Kali the Cleric! Hey, did you hear something? It sounded like a dropped hand grenade!

For those of you who haven’t been paying attention, Kali is the current Head of the Council of Elders. This _vampire_ vampire has been kind enough to contribute as our guest writer today. If he’s visible then there’s a certain nervousness that spreads across Realms. If he’s not inclined to destroy you today, your deity might be on the chopping block! ūüôā I have had longstanding respect for the quest lines surrounding the Shattering and while acknowledging the many contributors to those quests, my favorite remains the closing and reopening of the Tower of Despair which Kali was so involved with. Where did he get started? He’s been on the wizlist as long as I can recall … well here it is, in his own words!

During my first year in university a friend of mine introduced me to a now forgotten iteration of a sloth mud. I played this mud a lot. More than I wanted to, really. At this point in time access to the internet meant using the public computer lab, which put all of my time-wasting on display for the whole dorm. After a couple of months I finally quit that game cold turkey and swore off muds forever and ever and ever.

Then, during my third year, one of my roommates started talking about this mud he found where you could play as a vampire. I declined to play. No more muds for me! Then another roommate started playing. I still resisted. Then a third roommate joined in and told me about the player killing he was doing as a vampire. Finally, I gave in and decided to test out this mud. But as my act of defiance I decided that I wasn’t going to be trendy and follow everyone into being a vampire. I followed in the footsteps of my slothmud days and chose to play a mighty cleric.

Shockingly, that did not last long. When some of my friends lapped me to avatar on their second or third vampire, I decided that I might have made the wrong choice. I abandoned that level 32 cleric and started my first vampire. As an aside, I came back to that cleric many years later and finally took him to avatar. I still have him. But vampire became my main class, as they were for most players in those days.

I was actively almost exclusively in pkill for my first couple of years on the mud. My belief was: Why go kill a mob for one piece of equipment when I could just kill a player for a full set of equipment? Some players farmed mobs ‚Äď I just farmed those players instead. I had members, secretly or publicly, in every one of the clans, but my main loyalty was to Inconnu.

At that point in time if you owned a deadly character, you were not permitted to be an Immortal. There was too much concern that cheating would occur. Eventually, that rule was removed and I imm‚Äôed on an unknown alt along with about a dozen other deadlies. A few months later, they reinstituted the ‚Äėno immortals with deadlies‚Äô rule and I chose to demote rather than leave my clan. About ten months later, they decided to remove all of the existing clans and replace them with two clans: Retribution and Forsaken. Once my clan was deleted, I chose to retire from pkill and become an immortal (albeit a deadly one and the Head of the Pkill Conclave). That was in 1996 and I have been an Immortal ever since. In addition to Pkill Conclave, I co-headed the Visionary Consortium and then joined the Council of Elders in 1999.

Trivia note: Both times I was immortalized they moved me directly to 52. I have been many things in the game, but I have never been level 51.

In response to the question about inspiration, I did quite freely involve ideas from Vampire:The Masquerade in my early years on the mud, but the tradition of utilizing that world actually started with Caine/Dominus. I didn’t learn about V:TM until I started playing Realms and I wanted to learn more about the game as it was heavily part of the mythos of deadly clans. As a result, I bought a large number of the books and even played VTM for a few years as well. While the VTM source material was part of my inspiration as an immortal for a number of years, I’ve always drawn from a multiplicity of sources: literature, music, plays, current events, art and anything that happens to catch my fancy. Sometimes an idea can grow from something as simple as a name or an image. I don’t contribute as much creatively now as I did in the past, but growing the seeds of those ideas was always one of my favourite parts of being an immortal.

The chance to implement some of these ideas is one of the things that keeps me coming back to the game, along with the friendships I have made and the sense of responsibility I have towards the stewardship of the game. I hope that my contribution to Realms has overall been a positive one and I’m proud to be part of the Immortal teams, both present and past, that have helped to create this world. I would say that I am proud of the mortal contribution as well. Realms of Despair is a story jointly created by the presence of all involved and it has been a pleasure to be able to tell that story alongside so many wonderful players.

Well, that’s about all the niceness and sappiness I have in me for this decade. I’ll probably kill you all in the morning.

Beg, borrow or steal I’m scraping game.org to bring you words from Blodkai!

