Kinux has been wonderful at supporting this series of blog post and he contributed the following for your enjoyment. Note that this wasn’t written specifically for the 20th anniversary but it ties in well enough that I think you will enjoy it. It comes from a note board where Gorog posted it for a different reason some time ago. So even this note has history attached to it :->
Reading it now I appreciate more deeply some of the things people have been through with the administration of this game. One of the best reasons to remember history is to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past.
I hope you enjoy: HAUS!
Nostalgia. This may be a bit self-indulgent, but some folks might find it interesting… My first imm was on ROM in May 1992. Alander, ROM’s imp, did a pfile wipe (yes, I said pfile wipe! gah!) that August for the port to RoM2.0. Dozens of ROM imms jumped ship, and a chunk of us went to a mud called Farside, now known as Avatar. I got Hausdorff to level 35 over Christmas and Spring breaks, and was determined to avatar him by June.
On May 15th, Farside was down for what would be 3 days. I started digging through the Diku usenet group for something to do, saw a post from some dude in Toronto ( 🙂 ), that mentioned a Merc-derivative with a Vampire class… Sounded interesting.
When I logged on, there were 2 other players Pandora, a level 16 mage, and Simple, a level 10 warrior. There was, much to my amusement, a single imm listed on the WizList: Thoric. I avatared in 3 days, in a flat out race with someone whose name I can’t remember. The Vampire was way, way over-powered, but there were no level35+ mobs, so levelling past 35 sucked. The
only thing to do was sit around recall and whack away at “The Executioner,” predecessor of Hakiem/Harakiem. The race to avatar was very close, I only beat the other guy by a couple of levels in the end.
I was an avatar for, like, a day. Then, Thoric advanced me to 51. For a week or two or three, I enjoyed being the only imm. Then, unbeknownst to me, a ‘Someone’ busted me for sancting healing Pandora. That was the beginning of the always vigorous/interesting relationship between myself and Caine/Dominus.
I built, offline, a little area called ‘Calvin’s House’ based on the now-defunct comic strip ‘Calvin Hobbes.’ A bit later, ‘Seth’s
Fortress’ was added to the game, and good old Calvin.are was a memory: “Please pick a more medieval theme.” 🙂
By August/September 1993 we were averaging 20-30 players at peak time. By December 1993 (help me out oldies, if I’m leaving anything significant) names like Grishnakh, Tricops, Strahd, Sin (=Damian) were becoming known. I spent the next year primarily as a coder and fruiting around on immtalk (avtalk) while I coded. I think I got Lesser around December 1994: if I recall correctly it was for implementing version 0.9 of “deadly clans.”
Around May 1995 we went on a huge immortal-a-thon which netted us imms like Narn Blodkai. It was that summer that we finally put to rest the “DIKU Credits” issue that had hindered our acceptance in the mud community. About August/September 1995, Selic was promoted to 57 (?) as an overseer of Mortal Affairs. By November (during some really bloody wars in the higher immortal community), Dominus started picking other immortals to advance to 58 to act as a new revision of Fauvre’s “Council of Elders.”
That group consisted of Selic, Myself, Damian, Circe, Grishnakh. Soon after Selic resigned and Narn was added.
By May 1996, the CoE was in trouble. Due to political differences of opinion and extremely chronic frustration due to having the same arguments with the same people over a period of years, our influence and morale was at a low ebb. There was considerable unrest in the immortal community.
Personally, I was trying to get a multimedia business off the ground and had very little morale to be spent at RoD. I resigned my position and set my level to 50. ***Whew***
Within 24 hours, I’d recieved a dozen e-mails from mostly higher-level immortals to come back and help to straighten things up. Gorog arranged a meeting at 5500 between the CoE (Narn, Damian, Blodkai, and myself), Thoric, and about a dozen immortals who strongly supported the concept of the CoE. The upshot is that we were reinstated with full executive control of the Mud — we’d gotten a mandate to run the way we collectively felt was right. Another war followed, we had to clean house and get a foundation for a healthy immortal community. It was kind of like being Stalin in 1917… we had to be bad guys to do what was right. We agreed to promote Gorog to 57 as a ‘Junior Member’ of the CoE for his abilities as an administrator as much as adding new blood to a group still suffering from chronic, deep frustration.
By July, we’d gotten most of the kinks out of the system and made the immortal community a very close approximation of what we, as a group, wanted it to be. It made us all happy to see the mud growing from an average of 75 players to 100 players to 200+ players over the following months.
There are still problems: some old wars that are more asleep than dead. The inability of high imms to socialize and interact with
immortals and mortals due to the fact that we’re still voting on 20-40 issues in a given week. Specific things, like warning everybody about code changes, and never ending debates about “appropriate behaviour.”
We’re chipping away at these problems in, probably, unobservable ways. All of our decisions are rendered on a board other immortals can’t read, or, in particularly sensitive issues via e-ml/phones/etc. The reason is so we can feel free to argue viewpoints that would be unpopular or hurt the feelings of others, but the price we pay is in being “mysterious” and “unapproachable.”
