Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Exciting Conclusion to the Chaotic Jester Event

Several weeks in the making and after all the confused ramblings, the whining, and the shouts of pretend joy, the full picture has been revealed. In case you have not been following the tale I will copy everything said tonight here once again. But first some general notes:

Those who fully took part in the event received a number of rewards. The first went to those who died in the March 31st slaughter. They were able to reclaim a Jester Wand from the Netherworld, which is a special memento of this day that will never again be given out. Later that night, those who had the wand, and were willing to prove it, received an xp voucher and a renamed Jester doll. If you were hoping for something you could use in combat, sorry, but since the Jester won it didn't make sense for people to come out of it with anything of value. However, tonight that changed. The one who defeated the Marilith claimed an artifact (or gem, depending on what popped up out of the random spawn list) and the one who defeated the Chaotic Jester claimed a random mini-lq item from Janica's goditem spawns. Meanwhile, everyone who made it to the end was rewarded with two prize tokens and as a special something everyone who had the jester wand received an additional two prize tokens and the new Amulet of Valor. This was done by design to reward those who were brave enough to risk this live quest after facing a horrible defeat in the last one. Congratulations to all who came away with something.

To those still confused after reading all the fakeshout transcripts, the purpose behind this event was several fold. The primary reasons were that I wanted an explanation for the little April Fools thing I do in Forgotten Oak and I wanted to have a Live Quest where the boss won. Every year I warp Forgotten Oak into a blur of colors, upsidedownness, and general wackiness. However, this year I thought it would be fun if there was a plot reason behind it. So the Chaotic Jester (aka the ancient demon) was born. He escaped, waited for April Fools Eve to make his move as he absorbed special powers on this and the following day, and then the Live Quest ended with the players defeated so the Jester was able to make his "mark" by claiming Forgotten Oak as his own. Of course, after 24 hours I always take down the decoration and return Forgotten Oak to its previous state, so I planned for the victory to be short lived. Thus the second live quest took place. The Jester went to make his move, but since Arilou (the character) was involved, the Arch Wizards stepped in and gave players the opportunity to finish him off. All in all, everything went just as planned (server crashes aside). Throughout the years, players had always commented on how it was a shame the Live Quest monster did not win, so as a reward I came up with the first Live Quest where just that happened.

Secondary to that, I liked the idea of setting up a Live Quest in advance and revealing plot pieces bit by bit. In the past I've never liked doing plot based live quests as they seem like a waste of time. I write a story, a couple dozen players participate and even fewer pay attention to the details. Then it's over and is forgotten as the plot doesn't allow for you to keep redoing the live quest and to do so anyway would be stupid. Many wizards feel the same way which is why they make generic live quests that are rather brief and not extremely heavy on the plot as the 2002 Live Quests were. However, this blog gave me the opportunity to immortalize it in a way where I was able to get excited about doing one (plus the Jester Wand is akin to the Lirkka statue - People will always be applying to it and people will in turn ask to be told what the event was about). As such I'd like to do this again someday once I'm done with areas I need to get in-game first and when the server can better handle lots of players online. I have something in my head that expands over several months - At first the Live Quests begin as an exploratory to something sinister going on. Then, as more of what is going on is revealed to you, you get into bigger battles with Generals of a dark evil before eventually being able to encounter the Dark One yourself. Rather than just doing them randomly, they can be announced in advance and players can set aside time to take part in it. It generates more excitement that way and gives people something to look forward to and follow closely. But, if I were to do something like that it would be a long way into the future.

Something I'd also like to do more of is expand on the Arilou character. If you've been following my ramblings you know I want to introduce characters to Wyvern that you encounter time and time again. Arilou is already a developed character and I love creating things for him. For the most part he is limited to what "I" say in shouts and on this blog as him. However, he has always made himself known in the Elemental Dungeon and I've always been thinking up other ways to include him. One idea involved him creating a temple and trying to gain worshipers in an attempt to attain godhood, but Rhialto and Legolas tore his temple to the ground while Arilou held his head down off to the side, (I referenced the idea tonight) quite pained over the incident as he was sooo close. Meanwhile this Live Quest presented another way to include his character and in a rather exciting way. Once again he's out there trying to spread chaos, once again he's lurking in the shadows, and once again the arch wizards limit the scope of his scheming. He's really a great little character and I very much so enjoy getting into his head.

Anyway, as you already noticed I took a number of sreenshots for you people. As you can also see the maps are very chaotic, very nonsense oriented, and do not have the same kind of flow a normal map would. This is by design. I've done this when creating the Forgotten Oak April Fools map and wanted to continue it with the Live Quest. Basically, the idea is that if it looks "good" then it's bad. It might be cool and a little neat to see it for the first time, but you should come away with a feeling of; "what was that garbage?" when leaving. In contrast I also took a screenshot of the Great Hall of Minath Elion which has a more pleasing design. Here players were rewarded with the Amulet of Valor by the princess (in keeping with the vague Minath plot about the King not being around, I had the npcs claim the King wanted to thank them but did not have him make an appearance) and later players were able to drink, eat, and be merry for all of 5 minutes before they ran off.

Well that's about it. I'd just like to give a very special thanks one of our new wizards, Valkon, for putting together The Infernal Galop (aka the can-can) score which you could hear during the Live Quest. I had wanted to bring that music into the game for so long and Valkon made it possible. Now that has made its appearance in the Live Quest it will make its way into the general rotation of midis which wizards can use for their areas. Thanks again, Valkon.

