Shakespeare, Pffft. How Many Oscars Has HE Ever Won?

So for those of you just joining us, the highest character I’ve ever managed to level up in Dark Age of Camelot is Bottom, my 36th level Theurge. Yes, that’s pathetic, but we all know how bad I am at things, so lemme alone. Besides, we’re not talking about my suckitude in this story. THIS is a story about ignorance.

See, Bottom lives on the server known as Percival. Percival, or Perc as us cool people like to refer to it as, is a “roleplaying server.” What does that mean? A number of things, but for the purpose of our little fun today, we’ll just quote what the Camelot Herald says about the Naming Policy on Roleplaying Servers:

Character and Guild Naming Policy

  1. You may not use any names that violate the General Rules and Guidelines. This includes the use of names that are hateful, defamatory, racist, ethnically offensive, obscene, vulgar, sexually explicit, or any other language that is offensive in nature.
  2. You may not use names that are harassing or defamatory to other players or employees of Mythic Entertainment.
  3. You may not use names of any employee of Mythic Entertainment.
  4. You may not use names of copyrighted or trademarked characters, materials or products.
  5. You may not use names from popular culture or media.
  6. You may not use names that are religiously or historically significant.
  7. You may not use proper names of areas within Dark Age of Camelot for character names. Guild names MAY use the proper names of specific areas, to help promote roleplaying and realm pride.
  8. You may not use proper names of NPCs within Dark Age of Camelot.
  9. You may not use names containing titles or ranks within them.
  10. You may not use names that refer to drugs or that are drug related.
  11. You may not use names that contain a phrase, sentence or any fragment of a sentence.
  12. You may not use names where a combination of the first and last names violate any of the above rules.
  13. You may not use misspellings or alternative spellings of names that violate any of the above rules.

and this:

Naming Policy for Roleplaying Servers.

  • All names must fit into the medieval setting.
  • All names must fit into the realm that you are playing in.
  • All policy enforcement for names on the roleplaying servers will be done aggressively by members of the DAoC CS staff, of Server Lead and higher authority. It is in Mythic’s sole judgment whether a name breaks the policy, and we will rename characters accordingly. If you see someone with a name that obviously breaks the roleplaying ruleset, please report them.
    • So…with this in mind, when it came time to pick a name for my character, I thought long and hard about it (yeah, in important matters, it’s possible for me to do that). I had just finished a local community theater production of Midsummer, and I really, really loved it. Out of all of the Bard’s works, this play has always been one of my favorites. In our production, the role of Bottom, an incredibly arrogant, obtuse but loveable weaver was played by a friend of mine (to get an idea of the sort of person Bottom is, read this excerpt – or just take my word for it, okay?). My buddy played the role unbelievably well, and was absolutely the star of the show.

      Arrogant, foolish, and turned into an ass? With the way that I behave, it seemed like that was a perfect fit for my character.

      Of course it flashed through my mind that juvenile people would instantly assume I was talking about my tush, but I thought – hey, this is the roleplaying server! Everyone here should at least have a passing knowledge of who I’m referring to with this name! Why, even Yellow Rat Bastard immediately got the reference – and if HE could get it, I had great faith that anyone could get it. Anything, for that matter, since on his best days YRB has roughly the same recollection power as your average rock.

      I have been playing that character confidently since three months after release. Yeah, I only made 36th, I suck, I know. Stop getting distracted!

      So it struck me with a little amazement and annoyance when I received an email two weeks ago telling me my name had been appealed and I had to submit five alternates within the next 24 hours. Well, of course I was miffed that some little dumb-ass middle-school dropout whose idea of medieval was learnt from “A Knight’s Tale.” But I quickly shook that annoyance – hey, Mythic is full of tons of well-read froods, I’m sure that it’s simply a mistake. They’ve GOT to recognize the reference, and once I explain it to them, everything will be cool! I compose a smarmy little email, where I confide to the Mythic staff that OBVIOUSLY the person who appealed me had never heard of the Bard’s most enjoyable comedy, confident that once I explained where the name came from and that the surname Bottom, in fact, came from Botham, both of which names existed in the medieval era (Anyone remember Bottom the Chemist? What – like I’m the only guy that read up on medieval alchemy here?). I composed my appeal with tongue-in-cheek humor, confident that once matters were explained, everything would be all right, and order and logic would once again be returned to the universe.

