Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Arcanes Quest

For the last couple of months I've been toying around in my head with the idea of a quest to run for the Order of Arcanes. I've been wanting to do something that is:
  1.  Accessible to everyone regardless of how many avatar characters they had.
  2. Would encourage people to go out and kill mobs they haven't killed before or for a long time.
  3. Not too difficult, too easy or long.
  4. Would promote teamwork with other members.
I had been thinking of doing some sort of quest that focused on killing mobs but didn't want to just have a "go kill mob X" sort of thing. My first idea was to give the description of a mob with the name removed and have people figure out what the mob was, kill it and bring back an item from the mob. The problems with this idea were:
  1. It got very spammy on the notes.
  2. Some mobs didn't have a proper description.
  3. Most of the mobs had their descriptions fully covered on Rodpedia.
In the end I decided to place 30 item names into a wordsearch using a website I sometimes use for my remedial classes who struggle with basic literacy (using MUDS to improve basic reading and writing skills... interesting idea)  to make worksheets for. I also needed to find some decent prizes to use as an incentive. After searching around my storage spaces I'm offering up the following as prizes for the first three placegetters: Maniacal Tendencies, the dagger of metaphysical deliverance and the Breastplate of the Ravager and various gold prizes to other participants.

The notes I posted on the Arcanes noteboard for the quest are shown below:

Hopefully this quest will be a success and get people working together to kill some stuff plus maybe even get some people interested in joining us.

And finally Happy New Year to anyone reading this. I hope 2015 is a good one.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Shooting and the Banshees

With the new warrior I've been needing a couple of easy to get evil items from the Scourge of Time - the first being Shifting black flames and the second Godskull shinguards. To get both of those you need to kill Rez, Lord of the Banshees. He isn't too hard of a mob to kill solo especially if you take advantage of his location and some undervalued ranger skills to kill him off with arrows.

First you need a bow and around 200 arrows. The best bow in the game that I know of is a supple longbow that can be bought from Midway of Despair on the occasions when the area is open. The main advantage with this bow is that it can fire further than other bows. For arrows to be successful at killing something you need the following:
  1. The mob needs to be able to move rooms.
  2. You want a way to stop it from moving into your room.
Both of the above conditions are met for killing Rez. Once ready you need to head to the Sands of Time maze in Scourge of time with 3 other characters. The trick here is that most of the rooms in this maze are tunnelled to 4 characters. This was if your ranger is there with 3 other characters you can shoot away at Rez safely as he can not enter your room. Doing this you need to watch out for the following:
  1. The trans room at the end of the maze. This room is tunnelled to 2 characters. If you end up in here your group will separated and jumped on by Rez.
  2. Disappearing into the void - if any of your group voids out this will clear some space for Rez to enter.
  3. Repop. This area has a fast repop time. If you kill Rez or any of the other banshees you need to watch out for them repopping in your room.
  4. Looting - once Rez is dead you need to have a character run in to the room with his corpse and loot it quick before you get jumped on or the corpse decomposes.
Once you've fired away enough arrows here's the result:
>fire w rez
You fire an arrow of the forest west.
You hear something's death cry.

The Sands of Time
Grains of sand whiz about, driven by a mighty, vicious windstorm. You cannot see further than about 10 feet in any given direction. The sand that remains beneath your boots scorches you from the bottom up. Each direction that you travel in appears to take you to the same place... nowhere.
Exits: north east south west
A deadly looking arrow lies here on the ground. (8)
The remnants of Shifting black flames are strewn about. (3)
The corpse of Rez, lord of the fate banshees lies here.
A pool of spilled blood lies here.

>g all rez
You get 646800 gold coins from the corpse of Rez, lord of the fate banshees.
You get a shadowy, coiled cobra from the corpse of Rez, lord of the fate banshees.
You get a shadowy, coiled cobra from the corpse of Rez, lord of the fate banshees.
You get a Fate key from the corpse of Rez, lord of the fate banshees.
You get a fate banshee's pouch from the corpse of Rez, lord of the fate banshees.
You get Shifting black flames from the corpse of Rez, lord of the fate banshees.
After finishing off Rez I used his key to enter the next part of the area. The Demonspawn Hellknight isn't too hard a fight - you just need to keep hitting him until he's dead. The tricky part is after he dies...
Your shieldbash wounds A Demonspawn hellknight!
A Demonspawn hellknight is DEAD!!
A Demonspawn hellknight splatters blood on your armor.
The corpse of A Demonspawn hellknight falls far below...
The spilled blood falls far below...
You see no corpse here.
You do not see that here.
To loot the corpse you need to head down to the room where it falls. This room also contains Countess Sindroad and Lord Olsen the Archdemon. These two are beyond my skills to kill solo with both hitting quite hard. Looting the hellknight is just a case of heading down and getting all from the corpse as fast as possible and then getting out. I just supplicated a recall out to leave quickly with my fate banshee pouch full of loot.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Something Must Break Now

After the failure of the Festivus Raffle I had a go at another luck of the draw event in the Realms of Despair - an attempt on a sliver of glass for the drow warrior. This puzzle involves walking out to the Glacier Temple and breaking a mirror. If you're lucky you will get the sliver of glass - if not after 4 attempts your character is never allowed to return to the area. My directions to the temple are:
6n; 3nw; w; n; 4e; s; w; sw; s; sw; 2s; 2sw; 2s; 2ne; n; nw; w; 2nw; w; 3nw; 3w; se; w; sw; w; u; nw; 3w; 3nw; 3w; sw; 3s; w; s; se; s; sw; s; d; e; s; enter; s 
Once here just choose a direction and break it...
 Floating in Blue Light
The whole world is coloured in an unearthly glow within this unusual portal. As the dull blue light shines, direction and time seem lost, as though the inside of this portal was somehow not part of the material world. Within the blue haze a pair of large oval shaped doorways lead out towards two very different areas. To the south, ice and snow crash up against what appears to be an ethereal door which holds strong despite the strength of the wintery winds. To the north, the strong winds and blowing sand of a beach blow on a similar ethereal entrance.
Exits: none
Your vision is bombarded by the colour blue, as the portal surrounds you and holds you within its grasp.
The intensity of the colours within the portal leaves you momentarily light headed.

Within a Glacier Temple
The outside walls of the temple have been carved from an enormous block of ice. Inside the temple, eight mirrors each face a different direction to create an octagon shape. Gazing into one of them reflects back on the others giving the illusion of endless hallways. There is no apparent exit from this horrid maze of reflections. Only in shattering one of the mirrors may some form of escape be found. Letters have been carved into the ice on the floor by some ancient hand.
Exits: north east south west northeast northwest southeast southwest

> break nw
Your choice has been made.
A magical force pushes you through the mirror shattering the glass.
You have solved the mysteries of the mirror!
A sharp pain shoots up your arm as you find a sliver of glass.
For once a lucky break for me! This is what it looks like:
> exam sliver
You take a closer look at a sliver of glass in inventory...
This small sliver of glass comes to a sharp point at one end so that it can fit through the earlobe, usually with great pain and blood loss. The magic of the mirror maze still resides in this piece, giving it great powers.
As you look more closely, you notice that it is in superb condition.
It appears to be within or below your level range.
And identifies as:
> rec tab sliver
You recite a magical tablet of disclosure.
Object 'a sliver of glass' is infused with your magic...
It is a level 40 armor, weight 2.
Locations it can be worn:  ears
Special properties:  glow
This armor has a gold value of 15000.
Owner:  Skold
Armor class is 12 of 12.
Affects damage roll by 3.
Affects mana by 30.
Affects hp by 30.

True I'd much rather a cube of wonders from the Festivus raffle but a small win is better than nothing.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Festivus Trolled

Every year around this time of year the immortals of the Realms of Despair host the Festivus Raffle. Prizes include decent pieces of equipment, rare things like rename scrolls, big gold prizes and the super special rare prizes. Usually it is on around a time I can't manage to make but for once I was able to be on around the time of the drawing. To buy tickets you had to visit the Festivus Troll at Darkhaven Square:
>look troll
The troll stands around handing out tickets and wishing you a Merry Festivus.
He also encourages you to read the sign before making any purchases.

A Festivus Raffle Troll is in perfect health.

You peek at his inventory:

>exam sign
You take a closer look at an important raffle sign on the ground...

