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The Tar/Mud Rivalry

Tar and Mud are both forms of engineered living mineral life, created by the Rooted Empire for their own nefarious purposes.

Tar is a very old invention, being one of the first forms of mineral-based life created, and has a well-established reputation as a result. Its maintainers, the tar technicians, are part of the Empire division named the Tar Administration Facility, which is responsible for the overall maintenance, control, movement and placement in dungeons of this material, as well as holding the latest information on Tar volume surveys all over the Empire and its associated dungeons. The Tar Technician profession is very old, and has played a prominent role in much of the Empire’s history, meaning that Tar Technicians are respected all over the Empire. The skill of controlling Tar is therefore regarded as highly important, especially in terms of effective architectural design, and so Tar Technicians take much pride in their work, often to the point of arrogance when dealing with other departments, which they frequently regard as inferior.

Mud, on the other hand, is a relatively new invention, created by the 583rd Tar Technician by accident during a flash of inspiration. No-one is exactly sure how he created Mud, since none of his department has ever revealed any secrets about it, but after a series of trials and experiments, it was soon accepted all over the Empire that Mud was a completely new life-form and not just a variant of tar. It was then decided that a new profession was required in order to handle Mud, so 583rd Tar Technician was promoted to his new post as 1st Mud Coordinator, along with a few of his friends becoming his high-ranked underlings.

The tar monopoly was soon broken when Mud became widely available, and because of the efforts of the younger, more dynamic team to promote their invention, it soon became extremely popular. The Tar Technicians became deeply jealous of the attention that Mud was getting, as well as resentful of the fact that the popularity of Tar began to fall, and so a powerful rivalry began to form between the two groups. The Tar Technicians believe that the Mud Coordinators are nothing but over–ambitious, amateur upstarts that require crushing, while Mud Coordinators are eager to prove themselves superior to what they believe is an outdated and obsolete institution. Not surprisingly, this rivalry has extended to other things beyond debating and argument. For example, level eight of King Dugan’s Dungeon was long considered a masterpiece in Tar placement and organisation, so the Mud Coordinators were naturally eager to show that they too could do the same in Mud. Unfortunately, a series of mistakes and accidents led to the problem that they got the plans upside-down, and accidentally added a few rooms from other levels. Everyone agreed nonetheless that it was a great success, with the exception of the TAF, who considered it an inferior and failed attempt at imitation. The Mud Coordinators, once established, also managed to set up the Mud Management Organisation, intended to work in much the same way as the TAF and act as its rival. It has, however, also adopted the role of researching the making of other Tar–like substances in the hope of inventing new ones; Mud Coordinators believe that a greater selection of Mud variants will further increase the MMO’s importance and reduce the influence of the TAF. The TAF, on the other hand, believes this ultimately will fail, and is just a waste of time and resources.

Occasionally, Tar and Mud people need to collaborate, especially in rooms involving a mixture of both elements, but it invariably leads to squabbling and competition between the groups. This is not always a problem, however, since some of the greatest Tar and Mud rooms were created by accident as a result of an argument getting out of control.

See also: General element rules | The (Ab)Use of Tarstuff | The Living Tar | The Awakened Mud | The Forbidden Gel