45+ Adventures Available!
Adventure zones are scripted content areas that add life to EmpireMUD's dynamic world. Some adventures are deep and challenging; others are small map features to discover. Something different awaits in each and every one of them!
The Guild of Adventurers
Newbie Island Adventures: Tutorial Quests (Soulstream) | Trade Tutorial: Museum of Early Man | Elemental Escape | Misplaced Mother Goose | Goblin Mines
Low-level Adventures: Magiterranean: Interdimensional Whirlwind | Magiterranean: The Hidden Garden | The Sewer: Ratskins | Goblin Logging Camp | Magiterranean: The Grove | Ruins: Thieves | Burrow Canyons | Magiterranean: Monsoon Rift | Magiterranean: Permafrost | The Golden Goblin | Ruins: The Goblin Challenge | The Sewer: Goblin Outpost | Portal to the Primeval
Mid-level Adventures: Gigantic Nest | The Cursed Chalice of Mill Manor | Mountain Cave: Flame Dragon | Swamp Hag | Giant! | Renegade Spellcaster! | The Lost Temple | Wandering Dragon | Clockwork Colossus | Ruins: Three Bandits | Invasion of: The Goblin Necromancer | The Tower Skycleave: Ashes of History | Hamlet of the Undead
High-level Adventures: Molten Fiend | Colossal Red Dragon | Pyramid: Hidden Chamber of Neferkare | Binding Circle: Anat | Binding Circle: Ba'al Hadad | Fur Dragon | Viscous Muck Dragon | Oceanic Hydra
Non-ventures: Tree of Knowledge | Unstable Portal | Volcano | That Dammed River
Nostrazak the Incautious sits in the Tipsy Tortoise Tavern
The Guild of Adventurers
A world adventure for all levels
The atlasian tortoise roams across the countryside, chewing a steady diet of treetops and adventure. Bolted to its back is a huge platform, upon which someone has built a grand tavern. You have heard rumors that the Guild of Adventurers uses a tortoise like this one as its base of operations. What else might await inside the tavern?
Developer notes: This ambitious adventure is actually unfinished, but it remains one of the most interesting and clever uses of the adventure system. The Guild is a meta-adventure that sends the player around to other adventures to gather allies and complete contracts. Many players provided input and feedback on the quests for the Guild, and Yvain helped me build and script it. This started as two separate things:
Yvain and I had done the giant, roaming tortoise some time earlier without an idea of what to put on it; I had also just added the faction system and was eager to create a demonstration adventure for it. As a result, the Guild has almost 20% of the game's quests even today, and is second only to "The Tower Skycleave" in its size and scope.
The tortoise was the first climb-on mob we built, which led to "Clockwork Colossus" later, and I was excited
to imagine that a group of adventurers might make their home base on top of it. I also really like what we were able to do with other adventures, adding side-plots and secret details to them through their interactions with the guild. For example, the "Swamp Hag" was previously just a simple anonymous witch who the players killed for her precious loot. But now, she could be an ally, with her own desires and motivations, and we finally learn her name: Germione (a pun on a germy/unwashed Hermione).
An atlasian tortoise with a guildhall on its back
In August 2023, we finally added the Esteemed tier of daily quests. By this point, they were way overdue, but this is always a fun adventure to work on. It still needs the Venerated tier of core quests and dailies -- perhaps some day.
Newbie Island Adventures
Spirit of the Hunt
Tutorial Quests (Soulstream)
Basic skill tutorials
Learn the basics of EmpireMUD including its quests and skills. This short tutorial will help you find your way in the world, and will also lead you to some other tutorials. Steps to begin:
1. Type 'quest start' (or 'q s') to see the quests available here.
2. Type 'quest start Enter the Soulstream' to begin the tutorials.
3. Follow the instructions on that quest.
Developer notes: Although this was the third tutorial adventure I wrote, it serves as the game's basic introduction to quests and skills. The player sees the "quest available" text when they first enter the game and are also prompted to start it if they try to enter the
soulstream portal without starting it first. Each of the spirits in the portal, which only appear if you have their skill, teach a basic feature of the game.
Museum of Early Man
Trade Tutorial: Museum of Early Man
Trade skill tutorial
This tutorial has quests for people who have the Trade skill under level 50. If you don't have Trade at all, look for the wandering museum crier and start his intro quest.
Developer notes: This was the second tutorial adventure I built, after the Empire skill tree's Royal Planning Office, which has since been removed. This adventure predates the micro-tutorials that start from resource items and tools, but it adds a little plot to the process of learning the basics of the resource and crafting system. This was also the first adventure to use phasing:
Horation's museum looks different after you've completed all his quests. As an added bonus, if the player is below 15 Trade, each quest also offers a bonus quest that exchanges 1 normal rock for 1 skill point, which could be considered the other kind of trade.
Level 1-25 world adventure
While the master sorcerer is away, he has left his trusty apprentice to watch this rift to the elemental plane. But it seems the apprentice wasn't strong enough to contain the elementals, and now four have escaped! Track down the elementals of earth, fire, wind, and water. Defeat them and return their essences to the apprentice for re-summoning.
Developer notes: I built this adventure to help introduce new players to questing and to adventure shops. This one also teaches the "where" command since the elementals are lost out on the map. Instead of random loot, you earn currency to buy items of your choice, and these items provide important early gear to players who do quests on the newbie island.
Miss Muffet plays a fiddle
Misplaced Mother Goose
Level 1-25 world adventure
Mother Goose has been busily writing down her nursery rhymes, but some of the items have gone missing. If you find what the characters are looking for, surely they'll be grateful. Nursery rhyme items can be found on low-level mobs all over the world.
