Quest for Zen

Game development for MBBS/WG
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Posts: 140
Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2020 2:12 pm
Location: Raleigh, NC

Quest for Zen

Post by Questman »

Elwynor Technologies is proud to announce that Quest for Zen v3.1 is now available as well! This one is one of the very first Multi-User Dungeon type games (rudimentary compared to what came later) for the BBS, where combat and player development is the focus, rather than solving puzzles. Designed by Jeffrey Kobal and developed by Scott Brinker and Kobal, initially released in 1988. Available on file libs and soon website.


You find yourself in an oriental world of mental power and physical strength,
where dozens of other aspiring warriors will join you in the quest to become a
Zen Master Ninja. This triangular piece of land, which has been a training
ground for students of nin-jitsu for generations, is bordered on one side by
Shinto Mountain, and on the other two sides by the River of the Kami-no-michi.
Unknown to the world, this mystical place is filled with unmatched power...
and unescapable danger!

Here, you will be battling your fellow students in order to progress onward
through the nine levels of power. To achieve each level, you must first
defeat another ninja of equal or higher power than yourself and then complete
a task (puzzles which must be solved from hints within the game). Starting
off as a mere beginning ninja, it will take patience, wisdom, strategy, and
skill to fight your way to the top of the ninja heirarchy. The path of the
ninja is not for everyone -- many will fail, and only a few will find true
success. Your destiny remains to be discovered...


QUEST FOR ZEN is a real-time, multi-user combat simulation. You control an
"alter ego" character via commands entered through your terminal; the game
lets you know what's going on by sending messages to your screen. The main
aspect of this game is INTERACTION with other players, through conversation,
combat, and various other "actions".

The object of the game is to become a ninjitsu master - to achieve level
nine, or "Zen"!


Quest for Zen is an on-line combat simulation, where you, and up to 255 other
users, can take on the "role" of an imaginary character within the context of
the martial arts training grounds. It is similiar in nature to the popular
TSR, Inc. game of "Dungeons & Dragons", except the computer acts as an
"automated Dungeon Master". Game play is similiar to that of Zork, or another
text adventure, but with a key difference -- many people can simultaneously be
interacting, in real-time, in the same simulated universe. The game's focus is
not solving puzzles, but combat and character development, making it more akin
to a Multi-User Dungeon (MUD) than a text adventure.

Your character consists of several vital statistics: level, health points,
number of moves per turn, and known attacks and defenses. Your "level"
determines your maximum number of health points, number of moves per turn, and
the number of attacks and defenses you know. As you gain each level, your
maximum number of health points will increase as well as your number of moves
per turn and/or number of known attacks and defenses.

During a "turn", approximately 10 seconds, you may either use attacks and
defense, or move around -- but not both in the same turn.


You always have a "defense mode" in use (the last one you executed), but
changing that mode uses one of your "moves" for that turn. For example, a
ninja with 3 attacks/defenses per turn may attack, change defense mode, and
then attack again; however, if no attack or defense moves are used, the ninja
may use that turn to move around the terrain).

All attacks and defenses have two-letter abbreviations. For a list of your
current attacks and defenses, type "list attacks" or "list defenses". The
format for using them in the game are "defense <abbreviation>" and "attack
<abbreviation> <who-to-attack>". You may also use "att" and "def" as
abbreviations, and you do not have to type out the entire name of the person
you wish to attack. A typical example is "att HP mur", which works just as
well as "attack HP murdoctor".

Type "health" to see how many "health points" you have, and "status" to
receive a full overview of your current standing in the game.


Quest for Zen has one MSG file. Within it, you can input your game
activation code, define the key required to play the game, and set the
health point multiplier.

There are lots of text blocks to configure to your liking, though!


Simply unzip the archive to your Worldgroup server directory, add
it to your menu, configure the MSG file to your liking, and start
Worldgroup! It's that easy!

To activate the module, edit the MSG file and enter your Activation
Code, if you have one. If you don't, it will run for 14 days
without one. To get a code, contact Elwynor Technologies at:


Quest for Zen was designed by Jeffrey Kobal, a friend of Scott Brinker's,
who was studying martial arts at the time and wanted to develop something
different than the text adventure series that was popular at the time. The
game was designed and developed by Kobal and Scott Brinker (the principal
developer) in November 1988. Quest for Zen was based upon the multiuser
game engine initially build for Fazuul and Quest for Magic, like the other
Quest games, but was really one of the very first Multi-User Dungeons (MUDs)
for The Major BBS. Initially released for Major BBS v5 by Moonshae Telecomm,
the game continued to be sold until the Galacticomm acquisition. Afterward,
the game was put on the back-burner, sold initially but dropped from future

Kobal had envisioned a sequel as early as 1989 that would have been titled
"Zen Again". The game would have again been a partnership with Moonshae
Telecomm and featured a larger world with non-player computer-controlled
characters to battle. Unfortunately, this game never was finished. Later,
Kobal developed the mystery adventure "Whodunit?" for Moonshae, and then
went on to found Psycho Software (Mystery?, Board Games, etc.) while Moonshae
focused on its in-house designed products.

Quest for Zen was acquired by Elwynor Technologies in 2005. The game was
ported to Worldgroup 3.2 in 2021. This is the first time the game has been
generally available in quite some time!
Founder, The Major BBS Restoration Project
Owner, Elwynor Technologies ISV
Former Owner, Galacticomm IP (2005-2020)
Contributor, Galacticomm IP baseline

Posts: 64
Joined: Sat Aug 08, 2020 1:12 pm

Re: Quest for Zen

Post by Kracken »

Another lost work restored, thank you for securing these bytes!
Demo works fine so far on my VM. Strange world, no objects on the ground. A mud with no mobs, there must be something :D

About "Zen Again":
Do we know if parts of source/binaries still exists, like Worlds of Darkness?
Or was it only "envisionned" without any real materialization?


Posts: 140
Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2020 2:12 pm
Location: Raleigh, NC

Re: Quest for Zen

Post by Questman »

The author stated "I never even finished that game. I had big plans for it, and did all of the world and puzzle design, but never completed the game actions or NPCs. The game only existed on my BBS in test state." So there's code, if he can find it, but he hasn't found it yet in 17 years :)
Founder, The Major BBS Restoration Project
Owner, Elwynor Technologies ISV
Former Owner, Galacticomm IP (2005-2020)
Contributor, Galacticomm IP baseline

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