___The New Official AVATAR___________________________________
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/ \ ___ \__ \ \____ /_/ __ \\ __\\ __\_/ __ \
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________________________________November 11, 2004____________
/.--.\ The Avatar Gazette
|====| For subscription info,
|`::`| read HELP GAZETTE
/\\ / |...::..|` | | `| Produced by Angel Kenji
|:'\ | /'''::''| | | | With help from Gouki
@|\ /\;-,/\ :: |=========| New Hero and Lord Stats
`||\ <` ._::_.|=========|
|| `""` / ^^ | | | |
|| | \ | | /
Ahh, back to a somewhat normal schedule and a healthy-sized
Gazette. Life is good, eh?
I'd like to share an incredible experience I had the other
day. I got to fly in an F-16 (fighter jet) out of our local
Air Force base. It was a reward for a job well done. (I've
spent the last two years helping guard the base.) What an
experience! Going from 7 Gs to -2 Gs in an instant sure
does a number on the ol' lunch bucket, though! I really
admire fighter pilots for the physical condition they must
have to tolerate those flights. I flew for 90 minutes and was
completely exhausted afterwards!
Back to AVATAR stuff, where I fly in a different form, there
is a great deal to read about, so let's get to it!
This month's Gazette includes:
Quest Points top 10 by Anessa
New Hero and Lord Stats by Gouki
A Simple Mission by Erion (short fantasy story)
A College paper on AVATAR - (hmm.. could a degree in AVATAR
be far away?)
A Pumpkin Pie recipe
The Angel Host continues to grow with exciting new Angels
joining our ranks! Welcome to Manaful, AVATAR's newest
feathered friend! We're elated to have Manaful flying with
us, and be sure to say hi whenever you see him online!
And talking about growing, our AVATAR family has grown some
more! Congratulations to Mendek on the birth of his baby boy,
Christopher on October 22nd. And congratulations to Darii on
becoming an elated grandmother! So let's see, born in 2004,
we should see Chris online in about... 3 months, right? Hey,
gotta start the AV addiction early!
The Halloween trick-or-treat quest has come and gone, with
great fun had by all. I personally had a blast dressing up
as Benjeh Borley, the mysterious sixth member of the Borley
family. Other costumes were just as creative, with Kariya
dressing up as a fountain, Cerdwyn as a little horned devil,
and many others. I hope all the players had just as much fun!
The Quest team continues to look for new ideas and your
feedback. Drop them a note at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit
http://www.outland.org/quest/ to use the feedback form.
UberCon IV has also come and gone! How was it? Did you go?
Did you log on during UC and help out a new player? Are you
thinking about going to UberCon V?
I'm pestering Snikt right now as you read this to get a few
words from the Imp on his impressions of how UC IV went. I'll
write it up as soon as I get it!
Many of our players are doing a great job voting at TMS
(www.topmudsites.com) on a regular basis. AVATAR has remained
in the top 20 for the last couple months, and we're
elated about that.
But did you know that you can also write a review of
AVATAR for all the TMS readers to see? Look in the top left
hand corner of the TMS homepage. These are the reviews that
players of other muds have written for their games. You too
can review AVATAR! Just search for AVATAR MUD in the
database box at the top of the homepage. Click on the
AVATAR MUD link, then click on the Submit a Review link.
Just remember to be fair and honest. You don't need to use
your real name, mud name or even real email address.
Reviews help increase exposure to the MUD, and help bring
new players to our community!
I know what you're thinking. "Kenji, where do you keep coming
up with stories, articles and recipes for the Gazette?"
Well, that's easy. You! The players of AVATAR are some of the
most creative people I've had the pleasure of working with.
So send in your short stories, game-themed articles, recipe
ideas and ASCII art for future Gazettes. Email your submissions
Articles that are used in the Gazette may earn you Quest Points!
So be sure to include your main alt's name in your email. (Or
the name you want QPs credited to.)
Email me if you have a large or multi-part story idea as well.
