Announcements - 2006/05 - The Price of Loyalty

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May 2006 - Patch Page


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The Price of Loyalty

Maegris sat at his desk, scribbling notes and observations in a giant book. All around him, his study was in disarray. Open books and sheaves of paper were strewn over every flat surface, and the mage's fingers were stained with ink. His forehead, too, was smudged with ink, from his habit of kneading his temples when frustrated. Sighing, he reached for his tankard and took a long swallow, grimacing at the bitterness of the brew. He blinked, trying to clear his head. Arcane runes and diagrams swam before his eyes. He knew he was on the verge of exhaustion, but there was little time left, and he had much to do still...

There was a knock at the heavy oaken door of his study. He looked up and called, "Enter." A soldier dressed in black and gold armor slowly pushed open the door and stepped inside. The soldier went down to one knee and awaited Maegris' word.

"Speak," Maegris said, his tone betraying his impatience for the soldier's formality.

"Pontifex, my Archon sends me to bring you word, the summoning chamber is prepared. We have pacified and secured the surrounding area to your specifications."

"And the chamber itself? Has it been warded?"

The soldier inclined his head again. "As you ordered, Pontifex. The wards have been tested twice, and we are confident that it has been properly screened from all outside attention."

Maegris nodded in satisfaction. "That is well done. I want you to keep testing the wards. Pheraion is a crafty devil, have him try to defeat the wards from his own location. We must be absolutely certain that there will be no interference, from the Shadow Hunters or from... our new-made friends."

"It shall be so, Pontifex. Is there anything else you require?"

Maegris' eyes slid briefly to the tankard on his table. "Yes. Another flagon of ale. The Tusker Spit Ale. And a flagon of the Hunter's Stock Amber."

"Yes, Pontifex." The soldier stood, bowed quickly, pivoted smartly on his heel, and strode out of the room. The door closed behind him, and Maegris bent over his notes again.

A few minutes later, there was another knock on his door. Without turning around, Maegris called, "Come in. Just find some flat space to set down the flagons, and begone."

The door swung open behind him, but he heard no footsteps to indicate that someone had entered the room. Irritated, Maegris swung around, ready to scold or hex the person disturbing him.

The youngest of his assistants, robed in black, stood in the doorway. He clutched a sealed scroll case in his hand. Maegris noted the color pattern of the tube, and his eyes widened.

"Is that what I think it is, Angbarin?"

The younger mage nodded hesitantly. "I have not opened it, Pontifex, but yes, the courier brought this from... ah, from..."

Maegris snapped his fingers. "All right man, I can see where it came from. It is well you did not open it." He held out his hand. "Give it to me, and go. Make sure the flagons I requested get here, soon. I suspect I shall need them more than ever now."

Angbarin shuffled forward, deposited the scroll case in Maegris' outstretched hand, bowed deeply, and almost ran out the door.

Maegris set the scroll case on the table in front of him, smudging the ink on the diagram he'd been creating. He looked at it with almost superstitious dread. His mind was racing. All the long preparation, all the searching, the research that had been equal parts tedium, frustration, and soul-threatening danger...

"I never thought they would actually..." Then, taking a deep steadying breath, he broke the seal and removed the cap from one end.

He pulled out a thin stack of papers, written in a precise hand, with skillfully rendered diagrams. Leafing through the papers, he almost forgot to breathe. It looked proper, all in order. All the information he needed to finish... A third knock on his door brought him back to his senses. "Enter," he croaked.

Angbarin was there again, with a pair of heavy flagons on a platter. He quickly found a place to set down the flagons, on top of a pile of books that Maegris hadn't touched in a few days. Then he turned towards his Pontifex, an unspoken question in his eyes.

Maegris nodded, and the assistant smiled.

"It's what we've been waiting for, isn't it, Pontifex?"

"It is. Be careful what you wish for, Angbarin. It just may come true..."

The young mage was confused. "Pontifex?"

Maegris shook his head. "Never mind. I've just been up too long. We have what we need. Call your brothers. Make them begin their preparations. Assemble them in the chamber. We must move quickly. We are so close..."

He could tell that his assistant still had something to say. "Out with it, Angbarin."

"Pontifex... Were we not supposed to send a message of our own, in response? The agreement..."

Maegris waved his hand. "I remember the agreement." He looked at a sealed scroll case in his own bookshelf. He'd prepared its contents in advance, even though he'd never truly believed that his counterpart would fulfill the other end of the bargain. It contained nothing more than a location and instructions on how to get there. He looked at the elegantly inscribed papers on his desk, and the scroll case on his bookshelf. He thought of his counterpart, and sneered.

