ToS for a game from 1999

  • I was going through some files and came across this tos from a game I played in 1999. Reading it again today, I laughed. I figured I'd share, you might get a laugh too.

    (Some formatting lost. Yes, this game is still able to be played, so I've left the links in.)

    Without further preamble:


    Thank you for choosing to play the game Well of Souls!

    This is that long boring legal document that you always ignore in your hurry to get into the game. Little do you know all the things to which you may have already agreed. For example, the last time you said: “I accept” to one of these, you might have granted to Microsoft ™ prior refusal rights to any birthday presents you might receive now or in the future.

    For that reason, I advise you to read THIS agreement in full and complete detail, preferably with a lawyer by your side. And I mean a corporate contract lawyer, not one of those inexpensive honest ones.

    First of all, this program is a GAME and you probably didn’t even have to PAY for it. As a result, I expect you to hold me blameless no matter how screwed up it is. Of course, I don’t expect it to deliver anything less than the most amazing experience of your entire life. But contents may have settled during shipping and your bliss may vary.

    The main reason for this TOS is to point out that has the right to cut off your access to the multiplayer mode of operation of this game for any reason it likes, and no matter how much you whine about it, we don’t have to let you play it any more.

    Of course, we’d only do that if you turned out to be some sort of idiotic jerk who wasn’t interested in playing the game itself but rather just delighted in making the experience unpleasant for everyone else.

    We know that YOU aren’t that sort of person, of course. For example, if you were THAT sort of person you CERTAINLY wouldn’t have read this far into this document, with its teensy little print. Not saying that you’re bad if you didn’t read it, of course. We’ve already covered the important bits, so you can stop reading any time now. But we have to make it really long or it probably isn’t legally binding (on you, that is). I mean, why else are these things always so long?

    Here are some examples of things we would just as soon that you did NOT do while playing the game (and by corollary are likely to bring repercussions upon you):

    • Don’t hack the game or servers. I mean, really, how low can you go? If we detect any memory editing of the game we will be very upset and probably shut down on you.
    • Don’t try to circumvent various security features in an attempt to cheat without its being noticed. The game has plenty of ‘sanctioned cheats,’ which we invite you to use at your leisure. The web site at has a complete list.
    • Don’t use creative spellings of profanity in an effort to get your foul gutter words heard by people who have sensibly turned on the auto-bleeper feature to protect their tender eyes. If you simply MUST talk like a drunken sailor, spell correctly to give people a chance to filter you out efficiently. Better yet, don’t swear at all! We will, on occasion, GAG you if we find you offensive enough while we’re paying attention. But don’t assume that we will always be watching. And no fair getting mad at if someone manages to say something horrible in your presence.
    • Don’t engage in racist, sexist, age-ist, class-ist, religio-ist or other negative karma conversation intended to cause discomfort and sadness in other human beings. (For your own sanity, we also suggest you try your best to not react to such attacks and simply MUTE the idiot instead. Remember what they say about prank phone calls – no reaction is the best reaction.)
    • Don’t use profanity in your character name. This will definitely get you banned eventually. And remember, I don’t feel I need to discuss this sort of thing with you. I expect you to already know right from wrong. Expect reasonable consequences for your actions – just like in real life, you have to take responsibility for your actions.
    • Don’t make an effort to spoof other people. I mean, role-playing is one thing, but pretending to be another player is not acceptable. Use your own best judgment as to whether or not you’re just joking around.... and so will we.

    That’s not too mean of us, is it? I mean, isn’t that really best for everyone? The above is not meant to be a complete list of unacceptable online behavior, but it covers the basic issues. I mean: we reserve the right to evaluate your behavior and take what we feel is appropriate action in response.


    When I was a kid, in addition to “please” and “thank you” being the MAGIC WORDS, we were also told to follow The Golden Rule™. Nowadays people seem to think this is some sort of subversive religious thing, but in this context all we really mean is: Play nice with each other. In fact, it has been pointed out that we aren’t really suggesting the golden rule because we ARE expecting you to want to be treated nicely. If you, in fact, have some sort of weird self-esteem problems (which make you want to be abused), we don’t want you using the golden rule as an excuse to abuse others.


    Text documents relating to online games often have a section about etiquette – as in how you are expected to behave. Being a role-playing game that is not completely appropriate here. In any case, here are my observations based on countless hours sitting behind a secret duck blind observing the players in their natural habitat:

    • DON’T SHOUT! That is to say, don’t type in all capital letters ALL THE TIME. The game has an official shout feature, which makes sure your voice is seen (so long as you are not being muted). The game also provides a variety of optional filters (no_shout, olde-english, etc.), which will adapt incoming text as necessary. (Right-click in the chat window to see a list.)
    • Some people like to stay in character all the time. I can understand this, though I tend to just chat normally, myself. Be sure to turn off the eavesdrop feature if you only want to hear people who are near you.
    • Don’t be a level beggar. These are people who don’t really want to play the game; they just want to have a high level character. They are constantly typing stuff like: “Please level me!” They tend to get ignored, or punished. There’s nothing wrong with joining a hunting party and working as a team, but try to carry a little of your own weight.
    • Be nice to new players. They need to have a good time so that I stand some chance of their donating money someday.
    • Be VERY nice to children. Once you figure out a little kid is around, be extra special nice. I shouldn’t have to tell you this. Children should be given the opportunity of living in an artificial dream world of happiness as long as possible. Parents should sit by the side of their children whenever they use the Internet.