To purchase a ticket:
  give 1000000 coins troll  (1 ticket)
  give 10000000 coins troll (10 tickets)

Do NOT log out with your tickets, or they will be lost!

Do NOT give any amount of gold other than 1 mil or 10 mil at a time.  If you
do, that amount will be lost!

You may purchase as many tickets as you like, but you will be limited by inventory space.  You may store the tickets anywhere you wish.
The tickets are not tagged to individual characters.

Read the Archives for more information.

>give 1m coins troll
You give 1,000,000 coins to a Festivus Raffle Troll.
A Festivus Raffle Troll gives you Festivus ticket number 612481.

>exam ticket
You take a closer look at Festivus ticket
number 612481 in inventory...
You see nothing special.
I do wish that they would make the tickets save so that players not able to be on at the time of the drawing could be in with a chance to win something. In the end I decided to gamble 75,000,000 gold coins on the raffle. I thought that would be enough to give me a chance of winning something without going overboard on the draw. Just before the start of the draw Gonnil announced the following:
Gonnil quests 'a total of 13,161,000,000 gold was spent in this year's raffle'
If you add in however many tickets were given away as prizes to minor quests beforehand I realised my odds of winning on any particular draw are about 75 in 13,300 or slightly better than 1 in 200... But hey there's plenty of prizes? Surely I was in with a chance?

In the end the following identification of a ticket shows it all:
>c id ticket
Object 'Festivus ticket number 612481' is infused with your magic...
It is a level 51 trash, weight 1.
Special properties:  none
This trash has a gold value of 0.
The part where it says "trash" sums it up for me - not a single winner. The closest I got was when the ticket that won the Echoes of Damnation was just 5 more than one of my tickets. I guess there is always next year and next time I'll have to invest more than 75 million on the draw, but hey it's always good to be a part of the event. Thanks to Gonnil for running the event and congratulations to all the winners.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Avatarhood and The Window

I finished levelling my drow warrior a couple of days ago:
Your slash cuts a templar!
You have now obtained experience level 50!
You suddenly feel a strange surge of power flow through your veins!

You have mastered yourself as far as mortally possible, and now
see immortality within your grasp...

Along with your new position you receive a new channel, to use this
channel type ': <message>' or 'imm <message>'.
These new commands/abilities are now available to you:

New Commands: Avtalk

New Abilities: Don't lose experience on death
               No longer see hunger or thirst messages

SEE ALSO: help avtalk

Your gain is: 15/1222 hp, 0/342 mana, 10/655 mv 3/97 prac.
I realised that this was the first character I had actually had reach level 50 in 2014. My levelling rate really has slowed down this year. The drow ended up with a base of 872 hit points - pretty average for a warrior. Overall I found the drow quite easy to level.

After reaching level 50 one of my aims with this warrior is to figure out where the new garments of the Ilythiiri set comes from. To do this I had no idea where to begin as there are so few clues as to where to begin. The best place to begin with as for finding hints is in Vast Horizons in particular the board in Ceirana's Window to the World:
This noteboard is interesting in that can only be reached by teleporting has several hints from the immortals to puzzles around the Realms of Despair. I didn't find any clues on the new sets but I did find the following notes interesting:
[195] Gonnil: Rumors
Sun Oct 20 07:39:18 2013
To: All
They say that the clover Starre seeks grows best upon a large mountain in
Camelot, and that a warm breeze in the right location may be a clue toward
finding it.

They say Jimmy doesn't actually have anything hidden among his shop items.
And even older notes such as:
 [ 89] Gonnil: A Hint
Fri May 28 21:43:47 2010
To: Explorers
It is actually possible to do something at the altar in the Lair of Dread.
But it requires having another object...

And I'm still sad nobody has killed the black pudding.
[141] Gonnil: Rumors
Sun Sep 11 19:08:57 2011
To: All
Seems as though a few of the infamous Cubes of Wonders are still held in the
clutches of certain denizens of the Realms...

For one of them, the carrier lies waiting in the water.

For one of them, the carrier is surrounded by a cloud of acidic vapour. 
I was a little disappointed that there were no clues as to the new sets but maybe Gonnil will feel generous sometime soon with the clues. In the meantime I guess I'm just going to have to finish getting the warrior dressed and then start killing anything and everything I can in the hopes of a pop.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Calm Your Farm and More...

I've been slow on the updates lately. I haven't done any one major thing in the Realms of Despair of late but several little things so this post will be a bunch of snippets of things that are happening.

Levelling and McFarming
The little drow warrior I posted about levelling earlier is ticking along nicely and got up to level 45 quite quickly. I slowed down a bit as I wanted to use him to explore a couple of lower level areas, one of which is MacMillan Family Farm. This area has puzzles and some nice equipment only accessible to characters under level 45. The first puzzle I came across was with the well. This one has similarities to spaces in the Barren Wastes in particular around the horned beast you need to kill for the facestompers. Here's what I've figured out:
Fork in the Road
The roadway comes to an intersection here, splitting around a simple well that supplies the farm with water. The chalky pebbled path leads off to the northwest, where a pair of large wooden barns can be seen. To the northeast a dirt road continues off towards a small farmhouse, and more orchards. To the north, large canyons can faintly be seen in the distance, making passage into the mountain near impossible from the farm.
Exits: south northeast northwest
An old stone well is here, shaded by a small cedar roof.

> exam well
You take a closer look at an old, stone well on the ground...
Created ages ago, this well is constructed from very large river rocks, plucked from the canyon beds below, held together with mortar. Once clean and polished, it is now all but covered with a thick green moss. The well is capped with a cedar roof, resting a few feet above the opening. The roof is supported by two large spruce posts, attached to the peaks of both sides. This well has supplied the farm with fresh water since its inception. There is a rope tied to one of the spruce posts, it trails off and coils into the grass behind the well.

> drop rope well
You grab the coil of rope and let it down to the darkness of the well below.

> climb down rope
You carefully climb over the well's ledge, and climb the rope down into the darkness below.

Deep Within the Well
Not very much is visible from the few strands of dust-filled light that filter down from the well entrance high up above. The smooth block walls spiral down to meet the shin high water of this underground river well beneath the earth's surface. Small ripples form around the few small slippery rocks that crest the surface of the otherwise calm water. The remains of the well's bucket can be seen strewn about just beneath the water's surface, torn into many pieces by some unknown force.
Exits: none

> exam rocks
Four larger rocks crest the waters surface, creating tiny islands. Many smaller rocks and pebbles blanket the spaces between the main four. Three of the larger rocks look quite secured, but one of them looks as though you could look under it.

> look under rock
As you go to look under the rock, an armored baloth jumps out at you, snapping!
Again leave no stone unturned. The fight against the armored baloth is on the tough side for a character under level 45 but when killed it has a chance of popping a piece of a better item.

Questing for Glory
I was lucky enough to be on when an immortal ran quest was on. This one involved finding snow shovels to help a stuck buffalo free. I found my first one on the Valley of the Elves as follows:
A Trail Less Travelled
Exits: down northeast southeast
A deluxe snow shovel lies here.
An antelope is here, peacefully munching on grass.

An antelope leaves southeast.

>g shovel
You get a deluxe snow shovel.

>c id shovel
Object 'a deluxe snow shovel found by Jessyl' is infused with your magic...
It is a level 51 treasure, weight 1.
Special properties:  none
This treasure has a gold value of 0.

>exam shovel
You take a closer look at a deluxe snow shovel found by Jessyl in inventory...
You see nothing special.

>Darkhaven Square
You are standing within the expanse of the famous Darkhaven Square. An immense stone statue of Duke Luther sits in the center of the square, surrounded by fountains of shimmering crystal water.  Gardens and shrubbery enhance the air of serenity and peace here in the center of the great city. A plaque set into the base of the fountain attracts your eye.  Cobblestone roads lead away in the four cardinal directions, while to the northeast
and northwest are forested paths.  The cathedral spires of Notre Dame de Sioux rise with majesty above the treetops to the northwest.
Exits: north east south west up northeast northwest
A large sundial lies here, useless during the night hours.
Torrents of flame flow a river of fire through the night sky above the square.
Stone fountains containing crystal clear water surround the Duke's statue.
(Fade) An enormous pile of snow seems to be slowly moving.
A snow covered buffalo is shrouded in flowing shadow and light.
(Hide) (Translucent) Rentuke StarSword-Belforte is hovering here.
(Hide) Lareawan Dawnbreaker is the voice inside your head [NC-ON] is hovering here.
Only a deluxe snow shovel will help dig out the snow.

