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These are the original Atlantis rules (Rules for Atlantis v1.0, 8 June 1993, Copyright 1993 by Russell Wallace).


Atlantis is an open-ended computer moderated fantasy game for any number of players. Players may attempt to carve out huge empires, become master magicians, intrepid explorers, rich traders or any other career that comes to mind. There is no declared winner of the game; players set their own objectives, and one can join at any time.

A player's position is called a "faction". Each faction has a name and a number (the number is assigned by the computer, and used for entering orders). Each faction is composed of a number of "units", each unit being a group of one or more people loyal to the faction. You start the game with a single unit consisting of one character, plus a sum of money. More people can be hired during the course of the game, and formed into more units. (In these rules, the word "character" generally refers either to a unit consisting of only one person, or to a person within a larger unit.)

An example faction is shown below, consisting of a starting character, Merlin the Magician, who has formed two more units, Merlin's Guards and Merlin's Workers. Each unit is assigned a unit number by the computer (completely independent of the faction number), this is used for entering orders. Here, the player has chosen to give his faction the same name ("Merlin the Magician") as his starting character. Alternatively, you can call your faction something like "The Great Northern Mining Company" or whatever.

 - Merlin the Magician (17), faction Merlin the Magician (27), $2300, default
   order "study magic".
 - Merlin's Guards (33), faction Merlin the Magician (27), number: 20, default
   order "study sword".
 - Merlin's Workers (34), faction Merlin the Magician (27), number: 50,
   default order "work".

A faction is considered destroyed, and the player knocked out of the game, if ever all its people are killed or disbanded (i.e. the faction has no units left). The program does not consider your starting character to be special; if your starting character gets killed, you will probably have been thinking of that character as the leader of your faction, so some other character can be regarded as having taken the dead leader's place (assuming of course that you have at least one surviving unit!). As far as the computer is concerned, as long as any unit of the faction survives, the faction is not wiped out. (If your faction is wiped out, you can rejoin the game with a new starting character.)

The reason for having units of many people, rather than keeping track of individuals, is to simplify the game play. The computer does not keep track of individual names, possessions or skills for people in the same unit, and all the people in a particular unit must be in the same place at all times. If you want to send people in the same unit to different places, you must split up the unit. Apart from this, there is no difference between having one unit of 50 people, or 50 units of one person each, except that the former is very much easier to handle.

The World

The Atlantis world is divided for game purposes into square regions, each 50 miles on a side. Each region can have a terrain type of Plain, Mountain, Forest, Swamp or Ocean. Regions can contain units belonging to players, of course; they can also have populations of peasants, as well as buildings (usually constructed by players for the purpose of defense) and ships (constructed by players for crossing oceans).

A region's location is given as X,Y coordinates, e.g. if you are in region 5,3 then to your east is 6,3 and south is 5,4. The computer provides these for the convenience of players; region coordinates are never entered in orders. Each region also has a name; again, this is provided only for the convenience of players, and is never used in orders.

A turn is equal to one game month; every month is assumed to have 30 days for the sake of simplicity. (To maintain playability, the distance and time scales are not always entirely realistic.) A unit can do many actions at the start of the month, that only take a matter of hours, such as buying and selling commodities, or fighting an opposing faction. Each unit can also do exactly one action that takes up the entire month, such as harvesting timber or moving from one region to another. The commands which take an entire month are BUILD, CAST, ENTERTAIN, MOVE, PRODUCE, RESEARCH, SAIL, STUDY, TEACH and WORK.

Any unit which is not given a command for a particular month will repeat whatever it did last month. Movement commands are the exception to this, so if a unit gets the command WORK in January, then MOVE NORTH in February, and no command in March, it will settle down to WORK again, rather than continue to MOVE NORTH. All newly created units start off with WORK as the default command.


In one month, it is possible to move from a region to an adjacent region. Each region has four adjacent regions, these being to the north, south, east and west. Thus, to travel to a region immediately northeast would take two months (unless powerful magic is used). Also, to enter an ocean region, one must be on board a ship. (Ships can enter ocean regions, or coastal regions with an adjacent ocean region. They are always constructed in coastal regions.)

