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    posted a message on Planet 10778 (OOC)

    Would you mind putting some more into the IC thread, NinthOne? I would really like to post, but I don't quite know where to go or what to post based on what's been given thus far. Here are some possible pieces of information which you could give:


    • Local terrain
    • Locations of the various delegations in respect to the terrain
    • Some dialogue from the arguments
    • Some more specifics about the events which led up to this confrontation
    • Information about who was shot or which direction the shot came from
    • The size of the delegations
    • What kind of equipment each delegation had brought
    • Are they just standing around in the middle of nowhere, or was this a more official event?
    Posted in: Forum Roleplaying
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    posted a message on Mysteries of the Ancients [IC]

    ((Edited previous post to fit timeskip.))


    Qrin sat at a table of Ztaari. He was alert, and he observed those around him, but he was quiet. The desert had not done much to hone his skills of conversation over the decades of isolation.


    Qrin had spent the night in the strange shack which he had discovered. Most of the other patrons had come and gone by the hour, but Qrin had sat for many hours, not once disturbed. He had sat, and though he had tried to enjoy the strange calm which he had found there, his brain had worked as it always did, and soon he had come to the realization that he could not substitute a new false reality, no matter how pleasant, for the one reality which did matter, the one which was not a figment of his mind. He had forced himself to live for many years because it was important that he eventually find the truth. If he could learn which reality existed past the signals of his neurons, he could at last have an effect on the world. He could do something by which he would be remembered. He could learn, perhaps, why he lived at all. The universe was full of questions, and to retreat from it - that would only lead to a meaningless death, the end of a meaningless life.


    So, as dawn had broken, Qrin had left the shack. He had known at that time that he would need to begin searching for the ruins at which this tournament was to be held. His search had lasted half the day, and when he had at last found the ruins, he had slept in shade until evening, when he had been roused by another competitor, and brought to stand with the other Ztaari who would fight for Judith Baraches.


    Then, all had happened, and soon Qrin had been here, seated at this table, observing those all around him. He remembered that he would fight them soon, and he deigned to identify which might be his most ferocious opponents.


    A plate slammed into the table in front of him.


    "Old bug, you don't win if you don't eat," a Ztaari said, dropping both his own plate, and a second one intended for Qrin, onto the table. Qrin looked at the vegetables and burned insects, and after a moment he plucked up a large grasshopper and he gnashed it apart with his mandibles. The Ztaari who had brought him his food had not yet started to eat, and watched as if awaiting some sort of response. Qrin looked to the Ztaari after a moment.


    Seemingly perturbed, the Ztaari turned and dug into his own meal. Qrin remembered now not to over-indulge himself, as he was not used to eating copious amounts of food, and would surely be disadvantaged if he did. The other Ztaari, though, appeared to have no problem with his serving of toasted bugs.


    Qrin raised another crunchy grasshopper to his mandibles, which tore into it with the ferocity only a creature of the harsh deserts could attain.

    Posted in: Forum Roleplaying
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    posted a message on Mysteries of the Ancients [IC]

    Out! I must get out! Qrin thought, and he pushed back through the rushing crowd in the middle of the street. Many were affected by his interruption of their flow, but none really noticed him; their minds focused on the goal, not the journey, and in this case, that was good, for Qrin managed to get across the street without confrontation. As well, somehow, he managed to stay upright amidst the crowd which pushed against him. This was a testament to his often practised skill: walking.


    Then, Qrin reached the other side of the street. Were one to ask that infamous question as to why the Ztaari chose to cross the road in this particular instance, one would not receive a very satisfying answer from Qrin, for he did not know why he had crossed the road. He certainly knew nothing of what was on either side; in finding a place of refuge and serenity, he might have, for all his prescience, fared just as well on the side he had left as the one at which he had arrived. He was guided not by his own awareness, but by something deeper, perhaps something which wielded a might power to control his fate. Perhaps a…


    But Qrin did cross, and upon crossing, quickly found a building to enter. The building was unremarkable, and the door was easily opened, but upon entering, Qrin was pleasantly surprised. The sounds of the exterior were quickly and unexpectedly muffled; the sun, too, did not intrude, and Qrin found a retreat from overstimulation in this darkness. Torches lit the walls, and various people sat alone on the floor, their eyes closed and their presence dimmed. An Elven female approached, and Qrin inspected her as part of his surroundings. In the fire-lit darkness, her skin took on a nearly human shade, as did her light hair. The hair was some white or blonde, naturally, but in this atmosphere it appeared definitively as the latter.


    “Welcome to this place of serenity. If you come seeking refuge, I will gladly guide you to a place which might suit you.” The Elf greeted him with a calm, quiet voice. Qrin nodded - what she spoke of was what he sought.


    The Elf brought him to a place at the back of the room, where she instructed him to sit and relax. There were no other patrons for a meter in any direction. Qrin placed his staff against the wall, and sat as he was told. His guide instructed him to close his eyes. He would have done so without her instruction. His eyes closed, Qrin relaxed.


    Deep within himself, Qrin searched for peace and serenity. He could still hear the faint echoes of the streets; he blocked them out. He tunnelled deeper and deeper and deeper still, until he had found some hollow pit of abysmal presence, a place within nothingness. The paradox of his discovery was the only nonsensical existence he could understand. Always, he dealt with too much to know, and too little known. But in the place within nothing, there was nothing to be known, and so he knew everything.


    There were so many places that he had thought himself to be - too many visions that he had been forced to see - but this was the one place which he could understand. It was the least real of all, but it was the most tangible to him.

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    posted a message on The College of Althalos [Intermediate RP/Fantasy] (OOC) (Always Accepting)

    *Checking vital signs*

    Posted in: Forum Roleplaying
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    posted a message on Guan Island; New Era (Always Accepting) (Dinosaur RP)

    Shogun emerged whence she had been cooped up. Gaul, serene and silent, stood and watched her with contempt. It was clear to him, who had known her for some time, that she was not well. He had known as much for some time now - some virus had corrupted the youthful monster and made her weak and decrepit. It was depressing and unfortunate, only because Set had seen such promise in Shogun, and now she was growing weak.


    However, the illness, the disease - whatever it was, it had not become so obvious that the average onlooker would see Shogun and assume that she was frail and sick. Most likely she would still be capable of killing a menagerie of creatures, Gaul amongst them. But she would not be so strong for long. She would need to be dealt with before her arrogance and her growing weakness made her a danger to the cause. Gaul thought that he would likely be the one to deal with this.


    "Ah, this," Shogun began, gesturing to the Cryolophosaurus, "Is a recruit?" Gaul nodded silently. Shogun's blessing was not necessary for new members of the army; in fact, it now seemed a detriment. Some new figurehead was very urgently required, and Gaul wondered, Who will it be?


    For certainly, it would not be him. And he wondered, ever so distantly, if it might not be a native of this island. So many had rallied behind the cause, and to rally behind one of their own would only strengthen them, do away their final fears about this annexation.

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    posted a message on Planet 10778 (OOC)
    Quote from TheNinthOne»

    @Commandosaur - Accepted! That looks great!


    I'm glad to hear it. I'm also glad that I didn't seem to infringe upon any of your pre-set ideas about the world and its factions - I tried my best to work within what you gave us.

