Game of Despair, Realms of Thrones

If you haven’t started season 8 of HBO’s Game of Thrones, minor spoilers follow.

Jon Snow has at long last been reunited with his sister Arya, along with most of the other characters of the series who are alive, reuniting at Winterfell. The series has been structured around several strong, central locations like Winterfell, the Red Keep, and so on. As the series has progressed the locations have evolved and the nature of them changed. Right now you’re probably picturing the Starks at Winterfell, the last great fortress of the north, yet, just a short time ago it was the home of the Boltons. Same place, different feel.

At the same time there has been a surge of interest in fantasy games, material, fan literature, maps, and so on. Yet true new usership of the Realms seems elusive. It is undoubtedly only going to appeal to a fringe audience. In the era of readily available games with flashy graphics and sound, almost disposable in their nature – play for a while, win the game, chuck it and back to the app store, to state the obvious – Realms is a very different creature. Yet it does attract a certain type of user, and I would argue holds a great deal of entertainment value.

Persistent area building over the last 25 years has created a rich play environment with many different puzzles to be solved and despite the publishing of many tricks and walk throughs on RodPedia there are still many, many things to learn and a great deal of value in figuring it out yourself.
I wander the Realms mapping and trying to solve the Glass Menagarie puzzles, among other things. People like Sylphain dive deeply into a single area even trying to understand the connections in the way a builder crafts puzzles to discover yet unsolved mysteries in old areas. Some only care about getting new, more buff items and so their interest is in finding their way through the Southern Mountain Range Trade Route into the EisenCastle or fiddling with the altar in Winterlight beyond Bridgette for a daily trip into the abyss to grind for the elusive pop items.

Is this the end game? Waiting for glory quests for an incremental game or playing the RNG slot machine for increasingly rare gains? Chasing increasingly obscure esoteric knowledge?

Some time ago I talked with Belkira about the idea of expanding housing into user kingdoms. It was only a very rough idea, the broad strokes were that players would be allowed to add more vnums to their houses outside of the protected inner sanctum of the 5 rooms we currently enjoy. These public rooms could be invaded and played by others. The player could gain an income from their area but would need to spend some of it to hire guard mobs to protect it. Alternately the player’s area might simply be a place to ambush players, lots of thief mobs that steal from you, brigands, but then that might drive a bounty system where the players are motivated to come attack the mobs.

In this sort of system simply having everything cost gold would only increase the strain on golding areas but arming your soldiers by attracting blacksmiths and giving them thievesblades and shieldbreakers, doomgivers and kings crested swords … being careful to make the system support a very wide base of low-mid range gear to encourage people to revisit the old content… or maybe this just feeds grinding.

Watching people gold on PK chars lately in Coral Depths and seeing no one log in to attack them really demonstrates part of the problem, not only with golding but with PK. Sorry PKers, but it seems that PK is essentially a group of cheese tricks and buff gear to win instead of a real matching of wits between two players. I may be missing the nuance to it, I don’t PK, and no amount of cool skills or buff gear will ever attract me to it. Knowing that when I hit level 15 or so Joe is going to come kill me with his already prepared “level 15 killer” or that if I get to av the Arcanes crew will log to gang bang me doesn’t excite me. The pk-tag requirement on gear means you can’t be pk-casual. Yet at some level it is precisely the interpersonal competition that the PF “end game” seems to be trying to replicate. It’s not pk’s fault, the Realms combat system is inherently boring. Once you see the formulas, even in an interpreted, obscure way, you lose the fun.

As we have been drifting along missing the surge of interest in the fantasy genre during the promotion of Game of Thrones season 8 I ask, why? Lack of retention of new players and of the interest of older players. Older players can solo a lot of the stuff new players need and so there’s no incentive to be helpful yet if you make everything need 3 players people go back to the sitting at recall chatting “I’m bored, who wants to do stuff” days.

First and foremost is retention of new players. The Realms web client is a right minded step I believe. CMud is unsupported. Mush Client is a little too complex for the average user I think. None of them really integrate what a modern HTML5 web browser can do with ease. Unfortunately requests to access the appliance that goes between the Realms Website and the Telnet back end were denied. Anyone interested in doing development on features or creating their own client is shut out. So … no community building with diverse implementations to choose from. I can see some technical reasons for this based on how the Realms of Despair works, but we have reached the point where a person using a TOR browser could spoof IPs limitlessly. We need a better mechanism than IP checks to limit farming.