/_______ `--._______ `--.____ \\
/__.-' `-----.____ `--.____\\`_/_
,' ___ `---.___ ___// `-.
/ _.-' )' ``---' \ \
| / | . ' |
/ / / | ' ___ ) | |
| | | _/` _ ` _,' _ `/) ' |
\_ `--._\__`--'_\-___ _,-' '-` ___ _/
`---.____ `--.__-_ /_)____, __/ ,`-'
Here are the current top 10 in Quest Points.
Quest Points Top 10
NEW HERO & LORD STATS from Gouki
Here are the new Hero and Lord stats since October 1st, 2004:
25 Heroes morphed since October 1st, 2004. Please welcome
the following to the Lord tier:
Aijimo, Bertrand, Brokenshaft, Cirria, Draeger, Ezekial,
Gobo, Goddessa, Grach, GreenFate, Hekla, Icearrow,
Imladris, Isimyr, Laeh, Medea, Nestor, Nyxx, Pyriame,
Ragnoc, RIvAk, Rooks, Ull, Valad, Varg
8 Lords remorted since October 1st, 2004. Please wish the
following good luck:
* Elak from Lizard Man Mage to Tuataur Mage
* Fitwon from Orc Warrior to Minotaur Warrior
* Glarg from Human Assassin to Troll Assassin
* Lasiter from Drow Archer to Drow Assassin
* Menelaus from Giant Warrior to Giant Berserker
* Pyki from Demonseed Cleric to Sprite Cleric
* Siril from Orc Archer to Demonseed Archer
* Vinniemac from Orc Archer to Troll Archer
0 Heroes/Lords deleted since October 1st, 2004:
Please congratulate 43 characters who reached Hero 101+:
Bodhisattva (101), DuSk (101), Elak (101), Thwak (103),
Muegar (104), Chaszmyr (106), Cyzarine (107), Flowery (107),
Meat (107), Siril (107), Antitheus (108), Nemesys (110),
Ashtaka (113), Giaeron (114), Diag (117), Tiana (117),
Lofta (120), Zelda (121), Moshington (123), Beo (124),
Gaardok (127), Numbers (127), Takayuchi (127), Atsiem (131),
Aegon (132), Ahzarak (136), Slapshot (136), Tatewari (138),
Mithmenel (140), Tyrion (143), Szalik (145), Isabelle
(156), Venjanse (157), Abra (173), Tiffany (178), Scarface (180),
Pedro (205), Dol (225), Volen (238), Gnimish
(247), Darian (265), ZerBert (351), Tsion (442)
Please congratulate 24 characters who have achieved Super Hero+:
Putrid (500), Slipshot (500), Eliziel (502), Spry (502), Madgor (506),
Shadowpuppet (506), RAhxephon (507), XIdo (511), Maigen (514),
Octavian (518), Rolodex (520), Turban (521), Saturos (524), Syl (525),
Acrien (530), Rysak (531), Demidas (541), Hellown (544),
Grishnak (550), Grebolica (589), Mulan (672), Randalla (738),
Draxi (740), Gerut (882)
14 Heroes failed to morph since October 1st, 2004:
Longshot, Dared, Aeneas, NightHawk, Gorgan, Newton, Majgif, Tolus,
Loote, Siras, Phoebe, Nixl, Mythril, Aerga
TOP 10 LEVELERS
1 .) Draxi (527)
2 .) Gerut (452)
3 .) Tsion (395)
4 .) Randalla (393)
5 .) Moo (392)
6 .) Gafgarion (307)
7 .) Faye (294)
8 .) ZerBert (287)
9 .) Hawkwind (266)
10.) Darian (263)
1 .) Hekla (67)
2 .) Age (60)
3 .) Morsq (54)
4 .) Enda (50)
5 .) Matog (48)
6 .) AlexyAnna (46)
7 .) Enchant (40)
8 .) Tange (39)
9 .) Lilone (38)
10.) Rol (37)
The second AVATAR creative writing contest was run by
Cerdwyn last month. Congratulations to Erion, who won with
the story below, and congrats to all the entrants, who were
all rewarded with a nice gift from Cerdwyn! Don't worry, there
will be more contests, and more chances for you to win! Stay
tuned to the Gazette and Cerdwyn's weekly AVATAR updates!
