A MUSH (or a MUX) is text-based roleplaying game where the primary goal is interactive and co-operative story-telling. It is a little like writing a story together with several other writers where the writing is done on-line and in real-time. Depending on the MUSH, there can be more or less of a competitive gaming element, which may or may not include the characters having stats and skills assigned and using coded commands to test if they succeed with certain actions.
To play on a MU* (short for both MUSH and MUX) you connect to a server on the Internet using a telnet client. Once logged into the server you take on the persona of a character living in the world that the MU* recreates and you play out various events in your character’s life together with the players of other characters. Plots and storylines on MU*s are generally smaller in scale than in many other roleplaying games and they tend to focus on personal drama and character development rather than epic save-the-world storylines. In contrast to table-top RPGs, MU*s generally depend much less on storyteller-guided plots. Because of this, MU* players need to be able to take their own initiatives and to create roleplay for themselves, because most of the time they will not have anyone guiding them.
While MU* roleplaying does have some things in common with writing a story, you only control the actions of your own character and you always need to keep in mind that each character is the hero of their own story and that the purpose of the game is to co-operate to produce the best possible story. MU*ing is not about ‘winning’. Examples of MUSH roleplaying can be see on the Logs page.