>give shovel buffalo
You give a deluxe snow shovel found by Jessyl to a snow covered buffalo.
A snow covered buffalo thanks you heartily.
I went on to then find two more shovels in The Mire, one in Ocean Keep and another in the Desert of Despair. With 2 glory per shovel the prize 'm now only 7 glory short of an extra damage roll.

Barbarian Adventures
A couple of fellow members of Arcanes have recently finished levelling barbarians and needed to get the dressed up so I've helped people kill a couple of mobs with barbarian items. The first was the yeti - this mob is frustrating with it's low pop rates and the timing needed to kill it so you have a chance of getting a claw.

After this we've also been killing the enormous manticore. This mob has been strange in that it does not appear every reboot and I'm not even sure what area it is officially in as when you use the where command in his room it gives you a message about not knowing where you are. In the end we had few problems killing the manticore. Of all the barbarian equipment mobs this is the easiest where the good old choke, flee, quit, relog, repeat... method works well. End result being:
You choke the life out of an enormous manticore as he struggles to break your grasp!
You injure an enormous manticore!
An enormous manticore is DEAD!!
You lose your death-grip on your victim's neck.
An enormous manticore lets out a horrendous cry that rises high into the air before disappating. A portion of an enormous manticore's head is ripped off as it falls to the ground. An enormous manticore catches his guts in his hands as they pour through his fatal wound!
You get 1054000 gold coins from the corpse of an enormous manticore.
The corpse of an enormous manticore holds:
     the horned helm of the plains wanderer

Underworld Grinding
All this week I've been setting myself up in The Underworld grinding away at making some Maniacal Tendencies. The strategy for this is simple - kill Eylops with a warrior using non-magic weapons and an immobilizing mage immobilizing away. Once down grab the keys, switch the warrior to wielding a Nasr and then have the warrior/mage team kill Rage and Fury and fingers crossed pop an essence off each. Repeating this for a week I managed to pop 8 of each. Connecting these and then sacrificing them using an augurer with 22 luck resulted in the following 7 times:
>g rage birch; g fury birch; connect rage fury; drop unfettered;sac unf
You get the essence of rage from a small birch chest.

You get the essence of fury from a small birch chest.

You cobble the pieces together...
 ...suddenly they snap into place, creating Unfettered Delirium!

You drop Unfettered Delirium.

A'enari gives you one gold coin for your sacrifice of Unfettered Delirium.
On the 6th attempt out of 8 however...
>g rage birch; g fury birch; connect rage fury; drop unfettered;sac unf
You get the essence of rage from a small birch chest.

You get the essence of fury from a small birch chest.

You cobble the pieces together...
 ...suddenly they snap into place, creating Unfettered Delirium!

You drop Unfettered Delirium.

A'enari gives you one gold coin for your sacrifice of Unfettered Delirium.
Strange sounds rise up from the ground echoing in a chorus of insane laughter. A twirling mist forms about the ground, bringing an immediate chill to the air. As you look down you spy a strange looking helmet which has appeared by arcane means.
You get Maniacal Tendencies.
I'm hoping to continue grinding away for another week or two in the hopes of making three Maniacal   Tendencies - one for my drow warrior, one to use a prize for an Arcanes quest and one to sell/trade for other items.

More Reading
I've also been reading a couple of blogs by other players. Firstly Graham's blog at Its still kind of new but it shows a different point of view of happenings around the Realms.

Secondly Syldir's Corner of Despair at A very different blog to mine and well worth checking out.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Skulking About

I've been finding it difficult to find enough time to do what I'd like in the Reals of Despair lately. I started a major project in real life 8 weeks ago. It was meant to be for 3 weeks however it keeps being extended. Hopefully though it is nearly complete.

Recently there have been a couple of major updates to the Realms of Despair including the new area The Wilds and the introduction of two new racial equipment sets. I've been wanting to have a good look for the drow but found trying to kill random mobs on my only avatar drow character - a mediocrely dressed nephandi was more trouble than it was worth. My solution to this problem was to make a new drow and decided to go for a warrior since they are easy to level and decent for killing things solo at level 50.

My first problem with levelling the warrior though was that I was low on a lot of low level equipment in particular items from the Sentinel and Gauntlet areas. These two areas have lots of great items on them especially for getting your damage roll up. The problem with the Gauntlet area is you need a sentinel item to unlock the door to the area ever since years ago they made it impossible to use the portal spell to create a doorway to the area. The problem with sentinel items are they tend to be like pens for me in real life - I'm always lending them out to people, never getting them back and then can't find one when I personally need it.

To get a sentinel one must get it off the Skulk.
Talking to Papa Kurst at the start of the area tells you a little about his story:
This part of the village is the square, onto which the small collection of two storey whitewashed buildings face. Visible from here are such structures as a temple, an inn and several small shops, though none of them appear to contain much of interest to an adventurer. Netmakers, boatbuilders and fisherman congregate nearby, all profiting from the bustling trade made possible by the fish-rich waters of Lake Spendlowe, which lies to the southwest; its waters are visible from here. Several villagers stop and stare at you, curious at your strange attire and foreign ways. Many of the smaller settlements of the Realms are rather parochial, and it seems that Kusnir is no different. A busy inn lies to
the north; doubtless you will find sustenance and perhaps information in this place.
Exits: north east west
A grizzled old man stares in concern at the walls of the inn.
Papa Kurst says 'Greetings, fair adventurer, and welcome to Kusnir.'
Papa Kurst says 'I wish I could welcome you under more pleasant '
Papa Kurst says 'circumstances, but our little village is in dire peril.'
Papa Kurst frowns.
Papa Kurst says 'Kusnir has recently become the hunting ground of a beast,'
Papa Kurst says 'we presume it to be a Skulk, which slips in during the'
Papa Kurst says 'night and slays the weak and elderly. Normally we would'
Papa Kurst says 'have the means to deal with such a threat, but this being'
Papa Kurst says 'has proved to be... Unusual. Tell me yes, if you'd hear more.'
Papa Kurst raises an eyebrow expectantly, awaiting your reply.

> tell kurst yes
You tell Papa Kurst 'yes'
The grizzled old man says to you 'The skulk has the village living in fear.'
The tricky part with the Skulk is he hides away right at the end of the area and only characters below level 20 can travel through the Sentinel area. Killing some of the mobs requires magic weapons and on a drow they can quickly mess up your alignment too far towards the good side of the alignment spectrum. Add on that once you do get to the Skulk's lair there is a good chance he won't be there since he appears once per reboot at a random time. If you are lucky though and he is there then you need to say the right words...

The Skulk's Lair
This plain rocky chamber is unremarkable in appearance and content; what is remarkable is the nature of the beast that inhabits it. Namely, a Skulk. The same red writing you saw in the village covers the walls here, with little variation (Skulks aren't very bright, it would appear some force has possessed the foul beast and caused it to scribble such graffiti). The question is, what is the riddle behind the whole mystery you have thus far
uncovered? Perhaps the Skulk will know.
Exits: west
(Hide) A thin white creature huddles near the wall.
As you approach the Skulk, a voice speaks inside your head.
The Sentinel tells you 'At last you have found me! Pray, take me'
The Sentinel tells you 'from the hand of this vile creature, and'
The Sentinel tells you 'place me on your own. There is an evil force'
The Sentinel tells you 'at work in the world, and I need you to take'
The Sentinel tells you 'me and wield my power for the common good. I'
The Sentinel tells you 'would ask that you spare the Skulk, for it'
The Sentinel tells you 'has borne me well, despite its evil nature.'
The skulk looks at you imploringly, proffering the Sentinel. What say you?
The Sentinel tells you 'Will you take me? Speak thus if so!'

