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Fireside Chats with Kat: an interview with Surfer69
From the Avlissian Newsletter, issue #7
Surfer69: So is this for the 15th anniversary doo-dad?
Kat: It is! We are doing two newsletters for July and I am doing three interviews for each one. Jam packed full of fun. (Ed. note: due to a mix-up, there will be only two interviews in each!)
Surfer69: Hot damn
Kat: You are in great company with Sunscream and Dirigible.
Surfer69: Haha, those two ...
Kat: I imagine the three of you in one issue is like the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition.
Kat: The last two interviews were about 90 minutes so if you have to break or anything, we can do it in parts.
Surfer69: Let me get an adult beverage and I'm good to go.
Kat: I will get a less adult beverage (for now)
Surfer69: All set.
Kat: Perfect then let's get started.
Surfer69: To answer your first question: I'm listening to DJ Shadow
Kat: Ha, you know that is coming later.
Surfer69: *gets his interviewee on*
Kat: As an aside, I still have a Pandora channel named for you from way back when we made channels.
Surfer69: Whoa, I'm honored
Kat: I love when it pops up. Modio.
Surfer69: Hah, niiice
Kat: Okay for reals now. As I am sure you know, we are fast approaching the 15th Anniversary of Avlis. Its Quinceañera if you will. What brought you to Avlis and when was that?
Surfer69: That's digging back in the vault. I honestly can't remember what brought me to Avlis. It must have been someone recommending it, but I can't imagine who would have. And if I remember right, it was in the summer of 2004. Maybe the spring.
Kat: I know you share my Alt-itis disorder so this question may take awhile. What characters do you play the most these days? And has anyone from 2004 survived to present?
Surfer69: Well, I've tried hard to separate my surfer69 presence from all my other ones, though I suspect that's a sekaret only in my mind for the most part.
Kat: We can stick to whoever you wish to divulge then. Secrets are fun.
Surfer69: But I can say that my oldest surviving PC is from 2005.
Surfer69: Let's do that.
Surfer69: I had a terrribad efl (yes, efl) back in the day. Cyan Kirruul
Kat: I remember him, he was efly.
Surfer69: He was going to be epic enemies with Zachariah Featherfingers. And Glocknall.
Kat: Hah, aim high.
Surfer69: But was a failure in every regard. And that, my dear, is the last efl I ever played. Or will
Kat: You play Angus Blacksail as well. When did he come to be on Avlis?
Surfer69: I think 2008? Help me with the dates - I based him on Caleb Darkstar from Spire.
(Spire refers to Silver Spires, another NWN world started by former Avlis players)
Surfer69: Was Spire pre-2008?
Surfer69: Or wait, I think 2010.
Kat: I think so, Caleb was fantastic! I miss our pirates we played there.
Kat: I think 2008.
Surfer69: Yes, my board account started in 2008
Surfer69: So then.
Surfer69: Yeah, we had the pirate thing ON
Kat: I admit, I tried to remake Belle here and failed.
Surfer69: She was great, but harder in this setting.
Surfer69: I still miss what Spire started out as.
Kat: It really was a very social server.
Surfer69: And really open-ended.
Surfer69: In terms of catering to players.
Kat: I think with a lot of the changes on Avlis now, the LFP, etc., we are getting closer to that which I really like.
Surfer69: I think so too
Kat: What was your biggest "Oh no, what have I done" moment as a player?
Surfer69: From which year?
Surfer69: Well, I have to say it was when I triggered the infamous City Gate Inn Massacre while playing another toon.
Surfer69: That went south FAST.
Kat: Oh that is totally the best Oops moment ever on Avlis, I think. Can you give a quick description for the readers who missed it?
Surfer69: I can. It involved some tension between my then-Angadarian and the Dominators Magnus Khan and Jared Evershield.
Surfer69: A few insults when back and forth, and I think one of the Dominators either insulted or drew on Nikki Tanner ...
Surfer69: And Ayren drew steel
Surfer69: And I think I started to cast a spell of some kind and before I knew it half the room was dead.
Surfer69: I think it was just True Seeing, but got a hostile auto attack?
Surfer69: It was like the OK Corral
Kat: I think Gracie started casting some low level bard spell due to the weird hostile auto-attack and I equipped some random weapon.
Surfer69: Yeah, that's right.
Surfer69: Now I remember.
Surfer69: So the details are fuzzy, but I think AUman has the log.
Surfer69: Which I'd love to see.
Kat: Me too. I seem to recall Dralix just wandered in by chance and got chopped to bits.
