Blood of Dragons: Announcements

Blood of Dragons is the only author-approved MUSH based on George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. Play the Game of Thrones and become a part of the history of the Seven Kingdoms:

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Birth Control

In light of the circumstances of Baelor’s reign, we feel that the game needs a clear policy in regards to the availability and effectiveness of birth control.

The primary form of birth control available is moon tea, which is a herbal remedy consisting of various plants such as tansy and pennyroyal. Properly speaking—as in, looking at historical examples—such a remedy is an abortifacient rather than a form of birth control. That is, it can cause a fertilized egg to be expelled but it cannot prevent the fertilization in the first place or affect ovulation. It is not strictly clear whether GRRM intends moon tea to function purely as an abortifacient or if he also imagines that in Westeros it can also prevent impregnation in the first place, but for the purpose of the game it is not strictly necessary to know. It does seem as if the most common usage is to drink moon tea after one suspects a risk of pregnancy, rather than to prevent one.

Baelor, of course, does not look kindly upon moon tea. Not only does it potentially allow for inappropriate behaviour but it also kills babies. Given this, selling moon tea or the ingredients needed for moon tea is not acceptable in King’s Landing. Anyone doing so risks fines or even expulsion from the city. Nobles will in some cases have access to maesters (though far from all houses will have maesters present in King’s Landing), but keep in mind that maesters serve a house and answer to the lord of that house. If the lord’s wife is trying to prevent pregnancy without telling her husband, she’s as unlikely to get moon tea from their maester as an unmarried daughter who is having an illicit affair.

The result of this is that if your character needs access to moon tea, you need to clear that access with staff as you cannot simply assume that it can be obtained. You will need to put in a +job, explain what you need the moon tea for and propose a way to obtain it. This holds true for characters in Dorne as well, even though it will be easier to propose an acceptable way of obtaining moon tea there as there are no strictures like those in King’s Landing imposed on Sunspear.

Furthermore, characters using moon tea will agree to use a random roll (exact format being worked on) on a monthly basis to determine whether it has been working or not. While we see that some characters put great trust in moon tea in the books, it is clear that it cannot be 100% effective since there are a good many bastards in the setting and far from all of them wanted.

Stat Training Added

The +xp/train command has been completed, allowing players to increase their stats in the same way that they have been able to increase their skills. Please see +HELP ADVANCEMENT XP for details on the command and http://www.westeros.org/BoD/Helpfiles/Advancement_Stats/ for a breakdown of costs. We ask players to look at their stats and xp totals before using the command, to more easily be able to spot any potential issues. Please report any problems as soon as possible.

Updating Your Character

To help us maintain a record of the history of the game and to help new players get into the game more easily, it is very important that everyone keeps their characters as updated as possible. As it stands now we often find ourselves forced to close—or even kill off—characters when they are abandoned because it is too difficult to piece together their past history.

Keeping your character updated also affects your progress on the game. If you want to switch to another character or request an alt, we will first request that you update your current character, so doing it regularly makes it much easier for everyone. We also take into account how good a player has been about keeping their character(s) updated when considering applications for Restricted or Limited characters. Finally, when tier advancement is sorted out, how well updated a character has been kept will be an important criteria.

The two most important things to do is to add Events (+HELP CDB EVENTS) when something significant happens and to add or update Relations (+HELP CDB RELATIONS) to other characters. It is also important to regularly look over your History. It should function as a summary of both what is in your character’s background and a summary of significant developments since then. Occasionally, you can also take a look at your Persona and Notes and see if anything needs to be adjusted.

For those of you who like to be mentioned in the Tidings or the Chronicle (and who doesn’t!), adding Events is particularly important; if you haven’t added one for a particular scene, you are much less likely to show up in the writeups done about that scene.

