HeroMUD was a multiplayer text adventure game set on the streets of a fictitious "Metadelphia" based on Ann Arbor. It ran on servers at the University of Michigan art and engineering schools, until it was shut down.

The MUD was not sanctioned by the University. Every so often, the MUD would be discovered by University officials and had to be moved to a new hidden location. This resulted in a short period of down-time until a new location could be found.

The "Deaths"

When a character died on HeroMUD, their soul would float aimlessly about, unable to interact with the game. This was a temporary state that would eventually resolve itself, although a faster way to regain corporeal form was to be collected by a Death. The "Deaths" in the game were players who had achieved the highest level of advancement as a normal character. As Death, a player had to collect a certain number of souls in order to move on to the next level of power in the game (a role known as Wizard on most MUDs of the day).

The Deaths had a private space in the game ("Death's Waiting Room"), and each was outfitted with a scythe. The scythe was a game device that both notified the Deaths when someone had died, and allowed the Death to collect the player's soul (thus returning the player's character to the world of the living).

Since every Death wanted to collect the soul, notification of a player death sent the Deaths racing across the MUD to be the first one there and collect the soul.

The Police

Another role players could take on was that of a Police Officer. Police Officers enforced MUD rules. If a player was allowed to become a Police Officer, he was granted access to the police station where he had a locker. In the locker the player had a special set of police equipment (armor, weapons, etc) of a significantly higher quality than the gear players typically had access to. In addition, on the table in the Police Station was a box of donuts. By eating the donuts, Police Officers could restore their Hit Points.

Character Classes

True to its comic book theme, HEROMud had an esoteric mix of classes. Among these were powers based on Spider-Man, jedis, Wolverine, Hulk, Green Lantern and later Villains.

Challenges and Villains

One notoriously difficult foe was Darth Vader, although the experience reward for killing him was significant.

More information

Martin Bertram first discovered his love for writing in elementary school when he wrote a parody of Star Trek for a fifth grade assignment. He continued to write stories and then in 1991 he began writing content for several popular text-based online games called MUDs, the predecessor to MMORPGs. Some of the MUDs he was a part of include Hero MUD (based on the UMich campus at Ann Arbor, Michigan, Nightmare_LPMud (which was called Orlith MUD at the time), VieMUD, Realms of Imagination, and Quarantine MUD.

It was significantly before your time. The idea was to get refused service at a convenience store, and you had to somehow get "no shirt" and "no shoes" from NPCs around town, before you'd get the quest object "no service." Especially for the "no shirt" segment, the puns were just physically painful.