Announcements - 2007/05 - Prodigal Sons

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May 2007 - Patch Page


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Prodigal Sons

Asheron sat at his great white desk, staring into the flames of his candles. The desk was ancient, a relic of the Realaidain family. The white stone surface of the table had been well polished by use, its corners worn smooth from age, even when his father Lord Atlan had planned that fateful expedition to Daralet over 2500 years ago. Instead of his father's maps and military dispatches, the table now bore a pile of reports from Queen Elysa and the great leather-bound book in which he kept his personal recollections. He was recording all he could remember of his ordeal on Bur, from the first reports of trouble that had inspired his journey, to the torture he had endured at the hands of the Falatacot and the disruption of the Matriarchs' ritual. He had spent some time recuperating and recovering himself. After that he had re-established contact with Queen Elysa and his other friends in Dereth, and completed some obvious much-needed improvements to the security of his sanctuary. Only then had he devoted his attention to the recording of what he had been through, and to learning of what had happened in Dereth during his absence.

As he finished his last notes on the Bur ordeal, he set down his pen and rubbed his hands together. He could still feel phantom sensations all over – his body's recollection of the tortures and bloodletting inflicted upon him by the Falatacot. He shuddered to think of what they could have done, had they actually made use of his heart's blood for their ritual... Luckily, intrepid adventurers from Dereth, aided by certain of his friends, had decoded the clues he left behind, found their way to Bur, and prevented the Matriarchs from sacrificing him to their cruel gods. It was another debt he felt he owed to Queen Elysa and her resourceful subjects.

Putting the thoughts of Bur behind him, he glanced at the pile of reports next to his journal. He'd read through most of them already, but he was reviewing them again to be sure of his understanding. Much had occurred during his captivity, including the rise and fall of an ancient Kemeroi-spawned terror from the dawn of days, a strange demon with three bodies named Grael that had once stalked the same paths of madness and vengeance as the Hopeslayer...

He had been away from Dereth while the Viamontian King Varicci, whose people and lands had been concealed from him in ways he still did not understand, had launched a war on Elysa's realm and slain Elysa's noble consort Antius. The very fact that Antius had been slain and severed from his lifestone was something that concerned him greatly, but the King's efforts to reproduce this terrible “Heartbreaker” sword had been halted by Elysa's agents, the Whispering Blade. The young Prince Borelean had grown older, stronger, and curiously colder during his time away. Brooding over all this, he picked up the pile of reports dealing with the defeat of Grael and resolved himself to finish re-reading them before he'd allow himself a pause to rest.

When he finally finished his reading, the candles had burned down to stubs and their light flickered. He felt restless and his vision was swimming. He had been down here in the dark of his study for too long. He sighed to himself, flexed his fingers, and opened a pathway to the balcony of his castle. He stepped onto the warm sunlit stones and looked out over his island. The grounds were clear of the humans that had flocked to the sanctuary in the days after his return. He spoke softly to one of his golem attendants, which rumbled to life and trudged dutifully into the castle to carry out his commands.

While he awaited the golem's return, he tried to relax, leaning against the balcony's wall, basking in sunlight and breathing deeply of the fresh sea air. With his keen eyes, he could see the shore of Dereth's mainland. Even now, to judge from the latest news, there were ominous tidings from the realm across the water. There were reports of a strange band of human assassins freshly arrived from Ispar. An ancient graveyard had arisen in the Direlands that bore the mark of the Dericostian Lord Rytheran's twisted power. People had been disappearing around the realm, apparent victims of kidnapping. Unrest had been reported among the Mosswarts and Banderlings. The human town of Cragstone, dear to Queen Elysa's heart, was under siege by the suddenly ambitious Drudges, who had previously been content to skulk in the shadows and steal food and wine and anything shiny that had been left unguarded. Were any of these events connected? He could not say for sure.

In time, the golem returned with a chair and a flagon of chilled wine. It also carried a fresh pile of reports from Queen Elysa's agents, and a letter from one of his contacts in Ayan Baqur. He reclined on the chair, in the shade cast by his looming golem attendant, sipping cool wine and listening to the crash of waves as he read the latest dispatches. The more he read, the more he became convinced that there was a common thread running through these incidents with the Drudges, Mosswarts, and Banderlings. Someone or something was interfering with those three humanoid races.