    Also, this is, to a degree, a bump, specifically to make sure that Zyngard's application is noticed.
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    posted a message on Mysteries of the Ancients [IC]

    The humdrum of busy city streets is an overpowering sensation to any who dare enter Opes, and occasionally even to those who never dare leave. For Qrin, the stimuli flew at him in waves, forcing him to occasionally stop his march and lean against a building to regain composure. This was not a place where he felt that he belonged, but whether that was because it was a place which did not, in fact, exist elsewhere than in his mind, or because it was simply so alien a location compared to his desert, he could not tell.


    The city seemed real. It was not more crowded than Harenam, grandest city of the sands, but it was more expansive, and therefore, Qrin felt more lost, even as he saw the walls to show him his boundaries. However, what were these boundaries if not self-imposed regulations against his physical form? Who had imposed them? Why did they still stand - why had they stood at first? Were these walls symbolic of an oppression, or a protection, offered by a benevolent or a devious force? Everything rose too many questions, and Qrin knew that with every step he grew closer to another collapse, another short moment in which he would struggle to regain energy and composure.


    The city was large enough and diverse enough that his presence was not often noted, even when he was collapsed against a wall, struggling to breathe and survive. He was an odd creature, certainly, but when all that existed was remarkable, was anything truly going to be remarked upon? The point of individualism is often to be noticed, to be distinct, to be better than the rest. Unfortunately, in a city with so many unique and exotic individuals, all that would be extraordinary in a smaller community was simply another oddity in a background of white noise. Shouts, screams, and glimpses of rushing figures in darkened alleyways were observed but not investigated. The brain can only do so much.


    For Qrin, his brain was already doing too much. He walked with a feverish intensity, yearning to get somewhere, but he never found the time to decide where he wanted or needed to go. He marched more and more quickly, and soon found himself leading a charge of pedestrians, inspired subconsciously by his vigour and actions, as they bustled through the streets, forcing the entire atmosphere of the city to change and grow faster. Qrin despaired. This change brought countless consequences. Few noticed it immediately, but somehow, Qrin did. He noticed it and he forced himself out, but even as he left, the haste lived on, and he saw that what he had done had changed this world, briefly. Did that suggest that this world was real, if he could affect it so drastically? Or did it suggest that it was fake, if he could mould it so easily? If it was a world of his own mind, would it be forced to follow the laws of realism, or would it always yearn to follow the laws of Qrin, those which had made it?

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    posted a message on Mysteries of the Ancients [IC]

    Theo Lewis sighed and, slipping yet another charming grin to woman behind the counter, signed off on the last of his various recruits. The number of Ztaari without the ability to read or write was astounding, and quite frankly disturbing. He wondered how those uncivilized bugs had ever managed to survive the ancient skirmishes with this level of barbarity.


    Knowing that he might need to reacquaint himself with this woman if she requested payment for her complacency with his simple forgeries, Theo smiled and gave his most pleasant farewell. Judith Baraches, of course, would prefer not to become involved in such squabbles, so Theo would deal with this himself, and perhaps hope for reimbursement later. If any of this paid off, of course, he would not need to worry about reimbursement - all his fees would be paid for by a hefty bonus, skimmed off the top of the victor’s prize.


    Warily, Theo gathered together most of his recruits. Zerus amassed the remaining few, and at last they were all together in a single part of the bustling street. Theo spotted an empty crate, and to give himself better projection he stood on top.


    “Alright, I’m quite glad that that’s over with. I assume that all of you remember what you were told at the stand: be present at the ruins the night before the tournament, bring only one weapon, and do not lose that pin. If you break any of those commandments, Madame Baraches will not be paying for your trip home,” Theo explained. His eyes landed on Qrin and stayed put for a moment, wondering again why this old Ztaari radiated an aura of skill and talent alongside his mysterious presence.


    His silence began to be too long, and Theo spoke again.


    “That said, you are all free to go as you please. You will find my associate and I at the ruins when you arrive.”


    At the back of the group, Qrin had listened, to a degree. He bowed silently and slightly, then waddled off slowly as the crowd around him dispersed. The Dwarven merchant from before paid him no mind when he walked by again; real customers had since arrived, and were inquiring about an iron mace. In his solemn, noiseless inspection of the street, Qrin did not sense the eyes inspecting his own cloaked back.

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    posted a message on Mysteries of the Ancients [IC]

    When Qrin finally signed his name and joined the tournament, he was of a much clearer mind. The journey through the portal had shaken his foundations; the dust had fallen from his ancient mind, and he now did what he had planned to do before with a purpose. Before he had agreed to sign for the tournament simply because it was something different. Now, though, he signed for the tournament because it was an experience to jolt him from the serenity of the desert, and to return him, briefly, to the wiles of society, where perhaps he might forget for an instant his all-enveloping problem.


    As he answered the questions of the woman behind the counter, he spoke with an old, hoarse voice. He had spent a long time in the desert, so his interactions with others were pure and rough, like rocks which had been eroded for years without a human to sculpt them. His voice was something which he had lost and regained; he spoke differently now, that wild, guttural ‘click click’ which was an ancient attribute of the Ztaari marking each word. He was an alien who had grown lost and then, upon returning home, had set out for a foreign land.


    The woman behind the counter was professional, but she knew not what to make of this old bug. Only the gleam in the eyes of the agent who had brought this group of contestants through the portal convinced the woman that the old Ztaari could have any hope for survival. He sees a hidden truth, she mused, and inspected the man’s mannerisms, carefully orchestrated so that he appeared rich and respectable no matter his actual standing.


    When Qrin left the stand with his small, odd pin, he did not know where to go. There were many people bustling about in the streets around him. He looked back and saw that man who had recruited him glancing quickly away, turning to the next Ztaari who he had brought to fight for this Judith Baraches. Wizened by years of survival, Qrin could see that this one was weak and young and overfed; he would have very little knowledge of how to fight and how to live. Qrin mused that he, the next recruit, would be dead soon, but that after all, he would die anyways - or perhaps, he would never have been alive. Was he but a figment of the old Ztaari’s mind? In that case, was it not that with the death of this young recruit, a portion of Qrin himself would also die?


    It was all too much to consider, and the harrowing call of a Dwarven merchant brought him out from his self-induced slumber and confusion. He marched slowly and officiously with his staff foreboding his presence. The Dwarf waited until he was closer to launch his spiel.


    “So, you’re here for the tournament, huh?” the Dwarf began, a chipper pattern to his amiable voice as he weaved his way into a sales pitch.


    “Yes - I have come for the tournament,” Qrin replied, slow and deep. He barely moved his eyes from the face of the stout, bearded man.


    “Eh, so it is, so it is. Well, if you’re looking for anything for the tournament, I’ve got it for you here - weapons, ribbons, food.” The Dwarf waved his hand over a variety of goods. Then, with a sly expression and a glint of his eyes, clearly a trained and practised action for the purpose of winning customers, he continued: “And if you’re looking for some potions, I might know where to find those too,” he confessed, conspiratorially.


    Qrin was interested in none of these goods. For weaponry he had his staff; for ribbons, he would wear what was given to him; for food, he would eat what he found, or he would not eat at all; and potions would be no good for an old, frail body such as his, especially one so used to acting without them.


    No, Qrin would be fine. He would fight, and perhaps he would win, or perhaps he would die. Nevertheless, he would not care. What importance could he place upon this tournament when its results were so unimportant?

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    posted a message on Mysteries of the Ancients [IC]

    Qrin’s mind was not entirely present as he agreed to the tournament, but to be fair, it was never entirely there, nor entirely away. His endless contemplation, the wracking of his brain, the failing of his resolve - all had worn down his sharpness, though his instincts kept him alert and present and dangerous. Why did Qrin agree to the tournament? For no reason he could explain.


