Writing of a Saga

I know that most of us have spent a long time crafting responses, stories, and characters over the last few years. What is on the Wiki remains persistent and can be easily exported in the event that I can no longer pay the bill. Still there is character biographical data, setting information, but not really stories of any kind, just background and source material. In that vein, I would really like to begin actual work on writing a kind of comprehensive main plot of the settings. There is just so much to write and I cannot possibly do it on my own.

As a site we’ve been going around for almost three years now, since 2016. We’ve got a lot of stories written and a lot of those stories have yet to be canonized, some of the information has even been lost when channels have been deleted on Discord and such things. I would like to really start to cobble together the saga that we’ve built, so that it doesn’t get lost forever someday. Back in the old days we had persistent chat logs on IRC that could be saved (I have a lot of them myself, still) and forum data could be easily backed up (as our forum is). In the age of Discord and many related servers (such as Slack, Zulip, or Mattermost) there is the problem of how to get the data out of Discord. The short answer is that, you can’t. I suppose one could code a bot to dump all of the Discord information to a text file, but as I can attest to with chat logs and like they are nearly impossible to parse.

I know that most of us have spent a long time crafting responses, stories, and characters over the last few years. What is on the Wiki remains persistent and can be easily exported in the event that I can no longer pay the bill. Still there is character biographical data, setting information, but not really stories of any kind, just background and source material. In that vein, I would really like to begin actual work on writing a kind of comprehensive main plot of the settings. There is just so much to write and I cannot possibly do it on my own.

In that vein, I’m asking for help in getting this ball rolling. I’m getting some of my creative mojo back after a long span of having no real creative fire left, so I don’t mind firing it up. I’m still up in the air for what would be easiest, given the prevalence of using Google Docs, I am inclined to believe that would be easiest for everyone and thus, I envision this as a folder on Google Drive that is shared and people can collaborate, write, and start things for their characters as they want to. I will have a main file for the Saga of Blazing Umbra which will contain the main story itself and other stories be satellites to that (that also stand alone). The idea is that we’ve got the actual stories of all of our characters and plots written in a narrative form, perhaps even cut-paste largely off of Discord itself.

To that end, I’ve made a shared folder on Google Drive. The link provides view-only access, since these are our stories I would like to actually add people’s editing access as needed, to protect the work from vandalism. I have also enabled version histories, so if there are changes that a person doesn’t like to their story, they can be viewed and the original is recoverable. Please comment or DM me for direct access.

Stellar Horizon Reboot

So, it occurs to me that we’re going to need to do a reboot of the Stellar Horizon plot. We have a few spots for people to join, this is going to be formatted like your average episode of Star Trek. We’re going to have a bridge crew / senior officers and a few extras. Not everyone will be required at all times, and people can go in and out of scenes as needed.

We’ll be doing a storyline. We have two right now that we can do, that I am planning to run myself. So, right now, I know for sure that we have no active CMO (Chief Medical Officer) as that is played by @buckethead and I don’t know if Cake is interested in being involved still, also T0l hasn’t joined the server either to be involved. It has been a while, we’re going to start in-space after the ship goes through Janus Gate and is on its mission and go from there.

Looking to start this story by sometime around this upcoming week.

Pushing the Investigation

We are looking for 2-4 players to participate in a 2-3 hour long session that will be scheduled in about 2-3 weeks from now, to allow me time to finish with the semester. We will be playing off of non-combat areas of mental illness, classic horror concepts, and a much darker universe than we’ve been going with before.

So the introductory thread for the Angelic Sins setting was supposed to have been over and done with years ago. However, we have been having trouble getting players to consistently want to participate. We’ve tried to do it on the forum and such since times don’t like to add up so people can do things. However, this is a plot that I’d like to finish. At this time, I’ve put out a call for players to volunteer for an as-yet-unscheduled event in Angelic Sins.

