Interviews with various players
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Fireside Chats with Kat: an interview with Ronan
From the Avlissian Newsletter, issue #8
Kat: I am so glad we could meet. I've been dying to interview you.
Ronan: I'm sure there's a pun in there somewhere
Kat: Ha, I hope so. We are into our 15th year now. That is a really long time for a game. What brought you to Avlis?
Ronan: I'd owned Neverwinter Nights for a while, and had purchased it because I wanted to play with the toolset. I didn't know there were online worlds for it, as I wasn't using it that way. So much later, I realized I could go try somewhere that had RP all the time - I was used to pen and paper - and Avlis was a full roleplay server, so I tried there first
Ronan: And never left!
Kat: And the world rejoices at that fact. What year did you try it out?
Ronan: Late 2006.
Kat: Over a decade. Did you think you would stick around that long?
Ronan: I had no plans in particular.
Kat: I know you play Ronan Ceril. Was he your first or just one that stuck?
Ronan: Naw, I had lots of previous characters I played for quite a bit
Kat: Any you care to mention or are they only in the past tense these days? I have alt-itis so I am always curious how people stick to one.
Ronan: Most are retired for one reason or another. My first one was Lalant (Avenger)
Kat: Holy Warriors on Avlis are pretty great. I've not been able to fully jump into one but I bet Avengers are a lot of fun.
Ronan: It was okay. I liked the RP. The character was so terribly made that he died to everything
Ronan: Did a lot of foresty-stuff. Not so much with my current characters.
Kat: You also DM as Wilsash these days. When did you pick up the wand and was it a hard decision?
Ronan: Um.... when did I pick up the wand? It's a blur at this point. I started as CCC when I moved Ronan over here from another Copap server
Ronan: 2014, so sayeth the recordbook
Kat: CCC is an unsung hero of Avlis. You all make everything work. So on behalf of all of us that like things working, thanks for doing that.
Ronan: Oh, thanks...I love the idea that someone can just log in and go places, and see new things
Kat: And get lost in familiar places. When M'Chek's eastern coast changed, I was so lost.
Ronan: I still get lost in Elysia.
Kat: Oh I will never find my way in Elysia without a map. My brain cannot be retrained. Ha
Kat: Do you still do any planar travel or are you strictly an Avlissian these days?
Ronan: Strictly Avlissian
Kat: PC and DM question. What has been your favorite plot or event that you were involved in as a player?
Ronan: The Spiritkin stuff that Pleth did really shaped and changed my character. He was at a moment of transition when he came here and that was his first involvement that really made him have connections, losses and cares that mattered
Kat: What a great point to arrive.
Kat: I am sure I know the answer, but did that change how you played Ronan or how you envisioned his future?
Ronan: Yes, the plans for the future he made (and continues to make) have been shaped by the consequences, PCs and NPCs in that plot
Kat: I love that about Avlis, even the tiniest interaction can shape your character and even the world we all play in.
Ronan: The NPC Pride really changed him in a lot of ways
Kat: Did you expect to be mentioned in Dirigible's interview as falling in love with Gann? (Please see last newsletter.)
Kat: I have to admit, the thought of that just cracked me up. I wish I was present that day.
Ronan: Hahah. No. I'm honored to have had a significant impact on his character
Ronan: Let's say it was a very -short- interaction....
Kat: Love is fleeting.
Ronan: And I felt so very OOCly bad about what Ronan did, and was thankful Dirigible was happy with the results
Kat: I think so many of our 'oops' moments are actually fun for others.
Ronan: Thank goodness
Kat: I am going to secretly believe you stoned him in a jealous rage and stormed off.
Kat: Because it brings me joy.
Ronan: That would have been a kinder reaction, yes. Continue thinking that.
Kat: Ignorance truly is bliss.
Kat: You've been DMing for a few years now too. What was your favorite plot/storyline you were involved with or DM'd?
Ronan: I sent the PCs on a quest to find 'hair of pearl' to repair an instrument, and gave them a bundle of apples
Ronan: They had to feed the apples to a giant crab that was the pet of an NPC named Pearl, and Pearl demanded they tell her a story to get the hair.
Ronan: It was fun because the PCs had to tell the story!
Kat: I love it. I hope someone wrote about it so I can search later!
Ronan: It's here: viewtopic.php?p=1369093#p1369093
Kat: I will keep that tab open for some later enjoyment! The smaller plots and stories on Avlis have really been amazing. I think without them, a lot of players would have wandered off to something else.
Kat: We all love to change the world but also being a part of its day to day is great.