Tonight's Transcript

-From within his dark lair the jester flexes his muscles as his absorption of power is almost complete. Soon... very soon, the conquest shall begin.

*an hour passes*

-An ominous cloud appears overhead.
-The now beefed up jester steps out into the daylight and smirks as he looks down on the world that will soon be his. It's not the prettiest sight to his warped mind but that shall all change when he replaces it all with a haze of colors and warps reality with his powerful illusionary magic.
-From the ground below, Arilou appears and excitedly pats his clawed hands together as he watches the culmination of a long thought out plan come to a head. The forces of chaos shall finally reign.
-Never would he have been able to achieve this on his own. While his power is great, it comes from the Arch Wizards and so he must dance a line in regard to interfering with mortals. Always being sure not to go too far in his attempts to bring chaos to the masses, lest he wake the bearded ones from their dreamy slumber deep below the surface.
-But this, this was the perfect plan, he mused, while watching the Chaotic Jester. The Jester was already a force in the universe, locked away in a dark realm in the early days of the world, long before the memory of any can remember. After learning about the creature, all he had to do was fight his way through the extra-planar guardians and break the chains that kept the Jester from achieving his true potential. All he had to do now was not be overt about his involvement and chaos would reign.
-While Arilou pats himself on the back, the Chaotic Jester goes to work summoning his dark forces. He reanimates his Undead Unicorns, resurrects the fallen soldiers that they might unwillingly serve him once more, and re-summons his Marilith General from the Abyss.
-From his base, in Forgotten Oak, the Jester levitates his forces around him and begins to move them forward, setting his sights on the main land. But suddenly the ground rumbles furiously and a series of lightning bolts soar through the sky overhead.
-An old, raspy voice can be heard bellowing orders to halt. The jester replies with a mocking laugh but suddenly he feels himself fall to ground in a sharp wave of pain.
-Arilou moves quickly to defend his interests but is flung aside like a rag doll by a telekinetic force. Then, from within the mist, steps forward four wizened old men, that have the appearance of barely being able to hold themselves together, yet at the same time, emit tremendous power.
-Arilou and the Jester squeal in unison and try to bring themselves to their feet but cannot.
-Together the four bearded old men chant and a wave of light falls over the Jester and his minions, which elicit screams of pain from all.
-The apparent leader of the bunch steps forward and bellows: Did you think we would not find out about your scheming? First you try to claim the title, Lord of Chaos for yourself and gain worshipers in an attempt to elevate yourself to godhood. Now you free this most ancient of demons that has a fancy for illusionary magic and disguising himself as a human fool.
-Arilou wrinkles his nose and in response utters: It should've worked.
-The apparent blue robed leader bellows: Typical. I applaud your effort. Still, you shouldn't have been the one to free it. I will not undo all that is, but the being has been weakened considerably and in doing so the magic that flows throw him and to his minions is lessened, making them weaker as well. If it wants to conquer the world, it will have to fight with its own sweat and blood. The old man turns to his companions and utters a single word, causing the ground to envelop the four of them.
-The Jester and Arilou share a look, but then Arilou quickly does his own vanishing act, leaving behind a puff of smoke.
-Alone and feeling severely weakened, the Chaotic Jester gathers his forces and retreats back to his hiding place in Forgotten Oak. He needs time to restructure his plan in light of recent events... now would be the perfect opportunity to lead an assault against him and his minions and be rid of this demon once and for all.
-Town Crier shouts: Hear ye! Hear ye! The Jester has once again been spotted on the island of Forgotten Oak.

*some time passes*

-The jester utters a gurgled scream as his body falls to the ground, quite lifeless.
-Those around for the event begin to cheer, but suddenly their faces turn to that of horror as his dark essence springs forth from the body and begins to expand.
-Just as they begin to cower, something grabs at the shadow and pulls it away into a dark cloud.
-Though his form was destroyed, the demon's essence is eternal. However, he will trouble none anymore for the remaining guardians have recaptured him and, with newly forged chains that beam with even more power than before, they lock the demon away. It cries out in defeat, wanting nothing less than to return to this fate of complete and utter hopelessness.
-Meanwhile, the jester's illusions begin to vanish and its so called "mark" fades away to reveal the Forgotten Oak of old.
-Town Crier shouts: Hear ye! Hear ye! The High King of Minath Elion wishes to give special thanks to the heroes who saved the land this night. The Grand Hall has been opened in Minath Elion and in attendance is the princess and the King's adviser to offer their thanks.
-Town Crier shouts: Those who have the Jester's Wand and took part in defeating him tonight can use to the portal in the Chaotic Jester's cave to come here and receive a very special reward. Everyone else is invited to come and partake in drink, food, and good company. The world offers you all, a debt of gratitude.

*a brief time later*

-From within the Great Hall you hear someone utter how this was all Teshuvah's fault. A flurry of: "Hear, Hears!" can be heard in response. Lurking within the shadows, Arilou smiles as his magic once again deflected blame to poor Teshuvah. He stands there for a moment, watching the crowd angrily discuss how this and everything else other the sun is Teshuvah's fault. Then he turns to leave as he has much work ahead of him. After all, lag is not going to create itself.
-The end. *Trumpets blare as the screen fades to black.*