A Simple Mission
Erion glanced up at the sun; the evening was slipping away
fast. Soon he must either be finished with his task, or face
the consequences. This task was taking much longer than it
should have. He sat unseen in the shadows still, watching the
crowds around Aelmon's sanctuary.
Quietly, he reevaluated his mission, going over the details
in his mind as he waited for the time to be perfect. Finally,
the exact moment he'd awaited came, a small patrol of six of
Midgaard's finest guards walked slowly through the small plaza
around the fountain. Erion silently slipped out of his
concealing shadow, quietly following them so as not to
prematurely raise the alarm. Silently, a prayer to the Dark
Fire slipped passed his lips as he continued to tail the guard
right up to the castle's gates.
For this to go smoothly he would need two blessings upon his
soul, one from the immortal demon, and one from his god Tor.
As he expected the guard slowed to a crawl just beyond the plaza
of Aelmon's fountain. Deftly the lead guard pushed against a
small stone revealing the secret passage that led into the
castle's depths, precisely the route Erion must travel to
reach his destination. Making note of which stone was pressed
he quickly made his way past the guard moving to raise the
alarm, the jeweler was just past this area, surely he would
cry havoc if a knife found its way to his throat.
The jeweler stood surveying a small toy a child had lain
on the counter, a replica of a dragon not much larger than
a fist. "Yes, son, I can etch this model for you. What was
the..." The words caught his throat, there standing in the
doorway was Erion, the wanderer, a deadly assassin whose
reputation preceded him. Smiling sweetly, Erion drew forth a
"Scream, lest I remove your ability," was all the dark man
said. The jeweler let no time slip past before following the
As Erion had expected the guards stopped what they were doing
to come investigate, the time for stealth was over, it
seemed. Snatching up the child in one arm, and sliding away
his crossbow in favor of his favorite dagger, Erion flew
from the establishment. He ran quickly out to the streets.
With any luck, he might be able to lose these buffoons and
make his way back to the passage. A few blocks away he
darted into an alley, knowing he didn't have much time
before the guards would be upon him. Gently he sat the boy
down, handed him a few gold for the bother, and once more
began his run into the night.
Roughly an hour later, the sun fully set now, Erion finally
made it back to the secret passage. He'd managed to lose
the guard some twenty minutes prior using a teleport spell
he'd learned for this very reason. Gently, he gave the
stone a firm push, and stood to one side as the passage
opened again. As he'd hoped, it was clear, for the moment
at least. Passing over the threshold he calmly pushed the
heavy stone door closed behind him; it would not do to
have an alert guard notice his passage prior to completing
After what seemed an eternity, and several wrong turns and
dead-ends later, the assassin found the passage to the king's
personal chambers. This tunnel complex was built confusing,
hopefully his magic would permit him easier egress from within
than the long passage. Though this was never something he
counted on, the gods were fickle after all and one can never
be sure his transit magic will indeed work. Cracking the door
very slightly, Erion surveyed the room. A large tapestry hung
on the wall just inside the door, a perfect hiding place;
mayhap the immortals did indeed wish him success this night.
