This section is intended to help a new player (affectionately termed 'newbie') get started on Elendor. If you are both new to MUSHing and to Elendor, start at the top and work your way down. If you are a veteran to MU*s, feel free to use the table of contents to jump down to more unfamiliar territory.
What is a MUSH?
MUSH stands for Multi-User Shared Hallucination. It is a kind of text-based online game, usually following a particular theme, where players roleplay (a type of interactive storytelling) with one another, or engage in combat, or other activities depending upon the type of game the designers (called Wizards) wanted to create. Elendor's theme is Tolkien's Middle-earth, set roughly in the time between Bilbo's farewell party (TA 3001) and the War of the Ring (TA 3019). There are many types of text-based online games on the 'net, going by other acronyms such as MUD (Multi-User Dungeon), MUX (Multi-User eXperience), etc., and they each have their own specific theme and focus. Collectively these Multi-User online games are referred to as MU*'s.
What does it cost?
Nothing -- zero, nada, zip, zilch. Elendor is free to play, and always will be. There is nothing to buy, there is no monthly fee, there are no costs of any kind. It may sound hard to believe, since there are so many pay-to-play games out there, but there really is no catch.
Elendor runs exclusively on donations and its maintainers are all volunteers. Most of these volunteers are Tolkien enthusiasts, programming hobbyists, academic researchers, or persons with an exceptional interest in roleplaying games; often it's a combination of these traits. These generous individuals offer up their time and abilities in order to support a place where fans of J.R.R. Tolkien and his works can meet with other like-minded fellows, and engage in creative writing, interactive storytelling, scholarly debate, or just plain old-fashioned fun.
To connect to Elendor (or any MU*), you need a client program. No client program gives you any advantage as far as the game play goes, but some are far more convenient to use and a lot nicer to look at than others. The easiest to get (but the least convenient to use) is the telnet program that you probably already have on your computer. All versions of Microsoft Windows, Mac, and UNIX ship with a simple telnet application. Click here for step-by-step instructions on finding it and using it.
If you'd rather download a program that looks nicer and will probably give you a better overall experience, use your favorite Internet search tool to look for a "MUSH client" that works for your particular operating system. Install it according to the particular client's instructions, and then configure it to point at Elendor:
Host: mush.elendor.net Port: 1892
Some clients also allow you to enter a name and password for your character. For now, leave those fields blank; you will want to fill them in after you've connected for a first time and created your character. If you are asked what type of game you are connecting to, select "TinyMush".
Once you finish entering the requested information, you'll be able to connect to your newly defined world. Do so, and you'll see the Elendor login screen:
Welcome to ____-------____ ____ ____ __ ___ __ __--~~ ~~--__ / / / /| / / \ / / / \ / \ /__ / /__ / | / / / / / /__ / /\__ __---~~~---__ __/\ / / / / | / / / / / / \ + ~~-_/__ __\_-~~ + /____ /___ /____ / |/ /__.' /___/ / / | ~~~---~~~ | + Founded + The Original Tolkien Middle-earth MUSH! \__ October 1991 __/ ~~-____ ____-~~ Running: PennMUSH 1.7.1 pl3 with Elendor Mods ~~~-----~~~ This world is Pueblo 1.0 Enhanced Website: http://www.elendor.net Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Your Wizards are: Feandril and Sauron. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- Use "create <Name> <password>" to create a character. Capitals count. Use "connect <Name> <password>" to connect to your existing character. Use "connect Nomad nomad" if you just want to look around. Use "QUIT" to logout. Use "WHO" to find out who is online. Have fun! Don't use <> or " or Tolkien names please. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
The login screen contains instructions on what to type to create a new character. Specifically, you will want to type the word 'create' followed by the name you wish you to use for your character, then a space, and a password you will remember. For example:
create Bingo P@ssW0rd
Your name can be up to 16 letters long and can be anything you choose, but do not try to pick a name from the books, please. You can change your name at any time, so don't worry too much about it just yet. If a name you want to use is taken, just pick a different one!
After that point, you'll be logged into the game and you'll be at the beginning of the character creation sequence. That's where you choose a species, a culture, and make other customizations to your character. You'll get plenty of help from the online documentation and from other players at that point, but if you'd like to get a head start on things, feel free to read up on the different species and cultures available!
One final note on character selection -- even though your choice of culture will affect your experience, there's a lot to be said for just picking one and trying it out. You can always change your mind later if you decide there's something you don't like about your initial choice, and Elendor allows you to play multiple characters, so you can enjoy nearly as many character concepts as you can handle! If you're not sure which culture to join, feel free to just pick the first one you see that looks interesting and follow the online instructions to join.
If you're looking for a quick refresh on commands, take a look at our Intro helpfile.
