This file of frequently asked questions is intended to clear up the various
issues that have arisen regarding the installation of the skill trees on
LegendMUD. If you see an issue which needs addressed, please mudmail an
immortal and we can see about adding it. Note that this entire FAQ was
assembled from memory by Ptah, and may be blatantly inaccurate in places.
Don't take it as the final authority, because it was written a LONG time ago
and EVERYTHING in it is subject to change.
Additionally, please note that these are things we want to do and many of
them have not been implemented into the running game yet.
Revisions from version 1.0. + indicates an added question, ! denotes a
revision to an answer.
+1.3.3 Will we need to relearn our magic words?
+18.104.22.168 What is the difference between retreat and move out?
!5.3.3 Will mobs' XP values be changing?
!5.3.6 Will the XP for exploration or quests change?
+22.214.171.124 Won't con fighters have the advantage of being able to switch to dex at level 50 and have huge hit points?
!6.2.3 Will there be a skills wipe for skills trees?
!126.96.36.199 Will we get our practices back?
!188.8.131.52 Will the maximum pracs allotted be greater under the new system?
+184.108.40.206 If I switched careers in the past, how do I translate?
The following questions are contained in this FAQ. They have been grouped
into a semblance of logical order so that if you prefer, you can read this
document straight through as a summary of the changes in the skills tree
1.0 What are skill trees?
2.0 How do I gain skills under the new system?
COMPARING THE CURRENT AND NEW SYSTEMS
3.0 How do current skills compare?
4.0 What is happening to hometowns?
OTHER FEATURES IN THE SKILLS TREE CODE
5.0 Are there other features in the skills tree code?
HOW THE CHANGE WILL BE HANDLED
6.0 How will the changeover be handled?
This section contains general questions about the basic mechanics of the
'Skill trees' is the generic term given to the new version of LegendMUD
code that alters varius facets of the mud's gaming system. In particular, it
refers to the new skills system, which uses 'trees' of skills in order to
give progression through a given profession.
The trees mean that in order to learn a skill, you not only need to qualify
with the appropriate stats for the skill, but you also need to know the
prerequisite other skills that are needed. For example, in the current
LegendMUD code, you need play in order to learn entrance. Skill trees extend
that to cover every skill and every profession. This rewards those who
specialize in a profession by giving them access to nicer skills.
The new skills system does not measure your ability in a skill based on your
level, or just your stats, though these may play a role. Instead, your
base chance of success is based on an ability level that fluctuates. In
essence, you get better at skills by using them.
Each time you use a skill successfully, there is a chance that it will
improve. It is that simple.
No, they do not. First off, skills basically have a learning curve; it gets
harder and harder to improve the more you master something, so it's fairly
easy to get that first 20% and pretty hard to get that last 20%. This is
offset by the fact that you don't succeed very often when your ability
level is in the bottom 20%! Also, every skill improves at a different rate.
Skills that are more frequently used (such as weapons proficiencies) are
harder to get better at than skills which are rarely used. Frequency of
use is tabulated by the mud and preserved between reboots, so the difficulty
of learning a given skill is directly based on how often it is used by
Skills under the new system will have atrophy, or decay. This happens to
those skills which you do not use often, to reflect the lack of practice
you have in them (growing 'rusty').
No, they do not. In general, atrophy happens a little faster when you are
trying to maintain an ability at its peak, and slower when you are not
very good at it. For example, a world-class athlete can only miss training
for a day or two before the effects become noticed; a weekend soccer player
won't notice if he misses a week's worth of practice. In addition, atrophy
happens when you use skills; the attention given to the one skill subtracts
from the other skills. Therefore skills that are related to the one you used
will not decay. Entrance will never cause play to get worse.
Yes, there is. Your minimum ability level in a skill is equal to the number
of levels you have known that skill. Note that if you did not qualify for
a skill over the duration of a level, that level does not count towards
It doesn't affect them at all. However, lower skills are less likely to
decay than skills higher in trees, because they tend not to atrophy (being
at the bottom of trees means a lot of skills are related to them).
No, skills never fully go away. They drop to a minimum threshold, but they
do not ever go away completely.
Never. If you want to keep that top edge, you'll need to stay in training.
You won't get a message, but you will be able to check the status of given
skills or of your entire skill list with various commands covered elsewhere
in this FAQ.
For the most part, they won't. Magic words and spells are not touched by
this upgrade to the code at all.
Yes, in that chant is a skill and therefore you have an ability level at
it. This is separate from the success rate of individual spells, however,
which is based on cast level (number of levels you have known the spell).
No, magic words are completely unaffected.
We will look at ideas, but don't take it personally if we judge that they
cannot be included. A lot of folks have worked for a long time to try to
make sure that the skill set is varied and interesting, and many ideas have
been considered and rejected.