We are looking for 2-4 players to participate in a 2-3 hour long session that will be scheduled in about 2-3 weeks from now, to allow me time to finish with the semester. We will be playing off of non-combat areas of mental illness, classic horror concepts, and a much darker universe than we’ve been going with before.

If all participants are able, we can arrange for the session to last longer, but right now I’m looking at doing several short sessions that deal specifically with this in an episodic kind of way. Rather than trying pack an TV style episode of content into the game, these will focus on one or maybe two concepts important to the whole plot, closer to a small MMORPG Quest style of episode.

If anyone knows any players who may which to participate who may not be on the server, please invite them and see if we can build a following.

Changes Made

While there were some reservations about the changes to be made, I still believe we can increase our total player count and activity across the 3 settings by splitting them across different servers. Over the last week or so, that is what we’ve done. All 3 servers are now operational and set up. All content on the original Molten Aether server has been configured to be archived and read-only until such time as we feel comfortable deleting it.

The server Molten Aether will remain online and be a centralized hub for all the settings / servers. All the OOC channels are intact and while the roles have been heavily simplified, it maintains the same idea of who can get where. The “Founders” role will also now contain those who run additional servers as well as those who have contributed a lot to the setting, since those are also mostly the same thing.

Those who run other servers will be granted access to the #staff channel on Molten Aether. I have also simplified our bot experience, we have 3 core bots on most of the servers, and a few more on Molten Aether itself. The main addition is the bot called Alyssa, which is an instance of Nadeko Bot that I host myself. If anyone is interested, it is open source and pretty easy to configure. The primary reason for this bot is that it provides some “global” options for when running a self-hosted version on multiple servers, as such we have use of the following global commands:

.start
.end
.pause
.resume
.links
.servers

These commands replace the Dyno commands which were similar. In addition, on Blazing Umbra there is the command .welcomekit which gives links and a description of a welcome kit for new arrivals to the station. More commands will be forthcoming as they are needed.

The server invites can be displayed with the .servers command for all of the Molten Aether servers. Soon, I will begin posting advertisement links to the Portal and we’re already listed on Dynobot’s site for all the servers. The hope is that we will attract people for each setting who may or may not want to do other settings and each server gain increased membership that way.

Proposal for Server Changes

I have considered server changes for a while now. Everyone knows that the server has gone through many iterations. For a good while now I have seriously considered doing something we did previously… That is to go back to having a server for each setting. Not only that, I would like to allow those people who have starships to have their own servers for their ships and thus allowing people to play around more with time-fudge (as is kind of becoming a term in my brain) so that people could more easily break away from the constraints of being all on the same server at the same time.

At this time, the changes outlined here are a proposal awaiting commentary from the group. If no commentary is given, we will proceed with making the necessary changes, otherwise consider this post an engraved invitation to comment and / or complain about these ideas. I am especially interested in peoples concerns both with how we do things now (which feels excessively complicated at times to manage) and how I am proposing to do things in the future (which might also feel excessively complicated to manage to some). I would like any and all constructive commentary.

Setting Czars

I have decided that each setting is going to get its own “Czar” who will be in charge of said setting in its entirety, except for accepting some co-input from myself when and if it became necessary to do so. Though the intention is for whoever is in charge of that setting to have a server dedicated to that setting where they are in charge of character approvals, story line choices, and even setting / background choices.

Reality Czars

Along those same lines, since we have Janus Gate in operation, I would like to give people the opportunity to (again on different servers) run a linked-reality with even more control unto themselves. This is the framework I imagine for servers to partner with ours. A prime example is a pure Star Wars, Halo, or Troy Rising universe along with other customs (including Cyber Star’s custom setting if he wishes, or Winter’s setting if she wants). Within each of our 3 settings we have methods of traversing realities and such partnerships would come with a “full faith and credit” kind of clause. This would allow approved characters, ships, and technologies / concepts from one reality to traverse to another reality unchecked so long as it has been previously approved in one of our servers.