> say i will take you
You say 'i will take you'
The skulk smiles happily.
A tear rolls down the creature's cheek.
The skulk stops using The Sentinel.
Someone exclaims 'No! We have so much more to do! Please, skulk, wear me!'
The skulk thinks, 'Hmmmm.'
The skulk gives you The Sentinel.
The Sentinel yells 'Hark, Gauntlet of Evil, I come for thee!'
With this final gesture, the Skulk slips outside into the darkness.
And with this you are now set to adventure into the Sentinel. After a couple of trips around the Gauntlet I managed to get my drow warrior up to level 24 and had it dressed as follows:
You are using:
<used as light>      black depravity
<worn on finger>     a gold ring
<worn on finger>     a gold ring set with jade
<worn around neck>   a spiked collar
<worn around neck>   a spiked collar
<worn on body>       (Glowing) white scale mail
<worn on head>       an iron nasal helm
<worn on legs>       leggings of dark dragonscale
<worn on feet>       a pair of dancing slippers
<worn on hands>      (Humming) The Gauntlet
<worn on arms>       quilted leather sleeves
<worn about body>    the Duke's robes
<worn about waist>   (Humming) a belt of sharp spikes
<worn around wrist>  a lion-crested bracer
<worn around wrist>  a lion-crested bracer
<wielded>            a silvery longsword with black runes
<dual wielded>       a silvery longsword with black runes
<worn on ears>       the earrings of Solace
<worn on eyes>       visor of enlightenment
<worn on back>       [nothing]
<worn over face>     [nothing]
<worn around ankle>  [nothing]
<worn around ankle>  [nothing]
With this set up my warrior has 56 damage roll - enough to race through the following levels and hopefully up to level 50 soon enough. And hopefully soon I'll have enough time to do more on the game I'd like and less skulking around myself.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Deck of Many Things (round 8)

Found the Deck again today straight after reboot. It did not end well as follows...
The Deck of Many Things lies in wait for a brave soul.
The Deck of Many Things says 'If you can find a card within me, you might be lucky enough to draw something of value.
However, once you submit to chance, you put yourself at the mercy of the cards.
The Deck of Many Things winks suggestively.

>who imm
-----------------------------------[ IMMORTALS ]------------------------------
Newblet         [WRITING] Loril Gemstone-Edelstone, on Cloud Nine. (Ringbearers)  [Co-Head of Newbie Council]
1 player.

>g key deck
You get the Key to the Deck of Many Things from the Deck of Many Things.
The Key to the Deck shudders menacingly.
You drop the Key to the Deck of Many Things.
Vl'aresch gives you one gold coin for your sacrifice of the Key to the Deck of Many Things.
Be Forewarned : You could lose all that you own.
Sashell has been given the chance to draw from the Deck of Many Things.

>g card deck
You get a card from the Deck of Many Things.
A mystical being appears and points at you. Your senses reel as you are flung through the void to another place. The card twists and wriggles in your hands. A great flash of light envelopes the room, blinding you momentarily. When your vision returns, you see that the Deck of Many Things lies before you once more. It is highly recommended that you examine the deck before drawing from it. When you are ready, simply take the card.

>g card deck
You get a card from The Deck of Many Things.
You see that you have drawn the Five of Swords.
The chill of the void starts to fill you as the Deck begins to seal your fate, but you somehow find the means to resist.
You drop the sigil of Vl'aresch.
You drop a brown leather satchel.
You drop a fate banshee's pouch.
You drop a small birch chest.
You drop a rune-covered bag.
You drop a small pick axe.
You drop a small birch chest.
You drop a pair of giant dragon wings.
You drop a bone handled carving knife.
You drop a sanctuary potion.
You drop the silver tipped staff of guarding.
You drop a slender, broken chair leg.
Finally, the void releases its grasp upon you and returns you, battered and very nearly defeated, to the mortal realm.
It could have been worse but it could also have been a lot better. I don't think I lost anything too valuable. Guess I'm due for better luck next time.

Friday, October 24, 2014


One topic of talk in the area of modernising MUDs focuses on the use of accounts. Basically this would allow one account to give access to all of player's characters. Recently I've read two different people's thoughts on the topic. First Matthew “Chaos” Sheahan wrote an article for Imaginary Realities titled "Your MUD Should Have an Account System" and secondly Tharius wrote a blog post titled Looking forward, the Realms of the future? Reading both of these close together got me thinking and scarily enough creating a plus/minus/interesting list on the idea. Here are my thoughts:

  • Quicker for established players to make a new character. No need to spend time in newbie areas.
  • Not having to remember passwords/names of several alts. I've lost lowbie characters from this.
  • Personal configurations can be saved for a player. This will mean every time I make a new character I won't have to worry about going config -compass, config +gag, config +brief...
  • Achievements can be stored between characters.
  • Easy to identify a player from their account instead of characters. For example being a member of Arcanes only my mana using classes can be inducted. If I am playing ip 1 on a thief or barbarian a lot of people don't know that I am on.
  • You can supply more information about yourself.
  • If it was linked to some other account i.e. email, facebook, google+ it could be possible to allow achievements in game to be shared through other platforms
  • Depending on how it was implemented it could take a lot of a coders time that may be better spend on other updates.
  • Some people wouldn't want all of their characters linked together in one account.
  • Character sharing/trading could be more complicated.
  • It may make it a little longer for completely new players to the game to get into it and hence more likely to give up before they've started.
  • If someone gets/hacks your password they have access to ALL of your characters and equipment.
  • The impact on multiplay. Currently the rules are you may only have 8 peaceful characters or 1 deadly character logged in to the game. This has always been enforced by looking at ip numbers but this approach has its own flaws. Nowadays people can easily get around this to use more characters than the rules allow by using multiple ip's. This was a fair system in the old days 20 years ago when most people only had a single ip through a dial-up access internet account. Nowadays they could use a wi-fi connection on one computer to log 8 characters and then use their 3G connection on another computer to log another 8. At the same time if you have two different people in the one location sharing the same wi-fi connection then it can appear as one person using more than one character. An account system could be a different way to enforce this rule.
Either way it's an interesting idea to think about.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Monkey Business

During September the Order of Arcanes ran a competition to increase the knowledge on our forums board. This included information on low level to avatar challenges. This got me thinking about the mysteries of the game that I don't fully know about but sort of know a little on. This list included the following:
The one that has been bugging me the most is the mystery of the eight monkeys. They are spread mostly though the Southern Mountain Ranges geo with trips to neighbouring areas for some of the monkeys and parts to make them. These often involve mini-quests of differing sorts. For example to get the quartz monkey you need to do the following:
>Inside The Run Down Shack
This structure barely qualifies as a shack. Bits and pieces of trash are poorly hammered to cracked strips and timbers, all of which would collapse were it not leaning against the cliff face outside, plainly visible through the cracks in the walls. The shack sits in the low trough against the cliff face and what is left of the rotting floor is very damp. An unkempt bed rests on stone blocks in one corner and a crooked square table stands with the help of the wall. It is possible that this is someone's home.
Exits: north
An old ranger stands very still here.
Begbee looks up at you, seeming a little surprised.
Begbee thinks, 'Hmmmm.'
Begbee says 'I don't often have visitors...'
Begbee says 'Are you lost or is there reason for this intrusion?'

>say cress
You say 'cress'
Begbee looks a little shocked.
Begbee wonders 'Oh, you know Cress. Tell her her daddy would love to see her soon, wouldya?'

A Low Spot On The Canyon Rim
This natural low area on the canyon rim provides a beautiful view of the canyon stretching far to the southeast and the canyon floor below. A small fire has been built here and still smolders warmly. The rim trail follows the higher parts of the rim, passing this spot by. The east wall of this depression has a slight overhang of the sandstone at the very top, providing a tiny space of shelter, just enough for one person vertically.
Exits: north
(Glowing) A fire has burnt down to a bed of hot coals here.
(Hide) A young girl hangs by her feet in the shelter of the overhang.

>say begbee
You say 'begbee'
Cress says 'Yes, he is my father. He gave me something but I've... I think it fell into the canyon. I search for it every night but I think it's...'
Cress looks very sad.

The Northwest Corner Of The Enormous Canyon
The canyon floor is rather flat here, devoid of the hoodoos and other rock formations that fill this canyon with wonder. The high canyon walls are extremely crumbly and climbing here would be impossible. The balancing rock formation to the southeast looks precarious as if it ought to topple to the east into a nearby hoodoo at any moment.
Exits: east south

You begin your search...

Your search reveals a quartz monkey!