    However, Theo Lewis did not require an explanation. He was a salesman, and he would be paid, no matter why his clients agreed to fight for his employer. As he guided Qrin to the portal, he took note of the awe and the absence in this old wanderer. He and his partner, Zerus Tommen, whom he had no more than a weak professional relationship with, had gathered a few individuals, and he hoped that they would all be suitable, yet somehow, he felt that this old Ztaari who reeked of wisdom, experience, and sand, would be the one to best them all. Theo had something of an eye for talent and truth - he was an expert gambler and a very lucky man by all accounts. Tonight, his bets were placed on the old wanderer who had given his name as “Qrin T’kali, spirit of deserts and wanderer of skies.”


    As Qrin approached the portal, his mind was adrift. He had not slept in some days, and he was more empty and abysmal than usual. He stepped forward. The man who had recruited him passed two coins to the gate-guard, and Qrin felt a tacit, metaphysical push towards the whirling magic in front of him. Obediently, he stepped into the storm.


    Theo Lewis thought he might have heard a scream, but it was a scream which permeated the universe, not the air; there was no sound to this scream, only a silent perception.


    I have lost the world! Qrin thought, fighting. He had been jolted awake. He had been flung out. He was gone and he was back and he was dead. Nothing was real, and everything was, and he hated it all, and he loved it all. Any remnants of certainty about his existence and presence were abolished by this crazed flight through something imperceptible.


    And then it was done, and Qrin would never be the same.


    He had long been broken, but he had come to live with this failure. Now he was distraught again, and likely he would never be fixed in a thousand years.

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    posted a message on Planet 10778 (OOC)

    Name: Pyrus Brance

    Gender: Male

    Age: 47

    Affiliation: Urkrast


    Appearance: Envision, first, the epitome of a military commander: gruff, lithe, strong, fierce, and cold. That is what you see when upon Pyrus Brance you lay your eyes. He is a man weathered and trained in the rain of combat and hardship. He is a man with lightly graying hair and old, creased skin like leather. His eyes are sharp, dark pits of brown, which seem to have seen so much that they would stay open in the middle of a sandstorm just for the slightest chance that they might glimpse something new. His hair is not long, but it does get shaped backwards to lie tightly against his scalp. His head, while thin, is large enough to visibly enclose a large brain. He is a smart man, he is a man who does his best to have some sense of style and aristocracy, as his position requires, and he is a man whose sharp features have wooed many a woman, only for his gruffness to shoo them away, one by one, at various times. And that, my friends, is only his head, held high by his lengthy core and legs.


    Moving to his body, we come quickly to see that this is a regimented man. He wears his designated company apparel, symbols denoting his authority as a commander of the corps, but even this cannot disguise or distract from his muscular form, a result of his quotidian routine of exercises and rigid schedule for nourishment. He is a man of perfection in all manners possible, for perfection and consistency breed predictable results, which can be dealt with easily and simply. However, he is not averse to improvisation or immediate responses. Thus, it is truly efficiency which he seeks above all else. However, I digress - we spoke of his corps.


    The arms of this mountain are equally strong and dangerous, though if one were to look closely, they might observe a slight favouring of Pyrus’ right arm. This is due to an ancient injury which rendered his left useless for several years, and which, in fact, caused him to become more determined and more skillful as a warrior and a person.


    The legs, too, are muscled and long, and coated in the utilitarian attire of the Urkrastian force. His height is 6’2”, or slightly over 1.8 meters. He is a tall man, and his legs only add to this height. As well, they are strong - his ability to kick is unprecedentedly high.


    As we began this dissertation, so we shall end it. Pyrus Brance is a huge man who looks older than he is. He is lithe, he is handsome, is strong, he is wearied. He exudes authority, and he preaches caution and restraint. He can be your friend, or he can be your enemy, but if you see him upon the battlefield, he is sure to be the haunt of your nightmares.


    History: The slums of Urkrast are wretched, rich with dirt and crime. Urkrast, one of the least technologically advanced empires, and certainly the poorest of the major three, was sometimes disgusting in the best of places. This was not a pristine nation, so neither were its people, for a toxic environment breeds only toxic entities - and occasionally, a beautiful flower with a poisonous seed.


    However, the case of Pyrus Brance was slightly different. He was born poor, and he lived poor. He fought and wallowed in the streets and alleys, a member of the small gangs which weren’t gangs who ransacked the stores which weren’t stores. Smart from a young age, Pyrus was lucky not to be ostracized. He indulged himself in combat and survival as so many of his brethren did, and by the time he was 18 he had made enough of a name for himself that he was invited to attend the High Urkrastian Academy of Physical Arts, essentially, a training ground for the nation’s fearsome military. Naturally, Pyrus chose to attend.


    Unlike many schools, the Academy of Art - as it was so often called - did not charge tuition, but rather paid its students. The Urkrastians, living in such a poor and dogged society, understood that one could not be expected to pay for something which one did not need. After all, that was the theme of Urkrast - fight for what you need, and survive what you do not. Therefore, it was only by being paid - perhaps exorbitantly, for the standards of the Urkrastians - that Pyrus Brance stayed at the Academy of Art for three years, before having something of a realization, and embarking on a journey to find his own purpose.


    Allithitark was a small, separate nation. It held no power, political, military, or economic, and it lacked even its own society, to a degree. It was purely a location where various members of the other nations left to enjoy a spiritual retreat. The Temples of Allithitark were fabled for their ability to reconcile conflicting world views and help each individual to understand themself, their society, their species, their world, and even their universe. Therefore, due to the benefits this place could provide to various niche individuals, the three major empires left it undisturbed.


    However, when Pyrus chose to abandon his studies and travel to this vertex of culture, his decision was not well received, and he left the Academy of Art in disgrace. He was by this time rather well-off thanks to his prestige and his various victories in tournaments of sport and combat, which all paid him well. He travelled to Allithitark, and there he stayed for five years, until he was 26 years of age.


    Did he find himself there? Not at first. At first, in his efforts to find himself, he found someone else: Oelia. Oelia was from Serin, and she was the perfect match for Pyrus, just as her nation was the leg upon which the Urkrastians depended for their military might. Pyrus, seeking answers about whether he was to be smart or strong, and cold or kind, found Oelia, who was by nature smart and strong and kind and, though not cold, certainly steadfast. Pyrus was entranced by her confidence in her own identity, and it would be a lie to say that Oelia was not seduced by Pyrus’ charming, flirtatious courtship. Both were on different stages of similar yet distinct journeys, and as they helped each other along these journeys - yes, you guessed correctly - they fell in love.


    But wait! This has not been a joyous tale thus far, and when the light breaches the horizon, always is there a darkness to stymie the joy, a shadow to bring forth remorse. So it was with this tale of Pyrus and Oelia. As the two lived in this temple for several years as youths exploring their world through spiritual and logical avenues, a great pain was striking Serin - death by the thousands at the hands of that dreaded ailment, Whikteria. These were the early days of the virus - it was not so prolific, prominent, nor dreadful in those early days, and less was known of it, but soon enough it was a problem, and Kreos was called to provide aid. Alas, for some it was already too late, and in years it would be too late for many more. Amongst those earlier victims was the Oelia’s close family, infected while she was gone. She returned to be with them, to provide her support for their recovery in person rather than spirit, but it was worthless - they died. As they died, Pyrus fought valiantly for the Serinian government to allow him to enter their empire, to be with his love, but alas, even his own government, fearful of that disease, barred him from going to the beautifully advanced empire of Serin. It was simply too dangerous. In the early days, a quarantine was imposed in case the disease could be transferred out of Serin, and due to this precaution, Pyrus and Oelia were parted indefinitely. Never did they find each other again. It is likely that in those early days, Oelia died of blissful ignorance that the food and water she ate was what killed her. Pyrus would have loved to die in ignorance of the fact that his love was likely dead. Alas, that did not happen, and so Pyrus grew quite upset. He had left to find his righteous purpose, and he had found it.


