The AberMUD 1 History Site
Maintained by Alec Muffett (aka: Roadrunner, Roady)

As a student at University College London, early one sunday in the cool spring of (I think) 1988, I connected over the UK's X.25 network (called JANET) to a Honeywell L66 mainframe that was running GCOS-3 and which provided the main user service at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth.

It was about 6am, and I connected to the student bulletin-board/talker (Honeyboard) to see if there was anyone around for a chat.

For those people who may be unfamiliar with the concept, this was back in the days before Internet access was widely known-about (let alone common) in the UK, and so student hacker culture survived on a diet of "borrowed" accounts and bulletin-board systems running at various universities, accessed over 7-bit even-parity X.25-based connections, typically at 2400 or 9600 baud.

Honeyboard (HB) was onesuch, and provided a major for for discussion and chat on all topics, in the days before IRC; like the modern IRC, the talker was equipped with a variety of channels to separate conversations from each other, although in HB's case the channels were numbered, positive and negative, rather than named.

Anyway, I connected to the "talker" and found Chris Samuel (aka: JD, Mortis) logged on playing around with the Honeyboard internals; Chris told me that Alan (Alan Cox, Anarchy, primary author of HB and Abermud) had been adding extra code to the "channel descriptions" functionality which he'd written earlier in the week, and he'd been extending the talker command set to parse commands like "north" and "south".

I believe he then told me to type: go west

I did so, and was astonished to find myself presented with a message saying that I had been 'killed' and was then thrown off the talker and out of the bulletin board.

I therefore lay claim to being the first player ever to have been killed on AberMUD.

I believe the original intent was that a MUD game would exist on the negative channels of HB (channels which were previously the prerogative of the HB administrators/wizards, only) and the positive channels would remain for talker usage; this died pretty quickly when AberMUD started becoming really popular as an alternative to MIST.

The detailed story of AberMUD is really a story of student hacker culture in Britain during the middle/end of the 1980s; a variety of good sources have been written documenting the history of MUDs (with varying accuracy) - rather than repeat them I shall just cite a few sources...

...and try to fill out the rest, later.

Much of this site's folklore, alas, will have to remain just that - snippets of history and allusions to stories about real people; the original game was a very organic fantasy scenario which defies complete description to "outsiders", especially those who have not grown up in the UK or spent time in Aberystwyth.

Parts of the game are dedicated to childrens television characters (cartoons like Willo the Wisp or Clangers), or spoof other JANET network resources of the time like the UCL "Bullet II" BBS (with which HB fiercely competed), as well as the Essex Bartle-derived MUDs such as "MIST" - whilst yet more present anything from typical FRPG mud-scenarios, to surreal traffic jams on London's orbital motorway, the notorious M25.

Other descriptions refer to the various relationships that the game authors had with other BBS users; mostly with fellow hackers, but some of the descriptions stand (rather endearingly) as memorials to unrequited relationships of that time, and these can usually be easily identfied by the depth of written detail, and direct references to women or women's names in the texts.

As was typical of MUDs at the time - I need hardly say "British" MUDs, for that is pretty much all there were, the AberMUD gameplay was bloodthirsty and easily fatal; you could be killed merely for walking into the wrong room (death rooms) which were denoted by having a magic token #DIE embedded in the room description, which caused the player to be thrown off.

On top of this, there were the usual swathe of armaments (swords, bastardswords, bows, guns, chainsaws, hedgetrimmers) as well as a few others like the 44-calibre beetroot, which was utterly lethal and quite tasty too.

Other stories need to be told; those of BHA! and being hit with the book to cause several million hit-points of damage (due to a stack overrun bug); of UBIK, of the tractor-feed banana, of Anto's statue, and of how Piglet's Room looked perfectly mundane to Piglet whereas everyone else saw the real description; tales of Blizzard Pass on the Sinclair Spectrum, of Ada programming on diskless Sun workstations, CAMTEC PADs, programming in B (not C!) and fitting the game into the core memory of a Honeywell L66.

Tales of computers, mayonnaise, and paper underwear....

