The Troll King ~ Active: LORE/MMO/NWN quests/CDQs

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The Troll King ~ Active: LORE/MMO/NWN quests/CDQs

GM Name: The Troll King or Curious

Forum Name: miltonyorkcastle

Bioware Login: kcthecook or LynTobias

Bio: I live in the panhandle of Texas, placing me in the CST/CDT zone. I have a six year old daughter who I hope one day, much to the chagrin of her mother, will be an avid roleplayer. Currently, I'm the Coordinator of Client Relations and Research at Texas Tech University. I also have a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts and a Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies from Texas Tech. Role-playing games got a hold of me my first year of undergrad (way back when), and I haven't looked back. I've played a myriad of pen-and-paper RPG's as well as many of the well known video games based off the pen-and-paper stuff.

Milty the GM: I've GM'd PnP DnD (acronym city!) for about ten years now. I've played on Layo for, um, a long time (check the forum info), and before I became a GM here I helped the Team with LORE (which I still maintain and hold a dear place for in my heart). I also did a small bit of work for the single player module. I'm currently helping out with the MMO as well as continuing to support the NWN side of things. So. Here's a heads up on a few things you can expect when my quests pop up on the calender. 1) Practically all the quests I run will deal with some ethical or otherwise philisophically questionable issue. The issues are as they pertain to "humanity" in general and to the unique situations within the world of Layonara itself. Be prepared to think. 2) You probably won't run into very many classic puzzles or riddles in my quests. The puzzles you'll deal with will come from how well you analyze and predict the consequences of your actions. 3) Actions have consequences. So cliche' yet so important to repeat often. 4) Combat is deadly. Avoid combat at all costs (unless you're crazy like me and the "deadly" aspect is enticing). That's it for the ephemeral stuff. Here's some mechanical, concrete things to be ready for. 1) Casters, be ready for caster level checks (1d20+ your wizard/sorcerer/bard/cleric/ranger/paladin/did I miss one? level). Feel free to test the limits of your magical ability, cast spells that aren't defined by NWN (so long as they don't violate already stated parameters, like that regarding telepathy), and use your prowess to uncover arcane lore. However, don't expect to do it automatically. And Spellcraft checks aren't enough. (Spellcraft checks represents the non-magical understanding of the Al'noth. "Feeling" or seeing hidden magical auras requires other magic be in place for detection. This "other magic" a caster uses will be represented by a caster level check to determine ability and strength.) Basically, don't expect that your fake image of a cat walking by will look very convincing just because you're an illusionist and you got an SC check of 27 (although I do give bonuses for specialization). Caster level checks will help me determine your level of ability. 2) Resting: I'm not real picky about when and where you rest. However, if you rest randomly in a place that makes little sense to do so or you start a rest with little to no Roleplay reasoning behind it, you may find yourself ambushed by the local monster population. No, that doesn't mean I'm going to kill you for a poor choice in timing your rests; it means I will likely disrupt your resting in some way so that you don't get the benefits of it. A single giant spider usually does the trick. 3) Looting: Unless I specifically ask you not to, then feel free. However, all items must be declared to me at the end of the quest. Also note that some players prefer not to deal with looting on quests, so be considerate. The few gold that you may find on my monsters isn't worth player squabbles.

Also, more philosophy is posted below.

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More Milty RPG philosophy!


Milty's basic guide to the evil/good axis:


I think many players and GMs tend to have at the very least an intrinsic idea of what is Good and Evil, to the point that they can identify and replicate evil/good actions. The alignment that is often argued and given conflicting explanations is Neutral. Too often Neutral gets defined as doing enough good and enough bad to balance a character's good and evil points so that the indicator holds in the middle of the axis. But that's suggesting there aren't "neutral" actions; only good and bad actions done in equal measure to give a neutral result. Neutral actions do, in fact, exist. And in both the real world and Layonara, the vast majority of the sentient population is of a True Neutral alignment. So what is Neutral, and what are Neutral actions?