    Pyrus returned to Urkrast, and he returned with a vengeance. He was young and spirited, and now, he was motivated, too, to pursue a life of glory for his nation. He had witnessed the bureaucracy and failures of Serin’s government, and the selfish, amoral stances of the Kreosian leaders, too. He had no doubt that there were villains within his own superiors as well, but he knew that his anger had to be funnelled somewhere, and ameliorating his nation - perhaps advancing it to a stage where it could provide the aid which Kreos had denied and Serin had failed to develop - was a noble cause. Wallowing in the mud and dirt of the slums, many Urkrastians were infested with some seed of nationalism which had developed even in hardship and pain. Those who have nothing take risks and fight for something better, while those with much seek to cast away the problems of old, but in their search for perfection never cease to recognize new issues and blemishes in the societal mould.


    Pyrus quickly completed his training, now reinstated at the Academy of Arts. Instructors were tough, but he was tougher. He was no longer a ‘cool’ individual, nor was he a charming one. He was efficient and harsh and effective. He was cold and broken, and he would not be fixed - he would be the fixer.


    Now, on this great journey into the unknown, Pyrus has been appointed as one of the highest ranking military commanders, the man who would lead the troops of Urkrast out onto the battlefield in the case of a conflict. He reported directly to the leader of the Urkrastian expedition, and all those who were soldiers of Urkrast eventually reported, through various levels of superiors, up to him. Despite his high rank, he is not too engaged in the politics of the ship. He acts as he sees fit for the benefit of the Urkrastian cause: to win control of various materials necessary for improving Urkrast’s standing in the balance of power between the three empires. If, however, political action is required for his way - often, in his view, the way - to be implemented, then he is not a fool. He can play that game, too.


    Pyrus has not lived an easy life, and he has not lived a life which he would live again. There are many things which he regrets, but now, he fights to be sure that he will not regret his choices. This does not mean that he is too cautious or too contemplative - it simply means that he makes the best choices in the most efficient manner. Life is an equation, and Pyrus strives to solve it as perfectly as can be.

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    posted a message on Mysteries of the Ancients [IC]

    Darkness flooded in from the poles of Qrin’s eyes. Blinded by those wonderful eye-lids which had so long protected his species’ vision from stray flecks of sand, Qrin felt a slight release of tension. His brain, curling around itself and constricting blood flow, unfurled, and he was suddenly calm again. He had eliminated an input, and the stress which he felt had been halved. Or is it so.


    Perhaps that brain of his had not reacted to the lack of sight with a period of relaxation, but had instead decided to do something more sinister. Had he triggered a moment of silent yokan, or had he stopped one?


    An object knocked Qrin on the shoulder, forcing him to stabilize himself again. To do so, he opened his eyes. The market around him was bustling with activity, and whoever had knocked him on the shoulder had long since disappeared into the crowds of shoppers and citizens. With a gruff utterance of ‘harumph’, Qrin set himself to walk once again. His staff supported him, and its advancement cleared for him a path through the turbulent sea ahead. For now, Harenam was real enough for him to be knocked to its dusty streets - therefore, he would do his best to avoid that, and complete that necessary task of browsing and purchasing food and supplies.


    Qrin rarely travelled to the new cities, the metropolises where old traditions and safeties had been abandoned, where silence had all but died. The excessive strain on his senses was dangerous, but on occasion, it had to be endured. Now was just one such occasion, as he had found himself atop a ridge not two kilometres from the city by pure accident, and had been in dire need of new supplies. The city had been his only option.


    For Qrin, it was easy to overcome the undesirable for the sake of the necessary. Perhaps it was his nature as a Ztaari, or perhaps his life in the harsh desert had eroded his weakness and left this invincible stone. Maybe his inability to distinguish between the real and effective and the fake yet horrifying was what allowed him to live without considering how real or fake his life was. Perchance the ancestral pain of his visions had dulled his reactions.


    Somehow, Qrin survived.


    He marched through the streets, pretending to be a normal bug on a normal bug-like walk. He pulled himself forward with the resistance of his staff, and he clicked his mandibles when the time seemed right. A bug without presence would attract more attention than a bug without purpose. He gazed at merchandise, only half-heartedly inspecting it. He cared too little for what he bought that he would likely stop on a whim and purchase without contemplation for price, value, or quality.


    Some, the odd fools who wallow in corners and write tales of wild beasts, might wonder how Qrin, a Ztaari wanderer with not a penny to his name, would afford such goods. Thankfully, many vendors still used that ancient tradition of bartering, and Qrin had much to barter: news, stones, relics of ancient temples, the fangs of the bug beasts, the doshrakh. Qrin was rich in obscurity and wildness. Many merchants prized the Ztaari wanderers, for they offered such valuable prizes for such small prices. After all, a Ztaari wanderer had no need for most things. Qrin, especially, cared not for the values of materialistic items which he could not ascertain were real.


    Thus, having wandered the streets for quite some time in a chaos of noise and sound and motion, Qrin was nearly set to buy his items when, in the vacuum which he always found in his path, he saw a small stand, erected in the centre of the pathway. Having left the stream of pedestrians quite by accident, the old Ztaari was immediately noticed by a human male.


    Now, Qrin was old, and he had little care for or attention to pay society, but even he still remembered the day he had first seen those portals which had wrought unity across all of civilization. He had been sure that day that no mind of his could imagine such strange creations. The humans, to some degree, reminded him of that portal, but they did not give him any such clarity, for they were aliens here, and they disrupted the norm, the believable. They made the world unreal, and they made Qrin confused and morose again.


    “You there, old bug, you look mighty and wise. Tell me your tale, and I’ll tell you something of mine,” the human invoked a rhythmic, applauding tone as he approached Qrin and let the hullaballoo around them fade into an inconsequential hiss.


    Qrin looked at the man, and he chose not to respond. He did not speak often, perhaps not once in the past few months, and he saw no reason to speak now, to such a strange human with such useless requests. The Ztaari began to walk away.


    “Wait, wait! Fine, I’ll tell you now. I come from Opes, that pearly jewel of the human empire, where all mortal power is derived. I come to tell you of a great competition - and of your chance to participate in it.” The man was a salesman, clearly. He was also of higher-blood; not a weak peasant or an aged magi. Another of his ilk worked to win over other, far younger Ztaari on the other side of their tiny stadium in the middle of this street.


    And yet, Qrin still found himself unconvinced. What competition could he want? What prize could he value?


    “You will travel through the portal to a great stadium, and there, you will fight a vigorous fight. You are a warrior, I can tell; how else could you have survived so long in such a harsh world? I have been sent by Judith Baraches to seek out the strongest Ztaari warriors, to fight as her champions in the tournament. I think I have found them, no?” The man said a lot, and much of it was meaningless, but it became clear to Qrin what was spoken of: a tournament of fighting, and a trip through that portal. Could I find the truth in this twisted game? Anything new, anything different, that could be a new figment of his fractured mind, or it could be a gateway to reality. Qrin stopped and pondered these possibilities.

