Hippoi Athanatoi

Looking Back, Part 1

Putting “part 1"in a title is always a dangerous step to take, as it implies a continuation which does not always materialize. I still find myself in an ambivalent relationship with my various blogs; I like having them for the occasional burst of opinions, but I find sustained usage takes effort. I am once again thinking of collapsing a few of them together and removing others, so we’ll see what the new year brings in that regard. For now, however, I did find myself with an urge to muse about my various MU* characters throughout the years.

I logged into my first MUSH sometime in August of 1995. I had obtained Internet only some months earlier (this was pretty much right when dial-up was launched in Sweden) and largely for the purpose of checking out this MUD thing I had read about in the second issue of Sweden’s first Internet magazine. I’d been interested in trying out role-playing for some time, but I knew no one in RL who played and I was (am) a bit of a shut-in, so on-line seemed like the perfect solution. MUDs ended up entertaining me for a couple of months, but the whole levelling up game was never really a good fit for me. After going on vacation during the summer and falling way behind those I had played a bit with (no such thing as mobile access, of course), I drifted away from MUDs and stumbled on my first MUSH. Riva MUSH, based on David Eddings books, was huge and empty. I wandered about for a bit but never got into any roleplay. Instead it was Tales of Ta’veren, the first Wheel of Time MUSH, that had the dubious honour of being the first game where I actually went IC.

I had fallen head over heels in love with the Wheel of Time setting and of course I wanted to play a channeler. Me and everyone else who created a female PC, and quite a few of those who created a male one as well. But when the game started, it was actually a soft opening, with no CG process or even an application process for restricted concepts in place. So, we were all in a bit of limbo for a while, which led to some rather terribly noobish plotlines with a lot of people trying to set up their characters to be in interesting positions for the eventual reveal of their special powers. Once the applications were opened, we ended up with a lot of wilders being discovered right under the nose of the White Tower, not to mention more than a few secret lost heirs to noble houses cropping up. It was quite clearly not an ideal way to go about things, but they had been in development for a long while and really wanted to open. Of course, that experience meant that we spent an even longer time in development on Blood of Dragons, but that’s another story.

In any case, the character I had created for Tales was more than a little influenced by another series of books, the Indigo series by the late Louise Cooper, a set of seven books which are far too poorly known. The main character of the series is called Anghara, though for much of the series she goes by the name of Indigo. She has white hair following the traumatic events of the first book and she is accompanied by a wolf named Grimya as she travels through the world to set right the wrongs she caused at the beginning. I added a “d” to the name to make it Angharad, I kept the white hair (though made her born with it) and I made her companion a horse instead of a telepathic wolf. She also had more than a bit in common with various heroines from the horse books of my youth in that she did not have much in the way of friends but of course she could handle the unruly horse that everyone else thought was hopeless. As a character for a newbie MUSHer, she was anything but ideal if played as I envisioned her, as she was supposed to be quite a recluse. Of course, the plan all along had been to get into the White Tower, where you have plenty of opportunity to interact with others whether your character wants to or not. That ended up taking a while, however, so cue more wild plots in Tar Valon in the meantime.

I am, on the whole, rather glad my first mushclient did not have a logging function. At least I had improved a bit by the time I moved to MUSHclient, though I still peppered my poses with far too many ....‘s.

After some time (maybe a couple of years?), Tales ended up feeling that the lack of a CharGen and various coded systems was a real problem, and so the game actually shut down for further development. During its absence, I ended up creating character number three on another Wheel of Time game, but she’ll get her own post, as will character number two. Eventually, Tales came back and Angharad with it, though I did take the opportunity to partially restart the character by retconning some of her RPed history. It was a necessary clean-up, but it also removed some of my connections to the character, so it was never quite a perfect fit after that. Still, I continued playing Angharad until Tales shut down for good. She was still in the White Tower as an Accepted at the time, but as part of wrapping up her storyline I determined that she ended up refusing her test for the shawl and left the Tower. I tried picking up from there when the sort-of successor Tales of Ta’veren II launched, but it never worked out.

One of these days (yeah, right) I’d like to have a little Wheel of Time MUSH where I could resurrect my characters from that setting, but unless I hire someone to run it for me it seems highly unlikely to happen. Plus, I’d have to read the last few books, and I really don’t want to touch the ones Sanderson did. But I do miss Angharad. Not only was she my first real MUSH character, she was also indirectly responsible for Westeros.org—if another player on Tales of Ta’veren had not recognized that I was borrowing from Louise Cooper’s books, I might never have become friends with Sparks, our valiant site host & site admin without whom the site would never have gotten off the ground.

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