The Carrion Fields is a multi-user dungeon created by Yuval Oren (Derit), Matt Hamby (Rahvin/ShaidarHaran/BoltThrower) and Barbara Hargrove (Galadriel/Nordewin) in January 1994. Based on ROM 2.3, it first opened to the public on March 17th, 1994. The past thirteen years have seen extensive code modifications. The Carrion Fields is the intellectual property of Carrion Fields, LLC, which is made up of Steve Helms (Jullias), Matt Hamby and Barbara Hamby (Hargrove). It can be reached at carrionfields.com 9999 using telnet or a specialized MUD client.
The theme of The Carrion Fields is based on a medieval fantasy setting custom-made for the MUD, and is not derived of any particular books, series or otherwise pre-existing storylines. It features an assortment of spellcaster classes, fighter classes and priest classes which are selectable from a large number of diverse playable races, all of which is set against the aforementioned medieval fantasy background. The Carrion Fields its most notable thematical features as a MUD are;
Restricted player killing. No character below the 11th rank is able to participate in player killing, and players will generally also be able to only attack other player characters that are within a limited range of their own current rank.
Player-run cabals, which are similar to the clans featured on other MUDs.
Mandatory role-play environment. Role-playing in the MUD will generally be based on the race, the class (or guild), the alignment, the ethos, the cabal ideals, religious beliefs and most importantly the individualized role of any given player character.
Numerical limits on the most powerful of items, weapons, armor and equipment as an additional incentive for players to engage in player killing.
Empowerment. An interactive, in-game and in-character process that occurs between Immortal characters (i.e.: the staffmembers) and player characters of a religiously inspired guild (i.e.: the paladin, shaman, healer and druid guilds). The player engages in a role-playing session with the Immortal character in an attempt to 'convince' the 'deity' that he or she is worthy and/or able of becoming a representative of the Immortal character's religion and ideals within the role-playing environment of the game. Paladins, shamans, healers and druids are required to pursue this path in order to unlock the full potential of their classes their respective lists of communes and supplications. For characters of secular guilds, this role-playing feature is entirely optional.
Balancing of magical powers through player actions. The so-called Veil, a preternatural barrier which exists in the game's world between the planes of magic and reality, can be influenced directly by the actions of players to become either more "thin" (causing magic to flow easily into the world and making its various uses more potent), or more "thick" (causing magical forces of all kinds to subsequently weaken in the world). This can affect the gameplay to a large degree in a variety of different ways. Due to their in-game background those of the Battlerager and Nexus cabals will be most knowledgable in how one can manipulate the Veil, as well as be able to most accurately assess its current state within the game.
The lore and history of the game's fictional world periodically become furthered through interactive and staffmember-controlled game-wide events, or quests, which can involve player characters to a large extent depending on what the size and the impact of these quests are. The events typically cover the additions of new races or classes/guilds, the waxing and waning of Immortal religions, as well as the formation of new cabals or the removal of old ones. The gameplay within The Carrion Fields its world of Thera currently takes place in an era known as the "Fourth Age".
The Carrion Fields is currently featuring eighteen playable races, of which each will offer a given set of advantages and disadvantages over the seventeen others. Some of these races will restrict the player's subsequent choices in alignment (i.e.: good/neutral/evil), ethos (i.e.: orderly/neutral/chaotic) and class/guild (e.g.: warrior, thief, assassin, etc.) as a result of their in-game histories and backgrounds. The eighteen races available for player characters are the following;
- Arial - Dextrous, winged and intelligent bird-like humanoids who have the capability of limited flight. Arials have natural affinity for all magics that are related to the winds and air, but they are quite vulnerable to attacks which involve water or lightning.
- Cloud Giant - Large and morally indifferent humanoids of enormous physical strength. Cloud giants inherently levitate and are quite resilient to cold, yet are also vulnerable to attacks of a divine or an infernal nature.
- Dark-Elf - Subterranean elves of the evil alignment. They are silent travellers and have the inherent ability to cover other beings with magical faerie fire. Dark-elves are both highly intelligent and agile, but are very vulnerable to the touch of mithril.
- Duergar - Subterranean dwarves of the evil alignment. They are considerably more agile than their cousins but are also less hearty. Duergar are naturally adept at observing that which is hidden in the shadows, but they are very weak to the divine powers of the light.
- Dwarf - A very tenacious and healthy little folk, dwarves however are not too nimble. They are resilient both against magic and diseases and are inherently adept at the (re)forging of weapons, but they are also quite susceptible to any attacks that involve water.
- Elf - Nimble yet physically frail, elves are the most intellectually astute of all the races. They are silent travellers and are resilient to supernatural curses, but are also very vulnerable to the touch of iron. Elves will always be of the good alignment.