Yes … the title here is pretty literal. I discovered this post by Blodkai while doing a scrape of the Wayback Machine archive for game.org. Why do such a thing to begin with? Well, a few sites have gone offline recently and I’ve been really glad I had my own offline copy of them. I went sniffing around game.org mostly looking for old wizlists or other removed organization pages that might be helpful towards building a new Realms site that includes more depth than many I’ve seen.

I present this to you in its original form, unedited as it appeared on game.org. It is 14 years old so I think it qualifies as a Realms historical document in its own right ūüôā I thought it was fascinating and i hope you do too … Blodkai!

August 28, 2000

I collection of various questions that have filtered across to me in one way or another enough times that I may as well put them together in a single Q&A.

“How long have you been on Realms? Did you help found it? How did you come to Realms?”

I’ve been on Realms since near the beginning, but was not a founding immortal. I’ve always been a gaming fanatic, and I had run myself broke playing Major BBS door games like TeleArena and Crosswinds and MajorMUD on a 286 with an amber monitor and a 2400 baud modem, mooching access to the ‘net by sharing shell accounts that other BBS friends let me use.

One day I landed on some giant Major BBS system up in Kansas or someplace that was dedicated to the schools of the Big 12 Conference. I schmoozed (repeatedly) some free credits from the moderators there to play MajorMUD, and one day tried a link they had to Bat MUD. That was a whole new experience for me. I was amazed at all the people, the interaction, the different style of play and the new things available to me.

And all the lag.

When I figured out that it wasn’t the only game in town (literally) I ran around trying out other MUDs. Back then there weren’t nearly so many of these games around, and most “big” muds had 20 or 30 online at a most. I stumbled across Realms one day in its infancy and was amazed yet again at the new world, and the immortals. Ranma was my first immortal contact, and blew my mind by informing me that, yes, I was allowed to keep _all_ that stuff I got off the corpse of a janitor I killed. As I explored and died, Ranma assisted me a few more times (hey, the rules were far more lax back then, and there was virtually no one else around to help) in finding the precious pink ice rings that permitted me to carry loads of heavy stuff.

Not so long after that I lost my telnet access and got distracted by RL matters, and I abandoned the game for a few months. A short while later I, um, stumbled across an unsecured system in the engineering department of a local University that could be accessed via modem and which supported telnet. It was laggy, but it was enough. I jumped around from MUD to MUD again for a while, and finally ended up on Realms again, and the rest is history. A lot can happen and change in a half-decade plus, both online and IRL. Few things are as they were.

“You had some cool bands in your bio a while back. I thought you were old. How old are you?”

Sorry, I don’t give out detailed personal information. I also don’t know where anyone got this idea, though perhaps it’s because of my online age. I hate to shatter anyone’s image of me, but I’m a 20-something. Sorry.

“Your online age is unreal. If you’re not old and haven’t been around for 15 years to account for all that, you must not have a life.”

Blodkai is not only my immortal, but was my primary character that received most of my playing time. When I first imm’d I was indeed online a vast amount of time every day, especially when I began overhauling all of the mobiles, areas, programs and objects in the game. But in addition to that, Blodkai rarely quits out; link-dead immortals simply stay online. I can’t give a specific percentage, but I’d wager that at least half of that time is simply link-dead. I am not online 24 hours a day, or anywhere close, but by the same token I am online (or working offline) for a good amount of time every day.

“I heard you used to pkill and had a cheated Dragonhide Breastplate with 900 hitpoints and 50 damroll added, and then some guy killed you with a cheaply equipped warrior and you balzhured him for it and still hold a grudge against him and you hurt kittens.”

Okay, I admit this is a compilation of statements from the absolute extreme end of the rumor mill, and I people aren’t out there accusing me of this for the most part, but it has bothered me to no end so I’m addressing it here:

Yes, I used to pkill. Quite a bit. I don’t any more for a variety of reasons that I won’t really get in to here, but suffice to say I have too many things to do and not enough time to do them as it is.

No, I did not have a cheated plate, and the plate I did have had something like 300 or 400 hps on it, plus (if I remember correctly) a few dex and luck. No damroll, no affects. The plate represented the lion’s share of all
my old quest points. Prior to the current “glory” system, the quest system (quests and rewards) were much different. One quest point = one hp. I found that too tantalizing to pass up.

I spent a good deal of time accumulating quest points and renames in both public and private quests. (private or small quests were often run in those days, it wasn’t a matter of my immortal friends giving them to me – primarily because I had no immortal friends aside from Darksong, who was in no real position and of no inclination to be doing such things in the first place) I have always been a HP fanatic, and 90% of all of my quest points were spent on hitpoints, most of them going on that plate.