Movement can be prevented if the units are trying to carry too much weight. If a ship is trying to sail from one region to another, the capacity of the ship is compared with the total weight on board. If the weight is greater, the ship cannot move. The costs and capacities of the different types of ships are as follows:

Type Cost Capacity
Longboat 100 200
Clipper 200 800
Galleon 300 1800

People weigh 10 units each. Money has negligible weight. All other items weigh 1 unit each, except for stone and horses, which weigh 50 each.

For movement on land, the weight of people and horses is not taken into account; instead, the capacity of a unit is equal to 5 per person, plus 50 per horse; this must be no less than the weight of other items being carried, or the unit will not be able to move.

The rule for ship movement means that any number of characters can be on board a ship, but there is a limit to how many the ship can sail with. The first unit listed under a ship in the report is the "owner", this is the unit that created the ship in the first place. Only this unit can issue SAIL orders for the ship.

The owner can PROMOTE another unit, which then becomes the new owner. If the owner leaves without promoting anyone, then the first unit of the same faction on the ship is promoted. If there are no other units of the same faction on board, then the first unit on board is promoted. If there are no other units at all, and the ship is at sea, then it sinks. Unoccupied ships in harbor (i.e. in a coastal region) become owned by the first unit to board them.

Ownership of buildings is handled in the same way. Any number of units can be listed as inside a building, but the number of characters that can gain protection from it in combat is limited by the building's size.


The most important thing distinguishing one character from another in Atlantis is skills. The skills available are as follows:

Mining Lumberjack Quarrying Horse Training Weaponsmith Armorer Building Shipbuilding Entertainment Stealth Observation Tactics Riding Sword Crossbow Longbow Magic

Each unit can have one or more skills. These are gained by training (using the STUDY command) and also by experience. It takes 1 month of study for a unit to attain level 1 in a skill, another 2 months to attain level 2, another 3 months to attain level 3 and so on. (These don't have to be consecutive; to go from level 1 to level 2, you can study for a month, do something else for a month, and then go back and complete your second month of study.)

Each month of studying Tactics or Magic costs $200 per person (in addition to the normal unit maintenance fee). Study of other skills does not cost anything, apart from normal maintenance.

If units are merged together, their skills are averaged out. No rounding off is done; rather, the computer keeps track for each unit of how many total days of training that unit has in each skill. When units are split up, these days are divided as evenly as possible among the people in the unit; but no days are ever lost.

A unit with a teacher can learn twice as fast as normal. The TEACH command is used to spend the month teaching one or more other units (your own or another faction's). The unit doing the teaching must have a skill level greater than the units doing the studying (the units doing the studying simply issue the STUDY command as normal). Each person can only teach up to 10 students in a month, so a unit of 20 trying to learn from a single teacher would gain a total of 900 days of training per month (rather than the usual 600 or the optimum 1200).

Note that it is quite possible for a single unit to teach two or more other units different skills in the same month, provided that the teacher has a higher skill level than each student in the skill that that student is studying, and that there are no more than 10 students per teacher.

Mining, Lumberjack, Quarrying, Horse Training, Weaponsmith and Armorer are used to produce commodities; this is covered in the section on the economy.

Building and Shipbuilding are used to construct buildings and ships, respectively.

Entertainment is used to earn money by entertaining the populace. Each month spent entertaining will earn the performer $20 per level of skill, as well as giving the performer the equivalent of 10 days training. However, the money earned from entertainment is taken from the surplus available in the region, and no more than 1/20 of the amount available can be earned by entertainers in any one month; if the amount would be more than this, then the maximum of 1/20 of the available money is distributed among the entertainers.

Tactics, Riding, Sword, Crossbow and Longbow are combat skills, and are covered in the section on combat.

The Magic skill is covered in the section on magic.

