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Interviews: Aslan and Mumra; Juliana: Art of area building

  Cry of Despair                                    Issue 67, 1/03
     .JNNNN` .JNNNNNL   NNNNNN.  |  In this month's issue:
    JNNNNN) JNNNNNNNNL (NNNNNNN. |      This month's Features-
   JNN`    JNN`    NNN (NN.  (NN)|    * Two special interviews
  (NN`    (NN`     NNF (NN`  (NN`|      of the Realms' newest
  (NN.    (NN.    JNN` NNF  JNN) |      Immortals, Aslan and Mumra.
  (NNNNNN (NNNNNNNNN' (NNNNNNNF  |    * Juliana gives us tips on
   4NNNN`  "NNNNNN`   NNNNNNF    |      the art of area building.
                                 |    * More poetry submissions.
        The Cry of Despair!      |    * All the news from Guilds
        ===================      |      and Orders around the
   *       *                 *   |      Realms.
                      *          |    * Fun-filled Quests!
        *        *         *     |    * And much, much more!
             *                   |
  Editor: Alysira                     Immortal Sponsor: Elisabet
  Staff: Amante, Ganemanoimu, Gawen, Ilsensine, Juliana,
  Kellandra, Khaimran, Shadia, Shadrack, Simone, Vaile.
  Contents                                           CoD, Issue 67

  Desk of the Editor
  News from around the Realms
  Inter Guild Quest Council News
    Aslan Interview
    Mumra Interview
    Cresis Interview: Survivor II
    Ardeth Interview: Winner of Survivor I
  Furthering the Builder's Art
  Rants from the Summit- Questing
  New Year's Resolutions
  A View for the Future
  Poetry Submissions
  Elisabet's Corner
  Desk of the Editor- by Alysira                            Editor

  What better way to start off the year 2003, than with a full
  issue of the Cry of Despair? Well, that's what you've got!

  Through parties and hangovers, gifts and relatives, our staff
  have been working hard through the holidays to present you with
  a jam-packed issue this month.

  This month we're presenting you with some of the regulars,
  including an addition to Ganemanoimu's regular column, Rants
  from the Summit. We've also managed to obtain interviews from
  Aslan and Mumra, and a special interview with Cresis about
  this years Survivor quests. We also welcome Amante's return
  to the Cry of Despair staff!

  I hope you enjoy all the hard work these people have put in over
  the last month, I know I do, and we from the Cry of Despair
  staff wish you a happy and safe new year!


  Guild/Order News- by Kellandra                              News

  Guild of Augurers -

  The GoA welcomes Arannor into our ranks, may he feel at home
  within the guildhall and find friends with his fellow auggies.
  From all of us Augurers we wish the realms a Merry Christmas and
  have a happy New Year.
  May your wishes, dreams, and hopes come true.

  Guild of Clerics -

  This month has been one of changes. Our beloved Guildmistress
  has decided to step down and cash in on her lifetime supply of
  Kumquat merlot. We love you Kellandra and your leadership will
  be sorely missed!
  The GoC would also like to congratulate its new leaders,
  Gatersade and Chalamar.
  Newly annointed clerics who have received their first dirty
  carrot include Schelbie, Marlon, Cheyann, Brounir and Sykic.
  Looking to join the biggest group of loonies in the Realms for
  dirty carrots, gnome tag and boogie trains? Abattoir Asylum
  too hard to get to? Come talk to a CoC or a leader of the Guild
  of Clerics located nw, 2w, 2n, e, u from Darkhaven Square!

  Order of MaidenStone

  As the holidays approach, the order welcomes its newest members
  Cheyana, Drazen, Kittany, Fareub and Shasta. The hard work and
  dedication of all the members is very much appreciated- Thanks
  for a great month everyone.

  Applications should now be submitted with a main character,
  however anyone persisting on joining otherwise must first
  attain three letters of reference from members of the order
  with voting privileges. Those with questions are encouraged to
  read the helpfiles for more information.

  Happy holidays from the Order of MaidenStone!

  Guild of Mages

  This month in the GoM we have had much activity. There are few
  mobs that did not feel our wrath. Set, Kraken, Lodd, Faragut,
  Father Time, Nelson, Tarry, Brunhilde, Legba, Justice, and
  Zeus all felt our quantum spikes!
  Our Guild Master Meade is busy working on behalf of mages, we
  are still hoping to hear good things soon.
  Our leaders are working to update the structure of the guild
  groups such as War Mages, Mage Apprentice Program, and the
  Web Page Council. We look forward to great things here.
  Congratulations to Futhark for making the GoM Quest Council
  Secondary Leader, and Rebeca for making the Mages Expeditiary

  IGQC Summaries- by Shadrack                                 IGQC

  Guild of Paladin's IGQC Quest

  Early in December, the Guild of Paladins received a cry for
  help on behalf of Prometheus, whose attempts to help the peoples
  of Realms had incurred the wrath of Zeus. Recruited to the cause
  of seeking out and destroying the minions of Zeus, questors from
  the Guilds scoured the land far and wide. Many bloody battles
  ensued, but finally the minions were defeated, and peace restored.

  Guild of Nephandi's IGQC Quest

  Just before Christmas, a gang of thieving rabbits staged a
  daring robbery at a local orphange owned by the Guild of Nephandi.
  In the interests of demonstrating that the Guilds of Realms would
  not tolerate such impertinence, questors banded together to seek
  out the criminals and teach them them a lesson. In this cause,
  many Realms pubs were searched and numerous bloody battles
  engaged in.
  Eventually the Guilds emerged victorious, returning bearing
  numerous rabbit trophies and a large pile of stolen christmas

  Aslan Interview- by Khaimran                          Interviews

  Aslan steps into your reality from the stars.

  Born from the Moon, this half lion, half vampire stands before
  you. He has many runes cast around his neck, and glows under a
  strange aura..
  Aslan looks to be about 6'2", and looks to be around 110 pounds.
  His black hair is long and straight, his face showing a short
  goatee and a small mustache. His faded yellow skin creates a
  disturbing contrast with his black eyes.

  Aslan is using:
        the Lion's Mane
     the robe of the Zodiac
        the tears of the moon
        a lion's tail

  Khaimran: Ok, first off, thanks for sparing the time. I guess
            you must be fairly busy about now.
            Right, first question. How long have you been playing
            the mud for?'
  Aslan   : Just over three years, my first character was a pixie.
            Then we moved, and I lost the character and made Aslan.
  Aslan misses his Pixie.
  Khaimran : How long's Aslan been around?
  Aslan    : Coming up to two years now, if not longer.