Surfer69: I think I can reveal that that alt of mine was Lucien Dark, since I don't play him anymore and he's on his own account.
Kat: That day was definitely top 10 Avlis crackups.
Surfer69: He had a love/love/hate relationship with Llyshra Dald that was just one of the best things I've ever been part of on Avlis.
Surfer69: In fact, I think kkns is the player I most miss.
Kat: I agree, kkns is pure gold.
Kat: Any time he pops onto IRC, I swoon.
Kat: That sort of ties into my next question. What are you most proud of, Avlis wise?
Surfer69: I've enjoyed being able to keep Angus fully committed to being someone a lot of people can channel their dislike toward, because I think Avlis needs conflict.
Surfer69: And for him, evoking that hate is a religious performance.
Surfer69: I think you can hate him but still like him.
Surfer69: If that makes sense.
Kat: Totally makes sense. Gracie adores him but at the same time knows he is trouble.
Surfer69: But I do get frustrated when people think I'm an asshole because I play an asshole.
Surfer69: It can take the fun out of it, and I'm here for fun, above all.
Kat: I know what kind of person you are and you are totally not like that. Where does the inspiration for him come from?
Surfer69: He's an amalgam of a few characters I've admired in literature through the lens of my real love of roleplaying.
Surfer69: A bit of Ahab, for example.
Surfer69: And I see him as the embodiment of Hedonism, in the purest sense of the word.
Kat: I can see that. What's his white whale that will one day drag him down?
Surfer69: There's some aspect of that we'd all like to own, I'm sure.
Surfer69: Some woman
Surfer69: Or the chance to be infamous forever, on a huge scale
Surfer69: He definitely doesn't believe there's life after life.
Surfer69: Or Grace, of course.
Kat: Of course, she is hoping to drag many to their demise.
Kat: If something came along that really and truly would end Angus, do you think you would let him be forever dead for it?
Surfer69: That's a good question. Aspirationally I want to say yes, but ...
Surfer69: I can't honestly say I would.
Kat: That's a hard one for me. I would ~want~ to but it would be hard.
Surfer69: He's my connection to Avlis.
Kat: One thing I've loved through the years on Avlis has been how immersive the stories and characters are. Do you have a favorite NPC that you've gotten to know through the years?
Surfer69: Tough question. Let's see ...
Surfer69: Let's come back to that one.
Kat: You got it. I will toss out a tougher one. Favorite PC?
Kat: (obviously not including Gracie because that's not fair)
Surfer69: Ever? Wow.
Kat: That is such a hard one to answer which means there are so many great characters on Avlis.
Kat: Good problem to have.
Surfer69: Probably a toss-up between Liam Dald, Jared Evershield, Kurt Villainova, and (interviewer notwithstanding) Grace Dane. I don't think I can choose one from that bunch.
Kat: That's like a dream date scenario there.
Surfer69: That's one of those "last dinner" scenarios
Surfer69: Of the newest generation ...
Surfer69: (Or newer)
Surfer69: Oh wait, in that first group go Kassha and Sammy
Surfer69: So that's the Sick Six
Kat: Newer generation doesn't make it easier, we've got a great newer bunch too.
Surfer69: Gann is great fun.
Surfer69: And a good sport.
Kat: He is, I was surprised to learn he started in 2013. Big impression in a short time.
Surfer69: That player has it figured out, all of his alts are solidly who they are.
Surfer69: I also really love Lilliana.
Kat: She is a top notch character.
Surfer69: And I think she wants to have Angus's baby.
Kat: I would like to babysit that kid.
Surfer69: He'd just be called D'ang
Kat: I hope this happens.
Kat: Speaking of babies...
Kat: You are a refresher, correct?
Surfer69: I am!
Surfer69: x days refreshed
Surfer69: And counting
Kat: Do you have any regrets in doing so?
Surfer69: None, not one. In fact, I hope to do it with Angus again.
Surfer69: I love going from pwny to puny
Surfer69: And working my way back up
Kat: I just refreshed and thus far, see no drawbacks.
Surfer69: It's a great way to really take hold of your character and shape them into who you wanted them to be.
Surfer69: Sometimes our toons become who they are through mistakes in builds
Kat: I think that really brings new life to characters that may have been getting less play time.
Surfer69: Or because we don't have an understanding of who they are until they're level 30
Surfer69: Yeah, you're right.
Kat: And sometimes they change so much that things don't quite fit. I mean next year will be a decade since you made Angus, he is likely going to be different.