Good question. Our target date was August 1996, but we have run into some
We first did design work on this a year and a half ago, and the first code
went in over a year ago.
Ptah did the original basic usage code, Arkenstone coded many of the new
skills, and Gail is doing principal coding on the rest of the stuff. Kaige
redesigned the prerequisites system including hometown access, plus coded
several of the new skills. Sabella, Wraith, Sandra, Arkenstone, Charity,
and many others contributed skill ideas and researched them.
Aside from this FAQ, there was also a long-ago article in the Legendary
Times, in Issue 30 of volume II. This article is available on the web at
in the Legendary Times archive, and also available for anonymous FTP from
An earlier FAQ on this skills system is available in Issue 39 of Vol. II,
also available for FTP:
Arkenstone's lecture on the current combat system includes a section on
elements which are scheduled to change; many of these changes are rolled
into the skills tree code. The URL for his lecture is:
We don't have any trees quite at the point where we are ready to show them,
but here is a hypothetical tree for
Sorry, but no. The skills tree code is simply the way LegendMUD is going to
be, and while many of its details may well be altered as we go in order to
keep players happy, the concept as a whole is not going to go away.
This section contains questions related to learning skills and professions.
The same way you do right now: you find a mob that looks like a likely
teacher of something you want, and you ask them what they teach, and if
they teach what you are looking for and you can learn it (have the
necessary qualifications and also have a practice to spend) you ask them
to teach you that skill.
Yes. The current allskills, skills, and query commands will all behave
somewhat differently under the new code.
Allskills will show you a list of all the skills that you qualify for,
and mark the ones that you have learned. Note that the list in allskills
is now limited to those you both have the stats for AND also have the
necessary prerequisite skills for.
Query will give you a sentence that describes your ability
level in that skill.
The skills command will show the skills you know in order from best-known
to least-known. You will be able to track your improvement in a given
skill relative to the others you know.
No. See the query command.
Yes, a complete revamping of all the skill-related helpfiles will be done.
We don't know yet. The whole issue of to what extent you will be able to
get an overview of the trees has not yet been resolved. As soon as we
know, we will update this FAQ.
Yes, you can be a jack of all trades, but you should not expect to be
able to master more than perhaps three separate trees, and those ones
with somewhat similar requirements. Alternatively, you can mix and match
from a wider range of trees, with less skills from the higher echelons.
Learning skill X does not bar you from learning skill Y.
We don't really know the answer yet. If you switch, you're going to have
more trouble keeping your different proficiencies up to par. If you stick
with the same stats, you're more likely to accrue benefits like hit points,
if you were a con fighter.
How much? ;)
Same as always. You find a teacher mob and ask them to teach you.
Nope, but you may find more and more mobs requiring small quests or some
form of payment before they teach you.
We don't know yet, as we are torn between letting you discover it in
character, or giving you a schematic of the whole system.
Skills will be taught be people who seem like likely teachers, as before.
Currently, none are planned, but it has been discussed.
You never lose a skill once you have learned it, so there is no need for
special mobs to help you relearn. There are mo mobs that can help you
train up a skill level's ability, but you can certainly practice many of
them ON mobs. :)
No, if they didn't cost practices, we would not call them skills. :)
This section compares the current skills system to the new one.
There are currently approximately 75 skills. Under skill trees there are
approximately 150. Many of them have been changed in effect from the way
they are now. Overall, the system is much more flexible and interesting,
but some old favorite skills may not do what you expect them to.
Some of the new skills will include: chokeholds, trip, flips, pins,
woodscraft, possibly camping, new craftsman and merchant skills, a whole
tree devoted to stage magic, prestidigitation, and legerdemain, locate
object, new herbal skills, new medical skills, enchant and inscribe, and
It's on the list of skills to be implemented for skill trees.
Chemistry and alchemy have both been discussed but at this point we are
not sure they will make it into the first pass.
Stage magician. Doctor will come into its own. Assassin. SOME form of
chemist, even if it is only bombmaking. Detective. Merchants and
craftsmen of various types. Rangers.
Sorry, but probably not. We want to accurately simulate a dozen or so
different arts. One of the reasons that spatial combat is going in (see
below) is to make this possible. Martial arts simply will not be ready
Just about every combat skill is guaranteed to change. Ride will be a
very easy to get and very common skill. Dodge will change considerably.
Yes, although we do not know to exactly what yet. You can expect most
skills to concentrate on requiring just one stat instead of two or
three, and the prerequisites will likely be higher in many cases.
You should find it basically the same as before.
Currently, it sends a nifty message. Under skill trees, it will serve
as a way to 'armwrestle' an opponent who is trying to hit you with their
weapon, and maybe force it back against them (like, say someone is trying
to stab you, you armwrestle them and force them to stab themselves).
