July '98 Mud of the Month

In February of 1995, I started mudding. I spent a lil bit of time on another Trek place, and had some fun roleplaying, and eventually became admin there. For the most part, I didn’t like what I saw. So I moved on, trying two other Trek places. While the names and faces changed, the basic underlying problems remained the same. Little player problem, roleplay dictated from admin, players being manipulated by admin, or the god, sexual harassment of female players and a general lack of opportunity for women. Now mind you, I’m a 33 year old with a graduate degree, so, my perspective on some of these issues is significantly different than some of the kids who ran the other places. Not sayin these kids are evil (though some have a really messed up opinion of women), but these places and I, well, just didn’t mix. ๐Ÿ™‚

As a joke one day, a few of us got talking, and we decided to open a trek place. So, we got some generic muse code, and despite none of us knowing a thing about hardcode , managed to get the thing to boot up. We built a few rooms, but it wasn’t a serious thing. Then, a friend named Michelle Haimowitz (Tzporah), told me she and her significant other ran a small bbs named “The Sorcery Board” and if I was serious about running my own place, they’d give me a site to do it on.

Well, Tzporah’s about as loyal a person as ya could ever ask for in a friend, and we haven’t looked back since. We ditched the few rooms and code we had, and went to Pennmush, the old Star Wars server, and started creating.

The main goal of Strange New Worlds was to create a _game_. Some places go out of their way to claim they’re not a game, but a realistic “simulated environment”. Well, that’s fine for them, but real life is “realistic”, we wanted fun :). There were some serious goals though, besides just creating a place that would be fun. Above all, I wanted to empower players, and specifically, female players. I wanted to create a place where women had as much opportunity to succeed and become admin as guys do. I also wanted to create a mush where people were free to explore themselves, their imaginations, their fantasies, even their intellectual and sexual identities if that’s what they needed to do.

Take all that, and combine it with the anti-admin maverick attitudes of myself, Kris, Rhessa, K’vard, Gwen, the soothing influence of Chealsea, and the stability (one of us had to be sane ๐Ÿ™‚ of Tzporah, and the origins of SNW were soundly set in stone as being a MUSH dedicated to devolving power from admin to players, a place where women had an equal shot at admin posts and didn’t haveta ts anyone to get an admin job, a place where players could explore themselves fully without being intruded upon, where players had privacy rights, all while having a blast roleplaying in the exciting and fun Star Trek environment created by Gene Roddenbury (god bless him, for all his faults, his imagination was second to none).

Just after Tzporah and I put SNW up on the free site provided courtesy of B.J. Weschke and The Sorcery Board, Oliver Stoll (Gwen), a German computer science wiz got bored playing a ferengi sex slave on another mush, and said “hey Anna, let me do your hardcode” . Personally, I think naked ferengi are scary, but Ollie’s a cutie :). Anyway, not knowing a thing about hardcode, and being totally unaware that people could (and would) do bad things to a game for petty reasons, I said “sure”.

Best decision I ever made.

Ollie hacked the old Star Wars code, and took a badly outdated code base and allowed us to do some truly amazing things on SNW. His loyalty and hard work more than made up for his ferengi nudity, and he’s been our hardcode hack ever since.

SNW continued to grow, exponetially so during that first year. Everyone’s creative juices were at high tide, we were cutting edge, a rogue, counter culture anti-admin mush, we were Star Trek with an attitude . We made lots of mistakes, but if I had that first year to do over again, I’d do it the same way, it was a blast.

The players started to pour in. We built a large and dedicated player base, with a lil something for everyone. We picked up a few “years” after the first half of the Trek film “Generations”, where Jim Kirk dies, and have been heading towards Deep Space Nine at a pace of 1 Trek year per rl month.

Creating SNW was a real “revolution” in Trek mushes. We wanted something radically different, and we created it. Apparently we weren’t the only ones, as disaffected players from elsemush came pouring in, and claimed a part of SNW as their own.