Surfer69: If I start him over he'll be older, for sure
Surfer69: And less strong
Surfer69: Let's hope not
Surfer69: But maybe smarter
Kat: I wouldn't want to see a wiser Angus.
Surfer69: What fun would that be?
Surfer69: The best is having a strong will and no sense.
Kat: You are making me want to roll an alt.
Surfer69: Like, whatsoever
Surfer69: What was your BG's name?
Surfer69: Something else entirely?
Kat: That was the Thetonite. She was remorted for Lulu.
Surfer69: Oh, gotcha.
Kat: Azra is my BG.
Surfer69: Ah, right, Azra.
Kat: She is dusting my vault at the moment.
Surfer69: I know that feeling so well
Surfer69: I wish someone would come and purge my vaults.
Surfer69: Because I don't have the willpower to do it
Kat: No kidding, me either. Speaking of dusty vaults (great fake name), is there a class or character type that you've wanted to try but for some reason, have not done so?
Surfer69: I have mad mage envy
Surfer69: But I hate mages
Surfer69: And I can't imagine all the Trust RPz
Surfer69: But I hope to get over that
Surfer69: My favorite idea, though ...
Surfer69: Was that Pek, AUman, Moredo - Oh jeebus, I have to retroactively add Samwir to my favorite-ever list!
Surfer69: Was to start a herd of centaur paladins
Surfer69: That rode their summoned mounts
Kat: Haha, I think Pek tried to get me to make a centaur.
Kat: I declined. Deer people.
Surfer69: That boy is nuts
Surfer69: And brilliant
Kat: I wonder if they can ride mounts.
Surfer69: (They can't, but I'd cheez-emote it anyway)
Kat: *rides mighty steed*
Surfer69: With a halfling riding my paladin
Surfer69: Riding my pony
Kat: Paladin halfling riding a mount riding you riding a mount.
Kat: why not go big and add a brownie on the top.
Surfer69: Why not?!
Surfer69: New characters of course include Deider's guy
Kat: He's great, I've enjoyed his return.
Surfer69: I hope he joins the team again
Surfer69: He is a sick, sick man
Kat: Have you ever been tempted by DMing?
Surfer69: I've been tempted to write plots for others to DM, but no, not actually having a wand.
Surfer69: I don't have the patience for it.
Kat: I would like that role too. I like the creative aspect of it but I am lazy.
Surfer69: Lazy, but also I don't want to be in the DM chair when I get the "I can't figure out how to get out of this mine that I've been in for the last 5 hours, please help" message.
Surfer69: Because I would DM Kill
Kat: Hah, technically you got them out of the mine.
Surfer69: Good point
Surfer69: I'd just keep them perpetually bleeding then
Kat: Hah, not helping your "not an asshole" stance.
Surfer69: True, but when the only request or interaction a DM gets from a player is a request to do something for him/her, repeatedly, it doesn't take an asshole to say "take this"
Kat: True, I imagine that would be the hardest part. I've not DM'd in years but the little tedious things when you are trying to play...that will burn out a DM.
Surfer69: That's my real fear. Plus, I like to play and get player-sourced things going.
Kat: Plus, if you get into something, get yourself out of it (bugs notwithstanding).
Surfer69: I agree.
Surfer69: But you're right, a bug is a bug, and that's not your fault.
Kat: Luckily those are far and few between these days with our great bug squishing team.
Surfer69: I have to admit, though, that sometimes Avlis gets on my nerves.
Surfer69: I've taken three breaks of two-plus years since I started playing.
Surfer69: And I think it's something everyone should consider.
Kat: That is not that surprising. It's been a lot of years.
Kat: I've done it and come back each time.
Kat: Why do you think you keep coming back?
Surfer69: Me too, and when I come back it's much more betterer.
Surfer69: I think sometimes it's the players, the setting, the PW as a vehicle for self-expression. But ...
Surfer69: Sometimes it's just boredom, bad weather, or illness.
Kat: As long as it keeps bringing you back, I will take it. Except illness, none of that for you.
Surfer69: But I think it's like a bank account.
Surfer69: Once it gets full of Avlis you have to withdraw for a while.
Surfer69: And live off your winnings.
Surfer69: Then when the till is low enough, you start putting time back in.
Kat: What keeps you busy outside of Avlis?
Surfer69: Wow. Well ...
Surfer69: Filthadelphia is a great town.
Surfer69: There's so much to do here, especially in spring/summer/fall
Kat: Winter less so, I imagine.
Surfer69: Less so, yeah.
Surfer69: But I've been making art for the last three years.
Surfer69: And traveling more.
Surfer69: And food - jeebus, I love good food.
