In his own words, listen up for words from Haus!

Haus got a hold of me on Facebook after seeing some of the 20th anniversary posts I made and decided to write up a post for the site.  I’ve had it for a little while now, life gets busy and things get overlooked, I hope you enjoy it … here it is, Haus!

In the summer of 1994, I’d just finished my first year in grad school and a tiring 6-week research project. I was looking forward to going back to Alander’s Rivers of Mud (RoM) for some mindless hack-n-slash, but he had done a massive overhaul which included a complete player-file wipe, which I’m still bitter about. I went on Usenet to look for a new mud and saw Thoric’s post. The vampire class sounded fun, so I rolled a character. One thing I learned during my brief tenure as an immortal at RoM was that short names made life a lot easier, so I shortened my handle from “Hausdorff” to “Haus.” As far as I know there were two other mortal players at that time – Pandora and Akasha. They were both affiliated with Compulink. I went on a power-levelling jag for two or three days, and, was the first mortal to reach avatar. I had a few chats with Thoric, and he was interested in having another set of eyes on the code. Memory leaks were a big problem in the early days, so over the summer we spent a lot of time analyzing the core dumps when the mud crashed, repairing problems, and repeating.

Realms became much more popular that fall, but I was focusing mostly on my classwork. By Winter Break, there were probably twenty active immortals. The day-to-day administration was handled by a fellow that Thoric appointed who was, well, a dick of the first order. He was a hell of an area builder, but a complete failure as an administrator. For a long time, folks who wanted to contribute to growing and improving the game had to do it in spite of the tirades and follies of this dickish guy. Morale was all over the place, but, we mostly managed to make it work. In this period, we set up the test server, a lot of people were building areas, and we got more aggressive when it came to adding features.

More than a couple of high school kids wrote their first lines of computer code to do something cool in SMAUG, caught the programming bug, and went on to become software professionals. In these early days we did a lot of the things that made SMAUG SMAUG to me – programmable objects/mobs/rooms, expanded classes, unique spells/skills, expanded player and mob races, improvements to the area building system, and so forth.

So things went on, we made the game richer, the player-base continued to expand. My course work and research had me in a computer lab 12+ hours per day, so I was able to spend a lot more time with one eye on the mud. A group of highish-level immortals started discussing how the main thing holding back the game’s progress was random attacks from the aforementioned dick, and began to kick around alternatives. After a lot of debate and discussion amongst ourselves, we approached Thoric with the idea of a council of senior immortals replacing the dick in overseeing day-to-day operations. After a lot more debate and discussion, we formed the Council of Elders (CoE) and were suddenly running the joint. The CoE’s prime directive was to continually improve the game, but the challenging part was to make being an immortal/area builder/coder a rewarding way for a person to spend their time. A big key to this was an unwritten rule that senior immortals coached and protected juniors, and, in return, juniors acted respectfully to seniors. Another was working out how we could delegate interesting tasks that were originally in the purview of the CoE. The delegation was wildly successful, and we soon had councils doing things like recruiting new immortals, overseeing area building, proposing and managing new projects, handling promotions of lower-level immortals, smoothing the learning curve for newbies and so forth.

For me, this was the Golden Age. Immortals were doing interesting work and having a lot of fun. The CoE had an amazing blend of strengths and personae. The job demanded that we each make a lot of unilateral decisions, but also that we could recognize potentially controversial issues, and refer those to a full vote. Many governments could learn a lot from the mutual respect, calm debate, and compromise we had in the CoE. As the immortal community grew, it started pumping out talented and experienced administrators (and coders, and builders) who started bubbling to the top. Plenty found a spot somewhere in the middle that they liked and stayed there. Others wanted to work their way up the ladder to the “big league.” With the exception of “pure-coders,” those that made it to 55/56 were very experienced in general immortaling, very good at at least one of the trinity (admin/coding/building), and were trusted in any given situation to either (a) make a good decision, or (b) kick the problem up the ladder for consideration. Those that made it to 57 were serious contenders for a future position on the CoE. So, the 51s-55s were overseeing the mortals, the 55s-57s were overseeing the lower immortals, and the CoE was focusing on big-picture ideas and “Supreme Court” cases.