No, it does not.
Under skill trees, level has virtually no effect on skills. The skills
which currently use level will change to use level learned and your
ability level in that skill. The main point of levels will be to gain more
Level learned serves to define the lowest level to which a skill can decay
through disuse. It may also serve to affect the results of a skill when it
is successful. Note that level learned will only increase when you gain a
level and actually qualified for that skill during the course of that
Some skills may still be alignment based. Likewise, some skills may alter
your alignment subtly.
This section covers the changes being made to various areas and hometowns.
They are all getting revised in order to offer more teachers, and to make
a more newbie-friendly enviroment. Plus we are adding some.
All of them.
Details are still being finalized, but we have a very specific checklist
for what a hometown must have. For example, London will be bigger. There
is a minimum percentage of newbie mobs that must be present, a minimum
complement of shops, and a requirement for some newbie quests.
It may well change. Kleinstadt may lose some access to magic, and Ireland
may gain some.
Hometowns will likely not offer access to the exact same skill sets as
before. But there are many more skill sets, so every hometown will offer
MORE skill sets than before.
The current list of areas that will become hometowns includes Aztecs,
Viking Scandinavia, French-Indian War, Bengal/Seoni jungle, and San
They must meet the same requirements as the other hometowns. You should
find new and interesting mixes of skill sets there, such as gun-wielding
This section covers features that are not directly skill-related but are
part of the skills tree version of the Legend code.
Yes. Some of the things you can expect to see are spatial combat, a new
XP scale, and many internal changes to the combat system.
Spatial combat is a system whereby direction you are facing and distance
from your opponent makes a difference in combat. Approaching from the
side or back causes extra damage, you can back out of fights and agree
to stop them before people are killed, etc. Think of it as 3d combat in
text. Under this system, weapon size matters quite a lot, as you need to
be in the optimal range for your weapon; too close, and you cannot block
effectively--too far and you cannot reach the opponent.
A not-necessarily-comprehensive list of commands includes: roll, move
in and out, circle, turn, rush, retreat, glance, block, engage, and of
course, the old standby kill.
Retreat quickly backs you all the way out of combat; move out moves you
out just slightly to get a better position.
Nope. All of the above commands are available to all players.
Many. You will not be as able to see things that take place behind your
back, including being unable to identify voices. Many skills will have
different effects based on your distance fromthe opponent--e.g. headbutt
from close up knocks foreheads together, and headbutt from far away rushes
the opponent and butts your head into their stomach, with different
results and effects.
Yes indeed. A dagger versus a polearm may well be at a serious disadvantage
if the polearm can stay out of the dagger's reach. In close combat, of
course, a dagger will be much better able to block blows.
The 'kill' command will move you automatically to optimal range for your
weapon, facing your opponent, and let you start whacking away at them, so
you can theoretically use it just like always. It will likely not be ideal,
as some enemies may well be better armored on the front than on the sides,
The internals of the combat system have been redone, although the basic
mechanics of variable attack speeds remain the same.
The current hit table uses a 1d20 roll, and we will be going to a 1d100
roll. The old table was simply too small for the amount of +hit that was
available in the mud.
Yes. The dodge-perception equation in the current fight system is a major
flaw which we intend to rectify. Under the new system, dodge will add
no more than a 10% bonus to armor class, possibly less.
It is quite likely that instant death will not exist against player
opponents in skill trees. It is also possible that it would be permitted
but only with twohanded guns such as rifles, and only if the shooter was
laying down on the ground to set up their shot carefully.
Armor class will become the single biggest factor in defense, unlike now
where it is largely useless. Gaining a good ac should be a high priority.
Strength fighters are probably the easiest to play. They do much, much
more damage than the other two types.
Dexterity fighters will have a defensive edge, and will be more accurate
at hitting, though they will not do that much damage compared to strength
Constitution fighters will have what are currently termed 'monster hit
points'--and nobody else will. But they will not hit as often as
dex nor do as much damage as strength. Their approach is to outlast the
The current +hit available is so large that it completely overwhelms the
hit table. Our solution to this is to make +hit actually confer not
absolute numbers, but an increased percentage chance of hitting.
Right now, +dam is added once per round, and it is reduced as you attack
faster. You should expect +dam to change to a % of additional damage
done (much like position modifiers work now) and for its effect to
be between 3 to 6 times greater than it is right now.
There will be some to both the XP values of mobs and to the XP needed for
various levels. This has been done to fix some glaring problems with
the XP scale that currently exists, such as the bump at level 6, and the
way in which killing mobs only two levels above you can give two to three
times as much XP at higher levels.
A new XP curve has been developed that is much smoother. It makes the lower
levels easier to gain, and paradoxically, requires less XP to get between
the higher levels, yet makes it more difficult. This is because at higher
levels, you will not get such a disproportionate benefit from killing a
few levels above your ability.