      Instead, I received this reply:

      “On our Roleplaying Servers, we require players to use names which fit within the “spirit of the game.” This means that we require players to use proper birth-names, rather than nicknames, descriptions, references to personal history or past deeds, etc. As such, the name BOTTOM was inappropriate.”

      Urmm… apparently, somewhere in my letter I claimed “Bottom” was a nickname…no, wait, no I didn’t… Oh, then I must’ve said it was a description…hrm. Nope, didn’t say that, either. A reference to personal history or past deed? I shudder to think how one would get that nickname for a past deed…Strike three, you’re out! Apparently what happened when I appealed is that the person reading my appeal suffered a massive brain injury to cause them to spew forth a bunch of crap that had no bearing whatsoever on my name, before they were led off to bed and a nice happy pill from the men in white suits.

      I understand how hard it is to admit when you’re wrong. Especially, as I’m forced to conjecture here, when someone else in your company does something amazingly stupid and then you’re left to explain said stupidity. I know how frustrating it can be. But, see, the thing that really marks you as a class act, is when you can admit that yes, we completely screwed up and we’re sorry and what that person said made no sense whatsoever and we’ll fix it right away!

      Mythic, I wubs you. Immensely. I think you all work very, very hard for a lot of ungrateful, nasty people. I’m deeply, deeply indebted to you for the amount of fun I’ve had RvR’ing. It has provided me with some of the funnest gameplay since I first started AC. This rant isn’t directed at all of you. This little bitch-fest is directed at the one or two people involved in the name appeals process who lack any depth of thought beyond “What names sound like nicknames for people’s butts”.

      Look, I’m not one to point any fingers here, but when one of the most famous guilds on the server is “A Drunken Holy Guy,” you have to realize what a grade-A  nincompoop you sound like when you try and tell me that a name from a play by Shakespeare does not fit into the “spirit of the game.” I don’t mean to diss the Holy Guys, mind you – every single one of them I’ve met are incredibly cool. But come on – how can you seriously enforce ANY naming policy when you allow that? And don’t get me started on the “Combat Machines” guild.

      I was going to start a guild called the “Rude Mechanicals,” but I figured that would just blow some gaskets on people right away.

      Everyone would probably assume we made siege machines that gave you the finger or something.

      WHY Did I Chose This Class Again?

      The problem with having an undead pet is that every other undead in the area instantly assumes you’re their buddy. I can’t walk by a cemetary without getting a bazillion tells and group invites.

      Which leaves me wondering – who the heck is letting all these goombahs out of their rightful graves? There are somewhere around 20 BILLION undead roaming around Albion. I hear that Hibernia is just as bad. And Midgard? Hey man, they don’t call that place “Corpsicle of the North” for nothing!

      Now, call me crazy,

      Death tells you, “You’re crazy!”
      You tell Death, “Quiet, slut!”


      As I was saying, I might be crazy here, but if my countryside were being plagued with more living dead than a George A. Romero set, I just might start thinking of precautions – you know, like LOCKING THE FRIGGIN’ CRYPT DOOR! Or hey, here’s an idea – CREMATION!

      Honestly, people, do we have the most evil Funeral Directors in existance or what? These guys are burying bodies probably about two inches underground, and then pausing in their grave-filling-in duties to read favorite passages from the Necronomicon or something.

      It’s one thing if undead are summoned. See, that’s the way it’s supposed to be. You need someone to charge into a crowd of goblins, or chase down a pesky kobold, or do something REALLY useful, like open a pickle jar. So wham, bam, Clatu Verata Nictu, there’s a handy lil’ helper. Then when you’re DONE with them, you release their little ol’ tormented soul, and AWAY THEY GO!