  Khaimran : What're your first impressions of immortality? I know
             you probably havn't had much time to make a proper
             judgement, but still...
  Aslan    : Tons to learn, it's an overwhelming learning
             experience. Involves a ton of reading and studying, but
             it's also fun.

  Khaimran : What were your thoughts when you were first approached
             about becoming an imm?
  Aslan    : "Shocked" would be one of them. It's not the easiest
             thing for anyone to be prepared to be asked about.
             You go through the mental checks of, 'How much coffee
             did I have today?' etc...

  Khaimran : So what kind of factors went into your decision of
             whether to take up the offer? Did it take you long
             to decide?
  Aslan    : I felt that it was the right move, but the deciding
             factor was that I had no negative thoughts that would
             have made me say 'no'.

  Khaimran : No regrets, then?
  Aslan    : I have the usual missing guild/council life, but
             again, that's normal... It's a vast change. But no,
             no real regrets. :)'

  Khaimran : How did the GoV/NC react to you imming, out of
  Aslan    : I think 'surprised and shocked' would be the best
             answer for that one. I think they were dissapointed
             I was leaving, but it's hard to say.

  Khaimran : Do you think you'll continue to play on mortal
             characters, though? And if so, a lot? Or just enough
             to keep in touch?
  Aslan    : As life moves on, yes. As for right now, no. I'll be
             on mortals from time to time in the near future,

  Khaimran : What's been the hardest thing to adjust to, so far?
  Aslan    : It's an over-whelming change,  like a whole new life.
             As with anything adjusting to such a change takes
             time. One of the major changes is the amount of help
             I can give, comparing being an NCer to an imm.
             e.g. Rushing to CRs, uplifting, etc...

  Khaimran : Has your work in the NC, or anywhere else for that
             matter, helped prepare you for being an imm at all?
             And if so, how?'
  Aslan    : I have always been a caring person. NC only
             reinforced that.

  Khaimran : What kind of new perspectives on mud-life has
             immortalhood given you?
  Aslan    : A whole new perspective, really. Like I said, it's
             a whole new ballgame, with many new challenges. I'd
             say it's the ultimate learning rush, and an
             overwhelming one... Learning a whole new life and
             to look on things at a totally different perspective.

  Khaimran : What're your impressions of the immortal community in
             general? Perhaps the imms that us morts see less of,
             in particular?'
  You hear Aslan hrm.
  Aslan    : Hard to comment on that one, but I'd say we are a
             family and work together as a team.

  Khaimran : So you see a clear divide between the immortal
             community and the mortal community?
  Aslan    : Hrm. I wont comment on that one.

  Khaimran : Well, even from this mortal point of view, its
             easy to see that there are lots of different
             'types' of imms.. People who mainly code, or do
             quests, or do a bit of everything, etc...
             What do you see yourself specialising in, when
             you've had a chance to settle down and get to grips
             with it all?
  Aslan is a jack of all trades.
  Aslan    : I'm mostly a creative person, but I also build.
             I'll probably be more along the lines of building,
             etc. I'd probably like to join the quest council,
             but who knows what the future holds. :)

  Khaimran : I look forward to some of your quests, then ;)
             Ok.. Since you've become an immortal, I've heard both
             positive and negative things about you... But by far
             the most comments were about how relatively unknown
             you are/were. Many people see that as a reason to
             criticise the choice of making you an immortal.
             How would you respond to that?
  Aslan    : I think for anyone, it's easy for anyone to make
             comments about the 'unknown'. For those who do know
             me, I think they'd agree that there is a reason for
             everything. It's also easy for the rumours and gossip
             to spread, but I'm not a bad person. I welcome all
             criticism, but like I said, things in life happen for
             a reason.

  Khaimran : Do you think not being as well known as some other
             new imms will be a help or a hindrance initially,
             and if so, how?
  Aslan    : I'd say a mix, but I'm also not a hard person to talk
             to if someone wants to know more about me (within
             reason). In terms of a hindrance, I'd refer to the
             criticism point, or gossip spreading. But I think it
             helps, as I hope to provide more of a fun outlook for
             Realms, with fresh ideas for quests/building and
             increasing the enjoyment of the game for everyone.

  Khaimran : Since the Shattering, RoD is still in a bit of
             disarray. Are there any ways in which you'd like to
             use your new position to help influence the way the
             game is played? Any changes you'd like to see made?
  Aslan    : I'll be working on new areas, new and never before
             done quest ideas. i.e I hope to increase the growing
             enjoyment of the game as a whole.

  Khaimran : In your opinion, what's the best thing about the
             game as a whole?
  Aslan    : Creativity.. the Realms helps enchance and nurture
             everyone's gift to think creatively and have fun.

  Khaimran : Okay, finishing off. Do you have any message you'd
             like to send out to the readers of the Cry of Despair?
  Aslan    : I think that everyone has potential to live their
             dreams, but it takes time to balance out ideas,
             thoughts. No goal is really unreachable, it's just
             how you get there at the end and what choices you
             make in life can help or hinder your ambitions.
             Learning is the key to unlocking what life has in
             store for us all.

  Khaimran : How about a message to those who don't like your
             appointment as an imm?
  Aslan    : I'm not a hard person to talk to, and I have a high
             patience level... So feel free to get to know me.

  Khaimran : Thanks for your time Aslan :)  And good luck with
             the new position.
  Aslan    : Most welcome and thanks again :)

  Aslan smiles happily.
  Aslan waves happily.
  Aslan leaves towards the stars.

  Mumra Interview- by Simone                            Interviews

  As I staggered through a new forest in the realms, I suddenly
  felt that I was not alone. I kept my keen senses aroused, but I
  could not pick up what or where the creature was, although I
  could sense it drawing ever closer to me.
  Before I knew it, I was shrouded in a cloud of dark purple smoke,
  and then I fell to the ground.

  Mumra emerges from his Everlasting Sarcophagus, poised and ready
  for anything.

  He extended his hand to me, and assisted me to my feet.
  You say 'Unbelievable! Do my eyes deceive me, or is this truly
  one of the newest additions to our immortal community?!'
  Mumra grins, and nods solemnly.
  You say 'Kind lord, do you have a moment to spare, to enlighten
  the realms about yourself?'
  Again, Mumra nods.