...but more of those later. 8-)

ps: The Wizard Room Descriptions at the foot of this document are hangovers from the original Honeyboard; they are descriptions from the positive-numbered talker channels, and relate to the authors and frequent users of the BBS; I may try annotating these and a few of the other rooms in the near future, although the background for some of the jokes that these rooms present is still, ten years on, of a sensitive nature for some folks.

Ever seen "The Breakfast Club"?

Room Descriptions

Starting Point

Room 2: The Weapon Store
Room 3: The Wizards Room
Room 4: The Wizards Bar
Room 6: The Bottomless Pit [death]
Room 8: You are in a small...
Room 9: You are walking down a... [death]
Room 20: High Above The Valley
Room 30: Hole in the Wall
Room 31: Mound
Room 32: Moog Tree Top
Room 33: Secret Missile Silo
Room 34: The Secret Room
Room 88: You plunge into the water... [death]
Room 89: You are swamped by a... [death]
Room 90: Mountain path
Room 91: The Path
Room 92: The Beach
Room 93: All at sea
Room 94: All at sea
Room 95: All at sea
Room 96: All at sea
Room 97: All at sea
Room 98: You are standing on a...
Room 99: The Hall Of The Pink Floyd
Room 100: Misty Path
Room 101: Entrance to Woods
Room 102: Arthurs Corner
Room 103: Willo the Wisp
Room 104: Evil Ednas Corner
Room 105: The Beasts Banquet
Room 106: Mavis Cruets Corner
Room 107: Twits End
Room 108: Carwash Corner
Room 109: Moogs Palace
Room 110: Famous Four Room
Room 111: Motorway Approach
Room 112: Service Cafe
Room 113: M1 [death]
Room 114: Straight stretch of M1
Room 115: You find yourself even further...
Room 116: You are in the fast...
Room 117: M25
Room 118: Your progression along the M25...
Room 119: The traffic has slowed right...
Room 120: Well, you find yourself in...
Room 121: The M25 comes to a...
Room 122: The Edge of the Universe (so far):
Room 123: Storecupboard
Room 124: Small Tunnel
Room 125: Oppo's Room
Room 126: Ethergate Reset Room
Room 128: Lower Level (Computer Unit) [death]
Room 129: Bullet approach
Room 130: Bullet complex
Room 131: Cafe Kitchens
Room 132: Bullet Rim C
Room 133: Bullet Rim E
Room 134: Bullet Rim B
Room 135: Bullet Rim D
Room 136: Hackers tunnel
Room 137: Hackers Delight (Bullet Branch)
Room 138: Sloping tunnel
Room 139: Archway of the Blue Moon
Room 140: Blue Moon Detective Agency (reception)
Room 141: Maddie's Office
Room 142: David Addison's Office
Room 143: Fire Exit...but not an exit in sight!
Room 144: Maddie's Washroom
Room 145: David's washroom
Room 146: You find yourself standing in...
Room 147: You are in a small...
Room 148: You are in the tunnel...
Room 149: Going down onto all fours...
Room 150: You are in the large,...
Room 151: You find yourself on a...
Room 152: You have entered the deserts...
Room 153: You are in the desert...
Room 154: You are now towards the...
Room 155: You have now reached one...
Room 156: As you walk towards the...
Room 157: Well here you are...still in...
Room 158: You are still in the...
Room 159: You are still hopelessly lost...
Room 160: Surprise're still in the...
Room 161: The desert seems to be...
Room 162: You have reached the northern...
Room 163: You find yourself (well who...
Room 164: Unfortunately as you dig downwards... [death]
Room 165: You are on the western...
Room 166: As you reach the base...
Room 167: You are in a long...
Room 168: You are walking along a...
Room 169: You are in what appears...
Room 170: You are walking along a...
Room 171: You are obviously at one...
Room 172: You are in another storeroom,...
Room 173: You are walking along a...