Anyway, this has gone on longer than I’d planned. The points I wished to make are that gee, it is fun for us old fogies to wax on about the old days.
The Midway of Despair has been open for a little while over the last few days. I’ve had a blast trying out all the games and seeing what little bits of history pop out of the woodwork. It’s expected to be open a few more times over the next while, so be sure to visit it and have some fun with it. A lot of the minigame prizes are just trashes but they’re amusing, I will treasure my suspendies and a bra for a long time to come.
Many waited for this area to open to obtain a few particularly interesting items. A few of us wanted supple longbows, renown for their range. I wanted a couple silk scarves … 40 mana each at level 1 they’re a nice option for mana users who have the con to avoid traveler cloaks at level 2. The magician’s hat is always neat, not supremely better than a purple pouch but more flavourful. I did grab figurines of Tharius from getting bullseyes on the Spear and Axe throws. Finally, I was very excited to chase after some storage bins!
The quest for the storage bins is pretty simple, a bit of running around the area to gather the parts, a bit of luck and an item from the King’s Castle and bada bing, you’re done. Home owners drool over these items because they’re light weight and hold more than 1k of goodies. I was looking for a batch for the Guild of Origin, larger containers to sort things in our storage room is welcome. So it came as absolutely no surprise that players flooded to start farming the items required. To my knowledge people were being pretty fair with one another, I didn’t hear any complaints of people pushing each other too badly to retrieve tiny body parts. Yet after a short while the mob was removed to “The Dog House” where it was last seen.
These bins have been sold for 500m-1b gold coins, indicating a massive level of demand so perhaps someone in the immortal community felt that people were farming them to make a profit. The bins have a midas value of 10m coins … but frankly if anyone was farming them for midasing I’d be stunned. So we can all speculate why Someone decided to limit the influx of this metal nosac container. Frankly I don’t get it, there’s a huge demand for a NON RUN ITEM that is at least approximated by a cheap (150,000 coin) accessory available 24-7 for homeowners. Our storage room uses carts which are also cheap even if they’re smaller. When someone told me 500m was a fair offer I laughed … I said “Midway is open and you think anyone’s going to pay that?” The fact is more influx means market crashes and good riddance. The area opens rarely so it’ll always be a bit of a premium item but … oh well, I’ve ranted about the economy being ridiculously artificial and the worthlessness of gold more than once.
My point here isn’t to criticize the decision, whether I agree with it or not. The point I’d like to make is that all the complaining in the world on avatar and elsewhere will only discourage people from doing things like opening Midway again in the future. Why put up with all the complaints … why not simply not open the area? I suggest people have fun with the area and enjoy the games that are in there. They are pretty neat. Get yourself a dicing cup, down a few flagons of ale and take a ride on the Wheel.
I wanted to write a quick post telling you about my first day back on the Newbie Council.
As I’ve written before I first applied to NC when I was level 15 on Tharius and was encouraged to give Guild of Rangers a try for a while instead :-). I was eventually accepted as a member under Julie and Stoney as co-heads and then continued as a member under Sarah. I don’t recall if I was a member under Loril and Stoneheft when they first took over, but if I was it was as Cready, the mage I swapped into NC when Tharius immed.
Things change. Pre-auth and the academy are radically different from when I first joined. Those of you who have seen the stock SMAUG setup know what I’m talking about. I was part of the project to revamp it way back when and if I search hard enough I could probably find the packet of paper that Sarah mailed to me when it was in progress.
Of course even those changes are gone, about 10 years ago Loril and many contributors set about revamping it into what it is today.
I spent my first day on NC going through pre-auth with a fine tooth comb and while I found a TON of stuff I’ve never noticed before it’s distinctly possible that I missed even more details. I tried very hard to come at it from the point of view of someone who was new to the game and I must say that it is very well written and doesn’t assume knowledge of commands. Everything you need is presented to you to get you through the area. My only long time beef is the wall of text that is help start 🙂
So dear reader, perhaps you are an explorer of great renoun, expert at spotting all the little details. Here are a few things I wonder if you know:
How many dragons are in pre-auth and what colour are they?
What 3 players are immortalized by having their stories recorded in pre-auth?
What is it that keeps shooting sticky fluid and capturing that poor bat??
There’s lots more. I really encourage you to take an hour and go through the Sunless Sea and absorb the detail in the area. I had more fun adventuring the area than I’ve ever had creating a character 🙂
Oh I did field questions from new players during this adventure through pre-auth … you know the regular [NC-ON] lifestyle, though as a thief I plan to avoid an addiction to those funky blue potions.
Sources reveal that Mrs. Thoric, aka Jane-who-does-not-play has invited the Realms community to attend a BBQ to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the Realms of Despair!
The details are posted at https://www.facebook.com/events/271497169702609/ and are visible without a FB account. If you would like an RSVP posted without creating a Facebook account please drop me a mudmail and I will be happy to cut and paste for you.