  As you gaze upon Mumra, you feel a shivering in your spine, as
  you recognize this being of utmost evil.  The parchment thin skin,
  the orbs of fire for eyes, the lack of muscle.  You gauge him to
  be nothing more than a man who has lived far past his own death,
  through his own fell magics.  The word "lich" almost escapes
  your mouth, and would, if your tongue wasnt frozen in fear.
  Mumra looks to be about 6'3", and looks to be around 81 pounds.
  His short, spiked hair is a silver color. His grey eyes match
  beautifully with his grey skin.

  Mumra is using:
        bloodstained bandages
        more bloodstained bandages

  Simone: For the records, what is your full name?
  Mumra : Mumra, the Everliving.

  Simone: How long have you been walking these realms?
  Mumra : I joined the realms between between 4, and 4.5 years ago.

  Simone: Was Mumra your initial identity?
  Mumra shakes his head.
  Mumra : I still use him everyday when I am not up here, and he is
          a thief, with a very, very low base.
          I switched to a Mage, because of the name Mumra, he was
          always one of my favorite cartoon villians. Also, it is
          a short name, so people have no problems remembering it.

  Simone: How do you find immortal life?
  Mumra : I find it can be busy at times, and slow at times. But
          overall, I would have to say that I am really enjoying
          myself a lot. :)

  Simone: What were your reactions to the immortal community first
          being interested in your candidacy?
  Mumra : It was a big suprise, and it was something I was hoping
          would happen eventually, but I didn't feel I was ready
          myself. Apparently others thought differently, and I
          hope I have not disappointed them so far.

  Simone: So you would not recommend future candidates to run away
          screaming if asked?
  Mumra : I wouldn't, no. But, I would advise them to be sure it is
          something they really want. Going back to mortal life,
          will be a tough thing I am told.

  Simone: That leads into my next question. I know you were very
          active in helping vanquish the realms of many mobs. Do
          you still see yourself partaking in runs?'
  Mumra : I would like to see myself accomplishing that, and I
          believe in time I will do so again. It is my heartfelt
          belief, that you can not do what we are doing up here, if
          you don't keep a feel on the pulse of the realms.

  Simone: I also know, if others did not, that you were a long time
          member of the order of Inconnu. You must be very attached
          still, and sad at leaving.
  Mumra nods solemnly.
  Mumra : Well, yes, I did belong to the Order of Inconnu, for
          several years, and it would be inhuman not to miss it,
          on my character, when I spend 99% of my time on this
          character. We are a very tight knit bunch, so it is like
          losing part of my family, when I cannot see, nor use,

  Simone: Have you ever been a part of any guilds or councils?
  Mumra : I have not, though I had inquired as to joining The
          Symposium, as well as Newbie Council. As a member of
          Inconnu though, we abstain from joining such councils, on
          our characters. We wish to be seen as reclusive, and being
          a member of either, would be spending some time being
          noticed. We prefer to walk the shadows.

  Simone: Has there been any person, or people, that come to mind
          that you would like to mention, that have had a
          significant impact on your life?
  Mumra : I would like to think, that all of my Brothers and Sisters
          in the Order, have impacted my life on here. I am not the
          same green player that I was 4.5 years ago.

  Simone: How do you see yourself making the biggest influence on
          the realms now, as an immortal?'
  Mumra : In the end, I would like to contribute to some of the
          explorers out there like myself, and hope to build some
          nice places for them to explore :)

  Simone: I've already seen you on more channels than I am used to.
          Are you trying to see that everyone gets their regular
          dose of Mumra?
  Mumra : I was always a talkative fellow, people just did not know
          who I was if I was speaking on channels. It is something
          I can do now, and I think it is important, for new
          Immortals, to be known somewhat, by many of the players,
          especially in the case of myself, since many people did
          not know me as a person.

  Simone: Did your previous immortal ordermates, Dria, Edmond, Kali
          and Moonbeam give you the sharp end of a initiation stick
          upon your promotion? ;)
  Mumra : Let's just say, Balzhur and I, are getting to be good
          friends. :)

  Simone: OK, last question :)
          Is there any message you would like to give to the people
          of the realms?
  Mumra : Just that I would like them to keep exploring, and
          enjoying themselves here.

  Simone: Thank you kindly for your time.

  With that he stepped back, and as he gave a slight bow, once
  again a cloud of thick dark purple smoke emanated.

  Suddenly, Mumra returned to the safety of his Everlasting

  I found myself on the ground again with a puff of purple smoke
  tickling my nose. I quickly gathered myself and raced forth to
  Darkhaven to share and record the encounter.

  Thank you once again Mumra. :)


  Creseis Interview- by Zwanth                          Interviews

  Outwit, Outplay, Outlast: Survivor II - Surviving the Shattering.

  Zwanth: How will this year's Survivor quest be organized? Will
          it be like last year's quest?
  Cresis: We're planning on involving way more people this time.
          Last year it was 12 people (with some alternates).
          This year we're going to start with 32 people. We're
          going to be doing two quests per night.
          Groups will be voted off to begin with in the first few
          challenges, and then once it is down to a managable
          number, voting will be done.

  Zwanth: How will the qualifiers be done?
  Cresis: Organizations will be selecting 1 participant (1 from
          each guild/order, and the two Mort councils.) This totals
          21. We'll then have 11 Survivor Tickets scattered about
          which will be claimed. The tickets however are 'special'.
          They can be transferred or traded.
          We thought it best to go this route this year, to build
          more rivalry between organizations, and to 'attempt to
          limit voting blocks' when voting time comes.

  Zwanth: Is there a timeline for all this yet?
  Cresis: We're hopefully going to have the voting quests start by
          the beginning of February... Although that is still
          We'll be sending out advertisements to the organizations
          shortly and give them a week or week and a half or so
          to submit a participant.

  Zwanth: What kinds of events are planned for each quest? I
          remember there was a lot of fun and different stuff
          last year... Anything that you can hint at ahead of time?
  Cresis: There will certainly be a wide range of activities this
          year, again particularly because of the new and fun code
          that was brought during the Shattering.
          A lot of that code though will go unnoticed for the most
          part, but will make the quests run smoother and be more
          We've already developed some amazing new quests. I'm
          super psyched about those. I can't wait to see them go.

