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Interview: Ilsensine; Directionally Challenged - Lake of Tich'Pyga; so much more!

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  CoD Issue 72                          ||                      Jun 2003
Table of Contents |
                  | Desk Of The Editor: 
                  | CoD Feature: An Interview with Ilsensine
                  | Directionally Challenged: Lake of Tich'Pyga
                  | Public Submission: The Valley of Mysts
                  | Public Submission: A Guide to Killing Zeus
                  | Public Submission: Why People Are Quitting   
                  | Rants: AIGI? Am I Going Insane?           
                  | Furthering The Builder's Art: Mob Descriptions
                  | News From Around The Realms: May and April TS News
                  | Funny Bones: The Tragedy of Dukenukem & Shargate
                  | Funny Bones: Amusing Titles
                  | Realms Census  
  Editor: Juliana                             Immortal Sponsor: Elisabet
  Staff: Kellandra, Khaimran, Qaulorn, Severin, Shadia, Simone, Vaile

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  Desk of the Editor                                       by Juliana


 Whoof. I have to apologize for the lateness of this issue, putting everything
 together took much longer than I anticipated. But wow, the same quantity that
 gave me a headache is finally here for you guys to read and enjoy!

 We've lost -yet- another staff member to the ranks of immortalhood, but at 
 least we can wrangle one last article out of them...we interview them! And 
 so Ilsensine gets the spotlight turned on her in Khaimran's feature. :)

 We do listen to all those comments in the forums, by the way! We welcome
 Severin on board the CoD staff with his new column "Directionally Challenged"
 which is an area guide aimed towards encouraging newbies to explore.

 Three submissions came in from our readership last month - all great stuff 
 in my mind, and I think you'll agree. Keep them coming in! 
 And don't forget, we're still looking for more writers and ascii artists!
 Feel free to send applications by mudmail to me and Elisabet.
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  An Interview with Ilsensine                                by Khaimran


 Khaimran: Alright, first question, just to let the readers know a bit 
           more about you. How long've you been playing Realms for?

 Ilsensine: Around 6 years now I believe... although I can't quite 
            recall... fairly sure I started spring '97, though :)

 Khaimran: Ilsensine's been around that long? Or did this char come 
           around later?

 Ilsensine: Initially I made a mage (embarassingly, I cannot remember 
            the name of that char) and a rl friend of mine made Ilsensine.
            She didn't like the game, and I liked Ilsensine! So I took her
            over at about level 5 or so.

 Khaimran: And the rest is history?'

 Ilsensine laughs.

 Ilsensine: I don't know about that... but something like it maybe :)  
            I joined the Guild of Druids in mid 98 (I was only lev 20 by then,
            I had a very slow learning curve). I ended up as an inductions 
            crew member there for a number of years, a co-head of the running/
            questing arm of the guild, and eventually Guild 2nd. Just before 
            becoming 2nd, I joined the Newbie Council, too. 
            Later I left GoD and joined Maidenstone, where I became Order 2nd
            and also became a Mortal Assistant in the NC. And that would 
            probably take us nearly to the current date :) 
            After that, I resigned from MS leadership and returned to GoD... 
            continued my NC role till I immed :)
            Also I was a CoD member for about 3(?) years, as well as an 
            Olympic Planner for 3 (including current one) Olympics.

 Khaimran: Could you tell us a little about what being an MA entails?

 Ilsensine: The role of the MA's in the Council is basically to provide 
            a point of contact between the Immortals of the Council and the
            mortal players. To generally uphold the purpose and rules of the
            council, and to mentor new members :)

 Khaimran: Out of all your mortal roles.. which do you feel was the most 
           fulfilling, or the one you enjoyed most?
 Ilsensine: Hmm, that's a tough one. I think I would have to say NC... 
            It very much became my home and my purpose here for the two years
            I spent in the council. I cannot stress enough what a fantastic 
            bunch of people the NC really are. :)

 Khaimran: Which role do you feel gave you the most help in preparing 
           for immortality?

 Ilsensine: Hmm, that's difficult to pin down. In honesty I would have to say
            different roles for different reasons. NC certainly helps in the 
            spam exposure stakes, as well as the patience and willingness to 
            stay calm. But also, I learned a lot from my mortal leadership 
            positions, as well as the quest design aspects from OPC and IGQC.

 Khaimran: D'you think that's why so many NCers tend to get promoted to 

 Ilsensine: I don't think there are really a huge number of NC'ers who are 
            promoted, I think that's somewhat of a myth on the whole. I 
            personally found it helpful experience in many respects, but I 
            couldn't really speak for anyone else :)

 Khaimran: So what kind of factors went into your decision to take the big 
           step to L51?

 Ilsensine: Many. I thought rather hard about this. I really had to review my 
            entire position within the game and assess whether I could deal 
            with this new challenge. In the end, I felt that I'd done a broad 
            range of things within the mud and that if I wasn't ready... well 
            hey, I wasn't. I resolved only that I would give it my best effort

 Khaimran: So there's nothing left you'd have wanted to accomplish on the 
           mortal side of things?

 Ilsensine: I was still very enthusiastic about my mortal roles. However, in a
            way I suppose I had achieved many of the things that interested me
            particularly. That said, there are always new challenges in a game
            this diverse, and I am sure there are and there will be many more 
            that I simply have not thought about :)

 Khaimran: What about the future, then? What do you hope to achieve in 
           your time as an imm?'

 Ilsensine: Hmm. I must say that at this stage, a lot of what lies ahead is
            totally undetermined. At the moment I am concentrating on learning
            my new role effectively, so I can really make a good job of my new
            position. Trite as it may sound, my main goal in taking this step 
            is to give back more to this game, from which I have taken so much
            enjoyment. I hope that my experience can perhaps help others, even
            in a small fashion :)

 Khaimran: Do you have a vague idea of what you'll go into, though? 
           Maybe a specific council you'd like to (re)join?

 Ilsensine: I can assure you that I'll never be a coder. I have problems 
            programming my video recorder.
 Ilsensine laughs.

 Ilsensine: On a serious note... I suppose the immortal councils that I am 
            naturally most inclined towards would be either Quest Council or
            the Newbie Council.