Developer notes: This adventure is loosely based on one of the very first adventure games I ever played: Mixed-Up Mother Goose, by Roberta Williams. In my version, any low-level mob in the world can drop the items needed for these quests. Letting the players teleport back to the newbie island to turn them in if they found them somewhere else was a later addition, followed by giving the player a way back. This adventure
really helps teach the player about the quest system and about "world drops" -- items you can get anywhere. It also offers some minor but useful starting gear and, in fact, some of the items are useful if you don't turn in their quest, too: you can play the fiddle, drink the soup, and even get your own little lamb minipet. It remains one of my favorites.
Level 1-25 cave adventure
The goblins have fled the mines and something tells you it's not good. Venture into the goblin mines and see what sends even goblins running for their lives! And maybe if you can find those goblins, they'll be willing to reward you for clearing out the mine.
Developer notes: This little rabbit hole-type adventure is the only one on the newbie island with multiple rooms inside and introduces players to miniature adventures in a relatively safe way. The miners outside the mine also buy spider parts and will sell rafts and other supplies to the player. It's also the player's first introduction to EmpireMUD's goblins, who
are usually a combination of resourceful, adorable, and hilarious. Some of the goblins here are puns: Hanx, based loosely on Tom Hanks's character in "Cast Away", sells the player a raft; Miner Nynar is a reference to "minor niner", meaning he's new here. And Blacklung, well, he's been working the mines too long.
Low-level Adventures (0-100)
An interdimensional whirlwind
Magiterranean: Interdimensional Whirlwind
Level 5+ world adventure
The magical whirlwind seems to be a portal between this plane and the Magiterranean, the secret realm of druids. You can't seem to penetrate the whirlwind, but it looks like the druids have been using it to spread their magi-netically modified crops into our world.
Developer notes: This was a whimsical little adventure that Yvain and I put together. Yvain did some of the design work and a bunch of scripting; I designed and made most of the components; it came together really nicely. It provides one weird crop per real month (approximately) and includes some combination tools, some minipets, and a lot of just
random fun stuff. The puppy pods and vigilant vines are my favorites in here, but gemfruits are usually the fan favorite. This adventure is one of the few that can usually be spotted on the graphical world map, although it depends on the location and crop. This adventure continues the Magiterranean theme of magical experimentation on plants and animals,
which is fun for me to design and build every time.
Magiterranean: The Hidden Garden
Level 15+ city adventure
You find a hidden garden, nestled through a hole in the bushes of another garden. But this is no ordinary place. Help the druid gardener with a few simple requests, and be transported to the Magiterranean, the secret world of druids! You can do this quest alone or with friends, but there's no combat here. This adventure is for farmers and gardeners.
Developer notes: This was the second Magiterranean adventure and, I think, the earliest adventure to give new crops. It uses DG Scripts to have the player complete a small collection "quest" before gaining access to the crops and items inside -- this adventure predates the quest engine and has never gotten an update. It's one of the rare
adventures to spawn on claimed tiles and adds a little depth to the world. Unlike later Magiterranean crops, these aren't whimsical, which is my only real regret -- the crops here are just ordinary exotic plants.
The Sewer: Ratskins
Level 1-50 city adventure
Your city has grown, and it's not easy having so many people living so closely together. Sewers squirrel away the dirtiest parts of society, keeping the foul stench of mankind's unmentionable waste out of sight, and out of mind. But the sewer attracts two more of society's unwanted: the poor, and the rats.
Enter the sewer and see if you can help out the people who dwell within. If not, perhaps you can at least clear out the rats.
Developer notes: This was EmpireMUD's third adventure (after the Grove and the Red Dragon) and although it lacks a lot of features, it's still one of my favorites. This introduced whole-zone rotation, where the sewer always has the same layout but can face any direction. It also added a second stealth trainer and some early attempts at quests -- it actually predates the quest engine.
The rat skins from this adventure show up again in the Goblin Outpost and sometimes draw ire from players who would prefer to be able to store them; I still like using a junk item like this for crafting.
Goblin loggers survey the devastation
Goblin Logging Camp
Level 10-50 forest invasion
Something has been clearing vast swathes of the woodland to build some kind of war machine here! Judging by the smell, only two kinds of pest could have been responsible: goblins, or urchins. Judging by the warg bone tent poles, it's probably not urchins. Burning their camp to the ground or killing them should drive them from the region.
Khufu's notes: This tiny adventure, by Yvain, could be considered a non-venture if not for the logs dropped by the loggers. The goblins carve out a large circle that's visible on the world map, making them a viable target for people seeking resources. This adventure actually predates EmpireMUD's "stumps" tiles, and originally had its own, which helped the forest re-grow.
Yvain's notes: I believe this adventure may have arisen originally from a discussion about the idea of
giving mobs/NPCs a larger presence on the overworld and a greater ability to interact
with player empires? The original idea would likely have been to some sort of goblin
siege camp set up on the overworld which might vaguely resemble a player town, and could
send out aggressive raiding parties, or build war machines to assault player structures,
(The same vague concept of "map invasions" probably somewhat inspired the creation of
Magiterranean: Monsoon Rift, but I'm not going to take credit for the idea, I'm pretty
sure "mobs that do stuff on the map" and "non-player empires" have been recurring player
suggestions for years.)
