Who is Zugg? (Really)

Well, the story in real life somewhat mirrors the fiction. Years ago I ran D&D sessions at the University of California, Irvine. I was a Dungeon Master. I enjoyed creating worlds, and plots, and letting real people stumble around in my realms. Very similar to what thousands of people do today on MUDs.

I had a regular group of players and we got together a couple times a week, usually for marathon sessions on the weekend. One of my favorite creations was the world of Branland (yeah, so the name was terrible, what can I say?). The scenario was called the Battle of the Wizards. Remember that this was before the computer game craze in which every plot revolved around killing the evil wizard. I admit to having a few plots like this myself. However, the Battle of the Wizards scenario didn't quite go as I planned it.

My idea was simple. Get the group to go find Gondar and help him kill the evil Grameel. It was supposed to be a short scenario for one of our evening sessions. I had used the world and setting before for a few other scenarios, so I was fairly comfortable that I could handle anything special that would be needed. Boy was I wrong!

You see, there were many clues that Prince Zorton had been turned to Grameel's side. However, my hardy band of adventurers didn't pick up on any of them. They let Zorton join their party and trusted him as a royal prince. Ok, so I gave them a few more hints and expected them to dispatch the Prince (who was a minor player anyway) and get on with the real quest. But they didn't take any of the bait. I had not planned for Zorton to be in on the final battle, so I had Zorton take them to the Dungeon and lock them up. Everyone went home (to be continued on the weekend) so that I could rewrite the scenario.

That is when I invented Laplos, the Dungeon or Horrors, and of course, Zugg. Call it a moment of inspiration. I designed the scenario, the description of Zugg, and everything late one night. That weekend I had the Galant Knight Sir Rossi rescue the party from their cell and lead them into the heart of the Dungeon. As expected, they killed Laplos (he really was disgusting). I had bet that they would kill Zugg as well, but they didn't. Aurora was his savior.

Aurora was a relatively new member of the group. She was a Freshman, and I was a Junior. She was a computer science major, like myself at the time, and joined the group a month or so before after hearing about it from a friend. Aurora took a great interest in my Zugg character for some reason. She convinced the other's to spare his life and to see if he would lead them out of the dungeon. They had Zugg join their party, and I ended up having to play him as best I could. I lead them out of the Dungeon and got them back on the main plot trail to kill Grameel. Grameel really did just disappear, since I planned to bring him back at a later date for another scenario.

After a few more months of this, the group slowly split up. Grades were falling, and there just wasn't as much time to spend D&Ding (sounds like MUD addiction, doesn't it?). Aurora and I grew close, and ended up spending a lot of time together. We discovered computer D&D games together with the first Wizardry and Ultima games. We dated for four years and had a good time. I was in graduate school when she finished her four years of undergraduate work and got a job in England. England!! I said. Yes, she said sadly. We'll, I still had two years left of my graduate degree and couldn't follow. We departed as friends. I still hope that the currents of time will bring us together again someday.

I completed my degree, and moved to New Mexico. I got married, then divorced. During my divorce I found escape in the wonderful world of MUDs. Gee, it was just like the old D&D games I used to run. Computer games with real people! I developed a killer MUD client for the PC called zMUD. Take a look, I think you'll like it. See you online!

For more information, here is my resume. Also, here is a list of MUDs that I play in case you want to find me online.