"Yes, we had an agreement. We should respond."

Angbarin saw the scroll case on the bookshelf and took a step in that direction.

"No," Maegris said. "Not that. I'll write a new letter to be delivered to our friend. I shall have to inform them that our old agreement has been voided, since we learned of his past deceptions. But he will not go wanting. He'll get what he deserves from the Heart-Render himself. He shall be unhappy, I imagine, but he must learn to live with disappointment. As have we all." He smiled a treacherous smile. Angbarin's own smile was much more hesitant. A fearful, nervous smile.

"As you say, Pontifex. You know best, I am sure."

Rollout Article

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Rollout Article

The messenger scrabbled over rock and scrub, breathing hard. Each handhold and foothold was accompanied by a cascade of pebbles, clattering down the slope beneath. He cursed at all the noise he was making. He knew he was being pursued, and while his dark clothing would help conceal him in the light of a moonless night, all the noise meant that he may as well be calling out, "Here! Here I am!" to his pursuers.

He had been running since the morning, when dawn's first light revealed the spire over the Caul. He had run to his field commander, who had then dispatched him to the mainland to deliver a message to the chapterhouse. From the chapterhouse, with only a brief rest to recover his strength, he had been sent through a portal into this wilderness, to deliver more messages. It seemed that the entire Ordina had mobilized all across Dereth. He knew he was one of many messengers crisscrossing the known world, scurrying from the Caul to the Direlands to the frigid wastes of the Halaetan Islands. He counted his blessings – his task was to deliver messages and supplies to Ordina mages and scholars in isolated outposts. At least he'd not been the one sent to trade messages with those disturbing cultists, the ones who worshipped death and darkness with madness in their eyes. He also knew that the Ordina was not the only organization thrown into a flurry of activity. Even the unaligned were re-ordering their houses, checking loyalties, mustering for the battles to come...

Grimacing, he pulled himself onto a relatively flat outcropping of rock on the face of the slope. He allowed himself a brief rest, scanning the terrain below his perch to see if he could spot any sign of pursuit. He had been blessed with a hunter's sharp eyes, and the Ordina had helped him further develop his skills. He noted a stir in the low trees, a few hundred yards from the bottom of the slope. As he suspected, his pursuers were gaining on him as he struggled up the ridge. He only hoped that his decision to sacrifice stealth for speed would pay off once he topped the crest.

He drew from his pack a bottle of honey-colored potion. He flicked the cap off with his thumb and gulped the bottle down, feeling the tingle in his arms and legs as the potion burned away his fatigue. He set the bottle down on the ledge and re-started his ascent. The crest of the ridge was not too far above him now. He'd get back on even ground and then vanish into the trees before whoever was chasing him could see where he went.

He was just a few handholds away from the top when he heard a whoosh and moist, meaty thunk just underneath him. Pain followed immediately after the sound – a hot explosion of agony in his left leg. He spared a glance down over his shoulder, and saw an arrow sticking out from the back of his thigh. He almost cried out in fear and rage. Gritting his teeth, he pulled himself up the last few handholds, over the crest of the ridge and into the cover of some scrubby bushes. Trying to distance himself from the pain, he picked up a loose twig from the brush surrounding him. He bit down on the twig, then snapped the arrow shaft, leaving most of it still buried in his thigh. He bit through the twig and almost passed out from the pain, but somehow managed to roll to a crouching position.

The wound changed his thinking. How could he hope to evade this pursuit with a wounded leg, trailing blood at each step? More than that, he was tired of running. He'd joined the Ordina to fight, not to run. He decided to find a suitable spot, and prepare an ambush. He would become the hunter again, rather than the prey.

He moved towards the trees to the west with a lopsided loping stride, ignoring the ripping pain in each stride. He took cover in a dense copse of evergreens, sheltered on the north and west by large boulders. To the east, in the direction his pursuers would come from, were long stretches of mostly open ground. He'd have some natural cover and a clear shot at his enemies from here, including a view of the ridge crest he'd just come over.

He sat as comfortably as he could, strung his bow and scanned the horizon, ready to give back some of what he'd gotten. He was a good archer and an accomplished hunter, and it made him feel stronger just to have the weapon in his hand. "Come out, dogs, I have a surprise for you," he whispered.

