What is a MUSH?
- MUSH stands for Multi-User Shared Hallucination, or sometimes Simulated Hallucination. In either case, it is a text-based virtual world in which you take on a character and cooperate in a multi-user environment to recreate a fictional situation. It is much like taking part in the telling of a story, with your character being part of that story. The actions your character undertakes reflects on the world and other characters around him — it is a highly reactive world in this respect.
- In order to make the environment "real" to other players and their characters and respect that they also live within that world, each participant is responsible for remaining within the general theme of the game. Players are asked to read +news theme for guidelines on what is considered thematic, and what is not.
Communicating on a MUSH
- The main thing that people do on a MUSH is communicate with each other, whether through IC (In Character) or OOC (Out Of Character) means. Because of this it is very important to learn how to communicate correctly. To see whom is about to talk to you can type WHO, or +where to see where people are on the grid (the game world) or off grid (OOC areas).
- There are four basic ways to communicate with people: Com channels, pages, Say, or OOC.
- Channels: Many of the people on WHO will also be on the public and/or newbie channels. To see what channels are available type @chan/list. You can see who is on a specific channel by typing @chan/who [channame], where the channel name (as indicated in @chan/list) is inside the brackets . To speak on a channel, type +[channame] (your message); for example, +new Hi! will return: Hi! on the newbie channel. For more information than you ever wanted to know on the channel system, type help @channel in-game.
- Page: If you want to speak with one specific person, but don't want your message or question broadcast to the whole MUSH, then you want to use page. Page is a private form of communication. To page someone, type page (person)=(your message). The page command can be abbreviated to simply 'p'. (Person) should be replaced with the name of the person you are trying to page. Again, don't type the parentheses. When the person pages you back, you will either get a message like: "Joey pages: (message)" or "From afar, Joey (waves, sticks his tongue out, jumps, whatever)". It is also possible to page a group of people. In this case simply type p (person) (person)=(your message). You can page what we term 'emotes' also, such as 'Guest waves excitedly to Joe!' by typing: p joe=:waves excitedly to Joe! You can experiment in-game with these commands by paging yourself.
- Say: Another way to communicate is with the Say command. This command won't work to communicate with everybody on the MUSH. It only works for people who are in the same room with you. Again, you can type +where to see where everybody is. Also, typing look or l for short will show you what room you're in, and who and what is in the room with you. If you want to say something, simply type say (message). Everyone in the room with you will hear you. This form of communication is primarily used in an IC context, and encouraged to be avoided during OOC discussions. You will learn more about IC and OOC later.
- OOC: This last way to communicate is only done in an Out Of Character (OOC) context, when players need to discuss things out of roleplay perhaps relating to their character, or even in general social chat. Only people in the same room as yourself will be able to hear your OOC conversation. To communicate in this way, simply type OOC (your message), though poses can be added by the use of a : before your text. For example OOC Hello! would produce the result <OOC> Guest says, "Hello!", whereas ooc :waves, "Hello!" would produce <OOC> Guest waves, "Hello!"
- Please do not be offended if you try to speak to somebody and they don't respond. Sometimes people may be working in another window or even be away from their computer when you try to talk to them. Even if WHO shows that they have not been idle for a long time, sometimes a player may have an automatic process running that keeps their idle time artificially low.
Getting around on the MUSH
- A MUSH is a virtual world, and within a MUSH there are "Rooms". A room may be something like a bedroom or a kitchen, or it may be something more like a Market Square or a stretch of dirt road. As mentioned earlier, if you type look you will see who else is in the same room as you, as well as what objects are in the room with you, and +where will show you which other rooms people are in (assuming they are not set unfindable). When you type look, you will also see a list of exits. If you type the name of an exit, you will walk through it (unless you are locked out) and you will find yourself in yet another room. When you first connect to Crossroads, you will be in an "Out of Character" area — the Alcove. This is where you'll set up your character. Later, when you go into the "In Character" area through the exit Out you will find yourself in the South hall of Gateway Castle, which will lead to the rest of the IC grid. The rooms there are, for the most part, more descriptive and have a spacial relationship to each other. Use the +compass command to get your bearings once you're out and about on the grid.