Personal NPCs

Players who create personal, named NPCs for regular or semi-regular usage need to submit these to the CDB so that their name and any other specific details can be approved and so that they are preseved in the event of a player switching characters. See +HELP CDB SUBMIT for how to do this. Note that tier for such characters will default to V unless the player asks for something else and provides a reason for why it should be higher. More than IV is very unlikely to be approved.

Stat Modifiers

We have just completed a modification to the CharGen which means that stat increases and stat decreases are no longer a one-off addition to or reduction from your stat pool. Instead, they are persistent percentages, just like skill increases and decreases. They also apply to single stats rather than stat groups.

To give an example, if a player used to have a Stat Decrease: Physique, they had their pool of Physique points reduced by 5% in CharGen. Now, the flaw will be modified so that their Physique pool is untouched in CharGen but instead they will have a permanent -10% to one of the stats in their Physique pool. This will display the same way on their sheet as skill modifiers do today.

We will start by changing over currently unplayed characters, then we will either approach active players who are affected or ask players to input +jobs with how they want these changes done on their characters.

This change is the first of a few planned CG changes which we hope may make it possible to implement Tier Advancement.

The Staff Situation

As you know from his post, Damphair will stepping back for the foreseeable future. He will remain on Staff, but his active involvement will be highly limited. This has raised the question among players whether we plan to recruit or open applications for new Staff. The short answer is no, we have no such plans at the moment. We’ve never entertained applications for Staff and we don’t feel that is the right way to go about things. We have always kept the possibility open of asking additional players if they are interested, but at the moment we do not have any such candidates in mind. We have a good number of experienced players, but we know from experience on other games that this is not the only important factor in putting together a functioning Staff team.

Now, the reality is that this will mean we are somewhat understaffed, in particular when it comes to GMing scenes, which was something Damphair has been doing a fabulous job of for years. It is an area which neither myself nor Balerion excel at; our MUSH backgrounds involve minimal exposure to GMing, as either players or staff. Given this, that is an area which will see less staff involvement for the moment. Instead, we will be focusing on trying to cut back on the +jobs queue as well as looking at some larger projects that we would like to finish in time for the 10-year anniversary of the beta opening this autumn. These projects include some CharGen changes (how ambitious these can be depends on whether we feel that we can leave existing CGed characters with a different setup than future CGs; not in terms of numbers, but in terms of some of the written parts), the reputation/renown system, further house expansions and maybe (a very big maybe) the combat system. As we are quite unlikely to do the same kind of coverage of Season 6 of Game of Thrones as for past seasons, we won’t be as swamped during the show period as previously, though keeping the website from going down with some regularity will undoubtedly still take extra work.

When it comes to plots, we are working on some long-term timelines for both areas, with the Dornish one being the furthest along so far. For King’s Landing, we have some canon events to build around, but we need to work on some more solid details. Considering the lack of a dedicated GM on Staff, we would certainly like to see more plot proposals from players willing to take the lead on such projects. However, we do have to stress that one reason we’ve been hesitant about this in the past is that we’ve often found that the requisite updates have been very hard to get out of players afterwards; any larger plots need submissions for Tidings and for the Chronicle, Events for any CDB NPCs that are used and so on. But players who are willing to step up and run plots with these requirements in mind are more than welcome to submit proposals.

We’d also like to ask players to help us with the process of getting the +jobs queue shortened; make sure to check your +jobs regularly to see if we’ve submitted notes asking for additional information or any other kind of feedback. Its much easier to get a particular +job finished up if once we start working on it the responses come in fairly quickly. And if you do have any outdated +jobs that should be closed, do add a note letting us know that this is the case.

If you have any questions or comments, do let us know. For example, is there anything really major we’ve missed in our list of potential projects for the year? And should we put out a guide/rulebook for GMing on the game and what should it contain?