Reference Material / Game Mechanics

I have always found participation points to be an important part of any setup. Thus, servers joined together in this way would need a bot (similar to Tatsumaki in this feature) to accumulate points and displayer server-only points and network-wide (as I think we could reasonably call a set of servers a network) points. We would still all share the same Wiki (though reality-specific servers would get the choice to reference their own Wiki should one exist).

The in-game mechanic of the Janus gate or even a singular Stargate works for me for transit between realities within Blazing Umbra, and magical solutions in the other 3 settings, the Umbral Passages / Drochaid stones in Embers of Soteria along with generalized magical spells and such in a more advanced world such as is in Angelic Sins.

Since Discourse (our Forum solution) and WordPress (thus, duh) have an extensive capacity to be customized and provide a unified front for all things, those people who are running external servers could use the forum and/or word press to unify announcements and the like. Some adjustments would need to be made, in all likelihood, in dealing with cross-posting and such but that all can be dealt with on the technical side at a later date.

What and Why?

My life is quickly getting more complicated and my personal life is blooming out into something I am really enjoying. I don’t want to give up Molten Aether nor any of its sub-settings but I am becoming too busy to properly manage it (and I didn’t really have time before to do all 3). Also a lot of other people have a lot of other ideas that are far better than mine when dealing with things like Fantasy and Modern Horror and even SciFi that isn’t Star Trek and Stargate (which I know an obscene amount about). Doing it this way allows people to be creative and benefit from our combined creative talent which is, well I think it is an impressive amount of creativity we have here.

Taking Applications

So what is going to follow is going to be the draft application for doing a partner server to ours:

Server Name:
Link:
Admin:
Description:
This should be a paragraph or 2 at least.
Base Universe:
If the reality / universe is based on an existing one (such as Babylon 5, Star Wars, Star Trek, Firefly, Halo, Troy Rising) or anything that we can look up specifically as the base for the setting, it would go here include existing resources for if an original setting is being used here as well.
Special Information:
Anything we need to know about the in-universe game play and rules, be as detailed as possible if there is anything unusual outside the rules outlined on the Molten Aether Wiki that needs to be considered.
Additional Notes:
Anything else we need to know.

Application Terms and Conditions

These terms and conditions apply to every partnered server, of any type, which is added to Molten Aether. All partner servers should aspire to the same overall feel, our goal is to create a network of servers to cater to the creative desires of everyone who may wish to join and support those people in becoming better role players, writers, and such.

Full Faith and Credit

Any and all characters approved on any individual server are valid for every server within Molten Aether and its subsidiary servers and our character creation guidelines must be met as outlined here. All servers must follow the rules of conduct as outlined here, at a bare minimum, this does not mean that individual servers cannot have more strict rules of play so long as they do not violate the rules specified. Interpretation of rules should be as uniform as possible, but server admins do retain the ability to interpret the rules as they see fit while minimizing conflicts with other servers.

Moderators vs. Administrators

Moderators are defined as those who work within a server to assist in role play, producing plots and stories, going over applications, and enforcing the rules of an individual server. Administrators are defined as those who administer the server’s framework, channels, bots, roles, and other such things. Administrators also, under this plan, will assist in unifying all the servers in the network should some kind of conflict arise.

Admin Sharing

While each server will have its own administrators moderation privileges will be extended to administrators from the other servers. This does not have to include moderators getting similar privileges on all servers. However, anyone who is an Admin on one of our core servers (currently defined as SysOp we currently have on Molten Aether) will be expected to be administrators on subsequent servers unless there is sufficient reason not to. Moderators can also be shared, but it is not required and individual server owners have the final say on if a moderator of a partnered server is allowed to be moderator on their server.

Comments

In addition to our normal comments being on the forum, there is a Google form for extended comments and voting for these changes.

