For some reason, I feel like posting this here. It’s an email that I doubt any of you will find meaningful.

date: Sep 23, 2007 10:26 PM
subject: Communication & Moderation


I have no real way of knowing how interested you are in the workings of the communities outside of If you aren’t at all, then I can safely say this email won’t interest you. If you are, I’d like to ensure another player-run forum doesn’t blow up in the face of the game.

I’m sure you know by now that has now sunk, being the replacement. While it is self-described as not being focused on SK, it does have a section devoted to SK. With that, it has the potential to enrich or degrade SK, just as SKLogs did. Communication goes a long ways towards ensuring that history doesn’t repeat itself. That might sound cliche, but there’s a lot we can learn from SKLogs.

The relationship between and SKLogs was abysmal, at best. Its origins were humble enough, but time saw a massive schism between the two, when really, they’re both working to try and make the game more fun for everybody. I don’t need to describe SKLogs’ devolution; we both know what the problems were and why they were so bad. But, I think it was a necessary problem for the community to face. SKLogs made mainstream what supamang and Chemhound did in the pseudo-underground. It forced the players and the staff to make a very conscious choice about how they played the game from an OOC perspective. Not visiting SKLogs meant sacrificing a huge wealth of information as well as a very large social connection to the other players. That wasn’t the case, before. Additionally, the wealth of information created an illusion of necessity – players seeking to maintain their status as knowledgeable and elite felt required to read and participate in order to stay on the “bleeding edge” of competition inside the game.

While it is easy to decry such an obviously weak attitude towards the game, most players don’t, even now, realize that they were so immersed in the cycle. History seems to indicate that there’s no way to change these trends – which is why a place without moderation became such a powder keg, self-destructing in a pile of chaos and flames. With this, we’re presented with the same situation, but with fresh experience and knowledge to learn from. A player-run site is a necessity for SK. As one forum passerby, Joebones notes: a strong player-run forum is a sign of good health in and outside of the game. There has to be a place where players can go to be moderated less strictly – otherwise they’ll get fed up, and something on the extreme will appear, like another SKLogs.

I am (for the time being) moderating the SK section of Java’s site. Her goal (as well as mine) is to eliminate the presence of information that detracts from the game – working out what kind of information that is, exactly, isn’t easy. That’s why I’m writing this. A successful player-run SK forum (or subsection of a forum, as they case may be) should be focused on complementing existing structures and material without fighting against the ideals of the game. I think I need your help to do that – if you’re willing to provide it.

From what I can tell, a major portion of SKLogs’ failure was derived from a lack of communication. What would you like to see in this player-run community? Where should it differ from How can I make sure the two aren’t working against each other? How comfortable are you with any of this?

Thanks for your time and consideration. I hope I’m not too long-winded, but I thought I should be thorough about all this.

Salandarin / Tim


A small glimpse into what I spent the last 1886 hours doing, since last July. I’m not expecting you to care or even to understand.

You say ‘My time is drawing to a close, regardless. I will not lead the nation to the Empress’ return. Another will have to.’

Uillean asks to you ‘Your time?’

Uillean clears his throat, beginning to speak Zhensh.

You say to Uillean ‘I will be stepping down, in the coming months.’

Uillean says ‘Oh, my friend..’

Uillean sighs.

The distant howl of a lonely creature echoes through the area.

You smile at him.

Uillean says ‘No one can take your place.’

You say to Uillean ‘But someone will have to.’

Uillean says ‘That much is True.’

It is noon.

Uillean says to you ‘I will have to build trust with a new commander all over again.’

Uillean chuckles sadly.

You say to Uillean ‘Zhenshi won’t be the same after I leave.’

It begins to rain.

You say ‘It molds itself to whoever commands.’

You say ‘The land…’

Corathir runs a hand across the dirty floor.

You say ‘It lives, in a strange way. I feel more of a connection to it, than with mortals, anymore.’

A light drizzle is falling here.

You say to Uillean ‘Let that not be a slight to you, friend. You are as loyal and trustworthy as any I’ve known.’

Uillean laughs.

Uillean says ‘By no means.’

Uillean says to you ‘I am no stranger to attaching myself to things eternal.’

You say ‘For god and country.’

Uillean lightly hits a fist to his chest and nods his head.

You tell Sirano ‘I’m feeling odd.’

You tell Sirano ‘You may be the last person I bring to life, Sirano.’

You tell Sirano ‘For in a month, I retire from my duties.’

Sirano replies ‘Ah, I do not wish to drain you that much.’

You stop resting, and sit up.

Sirano replies ‘My life is not worth another’s for no cause.’
You start to concentrate.