See, one of the things we realized early on was that there were a large number of tremendously creative people who simply weren’t allowed to show their creativity on the other Trek places. So, we gave them the opportunity to express themselves and remake a portion of SNW in their own image. We have an extraordinarily large admin team because of this. If a player shows dedication to the game, and a willingness to share their creativity with others, we make em an admin and give them the chance they don’t get elsewhere.

A lot of this goes back to the founding philosophy of SNW, the “spirit” of the game. It’s a players game, a place for people to explore all facets of their personality, without real life prejudices, or the harassment or discrimination they find on other places. We’ve even taken chances on “trouble” players and nurtured them, and watched them develop into capable players and admin. That’s something we’re all real proud of, giving players who normally wouldn’t get opportunities elsewhere, the chance to show what they can do. That, in a nutshell, is the spirit of SNW.

As SNW grew (far, far beyond our wildest imaginations), we began to eat up more and more of The Sorcery Board’s resources, all of which were being provided for free. The Sorcery Board itself was also going through changes, no longer a bbs, but becoming a full web service company, and changing its name to Inet Images Worldwide. Beej and Tzporah stood by us, despite a number of attacks aimed at the mush which resulted in their business machine being hacked, and despite our rapidly growing appetite for their computer resources :).

As both SNW and Inet Images grew, it became obvious that running a major business and the game on the same machine wasn’t going to last for too much longer. So Beej made us an offer we couldn’t refuse, asking us to ask for donations from our players, and offerring us a free T1 connection, as well as paying for half the machine himself, and building it. In a show of just how much SNW meant to them, our players donated far more than enough money within a month of us asking, so that SNW got its own, dedicated machine on the net, with the continued support of Beej and Inet Images.

Having the stability of Inet Images has meant a lot to the game. Our admin and players have made good use of the generous sponsorship, and defined SNW as a mush where exploration and discovery, both roleplaying and real life in many cases, are not only tolerated, but encouraged. As each person claims a bit of SNW as their own, and redefines it in their own image, the sum of the game becomes that much better off for it.

So as SNW turns 3 years old this summer, with the help of Inet Images, those mentioned, as well as current Head Wizzie Aahalem (who I dump on so I can play the game sometimes :), as well as past head Wizzies tul and Raerdor, and a long list of current admin and players who allow their creative juices to flow, SNW will continue its quest to boldly go where no Trek mush has gone before…

And then some.

1. Does the administration also play Strange New Worlds as “mortals” when time permits? If so, what do you like best about the game from a players standpoint? Does the administration play on other muds as well?

Raerdor: The admin at SNW certainly play as normal characters — that is from where an overwhelming majority of the admin have been chosen from. What drew me to continue playing at SNW was the atmosphere: people having a good time, joking around, and the admin not taking their jobs too seriously. Several of the admin at SNW are known to frequent other MU*, but I’d guess most spend over half of their time at SNW playing.

MK: I enjoy playing on the MUSH as a mortal. In fact, if this weren’t an opportunity, I would feel no motivation to make SNW better as an administrator. It is because I was a player before an administrator and because I continue to be a player despite my admin role that I want to make SNW great.

The best part of the game as a player is that there are hundreds of different RP opportunities. In fact, the creation of RP opportunities is one of the primary jobs of the administration at Strange New Worlds. It doesn’t matter whether an admin works in code, hardcode, building, the regulation of OOC guidelines and ‘canon’, or the rare occasion of RP judging, the purpose of admin on SNW is to create RP opportunities. And _that_ is what I enjoy as a player.

Kae’ri: I’d say 95% of the admin team plays “mortal” characters … in many cases, multiple characters. ๐Ÿ™‚ I personally have one main character, and two NPC’s that I use to stir roleplay as necessary. I enjoy getting to know the players from their own level, rather than have that “Gee, you’re an admin” mentality to deal with. Mechanically, I think our character generation system is very flexible, and allows characters to pretty much do whatever they please here at SNW. As for other MUD’s, well, I don’t even have time for this one! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I gave up other MUD’s about six weeks after starting SNW, and I’ve never looked back.

