School’s Out Soon and Stories Will Be In

So as most of everyone knows, winter break is coming up soon, very soon.  We’ve got a number of story lines that have been on a long-pause due to time restrictions from school and I’ve got a partial list going here of the stories which need completion.  I’m looking for people who want to help run and / or participate in these plots so we can move them forward.  In the near-term I’d like to hear any ideas associated with where to take these plots next and beyond that when we can actually do these plots.

Angelic Sins

Our primary plot line in Angelic Sins is, of course, the Serial Killer / Murder Mystery plot.  I’ve posted several summaries and still, this hasn’t really gotten off the ground.  I am, however, looking to push forward with it.  Anyone wishing ti participate; I’m looking to perhaps have a few investigation events — these will not be combat oriented but instead will be fact-finding.  I’m going to try to have them take place in the near future, probably before Christmas.

Blazing Umbra

Where to start with Blazing Umbra?  There are a lot of plots that have fallen by the wayside during the school year and even before.

  • Akron Mystery
  • Death / Disappearance of Lance Thomas
  • Vex Conflict (@buckethead)
  • The Zone in Blazing Umbra (Chaos)
  • Zone of Corruption (Cyber)
  • Stellar Horizon
  • Foothold Scenario (@ks0908)
  • Political Pressure / Onyx / Imperial Forces
  • Grtul Gate War (@buckethead)

I’m sure that I’m missing some here, and I’d like to push forward with some of these.  It seems that the forum has not done well for such role play, so I’ll be looking to when we can hold events for some of these.  Again, I’d like people to contact me with what plots they might want to play in or help with.

Embers of Soteria

All of our primary plots here have to do with the Thinning of the Viel plot line, except for some of the personal story lines (PSLs) which are more specific.  We’ve had the recent Daemoni Attack which is related to that, the business with magic and evil things coming forth, and a plot with Cyber about his injured dwarf that are all related to this same thing.

Telegram Notifications

So after some searching I have finally found a completely free option to have forum notifications for users.  Within the next few hours we will be discontinuing support for Pushover in favor of using Telegram for our notifications.  The chat client is free and links to its download for Android and iOS will be at the end of this post.

To configure, get Telegram and open a new message to @MoltenAetherBot, the bot will then give you a chat ID number.  Paste that number into your user settings page under “Profile”.  The text box should be at the end of that page and titled Telegram Notifications.

Download links for most every platform can be found here.  Again, it is entirely free.

New WordPress URL

So, since WordPress is so much easier to update than raw HTML code, even with an application as awesome as Adobe Dreamweaver, I have moved all of the information that used to be on out home site (https://home.blazingumbra.com/) here to the WordPress.  This includes our TOS and Privacy Policy (yes, we have those) as well as information about the game, links to the wiki, forum, etc.

The new URL is simply:  https://home.blazingumbra.com

All previous URL’s should redirect back here, that is if I’ve configured Apache correctly.  If anyone has any problems, please let me know.

NaNoWriMo 2018

I know that a lot of the players here have made some real efforts that have paid off and the quality of the writing on the server has greatly increased over time and I am honestly proud of how far everyone has come in the quality and caliber of not only their writing but the quality of thought that goes into their ideas. So, lets write a novel together.

As I’ve mentioned previously, I have really wanted to expand on our collective efforts of creative writing.  One of the most key parts of any role playing server is doing just that!  I know that a lot of the players here have made some real efforts that have paid off and the quality of the writing on the server has greatly increased over time and I am honestly proud of how far everyone has come in the quality and caliber of not only their writing but the quality of thought that goes into their ideas.  So, lets write a novel together.

The Plan

So, this year I’m going to put into motion something I really thought about doing before and we’re going to hand out prizes for contributions to this project over the next month.  The time frame goes from today, November 4th, until the end of the  month (November 30th).  First place will get $25 in the form of an Amazon Gift Card (since it does not need to be mailed) and 2nd place will get a $10 Amazon Gift Card.  Equivalent monetary value can be put on alternatives for those who cannot access Amazon or are unable to claim said prizes (for our International players).

The money will come out of the server’s Patreon fund, which I encourage people to donate to so that we can make a contest like this a more regular occurrence!

The Rules

So any contest must have rules, posts which do not add value to the story (such as posts made up of the same word repeated over and over again or some such) will be removed.  Predatory or malicious posts will also be removed — these are defined as posts which discourage others from posting or posts that are designed to upset or otherwise maliciously poke and prod another author.  Also, do not edit another users posts and while one may edit their own posts, pleas refrain from making edits to your own posts after they have been the basis for someone else’s posts.