You utter the words, ‘candusgjfcandusqnn’.
You have resurrected a lurid male half-elf!

You rest your tired bones.

You smile at him.

You say ‘Life anew upon the wings of the Restless, Sirano.’

A lurid male half-elf tilts his head to the side, offering a smile towards the peaceful half-elf.

A lurid male half-elf says ‘My thanks to you sir, and your Lord. However I wish not to be the cause of your downfall.’

You chuckle.

You say to a lurid male half-elf ‘Not at all.’

A lurid male half-elf looks at you.

You say to a lurid male half-elf ‘You will come to a time, when your service is done.’

You say to a lurid male half-elf ‘I’m reaching it. That’s all.’

A lurid male half-elf gestures tot he floor next to the peaceful half-elf.

Corathir offers a warm smile.

A lurid male half-elf asks ‘May I sit?’

You say ‘Of course.’

A lurid male half-elf says ‘Ah, well perhaps I should be dressed first.’

You shrug in response to his question.

A lurid male half-elf says ‘I’ve never done this…’

A lurid male half-elf struggles with the magical words.

You say ‘Sixty-two years has led me to barely notice such things.’

A lurid male half-elf starts to concentrate.

A lurid male half-elf utters the words, ‘qarr abrazak’.

A lurid male half-elf starts to concentrate.

A lurid male half-elf utters the words, ‘qarr abrazak’.
A lurid male half-elf’s gear appears on him in a flash of holy light!

You hum softly.

A lurid male half-elf grins.

A lurid male half-elf lowers himself to a resting position next to the other half-elf.

A lurid male half-elf sits down and rests.

You stop resting, and sit up.

You start to concentrate.

You utter the words, ‘pzar’.

You rest your tired bones.

You say to a lurid male half-elf ‘Tell me about yourself, young knight.’

A lurid male half-elf says ‘Sirano, as you know.’

Corathir dips his head.

You say ‘Corathir Veltre, as you know.’

A lurid male half-elf greets everyone in the room.

You greet Sirano.

Sirano says ‘Of myself? Well sir, not much to tell to be honest with you. My travels have not taken me very far.’

Sirano asks to you ‘If I may ask sir, how long have you lived?’

You hum softly.

Sithara tells you ‘Where will I find you then?’

You say to Sirano ‘Not long, by the measure of most elf-men. Sixty-two years, forty-five of which have been in my Lord Zavijah’s service.’

Sirano nods his head slowly.

Sirano says ‘Is still quite long, from my point.’

You tell Sithara ‘My Lord’s temple in Nerina.’

Sirano asks to you ‘Where will you go?’

Sithara replies ‘By the libraries, yes?’

You tell Sithara ‘Indeed.’

You say to Sirano ‘I have not yet decided. I’ve a chance at staying to teach future Talons, but I may decide to retire entirely, and…live out life, as a normal man, with my wife.’

You say to Sirano ‘In essence…I would go home.’

Sirano says to you ‘A worthy ambition, no doubt well earned from your service.’

You say to Sirano ‘I pray such. I have done my Lord’s bidding, I think, as long as it took me to do it.’

You say to Sirano ‘You see, I was brash, in my youth.’

You say to Sirano ‘Mighty ambitions, but lacking in humbleness, and most certainly wisdom.’

Sirano says to you ‘From what I have seen, common for those of our kin while in their youth.’

Sirano says ‘There is no shame in our past, even if there be mistakes and tarnishes there.’

Corathir chuckles lightly, nodding several times.

Sirano says to you ‘We are indeed, a sum of our mistakes.’

You say to Sirano ‘Ah, I bear my past gladly. It is my successes that wear me down more quickly than my failures, however.’

You say to Sirano ‘Friendships made, and watching them dwindle away by the tide of the River. I have watched nearly all of my mortal companions die away, in my life. While it is has been suggested to me that I just…up and make new friends…’

You chuckle.

The sliding door opens.

A clear-eyed female elf darts in from the east.
A nightling soars in from the east.

A clear-eyed female elf closes the sliding door.

You smile at her.

Sirano looks at a clear-eyed female elf.

Sirano looks at a clear-eyed female elf.

You say to Sirano ‘It’s saying goodbye to friends that becomes the hardest task of all, you might find.’

Corathir glances to the clear-eyed elf with a wink.

A clear-eyed female elf bows her head towards the altar, then nods to the half-elves.

A clear-eyed female elf asks ‘Friends?’

A clear-eyed female elf looks at Sirano.

A clear-eyed female elf looks at you.

You say to a clear-eyed female elf ‘I’m reminiscing with the young knight. I feel old, today.’