>give monkey cress
You give a quartz monkey to Cress.
Cress says to you, 'That's it. That's the little monkey! It's not broken, it's perfect.'
Cress looks both happy and very sad at the same time.
Cress says to you, 'Thank you for showing me. I'm glad I didn't break it. You keep it, though.'
Cress gives you a quartz monkey.
Cress says to you, 'Take good care of that, I can't keep it, it makes me sad.'
As you can see it involves talking to various mobs and searching in random rooms to get the monkey. Similar missions are involved to find the other monkeys, but I am stuck on the last two monkeys. The jade and sugilite monkeys still have me stumped but hopefully they will pop up soon for me.

One of the good things about joining an organisation in the game is that players can share information and put questions out there like the above for others to answer or solve themselves. Hopefully someone will have the answers.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

MUD's Aren't Dead

With the recent 20th anniversary of the Realms of Despair there has been much celebration and nostalgia of the game's history and introspection about the future of it. A large part of the feelings of the future of the game and MUD's in general have been pessimistic with concerns about the number of players - both retaining older players and recruiting newer plays along with the competition of other games.

Around the same time I've been reading as much as I can about MUD's in general and the academic analysis of them. The most proficient writer in recent years is Michael "Drakkos" Heron. He is one of the people responsible for the new Imaginary Realities Journal. I've already written about my feelings on some of his writings in an earlier post. Today I want to write a few comments about his paper “Likely to be eaten by a Grue” – the relevance of text games in the modern era which is all about why text games are still important today.

The first point he makes about why people play the games is summarised in the quote below:
These kinds of games are fun in and of themselves.  They are not fun because they hark back to simpler days of game development and remind many of us of the games we played when we were younger.  If that were their only appeal, we would never have played them in the first place.
I love that quote. It really expresses how I feel about the subject better than I could ever say. The paper then goes on to talk about the advantages of a text game over other games, mainly:
  1. The low cost - it costs little in money to play/make a MUD. Along with this it is (at least in theory) possible to quickly modify and update parts of it.
  2. The ergodic nature of a MUD over other games adds a different dimension where your actions and choices early on can affect you character long into the future.
  3. Accessability - MUD's are accessible to people with disabilities with the text nature of them easy for other programs to interpret.
  4. The players generally have a higher than average level of literacy. While there is the odd exception to this rule this higher literacy and intelligence can lead the game to be better than many others.
  5. The use of imagination is required to visualise the world in a way that graphics which become outdated quickly can not. For example consider the following room in the Daichall area:

For Her Pleasure
Pain wracks every vein of life that enters this hellish domain. Lifeless eyes stare from every corner. Bodies lie heaped upon the ground, each torn from life in macabre defeat. The shrieking of countless souls rips through the air and shatters any hope of escape. No suffering goes unexplored in this place and whole new worlds of torture are opened for the victims who enter. Knelt nearby, a lone paladin still clutches a holy cross, fingers locked forever in rigor mortis, his plea unheard. Perhaps not even the gods themselves can wield power over such wretched despair. A crimson light seems to filter up from the
floor, though no source is apparent.
Exits: none
So what can be done to modernise MUD's without losing their history and charm of what them popular in the first place? Obviously there are ways to promote games through various MUD related sites and social networking sites. The Realms of Despair does a great job of this through the use of votes on the topmudsite and has twitter regularly updated along with facebook and google+ groups.

Then there is the aim of getting new players to go from experimenting with a new game for the first time through to making it past that early newbie stage to becoming proficient at the game before reaching the final mastery stage with several avatar characters. The Newbie Council and Guild/Order/Clan structure does a good job helping players through this though of course there is always room for improvement.

The most exciting part of the paper to me though is discussion of the use of MXP protocols. Basically this newer protocol goes beyond what is possible using telnet. There is potential to include some graphics, buttons and I can even imagine going down a path to making keyboards almost optional which would also make it easier to play on a tablet. The best part of the potential in this is that it would allow players to merge the old methods of playing with newer ways.

This is already available to a degree in the game though taking a quick survey of half a dozen players about it responses varied from it being the greatest addition to the game in recent times, to it being no big deal to what is MXP? The other big advantage of using MXP well in a mud is it will give it an edge over other MUDs. In short more accessibility can lead to more players than what is available to mere traditional means of recruiting and advertising.

Finally to end this post a quote from  Michael Darkkos Heron:
"I make this case for text gaming not because we lack the technology for graphical games, but because text games have a charm and appeal that is unique.  I make this case because text games are fun, and more people owe it to themselves to find out why."

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Bonus Weekend

This weekend I logged on to not one but two exciting events in the Realms of Despair. The first was a change to the announcement of the day to:

The second exciting event was the following questnews:

I didn't waste anytime with the summer breeze quest, logged on my ranger and started running around all over the place to find them. My first success was in Transylvania as follows:
A Trail In The Eastern Forest
As you push through the dense forest growth, you notice blood stains cover almost all of the forest floor.  The silence is ominous, and you wish for the peacefulness of more familiar territory.  You may travel north or south along the trail, or head west towards a lighter area of the forest.
Exits: north south west
A summer breeze drifts through the air.
A little brown bunny rabbit nestles into the greenery.

>g summer
You get a summer breeze.

>c id summer
Object 'a summer breeze found by Jessyl' is infused with your magic...
It is a level 51 treasure, weight 1.
Special properties:  none
This treasure has a gold value of 0.
I continued questing after this and found another four summer breezes between Northern Plains, Dunhill and a couple of other places. In the end I found my fifth summer breeze and handed in 5 minutes before the end of the quest:
Darkhaven General Assembly
This vast room--the largest in the whole building--was designed for meetings of massive segments of the population. Rows upon rows of blue-padded benches line the walls like bleachers, and a small stage rises above the floor at the south end of the giant room, lit by gigantic torches. The floor of the room is tiled  in glimmering silver-veined marble, and the walls are draped in luxurious gold velvet. Crystal chandeliers hang from the ceiling like icy stalactites. Despite the ample seating, there is still plenty of room to walk, and grand balls have been held here in the past.
Exits: north
(Ascendant Goddess) (Red Aura) Destre is shrouded in a demonic aura. [Sanc]

Destre smiles happily.

You nod in greeting to everyone present.

Destre says 'all set :>'

>give summer dest
You give a summer breeze found by Jessyl to Destre.

Your glory has been increased by 10.

You wag your tail. Feeling happy?

Destre cheers you on like it's going out of style.

>say Thanks for the quest
You say 'Thanks for the quest'

Destre says 'welcome :>'
After this it was time to get into the levelling spirit. I started myself a new druid after losing the password to my old one and with the double experience I got it levelled up fast. One thing I found exciting was while levelling the druid I came across a low level quest I had never seen before:
 > The Darkhaven Bakery
Upon entering the Darkhaven Bakery, you find yourself surrounded by citizens of the marvelous city, each waiting in line for their daily bread.  Gazing eastward, you see a farmer's shop which sells all forms of dairy products.
A butcher's shop also lies to the west, while an opening in the tent to the south leads back out onto Market Street.
There is a small sign here.
Exits: east south west
An important looking scroll hangs from a wooden board.
Nimmith, Darkhaven's famed baker, is here.
Nimmith Looks you over.
Nimmith says to you 'Yes, you will do.'
Nimmith claps you rather roughly on your back.
Nimmith grumbles.
Nimmith goes on 'My usual shipment of flour from the Shire is three days late and I am running low. There will be some unhappy customers if I dont have their bread ready when they come in. I suspect marauders in the Forest of Tears. Go to the mill there. And hurry! I must have that flour.'
Nimmith rolls up his sleeves and starts kneading dough.
 This led to a short trip to The Shire for the following:

Bywater Road
You stand on Bywater Road, the busiest street in all of Shiredom.  The road
continues to the east and west.  A large, imposing building lies to the south.
You catch a glimpse of the Brandywine River to the north.
Exits: [north] east south west
The Miller is here, overseeing his busy mill workers.
'You're from Nimmith. I can tell by the flour dust all over you. No respect for personal space is all I'll say on the matter.'
The Miller chuckles politely.
'I knew that he would send someone when we were late. 
A wolf got my last delivery boy and I havent hired another yet. '
The Miller snaps his fingers and a millworker appears with a sack of flour.
The millworker gives the sack to the Miller.
The Miller gives you a sack of flour.
'Hurry now. Nimmith relies on these shipments.'
The flour was then returned to Nimmith for the following result:
The Darkhaven Bakery
Upon entering the Darkhaven Bakery, you find yourself surrounded by citizens of the marvelous city, each waiting in line for their daily bread.  Gazing eastward, you see a farmer's shop which sells all forms of dairy products.
A butcher's shop also lies to the west, while an opening in the tent to the south leads back out onto Market Street.
There is a small sign here.
Exits: east south west
An important looking scroll hangs from a wooden board.
Nimmith, Darkhaven's famed baker, is here.
Nimmith says to you 'Varlok, did I mention that the Western Trade Route would be the best way to go? Did you find the Shire?
If you have my flour, please give it to me.'