Ronan: I like running smaller things that won't shatter the world, I think the PCs are fighting really big fights a lot, so it's nice that they can do something where the consequences aren't as great, little fun things
Kat: Gives you a chance to slow down and get to know other characters, too. That's my favorite part of Avlis.
Ronan: Yes it does.
Kat: But speaking of ‘oops’ moments, what was your biggest "By the Nine, what have I done!" moment as a player? We've all had them.
Ronan: I figured you were going to ask that.
Ronan: The answer is saving Elysia.
Kat: Should have watched it burn?
Ronan: He should have, yes
Kat: Did you feel some outside pressure from other characters to do the right thing? *air quotes around right*
Ronan: From an NPC, yes. Ronan isn't the sort of person who would give into outside pressure to do the right thing; only for a handful of people
Kat: I get that, I play a character who sometimes wants to watch the world burn but tempers here and there.
Ronan: He's just self-motivated and prideful.
Kat: He's a delight. And as a DM? Any moments of wishing you could turn back the clock?
Ronan: Generally, since I'm running smaller plotlines I never mind how terrible things might get screwed up, since it's okay for the players to fail badly at the goal, or to change it all together, though
Kat: I like that approach. If players decide a different path than you thought, it makes for interesting endings.
Ronan: I did run a plot with some fire salamanders and some old Elysia intrigue that was meant to have additional followup, but never did, since the characters in it weren't talking or reporting, so I wish I could go back and nudge them to have done so
Kat: Who wouldn't want to talk about fire salamanders?
Kat: I hope they are reading this and start making inquiries.
Ronan: Maybe so!
Kat: PM Ronan, you lazy curs. (I kid) What are you most proud of, Avlis wise? It can be anything, IC or OOC.
Ronan: As a team member, I added in a couple of major dungeons that are now Avlis staples. I like that. Hel'byssia, the crypt down in southern M'chek
Kat: It is such a shame that I've never seen Hel'byssia.
Kat: No one wants to take me there and it is sad.
Ronan: You'll see it someday, long enough to be pelted with arrows until you look like a pincushion!
Kat: Ha, I like to send in others for that then I can make my entrance. The southern M'Chek one is great though.
Ronan: I really like adding some horror and storyline to my areas
Kat: I embarrassed myself in front of Damar on an alt when I went there, so it still stings.
Ronan: Ooh ouch
Ronan: I didn't know he'd been down there too!
Kat: He was fine, I died every turn.
Kat: e v e r y s i n g l e t u r n
Kat: As a mage, that is so embarrassing
Ronan: Nah, lower level mages are squishy
Kat: She was epic...
Kat: Avlis has a lot of great NPCs. Do you have a favorite?
Ronan: I am biased, the spiritkin Pride of course!
Kat: I would love to hear of your story with Pride some day, IC.
Kat: I missed a lot of the Spiritkin.
Ronan: Maybe when Ronan is less paranoid due to all that happened, he'll be more explanatory publically. As it stands he'll speak to people privately, but he's not an open person
Kat: I've noticed. I think that is why Grace likes him. Walls are a must.
Ronan: Heh! Yes, walls.
Kat: I think we may share that trait, but ours are electrified and surrounded by rabid crocodiles.
Ronan: Angry ghosts. Angry ghosts of crocodiles
Kat: Ha, even better.
Kat: Have you made an NPC as a DM that you just really enjoyed?
Kat: (and did they survive their first PC encounter)
Ronan: I have a merchant who is a real character, has that snake oil salesman charm
Ronan: He's alive and well, you can go visit him in Summerleaf
Kat: Fantastic. He should come to the faire and try to loosen a few purses.
Ronan: He's been to a trade faire, but it didn't work out too well. Tor picked him up. I don't think he'll be back.
Kat: Hah, Tor is great.
Kat: Advanced warning, this next question everyone hates me for asking...
Kat: Do you have a favorite PC?
Ronan: I like Gann, and Vastin if he ever shows up again. I think everyone tries to make their character either 'cool/beautiful/amazing/intimidating' or like, terribly gross and lacking social skills entirely....
Ronan: But both Gann and Vastin are sort of in that stage of being nerdy about magic, and not having huge self-esteem, which feels really rare
Kat: Yeah, I didn't play as much with Vastin but enjoyed when we did. And Gann is just great.
Kat: Let's switch back to Ronan. What is your inspiration for playing him? Do you pull from outside sources or has he just grown organically into himself?
Ronan: Initially I wanted to do really roguey with just a touch of magic. It didn't work out. Ronan had a mind of his own, and he was fascinated by magic and knowledge to the extreme.
Ronan: His influences have always been a small handful of people who have helped and guided him, who he emulates, so I guess my sources haven't been external to Avlis.