    Posted in: Forum Roleplaying
  • 0

    posted a message on Nations of Paxit

    Actions of the Others (simplified):


    Tribes of Sin'jok:

    As the Tranmesian forces march into the territories of the Sin’joki tribes, a great apprehension is felt across the land, even amongst the Injuoki, who wonder if they have made a terrible request. Meanwhile, formal alliances have begun to develop between the tribes, and unfortunately, actual warfare has erupted between the Sobatzki and the Tröonti, with their allies coming to the assistance of both groups. The Sobatzki currently appear to hold the upper hand, as they and their allies have surrounded the Tröonti, but as other forces arrive the scene of conflict, and with the Tranmesians on the horizon, any possible victory will be short. Meanwhile, some southern tribes have sent emissaries to the Vatrugi, trying to gain their military support, while the eastern tribes have reached out to Erabas. A small disagreement has ballooned into a conflict destined to tear the conglomeration of tribes apart.


    Vatrugos:

    The harvest having come to a grandiose conclusion, the Vatrugi return in full force to their efforts to impose their strength. However, work has slowed on the fortress-temples along the Sin’joki border as that nation appears ever more likely to collapse. What good is a defence against a nation which cannot attack? The high priests and other officials are in discussion about the possibility of invasion, but some do listen to the inquests of the Sin’joki chieftains who wish for their support. A final decision has yet to be reached.


    Erabas:

    As the winter training program comes into effect, the four major cities which are acting as hosts to the recruits see an unexpected bump in their economies. This comes in contrast to the severe costs felt by the southern counties, where the possibly unwarranted fear of a disease seems to have caused drastic collapses in harvests and increases in harvest prices which cannot be met. The local lords enjoy an improved revenue as they sell their reserves, but morale is depressing low, as many of the men are absent from their families, either working in Vatrugos under harsh conditions, or participating in the winter training program at Sentucia. However, the recent arrival of military supplies could not have been better timed - the imminent conflict within the Tribes of Sin’jok provides an opportunity for the nation to test its military strength and to gain valuable experience on real battlefields. It is only an added bonus that the final shipments of lumber have made it to Fae-Qwan, completing that massive trade deal before the storms of winter make the seas ever more dangerous, and the storms of war throw the deal with Vatrugos onto hot coals and embers.


    Utos:

    As winter falls, this northern nation again returns to its annual tradition of harsh survival in its northern regions, while in the south, an increase in precipitation sets the course for good harvests in the years to come. Utos is a lavish, prosperous nation - it will do well, even in difficult times. Now, as Tranmesia moves into the territories to the south, some wonder how long the intervention will last, and what its consequences will be. The comparatively lackluster technology of the tribes makes it almost a certainty that Utosians will be a wave of victory for whichever tribes they support, but the results of this victory could be dangerous, especially if they were to upset the delicate peace between Utos, Erabas, and Vatrugos.


    Lewftehoffe:

    Lewftehoffe at last amasses its forces, and in a daring act, asserts control over all farms and other territories within the general region of the county, excluding those on the Arenthian side of the border. This expansion of influence ensures ample nourishment for the huge military which the nation possesses, but housing for this army will also require a good deal of work. The style of government which is clearly developing appears to be in some ways a communist military dictatorship, as the people give over ownership of all their goods to the military which controls the nation, while still receiving ample supplies to survive.


    Omantiosa:

    At last, Omantiosa is freed from any military advances which threaten its independence. The military goes about trying to restore civility to the lands it lost and then regained at Kyrian whim, while a delegation is prepared to thank the Arenthians for their kindness in a time of dire need. Meanwhile, work is also done by the Omantiosan militias to find the Kyrian spies who deign to invade their land and distribute propaganda to the people. No invasion, by any force, for any purpose, will be tolerated this nation, now fearful for its future, or perhaps, lack thereof. The Omantiosan government is also taken aback by what they see as hypocritical and patronizing insinuations present in this propaganda. They do not wish to be seen as weak or foolish again. The Omantiosans, now perhaps facing stability, have two pressing issues: where should they buy weapons to strengthen their military, and what kind of leadership will oversee the country? Obviously, Fae-Qwan will not be receiving the business of Omantiosa, as a great grudge is held against that nation for its refusal to assist in Omantiosa’s most dire hour. Maranavok, with its large stores of weaponry left over from its expansionistic era, stands as a possible target for trade, as does Arenthia, that most trusted ally. As for governance, it stands to reason that the former leaders, despite their lack of public support, will seek to wrest power from the grasps of the favoured northern native leaders. Finally, the embassy of Tsin is turned away, not because their gifts are unwelcome and because the nation does not want their friendship, but because it is too soon to forgive them for the territory they have taken.


    Tsin:

    After having sent their presents to the various nations, the government of Tsin establishes that the Ksintiosan Empire, Arenthia, Qrin are the best targets for diplomatic actions, and the best chances for forming strong alliances in this unstable world. As more preliminary talk is done with these two nations, swords are sent off to a new round of nations: Maranavok, Tamlar, Riplentique, Kurubar, Mylanos, and Erabas.


    Ksintiosan Empire:

    Emperor Yan-Sun holds a glorious, two-day ceremony in which he graciously accepts the sword-gift of Tsin, and offers his greatest thanks. Then, the sword is placed in the Great Atrium, one of various rooms of the palace which has, effective immediately, been opened the public, albeit with a heavy presence of palace guards. These rooms also include the large Small Garden, and the Minstrel’s Halls. While this upsets some of the aristocracy, the population of the capital is most pleased, and as a result, they also see the delegation from Tsin as a positive presence. Unfortunately, this also hides some more devious tactics the Empire is obliged to use at this moment. Such tactics include the well-trained group of spies which has long been present in Kyrik, Tos, Tsin, and Omantiosa, which now works feverishly to discover secrets about each of these nations. In Kyrik, the Ksintiosans wish to know what the purpose of this feverish activity could possibly be. In Tos, the Ksintiosans seek to find reason for the silence which befalls the nation, and to perhaps root out any hidden Kyrian influence. In Omantiosa, there is very little espionage under way at the moment, as the Omantiosan state may still be too volatile and self-destructive. Of Tsin, the Ksintiosans must learn what actions, military or otherwise, that nation plans to take, although the recent discussions between the two nations may yet provide exactly that information. Meanwhile, work is done to stymie the influence of the vicious Kyrian propaganda which has somehow seeped through the borders, but very little is required for this to succeed, as the Ksintiosan propaganda was in fact quite effective, and as there was very little propaganda capable of meandering across that tight-wound border.


    Gualichos:

    King Otsensen refuses the believe that the reports of weapons sales in northern Gualichos are anything but a blatant lie made to distract him from the villainy present in his own court. Lord Jun, sending his condolences about the misfortune which has befallen the King, is also denounced as a possible traitor of the state, much to the Lord’s disdain and annoyance. Another factor in Lord Jun’s disappointment at this time is news from the Q’rin merchants that they may soon begin using a northern route which would ignore Gualichos altogether.


    Tamlar:

    Tamlar voices its support for the Kurubarian proposal; they feel as though a route along the south of the continent, and one branching through Mendratia, may divert merchants from travelling to their cities and incidentally providing their support for Tamlar’s natives and its economy.