 Khaimran: How about in terms of rank? We all know that there are some who are
           quite happy at L53, whereas others prefer to move up the ladder... 
           any idea of what you'll be aiming for?

 Ilsensine: To be quite truthful, that's really a subject I've not given any 
            thought to. I consider it an honour to be considered for an 
            immortal position in the first place, anything above that would of
            course be great provided I do a good job! Bottom line, it's not 
            really a big concern either way to me.

 Khaimran: What's been the toughest thing to adjust to, so far?

 Ilsensine: That one is easy! Stopping myself answering questions on channels.
            I find myself typing halfway through answers almost constantly. I 
            will learn one day!

 Khaimran: Have you had time to enjoy yourself being an imm yet, or is it all 
           work work work so far?'

 Ilsensine: There is certainly work, but (you can call me a freak if you like)
            I actually enjoy the 'work' side of it. I am pretty used to
            spending most of my time here being busy. Although I must add that
            I always find time to chat and joke with others, that for me is 
            the key to this game, the wonderful players.

 Khaimran: Have your perceptions of the game changed at all, then?

 Ilsensine: Obviously I am viewing it from a slightly different perspective,
            since my position has changed. However, I don't feel anything has
            changed aside from that. I am still the same person, with the same
            lousy humour and the same mildly unhinged take on life :)

 Khaimran: What about your perceptions of the existing imms, then? Any popular
           misconceptions that you'd like to dispel, or rumours you'd like to 
           confirm? ;)

 Ilsensine throws back her head and cackles with insane glee!
 Ilsensine: I could probably tell some dreadful stories... but I won't. I'm 
            still suitably and courteously terrified of those whom we all
            should be :)

 Khaimran: Do you feel people have treated you differently at all, since 
           you immed?

 Ilsensine: I hope not. I have received a lot of congratulations from friends
            and people who are new to me alike, and for that I am very 
            grateful. In general, I'd like to believe people will treat me 
            the same on the whole.

 Khaimran: Do you have any big fears/apprehensions about the coming weeks, 
           or indeed your whole tenure as an imm?

 Ilsensine chortles with glee.
 Ilsensine: There is always a little nervousness which accompanies anything 
            new and largely unknown. I aim to work hard to overcome whatever
            problems I might face. I can't say there is any one thing that I
            especially fear, but that certainly doesn't mean I will be 
            underestimating what challenges lie ahead :)

 Khaimran: What's your best memory from Realms so far?'

 Ilsensine: Oh jeez. That's making me think... which is a dangerous thing.
 Ilsensine thinks, 'Hmmmm.'

 Ilsensine: I have a whole bunch of memories that are special to me. A serious
            one would be my mud-husband Deryan... who is long gone, but still 
            remembered fondly and always appreciated. A more frivolous one 
            would be all of us NC committing suicide at the asp queen in the 
            old Academy :)

 Khaimran: What do you feel the best learnt, or most important lesson 
           you've received in your time on RoD is?

 Ilsensine thinks, 'Hmmmm.'

 Ilsensine: I'd have to say this... Never let anyone else tell you that you 
            are not good enough to do something. I think that's important for
            people to remember. If someone tells you your base is too low, or
            your eq is [not] good enough... go prove that person wrong.         

 Ilsensine beams brightly.  Why is that?

 Khaimran: Any last words to our readers?

 Ilsensine: I guess all I would like to say is a big thank you to all those
            who have supported the Cry of Despair over the years, and to the
            players who make this game what it is.

 Khaimran: Alright, thanks Ils :)  On behalf of all the CoD staff, good luck 
           with your new adventures in immortalhood ;)

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  Directionally Challenged - Lake of Tich'Pyga               by Severin


 Lake Tich'Pyga:                          A Tourguide to RoD
 The lake that isn't.                     for the Directionally Challenged 
                                           by the Directionally Challenged

 Directionally Challenged (hence "DC", but not to be confused with the more
 capable Druidic Cartographers) believes that a lake is supposed to be planar.
 Unsurprisingly, it quickly got lost in the winding paths of this very
 untraditional lake filled with identical room names. Other than this bit of
 unpleasantness, DC feels that this rather rewarding area is somewhat 
 under-visited despite its proximity to Darkhaven.
 Despite the level guideline of 0-65, DC recommends tourists to keep away 
 until at least level 10-15. Even then, it is safest to circle the shores of 
 the Lake when not prepared for battle, since certain creatures of the lake, 
 like the water beetles, are highly aggressive and painful to kill even by 
 stronger characters (stay hidden). Death also comes by drowning in certain 
 western portions of the lake. There are no Death Traps, so it is safe to 
 wander about boldly with hide and aqua breath on. Be careful of clams though.

 So -- what is so rewarding about this lake? The lake is the source of what DC
 feels are the best weapons for level 10-20 and 30-40, the oar and the osprey
 talon. Specifically, the oar is a high-damage bludgeoning weapon from level 8
 onwards, while the osprey talon is a good replacement for a sai, which can be
 hard to obtain without an avatar character. Other useful items include a level
 20some fly staff, a nice shield and earring. There are also some useless but 
 funny items that shall be left undescribed.
 Since the Lake is rated at level 0-65, there is certain entertainment 
 available for avatars. Confront the Fishermen of Past, Present and Future, or
 the water guardian. (All right, DC admits that it's also IC -- Intellectually
 Challenged -- so it is up to YOU to help it find that fat mob to run ad 
 nauseam for some probably lousy equipment. )
In conclusion...
   Favorite Room: "East-Central Lake Tich'Pyga", one of many. Find out which
                  one and why yourself.
   Favorite Mob: The giant clam. 

   Favorite Object: The frilly blue pinafore. Easily available aff_hide as
                    low as level 6; every lowbie should have one and NC should
                    stock dozens.