Room 174: You are in a long...
Room 175: You are in a small...
Room 176: You are in a large...
Room 177: You are in what appears...
Room 178: You are in a small...
Room 179: You are in a small...
Room 180: You are in a small...
Room 181: You are in a very...
Room 182: You are in what appears...
Room 183: You are in a tall,...
Room 184: You are in a room...
Room 185: You are in a small...
Room 186: You are in what would...
Room 187: You find yourself in a...
Room 188: You are in a small...
Room 189: You are in another long...
Room 190: You are at the edge...
Room 191: You step into the flames...
Room 192: As you step up out...
Room 193: As you walk through the...
Room 194: Unfortunately the power, now revealed... [death]
Room 195: You climb up through the...
Room 196: You begin to climb the...
Room 197: Whats that rushing up towards... [death]
Room 198: You reach the end of...
Room 200: Dusty Airduct
Room 201: Sunlounge
Room 202: Sun Terminal
Room 203: Foremans Office
Room 204: Travel Agency
Room 205: Announcement
Room 206: Mystical Dock
Room 207: Cloud(y) Path
Room 208: Upper Deck
Room 209: Clouds end
Room 210: Portaloo
Room 211: Pilot Hut
Room 212: Port Storeroom
Room 213: Lower Deck
Room 214: Treasure Store Room
Room 215: Poop Deck
Room 217: Ledge
Room 300: The Small Room
Room 301: Narrow Stairs
Room 302: Narrow Stairs
Room 303: Narrow Stairs
Room 304: Inside the machine
Room 305: Armoury
Room 306: Dwarven Hall
Room 307: Wide Passage
Room 308: Dwarven Guardroom
Room 309: Long Passage
Room 310: Dwarven Tunnel
Room 311: Dwarven Store Room
Room 312: Stairs
Room 313: Dwarven Store
Room 314: Dwarven Cellars
Room 315: Side Cellar
Room 316: Pantry
Room 317: Dwarves Kitchen
Room 318: Great Hall
Room 319: The Dwarven Dining Hall
Room 320: Dwarven Smithy
Room 321: Side Hall
Room 322: Upper Landing
Room 323: Narrow Passage
Room 324: East Tower
Room 325: Top Of East Tower
Room 326: The Treasury
Room 327: Dwarven Bedroom
Room 328: Passage
Room 329: West Tower.
Room 330: Top Of West Tower
Room 331: The Throne Room
Room 332: Dwarven Gatehall
Room 340: The Pipers Lair
Room 341: The Lair Of The Haggis
Room 342: The Pipers Storeroom
Room 348: Secret Chamber
Room 349: Ancient Shrine
Room 353: The crypt
Room 400: The Forest
Room 401: Pine Forest
Room 402: Pine Forest
Room 403: The Path
Room 404: Ada's Folly
Room 405: Thick Forest
Room 406: Thick Forest
Room 407: Thick Forest
Room 408: Ada's Folly
Room 409: The Top Of The Great Oak
Room 410: The Grounds Of Ada's Folly
Room 411: The Vegetable Patch
Room 420: Hall
Room 421: The Passage
Room 422: The Kitchen
Room 423: Pantry
Room 424: The Library Of Contention
Room 425: Drawing Room
Room 427: The Fireplace
Room 428: The Office
Room 429: You are crouched in a...
Room 430: Small Bedroom
Room 431: The Landing
Room 432: The Bathroom
Room 433: The Large Bedroom
Room 451: The Tube Station
Room 452: The Tube Train
Room 453: Ticket Office
Room 489: The Cliff Edge
Room 490: You are standing on the...
Room 500: Milton Keynes - The Centre...
Room 501: The End of the Street
Room 502: The Chocolate Factory
Room 503: Wall Street
Room 504: The Top Of The Wall
Room 505: Wall Street
Room 506: The End Of The Wall
Room 507: The Pump Room
Room 508: The Window Ledge
Room 509: The Chocolate Factory
Room 510: The Store Room
Room 511: The Glass Elevator
Room 512: The Basement
Room 514: The Bedroom
Room 515: The Vat Room
Room 516: The Vat Room
Room 517: The Vat Room
Room 518: In The Vat
Room 519: The Sewers
Room 520: The Sewers
Room 521: The Sewers
Room 522: The Sewers
Room 523: The Sewers
Room 524: The Sewers
