different alias ('dead orphan', etc). Usually there is some meat, sometimes skin or other parts. Once you have identified what you want to cut off, you would type:

  > hack <meat> from <corpse>

Where <meat> is the part you identified in the first step. Obviously, you can't do this without a knife of some sort. The butcher knife has a bonus for hacking meat from corpses, so if you have one it is the best tool for the job. Once you have the meat, you can eat it, and you'll regain some of your strength back at regular intervals. If you sit down and rest after you eat you will heal much faster.


Communication

The most basic way to talk to other people in the game is through the 'say' command. You can talk by typing:

  > say hello
  Spunky says, "hello"

You can also abbreviate your say command just by starting a line with a double quote. Anything that appears after the double-quote will come out as speech from your character. For instance:

  > "testing 1 2 3
  Spunky says, "testing 1 2 3"

You also have the capability to make your character emote things. These are little things you do that convey meaning but don't necessarily involve speech. For instance:

  > emote looks puzzled.
  Spunky looks puzzled.

Just like 'say', the 'emote' command has a shortcut. You can emote something just by starting the line with a ":". For instance:

  > :looks puzzled.
  Spunky looks puzzled.


Please don't abuse your power to emote!

Talking to NPCs

In addition to regular speech, you can also direct your speech at a particular player or npc target. You do this with the '`' command. This command is a little different than the ones we've seen before, in that you include the target's name as a part of the command. For instance:

  > `spunky hello
  Wilson [to Spunky]: hello


If you prefer you can also do the same thing with '-':

  > -spunky hello
  Wilson [to Spunky]: hello

Directed speech is very important for interacting with lots of the characters you'll encounter in the game. If you speak directly to them about certain things, you can strike up a conversation. For example:

  > `sis hi there
  Spunky [to Sister Agnes]: hi there
  Sister Agnes [to Spunky]: I'm Sister Agnes, the head of the Gein Foundation
    for Wayward Youths.
  > `sis Gein?  Never heard of him.  Who is he?
  Spunky [to Sister Agnes]: Gein?  Never heard of him.  Who is he?
  Sister Agnes [to Spunky]: Mr. Gein, I'm told, was a great philanthropist who
    wanted children to be placed where they were most wanted.
  > `sis Ah, so you want to save the children eh?
  Spunky [to Sister Agnes]: Ah, so you want to save the children huh?
  Sister Agnes [to Spunky]: We take in the children nobody wants -- the feral,
    the mutated, the abandoned. It's our mission. Of course, some of the
    children are causing problems for us...


Some of the things people will say to you appear in bold (unless you suffer from lack of ANSI in your terminal). These are things that the person knows about, that you can ask them about to keep the conversation going. You can find out a lot of important things this way, so try to get to know the people you encounter as you make your way through the world.

Here are the conversation topics that most people know about, these are good things to ask about to get the conversation started:

  job,occupation:  Something about what they do for a living.
 
  hello,hi,howdy,greetings:  A simple greeting; this can be an opening for almost anything.
 
  rumor,rumors:  Again, just about anything, but probably something about some other NPC or possibly a quest.

Posing

As if all these methods of communicating weren't enough, there is a also a feature known as posing. Posing allows you to emote something almost as though it were a command. To do this, use the '.' command as follows:

  > .sniffs spunky
  Wilson sniffs Spunky.


Socials

There are also tons of built-in Social commands, which you really can type just like regular commands. For instance:

  > hug spunky
  Wilson hugs Spunky.
  > lick spunky
  Wilson licks Spunky.
  > nod
  Wilson nods.


Paging

There is also a built-in method for directly communicating with another player. You do this with the 'page' command as follows:

  > page spunky hi there!
  You tap your text message to Spunky into your wristpad.

Paging has a shortcut as well:

  > 'spunky hi there!
  You tap your text message to Spunky into your wristpad.

As you can see, the in-game mechanism for sending pages is your wristpad. Every time you page someone you are typing a message to them on your wristpad in the game, and sometimes other people notice that you're doing it.

Death

When you die (you will die), you will be reactivated by the city's clonebank. When you are reactivated you are born into the world naked, and it's up to you to recover anything you may have lost as a consequence of dying. There is also the chance of genetic drift, which results in you losing skill points and experience. You can lock in your current stats by visiting the clone bank in the city and updating your clone. Note that there is a fee for updating your clone which depends on how experienced you are. There is also a per-clone activation fee. If you can't afford your clone at the time of death, the clone bank will not do a very good job restoring you, and your character will suffer for it in the form of reduced skills and xp.

For a player perspective, read Casull's essay on on PlayerDeath.

Bugs

If you find something you think is a bug, please report your bug as follows:

  > @qsend *bugs
  Subject:
  a line of input [or `@abort' to abort.]
  > short description of the bug
  Enter lines of message:
  [Type lines of input; `?' for help; end with `.', `@abort' or `@edit'.]
  > type as much information as you can about what you were doing and
  > what caused the bug.  If you got a code traceback, please copy and
  > paste it into the body of your message if you can.  When you are
  > done, just enter a period ('.') on a line by itself, like this:
  > .
  Message sent.

Diseases and Afflictions

HellMOO features a wide variety of bodily maladies, from broken limbs to avian flu. Naturally, being ill carries stat penalties. Some illnesses (like worms and mudbutt to name a couple) are mostly annoying, while others are more serious and will warrant immediate attention and treatment.

One of the first diseases new players tend to encounter is black lung (not the coal miner's disease, but tuberculosis). This can be treated a number of ways. Firstly, you can try to get better on your own. You have a recurring chance of shaking the disease off, so provided it doesn't kill you, you will eventually get better without any extra help. Secondly, if you have a decent medic score, you can try to treat it with a hypodermic of Allomycin (a powerful broad-spectrum antibiotic available from Meds-4-Less for $100). Thirdly, you can go to the clinic in Princeton General hospital, located in Slagtown. Dr.Octagon can treat Black Lung, and some other diseases for a fee. Other players may be skilled in medic, and willing to help. Also, as long as you're an N-tag you can ask Sister Agnes for healing.

Most other diseases and afflictions follow the same general pattern of treatment using drugs and treatments specific to the disease in question. For a few diseases (like AIDS) you have no chance of getting better on your own and must seek other options.

Finally, if all else fails, a freshly-cloned body won't have any afflictions at all.

Mutations

Apart from improving your skills and stats though use and training, one of the ways you improve the capability of your character is via mutations. A new character starts with a single mutation slot and will gain more as he or she gains more experience. At certain places throughout the world the character will be able to mutate, thereby gaining a set of abilities or penalties that take up a single mutation slot. Once a mutation has been gained, it can never be removed or changed for another mutation, so think carefully before mutating. See Mutations for more information and a list of mutations and XP requirements for acquiring more slots.