    Kurubar:

    While they are receptive and respectful of the Mylanese counterproposal, the Kurubarians are somewhat concerned that the relatively newly emerged Mendratian trading venue could steal some of their profits; merchants from Q’rin, Tamlar, and Riplentique might choose to bypass Kurubar entirely, which would degrade the value of the trade route which Kurubar has requested. However, a route to Mylanos would not be inadvisable, as it would perhaps encourage more merchants to travel through Kurubar.


    Southern Kurubar:

    Tamus Caelus continues his work to unify the conquered territories, but unrest is substantial. A meeting with elders of various localities is called, and the wise men come to give their thoughts on what the problems are within this land. Many cite a fear that this new governance will only plunge the nation into an oppression which it escaped not long ago, only to find chaos. Such a disaster can not be repeated. Meanwhile, others worry that their old traditions, which are innumerable and diverse, may be eliminated by attrition and an adoption of new, Kurubarian cultures. Such fears are heard, and Tamus Caelus vows to speak with his government, to find manners in which the people can be made to feel safe that they will be governed fairly and respectfully by the Kurubarians.


    Other Events Worth Noting:

    -The increasingly obvious divisions between different economic classes in Kyrik begin to cause a large demoralization of the population.

    -The actions taken by the priesthood seem to have stymied the popularity of the unorthodox surgery in Q’rin.

    -While effective, the Mylanese measures to combat rebellion have caused a new dark cloud of fear, distrust, and night-time raids on caravans, camps, and even cities sympathetic to the Mylanese to descend over the annexed territories.


    ((Maps coming soon.))

    Posted in: Forum Roleplaying
  • 0

    posted a message on The College of Althalos [Intermediate RP/Fantasy] (IC) (Always Accepting)

    It had been several minutes, and at last the attention of the Lizardfolk elder had subsided; he had sufficed his urge to fix this broken youth whom he had stumbled upon in his final years, at least, for now. Now, Wyth'ram sat at a simple table. The table was bruised and scraped from age, but it sparkled with a lack of grime, and it told Wyth'ram just how attentive this elder was. Wyth'ram did not truly care, though - he was still recovering from his drunken stupor, and he had yet to find his head cleared enough to strike up a prolonged conversation. He responded in nods and shakes, gestures and actions, supplemented, occasionally, with a hoarse croak of a word. His body had not felt so well in years, but his mind shook with regrets and failures.


    For years he had been nothing but a broken cog on that ancient, tormented wheel of Lizardfolk civilization. He had allowed himself to be broken, and to be used for those sadistic purposes of the humans and elves and their kin. Their terrifying need to assert humiliating control over all with which they coexisted sent shivers down Wyth'ram's spine. He may have been a fool, but now, as he first came to see lights, he saw this truth in front of all others, its star a blinding blaze of terrible presence. That light burned eyes and turned them to the dark so they did not see its tyranny and its crime. Yes, there is much more to learn, Wyth'ram agreed, and knew it to be true, for there was so little that he knew thus far, and so many glimmers of light to be unsheathed yet.


    The elder returned to the room with a cough and a smile, his first in some hours. Perhaps he was no longer concerned like a parent - perhaps he now saw the obvious truth, which he had been careful to accept: Wyth’ram would survive. Yes, his care had been well-earned, for he was old and had seen many atrocities to wary his heart so weak that it could not dare to handle another loss so dear as that of Wyth’ram, a poor broken wick.


    “Do you want some food?” The elder walked past Wyth’ram into another room of this small apartment. There were perhaps four rooms in total. Wyth’ram sat in the dining room, but it was also the front foyer, and the office was no different. A bedroom and lavatory, a kitchen, and a tiny cubicle were all that remained. Wyth’ram sat and bemoaned, silently, that he would now force himself to find such a place. The streets had much space to live, and there, he had few possessions to store. Civility was a burden unwelcome except for its social benefits, those benefits which he knew now that he would yearn, if only to keep his obligation to the reputation of his people.


    “Please,” Wyth’ram croaked, nodding as his host stalked by with a crouched gait. He had none of the agility that even Wyth’ram still possessed, despite a lack of practice and a lack of will to live which had ailed him for so long. How long did he drag me back here? How far?


    The elder disappeared into the kitchen. Wyth’ram breathed heavily and closed his eyes, blocking out for a moment that light which illuminated more questions than it answered.

    Posted in: Forum Roleplaying
  • 4

    posted a message on The Roleplayer's-Writer's Workshop

    “Grandpa, why do roleplays die?” a young boy asks his wise old ancestor. The man looks to this young child, this innocent capsule of curiosity. It is time that he is told the harsh truths of this world, this forum. It is time that he learns, so he might avoid the heartbreak and pain which so many have suffered.


    So, the old man thinks: We shall this day light such a candle as I trust shall never be put out.


    ***
    Why do Roleplays Die?
    And perhaps, how to save them.

    This question must be at least as old as the act of roleplaying itself. It is a problem faced by any who are involved in the community, not least of which are those who make the roleplays in the first place. Hours of work is often put into formulating the perfect idea, so to see it lost so easily is not only devastating, but also annoying. Then, we see that the death of a roleplay affects those who are most committed to roleplays, those who write thousands of words to develop their characters and to contribute to a world which, eventually, falls into nothing, often without even a proper ending. Finally this problem reaches the ‘casual’ roleplayers, those who participate with a few sentences, or often even just one - those who do not yet comprehend or commit themselves to character development, eloquent grammar, or beautiful descriptions. The death of roleplays is perhaps most detrimental to this group, as they have the most to gain from a lengthy attachment to a roleplay, and are the least likely to find a new roleplay to join. Therefore, I believe that it is our duty as roleplayers to investigate and understand why a roleplay dies, and how each of us can help it to survive.


    In no way do I presume to be an expert on roleplaying, and certainly, I am not the most proficient at creating and maintaining a roleplay. However, in my nearly three years in the forum roleplaying section, I think it reasonable to claim that I am an expert on roleplay death - I certainly have quite a bit of experience with it. So, it is from this experience, and from my contemplation of this experience, that I have derived these observations and conjectures about why roleplays die. I write this article in the hope that it will help someone to create a successful roleplay which does not suffer this morbid fate at any untimely moment.


    Now, let us define the terms upon which this article depends:

      • Roleplay - A text-based story with various contributors acting out the actions and emotions of various characters or entities.
      • The Forum - The Minecraft Roleplaying Forum, that ebb and flow of our existences.
      • Creator - An individual who develops, presents, organizes, and manages a roleplay.
      • Member - A participant in a roleplay, possibly including the Creator.
      • OP - The ‘Original Post’, in which the details of a roleplay are fleshed out and interest must be stoked.
      • Idea - The basis upon which a roleplay is formed. This is often outlined in the OP.
      • Death of a Roleplay - That phenomenon which occurs when a roleplay fulfills two conditions: It is no longer actively used by members, and it has not come to an official resolution of the overarching plot.

    The Three Stages

    It is my belief that there are three main categories into which nearly all causes for a roleplay’s death can be lumped. These seem to be defined just as easily by looking at when a roleplay dies. These categories could therefore be labeled Bad Ideas, Bad Execution, and Bad Management. There are some instances of roleplay death which do not fit any of these categories, but those will be included in this article as well, so that the entire situation can be seen and understood.

    Bad Ideas

    Bad Ideas are not just the bane of an infant roleplay’s success - they are also amongst the primary qualms which experienced roleplayers have with new members of the community. I dare to suggest now that it is not only these new members who have bad ideas, but also some of the most experienced ones. I, personally, have had countless bad ideas, and I am sure that I will have many more. Therefore, I have done my best to examine my failures, and the failures of others, and have looked to see where an idea can be made better.