The World of Ice and Fire “AMA”

Following the release of The World of Ice and Fire, we hosted an “AMA” on the game, allowing players to ask questions about the book. We have now posted the transcript of this session. And now that the book is out, we will be making some further updates to “Blood of Dragons 2.0”, for example to make a few more family tree additions that we felt were too spoilery to add in advance. We also hope that players will take the opportunity to dig through the book and come up with some plot hooks from the new material - we will of course do so ourselves as well, but sometimes you’re too close to your own material to see its potential.

Blood of Dragons 2.0

As of August 1st, 2013, Blood of Dragons has become what we refer to as “Blood of Dragons 2.0”, although it must be stressed that the name of the game will not be changed to reflect this.

What this entails is that certain characters and certain elements of the game’s history have been changed to be more in line with new and future canon information. This means that some information that was valid during “Blood of Dragons 1.0” has now become outdated legacy information.

In most cases, the game’s website and the game’s CDB have been updated to reflect the new information. However, we have not edited old Logs, except when edits have only entailed replacing a name with another. As such, all logs submitted prior to August 1st of 2013 display a message at the top, warning the reader that not all information in those logs may be valid for game’s current incarnation.

It is also quite possible that legacy information has survived in other places, though hopefully such issues will be corrected over time.

Information about specific changes will be collected in the article Blood of Dragons 1.0 and 2.0.

The MUSH and the “Worldbook”

With this update we hope to clarify how The World of Ice and Fire will affect Blood of Dragons MUSH.

To start with the basics, The World of Ice and Fire, or the “Worldbook” as it often ends up being called, is a project that we have been working on together with George R.R. Martin and which is now nearing its completion after a very busy autumn and an only slightly less busy spring. The book is a companion volume to A Song of Ice and Fire which gathers previously established information about the Seven Kingdoms (and beyond) as well as fills out many of the gaps in our current knowledge with new information. There is, for example, a lot of new information about the history of Westeros, not the least about the reigns of the various Targaryen kings.

When we started Blood of Dragons MUSH, we based out storyline and our family trees on the existing canon information for our chosen time period as well as on some unpublished information from GRRM. We always knew that this unpublished information was subject to change and as such we have always maintained that if conflicting information was ever published, we would try to alter matters on the game to fit the new canon. However, we have also always said that some information may not be possible to work in as it would disrupt the game too much.

As you can guess, The World of Ice and Fire does contain new canon information that conflicts with some of our established game history and, in particular, our family trees. We will be able to work in much of this information quite smoothly—and the game will be enrichened by it as it fleshes out areas we have been hesitant to speculate on—but it is not the case for all the new details. Some will require compromises between the new canon information and what we have established as true for the game. What we have said so far is that we will be able to avoid invalidating any current PCs (this was very much a key priority for us), though some may require tweaks to their backgrounds.

However, for the time being we are left in a slightly problematic situation when it comes to new PCs. We cannot make all the necessary changes to family trees and game history at the moment; not only are we swamped with work during the airing of Game of Thrones, but naturally we are also unable to release formation from The World of Ice and Fire prior to its publication.

What this means is that the situation may be somewhat confusing for prospective players at the moment. Characters that are listed as Open may, unfortunately, be turned down because they belong to a House that will undergo extensive changes. Given this, prospective players are encouraged to check with myself (Nymeria) or Balerion before requesting a character; we are then able to provide guidance on whether their chosen character will be affected or not.

We understand that it is an added inconvenience for prospective players, but we think that everyone who is interested in this particular time period will agree that it would be a shame to not be able to work in some of the fascinating new history when the book comes out.

Idle Timeout Added

For a long while, we’ve had no idle timeout set on the game. However, we’re not sure this presents the game in the best light—some people are put off by seeing players idle for days on the WHO when they check out a game—so we have shifted to a 12 hour idle timeout. We have no problem with someone hanging out on the game while they work or keep busy with other things—a MUSH isn’t just for roleplay, the social aspects are important too—but we don’t quite see the point of someone leaving their character connected when they’re sleeping, for example. Given this, we ask that players do not use automated de-idlers to keep themselves permanently connected. If your router boots you if you don’t keep up regular activity, send the IDLE command (it will not de-idle you but will keep your connection alive) and/or use the KEEPALIVE flag.