There was a twitch in the bushes that he'd just come out of, a couple of hundred yards to the east. In a heartbeat, he loosed an arrow. Another movement, to the southeast. He loosed another arrow. There was a third movement, between the first two. He shot again, and he started to wonder just how many people were after him. He saw no evidence that he'd hit anything with his shots, and frustration and fear threatened to overtake him again.

He drew another arrow from his quiver, nocked it, and waited. "Come on come on come on," he muttered impatiently.

There was a crash behind him. Before he could spin to confront the threat, something heavy landed on his back, pinning him down, and a strong arm wrapped around his neck from the left side. He felt hot breath on the back of his head. He heard someone whisper, "An impatient scout is a dead scout." From the darkness to his right, a purple blade flashed brightly, then darted towards him with the speed of a striking snake.

Release Notes

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Developer's Notes

New content and Functionality

  • New and improved allegiance commands and controls have been added to the game. You can read more about these changes here.
  • A new tier of the Runed weapons has been added to the game. This tier of weapons is geared towards characters in the level 120 range.
  • Rumors of more movement by the Essences of Magic have been passing through the Taverns of Dereth.
  • A Shadow Spire has appeared on the landscape. What could it mean and why has it appeared now?

Miscellaneous Changes and Improvements

  • Some areas were still spawning snowmen even though we are well into the warmer weather now. This has been resolved, and the snowmen have gone away for a while.
  • The Princely Runed wand was not casting its spell properly. When a player tried to use this item they got an error saying the item can't be used. This has been fixed and the baton should work properly
  • Some creatures were not dropping their trophy items upon death, such as the Sword of Lost Light. This problem has been resolved and everyone should be dropping the items they are supposed to upon death.
  • There was an issue with attempting to dye the shield of Power, Purple. Even though a player would get the success message the shield would appear whit when wielded. This has been fixed.
  • There were some inconsistencies in the way the @help Allegiance command worked. Those issues have been resolved and entering that command should bring you to the correct help files.
  • Some typos on the Dark Monolith quest have been fixed.
  • There was a bug that caused some new characters to loose their clothing items on their first death. This was not intended. We do not strip our new players naked the first time they die. That's just rude!
  • The scribe's Quill was supposed to cast Major Item tinkering, not Major Magic Item Tinkering. This has been fixed and the item now casts the proper spell.
  • The Olthoi Sentinel was not dropping its abdomen pieceat the correct rate. The rate has now been adjusted and the piece should now be dropping at the correct rate.

Letter to the Players

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May Letter to the Players

May 2006 Letter to the Players

Hi there and welcome to the May 2006 edition of the Letter to the Players. It has been a tumultuous time in Dereth this month as Count Dardante has been seen around Dereth with his experiment, Commander Jared Kurth. These sightings have caused many to choose sides it what appears to be an impending epic war between King Varicci and Queen Elysa. Which side are you on?

In the midst of this great conflict an old but familiar sight has arisen from the ashes, yet no one is quite sure where this Spire came from or why it is here? Does it mean that a dark evil is rising? Has the great conflict between kingdoms awoken something sinister? Or is there something else happening here? Have the magic's that Count Dardante continues to toy with finally made some force greater than him aware of what he is doing? There are alot of questions that need to be answered.

As we settle in to the summer season, what is in store for Dereth? With a great conflict on the horizon is Dereth about to be thrown into something it is not ready for? Will the brave warriors of this land once again step up and save the day, or does this mark the beginning of the end for Dereth as we know it?

Let's find out what is new in Dereth this month!

New Content and Functionality

This month we are introducing the allegiance changes that have been proposed for some time now. These changes include more allegiance officers with more control, including being able to name the different ranks of officers. Monarchs and officers will also have the ability to name the allegiance and the ability to lock the allegiance, so that monarchs and officers can have more control over who gets into an allegiance. Here is a more detailed explanation of the new and improved allegiance system.

Allegiance Names

The first aspect of the improvements we will cover today is the ability to give your allegiance its own unique name. The monarch of the allegiance or an officer with the appropriate permissions may set the name of the allegiance once every 24 hours using the command @allegiance name set . The name of the allegiance may be changed once every 24 hours, by a person with the appropriate permissions, which we will cover more in the allegiance officers section of this report. Allegiance names may be 40 characters long and may consist only of characters that can be used in character names: that is, alphabetic characters, spaces, and normal punctuation only (' and -).

Allegiance Officers

For some time now players have been asking us for more structure and control over what goes on in allegiances. These requests include giving allegiance officers more abilities and a better system then what had been in place. Well, ask and you shall receive! Below I will list the officer ranks and the powers that go along with them.