Stealth is used to hide units. A unit can only be seen if you have at least one unit in the same region, with an Observation skill at least as high as that unit's Stealth skill. However, units are always visible when participating in combat; and a unit set on guard, or in a building, or on board a ship, is also always visible. You can only see which faction a unit belongs to if you have a unit with Observation skill higher than that unit's Stealth skill.

The Economy

The unit of currency in Atlantis is the silver piece, shown using the dollar sign ($) for convenience. The dollar sign is shown on reports only to make them easier to read; the sign is never entered in orders, e.g. 500 silver pieces will be shown on the report as $500, but should be entered in orders as just 500. The words "food", "silver" and "money" are here used interchangeably, as one of the main uses for money is of course to buy food, but for the sake of simplicity, the game does not bother to keep track of these separately.

IMPORTANT: Each and every person (player character or peasant) in the Atlantis world requires $10 every month for maintenance. Anyone who ends the month without this maintenance cost available will starve to death. It is up to you to make sure that your people have enough available. Food will be shared automatically between your units in the same region, if one is starving and another has more than enough; but this will not happen between units in different regions.

The primary commodities are silver/food, iron, wood, stone, and horses; they are referred to as "primary commodities" because they do not require raw materials to produce, but only labor.

The peasants in a region produce food each month; some of this is consumed directly, but some may be available as a surplus which players can collect in tax.

Player units can also be ordered to produce food, with the WORK command. This requires no skill; a player character is equivalent to a peasant in this context.

The other primary commodities do require skill to produce. The PRODUCE command is used to order a unit to mine/quarry/etc. one of these commodities. A level of at least 1 in the appropriate skill is required. The amount produced is proportional to the skill level, e.g. a unit with skill 3 will produce three times as much as a unit with skill 1. Of course, the amount produced is also proportional to the number of people in the unit. The skill required for each type of primary commodity is as follows:

Commodity Skill
Iron Mining
Wood Lumberjack
Stone Quarrying
Horse Horse Training

The amount produced also depends on the terrain type; different types of terrain are better places for different types of economic activity. The productivity values (how many units of the commodity one person with skill 1 can produce in a month) are as follows:

Terrain $ Iron Wood Stone Horse
Plain 15 1
Mountain 12 1 1
Forest 12 1
Swamp 12 1

Too many cooks spoil the broth; there is a limit to how many people can profitably work at producing the same commodity in a particular region. These limits are as follows:

Terrain $ Iron Wood Stone Horse
Plain 100000 200
Mountain 20000 200 200
Forest 20000 200
Swamp 10000 100

For example, if 20000 people (including peasants) were growing food in a Plain region, each would get on average 1/3 of the expected amount. If the skill levels involved are high, it takes even fewer people to fully exploit the resources of a region. (For food production, player characters always take priority over peasants, if the production limit is exceeded.)

Each of the secondary commodities takes one unit of raw material to produce, as well as one month of work by someone with skill 1 in the appropriate skill. (With skill 2, two units can be produced per month, etc.) The exception is plate armor, which takes a month of work by someone with Armorer skill of at least 3 to produce (skill at least 6 to produce 2, etc.). The secondary commodities, raw materials and skills required to produce them are as follows:

Commodity Raw Material Skill
Sword Iron Weaponsmith
Crossbow Wood Weaponsmith
Longbow Wood Weaponsmith
Chain Mail Iron Armorer
Plate Armor Iron Armorer

Anyone who spends a month producing any commodity (except food) gains the equivalent of 10 days of study of the appropriate skill.

The construction of buildings works as follows: A new building can be created at any time. All buildings start with a size of 0. Each unit of construction work done on a building increases its size by 1, and requires one unit of stone. A month of work by a character with Building skill of 1 can do one unit of construction work; a character with skill 2 can do two units, etc.

The construction of ships works similarly. A new ship can be created at any time. However, until a number of units of construction work equal to the ship's cost are done, the ship will remain "under construction" and unable to move. Each unit of construction work requires one unit of wood, and labor by characters with the Shipbuilding skill.