The unrealized Goblin War Machine
That idea never got past the ideas stage for a variety of reasons -- it was excessively
complex, difficult to get it to spawn properly, and potentially very disruptive to
unprepared players, but I think Goblin Logging Camp was born from the question: "If we
did make the goblin siege camp, where would the goblins get the wood to build all this
The idea of giving an alternative way for people to get some bonus resources, as well
as breaking up the vast swathes of forest (temperate regions were pretty much uniform
blobs of overgrown forest, at the time) was a good enough reason to actually build and
release Goblin Logging Camp, though it doesn't actually produce goblin war machines if
ignored. Maybe some day.
Druid of the Magiterranean
Magiterranean: The Grove
Level 1-75 maze adventure
You have discovered a portal into a small grove deep in the Magiterranean, the plane of magic. This is a place where the forces of nature run deep, and interlopers are unwelcome. But what could the druids of the Magiterranean be planning? And is it too late to stop them?
Enter the portal, but be prepared for both unfriendly druids and hidden predators as you explore the otherworldly forest of the Magiterranean.
Developer notes: The original version of The Grove was the very first adventure I built, in order to have something to use when writing the instancer. I started developing the Magiterranean concept before adding the adventure system and this was its first entry. It also introduced the "confusing random exits" system that is used in many adventures, where you can go east then west and end up in a different place. The updated version is larger, adds a shop, and adds some quests.
Level 25-75 ruins adventure
You've stumbled onto somebody's campsite in the ruins. From the looks of things, it's not someone living the high life. Some of the items appear to be quite valuable, so it's safe to assume the person camping here is not the legal owner of any of these things.
Developer notes: This was the second ruins-based adventure and was part of a series of very small, very simple ones that were just meant to bring life to the world. This one has a little variation in the number of thieves, at random. It also has the notorious egg, which hatches using a 1% random trigger so it can take some patience. If I were going to redo this adventure today, it would get a difficulty selector and more good loot, but otherwise I still like its simplicity and its theme.
An adventurer finds Burrow Canyons
Level 75-100 mine adventure
Burrow Canyons is a chain of underground caverns which connect to hidden mountain vales. But be wary! There are treacherous paths to follow, and dangerous creatures within. It will take a valiant party to survive these realms. The spoils gained by those who do, however, are worth the trial!
Developer notes: This was the first of two adventures built by Jennifer Decker and has some fun surprises hidden inside. I wrote the scripts for the rapids minigame and some of the other quirks in here, but they were entirely Jennifer's design. Yvain and I did some minor updates to this adventure, too, including a faster despawn for the adventure once a player has entered -- a common problem with Burrow Canyons is that it can block work on a mine.
But it has never needed a full update because the heart of the adventure -- the secret area and exploration -- nailed it the first time.
Magiterranean: Monsoon Rift
Level 75-100 rift adventure
A rift has opened in the fabric between your world and the Magiterranean, the druidic plane of nature magic. A vicious monsoon storm is escaping through the rift, but it's not the only thing: animated cacti are attacking your world!
You can seal the rift using your Battle, High Sorcery, Natural Magic, Stealth, Trade, or Vampire skill. Each skill solution can only be completed once per day, even if you find another rift. The invading cacti will vanish as soon as you close the rift.
Developer notes: Monsoon Rift was the fourth Magiterranean adventure and might have been the first adventure to offer more than one way to complete it with its multiple skill-based solutions. It was also the first one to spawn hostile creatures on the map -- the jumping cactus, barbary fig, and creeping devil cactus -- which was the beginning of my plan to make deserts less hospitable.
Prior to this, some newbie islands were deserts and players could choose to start there. The hostile cacti are generally unpopular with players and this has generally prevented me from designing more adventures around map invasions. Like all the early adventures, Monsoon Rift is short on gear rewards, although it has some handy and adorable things to give out.
Aquilo, the Polar Baron
Level 75-125 frozen portal adventure
In a chilling turn of events, a strange portal has opened over the river and begun to freeze its waters. Now, the spreading frost threatens to overwhelm our world. You must travel into the Magiterranean and defeat the nefarious Polar Baron in order to end this threat once and for all.
This adventure features a difficulty selector so it can be completed solo, or in groups of up to four. All gear looted from this adventure will be higher quality on harder difficulties.
Developer notes: This might have been the first adventure to feature a difficulty selector, which quickly became one of my favorite features. Early adventures had experimented with different level mobs in different sections (Skycleave) and different difficulties on different branches (Hamlet) but the difficulty selector has been the best way to
offer the same content to different players. This was the fifth Magiterranean adventure and it also introduced the first major "reward terrain" (evergreens), which remain popular. The combination of difficulty modes and improved rewards make this one of the first really modern adventures.
The Golden Goblin
Level 50-150 cave adventure
A group of greedy goblin pirates have become stuck in this little seaside cave, and need your help to repair their ship. Will you assist them with supplies? Or plunder their treasure for yourself?
This adventure is for one or two players. Bring torches (or night sight), and be prepared to follow the instructions on some of the boss fights.
Developer notes: Golden Goblin includes a demonstration of the faction system being used separately for each instance, and is still the only adventure that does this. It's used to track whether you're helping the goblins or fighting them.
This continues the theme from "Gigantic Nest" of allowing the player to choose either side to help. Golden Goblin also borrows the confusing random maze from "Portal to the Primeval" for its underwater cave.
A wizard attempts the Goblin Challenge
Ruins: The Goblin Challenge
Level 50-150 ruins adventure
The ruins have attracted a nest of goblins, and you'll have to clear them out before the ruins can be removed. That might not be easy, as you have stumbled upon the Goblin Challenge. Goblins might be small, but they aren't known to fight fair. Play this encounter in phases, increasing in difficulty.