I had placed the plate on one of my pkillers primarily because I wanted to see if I could solo Divine Retribution straight up (i.e. using nothing but the inherent skills of that character’s class, and heal potions) using it and my pkill equipment. I used to spend a great deal of time killing Divine with peacefuls, but it involved using a single vampire or warrior or ranger (usually warrior or ranger) assisted by backpacks full of various offensive scrolls. With the pkiller I wanted to just try to flat-out whip the beast. I was otherwise not in the practice of placing rare items on my avatar pkillers, save for a few.

No, a cheaply equipped warrior did not kill me. A cheaply equipped warrior may have participated in the fight (started it, got the killing blow, who knows, I don’t recall), but I think the other five or so characters — including at least two of the buffest enemies in the game wearing plenty of “special” equipment — deserve as much credit. Heck, I used a cheaply equipped warrior (I had several around the 90 damroll, 1350 hp range) on a similar kill on a clan leader who was more powerful than the character on which I lost my qp’d plate – including helping to tank him, chasing him down and preventing him from fleeing with bashes – but “I” didn’t kill him. There were four or five others characters who helped out on that one as well.

And no, I did not balzhur the character for it. After the behavior or the MUD administrator prior to mine, and because I was deeply involved with pkill from the mortal side, it has always been important to me to separate my immortal activity from my mortal activity as much as possible. It would frankly be idiotic and arrogant for me to have balzhured someone for killing me. To be honest, I don’t even remember everyone involved in the kill today.

I was eventually involved in the balzhur or destruction of the characters of the player who eventually ended up with the plate, but that was some time later under completely different circumstances. Specifically, that player demanded that his army be deleted and he engaged in behavior designed to force us to do just that. I believe at a later date when he asked to return and get a few characters back I restored a few bare pfiles for him, but beyond that I could not tell you today who he is, if he still plays, or if he was involved in the kill or simply acquired the plate by some other means.

Oh, and I love dogs. Not so much cats.

“I heard you created a 25 damroll Oblivion for a pkiller friend a long time ago.”

The number of pkiller “friends” I had I could count on one hand, with people like Stoker and Felix making up the majority of them. Anyone with any knowledge of pkill should know that they aren’t exactly hurting for out of game, rare, or exceptionally powerful equipment. Makes a lot of sense for me to go against everything I’ve always stood for on this subject to give them an obviously modified item, doesn’t it?

I should say that there were many pkillers I was friendly with. Many, many of them, but not to the extent that I’d sit around thinking, “Hey, I’d really like to risk ruining my reputation by giving them something ridiculous and against the rules I helped set down.”

Now, there may indeed have been a time I reimbursed an oblivion to someone, or some strange, unusual circumstance that gave birth to something vaguely similar occuring. Beyond that, I’ll just mark it up to the rumor mill. I feel somewhat thankful that these two things account for most of the really bad rumors I’ve ever heard about myself.

“Are you Allax?”

No.

“Do you know Allax?”

Not that I am aware of, unless he’s someone I do know going by another name. I’m afraid I have never heard of Allax, and never encountered a player who I know to have ever used that name. I wish I knew the story behind this, since it seems to get brought up quite a bit and I’m somehow linked to it.

“Do you play other MUDs?”

No.

“Do you pkill on other MUDs?”

No.

“Do you play mortals on Realms?”

Not nearly as much as I used to, but yes I still play.

“What else do you play?”

Counter-strike (quite a bit), Halflife Team Fortress (rarely these days), and Quake 3 (quite a bit). Beyond that I have a very busy job (as I said in the first section, a lot has changed in the relatively short period of time since I came to Realms), a girlfriend, and a laundry list of hobbies and outside interests.

“Do you work for Idirect, Tucows, Bluegenesis, etc.?”

No.

“Do you live in Canada?”

Politely put, no.

“Are you bald? Why do people call you Baldkai?”

Not even close. My friends used to call me that because one of the few things I was vainly obsessive about was my hair and they knew it would bother me, especially after I cut off my literal mane of hair a few years ago.

“Is that you in your bio on the main Realms page?” [ed: Blodkai’s bio is reposted below]

Yes.

“Your bio says you were a massive multiplayer. It’s very hypocritical to have been a massive multiplayer when you were a mortal, but now that you’re an immortal you try to hurt multiplayers.”