It is possible for player units to collect taxes from the peasants. If a unit issues the TAX command, the amount of income collected is equal to $200 for every armed, combat-trained man in the unit (i.e. a tax collector must have a sword, crossbow or longbow, plus a skill of at least 1 in the use of the weapon). The amount of money that can be collected is of course limited by the amount available in the region (this is shown on the report for the region).

To safeguard one's tax income from other players, the GUARD command can be used; if a unit is set on guard, this will prevent a unit of any other faction from collecting taxes in the region, unless the guarding faction has issued an ADMIT command for the taxing faction. (Of course, a sufficiently powerful enemy can kill the guarding units, and then collect taxes.)

Each month, the peasant population in each region grows by 5% (food supply permitting). To be exact, each peasant has a 5% chance of producing another peasant. Each month also, 5% of the peasants in each region migrate to a randomly selected neighbouring region.


One starts off a career as a magician in Atlantis by studying the Magic skill. This is studied like any other skill, with the exception that no faction may have more than three magicians at any one time; any command that would cause this limit to be exceeded simply fails. The reason for this restriction is that it would completely change the atmosphere of the game to have players accumulating large armies of magicians.

Having acquired the appropriate skill, one can then learn spells. Each spell has a difficulty level. It is possible to learn spells whose difficulty level is no more than half your Magic skill, rounded up, e.g. at skill level 3 you can start learning difficulty 2 spells. (It is reasonable to assume that magicians have other abilities in the game world, but the spells provided are what is relevant in terms of game rules.)

The basic method of acquiring spells is to research them. Each month spent researching results in one previously unknown spell being acquired (the computer selects the spell at random from those available). When issuing a RESEARCH command, it is necessary to specify the level to be researched (the default is the highest possible level). If no more spells exist at that level, this will be noted on your report for next month. Research costs $200 per month.

Note, however, that while you can learn spells whose difficulty is no more than half your Magic skill, rounded up, you can only research spells whose difficulty is no more than half your Magic skill, rounded down. Thus, you can start learning difficulty 2 spells at skill level 3, if given them by someone else; but you cannot research them yourself until skill level 4.

An easier way to acquire spells is to be given copies of them. A magician who knows a spell can give a copy to another magician with the appropriate skill. This does not take a significant amount of time, so an entire library of spells can be copied in a single month without interfering with research or other activities.

Once spells are learned, they can be cast. There are two basic types of spells in this regard. One type takes a whole month of involved ritual to cast (spells for creating magic items, for example, fall into this category). The CAST command is used for this.

The other type of spell is cast in mere seconds; combat spells fall into this category. The way to order a magician to cast these is with the COMBAT command which sets the combat magic spells a magician will use. Once a magician has been ordered to have a particular combat spell prepared, he will from then on automatically use it whenever he is involved in fighting of any kind. Casting combat spells in battle does not interfere with the casting of ritual spells that month.

Each month spent either researching spells or casting a ritual spell gains the magician the equivalent of 10 days study of the Magic skill.

Magic items can be created by means of certain ritual spells. These are handled in the same way as ordinary items as regards things like the GIVE command. Should you ever buy, steal or be given a magic item created by someone else, however, remember that possession of the item does not necessarily mean you know how to use it.


Combat occurs when a unit issues an ATTACK command. The computer then gathers together all the units on the attacking side, and all the units on the defending side, and the two sides fight until an outcome is reached. In this section, "attacker" means the unit that originally issued the ATTACK command, and "defender" means the unit that was the target of the command.

On the attacking side are all the units of the attacker's faction, that are in the region. Also are all other factions, one of whose units issued an ATTACK command against the defender's faction. This means that if several factions are attacking an enemy, each attacking faction need only have one of its units issue an ATTACK command against one of the target faction's units, and the attackers will automatically fight together. You cannot attack your own units, or an ally's units.

