For most games it is a good idea to restrict what people can do. In Evennia such restrictions are applied and checked by something called locks. All Evennia entities (Commands, Objects, Scripts, Accounts, Help System, messages and channels) are accessed through locks.
A lock can be thought of as an “access rule” restricting a particular use of an Evennia entity. Whenever another entity wants that kind of access the lock will analyze that entity in different ways to determine if access should be granted or not. Evennia implements a “lockdown” philosophy - all entities are inaccessible unless you explicitly define a lock that allows some or full access.
Let’s take an example: An object has a lock on itself that restricts how
people may “delete” that object. Apart from knowing that it restricts
deletion, the lock also knows that only players with the specific ID of,
34 are allowed to delete it. So whenever a player tries to run
@delete on the object, the
@delete command makes sure to check
if this player is really allowed to do so. It calls the lock, which in
turn checks if the player’s id is
34. Only then will it allow
@delete to go on with its job.
Setting and checking a lock¶
The in-game command for setting locks on objects is
> @lock obj = <lockstring>
<lockstring> is a string of a certain form that defines the
behaviour of the lock. We will go into more detail on how
<lockstring> should look in the next section.
Code-wise, Evennia handles locks through what is usually called
locks on all relevant entities. This is a handler that allows you to
add, delete and check locks.
One can call
locks.check() to perform a lock check, but to hide the
underlying implementation all objects also have a convenience function
access. This should preferably be used. In the example below,
accessing_obj is the object requesting the ‘delete’ access whereas
obj is the object that might get deleted. This is how it would look
(and does look) from inside the
if not obj.access(accessing_obj, 'delete'): accessing_obj.msg("Sorry, you may not delete that.") return
Defining a lock (i.e. an access restriction) in Evennia is done by
adding simple strings of lock definitions to the object’s
Here are some examples of lock strings (not including the quotes):
delete:id(34) # only allow obj #34 to delete edit:all() # let everyone edit # only those who are not "very_weak" or are Admins may pick this up get: not attr(very_weak) or perm(Admin)
Formally, a lockstring has the following syntax:
access_type: [NOT] lockfunc1([arg1,..]) [AND|OR] [NOT] lockfunc2([arg1,...]) [...]
 marks optional parts.
NOT are not
case sensitive and excess spaces are ignored.
etc are special lock functions available to the lock system.
So, a lockstring consists of the type of restriction (the
access_type), a colon (
:) and then an expression involving
function calls that determine what is needed to pass the lock. Each
function returns either
NOT work as they do normally in Python. If the total result is
True, the lock is passed.
You can create several lock types one after the other by separating them
with a semicolon (
;) in the lockstring. The string below yields the
same result as the previous example:
delete:id(34);edit:all();get: not attr(very_weak) or perm(Admin)
access_type, the first part of a lockstring, defines what kind of
capability a lock controls, such as “delete” or “edit”. You may in
principle name your
access_type anything as long as it is unique for
the particular object. The name of the access types is not
If you want to make sure the lock is used however, you should pick
access_type names that you (or the default command set) actually
checks for, as in the example of
@delete above that uses the
Below are the access_types checked by the default commandset.
cmd- this defines who may call this command at all.
control- who is the “owner” of the object. Can set locks, delete it etc. Defaults to the creator of the object.
call- who may call Object-commands stored on this Object except for the Object itself. By default, Objects share their Commands with anyone in the same location (e.g. so you can ‘press’ a
Buttonobject in the room). For Characters and Mobs (who likely only use those Commands for themselves and don’t want to share them) this should usually be turned off completely, using something like
examine- who may examine this object’s properties.
delete- who may delete the object.
edit- who may edit properties and attributes of the object.
view- if the
lookcommand will display/list this object
get- who may pick up the object and carry it around.
puppet- who may “become” this object and control it as their “character”.
attrcreate- who may create new attributes on the object (default True)
- Same as for Objects
- Same as for Objects
traverse- who may pass the exit.
examine- who may examine the account’s properties.
delete- who may delete the account.
edit- who may edit the account’s attributes and properties.
msg- who may send messages to the account.
boot- who may boot the account.