Nimmith says 'The Shire better bring that next flour shipment soon...'

> give flour nimmith
You give a sack of flour to Nimmith.
Nimmith claps you rather roughly on your back.
Nimmith exclaims 'Well done and just in time, Varlok! My thanks!'
Nimmith gives you 100,000 coins.
It is amazing the little quests scattered through the game you can easily pass over.

I thought it was great idea for the immortals to test the double experience out. It has been well thought out and advertised on the twitter account:

The proof of the success of this initiative will be when the mudstats site updates its numbers. I can't wait to see what new initiative the immortals have lined up next...

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Arcane Adventures

I've been really enjoying myself in Arcanes lately. There's a great group of players who get along well, are active and I feel as if I'm contributing to the organisation while still getting something out of it. New members both experienced players and newbies are joining up, the Arcane Forums are filling up with information and there have been plenty of successful killing of some of the larger mobs in the Realms.
While I haven't managed to be online at the right times to join in with kills of the Fire Elemental I have joined in with kills at Justice, Corsterix, Percival, Overlord Graajchzrakil and an unimaginable nightmare. Out of these my two favourite kills were:
Your rending grip wounds Overlord Graajchzrakil!
Overlord Graajchzrakil is DEAD!!
Overlord Graajchzrakil utters an obscene shriek as its lungs poison their last breath of air. Its body falls out of the shadows, revealing a twisted blackened exoskeleton, slowly withering away.
Victory has been achieved as this source of death and decay has been defeated. But evil cannot be beaten this easily. Rest assured that this creature will be given unholy life once again. Evil is forever.
Overlord Graajchzrakil catches its guts in its hands as they pour through its fatal wound!
You get 84755 gold coins from the corpse of Overlord Graajchzrakil.
You split 84755 gold coins.  Your share is 28253 gold coins.
The corpse of Overlord Graajchzrakil holds:
     (Red Aura) A blood-covered cleaver
     (Red Aura) clinging strips of parasite fungus
Your slash gashes An unimaginable nightmare!
An unimaginable nightmare is DEAD!!
The shimmering forms coalesce into an aged gnome.
'Free' he says 'Of the nightmares, of the Demon Prince. But the nightmares he will unleash on this world, I pray my children survived what he tried to bring to pass.
The gnome spits black blood from his mouth.
The mage pulls a shimmering key from his rags as he slumps over.
The eyes of the mage close as he breathes his last.
An unimaginable nightmare drops the key of fear.
Light flashes over the gnome's hand, then vanishes.
An unimaginable nightmare hits the ground ... DEAD.
An unimaginable nightmare has no gold.
The corpse of An unimaginable nightmare holds:
     a ring of gnarled wood
I enjoyed killing the Overlord as it was a run I hadn't done in several years and I'd like to do more of for the items he sometimes pops (including his ring). The second kill above is one that I've had trouble with in the past getting to pop those rings. The unimaginable nightmare is an enjoyable kill as his combination of powerful attacks and his sleep attacks keep you on you toes. Previously I've done about 10 kills in a row without any rings popping but in recent weeks the pop rates have been better. Seems to be one of those mobs that you either have a lucky run with or no luck at all with nothing in between. I'm happy I've now got rings of gnarled wood for my cleric.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

It's More Than a Game

Lately I've been doing a bit of thinking about my future including goals and what I'd like to achieve. One of these aims is to get a masters degree and then get into teaching at a higher level. While considering this possibility I had a long around online for some research papers on various topics including MUD's. Reading these papers I came across a research project titled "Ethnography of Online Role-Playing Games: The Role of Virtual and Real Contest in the Construction of the Field" written by Simona Isabella. It took me about five attempts at reading it before I could my head around it all. What I did find really interesting about this particular paper was that it made comparisons between the players of Realms of Despair and an Italian MUD called Extremelot. Here I am going to post my thoughts on Simona's conclusions - what I disagree with, agree with and parts I am still not sure about.

1 - Realms of Despair is a game.
I agree with this though there is more to it than just that. Getting the most experience, gold, equipment, glory, etc is a part of the game. This part of the game can be done to a large degree without much interaction with other players but it is required to interact with other players to get the best equipment either through working together as a team or finding someone to trade with. Adding this interaction and the relationships and friction between players adds another dimension that I believe makes more than a game.

2 - You can interact with people you wouldn't otherwise have anything in common with.
This is definitely true. One of my favourite quotes from the paper is:
"Lots of these people have good relationships through the text and we don't care if you are 150 tons … who cares!!!" (CA/13, F, 28).
This is completely true. A lot of the time I have no idea what other players look like, how old they are, education levels, wealth, race, religion or nationality. This is a good thing about the game and can occasionally result in some odd conversations with points of view I wouldn't otherwise see.

3. - A sense of belonging can occur.
This is a big point in the thesis. The idea is that people can feel as though they are connected to a community where they fit in and belong with others like themselves. Players can develop this feeling and I personally believe this is a big reason why a lot people keep playing this game. I think that this is the challenge to retaining players after they have levelled a couple of characters up to level 50. It also shows to me the importance of players being prepared to make new connections with other players as time goes on and some players leave.

4. MUDs are considered outdated games.
I don't fully agree with this statement. Especially when the writer says:
a very obsolete kind of game if we compare them with the modern graphic games (such as the famous War of the War Craft).
I think that a lot of the ideas behind the more modern games have been borrowed from MUDs. If you look at the money raised from some of these games (including the taxes raised and employment made) they certainly benefit the community. Without MUDs and research on them where would these games be? I certainly don't think they are obsolete.

5. Players are attached more some of their characters than others
I currently have 23 avatar characters and am working on a few more. I am only really attached to 3 of them. I doubt that many of the people who know me in the game can name any more of my alternate characters. I think most players feel a similar way about their characters.

6. Every player lives in Eastern Canada and is not welcoming of new comers
This is so not true. I accept that there are some cliques within the game and it is hard to break into them - but what do you expect from a game where some people have been friends for many years? I have met a handful of players and live about as far away from Eastern Canada as you can get. I know of several players from other parts of the world too - England, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa...

7. Mudders are geeky deviants
I laughed when I read this one. Very debatable. I was going to say this was definitely not true then I remembered I have a degree in mathematics... Maybe there is some truth in this.

The final conclusion of this thesis is:

Moreover, virtual communities like these created around MUDs can be considered as communities of practices: the participation is voluntary and the process of socialisation is more oriented to sharing experiences than to reaching common purposes. Members of these communities have in common the desire to take certain routes together, interpreting events as they come and create meaningful environments. They behave freely but always respecting some rules. The satisfaction that participants get from this union becomes a founding value of the community in itself.
It's an interesting thought and achievement to consider what has been done in the Realms of Despair over the last 20 years. The author has a PhD in part from her work in this. I like that the Realms of Despair is getting it's place in history and officially published in academic research. It also makes me think that perhaps Thoric deserves an honorary doctorate for his work and commitment over the years.

The Deck of Many Things (round 7)

After every reboot I have a look around for the Deck of Many Things. I hadn't seen it for a few weeks apart from two weeks ago when it was in The Village of Edo but I was beaten to it by a member of Dragonslayers. Today it was lying in a room in Cursed Lands. Here's what happened next:
Small Hut
These are the living quarters of these villagers.  Very simple looking, it is circular in shape with pots and pans along one side, an outhouse along another and miscellaneous items scattered about.  These people live a very simple life with no luxury.  You wonder how they entertain themselves.
The Deck of Many Things lies in wait for a brave soul.
The Deck of Many Things says 'If you can find a card within me, you might be lucky enough to draw something of value.
However, once you submit to chance, you put yourself at the mercy of the cards.
The Deck of Many Things winks suggestively.