    I have seen that there is a long scale upon which any roleplay idea falls. At one end lies simplicity, at the other complexity. In an infinitesimally small fraction along this line (so small that even after extensive study I have failed to locate it exactly) lines the realm of interest. This is where any good idea must lie. The remainder of this section will be a quest to narrow our search until we have found that beautiful, promised land.


    An idea cannot be empty or near empty. It must have enough flesh so it is more than a ghost, so that it can explain to people why they should choose to participate in this roleplay, and so that it can tell people what to expect. An idea which has had enough thought poured into it will convince potential members that the roleplay has potential to survive, will incite some interest in any reader, and will disarm potential members of any fears about what the roleplay will become. People need to know what they are signing up for.


    Likewise, an idea cannot be too detailed. This fleshy beast must be slathered in darkness to obscure its form, to excite mystique and intrigue. People do need to know what they are signing up for, but they also need to have a reason to sign up. If a roleplay has too much information provided, if a world has too much lore and the plot is too clear and single-faceted, then interest will be stymied immediately.


    Freedom is one of mankind’s most inherent desires, and creativity is one of the greatest gifts of a roleplayer. Embrace them both, but give this creativity a spark, and this freedom a land in which it can be enjoyed.


    Of course, the level of detail is not all that is important for an idea’s success. Ideas must also be original and unique - this is perhaps one of the greatest problems faced on the forum.


    On the forum, there are perhaps thirty active members. This estimation might be somewhat high, but I include members who lurk in the shadows, awaiting the appearance of a good roleplay, one which fits their tastes. Each one of these members has tastes, (preferred genres, preferred topics, preferred themes, etc.) and each of these members has a limited amount of time or energy. Therefore, there are only certain types of roleplays and only a certain number of roleplays in each of these types that can succeed. Thankfully, there are already tools to help us learn where these ‘sweetspots’ are hidden.


    By looking at the first few pages of the forum, we can immediately discern certain trends. Fantasy and “Superpower” roleplays have historically found success, so it might be assumed that making a roleplay fitting these criteria will automatically increase one’s chances of success. Trust me: many have tried, and many have failed. I believe that if one were to try this tactic right now, they would fail again, as there are already roleplays fitting these categories which are currently experiencing or anticipating some success - see Genetic Destiny, College of Althalos, and Mysteries of the Ancients.


    Actually, on an interesting anecdote, I would like to spend a short paragraph examining my personal experience with the College of Althalos and the Mysteries of the Ancients. An interest check for MotA was posted on October 23rd, and for just over a month work was done on creating it behind the scenes. Meanwhile, on November 23rd, CoA was created. It quickly received applicants - there had been a paucity of medieval fantasy roleplays on the forum for about a month or so. Then, four days later, on November 27th, MotA was officially created. Suddenly, there were two medieval fantasy roleplays. Both had somewhat different takes - one somewhat more structured, the other more open-world, both figuratively and literally. Personally, I was in strife, as both appealed to me, but I did not want to commit to two roleplays which were so similar to each other. Being as weak as I am, I eventually succumbed and applied for both. All the same, I do think that the situation would have been better had the roleplays been posted at different times, so they both had a captive audience to draw from.


    Now, let us look at a more numerical example of the situation which I am describing. Assume, for a moment, that there are five people on the forums. Here is a brief description of each:


    • Adam likes science fiction. He wants to participate in one roleplay.
    • Bob likes science fiction and superheroes. He wants to participate in two roleplays.
    • Callie likes science fiction and secret agents. She wants to participate in two roleplays.
    • Deanna likes secret agents. She wants to participate in three roleplays.
    • Eli likes superheroes and secret agents. He wants to participate in one roleplay.

    Now, imagine the following scenario:

    • Adam creates a science fiction roleplay. Bob and Callie are quick to join.
    • Bob, seeing the success of Adam’s roleplay, creates his own science fiction roleplay. However, since Adam does not want to participate in another roleplay, Deanna and Eli are not interested in science fiction, and Callie, already in one science fiction roleplay, wants to save her time for a good secret agent roleplay in the future, none of them join the roleplay.
    • Eli, wanting to join in on the fun, makes a superhero roleplay. While Bob and Callie are both interested in superheroes, they have already joined all the roleplays which they want to join. No one joins Eli’s superhero roleplay.
    • Eventually, Bob shuts down his science fiction roleplay, having unfortunately sacrificed some of his ability to participate in Adam’s roleplay in his efforts to keep his own roleplay alive.
    • Now looking for another roleplay, Bob joins Eli’s. Eli is miraculously still alive, and is boosted out of his depression thanks to the kindness of Bob. However, the delay, paired with only two members, causes the roleplay to be slow to start. Eli has also, over time, lost some interest in his own roleplay.
    • All along, Deanna has been lonely without a roleplay to join.

    Hopefully this explains why creating a roleplay which is too similar to a current roleplay is a bad idea.


    There is another way in which unoriginality can be bad, and another tool from which we can learn. By looking at the perennial failures, we can see which roleplays will almost certainly fail again. This is especially important for those who are new to the forum, which may be a reason why it is best for experienced roleplayers to create roleplays, and new members to join them. The paradoxes created by an execution of this idea are worthy of another article, but alas, they do not fit into this one.


    Finally, one specific note on bad ideas is that High School Roleplays have, on this forum, been destined to failure after failure after failure. I do believe that a good High School Roleplay could be made, but this is not the type of roleplay for beginners to make or participate in, as it only encourages blandness and mundanity. So, please, if nothing new is to be offered on this front, consider High School Roleplays, as a whole, to be bad ideas.


    The elimination of bad ideas should be the prime directive of any individual trying to create a roleplay. A good idea will attract attention, and once applicants have been found and accepted, success becomes attainable. However, the route to this prosperity is marked with various obstacles. Creating and orchestrating a roleplay is perhaps the epitome of the Hero’s Journey, and as it is in any journey, one must use one’s tools - or in this case, one’s idea - in an effective manner.

    Bad Execution

    Oh! Woe is to he who squanders a good idea, for ideas are like gems: they must be polished to become invaluable. Many a roleplayer, however, does exactly that: they take what could be a great idea and, unfortunately, fail to put enough effort into developing it. I am as guilty of this as the rest of us.


    There are various ways in which an idea can be executed poorly, but perhaps most important is how an OP is written. Too long, and interest can be lost, but too short, and one might fail to convey the depth of an idea. Grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes can be the doom of a good idea, as they are the most efficient manner in which a writer can discredit their self. Even using the wrong font might throw off some potential members - coloured or large text is often a warning sign that a roleplay might not be as serious as members are hoping.


    The rules outlined in an OP can also dissuade readers from applying. Requirements about post length or grammar may appeal to experienced roleplayers, but would be devastating for those new members who still need to build up their skill. Having too many rules can drive off us free-spirited individuals, and I do believe that one can never have too few rules - after all, roleplaying is an outlet for creativity, and such an outlet should be as multi purposed and wide as can be.


    The easiest way to summarize how to execute a roleplay well is to try to find as many applicants as possible. There are various types of roleplayers, and each will find different things appealing in a roleplay. Everyone can benefit from a roleplay, and a roleplay can benefit from (almost) anyone. The trick is to make sure that everyone knows this.