    Of course, you can also play the game in SOLO mode (just you) or on a local area network, in which case the rules of etiquette would be entirely different: “Don’t talk to yourself and expect an honest answer,” and “Don’t spill soda on the other player’s keyboard.”


    While the vast majority of players are excellent human beings like you, the occasional bad apple does sign on from time to time. (After all, how can they be expected to stay away from such a great game? They’re only sub-human). Anyway, has provided you with a wide array of powerful social controls to let you tune your pleasure. For example:

    • MUTE people whom you no longer wish to hear.
    • CENSOR people whose graphical ‘skins’ are offensive to you.
    • Use the BUDDY HAT feature to categorize people into whatever categories you find helpful (for example: friend, partner, enemy, idiot, and repulsive)
    • Use the SOUL DIARY to record little notes to yourself about players you meet: “Likes cheese”, “Was mean to kitty” etc.
    • Disable SKIN TRANSFERS if it is more important to you to never see an objectionable skin than it is to collect the amazing variety of attractive skins made by the other players.
    • Use the various splitter bars to maximize the size of the more enjoyable windows (most windows are re-sizable).
    • Accompany your minor children at any time they use the Internet. They’ll appreciate the company.
    • Don’t give out personal information to strangers, whether over the Internet or not.

    And we encourage you to set a positive example yourself. Many players who at first glance appear to be the worthless dregs of our decaying society are, in fact, merely teenagers fed a constant diet of Marilyn Manson and simply need a calm hand and a caring voice to find a better path. Failing that, the game allows you to kill them in many exciting ways (mild animated violence only, of course).


    From time to time you might see people mention the word ‘snert.’ While the deepest origins of the term appear lost in time, it was contributed to the WoS mythology by Lady Gryphon. Definitions vary, but basically it describes someone who diminishes the pleasure of the game for others. You don’t want to be a snert, in language or in deed. Most server administrators will banish you from their servers if you engage in snertish behaviour. (I call that: “Getting Snertified.”)

    ‘Snert’ is used instead of ‘newbie’ since we all start life as newbies, but we don’t all start life as snerts.


    Speaking of servers (a server is a place where you can play the game – you can run your own server and make it available to the public), the administrator of each server can impose various rules that govern all those who play there. You should respect the wishes of your server admin, or start your own server with the rules set the way YOU like them, you rebel you!


    Well, maybe if I stick this in here, people will take pity on me. You’re probably asking yourself: “How can such a TERRIFIC game, written by so obviously a caring and wonderful human being, be FREE?” If not, I invite you to ask yourself that question now. I’ll wait….

    OK, well, the answer is… um, well the jury is still out on that one (ask again in a year or two). To extend the time before reading about our going-out-of-business auction (I’m keeping the chair), you might consider donating money to us. This is covered on our web site at and is really quite painless. If you’re the sort of person who simply can’t stand to donate money without getting something physical back, you can spend a little more and buy a mug, t-shirt, or mouse pad from our company store. Again, just visit the web site (or push the DONATE button in the game.) If you donate $25, we will send you a Golden Soul Activation code! You can head about that at Donations are always voluntary. If you see some message in the game that says you HAVE to donate, then read it again. It is PROBABLY saying something like "Your computer clock is set to the wrong date." Not sure why people always mis-read that one, but they do.


    My apologies if I have offended any corporate contract lawyers, idiotic jerks, teenagers, Marilyn Manson, Microsoft™, decaying societies, people with weird self-esteem problems, snerts, bad apples, or drunken sailors. It was not my intention to do so and any comments to the contrary were intended to be light-hearted, semi-humorous remarks.


    Azaman is an active server administrator and has his own concerns for the legal protection of server administrators. I’d like to point out that this ToS specifically applies to gameplay over all servers, but here are some nice points which Azaman put together to cover the admins. (With a few generalizations by me...)