I spent most of my online time invisible except to the 56+s because (a) I could, (b) it kept me from getting in the way of the mid-level imms, and (c) it made the wall of multicolored spam that I had to read every tick a bit more managable. At some point, an engineer who has built a solid machine gets tired of watching it work, and gets the itch to go and build new machines. For a long time, I hung out, tweaking this and that, enjoying watching the high immortals and future CoE members do their jobs. Then, a “real-life” relationship exploded, necessitating that I move to another country, and so I did what any reasonable person would do: I went over to Darrek’s house, lost to him repeatedly at Nintendo Hockey, and drank many, many Molsons.

The combination of boredom and being irritated at RoD had ended a lot of people’s tenure there. By this time, it was crystal clear to me that I’d finally landed in that pile. I didn’t want to be the guy that leaves and comes back and leaves and comes back – that rarely ends well. So, between zigarauts of empty beers at Darrek’s computer I logged in, announced I was “outie,” and deleted my player file. The sudden departure caused some weirdness, but I was really glad to see some of my all-star proteges names replacing mine on the CoE roster.

I think what I like best about the whole experience is how folks took skills and experiences from Realms and transferred them into their real lives. Among my closest friends from RoD: this guy owns a computer services company, that guy’s a computer science professor, this gal’s a hot shot in the gaming industry, that gal’s a successful fantasy writer. A lot of us really spent more time on RoD than we probably should have, but it’s really nice to see that the time spent payed off for people in a lot of interesting ways.

Beg, borrow or steal I’m scraping to bring you words from Blodkai!

Yes … the title here is pretty literal. I discovered this post by Blodkai while doing a scrape of the Wayback Machine archive for Why do such a thing to begin with? Well, a few sites have gone offline recently and I’ve been really glad I had my own offline copy of them. I went sniffing around mostly looking for old wizlists or other removed organization pages that might be helpful towards building a new Realms site that includes more depth than many I’ve seen.

I present this to you in its original form, unedited as it appeared on It is 14 years old so I think it qualifies as a Realms historical document in its own right 🙂 I thought it was fascinating and i hope you do too … Blodkai!

August 28, 2000

I collection of various questions that have filtered across to me in one way or another enough times that I may as well put them together in a single Q&A.

“How long have you been on Realms? Did you help found it? How did you come to Realms?”

I’ve been on Realms since near the beginning, but was not a founding immortal. I’ve always been a gaming fanatic, and I had run myself broke playing Major BBS door games like TeleArena and Crosswinds and MajorMUD on a 286 with an amber monitor and a 2400 baud modem, mooching access to the ‘net by sharing shell accounts that other BBS friends let me use.

One day I landed on some giant Major BBS system up in Kansas or someplace that was dedicated to the schools of the Big 12 Conference. I schmoozed (repeatedly) some free credits from the moderators there to play MajorMUD, and one day tried a link they had to Bat MUD. That was a whole new experience for me. I was amazed at all the people, the interaction, the different style of play and the new things available to me.

And all the lag.

When I figured out that it wasn’t the only game in town (literally) I ran around trying out other MUDs. Back then there weren’t nearly so many of these games around, and most “big” muds had 20 or 30 online at a most. I stumbled across Realms one day in its infancy and was amazed yet again at the new world, and the immortals. Ranma was my first immortal contact, and blew my mind by informing me that, yes, I was allowed to keep _all_ that stuff I got off the corpse of a janitor I killed. As I explored and died, Ranma assisted me a few more times (hey, the rules were far more lax back then, and there was virtually no one else around to help) in finding the precious pink ice rings that permitted me to carry loads of heavy stuff.