Tharius (I am not affiliated with the event, just spreading the word, all credit and props to Jane-who-does-not-play and her assembled team of minions.
If you are not on Facebook and somehow read this blog and would like your name passed to Jane, please let me know “somehow”.
I am planning to attend and made sure to extend the invitation to my the rest of my household. So if you’re in the situation of inviting a significant other who barely understands why you stare at text for hours on end and call it fun to a BBQ for said text game, you should be familiar with the “are you out of your mind” look.
Jane’s invitation for people to feel free to cosplay had her eyebrows up and asking “Uhm, they don’t expect everyone to dress up do they?”. You know what, given the general level of geek out there perpetuated by Big Bang Theory and various ComicCons, I’m going to give her that one. The answer is “no, of course not”. At least for me it is 🙂 Over the years I have observed a wide variety of costumes but for the most part, I think the accepted uniform is “wear whatever you are going to be comfortable in” 🙂
So if your guest is thinking that they will be the only one there who doesn’t get it and doesn’t know what it’s about, fear not! Along with Jane-who-does-not-play there will be one other and my mini-me in attendance looking to make fun of … well me anyway.
… and just so you know why I don’t even attempt to cosplay … from Hallowe’en many, many moons ago.
As promised, here is the continuation of Loril’s tale. When you ask someone to recap their adventures and they choose to do it in character you know that they have dedicated a great deal of effort to the work. I am grateful to Loril for taking the time to share her adventures from the Academy through to becoming an immortal here. Self conscious that the piece is far to long she has done her best to be brief but I will suggest that when you get to the end of it you will realize how much more she could have added in (indeed, we could have a weekly serial “The Adventures of a Blue Potion Junkie” and still take ages to relate the whole tale!) So from mountains of AOL CDs, weeks in preauth, a month in the academy … to her in game meeting with Stoneheft and Grunthos and many others, I present the continuation of Loril, in her own words!
As a newborn babe’s cries tugs at a mother’s heart, so did the cries for help throughout the lands tug at the heart of Loril. Born to Grace Gemstone (the one they called Queen), Loril knew self-reliance both by necessity and by blood. From Darkhaven to the far reaches of the land, she ran tirelessly. This one is blind in the Holy Grove, that one cursed among the gravestones. Healer on inumerable quests to defeat evil, nurturer to countless young adventurers to whom the world was a harsh place full of mocking and lacking in compassion. Running, always running. At times, her eyes streaming from lack of sleep and adequate nourishment, her muscles screaming for relief, her mind near hazed with the concentration required for countless healing and aiding spells.
In these days, she was heard to joke about her growing addiction to blue potions. Always broke, she found herself on occasion involved in a run of dubious aim. Her alignment dipping to evil, her heart ached. But these runs were lucrative – a very successful means to earn the gold required to continue her work aiding and sustaining. There was no time to rest or sleep for mana! Blue potions were the means. Dark warriors tempted her with huge crates brimming with blue potions for her services. And she accepted. Heart heavy, it seemed the only way.. But Grace, with the wisdom and vision of Stonegrip and Goldenrod noted all. She summoned her older son Stoneheft to her. Their consultation was brief. Stoneheft would set aside his own life’s work for a time, taking Loril under his tutilage to guide her growth and help her find her own way.
Grace sent a summons to Loril inviting her to meet in the square at Darkhaven. Loril, as was her way, was running then to the Art Gallery in town where someone, unprepared for adventure had wandered too far. The word came back, ‘Loril, yes – deliver the scroll but return here soon, girl.’ Loril, still caught up in the headlong rush to be in all places, aiding all people barely recognized the tone in that message but, as the square was on her path to the next call anyway, paused there for a time. As always, Darkhaven Square was teeming with people preparing for adventure, preparing for battle, stopping for a drink or pausing to pass a moment with a friend. And, as always, there was a constant stream of all manner of people hoping for something from Grace. Some were content with a smile or a blessing. Others lingered, hoping for some personal time. Still others begged a greater boon. Named well, her grace fairly filled the square and seemed to on occasion fill all there with peace and quiet would fall for a moment as all present felt restored and would faintly smile then carry on. ‘Daughter.’ Grace’s gaze fell on Loril. ‘Your brother has returned from his travels and will be happy to escort you for a time’. Loril, who’s thoughts had already wandered as she listened to various cries for help, absently looked at Stoneheft who was obviously discomfited by the bustle and, very likely the prospect of ‘escorting’ his little sister. ‘Rather scrawny’, she thought, looking more closely at this brother whom she barely knew. He looked down at her and smiled warmly and she felt in his regard the love and wisdom of one much older than his years.
And so began Loril’s age of learning.
