Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Deck of Many Things (Round 10)

Found the deck again... Blah blah blah... Was excited to find it in an area where I had only ever seen it once before. The results were:
>g card deck
You get a card from The Deck of Many Things.
You see that you have drawn the Idiot.
The image of the Idiot on the card comes to life and regards you with his face contorted into what he imagines to be a thoughtful visage.
The Idiot exclaims 'Well met friend!'
The Idiot puffs out his chest and proclaims 'I'll do thee a favour my fine friend and send ye far, for travel surely broadens the mind, and what finer venue could a seeker after knowledge visit than my own favourite abode?.
The Idiot nods to himself. It appears he often converses with himself.
The Idiot waves goodbye to you.  Have a good journey.
The cold winds of never rush through the void, whipping the card from your hand and returning you to the mortal realm.

The grass here is very long, reaching up past your ankles up to near your knees. The fence here is now intergrown with various vine like plants, almost as if in a symbiotic, or parasitic, relationship.
Exits lead east and south.
Exits: east south
The Garden is located in Abattoir Asylum. All up it was the most anticlimactic and uneventful card in the deck I've ever seen.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Arcanes Quest Roundup

Two days ago was the deadline for submission of my Arcanes quest for January. I found the quest to be an overall successful endeavour and thought provoking exercise on how quests are ran in the Realms of Despair.

Before even starting the quest I took into consideration what my aims for the quest were. I wanted to focus on players developing the achiever side of the Bartle Test accomplishments. To do this my aims included:
  • Getting less experienced players with only a few avatar characters out and killing mobs that are a challenge but not too difficult so that they can learn from it.
  • Encouraging small teams to work together for the slightly harder mobs.
  • Giving people something to do that they can attempt on their own.
  • Making it challenging enough for more experienced players to keep them busy going after items they haven't bothered trying to get for a long time.
  • Getting some publicity out in the game about Arcanes being an active and inclusive organisation.
  • Having decent prizes that will help people equip their alts better.
  • Getting people to have some fun and enjoy the game.
From this I chose a list of 30 items to send players after. The full list of items was: a set of icy leggings, blackened blade of the corruptor, bloodhunger, bracer of light, cloak of demons, cloak of light, crusade, crystal dragon bracers, crystalline teardrop, darkened gauntlets, demonscale boots, demonskin ankle bracer, doomgiver, godskull shinguards, golden torque, moccasins, a shadowy pair of dragonscale armguards, platinum band of the draco viridis, sash of the magi, scorched band of glass, sets ring of power, shield of the Valkyrie and shifting black flames. Each of these items I can get on my own from a variety of strategies and each of these items is useful for an avatar character to get a basic equipment set up.

In the end I was happy with the results I got from the quest. Activity within the order improved from a slow December and those who participated all responded positively. One of the unexpected bonuses was that to get some of the items in my quest it overlapped with a quest being run by the Immortal Quest Council over the month resulting in players making a little glory too. This experience also did lead to an increase in appreciation for the time and effort the Quest Council members do put it into the planning and building for some of the more elaborate quests they release every now and again.

With the positive results I'm already working on a couple of ideas for another quest in a couple of months time.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Deck of Many Things (round 9)

It had been a while since I last found the Deck of Many Things without the card in it having been taken already. Today I found it hiding away in an obscure corner of the Realms of Despair. Here's what happened:
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 ]------------------------------
2B||!2B         Belkira. (Arete) [Council of Elders]
Acolyte         Zach.
2 players.

>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 Ten of Swords.
What this card bodes for your future, only an immortal of level 57 or above can discover for you.

>tell belk Hi Belkira. Can you please help
me out with the deck?
You tell Belkira 'Hi Belkira. Can you please help me out with the deck?'

>beckon belkira
You beckon to Belkira...

Belkira tells you 'Sure, one sec.'

Belkira looks at you.

Belkira rolls out of bed and falls into the room.

You smile happily.

Within a Small Circle of Mystical Stones
All the world is blank. Nothing is visible here but a gathering of smooth rocks, set into a pattern of circular form. Each rock has a faint glow to it, and each one is slightly different. They appear to have been ravaged by the winds of change throughout countless eons, and have been left in this blank void as a testament to the truth of eternity.
Exits: none
(Glowing) (Humming) One of the rocks in the circle glows translucently.
(Greater God) Belkira radiates with a godly light.
Belkira is surrounded by cascading torrents of energy.

>say Hi
You say 'Hi'

Belkira says 'Hey :)'

Belkira wonders 'Have a card for me then?'

>give card belk
You give a card to Belkira.

Belkira drops a card.

Belkira sacrifices a card to Cawyn.
Whispering voices fill the room and a faint breeze blows from somewhere...
You somehow find the inner strength to resist the baleful influence of this card.