With a silent incantation the assassin's form became less
substantial. Pulling the door firmly closed, he took a step
into it; as if he were a ghost the door offered no resistance
at all, there would be no evidence that this was the entrance
he had used. The room was dark, but darkness was his ally, not
Inching closer to the bed he risked a glance from behind the
curtain, smiling to himself as he heard the faint snoring
coming from nearby. As he'd suspected, the king was fast
asleep, and so was the queen. Gently he tugged at the
sleeve of his tunic, producing a note that had been secured
there. Deftly he slid the note onto the king's chest, and
pulled back. The snoring suddenly cut quiet, and Erion froze
with a discipline long ago instilled into him. Within a few
moments the snoring began again, and he breathed a bit easier
as well. Now he needed to leave this place, his task having
been completed. Drawing an image in his mind of his employer,
Erion whispered the words to a spell; within a moment a
sheaf of lightning shot across the room. As the lightning
bounced from wall to wall awakening the sleeping nobility,
Erion whispered a second spell, his form slowly began to
dissolve, and when he next opened his eyes he stood face to
face with the robber baron.
"Your mission is completed, baron. Pay me my tribute."
The callous baron guffawed at the man standing before him.
"Successful or not, the only payment you shall receive is from
the tip of my blade!" Erion had also expected this, he'd heard
tell the baron had done this to others, but he'd come prepared.
"So be it, good baron. Today your honorless reign ends." With
a speed hitherto unseen by the baron Erion's blade shot forth,
tearing a wide gash through the man's throat. Erion jumped
back to dodge the baron's sword as it came crashing down, and
quietly said, "There is a race of driders beneath Reveria,
good baron. The poison in their fangs is known far and wide
to be the most lethal venom of all. You have just had a rather
large portion slashed into your throat by my blade. I'd
suspect you shall die now."
His lips crooked into a callous smile as the baron fell to the
floor, quite dead. "You've just learned the fate of those who
do not pay their debts, or perhaps you've found out exactly
what honor amongst thieves is. More to the point, youâ€™ll
never make that mistake again, good baron."
One of our long-time players had to write a paper for her
college English class. It's an excellent read about friend-
ships formed in an online community, and how they can be just
as real as flesh and blood friendships. It's a bit long, but
definitely worth the read.
Some people hear about the internet, chat rooms, online games,
and immediately think about pedophiles, nerds, hackers, etc.
However, internet communities can offer much, much more than
what you see on the surface. Internet communities can offer
unbiased personal interaction, an outlet to vent without
causing harm, and a forum for general discussion among many
While I was growing up, my household was engulfed with
alcoholism: from my parents, to my brother who is ten years my
elder. With these problems around me I tried to be away from
home as much as I could. When I couldn't, I found salvation
in the internet. The internet is where I found people who
genuinely cared and have taken the time to keep in touch with
me, and find out how I have been since I got away from my home
When I was eleven, my cousin built and gave me my first
computer. I was introduced to the internet, and found it
boring at first. I played games such as Diablo, Baldur's
gate, and other similar games, and they entertained me pretty
well. When I was about twelve a friend of mine helped me build
a new computer, and he showed me a different type of online
game. The type of game is called a MUD, which stands for Multi-
A MUD is a shared online environment, in this case, a game that
is all in text. Imagine Diablo or any other computer game - in
text, with everything described to you instead of the pictures.
When entering a room or an area in the game you see a paragraph
describing the dÃ©cor. Also, if there is a creature or person
that you are able to interact with, they will have a short
description, and more details as you look more closely.
When I first started playing, everything except chatting was very
confusing. I didn't play very often, but I found people that were
on at the same time as me every night, and began to play and talk
with them. This allowed me a connection to people on the evenings
that I couldn't get away from home. As time went by, it became
more of a home, when I would log in and greet everybody, people
would say hello and ask me how my day was. It was usually the
same people logged on every night, which made it comforting.
It was like the atmosphere in Cheers, "where everybody knows your
name." As time went by we would talk about 'real life,' jobs,
school, hobbies, foods - the same types of things a person talks
about with a classmate or co-worker. As the years went by some
people came and went, but there was always the same core group of
people that I had grown to know.
In the late spring of 1997 I decided to see if I could contribute
something back to the MUD. I went through a process called
petitioning. In petitioning a person can apply to become an Angel.
An Angel's role on the MUD is to help new players, and even assist
older players when they take on a creature that is too powerful for
them. I fulfilled all the duties set forth for Angels in the help
file and in the additional documents I was sent.