- Crossroads MUSH has a sophisticated 'walk to' system to help our players get around on the grid. You can type 'walk to' any location on the grid, as well as to any person. For example, if you want to go to the Great Hall, simply type walk to great hall from wherever you are currently. The autowalk system will take you there, stopping one room before any room that contains people. If you want to visit with Emperor Rourke, simply type walk to rourke. Keep in mind that certain characters (including the Emperor and other high-ranking characters) may be within guarded areas, and the autowalk will stop you if IC guards would not allow your character to pass into these areas.
What if I need help?
- It can be daunting connecting to a new MUSH, with an awful lot to take on at once. But there are friendly people out to help you — namely the staff and players! +admins will give you a list of any admin staff who are online at the time and can help you, and the newbie channel is there to ask people more generally. In addition there are many files for you to read that will in all likelihood provide many answers you may be looking for. In summary, the following commands will connect you to help files, or a list of people who will help you:
- help (General MUSH help files)
- +help (Crossroads specific help files)
- +news (Crossroads specific game information)
- +admins (If there are any wizards or staff connected, this shows them. You can always ask a staff member for help.)
IC versus OOC
- Within a game there is a separation between what is deemed to be IC — In Character, and what is considered OOC — Out Of Chracter. The reason for this is that sometimes people will need to act and speak with their character, in the context of role play going on (hereafter referred to as rp), and at other times will need to talk as players, not as their characters, in an OOC context. It is very important to distinguish between what a character is saying and what a player is saying, as they are two very different things.
- OOC is you - the player. There are also a few specifically OOC rooms on Crossroads — the Alcove, the Lounge in the OOC Nexus and the Free Code room. Whenever you are in these rooms, you can be yourself. You do not need to act like your character, and it is not necessary to indicate that you are OOC - the very fact that you are in these rooms says that. The com channels, such as <Public> and <Newbie> or faction specific channels are also OOC. Even if you are in an IC location, anything you say on the channels is OOC and equally, anything else anyone else says should also be taken in an OOC context and not as a reflection of their character.
- IC is your character - the mage, the shop assistant or whatever role you have taken on. This character is quite possibly (and very likely) different to you as a person, with different motivations, personality traits and beliefs to yourself as a player. The same should be borne in mind of other characters, that they are most likely not like their players.
- What happens In Character should be kept In Character, and similarly Out of Character things Out of Character. Often in the progress of IC rp there will be occasions when two characters or more conflict in some part of a story or circumstance. This if handled correctly can be extremely fun and intense rp and produce some very unexpected but interesting and fun avenues of roleplay in turn. It is however extremely important to understand that while two characters may not get along In Character and may even be mortal enemies, this does NOT reflect on the players at all. Indeed, the players may be the very best of friends OOCly, and very friendly to approach or be willing to help. Characters will simply be reacting as per their own personalities and traits as will your own in turn.
- Another aspect of IC and OOC that is very important to maintain is what one character knows from their roleplay IC. There may be many an occasion when you come across information that you only know Out of Character, but that your character has not IC found out yet, perhaps for example from hearing something over an OOC com channel. It is important not to assume that because you as a player know about this, that your character does also. It will be up to your character to find out information through his or her roleplay, and only that information can be used by them. This can be one of the most difficult things to learn, and though the players and staff of Crossroads will be very understanding while you are learning, the use of information gained out-of-character in an in-character situation will be retconned - a term we use to mean removed from play. In short, admin will 'erase' any scenes where OOC knowledge has been used in an IC manner. When in doubt about information that you would like to use, you can always contact a member of staff for assistance in determining whether or not said information is admissible in roleplay. Even very advanced players sometimes need a non-partisan (i.e. staff) opinion on certain information they have learned.
- Similarly, if a person has two or more characters that they own as a player (known as 'alts' or 'alternate characters', the player must be VERY careful to make sure that any information shared is reasonable and appropriate to what is IC for the character, or this will result in what is known as alt conflict. Alt conflict can be a serious issue that is not looked upon well by other players and staff, so please consider any alts you have as entirely separate characters and treat each appropriately as to their own motivations, beliefs and personality traits. It is often a good idea (though Crossroads does not police this unless an accusation of alt conflict has been made) for your alts to have nothing to do with each other at all, even to the point of not being aware that the other exists. If you play one very well-known character, such as a member of the Imperial Family, it may be impossible for your alt to not know of their existence. However, it would be best for those two characters never to interact. There are plenty of RP opportunities on Crossroads MUSH - no one should ever have to entertain themselves!