- Felar - An enigmatic race that was artificially created and modified from great cats by powerful ancient magic. Both agile and hearty, and inherently dangerous in unarmed combat, they were weakened in their forelimbs and intellect by their former masters. They are resilient to cold but are vulnerable to fire and water attacks.
- Fire Giant - Large and malevolent humanoids of immense physical strength and endurance, who are also quite unintelligent. They are by nature highly resilient to fire and heat, but are very susceptible to mental and freezing attacks.
- Gnome - A race of tough little humanoids who are quite intelligent as well as very wise. They are resilient against poisoning, but their small frame leaves them vulnerable to blunt weaponry and attacks. Gnomes will always be of the neutral alignment.
- Half-Drow - A racial mix between humans and dark-elves. They are somewhat vulnerable to mithril.
- Half-Elf - A racial mix between humans and elves. They are somewhat vulnerable to iron.
- Human - The standard race. Humans (generally) have average stats, are proficient in all types of guild/class and gain their levels fast. However, they have no inherent special abilities nor vulnerabilities.
- Minotaur - Rare and unnatural cross-breeds between (hu)man and beast. They are physically quite powerful and inherently cunning, but otherwise unintelligent. Minotaurs are immune to the psychological effects of fear, and are always of the male gender.
- Orc - Brutish and savage creatures of chaos and darkness, orcs are vigorous and strong yet profoundly unintelligent. Orcs can digest virtually anything without contracting food poisoning and will gain levels fast when together with other orcs. They are very weak to the divine powers of the light however. All player orcs are inherently of the berserker class and always become born into a tribe (or clan).
- Storm Giant - Large and good-natured humanoids who are able to breathe and travel freely in and beneath the water. They are also highly resilient to lightning, and can periodically call it forth when the weather permits.
- Svirfnebli - A strange breed of gnomes living deep beneath the earth's surface. They are hearty and strong as well as wise, but are not quite as intelligent as their surface cousins and share their vulnerability to blunt weaponry and attacks. *Svirfnebli have a natural affinity for any magics that are directly related to the earth.
- Undead (Liches/Mummies/Vampires) - Those few hailing from the various races who were once mortal practitioners of the necromantic arts, but have since achieved great unnatural power and a quasi-immortality through the undeath.
- Wood-Elf - Elves of the neutral alignment. Wood-elves inherently are adept at nature-oriented skills and abilities, and tend to have the favor of the spirits of the natural world. They are physically more capable than the other elven races but are very susceptible to the touch of any iron object.
Depending on the race, alignment and ethos that were chosen by a player, he or she will be able to select one of the following sixteen guilds/classes for the newly created character;
- Anti-Paladin - Unholy warrior-mages wielding dark and infernal magic.
- Assassin - Stealthy and lethal martial artists.
- Bard - Musicians and tavern brawlers adept at mental abilities through the suggestive power of charismatic song.
- Berserker - Savage and tribal orc-only warriors.
- Conjurer - Extraplanar mages.
- Druid - Nature-oriented clerics.
- Healer - Defensively-oriented clerics.
- Invoker - Elemental mages.
- Necromancer - Undead-master mages.
- Paladin - Goodly warrior-priests imbued with divine favor.
- Ranger - Dwellers and warriors of the wilderness.
- Shaman - Offensively-oriented clerics.
- Shapeshifter - Metamorphic mages.
- Thief - Stealthy and deft rogues.
- Transmuter - Metamorphic mages.
- Warrior - Combat and weapon specialists.
Several guilds/classes in The Carrion Fields allow for a further specialization within their given field of study, which can result in the individual player character becoming increasingly unique even when compared to other characters that are potentially of the same race and class. Examples of such specializations are;
- Bards - Each bard will periodically be able to select one out of several lyrical repertoires which enhance his or her effectiveness in singing different types of songs and ballads. These repertoires are; "epic", "romantic", "comedic" and "tragic".
- Berserkers - Orcs of a sufficient rank can choose to specialize in one of four paths unique to the orcish style of warfare; "Mamlauk", "Mundunugu", "Shig-Ru" or "Skrugga". Each path grants a set of special skills and/or abilities with a particular focus in either offense, general utility or defense.
- Invokers - Each invoker may choose to allocate thirty-five points of affinity to a subset of seven possible elemental, para-elemental and quasi-elemental paths; "air", "earth", "fire" "water", "ice", "ooze" and "lightning".
- Necromancers - Any necromancer of sufficient rank may seek out and attempt a quest to become a quasi-immortal Mummy or Lich, a permanent transformation which will confer certain powerful advantages as well as notable disadvantages.