Adrift, lonely when seldom alone, she had spent countless years driven by that within which compelled her to heal. Yet much of the knowledge of this world had remained hidden from her. Her skills had served her well and she had honed them until she was quite proud yet an emptiness had prevailed within. Stoneheft took her that first day to the waterfall near the ancient kingdom of Juargan. There they sat as he listened to her tales. After a time she fell silent as the constant drumming of the water drowned out the cries that previously had occupied her universe. A peace, strange but welcome, stole over her and for the first time in memory she felt truly relaxed. Loril slept then. And she dreamed. There was a great warrior – a man of stone, it seemed. Favoured-One of the gods. Or one god. It was unclear. She dreamed of a great rending and a long age of despair. But then another warrior. This one female. This warrior’s pain and courage drew the attention and favour of the gods. She dreamed then of a new age of great beginnings. Her mother was there then, sad, but great in her love of her people.
Awakening, Loril slowly became aware of her brother speaking. She rolled over to look up at him and saw again, that secret smile of wisdom and depth. The tale he was telling continued that of her dream and the two, telling and dreaming, became one and she knew that he was speaking of their family and heritage. He spoke of their Aunt Sunrise and Uncle Alazar, a cousin Calazar. He spoke too of Asterix whom she knew and had a certain fondness for… Fireforge.. others. He told tales of their times in the dwarven forest when the Gemstone family was great, vast, and renouned. Gemstone family picnics were famous for riotous fun, vast consumption of food and ale, and games. (And Loril inwardly grieved at the times she had missed during the long years of running.) Many days did they linger there as Loril first healed then began again to grow anew. And Stoneheft continued his teaching. Patiently, he helped her understand the ways of the world as he too had been far in these lands but he, unlike her, had not been running. His life’s work was to learn these lands in detail. Specifically he mapped the places he found, but more, he studied and learned the byways and peoples in the places he entered. Sometimes months would he spend in a town until he knew it as he knew himself.
As time passed and Loril knew peace, Stoneheft took her out into these lands to show her what he had found and in so doing, they discovered other lands together. Their combined skills resulted in many packs of parchment – maps, drawings, notes. Time passed and at times their adventures separated them physically but never mentally as they were now bound in a way few siblings ever enjoy.
One sunny day after a particularly exhausting time helping a Little One (as Loril had come to call the young adventurers she would meet at the Academy – a home she could never completely leave) re-equip, Loril made her way to a dock where she and Stoneheft would often sit and watch the dolphins out at sea. There she found Stoneheft and a younger Dwarf exchanging insults. Shocked, she hung back a bit to take in the sight and pull her mace to hand.. in case. Much would she loathe the thought of drawing the blood of one of her people but she would stand for no one who crossed her beloved brother. It dawned on her after a short time that these were the jesting insults of a pair of friends. The puns and plays on words would build until both Dwarves would fall about one-another in paroxyms of giggles that were contagious. Loril found herself completely completely entertained and sat quietly at the end of the dock, hugging and burying her face in her knees to stifle the laughter welling in her at the antics of these two silly … boys. Yes, boys! A side of Stoneheft she’d only ever glimpsed before now was revealed in its full and ridiculous glory! Frolicking about like a child one third his age, Loril was thrilled to see him so enjoying the moment.
Later that night, Loril made a fire and the trio sat around it, staring at the stars. Few words were spoken for some hours. They shared out some ale, the males worn out from their earlier antics, Loril sizing up this Grunthos .. this person with the ability to bring out the child in the brother she idolized. It was apparent that he too worshipped Stoneheft. She found herself warming to this strange warrior. Just as she was thinking the other two had nodded off and perhaps it was time for her to turn in as well, Grunthos started speaking very lowly. It was poetry, after a fashion. Some readers might recognise the words spoken that night as Vogon poetry and, as like as not, those same readers would agree that they’d sooner face Balzhur on a bad day than ever again hear such.
As countless thousands of years of equally countless lovers can attest: sometimes there is no accounting for true love. And the stirrings of love were felt in Loril’s heart that eve’. She sat enthralled as Grunthos’ voice reached such a pitch that the dolphins themselves cried out to the heavens for relief. The dogs of New Thalos that night were heard to yelp and whimper as they gnawed at their own hind legs seeking relief from the sound they were too dumb to understand and too sensitive to ignore. Stoneheft, long asleep by this time, likely heard nothing over the sound of his own snoring. He was oblivious to the future building on that dock, that would grow on that dock, and that would eventually be consummated on that very dock.
The following months passed quickly. More organised in her life’s work now, Loril found she required first one, then another employee – she simply couldn’t carry all the items a Healer requires to perform her tasks effectively. One of these, an orphan Loril had found wandering dazed and bloody in the streets of Thalos, was named only Lyra. Loril and Lyra became fast friends, sisters in the way of female friends throughout the world. Of sweet disposition, really, Lyra was a also a steadfast warrior who tolerated little nonsense and went about her tasks as Loril’s bearer and defender with a steadiness and determination that at times concerned her friend and employer. Loril would try to encourage Lyra to go out, have adventures of her own, meet some people. But Lyra, grateful to her friend for saving her life would smile and quietly refuse.