Let's start by defining good and evil in their most simplest of forms:


Good is being unselfish.


Evil is being selfish.


You say, "Um, but most people are selfish, at least a little." That's true. So are most people evil? No. We've already established most people are Neutral. So what's the difference between a selfish person who is Evil and one who is Neutral? The difference is in what the person is willing to do for his/her own gain. An evil person is willing to sacrifice the life and well-being of others in order to advance his/her goals. A neutral person is unwilling to sacrifice the life and well-being of others for his/her own gain, or is unwilling to go beyond an established social ceiling of acceptable gain at the expense of another (sports actually fall into this category, as it is an acceptable way to gain at the expense of another). In short...


Evil is being selfish at the expense of others.


Neutral is being selfish, but (generally) not at the expense of others.


Time for an example:


The king's taxes are owed. Knowing her neighbor doesn't have enough money to pay the tax,

- The Good person offers to pay her neighbors taxes for her, even perhaps sacrificing her own well-being/livelihood to do so if she doesn't already have the money to spare. The Good person sees an opportunity to alleviate another's misery.

- The Neutral person might offer to loan her neighbor the money if she has it to spare and trusts the neighbor to pay it back, but more than likely only shakes her head and offers condolences, having her own affairs and troubles that need attending. The Neutral sees no opportunity other than protecting her own affairs.

- The Evil person not only allows her neighbor to be drug off for not paying the taxes, but also pays off the local lord/tax collector so that she can claim the neighbors lands and holdings in the neighbors absence. The Evil person sees an opportunity to profit from another's misery.


So, how selfish is your character? How willing is he to gain at the expense of another? How willing is she to sacrifice herself for the gain of another?


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From http://layonara.com/threads/10162665-question-about-lawful-evil

 

Also of note, in traditional DnD, characters of "lawful" alignments were more concerned with society as a whole, and how their actions affect the whole, rather than the individual. Lawful characters are always willing to sacrifice a few for the benefit of the whole. It's why they are good with systems, and why they like rules, because rules (laws) are used to control individuals so that the individuals will fulfill their duty to society, to the whole.

"Chaotic" characters are all about the individual. Personal freedom and the ability to choose one's own path (rather than fit into the mold society as a whole wants/needs for you to fill) is of utmost importance. This is why chaotic characters often break the rules. The rights of the individual are greater than the rights of the whole for chaotic characters.

This dichotomy is why paladins must be lawful. They are duty bound to serve society as a whole. Paladins place the needs of the whole over their individual needs. It's also why paladins tend to have short life spans. ;-) 

Caveat: Layonara is not traditional DnD, and as such, some interpretations of alignment may differ. Consult with your GM during a quest to be sure of interpretation.  I simply offered this note because I find that knowing the development of an idea and where the idea came from helps us to understand the idea (in this case, alignments) much better.

 

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From http://layonara.com/threads/1217252-get-me-outta-here-rogues?page=3

 

I won't get into Druids because that's a whole different "kind" of magic, but I can maybe shed some light (and maybe update LORE a bit more if there is consensus, though such has been discussed in the past) as to why Wizards get Teleportation and Sorcs don't. It boils down to the fundamental difference between the casters in a ritual casting world:

Wizards cast by ritual (spells prepared in advance); they have no inherent connection to magic (at least not by DnD standards). Sorcerers cast "on the fly" (no preparation needed); they have an inherent connection to the Al'noth, and as such use their own bodies as the "components" (which also means that casting for a sorcerer should ultimately be more taxing and dangerous as when a spell is cast ritually, the components are almost always used up, but the sorcerer doesn't want himself to be "used up" when he casts, heh; not to mention, a sorcerer could possibly have their connection to the Al'Noth stripped, while you'd have to strip a Wizard's memory for him to lose his casting ability.).