IC vs. OOC
One of the first concepts you need to understand before you can begin role playing on Elendor is the difference between being In Character (IC) and Out Of Character (OOC). As a player, you have the ability to set yourself IC or OOC. When you want to role play, you need to be set IC. Any other time, you should be set OOC.
Elendor is a very social place, both IC and OOC, and you'll probably hear lots of people talking with one another on chat channels outside of roleplaying. Most of your time as a newbie will probably be spent OOC; you'll learn the ropes, ask questions, chat with other players, and even watch people roleplay if you'd like! When you feel ready, you'll be able to set yourself IC and start to roleplay on your own -- of course, if you ever have any problems or questions, you can always type '+locals' to find out who your local admins are for your culture who will be happy to assist you.
The distinction between IC and OOC is very important, especially in a world like Elendor where many people have read the books and know the story as well as they know themselves. They probably know secrets about the characters that appear in those books that would not be known by someone who really lived in Middle-earth. It is your responsibility to measure what your character knows ICly.
For example: If you have read the Lord of the Rings series or seen the films, you probably know a great deal about Aragorn. Yet most of the people in Middle-earth knew very little about him. If you are playing a rider of Rohan and Aragorn walks up to you, you would have to remember that you don't know him as the heir to the Kingdoms of Gondor and Arnor, and leader of the Dunedain -- instead, if you had never met him before, you might see him as a brigand or someone who was a threat to your King or homeland! The ability to distinguish between what YOU as a person might know, and what your CHARACTER knows, is a fundamental skill of good roleplay.
In general, things you learn by methods that are OOC (reading books, exploring while set OOC, chatting on public channels, paging other players for information, using code to check on other characters) should be forgotten when IC.
Roleplay & Setting
If it wasn't obvious by the number of times it was mentioned above, Elendor (and many other MU*s) are based on roleplaying (RP). Very simply, it means playing a role. Your skills at acting and writing are useful, and may very well be given a good exercise. The idea is to try and learn as much about the character you play, and use that to guide your decisions as that character. The better you are at it, the more likely that others will want to RP with you. People who really show a great skill at it are likely to become feature characters if they want.
Remember that Elendor isn't a game you attempt to win -- it's a world you're attempting to experience.
As mentioned at the start, Elendor's timeline is set in the period between Bilbo's farewell party and the War of the Ring. We accept as past history all the events which took place in The Hobbit, along with the first chapter of The Fellowship of the Ring (which describes Bilbo's farewell party). After that, events on Elendor may begin to diverge from the narrative in the books. While we make every attempt to keep to the "look and feel" of the books as accurately as we can, even the most zealous of Tolkien enthusiasts would probably concede that duplicating the exact content and environment down to the last detail would neither be entirely possible, or desirable.
Imagine, for example, a MU* where in order to keep your character alive, you have to connect three times a day (more if you're a Hobbit) and execute an "eat" command. It might be accurate but it would be very tedious and boring. Similarly, we could force the character of Gandalf to do and say exactly what is written there word for word all the time, but that would no longer be roleplay, it would be reciting an already-written narrative. An exact reenactment of the events and environment of the books is hardly the intent and inspiration behind creating a MU* to simulate involvement in Tolkien's imaginary world. Reenactments make entertaining theater for the audience, but in MU*ing the actors *are* the audience. As such, most MUSH players wish to participate in the shaping of both the present and the future.
So while we avoid replaying the plotline of the books exactly, roleplay and other events on Elendor are closely guided by the themes of the story. This ensures that the game does not develop an "unTolkienish" feel. There are certain aspects of Tolkien's writing (the fantastic peoples and character personalities, the sweeping backdrop of mythological history, etc.) which are essential to any online simulation of his vision. Those essential elements which comprise the "look and feel" of the Tolkien universe, including all of the historical events which precede the Lord of the Rings, are what we attempt to preserve in every detail. All of the peoples and cultures of Middle-earth and all the characters of the books are as you know them from the books. They all have the same appearances, personalities, faults, skills, and objectives as the books describe. And although there are other characters here (played by people like you) who did not appear in the books at all, these characters are consistent with the "look and feel" of the genre, as described above. This means that anyone who plays here could quite easily one day find themselves face to face with Gandalf or Aragorn or any of your other favorite characters from the books! That makes it much more exciting than playing in a world where you already know everything that happens just because you've read the books.
As a final note, as we are set in a "slice" of time from Tolkien's world, some major events (such as the capture of Gollum by Sauron) directly precipitate the Ring War, and thus will not be played on Elendor. The same logic goes for any other plot which would fundamentally and negatively alter the game for future players -- you shouldn't run a plot that results in the destruction of Bree and the death of Aragorn because then no future player could reside in Bree or encounter Aragorn. We do not feel this to be an onerous restriction; there are so many exciting things to do in Middle-earth that it's doubtful you'll lack for interesting plots. The only real limit, of course, is your own imagination.
Enjoy the game!