I had suggested account level tagging of gear. The motivation was to allow you to share your own gear among your own characters. Character tagging is a pain. If I level a new character I have to replay content solely for the “I need this item”, even if I’ve done it many times before. Why do I have to level new characters? It’s still the easiest way to improve stats, even in a post reroll 95 stat environment vs the old 102 based stat environment. Sect tags? Use the family name that is already available? Yes you want to allow players to add characters without this being totally abusable, what about 5 glory to add/remove someone from your family? Sure some might bite the bullet and pay it to exploit something, but at least we can start talking about it.

I had suggested we get away from the idea of strongly classed characters and instead move towards a holistic one character approach where people really deeply invest in developing the adventurer. No one wanted to even think about it yet I hear that edmond is putting some effort in that direction. For those wondering if we’ll lose the unique character classes Realms has, I’ll say we don’t have unique character classes or races in Realms. Everything is derivative of somewhere else whether it’s Vampire:The Masquerade or Dungeons and Dragons … it’s ongoing. Dragonborn are a 5th edition D&D race, variations of Draconians from DragonLance or even the basic idea of lizardmen. Nephandi? White wolf – Vampire the Masquerade people. The augurer and the fathomer might be fairly unique interpretations but they’re relegated to the sidelines. There’s been some other attempts at unique interpretations like the Kinux flavour of Barbarians or what I recall of the Julie and Moonbeam style witch class … but how do these things add flavour to our game? Everything is determined still by “what can I kill with this” and “what advantage does this give me”. Why are barbs half-orc? Olsen ears… why were thieves half-troll/ogre for so long? Froggy girth and res pierce. Big clumsy races as the basis for most of the highest dexterity characters.

Many organizations are so starved for activity that there is a feeding frenzy on a new player. I have witnessed this over the last few years, even to the point of chatting with new players who were quitting because they overheard organization leaders saying that they didn’t care about the n00bs as long as they could quaff and circle. Yet that org was vaacuming up every new player, dressing their characters in decent gear because of that heavy golding I was talking about, and moving someone only a few months into the game into the “end game” mentality .. this or that area isn’t worth looking at because there’s no big run mob there, or this or that isn’t worth doing because it’s hard, just gold and buy it. I commented on some of this during Oktoberquest where we had some groups that were forming and helping one another yet certain groups were more interested in promoting divisiveness in order to win the quest because the top 3 get the best prize.

If this continues we will have no one left to play with.

The second part is retention or re-attraction of old players. I think that removing autodelete for avatar characters is one thing that’s long overdue. Drive space is not at a premium and if certain Realms functions are horribly inefficient under large number of pfiles then they are long overdue for fixing. I was led to believe some of that had been moved to databases – in that case it shouldn’t be an issue at all. Modern computer science has long since solved these problems and even without moving to an object oriented C++ environment SMAUG should be able to handle these ideas in code. The evidence is on the Realms Facebook page – player after player modestly interested in returning but not excited about recreating their army.

Next is the idea of giving someone the ability to log in and do something other than grind a new character. At some point if you’ve played long enough you’ve got 4 of everything you want, or more, even people trying to trade Seth pops have a hard time – 25 years of farming the mob has taken its toll. Must be why some groups impose a no-public-trading rule on certain runs… break it and you get thrown off the run.

Orders and guilds are supposed to bring together people so they can get to know each other and work together. How many people would be logging into Inconnu or Dragonslayer daily if it wasn’t for the Vreesar run? What happens when everyone has their 9dr gloves? Do we need the next big thing? The efforts to go over current areas and add new content seems to fit with feeding this desire for new content. Whether it’s for actual gains or like the moldy pillow just for quality of life, this still has a shelf life, especially when the new items obsolete some other content. There was a renewed interest in La Chute with the new robes and rings, and what happened? Feeding frenzy then return to status quo.

Even with the unique recalls of these organizations we have failed to create a sense of uniqueness. Why can’t I have my character recall to Thul when I cast word of recall? Why isn’t that his “home”? I’m not suggesting everyone should just pick anywhere but the fixation with Darkhaven Square and Thoth’s rune suggests this tiny piece of the game is somehow key to everything and yet the content of the game does nothing to support it. After 20+ years of butchering the guards not a single thing has ever been remembered past a few repops.

I think user driven kingdoms that had persistence could change that. I think it’s a possible end game. I think that if a player doesn’t maintain it by playing regularly that it should deteriorate and become a ruin. A player returning can clean it up and resume – they pay a penalty for being away – but they don’t have to start anew. Think of Harrenhall – it’s a ruin but the Lannisters returned it to function and it still had value.

Perhaps nations and role play wanted to develop the rich stories of 25 years of game running. I think this has to be embraced not just as an exercise of the imagination and fan stories, but within the game itself. Regular areas can’t really do this – the idea of a dynamic, evolving story within an area is necessarily finite and though it can be quite possible it would be a massive undertaking. Would players respond well to an area where the actions of the last group through affected them? If you killed Dr. Frankenstein then the Frankenstein monster can never be spawned? What might the loot look like since right now we have the notion of repop so ingrained in us that we think everyone that goes on the run should eventually get a payout by grinding?