On the defending side are all the units of the defender's faction. Also are all other factions which are allied to the defender. If the defender is the peasants of the region, then any factions which have a unit on guard will fight on the side of the peasants. (If several factions are planning to attack one, they should not only all issue ATTACK commands, but make sure they are allied as well (using the ALLY command), in case the enemy gets in an attack first, and picks them off piecemeal.)

The computer first checks which unit on each side has the best Tactics skill; the unit with the best Tactics is assumed to be leading all the troops on that side. If one side's leader has a higher Tactics skill, then that side gets a free round of attacks.

In each combat round, the combatants each get to attack once, in a random order. (In a free round of attacks, only one side's forces get to attack.) Each combatant will attempt to hit a randomly selected enemy. If he hits, and the target has no armor, then the target is automatically killed. Chain mail gives a 1/3 chance of surviving a hit, and plate armor gives a 2/3 chance.

For a soldier using a sword against an enemy soldier similarly equipped, whether he hits or not is decided by a contest between the two Sword skills. Against an enemy with a bow, the contest is of Sword skill versus an effective skill of -2. (It is difficult for an archer to defend himself against a swordsman in hand-to-hand combat.)

For a crossbow, whether the target is hit is decided by a contest of Crossbow skill versus 0. For a longbow, the contest is of Longbow skill versus 2 (a longbow is considerably more difficult to use than a crossbow). This disadvantage is offset by the fact that a longbow can be fired every round, whereas a crossbow takes two rounds to reload after being fired (so it fires on the first, fourth, seventh etc. rounds).

Unarmed combatants are assumed to be fighting with knives, pitchforks or other improvised weapons; they are treated as if they were using swords, but with an effective skill of -2. (A combatant with a weapon, but without a skill of at least 1 in its use, is treated as unarmed. Combatants with more than one weapon will select the first one with which they have a skill of at least 1.)

A swordsman with a horse, and with Riding skill of at least 2, gains a bonus of 2 to his effective Sword skill, provided that the region terrain is Plain; horses are of little use in battle in any other terrain.

People inside buildings gain protection; there is a penalty of 2 for anyone to hit them. (This is true even if they are on the attacking side.) The maximum number of people who can gain protection from a single building is equal to the building's size.

The contest of skills works as follows: The attacker's and defender's skills are compared (here "attacker" and "defender" mean the individual soldiers, without reference to who issued the original ATTACK command). The chance of hitting is determined by which skill is higher, and by how much:

Skill Diff. Chance
-1 10
0 25
1 40

Example: if a soldier with a Sword skill of 3 is trying to hit one with a Sword skill of 2, there is a 40% chance of success. If the attacker's skill is more than 1 greater than the defender's, there is a 49% chance of success; if the defender's skill is more than 1 greater, there is only a 1% chance.

Particularly valuable or lightly-armed units can be protected using the BEHIND command. Any unit with the BEHIND flag set is considered to be at the rear of the battle, and cannot be attacked by any means until all the troops in front on that side have been killed. However, units at the back cannot use swords, only missile weapons.

A magician using a combat spell is considered to be using a missile weapon, and can attack even while BEHIND. A magician without a combat spell set will fight with normal weapons like everyone else. The battle report will indicate which magicians cast what combat spells, if any.

After the free round of attacks (if any), comes the main part of the battle. Combat rounds are fought until one side is wiped out. (Realistically, it is reasonable to assume that some of the troops on the losing side have fled and dispersed into the countryside. Either way, they are no longer with their faction.)

Finally, the dead are counted. Any money or items owned by dead combatants on either side are collected by the winning side; the loot is distributed evenly among the troops, so factions on the winning side will generally pick up loot in proportion to their number of surviving men. However, any items other than iron, wood or stone, whose owners are killed, have a 50% chance of being destroyed in the fighting, e.g. if 50 swordsmen are killed, the winners will pick up about 25 swords.

Every armed soldier on the winning side gains the equivalent of 10 days study with the weapon he was using. Magicians who were using a combat spell gain the equivalent of 10 days study of the Magic skill. In addition, the leader of the winning side gains the equivalent of 10 days study of Tactics. However, these skill gains only happen if the winning side took at least one casualty (so that the victory was at least something of a challenge).