The contest will be judged on the # of words contributed to the story which have a letter length of greater than 3 characters.  This is to avoid words like a, an, the, I, if…  We are going for actual content here and need a way to measure that.  Word length (beyond being at last 4 characters long) does not matter, so there is no need to use the longest words possible.

All server members are eligible to participate and win (other than myself, I will be participating but I am not eligible to win).  Characters and ideas need not be approved before posting them, this is not role play and doesn’t even necessarily take place in one of our settings (though it might).

Where?

The actual writing will be taking place on the forum on this thread.  Discord simply isn’t suited to this kind of writing, I would prefer to use Microsoft Word but since it is very expensive one cannot promise that people have access to it, that is out and Google Docs does not have sufficient tracking to keep track of everyone’s contributions.

Each post will be an addition to the story as if it is one long document.

What about after?

After the story is complete, we will be judging whether or not it should be further put into a document and edited / polished into a final draft.  I would personally like this and then for it to go onto here or be stored elsewhere so that we can go back to it.  I think this server has a lot of great talent in it and I look forward to seeing it moving forward.

Contribution Awards

Once again, it has come time for our contribution awards.  I have been largely absent from the server recently, for a number of reasons.  I am pleased to pass out recognition to our players for their contributions this month.

Server Contributions

Our top 3 contributors to the server this month are:

  • Dr. Winterdawn
  • Minty.__.Jade
  • Cyber ★

Thank you to each of you for keeping things alive!

Forum Contributions

The top 3 forum contributors are:

Thank you to all of you who keep the forum going!

Wiki Contributions

This month we only have 2 non-staff contributors to the Wiki, so here they are:

Thank you to both of you for enriching our collective role playing world.

Storyline Awards

The following people are getting recognition for running plot lines this month:

  • Cyber ★
  • Archer Red the 15th
  • ks
  • Chaos Sorcerer Spartan889
  • Buckethead

The above people have been running plots through the month of October, in particularly, Chaos has turned a character introduction into several successful threads on the forum, something which I heartily congratulate.

Final Awards

So our final award tallies are as follows:

  • Chaos Sorcerer Spartan889 gets 2000 points
  • Cyber ★ gets 1500 points
  • Dr. Winterdawn gets 1500 points
  • Minty.__.Jade gets 1250 points
  • Archer Red the 15th gets 1000 points
  • Buckethead gets 1000 points
  • ks gets 1000 points
  • AscendingCanadian gets 750 points

New Score Board

darktrooper501374964
Archer Red the 15th318872
Uther Tibbs261116
ks174654
The Chubby Gamer161909
Buckethead148479
Dr. Winterdawn119531
Minty.__.Jade109540
JumpingScript89322
Cyber ★64592

Thank you, again, to everyone for all of your contributions to the game, keep it up.

Weekly Creative Discussions

As I mentioned to some of the staff not too long ago, I’d like to start having discussions on where we’d like the plot to go and the status of what’s going on within the game.  I know I myself (and many others) have not been around a lot, during the school year like this it is incredibly important to keep everyone on the same page and continue to move plots forward.  I’ve taken a number of steps to ensure that we can do this but one thing that is lacking is in communication.

The idea is to have a discussion among Staff and Founders about where we would like the game to go and how we can push it forward.  There are three parts to this of course.

Pushing Plot Forward

We have got far more dead or dropped plots that I would ever like to have in a game, especially in our less-used settings of Angelic Sins and Embers of Soteria.  So the first thing we will be trying to move for is more staff involvement in soliciting RP to move plots forward with a focus on pulling in new players who have just arrived and seasoned players who have fallen off the map and may not know where to get back into things.

New Plots & Direction

That being said, there is never a time to rest on existing plot lines and direction of the game.  The other half of the coin is I would like to have a discussion of where we want to go with the setting, new plots, new ideas, and keep the game fresh.  Sometimes plots fail, even if they are good ideas life gets in the way and a lot of things can happen.  As such, I’d like to really dig into what we can push for in the direction of the settings and a discussion of how we get there.

Issues & Resolutions

An important part of these meetings will be trying to figure out how to resolve the issues with the game as it is.  This can include issues with players, plots, how plots are being run, but with a focus in how do we resolve issues.  It is very important to me that everyone  makes an effort to keep problems, solutions, and commentary constructive so we can move forward and continue to build all of our settings.  The best and most robust creativity comes with we all get together.

Attending & Participation

I don’t want to make this sound like a job; if someone cannot be here for the meeting then they cannot be here for the meeting but I would like everyone to not only show up but to really try to be an active participant.  We’ve got a lot of really good creative minds on this server, this is a chance to bring everything to the table and see what we can make of it as a group!