2. Would you consider the staff of Strange New Worlds all to be typical Trekkies? Does the administration feel a noticable pressure to stick to the world created by the tv shows and films, or do you feel a sense of freedom to improvise as needed?

Kae’ri: I would say that we’re very atypical of the “Trekkie” stereotype. Most of our expression is played out here… there’s little need to dress up in public. That said, it’s hard to be sure, after all, it’s not like we all work together real life or anything. ๐Ÿ™‚ SNW has a policy to stay fairly true to most “canonical” facets of the Trek universe, but not slavishly so.

If there’s a good reason to be different, we’ll do it, especially if it makes things more fun for the players. For instance, it’s not much fun to play a Romulan if you’re truly canonical…isolation doesn’t make for good roleplay. So, on SNW, the Romulans are perfectly willing to trade and deal with other empires, but they’ll always think themselves “superior” to the other races.

Raerdor: I don’t know if you can pin down a typical Trekker other than the stereotypical one. I find the staff to be from all walks of life, with different values and different philosophies, but all share an affinity for the Star Trek universe as created by Gene Roddenberry. The beginnings of SNW strode quickly away from the canon timeline established by TNG after the sixth Star Trek movie. With that comes the freedom of improvising as needed, and we draw from the post-ST6 canon sources when we wish. The Ferengi and Cardassians appeared many years ‘earlier’ and in entirely different circumstances than they did as said in the television series, for example.

MK: The administration of Strange New Worlds is extremely diverse on this issue. Some of us believe we should stick to the TV shows, movies, and books as closely as possible. Some of us feel freedom to stray from them when it would create good RP. In some cases, because of the extreme diversity of the Trek material and the fact that it has many internal inconsistencies, we pick what is best for a role play environment and use it. In the area of ‘canon,’ player input is also highly valued. Sometimes a large number of players will suggest we change something to make it more ‘Trekkish’ and this is done, but when it comes right down to the wire, the claim we that a Trek MU* should be ‘realistic’ with regard to Trek is somewhat silly. Trek isn’t realistic, so we try to use what is going to be _fun_ but still relatively true to the theme.

3. Describe the mudding backgrounds of the people involved with creating Strange New Worlds. What factors contributed to the decision to create Strange New Worlds?

Anna: Weird, just plain weird ;). One of the things, that I often forget, is that for many of those involved with the production of Strange New Worlds, is that this is their first admin position, first real chance to influence the environment they’re playing on, their first real opportunity to be creative.

We pride ourselves on that. SNW was created with that in mind. That was one of the main reasons we opened — to create a game where everyone could be as creative as they wanted to be. And the backgrounds of those involved are a testament to that idealism. From my background in history, to an engineering student involved in the space program, from an arcitecht and a singer, to a computer scientist, to retail salespeople, its not so much what or who you are in _real_ life, but rather, where your imagination and talent takes you.

4. After browsing the Strange New Worlds website, it looks evident that your administration has embraced the web as a valuable component for the mush. Has your website helped attract new players to the mush, and has it noticably helped new players with getting started?

Raerdor: The SNW website as it stands currently is but a start. There are several plans to develop it further, to further integrate it into the game for training materials and graphical depictions for a variety of things that otherwise could only be described in a text-based game such as Strange New Worlds (like maps for adventures, ship designs, characters, and so forth). We haven’t really kept track of how many new players it attracts, but I would think at least a few newbies with little MU* experience. Most experienced players check out SNW because of something they heard from another player.

5. One of the more innovative aspects of Strange New Worlds is the exploration/unknown worlds and races, in actually bringing the “to boldly go where no one has gone before” Trek motto to the net. What does this consist of, and how important is it to the spirit of the game?

