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Developer(s)Project community
Platform(s)Platform independent
Genre(s)Fantasy MUD

PernMUSH (also called NorCon or NC, for "North Continent") was an online role-playing game, established in 1991,[1] which was based on Anne McCaffrey's world of Pern.[2] PernMUSH was a text-based multiplayer virtual world, based on a MUSH engine, in which players role-played as characters in the quasi-medieval setting described in McCaffrey's novels.


During its active lifespan, PernMUSH was one of the oldest Pern MU* style games in existence,[3][4][5] it was based on the TinyMUSH codebase. PernMUSH was started in the early-1990s, beginning in the 9th interval, only a few in-character turns before the 10th pass. Originally the game began with just Fort Weyr and a few Holds, however expansion shortly followed, filling out the game to five Weyrs, with Benden in place of Telgar.

In 1993, McCaffrey reached an agreement with the community operators of PernMUSH that set out terms for copyright notification and for the degree of creative license allowed to players in the Pern setting.[6]

In 1997, a disagreement arose over the scope of the setting. Anne McCaffrey believed that PernMUSH had always known it was not permitted to have a PC Benden Weyr or Ruatha Hold (which was at the time the 'rule' for all Pern based games); the wizards, on the other hand, were under the impression that Anne had indeed given PernMUSH the privilege of those two locales. Eventually it was decided that Benden Weyr and Ruatha Hold were to become NPC locations, and the inhabitants were moved to Telgar Weyr and Fort Hold, respectively.

In August 2004, PernMUSH officially ended the 10th Pass with an All Weyr Threadfall; this also ended the decade long sisterhood with SouCon, a Pern MUSH based entirely on the Southern Continent.

PernMUSH closed permanently in 2014.[7]

Adaptation of the Pern setting[edit]

Set in the 10th Interval (immediately following the 10th Pass of the Red Star), PernMUSH did not incorporate many of the more recent Pern books and had a strict policy against 'rediscovering' lost technology; the strictures against women were greatly eased, and women could be Lady Holders, CraftMasters etc. and could ride any color, but bronze. PernMUSH took place solely on the Northern Continent of Pern.

There were five active Weyrs: Fort[permanent dead link], High Reaches, Igen, Ista, and Telgar. The Weyrs followed a rotational hatching cycle, so that no two Weyrs were actively searching for candidates at the same time. PernMUSH permitted each area to be independently governed, so often different Weyrs and Holds had very different atmospheres, permitting each player to find the location they best fit.

Character creation was open to anyone who wished to log-in. To join an area (such as to have a character live at a specific PC Hall, Hold or Weyr), application to the area's leadership was required. Generally places would accept any player as a resident with a decent grasp of how to roleplay, and a fair understanding of the world of Pern. Apprentice characters for the PC crafts were permitted, though often a very short application is required, to verify the player understood what the craft is about.

Dragonrider characters were applied for during a Weyr's Search Cycle, and information was posted to the common bulletin boards when this was available; each Weyr ran their own search, and procedures varied from Weyr to Weyr.

Academic Significance[edit]

PernMUSH became a frequently-cited example of text-based online community formation in academic writing.[8] Writers commented on the social attractiveness of these online virtual communities, writing the "not the adventure but the socialization that would bring them back." [9]

The dispute with Anne McCaffrey over creative control of the Pern setting was described as a precedent-setting example of the incorporation of copyright ownership concepts into the terms of service of community-authored online environments.[10][11]


  1. ^ "PernMUSH". Retrieved 2016-12-18.
  2. ^ Carton, Sean (1995). Internet Virtual Worlds Quick Tour. Ventana Press. pp. 158–159. ISBN 1-56604-222-4. If you've ever wondered what it would be like to leap on the back of a dragon and take to the skies of Pern, or just have a hankerin' to engage in some complex and satisfying role play, then PernMUSH may be for you. PernMUSH is a virtual world based on Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern series where characters play the parts of dragonriders—brave souls who fly on the backs of dragons, the dominant life form of the planet Pern.
  3. ^ Cauldron MUX - What is a MUX? Archived 2004-10-23 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Godwin, Mike; Ludlow, Peter (1996). High Noon on the Electronic Frontier: Conceptual Issues in Cyberspace; the MIT Press. p. 357. ISBN 0-262-62103-7.
  5. ^ Cherny, Lynn (February 1, 1999). Conversation and Community: Discourse in a Social MUD. Center for the Study of Language and Inf. p. 65. ISBN 1-57586-154-2.
  6. ^ McCaffrey, Anne. "A post-ATWOP Pern MUSH". Retrieved from by Wayback Machine. Archived from the original on 1997-10-14. Retrieved 2016-12-18.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  7. ^ "PernMUSH". Retrieved 2016-12-18.
  8. ^ Curtis, Pavel (1996). High Noon on the Electronic Frontier: Conceptual Issues in Cyberspace. MIT Press. p. 357.
  9. ^ Santoro, Gerald M. "Blurring The Lines–The Virtuality of Human Reality". Retrieved 2016-12-18.
  10. ^ White, Mel (2007-03-28). "Law and Disorder in Cyberspace: How Systems of Justice Developed in Online Text-Based Virtual Communities". The Players' Realm: Studies on the Culture of Video Games and Gaming: 85.
  11. ^ Lastowka, F. Gregory; Hunter, Dan (2004). "The laws of the virtual worlds". California Law Review. 92 (1): 1–73. doi:10.2307/3481444. JSTOR 3481444.

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