Neverending Nights – The Red Dragon Inn?

The name of the Inn that Peter and Grayson first appear in Episode 01 of Neverending Nights is called The Red Dragon Inn.

The inn is named after a BBS (Bulliten Board System) Door Game called Legend of the Red Dragon (frequently just called L.O.R.D. by most). Let me be lazy and grab some information from Wikipedia about Legend of the Red Dragon.

Legend of the Red Dragon (LORD) is a text-based online role-playing video game, released in 1989 by Robinson Technologies. LORD is one of the best known door games.

Robinson began to write LORD in Pascal to run on his bulletin board system. As he did not have access to other door games such as Trade Wars, he needed something that would occasionally bring people back to the BBS. The first version of LORD only featured the chatting and flirting systems. Over time, Robinson incorporated features that he had seen work well in other games: for example, the restricted number of turns per day, and the concept of random events. Eventually LORD became a mixture of action and romance.

The premise of LORD is that a red dragon is wreaking havoc in a town where the player has recently arrived. Multiple players compete over a period of weeks to advance their skills and to kill the dragon. In order to achieve this goal, players must face combat to gain experience. Once they have gained enough experience, they must face their master at Turgon’s Warrior Training and advance in skill level. Advancement increases the players fighting stats and gives an additional skill point in the current skill (up to 40). Advancement also presents stronger enemies and masters; a player must challenge and defeat master Turgon himself to reach level 12, the final level, before attempting to search for and slay the dragon.

As a BBS game, LORD uses a text-only interface. (Along with ANSI art – see the image for an example)

Players select a character class, choosing from among Death Knight Skills, Mystical Skills, and Thieving Skills. While a player is training in a particular skill, s/he is subject to random events in the woods for that particular skill, which provide opportunities for advancement. Eventually, players may master all three skills.

Players can take a certain number of actions every day. Actions could be to fight monsters in the forest, attack other players or to attempt to slay the red dragon itself. In addition, every day a player can send a “flirt” to another player character which may range from a shy wink, to sex, to a marriage proposal. Sometimes this can be done more than once a day. Sex may result in contracting sexually transmitted diseases, and female characters might become pregnant.

While a player is looking for forest monsters a number of random forest events can occur; these involve simple events such as finding gold or gems as well as interactions with a number of non-player characters.

Male players can also flirt with Violet, and female players with Seth Able (named after Robinson), in a fashion similar to flirting with other players. Success is based on the player’s charm points. A marriage to Violet or Seth may last one day or two months or more; unlike player-player marriages, the software may terminate these bonds at any time. During marriage, offspring are possible for male players, and more likely for female players. Offspring bring sometimes surprising benefits to warriors.

For myself, I recall first encountering the game L.O.R.D. on a BBS here in San Diego called Anarchy-X – which was probably one of the largest BBS’ that I was aware of – with something like 40 phone lines available to dial into (here’s an article I dug up that featured one of the SysOps of Anarchy-X). Back then, in San Diego, anyway – word of mouth got around by a free (bi) weekly magazine known as Computor Edge Magazine (and no, I did not typo “computer”). Computor Edge had an entire section dedicated to BBS. What started as a few BBS’ back then rapidly grew in San Diego thanks to Computor Edge – but Anarchy-X always seemed to have an edge with all the phone lines it had – making games like Legend of the Red Dragon a success on there – because you could talk and even attack players that were online!

L.O.R.D. entrance with ANSI

As someone who always enjoyed fantasy, I preferred to play Legend of the Red Dragon than, say, Trade Wars 2002 (though I played that – as well as a ton of other BBS door games when I ran out of turns on L.O.R.D.). While still living at home with mom and dad, I launched a “part time” BBS called The Nexus. I say part time, because while I was working at (it was either Pizza Hut or Alpha Beta or National Dispatch Center) – I wasn’t bringing in enough to pay for my own phone line – so I ran an evening BBS with the idea that no one would be using the phone at night (and I’d go disconnect the phone from my parents room and downstairs – in hindsight, perhaps not the safest of ideas – so that it wouldn’t ring there – it’d just ring into my computer). When I first ran my BBS, I believe I was running BBS software called Renegade. Life happened and I eventually found myself in Tennessee – where I met quite a few others who ran BBS’ and used WWIV, which I ended up switching to. WWIV had a cool feature (WWIVnet) where you could share messages between BBS’ – so something on my BBS could be seen on another BBS – and I made a sub-section using the WWIVnet called WolfNet – that connected several friends in TN (so that way folks could see and reply to one another without the need to dial long distance numbers to stay in touch). This was especially nice, when I made my way back to San Diego and still ran my BBS for a number of years – I was able to easily stay in touch with friends I’d made in TN through the WolfNet sharing messages. I believe I shut down my own BBS in 1998 or 1999, because everyone was using the Internet by then.

BBS’ played a big part in who I was back in the day. I even made a series of images using Mortal Kombat character profiles called The Nexus Battles – which took events from the BBS (and sometimes real life) and made it like a Mortal Kombat story. (See – Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4).

This is a lot of backstory – I know – but who doesn’t love a good backstory?

Anyway – as I said – the BBS thing was a huge part of my life, and I immensely enjoyed playing Legend of the Red Dragon – so when Adam and I first knocked out heads together about creating a machinima after seeing RedvsBlue (back in early 2004 when we saw it; we mustered the idea of own around July or August 2004, before releasing the first episode October 2004). We wanted to do something to enjoy – but also make light of – the fantasy genre – so we knew immediately, our heroes would start their adventures in a tavern (just like every D&D campaign seems to to). I wanted to throw in as many (subtle?) references as I could – so the tavern became an inn – and named The Red Dragon after the Inn from the Legend of the Red Dragon game. In April of 2005, just a little after a few episodes had been released of our series, I even reached out to Seth Able himself, the creator of Legend of the Red Dragon to see if he would want to a one shot voice as “Seth Able, the Bard” in our series. Sadly, in the end, he wasn’t able to commit – but man, that would have been awesome. My plan would have been that he would have been this bard that wove this story of two best friends who set off for an adventure to slay a dragon (foreshadowing Peter and Grayson’s own adventure).

Curious what a game of Legend of the Red Dragon looks like? I recorded the following –

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