Sorting through the MUSH…
Sorting through the MUSH…

MUSH musings, Part II – Why a MUSH?

So, last week, I reminisced about how I got into gaming via MUSHing. So why then, after so many years and so many different ways of roleplaying – pen and paper, forum RP, chat-based RP, and LARP – do I still have a special fondness for a good ol’ MUSH??

Part of it has to do with how immediate the play was. Unlike forum based play, which often requires days of waiting for replies, you and whoever you were playing with were both right there, right now, and could trade posts back and forth for as long as your keyboards held out. And unlike something like a weekly D&D game or LARP, you could log onto the MUSH whenever you had a spare hour or two (or five…) to kill.

This spontaneity led to some very interesting story twists! It also, I like to believe, sharpened my skills as a writer. Being forced to come up with a character’s reply on the spot was a really great writing exercise, as was having to convey something that you’d normally just do as a gesture in words. Let me say that during my MUSHing days, the thesaurus became a very good friend of mine!

Which isn’t to say that there weren’t downsides to MUSH as a media for roleplaying, because there most certainly were.

The biggest downside was that many times, you’d log into a game only to discover that everyone was either sitting around idle, or off sequestered on their own, likely writing some *ahem* rather private stories… While the game was always there, it didn’t necessarily mean that the players were always ready to play.

Also, because everyone posts in turns (ie, I go, then you go, then that other guy goes, then I go again… Rinse, repeat), as soon as you got more than five people in a room together, it seemed as though so long would pass between your turn that you might as well just be playing on a forum!

There are, I’m sure, far more problems than this, but these were the ones that I remember causing me the most grief. But on the whole, I still wish that I had the time to log onto a game every now and then and relive the glory of my MUSH client’s green text on a black background. Those were, indeed,  good times. If only my old haunts were still around… But that’s a discussion I’ll save for Part III!

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Part I: Before LARP, there were other strange acronyms…

– Looking for MUDs, MUSHes, and etc? Try the Mud Connector!!

News: Posted May 31st, 2010 by Alina

^ 11 Comments to “Sorting through the MUSH…”

  1. Nojh Says:

    I love how immersive they are, MUSHes. They’re text based virtual worlds with rooms and objects. When I had oodles of time, I took time to learn how to programing MU*s so I could create rooms and objects and fancy things like dice rollers. And for particularly shy roleplayers, it is far easier to pretend to be your character through the anonymity of the internet than improv-ing face to face, or over a table. Very rarely have I gotten to the level of immersion at a tabletop game that I have on a MUSH.

    But yeah. MU*ing is slower than tabletop and larping. These days it feels like to get that indepth RPing, you need to dedicated at least two hours and depending on the MUSH, you might need to log in every day or so or otherwise you’ll fall behind on all the things happens plot wise.

    Posted June 1st, 2010 at 7:10 pm
  2. Megan Says:

    MUDs for the Win! I STILL play on a mud I’ve been on since 2000! Then again…kinda become a goddess on there…but still! Go MUDs and MUSHes!

    Posted June 2nd, 2010 at 3:12 am
  3. Jonathan B Says:

    One rule that one of my MUSHes had, and I’ve ported over to other games as I moved, was the “three pose rule” to deal with large scenes. Which meant you could pose again after three other people had posed since your last pose.

    A judged combat scene, of course, blows this to bits as the judge still has to deal with each person’s combat in turns. And sometimes the flow of conversation requires waiting for the person you’re talking to to respond regardless of how many others pose first. But it does speed up a lot of scenes.

    I agree with you that it can do a great deal to expand one’s writing, since it forces you to be descriptive on the fly.