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  Public Submission: The Valley of Mysts                     by Jexia  


 Wandering through the Forgotten Woods one day, I came across a valley,
 shrouded in mist, with a mysterious air.  Having heard rumours of a 
 "Valley of Mysts", yielding a rare treasure, I determined to explore,
 to see what I could find.
 Flying over a small creek, I quickly found that the fog was truly odd
 and disorienting.  A turn one way seemed to lead me elsewhere.  Through
 the haze, I could faintly see a building of some sort, and I very much
 wanted to reach it.  There was a brook to cross before the building,
 which I thought I could pass over using a rickety bridge.  There was 
 something eerie about the bridge though, and I found myself unable to 
 Wandering like a lost soul, I found myself trapped in a thick stand of 
 trees.  It seemed as though I might have to retreat, and perhaps be 
 unable to find my way back to the valley.  Eventually, I found a way 
 through the branches.  As I continued to wander through the curling mist,
 I found a ford over the brook.  To my surprise, I found some mists seemed
 to glow with life, and attacked with the chill of the ethereal.

 The mists confused me, until I found myself in front of the building.
 It proved to be a small cottage.  I carefully opened the door and peered
 inside.  The cottage was bare, except for a mound of hay, which proved
 to hold a surprise.  The most intriguing part of the surprise was most
 difficult to reach, and left me a very grubby pixie.
 It seemed a catastrophe had come to the valley.  Graves were everywhere,
 tended by a mourning druid.  A place where so much lies buried is sure 
 to conceal treasures.  As I traversed the area, I found supplies in the
 form of delicious ripe raspberries, and assorted fungi.  I also found 
 more of the strange mists, who attacked.  Be warned, it is not possible
 to retreat everywhere in the valley.
 I am certain that more secrets lie in the valley.  I found the treasure
 which I sought, with the help of the druid, but I sensed a power on the
 lake which I could not appease.  I plan to return, if the valley will 
 reveal itself to me again.

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  Public Submission: A Guide to Killing Zeus


 I’m not sure exactly what holds some people back from going on runs and
 becoming a better runner, but this will be my attempt to ensure it isn’t at
 least for a lack of knowledge.  Everyone has to start somewhere, and you
 develop step-by-step into a better runner.  Going out to challenge difficult
 mobs right away will end up getting you thrashed, frustrated and annoyed.

 There have been a lot of articles on the general principles of running, so
 now I’m going to attempt to give you a bit more applicable knowledge and give
 breakdowns on individual mobs.  This will be an experimental mini-series with
 one mob a month.  I’ll do my best to confirm all the information, but keep in
 mind that things change over time and some information might not be exactly
 correct by the time you read it.  If you have any further questions or
 requests for mobs, let our new CoD editor Juliana know and she’ll pass them
 onto me.  Anyway, this month I’ve selected Zeus!

 Zeus carries a number of items of interest.  The Aegis is a nice plate with
 strength on it for manausers.  You can buy it easily but if you run for it,
 you can save yourself a few mil.  Ambrosias are also awesome double-heals.
 These come in really useful for big in-game or quest mobs plus in PK.  Save
 these if possible!  If you don’t use them, you can always resell ambrosias in
 bulk later on.  Nectars also cast some spells but nothing that can’t be
 brewed.  Thunderbolt are good newbie weapons and can be collected for
 disposable weapons in other runs, but you really should upgrade past them
 once you have a little bit of cash.

 The real reason everyone kills Zeus is for Storms.  These are great hold
 items for devout manausers who are going for HP. Also, they’re interesting to
 use on warriors if you’re aiming to be an all-out tank and using the single-
 wield/hold/shield.  Nice statted item, sells decently for more than 5 mil,
 you can use on tons of characters, let’s kill already!

 First comes the question of how many characters are required and how many
 characters you are going to multi.  The minimum that I would use is about 4-5
 characters if they are all hitters.  Melee attacks do hit, but not a lot so
 you might need 1-2 more hitters if all of your other hitters are of the
 fighter genre.  Hitters also include augurers, mages, thieves, vampires,
 fathomers and nephandi.  Druids can be considered hitters or healers
 depending on what they do during the fight, and of course clerics are pretty
 much strictly healers.  

 The way the fight works is that the tank quaffs to offset Zeus’s damage, and
 that any healers you have just reduce the amount of heals that the tank needs
 to quaff.  So you could have no healers and quaff straight through for a
 shorter fight, or have a bunch of healers so you only need to quaff if you
 get really low from some special attack.

 On the question of number of characters, I don’t know what the exact number
 is, but I’ve seen Storms pop from IP 1 to IP 8.  However, I’ve gotten the
 general impression that the more you multi, the lesser your pop rate is.  So,
 just keep it simple and do it IP 1 whenever possible!  It’s good practice for
 all the bigger mobs and runs are more fun when there are lots of other people
 involved anyway. 

 Okay, so you got your group together, all your potions and heals and such,
 now you’re ready to head off!  Well, first you need to know how to get there.
 Eight up from dh square, two north into the astral plane and track for the
 messenger.  Get transed to Olympus, and no I’m not going to tell you the
 phrase.  Not everything in life is handed to you on a silver platter!  

 One of the main problems about running in Olympus is the citizens that steal
 tons of gold.  So you can either bring an evil-aligned character and kill
 them every repop, or use an appropriate character to charm/sleep them.  If
 there are other people in the area, you can nicely ask them if they will
 leave them alone and usually there won’t be any problems.  This way you can
 avoid having to worry about the citizens at all.  

 Zeus can be found north of where you trans in.  His main attack is lightning
 breath so make sure to have grounding in addition to the usual res magic, res
 nonmagic spells (eldritch sphere, shadowform, antimagic shell).  Make sure
 your styles are set properly and away you go!  During the fight Zeus will
 also disarm, so be prepared for that.  If you do happen to die and you decide
 to flee out, grab your weapons off the ground before you flee out otherwise
 Zeus will pick them and you will need to steal them.

 All in all, Zeus is a really simple run.  The area is easy to get to and once
 you set up everything properly, it’s easy to get in the groove and do a bunch
 of kills to get Storms for everyone.  If you have problems tanking, you can
 always try tanking in a lower style or focus just on quaffing and don’t worry
 about doing damage yourself.  This is a great mob to practice all those basic
 running skills on with little risk, so experiment with anything you are
 wondering about.  Have fun and good luck with those Storm pops!

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  Public Submission: Why People Are Quitting            by Irad       


 Greetings, for those of you who do not know me, I am Irad.  Most people see 
 me as a guy who sits in the lounge and does nothing, but if you actually knew
 me, that is hardly the case.  Recently a friend of mine, Ganemanoimu, has 
 stopped doing articles.  Being that I enjoyed his articles, and a lot of his
 views, I decided to start one.  