This adventure has three difficulties:
• Easy: normal and hard mobs (levels 50-100)
• Medium: hard and group mobs (levels 50-150)
• Difficult: group and boss mobs (levels 100-150)
Developer notes: Goblin Challenge was one of the first adventures I updated, mainly by adding the difficulty selector and improving its loot. This is the only adventure that uses non-standard difficulties in its selector and it's not necessarily successful. Still, I like the format of fighting a series of
different goblins in a row.
Goblins living in the sewer
The Sewer: Goblin Outpost
Level 50-150 city adventure
Strange sounds are coming from the sewer grate, and waste has been backing up into the streets. This can only mean one thing: Goblins! Will you buy the goblins' wares, or drive them from the city? This adventure sells 30 BoE items, the crafting patterns BoE for them all, and 4 unique buildings. You can also fight the goblins solo or in pairs (on normal, hard, or group difficulty) to earn their prized gear.
Developer notes: This was an update to the original Goblin Outpost, which was fairly similar. I added difficulty selectors, more gear, and a fifth "goblin" to act as a healer. Both versions of the outpost allow you to trade with the goblins or kill them as part of exploring the theme of goblins living on the edges of human society.
Goblins are one of the few "fantasy races" to make an appearance in EmpireMUD's stock adventures. I always like finding a new angle for examining society through the way it treats them.
Dracosaurs in the primeval forest
Portal to the Primeval
Level 75-175 city adventure
The High Sorcerers in your tower have managed to open a chronoportal into the past! Follow Archsorcerer Malfernes through the portal and explore the Primeval Era, when the ancient ancestors of the dragons ruled endless jungles. But beware, because it's easy to get lost and you make a delicious snack for the dracosaurs.
The time stream is unstable, so each time you visit you might have to track down a different final boss: Malfernes, the Terrosaur, or even the King of the Dracosaurs! Purchase patterns at the base camp to craft mighty primordial gear, or fight the dracosaurs on higher difficulties for a chance to find many of those same items, which the dracosaurs have collected from less fortunate adventurers.
Developer notes: This adventure was my first confusing maze, using a new feature where the instancer would not try to match up random exits. You could now go east then west and end up in a different place. For the theme, I imagined time-traveling sorcerers who saw dinosaurs and interpreted them as proto-dragons, and I worked forward from there. I love the ability to put a portal to anywhere in
the sorcery tower. It pushes the adventure outside of the game's normal theme in a way that feels appropriate and fun. The primeval maze later served as the inspiration for mazes in Golden Goblin, the Grove update, and the Tower Skycleave.
Eventually I updated this adventure to fix its main flaws: inconsistent gear, the need for a difficulty selector, and the ability to skip the intro speech. I also updated the maze mechanics and added the ability to sell parts at the base camp.
Mid-level Adventures (100-200)
A gigantic nest
Level 100-125 world adventure
You have stumbled across a gigantic nest, woven together from entire trees, perched inelegantly on the landscape. The nest's owner is nowhere to be seen, but a single, huge, warm egg is gently rocking in the center. It looks like the egg could hatch any time.
There are several quests to choose from each time you find one of these nests, but you can only do one per nest. Save up your rewards and buy new crafting patterns and items at the end of the quest.
Developer notes: This is a deceptively simple adventure: find a nest, complete 1 of the quests, save up for rewards. But the item and craft count are high for a quick 1-tile adventure, and the choice to aid or exploit the nest make this one of the best. Like a lot of small adventures, it just represents a small map feature
for players to explore. That's why it doesn't show up on the "nearby" command, although I often wonder if it should show up since a gigantic nest is not a small feature to overlook. The nest also conspicuously leaves large animal carcasses around its area. As for the nest's builder and occupant, that part is a surprise
when the player does the first quest.
The Cursed Chalice of Mill Manor
Level 100-150 estate adventure
Once, Mill Manor was a grand estate, prosperous and beloved by all who lived there. But then, a terrible pestilence settled over the land, and misfortune cast it into decline. Today, although it is a wretched speck of its glorious past, yet tales still circle of how valuable those lands would be again, if only the curse were reversed.
Developer notes: This is one of two adventures written by Jennifer Decker and it has always been popular for its environmental story and puzzles. The adventure has two different outcomes and although there isn't a significant difference in terms of rewards, the player still feels they've determined the manor's fate. The only retro-
fits we've done on this adventure were to add a difficulty selector, raise the level range, and small fixes to mob spawning.
A flame dragon
Mountain Cave: Flame Dragon
Level 100-150 wandering monster
A flame dragon has made its nest in a mountain cave and is terrorizing the countryside! Can you hunt it down and kill it? Just follow the swath of scorched earth. The dragon is tough -- you might want to bring a partner.
Developer notes: This was the first adventure to change terrain and I added the %terraform% script command to support it. Its big red patch of scorch also made this the first adventure to really be visible on the world map.
Level 100-150 hut adventure
You have stumbled upon a strange, raised house in the swamp. It's old, dilapidated, and surrounded by unfriendly swamp creatures. What sort of person would live like this?
Developer notes: This is an update of the original Swamp Hag, which was very similar. The update improved the loot, added crafts, and added the difficulty selector. The Swamp Hag's name, Germione, is revealed by another adventure.
A hill giant
Level 100-175 world adventure
You've found a giant hovel in ruins. Perhaps its owner outgrew it? Not to worry -- a giant on the loose is usually easy to spot. Use the 'nearby' command to find the giant, before it wreaks havoc on the countryside!
Developer notes: This was part of a series of quick, small adventures I built with just simple roaming boss fights, treasures as loot, and not much else. Yvain provided the scripting for the giants. For this adventure, each instance spawns 1 of the 3 giants, depending on which terrain it spawned on and they each have a unique building as their reward. The general
theme is carried forward to the next quick mini-adventure I built, "Renegade Spellcaster!" which also spawns one of three random world encounters. There's no difficulty selector because there's no gear; giants are always hard (2-player) difficulty.
