Back in the '90s, playing RPGs online were a text-only affair. Pre-internet, starting sometime in the '80s, someone figured out how to create a multi-user game using modems, telnet clients and bulletin board systems and frankly functioned in way I'm not totally familiar with. They were text based, not unlike Zork, but with real people playing. These were originally called Multi-User Dungeons (MUD). As computer based systems commonly do, they evolved in a variety of ways. Later versions became MUSH (multi-user shared hallucination, if wikipedia is to be believed), MUX and a variety of other acronyms.
Sometime in the mid '90s, after my first WEG Star Wars product Flashpoint! Brak Sector was released, I discovered a "Brak Sector MUSH/MUX." It used my book as the basis for their online Star Wars d6 campaign. I never joined, but I'd check in every so often to see if it still existed. They eventually set up their own website at braksector.com (now dead). The game must have been the longest Brak Sector campaign running, because the site survived in some form into the 2000s.
Earlier this year, one of the admins dropped me a note to generously thank me for my contributions to the RPG, and to let me know that they've started a new MUSH called Star Wars X. It has just finished beta, and is free to play. For now, they use the d6 system, but other options and tools may be available later. More on that in a moment.
I took the opportunity to ask about a few details about the Brak Sector version, which I had wondered about for a long time. "Zen," or Wizard 4 as he was known, provided an unofficial, slightly hazy history of the site. I thought I'd pass some of it along:
- The original admins were in high school when they set up the game, and have gone on to computer-related careers.
- At its height, it had about 10-15 players on a slow night, maybe 30-35 at busier times.
- The game had a revival period with fewer players after the height of MUD style games.
- It was a "non consent" game, which essentially meant players could attack players at any time, which ramped up the tension. Most games were "consent," meaning both players had to agree to combat.
Star Wars X is inspired by the Dark Horse Comics Star Wars Infinities alternate universe series. So, players should expect things have changed dramatically in regards to movie canon. Zen provided the following details:
- Star Wars X MUSH is a text-based online roleplaying game, available
- Roleplay as your own characters in the game's main campaign set in
the Empire Strikes Back era, inspired by the ESB Infinities book by
Dark Horse Comics, in which Luke Skywalker dies from exposure after
the wampa attack.
- Create and run your own campaigns, play sessions, and groups in the
game's "campaign stages:" special areas set up where you can create
scenes and NPCs to play in tabletop-like games of your own devising.
Play other eras, alternate timelines, rulesets, or feature characters
from the movies/books.
- Groups are already roleplaying, but the game officially opens in
early June with the funeral of Luke Skywalker. Characters created
before the official opening are rewarded with a higher skill cap and
starting skill dice. This is happening this week.
- Uses the WEG d6 ruleset and system, but other systems are being contemplated.
- The game encourages writing and story development, while using the
tools of tabletop to build community.
- Fully coded space system, items, and more!
- You can connect and look around via our website or through a MU* client at sw-x.org port 4400.
- Find out more at http://sw-x.org
So, if you like this kind of game, or want to try it, check it out. Aside from the main campaign, other mini-campaigns may also be available.
And for those wondering about playing in an alternate universe style game, cartoonist Aaron Williams happens to cover exactly that in this week's FFN comic (and previous weeks...).