 Enough chitter chatter, let me get to what's on my mind. People quitting. 
 The fact is, plan and simple and it can't be said enough, but please stop 
 using the port as a reason to leave.  "The changes were too much". Give me a
 break, the port was almost a year ago.  I'll tell you the real problem, 
 people just don't have the motivation they did years ago.  They don't think 
 the same things can be done as easily from before.  If you think that, then 
 you would be right.  

 3 years ago do you know how easy it was to run certain mobs compared to now?
 A LOT easier.  Multi'ing was more possible, mobs were all around easier to 
 kill, but just like everything else, all good things come to an end.  The 
 fact is, people abused the slack that was given in a lot of things.  Some 
 areas were changed not to upset us, but because there were a select few 
 taking advantage of the situation.

 Over the last what, 8 years now, the game has slowly gotten harder and
 harder.  If it wasn't, what exactly is the point in playing a game that
 anyone and everyone can do.  Some things were being spammed so they were
 upped, and uppings still happen on a monthly basis.  Instead of things being
 handed to you on a silver platter like they pretty much were years ago, 
 things must be worked for now, and people just aren't as willing to do that,
 most of them anyways.  

 For that reason, and pretty much for that reason alone, the player base has 
 dropped.  The quitting rate really hasn't changed much, but the rate at which
 new players starting and AV'ing has taken a dramatic change.  Almost all of 
 the orders are having problems with activity within their order, because 
 active people stop playing and it's just not as easy as it once was to 
 replace them with newer talent, because the choices are so limited.  If you 
 look in guilds, there is a reduced number of active people, and that is where
 a majority of people who go to orders come from.  What I'm saying is, don't 
 be mad at people leaving or quitting, be upset that you know you won't be 
 able to find someone as a suitable replacement easily as it once was.

 Personally I think that all the orders should combine forces instead of 
 trying to compete with one another.  Just take X amount of order members or
 even guild members for that matter, and start getting things rolling. While 
 that may sound like a crazy idea, we all know it couldn't work.  Some of the
 people are too egotistical to even think of combining forces with another 
 order or guild.  I really am out of ideas how to save parts of this game, I
 really am.  I've tried almost everything and it's just completely different
 as far as the players are concerned.

 The only thing I think that could be done from something that would be 
 completely out of my hands, is some brand new idea that refuels everyone 
 motivation for the game, or even fix problems that currently keep people 
 away.  The mage paths helped to an extent, but it needs to be on a bigger 
 scale than that, something that will really make the majority of the people
 happy and wanting to do something on the game.  As I said before, I have no
 idea what that could be, I'm not really a creative person when it comes to
 coming up with a completely great idea that would raise the morale of 

 Over my years and years of playing here, I've come to notice that when people
 aren't doing something actively in the game, IE:  Running, RP'ing, 
 Inductions, or anything for that matter, people start to think.  When people
 start thinking, they usually start thinking about how something could be 
 fixed, or even think about problems they have with certain groups or people.

 The best advice I can give to any organization out there would have to be:
 Keep your order active and happy.  Whether it be weekly runs, meetings, 
 quests, keep them active.  If you don't, you'll start to notice problems
 within the organization.  The same goes for realms.  Since not many people
 are very active anymore, they start pointing their finger.  Here is my last
 piece of advice for the month.

 Get active and stop whining.

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  AIGI? - Am I Going Insane?                            by Vaile      


 Remember when everyone peddled their wares on AVChat or Chat? Those days seem
 like so long ago. Then a new channel for all of us to play with, use and 
 abuse came into existance.
 Countless annoyances, SPAM, and other just generally idiotic tendencies on
 the part of mortals pushes the administrators into introducing a new,
 glorious, channel for us to use. Traffic.
 Over the years, this treat has slowly spiraled into a debacle that can only
 be described as disgusting. I use to pay close attention to the values of
 many items and various pieces of equipment, this all back when you could
 freely discuss everything.  By everything, I mean from how much something is
 worth, to how a mob being changed might affect the value of an item. Now,
 unfortunately, all that can be seen are acronyms.  LTB, LTS, LTT, PC, WHAT,
 THE, HELL, DOES, THIS, MEAN? Back to AIGI. Am I Going Insane?

 The fact of the matter is, with the introduction of a new channel, the MUD is
 becoming immunized to the laziness arising in the public Realm. Sure, the 
 underlying basis for the channel remains, but the interaction and feeling 
 that is peddling, is lost. Has anyone ever heard a street merchant call out
 "LTS A loaf of bread!" Somehow, I don't this LTS was a part of the vendor's
 (For those of you who have way too much time on your hands.) 

 (For those of you unable to read the written language acronym.) 
 Personally, I feel these actions are debasing what would otherwise be 
 considered an amazing, well at least useful, channel. In the meantime, I
 might as well sit back and shut the hell up.
 Channel -Traffic.

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  Furthering the Builder's Art - Mob Descriptions           by Juliana


 Mobiles. One of the important components of any area. Without them, an area 
 would feel completely deserted. What would be the point of an area without 
 any mobs in it? They represent people, animals, monsters, anything "living" 
 (in the broad sense of the word). 

 Mobs are to an area builder as NPCs are to a Game Master. The only difference
 is that the area builder has to set his mobs to run on automatic, while a GM
 can ad lib on the fly. So the area builder has to try and anticipate as many 
 conditions as he possibly can, and plan for them. But in the end, he has to 
 settle for the fact that it won't be as fully interactive as a creature being
 played by a real person. We can discuss interactivity and the semblance of 
 mob intelligence through progs another time. 

 Right now, I'd like to talk about how to get the framework of an NPC going. 
 To demonstrate, I'm going to write a mob description from scratch. (Which is 
 the toughest bit of the mob to me. By the time the description's done, I know
 everything about the mob and can set its stats and programs easily.)

 If you don't have huge expectations for your NPC, if you know he's just going
 to be experience point fodder and be a generic monster, that's relatively 
 easy. You just need to describe what the monster looks like, and program it 
 to fight with the necessary level of intelligence. Animals react with 
 instinct. A carrion crawler won't have much of a mind either. When you want a
 humanoid NPC similar to a PC, that's a little trickier.