Surfer69: And drinks.
Kat: Travel, food and drinks are in my top 3 favorite things to do, too.
Surfer69: Seriously. Your pics are always envy-torches.
Kat: You know you are welcome here. I love showing off my state.
Surfer69: My state is the pits, but my town is top grade.
Kat: I've only passed through but one day I will tourist it up there.
Surfer69: Come while I'm here. I will show you all the places.
Kat: that may take a while!
Kat: You've played a variety of characters through the years. What is one thing that people would never guess about you?
Kat: Other than that you are not an asshole.
Surfer69: That I like sunsets and long walks on the bea... Wait, no I don't.
Surfer69: That's a tough question.
Kat: I think I answered that one with that I could fit my fist in my mouth so the bar is set real, real low.
Surfer69: In that case, it's that I wasn't born in the U.S.
Surfer69: Or anywhere where English is the official language.
Surfer69: Becuz I spell so weil
Kat: That is a good one, I am not sure I knew that.
Kat: Only a couple more for you, so I don't take all your time.
Surfer69: No worries, I have a little bourbon left.
Kat: As we roll into our 15th year, what would you like to see happen or change in the next 15 on Avlis?
Surfer69: I'd like to see level 40 mean something more than x number of experience points.
Surfer69: What I mean is ...
Kat: Like character wise?
Surfer69: What I mean is, I see on a typical server 7 level 40s and 3 level 39 or lower ...
Surfer69: And the level 40 people don't necessarily have anything to separate them from one another, except that they're a crafter, or have a shop, or something similar.
Surfer69: I'd like if a character had to do something notable to reach that zenith. Granted, it takes some DM intervention, but that's one idea.
Surfer69: But maybe that's just too subjective.
Surfer69: Or unfair to people who just want to level.
Kat: I get what you are saying.
Kat: I think there is a big difference between 40 levels and an epic character.
Surfer69: Yeah, exactly.
Surfer69: You get it.
Surfer69: I have to say, though, that some DMs get that too.
Surfer69: NPCs recognize you by reputation, and that's nice.
Kat: I think there will always be people who just want levels. On the other side though, there are players who have been working on being an epic character for each and every level and they deserve the reputation at
Kat: Pleth does a great job recognizing standout characters when she plays NPCs.
Surfer69: Yeah. In fact, in Player Suggestions I posted the notion that if someone goes 40 in one class or 30 in a PrC, they should get a special reward.
Surfer69: Yeah, she sure does.
Surfer69: Because I think the game mechanics penalize you for being pure to 40 or 30.
Surfer69: And doing it means you have a commitment.
Kat: One thing as players we can do is encourage through our own play, maybe the quiet unknown 40 just needs an in to start.
Surfer69: You're right, I'm all for that.
Surfer69: But I will say this
Surfer69: I think it's up to players to take the initiative, and sometimes we wait for others to bring a thing to us.
Surfer69: Me included, for sure.
Kat: yeah, I totally agree. I've sat around a few times thinking "if only someone would _____" before realizing maybe I should be that someone.
Surfer69: Completely, same.
Surfer69: I also hope there's more CvC, like there used to be.
Surfer69: Not to pwn someone, but to keep a healthy level of tension.
Surfer69: I've lost waaaay more than I've won, I'm sure.
Surfer69: But I still enjoy it.
Kat: I hear people say often that CvC has gone away, but at the same time, you can guide your actions to see that more.
Kat: Stand by Tor and say he looks like a girl.
Surfer69: Yeah, but only if people don't take it personally.
Surfer69: Well, Tor's a constant, which is great, but it's a way to get other people to think that conflict can be fun.
Surfer69: And not something to be avoided, unless it's IC for you.
Kat: That's one of those touchy subjects that will likely never fully be resolved. We all sign on for it the moment we leave the start tent though.
Surfer69: I do try to bear in mind who the player is, how long they've been on Avlis, etc.
Surfer69: I never pick fights with newbies, no matter if they're level 1 or 40.
Surfer69: (i.e., from another server)
Kat: Do you travel to other servers? I am not sure I've seen you leave Avlis.
Surfer69: No, I only went once, with Sand, to Hala.
Surfer69: That was before Angus.
Kat: It is harder for characters who are devout, as our Gods don't transfer and that would be strange from an IC standpoint.
Surfer69: I have my own opinions about cross-world play, and maybe they're out-dated.
Kat: I started traveling to other worlds a few years back and it really was eye opening, in a good way.
Kat: My opinions were likely out-dated too.
Surfer69: That I get. One thing I wish, though, is that off-world gold were marked as such.