Time and Time Again

I’ve always told everyone that real life comes first but I never had much of a real life to contend with before. I can’t say that I’m familiar with balancing my time the way I have had to recently. Along that vein I’m not able to keep up with my obligations as the head of the various story lines that we have going on. As such, I am officially handing the reigns for all ongoing / upcoming story lines to our SysOps, @jumpingscript and @ks0908 who will coordinate with our Moderators and Founders in order to get our role play back into swing. I will likely give advise and ideas, the primary approval and focus for RP will be our collective Staff.

First off I’d like to apologize to everyone for my limited time over the last few months. School this semester has been brutal and especially demanding on my time, I’m spending roughly 70 or so hours a week on classes, class requirements (in class room experience), homework, and actual work (paychecks are nice). Even before my personal life got more complicated, the demands on my time were significant. As most of you know I have also become involved with someone, this person has quickly become very special to me and thus most of my free time (what little we can line up together) goes to her.

I’ve always told everyone that real life comes first but I never had much of a real life to contend with before. I can’t say that I’m familiar with balancing my time the way I have had to recently. Along that vein I’m not able to keep up with my obligations as the head of the various story lines that we have going on. As such, I am officially handing the reigns for all ongoing / upcoming story lines to our SysOps, @jumpingscript and @ks0908 who will coordinate with our Moderators and Founders in order to get our role play back into swing. I will likely give advise and ideas, the primary approval and focus for RP will be our collective Staff.

What to do about unfinished stories…

We have many unfinished and ongoing story lines, what I have documented is all contained in the following OneNote Notebook, this link is a view-only link and shows everything I have gathered that has yet to be posted for the game. I know a lot of people don’t care for Microsoft products but OneNote is entirely free, has apps for Android, Windows Phone, iOS, Windows, Mac, and web. The server staff has been given an editable link to allow them to make changes to all notes and read all content.

For those players who are in RP-Lock with my characters and given storylines. Overall, we can put those RPs on hold and continue them later (likely after my semester ends) when I have more time. The time-frame on that is mid-May, since finals week is the end of April / start of May. For anyone with specific concerns on how to deal with ongoing storyline issues due to my absence, I encourage you to contact me directly and we can work out specifics of how to deal with it. A few people I am going to contact privately myself.

For those wondering some of the details for things; I have compiled a rough list of who is where of the important figures…

Blazing Umbra

  • Sal D’Amico has been recalled to Markab Prime to oversee Solas Tempus operations from HQ.
  • Asher / Rosary have been ordered to stay on ready-alert during the Zone exploration from the Continuum in orbit and monitoring the situations / providing intel.
  • Lance Thomas is still listed as deceased, overall the general population does not know anything different and his passing has been mourned slowly and operations have really gotten back to normal. There are rumors throughout the station and abroad that he is still alive, most of these focus on some urgent mission that is revealed would do some horrible thing, the horrible things varies of course. Of course the core of our playable characters within Blue Team of Solas Tempus know the truth, that he is alive and being searched for.
  • Drem Confuscho has been assigned to assist with the Solerian people at the bottom of the Soterian ocean to rebuild their society. The USS Drakon has been largely left to Emily Damion to command.
  • The STV Galatine is commanded commanded by Siv Quinn who has been promoted to Admiral and made the head of Blue Team / Temporal Operations. The Galatine has been placed on a classified mission and has not been seen in the Schatten System in some time, neither has Siv.
  • Amber Cross herself is still in the system and active, she can be played as an NPC if necessary by staff but please read up on her character before playing her.

Command Structure in Schatten System

  • Nimbus Station remains the command outpost for the system and oversees all operations within the system under its current command structure.
  • The Civilian Government still maintains its primary offices on Nimbus Station for the time being, Andrea Maddox is a Human (female) and is Governor of the system while a Romulan (female) is the Senator of the system. These are both NPC’s so they can be played by anyone.
  • Sal D’Amico is largely unable to be reached at any given time, but if his orders are needed they probably take a few days to a week (real time) to get as the players in question will have to drop me a line and I can write up orders or some such. He does have a secretary and aids who can be NPC’d if necessary — I’ll leave any names up to everyone playing.

