What is a MUSH?

MUSH stands for Multi-User Shared Hallucination. You may be familiar with MUD servers; the concept and technology is similar in many ways. A MUSH is a server placed online to facilitate multi-player communication and interaction. Most MUSHes, such as Shadowrun Denver, are based around a central theme — in this case, FASA's popular Shadowrun role-playing game.

Unlike chat-systems such as IRC, a MUSH is based on a single server. The game itself is centrally located on that server. Players connect to the game using telnet or, preferably, a MUSH client of some kind. If you're not using some form of client, check out our web page at On there is a Java-based MUSH client if your browser supports it. Onlike software sites such as TUCOWS ( also have multiple software packages you can download to provide this function — check under 'telnet' or 'MUDs'.

Because of the interface, nearly all MUSHes are primarily text-based. That is, the format of the game is sent in a pure text format. There are no graphics or 3D rendering, unlike some of the newer MUD packages. Instead, the 'action' takes place in the mutual imaginations of the players.

What's So Cool About MUSH?

Online Roleplaying games are usually based largely on the concept of tabletop roleplaying. Shadowrun Denver uses most of the rules from FASA's Shadowrun series, with a few house-rules of our own. This game doesn't have coded monsters to fight — it's nothing like a video game or one of the old 'traditional' text adventures in that manner. The game doesn't 'do' anything on its own. It's the players that make it come alive. There's no real fun in interacting with the game itself. You need to find other players in order to have fun.

How is that an advantage? Well, you get the flexibility of dealing with another human. When you're in a scene, a live human is running the bad guys. What you say doesn't have to be picked from a list, and it isn't limited to just a series of keywords. Instead, your options are limited only by what would be reasonable for your character to do — and by your imagination. It leads to richer challenges, and there is often more than one way to resolve any given situation.

MUSH Basics

When you log on, you may either connect as a guest character, or you may create a character. You start out in 'Out-Of-Character' mode. Until your character concept is approved by staff members and you've selected your character's stats and abilities, you don't 'exist' in the fictional world yet. You're a player, but not a character. This distinction is very important.

You need to select an '@name' when you log on. It's named that because that's the command used to set it. Usually the first letter of each word is capitalized, just like a regular name. Funky capitalization schemes are discouraged. Your @name must be unique on the MUSH — once you have it, nobody else can have your name. It's what other people first see when they encounter you. You can set it to your character's first name, character's last name, street handle, whatever. It should be relevant to your character, however — it's what most people will probably end up calling you.

To set your @name, type (without the <>-signs):

@name me=<your new name>

Logging On

Unlike a chat room or an IRC channel, you have a unique identity established by your name, and it is protected by a password. Not even a wizard can find out your password; we can change it, but we can't read it. This is to help protect your security and privacy.

Once you're connected, you interact by typing commands. A command is a line of text followed by the [Enter] or [Return] key. It can be as long as you want (up to about 8,000 characters or so), and is all typed as one unit. This can be confusing on raw telnet, which is another reason we strongly suggest a MUSH client, which will permit you to edit your command before you send it.

Role-playing interaction is typically broken up into 'poses'. A 'pose' is a single 'action' by your character. A single 'unit' that occurs generally all at once. It describes something you say, or do, or both. Poses range from a single line to multiple lines, and can take multiple formats, but one thing is a constant: they describe to other players what your character is doing. For this reason, they should be as descriptive as possible.

Each pose must be typed as a single command. How many 'lines' it really turns out to be just involves how many lines it takes to print it out. With poses, there is an ideal length of from two to twelve lines or so. It varies by circumstances, but usually it takes more than one line to be 'descriptive enough'. If you make them too long, though, they can scroll off people's screens before they have a chance to read them.

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