I really enjoyed my time as an Angel; however, it came to an end
when I was going to begin high school. When I was fourteen and
started high school, I resigned my position as an Angel, because
school took me away from the MUD for a while as I adjusted to the
new classes, new students, and new amounts of homework. With
homework came questions. Neither one of my parents graduated high
school; however, one did acquire a GED. With their limited education
they were unable to help me with my homework. So, one night I decided
to log on to the internet and ask for help. Occasionally I would
have questions about history or a science, and would get help with
wording of the answer, or understanding how a principle of physics
worked. By this time I already had instant messenger programs like
AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) and ICQ. I first asked people from the
MUD that I talked to regularly on the instant messenger programs,
they were usually able to help.
As I got further along with my studies, the people on my buddy lists
were not always able to help. The MUD has several different channels
in order to communicate with everybody else that is logged in. Some
of the different chat channels are separated by genre, for stuff like
trivia, music, new people, and divisions by your character's level. I
decided to log on, and ask the questions I had about my homework.
Several people were more than willing to help me with it, and none
ever offered or were even willing to just give me the answer. They
always walked me through it and explained why things were the way they
were. For example, if I had a question about math, they would have me
pick another problem whose answer was in the back of the book, and they
would take me through it step by step to show me how to achieve the
correct answer. This is the internet that I encountered: nice and
friendly people that were just there to help. They didn't care how
old I was, or what the subject was. Some of the people that helped me
were even my age, or just a little older than me and had just taken the
course the year before.
As time went on I grew closer to the people that "played" the game and
helped me with my homework. During my senior year of High School my
playing time became less and less, to a point where some of my char-
acters in the game had been deleted. Once I moved away from home, I
wasn't online very much at first, except when I wanted to touch base
with one of the many friends that helped me over the years. I started
playing regularly after about one year of downtime. I quickly got back
in touch with people I had talked to on a daily basis in the past. After
about six months of playing again, money for normal expenses got tight
and I played less so I could get in more overtime. One of my friends
from the MUD, Kyle, asked me why I hadn't been around much, and I exp-
lained my situation; I couldn't make my rent. He offered to loan me
I was astounded, this guy that I had never met openly and willingly off-
ered to loan me two-hundred dollars. At first I declined, and continued
to try to come up with the money. After a while, he insisted and sent me
the money using PayPal (www.paypal.com), which is essentially an online
banking account. Kyle has always been a good friend, and still is. I
paid him back, although it took me longer than I thought it would, and
he didn't say a word about it. Kyle and I have developed a very unique
relationship over the internet. It is something that is rare, but very
Before I came to college, from Portland, Oregon, I had been back on the
game for a while, talking to people. I discovered that one of my longest
friends from the game, Jason, lived in Nebraska; he went to Graduate
School at UNL. Since I was going to be moving here, and didn't want to
live on campus, I asked him to keep an eye out for a place that I could
stay or an apartment I could get.
He found me a place to live, and we became pretty good friends. Shortly
after I moved here I discovered that another one of my good friends from
the game, Bill, lived up in Omaha. We have also become very good friends
and get together about once a week. I'm sure that we would get together
more often if it weren't an hour commute. Even with the drastic changes
that the internet has gone through over the last ten years since I have
been on it, the environment of the niche that I found hasn't changed,
even though the game has advanced drastically. It has provided me
comfort and consistency - a group of people that I can continually rely
Over the last year my position with the MUD has changed a lot. It has
become a pastime for me, filling up what little free time I have around
doing my homework. This summer I spent a good deal of time in the
evenings on the MUD, and got to know a lot of the staff members very
well. Kevin, the man who runs and owns the MUD that I play on, held a
gathering at his house for players who have been around for a long time.
I decided to attend in order to put a face to the names of the people
that I have known for so long.