I don’t know, but what if the end game was more story and less grind? That you felt part of a world where your actions had impact instead of being continuously and consciously aware that a random number keeps you repeating the same farm over and over? I don’t know either, but it sounds like more fun.

This has been a diverse group of gripes that has been building for some time. It’s far rantier than I really set out to do. I think there are lots of creative ways to continue to enjoy the game for years to come, but I think it requires effort and openness. Some days it seems like it would be much easier to fire up the code environment and start from scratch but that’s giving up on 25 years of continuous game play and the rich history we have.

Oktoberquest 2018 Part Deux!

Well we’re getting into the home stretch!

Same old, same old fatigue is setting in and the leaderboard is very tight despite weeks of questing.

The competition is really tight and I’ve found it is not bringing out the best in us, or in me. One group has been paying people upwards of 50m coins/day to take them out to the player’s helper point fights. When 1 member of that group is invited they show up with a crowd hoping to be asked to join in the hopes of turning the 5 guaranteed available points into a lottery. They’re sending tells to anyone they see who is on the quest to solicit those helper points.

Ok, so yeah. There’s definitely a legit way to view the behavior I think: doing everything they can to aggressively try to get their team in the top 10. Competing as hard as they can.  I’m not sure I like their style, but ok.  In some way we’re all trying to manipulate the quest to our advantage.

I got a little wrapped up and over competitive this morning using quest channel to encourage people that if they’re sick of being nagged about their 6ths just to solo them, invite whoever they want, or invite a huge crowd and make it a random chance thing.

I’ll apologize for getting carried away with this. It’s unsportsman like. Fixating on that top 10 because in the past the top 10 has earned a piece of quest equipment. Forgetting that part of the point is to get out and meet some other people from Realms so that the rest of the year we might adventure together, kill something, solve some in game quest or riddle.

We don’t even know what the prize structure will be, we’re speculating based on the past 2 years.

Thank you to Zistrosk for his continued efforts to balance this quest and make it fair to as many different groups as possible.  For the people I’ve been teaming up with I’m enjoying exploring Edel quests, the Glass Menagerie rooms, and looking forward to some post-quest mob kills.

Let the pumpkin seeds fall where they may.

Oktoberquest 2018

Last year I didn’t participate in the Oktoberquest. I tried killing a white walker, it was absurdly hard. I asked myself, do you want a month of this? The answer was no and I quit.

The real answer is I wasn’t super motivated to be playing Realms, I was uber focused on Star Wars:Galaxy of Heroes and work and didn’t want to find the time to figure the quest out.

This year, because someone set up a Discord server, I was aware of Oktoberquest an thought I’d give it a go.

I’ll preface by saying Zistrosk puts a tremendous effort into making Realms fun for us and I appreciate his work. Whether the quest is a win or misses the mark, he is trying to design fun activities that are well balanced and I’m positive it’s not easy.

You can read about the quest itself at RoDPedia if you’re not familiar with it.

In 2016 we all actually lost sleep trying to compete. I managed to come in 2nd just because of feeding the OCD competitive demon that lives in my head.

In 2017 it looks to me like anyone who was on a team strong enough to defeat the Night King regularly walked away with the prize. The scores seem to reflect that.

The quest swung from a purely individual effort to something that seemed locked up to strong teams. I say seemed because I wasn’t there.

This year it’s falling somewhere between those extremes, so while there might be ground to criticize the execution there’s a clear attempt to balance this out. Your daily dose of points can be very individual. 21 a day and maybe a few from lucky kill blows on the big pumpkin mob.

The other, team based component has been from sharing points on the 6th challenge mob kill every day. Competition brings out the best and worst in us all I think. I’ve seen messages on channels almost cyber begging for 6th points. I’ve heard stories of people offering gold to be on teams to get 6th points, though it’s possible these stories aren’t true (I wasn’t approached directly and the person involved denies it). Someone even suggested that people were using alts to get to 6th and spoofing IPs to get IP1 points for their own characters. I’m not sure I believe it because it’s an awful risk to take to scam a point here and there.

There certainly was an initial reaction of jealousy at the tight team that Inconnu fields for every event. Some jealousy at the team that Dragonslayer is fielding. The question is what do you do with those feelings? One route is to get angry and frustrated: they’re cheaters or there’s no point in trying because they’re going to win.