Loril, Grunthos, and Stoneheft wandered the world. Loril’s work as a Healer continued as did her passion for her Little Ones. She professed that she was living on Cloud Nine as her love for Grunthos grew and grew. He patiently escorted her on many a doomed or ill-fated rescue effort and just as patiently layed down his life along side her time and again when, as still was her wont, she dragged him headlong into disaster in an effort to heal and assist. Try as he would to convince her that others needed to learn to get themselves out of the trouble they’d found on their own (or better still, not get into it in the first place), she would just as patiently explain to him, ‘it’s what I do…’. He watched as some took cruel advantage of her naive ways, never leaving her to her folly, his sword ever ready to fell the nasties in their path so that those she felt she was aiding could prevail.
And at night, on that dock, they would go over the day’s experiences and discuss other ways she could continue her work yet not allow the thoughtless to benefit unfairly. Loril adopted her concept of Tough Love for the Little Ones and others during those quiet talks.
It was during this time that a mischief-loving vampire named Xenedra took notice of our Healer and asked her if she had interest in the Newbie Council. At first, Loril could see no reason to join an organisation to do what she had always done anyway. As she discussed it with the two men she adored, she grew to realize the fit was a natural. Belonging to the Newbie Council would bring focus to her work for the Little Ones (to whom she had sometime previously decided to devote herself). There would be other members from whom she could learn more and perhaps, with the knowledge she had gained with Stoneheft and Grunthos, she could contribute in her own way to their esteemed ranks. The Council did that for her and more. The Council headquarters became her home. The soft grass under the Council’s tree became her bed when Stoneheft and Grunthos were off on their own adventures.
Naturally enough (it might be mentioned here), Stoneheft and Lyra got to know one-another. She, like Grunthos was somehow able to bring out that silliness in Stoneheft which few others ever saw in that serious student of the world. But as well, Loril witnessed a softer Stoneheft in Lyra’s company. Never having been the object of anything approaching tenderness in her life, his attentions were at first rebuffed as strange and alien. Eventually though, Stoneheft’s courtly adoration struck a chord. He found a way past her shield of shyness and well, that’s another story for another time. They call each other DearOne. Let us leave them in their bliss.
In time, Grunthos and Loril realised that they belonged together (well, rather, one day Grunty said, in that way of his, that he wanted her to be his … ahh well, others get the bended knee and a single perfect rose… You didn’t really think Grunty was that type, did you?) In those days, it was traditional for an immortal to perform the ceremony. Loril couldn’t bring herself to impose upon an immortal’s time and many friends and family had to badger her into asking. She approached Brittany, the then Newbie Council head, and the date was set.
Loril sat that morning in the Western Lounge with her mother Grace and fretted. She had a ring for Grunty but it just didn’t seem adequate. All her attempts to buy one in auction had ended in someone outbidding her. Newbie Council members seldom retain any wealth. She couldn’t fight for one herself and she had so devoted her time to her ‘guys’ that she hadn’t found anyone else to aid her in her quest. A longtime friend, Alexander Trueheart, died thrice that day to get the best ring he could alone – a Draupnir. Loril cried until she laughed and laughed until she cried at the thought of that dear warrior’s sacrifice … his only concern being that he wouldn’t be in time.
More than 100 people were counted on the dock that early evening. Loril was more nervous than on any rescue mission or run. Her hands and knees shaking, her voice at first tremulous soon gave out altogether! Only through immortal intervention was she able to continue and then, catastrophe and evil of evils! (A slanderous note exchanged hands that night but no more will be spoken of that in this missive. Love WILL conquer all and time has proven that with these two) The catastrophe was of world-shattering effect. Some claim the imbalance in the Realms that night – perhaps the weight of that many people (and their gifts, pets, and assorted inventories) so concentrated in one location – caused the world to end as it does at times. Yes, the gods always return the world shortly to some semblance of what it had been but those who are careless (and those too in love to reason) will often lose what they have recently gained. That was the fate of Loril and Grunthos that evening. The world re-built and they were both without their wedding rings.
… but the world continues to turn. Life is a circle, Loril will be the first to remind us. Loril and Grunthos Edelstone were wed and were one and so, were still on their Cloud Nine. Treachery and catastrophe both were forgotten. On they continued, this day helping Stoneheft finish mapping the sewers or Shadowport, that day showing a Little One how to look after himself.
The world was growing and her work took up more and more of her time. Grunthos was impatient for them to settle down. Stoneheft took Grunty’s side and wondered aloud how committed she really was to her family. This was too much for her. The Newbie Council was too busy for her to take much time off. She was torn and soon realized a clean break was the only way to save her marriage and her relationship with her brother. Loril retired from the Newbie Council with heavy heart one fateful night when the guys weren’t around. She carried with her for many years the well-wishes from so many that night and hopes they all know what those words meant that night when her life’s work, it seemed, had come to a full stop.
The circle continued as Loril and Grunthos learned she was with child. Oh glorious and fear-inducing days of preparation! He was born in the hills near Moria and was named Jeltz after a prominant member of Grunty’s home city of Azgoth. Jeltz (who chose a Cleric’s robes like his uncle) never knew his brother Dramar. He was a silly, bouncy and fun-loving youth who brought much pride to his parents. In his teens, Jeltz became insane and, it is believed, took his own life for he was suddenly never seen again.