Combat between units on board ships at sea is handled exactly like land combat, except that horses can't be used in naval battles.

If you are expecting to fight an enemy who is carrying so much equipment that you would not be able to move after picking it up, and you want to move to another region later that month, it may be worth issuing some orders to drop items (with the GIVE 0 command) in case you win the battle!

Order Format

To enter orders for Atlantis, you should send a mail message (no particular subject line required), containing the following:

  #ATLANTIS faction-no

  UNIT unit-no

  UNIT unit-no


For example, if your faction number (shown at the top of your report) is 27, and you have two units numbered 5 and 17:


  UNIT 5

  UNIT 17


Thus, orders for each unit are given separately, and indicated with the UNIT keyword. (In the case of orders, such as the command to rename your faction, that are not really for any particular unit, it does not matter which unit issues the command; but some particular unit must still issue it.)

Several sets of orders may be sent for the same turn, and the last one received before the deadline will be used.

IMPORTANT: You MUST use the correct #ATLANTIS line or else your orders will be silently ignored.

Each type of order is designated by giving a keyword as the first non-blank item on a line. Parameters are given after this, separated by spaces or tabs. Blank lines are permitted, as are comments; anything after a semicolon on a line is treated as a comment and ignored.

The parser is not case sensitive, so all commands may be given in upper case, low case or a mixture of the two. However, when supplying names containing spaces, the name must be surrounded by double quotes, or else underscore characters must be used in place of spaces in the name. (These things apply to the #ATLANTIS and #END lines as well as to order lines.)

Any player not sending in orders for four turns in a row is removed from the game, e.g. if your last set of orders was for turn 20, you will receive reports for turns 20, 21, 22, 23 and 24; your turn 24 report will contain a request to send orders; and you will not receive a turn 25 report. Note that an empty order set still counts as sending in orders.

IMPORTANT: If you are dropped from the game for not sending orders, your faction is completely and permanently destroyed, and is NOT retrievable. Please contact the moderator if you have difficulty getting orders through.


ACCEPT faction-no

If any of your units issues this command, then all of your units will accept gifts from any units of the target faction for that month. The ACCEPT status only lasts for a single month. ACCEPT status is always assumed for allies.

It is necessary to issue an ACCEPT command to receive things given with any of the following commands: GIVE, PROMOTE, TEACH, TRANSFER.

ADDRESS new-address

Change the email address to which your reports are sent (up to 80 characters).

ADMIT faction-no

If any of your units issues this command, then any unit of the target faction will be admitted into any building owned by you, or aboard any ship owned by you, and allowed to collect taxes in any region you are guarding, for the duration of the month. The ADMIT status only lasts for a single month. ADMIT status is always assumed for allies.

ALLY faction-no flag

If you ally with a faction, then your units will fight to defend units of that faction when they are attacked. ALLY faction-no 1 allies with the indicated faction. ALLY faction-no 0 cancels this.

The ALLY status also implies ACCEPT and ADMIT status, i.e. you will always ACCEPT and ADMIT any faction you are allied to.

Note that even if you are allied to a faction, this does not necessarily mean that this faction is allied to you.


Attack either a target unit, or the peasants in the current region.


BEHIND 1 sets the unit issuing the command to be behind other units in combat. BEHIND 0 cancels this.

BOARD ship-no

The unit issuing the command will attempt to board the specified ship. If issued from inside a building or aboard a ship, the unit will first leave the current building or ship. The command will only work if the target ship is unoccupied, or is owned by a unit in your faction, or is owned by a unit in a faction which has issued an ADMIT command for you that month.

BUILD BUILDING [building-no] BUILD SHIP ship-no BUILD ship-type

Perform building work on a building or ship. BUILD BUILDING with a building number specified will perform work on that building. BUILD BUILDING alone will create a new building and perform work on it. BUILD SHIP with a ship number specified will perform work on that ship. BUILD LONGBOAT, CLIPPER or GALLEON will create a ship of the indicated type and perform work on it.

