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September 2012
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Lorrie [userpic]
In Memory of DuneMUSH: December, 1992 - 25 August, 1994

Recently, the Sci-Fi Channel aired a six-hour miniseries called "Children of Dune" that covered Dune Messiah on its first night, and Children of Dune on its subequent two nights.

Yesterday, scrwtape posted a set of questions for discussion based on this, and my answers took up so damn much space that I thought I would post them here, as well. This post isn't about those questions directly -- but what I can say here that I couldn't on the list is exactly why I'm so well-soaked in Dunish memes.

This isn't my answers to those questions; not yet. This is me looking back at the old DuneMUSH days and explaining how that got me into heathenry.

Dune was the first set of works I took a real, serious, obsessively fannish interest in. I wound up getting involved in organized paganism
in general (and thus, heathenry in particular) indirectly because of Dune. I will therefore ramble at some length, although hopefully I keep things comprehensible to people who've never read the books.

But there's a good reason for it...

Once there was DuneMUSH. There've been several since, but dammit ours was the firstest and the bestest. camwyn and I tired of Pern-based MUSHes (Pern was to the early 90's what White Wolf is today), wandered in there, and stayed. Through DuneMUSH, I met llarian, unseenlibrarian, talek, lilmissnever, and probably others. Once I met countgeiger, I dragged him along behind me. I've since fallen in love and/or had relationships with more than one of the people on that list, and really I'm surprised that cadhla never played, but she didn't. It's complicated, I tell you. After an exciting career as the head of two different Great Houses I got to make up myself, The God of the MUSH decided the best way to keep an eye on me was to keep me closer to home... and so I was asked to play Chani.

Holy crap. I just did a web search for the old thing and found that someone interviewed Javelin (aka Paul Atreides, more formally Alan Schwartz). That get-together at Jack London Square? That was because countgeiger and I had come to town. I was there. We told 'em to put us down as "Atreides," because that we we'd all know who it was when they called it. "Party of millions" was, however, voted down by popular demand.

Further holy crap: one of my descs of Arrakeen Plaza was enshrined in a place of honor and linked to from the interview. I remember wheedling the code for a time-of-day system out of the coders and writing one static chunk and five time-of-day chunks. Current MUSHers may note how the fashion of descing has changed since, in several ways, from what it was a decade ago. A decade! Yikes!

I was on that game for the entirety of its run -- almost two years (1992-1994). More than just roleplaying in the universe, we had to make up an RP system as we went, create code and roleplaying systems out of almost whole cloth (much of the staff had come from a MUSH based on the Belgariad). No pre-built anything! No system! No books to consult! I wound up being a "judge" who could be called on to determine if IC actions were fair and appropriate for all concerned, and so I counted my trusty Dune Encyclopedia as one of my most treasured possessions and I liked it! We were only too happy to blow shit up, too: when someone accidentally shot a laser at the shield surrounding the hall, the judges declared that yep, that really did mean the building blew up, although they had a wee smidge of mercy and only maimed most of the attendants instead of incinerating all of us in a blaze of nuclear glory.

Anyway, we were what the slashgirls would call an "AU:" we started from the basis that Paul Muad'Dib Atreides had garnered the Imperium but somehow managed to avoid the jihad that scoured the galaxy. Chani gave birth to exactly one child, a son named Leto, and did not die in childbirth. The Fremen are still the Fremen, just on one planet and not rampaging. Now go from there.

Eventually, things stagnated, and the game closed. Perhaps Paul/Javelin/Alan had been wrong not to include the jihad, but it made for a very political game, which is better suited to what was essentially dice-free play. Oh, eventually we used a combat system, but it was never the end of the world.

I ate, slept, lived, and breathed Dune for nearly two years. I liked Lynch's movie, moaned how it had been cut, snickered at the Alan Smithee version, and still own a tape of the Fabled KTVU Cut (in an apparent labor of love, some engineer mixed both versions together so it All Made Sense). I howled with laughter for hours when someone gave me a copy of National Lampoon's parody, Doon. I still mourn the loss (probably through lending) of that Dune Encyclopedia. Because of that game, I learned my first large lessons about nettiquette, and about how people you've only know from online can be lying jerks or incredibly cool people. I learned how to MUSH code, but that I've mostly managed to forget (yay).

But I also still have several of the friends. I last saw Alan last July -- the same visit in which I last saw llarian, actually: at talek's wedding to tabbifli and JT. Hell, I still have a shell account on the descendant of the machine that was DuneMUSH's dedicated server because said server was a gift from countgeiger and I (Note to Self: Mail Boxes, Etc. looks at you funny for trying to ship a SPARC "pizza box"). The recent Dune mini-series emphasized the battle over the politics or the religious stuff, and had wacky costumes. I dealt.

Some part of me will still stride confidently through the palace halls of Arrakeen. Chani will stalk there always, unless she has heard once more the call of the sands, and is instead in Sietch Tabr, her proper home. You know, I once roleplayed leading several small Fremen girls through a harrowing rite of passage I made up...

But how does this all relate to heathenry? Well...

Alan invited countgeiger and I to his house (the Spaghetti Factory Was Involved), which caused us to move to California. I was a rather vague, none-of-the-above pagan when I moved to the West Coast, and Alan and I were driving around to... somewhere. We were near the Cognitive Science Building on the UC Berkeley campus wherein the MUSH's server was housed.

"Alan, I'm bored."


"I don't mean right now -- right now is fine and all, but what I'm talking about is more of a... pervasive ennui. A general malaise."

"Oh. Hm. Maybe you should take up a religion -- like Wicca or something?"