- Attributes: (only checked by
attrread- see/access attribute
attredit- change/delete attribute
control- who is administrating the channel. This means the ability to delete the channel, boot listeners etc.
send- who may send to the channel.
listen- who may subscribe and listen to the channel.
examine- who may view this help entry (usually everyone)
edit- who may edit this help entry.
So to take an example, whenever an exit is to be traversed, a lock of
the type traverse will be checked. Defining a suitable lock type for
an exit object would thus involve a lockstring
traverse: <lock functions>.
A lock function is a normal Python function put in a place Evennia looks
for such functions. The modules Evennia looks at is the list
settings.LOCK_FUNC_MODULES. All functions in any of those modules
will automatically be considered a valid lock function. The default ones
are found in
evennia/locks/lockfuncs.py and you can start adding
your own in
mygame/server/conf/lockfuncs.py. You can append the
setting to add more module paths. To replace a default lock function,
just add your own with the same name.
A lock function must always accept at least two arguments - the accessing object (this is the object wanting to get access) and the accessed object (this is the object with the lock). Those two are fed automatically as the first two arguments to the function when the lock is checked. Any arguments explicitly given in the lock definition will appear as extra arguments.
# A simple example lock function. Called with e.g. `id(34)`. This is # defined in, say mygame/server/conf/lockfuncs.py def id(accessing_obj, accessed_obj, *args, **kwargs): if args: wanted_id = args return accessing_obj.id == wanted_id return False
The above could for example be used in a lock function like this:
# we have `obj` and `owner_object` from before obj.locks.add("edit: id(%i)" % owner_object.id)
We could check if the “edit” lock is passed with something like this:
# as part of a Command's func() method, for example if not obj.access(caller, "edit"): caller.msg("You don't have access to edit this!") return
In this example, everyone except the
caller with the right
will get the error.
**syntax causes Python to magically put all extra arguments into a list
argsand all keyword arguments into a dictionary
kwargsrespectively. If you are unfamiliar with how
**kwargswork, see the Python manuals).
Some useful default lockfuncs (see
src/locks/lockfuncs.py for more):
true()/all()- give access to everyone
false()/none()/superuser()- give access to none. Superusers bypass the check entirely and are thus the only ones who will pass this check.
perm(perm)- this tries to match a given
permissionproperty, on an Account firsthand, on a Character second. See below.
permbut requires a “higher” permission level than the one given.
id(num)/dbref(num)- checks so the access_object has a certain dbref/id.
attr(attrname)- checks if a certain Attribute exists on accessing_object.
attr(attrname, value)- checks so an attribute exists on accessing_object and has the given value.
attr_gt(attrname, value)- checks so accessing_object has a value larger (
>) than the given value.
attr_ge, attr_lt, attr_le, attr_ne- corresponding for
holds(objid)- checks so the accessing objects contains an object of given name or dbref.
inside()- checks so the accessing object is inside the accessed object (the inverse of
pid(num)/pdbref(num)- same as
id/dbrefbut always looks for permissions and dbrefs of Accounts, not on Characters.
serversetting(settingname, value)- Only returns True if Evennia has a given setting or a setting set to a given value.
Checking simple strings¶
Sometimes you don’t really need to look up a certain lock, you just want
to check a lockstring. A common use is inside Commands, in order to
check if a user has a certain permission. The lockhandler has a method
check_lockstring(accessing_obj, lockstring, bypass_superuser=False)
that allows this.
# inside command definition if not self.caller.locks.check_lockstring(self.caller, "dummy:perm(Admin)"): self.caller.msg("You must be an Admin or higher to do this!") return
Note here that the
access_type can be left to a dummy value since
this method does not actually do a Lock lookup.
Evennia sets up a few basic locks on all new objects and accounts (if we
didn’t, noone would have any access to anything from the start). This is
all defined in the root Typeclasses of the respective entity, in the
basetype_setup() (which you usually don’t want to edit
unless you want to change how basic stuff like rooms and exits store
their internal variables). This is called once, before
at_object_creation, so just put them in the latter method on your
child object to change the default. Also creation commands like
@create changes the locks of objects you create - for example it
control lock_type so as to allow you, its creator, to
control and delete the object.
