What is a Mush?
MUSHing is one of the many entertaining pastimes that the Internet provides. A great deal of people all over the world enjoy MUDs and MUSHes, and spend countless hours conversing and Role Playing (RPing) with others.
A MUSH is a text-based, multi-user game on the internet that allows players to connect to the same environment and interact with other players. Typically, this interaction is roleplaying. Mush is an acronym which stands for: “Multi-User Shared Hallucination” or “Multi-User Simultaneous Hallucination” (depending on who you ask), which is part of the family of multi-user text-based internet games that include: MUD, MUCK, MOO, MUSE, MURE, and MUX. This family is known as MU*’s and has a large and dedicated base of fans for over the past 30 years. MU* is also sometimes known as MUVE (Multi User Virtual Environment).
To explain what a MU* is, the MU stands for Multi-User (online), and the D in MUD stands for Dungeon, as in Multi-User-Dungeon. As for what a MUSH, MUCK or MOO, or whatever you might come across, all you need to know is that the MU stands for Multi-User. The other letters don’t really matter. MUDs usually has some form of coded automatic combat system. In MUDs, you wander around from room to room, and fight computer generated monsters of the sake of gaining experience, and the higher in experience you are, the closer you are from being a Wizard. Wizards on MUDs have the ability to build their own areas and adventures for other to play in.
A MUSH focuses more on the writing ability and roleplaying abilities of its players. MUCK’s have a programming language that most users will never see or use which is call MUF, and a MUSH is the latest generation of MU*’s out there, next to MUX. Mushes and MUXes are very closely related since they both evolved from the same place. Also, MUSHes/MUXes are the easiest to use, and the most advanced. At least, in my own opinion.
Even with the birth of the World Wide Web, chat rooms, and even multiplayer graphical games such as EverQuest. MUSHing is still quite popular because of it’s diverse and flexible nature which is limited only by the staff who run it and the players who play on it.
Unlike chat rooms though, players on a MUSH can create their own character with their own descriptions, and shape their own environment. Build a house, a city, or even an entire world or universe. The possibilities are endless. As well, since a MUSH is text-based you don’t need a powerful computer that can handle high-end graphics. You just need a simple client program, an internet connection, and an imagination. You can wander from room to room, where the other characters may be, and interact with them in real time. This allows you to roleplay and interact with people in real time, online.
A MUD/MUSH is similar to Internet Relay Chat, or IRC (MIRC). A number of people all connect to one site/server with a client program and communicate in real time. What is so special about MUs is that you take on a character, with your own description and chosen name. You can wander from room to room, where other player characters may be, and interact with them in real time.
With MUSHes and MUCKs, usually you can have a bit more than just a shell (client) with a name and a description. You can create rooms, and exits leading to other rooms, and objects within these rooms such as puppets and enchanted or haunted objects. Puppets are objects that see what is happening in another room for you and are capable of performing limited independent action. You can create a dungeon or haunted castle (if it fits within the guidelines of the MU*). On a MUSH, you can pretty much do anything you can dream up, limited only by your programming abilities and imagination, and of course the guidelines and policies set forth by the administrators of the game.
MUCKs, and MUSHes come with their own special style of coding. For MUCKs, it’s called MUF. It is a complex coding language capable of powerful world building. For MUSHes, there are a basic set of commands. With them, you can program objects and rooms to respond to stimuli. With these commands, it is possible to build a pub, then program a bartender ‘object’ to serve drinks, take and serve a patron’s food orders, and even listen to or supply rumors to players who might ask for information.
MUSHes generally are organized as one of two types. Social and Roleplaying.
Social MUSHes are like web-chat-rooms. They exist for people to chat/socialize with one another. But not only can you just sit around and chat, you can also, if the MUSH staff allow it, build your own rooms, and create your own things, such as a medieval castle, with a garden maze filled with statues. It allows players to be creative and explore their own imaginations. Making much more than just a regular chatroom which is just a sum of the people who congregate there. Most social MUSHes have no theme, so what you build/experience there is up to you.
Roleplaying MUSHes are completely different. They usually have a theme or setting. Either based on a Movie/TV Show, or a Book, or even a Roleplaying Game. Movies like Dune, or Star Wars. TV Shows like Star Trek. Books like Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. All have a setting/theme that define what the MUSH is about and what limitations the MUSH has.
There are roleplaying web-chat-rooms. But they are unstructured, free-form and not as developed as roleplaying MUSHes. Where anyone can be anything they want, who they want. On MUSHes, there are rules to abide by, to define and set limits on who/what your character can be so that their is fairness and structure.
Effectively, a MUSH can be seen as an online roleplaying game. Because of this, some, if not most, of the roleplaying MUSHes out there are based on roleplaying games. One of the most popular theme for roleplaying MUSHes is the roleplaying games by White Wolf such as: Vampire the Masquerade, Werewolf the Apocalypse, and Mage the Ascension, Wraith the Oblivion, Changeling the Dreaming, and others.
These are known collectively as Original World or Darkness or oWoD MUSHes. Which incorporate one or more of these games, and set it in some real world, or fictional city. Cajun Nights one of these roleplaying mushes.
Cajun Nights is an RHost MUSH based on selected Roleplaying Games by White-Wolf Studios. This means that the setting is a dark, gothic modern-day world where there really are nasty things that go bump in the night. Notably “creatures” such as Vampires, Werewolves, Romani, Voodoo Priests, and Magi all hide in the shadows engaged in secret wars against each other and themselves. Hoping to keep their existence secret from the rest of the world.
The MUSH itself is organized and run by a small number of volunteer ‘staff’. Which are sometimes called Wizards or Royalty on other mushes, Sphere Leaders here on Cajun. It is their job to answer rules questions, maintain their spheres, help create stories for the characters to get involved in, and approve new characters, among other things. (See ‘+help Staff’ on the game for more info, or type +staff for a listing of online staff.)
But, I’m not into these Gothic Vampire Mushes!
As for the types of Mushes out there, there are quite a few of them. All with different themes. Such as social mushes, where you meet people and talk with them, and you may not want to roleplay. There are Roleplaying Mushes, ranging from Pern to Amber to White Wolf’s Vampire RPG to X-Men to StarWars to Star Trek. Some of the more popular themes out there are mushes based on Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, as well as other mushes based on popular fiction. As well, mushes based on roleplaying games such as the White-Wolf World of Darkness series of games. Whatever you like, you’ll probably find out there.
If you think you might be interested in the other themed mushes, then you can ask around the Mushes for the addresses of such places from other players. Or you may obtain these other addresses at other web pages. You will find a list of links to webpages that specialize in list of mushes.