 It's not so bad if you have a picture in your mind's eye of the kind of NPC 
 you want. You can start further down the road and it makes writing 
 descriptions somewhat easier because you already have a mental image of the 
 NPC. What he looks like, what he is, who he is, what he does, etc. You may 
 know how he speaks, how he moves, what his personality is like, and how he'd 
 react if someone screamed crazily, waved a huge axe and made a berserk charge
 at him.

 The tough part comes when you have absolutely no idea who or what the NPC is 
 like, only that you a) need a healer in this part of town, or b) need some 
 people to populate your inn with or c) just need to fill your area with some 
 mobs, that maybe have some kind of mini-quest for players, but you're not 
 sure what in the first place. In other words, you know you need a mob but you
 have no clue about anything else.

 In cases like this, here's my strategy. I figure out the function of the mob.
 I get an idea (however vague and fuzzy) of what the mob is supposed to do, 
 and where it's supposed to go. I see whether that generates any more details
 as to what kind of a mob this is. If nothing stirs in my mind's eye, or 
 nothing's coming but stereotypes I'm sick of: like the forty-third fat 
 innkeeper or that scruffy little man that you just =know= is a thief...then I
 take out my ultimate weapon in area planning - the random generator.

 And I don't mean those cheesy NPC generators that give you gender, race, 
 class, eye color, hair color and top it off with an awful name either. Not 
 that there's anything wrong with them, but I prefer generators with a higher
 level of detail, and I haven't found it yet in any "complete" NPC generator.

 So I use a combination of good ones I find, and a random number generator for
 the more original aspects of RoD.

 1) Environmental Context/Function of the Mob/Mood to be invoked

 Let's say that I want a mob to sit in my inn, just to provide local color and 
 possibly provide a player with a quest. Now if your inn is in a specific 
 place, like a city of dwarves, or an artic fur-trading town, that already 
 provides an image of what typical clientele should be in the inn and how they 
 are dressed and so on. Knowing context is important if you want to maintain 
 consistency. This doesn't mean you -have- to make a typical patron as your 
 mob. The mob could be atypical, like a visiting elf. But you have to be aware 
 of that fact.

 Let's make it difficult for ourselves by not limiting the options straight 
 off. Let's say the inn is a typical sort in a cosmopolitan city like 
 Darkhaven. Almost everyone and anyone could patronize such an inn. But you 
 see, if you want to make a unique named NPC mob, you -have- to start limiting 
 the options, even if the environment doesn't do it for you. Or else all 
 you're going to get is a typical bar patron. So my first step is to either 
 decide/roll up gender, race and class. 

 (From here on, I'm going to just say "roll up" on a random generator. With 
 the understanding that you are smart enough as an area builder not to be 
 handicapped by how the dice fall. If a certain option on the generator 
 tickles your fancy, just pick it. If you come up with something all on your 
 own and like it, go with it too. The idea of the generator is to help you 
 with creativity when you can't imagine it up on your own.)

 2) The Basics: Gender/Race/Class/Level

 RoD races and classes are fairly unique, so I usually just end up using a 
 random number generator (like this Dice Roller from Eposic - and consulting the help race and help
 class files on RoD itself. I tend to just use male/female as a gender option,
 and save neuter for weird monsters like oozes and jellies, but hey, if you 
 want, go for it.

 I rolled up a male, human, druid for our example. Now if you rolled up any 
 other race besides human, you would have some more material to work with 
 because they all have racial stereotypes that suggest appearance and 

 I'm going with the dice because I want to demonstrate how this can work even
 if you let them fall as they may. The immediate mental image being formed is
 this somewhat plain, nondescript man in brown robes with a wooden staff, 
 carved to look like a snake is winding around it. Human druids have their 
 stereotypes too, I guess. I'm not satisfied with this, so I'm going to go to
 the next stage of making a character unique. I roll up their personality and

 3) Personality/Quirks

 If you look on the internet about creating characters (be it for a 
 roleplaying game or writing a story), you'll find a million and one articles 
 that mention "think about what quirks and personality" your character has. 
 This is all very well, we already know that including these traits are 
 important, but what the hell are they? 

 If you tend to be as stuck on ideas as I am, then looking for lists of traits
 helps a lot when combined with more random rolling. It helps to find your 
 favorite lists. The internet has lots. If you've got a favorite role-playing 
 game, those often come with a few lists as well in the character creation or 
 making NPC sections. You could even use "real world" personality tests like 
 the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. But here are some to get us going:

 Personality Archetypes - (18 traits)

 100 Character Traits - (100 traits)

 I've rolled two from each to obtain: Comedic, Responsible, grins constantly, 
 is extremely clumsy. For me, this brings to mind a clown-sort of character. 
 He evidently has low manual dexterity, but instead of being ashamed about it, 
 tends to make it all into one big joke and enjoys making people laugh. On 
 first appearances, he may be not be taken seriously, but deep down, he feels 
 protective and responsible for a certain group of people (or even all 
 people). His goal might be to make people happy and smile more. Perhaps.

 4) History/Background

 The next thing that deepens a character is history, background and 
 motivation. All this ties together to contribute to his personality and 
 quirks. I like to use the generator below because it comes up with more 
 details than I need. Now and then they contradict each other, but I just 
 decide what to cut away and ignore. 

 NPC Background Generator -

 I'll summarize what it generated and what I decided for the interests of 
 saving space. The NPC idolized his father, who is now dead. His mother is 
 still alive, but abandoned him when he was little. He feels a great deal of 
 pain about the whole matter and is determined to find his true mother. He's 
 the youngest of a family of three children. His other two siblings dislike 
 him and ignore him. He has a single important enemy who uses divine magic 
 against him. He was stricken with a grave illness that nearly cost him his 
 life, leaving him with a very real sense of mortality and the value of life,
 resulting in deep caring for others who are ill. Through some mishap he has 
 some alternate personality. When the character's darker half comes to the 
 surface, he behaves in ways unthinkable to his 'normal' self.