  Zwanth: And there will be some great prizes this year as well?
  Cresis nods solemnly.
  Cresis: Super prizes. Thanks again to Hoerkin, Ceirana and QC.
          And apparently because there are more participants...
          Larger quantities.

  Zwanth: So you said there were 32 people who start, and at
          first there will be groups voted off. Then, how many
          people before individuals start to be voted off?
  Cresis: Not voted off... Just eliminated. Voting will not begin
          until there are 16 remaining participants (like the
          real show). For example, if there were four groups,
          the first 3 groups to finish would be elligible for the
          next quest. The losing group which tried valiantly
          would be shown the door.
          These initial 'groups' however will not be the same
          'tribe' groups that undertake the actual voting
          process as well. Once the numbers are widdled down,
          the groups will be sorted and balanced.

  Zwanth: Sounds like there will be a lot of strategy :) Do you
          expect there will be a lot of backstabbing, trickery,
          etc. this time around?
  Cresis: I hope there will be a lot of backstabbing and treachery.
          That's what makes it so fun to watch. I say all the
          power to shifting alliances.
          Stab your friends in the back.  The game is about winning.
          Outwit, Outplay, Outlast.

  Zwanth: Will there be deadlies allowed?
  Cresis: We tried to work in deadlies this year, however it
          became unmanageable due to the nature of some of the
          activities. We really did try, but unfortunately it is
          not possible this year. Deadlies can always participate
          on a peaceful though :)

  Zwanth: Well I think we're really looking forward to it.
          Anything else you'd like to add?
  Cresis: I hope the guilds/orders/mort councils submit their
          applicant on time. I hope people show up and play.
          I hope people die horribly and potentialy lose equipment.
          And lastly, I hope people have fun. That's what the
          quest is for.

  Zwanth: Alright :) I'm sure Survivor will be fun for everyone
          involved, and thanks, on behalf of all of us, for
          helping set up everything again.
  Cresis smiles happily.

  Ardeth Interview- by Cresis                           Interviews

  We survived the first one, and now another Survivor game draws
  near. Cresis, one of the main creators of the RoD Survivor
  Challenge, speaks with Ardeth about his win of the first game,
  and his feelings about the Challenge.

  Cresis: As the winner of the first Survivor challenge on
           RoD, what did you find most important to get you to
           the final round?
  Ardeth: I believe what enabled me to get to the final round was
           because of the following two things; Not being well
           known, and not being considered an immediate threat.
           While in other quests your skills are pitted against
           everyone else, Survivor was organized so that that
           abilities of others on your team played an important
           part as well as their preconceived ideas. Since most
           players were content to sacrifice their short-term gain
           (ie: a strong group team) for the long-term (ie: weaker
           individual competitors in the late game), the old adage
           "out of sight, out of mind" proved to my advantage.

  Cresis: What was your favourite event?
  Ardeth: I liked the dress up quest which was near the end. The
           first part our goal was to lower our damage roll and
           hit roll as much as possible. Knowledge about what
           equipment was useless was definetly an asset. The second
           part involved picking EQ up from a pile to increase our
           damage roll and hit roll as much as possible. This was
           fun because it allowed many of us to touch and wear many
           out of game items we normally would never be able to.
           This event especially stuck out in my mind because it
           tested not the characters abilities, but the knowledge
           of the people behind them.

  Cresis: Was there any unexpected turn of events, you did not
           forsee? ie: Voting.
  Ardeth: Honestly, I didn't go in expecting to win, Cyril had
           odds on me winning at 51:1 compared to the 3:1 of the
           favorites. I believed in myself enough to hope that I
           wouldn't be eliminated until at least half-way but
           surviving until the final few rounds was definetly a
           surprise. Almost all the participants were more skilled
           in every aspect of the game then me and if I had much
           gold then, I would have placed money on them.

  Cresis: Do you believe that alliances played an important part
           of the Survivor Challenge?
  Ardeth: I do believe that alliances played an important part
           of the Survivor challenge. It was as much about politics
           and blind self motivation as it was about martial skills.
           Knowing about the different personalities and who their
           circle of friends were allowed many people to correctly
           predict the outcomes of all the votes.

  Cresis: Were you part of any alliances?
  Ardeth: I was, my first alliance was with Zwanth and we allied
           several times with different factions depending on need
           and threats. Our allies brilliance shielded us from
           votes every single time.

  Cresis: Were you supported by your fellow order mates? Did
           they cheer you on?
  Ardeth: I was supported by the order mates and I would never
           had made it that far without their constant moral
           support. Whenever I was just about to give up, they
           talked to me and provided me with the foundation to
           move on.

  Cresis: We plan on having more participants in the second
           Survivor (Survivor II: Surviving the Shattering). How
           do you think this will affect the outcome?
  Ardeth: By including such a wide variety of participants, I
           believe that it can only help improve the challenge
           by making it based not on individual merit, but
           teamwork. This way even the most normal player can
           achieve great things.
           The only problem I can see is that it would increase
           the amount of time each challenge would take and the
           overall length of Survivor.

  Cresis: With the shattering, what new pitfalls do you think
           contestants will have to deal with when they undertake
           their challenges?
  Ardeth: The greatest problem that the contestants will have
           to deal with will always be each other. Enough time
           has passed for serious contenders to have sufficently
           mastered the new areas. This means the intial teams
           with their combined knowledge should be able to
           naviagate the Realms and accomplish the tasks laid
           out for them. The only questions therefore will be,
           which team will be first, and how will the others vote?

  Cresis: What would you have considered the most humorous moment
           of the event?
  Ardeth: I believe for me the most humorous events was the
           results of the first vote and I don't think I can
           safely elaborate on it further. You just had to be there.

  Ardeth: Thank-you for taking the time to interview and
           listening to me. I very much enjoyed last years
           Survivor and I encourage everyone to give it a try.

  Furthering the Builder's Art- by Juliana                Building

  Furthering the Builder's Art: What really makes an area good?

  Lo folks, I'm back after a long hiatus with a new column for the
  New Year, and this time, I'm tackling the art of area building.
  The key difference between this and RoD 101? Unlike navigating
  the perils of the realms or killing a mob efficiently, there is
  no one smart way to build an area. Every builder has their own
  style. There are only things that work for you, and those that

  Also, there are probably a thousand and one builders out there
  who build more prolifically than me, and with a lot more
  expertise. So the point of these articles is not to teach
  anything, but to share an opinion and encourage more discussion
  on our forums. Building's lonely work and it's often easy to get
  discouraged or distracted by something a little more interesting.
  It'll be great to form a community of RoD builders - Immortal
  and Mortal alike - to support each other.