When a wizard "prepares" his/her spells, he/she is actually casting the spell. He goes through the motion of casting the spell right up to the very last component, be it a word, bit of sand, or whatever, which he saves to activate the spell at the instant he needs it.. This is where spell components come in to play. Spell components are essentially that last pieces needed to complete the ritual (or part of the last "piece," but lets keep things simple for now ;) ). In other words, a wizard casts all his spells before he casts his spells. :p It also means that if a wizard doesn't have a spell prepared, he's out of luck... and worse, he can't really take a spell and alter it to fit the circumstance without actually preparing the altered version of the spell. Sorcerers are much more flexible in this regard... so, let's look at sorc's.

Sorcerers breath, eat, spit, sweat, and give the flu to magic. They don't need to ritually prepare a spell. They just think about it, throw out whatever final component is required for the spell, and boom, there it is. This means that a spell and all of its possible iterations are castable by a sorcerer (assuming the sorcerer can cast the spell in the first place) without having previously worked out the process needed to make the alterations work (though mechanically such alterations aren't very available IG and you need GM help to put them into practice). Now, DnD limits the number of spells a sorcerer "knows" in order to sort of demonstrate that they are savants, and while they could in fact cast anything, there is some internal ability to control the magic of each spell type and a person just plain can't have all the internal defenses to control every type of magical possibility.

Now, all that was to introduce the teleportation spell and why sorcerers (in general) can't really accomplish the feat. Like all spells, Teleportation needs some sort of focus, certain components to interact with the magic and make it work (mind you, we're still working ritual magic here; get rid of components and rituals and you don't need to worry about this mumbo-junmbo, but then "wizards" also cease to exist- everyone becomes a "sorcerer" of sorts.). A wizard can set up all the pieces of the ritual, complete the spell, and without any other energy expended on his part complete the spell. The spell doesn't draw on a wizard's person, his being, in order to complete the spell. And this is key, because teleportation magic requires extreme control over the Al'noth (so the caster doesn't find himself teleported inside of a wall), and the ritual itself takes over half a dozen hours depending on distance and how much is being sent. A sorcerer uses his person as the "components" to complete the spell, but the effort required to cast such a ritual "on the fly" is so enormous that only a handful of sorcerers have the capacity to control and energy to complete such a spell on his/her own. The sorcerer would require some other means of finishing the spell, either by magical artifact or a connection to something (or someone) else with the power to handle teleportation magic.

The Tome a wizard has IG represents a "pre-cast" or prepared teleportation spell, in much the same way that the rest of a wizard's spells are prepared up to that last component needed to complete the a ritual.

Hope that helps, and yeah, things will be different in the MMO.

DISCLAIMER: Because magic in Layo has long been in a state of flux and interpretation as we move to a whole new set-up, a GM's interpretation of how magic works on his/her quests is what you should always default to. Inconsistencies are bound to happen as not all were brought up indoctrinated with "DnD," and we are as a world and game moving away from DnD style magic. Actually, that's one of the reasons why we're moving to our own system, so we can have some measure of consistency.

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From http://layonara.com/threads/1281428-ideas

Also note that there is a correlation between what I discuss below and what is expressed here: http://layonara.com/nwn/character-advancement

I identify three types of "players" (and subsequently play-styles) we see here, and I'm sure there are other ways to view this, to label play-styles, etc, but bear with me as I explain where I'm coming from. I need to define a few terms before going into the player types:

-Mechanical Achievement: Just like it sounds, this has to do with gaining levels and gear. It also includes crafting and other sorts of mini-games that aren't directly related to story or social interaction.

-Social Achievement: This has to do with both IC and OOC community involvement. Things such as building friendships, IC marriages, and starting PC organizations all fall under the category of social achievement.

-Worldly Achievement: This has to do with advancement and recognition in the player world. Political power, secret knowledge, building temples, destroying temples, monuments in your character's name, being the best swordsman in the world, and new inventions are just some examples of worldly achievements.