Finally, when he read the letter from his agent in Ayan Baqur, he was convinced. He turned to the golem that stood at attention by his side. Sensing his attention, the automaton turned to face him.

Asheron looked up at the golem and said, “What is that crafty devil up to? Am I going to have to get involved, before his experiments threaten the realm again? It seems he is not content with being such a singular creature...” The golem didn't respond to his idle question. Its eyes remained blank and passive, awaiting an order from its master.

Asheron sighed and sipped more wine. He looked away from the golem, out over the narrow stretch of sea that separated his island from Dereth, then glanced at the spidery writing on the paper in his hand. “Applesauce,” he muttered, and then he snorted in amusement. “The old crank may be right.”

Rollout Article

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May 2007 Rollout Article

Ulgrim sat in the shade of the Smoking Axe Tavern of Ayan Baqur. He had a rapidly warming mug of stout by his side and a letter propped onto a writing tablet on his knees. It was unlike Ulgrim to leave a mug of stout untouched and at the mercy of the daytime heat of Ayan Baqur, but it was obvious that he was very intent on the letter he was writing.

He stopped to think about something, and drained the mug while he thought. Apparently inspired, he concluded his thoughts and signed the letter with a flourish.

... so in closing, I have considered your petition, my children, and I am prepared to consider the Sho beverage sake as a suitable replacement for beer if your local supplies have run out and you lack the holy water necessary for your observance of the high holy rituals of the Morning Chug and the Evening Pint. I add as a condition that if you wish to use sake in place of proper holy water, you must keep the sake cool, as warm sake or warm booze of any kind is an abomination in mine eyes. I am pleased with your deference in this matter and I will make all necessary arrangements to ensure you suffer no shortage of beer in the future.

Your beloved patron,

Angry Grandfather

His latest missive finished, he rolled it, sealed it, and stepped into the Smoking Axe Tavern with his sealed letter and the empty mug.

“Berkholt, you old rascal,” he called to the bartender as he entered, “when do you suppose we'll have more scouts wandering through here on their way to those northeastern islands? I have a letter that needs to be delivered to Vissidal, along with a couple of casks of your finest stout.”

Berkholt shook his head. “Maybe not for a few days, Ulgrim. There's been much unrest on the Vesayens and around Cragstone, not to mention our own local Banderling problems... Folks are busy. Not everyone's headed to Vissidal these days, and those that would be heading there might not have the room for your casks.”

Ulgrim waved his hand in irritation. “None of these problems are the true problem,” he muttered. “These are all just test runs, best ignored. This is dross, not the true steel. Where's Ardry anyway? He would have made this delivery for me without too much of a fuss.”

Berkholt shrugged. “I haven't seen your nephew or cousin or however he's related to you… Not in at least a week. What's that you're saying about true problems? People shouldn't be worried about the siege of Cragstone?”

Ulgrim snorted as he sidled up to the bar. “Siege! Pour me a stout and I'll tell you about that siege!”

Berkholt obliged and tapped another pint for the old man. “All right, Ulgrim, tell me about the siege.”

Ulgrim downed half the pint in one gulp. “So the Drudges are besieging Cragstone. Are we really spending our time worrying about Drudges, just because the little squeakers have figured out how to run in the same direction?” He downed the other half of the stout in one gulp and shoved the empty mug back at Berkholt with an imperious gesture.

Berkholt, used to Ulgrim's wild stories and endless thirst, sighed and poured another mug. He'd found that pouring the mug was cheaper than having Ulgrim sit outside and whisper threatening nonsense at his paying customers.

The old man's eyes lit up when he was given the second pint. He lifted the mug high, as if he intended to drain it again, but then seemed to change his mind. He took a modest sip, and continued his lecture. “No, to spend so much time mucking with the Drudges in Cragstone, or the Mosswarts on the Vesayens, or the Banderlings around here is to distract ourselves from the true threat!”

Berkholt nodded with the patience of a man who's heard it all before. “So what's the true threat?”

Ulgrim sipped some more stout, then looked around warily, checking to see that no unfriendlies would be around to hear his next words. He leaned in closer to Berkholt. “Virindi, of course. The true threat has always been the Virindi.”

Berkholt shook his head. “The Virindi were defeated years ago, Ulgrim. So you were right about their plans to take over the town. I gave you credit for that. Everyone acknowledged you were right about that – even though Claude and Leopold weren't involved in that attack. But this sounds like just another incident in your strange fixation on Claude and Leopold.”