My bio says no such thing, and I’ve amended it with a paragraph that should make that absolutely clear. I’d suggest you read it here. I had a large complement of characters, but I rarely played more than one at a time, and when I did it was perhaps two or three.

“Why are you so against multiplaying?”

I’m not against it in moderation at all, but when it’s overdone to the tune of using 16 or 24 or more characters to fight a single mobile it’s gone off the deep end. It’s massively unbalancing to the game, and it simply isn’t tolerable. Many old MUDs, including several that used to permit unlimited multiplay, have banned it altogether for the exact same reasons we’re trying to limit it. We are attempting to walk the line between allowing it yet maintaining some balance, and banning it outright ourselves.

“Why have you made so many mobiles so hard to kill?”

Note that I alone no longer make all changes to mobiles. We thankfully now have a staff of higher immortals who are truly capable of helping with these things, and in whom I have entrusted the authority to make certain changes. While it was once true that if something changed it was my doing, in recent times that is not necessarily the case.

Mobiles have been upped to try to keep extreme multiplayers from ruining the game by spam-killing them. Many mobiles are designed to deal specifically with multiplayers and not be so harsh with smaller groups. As we begin to clamp down on multiplay and implement code to lessen its effects, mobile power may begin to decline as well.

Another problem is simply our size. On most MUDs it’s rare to be able to put together a group of eight or nine or ten players to go try to defeat something, but on Realms where we have 400 and 500 players on at once during peak periods it’s not at all uncommon. As time goes by, players get more advanced, skills and spells become more powerful, etc., mobiles have to be adjusted to keep up.

In consideration of all the above, look at Seth. The premiere monster in the Realms with the most sought after equipment, yet even the latest generation of Seth equipment existed came to be common. With a character base before the clamp-down of well over 20,000 (larger now, but still) there nevertheless existed _several_ thousands pieces of this equipment. If that doesn’t necessitate a change, nothing does.

Right now things are about as difficult as they have ever been, but I would anticipate that in the future this rise in difficulty across the board will abate. Some mobiles will continue to grow in power, and yes some are next to impossible, but that’s simply part of the game.

“Has anyone from Realms ever met you?”

Exactly two people who have ever played Realms have ever met me. I speak to or have spoken to several immortals (Thoric, Circe, Moonbeam, etc.) on the phone, but only two people have I ever actually met.

There are many more, but I’m out of time for now. If you have a question, email it to me and I’ll try to get you a reply.

Blodkai’s game.org bio:
Blodkai appeared ages ago, only shortly after the inception of the Realms.  For some time he traveled the world, occasionally with friends but largely alone, learning the realities of the Realms, its nuances and even its tricks.  Over time he came to command a sizable complement of characters long before it was common to do so. (and it was rare that more than one was used at a time)

A chance encounter with a strange character in the Tree of Life in the days when the world was much smaller was to be the changing point in the path of Blodkai’s life.¬† Though he did not recognize this stranger,¬† the stranger had noted Blodkai’s presence over time and revealed to him what was at the time a little-known and fascinating feat.¬† This single act was an epiphany for Blodkai, and soon he began expanding upon his new-found understanding.¬† In time there was no corner or secret of the world unknown to him, and the extent and value of his material accumulations grew to exceptional proportions.

Though his contact with the stranger had been sporadic during this time, the day came when Blodkai chose to accept an offer made to him upon their first encounter.  This was his entry into the world of the deadly, in the lawless, brutal and chaotic time of the original clans:  he accepted the invitation of McBeth, and became Darkblade.

Eventually Blodkai would be a member of a handful of additional clans through the many deadly ages:  an Inconnu, an original Malkavian, a founding deadly Maidenstone and a Nosferatu.  But after the passing of the original clans and Darkblade, the majority of his deadly activity was carried out as an unclanned, fighting for no colors but with loose affiliations.  There came a time when his deadly characters of all levels outnumbered his remaining peaceful characters.

At some point as a mortal he was approached by Circe, a high goddess who oversaw the creation and expansion of the lands of the Realms, and through her favor became an immortal.  Within a few weeks he was a Demi god, and within a matter of months had ascended to Greater God, a time during which he made sweeping changes to the treasures, lands and creatures of the Realm.  This was also an age of repeated upheaval in the immortal community as the very gods fought and conspired against each other, and despite his attempts to avoid entanglement in these affairs he was ultimately drawn in.  Joining with a number of other high immortals including Narn, Haus, Gorog and Damian, and with the aid of Thoric, he helped re-form the Council of Elders Рwhich came to assume complete control of the Realms in its entirety and usher in a new age of growth and stability, eschewing the rampant chaos and infighting of the past.