Note that since the number of a newly created building or ship is not known until next month, only the creating unit can work on it in the first month.

CAST spell

Spend the month casting the indicated spell (must be a ritual magic spell which the unit knows).

COMBAT spell

Set the unit's combat spell to the indicated value (must be a combat spell which the unit knows). If no spell is specified, the unit's combat spell will be set to nothing (i.e. the magician will henceforth fight in hand-to-hand combat).


Demolish the building of which the unit is currently the owner.


Set the display string for the unit itself, or a building or ship (of which the unit must currently be the owner). This is a text string (up to 160 characters) which will be shown after the entity's description on everyone's report.

ENTER building-no

The unit issuing the command will attempt to enter the specified building. If issued from inside a building or aboard a ship, the unit will first leave the building or ship. The command will only work if the target building is unoccupied, or is owned by a unit in your faction, or is owned by a unit in a faction which has issued an ADMIT command for you that month.


The unit issuing the command will spent the month entertaining the locals to earn money.

FIND faction-no

Find the email address of the specified faction.

FORM alias

Forms a new unit. The newly created unit will be in your faction, in the same region as the unit which formed it, with the same BEHIND and GUARD status, and in the same building or ship, if any. It will start off, however, with no people or items; you should, in the same month, issue orders to transfer people into the new unit, or have it recruit new members.

The FORM command is followed by a list of commands for the newly created unit. This list is terminated by the END keyword, after which commands for the unit issuing the FORM command start again.

The purpose of the "alias" parameter is so that you can refer to the new unit. You will not know the new unit's number until next month. To refer to the new unit that month, pick an alias number (the only restriction on this is that it must be at least 1, and you cannot create two new units in the same region in the same month, with the same alias numbers). The new unit can then be referred to as NEW alias in place of the regular unit number.


  UNIT 17
  FORM 1
      NAME UNIT "Merlin's Guards"
      RECRUIT 20
  FORM 2
      NAME UNIT "Merlin's Workers"
      DISPLAY UNIT "wearing dirty overalls and carrying shovels"
      RECRUIT 50
  PAY NEW 1 1200
  PAY NEW 2 3000

This set of orders for unit 17 would create two new units with alias numbers 1 and 2, name them Merlin's Guards and Merlin's Workers, set the display string for Merlin's Workers, have both units recruit men, and have Merlin's Guards study swordsmanship. Merlin's Workers will have the default command WORK, as all newly created units do. The unit that created these two then pays them enough money (using the NEW keyword to refer to them by alias numbers) to cover the costs of recruitment and the month's maintenance.

GIVE unit-no quantity item GIVE 0 quantity item GIVE unit-no spell

The first form of the command gives a quantity of an item to another unit. If the target unit is not a member of your faction, then its faction must have issued an ACCEPT command for you that month.

The second form of the command discards a quantity of an item. The items discarded are permanently lost.

The third form of the command gives a copy of a spell to another unit. The other unit must have sufficient Magic skill to understand the spell, and its faction must have issued an ACCEPT command for you that month.

GUARD flag

GUARD 1 sets the unit issuing the command to guard the peasants of the region against attack, or taxation by other factions (except those for which one has issued an ADMIT command). GUARD 0 cancels this.


Leave whatever building the unit is in, or ship it is on board. The command cannot be used at sea.

MOVE direction

The unit will move in the specified direction (NORTH, SOUTH, EAST or WEST). This command is for use on land only; use SAIL to move in a ship.

NAME FACTION new-name NAME UNIT new-name NAME BUILDING new-name NAME SHIP new-name

Changes the name of your faction, or of the unit, or of a building or ship (of which the unit must currently be the owner). The name can be up to 80 characters. All entities start off named "Unit 5", "Faction 23" or whatever until they are given proper names. Names may not contain brackets (square brackets can be used instead if necessary).