Belkira says 'I need a piece of armor from you that you are currently wearing'

>rem set
You stop using Set's ring of Power.

>give set belk
You give Set's ring of Power to Belkira.

Belkira utters the words, 'uoculoihuyl'.
An item held by Belkira briefly luminesces.

Belkira gives you Set's ring of Power.


>c id set

Object 'Set's ring of Power' is infused with your magic...
It is a level 47 armor, weight 1.
Locations it can be worn:  finger
Special properties:  hum dark evil metal
Alignments allowed:  evil neutral
This armor has a gold value of 340600.
Armor class is 11 of 12.
Affects hp by 50.
Affects mana by 25.
Affects intelligence by 2.
Affects hit roll by 4.
Affects damage roll by 4.
Affects resistant:magic by 5%.

You go ooOOooOOooOOoo.

Belkira grins.

>say Thanks a lot for that one :)
You say 'Thanks a lot for that one :)'

>wear set
You slip your right finger into Set's ring of Power.

Belkira says 'np :)'

Belkira bows deeply.

Belkira has transferred you.
I was lucky this time and got 5% resist magic added to the ring. Last time I got the same card I ended up with -5% resist magic so this was a win and thanks to Belkira for helping out with it.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Russian Roulette

Lately I've been doing a lot of teleporting about trying to hit some rooms in Vast Horizons. There are still some unsolved mysteries in that area. I've found the most reliable and safest way to reach the area is to stock up on Zombie candy from Dragon Cult and then heading to the Otherland area before teleporting away. I do this as teleporting from the Otherland can only lead to teleporting to Wild Tundra, Cursed Lands, Sea of Sorrows or Vast Horizons. Oh and occasionally this room in Knights of the Round:
A Nice Place To Teleport Into
You're in a room that isn't really here. So, ignore it.
Exits: none
Besides trying to get the various totem items for different characters one of the best and easy rooms to play with is the Drunken Risks. Here you can play a game of Russian Roulette with a chance to make some easy gold:
Drunken Risks
An eyeball coating film of hazy smoke lingers permanently in the air, the negligible lighting accentuating the effect. Blink as you will, the view will not improve any. Tables lay scattered about the room, and bottles are everywhere, most of them empty. Seasoned looking groups of men sit at the tables, some speaking in hushed voices, others erupting into bawdy laughter.
Exits: south
(Red Aura) A hulking man glares about the room.
Vassily shimmers beneath an aura of dark energy.

> s
Liquid Luck
Exits: north east
A hazy pallor of smoke rises to the roof, creating a foggy haze throughout the dimly lit room. A chunky wooden table of irregular shape sits in the corner of the room, surrounded by a cluster of scratched and mismatched chairs. A clear bottle rests on the table, surrounded by a set of small glass tumblers. Even an optimistic person would have trouble viewing this bottle as 'half full' since the liquid line runs well below an estimated half way mark.
(Red Aura) A man with half an ear sidles up to you with a sneer on his face.
Mikhail wonders 'Interested in some fun?'

> say yes
You say 'yes'
Mikhail says 'We have a game in the next room going that we like to share with the new folks.'
Mikhail says 'It only costs 50000 gold pieces to join in the thrills and fun.'

> give 50000 coins mik
You give 50,000 coins to Mikhail.
Mikhail says 'Fine then, give this token to Demetry, and he'll get you set up.'
Mikhail gives you a roulette game token.

> e
Roulette, Russian Style
A table is nestled into this far corner of the room, and seated at this table are a wild assortment of hard looking men. Each man has probably consumed the equivalent of a bottle and a half of vodka, yet despite the slightly red eyes, it is not immediately evident. Everyone in this room smokes, and the air is thick with it. As strangers approach, the conversation quiets, and all eyes are upon the newcomer.
Exits: west
(Red Aura) A bald man with a long beard rises from the table.

Roulette, Russian Style
Exits: west
(Red Aura) A bald man with a long beard rises from the table.
> look demetry
All the hair from Demetry's head appears to have migrated south to his chin, which sports a full reddish hued beard. Always the wheeler and dealer of the crowd, Demetry loves to gamble. He'll even gamble with his life. Or yours.
Demetry is in perfect health.

> give token demetry
You give a roulette game token to Demetry.
Demetry raises an eyebrow at you.
Demetry says 'When my father was a lad, a wizard showed him a curious weapon. It can fire projectiles a great distance with a loud bang.'
Demetry says 'When the wizard left town, he gave my father the weapon, so he could clear the fields of those rabid gophers more easily.'
Demetry says 'The weapon has only six charges, and then it must be recharged again to work.'
Demetry says 'My father was a popular man in his day, and had many friends. When everyone discovered he had this weapon, his popularity increased.'
Demetry says 'One day, he was sitting around with some of his buddies, and they made up a game of chance, whereupon the weapon was given only one charge.'
Demetry says 'Then he and his friends would pass it around and point it at their own heads. '
Demetry says 'If the weapon did not fire, then that meant the Gods were smiling favourably.'
Demetry says 'If the weapon did fire, then it meant that the person had no favour in the eyes of the Gods and could not continue living.'
Demetry says 'We call this game 'Russian Roulette' after my father, who was a big gambling man.'
Demetry says 'If you would like to try this game out to see if you have the Gods' favour, tell me to show you the weapon.'