So how do I make a character?
- Really it is very simple. There are a few basic things that need to be set first that will provide a skeleton for your character.
- @alias me=(your alias) — Essentially a nickname you might give yourself. This is especially important if your character has a very long name, or a two-word name. For example, if your name is Emperor Rourke, you would set your alias to just Rourke. That way, people can page you using either Emperor Rourke or just Rourke.
- @sex me=Male or Female — the gender you want your character to be. There is no third option on Crossroads MUSH.
- @channel/on Newbie — allows you to speak on Newbie com with +n (text). The game will automatically join you to this channel. However, should you turn it off later and wish to turn it back on, this is the command you will use.
- @lock me = me — A basic char lock that prevents other people from picking up your character.
- &duchy me=(Home Duchy) — (+news Draught, Green Fields, Guardians & Mists will help) This should be set to wherever your character was born.
- &fullname me=(Full name) — so people know who you are. This is your character's full name, NOT yours. Those of us with bad memories (like our co-headwiz, Amoret!) often use this just to remember what their character's full name is! It can also help if someone is roleplaying with you and /ought/ to know your full name, but can't remember off the top of their head.
- +age/set <years> on <month> <day> - to set your age. You can use +help +age to get more information on this command in-game.
- Looking at +wanted will help to give you an idea of what types of characters are wanted in play, which may help. Once this is all done then we get to the exciting part — creating the flesh of your character around the basic skeleton.
- @desc me=Your Description — this will tell people what you actually look like if they look at you. If you are not quite sure what to write as a description it can be helpful looking at other characters on the grid and getting an idea of how they have described their own characters. This can be done via the command +show <name>. A typical description may vary from about 5 to 30 lines long and should only really include information that people can readily see. Try to think of how you would describe a stranger to a policeman if asked and avoid actions in your description or insinuations about how others should feel or behave when looking at you. That is something that they, as their own characters, should have the right to decide and is not something you can set on their behalf. In general, things that you should consider included in your description should be gender, size, shape, skin (blemishes, scars and other notable marks), hair style and length, clothing and obvious objects carried.
- &background me=Your character's background - This should include information about who your character is as a person — where they grew up, what they are by profession and if anything else might be known about them publicly such as family connections. You do not have to place any personal information about them in this that would not be known about them and this can always be amended later on as your character develops further. You can see what other players have written in their backgrounds by using the command +finger <name>. Any background information is listed in a characters +finger attributes.
- Once you have all of these set and your character created, you are (assuming your character does not need an application for Nobility, magic, Knighthood or a feature character) free to start roleplaying with your new character!
What is this Roleplay all about, then?
- Roleplay is the interaction of two IC characters on the grid which results in a scene taking place. In that way it is much like the acting out of a play, with the characters actors in that story. If you want to get involved in such roleplay there are a few things you might do to get things started. First, +where is your friend. This command shows you where other people are on the grid, and you can go and join them (assuming that they are somewhere your character has reasonable access to. It would not be acceptable barging into someone's private bedroom, for example).
- Secondly, you can ask on com if anyone would like to rp with you. Public com or faction coms are a good place to do this (+pub for Public). People may or may not take up your invitation if they are able to but don't be offended if they can't. It may be that they are busy with RL (Real Life outside of Crossroads MUSH), or that they are already in a scene or somewhere they can not interact with your character (another Isle, or in the jail cells for example).
- Thirdly, you can page people you might know to ask them OOCly if they might be available for a scene, though again you always have to allow that their answer might be a no, at least for that particular time. If there is no answer from a person via page it is more than likely that the person is idle, or perhaps not even at the keyboard. For whatever reason, that has to be respected — it is not acceptable to keep paging them as that would border on harassment.