 From this, ideas are beginning to spin off, especially when you keep asking 
 "Why" and "How" something happened, and keep trying to unite disparate 

 This enemy with divine magic and his illness and alternate personality all 
 tie together to suggest that he is under some kind of curse. An immediate 
 stereotype would be lycanthropy (especially linked with druids somehow) or 
 vampirism, but for fun, let's stay away from them and think of another type 
 of curse. 

 I'm stuck on actually making a curse, though I really like the idea of a 
 cursed druid, so my next step is to go look for resources on making curses. 
 (Weird as it sounds.) I remember reading up some very creative curses in an 
 RPG setting Ravenloft, so I dig up my old books on this. 

 If you lack this particular resource, there's always the internet and 
 surfing, or remembering your favorite curse from a favorite book, or just 
 plain making it up if you're more imaginative than I.

 So according to my book, a curse of vengeance falls upon someone who has 
 wronged another so greatly that the victim's hatred and fury is given 
 concrete form. The curse should fit the wrongdoer and the nature of the crime
 and have an escape clause. I've decided it would be interesting if this druid
 -did- commit a crime, against a deity, and be cursed by that deity. Evil 
 deities seem a prime candidate for curses, but what about devout deities? Now
 it gets interesting. Another random roll out of 22 deities. Adendra. Hrm.

 Adendra dislikes people killing elves. What if this druid quarreled with some 
 xenophobic elves over the grove he was protecting? The elves saw him as a 
 human intruder and wanted him out of there. The druid's argument was that 
 he'd been there ten years and wasn't leaving, thank you. The elves scoffed, 
 ten years is nothing, and one of the bolder ones went to force him out. 
 Heated words led to blows. And in the heat of the moment, an excessive use of 
 force, a moment of clumsiness, and the elf was fatally wounded. (Who happened 
 to be a cleric of Adendra). Which led to a curse put on him.

 Now his crime was killing an elf because he wanted to stay put in the grove. 
 The curse might then force him to wander. In fact, he can't rest in the 
 wilderness. He only gains respite if he's in man-made surroundings, ie. that 
 city inn we're making him for in the first place. Assuming it took him a day 
 or two before he realized he's cursed, and another few days to stumble to the 
 city, we can imagine his appearance as rather disheveled and sleep-deprived. 
 He probably doesn't have a lot of cash to keep staying at the inn, so he'll 
 be out looking for some gold, he might identify herbs for a price. And he's 
 probably desperately looking for a cure. (Ooh, quest potential!)

 5) Names

 While thinking about his history, I came up with a name for this druid. 
 Belaphur. Just a series of random syllables that fell into place and felt 
 right, so I'm just going to use it. Now if you're a little less lucky and 
 can't think up a name, even though you're developing all the other bits, 
 don't despair. There are plenty of name generators about. Just for heaven's 
 sake, use some common sense and inuitition as you roll up names, and spend 
 some time looking for a GOOD name generator. Too many of them out there just
 put together random syllables and call it a name. 

 If you can get your hands on Dragon Magazine, or can bribe a friend with a 
 collection, a couple of their issues have lovely elf, drow, dwarf, dragon, 
 gnome, halfling name charts. Failing which, try these online sites:

 Ron Pearsall's Dwarf, Elf, Drow Name Generators in particular...

 Chris Pound's Name Generation Page (- is a tilde)

 One last resource for fantasy names, especially those of different races, is 
 to look up the invented languages for each race. Some nouns can stand alone, 
 while others sound better combined. Drow RP'ers already use this for their 
 own characters - Elamshinae, Indarae, Veldrin, etc.

 For lots of other names, you also can't go wrong looking at baby name sites, 
 if you apply some tastefulness to your choice. The ever-famous Kabalarians 
 website can act as a generator as well. Just close your eyes, swing your 
 mouse, click and pray. (

 6) Clothing/Physical Appearance

 Now at last to dress our druid. Since we've done all this planning about what
 he's like beforehand, we know there are details to be added to make him look 
 less like a stereotype. He's probably had a good number of sleep-deprived 
 days to ruin his physical condition, and is likely not sleeping and eating 
 well in a city inn, and worrying about his cash flow. So we'll give him 
 bloodshot eyes, a haggard appearance, and make him a little on the thin side
 and unshaven. 

 Just to go against stereotype, let's say his robes got so torn up and 
 bedraggled in his journey to the city that he's given up on them. Even 
 mending them is not going to work. (I could dress him in crumpled, badly 
 mended robes, but I'm thinking that I don't want him looking like a complete
 beggar. Wrong mood evoked.) Mediocre shirt and trousers. Ill-fitting. Thief-
 like. But smells of herbs. He's been making salves to sell, perhaps.

 Notice that when I first begin thinking about this druid's description, I 
 don't immediately attempt to write complete sentences, but just jot down 
 details I want to include. This gives me an outline to follow when I begin 
 the first draft. (I always tell myself it's a draft, so I can actually get 
 started writing.)

 If you're stuck on words for describing stuff, check out the two links below: 
 Together they contain "more adjectives than you can shake a stick at".

 Character Descriptors (Armageddon MUD) 
 Cattriona's Alterations Helper (Gemstone III MUD)

 Now to visualize the mob and transcribe the noted details into full 
 sentences. I add stuff as they occur to me. 

 This man's eyes are bloodshot, as he peers around the common room of the inn. 
 He huddles in the shadows caused by the flickering light of the fireplace. He 
 bears a haggard appearance. He is a little on the thin side, as if he has not 
 been eating well these past few days. He is unshaven, often scratching the 
 short auburn hairs on his chin. He bears a wistful expression as he stares 
 into the distance, as if life has treated him better in the past. He is 
 dressed in an ill-fitting workman's shirt and trousers of mediocre quality. 
 The earthy smell of dried herbs clings to him. Some of his clothing bear 
 green and brown stains and the flake-like remnants of crushed plants.

 There. That's a first draft. Readable sentences, but fairly boring sentence 
 structure. Forcing the description out was enough effort for me, I don't 
 bother revising in the first draft. Some details repeat themselves. 

 Next draft, re-organize points and start adding some life to the sentences.