    • You may not harass, threaten, embarrass or cause distress, unwanted attention or discomfort to another player. This excludes Player Killing, if it is accepted in this game server.
    • You may not use any offensive or sexually explicit language on a server with the “noBleep” rule set, even if you have creatively mis-spelled words, or otherwise used words not officially filtered by the bleeper.
    • You may not use any unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, hateful, racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable language toward any other player. And this means on any server, whether it has noBleep set or not. Obviously, there is some gray area here distinguishing between ‘raunchy’ and ‘obscene’ so the final determination is based on the server admin’s sensibilities, and the server admin has the final say.
    • You may not impersonate another player or the server administrator.
    • You may not market, promote or advertise anything, or make any other form of solicitation (including pyramid schemes and chain letters). (Well, you can encourage people to send money to Synthetic Reality, of course.)
    • You may not violate any local, state, national or international laws or regulations.
    • You may not hack or try to hack the server or the game while on the server. Or do anything to cause any damage on the server to the other players. If you are found to have broken this rule the server administrator may file charges against you and ban you indefinitely.
    • You may not arrange for the exchange or transfer of any pirated software or other contraband while you are on the Game Server, or use the Game Server for any other illegal purpose.
    • You may not organize any guilds or groups that are based on, or espouse, any racist, sexist, anti- religious, anti-ethnic, anti-gay, or other hate-mongering philosophy while you are on the Game Server. Or organize any such activities while on the Game Server.
    • You may not use the Game Server for any activities other than activities that are permitted within the game world.
    • You may not post or communicate any player's real world personal information within the Game Server without their permission.
    • You may not modify or replace any electronic information being exchanged by the Mixer Client or Server.
    People who run servers do so at their own expense and should be honored and respected, not hassled. Let me just send out a little “thank you” here to server admins everywhere: Thanks! You’re the salt of the earth! (As are all you folks who have purchased attractive t-shirts, mouse pads, and mugs from one of the Synthetic Reality merchandising centers! Especially you, Sue!)


    I’m sorry if this TOS is not long enough to look properly legal and professional. I’ll try to add more to it over time. And someone just pointed out that I didn't specifically say it was wrong to use a stolen credit card when making a donation to the game. It is.

    All joking aside, I’m really pleased that you’ve decided to give my game a try and I hope you enjoy it. I’ve met a lot of really nice people in multiplayer mode and I hope you’ll be one more.

    Have fun!

    Dan Samuel


  • @Matches said:

    I’m sorry if this TOS is not long enough to look properly legal and professional.

    Like fuck it's not.

  • Man, if more ToS documents were like that, I'd totally read them. I'm sure they're normally made intentionally dry so that you don't read them and don't know what you've agreed to.

  • Who is "Matches"?

  • @Matches said:


    Read this as ASSMAN'S CLAUSE on first skim.

  • @morbiuswilters said:

    Who is "Matches"?

    who convinced morbs to come back?

    Now I feel self conscious

  • @morbiuswilters said:

    Who is "Matches"?

    Who is "morbiuswilters?"

  • The difference between rules and ToS is that rules are meant to be read.

  • Holy crap, I think I played this. Doesn't it have a class who fights using books?

  • Some dumb asshole.

  • I'll take random TDWTF posters for 500 please Alex...

  • SockDev

    There's more than one of those around here. The only problem is some of us admit to that description.

  • @Arantor said:

    The only problem is some of us admit to that description.

    And other excel at demonstrating it.

  • SockDev

    Oh yes. I'll admit to it but I try not to practice it.

  • I want some chips. with vinegar. Maybe some salad cream.

    real starch craving right now.

    Filed Under: SO RANDUM LOLOLOL

  • It does.

  • mod

    @morbiuswilters said:

    Who is "Matches"?

    Does it matter? You left, he showed up, you came back. Learn the new people or don't.

  • SockDev

    Yeah, see if us new people care that you don't know who we are, because if you stay here you will figure out who we are one way or another.

    Filed under: even if I have to beat it into you. Figuratively, of course...

  • mod

    @Arantor said:

    even if I have to beat it into you. Figuratively, of course

    Why figuratively? @Onyx has his crowbar and I have my sledgehammer.

  • SockDev

    Because I have no weapons to hand.

  • Am I supposed to be scared of your lego man sledgehammer?

  • SockDev

    No, I think the point is, Morbs was supposed to.

  • @abarker said:

    Does it matter?

    For all Morbs knows, it's someone who didn't get auto migrated from CS and picked up a new name, or did and changed avatars. That's why he's asking, he mostly linked people he knows by avatar.

    He also asked about me. I'd link it, but I can't find the post (both due to Discourse and lack of time).

  • Why does that strike me as less likely than Jeff accepting changing to his fantasy land?

  • I was Matches on the old board too, but I didn't get migrated. I think I made a sum total of one post in four or five years.

  • SockDev

    Morbs is a force of nature. Jeff is a force of stupid. Their limits have yet to be discovered.

  • mod

    @Matches said:

    Am I supposed to be scared of your lego man sledgehammer?

    The lego man sledgehammer is just representative. I have a full size one right here next to me.

  • SockDev

    That's what she said.

  • I survived the hour long Uno hand

    Basically ditto here. It turns out I had an account after all, despite almost never logging in, but I didn't get a migration notice

  • mod

    @Yamikuronue said:

    Basically ditto here. It turns out I had an account after all, despite almost never logging in, but I didn't get a migration notice

    Yeah, Alex only migrated people with more than like 150 posts, or something like that. If you had fewer posts, he didn't consider you a mainstay of the community.

  • Veering violently back on topic for a moment, I really want to have some terms of service for something that contains the text



    @morbiuswilters should be a @moderator again

  • Impossible Mission Players - A

    Here, have a "Nice post!" badge.

    Filed under: Because it looks like you really need it. 😃

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