A rogue wizard
Level 100-175 world adventure
A renegade spellcaster is on the loose. Track them down before they cause trouble for your empire.
Developer notes: This adventure was essentially based on the basic rogue wizards who spawn at night on unclaimed land, just as the "Viscous Muck Dragon" adventure was an elaboration of the rare massive green dragon. Rather than make the renegades aggressive in the traditional sense, I gave them a script that makes them hostile when someone interacts with them -- just like the bears, wolves, rhinos, and gorillas on the map.
And similar to "Giant!", this one has three variants with slightly different rewards. Yvain and I built this adventure together, like a lot of them in that era, with Yvain focused on scripting and me working on items and text, while we collaborated on the ideas and design. I recall my idea for the "teenage witches" version was based on Sabrina the Teenage Witch while Yvain envisioned it like a magical girl show, and that is
the sort of thing that made these collaborations so much fun. I would love to do more upscaled versions of the random NPCs on the map; even without gear in the loot table, I consider this adventure a success.
A lost temple
The Lost Temple
Level 125-175 jungle adventure
You have discovered an ancient, overgrown temple deep in the jungle. Surely its depths must hold great undiscovered treasures of an ancient civilization, if you're brave enough to venture below...
This adventure features a difficulty selector so it can be completed solo, or in groups of up to four. All gear looted from this adventure will be higher quality on harder difficulties.
Beware! Dungeons such as this one often have traps. SEARCH carefully before advancing, or be prepared to JUMP, DUCK or RUN very fast.
Khufu's notes: This is another of Yvain's great adventures, and I think one of the earliest ones we collaborated on. I did the items, crafts, and perhaps the text; Yvain did the amazing scripting, the mobs, and the rooms. This adventure is also one of the few to have a different outcome if you fully complete it rather than leave it unfinished.
Yvain's notes: I'm probably biased, but I love this adventure. It's just a classic dungeon crawl, but
it came out beautifully. It's inspired by the fantasy of ancient Mesoamerican temples
hidden deep in the jungle, untouched by settlers, and a little bit of influence from
Indiana Jones probably sneaked in there as well. Besides writing most of the descriptive
text, Khufu helped greatly with inspiration, and I'd otherwise have somewhat struggled
with what was, to me, a fairly unfamiliar theme.
A feathered serpent surprises a rogue in the lost temple
The traps (which I always meant to revisit as a concept in future adventures like
Chamber of Neferkare, but never did) use a "call and response" system which also ended
up getting reused on a number of bosses later on, though I believe Burrow Canyons may
have invented it. I'm very happy with the way that they can be defeated by preparation,
reflexes, or just being too hard to kill, though the punishment for just tanking the hit
is perhaps a little light by the time you reach the maximum scaling level of the adventure.
The secret passage and hidden wing were just intended to reduce backtracking while
ensuring that you couldn't skip to the final boss, but they were a fantastic idea (not
mine, I suspect) and fit the theme really nicely.
A bull dragon
Level 125-175 world adventure
The dragon nest appears abandoned, which means a dragon is on the loose nearby. Can you find and defeat it? Be careful, it might take a pair of stout adventurers -- but the rewards will be worth it.
Developer notes: This is a light world boss, similar to the basic green dragon; each instance just spawns 1 random wandering dragon. One common issue is that finding an abandoned nest does not necessarily lead you to the dragon; it can get pretty far away and only returns home if it hits an ocean tile. But I like the single-dragon adventures
for their ability to populate the world with a consistent number of dragons (as opposed to random map spawns like the green dragon) and I think this old adventure holds up, even though its only update was to add a progression goal.
A clockwork colossus
Level 100-200 world adventure
A towering clockwork man stomps across the landscape, paying little attention to what he might step on -- if it is a he -- as he marches inexorably toward an unseen goal. Few have ever beheld such a marvel as this colossus, and fewer still have managed to fell one and see what makes it tick.
This adventure has 6 difficulty settings. To lower the difficulty of the colossus, you must 'board' it and sabotage its massive metal mechanisms. Each piece lowers the difficulty by one level, with the exception of the feet. Disabling the feet will return the colossus to its scaffolding, where you can summon fellow adventurers to aid in the fight.
You can 'disembark' from the colossus at any time, but be careful not to let it throw you off from great height. The colossus shoots powerful laser beams from its eyes, so be prepared to type 'dodge'.
Developer notes: This adventure, which is partially inspired by "Shadow of the Colossus", has some of the coolest mechanics Yvain and I have written, and is one of our best collaborations. I love the notion that you're climbing up a huge mob as it lumbers around the landscape, and then you get to fight it at the end. The sabotages were fun to write, although interesting or clever puzzles are one of the
hardest parts of any game design. My favorite part, and one of the best things I've written for the entire game, is the book of goblin chants that disable the colossus. Here's an excerpt:
Clear sky, make it cloudy, goblins going to try...
White clouds, getting darker, blacking out the sky...
Gray clouds, light and sparkly, goblins make you fry...
Spears of lightning, striking strongly, forking up this guy!
Three bandits in a ruined building
Ruins: Three Bandits
Level 100-200 ruins adventure
It looks like someone has been camping out in these ruins. You've found the hideout of infamous bandits Berk, Jorr, and Tranc! These three are not renowned for fighting fair, but if you're lucky, maybe only one of them is home.