> tell demetry show me the weapon
You tell Demetry 'show me the weapon'
Demetry removes a curious weapon from the table and gives it to you.
You point it at your head... and pull the trigger!
Nothing happens.
Demetry gives you 10,000,000 coins.
Demetry says 'Take that as your reward.'
Demetry grumbles.
Demetry exclaims 'Now get out of my sight!'
You return to Darkhaven with a smug, yet relieved, feeling. 
Of course you can't win them all:
> tell demetry show me the weapon
You tell Demetry 'show me the weapon'
Demetry removes a curious weapon from the table and gives it to you.
You point it at your head... and pull the trigger!
(a huge shield of oak gets damaged)
..Everything begins to fade to black.

You feel yourself leaving your body... rising up into the air, you feel more free than you have ever felt before...

However, before your deity comes to collect your soul, you feel a strange pulling sensation as strange and colorful mists swirl around you...
Overall I'd guess that the chances of success here are about 50%. If you lose you will need to supplicate for your corpse but overall it is definitely worth taking the chance if you teleport here. If you happen to have half a dozen characters teleporting around at the same time then you can hit this room fairly regularly and make a little gold while trying to solve other puzzles.

Monday, January 5, 2015


Today I was reading about the history of muds in particular Diku MUD in an article posted on Massively titled How Diku MUD shaped modern MMO's by Justin Olivetti. This is of relevance to players of Realms of Despair as this mud runs on the SMAUG which is built onto the Merc codebase which in turn is built onto the DikuMUD code.

I learnt a few things from the article, agreed with some parts and disagreed with others. Firstly I learnt where the name Diku MUD came from - it is an acronym for Datalogisk Institut KĂžbenhavns Universitet where the code was written. Being released in 1991 and adapted even through to today is quite an achievement in the world of computer programming. The article believes that the success of it lies in the following three factors:
  1. It is free to use and modify
  2. It is stable and bug free
  3. Easy to use and modify
I'd agree with each of the above as being big factors in the success of it. In fact for a computer programmer number 2 and 3 are the holy grail. Number 1 however is a big call and brings back memories of the days when computing was about fun, knowledge and making something for others to enjoy rather than a way to make money.

The part where Diku MUD led to Merc in 1992 and SMAUG in 1994 shows how quickly the codebase could be modified and built upon. The code is obviously not perfect otherwise why would so many people choose to add to it with their own derivation?

The article then describes basic features of MUDs built on DikuMUD but makes one rather bold statement of:
Due to its widespread proliferation and undue pressure it put upon the industry, DikuMUD is seen by many vocal players as one of the worst things that have happened to MMOs even as players still flock by droves to these games.
It is very interesting to me is that most of the people commenting on this article are strongly opposed to this statement. The feedback is best summarised as in these two comments:
MU*s are still super important to a few thousand people. to all of you who consider yourself roleplayers on MMOs...try a MUSH some time. that's where the prose addicts seek refuge. 
I also think it's an incredible stretch to call today's MMOs, "Diku-MMOs". While a lot of things were built off Diku, that was quite some time ago. At some point, you have to accept that things are their own thing, and not still call it something it hasn't been for almost two decades.
This all gets me back to where I started with on this post and why I decided to title it "Immortality". No I haven't been sponsored for immortality and no I could think of any punny titles involving "DIKU" but the idea that this is something that lives on. Everytime you connect to the Realms of Despair the names of contributors to the DikuMUD/Merc/SMAUG projects: Hatchet, Furey, Kahn, Hans Staerfeldt, Katja Nyboe, Tom Madsen, Michael Seifert and Sebastian Hammer, Derek Snider, Altrag/Blodkai/Haus/Narn/Scryn/Swordbearer/Tricops/Gorog/Rennard/Grishnakh/Fireblade/ Nivek/Edmond/Conran/Meekon/Lina/Belkira. Sometimes I think about those names, who those people are, what are they doing now, are they still alive? I know that some of those names have passed on in real life. The first note posted on the Archives at Darkhaven Town Hall is in memory of Grishnakh and has over 340 signatures on it as a sign of respect.

To me that is true immortality - having something you created with your own two hands living on beyond you. People enjoying something you made and acknowledging you contribution. My final thought for today comes from the Merc helpfile:
Share and enjoy.