News:Players Guide - Intro

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Welcome Home, Stranger

Yepper, you read that right, welcome home, not welcome to Serenity: The Firefly MUSH, or any such nonsense. Why say that? Because this is home ... perhaps some explaining is in order. Explaining why we're all here and so fanatical about a show that didn't even last a full TV season and inspired one movie. Some of you know this, some of you don't. Best to err on the side of caution and I beg your leave to wax loquacious in the process.

On September 20th 2002, Fox Network aired the “The Train Job”, the debut episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon's new television project, a science fiction show called Firefly, and it was good, fantastic actually. Joss Whedon's magic touch for television was more magical than ever. DVD sales were so strong, that Universal Pictures decided to let Joss Whedon reassemble his original cast, gave him a respectable budget and commissioned the film Serenity, which continued the crew's exploits on the big screen. Many things were revealed, major changes were made, but the magic that was Firefly was as strong as ever. So what does all of this have to do with Serenity: The Firefly MUSH and saying welcome home? Well, in point of fact, everything. There is no other science fiction setting that feels quite as home-y as Firefly.

The reason is that this is a future that, no matter how whimsical it's themes may be, feels real because folk in the 'verse, as we call it, are, well, us, just living in the 25th Century. Only instead of living in different countries like we do nowadays, they live on different planets. We're just as hopeful and faithful, and just as flawed and doubtful as we all are right now. Unlike the dewy-eyed optimism of Star Trek, the 'verse says human nature isn't something we're meant to aspire to, but something we're meant to overcome.

Then there's the 'verse, and, far as I know, there's just nothing like it in science fiction. It's best described as a little bit Space Opera, a little bit Cyberpunk and a whole lot of Western. With a heavy Civil War and the odd Napoleonic War twist; not to mention a big shot of fascism in the form of the Alliance.

The 'verse is a place where the Central Planets are pristine, ultra-high tech megalopises with just about every luxury and convenience are at the fingertips of pampered citizens who are too busy making money and living well to notice they're being skillfully manipulated and systematically exploited. Take a flight to a Rim World like Jiangyin or Triumph, and you're back in the mid 1800s, where high tech means having indoor plumbing and every day is full of backbreaking work just to eke out a living. On the Border Worlds the gap between the haves and have-nots is like comparing the gentrified ladies and gentlemen of a Jayne Austin's Pride and Prejudice and the hardscrabble, street wise cutpurses of Dickens' Oliver Twist.

Despite what the sideshow barkers may say, there are no aliens in the 'verse at least, not of the lumpy-fore headed and belligerent or pointy-eared and logical variety. The only thing you're apt to find floating in the tank after you fork over your hard-earned credits is a mutated calf turned upside down, or maybe a Sasquatch costume of questionable quality.

But there are monsters, though not of the acid-blooded, teeth-on-tongue variety; the most obvious are the Reavers. Cannibalistic savages who haunt the Rim, attacking small settlements and killing everyone they can find in extremely nasty ways. They were human once, and there are two schools of thought about how they got that way. Were they the unfortunate victims of some evil company's government-sanctioned experiment, or just a bunch of folk who looked out into the Black of space and went stark raving buggo when the Black looked back at them? Either theory won't help you very much should you encounter them. The less obvious variety wear three-piece suits and ties and are referred to as “Sir” or “Lady” or “Lord.” In this 'verse, the monsters walk on two legs and share our biology.

Then we have the Anglo-Sino Alliance, often referred to as the Alliance, sometimes with a good bit of swearing before and after. The Alliance are, by turns, a group of overworked, under-funded and often just hapless people trying to hold the whole mess together and keep some kind of order, or greedy, vain, impersonal, unfeeling and powerhungry monsters who have absolutely no compunction about ordering their Federals to shoot peaceful protestors, and use kangaroo courts to send their enemies to Penal Moons for the rest of their lives. Some of them actually care about how this all works out and will do anything they can to help, some of them are only interested in maintaining their status and exploiting it to get what they want.

In the 'verse, folk speak an archaic form of English last heard somewhere in late 1800s, making the educated sound incredibly eloquent and the uneducated sound like extras from a Sergio Leone film. Most folk on the Border and Rim planets either openly or secretly carry a firearm, so having good manners is a must if self-preservation's a priority for you. Prostitution is not only legal hereabouts, but those who practice it legally are called Companions and are trained from an early age to be well, pretty much the most beguiling and appealing people in the 'verse. They're held in high esteem by some, highly respected by most, and lusted after by all. Oh, and everybody is prone to spike their speech with Mandarin Chinese!

But it feels like home, maybe not your literal home, but a place that you could very easily start to feel at home in. It feels like a place inhabited by real people doing real things and facing real issues; where, just like today, technology only serves to make it easier for people to act like who they really are deep inside, instead of it somehow elevating them to the plane of godhood like so many sci-fi series; where the most important thing is family and friends because they're what makes life worth living and where Good and Evil aren't reduced to blacks and whites or shades of gray, but are every bit as convoluted as they are in real life, and every bit as important. After all, at the end of the day, you're the one who has to face your reflection in the mirror. The only question is, do you like what you see, and if not, do you have the strength to change it?

Yes, there's space ships and battles an' all manner of thrilling heroics to be found here, wouldn't be much fun if there weren't. But what we're really hoping is that you'll past all of those fancy geehaws and look inside, find your own creative voice and establish a character that's something maybe a little bit more than just words on a computer screen and dry technical statistics. Serenity MUSH lives or dies on the strength of its role play.

And yes, the 'verse, is a lot to take in at once, especially for the uninitiated. There's all manner of News Files to read, and it probably wouldn't hurt to visit sites like Browncoats and Firefly Wikia.

The rest, well, that's what this guide is for. Inside, you'll learn the ins and outs of MUSHing, walk through a sample CharGen (Character Generation) session, get a brief on the Guilds of the 'verse, learn about its planets, watch a few gunfights as you learn about the combat system, learn to pilot a boat through the Black, and how to fix her 'fore she keens, and maybe even pick up a few choice phrases in Mandarin!

For those of you who already know all of this, I thank you for your patience. For those who are brand new to the 'verse, I can only express my deepest envy. You're about to step both backwards and forwards in time, and maybe, just maybe, find yourself in the present.

Welcome home!

- Kaylee: Theme Staff