Kat: More of it on Avlis or less of it?
Surfer69: Because when I see people log in twice a year and win things at auctions, it irritates me.
Surfer69: Less, for sure.
Surfer69: I hear that one world has a bank where your money just grows.
Surfer69: Doubles every year or something?
Surfer69: That seems a bit lulz.
Kat: I think it is less than that actually, will check before this goes live. (It is 5% per RL year)
Surfer69: Incidentally, I'm out for two weeks starting Monday, and not sure what my interwebs situation will be.
Surfer69: Going to an artist residency in Canadiana.
Surfer69: To make prints and tree studies.
Kat: You will miss a lot of the 15th year parties but that sounds way fun.
Surfer69: I hope to log in from a cafe or somewhere for some of it.
Kat: Western or Eastern side?
Surfer69: Eastern, northern tip of Lake Ontario.
Kat: Beautiful, up there.
Surfer69: And then I'm going to NC to see an old friend.
Surfer69: And Mass MoCA
Kat: You get around!
Surfer69: So lots of oot and aboot
Surfer69: And Charleston, because low-country cooking is where it's at.
Kat: Hope you don't stay gone forever.
Kat: Unless you thought of an NPC, I have one last question for you.
Surfer69: My NPC would be a mage.
Surfer69: Probably an Enchanter or Conjurer.
Surfer69: But that's on the way back burner.
Kat: You are so going to make a mage.
Kat: May I recommend the Gold Order?
Surfer69: Are you sure I haven't already?
Kat: I am never sure.
Kat: You have as many alts as I do.
Surfer69: I do, but
Surfer69: I have more epic ones than anyone, I bet.
Kat: True. I only have (had) one 40th level. And a handful over 21.
Surfer69: I've remorted one level 40 and have three others.
Kat: Nice. Speaking of remort. Did you have any regrets on that? I think it is a great system.
Surfer69: None whatsoever. It's a terrific idea.
Surfer69: And I like that you have until level 10 to decide if you want to apply the remort/heir to your new PC.
Kat: Both refresh and remorts breathe new life which is great.
Surfer69: That's a huge difference-maker that takes the pressure off.
Kat: I've had one that didn't stick but still don't regret it.
Surfer69: I think if your old PC doesn't interest you, you have nothing to lose.
Kat: Exactly. Don't remort a PC you love.
Kat: Okay, one more. Random music shuffle, next five songs. Go.
Surfer69: From my iPod?
Surfer69: Or my miind?
Kat: is there a difference?
Surfer69: Mind would be, hah
Surfer69: Elliott Smith, Between the Bars
Kat: (was literally listening to that)
Surfer69: Radiohead, Exit Music for a Film
Surfer69: Sound the Alarm by Thievery Corporation
Surfer69: Kill a Man by Rage
Surfer69: And Spanish Bombs by the Clash
Kat: Nice selection.
Kat: I was listening to Between the Bars when you said it and I lol'd
Surfer69: That's why we're sympatico
* Kat cheers
Kat: and that's why Modio still exists on my Pandora
Surfer69: When I'm playing Angus in kill mode, the song that goes through my head is ...
Surfer69: *looks for the youtube link*
Kat: Heck yeah!
Surfer69: Well that was fun.
Kat: Yay! As an aside, my favorite part...
Kat: everyone said "Surfer won't do an interview"
Kat: and I walk in and said "hold my beer"
Surfer69: Only for you.
- QA Tester
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Thanks so much for sitting down with me!
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Return to us, kkns!
I'm surrounded by fools!
How can you say no to Paladeers??
Amazing saving throws - Herd immunity!
How can you say no to Paladeers??
Amazing saving throws - Herd immunity!
Ice-T on D&D:
"Dungeons & Dragons is some of the most crazy, deep, deep, deep nerd shit ever invented. Every word you're saying is made up. Motherfuckers talk like Yoda.".
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ALL HAIL, SURFER69, THE DUDE OF DUDES!
Also, you rock, katster!
ALL HAIL, SURFER69, THE DUDE OF DUDES!
Also, you rock, katster!
WrathOG777: This is a roleplaying game. There is no such thing as winning or losing. Only playing.
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A great interview, and every(fantasy) world needs great evil villain types. And Ang is a great bad guy that is for sure. So keep up the good work Surfer69.....Dude.
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[quote]But was a failure in every regard. And that, my dear, is the last efl I ever played. Or will/quote]
Haha, good to hear
Stick 'em with the pointy end!
Haha, good to hear
Stick 'em with the pointy end!