PAY unit-no amount PAY PEASANTS amount PAY 0 amount

Pay another unit the specified amount of money (does not require the target unit's faction to have issued an ACCEPT command). PAY PEASANTS will give the money to the peasants of the region, and PAY 0 will simply throw it away.


Spend the month producing as much as possible of the indicated item.


Promote the specified unit to owner of the building or ship of which the unit issuing the command is currently the owner. If the specified unit is not a member of your faction, then its faction must have issued an ACCEPT command for you that month.

QUIT faction-no

Quit the game. Your faction number must be provided as a check to prevent Quit orders being issued by accident. On issuing this order, your faction will be completely and permanently destroyed.

RECRUIT number

Attempt to recruit the specified number of people into the unit. Each person recruited costs $50 (this is either paid as compensation to their previous employers, or paid to the new recruits as a signing-on fee, who then spend it in the local tavern celebrating their new employment status).

The total number of people who can be recruited in a region in one month is 1/4 of the number of peasants in the region. If more RECRUIT orders than this are issued, the available recruits are distributed at random among the units issuing the orders.

Since new recruits have no skills, a trained unit which takes in recruits will find its skills diluted.

RESEARCH [level]

Spend the month researching a spell at the specified difficulty level. For example, a magician with a magic skill of 4 or 5 can research spells of up to level 2. If the level is not specified, the research will be at the highest possible level.

RESHOW spell

When a unit in your faction researches, or is given a copy of, a new spell for the first time, your report will contain a paragraph of information on the spell. The RESHOW command will show this information again, in case you lose the report that originally showed it. This only works if there is still at least one unit in your faction that knows the spell.

SAIL direction

The ship of which the unit is the owner will sail in the specified direction (NORTH, SOUTH, EAST or WEST).


Sink the ship of which the unit is currently the owner. This can only be done in a coastal region, as sinking one's ship at sea would be suicide.

STUDY skill

Spend the month studying the specified skill.


Attempt to raise tax income from the region.

TEACH unit-no ...

Attempt to teach the specified units whatever skill they are studying that month. A list of several unit numbers may be specified. If any of these units is not a member of your faction, then its faction must have issued an ACCEPT command for you that month.

TRANSFER unit-no number TRANSFER PEASANTS number

Transfer the specified number of people to another unit. If the specified unit is not a member of your faction, then its faction must have issued an ACCEPT command for you that month. The TRANSFER PEASANTS order will transfer the people into the peasant population (will work anywhere except in an ocean region).


Spend the month working in agriculture.

Sequence of Events

Each turn, the following sequence of events occurs:

  1. FORM orders are processed.
  3. FIND orders are processed.
  4. BOARD, ENTER, LEAVE and PROMOTE orders are processed.
  5. ATTACK orders are processed.
  6. DEMOLISH, GIVE, PAY and SINK orders are processed.
  7. TRANSFER orders are processed.
  8. TAX orders are processed.
  9. GUARD 1 and RECRUIT orders are processed.
  10. QUIT orders are processed.
  11. Empty units are deleted.
  12. Unoccupied ships at sea are sunk.
  13. MOVE orders are processed.
  14. SAIL orders are processed.
  15. BUILD, ENTERTAIN, PRODUCE, RESEARCH, STUDY, TEACH and WORK orders are processed.
  16. CAST orders are processed.
  17. Peasant population growth occurs.
  18. Maintenance costs are assessed.
  19. Peasant migration occurs.

Hints for New Players

Make sure to use the correct #ATLANTIS and UNIT lines in your orders.

Be careful not to lose any people through starvation. It is a good idea to store a month's supply of money in each region in which you have units, as a safety measure.

Don't try to do everything at the start; pick a particular occupation to specialize in, and trade with other players for anything else you need. You can always diversify later, when you have the resources.

Keep an eye on what the other players are doing, so as not to miss opportunities for profitable trade, or get caught in a surprise attack. Remember, in time of war there is safety in numbers.

Remember to use ACCEPT and ADMIT where necessary.