A permission is simply a list of text strings stored in the handler
Accounts. Permissions can be used
as a convenient way to structure access levels and hierarchies. It is
set by the
@perm command. Permissions are especially handled by the
pperm() lock functions listed above.
Let’s say we have a
red_key object. We also have red chests that we
want to unlock with this key.
@perm red_key = unlocks_red_chests
This gives the
red_key object the permission “unlocks_red_chests”.
Next we lock our red chests:
@lock red chest = unlock:perm(unlocks_red_chests)
What this lock will expect is to the fed the actual key object. The
perm() lock function will check the permissions set on the key and
only return true if the permission is the one given.
Finally we need to actually check this lock somehow. Let’s say the chest
has an command
open <key> sitting on itself. Somewhere in its code
the command needs to figure out which key you are using and test if this
key has the correct permission:
# self.obj is the chest # and used_key is the key we used as argument to # the command. The self.caller is the one trying # to unlock the chest if not self.obj.access(used_key, "unlock"): self.caller.msg("The key does not fit!") return
All new accounts are given a default set of permissions defined by
Selected permission strings can be organized in a permission hierarchy
by editing the tuple
default permission hierarchy is as follows:
Developer # like superuser but affected by locks Admin # can administrate accounts Builder # can edit the world Helper # can edit help files Player # can chat and send tells (default level)
(Also the plural form works, so you could use
Developers etc too).
There is also a
Playerthat is only active if
settings.GUEST_ENABLEDis set. This is never part of
The main use of this is that if you use the lock function
mentioned above, a lock check for a particular permission in the
hierarchy will also grant access to those with higher hierarchy
access. So if you have the permission “Admin” you will also pass a lock
perm(Builder) or any of those levels below “Admin”.
When doing an access check from an Object or Character, the
perm() lock function will always first use the permissions of any
Account connected to that Object before checking for permissions on the
Object. In the case of hierarchical permissions (Admins, Builders etc),
the Account permission will always be used (this stops an Account from
escalating their permission by puppeting a high-level Character). If the
permission looked for is not in the hierarchy, an exact match is
required, first on the Account and if not found there (or if no Account
is connected), then on the Object itself.
Here is how you use
@perm to give an account more permissions:
@perm/account Tommy = Builders @perm/account/del Tommy = Builders # remove it again
Putting permissions on the Account guarantees that they are kept, regardless of which Character they are currently puppeting. This is especially important to remember when assigning permissions from the hierarchy tree - as mentioned above, an Account’s permissions will overrule that of its character. So to be sure to avoid confusion you should generally put hierarchy permissions on the Account, not on their Characters (but see also quelling).
Below is an example of an object without any connected account
obj1.permissions = ["Builders", "cool_guy"] obj2.locks.add("enter:perm_above(Accounts) and perm(cool_guy)") obj2.access(obj1, "enter") # this returns True!
And one example of a puppet with a connected account:
account.permissions.add("Accounts") puppet.permissions.add("Builders", "cool_guy") obj2.locks.add("enter:perm_above(Accounts) and perm(cool_guy)") obj2.access(puppet, "enter") # this returns False!
There is normally only one superuser account and that is the one first created when starting Evennia (User #1). This is sometimes known as the “Owner” or “God” user. A superuser has more than full access - it completely bypasses all locks so no checks are even run. This allows for the superuser to always have access to everything in an emergency. But it also hides any eventual errors you might have made in your lock definitions. So when trying out game systems you should either use quelling (see below) or make a second Developer-level character so your locks get tested correctly.
@quell command can be used to enforce the
perm() lockfunc to
ignore permissions on the Account and instead use the permissions on the
Character only. This can be used e.g. by staff to test out things with a
lower permission level. Return to the normal operation with
@unquell. Note that quelling will use the smallest of any
hierarchical permission on the Account or Character, so one cannot
escalate one’s Account permission by quelling to a high-permission
Character. Also the superuser can quell their powers this way, making
them affectable by locks.