      But is that how things work now? OOOoooooooooooh, no! Let me tell you – walking past the cemetary as a necromancer is like walking by a construction site as Kylie Minogue in a push-up bra and a thong. Everyone and their skeleton suddenly thinks you owe them a buff or two, and heaven forbid you have something IMPORTANT to do, because then you’re just a ‘hater,’ and wait till the neighbors hear about THIS! And don’t try and tell them that you only buffed your servant because he’s your PET, or you’ll have a dozen zombies suddenly clamoring to prove to you how useful they can be around the house – and until you’ve seen a zombie play fetch with his own entrails, you don’t know what losing your appetite really is…

      So look – we’ve got vaults. We’ve got them ALL OVER the friggin’ place! Here’s an idear: tired of deceased uncle Joe constantly coming back to lay waste to your town? LOCK THE DAMN CRYPT DOOR NEXT TIME! That’s why there’s big giant boulders! Roll a few of those suckers in front of the door, and I promise you he won’t be tra-la-la’ing back into town every five minutes, and you won’t have to keep sending dumbass adventurers down into the crypt to retrieve your grandmother’s brooch! Yeeesh! PLUS, the big boulders will keep idiot spelunkers from disturbing the rest of the zombies – everyone wins!

      Talk About Dead-End Jobs…

      I am a FIRM believer in Unions. I think Unions helped make life great for everyone. Nowadays they’ve got they’re share of fatcat, worthless, corrupt and idiotic goombahs, too, but hey – if our government can have them, why can’t everyone? It’s the ultimate in Equal Opportunity! Stupidity in every home!

      Now. Having said that…where the hell was the Undead Union when they were negotiating labor contracts?

      Look, I’m all for forced labor when you’re a powerful wizard like moi. After all, I’m level TEN with my mighty Necromancer! But man, if you thought being something like a scout or paladin sucked, imagine the life – well, unlife – of these poor goombahs! You think that getting beat almost to death in order to finish that quest is a pain? Imagine having to do the same thing for someone who has no risk of getting hurt! And, to make matters worse, the whole time you’re fighting, this guys’ standing next to you screaming out orders! It’d be like playing Street Fighter II with your little brother watching!

      Okay, Team Leaders, I understand that you guys have a terribly, terribly difficult job. I got it. But do you think you could have made a little bit of a stink (no pun intended) about the way you’re being treated? I mean, where the heck was the Undead Team Leader when they introduced the concept of Necromancers?

      “Quick, Magroth’s gone to the loo! Let’s assign the undead as servants to Necromancers!”
      “Hey, yeah, great idea! Oh – and better yet, make it so the Necromancer CANNOT be attacked when he has an undead guy around!”
      “I like the cut of your jib, mister! Keep those ideas coming!”
      “Wait wait wait – what if the undead not only doesn’t get any xp, but they can’t pick up any LOOT, either?”
      “My god, I’m getting goose pimples!”

      Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing I like more than ordering my little peon into a horde of monsters and watching them kick the crap outta him for ten minutes or so before deciding to heal him. I find it to be very therapeutic. And then making him do the Happy Dance before I give him any buffs? Sheer joy.

      But I have to admit – I feel a tiny bit guilty every time I send him marching off to his death. Er…re-death. I know, if I felt so guilty I shouldn’t be giggling every time I do it, but c’mon – you’ve got to admit it’s kinda funny the way they sigh and roll their eyes every time you send them charging to their doom. It’s like having your very own Marvin the Neurotic robot, ya know? Of course, with my luck, one of them’s going to read this and next time I try and send my little peon into battle, he’s going to get some smart idea of his own…

      I’m Too Poor To Pay Attention!

      We’re going to take the Center Keep.

      The Center Keep, for those of you uninitiated, is the sole goal in the Battlegrounds in Dark Age of Camelot. Sure, there’s gank squads and bridge battles, and even some Portal Keep camping, I ashamedly admit. But when all is said and done, it’s the Center Keep that lies in the middle of the Battlegrounds that you want to get. Because that’s where the vats of Ben & Jerry’s are. Okay, that’s a lie. The truth is, it’s there, so for no other reason, everyone wants it.

