A new storytelling environment - ideas

Submitted by javelin on Tue, 2005-01-04 20:18

Lately I've been thinking about the kind of MUSH RP experiences I've most enjoyed, both as a player and a GM, and about the various one-shot LARPs I've run.

The best MUSH RP experiences for me have generally happened at or around "staged events" - RP events planned ahead by the GMs and well-attended by players. These events are exciting because (1) they unfold in real-time, and usually real quick time, (2) they naturally attract and include larger numbers of players, so there's always someone to RP with, and (3) you know that what you say and do can have major impact on the game's backstories. I think they're fun to GM because I think they bring out the most exciting and intense RP in the players. And because they're time-limited, you get the most "bang for your buck", which is increasingly important to me as my time gets more and more limited.

So I've been toying with the idea of trying to start a MUSH that consists *only* of such events. I'm pretty sure this has been tried before, but I can't remember where (Amberyl considered something like this for a Holmesian mush a long time ago, IIRC. If anyone knows other examples, post a reply!)

The basic idea, then, is this:

* The MUSH would open to players only for limited periods, announced in advance (e.g., 4 hours once a week). At other times, the MUSH would be down (with a port announcer announcing the next uptime)

* When the MUSH is up, only characters already created can log in, and everything is IC and real time. Everything is logged.

* When the MUSH is down, characters can be created (but not played until it's open, of course), and the GM(s) (more on that later) are reading the logs from last time, updating the game's web page with new backstory, providing new private info to characters, planning the next event. (I have some half-developed web software for doing some of this and for plot management, actually)

* As the game gets bigger, it'll need more GMs. Why not take that to the extreme and allow anyone who's interested to become a GM by submitting a plot they want to run at a future event (sort of like guest writers of a TV series, maybe). The "house GMs" or whatever would make sure that the plots of the "guest GMs" don't step on each other or past stuff. When the MUSH opens, the guest GMs get to do their thing.

Here's the request for comments. What do you think? Would this be fun? Silly? How could it be improved? What kind of setting/genre would be well-suited to doing something like this (obviously, better if it's one that can be more character-driven than plot-driven, and one where it makes sense that characters interact intensely at periods and then go off and do more mundane things in the meanwhile -- I've considered some typical settings like weekly "open mic" night at a nightclub and some odder thoughts like Thomas the Tank Engine with players as trains and each event being a day of work around the island. :)