- Paladins - A paladin's empowering deity may give him or her "virtues", which will confer special and potent skills and abilities based on the nature of the virtue(s) which the paladin character excels at. These are typically given out based on the strength of the character's role-play. The virtues are; "charity", "faith", "fortitude", "temperance", "retribution" and "hope". Paladins can additionally choose between two-handed weapon fighting and shield fighting as their main combat training.
- Rangers - All rangers are able to choose, either directly or through choice of character race, the type of natural habitat that they will be most adept in, learning skills and abilities which are specifically attuned to that kind of chosen terrain. The broader term of 'ranger' thus becomes subdivided into different sorts of outdoorsmen and women each specialized in what can be vastly different types of wilderness; "plainsrunner", "marshdweller", "forester", "bedouin", "mariner", "mountaineer" and "caverndweller". Additionally, rangers will also boast a variety of skill expertises to complement their terrain specialization; "explorer", "survivalist", "hunter", "beastmaster", "savage" and "animist".
- Shapeshifters - Each shapeshifter chooses a major and a minor shapefocus which will affect what type of animal forms they may learn to magically assume as they increase in level. The available shapefoci are: "defense", "offense", "utility", "air" and "water". Under certain circumstances unique and custom-made forms may be obtained as well.
- Thieves - Thieves can choose a variety of specialized abilities from either a single one, several, or all of a total of five different thieving styles. These styles are; "kidnappers", "pick-pockets", "trappers", "poisoners" and "thugs".
- Warriors - May choose to dedicate themselves to two specific weapon types ranging from axes, swords, daggers/knives, spears/staffs, whips/flails, maces/clubs, polearms/halberds and even bare-handed combat. When of sufficiently high rank, warriors may also choose two potent "legacy" skills from a pool of thirty-six "legacies".
Additional character customization
Edges - Edges represent a minor customization option which inherently becomes available to any player character based on what their race, guild/class, alignment, ethos and their profiency in given abilities are, among other factors. Players can also qualify to be able to select additional and/or more potent edges for their character through attempting to excel in any of several areas of play.
Exotic Weapons - Through adventuring a number of enigmatic weapon-like items can be obtained, which feature potent and unique skills that are not taught in any of the conventional class guilds. Instead they are an optional benefit to a character which can be gradually unlocked through extensive usage of the items in question.
Should a player character meet the necessary requirements, he or she can attempt to join one of the following player-run cabals that are currently active in the game's world of Thera;
- The Battleragers - The barbaric haters and destroyers of magic and of all who dare practice it.
- The Blood Tribunal - The upholders and the enforcers of civilized law.
- The Empire - The subjugator of nations bent on civilizing, or rather conquering, all of Thera its known regions through a highly organized military blend of traditional aggression and warfare, espionage and assassination, dark shamanism and the use of black magic.
- The Fortress of the Light - The union between the holy brigade of the phoenix and the acolytes of the golden sun. The opposers of and in many cases the crusaders against all things evil and dark.
- The Heralds of the Eternal Star - A group of entertainers, adventurers and storytellers of a generally very pacifist nature. Inside the halls of their Celestial Lyceum, stories, legends and artifacts related to the lore of the MUD's fictional world are safeguarded and conserved for public viewing.
- The Nexus - The keepers of the balance, a group of wise magi and their allies in many of the other guilds who are neither benign nor malicious, and who hold the belief that a magic-rich world will result in a superior state of balancing.
- The Outlanders of Thar-Eris - An enigmatic force whose origins predate Thera's recorded history which has been empowered by the ancient spirits and the forgotten antediluvial gods of the natural world. Violently opposed to all of civilization, and the unnatural magics which were spawned by it.
- The Scions of the Eternal Night - A secretive and ominous society formed out of the vilest and the most ruthless of priests and sorcerers in all Thera, and their corrupted allies in some of the other guilds.
With the exception of the Heralds of the Eternal Star, each cabal will have a special item housed within its main headquarters from which its members will draw their unique powers. When the item is taken by a member of an opposing cabal and placed in that cabal's headquarters, members of the raided cabal will lose a portion of these special abilities granted by their item. This tends to generate active "warfare" between players of those cabals that oppose one another, and gives rise to tense alliances between players of cabals whose aims occasionally overlap when opposition is fierce.
Though orcs technically are not considered as a cabal, their tribe can become directly involved in the cabal warfaring by taking the items of the cabals and then surrendering them to the tribe's shaman.
- The Carrion Fields - Official website http://www.carrionfields.com
- The Carrion Fields Newsletter - http://www.carrionfields.com/CFNOct2008.html