Ishar is an interactive, multi-user, text adventure game -- also known as a
MUD -- where players do battle with fearsome foes and sometimes each other
so they can win great wealth and wrest rare prizes from the treasure hoards
or bloody corpses of their enemies.  Victories also give the player
experience and advancement in game standing.

I can hear some people groaning out there.  'A TEXT game?  *yawn*  Where's
the graphics?  Where's the flash?  Must be booooooring.'  Wrong.  Wrong,
wrong, wrong, wrong and wrong again.  I have known players of many different
types of games and have played many of them myself.  I have never seen a
game, or even heard of one, that inspires the emotional highs and lows a MUD

This is at least partly due to the fact that it is a long game.  You start a
character at level 1 with very little money and only the meagerest of
possessions.  As you play the character, it gets stronger.  You accumulate
money, hone your skills, and get better equipment.  You make friends; good
friends you can count on in a pinch.  This is important because you will
probably also make bitter enemies who will kill you if they get a chance.

Playing Ishar starts by connecting to the game and typing `new' at the login
prompt.  The game walks you through the few steps of creating a new
character, then drops you into the virtual world with a few meager
possessions and the lowest standing in the game, level 1.

You'll enter the game in the center of Mareldja, the largest city:

    Central Plaza
       You stand in the center of a spacious plaza, its periphery adorned
    with potted plants and carved stone benches.  People stroll about you,
    clad in bright silks and chatting amongst themselves.  A bronze seal at
    your feet declares you to be in Mareldja, Crown on the Water.  A breeze
    tinged with salt and brine blows eastward, and shorebirds wheel and dive
    gracefully overhead. Four wide streets lead from the plaza at each of
    the compass points.
       A noticeboard is mounted here.  (100 unread)
     An alert young guard patrols the city streets.
    100H 100M 0X Exits:NWES>

In this example, "Central Plaza" is the name of the room or place you are
currently located.  Following that is a paragraph with a detailed
description of Central Plaza.  Below that is list of people or objects that
you can interact with in the room, in this case a noticeboard use to read or
write messages to other players along with a guard, which is one of many
game-generated characters called "mobiles" or "mobs".  The last line is a
"prompt", which is the MUD's way of asking you for a command while giving
you a quick overview of your current status.

Commands are how you interact with the virtual world through your character. 
For example, typing `north' moves you into the room north of your current
location, or `look' will describe your surroundings again.  Most commands
allow you to be more specific, such as `look at young guard'.  Assuming one
is in the room with you, it would offer:

       The guard is clad in grey and deep turquoise livery.  He radiates
    order and benevolence as he wanders the city streets, protecting the
    innocent and keeping the peace.
       A city guard is a mighty warrior standing here in very good
    condition, looking well-rested.  He appears to be of human origin and is
    taller than you.

                Legs-> leather pants 
            Wielding-> a long sword

You don't need to use the full names of most commands.  As you are learning
new commands, try to learn the short version.  Instead of typing `north',
you can just hit `n' and <Enter>.  `Look' can be shortened to `l', `say' to
single quote, etc.  To find the short form of any command, look for Minimum
in the help for that command, available at any time with `help <command>'.

Similarly, you can use just the first three letters of the names of mobs and
players and leave out unnecessary words.  So `look at young guard' could
actually be shortened to `l gua'.

The first hour you are in the game is the hardest.  It takes a little while
to get used to the command syntax and get a feel for moving around in the
world and interacting with everything in it.  Don't be afraid of typing
`help', which offers a list of commands, or `help <command>', which will
offer detailed information about any command.

You'll quickly run into other players who talk to you; see `help
communication' on how to reply.

Once you make it past the first few hours and want to advance your standing
in the game, see `help levelling`.

See Also: Communication, Levelling, Look, Say, North, Prompt