 This man bears a haggard appearance, as he huddles in the shadows caused by 
 the flickering firelight, his eyes bloodshot, his chin unshaven. Belaphur is 
 a little on the thin side, and the intense way he stares at other patrons 
 ordering food suggests that he has not been eating well these past few days. 
 His clothing is of mediocre quality, consisting of an ill-fitting workman's 
 shirt and worn, patched trousers. The earthy smell of dried herbs clings to 
 him. Now and then, Belaphur rubs absently against greenish-brown stains on 
 the sleeves of his shirt, causing the remnants of crushed plants to flake 
 onto the tabletop.

 Notice that I added a few more details, while choosing to leave other details
 out. I could have added a sentence describing his auburn hair, but I decided 
 it wasn't important in this context. I can add it in later if I feel like it.
 I also nixed the wistful expression. I figure I can include that phrase in a 
 speech_prog when players talk to him. Remember that LONG is not always 
 better. Players only have finite attention spans and they'll never read an 
 essay masquerading as a mob description. 

 Also notice that this Belaphur is somewhat different from what I initially 
 rolled up. Due to the added background of the curse, he's had more angst 
 heaped on him. Just a personal preference, of course. I like drama and flawed
 characters. So I doubt he's going to be totally comedic, though he might grin
 wryly a lot and still be quite clumsy. This mob turns out to be a great 
 example of why the above are only guidelines to spur creativity. You should 
 always exercise the final say, and not be ruled by all those random rolls.  

 In Conclusion

 Is it necessary to go into this level of detail for every mob you make? Of 
 course not. Else you'd never finish an area. One mob with this much detail 
 could inspire a whole area around it. The idea is to pick and choose and 
 generate enough ideas so that you know what and who the mob is - then you can
 easily write a passable description for it, and add its stats without the 
 feeling you're typing in random numbers.

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===========|  \ |___ |  | |___ |  | ___]    | \| |___ |_|_| ___|========

  The Symposium: April                                    by Wiglaff


 In April the following proposals were placed before TS,
 and after consideration, voted on as follows -

 Passed by TS :
 Nation eq improvement/added stats.
 Benefic Aura mana cost change from 50 to 5.
 Player settable recall points.
 HT tokens being usable by all races for Tagertale transport.
 Description toggle to switch to game-given description.
 Marriage staus added to whois.
 Containers auctionable when empty. 
 Who list visible to all despite invis.
 Tagertale plaque with hometown phrases.
 Lowering the drinks level in the auction house.
 Failed login recording.
 Using all.item for more commands (eg. empty).
 Exsurgo castable in combat.
 New respawn object type.
 Long description change to a swarm of locusts.
 Auction change from 5 times to 3 with longer intervals.
 Graduated minimum bid increments.
 Pandora's Box reboot item.
 Note list vote change to show your voting status.
 Private peaceful organisation arenas. 
 Changing academy pouches to bags.
 Group display command modification.
 Reverting says to their original form.
 Stone items with special unique spells for each class.

 Failed by TS :
 Nephandi able to recall while cursed.
 Player settable front titles (ie Mr, Lady, etc).
 IP compare command for leaders.
 Whios command for typoers.
 All races available for all classes, plus suggested races in hfile.
 Spending gold from bank account like checks.
 Anonymous mode for posting notes.
 Removing bp cost from daytime mistwalk attempts.
 Cycling mobs in and out of game.
 DT insurance for a gold fee.

 Held Over :
 Barbershops in game (code already in place).

 During the month the following feedback was received 
 concerning proposals previously passed by TS -

 Denied :
 Purge house key.
 Tell List.
 Donation bots IP change.
 Unholy/holy added to glory rates. 
 Titlechange config.
 Giths being allowed to be Fathomers.
 Cloak wear loc changes.
 Further cloak covering.
 Style indicator for group.
 Apartment save space.
 Benefic Aura mana reduction. 
 Player settable recall.
 Hometown tokens to Tage.
 Description Toggle.
 Config +/- social
 Failed login alerts
 New Trade system
 Nation eq having stats
 Private Pk arena for organisations
 Personal AFK message
 Marriage command/whois
 Graduated Minimum Bid Increments

 Passed :
 Empty/Fill commands to allow certain amounts.
 Extradimensional portal echo.
 Add fountain in warehouse.
 Deposit command to show commas
 Change to auction rounds
 Auctioning Containers
 Plaque at Tagetarle
 Note list vote modification
 Peaceful timer in Badlands
 Auctionable Salves
 Note write command /m. 

 In May the following proposals were placed before TS,
 and after consideration, voted on as follows - 

 Passed by TS :
 Increased buffer size for channels, notes, bios, etc.
 Transport and portal reallowed into Sentinel and Gauntlet.
 Vampire scan during the night.
 Giving other cities in game similar facilties to Darkhaven.
 Statreport and report display changes for non-magic users.
 Supplicate restore.
 Feed skill usable on bodyparts when low on bp. 
 Waitstate changes automatically updating prompt .
 Fountain at National Visions.
 Increasing ignore limit.
 Save command not disrupting afk

 Failed by TS :
 Mana costs for spells displayed in practice or slist.
 New cslist command to view slists of other classes. 
 Supplicate cure to remove blind/curse/poison etc.
 Name changes in pre-auth not rerolling stats.
 Preventing spam-out by reroll command.
 Warrior class selecting own primary stat.
 Druid helpfile change.
 Ignore command to block all alts.

 During the month the following feedback was received 
 concerning proposals previously passed by TS -

 Denied :
 Allow portal/transport in Sentinel and Gauntlet.
 Cast reveal in battle.
 Group Display Modification.
 Change to Says.
 Increasing channel, roomdesc, and note buffers.

 Passed :
 Vampire scan at night working in darkness.
 Change to stat/statrep/report for nonmagic users.
 Adding reroll room to pre-auth (identical to final room).
 Name change for newbie container.

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           |___ |  | |\ | |\ |  \_/     |__] |  | |\ | |___ [__
===========|    |__| | \| | \|   |      |__] |__| | \| |___ ___]========

  The Tragedy of Dukenukem and Shargate                      by Ilsensine


 Sin Sin Lee theatrical productions proudly presents...
 A 1337 Network Premiere...
 A tale of uncompromised beauty and endless folly...
 The Tragedy of Dukenukem and Shargate.
 *curtain opens*
 Dukenukem : are you a woman or a man?
 Shargate : Man
 Dukenukem : great cuz i am a woman
 Shargate : That was my guess with a name like that
 Dukenukem : i like you! i think ur hot. ur hot and funny
 Shargate : I am practically swooning here
 Dukenukem : whats ur e-mail adress?