Ronan: Or not to CoPaP anyway
Kat: So character based influence. That's nice.
Kat: As the years roll by and we play these characters, we get to really delve into who they are. How are you most similiar to Ronan, and how are you totally different?
Ronan: To be honest I learned a lot from playing Ronan, about keeping things organized and planning events and being proactive in my normal life about getting in contact with people. The experiences I've had from teaching with him have helped -me- to teach real world content.
Ronan: I also love mysteries and problem solving, and so does Ronan, so there's that.
Kat: I like that he is teaching you which seems like something Ronan would completely do.
Ronan: I would like to think in terms of differences, that although we can both be stubborn I am a much happier person than him, and I am a much nicer person than him. I don't snap and get grumpy like he does. No cloak flicking or little huffs and walking away from me! Though maybe if I had so much power at my fingertips I'd be aloof and haughty too.
Kat: Hah, I might do the same if I could get away with it
Kat: Especially the wearing of cloaks and flicking of said cloak.
Ronan: My college friends went camping one year and brought back a picture of them all holding a stick over one shoulder with a serious, angry expression on their faces....
Ronan: It was pretty funny.
Kat: I trust that they have been handled since then.
Ronan: I was kinder to them than I was to Gann
Kat: Poor Gann, always alone
Kat: Switching gears slightly because it is one of my favorite things. You seem to be taking on the in game books these days. Is that by need or by sheer desire to do so?
Ronan: I like doing them, we also only have a handful of people who both CCC AND DM... I am in an ideal situation for book processing.
Kat: Do you ever get submissions and have to say no or are we (as players) pretty good about content as a whole?
Ronan: Overall the playerbase is pretty darn good at only submitting books that are good for publishing. Sometimes we have to help a little bit with lore fixes,
Kat: So I can't publish Grace Dane, Queen of Dragons?
Ronan: Well you could as long as it was fiction and wouldn't confuse players into thinking otherwise (It's OK to confuse characters!)
Ronan: I have a rather lengthy romance book series with some really terrible lore in it, actually.
Kat: I think I've purchased a few of those. I love fiction in game. We need more of it.
Ronan: Oh yes. There will be more.
Kat: I will look forward to it. I tried my hand at writing Raven-esque fiction but stopped and cannot find the folders that held it all. Someday I will publish them.
Kat: Since you play, DM and do CCC, what takes up most of your time of the three? Do you find you've achieved a good balance?
Ronan: CCC eats up my life if I let it. I had to ease off a year or so ago because I was coming home from work and building and it was not good for my mental health. I think I play a bit more these days
Kat: I imagine the desire to get things made and help really can overwhelm.
Ronan: I use spreadsheets to keep track of big projects
Kat: Spreadsheets are the best. I never thought I'd utter those words but they are.
Ronan: They really are.
Ronan: How else am I going to keep track of all the books and their reference IDs?
Kat: So many of them!
Kat: So you have found a bit of balance now?
Ronan: We've added over 140 since I started the book project.
Kat: Having refreshed, I love that I can read all those books for my collection AND get sweet XP.
Ronan: Yes, sort of. I also run a pen and paper game semi-weekly, and planning for that takes a bit too. I really love setting up scenarios that let the players make meaningful choices and giving them lore though! The
effort is so worth it.
Kat: D&D or other?
Ronan: Other. It's a really old game called Dragon Storm.
Kat: I will have to look that up, I don't think I've ever played it.
Kat: That partially answers my next question too. What keeps you busy outside of Avlis?
Ronan: I have a glorious job with many NDA's, so I won't give details,
Ronan: I go to Gen Con each year as a Captain and work/enjoy the convention,
Ronan: I take a few other trips each year and I do various arts. My current art stuff is all alcohol ink crafts.
Kat: Your art you have shared with Avlis is amazing. What is involved in alcohol ink craft?
Ronan: It's ink that's brightly colored and repels itself. Let me see if I can upload an image
Kat: that sounds...repellent
* Kat shows herself out
Ronan: Here we go.
Kat: That is beautiful!
Ronan: Thank you
Kat: Do you care if I use that link in the newsletter?
Ronan: Please go ahead
Kat: Have you always been an artist or did it come later? I assume you are one of those who just oozes talent from birth.
Ronan: I've always done some art, but I never really had the patience when I was little to make it good. Now that I'm older I have patience and the skills I've picked up from growing up around artists and formal training
Kat: Do you enjoy creating portraits for your (or others) characters?
Kat: Not signing you up for commissions, swear.
Ronan: Sometimes it helps me get a grasp on the character, it helps shape them and make them real for me
Kat: I love seeing people's interpretations of their characters. It is hard to see that in game.