Then there’s a different reaction, one that I have been witnessing all over the place. Probably one of the hoped for reactions. I see people from different, far flung, smaller organizations banding together and helping each other out. This quest is bringing people from disparate groups together and making them interact in order to be able to compete. It is my great hope that we continue to nurture these relationships after the quest and translate them into team building. Those Inconnu and Dragonslayer teams didn’t come out of thin air. They’ve worked together as a team for a long time and deserve to be doing well, even if they are making me really work my butt off to stay top 10! 🙂

In my post about IOPK I said there were probably too many organizations for the number of active players that we have. I still think that’s probably true, because membership in an organization tends to segregate us from other players – if by no other method than lack of a common channel to talk on. Yes we have av and other public channels, but it doesn’t put us on a playing field with people we always want to talk to. Sects and sect talk are good, but restricted to non-order players. It is time for something like a friendchat channel, but I don’t think there’s any motivation to create that in game. Instead I think it’s time to go back to an idea that worked in 2000 when we used ICQ to stay in touch with all our game friends. I think the day of a public Discord server where players can make their own semi-private channels is probably here. I think it would help players maintain the sort of friendships and connections that this quest has brought about.

In SW:GOH Discord is key to coordinating guild activities and activities between people who are not in the same guild. It’s not new tech, it was built for the express purpose of putting gamers in touch with each other.

Would you use an off game chat server to stay in touch with your in game friends?

IOPK (or Make Realms PK Again)

Hi all,

Questnews and Twitter and Facebook are telling me all about the Inter-Order Pkill Event that Gonnil will be hosting on May 8th and my personal response is that I’d rather slam my thumb in a door.

I’m not anti-pk so I’d like to establish a few points here

  1. I suck at pk due to a thorough lack of experience.
  2. I think that mk gameplay gets stale and boring and leads to mpdamage programs designed to make you scrap, to disrupt fight triggers, to muddle with your ability to quaff, to penalize you for normal gameplay.  Alternately the mob is placed somewhere that’s a royal pain to get to and/or highly sensitive to the game crashing and ruining a couple of hours of effort.
  3. PK is the only gameplay mode that actually offers any reasonable, sustainable challenge because human players are adaptive.

With that said I completely object to the idea of an Inter-Order event that allows game play on non-ordered alts.  Why not just make this a “teams” event an be done with it?  Well because the Order of Arcanes was recently revitalized from the ranks of PK players instead of being deleted from the game as it probably should have been.  Inactive organizations die out .. it’s not a big deal, it’s a normal thing.  We have 7 orders… given the playerbase … really that’s lots.

I spoke with Gonnil and his replies were along the lines of “anyone can have a pk character” and that nerfing the quaff speed of the PK characters was the biggest needed equalizer.

Maybe, but once more, why bother calling it IOPK?

Good luck to all who compete.  I know Arcanes will be solidly represented and I imagine so will Dragonslayer, pkJoe and pkJim leading the way.  I don’t know but I can imagine Inconnu being solidly represented.  Ringbearers is not an org with many pk people in it so it’s doubtful we’ll participate, but I hope that the event is fun for those who want to be involved.  All I can say is that if this was an attempt to engage with what little community exists on Realms and stimulate interest I think it’s a fail.

The Annual Blog Post

You know, I really have to visit here a little more often if I expect you to 🙂

My interest in the game waxes and wanes with how busy my life is and last year was a whopper.  Lots of changes, a 5 week strike at work, and just generally having to be selective in my choices with entertainment.  What brings me back to Realms once more?  News 1090 naturally.

About 3 years ago I was approached by Akael to work on an update to the Darkhaven Art Gallery.  I was really honoured to participate, I know that it’s such a pivotal area for so many newer players.  I felt that there was a lull in the levelling areas for the 30’s so that’s sort of where I put my focus.  I also looked at the gear in those levels and where I was still wearing academy equipment or other similarly low level stuff and thought, hey these are gaps to fill.  You can let me know if I hit the mark or not, but I think at least some people will be happy with the stuff that was brought in.

I’ve been around this week testing and helping to fix some logic errors in the area.  I can’t thank Destre enough for her efforts, that woman is devoted to seeing things in the game be top notch!  Thanks also to Akael, Ceirana, Zistrosk, and all the others who worked on this project in the background.  To my mind having such a great and diverse group working on these projects helps keep the quality up.

I’ve heard people in the past complain about how long these projects take, hey, there’s lots of time spent checking and rechecking and then fixing things.  Let’s not forget our imms are volunteers giving their leisure time to do these things.  I had to take the idea that “I did my part, it’s in their hands” … but it was exciting to see it ported.  This is the 3rd time some piece of work of mine has found it’s way into Realms and it’s a thrill every time.