Not so long after that I lost my telnet access and got distracted by RL matters, and I abandoned the game for a few months. A short while later I, um, stumbled across an unsecured system in the engineering department of a local University that could be accessed via modem and which supported telnet. It was laggy, but it was enough. I jumped around from MUD to MUD again for a while, and finally ended up on Realms again, and the rest is history. A lot can happen and change in a half-decade plus, both online and IRL. Few things are as they were.

“You had some cool bands in your bio a while back. I thought you were old. How old are you?”

Sorry, I don’t give out detailed personal information. I also don’t know where anyone got this idea, though perhaps it’s because of my online age. I hate to shatter anyone’s image of me, but I’m a 20-something. Sorry.

“Your online age is unreal. If you’re not old and haven’t been around for 15 years to account for all that, you must not have a life.”

Blodkai is not only my immortal, but was my primary character that received most of my playing time. When I first imm’d I was indeed online a vast amount of time every day, especially when I began overhauling all of the mobiles, areas, programs and objects in the game. But in addition to that, Blodkai rarely quits out; link-dead immortals simply stay online. I can’t give a specific percentage, but I’d wager that at least half of that time is simply link-dead. I am not online 24 hours a day, or anywhere close, but by the same token I am online (or working offline) for a good amount of time every day.

“I heard you used to pkill and had a cheated Dragonhide Breastplate with 900 hitpoints and 50 damroll added, and then some guy killed you with a cheaply equipped warrior and you balzhured him for it and still hold a grudge against him and you hurt kittens.”

Okay, I admit this is a compilation of statements from the absolute extreme end of the rumor mill, and I people aren’t out there accusing me of this for the most part, but it has bothered me to no end so I’m addressing it here:

Yes, I used to pkill. Quite a bit. I don’t any more for a variety of reasons that I won’t really get in to here, but suffice to say I have too many things to do and not enough time to do them as it is.

No, I did not have a cheated plate, and the plate I did have had something like 300 or 400 hps on it, plus (if I remember correctly) a few dex and luck. No damroll, no affects. The plate represented the lion’s share of all
my old quest points. Prior to the current “glory” system, the quest system (quests and rewards) were much different. One quest point = one hp. I found that too tantalizing to pass up.

I spent a good deal of time accumulating quest points and renames in both public and private quests. (private or small quests were often run in those days, it wasn’t a matter of my immortal friends giving them to me – primarily because I had no immortal friends aside from Darksong, who was in no real position and of no inclination to be doing such things in the first place) I have always been a HP fanatic, and 90% of all of my quest points were spent on hitpoints, most of them going on that plate.

I had placed the plate on one of my pkillers primarily because I wanted to see if I could solo Divine Retribution straight up (i.e. using nothing but the inherent skills of that character’s class, and heal potions) using it and my pkill equipment. I used to spend a great deal of time killing Divine with peacefuls, but it involved using a single vampire or warrior or ranger (usually warrior or ranger) assisted by backpacks full of various offensive scrolls. With the pkiller I wanted to just try to flat-out whip the beast. I was otherwise not in the practice of placing rare items on my avatar pkillers, save for a few.

No, a cheaply equipped warrior did not kill me. A cheaply equipped warrior may have participated in the fight (started it, got the killing blow, who knows, I don’t recall), but I think the other five or so characters — including at least two of the buffest enemies in the game wearing plenty of “special” equipment — deserve as much credit. Heck, I used a cheaply equipped warrior (I had several around the 90 damroll, 1350 hp range) on a similar kill on a clan leader who was more powerful than the character on which I lost my qp’d plate – including helping to tank him, chasing him down and preventing him from fleeing with bashes – but “I” didn’t kill him. There were four or five others characters who helped out on that one as well.