Developer notes: This is essentially a higher-level version of "Ruins: Thieves" and similarly has practically nothing for rewards. I like these little ruins adventures but I stopped adding them because they can start to clog up a lot of ruins and make it hard to remove them. Ultimately, I probably need a flag that allows an adventure to despawn when dismantled.
I eventually removed the flag that prevents this one from appearing on "nearby", as even high-level players often didn't even know it existed. A rewrite of this adventure would probably include a shift to more treasure and coins for loot (they're thieves, after all) and perhaps gear that focuses on rings, earrings, and other items of value that can be pocketed.
Invasion of: The Goblin Necromancer
Level 125-200 city adventure
A hole has been discovered leading into pitch black somewhere in the empire's land. Adventurers from the guild claim that a goblin necromancer has been seen about lately, performing experiments. Someone needs to put a stop to things. After all, who knows what his end goal is?
Khufu's notes: Domino (Ozy Howe) built this clever adventure. Unlike most adventures, it requires specific city features before it shows up, and those features come from other adventures. This is something I've thought of since the inception of the adventure system: adventures that bring the city to life.
Domino's notes: The Invasion series of adventures are a bit like the "Guild of Adventurers" where there is connection
between multiple different ones. I admit, I was heavily influenced by "Baulder's Gate Dark Alliance" when I
thought up the concept. The connection across the adventures is a crafted item, which requires a special
object from each to complete. If you listen to the boss and mini-boss for a little while, you start to
understand just what is going on here. If I had to do it over, I would have probably added some rooms,
and moved the mini-boss away from the entrance some. All in all, it was my first adventure and the
unique boss fight seems to still catch players' interest.
The Tower Skycleave
The Tower Skycleave: Ashes of History
Level 150-250 tower adventure
The Tower Skycleave is renowned across the world for its powerful sorcerers and unconventional research. It funds its discoveries through patents, tourism, and by selling its compelling magic to the public. Skycleave is known to appear in a new location each day, only to vanish again. People speak of their visits to the black tower as profound and pivotal moments in their lives. There's just one small complication...
THE TOWER IS UNDER SIEGE! Skycleave has been invaded and many of its mighty sorcerers are bunking on the ground floor as refugees. You must rescue the tower, floor by floor, until you finally defeat the enchantress at the top. Will you be the one to finally free the sorcerers for good? Or will they find themselves refugees again when the tower appears tomorrow?
The Tower Skycleave is a large, complex adventure with highly-detailed rooms containing endless things to look at and discover. Once each floor has been rescued, it remain safe until the tower moves. Save the tower to gain access to new crafting patterns and other rewards. Be sure to seek out each of the different items from the claw game... and if you find yourself dreaming in Skycleave, you can always wake up.
Developer notes: Skycleave was one of EmpireMUD's earliest adventures, and the first one to feature a lot of whimsy and creative scripting. But, it was also a failure in terms of its loot and its "each floor has a different level range" setup, so I spent five years wanting to modernize it. When I finally set out to do the update, aided by several players who provided some of the text and ideas, it was initially going to be a simple update.
But after playing Elden Ring in early 2022 and experiencing its rich environmental storytelling and cryptic, nearly-impossible-to-understand plot, I was eager to try something more ambitious. Elden Ring had also reminded me of something I loved on MUDs I played in the 1990s: a small, out-of-the-way passage could lead to a wondrously large and unexpected area. I still had no idea Skycleave would reach 144000 words by the end (and, in fact, I
wrote the word-counter for adventures just to see how big it really was).
For this update, I wrote new stories and new characters to join Skycleave's cast. I used zone phasing on a much grander scale than I had used in the "Museum of Early Man" tutorial, and I also developed some code and scripts that made it much faster and easier to drop in cutscenes, conversations, and other dialogue for the mobs. I also wrote scripts to help with the dodge, interrupt, struggle, and free commands that are used in fights in the tower.
I thought these "helper scripts" would shorten the combat scripts for each mob; they didn't. These are the longest scripts yet as they account for each player dodging or getting hit separately, foregoing the simpler AOE attacks of other scripts. But they also make the fights more approachable and predictable, and the fights are able to be interesting and engaging without being impossible or brutal.
High Sorcerer Celiya
Skycleave feels like EmpireMUD's masterpiece, building on everything I've learned from writing the other adventures. I also think it sets a new standard for quality: every corner of the tower is richly described, perhaps with more text than anybody will ever read.
Hamlet of the Undead
Level 175-275 village adventure
Smoke and fire in the distance have led you to a small hamlet, ablaze and beset by the undead. Most of the citizens have fled, but it looks as if those who remain could use your help. With no army to come to its rescue, you might be the hamlet's only hope!
Developer notes: The original version of this adventure had different difficulties for each of its three wings. I never liked this feature -- among other problems, the loot from each wing was different and it had high-quality items for some roles but not others -- and eventually I overhauled the whole thing with better gear, a difficulty selector, and the most requested feature of all: the ability to skip the intro.
High-level Adventures (200-300)
A molten fiend
Mountain Valley: Molten Fiend
Level 200-250 mountain adventure
A powerful demon, buried beneath the earth in ages past, is trying to break free, and its struggles have opened this molten crevice in the mountains! Bring a capable party with you, for the demon's lengthy imprisonment has only fueled the fires of its rage!
Khufu's notes: This was the first adventure Yvain released and is a great one-boss fight hidden in the mountains. It has a unique gimmick for trading in items for "molten essence" and using it to buy new items -- today we'd do that with currency and a shop; this adventure predates those.