The first was an IOQC area I wrote as a member of DS waaaay back in the day.  You had to find and return dragon eggs, but everyone just ended up killing the dragons… the only problem is the dragons used “murder” instead of “kill” and so the spam was unbelievable.  Also killing the dragons was ridiculously hard to discourage that behaviour but … when IOQC teams go at it, they are definitely determined teams and view challenges as things to be overcome.  It went … oh… 4 or 5 hours?  Intended time… 90 minutes?  Yeah.  Learned a lot about not assuming how people will approach the problems.  Sometimes when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail 🙂  Funny thing is that it was Destre helping then too, with an emergency assist from Moonbeam if I recall correctly.

Many of you may also recall I worked on the Guild of Spirits, stepping in to help with that project.  Though I didn’t have much to do with the initial design I am happy with the touches I left on it.  There are times I wish that I had been more active in the Guild of Origin build but you do what you can.

So what’s next for me?  To be really honest I don’t get a big thrill out of playing the game anymore.  I see equations when I look at the game… damage in, healing potential, damage out … scheduling problems like getting 4 people online who want to do the same thing etc.  These days I do continue to enjoy mapping as much of the Realms as I can, I do have a project underway that I put down 2 years ago that I think I should finish and share.  I also see a couple of unfinished building projects I think I may be ready to put my hands to and see if they can get to the finish line.  Of course there’s also more ideas … a totally new area … but finish one thing before starting the next!

I have not yet explored the other new paintings that my fellow builders worked on, I look forward to exploring them soon.  If you see one of them online, thank them!

Falc-on, Falc-off!

It’s fitting that here today on my 100th post I have good news to share.

Back in October I shared how Zistrosk’s quest mob managed to beat my repair triggers and cause me to scrap my Mask of the Master Rogue.

In November Kinux allowed the Falcon to be challenged again by those of us who had defeated him previously, to the delight of several of us.  I know at least 3 people who had retired thieves that went and have remasked their old characters.  Yet even with the news of the successes Lareawan continued to be told he wasn’t ready.

Frustrating?  You bet!  I thought perhaps it was because I had completed redoing the quest prior to Kinux’s announcement that I wasn’t tagged correctly or something to that effect.

The truth was much simpler… I wasn’t wearing the Falcon set.  When I first levelled Lareawan and obtained the set of course I wore the pieces, they were upgrades to what I was wearing.  I confess I missed the jade strand for a little while but after a while I got over it.  Now that I’m adventuring as a more mature character I’ve swapped out some pieces and had relied on the mask as my 3rd piece.  Well, back to storage I went and picked up the greaves from the floor and trotted back to Shadowport to try again.

This time … I wasn’t ready again … but at least it was the half screen of spam not ready message that came with trans back to the thieves’ guild!  A couple hours later I tried again and before long the magic words scrolled across my window:

Your pierce tears the Falcon!
The Falcon is DEAD!!
As The Falcon falls, his most prized possession falls from his face…
The Falcon says ‘You have done well to best me, Lareawan… You are a true master.’
The Falcon gasps its last breath and blood spurts out of its mouth and ears.
You get 10821253 gold coins from the corpse of the Falcon.
You get the Mask of the Master Rogue from the corpse of the Falcon.

Thank you Kinux.  Happy 100 all!

More info for

Hi everyone,

Earlier today I completed migrating Rodpedia to the site.  The migration itself wasn’t a huge job but I took advantage of the task to move the entire site to a new server that can support a more modern PHP programming environment.

One of the things that has been holding me back from working on the site is an inability to use the frameworks I prefer, hand writing everything from the ground up was never an option.

Additionally the site now runs on https which will make passwords more secure, especially with the changes in the pipe.

That’s it for now, I’m still around, alive and kicking, busy as heck but that’s nothing new.

Salute to Kellian Waverunner

Shortly after I returned to Realms I got involved with the Guild reogranization build that was taking place on Zistrosk’s server.  This is where I got reaquainted with Kellian, aka Steve.  I saw the energy he poured into the game and thought quite highly of his contribution.

Fast forward a while and we’re together on Newbie Council, flip the page and we’re working together as leaders in different guilds.  Every time I turned around I’m having a talk with Kellian about the game and things we could do better.  Not griping, real “how do we improve the spirit of friendship and comradarie” type better.

Kellian was one of those people who seemed to have great reserves of strength and energy, though perhaps more of the former than the latter due to his illness.  I will not pretend we were close friends or that we had gone on many adventures together, but what is true is that I will miss his presence and hope that I grow to emulate many of his better qualities.

I can only express my condolences to his family, both his real world family who are mourning and to his Guild of Nature family.

Goodbye Kellian.

