Or should I say, a little man and his even smaller animals!
This is kind of a vanity page, I actually think anyone besides me would
be interested in the history of my MUCKing career and how my various
characters came into being!
Well, it started in April 88, I had been following the online comic
Kevin and Kell for a while and had several interesting discussions on the
related mailing list. Life was good, but it was going to get better!
Anyhow, some of the people on that list (as on most other lists I guess)
have accounts on different free email servers which have a habit of adding
a stupid slogan at the bottom of each message they handle - including Yahoo
which IMHO has the stupidest slogan of them all: "Do you Yahoo?" One day
I was answering a message from a Yahoo user I got an even stupider idea:
To answer the slogan as if it was part of the message! So I left that part
of the quoted text in, and added under it: "No, but Swift says I am one!"
I was of course (?) referring to Jonathan Swift and his "Gulliver's
Travels" (which, to the uninitiated, features a primitive humanoid race
called yahoos), but some other list member read it a different way and
asked if I was on FurryMuck! Turned out that he knew a character called
Swift there (a tiger BTW) and wondered if I knew him too!
This little mistake made me think about FM, which IIRC I had heard a bit
about earlier and decided I had to check out some day, and make another
decision that the time had come. After some snooping around and a few hints
(I think, my mail from that period has been lost) I found the legendary
place where all those strange animals hang out.
I managed to get on (using telnet), and after a brief visit as a guest I
decided to make the big jump.
By this time I had already started thinking about what kind of character
I would play, and that part is vaguely interesting too. As part of my
preparations I had explored the furry archives at Yerf, and one character I
found particularly interesting was the mutt called Shenandoah. In the
comments to one of her pictures her player had made a remark about how she
had "imported" Shen to FM because there was (according to her) a shortage
of dogs there. So I decided to be a dog, but what kind? In real life I'm
pretty big and heavy (no, there isn't a comma missing there!), so I decided
to try something new and be small and light. Of course the world's smallest
dog race is the chihuahua, and so a few days later Yip saw the light of
It didn't take Yip long to find out that people in his new homeworld were
thinking of chihuahuas in a slightly different way. People were talking to
him in Spanish, that was kind of understandable, but many of them were
repeating the same line as well - "Ya quiero Taco Bell!" When I finally got
around to asking one of them, he explained about the Taco Bell commercials
that probably all Americans know about. Figuring this could become a bit
tiresome in the long run (particularly with Yip's short legs), I created my
first button as soon as I had learned how to create and describe objects.
(This is also how Yip got the nickname - as soon as I had learned about
that - "The Taco Bell hater"...)
Yip later got a home and some friends and neighbours, and had various
adventures some of which you can read about in my logs (he even met his
"conceptual mother" Shenandoah once) but this is supposed to be about how
my characters got started, so I'll move on to the next...
One fine day on FurryMuck (where else?) Yip was idly scanning the
bulletin board when I noticed an announcement about a different MUCK. So
there were more of those things out there? I decided to check out the new
address, and that was my first visit to Toon Furr and Fluff. I didn't join
there that day or any of the immediately following though - but I came back
as a guest at least once, and the last time I spent some time chatting with
some residents and playing with a "magical" object of the kind I later got
to know as TRaM devices. This one, which was called the Randomizer, had a
number of different identities it could turn users into, and one special
thing about it was that it worked on guests too! One of the identities was
particularly cool, and when one of the wizards asked me again if I wanted a
character I decided to join the locals as a dark coyote. Then a punny name
popped into my head, and I registered as Huwuda (full name Huwuda Guest).
Seconds later I was connected as both Guest1 and Huwuda, and I had been
thinking about finding a way to just copy the description stuff from one to
the other, but before I could explain what I wanted the morph wore off, and
I had to start experimenting with the Randomizer again. And that's why
Huwuda had so many morphs - I decided to keep some of the others I came
across on my way to the coyote as well!
To sidetrack a bit, I mentioned Yip getting friends and neighbours. One
of them will always be a bit special to him because he joined the MUCK a
few days after me, more or less because of what I had been writing about my
experiences on the K&K mailing list! After I got settled on TF&F I told him
about the new place and persuaded him to come over for a look, and soon he
had a character there too. And when he got a house, Huwuda moved into the
basement, as i figured that a dark coyote would want a dark mysterious
place to live.
The main reason I mention this friend here is that he was kind of
instrumental in the creation of my next character, but first a little
interlude that is kind of a prologue for the next chapter...