After attending the meeting, Kevin invited me to join the staff. I
have currently been a staff member for approximately two months. During
this time I have had a great deal of interaction with new players, and
am now providing support and an ear for people to talk to. My role as
a member of the staff is to assist new players and handle policy issues
and complaints. Being new, I'm allowed to make mistakes, and they're
expected as I adjust to the position. As a staff member I am also able
to provide the MUD with something in return for all of the years that
it has provided for me. Since I am a new staff member my tasks have
been limited, but a big part of my role has been to provide assistance
to our newer players, and answer general questions.
Talking with new people and finding out why they come to a MUD has been
a very interesting experience. Reasons that I have heard for people
coming to a MUD include having other friends that play, meeting new
people, trying something new, and entertainment. Hearing all of these
reasons, and other more personal reasons less frequently, brings me to
realize that people who are in trouble tend to reach out to whomever
they can, be it somebody they know in person, or a stranger online.
Regardless of who they reach out to, there needs to be a place for those
who choose to reach out online, and I was fortunate enough to find a
place full of kind people who helped me. Now I am privileged enough
to be able to help others - a very fulfilling experience. It is often
easier for a person to talk to somebody online because it pulls away
from the personal aspect, and makes the encounter more comfortable.
I am now able to provide a service to new people who are having
troubles, or even long time friends that may need somebody to confide
in, and this is a very fulfilling feeling for me. The internet can be
a safe environment; a person just needs to put in the time and effort
to get to know those people surrounding them.
Thanksgiving has to be one of my favorite times of the year.
Not because everyone is nicer, or a time to give thanks, or
any of that stuff... but because of one thing:
Yep. I love pumpkin pie. Especially fresh pumpkin pie. I can
honestly eat an entire pie in one sitting. The whole thing.
All 40,000 calories. Not to mention half a tub of whipped
cream on top of it. Pretty disgusting, isn't it?
Anyways, I just grabbed this recipe off the web, and it
sounds intriguing. I'll be trying it next weekend. If you
see me flying around a few pounds heavier, you'll know why.
"This pumpkin pie recipe uses melted ice cream instead of
evaporated milk. The result is delicious. I recommend using
fresh pumpkin, but canned pumpkin can also be used. Recipe
makes two 9 inch pies. Can be halved."
1 1/2 pints vanilla ice cream, softened
1 3/4 cups pumpkin puree
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 (9 inch) unbaked pie shells
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C.) Place ice
cream near the warm oven to soften.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs. Stir in the pumpkin
puree, sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Mix in soft
ice cream until smooth. Pour filling into two 9 inch pie
Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce temperature
to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and bake an additional 30
to 40 minutes, or until filling is set.
To use fresh pumpkin, preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165
degrees C). Wash, and halve pie pumpkin(s). Scoop out seeds.
Place pumpkin halves cut side down in baking pan. Bake for
45 minutes to 1 hour, or until pumpkins are soft to the
touch. Remove from oven, and let cool. Scrape out pumpkin
meat, and puree in food processor or blender. (This can be
done several weeks in advance and the puree stored in the
Thanks to www.allrecipes.com for this great recipe.
This is the new Avatar Gazette. It is published with the
permission and cooperation of the Avatar staff and edited by
Angel Kenji. (Original concept by Asamaro and Dizzy.)
The Gazette is written in plain vanilla ASCII text to ensure
that everyone can enjoy it regardless of computer type.
To subscribe to the Gazette, send internet e-mail to
email@example.com. In the body of your
subscribe username@hostname (MudName - RealName)
e.g. subscribe firstname.lastname@example.org (Snikt - Kevin Jagh)
Your real name is optional for the Gazette list.
e.g. subscribe email@example.com (Snikt)
If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, criticisms,
compliments, or (best of all) articles that you've written
for the Gazette, please send them to Kenji via my e-mail
address: firstname.lastname@example.org Please use 'Gazette' as your
You can also view the latest issue of the Gazette while
playing Avatar by typing 'help newgaz' anywhere in the game,
or on the design web site at
Original credit for Ascii art or other submissions is given