It was not long before, once again, Loril gave birth to Dramar. This strapping lad chose the life of a Healer and his mother’s breast swelled with pride. She showered him with all manner of gifts and trinkets. Grunty chided her for spoiling the boy and not letting him strengthen and grow on his own. Perhaps he was correct. Perhaps it was just fate. Perhaps, perhaps. But Dramar too lost control of his mind. He was heard yelling long into the small hours that he wanted to die. Then, one day, he too disappeared.
Loril grieves to this day for her two sons. She fears ever having another child and despairs that after this long she may no longer be able … but time passes, and the world moves on, and the circle continues. Stoneheft had neared his ultimate goal of mapping the entire world and was casting about for a new occupation when one day, a Newbie Council member for whom he had great respect approached him about membership. Stoneheft was inducted and shortly thereafter, Jonqualyn and his brilliant wife Mariyah approached Loril as well. She was back home and this time with her beloved brother.
One day, it seemed no time at all later, she was called to the highest opportunity to help these lands. Lascivias, Serina, and Sarah called to her and asked her if she was ready. The circle was complete. It was time. And there, suddenly visible beneath her sandals was the Cloud she had always known was there. It whisked her high above Qetag’s Reach from where she continues to try to find ways to help her beloved Newbies – her Little Ones … and the circle continues.
When I asked Loril to share a few words with us I knew that whatever she sent would be fantastic … and she never disappoints. I strolled down memory lane with Loril’s words and despite her concern that it was far too long I couldn’t stop reading. I’ve split Loril’s submission into 2 parts: the person Loril and the character Loril. I hope you will find both as fascinating as I did. For the record, I have no trouble believing Loril spent two weeks in pre-auth, somehow I still think of her as some strange chimera of wide eyed newbie and (nearly) all-knowing goddess. Without further ado, in her own words, Loril!
When I got my first home computer, I simply couldn’t wait to get onto this Internet that the network geeks at the data center where I worked were all abuzz about. In those days, everyone was inundated with 30-day free disks from AOL and CompuServe, among others. Being a very frugal person, I figured out pretty quickly how much these places would soak you for money if you let them … and so I didn’t let them. I used them for the free connection so I could research for an ISP that I figured offered the most for the least. Nucleus (nucleus.com) offered exactly what I needed – a BBS so I could talk to people about this brave new world, a connection to an entire world of knowledge (which is everything to me), and a few gaming pastimes (my true love!).
Now, skooch in close, kids and listen carefully … it was ALL TEXT. All of it. Text menus, chat rooms, games, ALL TEXT. Well, and ASCII pictures which were often lame, and more often brilliant. I spent crazy amounts of time, pre-Google (!) just looking around the world at what people were building and talking about. And that’s another topic altogether. We’re here to celebrate 20 years of the Realms of Despair. Hosted by Nucleus was a game called Mutants and I spent a lot of time dying 🙂 on that game but there were always players there and we’d chat. I was intrigued by one of the offerings – RoD, offering “Endless Medieval Enjoyment” – which was right up my game play alley. But everyone told me, ‘bah, you don’t want to play that – it’s always so laggy’. Well, hell. I was lagged enough at the time (though really, 1200 BAUD was pret-ty spiffy in those days ;)) and I didn’t need more lag. Yet, every time I logged in (remember the connection sound on those modems?), I looked at that tagline again. I finally couldn’t resist any longer. Lag be damned, I NEEDED Endless Medieval Enjoyment!
And it has been endless for me. I spent a full two weeks – real time! – in pre-auth. I read every help file I could to make the best possible character that would fully represent my alter self. I finally made it into the game and probably spent a good three months in the Academy! Yes. 😛 I did. After a time, a bud from Nucleus, name of Garlok, remade a character he’d allowed to delete and showed me a few things. I lost track of him, sadly, because his infectious use of the cackle social was a delight. Garlok, if you’re out there, hey man, get in touch.
One more thing before I proceed to tell you my MUD story in a biography (and probably lose you before the end of it!), I want to answer the question about why I stuck to text all these years. I’m a gamer from way back. Atari, Nintendo (original and Super), Intellivision, and PlayStation. Not to mention what I still believe were the best PC games ever invented. Perhaps, in fact, it was “Quest for Glory: So You Want to be a Hero” (originally named “Hero’s Quest) and numerous other Sierra games that spoiled me forever for graphical games. Thank you, Ken and Roberta Williams and Al Lowe for, in my opinion, “completing” graphical games. In my mind, they are done (though I’d buy another in a heartbeat). They had actual stories, beauty in pictures and in music. I can’t, and couldn’t, imagine that ever being done better. I’ve always been a reader.