Another fine day back on FurryMuck someone posted a message on the
bulletin board that wasn't just an announcement of one MUCK but a list of
several different ones. I pointed this out to my friend and suggested we go
through the list from opposite ends (but at least I ended up doing the
whole list anyway). As I started at the top of the alphabetic list, the
first place I visited was African Tails. Now this was something different
- a Lion King related MUCK where players were only allowed to be non-
antropomoph African animals, and role playing had become an art. And to
help players pick African sounding names there was even an online Swahili
dictionary. I started thinking new characters again and checked some words
I thought would be appropriate for an African predator. Most of the ones I
thought of had been thought of by someone else, but when I looked up
"brave" the dictionary returned four different words, and only one - Jasiri
- was used as a name at the time. Furthermore, one of the words still
available as a name - Jabari - resembled it so much that I started
wondering if those two could be siblings. Later I found out (with the help
of some nice lion (?) I can't remember the name of) that Jasiri hadn't been
very active and seemed to have left for good, so there was another still-
born idea of mine. But now I had a left over name that I eventually took
In fact, several elsewheres. I was still going through the list of MUCKs
and found most of them to be pretty small and quiet at least when I was
there.One fine day I came to FurryFaire, which turned out to be another
serious roleplaying MUCK with a somewhat looser theme of medieval fantasy.
I hadn't originally intended to get a character there, but had some trouble
getting in as a guest because this is one of the few (?) MUCKs where guests
have to ask a wizard or helpstaff to let them in. On my first visit there
was noone around, when I returned a few days later there was one with the
power to handle guests, but when I (and another guest who came by) had
waited several minutes for him to ignore a page, I decided to try a
A bit of snooping around revealed that this MUCK had automatic character
registration, so I decided it would be easier to register just to take a
look around! And since I had a name left over, this became the first Jabari.
Who turned out to be rather shortlived as far as playing time was
concerned. Sure, the first evening I spent in the tavern was an interesting
experience that made me want to stay, but after a while it got less
intersting, partly because the place was most active around 3-4 AM
Norwegian time! (This is a problem with many small/medium MUCKs for us
Europeans by the way. Seems most MUCKers are still Americans...)
Now we return to my (Yip's) friend and neighbour. I had invited him over
to TF&F, where he had decided to stay too, and one day it was his turn to
return the favour! During a lull he told me that a friend of his (and (more
or less) mine) from FM had become a wizard on a new small MUCK, and had
invited him over. And then he invited me - to Fuzzy Logic (not to be
confused with the net zine of the same name!), where I didn't have to make
a choice about staying - as soon as I connected as Guest1 our wizard friend
paged me and asked who I was, and as soon as I had identified myself as
(the player of) the only character of mine he knew (from FM), he created a
character named Yip without waiting for me to ask for one!
So you can say I was sort of shanghaied there, but decided to stay - but
not as Yip. Finding that I needed a new identity in a hurry I did something
I had never done before or since - I cloned a character. More precisely,
I copied Jabari's description from FurryFaire and changed my new character's
name to Jabari. And so this became the first active version of the "brave"
Later on Jabari moved again, but that is a different story that will
have to wait for the sake of chronology...
A number of things happened that led up to the next couple of big changes.
There was a place on TF&F called Squirrel City, which was kind of supposed
to be off limits for nonsciurine characters (non-squirrels). To help
visitors fit in and get around the regulations there was a kind of TRaM
device (which actually was neither temporary or random) called a Squirrel
Drone Generator or something, which would transform the user into something
squirrel-like (The IC explanation was that the user's body got stored in a
safe place while his/her mind got connected to a mechanical device that
looked like a squirrel). One day Huwuda was playing with this he came up
with a description I liked, so he did as other characters of mine had done
before and converted it into a zombie. (Actually I made a mistake and lost
the original description, so I had to use the machine again to come up with
another I think was slighty different...)
One major change I made to the description was to change the "drone" from
a neuter to a female. And of course she needed a name to kind of match her
master's, and this is how I came up with Waydya (Way'd'ya do that? or some-
thing). Waydya did become pretty active in some miniplots, but I never
really thought of making her an alt. In fact, I was contemplating a quite
different character - and building a tree for Waydya to live in (figuring
Huwuda's dark cave/basement was no place for her) - when disaster struck.
One day I couldn't connect to TF&F. That kind of thing happens with MUCKs
now and then, but this time the problem persisted. Finally it turned out to
be much more serious than the usual. Somehow (and there's been enough
speculation about the causes as it is, I think) the whole server had been
wiped out, including the backups of the TF&F database.
After a while most of the toons, furrs and fluffs got together and started
building a new MUCK from scratch - SpinDizzy. Many of the returning people
chose to recreate their old characters, but I decided it was time for a
change, and I had become kind of tired of being dark, so instead of
reviving (or rather cloning?) Huwuda I promoted Waydya to a player char-
acter. Of course I had to give her a new description from scratch as the
old one had been lost. (The Drone Machine had been lost too; it (and
Squirrel City) has been rebuilt but the last time I checked it didn't work
yet. Oh well.)
Back to someone who has had most of his story told already. After several
months on FL both Jabari and I found that we didn't enjoy it as much as we
used to, and one fine day I made the big decision to move him again - to
Spindizzy, to become Waydya's alt. I started packing up all his creations
and caused a very small altercation by announcing my decision on the mailing
list the MUCK had back then. So now I have two builders on SpinDizzy and a
small dog on FurryMuck - plus some other characters here and there, but
their identity (as mine) is only known to a select few, so obviously I
can't tell you all their secrets here...