Ronan: Absolutely. I love the portraits Twibel and Dirigible have done
Kat: She did one with Grace and it is my most favorite thing.
Ronan: Oh yes, I remember that!
Kat: I think we need a revival of more art in our art thread.
Ronan: That would be great fun.
Kat: Just a few more questions so I don't take your whole evening.
Kat: Is there a character type/class you've always wanted to play but haven't tried yet? If yes, why?
Ronan: I would like to make a dragon disciple someday.
Kat: I think they'd be awesome but every character I've made on a world that has them has just fizzled out.
Ronan: I'd have to think for a long time to come up with a character concept I would like. I'm not an impulse character maker.
Kat: Grace was an impulse character. She should have been trashed long ago. Ha.
Ronan: Ah, but you've kept with her all these years!
Kat: Do you plan all the way to 40 or just the character concept?
Ronan: Character concept, I am bad at builds so those won't stick. My characters need to stay dynamic
Ronan: The refresh system is a great relief that means if the concept changes, as it did with Ronan, I'm not stuck.
Kat: I think the refreshes have made that so easy.
Ronan: Oh yes. They are the best.
Kat: I just refreshed so I am all over it.
Ronan: Knowledge hungry characters need their divination spells, yo!
Kat: Yes they do!
Kat: Plus it suits him.
Kat: Back to the 15th Anniversary, what would you like for Avlis in the next 15 years?
Ronan: Sure thing.
Ronan: So, this is a bit of a story, when I first played here, I started with a friend up in the canopies (Le'Or server), made it down to wilderness lost, and immediately got attacked by spiders
* Kat curses spiders
Ronan: What I want to see most, and I've been able to start implementing this while I'm in CCC, is quests and help and guidance to help newer characters get started before we pull off the training wheels. Give them a chance to learn lore, gain equipment, and learn to fight and quest in safer settings that they can be guided to
Kat: I am all for that. I make a lot of new characters, often under random gamespy accounts and it is not as easy as some of us think!
Ronan: I want to expand that to everything! I want players to be able to start crafting; to learn where to find PRCs, to learn about the trust or spells or clergies, so help them with their character early
Kat: To allow them to actually be able to FOIG.
Ronan: And I think what has been done so far with some added lowbie quests in Summerleaf, and areas revamped there, and the addition of special lowbie loot stuff is a great first step. I just want more
Ronan: Oh yes. And to help them learn the lore IG, like has been done with the lecturers in Visimontium
Kat: (As an aside which may not make the interview) Arkaz has a great start area.
Kat: you can customize your look before leaving the start area, get a few roleplay like items (books, lanterns, etc)
Kat: I've been begging for that here.
Ronan: That was while I was a builder there, although it was a friend of mine who initially built that
Kat: It's hard to walk out of the start tent with a concept and be dressed like a farmer.
Kat: It makes a huge difference. I made an actress there and she had costumes!
Ronan: Summerleaf is the start of that here.
Kat: Despite my no new character ban, I will love that.
Kat: Everyone benefits from helping new players out.
Ronan: Yes. The IC interactions with newer characters are great too. Ronan has taken many apprentices, and I love the interactions.
Kat: We've had a great crop lately of new characters.
Kat: Okay, this question may have to be adapted depending on what you are doing. I love music and hearing what others are into. Random music shuffle, however you are able. Next five songs that pop up.
Ronan: OK... let's see
Ronan: Best I can do for you
Ronan: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Film Score
Ronan: How Far I'll Go (Moana)
Ronan: Without My Shadow (Heather Alexander) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEeM9QbYWkg
Ronan: Antebellum (Vienna Teng) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYb-cNOxe8w
Ronan: Deeper Well - The Wailin' Jennys - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzRbxQLBVFA
Kat: Very nice.
Kat: I will click all this evening, as long Moana does not have spoilers. I've not watched that yet.
Ronan: I haven't either! Funny thing that.
Kat: We have a task ahead then. Ha.
Ronan: Yes. It's playing in the local park soon in my area.
Kat: Thank you for spending the evening with me. I love getting to know the player behind characters I enjoy. I know the readers will too. Do you have anything you want to add before I let you get on with your night?
Ronan: Oh, um... keep telling stories, always.
Kat: Yes, that forum thread about posting. I hope it does not discourage but actually encourages more.
Kat: We love stories or we would not be here for 15 years.
Kat: I really appreciate your insight too, being one of the few active players/DMs/CCC folk around.
Kat: You see it all.
Ronan: I guess so!
Kat: I hope you enjoy the rest of your evening!
Ronan: Yes, thanks for your time
- Team Member; Retired with Honors
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Thanks so much for letting me do an interview, it was great getting to know you.