Since not everyone can be around for this, I do plan on putting together a post about what is talked about and decided and make that available for public viewing here on the WordPress site.  This gives our players a chance to talk about things and then bring any concerns, ideas, questions, or just general commentary to our attention.  It goes without saying that resolutions or issues regarding particular players will not be made public.

Contribution Awards for September, 2018

The server runs on stories and without them it dies, the fact that we’re still around into our 3rd year is proof of the creativity of everyone here.

We’ve seen a lot of increased activity in the last half of September, something for which I’m very happy.  We just had our elections for staff members, in case anyone missed it.  Before I announce the winners of each contribution awards, I’d like to point out that some of our highest contributors are of course the Staff members, particularly our Moderators.  Even with the new activity from Staff, we should all be striving to involve anyone and everyone who wants to play.  I would like Staff members of all kinds to consider seeking out and checking in with players who have not posted in a while to see if they’d like to join in.  We have a lot of very creative people out there who sometimes don’t know what to contribute or don’t really know that something is going on.

Players who have been fixtures of our server for a long time such as Haladur, Left4Cake, Chanree, and Rain Lily are exceedingly good role players (as is most everyone who is on the server) and it wouldn’t hurt anyone to just drop a DM or a ping at one of them to see if they’d like to join in.  Our new faces such as Chaos Spartan and Ascending Canadian are prolific on the Forum and collaboration with them on that medium is certainly encouraged.  Our new player katteé is also quite good and I’d love to see more of what they have to offer.

Without further ado…

Contributions for the Discord Server

Our top contributors on the Discord Server (excluding Staff) are:

  • Dr. Winterdawn#8966 (Awarded 1000 Points)
  • 🍃💎Minty Jade💎🍃#8682 (Awarded 750 Points)
  • Cyber ★#2063 (Awarded 500 Points)

Congratulations, and thank you for all that you do.

Contributions for the Wiki Site

Our top contributors for the Wiki Site (excluding Staff) are:

  • Spartan889 (Awarded 1000 Points)
  • Carl C. (Awarded 750 Points)
  • Dr. Winterdawn (Awarded 500 Points)

The Wiki contributions are something that I especially appreciate, these are how we store a good chunk of our site’s past, through the character bios and technology descriptions that get entered and never go away.  This is one of the biggest reasons why I don’t delete old characters and the like.

Contributions for the Forum

Our top contributors of replies on the Forum (excluding Staff) are:

The forum has always been a special place to me, forums contain so much more of the role play and story that goes on than a chat site, even one as awesome and amazing as Discord.

Contributions to Plot Lines

The server runs on stories and without them it dies, the fact that we’re still around into our 3rd year is proof of the creativity of everyone here.  Sadly my school schedule (and that of others) has restricted some of our major plot lines from moving forward as fast (or at all) as I’d like them to.  As such we do a special thank-you to those who have continued to run significant plots or assisted in keeping plots going, for those our Staff is included in the awards.

  • Cyber ★#2063 (Awarded 1000 Points for Ongoing Plot)
  • AscendingCanadian#4800 (Awarded 500 Points for Plot Assist)

Final Tallies

So, finally, we come to how much everyone gets in total:

  • Chaos Sorcerer Spartan889#7660 (2000 Total Points Awarded)
  • AscendingCanadian#4800 (2000 Total Points Awarded)
  • Dr. Winterdawn#8966 (1500 Total Points Awarded)
  • Cyber ★#2063 (1500 Total Points Awarded)
  • 🍃💎Minty Jade💎🍃#8682 (750 Total Points Awarded)
  • Left4Cake#6713 (500 Total Points Awarded)

So, the new scoreboard looks like this:

Imperatoris Lacerta343398
Red the 15th281639
Uther Tibbs255097
ks171187
The Chubby Gamer158592
Buckethead129726
Dr. Winterdawn113945
🍃💎Minty Jade💎🍃103790
JumpingScript88471
Cyber ★56955

As usual, thank you to everyone for continuing to play in my game.  I enjoy reading your stories and writing with you all.

Play on!

2 Years in Operation

I would like to begin by thanking everyone on our server.  It is our 2nd year in operation on Discord and this is still the most successful incarnation of the server that I’ve done.  While we lost a few players along the way we have also gained some new ones.  I’d love to just shout out my appreciation right now to some of more most recent additions, Chaos Sorcerer Spartan889#7660AscendingCanadian#4800, and most recently katté#5241.  We all apprecitiate you joining the server and contributing to our collective stories.