Yvain's notes: This adventure is a product of its time in so many ways. Back then, adventure bosses were
generally simple affairs with one basic custom scripted attack or 2-3 abilities borrowed
from the player arsenal; there were huge gaps in gear availability for specific slot-role
combinations; I was still learning to use the OLC editor, so I wanted to go for something
simple; and there were very few adventures aimed at skilled, high-level groups.
This adventure was trying to address all of those at once, by introducing some pretty
specific gear to fill the biggest gaps, creating a new style of challenging boss which
relied more heavily on custom scripted attacks, and teaching me to use the editing tools.
We refined a lot of those ideas and systems (and my editing abilities) to a much higher
level of polish for later adventures and bosses, like Permafrost and Lost Temple, and
if I made this adventure again from scratch, there's a lot I'd do differently (a rework
now would likely focus on the chaotic array of gear and strange choice of scripted
attacks), but I have quite a bit of nostalgia for the old Fiend. Similarly, the molten
essence trade-in system could perhaps be considered an early prototype of the
currency-based systems used in later adventures, and was added after release as an
A healer wearing the hearthflame sleeves
As far as style, layout and theme goes, I believe this adventure was strongly inspired
by the interior of Mount Doom from Lord of the Rings (as depicted in various visual media)
as well as my time playing tabletop roleplaying games. I don't believe the fiend itself
had any specific inspiration beyond "cool big demon". But maybe it did and I just forgot.
Colossal Red Dragon
Level 250-300 cave adventure
Enter a cavernous mountain cave and find yourself face-to-claw with a giant red dragon! Bring a healer and a tank, and see how you fare against the most dangerous of wild creatures. Or, help the dragon rid herself of the pesky knight who has been calling for her slaughter.
This adventure offers quests from the red dragon, from Sir Vivor the knight, and from Bangles the thief. Collect dragon tokens to spend at the vendor who appears when you finish any of the quests.
Developer notes: I think this was the first adventure I ever updated or overhauled. I added the additional two mobs and the quests, and allowed the players to choose to work for the dragon if they didn't want to kill her. This adventure actually adds several crafting abilities and uses
its own unique resources. When I added the shop, I put the resources in it. But the special crafting abilities turned out to be cumbersome and I didn't try to do this again.
What's left of the mummy
Pyramid: Hidden Chamber of Neferkare
Level 250-300 city adventure
A recent earthquake has revealed a long-hidden passage in the pyramid, and who knows what treasures are in store? Make your way into the chamber and defeat the ancient evil that lurks within! This is a short combat adventure with three difficulties for 2 to 4 players.
Khufu's notes: This is a fairly straight-forward adventure that makes use of a building players might build on their own. We could use more of these. Yvain and I collaborated on this one with Yvain doing most of the scripting while I built items and other components.
This adventure is notoriously hard and, due to its level, doesn't offer the "normal" difficulty option. The loot makes up for that, though: it covers several gear slots with items for every role.
Yvain's notes: I actually did not know chamber of neferkare was notoriously hard until skimming the
adventure list now, heh. I guess it's the script on Neferkare that gets them, it does
have quite a lot going on for a fight you go into with no warm-up -- drown, blind,
stun, summon, there's not really an "easy" attack . Easy run-back though since it
literally spawns in your tomb.
The old goddess Anat in a binding circle
Binding Circle: Anat
Level 225-325 world adventure
The old god Anat has been bound here, tied to this world and made mortal so at last she may be killed. In the ancient world, Anat killed men and gods alike. Today, you might be the hero who avenges those defeats. One thing is certain: this world will drown in blood if you can't stop her.
Developer notes: Anat was the first of the Old Gods adventures, for which I imagined both a roaming version in the wild and a bound version built by players. Anat's adventure uses the drop-or-craft loot model, where some of the items can be crafted using recipes you buy after defeating Anat enough
times. This adventure is otherwise similar to what I've done with dragons: it's a world boss fight with just 1 enemy and nothing to explore. Spawning the world bosses as adventures helps limit the number of them in the world at a time, takes away the randomness of map-spawning monsters, and opens up options like summoning players
to help with the fight. This adventure was a theme I intended to continue -- namely, having players fight the gods of old religions -- but only ever built one more of them. As with a lot of game content from this era, I collaborated with Yvain, who wrote the combat scripts, which greatly increased the rate I could produce these adventures.
Binding Circle: Ba'al Hadad
Level 225-325 world adventure
The old god Ba'al Hadad has been bound, tied to this world and made mortal so you can defeat him. In the ancient world, Ba'al Hadad was master of storms, able to drown whole cities in his wrath. Today, you must defeat him and avenge the victims of those ancient storms. This world might drown in floods if you can't.
Developer notes: This was the second of the Old Gods adventures and retains the wandering version in the wild with the bound version in players' cities. The main drawback of that is that you can usually summon other players to help fight Hadad at binding circles you built in your cities. As for the fight itself, Hadad has always been slightly unpopular
because he requires at least two players for a gimmick that seemed really amazing when Yvain and I wrote it: Half the party is supposed to enter the Heart of the Storm while the tank and healer remain outside fighting the boss. Both halves of the party must interrupt a huge attack that will hit the other half of the party, and this just can't be done
by a solo player. I really like this gimmick, which was inspired by one in World of Warcraft, but we have never re-used it.
A fur dragon guarding a frozen lake
Level 225-325 world adventure
It looks like you've found a legendary fur dragon... Or perhaps it has found you! These warm-blooded dragons live in burrows and stalk their prey -- which ranges from bison to elephants -- from the shadows. They're known to retreat to their den when threatened. Follow it inside if you dare, but be warned that few adventurers come back out.
This adventure features a new 'study' mechanic. By studying the chewed-up, mangled, and downright tattered gear that the fur dragon has collected from other adventurers, you can create crafting patterns for those same items. Studying consumes at least one of the items, depending on the item's quality.