You grin at her.

Sirano says to you ‘I would imagine so, however we never truly say goodbye, all we do is see you further down the road.’

Sirano stops resting, and clambers to his feet.

A clear-eyed female elf says to you ‘When I was your age…’

Sirano says to you ‘And with that good sir, I wish you a happy retirement, or a pleasant trevel to whereever you might go.’

A clear-eyed female elf chuckles and waves her words away.

Sirano says to you ‘I’ll see you further down the road, friend.’

You say to Sirano ‘Thank you, good sir. I pray you find your travels well, and I hope you find wisdom all along the way.’

Corathir dips his head to the lurid half-elf.

Sirano slowly bows before the half-elven man.

Sirano opens the sliding door.

Sirano walks east.
You hear foot steps nearby.

You close the sliding door.

A Large Altar Room
The velvet carpet ends at the simple, arched doorway into this spacious and imposing room. The gold-colored ceiling is arched, and adorned with an etched silver pattern along the edges, complementing silver walls with gold etchings at the top as well as the edges. At the far end of the room is a large, bronze altar stands atop a round, smooth slab of granite. The marble floor shines brightly from attentive care, adding to the rooms heavenly glow. A large tapestry hangs on the wall behind the altar and is the only decoration gracing the walls of this room. The room is otherwise unfurnished but exudes a sense of integrity and pride.
Obvious exits: sw

This is how your action description will appear while standing:
Corathir is on both knees before the altar.

Corathir bows his head, and closes his eyes.

pray I pray, my Lord Zavijah, that I have pleased you in my service. That I could walk in the light of your Wisdom is all I could ever ask for. You have blessed my life more greatly than I would dare to imagine, and I praise and thank you for this journey I have walked. May I continue to honor you, in all my days.
You pray to the gods for help.

Corathir lifts his head, and opens his eyes to look upon the altar with misty eyes.

Corathir nods to himself, once.

Corathir rises to his feet, and bows low before the altar.

You are already standing.

This is how your action description will appear while standing:
Corathir is here.

You walk southwest.

Valium + Vicodin

This surgery could almost be defined as fun.

Not even joking.

I haven’t felt any pain at all.

This stuff basically makes me grin CONSTANTLY, bashed my motor skills (I seriously can’t walk around the house without gripping something solid), and is actually making me hallucinate. Playing SK is bizarre – I keep reading things that aren’t even remotely there, and I start typing responses, only to realize halfway through that a) i haven’t actually been typing anything, but actually pressing the “=” key, and that b) nothing i’m look at it is even remotely related to what I, for whatever reason, thought was happening.

Surgery was absolutely painless. Today’s been 100% awesome, except for drooling blood all over my pillow and some blankets.


WARNING: This is a lot of ranting.

I dunno what happened, but come 9:00, a mood swing came upon me and I feel like absolute crap. I have an idea why, and I feel like rambling. It’s 11:45, and I would talk to a friend over IM if I could, but, none are available. Despite the fact that Christmas break finally arrived, I lie here incredibly anxious. About what? Absolutely nothing. For some reason, I started think about my past. 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade. My equivelant to the “Dark Ages”. Most of you don’t know that much about me, and I am to blame for that. I don’t tend to share much about my past. Most of you probably don’t know I was born in Mississippi. Or that I had white hair when I was 4. Or that I have 2 brothers, and 2 dogs. Little stuff like that. But this part of my past defined me in a way I really couldn’t expect at the time. How could one game do that to a person? You might be amazed.

The name of the game: SK, short for Shattered Kingdoms. That genre of games is defined as a MUD, a (M)ulti (U)ser (D)ungeon. These games are text only – no pictures, or sound, just words on the screen. But those words mean so much. The game is defined as an RPG, a Role-Playing Game. For those of you who don’t know, these games are the most addicting, they have the largest player base, and they just get better and more addictive with time. In them, you play a role, in a sense, you act out as another person. These games vary, from modern, to futuristic, to medieval, fantasy, star wars, you name it, it’s there. SK happened to be fantasy.

My dream come true, when my best friend Daniel introduced it to me in 5th grade. I don’t blame him at all for my getting addicted, because neither of us knew exactly what the game was. For the most part, at the time, we just played so we could gain levels and get our characters real strong and powerful. Very innocent. But somehow, it grew more and more fun. I’d get on after skool, on my old dial up modem, and hog the phone line for 6 hours. Then my parents would kick me off because they realized I had been using up the phone line all day, and the cycle repeated itself. Come 6th grade, I homeschooled, and we had moved into our new house. We remained on dial up, but they resolved the solution with two cell phones, which helped them, but not the people trying to call us. By then my life consisted mostly of my schoolwork, SK, and my 4 or 5 friends that also homeschooled.