Playing a pre-CGed Character

We’ve had a lot of new players lately and a lot of activity, which is great to see. This has, however, highlighted one of the complexities with how Blood of Dragons is setup, with many characters having been in play before: staying true to what has been established about a character. If you take up a CGed character, you do have to play that character the way it was setup. You cannot ignore or rewrite parts of it that you do not like.

Your character’s past should, naturally, stay as it has been established. If something about a character’s past appears to contradict something else or seems odd in some other way, please speak to Staff. Sometimes oddities do slip by us at the approval stage and sometimes subsequent players make unapproved additions to History and Events.

Your character’s present situation should also pick up where it last left off. It is particularly important to keep in mind that a CGed character will already have been established as being present in either King’s Landing or Sunspear. If you want to work out that the character went away for a while and have now returned, you need to speak to Staff first and make sure it doesn’t conflict with anything.

Your character’s personality and relationship also need to stay consistent with what has been established. You are able to edit existing relationships and to add new ones, but this must never be used to rewrite a character’s connections to other characters without IC reasons that develop out of actual roleplay rather than just a player’s desire to change something. Do keep in mind that the game is on a 1:1 ratio. Characters can of course develop, both in terms of personality and relationships, but not overnight and not without the roleplay to motivate it.

If you are at all uncertain about any pre-established details about your character and/or whether a change to something is reasonable, please don’t hesitate to contact Staff.

CharGen Notes

We have had quite a lot of characters CGed lately and this has revealed certain trends in setup that we find troublesome. As such, there will be some changes in what needs to be Justified and also how we will be handling certain Assets and Flaws.

In terms of the Justify, we are changing what needs to be covered for Stats. Any stat below 35 or above 54 will have to be Justified. This allows characters to stay within the Average and the Above Average range without needing to explain how the unusual stat(s) have affected their character. We will be on particular lookout for female characters who go low on Mobility and Physique while boosting their Mental stats high and for male characters go low on their Mental stats and boost their Mobility and Physique. As an aside, we might note that should we ever get around to a full combat system, Mental stats will most definitely play a part.

In terms of Assets and Flaws, we are seeing overuse of the Fast Learner and Prodigy combination, especially from squires. We feel this is too heavily motivated by people wanting to play squires but then wanting to get out of it as fast as possible (before the age of 18). As such, we will be looking carefully at how well these things fit with the overall concept and the long-term viability of the character. We may also look at reducing the bonus from Fast Learner as it may have proven too unbalancing.

We are also seeing an overuse of Educated from female characters and we will be looking closely at how this is Justified; it starts becoming unthematic if we have to assume that every keep has a Maester willing to educate female students beyond what is common instead of them learning the things noblewomen ought to be learning.

For Flaws, we are going to give a heads-up that there are changes coming to give more Flaws system effects. For example, Phobias will be moved under Afflictions and will have to be publicly known so that it makes sense with a hit to Renown/Reputation.

Cap on SP

We have made a change to SP and added a cap on how many unused SP a player (this is across all alts) can have at any given time. Currently, that cap is 3. This may be tweaked up or down in the future if we feel it would be a benefit to how SP are used on the game.

For more information, see the helpfile on SP.

+cdb/all Added

We’ve added a +cdb/all <name> command which essentially is a shortcut for viewing all of the CDB information for a character in one go. As you can guess, this will be very spammy on a CGed character.

Video Intro to Blood of Dragons

While off on vacation, we decided to record a little video providing some basics about Blood of Dragons MUSH, the on-line, text-based roleplaying game we run on Westeros.org with GRRM’s approval. Now’s a pretty good time to give the game a try, as much of the court is off to the riverlands for a Tully wedding at Riverrun… and perhaps some trouble from the Brackens and Blackwoods. Here’s the video!