  What are important milestones in increasing your experience as a
  builder? What makes other people take you a little more seriously
  when you call yourself a builder? Putting your money where your
  mouth is, of course. Do you have proof?
  Anyone can doodle something. Anyone can declare he's an artist
  without even drawing anything. But an experienced artist, one
  who wants to go professional, will have a portfolio of works to
  show off. The more areas under your belt, the more people will
  acknowledge you as a builder. (Whether they like your work or
  hate it defines you as a good or bad builder to them.)

  No one person can sit on their laurels and say this or that is
  a good area, because it all depends on the purpose of the area.
  Are you looking for realism? Consistency? Do you want to make
  a challenging quest for players? Are you filling a niche for
  equipment or providing more mobs to level on? Is the number of
  people passing through your area or staying in the area important
  to you? Basically if you, the builder, are happy with it, then
  you have achieved one measure of success.

  The second measure of success is whether you match or exceed the
  building standards of the people who will make the final call as
  to whether to accept and install the area on their mud.

  And the third and last measure of success is whether the players
  of the mud like it. This is very subjective at best. Some players
  are happy with a great theme and an intriguing storyline, others
  might demand detailed writing, interactive stuff to play with,
  or mysteries and secrets to solve. Still, others couldn't care
  less if your room descriptions were worthy of a Pulitzer, as
  long as they have challenging mobs to fight and equipment that
  is useful.

  Bottom line: You're never going to please everybody. My
  suggestion? Please yourself first. Make an area that you're
  proud to put your name on. Complete it. Put the first measure
  of success under your belt. Then check if the area can pass the
  second. If they say "No," or "Not quite yet," then get feedback
  and revise the area until they are happy also. Once it is
  installed in the mud, voila, a published area!

  Don't forget about it immediately after that, though. Listen to
  what the players say as they explore it. At the very least,
  you'll learn what the audience likes and dislikes. This can help
  in the next area you build. Nothing stops you from breaking
  expectations and including stuff the players hate if you want
  to. Just be aware the more frustrations people encounter, the
  less likely they will ever completely explore your area and
  hence appreciate all the work you put into it.

  If there is one thing for certain, builders do not fit into neat
  categories. And what one person may like, another may dislike.
  That is the whole point of having many builders, so we can see
  the world through the eyes of many different people.

  Bad building is subjective. The builders Herne describes in his
  essay "The Mechanics of Building" are basically incomplete
  builders. Why? Because they have left out exit descriptions and
  extra descriptions, and have not filled in other descriptions
  to the requirements of the mud they are building for. In this
  case, we are using RoD guidelines. On other muds, they could be
  perfectly acceptable areas.

  Of course, if you are thinking of building for RoD, then you must
  fulfill the the area guidelines found on the building board. At
  the very least. And admittedly, the building standards of RoD
  are quite high, as compared to the greater proportion of existing

  If you just read that last sentence and snickered to yourself,
  "RoD has high building standards? Since when?" and are ready to
  brandish a list of fifty places which need a lot more
  improvement... Congratulations, you have even higher standards
  than the RoD baseline.

  You probably belong to the side of the spectrum of people who are
  perfectionists in area building. You see possible improvements in
  every area you walk across in the mud, and keep thinking I can do
  this a little better. You might be the sort to notice flaws and
  bugs in existing areas. You twitch uncomfortably when a word is
  misspelled and immediately submit a typo. You have a tendency to
  start frothing at the mouth when you "look at object in the room
  description" and the mud tells you "You do not see that here."
  Satisfying other people with the quality of your area should not
  be a problem for you.

  Where you will encounter trouble is actually finishing an area
  that pleases you and managing to do it in a reasonable amount of
  time. Ambition will try to expand the scope of the building
  project, and halfway through, you might get bogged down and get
  depressed at the amount of work not yet done.
  On the other side of the spectrum, there are those who have
  suffered a good deal of scorn and ribbing by the more elitist,
  perfectionist builders. This certain type of builder has a
  tendency to create a certain type of area. The most unfair
  stereotype follows: These people do not plan before they build.
  They build on the fly and settle for low quality descriptive
  sentences. "There is a chair here. You see a table here as well."

  Typically, their grammar and spelling is abysmal, and since they
  build online - there is no spellchecker present to correct the
  error. Their purpose may be to fill up rooms to create the
  impression of 'space' and 'bulk,' in which case large, twisty
  corridors with absolutely nothing in them prevail. Or they may
  wish to create mobs for easy leveling or to obtain super-powered
  objects, as a result, little effort is spent on fleshing out the
  area with descriptions as they are considered non-essential.

  You might feel uncomfortable owning up that you relate more to
  this side of the spectrum. Every building guide seems to have
  been written by one of those elitists who get all anal about
  grammar and spelling. They grandly proclaim your style of
  building to be substandard and not the right way to do things.
  So what if you have config +brief on almost all the time? You
  don't mind cutting a few corners here and there, because no one
  is ever going to look at them except for those crazy nitpickers.
  You just want to build a cool area with all the neat stuff that
  you'd like.

  Congratulations also. It is very likely that you will finish an
  area (and a BIG one) to your satisfaction in an extremely rapid
  amount of time. You'll probably never suffer from writer's block,
  and get all emotional and depressed about how much there is left
  to build. Gliding through a hundred rooms and filling them up in
  a day should be no sweat to you. You get much more ego boosts
  from finishing areas because you complete them faster, and you
  get to play with your dream areas.

  Like all things, there is a catch. Your problem will be trying
  to convince other people with higher building standards that
  your area is worth looking at. (Read: the Immortals who maintain
  a baseline of quality for their mud.) They, on the other hand,
  will be trying to figure out the nicest way to tell you the area
  isn't quite good enough for them yet.

  Understand that all building problems can be fixed. That goes
  for you perfectionists out there as well. I do not believe that
  there is ever an area that cannot be worked on and improved so
  that it reaches a higher standard of quality.
  Areas, like all pieces of writing, are drafts. Drafts can be
  revised, cut, re-edited, changed around, and made better.