    A good execution is like a good advertisement - striking, memorable, intriguing, and with a large audience. But even the most powerful company can be felled by poor management. We need to make sure that the products keep selling.

    Bad Management

    Let it be said, here and now, for all to see: this is the single most horrible way for a roleplay to die. By this point, work has been put in by all parties: the creator has done their best to generate interest, the readers have worked their hardest to entertain this interest, and the applicants, hopefully now members, have often put in hours of work developing unique, interesting characters, and then placing them into this wonderful world which they are so excited by.


    Then the meteorite strikes. The volcano explodes. The WiFi crashes. Something goes wrong. Perhaps the affliction is small and incremental, but invariably it occurs, and it produces a horrible screeching sound of metal on metal, ripping apart the fragments of this fictional universe and sending its Gods into disarray. What really goes wrong?


    It is often difficult to know exactly what the problem is, but the problem can usually be found by looking at the actions of the creator, the person whose actions have the most influence over the roleplay itself. Once the roleplay has been launched, it is their job to keep the gears turning and the waves rolling. Often, a roleplay’s death boils down to a lack of interest. Sometimes this is the creator’s fault.


    One of the first management acts of a creator is to accept applicants - and one of their first errors can be made here as well. If they accept too freely, they can add the ingredients for chaos or mediocrity. If they accept too strictly, they can dissuade others from applying for fear of rejection, and they can come to rely too heavily on too fragile a group of roleplayers. Both are easy mistakes, because again we search for Goldilocks Zone where everything is just right. With the lack of applicants that most roleplays receive, it is often difficult to be strict, because we feel as though we need all of the members we can find. I would suggest that this is a false presumption, and I will explain why I believe this later in the article.


    Another problem a manager can have is that they can allow for too many rotten apples - or, in some cases, they reveal themselves to be one such rotten apple. The fish rots from the head, it is often intoned, and this is true. If a creator allows a toxic environment to fester within their roleplay, or if they make that toxic environment themself, then their roleplay will suffer atrophy as members slowly opt out of a situation which they do not enjoy. Alternatively, a roleplay might become so bogged down in inter-member drama and dispute that it forgets its goals and members lose interest.


    Then, there is inactivity, to which many a roleplay has fallen. It is imperative that a creator ensure frequent activity on a roleplay, else interest will be lost and members will disappear. In this world of the internet, we are used to being constantly bombarded with data and facts and news and content. The same must occur on a roleplay to maintain interest.


    Make people feel connected to the roleplay, on a deeper level than their application. Engage them in conversations about rules, the plot, characters, or anything else - but don’t become distracted by your newly formed friendship. Focus your connections on the roleplay itself, and in that way you will maintain both your own interest and the interest of the members. Work hard to create a community. If people feel an obligation to each other, they will post. As well, despite popular belief, nagging does work - if someone needs to post, remind them (with friendliness) that they are needed. Never stagnate. Never allow a loss of interest. Keep some hidden details of the plot to reveal in times of trouble. Save your roleplay with your own dying breaths.


    But for our collective sanity’s sake, don’t abandon your own roleplay!


    I could not count on my hands the number of times that I have seen or been a part of a roleplay which has died due to the loss of its creator. If these creators were bailing when the ship had already sunk, perhaps I would not blame them so unequivocally, but alas, the number of times that a roleplay has been abandoned while there was still roaring interest - it infuriates me!


    I was once part of a roleplay which was new, unique, and well-executed. It had a solid core of at least five people, which is exceptional for a roleplay on these forums. It had lasted for over a month, enjoying success after success, and while there had been some hiccups, none had been drastic.


    Suddenly, the creator announced that he would be leaving and the roleplay would be closing. That was that. I was devastated.


    I wish that I had possessed the audacity to say, “You had heaven in your grasp, and now you have thrown it away!” I wish that the case which I have given was the only time this fate has befallen a roleplay which I have partaken in. I wish that less roleplays died.


    I wish that roleplays would stop dying in this one, single way, for truly it is the most detestable manner of death, simply because it is the most avoidable.


    If, when making a roleplay, a creator believes that they may, at any point, lose interest in their creation, perhaps it is not the roleplay for that creator to make. Perhaps the idea needs to be changed to make it more interesting in the long term. Alternatively, if a creator ever realizes that they are losing interest in their own roleplay, it is never too late for them to search their soul and find what they need to add to reinvigorate their own interest in the roleplay. Being the creator, they have the power to do this! If ever a creator feels discouraged by a lack of activity, a lack of length in posts, or a lack of anything - do not despair! Fix your issues, do not run from them! If worst comes to worst, and there is no choice but to flee the failing fleet, then throw that torch to those who can save your roleplay. Don’t let a good thing die!

    Exceptions

    Of course, one cannot presume that a roleplay will prosper, even if it succeeds in each of the various manners of creation and management listed above. Some circumstances are beyond the control of any one creator or roleplayer. Some circumstances are exceptional.


    One such circumstance has to do with the fact that, despite what many of us may want to believe, the Minecraft Forums are not dedicated solely to the Minecraft Roleplaying Forum. There are better, more single-goal-oriented website which exist, and which lure away some of the most advanced and ambitious roleplayers. In a way, these Minecraft Forums are a breeding ground, where average folks are turned into roleplaying aficionados. Few of us were experts at roleplaying when we first arrived here, but so many of us have become them, and in the future, so many more will. Then, unfortunately, so many of these birds leave the nest. They fly off to greener pastures, and they leave behind that womb which nourished them. This is perhaps why so many roleplays on this forum die in their prime - they fly too close to the sun, and their wings, those roleplayers who make their roleplays great, take off into the universe, burning hot and golden with promise and prosperity which they will not return to this mortal world.


    However, I would deign to offer that there is a certain magic which these forums possess, one which I hope could convince countless others to stay here long after they have ‘outgrown’ their peers. Many would argue that roleplays require large memberships in order to survive and thrive. I would suggest that this is in no way true. I have carried out various roleplays with only one, occasionally two, other people, and these have been quite successful, and quite fun, if not for the forum as a whole, then certainly for those who participated in the roleplay. This intimacy is something which I believe can easily be lost on forums where there are so many active members to drown each other out, or on forums where everyone is so advanced in their writing that no one is there to learn or teach, only to impress and exercise.


    The slow, horrifying loss of those god-like roleplayers we all have known and loved is one of the greatest afflictions suffered by roleplays on this forum, and the only way to stop it is to find the beauty in the present. We need to stop looking to the future, and we need to stop anticipating ‘better’ roleplays. Instead, make the roleplays we have even better. If we always leave for better pastures, we never make the most of the pastures which we have.

    Conclusion

    So, why do roleplays die? They die because they are weak. Why are roleplays weak? They are weak because their components are weak. Weak ideas, weak components, weak members, weak forums. No one ever makes a roleplay with the intent of having it die, but sometimes, somewhere along the line, we lose interest, and we think, It’s okay if this dies. I can do better.


    Ironically, we often only need to embetter one thing: ourselves.


    To strengthen ourselves, we must strengthen our ability to write, our ability to formulate ideas, our ability to create and manage a roleplay, our ability to recognize the successes and failures of our roleplays, and our ability to fix these failures, and find more successes.


    Only the roleplayers themselves can stop the epidemic on this forum, and they - we - are fully capable of doing so.


    ***

    “Oh,” the little boy finally replied, very confused by his grandfather’s ramblings, which had only produced more questions for him to ask.

    Posted in: Forum Roleplaying
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