>g key deck
You get the Key to the Deck of Many Things from the Deck of Many Things.
The Key to the Deck shudders menacingly.
You drop the Key to the Deck of Many Things.
Vl'aresch gives you one gold coin for your sacrifice of the Key to the Deck of Many Things.
Be Forewarned : You could lose all that you own.
Sashell has been given the chance to draw from the Deck of Many Things.

>g card deck
You get a card from the Deck of Many Things.
A mystical being appears and points at you. Your senses reel as you are flung through the void to another place.
The card twists and wriggles in your hands.
A great flash of light envelopes the room, blinding you momentarily.
When your vision returns, you see that the Deck of Many Things lies before you once more.
It is highly recommended that you examine the deck before drawing from it. When you are ready, simply take the card.

>g card deck
You get a card from The Deck of Many Things.
You see that you have drawn the High Priestess.
The priestess smiles enigmatically and steeples her fingers.
The cold winds of never rush through the void, whipping the card from your hand.

Your mind is racing...
Your head is spinning...
Your heart is pounding...
Exits: northeast northwest southeast southwest
(Red Aura) It is your turn to die at the claws of a mad raven!
A mad raven shimmers beneath an aura of dark energy.
(Red Aura) It is your turn to die at the claws of a mad raven!
A mad raven shimmers beneath an aura of dark energy.
The result was being transported deep into the Knights of the Round area. While I was there I thought I might as well kill a raven or two:
A mad raven's deathrattle fills the air as you drain its life...
Your suspiric grasp hits A mad raven!
A mad raven is DEAD!!
You search for a feather for Starre, but can't find a good one.
Maybe the next raven...
A mad raven's brains spill grotesquely from its head.
You get 107 gold coins from the corpse of A mad raven.
The interesting part here is the message about the feather for Starre. I've never completed her quest and I'm not sure if anyone in the game actually has. She requires four items - a feather from a mad raven, a chipmunk tooth, a Camelot coconut and a mountain clover. Last I heard no one could locate the mountain clover... I may have to look deeper into this one since the news item that brought in this quest mentions:
- Starre Mistril has likewise been doing some new research, which could
possibly lead to something quite lucrative...  (Also, she will have a special
reward for the first two players to complete her quest.)
I've been working on a few other tasks within and outside the game. More on them next time.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

14 Tips to being an Expert Explorer

Knowing the secrets of the game by solving all of the puzzles, finding the hidden rooms and items is a big part of the Realms of Despair game. Some knowledge is guarded and only told to trusted players so as to give their group an edge. With the following news item came this gold nugget of information:
As a side note, we will be trying to put in a number of new and previously
enjoyed Smaug areas (updated to modern standards) over the coming months.
Stay Tuned!
In this post I've written about some of the tips and tricks to exploring I've seen through out various areas of the Realms of Despair. While some puzzles are well known others I've been asking a few players about that they have not seen around. As a result I'm posting my tips and tricks in order of most commonly known to more hidden tricks.
Tip 1 - Have detect invis, hidden and traps
One of the most basic bits of advice is have these spells or the equivalent on when exploring. Gith characters start with detect invis imbued in them so make a good race for exploring lower level areas. Most people know this but it is always worth checking they haven't worn off or you never know what you will miss.
Tip 2 - Look/examine everything
Another obvious bit of advice but check everything when exploring. I think the first place I ever saw a use for this was when as a newer player I first explored Tullfuhrzky Manor and came across the following:
A Luxurious Living Room
You find yourself in a comfortable living room.  Beautiful artwork adorns
the walls, and you take a second to look at it all.  A crackling fire burns
in the fireplace.  A large, sturdy oak chair and a nice couch makes this
place feel like home.  Turning around, you see the curtains which prevented
you from looking through the windows.  There are also a few potted plants
sitting next to the windows, soaking up sunlight.  A beautiful grandfather
clock sits against the west wall.  A staircase leads up from here.
Exits: north east south up

>exam clock
You place your hands on the clock, moves!  There's a secret passage
behind here!

>op secret
You open the passage.
I felt like a real player when I found that around level 10 on my first character. What was even better is the secret passage led to some nice equipment that I could use to maximise my constitution stat for the first time. Just be careful to type in the full word for the item you are looking it. Also don't forget that you can look under some items as well.

Tip 3 - Bump
Bumping is the trick to finding hidden rooms by just entering directions that are not mentioned as exits and seeing if you bump into a new room or get a message about some door blocking your way. This works well with the scry spell. I have a scryall alias set up so that I can quickly scry in all of the main directions when I walk into a new room. An example of it's uses are here in the Tower of Despair.
The Library
The denizen that resides here has a great love of books and scrolls.  The
shelves overflow with tomes, maps, scrolls and treatises.  The width and
breadth of subjects is astounding.  The shelves throw long shadows across
the candlelit chamber.  A slight breeze cools your skin.
Exits: west
(Red Aura) A shadow from the bookcase metamorphs into a human form.

>l north
The bookshelf is closed.
The above shows that there is a secret exit hidden to the north behind a bookshelf.

Tip 4 - Search and dig everywhere
Sometimes there are pretty obvious clues to dig or search in a particular room. Often there will be a message about disturbed soil or something similar. Other times there will be no clues at all but something useful hidden away such as:
A Wind Torn Beach
Twisted, stunted trees line the beach, their tortured roots extending into
the waves as if seeking relief in the cool waters of the sea. Fluttering in
the gusts of wind that blow in from the ocean, grey spanish moss dangles from
the branches, enveloping the almost barren limbs in a funeral shroud.
Exits: west down northeast

You begin your search...

Your search reveals a coral monkey!
Also with that make sure you have a shovel item in your inventory to help with digging. I should also mention about searching containers. If you ever examine a chest and find it is empty but the description of it does not match up then there is something hidden inside it such as the following chest in Bartok Grove.
>exam chest
You take a closer look at a leather bound chest on the ground...
You see nothing special.
A leather bound chest appears to be nearly full.
A leather bound chest contains:

>search chest
You begin your search...

Your search reveals a pair of rose tinted eyeglasses!
Tip 5 - Break things
One of the newer commands and tricks is the break command. Try it out on anything you can your hands on because you never know when it will work such as the following in Winterlight Island.
A Snowy Pathway
The road is thickly packed with snow, drifts on either side encroaching each footstep, making the pathway little more than a railing-width of clearing for travelers to step upon. A nearly buried hovel has been left untended to the northwest, a possible shelter...but apparently not a popular one, as the rickety doorway is piled high with unswept snow. Thick icicles droop from the rooftop, melding into the drifts to create a cagelike sculpture of ice.
Exits: south northeast [northwest]

>exam icicle
The icicles are insanely long. You might be able to break one off, if you wanted to.

>break icicle
You easily snap off a long, deadly icicle.

You are carrying 8 items and have room for 12 more:
     the sigil of Vl'aresch
     a brown leather satchel
     a fate banshee's pouch
     a small birch chest (2)
     (Glowing) a rune-covered bag
     a small pick axe
     a long, deadly icicle

>c id icicle
Object 'a long, deadly icicle' is infused with your magic...
It is a level 50 thrusting weapon, weight 1.
Locations it can be worn:  wield
Special properties:  two-handed
Classes allowed:  Warrior Paladin
This weapon has a gold value of 0.
Damage is 6 to 54 (average 30).
Causes elemental damage: 'icy' 50%.
Affects damage roll by 6.
Affects resistant:cold by 5%.
Affects dexterity by -1.

>You take a closer look at a long, deadly icicle in inventory...
This monstrous icicle is nearly your own height, almost too large to consider using as a weapon... but with two hands, it might be possible to jab the pointy end into someone.
This seems to be a thrusting weapon.
It appears to be within or below your level range.
As you look more closely, you notice that it is in superb condition. 
Tip 6 - Eat things
There are a few cases in the game where you can eat an item to create another. One place where this works is in the area of Nevermore.
Jeanne's deathrattle fills the air as you drain her life...
Your suspiric grasp thrashes Jeanne!
Jeanne is DEAD!!
Jeanne hits the ground ... DEAD.
You get 215600 gold coins from the corpse of Jeanne.
The corpse of Jeanne holds:
     a floral printed apron
     a tray of freshly made buns
     a copper pot

>g buns corpse
You get a tray of freshly made buns from the corpse of Jeanne.