In the two year in operation the site has come a long way.  We’ve expanded from just a Discord server with a Wiki to a site with a full forum that gets used almost daily, our server itself has activity nearly every day in a variety of channels, and all three settings get used!  Perhaps the biggest accomplishment of our server is the fact that our players contribute so much to making everything happen.  It may not surprise people to know how many WordPress and other blogging sites I’ve used in conjunction with my various RP endeavors previously.  This is the first time I’ve had players who actively contribute to the site!  It really does give me a stark appreciation of all of our players, but especially of our Staff and Founders.

Staff Elections

Moving along, we just had a lengthy nomination and election cycle for the server.  I am pleased to announce we had a larger turnout for the votes than we have in the past and collectively those who’ve voted have chosen our Staff members.  Our new Moderator roster will contain:

  • Buckethead#3038
  • Red the 15th#2304
  • The Chubby Gamer, Sloth Boi#7439
  • Imperatoris Lacerta#8924

As a very close runner up, timot1066#8017 will serve as an alternate.  In the mean time, I’d like to congratulate our staff for being elected into position.  Some of our members such as Red and Chubby have been re-elected, and that gets a special congratulations.

New Plots

Moving forward, I hope to very soon begin on a road the continues our major outstanding plots, in particular the Akron plot which has languished for a long time time but also our murder mystery plot for Angelic Sins and our plots for the veils between worlds breaking down for Embers of Soteria.  Again, thank you all for your help, and here’s to another year having gone by.

Cheers.

Participation Awards for August 2018

Another month has passed and again we come to awarding those who have kept the creative light burning. In August we saw a good increase in our third-party plots being run by others when we opened up our Wordpress site to be used by anyone. In that we’d like to give special thanks to Tim, Liz, KS, and Bucket who all kept everyone up to date on what’s going on currently – thank you.

Another month has passed and again we come to awarding those who have kept the creative light burning.  In August we saw a good increase in our third-party plots being run by others when we opened up our WordPress site to be used by anyone.  In that we’d like to give special thanks to Tim, Liz, KS, and Bucket who all kept everyone up to date on what’s going on currently — thank you.

As a sad note, one of our long-time players have left the game.  School has started for many of us (myself included) and as such it has become increasingly difficult to find time for many to role play.  That makes this list especially heart-felt from myself in particular, since it shows people who continue to participate and keep the server alive.  Our fellow player, writer, and friend t0l has left the game, however, and while he has said that he will be back some day we all know that things don’t always go as planned.  His character Tal Ravis was not only central to many of the plots that took place but was also a refreshing take on a soldier with a gritty realism that highlighted the talent and skill of his player in bringing the character to life.  T0l had the unique ability to write both long-form of several paragraphs even several pages in a sitting and short-form keeping things brief and to the point, to suit the role play situation he found himself in.   I hope that we get the opportunity to read his writing again.

Forum Participation

On the forum, counting by number of replies posted over the last month we have the following:

We thank them for their help in keeping things moving!

Wiki Participation

The Wiki site is really one of the biggest assets of our entire game.  It stores all of our in-game information and really makes it a lot more accessible for everyone to play in.  The participation scores for our Wiki users are:

  • Darktrooper501
  • T0l
  • Dr. Winterdawn

Now, sadly t0l has left the server and as such we cannot really award points to him, but a hearty thank-you goes out to him none-the-less for his extensive contributions to the Wiki and the game as a whole.  Since staff is not counted when giving out these awards, the 30-day list doesn’t have enough listed for Wiki participation to replace t0l, but since we can’t award him I’ll look into the top contributors of all time, which shows us that Ryu ketsueki (formerly Lilac) receives recognition for his contributions to the sum of knowledge stored for our game.

Plot Awards

As usual we are also awarding special points for running plots.  Bucket deserves a lot of points for his multiple parts taken in multiple plot lines.  He played the majority of the roles in a lot of the recent plots, especially that involving the Operation Gray Angel and the corresponding Operation Succubus, playing both sides of the fence effectively well.  For this he gets an addition 1000 points.  Tim is also awarded with 500 points for his continued help in pushing along our political pressure / racial tensions arc.  Along those same lines, Liz gains also an additional 500 points for his creation of the entirely new character and broadcast, he did an absolutely superb job with it!

Final Awards

  • Imperatoris Lacerta#8924
    • 1000 each for both the Forum and the Wiki
    • 500 for Plot Awards
  • Buckethead#3038
    • 750 for participation on the Forum
    • 1000 for Plot Awards
  • Left4Cake#6713
    • 500 for participation on the Forum
  • Dr. Winterdawn#8966
    • 750 for participation on the Wiki
  • HaruyamaX5#0002
    • 500 for participation on the Wiki (see note above)
  • timot1066#8017
    • 500 for Plot Awards

New Top 10

So here are the new score tallies after awarding points.  This will also be the final entry which lists t0l as a member.

