This is the info you get on the startup to HT itself, immortalized here for easy access. If its initial writer takes issue with its inclusion, it can be taken down.

Welcome to Pern!

Welcome to Pern, a mythical world created by Anne McCaffrey in her Dragonriders of Pern novels. Harper's Tale MOO is a roleplaying game based on this world, so in order to play here, you need to know the background of Pern. We recommend that you read the books, starting with Dragonflight (which you can likely find at any bookstore). However, if you haven't read the books and need an introduction to Pern, we've set up this tutorial.

Settling Pern

Pern was originally settled by humans from Earth. In relation to this MOO's timeline, that was more than 2000 years ago. Current Pernese residents have no memory of their prior lives on Earth. Not long after men settled Pern, they discovered the dangerous truth about this world. Every 200 years, Pern's sister planet - the Red Star - swings close enough to throw off some sort of alien spores into space. Some of the spores are drawn into Pern's gravitational field… and, at regular intervals, they fall into Pern's atmosphere, turning into long writhing strands of a shapeless gray organism called Thread. The Threads devour any organic life in their path - including humans, plants, and animals. Thread that hits a person or an animal will burn away flesh, eating its victim alive through some chemical process. When it hits the ground, Thread burrows, expanding into a spidery subterranean form that will render several acres of land lifeless and barren, before the Thread finally runs out of food and dies. It cannot penetrate rock or metal, and without enough organic food to sustain it, will starve and die, shriveling into a harmless husk. Live Thread will also freeze in cold temperatures, cracking and turning to black dust. Thread can only be killed by fire, by drowning in water, or by certain toxic chemicals such as nitric oxide (HNO3 - which later came to be known just as Agenothree).

Engineering the Dragons

Pern's earliest residents were not prepared to deal with this threat from the skies, and many people were killed by Thread before they learned how to protect themselves from it. People took up residence in caves, or in stone holds with metal (or stone) roofs. One of the native lifeforms to Pern was a winged creature similar to legendary Earth's dragons. When Thread fell, the Pernese settlers noticed the tiny creatures - which the settlers called firelizards - could exhale fire, which destroyed the Threads. They could also teleport from one place to another, dodging out of the way of Thread just when it threatened them. The scientists thought, if they could genetically engineer the firelizards into larger creatures that people could ride into battle against the Threads, perhaps they could protect themselves and their lands. They proceeded to do just that, and Pern's first dragons were hatched soon thereafter.

The Weyrs

Dragons have the same remarkable abilities as their firelizard cousins: they are telepathic with their riders; they can teleport from place to place, and they can breathe fire. Dragons are usually one of five different colors. Male dragons are bronze, brown, or blue. Female dragons are gold or green. The green dragons are small and infertile; they do not lay eggs. Gold dragons are the queens; they are fertile, and once a year, a queen dragon will rise to mate with whatever bronze (or occasionally brown) male can catch her. Soon after the mating she will lay a clutch of eggs, which harden on the Hatching Grounds for several weeks before Hatching. A dragon Hatching is a momentous occasion; prospective riders are presented to the baby dragons, and the hatchlings must choose their riders.

Dragons and their riders live apart from the rest of Pern's population, in extinct volcano calderas known as Weyrs. The Weyrs have a number of large caverns at ground-level to accomodate various Weyr functions, such as the Living Cavern, where people go to eat their meals, and the Hatching Cavern, where a queen dragon lays her eggs. Weyrs also have many small individual sky-level living caves for dragons and their riders. The leaders of the Weyr are the rider of the oldest queen dragon, called the Weyrwoman, and the rider of whichever bronze caught the queen, called the Weyrleader. Together they manage the Weyr; the Weyrleader leads the Wings into battle with Thread, assigns riders to new wings, and mediates disputes at the Weyr. The Weyrwoman oversees the non-riding Weyr staff, and also manages Search (the search for candidates for new dragons).


Since the Weyrs spend most of their time during a Pass of the Red Star fighting Thread and raising dragons, they have little time or ability to grow food or make the basic necessities for living. So they depend on the Holds to support them. Holds are where most of Pern's population live. A Hold is like a small town, only instead of being built out in the open, Holds are usually carved into cliffsides. Large caverns afford Hold residents protection during Threadfalls. But when Thread isn't falling, Holders are able to venture out in the land nearby, to grow crops, hunt, tend herds, fish, and pursue other activities. Since there is no electricity on Pern, it is very much of an agrarian society. Each Hold has one leader, called the Lord Holder, who manages that Hold's operations and sees to the safety of its people. The Lord Holder also manages trade between his Hold and other Holds. Some Holds are richer in certain natural resources than others, so they all must barter to keep each other supplied.

In return for the Weyr's protection of Hold territories from Thread, the Holds tithe a percentage of their crops, herds, and essential supplies to the Weyr that defends them.


In addition to the Holds, Pernese people who are skilled in certain trades may be recruited to join a Crafthall, where they receive specialized training in that Craft. There are a number of crafts on Pern. Harpers are Pern's musicians; a Harper learns to play many instruments, but also must learn Pern's history so he can pass it down to future generations. Healers are Pern's physicians; they heal the sick, and care for the injured. Smiths are the engineers of Pern; a Smith may specialize in a number of disciplines, incuding metalwork, silversmithing and blacksmithing, chemistry, woodcrafting, or glasscrafting. Farmcrafters work closely with the Holds to develop bigger, more resilient crops and foods. Weavers create fabrics, clothing, and tapestries of all types for the adornment of Pern's residents and domiciles. Seacrafters build ships and fish the seas of Pern. And Dolphineers work closely with the Seacraft, protecting the people that enter the oceans, and guiding ships safely to port.

Crafts trade with the Holds and with each other. They also tithe a portion of their goods to the Weyr.


Now you have a pretty good idea of what Pern is all about. If you'd like to try roleplaying with us in the world of Pern, go ahead and @request a character, read 'help getting started', and join us!

One note of warning. Pern is, by and large, a peaceful world. We don't have sword-toting heros wandering around killing things, nor do we have violent criminals going around raping and pillaging the natives. While we gladly encourage plots of intrigue and suspense among players, we do not tolerate unwanted harassment or attacks. If you feel the need to indulge in senseless violence, don't even bother requesting a character, because we don't want that here, and you'll soon be nuked if you try it.

So, there it is. Type 'help' on the MOO if you need more information… and Welcome to Pern!