2019 FC Re-launch Announcement

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Good evening, everyone.

For those of you who've been around for several years, this will sound similar to the same basic announcement I made back in 2011 regarding our Feature Characters.

One of the most common questions the wizards get asked surrounds the future of the MUCK. It's not surprising that some would be concerned given the age of the MUCK and the decline in average connections we've seen over the last decade. So, before I go any further, let me reassure you that the MUCK is not going anywhere and there are no plans to wind down operations whatsoever.

With that out of the way, it's time for me to make an announcement – and it's not a little announcement, in magnitude or length. Before you read any further, do me a favor and get comfortable. This will take a bit of explaining and I ask that you read the announcement, the accompanying FAQ, and the other information I've posted before making a judgment about the changes. Below, I'll provide details about the announcement and share my thought processes with you so you'll (hopefully) understand why we're doing this now.

Tonight, we are re-launching our Feature Characters and introducing a story arc that is designed to play out over the next couple of years. Yes, I said years. Yes, I said that in 2011, but we're hopeful the release of The Lion King (2019) will help reinvigorate interest in the story.

Before anyone gets up in arms about the previous two sentences (again!), let me emphasize the word I used: "re-launching". I did not use the term "resetting" and I never mentioned timelines. We are not resetting the timeline. We are not disrupting anyone's personal history and we're not playing with temporal distortions or parallel universes. The goal is to introduce new characters that accomplish several goals: they fill the role of Feature Character; they allow us to tell the history of "The Lion King" without changing timelines; and they give us the opportunity to reinvigorate the MUCK with new stories, new blood, and new players. This is word-for-word what I said in 2011, so it requires a minor adjustment: We will be leaping forward from the plot that was introduced then to a later point in the same story arc. The only changes will be the departure of Mohatu and Tetema, with Ahadi and Uru stepping up as the new king and queen of Pride Rock. Since they've been idle for several years, these four are the only characters involved in the leap forward and the change shouldn't be earth-shattering for other players.

The new characters being introduced tonight are an adult Ahadi, aging forward from adolescence, and his mate Uru, an adult lioness – also aging forward from adolescence. They, along with Mawe, Jiwe, and Niktu will be the small pride seen and role-playing at Pride Rock shortly. This first weekend in September, Mohatu will be around but preparing to depart now that his son is ready to take over as King. All of this backstory is posted on the Under the Baobab page – please visit that and get up to speed on the "new history" of Pride Rock before going In Character.

At first glance, and from an Out Of Character standpoint, this will appear to be a case of history repeating itself. Some of you may remember interacting with Mohatu or Ahadi, but while these characters share the names of those who've been on the MUCK in the past, they are not the same characters. Yes, Ahadi will have sons named Mufasa and Taka at some future point, but how they get to that point and the adventures they experience will not be the same. This is much the same as having two John Smiths in a family - great-grandfather and great-grandson for example. Related? Yes. Same name? Definitely. Same history? Nope.

Our goal is to allow us to tell anew the tale of what happened before The Lion King in order to set things up to relive the events of the movie itself in as organic and undisruptive a manner as is possible.

I'd like to take a moment and discuss the other two important points I mentioned in the announcement: the "story arc" and the length of time it covers (yes, I really did say "years").

I chose the term "story arc" because I've put together an over-arching storyline that weaves together a history for our characters and ultimately gets us back to a world with Simba and our other beloved characters in it. I've worked with Jioni and Wanachi to include tips of our hats to previous fan fiction and some of the available information from Disney, but the only sources we're considering to be truly "canon" are the 1994 and 2019 Lion King motion pictures and Simba's Pride.

The "story arc" itself is a multi-year framework of events that will guide the activities of the Feature Characters. It's not scripted and it's not fleshed out. This was done on purpose to give our Feature Character Players the opportunity to exercise creative license while helping keep them on course.

I've broken the "story arc" down into a series of chapters. Each month, by the Friday evening of the first weekend of that month, a new chapter introduction will be posted to the website. At the same time, a fully fleshed out chapter describing the events of the ending month will be posted. This should allow causal players to keep up with the goings on in the Pride Lands.

Some of you may object to this no matter what I say. I can understand that. Were I seeing things from the other side of the screen, I might even agree with you. We have three alternatives at this point aside from the path I've chosen for us: Leave the Pride Lands empty; allow Player Characters to move in; or shut down the MUCK. For me, none of those are viable options and re-launching our Feature Characters has me, once again, more excited about our MUCK than I have been in a very long time.

I've posted FC Re-Launch FAQs, new FC Rules, and a relaunched Under the Baobab page. Please read through these pages as I hope they will answer many of the questions you'll have regarding this announcement. If not, feel free to MUCKmail me or send an email to ketekh@tlkmuck.org.

I hope you are all as excited about these changes as I am!

See you in the Pride Lands!