  In truth, I think the latter group of people have it much easier.
  Fixing and tightening up a draft is often easier than getting the
  draft down on paper in the first place. All you have to do is be
  willing to listen to feedback from people who spot the errors
  and omissions, go back to the drawing board and spend the effort
  to fix the area and make it better.

  If there is one mistake most people make, it is not revising.
  Good writers will never use their first draft. They always revise
  and edit it. Good programmers will never settle for the first
  version. They are also revising and improving their programs.
  Building areas is a mix of writing and programming, and if you do
  not revise, then it is no wonder that your area will always look
  like a first draft or a beta version.

  The general advice is to plan before you build. This is because
  nearly every builder has tried once to build without planning,
  and ended up with a huge bunch of vnums signifying absolutely
  nothing. A lot of work goes down the drain, and is usually never
  picked up again and revised because it would take too much effort
  to re-plan, then rewrite. Still, if you are the sort of builder
  who has no clue how to plan, freewriting or 'free-building' might
  be the way to generate ideas. Just bear in mind that your initial
  attempt should never be your final word on it.

  There is absolutely nothing wrong with building on the fly. I
  have seen builders who are crippled when looking at a word
  processor, but produce an immense quantity of descriptions when
  using the MUD editor and running from room to room. These
  descriptions are generated spontaneously from the imagination and
  often have more life to them. However, grammatical errors and
  typos tend to slip in, and they sometimes read like a random
  catalogue of things in the room. Does this mean that building on
  the fly is forbidden? No. It means you need to REVISE.

  After you have the bulk of the room description done and are
  finally tired out of filling blank space, go back to your first
  room and look at it again. Re-vision. What is the focal point
  of the room? Make sure your new description focuses on it. You
  already know what is in the room, that is where your old
  description comes in. Pretend your old description is someone
  else's. I am sure every builder out there starts building
  because at one point in time, they saw someone's area (often
  one of the classic areas) and went "Yuck, I can do better."
  Are all five senses being addressed in the room as best as they
  can? Make sure your new description improves on the old.

  At the same time, it doesn't mean that a 24 line room filled
  with details is the best kind of room either. I absolutely
  guarantee no one but the Immortal checking it and you will
  read a 24 line room from top to bottom with loving fascination.
  The attention span of most players is around 4-8 lines, and
  anything longer will make eyes glaze over the essay. At best,
  they will read it painfully because they think they can find
  important clues in it. At worst, they will turn on config +brief.

  Being concise is also part of building. Do you really need 5
  lines describing a tree in the room in microscopic detail? Not
  unless it is exceptionally important, just use one, and
  transfer the other 4 lines into an extra description. This
  makes more sense as the eye tends to take in surroundings at
  a glance. Upon examining an object, 'look tree,' more details

  Once that is done, kill the grammar errors and the typos. Get
  someone to proofread it for you, preferably someone really
  nitpicky about correct English. Cut and paste it into a word
  processor, and run a spellcheck on it if you have to. Nothing
  looks more unprofessional than an area that looks like a
  ten-year-old kiddie h4x0r wrote it.

  There is a reason why re-writes of old areas are so popular.
  The old builders were the pioneers. They built on the mud and
  rarely planned out an area, that kind of sophistication came
  later. Anyone walking through the area knows very well it is
  only a first draft. It has the potential to look much better
  on a re-write. To a certain kind of builder, re-writing old
  areas is easier than building from scratch because the
  foundations are already in place. It is only a matter of
  making the area more interesting and lavishing more details on

  Any area can be fixed, if you take the effort to revise it and
  make it look good. The problem is that people tend to stop
  before they should, and declare an area built before it really is.

  Rants from the Summit- by Ganemanoimu                       RftS


  This is not a rant about quests but rather about people's actions
  during quests. Many of the things here should be common knowledge
  but it seems that some things need to be repeated over, and over,
  and over again to get them into some people's minds. My apologies
  to those of you who are experienced enough, or have enough common
  sense that this merely repeats known information.

  Firstly, quests are an addition to gameplay on Realms.  Like icing
  on the cake. They are run by immortals as they see fit for your
  enjoyment. Quests are NOT a god-given right that you somehow
  deserve. Thus, whining for quests, especially just after one you
  missed is annoying and pointless. When you get your prizes, smile,
  nod, thank the imm and move on. If you don't like your prize, go
  home and complain about it to your friends, not to the general
  public. If you aren't willing to take the risks associated with
  questing, don't do it. DTing, losing/scrapping eq, dying, losing
  corpses, burning lots of heals are all things that can happen.
  Complaining about quests publicly is also extremely rude. If you
  don't like it, don't do it. Everyone is entitled to their own
  opinion, but don't attempt to force it onto everyone else. No
  one makes you do quests here on Realms.

  One major rule in questing that should never be broken is no
  multiplay. Virtually all quests have some no-multi code in it.
  In individual/itemfind questing, you may not be able to pick items
  up in mkill quests, the mob often restores or slaughters everyone
  in the room. Unless otherwise told, always assume that there will
  be no multing allowed.
  Multing is any characters logged through your IP, so that includes
  any bots you may be running. That said, when you have any other
  questions about the quest, don't assume, ask.

  Quests generally are very spammy affairs for everyone, especially
  the Immortals running them. Frivolous use of quest is incredibly
  fustrating and rage-inducing. Reserve its use for the sharing of
  information and asking questions. Statments like 'THAT MOB IS
  IMPOSSIBLE, HE SMITED ME!!' are useless for two reasons; First,
  they don't tell us what kind of attacks the mob was using, and
  secondly, you were probably an idiot and walked in with 5 hp and
  no sanc attempting to CR. Under those circumstances, even Shade
  would smite you then.

  While this problem is more prevalent in IGQs and IOQs, it can occur
  in open mass quest as well.  By the normal definiton of 'team', a
  member of this team contributes to the team in order to further
  you to a common goal. Therefore you should not just follow your
  leader and then fulfill your hunger pangs. You're not there to be
  carried to glory.

  Even if you are the least experienced person in your group, you
  can help by being at the computer and quickly responding when
  spells need casting and responding to what your leader says
  quickly. One classic example of a uesless team member is when you
  have a thief in your group and you're fighting a mob, but the
  entire fight the thief doesn't circle once. A second example
  is when you're walking to an area that requires you to pass
  through one of the paintings near Sonoria and you're stuck
  waiting for 5 minutes for one of your teamates to 'l painting'
  so you can move on to your destination.