Aahalem and MK: This is essential to SNW. It is one of the primary RP opportunities we try to bring to the game and it is an area that is relatively untouched in many other sci fi MU* environments. There are always unknown worlds to be found, and for the players that seek them out and discover them, the RP that results can affect their characters for a long period of time and can change the course of the game. Players may choose simply to explore a new world, while others may want to colonize the planet to add to their Empire’s resources. Which ever the case maybe, players can expect a TP to be scheduled for those who discover the Unknown Planet.

Raerdor: In a universe like ours with several empires, we encourage exploration and similar adventures as an alternative to the wars that frequently arise between the different factions when things “get too dull”. In accordance with our view of Roddenberry’s intentions when he created Star Trek. War might be a principle story line, but it was never meant to be a major theme of Star Trek: exploration of one’s self, one’s companions, and the infinite unknown is important. Several of the adventures the admin help orchestrate for our players include conflict, but we imbue the spirit of exploration whenever we can. New worlds to discover, new races to encounter (some friendly, some not), all adventure for the vessels Starfleet may send out or the pirates looking to establish a remote base or the claws of the Klingon Empire as it strives to expand. This is important to us, as we felt it was important to Star Trek.

Anna: One of the aspects of Star Trek that previous muds have failed to bring to life, is that of seeking out new life and new civilizations, boldly going where no one has gone before, we’ve all heard the mantra, but that just wasn’t happening elsemush. This is one of the areas we’re most proud of. Our players interact with unknown races, discover worlds of mystery and intrigue, and get pestered and bothered by not always friendly space creatures and unexplained phenomenon. It’s one way we’ve managed to differentiate ourselves from the rest of the Trek games on the net. The unknown, the mysterious…its kinda fun.

6. Players on Strange New Worlds have a large and varied selection about the type of roles they can play, as well as a large number of races to choose from. Can you tell our readers a little about this?

Hermes: The basis of any mu* where roleplaying is the main thing you do is, what exactly do we roleplay? SNW has twenty different races or varieties of races for roleplaying. Varieties of a race are the same race in physical appearance, but they are roleplayed differently. An example of this is Vulcan. We all know Mr. Spock from TV who was a Vulcan who followed the path of logic and was disciplined. On SNW we allow both disciplined and undisciplined Vulcans. These may both be Vulcans, but they are roleplayed quite differently. The same is true of Joined and Un-joined Trill’s. SNW Is also committed to adding more races if our player base wants them. Since SNW has opened we have added Trill’s, Pakleds, Bajorans, Cardassians, and Ferengi.

Players who have read books which contain different races in them have inquired as to if they can be added to SNW TrekMUSH, we of course ask them to write up a file which describes the race and how it is organized (It’s history, government, beliefs, military and fashion) called a primer file. Players who do this often have their race added. Some are not added for general use but simply for Tiny Plots which will introduce the race and let certain players who are knowledgeable create fun roleplay for the rest of the mush population. SNW also allows players to play the role that they want to. There is no forcing people to be in the military or government. Players are encouraged to play a role which they want, within reason of course, which is important to maintaining a healthy and lively roleplay environment. After all, it is just a game and maximizing the fun of our players is the job of us administrators. Providing the maximum number of roles and races which a player can choose from is one important part in diversifying the mush.

7. Strange New Worlds has created an economic system which is fully integrated with its space system. This in itself is a significant accomplishment, but the system is also constructed to reduce the traditional influence “empires” have over economic matters and give individual players far more authority and power in roleplaying. What was the thinking behind these innovative designs, and what kind of impact does it have on the game?

Kartoffel: The whole point of the economy that I designed and coded was to bring the players something that ‘made sense’. The older econ was a vague system of simple trading and was more or less meaningless for the other gameplay. The new econ attempts to integrate trading, raw materials, manufacturing, and consumption, thus enriching econ RP. It is also tied into politics, as planetary and empire governments have control of many aspects of the economy, from setting taxes to allocating planetary resources. The econ further impacts the space system, where ships can be designed and bought only if empires fully supply their planets. The impact is to promote the non-violent RP of econ and politics from the MUSH backburner so that econ and political RP is more realistic and more important to other forms of RP.