There’s more to Moria …

While sitting marking assignments I saw an echo appear in Lareawan’s window:

The Duke’s spies have reported a previously unknown class of gnome deep in the tunnels of Moria.

Nothing on news, nothing on questnews or quest channel, nonetheless off to the tunnels of Moria I trundled along with many other adventurers.

Where gnome turned up a little information:
     where gnome
     | a svirfneblin gnome is currently at A small maze

Svirfneblin gnomes are also known as deep gnomes in the Dungeons and Dragons world, so another reference to add to the list.   A little wandering and I eventually spotted:

     A svirfneblin child scampers around.

     Covered with splashes of mud and nibbling a chocolate brownie, the child skips about splashing in puddles of dank water.

     A svirfneblin child is in perfect health.
     You peek at her inventory:

Did someone say brownie?

     Your backstab **** SMITES **** a svirfneblin child!
     A svirfneblin child is DEAD!!
     A svirfneblin child gasps her last breath and blood spurts out of her mouth and ears.
     You get 108 gold coins from the corpse of a svirfneblin child.
     The corpse of a svirfneblin child holds:
          a chocolate brownie

Where there’s children there’s often adults, and before long I spotted this gnome:

A busy gnome scurries about the settlement.

Large grey eyes track your every movement, as the wiry, gnarled gnome
tenses for possible danger. Stone coloured fingers tightly grip the
chipped hammer.

A svirfneblin gnome is in perfect health.

A svirfneblin gnome is using:
<worn around neck> a quartz crystal on a braided lanyard
<wielded> a chipped hammer

You peek at her inventory:

Well… she might have more brownies in addition to those equipment goodies, right?

Your backstab MASSACRES a svirfneblin gnome!
A svirfneblin gnome thrusts her foot out and kicks you.
A svirfneblin gnome’s kick brushes you.
A svirfneblin gnome says ‘How dare you disturb our settlement’
A svirfneblin gnome cuffs you upside the head, sending you reeling.
A svirfneblin gnome’s cuff brushes you.
A svirfneblin gnome utters the words, ‘qkadagz dies’.
A svirfneblin gnome’s spell brushes you.
Your pierce mauls a svirfneblin gnome!
Your whip mauls a svirfneblin gnome!
Your circle _demolishes_ a svirfneblin gnome!
A svirfneblin gnome shakes her fist wildly towards you!
A svirfneblin gnome swats at you, hitting you with the back of her hand.
A svirfneblin gnome’s swat scratches you.
Your pierce mauls a svirfneblin gnome!
Your whip bludgeons a svirfneblin gnome!
Your pierce rends a svirfneblin gnome!
A svirfneblin gnome is DEAD!!
A svirfneblin gnome gasps her last breath and blood spurts out of her mouth and ears.
You get 32340 gold coins from the corpse of a svirfneblin gnome.
The corpse of a svirfneblin gnome holds:
     a chipped hammer
     a quartz crystal on a braided lanyard

I know.. tough guy beating up a gnome, but hey tell me you’ve never killed a peddler just because it game into the room at the wrong moment right?  The comment about the settlement makes me think that this is a permanent expansion, a new little spot for people to come visit in their 30’s perhaps.  So what about these doodads?

Object ‘a chipped hammer’ is infused with your magic…
It is a level 28 pounding weapon, weight 5.
Locations it can be worn: wield
Special properties: none
This weapon has a gold value of 40000.
Damage is 5 to 60 (average 32).
Affects damage roll by 2.
Affects luck by 1.
Affects constitution by 1.
Affects damage vs undead by 2.

Con?  Non-magic?  32 av dam?!?  I mean if you don’t have a WindWalker handy this might be a neat choice.

Object ‘a quartz crystal on a braided lanyard’ is infused with your magic…
It is a level 29 armor, weight 1.
Locations it can be worn: neck
Special properties: evil
Alignments allowed: evil neutral
This armor has a gold value of 18000.
Armor class is 9 of 9.
Affects damage roll by 2.
Affects hp by 20.
Affects mana by 20.
Affects intelligence by 1.
Affects wisdom by 1.

No love for the devs today but a nice levelling piece for appropriately aligned clerics, mages, rangers, nephandi… etc.

Who else might we encounter today?  Many brownies later and

The coals of a small fire flicker and pop.
(Invis) (Hide) The deep gnome wizard looks up, angered at the interruption.
A svirfneblin wizard is shrouded in flowing shadow and light.
A svirfneblin wizard is ensphered by shards of glistening ice.

Snarling with rage the wizard raises a gloved hand to prepare an attack

A svirfneblin wizard is in perfect health.

A svirfneblin wizard is using:
<worn on feet> a pair of duck boots
<worn on hands> fingerless silk gloves

You peek at his inventory:

Hey someone spelled up?  Should be a good guy for levelling but he does have a little bit of a kick.

