Blood of Dragons

The 'A Song of Ice and Fire' MUSH

Announcements

State of Play in Sunspear Updated

Following the update of the Recent History and the State of Play in King’s Landing, we have now updated the State of Play in Sunspear. We hope to be able to keep these more regularly updated this time around. The Chronicle still remains well behind, unfortunately, and we will probably have to prioritise other projects over updating that one.

State of Play in King’s Landing Updated

The “state of play” article for King’s Landing has been updated to give players a sense of the current situation at court and in the city. An similar update for Sunspear will be coming soon. The article can be read here.

Recent History Updated

The Recent History articles, which in broad strokes summarises the history of the game (as well as VERY briefly touches upon the history preceding the opening of the game), has finally been brought up to date. You can find it under Articles, at http://www.westeros.org/BoD/Articles/Entry/Recent_History

The State of Play in King’s Landing and State of Play in Sunspear articles will soon be updated as well, picking up from where the Recent History leaves off to give a sense of the current status of the game’s two open areas.

Server Move

The MUSH has been moved from our oldest server that is due to be retired to one of the two that will be splitting the traffic over the next year and (hopefully) handling the show traffic as well once that comes around. The DNS has changed with this move, so if you were connecting via DNS you will need to update that to use 184.172.26.162 (or bod.westeros.org). The port remains the same.

If you notice anything odd in the wake of this move, do let us know.

Planning our 10th Anniversary

On October 1st this year, Blood of Dragons will have been open for 10 years since its beta opening in 2006. Of course, the game was founded much, much earlier than that and the full opening followed after about a year of beta, but we still consider this to be our anniversary date as it was the start of IC time on the game (Year 158, Month 1, Day 1).

We would like to mark the occasion in some fashion and we thought that we’d start off by saying that we’d love to see suggestions from our player base for what it might involve. We can’t promise that we’ll be able to use any of them, but we will certainly give them consideration. If you would like to contribute, use +mail in-game addressed to Nymeria and Balerion and with the subject “Anniversary Suggestions”.

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.