Today, Blodkai heads the Council of Elders and is the primary administrator of the Realms.  He still dabbles directly in building and coding as time permits, and always maintains a hand in each facet of development.

Hey! Do you remember when deities were immortals?

With the post from Kinux we’ve ascended into the upper echelons of the wizlist. These lofty heights hold some of the Realms’ oldest immortals, members of the Council of Elders whose vision helps to shape the game we enjoy together. Over time even member of the CoE retire and their contributions become blurred into the fabric of Realms until it becomes a day to day part of our lives. Today’s contributor falls squarely into this description. He was one of the people who helped to create the deity system that still exists today, deities whose names were in fact the names of Immortals. These are the deities who were retired in the Shattering and whose replacements can be called Deities 2.0. He’s also someone who came out of the woodwork following the Realms of Despair Facebook page and enjoyed these recollections enough to take the time to write one for our enjoyment. With thanks I present Witherin!

Most of my memories from back in my time on RoD have been reduced to a warm, fuzzy blur. So when Tharius talked to me about making a contribution, I held off. I wanted to ponder it a bit. Do some actual research to recall some items. But I think I’m ready now.

Sad to say, I haven‚Äôt been involved in RoD for quite some time now. I think I left sometime around ‚Äė96/‚Äô97 or so. Give or take. I‚Äôd married another RoD member and she had left RoD under a cloud that left me stuck between a rock and a hard place. I would have liked to have continued with RoD, but… Well… Marriage.. The choice was really a non-choice from the moment it was presented. Lol! Years later, the marriage fell apart and life was a long, hard struggle after that. When I finally did get
back into gaming, World of Warcraft caught my interest. And that was that.

Ok.. Enough about the ‚Äúafter‚ÄĚ. Let‚Äôs dive into the beginning. I got my start with RoD back around ‚Äė93/‚Äô94. A couple of my co-workers played and were old high school friends of Thoric. So I thought I‚Äôd give it a try. My first character was named Witherin. Several more were created afterwards. Arcana, Celasquida, Hronak and others I can‚Äôt remember. But Witherin was always my main. Sad to say. I can‚Äôt even remember the race/class he was. But I had a blast leveling him up. From the outset, I allowed
him to have a somewhat dark and mysterious persona. It tied into my social awkwardness (growing up with a hearing loss tends to lend itself to wallflower status in large social groupings), and let me take the social aspect of the game on my own terms. I got to Avatar level at a good clip. Not record setting by any means. But I was happy with the pace. I was a bit lost for a while once I hit Avatar. Not being as skilled with the social aspects, it took me a while to find my footing. In the meantime, I would spend time with my other toons and explore aspects and areas that I hadn’t touched on as Witherin.

It felt to me like it didn’t take long at all before I was sponsored to be Imm and got the promo. But that could very well be the blurriness of time having its influence. It took me a while to get a feel for being an Imm. Most of the time I was just monitoring/approving toon names; acting as intermediary with disputes between toons; playing bad cop when I had to (seems that dark and mysterious persona lent itself well to this); and peeking at the code underlying things to start to get a feel for it all.

Of the major things I was involved with.. In relative order, based on shoddy recollection, I‚Äôd say the helping to write the Newbie guide; helping with the formation of the Newbie Council; creation of Thul‚ÄôAbhara; and the creation of the deity system. I had a hand in all of those things to one degree or another, and likely other things as well. Thul I was very proud of. I‚Äôm glad to see it‚Äôs still there after all this time. The deities… That whole thing was a great idea that turned into a pain in the butt to get working right. First public shot at it, the player items were not well balanced at all. Some were just too
over powered. Some were more along the lines of cosmetic items, rather than actually useful. So a lot of tweaking was done. I’m glad to see the deities are still there and have become such an integral part of the game.

Along the way, promotions happened. Always nice to get the recognition and being able to do more for the game is great. But you do begin to feel that disconnect.. The separation from the players. I did my best to counteract that.. Playing on my alts.. Keeping a couple of them anonymous as much as I could.

Near the end of my time on RoD I was lucky enough to get bumped to the CoE. I never really felt like I belonged with them. Not from any cold shoulders on their part. All were approachable to one degree or another. I just… Well I always felt like the little brother tagging along with the older kids. Brought in because they needed one more and I was just.. There.. To be fair that was mostly my own insecurities.