Most likely we will see how far through your current level you are, and
place you at that same point relative to the next level under the new
system. In other words, you will lose no ground at all, and in fact will
likely gain XP.
Yes, in this new scale, the value of a single experience point is quite
different, and that means that all mobs will have *apparently* lower
XP values, though in terms of the new system, they will not necessarily
No, there will still be 50 mortal levels.
It is probable that they will; but they will remain based on the same
formula they are now--equivalent to a certain number of kills of mobs of
your level. [Answer revised.]
Two crucial things are changing in the way we handle stats, and they are
not likely to be popular changes.
Stat averaging means that the mud tracks your stats over the course of
a level, and when you get your hit points, mana, and move increases when
you gain a level, it uses the average stat over the course of that level,
instead of the stat at the instant of levelling. Note that the average
is tracked not based on time elapsed, but rather on XP gains, so that
sitting around in +stat equipment and doing nothing will not raise your
average. This is done because permanent gain from one second's worth of
stats causes immense problems with the game system, and robs those who
play with high constitution of their chief advantage.
Gradual stats means that when your stats change from changing equipment,
they do not jump to the new value, but rather slowly move there over the
course of several ticks. The rate of shift is not yet determined and will
not be settled until after some playtest. This is done in order to make
shifting professions take longer, reduce equipment spamming and spamming
for specific skills, and to make the identification and lore skills and
spells more useful (since you will not be able to instantly determine
the +stat benefit of a given item by merely wearing it and typing score).
It become useless to borrow levelling equipment; you wear it for so brief
a time that it does not affect the average stat for that level.
If they do, they're going to be pretty lousy dex fighters. Their skills
related to dex will be terrible, and will be very hard to keep up, since
their levels known will be minimal. Likewise, their fencing proficiencies
will likewise suffer the same problem.
In addition, if this becomes a common tactic, the fact that learning rates
for skills are tied to their popularity on the mud means that if everyone
decides to run con warriors up to level 50, it'll be next to impossible
to get decent ability levels at con skills. So they can do this, but only
with great difficulty and hardship.
The practice of spamming to shift the emphasis of your character will be
much more difficult, as it will take several ticks for your new stats to
manifest. You can still do it, but it will not be the instantaneous
process it is now.
This section covers the mechanics of converting the playerfiles from the
current system to the new one.
We plan to do it as painlessly as possible, making all changes to the
playerfiles in one fell swoop and permitting time for everyone to get
used to the new features.
Yes, although we don't yet know the exact duration or parameters of it.
It is possible that such a period would exist for the first week or so,
but we do not yet know if we will go to the extent of backing up the
playerfiles and letting you run around for a time with no consequences.
In the past, such test periods have resulted in very few testers.
Yes, because the current playerfiles will not be compatible with the new
playerfile format. We plan to run all playerfiles through a filter to
convert them to the new format.
There are no plans for a playerwipe at this time.
There are no plans for an equipment wipe at this time.
Yes. Skills will be saved in a different format that tracks levels known
and your ability level, unlike now, which just saves whether you know it
or not. [Answer clarified.]
Yes. You will be given the correct amount of practices for the level you
have, minus any spent on spell words. [Added final phrase to clarify.]
No, a character will still be limited to 53 practices total. [Math error.]
There is currently a filter in the skill tree code that uses the order you
relearn skills in to set the levels known. So levels known will be given
to you in the order you learn skills. This is an enormous advantage, so
use it wisely to combat the disadvantages that old characters will have
in adapting to the new system.
The six stats and prestige should be unchanged. Your hit points, mana,
and move will likely be converted and scaled to correspond to the type
of character your stats make you out to be at the moment the filter is
run on you.
Yes, all playerfiles will be run through the filter at the same time, and
the changes to hit points, mana, and move will be retroactive through the
levels they have gained. Basically, all the effects of levelling eq will
be erased. We will use an estimated curve to guess at the amount of hit
points you would have gained every level if you had been under the new
system the whole time.
You're going to translate over as whatever you are at the time of the
playerfiles getting translated. Past history won't matter. If you want
to use the changeover as a chance to return to being the con fighter you
had decided was unworkable, you'll need to gear up as a con fighter and
stay that way for the filter to recognize.
We don't know yet; some immorts favor making you discover the skills in
character, others think that you should get a master list to better be
able to design your character in advance. The issue is not yet settled,
but if it turns out that you will get a list, we will give it to you
as far in advance as possible.
This FAQ was assembled by Ptah largely from memory, and may well have
blatant errors in it. So if you spot anything that needs clarification,
point it out to him, and maybe you can get updated versions. :) Don't take
anything in here as gospel.