    Although, every good MUSHer knows you’re supposed to use white text on a black screen, not green. 😉

    Posted June 2nd, 2010 at 6:49 am
  4. SteinarB Says:

    MUSHes (and MUSEs, MUDs, MUCKs, and a whole lot of other acronyms) were pretty much my introduction to online roleplaying back in the early to mid-nineties back when I was young and had more hair on top of my head than on my face. 🙂 I used to hang my hat in a couple of BattleTech MU*s (BT3056 and BT3034: The Battle for Bryant) and then at Champions MUSH (late 90’s to early 00’s). Quite frankly I have yet to find any other online environment which is as capable of giving the same sort of RP experience as the one you get around a table with your friends as the various MU*s. Today’s graphical MMORPGs aren’t even close to being in the running in my opinion at least. Granted, the textbased environment and I-go-then-you-go nature of it does lead to big scenes moving sloooooowly. A big superhero/supervillain battle with on Champions MUSH, for example, could easily take all night long once you exceeded a certain number of players plus the GM and his NPCs.

    Posted June 2nd, 2010 at 6:56 am
  5. Hee, I actually prefer pure livechat freeform (IRC) to the MUSH model- you can still have a set setting and story, but you just describe going from room to room, instead of having to navigate through complexities. And with the group I play with we -do- have a constantly running story you can jump into any time you feel like it.

    Posted June 2nd, 2010 at 1:35 pm
  6. ruggs Says:

    Been MUSHing for over 10 years now, and it was great to see a mention of a one-time favorite hobby. There are some great MUSHes still around, too. Tenebrae comes to mind; one of the original d20 roleplaying MUSHes. 😀

    Posted June 2nd, 2010 at 4:02 pm
  7. Myrrh Says:

    MUSHing is great. There are still plenty of places out there for people to RP at. It’s become how I stay in connection with my friends who have moved to different states.

    For example, there’s an Exalted place called Wine Dark Seas, set in the West, and a 3.5-moving-to-Pathfinder-soon place called Emblem of Ea. Both are really top notch and have people on most hours of the clock.

    Posted June 2nd, 2010 at 4:03 pm
  8. Wazza Says:

    A girlfriend at the time got me into a few years back, and I’ve been playing on and off since then. A lot of people don’t like it because it has a semi-pay model that gives paying players unfair advantages, but since I’m not there for the PvP combat it’s never been an issue for me.
    It’s an amazingly immersive world, and I spent a few months just exploring the whole place. The people you get there tend to be… well, the kind of people who can have fun without pictures, so there’s a kind of filtering going on that makes social interactions fun as well. It’s realtime, too, so the only limit on behaviour is how fast you type (though actions that are useful in combat prevent you from taking another such action for a certain amount of time).

    I highly recommend people check it out, or maybe one of Iron Realms’ other games, there’s something for everyone and they do put a lot of effort into making them really engaging and deep worlds.

    Posted June 2nd, 2010 at 6:01 pm
  9. Wivernryder Says:

    I play a MUD based around the Wheel of Time book series called The Sea of Storms (TSOSMUD). It’s definitely one of the better places on the internet… And the MUSHclient friendly green text is nice. ANSI coloring is lovely.
    Friendly players, helpful mods… ahh MUDing is so great. The channeling system was one of the most surprising things about TSOS, as it is pretty expansive. Bazillions of help files (402 last I looked), and recently the player base has been hovering around 20 per night. Had 24 earlier today. At any given time there are around 3-4 people, even in the middle of the night.

    I tried branching out into other MUDs and MUSHs, but none of the others held the same appeal. Some of the ones I looked into were pretty fantastic, but I just haven’t found one that hooked me the same way TSOS did. I actually just looked into the background of a few of the MUDs/MUSHs mentioned here… but again, no hook. It’s really a failing in my personal preferences, I suppose….

    Posted June 4th, 2010 at 2:09 am
  10. icarus Says:

    just a plug…reader MUD! in the ol’ SMAUG codebase, which was mostly coded from D&D 2nd ed i believe. my friends and i have tried to clean that code up some, though. but still! we love it dearly.

    Posted June 5th, 2010 at 2:31 pm
  11. False Says:

    I’ve been meaning to try out MUSH’s. I used to be an dedicater forum rper untill my old hagout went sour. Ive been wanting to get into tabletop and LARPing but havent been able to find any groups so a MUSH is probably my best bet.

    Posted June 7th, 2010 at 1:55 pm