  To conclude, it's pretty simple.  If you're prepared to take the
  risks, act appropriately, have the attention span, and have the
  time to do the quest, best of luck to you, may you be showered
  in glory. If you somehow can't fulfill one or more of the
  aforementioned attributes, do us all a favor, go chan -quest
  and don't do the quest.  And for the 10 billionth time, if you
  don't want to, DO NOT DO THE QUEST. That said, I'll see the
  rest of you at the next quest ;)


  New Years Resolutions- by Ganemanoimu                   NewYears

  In the coming New Year, I will attempt to remember a few things...

  Personal Well-Being and Health:
  1.  I will not super-size every combo I buy.
  2.  I will realize that after high school, saying online and
      awake for 24+ hours is no longer cool.
  3.  I will pick up 1 new activity that makes me sweat or breathe
      hard (this does not include deciding to run in Seth's Fortress).
  4.  I will spend at least 1 hour of the day in real sunlight
      rather than the warm glow of my monitor.

  1.  I will attend at least 60% of lectures/classes this term.
  2.  I won't get on the bus to lecture and stay on it only to
      ride it back home instead of going to the lecture.
  3.  Broken nails and paper cuts are not legitimate reasons for
      petitioning exams.
  4.  I will not make a 5th grandmother who also dies of a
      'mysterious illness' to skip finals, again.
  5.  I will not sit in front of the computer mudding with my
      textbook open and call it studying.
  6.  I won't sleep in the library with my head on my textbook and
      call it studying.
  7.  I won't log on merely to go AFK and have titles like 
      is studying again, nammit.
  8.  I won't copy and paraphrase university newspaper articles
      for the CoD.
  9.  I won't spend precious studying time writing up distinctly
      unfunny lists.

  Social Interaction:
  1.  Once I'm of legal drinking age, getting drunk by myself in
      front of the computer isn't funny anymore.
  2.  It still remains funny when someone comes home from drinking
      and tries to type.
  3.  While the only difference betweeen #1, and #2 is what you
      tell other people, YOU will know the difference.
  4.  I will buy at least 1 new pair of shoes that is brown or
      black and is not supposed to be used for athletic pursuits.
  5.  I will buy a new wardrobe to wear when I go out that doesn't
      involve T-shirts and/or sweat pants. Especially t-shirts
      that say 'I went to Star Trek Convention #1353413 and all
      I got was this T-shirt!"
  6.  T-shirts with Transformers on them are okay because
      Transformers are old-school and cool. (Original
      Transformers, NOT Beast Wars)
  7.  Pokemon was never old-school or cool and you will delete
      the game and emulator from your computer.
  8.  I will not ask out every friend of the opposite gender on
      the mud in a desperate but futile attempt to get a
  9.  I will remember that when picking up Texas chicks, a
      cowboy hat is like +100000 points, anywhere else, -100000.
  10. If I have short spiky hair, I won't use a bottle of
      jumbo-sized gel in an attempt to make my hair look like
      they have it in Dragonball.
  11. I will not call anyone else a nerd while I sit in front
      of a computer playing a game that uses coloured lines of text.
  12. I will only dress like they do in the Matrix once a year,
      on Halloween.

  1.  I will scry before I walk into unknown rooms/areas.
  2.  After I scry a room that is titled 'DEATH' and has no exits,
      I will not walk into it.
  3.  If I haven't done anything but idle and chat on avtalk for
      the last year, I will not attempt to start conversations by
      telling everyone what MP3s Winamp is currently playing.
  4.  I will not pick up strange objects offered by mean people,
      especially objects named 'Staff of Medusa.'  (Even if
      their average damage is 55).
  5.  I will not spam murder in DH.
  6.  I will attempt to be nicer to 1 more newbie this year.
  7.  This includes not giving directions to the closest DT
      anytime someone asks for directions.


  A View of the Future- by Ganemanoimu                      Future

  A View of the Future - A Player's Perspective

  Given the recent code port and the numerous changes that have
  occurred, many of them quite significant, its natural to try and
  predict what will come in the future. Now, Im certainly not
  anyone who makes any decisions regarding game policy or anything
  of that sort, however Id like to share my opinion as a player.
  I've played on and off for the last 7 years or so and Ive seen a
  number of changes, but nothing really on this scale. There are
  a number of things to discuss so this little series will probably
  stretch over a few issues. Id like to point out that at no time
  do I mean to criticize anyone personally. Im not even saying that
  I am correct or what I say is viable. However, these are merely
  some observations that I have made and simply what my opinions
  are. The first main issue is EQ.
  EQ is pretty much what makes a character work, even with a
  horrible base and poor stats, great EQ can totally make up for it
  and make that character workable.

  Simply speaking, the top-end EQ should be improved. Better stats
  on EQ for all classes and all aligns. EQ that steps somewhere
  between Seth and Clan.

  And eventually, EQ that is equal to or better than Clan. While
  at first this may seem like a wild and radical idea, it makes
  sense in a lot of ways. First, the most obvious reason is that
  mobs have become significantly harder. If there is more inherent
  risk to a venture, the payoff should be that much greater.
  For example, before all the changes, Seth was a relatively simple
  kill. Camp outside of the Abyss, at repop, kill Darko, Max, Seth,
  repair at James. Now?  Every kill means Onyx, Max, Darko, 2-3
  Steppins, 2 Servitors and then Seth. You have to leave the
  fortress to repair and then come back through the maze again.
  The repops are longer to give more time to fit in everything, but
  any mistake can result in missing a repop.
  However, the EQ here hasnt changed at all.
  Then there are 2 other changes that have been made. One change
  is that the end of the maze having 4 shifting rooms as opposed
  to one. Another is that little issue with the deities not having
  any influence over that area. So you can't supp recall out of a
  fight thats gone bad, or even supp corpse if you died.