UserScore
Imperatoris Lacerta311682
Uther Tibbs249093
Red the 15th243671
ks167603
t0l158699
The Chubby Gamer, Sloth Boi155986
Buckethead110151
Dr. Winterdawn109135
🍃💎Minty Jade💎🍃98184
JumpingScript87965

Thanks again to all of our players for keeping the server alive.

Void of Unfinished Plots

Back when I was doing all Tabletop role play we had a guy that would promise to run games a lot. His name was J.D. and the main GM would get tired of running things so, we’d all roll characters in whatever system he was going to run, play one or two sessions and then those character would be in the void, by this I mean we’d never be able to pull them out because the game was always “going to be” continued and J.D. would just drop it.

I try very hard not to do this but there are a number of plots that have been going on for a lot longer than I wanted them to go. To help with that I’d like to invite any players who want to help restart or resolve the current plots to do so. This will also serve as a kind of primer to different kinds of characters we need to add to the role play.

Incomplete Plots

Ok, so here are the plots currently going on that I recall right now, and where they stand. These, of course, don’t involve PSL’s (personal story lines) that are tied to one or two individual people.

Blazing Umbra

  • Akron Mystery (currently on Act 3)
  • Political Pressure
    • Operation Succubus / Operation Grey Angel
    • Racial Tensions
  • Infinity Wave Investigation (currently on Act 2)

Akron Mystery

The Akron Mystery’s current state is talked about here on the forum but also in these tagged posts. Currently, there is one open thread on the forum where Flask is stuck on the USS Akron. Aside from that I’ve asked repeatedly for someone to go ahead and start playing some creation player-character of the Akron to interact with people and be a problem, that hasn’t happened so I’m trying to figure out a way around it.

What do we need?

Akron currently is in need of scientists and magic specialists to study the Malitae.

Political Pressure

So because of the expansive nature of this plot line, a lot is included within. The basic idea is talked about here as well as here and here of the forum. The basic idea is that Onyx is using covert measures to apply political pressure to undermine Solas Tempus. In doing so, they are attacking the organization on multiple fronts.

Since the game mostly takes place on Nimbus Station, that is where the bulk of the role play is focused. In this, we’ve gone through a few things already and I’d say that the main plot is on Act 4, but that act is going to wait until we’ve completed one of the related sub-plots, which is the Abduction of Megan Shepard, this abduction is part of a larger effort on the part of Onyx and the residual Imperial forces in the Blazing Umbra Universe.

The the abduction of Megan and the rescue efforts are talked about in Operation Gray Angel posts while the Imperial efforts are talked about in Operation Succubus, on a wider-scale the Imperial / Onyx efforts can be also looked at with the Imperial Intercepts category.

What do we need?

While we finally found an interrogator for use on Megan, currently one player is playing the three starships searching for Megan, which is spreading one person a little thin! So we need people who are willing to play additional assets, preferably with ships of some kind to help search for Megan and then later engage Imperial forces.

Infinity Wave Investigation

This mission began with the Infinity Wave that had the entire group stuck in 1509 orbiting Saturn for an extended period of time while the Lilith went to stop the wave from happening. The initial act of this plot saw that Onyx had successfully constructed or obtained some ALR-X Missiles, which were accidentally used on Earth’s moon before the birth of the United Federation of Planets and it wiped out of current timeline. After disabling the missiles, the Lilith returned having allowed everyone to return to the 24th century.

I put out a general call for participants and only found 2 players willing to participate. That’s fine, but we could use some more players to take on this mission. There will be both investigation and combat as things get underway. Anyone wishing to join are welcome and should contact me directly.

Angelic Sins

The main unfinished plot line here is with Symbols in Blood and Sorrow, currently on Act 3 after being reboot. The plot is currently stuck at waiting for players who play witnesses. The overall arc is talked about in this forum thread which has links and goes over the plot to-date. We need people to play witnesses in order to continue this plot. The witnesses should be RPed out, murders will go along with these notes which outline the kinds of things people would be seeing. I’d like to get a few people to actually play these witnesses.

Embers of Soteria

The generalized overall plot of Embers of Soteria is really about how the veil between worlds is breaking down. The current incarnation of this is in the Daemoni Attack. Since it is just beginning there is a lot of room to play in. Right now, experts in magic (and counter-magic) are needed, people who are knowledgable in monsters, spirits, and demons. Anyone wishing to play in this arc is more than welcome to do so.