Your backstab injures a svirfneblin wizard!
A svirfneblin wizard fades into existence.
Your whip pelts a svirfneblin wizard.
Tark’s pierce scratches a svirfneblin wizard.
Tark’s pierce misses a svirfneblin wizard.
Tark’s circle nicks a svirfneblin wizard!
A svirfneblin wizard utters the words, ‘xzatunso’.
A svirfneblin wizard utters the words, ‘gqafqpuio gjfoz’.
A fiery current lashes through your body!
A svirfneblin wizard’s scorching surge scratches you.
Tark’s pierce scratches a svirfneblin wizard.
Your whip pelts a svirfneblin wizard.
Your pierce nicks a svirfneblin wizard.
Your circle injures a svirfneblin wizard!
A svirfneblin wizard utters the words, ‘gpaqtuio ogrugs’.
Sparks arc from a svirfneblin wizard’s hands as he reaches toward you.
A svirfneblin wizard’s shocking grasp brushes you.
Your whip pelts a svirfneblin wizard.
Tark’s circle misses a svirfneblin wizard.
Tark’s pierce nicks a svirfneblin wizard.
Tark’s pierce nicks a svirfneblin wizard.
Your whip bruises a svirfneblin wizard!
Your circle injures a svirfneblin wizard!
Hands raised to the heavens, the wizard draws power from the
A svirfneblin wizard utters the words, ‘mosailla paieg’.
A svirfneblin wizard reaches toward you with fiery hands.
A svirfneblin wizard’s burning hands scratches you.
A svirfneblin wizard’s fireball nicks you!
(the intricate tattoo of the master warriors gets damaged)
Tark’s pierce nicks a svirfneblin wizard.
Your shield of flame grazes a svirfneblin wizard.
Your tendril of lightning grazes a svirfneblin wizard.
A svirfneblin wizard utters the words, ‘gpaqtuio ogrugs’.
Sparks arc from a svirfneblin wizard’s hands as he reaches toward you.
A svirfneblin wizard’s shocking grasp scratches you.
Your pierce cuts a svirfneblin wizard!
Tark’s circle wounds a svirfneblin wizard!
Your circle injures a svirfneblin wizard!
Hands raised to the heavens, the wizard draws power from the
A svirfneblin wizard utters the words, ‘mosailla paieg’.
A svirfneblin wizard reaches toward you with fiery hands.
A svirfneblin wizard’s burning hands scratches you.
A svirfneblin wizard’s fireball grazes you.
Your whip bruises a svirfneblin wizard!
Tark’s circle wounds a svirfneblin wizard!
A svirfneblin wizard’s flamestrike brushes you.
Your pierce hits a svirfneblin wizard!
Your circle jars a svirfneblin wizard!
A svirfneblin wizard utters the words, ‘xzatunso’.
A svirfneblin wizard utters the words, ‘gqafqpuio gjfoz’.
A fiery current lashes through your body!
A svirfneblin wizard’s scorching surge jolts you!
Tark’s circle injures a svirfneblin wizard!
Tark’s pierce cuts a svirfneblin wizard!
Your pierce hits a svirfneblin wizard!
Your circle jars a svirfneblin wizard!
A svirfneblin wizard utters the words, ‘gpaqtuio ogrugs’.
Sparks arc from a svirfneblin wizard’s hands as he reaches toward you.
A svirfneblin wizard’s shocking grasp scratches you.
Your whip thrashes a svirfneblin wizard!
A svirfneblin wizard utters the words, ‘xzatunso’.
A svirfneblin wizard utters the words, ‘gqafqpuio gjfoz’.
A fiery current lashes through your body!
A svirfneblin wizard’s scorching surge grazes you.
Tark’s circle injures a svirfneblin wizard!
Your circle jars a svirfneblin wizard!
Tark’s pierce tears a svirfneblin wizard!
A svirfneblin wizard utters the words, ‘xzatunso’.
A svirfneblin wizard utters the words, ‘gqafqpuio gjfoz’.
A fiery current lashes through your body!
A svirfneblin wizard’s scorching surge grazes you.
A svirfneblin wizard utters the words, ‘gpaqtuio ogrugs’.
Sparks arc from a svirfneblin wizard’s hands as he reaches toward you.
A svirfneblin wizard’s shocking grasp grazes you.
Your pierce tears a svirfneblin wizard!
Your whip thrashes a svirfneblin wizard!
A svirfneblin wizard’s fireball jolts you!
(a bright shiny bottlecap gets damaged)
Tark’s pierce tears a svirfneblin wizard!
Your whip thrashes a svirfneblin wizard!
Your pierce rips a svirfneblin wizard!
Tark’s pierce tears a svirfneblin wizard!
Your pierce rips a svirfneblin wizard!
Hands raised to the heavens, the wizard draws power from the
A svirfneblin wizard utters the words, ‘mosailla paieg’.
A svirfneblin wizard reaches toward you with fiery hands.
A svirfneblin wizard’s burning hands scratches you.
Tark’s pierce tears a svirfneblin wizard!
Tark’s spinkick jolts a svirfneblin wizard!
Your whip batters a svirfneblin wizard!
You leap into the air and kick a svirfneblin wizard on the chest with both of your feet.
Your leap jolts a svirfneblin wizard!
Tark’s spinkick wounds a svirfneblin wizard!
Tark’s pierce tears a svirfneblin wizard!
Tark’s pierce tears a svirfneblin wizard!
Your whip batters a svirfneblin wizard!
Your whip batters a svirfneblin wizard!
A svirfneblin wizard is DEAD!!
A svirfneblin wizard splatters blood on your armor.
You get 269500 gold coins from the corpse of a svirfneblin wizard.
You split 269500 gold coins. Your share is 134750 gold coins.
The corpse of a svirfneblin wizard holds:
    a pair of duck boots
    fingerless silk gloves