"Hm. Maybe. I'll have to think about it."

I am a contrary cuss, so of course couldn't take up Wicca and took up Asatru instead.

Alan eventually officiated Mike's and my wedding -- the one where talek was the best man and lilmissnever was one of the maids of honor.

I miss it.

I miss my characters, too: Her Grace, Mirella Guilford of House Guilford (first of my characters to be named Mirella), and her two pet panthers Lilith and Mephistopheles -- she was careless, and let herself get killed by rather stupid assassins who tried to pin it on House Pastran ("Pastrami!") by having a loudspeaker blare "WELCOME TO KANLY (Vendetta) WITH HOUSE PASTRAN!" So, of course, we believed none of it, and Houses Guilford and Pastran became even more closely allied. After her death, her Warmaster, one Corwyn Arrand (countgeiger), was given the house by His Majesty, Paul-Muad'Dib Atreides, and was eventually promoted to be his good right hand.

Marquise Elysoun Tiipoa'il was much more laid-back. It was she who was in the Great Hall when it exploded, which earned her a broken leg. Her house disdained the use of the normal anti-gravity technology because of its association with House Harkonnen's most infamous ruling Baron, as I recall, so her floaty wheelchair was magnetically levitated. Everyone had great tans, big smiles, as few clothes as possible, and cheerfully wore the traditional meter-long House machete at their waist. She eventually went back to her home planet, leaving her majordomo, Lamont, to act as her voice, but at least she lived.

And, well, everyone knows about Chani.

I miss it, but it's also good that it's gone and done. The world, as they say, has moved on.

Hail to DuneMUSH, its administrators, its server, its staff... and its players, without whom the rest would be pointless.

Ya hya chouada!
Long live the fighters!

-- Duchess Mirella Guilford
-- Marquise Elysoun Tiipoa'il
-- Lady Chani Atreides

(no subject) - (Anonymous)

This didn't work as well as it might've, 'cos at the time nobody outside of a small group of hardcore SW fans knew what a Sith was.

It was probably the only reason they let you get away with it, even. ;)

Grand Duke Nikos Musashi al-Qair Morotai Raichur, anyone?

D'y'remember the Beheading of Sinjin?

-- Lorrie

(no subject) - (Anonymous)

The katana allergy was probably why the house weapon of Tiipoa'il was a three-foot-long machete. Yeah, katanas got grace, but all those happy, flouncy Polynesians had an edge of horror-movie menace because of it, ha.

-- Lorrie

JT is kendaer.

Which brings me to my own small part of this, as JT taught sk4p a few things about magick, and Shawn in turn taught me Solaris when I was at CMU being a Very Befuddled Desktop Support Admin With Root, and those things eventually brought me back to California and you guys and got me a job. :)

Well, talek introduced me to ertla, whom I dragged behind me to rune class. You started posting on alt.pagan while at BU, which is where I first encountered you, although as you say your tech-fu was not strong enough until you ran afoul of sk4p.

Still, kendaer is from an older MUSH iteration than anyone who's replied so far: he was a very large wheel on FurryMUCK.

-- Lorrie

(Pern was to the early 90's what White Wolf is today)

Boy was it ever. I'm wondering now whether we might have known each other from some MU* or other before we ran into each other elsewhere, although I didn't really spend much time on any Pern game except Jurassic Weyr MUSH until early 1995. (After that I played on most that were open.)

I was always sorry that I missed out on that Belgariad MUSH. Something about RivaMUSH, a later Eddings game, always gave me a strong sense of 'no, you don't want to play here', and as much fun as I had RPing with the few other really dedicated folks on Elenium MUSH, later Bhelliom MUSH, it never really got off the ground.

Well, camwyn and I were roommates at the time, and I don't think either of us got very into Pern MUSHes. More to the point, I can't remember which ones I ever played on...

-- Lorrie

(no subject) - (Anonymous)


-- Lorrie


Persons I know were responsible for perpetrating Y'nigo and Montoyath, and P'shaw and Fezzikyth, or something along those lines. I will admit to having created connected NPCs with dragons named Tacith and Terth, and probably other atrocities as well.


-- L

Spice is the variety of life

You know what really and truly impressed me about the way that Alan ran Dune? It wasn't the politics. It wasn't the descs. It wasn't the close-knit cooperative manner of the players.

It was the way he shut it down. Alan did not let his game languish. He knew when the story had gone as far as he was willing to let it go. He quit while he was ahead. He shut his game down rather than risk having it stagnate and suck.

I raise my glass of water and toast him.

Go, Alan, go.


It seems to have taken me about 5 months to find lwood's post and these comments (thanks to a nostalgic google on 'DuneMUSH'), and I'm trying to keep my LJ separate from my MUSHing, but thanks.

Her post makes me remember - although I didn't remember that conversation that propelled her into heathenry!

Your toast nearly makes me cry. That was a very hard decision almost 10 years ago.

Love to all.


Just was poking around the Web and saw these reminiscences... Lwood, I remember you! Guilford/Tiipoa'il/Chani... heheheheh, I remember meeting you and Talek here in the Denver/Boulder area (I was in Aurora, you guys came out and showed me an evening around Boulder)...! Those were great times. Hard to believe that they were 10 years ago!

DuneMUSH was a terrific MUSH, and I have very fond memories of that era. While I know that you had many acquaintances and friends from DuneMUSH, and also more intimate and long-lasting associations as well, I would still like to flatter myself with the belief that you would remember me... =)

Cheers to you, and to DuneMUSH..!

Streggi/Bannerjee/Mihail/Duncan/Adunakhor (remember letting me get away with that name...?)@ DuneMUSH...