And no, I did not balzhur the character for it. After the behavior or the MUD administrator prior to mine, and because I was deeply involved with pkill from the mortal side, it has always been important to me to separate my immortal activity from my mortal activity as much as possible. It would frankly be idiotic and arrogant for me to have balzhured someone for killing me. To be honest, I don’t even remember everyone involved in the kill today.

I was eventually involved in the balzhur or destruction of the characters of the player who eventually ended up with the plate, but that was some time later under completely different circumstances. Specifically, that player demanded that his army be deleted and he engaged in behavior designed to force us to do just that. I believe at a later date when he asked to return and get a few characters back I restored a few bare pfiles for him, but beyond that I could not tell you today who he is, if he still plays, or if he was involved in the kill or simply acquired the plate by some other means.

Oh, and I love dogs. Not so much cats.

“I heard you created a 25 damroll Oblivion for a pkiller friend a long time ago.”

The number of pkiller “friends” I had I could count on one hand, with people like Stoker and Felix making up the majority of them. Anyone with any knowledge of pkill should know that they aren’t exactly hurting for out of game, rare, or exceptionally powerful equipment. Makes a lot of sense for me to go against everything I’ve always stood for on this subject to give them an obviously modified item, doesn’t it?

I should say that there were many pkillers I was friendly with. Many, many of them, but not to the extent that I’d sit around thinking, “Hey, I’d really like to risk ruining my reputation by giving them something ridiculous and against the rules I helped set down.”

Now, there may indeed have been a time I reimbursed an oblivion to someone, or some strange, unusual circumstance that gave birth to something vaguely similar occuring. Beyond that, I’ll just mark it up to the rumor mill. I feel somewhat thankful that these two things account for most of the really bad rumors I’ve ever heard about myself.

“Are you Allax?”


“Do you know Allax?”

Not that I am aware of, unless he’s someone I do know going by another name. I’m afraid I have never heard of Allax, and never encountered a player who I know to have ever used that name. I wish I knew the story behind this, since it seems to get brought up quite a bit and I’m somehow linked to it.

“Do you play other MUDs?”


“Do you pkill on other MUDs?”


“Do you play mortals on Realms?”

Not nearly as much as I used to, but yes I still play.

“What else do you play?”

Counter-strike (quite a bit), Halflife Team Fortress (rarely these days), and Quake 3 (quite a bit). Beyond that I have a very busy job (as I said in the first section, a lot has changed in the relatively short period of time since I came to Realms), a girlfriend, and a laundry list of hobbies and outside interests.

“Do you work for Idirect, Tucows, Bluegenesis, etc.?”


“Do you live in Canada?”

Politely put, no.

“Are you bald? Why do people call you Baldkai?”

Not even close. My friends used to call me that because one of the few things I was vainly obsessive about was my hair and they knew it would bother me, especially after I cut off my literal mane of hair a few years ago.

“Is that you in your bio on the main Realms page?” [ed: Blodkai’s bio is reposted below]


“Your bio says you were a massive multiplayer. It’s very hypocritical to have been a massive multiplayer when you were a mortal, but now that you’re an immortal you try to hurt multiplayers.”

My bio says no such thing, and I’ve amended it with a paragraph that should make that absolutely clear. I’d suggest you read it here. I had a large complement of characters, but I rarely played more than one at a time, and when I did it was perhaps two or three.

“Why are you so against multiplaying?”

I’m not against it in moderation at all, but when it’s overdone to the tune of using 16 or 24 or more characters to fight a single mobile it’s gone off the deep end. It’s massively unbalancing to the game, and it simply isn’t tolerable. Many old MUDs, including several that used to permit unlimited multiplay, have banned it altogether for the exact same reasons we’re trying to limit it. We are attempting to walk the line between allowing it yet maintaining some balance, and banning it outright ourselves.

“Why have you made so many mobiles so hard to kill?”

Note that I alone no longer make all changes to mobiles. We thankfully now have a staff of higher immortals who are truly capable of helping with these things, and in whom I have entrusted the authority to make certain changes. While it was once true that if something changed it was my doing, in recent times that is not necessarily the case.