Everything continued as normal, until the summer after 6th grade. I discovered the wonder of “females” in my reality world, and realized that being the addict I was, no such thing would ever be meant for me. But of course, you can get married in SK. Here lay my true downfall, as it were. Now, in the game, I played a rather respectable character known as Salaria. He was a priest, as well as the high priest of his “diety”. I took a lot of pride in him. But when this wonder of “females” came into my life, I realized, I need to get rid of this addiction. So, after two hard years of work, I just deleted him. No turning back. Cold turkey. I didn’t look back for another 6 months.

But, a month or two into my 7th grade of school, I became restless. Girls weren’t paying attention to me, despite the fact I’d given up SK. And, one bored weekend, I created another character. It stayed perfectly innocent, killing for levels, etc., until a month or three later. I decided I’d try and find my good old character a girlfriend. Now do understand, I had no intention of doing what RPG gamers called “MUD Sex”, which is, if you don’t understand that, is basically cyber sex. And I never did, I feared it like the plague, and thus I avoided it completely. But I got him married, and I was happy. But the problem is: by this point, I was back up to playing 4 hours a day. Once the summer came, approaching 8th grade, I created 2 more characters. And played them all. One particular character, I wanted to get him a girlfriend. Here I describe why this game is so disgusting.

I WAS that character. In every aspect, I made him like me, and made him what I wish I could be. Now when I made a character exactly like me and my desires, I was prone to be attached. So I became attached. But then when I actually treat that character’s feelings as my own, then it becomes much more problematic. He felt pain, I felt pain. He felt rejected, I felt rejected. So when I stumble upon a potential female I could mate him up with, and she isn’t really very accepting, well, I didn’t take it too well. I’ll just leave that I got sick for a few days with no illness in particular. So when, at this point, my very health, besides the fact I never ate, is in danger, would this not wake someone up? Apparantly not.

Now, with nothing to do except sleep, eat, and SK, I played 18 hours a day. Removing days I went to my friend’s houses, and days I had to work with stuff, that leaves me about 50 hours a week minimum, on average about 75 hours a week. Calculate 75 hours a week to an entire summer, using 4 weeks a month, and stratching out to the beginning of 8th grade, that’s WAY over 1000 hours, almost to 1200. 1200 hours, one game.

I never really planned on quitting. But Daniel, Jesse, Emma, and I went to Word of Life that summer, for a week. This is a Christian camp, that teaches Christian principles. And when they tell you, that you should be living your life for God, I kinda thought “Wait a second. I’m not doing that.” Spending And thus, I shrugged my shoulders, and went on. Daniel, however, realized what we were doing. All day and night for a game? A game? A week after camp, he quit. He strongly encouraged me to do so, as well, but I didn’t until a month after. But that month I continued playing was absolute horror. I was addicted to the game, but the addiction just wasn’t satisfied, but it’s not like you can play more than 18 hours a day. So I just went on. But then I realized “Wait a second. A: This isn’t pleasing God. B: This isn’t pleasing my best friend. C: It isn’t pleasing me. D: It isn’t helping me, God, or anyone else.” With a good bit of help from Daniel, I stopped.

I deleted all my characters with a one day notice to all my fellow players. I kept contact with two of the people I played with, however. One of them, Jaqcueline, whom one of my characters married, was never addicted in the first place, and only continues playing in her small amount of spare time, but she bothers less and less. The other, whom I’ll call Shabbu, just grows more into the game. I can’t talk to him anymore, because he is always busy RolePlaying with his fellow players. The affect of the game.

Before the end of 8th grade, I did go back, once. “Shabbu” convinced me to go back once. But I just wasn’t interested. This, I would consider, a miracle from God. A moment before I entered the name in, I couldn’t wait to start playing again. That same hunger was in me from before. But I played for 2 hours. I logged out. And I just forgot.

I hate thinking back to that time, ashamed of what I did, or, what I didn’t do. I wasted so much time, so much of other people’s time playing it. I still feel it’s effects reverberating in my life. The only good thing I retain from it is literary skill. My vocabulary was widened a HUGE amount, as well as my writing skill.

I still wonder, sometimes. Did those players know they died to a 12 year old? When I told my player friends my age, they told me: “I thought you were 21….”

Thank you for taking the time to listen to my rant.

Note: That 1200 hours was only one summer. I spent approximately 4000 hours of my life on this game. 4000 hours, or 167 days, or 24 weeks. In exact timing, I played 23 weeks, 5 days, and 16 hours.