“Claude's gone, barman!” Ulgrim spewed beer all over the counter in his vehemence to make his point. “He's been gone a whole month! There's something afoot with those two! And Leopold... He smiles at me when he sees me walk past that tent now! He smiles at me, like he knows he'll be wearing my hide as a cloak not too long from now!”

Berkholt laughed. “Leopold smiles at you as you walk past? Have you any idea how insane that sounds? Leopold's mask doesn't even have a mouth on it! As for Claude, I'm not one to take the disappearance of a Virindi as a world-threatening event. This sounds just like the time you warned us about how Claude was actually Grael in disguise, or that Leopold was the one that kidnapped Asheron on Bur...”

Ulgrim threw up his hands in disgust. “There's no reasoning with you. Just remember this when your brain gets turned to applesauce again! That is, if it ever got un-sauced from the first time!” He stormed out of the tavern, muttering angrily to himself. A moment later he came back inside, picked up the half-empty mug of stout, and drained it quickly. As he slammed the empty mug down on the bar, he fixed Berkholt with his crazy eyes. He let out a loud burp, then leaned in close to Berkholt and said, “Applesauce, I tell you! Applesauce!”

With that, he stormed out of the tavern once more, and Berkholt could only shake his head as he watched the temperamental old man go.

Release Notes

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May 2007 Release Notes

Hello there and welcome to the May event: Prodigal Sons! This month the strange behavior from some of Dereth's better know creatures continues. What or who is behind these recent occurrences of strange behavior and why now? Will things continue on, and what will happen next?

Let's see what else is happening in the world of Asheron's Call this month!

New Content and Updated Functionality

  • The ongoing issues with server performance are still being investigated by the team. The cause of the issue is proving very difficult to track down. We have added extra monitoring and data gathering tools on to the servers in order to help us get these issues resolved. Based on some recent data we have already been able to reduce the amount of these issues by quite a bit, and we will be continuing to work on getting things back to normal as quickly as we can.
  • Some new weapons have been created for live event rewards. These weapons have a higher than normal damage, but they only last for a limited amount of time. If you are lucky enough to receive one of the new weapons, please make sure that you use it only when you are ready. Players who receive these weapons will get them in the form of a 1 time only use gem which once used will produce the weapon. Once the weapon has been created the player will have 3 hours to use their new weapon before it is destroyed. Please keep in mind that the timer for these weapons will continue to count down even if the player wielding it logs out of the game. Here are a couple of examples of these new weapons.

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  • Several of Dereth's better know creatures have been acting a bit odd lately. Drudges, Banderling's and Mosswarts alike have all been a little more “active” in recent days. It may be a good idea to do some more investigation of this recent activity.
  • The Drudge raids on Cragstone have lessened for some reason. They no longer attack the windmill, but they still persist on looting the town every so often.
  • It appears that Asheron has completed building his Guardian Golem with the help of Dereth's people. He has returned to his sanctuary and is no longer in the courtyard overseeing the building of the Golem. Players will still be able to turn in the requested items in order to help keep the Golem repaired.
  • The vendor that players use their collected ancient coins on now sells Darts and Bolts in addition to the special arrows.
  • The number of arrows/bolts/darts that players get from the collected Ancient coins has been increased to 2500.
  • The Drudge boards with nail are no longer attuned to players. They will however remain destroy on death.
  • Hea Tuperea spawns 4 Reedsharks while he fights. When he is killed the Reedsharks should remain and continue to fight. We found that he was actually “killing” them when he got killed. This was not the intended behavior and has been fixed for May. The Reedsharks will now continue to fight after their master's death.

Game Discussion
At this time we would like to take the opportunity to discuss a feature upcoming to Asheron's Call. In the coming months we will be introducing Alchemy Debuff Grenades. If you are one of our players that have Alchemy trained, you will at some point be able to create and use these new grenades instead of or in place of using life magic to debuff creatures or players, in the case of PvP. By using a combination of some already existing and some new ingredients, players with Alchemy trained will be able to create these new grenades. Based on the players skill level, they will be able create more powerful forms of these grenades. In addition the completed Phials will add and additional bonus to the person wielding them. As we get closer to these new “grenades “ going live, we will release some more details on how they will work and what players will need to do to acquire them.

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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