Mobiles have been upped to try to keep extreme multiplayers from ruining the game by spam-killing them. Many mobiles are designed to deal specifically with multiplayers and not be so harsh with smaller groups. As we begin to clamp down on multiplay and implement code to lessen its effects, mobile power may begin to decline as well.

Another problem is simply our size. On most MUDs it’s rare to be able to put together a group of eight or nine or ten players to go try to defeat something, but on Realms where we have 400 and 500 players on at once during peak periods it’s not at all uncommon. As time goes by, players get more advanced, skills and spells become more powerful, etc., mobiles have to be adjusted to keep up.

In consideration of all the above, look at Seth. The premiere monster in the Realms with the most sought after equipment, yet even the latest generation of Seth equipment existed came to be common. With a character base before the clamp-down of well over 20,000 (larger now, but still) there nevertheless existed _several_ thousands pieces of this equipment. If that doesn’t necessitate a change, nothing does.

Right now things are about as difficult as they have ever been, but I would anticipate that in the future this rise in difficulty across the board will abate. Some mobiles will continue to grow in power, and yes some are next to impossible, but that’s simply part of the game.

“Has anyone from Realms ever met you?”

Exactly two people who have ever played Realms have ever met me. I speak to or have spoken to several immortals (Thoric, Circe, Moonbeam, etc.) on the phone, but only two people have I ever actually met.

There are many more, but I’m out of time for now. If you have a question, email it to me and I’ll try to get you a reply.

Blodkai’s bio:
Blodkai appeared ages ago, only shortly after the inception of the Realms.  For some time he traveled the world, occasionally with friends but largely alone, learning the realities of the Realms, its nuances and even its tricks.  Over time he came to command a sizable complement of characters long before it was common to do so. (and it was rare that more than one was used at a time)

A chance encounter with a strange character in the Tree of Life in the days when the world was much smaller was to be the changing point in the path of Blodkai’s life.  Though he did not recognize this stranger,  the stranger had noted Blodkai’s presence over time and revealed to him what was at the time a little-known and fascinating feat.  This single act was an epiphany for Blodkai, and soon he began expanding upon his new-found understanding.  In time there was no corner or secret of the world unknown to him, and the extent and value of his material accumulations grew to exceptional proportions.

Though his contact with the stranger had been sporadic during this time, the day came when Blodkai chose to accept an offer made to him upon their first encounter.  This was his entry into the world of the deadly, in the lawless, brutal and chaotic time of the original clans:  he accepted the invitation of McBeth, and became Darkblade.

Eventually Blodkai would be a member of a handful of additional clans through the many deadly ages:  an Inconnu, an original Malkavian, a founding deadly Maidenstone and a Nosferatu.  But after the passing of the original clans and Darkblade, the majority of his deadly activity was carried out as an unclanned, fighting for no colors but with loose affiliations.  There came a time when his deadly characters of all levels outnumbered his remaining peaceful characters.

At some point as a mortal he was approached by Circe, a high goddess who oversaw the creation and expansion of the lands of the Realms, and through her favor became an immortal.  Within a few weeks he was a Demi god, and within a matter of months had ascended to Greater God, a time during which he made sweeping changes to the treasures, lands and creatures of the Realm.  This was also an age of repeated upheaval in the immortal community as the very gods fought and conspired against each other, and despite his attempts to avoid entanglement in these affairs he was ultimately drawn in.  Joining with a number of other high immortals including Narn, Haus, Gorog and Damian, and with the aid of Thoric, he helped re-form the Council of Elders – which came to assume complete control of the Realms in its entirety and usher in a new age of growth and stability, eschewing the rampant chaos and infighting of the past.

Today, Blodkai heads the Council of Elders and is the primary administrator of the Realms.  He still dabbles directly in building and coding as time permits, and always maintains a hand in each facet of development.