8. Over the years, MUSH admin come and go. Some of you have been with Strange New Worlds for a long time, and some since the very beginning. Why are you so dedicated, what is it about SNW which makes you volunteer the effort over such a long period of time, and how has Strange New Worlds changed since you’ve been a part of it?

Chealsea: Well SNW Will celebrate 3 years on the net in August, and we have grown so much, and so many changes, as a Charter member I feel that this game is on the cutting edge. The staff has changed, people came and left, empires have changed hands, an views changed. But the main reaosn I have stayed all this time is the family I have, I have been on games where there is no sense of ‘community’. Here you can be a part of a family from day one, We recognize creativity in people with awards, and excellent RP. Unlike other games we strive to make the player important, and I also feel SNW is not a dark place to be, but bright and welcoming. I am here because I love to help people, and bring out the creativity in them, and the Role Play cannot be beat. Our staff constantly creates TP’s that boggle the mind, and get large groups involved. The biggest change would be attitudes, everyone has thier own opinion, and when they clash it can get nasty, but the ties turn and a new era emerges, with new admin or retired ones, we are more experienced now running a game whereas at the beginning we wondered okay ‘how do you create a character again?’ We were admin newbies, and now we have embraced change and become Admin who don’t always act like admin, we make sure that the player is able to RP with what they need.

MK: MUSH admin come and go for lots of different reasons. I have been an admin at SNW for most of its existance and the reason I have stayed is that I believe in the ability of SNW’s owner, An’na’delilah to have the vision needed to make SNW the best Trek MUSH out there. A few very close friendships have also arisen from my stay at SNW. My friends keep me here. As for changes, there have been many. SNW often receives good innovative ideas from players and implements them, which makes the MUSH very dynamic. Econ has shown some of the most significant growth in terms of the game’s history, but character generation has as well.

9. Strange New Worlds has made an active effort to create roleplaying in a Star Trek environment for non “space jocks” as well as the traditional space combat roles found on other scifi mushes. Can you tell our readers about some of the innovative aspects in politics, diplomacy, the economy, and other more “social” roles, and what they add to the mush?

Kae’ri: It would be easy to make SNW a “Space Jock” MUSH, but the admin team has always made it a priority to avoid it, by stimulating roleplay in new ways. Elections are won and lost by “paid advertisements” posted to a public newsgroup – these “ads” can be bought by anyone who has the funds. and creates lots of opportunity for political roleplay. The econ system makes it horribly expensive to effectively wage war. This not only creates more diplomacy opportunities, but it also makes the wars more fun when they do occur!

Kartoffel: With the new econ, political RP became much more significant, allowing political-types to debate (RP), and then make, truly effective decisions involving the economy of their planets and empires. This system also set up many areas for non-violent, economic conflict between planets and their empires, between planets within empires, and between empires. The econ system also channels a lot of money from empire coffers, where it usually resides on a MUSH, into the players’ hands, thus giving players more choices for RP than violence.

Anna: But there is sumfin so primal about blowing stuff up that it makes a grrl smile…. ๐Ÿ˜‰

10. What is the “spirit of Strange New Worlds”? What makes SNW such a special place?

Chealsea: Friendship and community, roddenberry had a vision of a ship flying to strange new worlds, we went one step fursther and through Role Playing and Mushing we can take you to a new planet, turn you into a blue-green blob, let you run a government, and then discover you are not alone in the unverse, there are odd food like creatures who move around on two stick like things and have multicolore skin that they can shed and change. Like a reversal of the X-Files. SNW is strong, and will last a long time

Kae’ri: The spirit of SNW is “Freedom”. The freedom to create a little piece of a favorite universe, and to affect it in a meaningful way. That, and the people, make it special here.