Developer notes: Unlike "Viscous Muck Dragon" or "Renegade Sorcerer!", the fur dragon has a full loot table and crafts. Rather than add a shop with patterns for its gear, I wrote scripts that can create a pattern dynamically from the looted gear. I also scripted it to rename the items when they're dropped as loot to make them appear chewed, ragged, or clawed up. The implication is that the dragon got them from previous adventurers, and I think this part is amazing.
I also made it rename the empire-themed items when the players crafts them so they actually show the empire's name. This is something I'd like to do more of in the future. Domino (Ozy Howe) collaborated with me on the fight itself, writing the combat scripts for the dragon (this is usually my least favorite part of building an adventure). And while it's superficially similar to "Viscous Muck Dragon" and some other world bosses, the fur dragon actually retreats to its burrow when you
select a difficulty, making it possible to summon in other players for help.
A muck dragon rises from the swamp
Viscous Muck Dragon
Level 225-325 swamp adventure
A muck dragon is roamings the swamps. These dragons are large, slimy, and particularly vicious. Fortunately, they never leave the water. Perhaps if you slay the dragon, you can take its riches for yourself.
Developer notes: This was a quick "world boss" with a small number of rewards. It mainly gives out wealth, similar to the map-spawning massive green dragon, but there's only 1 in the world a time. In a lot of ways, it's a direct update of the green dragon (who still spawns randomly on the map).
The main flaw in this adventure is that you can't summon players to help with battles out on the map, away from the adventure's spawn point. I tried to correct this in the Fur Dragon adventure, which is fought indoors despite the roaming boss.
Level 225-325 ocean adventure
A monstrous hydra has been terrorizing the coasts of islands and continents alike. A group of adventurers should hunt down this beast and put it down, for the good of the empire. The hydra has proven to be resistant to all forms of harm, except for a short period of time after one of its heads is destroyed.
Khufu's notes: This adventure, written by Domino (Ozy Howe), remains the only one that takes place in the open ocean and eventually led me to add the waterwalk effect, as this otherwise required flying to prevent the players from drowning while fighting it.
Domino's notes: This adventure was originally born from players talking about how easy it was to just solo everything if
you had the right build and trying hard to convince other players that they should use the tried and
tested builds instead of whatever they were having fun playing. To that end, I set out to make an
adventure you just couldn't solo, without making it obvious like the storm gimmick found in the "Old
Gods" adventure. I try to introduce something new to every adventure I work on, and in this one I was
able to do that both in the crafts and the actual combat.
(Things spawned by the adventure system but don't involve actual adventures.)
A Tree of Knowledge
Tree of Knowledge
"This is certainly some unusual weather... What could be happening here? Check back later to find out."
Developer notes: This non-venture actually spawns as a "fog bank" or "dust storm", which lasts about 1 real day, and then leaves behind a Tree of Knowledge as it de-spawns. Essentially, the adventure system is being used to limit it to 1 tree per real day, but if nobody finds that tree, it will remain while the adventure spawns another one. The trees themselves last roughly a month.
The fruit gives an intelligence buff and can grant a skill point; rare mounts also spawn at these trees.
An unstable portal to another world
Sorcery tower non-venture
The city's sorcerers have managed to open a portal to a strange land. What lies on the other side? Climb into the portal and find out. Many unusual places await. But be warned! The portal is unstable and you shouldn't venture too far from it.
Developer notes: This adventure came out of a desire to include tributes to other games, plus my general sense of whimsy. Yvain worked with me on parts of this, including some of the scripting to get the portal to lead somewhere different each time, and the controller that lets an immortal change its destination for testing and demonstration. The premise here is simple: those rascally sorcerers in your
city's tower have opened a portal to somewhere else in space and time. Each portal contains just a single room, with any exits saying "farther from the portal". If you try to walk away, you find yourself right back where you started. Each portal gives away a small reward (a minipet, clothes, etc.) so this isn't strictly a non-venture. But there's no gear here, no boss to fight (well, maybe one), and nothing in particular to do.
There's room for five more portal destinations, and I may yet add more. The last addition was a small tribute to Elden Ring. Other portals include tributes to CircleMUD, The Hobbit, Colossal Cave Adventure, EmpireMUD 1.0, Fallout, Oregon Trail, and more.
A volcano threatens a city
The mountain has opened up and lava is flowing forth at the surface!
Developer notes: This one can actually expand mountains permanently, which is a rare feature, at the cost of sometimes destroying roads and open buildings. The volcano lasts 3 real weeks, so it moves around the map slowly, and
there are no mobs or quests or anything to do here at all. But I like to think it helps bring the map to life.
A dam proud dire beaver surveys its handiwork
That Dammed River
Level 25-75 river non-venture
Beavers have built a dam here and the rising river is causing floods! Killing their leader or destroying the lodge should drive them away, stopping the flooding. You can use Chant of Nature to restore flooded tiles and Siege Ritual to demolish dam tiles, but they will eventually return to normal on their own.
Khufu's notes: This is a fun non-venture from Yvain that just blocks up part of a river and floods the tiles around it. This is the same kind of leashed-mob terraforming done by the "Wandering Dragon", "Permafrost", "Whirlwind", and some others. Like all the non-ventures, it's just a map curiosity. There isn't
really anything for the player here. But to me, bringing life to the world is its own reward.
Yvain's notes: The pun entirely justifies any effort we put into creating the "adventure", which wasn't
very much. It's also just really neat to stumble across strange little "random map
features" like this in the world, or spot them using the world map viewer.