Object ‘fingerless silk gloves’ is infused with your magic…
It is a level 46 armor, weight 1.
Locations it can be worn: hands
Special properties: none
This armor has a gold value of 0.
Armor class is 5 of 10.
Affects hp by 30.
Affects mana by 15.
Affects luck by 1.
Affects constitution by 1.
Affects hp regeneration by 5.

Object ‘a pair of duck boots’ is infused with your magic…
It is a level 45 armor, weight 1.
Locations it can be worn: feet
Special properties: none
This armor has a gold value of 10000.
Armor class is 9 of 11.
Affects hp by 30.
Affects mana by 20.
Affects constitution by 1.
Affects hit roll by 2.
Affects damage roll by 3.
Affects affected_by by hide.
Affects mana regeneration by 5.


Again pretty neat stuff, not quite sure exactly where to include it yet but if nothing else those gloves can replace dragon’s gloves on some of my ghetto barbs.  Certainly a response to the recent CON changes.  The boots are better than some that are much harder to get in several ways, not the least of which being the mana regen.

Tark from Dragonslayer hung around and we killed a few times to get a feel for things and ended up with some nifty new levelling doodads.  The levels varied a little bit, the lowest we saw are reported here for your amusement.

Cheers and happy adventuring!

Oh hello there, I didn’t see you come in …

It’s been a busy few months and excluding Symposium meetings I have not been around regularly, in what is a continuing refrain.  I could say it’s been busy at work and at home which is true, but it’s also true that Season 5 of Diablo 3 sucked up my recreational time.  The season journey they introduced with rewards for completing different tiers absolutely plays into my OCD 🙂  I had previously suggested some sort of achievement system on Realms as well, one of the things I think I’ll wind up doing here on the website eventually or perhaps that’ll be my first attempt at coding in SMAUG, we’ll see.

Other things I’m working at:

  • I continue to work on the Mr. Dressup mode item database … it’s slowly progressing, I just haven’t tuned my brain back into it.  The rough draft version of it is at
  • I’ve revisited my map idea, that was partly working on a local copy of the site.  My goal is to make the Herne map navigable so that you can zoom in and see rooms.  To this end I’ve figured out how to read cMud map files locally.  I don’t believe it will be possible to algorithmically  generate the Realms of Despair map just by reading rooms and exits (eg drawing the map from an area file) because there is no fixed room size or distance between rooms but I’m going to investigate it a bit before I give up.  At one point I had Darkhaven and surrounding forests on a single zone which was very difficult to manage, however with this change I can now put them into zones for use in cMud but ignore the zones when I render them on my overall map.  Work in progress lots to think about.
  • The main site still needs content… I have got literally gigabytes of Realms info from old sites, game logs etc, and the site looks like it was made by a child (not fair, children actually are more creative) so I would like to get some of that content posted and shared.
  • I want to go back and get the time line built for the information I gathered some time ago.  Right now it’s presented as a table and I think a visual representation might inspire some more contributions.  The idea that the game doesn’t acknowledge it’s own history except in very rare spots is something that strikes me as a bit of a travesty.  Thousands of people have played the game and left their mark on it, I’d like to try and bring that history to life.
  • Speaking of which, I was contacted by Haus who has prepared a bit of an article for you, which I will post up shortly.

Thanks for visiting, I’m still alive and well, the Guild of Origin is still here and I’m still looking for ways to contribute, feel free to drop a line in game and say hi.

Until next time,