Level 1: Speaker

  • Allegiance chat kick.
  • Allegiance chat gag.
  • Allegiance broadcast.
  • Set/clear the MOTD.

Level 2: Seneschal

  • Promote/demote members under own rank (i.e. can promote/demote speakers).
  • Allegiance boot.
  • Allegiance ban.
  • Access allegiance info.
  • Lock/unlock the allegiance.

Level 3: Castellan

  • Promote/demote members to any rank, including other Castellans.
  • Change officer titles.
  • Set/clear the allegiance name.
  • Set allegiance bind stone.
  • Change mansion allegiance access/storage permissions.
  • Bypass allegiance lock with own vassals.
  • Bypass allegiance lock by approving particular vassals.

The monarch and officers with appropriate permissions can appoint officers or remove officers as described in the table above. In other words:

  • 3 The monarch can appoint or remove any officer of any level.
  • 3 Castellan (level 3) officers can appoint or remove any officer of any level.
  • 3 Seneschal (level 2) officers can appoint or remove Speakers.
  • 3 Speaker (level 1) officers cannot appoint or remove anyone at this time.

Any member of the allegiance may become an officer. An allegiance may have a maximum of 12 officers at once (not counting the monarch, who is not considered an officer), but those 12 officers may have any level of permission. For instance, there may be 12 speakers, or 6 speakers and 6 seneschals, or what have you.

In addition, at any time a member of the allegiance can find out who the officers of that allegiance are by typing in the command @allegiance officer or @allegiance officer list. Either command will display a list of allegiance member names in no particular order followed by their officer title.

Custom Officer Titles

In order to help customize allegiances, the monarch and officers with appropriate permissions can rename the officer levels in whatever fashion they desire so long as those names meet the following two criteria:

  • 3 The new title must be no longer than 20 characters.
  • 3 The new title must consist alphabetic characters and normal punctuation (namely ' and -) only.
  • 3 The new title must not be profane, as determined by the chat language filter.

Note that officer titles may contain spaces and capital letters. If an allegiance has not set a custom name for an officer level, the default title is used.

Allegiance Chat Gag

As you may have noticed, there are some abilities listed above that were not available before. One of these is the allegiance chat gag. The monarch or any officer of Speaker level or above may temporarily prevent any allegiance member from participating in allegiance chat by entering a command. By default, this gag will last 5 minutes and then wear off. An officer or the monarch may explicitly end this gag early, if they so choose. Note that officers may gag each other or even the monarch, but that a gagged officer can always just turn around and ungag himself immediately.

Allegiance Lock

Another ability that was once not available is the ability to lock an allegiance. The monarch of the allegiance or an officer with the appropriate permissions may lock or unlock the allegiance. In addition, any member of the allegiance can see the current state by entering in a command. Allegiances are unlocked by default, to match existing behavior. When the allegiance is unlocked, new players may swear into the allegiance in the normal fashion. When the allegiance is locked, however, only the monarch and officers with the appropriate permissions may accept offers of allegiance. If a player swears allegiance to a monarch or Castellan-level officer in a locked allegiance, the action proceeds as normal. But if a player attempts to swear allegiance to a lower-level officer or non-officer in a locked allegiance, then the swear attempt will fail.

Higher tier weapons

This month will bring in the next tier of the Runed weapons that are found around Dereth. These weapons will have the same cast on strike abilities as the previous tier, but they are intended for characters around level 120. This of course means the damage these weapons do is increased from the last set that was released in the April event. These new weapons will appear in chests that are found in areas geared towards the same level range as the weapons.

In Concept

These are game changes that we are thinking about for upcoming events. We cannot guarantee when or even if these changes will be added to the game, as scheduling and priorities can change. These changes are in addition to the new quests, dungeons, and items we will be adding to the game. With each monthly event we will be discussing an in concept topic, in order to give you as much information about the item that we can.

Equipment Sets

Equipment sets are just what they sound like. A set of equipment that when equipped will cast certain spells on the wearer. So if a player equips two pieces of a set he gets certain spells cast on him, but when he equips more items in the set, the spells are increased. If the person wears the whole set, they will then receive a bonus spell or effect that is cast only when the person is wearing a complete set.

As we get closer to implementing these features, we will be giving a more detailed description of what these equipment sets will involve.

So there are just some of the things we have in store for Asheron's Call in May and beyond. Please remember that along with everything listed here, there are several new quests and exciting things going into the game for the May event.
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