Hello Draxisweb fans, this is my first installment of Remembering Rhydin. In this series of blogs I am going to be recounting times in the AOL RP realm known as Rhy’Din. Seeing as this is the first segment, let me start by letting you know what exactly Rhy’Din was and where this cultural phenomenon that touched the lives of thousands came from.
Back in about ‘93 of ‘94 my parents decided to hook us up to the World Wide Web and finally get internet. At the time not much was really known about the mysterious net except to say that you could send emails to everyone that could get to them within moments instead of the days that common mail (AKA Snail Mail) would take. Back in the day, we didn’t get the internet from our phone companies but from ISP’s who had dial up numbers for their servers. The kids now a days will never know the frustration of busy signals while trying to sign on nor the wonderful screeching sounds we waited to hear when signing in. My parents were very nice to me and a few years before myh online foray, I started to play AD&D with my friends in middle school and then we gained a larger group of RP’ers during high school. When we first looked at ISP’s we went on prodigy first and I looked up Role Playing just to find a very very simplistic dungeon map game that made the Atari 2600 game Adventure look like Halo in comparison. I told them I didn’t like this so lets try some other server and we looked at AOL 3.0.
On my first day of looking through AOL I found a link that was specifically for TSR the company who at the time owned AD&D. Through this link I was introduced to the art of online freeform gaming in chat rooms, specifically a chat room called the Crossroads Tavern. I met many a great RP’er in that room and eventually being in that room and making a character profile instead of a profile for myself led me to even better RP Pastures namely the RWC Guild known as the Silent Legion of Death (SLoD). The RWC stood for Rhydin War Council and due to this it led me to find out as much as I could about Rhy’Din.
Many say that Rhy’Din was short for the Red Dragon Inn and while I never knew for sure it does seem like something that those of Rhydin would do. Acronyms were the way of the world back then and if you could instead of just speaking the letters most people tried to make them sound like actual names. So Red Dragon Inn shifts to RDI or Rhy’Din (RDInn). The RDI was another chat room like the Crossworlds but this one was not associated with the TSR area but run by AOL Rangers. Many of the Rangers and RP’ers ended up making posting boards and coming up with a very organic story about the lands of Rhydin and the Space Station that orbited the planet that was known as the Stars End Bar and was the site for Sci-Fi RP’s. So lets delve a bit into the layout of the land.
Rhy’Din itself was a city though no one knows just how big the city was nor how many kingdoms were in said city. It seemed everyone had an Embassy for their kingdom in the city and they were all castles. Yet also in the city were the other chat rooms of the AOL Arts and Entertainment community. the RDI spread swiftly as Guilds and Forums started to spring up and AOL was allowing us to make our own chat rooms. While the RDI and Stars End were the only official Rhy’Din chat rooms the rooms of the All Creatures Tavern, Rhydin Hottubs, the Vampire Tavern, Rhydin Lesbian Inn and the Rhydin Beach were all rooms that seemed to somehow stay open 24/7 for many years.
Now if you look at a map of Rhy’Din (yes people drew maps for an ever shifting landscape that changed by the second and by the player) listed many of the places I just mentioned as well as places that became popular chat rooms like the Rhydin Graveyard, the Rhydin Docks and the Suicide Cliffs. Many for these rooms also had posting boards connected with them, so for instance if you went to the duel arena in Rhydin and had a Death Match with someone you could then post in the forums for the Rhydin Graveyard that you had killed such and such a character. Many a funeral was held in the chatroom and many a posts were made by myself to the graveyard forums as my character cut down his enemies.
What made these non RDI rooms so great was that the RP in these rooms was very fluid. Many Forums were created like the Rhydin War Council and the Association of Rhydin Guilds. These forums were rules for a ruleless society, and yet somehow it worked for us all. You see the world of AOL Chat RP was a world where you could be anyone or anything, but we saw people of like minds grouping together in guilds and invariably the guilds of the light would try to attack the guilds of the dark or the darkness would fight itself, but how could you do such a thing fairly when there were no real rules. Thats where the forums came in. The forums took these various guilds and told them if you join us you will have a way to battle, we will create rules so that random dice rolls by the AOL Chat online host can become a sparing/dueling system in some ways very similar to the old Tabletop RP’s we all know and love. We’ll make things turn based and let the dice decide.
Now let me just point out there now a days I am sure there are a ton of people that will say “well I have never heard of these things!”. In many ways the people of Rhydin were a clique that if you weren’t in it you just didn’t know about it unless you were invited in. At the same time the invites sent out allowed us to have Dozens of War Councils such as the RWC, LoRDS, AoRG, CoR, WoR, tWoR, UGC, UAG and tons and tons more. Now take into consideration that each of these groups had dozens of guilds most of which did not interacts with guilds and people outside of their own forum unless there were in a generic Rhydin chat room. Many of these guilds had 40+ people (unless you were the OCS which had around a thousand at any given time most likely) and to tell the truth while some of these guild rosters overlapped we still saw hundreds upon hundreds of people playing this freeform game. The very nature of this beast created a very organic way of telling a story. You literally had thousands of writers weaving together a coherent if twisted story.
Sometimes the twists were what made the story interesting. For example, I was asked to play a character named Storm Torin..he was described to me as being Drow but having a very noble soul very samurai like but at the same time he was a master assassin. OK I worked with that and we saw his mother tell him to do things he just couldn’t live with. Most Drow would be stuck at this point; however, in the lands of Rhy’Din, Storm was able to defy his mother, started his own family/house and no one batted an eye – not even the other Drow. If you thought that odd though lets throw in the fact that my half dragon character was trained by a Jedi Knight. Yes that really did happen and that’s what was so cool about the times I RPed in is that anything could and did happen. I think many people forget this because I have helped a lot of “Old School” RP’ers try to restart the forums and the one thing I complain to them about the most is they keep trying to fit people into an established Story Line..they try to mold these rules for fighting around a Story Line and limit character races or classes or abilities and that just wasn’t what Rhy’Din was about.
Rhydin was a place where a Vampire could have a child.
Rhydin was a place where you could see Dragons and Jedi fighting back to back as comrades.
Rhydin was a place where anything could and did happen.
Rhydin was awesome and in many ways Rhydin is now dead. People still play in the AOL rooms but now you can sit there for 10 hours and only have 2 people come into the room and only one fo the say something. Back in the day the rooms had limits of 32 people and you were lucky if you could get into some rooms in 10 minutes or less due to them being so crowded!
So many people have fond memories of Rhydin and that’s why I am making a Memories of Rhydin section on my blogs, I am going to regale you with tales of old. I will tell tales of the dragons, wamphri, borg and jedi and yet they will all be part of the same tale. While the days of AOL RP have now gone mostly to those looking for an excuses to Cyber* I will tell you of the days that Rhydin was at war, the days when fighters were the order of the day not lovers. I will tell stories of heartbreak and love, loss and gains. I will hopefully help others remember what it was like to be a part of something so grand and awesome.
If anyone reading this was a member of our RP community and doesn’t know about the facebook group Rhydin Remembered I advise you to go and find it. You may just find some old friends or even enemies there, who knows, but I can assure you you will find a lot of grand memories!
(*Cyber is short for cybersex)
Photos Courtesy of:
Rhy’Din map: duelingzone.com