Kartoffel: The thing that I noticed about SNW right away and in contrast to other MU*s where I was playing was that the admin were available and helpful right from the start. Not only were they around to answer questions from a newbie about general MUSH issues, they were ready to find me the kind of IC/RP position that I wanted in order to have fun. Furthermore, the admin allowed my interests in coding and econ to develop to the point where I was charged with developing the new econ for the MUSH; this opportunity is rather unheard of on other MUSHes where the admin jealously protect their own turf. Overall, SNW is more cooperative, more open, and more friendly than other MU*s I’ve visited.

Raerdor: Our spirit, I think, is the freedom to play in Roddenberry’s vision.

MK: The spirit of SNW is the players. It’s always been that way. Many of the admin, myself included, hate admin. We simply do our jobs because they are a necessary evil.

Anna: I like to think the spirit of SNW is a ruthless libertariansim. Don’t hurt anyone else, and you can be anyone, or anything, you want to be, regardless of gender, race, age or colour. The freedom to be what’s inside you, to experiment, to create. That’s the spirit of SNW.

Rhekuinh:

There are many reasons I like Strange New Worlds. It has a wide variety of empires, races, and everything else. I had played some online games before, but when I came onto SNW, I was amazed at all the work that had been done. Each planet has it’s own economy, and has to feed it’s population and supply themselves with all the necessary goods. The ships and space, all the goods and virtual items are amazing to me, and I can only imagine how many hours of work were put into it. The politics and everything that goes on is extremely interesting to me, and makes it that much more fun. The ship combat is detailed, as is the land combat. Almost everything coded, from goods to television. But this is just skimming the surface. The real reasons are far deeper.

The real reason I play SNW is that it is a place where I can interact with other people, without the physical constraints that would be a problem in real life. I can talk with other people about the happenings both in real life and on the MUSH. I can carrry on relationships with people and not have to worry about age, or anything else. The only thing that matters is my personality. In real life, I cannot truly speak as I feel, and life should not be this way. I can be whoever I want here on SNW, and say whatever I want. That is something that I love. I don’t have to be what society tells me to be, and I can be myself. The people are friendly, and I can joke around and have fun. The administrators are helpful and willing to help whenever help is needed.

And if you lose a friend on SNW, it seems somehow detached because I never saw the person face to face. It is just a game. The game of life. That is why I love SNW. It is my second life, where I can get away from my other one.

Laera:

In general we got the coolest Site admin. Best coders and helpful admin i’ve seen. Everyones willing to help and you can cause some trouble ICly without getting in it OOCly (Usually) ๐Ÿ˜‰

S’tmok:

I dont think I can express the success of this MUSH in just one letter, but the fact is it is great. There are helpful people and a great administration that ensures the MUSH flows smoothly. But what is most significant of this MUSH is its players. I tend to think of the players and admin as a close-knit family that cares for one another. Besides the fact that when one lags we usually all lag, we all feel the pain together and we talk about problems besides that of those pertaining to the MUSH. But the gaming aspect of the MUSH is also tops. The space code is the best I’ve ever seen for a Trek MU*. No! Im not saying that because its a nice thing to say, I’m saying it because it allows so many things to happen in space and encourages RP, not just a hack’n’slash code to kill everything. Also, I would like to single out our admin. The admin here are superb. They are experienced caring people who know what they are doing, at least most of the time =), and greatly contribute to this MUSH and are constantly building on it. I dont know how many updates they post on the bulletin boards a week talking about how they’ve improved the MUSH and added a new system. Its just great to have a constantly improving MUSH. I hope this has shed some light on anyone who reads this on how Strange New Worlds MUSH is the best and cant be beat anywhere anyhow. Thank you for your time and patience — Woody

T’nara:

Strange New Worlds is an anomoly in the world of Star Trek MUSHes. Though possessed of excellent space and combat coding, its primary focus is now and has always been been the cultivation of excellent role playing opportunities. This it has accomplished through a variety of clever policy initiatives that have resulted in innovative coding practices. Chief among these is a detailed character generation process, in which characters must possess certain skills before they are allowed to perform certain acts. For example, the code simply will not allow non-pilots to fly ships, or Vulcans to exist except as pacifists (to some degree). Having said that, the code also provides incentives for excellent RP, in that players may be nominated by their peers for the quality of their RP to receive additional chargen points that allow for the attainment of additional skills. This, combined with the ability to be taught new skills ICly, means that characters are never stagnant. Likewise, the multiplicity of different jobs available in the civilian sector is really quite remarkable for a Star Trek-themed MUSH. At present, interest in civilian positions is so great, that this may be one of the few ST MUSHes where Starfleet actually has to actively recruit players.

Furthermore, the realistic new economy code is far and away the most intricate system I’ve seen on a Star Trek MUSH. Players can look at it from a variety of different levels (individual merchant, planetary government, and empire government), and political accountability (at least in the Federation empire) makes the management of these resources a vital concern that cannot be ignored, if one wishes to keep one’s job. This constant battle with the press and other beings wishing to take your job from you, provides an area of real, contested RP that many other Star Trek MUSHes forget when they simply make the Federation wizard also the Federation President.

At least insofar as the Federation is concerned (again, I have limited experience with other empires), this political dimension to the management of the economy makes SNW in some ways a ST MUSH for non-Star Trek fans. Anyone who has a RL interest in politics in general will find the environment created by SNW Federation code a stimulating one. There are REAL political campaigns here, replete with advertising, debates, mudslinging, intrusive press, scandals–the whole lot. In fact, if the new politico-economy code has a fault, it is that it has created SO MANY RP opportunities, we don’t have enough regular players to man the system adequately, and some of our characters get overburdened with the work load. This situation is GREAT news, though, to anyone looking for real responsibility in a complex political environment.

Finally, one of the more contravertial aspects of SNW is the fact that multiplaying is allowed. On most ST MUSHes, you can only have one character, period. But on SNW the limit has not so much to do with numbers but with a concept: you can have no two characters whose lives materially intersect. In all honesty, I don’t like this ruling. I’m a bit of a traditionalist at heart, who beleives that you should concentrate your efforts on playing one character really well. However, this feature makes SNW what it is to a lot of our players: a place where you can be free to explore. The upside is that SNW does have more bursts of creative RP than any other MUSH I’ve played, probably because players don’t get overtired playing the lone character. The downside is that unfortunately information learned as one character is inevitably used by another character, played by the same person. There are rules in place against this, and most such incidents are retconned, if proven. But that doesn’t stop the fact that your ‘brilliant plan’ that you revealed to Starfleet Command, might end up OOCly in the Klingon High Command (because, say, Captain Jefferies is also General Qo’tok). And you really can’t use that same ‘brilliant plan’ again, even the Klingons’ actions against it were retconned. In other words, the price for being able to sample other empires is that sometimes the element of surprise is lost.

SNW is thus a carefully-coded MUSH with plenty of RPing opportunities and incentives, and considerable creative freedom for its players. It’s a place where you can ‘blow up Klingons’, yes–but it’s also a place where you can write a news article about the ‘brave battle of our Starfleet’, have a debate in Council about the wisdom of blowing up Klinks, have the press subsequently discover that the President personally ordered the mission because of an old vendetta against the particular Klingon captain, impeach the President for murder, sell souveniers of the impeachment trial, and have a multi-party electoral campaign to replace the bum. And, because of the sheer number of jobs available, it only gets more interesting the more people who play. So make SNW your next stop on the MUSH trail. And see why it’s so hard for us all to log off.

T’nara cha’Sopek PRIME MINISTER of VULCAN LEADER of the CONSTITUTIONAL PARTY

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