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Realms of Despair
Realms of Despair Logo
Developer(s) Derek "Thoric" Snider and project community
Engine SMAUG
Platform(s) Platform independent
Release date(s) 1994
Genre(s) Fantasy MUD
Mode(s) Multiplayer
Media/distribution Online
System requirements

Telnet client or MUD client, Internet access

Realms of Despair (RoD) is a MUD hosted in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada using the SMAUG MUD codebase. It is operated by Derek "Thoric" Snider.[1]


Template:Category handler Realms of Despair was opened to the public in July 1994.[2] It added to DikuMUD by allowing modification of operating parameters through the MUD itself rather than having to manually edit configuration files, or even the source code itself. This benefit was contributed back to the MUD community through the release of the SMAUG code.[3]


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Realms of Despair has several in-game organizations which players may join.[4] Organisation are groups coded into the game, with benefits such as a having a joint place within the game, sharing an additional channel, and a formal system for adding or removing players from the organisation. The main groups of organisations are the following:

  • Councils - in these groups, players (also known as "mortals") work alongside game administrators to better the game. The Symposium council works to develop new ideas and projects. The Newbie Council strives to assist new players to the game, offering friendly advice and practical help to players who die in-game. Other councils, composed of representatives from orders and guilds, help to develop and run mortal-designed quests. The Pkill Conclave, composed of clan representatives, works to improve the pkill system.
  • Orders - these player groups have thematic restrictions, such as limitations of which character classes that may join. There are currently eight orders: Arcanes, Arete, Ascendere, Baali, Dragonslayer, Inconnu, Ringbearers, and Sanctus Irae.
  • Guilds - these are restricted to specific character classes. There are eleven guilds in the game: Augurs, Clerics, Druids, Fathomers, Mages, Nephandi, Paladins, Rangers, Thieves, Vampires and Warriors.
  • Clans - these are organisations within the game for players who choose to engage in player vs. player combat. Such players are known as "deadlies". They may only attack and kill other players who have chosen this option. Other than councils, clans are the only organizations which deadlies may join. The clans of the game are Maleficae, Catarrh, and Feralis.
  • Sects - are special organizations formed by mortals owning a home or apartment. The organization is mortal run and has no deity.

An additional character class, "Barbarian", exists within the game. Barbarians cannot join guilds, but instead may group together in their own organisations, called Bands. There are currently three bands: Band of the Bear, Band of the Wolf, and Band of the Boar.

In 2008 an additional in-game grouping, "Sects", was added. Each of these groups is led by a player that has obtained a virtual house or apartment within the game. Players who join a sect have access to a shared communication channel (called secttalk) as well as the ability to travel from any recallable location within the game to the virtual home of the Sect (the Sect's "recall" point).


The fictional world of the Realms is divided into fourteen nations. Each nation consists of an individual race: Humans, Elves, Dwarves, Halflings, Pixies, Half-Ogres, Half-Orcs, Half-Trolls, Half-Elves, Gith, Drow, Sea-Elves, Lizardmen, and Gnomes. When creating a character, a player must choose one of these races, and through their choice become eligible to participate in the corresponding nation. Each nation has its own government, hometown, and in-game communication channel.


There are currently 12 peaceful classes available within the Realms and 1 deadly-only class available within the Realms.

In addition to the regular classes prestige classes extend to a multi-class and specialized single class system.


Realms of Despair has enjoyed considerable popularity, at its peak having more than 600 players simultaneously logged in.[5]


  1. Template:Cite news
  2. Template:Cite newsgroup
  3. Cowan, Andrew (2001-09-17). "MUD FAQ Part 4". Internet FAQ Archives. "SMAUG: [...] History: The SMAUG code started out as a Merc2.1 MUD called "Realms of Despair" in 1994. It wasn't until 1996 that it was given its name, and the first public release wasn't until December of 1996. The interest in the code spread like wildfire, and within a few months and a few revisions there had been over 20,000 downloads of the distribution."
  4. Olivetti, Justin (2011-04-19). "The Game Archaeologist plays with MUDs: The games". Massively. "One of the most interesting facets of the game was how you fit in to the game world. Depending on your class, race, and focus, you could join one of several organizations that had a specific focus. There were class guilds, thematic orders, and even PvP clans that would battle it out until there was only one left standing."
  5. Herber, Nick. "TMC Reviews: Realms of Despair". The Mud Connector. Retrieved on 2007-05-17.

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