In any case. I think I held my own. And if I didn’t actually do anything spectacular beyond adding in my own two cents to our private discussions, I think I can feel good about my short time amongst that lofty crew.

All in all I had a great time on RoD. And I keep telling myself I should revisit it (I actually did a couple of times for short stints. But it never felt the same without having the name Witherin (a restricted name, of course)). Had a few romances. Made many friends (some of whom I’ve been lucky enough to reconnect with). And walked away with a ton of warm and somewhat fuzzy memories.

A Barbarian or Thief? Introducing Kinuii, Kinuiii, Kinuiv … oh whoever!

I knew Kinux back in the day, albeit peripherally. My time in Guild of Thieves predates him by at least 2 Guildmasters as I was active in the era of Fademan and Dumaka as Thavius (clever huh?) which was slightly before Elisabet took over. Yet today I still think about his time as Guildmaster on a regular basis, normally when checking to see how Abelard is holding up. Good old Abe has passed through a few hands; I inherited him from Silet. Abe is not the oldest pfile on the game, obviously, but if he keeps going the way he is, he will be the first to find out if there is a bug with ages getting very high. At present he’s 63,079 years old … played 126,124 hours … that is almost 14.5 years continuously online!! I mention this because Kinux created Abelard before becoming an immortal on Realms of Despair so this gives you some feeling for just how long this particular “K” imm has been around.

Kinux was one of the first to reply to my request for stories and has been an avid supporter of this and other projects of mine and I want to take a moment to publicly thank him. So here’s what the geezer had to say!!! ūüôā

I came upon Realms at university in 1994. I had been a co-sysop of a BBS (yes¬†that is dating me) that ran a circle mud in the early 90’s and when it shut¬†down I heard about RoD through word of mouth and tried it out. I lasted about 6¬†months then got busy with other things. I’d return from time to time but¬†wasn’t very dedicated at that point.

In 1998 I decided to get back into things and started a new character named¬†Kinu. Kinu had 9 strength. Kinu did not get very far in life. Some ask where¬†the name ‘Kinux’ came from… was it version of ‘Canucks’, or possibly a¬†deritive of ‘Linux’? The truth is that it is Kinu(x). As in the 10th variant¬†of Kinu.

Kinux got involved with the Guild of Thieves at level 15, and quickly rose¬†up the levels. I ended up joining GoC, GoM, GoW, GoD, and GoV, and liked the¬†Guild system so I never felt the need to enter an Order. To this day, I’ve¬†never had an ordered alt either. While I was a Deity of a clan, my mortal¬†deadlies also never joined any clans either.

In 2000, Elisabet, the GoT Leader of the time, was Immortalized. I was¬†nominated and ran in an election and became the GoT #2. Losing Elisabet wasn’t¬†easy on the guild and within a couple months I was raised to Guild Leader¬†after the other leaders stepped down. Kinux was GoT leader from early 2000 to¬†the end of 2001. It was a great time for Guilds. I had weekly meetings where 20 members would show up and discuss various things, do a quest, run a mob,¬†pkill each other in the arena. Many who knew me then knew I ran Abelard, the¬†GoT Bot and current record holder for age online. It’s been great seeing him¬†continue on even after the Guild has transitioned from GoT to GoO. In addition¬†to my duties in GoT I was also co-leader of IGQC and was active with TS.

In mid-2001 I was sponsored to be an Immortal by Selina. I was turned down at¬†that time. Later that year I made the trip to Ontario for the 7th annual RoD¬†reunion. Still have the cup that says so. It was a great chance for me to meet¬†a lot of players and Imms and was probably the thing that made it possible for¬†Selina’s second nomination of me to be successful in November, 2001. When I was¬†put into the position as an Immortal with TS, who were charged with recruiting¬†new Immortals, it was nice to be able to tell them, honestly, that if at first¬†you don’t succeed it can still happen.

I came into Immortality at a great time. While I had absolutely no building or¬†coding experience to speak of, I was eager and jumped right in. For those that¬†recall, the ‘big port’ was on its way and I was able to dive into it,¬†providing a number of rebuilt and new areas. The village of Edo was actually¬†my first full area, though it came in later with the big port. My first area¬†to the game was the rewrite I did with Selina of Wyvern’s Tower. Knowing the¬†port was a while off, Selina and I were keen to get one of our areas in, but¬†because the code base between Smaug 1.8 and 2.0 was so different we had to¬†copy every mob, obj and room manually into the game for it to be able to come¬†over.