 Shargate :
 Dukenukem : i think i love you know. do u like me?
 Shargate : How could I not? I have fallen head over heels

 Dukenukem : yay! im in love. great, want to talk tomorrow?
 Shargate : sure. When do we skip the talking and go to the consumating of the
            relationship though?
 Dukenukem : i gotta go off now cuz my daddy's here! he doesn't like me making
             out or talking with boys, but to bad for him, i found my lover!
 Sin Sin Lee : And so... our star-crossed lovers met, and fell deeply in <3
               When next we see them... they are happily together.
 Shargate : Can you call me your "Boi"?
 Dukenukem : shure
 Shargate : excellent. I will call you "mah grrrl"
 Sin Sin Lee : Dukenukem is suddenly called away...

 Dukenukem : gttg! same tyme tomorrow okay!
 Shargate : Okay!!!111 My heart aches in anticipation of your return!
            Can I tuch ur b00b b4 u go?
 Dukenukem : gttg my love, same tyme tomorrow! 7:30 okai!
 Sin Sin Lee : And so, the passion of our lovers was sealed, and oh how
               Shargate longed to see his fair Duke again. Then, the tragedy
               bit reared its ugly, vengeful head...

(sometime later)
Dukenukem : is any hot boys here?
Kali : Shargate, is your woman cruising for a new guy?
Shargate : I think so
           Consider this a fit of jealous rage.

You have forced Dukenukem to quit.
Kali : Power abuse!
Shargate : grn

*curtain falls*
And there we have it people...

Remember ye this, now as the curtain passes down...

Even the strongest of loves may wither and die, if not tended with due care...

Alas! I must depart...

Save ye ever a tear, for the woeful misery of Shargate and Dukenukem.
Disturbingly, this is all real, occuring on newbiechat one fated night :P

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           |___ |  | |\ | |\ |  \_/     |__] |  | |\ | |___ [__
===========|    |__| | \| | \|   |      |__] |__| | \| |___ ___]========

  Amusing Titles                                             by Aeriel


 [AFK] Cathrine will one day choke Kuah's afk/non-logging self. 
 [AFK] Luzir LifeWind will shake Kuah till he pays attention. 
 Aviendha: Calm Like A Bomb!
 Belfour, Ed (NHL)  Stanley Cup Champion.
 Bertran away with your mom. 
 Bruxelles puts the romantic in necromantic. 
 Cleryst Waterlord does stuff and things. {OMG}{AA} 
 Coryn:the beatings will continue until morale improves.
 Draginox Nightstar: The Dark Prince of Bel-Air.
 Edaem LifeBringer, the Beer Brat. 
 Elbanon BlackMoon wonders if you like his title. 
 Gribble dribbles down his front. 
 Hodush ha Hero his here ho have hhe hay.
 Jeacanlilyi the ugly stat name.
 Kattel is sick of peanuts....{Glade Druid} 
 Kendron: A.D.D is caused by... oh look!  A badger! 
 Kordidy just Av not long ago and is bored.
 Kortir Silverleaf: Practice safe eating, use condiments. 
 Merf unretired, yeah again,(Huntmaster) 
 Nelkum's light is on, but no one is home (say LSPELLS)
 Nessie the Loch Ness Monster.           [Nymph] 
 Odgit, the Odd Gith straight from hell! [CoW] 
 Palsham is a retired Darkhaven Guard.
 Rikith.    It was grey, had long ears, and ate grass .
 Savron goes topless (SIRE IT )
 Tiggers Bela Morte, Ain't here.
 Tobias the evil monkey cleric.
 Tonitrus the Everdying.
 Tyrie Damsana: Collector of odd things.
 Zendroax is Darkwing Duck in disguise! Let's get dangerous!

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                |    |___ |\ | [__  |  | [__
================|___ |___ | \| ___] |__| ___]===========================

  Realms Census                                                by Simone


 Hey everyone! Are you bored? Why not take a couple minutes out of your day
 to complete this quick and easy census form!

 Just answer each question as it pertains to your main character only! This 
 also means, please do not include any personal information about yourself, 
 all questions (eg. your age) are strictly being asked of your _main 

The only exception to this would be the questions involving the # of hours,
in which case, please do answer in terms of real hours.

 Also, this information will be kept totally confidential, your submission 
 will solely be used for statistical purposes and everyone's data will only 
 show up as a number. I'll find some immortal to eat the notes after I'm done
 with them, they're usually pretty hungry.

 So, on a note, answer the following questions; there is no need to write the 
 question out again. Simply the question number with the answer beside it will

 Address the note to Simone with the subject of Census or something similar.
 Thank you for your participation :)
 1. What is the age of your character?
 2. What level have you obtained?
 3. How long have you been playing realms? (answer in real years please)
 4. Are you peaceful or deadly?
 5. a) Are you currently a member of a guild (any of your characters)?
    b) If so, how many guilds are you a member of?
 6. a) Are you currently a member of an order (any of your characters)?
    b) If so, how many orders are you a member of?
 7. a) Are you currently a member of a clan (any of your characters)?
    b) If so, how many clans are you a member of?
 8. How many hours do you spend per week:
    a) running?
    b) questing?
    c) pkilling?
    d) roleplaying?
 9. How many people do you have on your ignore list?
 10.How many people do you have on your friends list?
 11.Are you currently mudmarried?
 12.How many times have you been mudmarried?
 13.How many hours per week do you spend [AFK]?
 14.Have you ever attended a major reunion?
 15.Do you actively role play?
 16.What is your approximate net worth (cash and equipment only)?
 17.a) How many avatars do you own?
    b) Of those, how many did you level from 1-50 yourself?
 18.There are: (answer either a, b or c)
    a) not enough cool flying ninjas in the realms.
    b) sufficient cool flying ninjas in the realms.
    c) too many cool flying ninjas in the realms.
 That's it! I've attempted to keep the questions quick and easy hoping for 
 lots of responses. If there is a lot of interest I will try and do a follow
 up looking for some other types of statistics :)
Thank you!