  There is also a huge disparity between the rich and the poor.
  Many players, especially ones that started after the Shattering,
  will probably never get Clan EQ through trading/buying, unless
  they are exceptional players. However, there are many older
  players who have storages full of Clan. This disparity causes
  an us-them kind of feeling between the poor and wealthy people.
  Older people make fun of the newbies for not knowing things,
  and newbies make fun of the old people for being old, snobby
  and conceited. People then tend not to think of the
  MUD-community as one large society, that we are all a part of.
  When this happens, people don't care about what the consequences of
  their actions are and often engage in behavior that is detrimental.
  Things like duping, buying EQ with cash, stealing, char hacking,
  etc. Im certainly not suggesting that this behaviour has a direct
  cause-effect relationship.
  Nor do I condone these acts and believe that these people are
  merely victims of their circumstances.  The people who commit
  such acts are still directly responsible for their actions and
  should be punished appropriately. At the same time, these
  conditions can certainly aggravate the situation or give more
  incentive to players with questionable ethics. But with these
  kinds of boundaries removed, there is a better chance of people
  sticking to playing the game it was supposed to be played.
  Poverty often leads many people to crime in real life, but if
  people have a decent job with room for promotion, would they
  risk it all to make a few extra bucks on the side by turning
  to crime?

  EQ doesnt just have to be better, it can also be more varied;
  Some giving better resists, some giving better HP, others giving
  better DR. When there is more EQ, peoples characters can become
  more personalized. This gives the greater feeling of individual
  people rather than a bunch of clones.
  A person can decide whether he wants more resists, HP or DR, or
  whatever is more applicable to him. But currently, especially
  for thieves, the EQ has become very standardized. All the
  Seth-area EQ, obsidian leggings, obsidian bracers, etc. The
  only belts thieves use that are in-game, are froggie girths for
  girthable thieves, and FT belts for non-girthable. More EQ could
  promote the development of individual characters rather than the
  amassing of vast armies of alts.

  EQ also helps to balance out the differences in class. I know
  there has been a great influx of new eq for lesser-used classes
  which has been very beneficial. While a lot of the eq has yet
  to filter into the general public, dobra EQ is amazing for mages
  and helps to make up for the expensive cost of their offensive

  An excellent example is Danbala. All that warrior EQ that came
  into play really made warriors a viable class. They were able
  to gain significant amounts of HP and DR, and paladins and rangers
  didn't have any worries about reduced mana from scorched bands.
  The dex on the layerable Cloak of Death and the Rings also helped
  make warriors with low dex usable characters again.
  A lot of positive things came out of adding better EQ for warriors.

  Another fact that has irked me over the years is the use of Seth
  as the principal currency in the trading for a great deal of out
  of game EQ. One of the hardest mobs in the games EQ has become
  the coin for the rich? I also think that by slowly increasing
  the quality of the EQ, you can begin to phase out older
  out-of-game EQ. And realistically, a lot of that EQ was made for
  during the PK time of RoD, while the player base has definitely
  shifted towards peacefuls. The exceptional stuff will of course
  remain good, but some of the smaller stuff will be worth as much,
  or less than in game EQ.

  One might argue that this is unfair to the older players, but
  I disagree. Yes, the older players worked hard and deserve the
  EQ they earned during that time, and they most likely have
  benefited from it. Runs were easier, and they had advantages in
  quests. This advantage does not disappear when new mobs/EQ is
  ported in. They will still have the advantage in obtaining this
  EQ. However, by being in game, newer players who don't have Clan
  will still be able to reach higher levels of stats assuming they
  have the skills to do so.

  Ultimately, what does this mean? It means that regardless of
  where you stand, you can reach levels that are competitive with
  everyone else. It also means that regardless of whether you are
  new or old, you will benefit if you explore, run, are adventurous
  and are active. I personally believe that this is the way it
  should be too. Regardless of seniority, the mud should be
  rewarding hard-working, active players more than those who sit
  around and chat.

  If the reverse was to occur, that is if current EQ was downed,
  I think this would cause even more problems. Plus, this would
  discourage many of the things that I discussed earlier.
  You can't miss what you never had, but here we all know exactly
  what we had and what we have lost. Another generation of old-new
  players is created, players who killed the mob before the changes,
  and players who killed the mob after the changes. Im sure this
  would also anger a lot of players as well and while it might
  be dismissed as just people pining for the good old days and
  whining, Im sure it does have some basis.
  Surely our happiness should count for something?


  Poetry Submissions                                        Poetry

  Set Set Set, we all love Set,
  Especially when he's dead
  We all love Set, especially seth's,
  All want a Set, but that is aint dead
  So lets all go kill Set, and you will have Set,
  And i will have Set, and we will have Set,
  And Set then will be dead!
  Set Set Set, have you killed Set?
  Set is aint dead, so you have to kill Set.
  Let us kill mean Set, we will get some ring,
  Ring is aint kings, it is cool Set's ring
  So we want to kill Set, but Set is aint dead,
  Set is mean and bad, he wants to kill us
  But we are buff av's, so we go to kill Set,
  Set will hit the ground, we will rob him blind

  Yay. Have YOU killed your Set tonight?

  Submitted by Shaolong.

  Wreathed now in raiment shadowed
  Covered now in clothes of sorrow
  Shielded now with duller senses
  Hidden now until the morrow

  Soul now sullied memories
  Heart now hardened by the past
  Eyes now opened to the world
  Love now broken till the last

  None now listen to the voice
  All now pass by unaware
  She now moves on out of sight
  He now sits alone in fear

  Hurt now moves into his mind
  Pain now twists into his life
  Tears now run down over cheeks
  Loss now cuts him with its knife

  A wreathed soul none can hurt
  A covered heart all hidden from pain
  Shielded eyes she filled with tears
  Hidden love he has lost again

  Submitted by Faradhi.

  Funnybones- Collected by the CoD                      Funnybones

  Amusing titles, collected by Khaimran!

  Taboo. A freudian slip is when you say one thing but mean your

  Caitlyn's Bar..Liquor in the front and Poker in the rear.

  Holly Boudicca decks the halls with.. Um that isnt right.

  Coryn: The beatings will continue until morale improves.

  Advertisements                                               Ads


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  If you had a chance to ask the Council of Elders something about
  gameplay, what would you ask?

  Do you want to know when we are going to have pasta somewhere?

  Do you want to know why thief mobs only keep a percentage of what
  they steal?

  Or do you want to know something else?!  If so, mudmail Vaile with
  your questions today!!

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  From the Staff of the CoD: Thank you for reading!!!

  Feedback? Comments? Fan/hate mail? Submissions? All are
  welcome at the CoD public boards, located: e,s,2u,s,w,s
  from Darkhaven Square or south of quills and parchments
  on Market Street.