More Lock definition examples¶
examine: attr(eyesight, excellent) or perm(Builders)
You are only allowed to do examine on this object if you have
‘excellent’ eyesight (that is, has an Attribute
eyesight with the
excellent defined on yourself) or if you have the “Builders”
permission string assigned to you.
open: holds('the green key') or perm(Builder)
This could be called by the
open command on a “door” object. The
check is passed if you are a Builder or has the right key in your
Evennia’s command handler looks for a lock of type
cmd to determine
if a user is allowed to even call upon a particular command or not. When
you define a command, this is the kind of lock you must set. See the
default command set for lots of examples. If a character/account don’t
cmd lock type the command will not even appear in their
cmd: not perm(no_tell)
“Permissions” can also be used to block users or implement highly
specific bans. The above example would be be added as a lock string to
tell command. This will allow everyone not having the
no_tell to use the
tell command. You could easily
give an account the “permission”
no_tell to disable their use of
this particular command henceforth.
dbref = caller.id lockstring = "control:id(%s);examine:perm(Builders);delete:id(%s) or perm(Admin);get:all()" % (dbref, dbref) new_obj.locks.add(lockstring)
This is how the
@create command sets up new objects. In sequence,
this permission string sets the owner of this object be the creator (the
@create). Builders may examine the object whereas only
Admins and the creator may delete it. Everyone can pick it up.
A complete example of setting locks on an object¶
Assume we have two objects - one is ourselves (not superuser) and the
other is an Object called
> @create/drop box > @desc box = "This is a very big and heavy box."
We want to limit which objects can pick up this heavy box. Let’s say that to do that we require the would-be lifter to to have an attribute strength on themselves, with a value greater than 50. We assign it to ourselves to begin with.
> @set self/strength = 45
Ok, so for testing we made ourselves strong, but not strong enough. Now
we need to look at what happens when someone tries to pick up the the
box - they use the
get command (in the default set). This is defined
evennia/commands/default/general.py. In its code we find this
if not obj.access(caller, 'get'): if obj.db.get_err_msg: caller.msg(obj.db.get_err_msg) else: caller.msg("You can't get that.") return
get command looks for a lock with the type get (not so
surprising). It also looks for an Attribute on the checked object
called get_err_msg in order to return a customized error message.
Sounds good! Let’s start by setting that on the box:
> @set box/get_err_msg = You are not strong enough to lift this box.
Next we need to craft a Lock of type get on our box. We want it to
only be passed if the accessing object has the attribute strength of
the right value. For this we would need to create a lock function that
checks if attributes have a value greater than a given value. Luckily
there is already such a one included in evennia (see
So the lock string will look like this:
We put this on the box now:
@lock box = get:attr_gt(strength, 50)
get the object and you should get the message that we are not
strong enough. Increase your strength above 50 however and you’ll pick
it up no problem. Done! A very heavy box!
If you wanted to set this up in python code, it would look something like this:
from evennia import create_object # create, then set the lock box = create_object(None, key="box") box.locks.add("get:attr_gt(strength, 50)") # or we can assign locks in one go right away box = create_object(None, key="box", locks="get:attr_gt(strength, 50)") # set the attributes box.db.desc = "This is a very big and heavy box." box.db.get_err_msg = "You are not strong enough to lift this box." # one heavy box, ready to withstand all but the strongest...
On Django’s permission system¶
Django also implements a comprehensive permission/security system of its
own. The reason we don’t use that is because it is app-centric (app in
the Django sense). Its permission strings are of the form
appname.permstring and it automatically adds three of them for each
database model in the app - for the app evennia/object this would be for
example ‘object.create’, ‘object.admin’ and ‘object.edit’. This makes a
lot of sense for a web application, not so much for a MUD, especially
when we try to hide away as much of the underlying architecture as
The django permissions are not completely gone however. We use it for validating passwords during login. It is also used exclusively for managing Evennia’s web-based admin site, which is a graphical front-end for the database of Evennia. You edit and assign such permissions directly from the web interface. It’s stand-alone from the permissions described above.