>exam buns
You take a closer look at a tray of freshly made buns in inventory...
The perfectly browned buns have been enhanced with a light apricot glaze.
As you examine it carefully you notice that it is fresh.

>c id buns
Object 'a tray of freshly made buns' is infused with your magic...
It is a level 37 food, weight 1.
Special properties:  none
This food has a gold value of 0.

You are carrying 10 items and have room for 10 more:
     a burlap sack
     the sigil of Vl'aresch
     a brown leather satchel
     a fate banshee's pouch
     a small birch chest (2)
     (Glowing) a rune-covered bag (2)
     a small pick axe
     a tray of freshly made buns

>eat buns
As you eagerly gobble up the warm buns, several crumbs lie unnoticed at the corners of your mouth.

You are carrying 10 items and have room for 10 more:
     a burlap sack
     the sigil of Vl'aresch
     a brown leather satchel
     a fate banshee's pouch
     a small birch chest (2)
     (Glowing) a rune-covered bag (2)
     a small pick axe
     a small tray

>exam tray
You take a closer look at a small tray in inventory...
The granular items lurking in the corners of the tray are crumbs.
As you look more closely, you notice that it is in superb condition.
It appears to be within or below your level range.

>c id tray
Object 'a small tray' is infused with your magic...
It is a level 2 armor, weight 1.
Locations it can be worn:  shield
Special properties:  none
This armor has a gold value of 0.
Armor class is 6 of 6.
Affects damage roll by 1.
Tip 7 - Sit, stand, sleep...
There are places in the game that are only accessible by first standing on items or sitting in a particular room. For example in the Barren Wastes there is a part of the area only accessible by first standing on a stone.
Behind a Small Shack
The back of the shack, much like the front and side, is void of any kind of entrance or exit.  The support struts seen at the side and front are constructed here as well, though a few large blocks seem to have fallen from the temple and landed on the ground near the shack.  The temple above provides a cool, dry atmosphere for this area, protecting it from the elements.
Exits: northwest
A large block of stone lies here near the shack, roughly square in shape.

>stand stone
You carefully climb atop the large block of stone.

>climb roof
You climb atop the roof with the help of the added height from the large stone block.
Tip 8 - Don't believe everything on Rodpedia
I use rodpedia a lot. It is the best publicly accessible site full of information about the game out there at the moment. It is made by contributions from the public which does mean that there are a few bits of information missing and just because there is a map of an area with a green completed status on it does not mean the map is complete. For example there is a room in the Desert of Despair that can be only accessed by sitting. I've marked it on the map below:

Inside a large tent
Wooden slats lain across sturdy woven baskets operate as tables in what appears to be a makeshift bar. On one side of the tent, a large burly woman stands serving liquids to the few folks that have made time to come in here. Each liquid is scooped from woven casks with a ladle and poured into small ceramic bowls. The patrons don't seem very rowdy. No doubt they have been working hard.
Exits: north
A thin woven cask sits against the wall.
The heavy, lonely barkeep stands behind her casks.

You sit down.
Pulling a small cask to a table, you make yourself at home.
A makeshift table
The large casks tied together form what some would call a table. Others would call them... well... large casks tied together.  The casks were long ago emptied and have since had knives, axes and swords driven into the wood.
Exits: none
Tip 9 - Talk to and bribe mobs
Some area have mobs that will interact with you when you mention the correct words or even better give them some gold coins as a bribe. It is often worth just saying every word you can think of to do with the area and see if they respond to any of them. On top of that it can be worth just giving them some gold coins to see if that will make them talk. For example again in the Desert of Despair:
>give woman 50000 coins
You give 5,000 coins to A rich woman.
A rich woman says 'You can throw away the pink stone from that wretched cook.'
Tip 10 - wait
In some areas you need to wait around for something to happen. At the right time of day a certain mob may pop up on a sneaky mission or a travelling merchant may pass on by.

Tip 11 - Use the where command
Whenever I go to a new area one thing I do is use the where command with an argument after it to try and find names of mobs that may be hidden in it. I always use the obvious words like dragon, guard, soldier, ogre, vampire, thief... I also use the names of anything I can think of that may be related to the area which can even show up the odd mob you're not supposed to see. Such as in Transylvania:
>Entrance Gate to Transylvania
You approach a large, rotting gate that stands about 15 feet in height. It seems that what was once a beautiful monument to a beautiful city, has decayed to the point of collapse.  Adjusting your eyes to the dim light, you can barely read the words, "Welcome to Transylvania".
You notice a bright golden plaque suspended in mid-air, and can't help but want to look at it.
Exits: north south

>where lestat
| Lestat is currently at Mao's Coffin
Using this to find mobs in the area gives you an idea of things you can try to track or portal to.

Tip 12 - Try killing with different classes, races, aligns or items
This one can be a nuisance. Some mobs in the game only pop items if killed by particular races, classes, aligns or if the person getting the killing blow is carrying a particular item. For example to make the Dragon's Bane sword in The Village of Edo you need to pop the hides from various dragons. These hides will not pop at all unless the person getting the killing blow is carrying a directive from the grandmaster in Edo. Without a directive the killing blow on Shimmergloom is:
Shimmergloom is DEAD!!
The huge black dragon's neck buckles, and its huge head crashes against the pile of treasure upon which it once slept.
Shimmergloom gasps its last breath and blood spurts out of its mouth and ears.
You get 1081600 gold coins from the corpse of Shimmergloom.
You split 1081600 gold coins.  Your share is 540800 gold coins.
The corpse of Shimmergloom holds:
     a shadowy pair of dragonscale leggings
     a shadowy pair of dragonscale arm guards
     a shadowy pair of dragonscale gloves
However with a directive there is no guarantees but you will get an extra line of text:
Shimmergloom is DEAD!!
The huge black dragon's neck buckles, and its huge head crashes against the pile of treasure upon which it once slept.
A piece of Shimmergloom's hide breaks off and shatters into thousands of pieces.
Shimmergloom screams furiously as it falls to the ground in a heap!
You get 1081600 gold coins from the corpse of Shimmergloom.
The corpse of Shimmergloom holds:
     a shadowy pair of dragonscale leggings
     a shadowy pair of dragonscale arm guards
     a shadowy pair of dragonscale gloves
While the successful pop is:
Shimmergloom is DEAD!!
The huge black dragon's neck buckles, and its huge head crashes against the pile of treasure upon which it once slept.
With a horrible tearing sound, a piece of the dragon's hide falls to the ground.
Shimmergloom catches its guts in its hands as they pour through its fatal wound!
You get 1081600 gold coins from the corpse of Shimmergloom.
The corpse of Shimmergloom holds:
     a shadowy pair of dragonscale leggings
     a shadowy pair of dragonscale arm guards
     a shadowy pair of dragonscale gloves

Tip 13 - Use socials
In some situations the trick is to use a certain social in the right room. For example in Daichaal there is a puzzle where you need to use the hshake social. There are clues to it:
Unadorned Offerings
A delicately chiselled alcove fills most of the room, edges limned by white
flames that flicker and dance. At the centre, a worn brass altar sits without
adornment. The walls are covered by velvet drapes of deep green and the floor
is of highly polished marble. No dust appears to have gathered, as if this
chamber is somehow immune to the passing ravages of time.
Exits: southwest

>exam altar
At first seeming entirely plain, the altar reveals more than expected upon
close examination. Etched into the worn surface of the top is a very faint
circle of ancient lettering...

                   Those who extend their hand in peace
                        Shall receive one in return

You look for someone to shake hands with.
The very air itself seems to thicken with anticipation.
A slender jade hand, palm outstreched, materialises in the air above the altar.
Some people I know even have aliases set up to use every single social on every mob when they go exploring.

Tip 14 - Don't be scared to ask for help
If you get stumped on an area a fresh pair of eyes can uncover things another may have missed. Ask a friend to have a look around for you. If you have no friends join a guild/order/clan and see if they can help you out. Do a google search for what you are looking for as there may be info on another site somewhere about it. Lastly use a public channel to ask for help - what's the worst that can happen besides silence?

I'm sure everyone who plays this game will have their own advice and tips to add to this list (I'm sure I'll think of things I've left off here over the week). Again if you have any questions about anything feel free to send me a tell.