Room 525: The Sewers
Room 526: The Sewers
Room 528: The Sewers
Room 538: The Pipe
Room 539: Piglet's Room
Room 540: The Living Room
Room 541: The Hotel Campbell
Room 542: The Hotel Campbell
Room 543: The White Room
Room 544: You are floating on a...
Room 545: The Silver Lake
Room 546: Nikki's Room
Room 550: The Narrow Pipeway
Room 551: The Other Hall of the...
Room 552: The Hidden Door
Room 553: The Sheepdog's Lair
Room 554: Strange Street
Room 555: Strange Street
Room 556: Strange Street
Room 557: Ghostbusters
Room 558: The Gateway to the Spirit World
Room 559: Venkman's Office
Room 560: Spengler's Office
Room 570: The Spirit World
Room 571: The Spirit World
Room 572: The Spirit World
Room 573: The Spirit World
Room 574: The Spirit World
Room 575: The Spirit World
Room 576: The Spirit World
Room 577: The Spirit World
Room 598: You fall head first into... [death]
Room 599: Arggggghhhhhhhh....... [death]
Room 600: You are standing on a...
Room 601: Rocky Paths Winding Down
Room 602: Narrow Gulley
Room 603: Narrow Gulley
Room 604: North End Of Valley
Room 605: Northern End Of Valley
Room 606: Oak Forest
Room 607: Forests Edge
Room 608: North-Western Corner Of Valley
Room 609: Spring
Room 610: Stream
Room 611: Stream
Room 612: Humpbacked Bridge
Room 613: Stream Edge
Room 614: Thick Forest
Room 615: Forest Edge
Room 616: Stream
Room 617: Beside The Stream
Room 618: South End Of Bridge
Room 619: Stream Bank
Room 620: Eastern Side Of Valley
Room 621: Rocky Clearing
Room 622: Thick Forest
Room 623: Forest Track
Room 624: Pool
Room 625: Forests Edge
Room 626: Rocky Bank
Room 627: Western Edge Of Valley
Room 628: Thick Forest
Room 629: Thick Forest
Room 630: Forests Edge
Room 631: End Of Valley
Room 632: Path.
Room 633: Behind The Altar
Room 634: Churchyard
Room 635: Arched Entry
Room 636: North End Of Church
Room 637: Decaying Room
Room 638: The Church
Room 639: By The Altar
Room 640: Stairs
Room 641: The Bell Room
Room 642: The Stairs
Room 643: The Pulpit
Room 644: The Tower
Room 645: The Bells, The Bells!!!!
Room 646: Closed For Construction
Room 660: The stairs give way and..... [death]
Room 661: End Of Gap
Room 662: Narrow Path
Room 666: Atropos' Torture Room
Room 700: All At Sea
Room 701: All At Sea
Room 702: All At Sea
Room 703: At Sea
Room 704: All At Sea
Room 705: All At Sea
Room 800: Edge Of Minefield
Room 801: The MineField
Room 802: The Minefield
Room 803: The Minefield
Room 804: The Minefield
Room 805: The Minefield
Room 806: The Minefield
Room 807: The Bunker
Room 808: The Bunker
Room 809: The Control Room
Room 810: Whoommmmmmppppffff !!!!! [death]
Room 1001: The Transporter Room
Room 1002: The Mega Elevator Thingy
Room 1003: The Bridge
Room 1004: Corridor
Room 1005: Engine Room
Room 1006: Captains Chair
Room 1007: Spotty's cabin
Room 1008: The Shower
Room 1009: The Captains Cabin
Room 1010: Doctors Cabin
Room 1011: Windswept Beach
Room 1012: Rolling Waves
Room 1013: Path
Room 1050: Bugiits Leap
Room 1051: MacDougals Kangaroo Burgers
Room 1052: Path
Room 1053: Towers Base
Room 10113: Cliff Path

Wizard (etc) Room Descriptions

Room X66: You are lost in a...
Room X76: 76 Varieties....
Room X77: You are standing on a...
Room X176: The Garden Of Memory
Room X346: The Statue
Room X1001: You enter a BLACK room....
Room X1111: Small Room
Room X6502: This page is out of date, go away....
Room X11750: The VAX room
Room X67999: The Poster
Room X68000: You are in a small...
Room X80286: The Home For Brain Damaged Processors
Room X123456: Coolblue's room


All files Copyright © Alec Muffett 2006, unless otherwise stated