Angelic Sins

This is much easier to untangle. Lance Thomas himself has been heavily reprimanded for his behavior and for the moment is mostly working out of the Ad Undas base near Los Angeles and is investigating the supernatural occurrences that happened recently, he is essentially unreachable. My other characters there are just not present right going on other jobs, in the case of Trevor Arnell he is most likely unavailable because of having just gotten married and now has to learn the history and culture of Erica Larsson who is not human and has a significant amount of stuff that Trevor has to learn.

I will leave it up to the staff and players about the murder mystery that has been going on for a really long time, notes on that should be in the notebook linked above.

Embers of Soteria

The main story here should hold but can be used. Notes on the story are in the above mentioned notebook. Lisa Thomson herself has been leading the Souls Templar across the countryside seeking to defend the kingdoms against the horrors that are starting to come through the veil as the Peace of Ages dissolves. This plot element will remain static for the time being and can also be used by players as needed to conflicts, storylines and anything else.

Good People, Good Writers

We have a lot of good people here and good writers. I hope that everyone can continue to role play and have fun even when I’m not around. Please, create new stories, have fun, alter things, nothing would please me more than having to learn new lore and new things that happened. Don’t be afraid to break things, don’t be afraid that I’m not going to approve, run it past the staff and so long as they give the OK, then you have my blessing.

I’ll be around to chat and such periodically and I might RP now and again.

Until then. Happy plotting.

Latest Founder – Minty Jade

In recognition of the sheer amount of improvement and further focus on character development over the last year or so; I have added the newest member to our list of founders. The title of Founder is given to anyone who has significantly contributed to the setting itself; such a title has been previously given out to Yuu-Desi, for his contributions to the definition and nature of magic and how it works as well as to T0l for his significant contributions to the military structure of Solas Tempus and weaponry used by the site. Beyond simply contributing information to the Wiki or participating in role playing, Jade has made a distinct effort to swing through creative and well crafted arcs of character development which added significantly to the setting. The additions to the setting include the way death, the dead, the damned, and the saved are handled in the setting and defining an entire plane of existence while still maintaining an idea of balance within the playable characters she plays.

So, for that, we thank you @jade, congrats.

Change to the Wiki

Over the last few days I have been making a lot of changes to the wiki, most everyone who has a character probably got an email. I went through every single character bio that we have there and reorganized them. All players that had 4 or more characters now have their own category, this helps keep the People category easier to read through. We also have categories for some of the races, organizations, and settings. There is also a new setting category of Cross Setting which is for characters in which the same version of the character crosses between settings; such has to be approved by staff of course.

The changes include the requirement of a setting field in the Character Box template, but more than that, we make more use of the player field, which we’ve always had but hasn’t been widely used. Now, the system will attempt to automatically categorize a character by the person who plays it. This does mean that we’re going to have to make sure the field is consistent, an excellent example is Neeko (going by many names, usually revolving around being on Spotify a lot). Now, his character pages are all listed under that name, Neeko. Thus all characters he plays have to be listed under that name. If the player name has a user page on the wiki, it will automatically be linked as well. This also means that if the player has a Wiki account, we should use that name for the name of the player. This will help keep it consistent and link into the user information on the wiki.

The other thing this means is there should no longer be a need to add categories to the character pages manually. Simply fill out the setting information in the template along with status and player, the wiki should do the rest.

We are also now going to be making better use of our category for NPCs. I was also inspired by something that Chaos Spartan said and from here on out, if someone would like to claim an NPC for themselves to play as a proper character, contact the staff; we should be able to arrange that. Character bios for NPCs will be filled in as needed during game play, it is important to keep track of details, so try to record traits that you want an NPC to have during play and slap them into the wiki, even informally, after.

Thank you to everyone. Happy gaming.