1) The Casual Role Player: This player likes to pop in on a regular basis and immediately start interacting in-character. The type of interaction is not as important as the interaction itself. Casual RPers tend to have a variety of characters at their disposal (but not always), and play them according to their mood. The Casual RPer is often just as satisfied, if not more so, by social achievements as opposed to mechanical or worldly achievements. However, if the casual RPer feels that mechanical achievements are necessary to keep up with their social circle, he/she will usually put forth the effort to raise their mechanical level, if only so that they can hang out with their social group. Likewise, if the mechanics shift downward, say with a fresh group of new characters, the casual RPer is also likely to start a new character that can mechanically fit with the group. This is the group that laments the drop in number of players the most, as this game is a social outlet for the Casual RPer more than anything else. Casual RPers also find it difficult to attain worldly achievements because they can't always attend scheduled events and prefer social interaction to writing lengthy PMs. Any new IG content finds bashing or praise based on whether it supports the social atmosphere the Casual RPer desires.

2) The Event Role Player: This type of player seldom likes to just pop in and hang out. When he/she gets IG, there is a purpose specifically relating to a character goal- it's about the story and the character more than social interaction. Even when they appear to be "casually role playing," the interaction is usually part of a plan to further their character's agenda. These folks get IG for scheduled events like quests and guild meetings, but otherwise are rarely seen IG. The Event RPer stays active via PMs and posts and enough plotting and scheming to both excite and burn out GMs. The Event RPer seldom has more than two characters, and usually only plays one with any regularity. Worldly achievements matter most to the Event RPer, and the Event RPer will pursue mechanical achievements for the sole purpose of completing their worldly goals. Social achievements often mean little to the Event RPer, unless those social achievements somehow give the character an edge in his/her goals for worldly power/recognition. This group worries the least about the dwindling player base, though it is a concern, because they don't want the world to die and their achievements along with it. Event RPers use the video game interface as just that, an interface, and don't worry nearly as much about content additions/upgrades.

3) The Video Game RPer: This kind of player enjoys the atmosphere of a fleshed out world and dedicated characters, but expects a certain amount of recognizable mechanical achievement at a regular rate, and typically expects the story and in fact the whole experience of the game itself to be set within the video game portion, unlike Event and Casual RPers, who spend hours playing the game (writing CDTs, exchanging PMs, posting on the forums, RP via IRC) without ever logging into the NWN user interface. This type of player enjoys mechanical achievement the most, but with the added spice of story or social interaction. Of all the player types, this character minds "the grind" the least, and will happily slay a thousand of the exact same monster for hours. Killing monsters is fun, so killing a thousand monsters must be awesome, right? This type of player usually explores the world at a rapid rate, and attempts to "beat" it like you might "beat" or complete any other video game. When the game is beat, they move on, or find a new way to beat it (such as starting a new character). As NWN has aged, most players like this have moved on to better/updated video game experiences, but in a sense, many of us still play with this mentality, that the game is entirely encapsulated within your NWN login. Video Game RPers are most excited by new IG content and new areas to explore.

Naturally there is some overlap in the play-styles, some people fit into multiple player types (though I would say that you lean toward one as the dominant), and it's not unheard of for a person to switch from one play-style to another over the course of their RPing "career."

The team has tried now for the past few years to in some way cater to all three player types, and there are those that have (and continue) to argue that we should pick a type (without actually giving labels to player types) and stick to catering to that one type so that our resources aren't so spread thin. The Event RPer in us all wants more GM activity in the form of quests, the Casual RPer wants more people and a more relaxed atmosphere (such as easier character sub rules) for social gathering, and the Video Gamer in all of us wants more fun doo-dads and monsters to play with. We do truly try and give all the folks that like to play here, regardless of style, a good time, despite the limited resources at our disposal. Really, we need a team dedicated to each play-style, or each of the things important to that play-style, but we have one team, and a small one at that. I think you'll notice that as we focus on one thing, such as new IG content, other things get neglected, creating a pattern or cycle that has some measure of regularity: development, recruitment, questing, development, recruitment, questing, etc.

For the record, I'm an Event RPer, if you didn't figure that out already, heh.

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