Selina and I were good friends in the game and made a great writing partnership. In addition to the many rewrites and original areas, there was also a number of areas we just jumped into at author request to help out. When she decided to leave the game, we lost a great Imm and area builder and I was never able to recreate the competitive push we had to finish new things and show them off to one another.

My favourite [quests to be involved with] were the Deity Death quests I did with Cersei to kill off¬†all the old Deities before the Shattering. I’ve been asked what my favourite area (that I built) is and while I’ll always¬†like them all, two stand out: Edo, as my first and The Mountain of Lost Souls¬†as the one I enjoyed writing the most. Some ask are there still puzzles in my¬†areas to be found and solved? Yep. Am I still adjusting current areas with new¬†quests and equipment? Yep.

Inclusion within the ranks of the CoE was no less stunning than my original¬†inclusion into the ranks of Immortality. We’ve done a number of things as a¬†council to make the process of working with ideas work better, not least of¬†which is having weekly meetings and including our higher level Immortals to¬†help provide further thoughts on the direction of the game.

The game has developed and continues to develop thanks to the ideas of Imms¬†and players alike. We have some exciting changes in the works and while change¬†doesn’t come fast and furious, it comes. I think that’s the part of the game¬†that keeps us going, 20 years later. We don’t allow any one person to direct¬†the way the game will be played. It’s a team effort.

Many of us have given a good chunk of our life to this game. While I’m sadly not as prolific as I once was at building, I still log daily and each day I¬†still learn something new. That I can say that 20 years later is a testament¬†to not only the longevity, but to the many layers that this game has. At the¬†end of the day, it’s the players who play, leave for a time, then come back¬†that keeps this game going. We have a game that is built on the power of the¬†mind’s eye. While text based games may be passe to some, I still find they are¬†more satisfying given the level of creativity that they allow compared to any¬†other graphic based world, past or present.

Ultimately, I believe I’ve gotten more out of this game than I’ve put in. I’ve¬†met fantastic people, learned to build and code and been given an opportunity to help with the direction of the game itself. It’s for others to decide¬†whether they’ve liked my areas and the choices that I’ve made along the way,¬†but I hope they recognize that it was always done with the best interest of the¬†game in mind.

There and back again, a ranger’s tale.

The Cake of Despair

¬†¬†¬† … totally looks like …¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬†

source: http://repgrind.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/whimsyshire.jpg


Well, we have returned from the Realms of Despair 20th Anniversary Barbecue hosted at Thoric and Jane-wh0-does-not-mud’s house and for those of you who could not attend due to the short notice (as travel plans go) I hope you will enjoy living vicariously through this post. ¬†I will break away from my tradition of not overwhelming people with pictures for this post and hope I’ve chosen enough to give you a good feel for the day. ¬†A word of warning and a lead in apology: I am bad with names at the best of times … I am HORRID with game names. ¬†There are a few of you whose names have slipped back out of my head and I apologize wholeheartedly. ¬†If someone reminds me I’ll make an appropriate edit here.

Where to begin? ¬†We had a nice drive up to Cambridge from Hamilton, it’s a drive I’ve done several times before back when my car had air conditioning and my apartment didn’t … we passed the pub I used to have a rib and chicken wing special at before returning home to sweat.

As we arrived we knew we were in the right place when we saw the “Thoric” licence plate. ¬†We were lucky that our little dude slept the drive up, which meant he was quite ready to play with anyone or anything in range. ¬†It took him very little time to meet and begin playing with all the little Thorics and Janes wandering about and to discover their cache of blocks for tower building!

A view of Orr Lake

Moving into the back yard I was struck with just how beautiful the property is.  It is very quiet and peaceful out here, or at least it will be until we get this party rocking!

The forecast called for some rain but we were fortunate that it seemed to skirt around us.  I noticed as we drove home that it appears to have hIt's all fun and games till you take a kid's bubbles away!it just the other side of town, so thanks prevalent weather system for dodging us!