Awards & Prizes

Minty Jade (AKA That Otaku Galaxy) who plays Drem, Nicole, and many others participated in our NaNoWriMo contest; for which I am very grateful. Since it was only myself and her who contributed, she is the top contributor to the story and has thus been awarded her $25 gift card from Amazon. A heartfelt thanks goes out to @jade for adding her flare to the story, which I will be continuing after finals week is over.

For a while now I’ve been doing participation awards, those people who contribute the most, I believe, deserve to be recognized.  However, recently those participating have all been staff members, and I believe that we should focus on non-staff members for such awards.  It isn’t that I don’t appreciate our staff, I truly do, however the idea is to draw people to participate and contribute which staff members usually do anyway.

Whether it is due to multiple languishing storylines or due to everyone being busy with school, work, and/or life the server has seen a drastic dive in the amount of activity.  I am not very concerned with this, activity comes and goes and while I hope things don’t die off, if they do they do.  I wouldn’t be the first time I had to rework things and start again.

That all being said, my contribution / participation recognition has not gone as well as I’d hoped and I am actively looking for other options to accomplish that goal!  Please feel free to contact me with any ideas on how to increase participation, and such awards are on hold until I figure out a different way to do things.

NaNoWriMo Contest Results

This year I did something I’ve thought about doing for a while and opened up a new thread and a challenge.  That is, I wanted the server to write a novel!  There have been other crowd-sourced projects like this, my favorite (and perhaps the most funny) was put on by a guy named Brian Brushwood and was to troll the novel 50 Shades of Gray.  It’s a hilarious idea, while I didn’t want to troll anyone, I’ve seen first hand how creative everyone is.  To give some incentive, I said I would pay money to the top two contributors to the thread (excluding myself of course).  The thread can be read here.  While I do plan on continuing the thread with anyone who wants to participate, I was disappointed in the number of people who took me up on the offer.

Of course, Minty Jade (AKA That Otaku Galaxy) who plays Drem, Nicole, and many others did participate; for which I am very grateful.  Since it was only myself and her who contributed, she is the top contributor to the story and has thus been awarded her $25 gift card from Amazon.  A heartfelt thanks goes out to @jade for adding her flare to the story, which I will be continuing after finals week is over.

Moving Forward

I talk a lot about moving forward, I want to find out what everyone thinks we should do to increase our activity.  We’ve had some new players join, which I hope that they submit characters, and I know it is pretty standard on Discord to join a server and forget about it.  I’d like to try and refocus our strategy, we’ve got a lot of members, and it’s clear that our core people (staff mostly) play really well together.  I ask that everyone try to do a story with someone they don’t play with often, time permitting of course.  The more people we have playing the richer and more developed the setting and its history will become.

Thank you to everyone; happy gaming.

Mysterious deaths aboard Nimbus station

Today morning body was found near engineering section by Security Ensign Jonas Sanders, officer told us that it did not have any markings that wold indicate that it was crime. Medical team took body and after examining it, they determined natural cause of death, Heart Attack.

Later this day Petty Officer Gonzales found another body this time near victims living quarters, and while cause of death was also heart attack few people started to question if those were actually accidents. Speculations aroused that bot victims were given poisons but they were proven wrong after preliminary report from toxycology showed no trace of unussual substances.
For some context, both victims were areound early 30s man, with clean bill of health

We were able to recive short statement from witness of second body discovery

He looked like he fallen asleep, calm, with closed eyes. Only weird thing was that he was naked. He looked like he just woke up to fall asleep again. I noticed Petty officer Gonzales was checking him, but she soon declared <redacted> was dead and called coroner team

Anonymous source, not Affiliated to Solas Tempus staff

Is it really just a coincidence? Or maybe it’s targeted attack? Or maybe something else?

Stay tuned for more information on Soteria News Service!

//ooc: any character able to detect dark magic/energy would be able to sense presence of succubus on station, however they won’t be able to tell exactly what it is, nor track it unless they get really close