One of the real characters of Realms is Stoneheft. He’ll lurk about for a while and then hit you with something that either makes you really think or makes you spit milk out your nose. I recall with muddled clarity some of the events described here … For those that never attended one of those long ago reunions, we essentially took over a chunk of the Ontario Renaissance Festival for a good part of the day, usually followed by small group activities and finally landing at the Fox and Fiddle. When the Ontario Renaissance Festival folded up shop and closed its gates the event moved to different public parks and campgrounds.
This series was inspired in part by my disappointment at there not being an organized Realms of Despair Reunion this year due to lack of committed attendees but I hear that the Texas Get-Together may happen. Huzzah if it does! 🙂 Maybe some of Stoneheft’s recollections might inspire you to answer “YES!” the next time someone asks if you want to come out to a reunion:
“So many years have gone by with so many varying types of reunions. My memories are inaccurate and likely filed out of order, but there sure are a lot of memories. Back in the pre-history days, there were the idirect picnics, or were those io.org? I don’t remember which was first but I remember deciding to go to one because Grace Gemstone was going. Loril and I were curious about meeting the player behind the mother of our favorite characters, so the “Going to these things” had begun.
The venues got better as the gatherings became “Realms of Despair Reunions” rather than ISP picnics. We had fun every year at the Renaissance Festivals, met Edmond, Dria, Kali, and so many others. We played with the swords at the shops, won many pints of beer at the games that were awfully easy, completed the RL quests that Dria put together and got to know the players behind the characters we knew. Absolute tonnes of fun were had, and then we’d head off to that loud bar in Oakville and settle down over a few drinks. We met Destre at one of these old RenFests, in good weather Destre, her husband, Loril and I get together to try out a new or known pub.
After a fairly pleasant day, at a RenFest, way out in Milton, the evening was getting unpleasantly rainy and everyone was getting on with getting home. Making our way out to the muddy field that passed for a parking lot, we merged with the crowd passing through the gate and found Hubris trying to arrange a ride home. It turns out he lives about 25 blocks away from us, so we crammed him into the back seat of the little Volkswagen Cabriolet with Dyrk and headed back to the City. Fortune smiled on us, Hubris likes both beer and the Pub between his place and ours. We hit the patio with him at least once a summer for burgers and beers.
Hoerkin found us. Loril and I were enjoying a RenFest when a big guy with his nametag torn came up and announced “Hey, I’m Hoerkin!”. He was correct, I can appreciate when someone knows who they are, so we added Hoerkin to our little group, then Ceirana, and continued along completing Dria’s RenFest RL quest. We must have had fun. I remember Hoerkin’s nametag was eventually ripped down to just “Ho” and wouldn’t stay stuck to his sweatty shirt. Sweatty Ho became a very good friend. He does, of course, like beer.
The reunions changed when Milton’s RenFest closed. There was the year at the Botanical Gardens in Hamilton, and the community camping at Bingeman’s. In the first year, we tented it and had a great time but decided on splurging for a cabin in the following years. Many hours gathered many great memories out on the porch of that cabin. Grishnakh could keep a conversation going, he knew things and had such interesting opinions and ideas about stuff in game and RL.
Alex, oh where do I start. Alex can keep a conversation going all weekend and never drop below fascinating. So long as nobody is eavesdropping we probably won’t even get silenced or banned. Time moves on. The venue changes to Orr’s Lake where Thoric and Jane who does not mud host the gang personally. Loril and I are no longer able to put in a whole weekend, but Bulgroth went and had a good time. Loril and I visit for an afternoon and find Jane’s theatre group putting on a “theatrical swordfighting” demonstration. How awesome was that?
Reunions… Good Memories.
Thanks to all of you, mentioned here or not, the reunions are a great extension of our MUD.
Since someone mentioned this forest in conversation the other day I decided to go have a wander about, especially seeing as I’ve been putting off gathering a few dispel amulets for some of my alts.
I used this little side trip as an excuse to go ahead and adept detrap on Tharius before I headed out. After a visit the the vineyard, a number of ugly orange sweaters and viewing the world through rose coloured glasses I was good to go.
Where is the Forest of Despair? It’s located to the north-east of the City of Salburg an area built by the team of Kinux and Selina based on an original concept by Thoric.
I’ve visited Salburg before with Vladivostok when we came to beat up on Edonea’s hellish creation and pick up some blood of the innocent. During that trip I noticed that the place had a creepy vibe about it and that’s during the daytime, never mind lingering about to encounter all the strange things you’ll encounter at night. It was during this trip that I learned that falcon sight is still useful even if you have a your detects on, because you get detect traps as part and parcel, which is otherwise a bit of a bugger to get. You’ll need this detect in many places during the area.
A you might expect in a town that has started to rot from the inside out there are a number of dangerous locations, you should be vigilant about watching for DTs, there are at least 5 easy to find ones.
Witches, swamp beasts and sentient trees all stand in your way but so too does a silent trans maze, a slog through a swamp maze, lots of pop items that need to come together in certain ways to form new and exciting items … but if you overcome all these hurdles you may walk away with generous rewards.