- Once you have found someone to roleplay with then the fun really begins. Usually someone sets the scene — it can be helpful for the person doing this to give an indication of the time of day, the weather involved and the general ambience in the room the roleplay is beginning in, as well as a description of what their character is doing at the time. For example, let's say you are playing a character named Billy. You enter a room that has two characters already in it - John and Janet. An example of a good scene-set pose would be:
- Janet is seated at a table in the tavern, with John standing beside a chair at that same table. It's early evening, and other people are scattered around at various tables as business starts to pick up for the night. The serving maid moves from table to table, bringing drinks and food to the tavern's patrons. Janet smirks at something said or done before Billy entered, and says to John, "You're mighty clumsy tonight, John. Why don't you sit down before you hurt yourself?"
- Then the players start to take turns in posing. Posing is a character's choice of action and speech in relation to events going on around them. For example, John's next pose might be:
- John laughs at what Janet just said, giving her a cheery wink for her tease. "Oh, as if you've never done anything that clumsy before, Janet!" he replies right back at her. He pulls a chair out and sits himself down at the table to join her.
- In this pose John is reacting to what Janet just said to him, replying to her, and reacting to the environment in sitting down at the table she is at. It would then be up to the other people in the scene to take turns posing, reacting to what the other people are doing around them or to the environment and activity around them. Whilst a 'pose order' is not necessary outside of conflict/battle situations, it can be a good idea and good rp etiquette to stick to a rough 'pose order' with players posing in set turn. The reason for this is that people may take different lengths of time to pose back, depending on RL, language ability and typing speed amongst other things, and it is only fair that they be given a chance to reply and have their turn.
- In this instance, once Janet and John have both had their pose, it is your turn. You might pose something like this:
- Billy enters the tavern, shaking off his cloak just outside the door to get rid of the excess water caused by the downpour outside. He steps inside then, nodding his head in greeting to Janet and John, before making his way to the bar to order a drink. "Evening," he says to Janet and John, as he passes by.
- In a smiliar vein, if you are likely going to be slow at taking your turn posing, perhaps because of demands on your RL, it is polite rp etiquette to warn a person that you may be interrupted or slow because of such factors, or if you do not have much time left in which you are free to rp. This allows other people to decide whether or not rp is feasible for them in turn. There are many people who do not object to roleplaying with someone who is slow because of OOC distractions (often they are themselves as well!) but some people prefer to rp in a more fast-paced environment. Please do not take offense if someone exercises their preference - it's nothing personal, just a difference in style and time available.
- Posing styles vary greatly between individuals and you are encouraged to decide what you like best for yourself. There is no right and wrong in this, though generally it is advised to give something for other people to respond to in your pose. It can be difficult for others to find something to respond to, for example, in a pose like this:
- Jason picks up his tea and takes a sip, his eyes shifting to look out the window.
- Other characters may assume that Jason wishes to be left alone, and therefore will not speak to him. A better pose if you would like to be included in roleplay would be:
- Jason picks up his tea and takes a sip, his eyes shifting to find the newest entrant to the tavern. He gives the newcomer a grin. "Good afternoon."
- As you can see, this pose will draw the attention of the other person, and perhaps start a dialogue between you.
- One of the best ways to get a feel for rp and what it is like though is to read past logs of other scenes on a game. We have logs on our Links Page and some of our player websites.
- People like to use abbreviations for terms on mushes, much like we abbreviate things RL. This thus is a list of roleplay abbreviations that you might come across to help make things a little clearer for you. These are primarily used in an OOC context only.
- ATM: At the moment
- AFK: Away from keyboard
- BBIAB: Be Back In A Bit
- BBL: Be Back Later
- BBS: Be Back Soon
- BRB: Be Right Back
- BTW: By The Way
- Desc: Short for Description
- IMO or IMHO: In My (Humble) Opinion
- IC: In Character
- LOL: Laughs Out Loud
- OOC: Out of Character
- OTOH: On The Other Hand
- Pose: What each player does to participate in RP
- ROTFL(MAO): Rolls On The Floor Laughing (My Arse Off)
- RP: Role Play
- Scene: Another word for an RP session
- TMI: Too Much Information
- VR: Virtual Reality
- Wizards: The MUSH administrators/staff are called Wizards