We were getting set up when other guests began arriving, Kali, Despeyre, Cygnus,¬†Destre, Oxnyx, Adamus¬†and¬†Eisengrim. In the meantime, the kids took over as is right and proper! ūüôā

Oh playground equipment, I love you.If not for this yard equipment, I think my day would have gone very differently, but as it stands it served as the most wonderful babysitter and provider of exhausted children at the end of the day. ¬†Behind this equipment is a small path that led around the lake, notable later in the RL quest. ¬†A short time later a stopping cDSCF1048ar informed us that Hoerkin, Stoneheft and Loril had arrived and with the arrival of Serina, Azrielle and friends we had our cast of characters set. ¬†The only things left to do were to eat, chat and have fun … and then be put through quest hell, well hell only because it meant leaving chairs and keyboards behind and having to actually … run? ¬†Or jogging … errr shuffling at an above normal pace? ¬†Well, something like that.

Grillin!Thoric, Jane and others did a great job of manning the grill,if anyone went home hungry it’s their own fault!! ¬†Lots of pickings like fruit and salads were brought, as pot lucks go I’d say we had a winner. ¬†There was a discussion which ended with a few simple assertions … firstly that salads are the sort of things that food eats and secondly that we have a buyer available should we ever get down to our last pig … who would buy it so that it could be cloned, providing riches as the bacon market becomes dominated by a user of the Realms of Despair.DSCF1036

The day was not without party crashers, some of whom felt quite entitled to simply drive right on up and tell people to pay attention to them! ¬†The nerve of some people eh? ūüôā

So once everyone was sufficiently fed and adequately lethargic it was time to quest! ¬†Some of you would have known right off the bat how to find a Nenmellon among the reeds in the shallows of the lake, some of us appropriately asked “what the hell’s a nenmellon” … yet others used true Realms questing experience and waited for the groups to start moving and followed them!

The second quest destination.

Once you had your frog, you had to take it to the gazebo on the other side of the lake. ¬†Yes, that one below those trees. ¬†To get a better perspective, the zoomed in shot is the same shot as the first picture of the lake above. ¬†We used the trail behind the playground and we were off! ¬†Stoneheft and Adamus had a great lead that disappeared when their frog escaped from the bucket they had it in allowing me and Jeremy to move into first place for a short while …. until a Kali like blur sped past me to capture a lead he wouldn’t relinquish.Frog catching!

Once we retrieved our crystal, ran it back around the lake we hunted down a warrior who gave us a cryptic riddle … a question whose answer could change the fates of everyone ….. “You hear it speak, for it has a hard tongue. But it cannot breathe, for it has not a lung?” ¬†Though Serina and her partner had passed us by being in better shape than I am they chose the wrong trail to find the Shaman and ended up having to adventure over very rough terrain while I stalked Kali’s team on the easy path. ¬†DSCF1028We answered the riddle and managed a few sprints to close the distance and arrived to plant our sacred plant in the second terrace of the garden while observing a square dance style jig that will forever remind me that while he can drop a hand grenade in the room, obliterate my corpse and purge me from the Realms for all time, I have survived seeing Kali dance a jig… which we promptly copied since Jane-who-does-not-play disliked our Chicken Dance.

This Supreme Wife-ity told us that we had to present Thoric with the “Jewel of Thoric’s Eye” … but we were too clever … this wasn’t lost boots time, but we spun her about and presented her to him and completed the quest, 2nd, but happy to be able to indulge in the warmth of success and chilled by cooler fresh Coke ūüôā

From our lofty perch atop a lawn chair we watched the other teams complete the quest and it looked like everyone had a lot of fun… and once the questing had completed … the desserts! ¬†We cut into the Cake of Despair and attacked another piece of devilishness … prepared by the wife of another ranger and typer of blogs …After losing so many calories ... time to restock!¬†This picture only took a particular new player helper a handful of tries on a phone before giving up and taking a picture with *gasp* a camera!!

All in all it was a great day, for everyone who was there I hope you enjoyed yourself as much as we did.  For anyone who missed it I hope you will get the chance to attend another get together in the future.

In this era where the Realms population is less than it was at it’s peak I think it’s important to remember that this game started with a few dozen people who enjoyed the Endless Medieval Adventure … 20 years later it is still alive because of the efforts of hundreds who have come and gone. ¬†Thoric saw things lacking in the mud world he participated in and threw himself into coding something better. ¬†Many creative people have brought inspirations from literature and other games into our world, be it Vampires:The Masquerade, Dragonlance, The Books of Swords or many countless other be they obvious or subtle. ¬†I encourage you to find a way to improve the Realms in some way. ¬†Make friends, learn something, expand your horizons and most importantly … have fun.

Happy 20th anniversary Realms, best wishes for the future!

Happy 20th!