It’s one thing to walk in Thoric’s foot steps, it’s another altogether to wander off with his boots 🙂
Some of you will recall a time when a trip into Seth’s Fortress included a run to Emerald. The reason for this rename is the author of today’s retrospective piece. Having to type tell 0.Jade must have gotten to be a bother early on and the mob had to give up it’s name so that the immortal could get her tells :). Many will recall Jade as one of the driving forces behind the creation of Nephandi along with many behind the scenes projects over the years. Without further ado, I give you, Jade!
Realms of Despair spawned in me a lifelong love of video games and gamers. I stumbled across Realms of Despair in the early 90’s and joined the ranks of the Immortals to be alongside Haus, Blodkai, Elcid, Thoric, Darrek and others to join later [like] Dria and so many others that worked tirelessly to make the community a wonderful escape. For years, without ever speaking to any of these folks via voice (way before skype, ventrilo etc) … we bonded. Some of my fondest memories involved meeting Elcid in real life (sorry I got us lost driving and we ended up on some nasa restricted grounds!), then Darrek (who introduced me to Timothy Horton’s coffee!) and finally Thoric. I still remember knocking on Thoric’s hotel door to hash out some crazy ideas we had about making graphic muds, and honestly expecting him to appear with a halo around his head and for him to hover feet above the ground. I was quite amazed that he seemed so much like a normal human when I was sure he was a GOD.
Haus, one of my heroes, told us the ideas of color in a mud and graphics was insane. “Color in a mud?? That’s like ketchup on a lobster!” Undaunted, I spent hours creating ASCII MOTDs and a way to have colored pictures appear when someone typed ../who jade etc. It was a labor of love.
While I have a lifetime of memories from that era, one that stands out was around Halloween. I believe I had recently ascended to the Council of Elders and had this great ability—to rename characters. So, I set about changing everyone I could find online into more festive names … everything from Scooby Doo to The Hulk…whatever people requested. The players all had a great time and it was all good, until we realized we really had a difficult time tracking down all and reverting their names to the normal ones. I was in trouble for that one for days … but I still think it was worth it 😉
Despite the growth of graphical MMOs , nothing has ever been so immersive to me as Realms of Despair. The game, and others, are not often credited for being the forefathers of modern games, but the newest MMOS have a lot to learn from these ancestors. Death Traps, Balzhurs … oh those were the days!
Congratulations to Realms and thank you to Thoric and the community that made all these memories for thousands of people possible. Sidenote — I recall one birthday of Thoric’s … he was in his mid 20’s and confided that he felt he hadn’t accomplished anything . I was stunned … how could one who had created such an amazing world and provided entertainment to so many … not feel he had accomplished anything!? Of course he went on to accomplish much more, but I hope all will give him credit for one of the most amazing worlds created. Congrats on the anniversary.
The Guild of Origin runs a program called Assassin’s Mark which is roughly a mob of the week type program designed to get people out and about, learning lots of stock mobs and filling up the donation room at the same time.
This time my adventure took me into Kontaur to find Carnifex Castle and hunt down the priest for some adamantium armor. This item is still a tanking standard due to it’s outrageous amount of AC. A new item with this sort of AC would probably have to be restricted to drow paladins or devout nephandi and even then would only be wearable on Tuesdays with a full moon visible at noon.
One nice thing about this adventure is that there is NO map on Rodpedia for Carnifex Castle, though the entrance is noted on the Kontaur map … and yes, I looked. I looked because I was focused on the end goal of grabbing some plates and not enjoying the exploration of the area, not every day is a smell the roses day for me, I admit it … and sometimes, just sometimes, I find something I wasn’t expecting. While googling to see if there was a classic map on some forgotten Realms website (and yes, I have found DOZENS of old Realms web sites out there) I tripped over what I believe to be the original author’s inspiration for the area: TSR’s Dungeon’s and Dragons module M3: Twilight Calling. Rather than take Wikipedia’s word for it, I laid hands on this module and I can say this for sure… if this isn’t the original inspiration for the area, then perhaps a D&D writer stole from Realms! Nearly all the elements from the Realms area exist in the module, but the module does contain a fair bit more than I’ve discovered in the Castle … so it’s certainly not a complete module rip off, I am by no means implying that. I enjoy etymology … and this idea of rediscovering inspirations tickles that same fancy.
On my first foray I entered through the front door, warriors, mages and cleric in tow and had a tiny bit of a look around. I encountered the guards who have some neat new avatar quality items, the chaplain, the mage and finally the priest. For those who don’t know there is a small bonus to going to find an adamatium plate … a staff that casts room fireshield that can be used by a warrior. It has a pathetic number of charges, often only 1, but if you are lucky enough to get one that has at least 2 charges on it you can start playing the recharge luck game and try to double up. This is something we used to do a fair amount of to create jade cameos with hundreds of charges and so on … but that’s a different topic.
Just a short time fighting in the area taught me a great deal. I found at least 1 dt on my way out (without hitting it … yeah, I know, whodathunk it) and an easy trip back to Darkhaven. Since there is an abundance of use of the norecall flag in the area I’ll give you a hint, bring pass door and scry 🙂