Title: Legend of the Green Dragon
Developer: Eric Stevens (code), Chris Yarbrough (design)
Date Published: 2002
Platforms: WWW

Legend of the Green Dragon (abbreviated LotGD or LoGD) is a web-based MMORPG. Well, actually it isn't massive. It isn't particularly roleplay-worthy either, but would work that way if properly used. Well, you get XP and gold!

LotGD is based on Legend of the Red Dragon (LORD), Seth Able Robinson's famous BBS door game. The main difference is that LotGD is web-based. Yet, LotGD maintains the spirit of LORD wonderfully - the playability is almost as smooth and works more or less the same way. On superficial side, the massive amounts of colored text make it look more or less just as l33t as LORD.

The idea of the game is simple. You pick a race and background (fighter/mage/rogue). You begin your journey into the world of LotGD with nothing but a bit of gold, a t-shirt, and a rank of Farmboy/girl. There's lots of things to do here: There's a tavern and some other places to visit (most important, of course, are the weapon and armor shops and the training camp). But since you are a level 1 newbie, you need some XP. Onward to the killing fields - er, the Forest!

You gain experience by going to the forest and looking for something to kill. Then, you fight them. Fighting sometimes goes smoothly, sometimes it doesn't. Death in combat isn't permanent - if you die, you lose all of your gold you're carrying (better keep it in bank!) and some XP, and you're resurrected at the beginning of the next game day. The pace of the game depends of the server; as of writing, the main server has two game days per a real-time day.

So, in the forest you disembowel some monsters - frogs, time travellers, rude students, sadistic teachers, and like. You can either try to look for something of your own level to kill, or you can go slumming (looking for easy kills) or thrillquesting (harder kills). The gold and XP you get from these will be adjusted according to difficulty. You'll probably start to notice that the game is quite light-hearted as you head back to the town and buy the first weapon you can afford - the rake. In the forest, you head to the healer's hut to get your wounds fixed, and look for more thingies to kill. Sometimes, you find something odd instead. You also have only limited number of forest fights per day, so spend the time wisely!

Sooner or later, you head to the town, and go to the training camp. You advance in levels by beating your master once you have enough XP. Beyond your newbieish dreams, you imagine what thrills the future has in hold for you: defeating the dragon and becoming a Hero, wooing the famed handsome people of the tavern (Seth the bard or Violet the wench, as in the original LORD), and other places beyond your wildest imaginations, limited only by the ability of the gamemakers to resist the PHP-induced headaches. Content-wise, the game isn't an 100% exact rip-off of LORD, but everyone who has played the original LORD will probably find it very very familiar - it's just as silly and addicting.

Finally, you will lay our head on the comfortable pillow of the tavern - or on the nearest soft patch of grass under the shade of a tree. But beware! If you're advanced enough, you aren't safe on the fields - there's one more untold feature: the player-vs-player PvP combat, which is best experienced when you're online to do that. You can also fight normally player versus player on the arena, but if you're logged out on the fields, the chances are that someone's coming to disfigure you. Well, the tavernkeeper isn't exactly unbribable, though...

And remember, not even death can hold your adventuring spirit. If you die - and die you shall - you will go to the Shades, where you have the ability to torment the souls of the living. Umm, in practice, this is just the same kind of combat you do when you're alive, except that instead of HP, you have soul points, and you won't get XP or gold - you get favor points instead. The favor points allow you to get favors from Ramius, the lord of the dead; You can restore soul points, torment a foe of yours, or ask for resurrection.

Outside the game, it should be noted that the whole game is open source, distributed under GPL. To play the game, all you need is a web browser, preferrably one that can do tables and preferrably also colors. A JavaScript-capable browser is good to have, because it allows you to use keyboard shortcuts. The game is written in PHP and, if you're setting it up on your web server, requires PHP and MySQL database.

There are numerous LotGD servers out there, the settings and policies on each of them vary (for example, the main server admins apparently don't like it at all if u like abbreviate wtf u r s8ng).

The main game server is at <http://www.lotgd.net/>, and it runs the cutting edge beta version of the code. You can get the code from SourceForge.net: <http://sourceforge.net/projects/lotgd>.

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