      For the most part, it’s a highly contested location. At least on Perc. The other servers might stay stagnant for months, what do I know. I just know that on our server, that thing bounces back and forth between the foul stinky Mids and us noble and dead secksay Albs. The Hibs only real purpose is to show up when one of us is laying seige to the other and stab us in our backs and make us cry. To my knowledge, they’ve never held that thing.

      But anywhoots, last night I signed out in the middle of the Center Keep, which Albion rightly controlled. We had to control it, see – God sent one of our leaders a cloud that looked JUST LIKE a hippopotaumus, signifying by divine right that WE were to control it. The Mids, however, are evil godless heathens. Well, no, that’s not right – they’ve actually got about a billion gods. But they’re not OUR God, therefore we’re completely justified in annexing their land, killing their people and installing a puppet government. Whoops – no, wait, sorry, that’s America, my mistake! (Look kids, political humor!)

      Anyway, I wake up today and realize either Albion women have gotten much, much uglier, or I was surrounded by Trolls. After a few smacks with a hammer or two, I learned that it was indeed trolls.

      So I go back to the bindstone, then to the portal keep, and here I am on the Battlegrounds again. There’s quite a sizeable force here, too. Not nearly as many enough to take all those Mids, but if I told them that, then they wouldn’t try, and where’s the fun in that? I couldn’t be blamed for anyone’s death if that happened.

      Death says, “Oh yes you could.”

      Yeah, okay, so maybe I should warn them. I tried to, even as they recruited me into a group. Everyone’s happy to have me and my handy PBT along, never mind the fact that I warn them repeatedly we’re all going to die. I even vomited some pea soup and spun my head around, but STILL they thought I was just kidding. Sigh. I dunno how the Linda Blair ever convinced people to listen to her. Maybe if I’d made the keep walls bleed or something.

      So there we go, charging off. We get to the keep and there’s already a pretty good-sized group there. But even being generous, I think the Mids had us by at least a half-dozen. But hey – what’s the Battlegrounds without a little bit of Death mixed in for fun, right?

      Death says, “Right!”

      So we set up camp. My job was, as always, to keep up PBT (pulsing blade turn – a ‘skin’ spell that absorbs attacks and renews every few seconds, for the n00bs) and to keep damage adds and speed buffs going. A job that’s almost exciting as listening to Yellow Rat Bastard complain about… well, about anything, really. Mostly that’s what I do out there. I fire up PBT, slap my buffs around, and then sit down and chat back and forth with YRB about how much we hate everything.

      Today didn’t seem to be any different. At least at first. But THEN I noticed that the Mids were not only failing to follow directions, they were being downright UNCOOPERATIVE! Instead of sitting inside the keep waiting for us to break in and kill them all, they came OUTSIDE the keep and were killing US! When did I notice this? Oh, about two minutes after I was dead.

      Yeah, I’m helpful. See, I had switched off the main channel ’cause there was too much chatting going on, and it was really interfering with YRB’s and my deep, philosophical discussions:

      Yates sends, “So should I smoke the cigarette first, and THEN get a cup of coffee, or get the coffee first?” to you.
      You send, “Hrmm…how about START the coffee brewing, and while it’s brewing, then smoke your cigarette?” to Yates.
      Yates sends, “Phew…that’s a pretty daring plan.” to you.
      You send, “Well, I’m a daring…whoops, wait a sec, some troll wants my attention. Whoops. He killed me. Why didn’t anyone tell me the Mids came out of the keep?” to Yates.

      I flip back to the main channel and there’s about fifty lines of people screaming at me to look out, run for it, etc, etc.  Whoops indeed. Time to whip out my favorite excuse!

      You say, “Can’t….type…lagging…so…much…can…barely…move…”
      Smeese says, “Um, just because you’re lagging doesn’t mean you type slow. We know you weren’t paying attention.”
      You say, “That’s a lie! Why would you say such a thing?!!?”
      Smeese says, “Because of the twelve minutes those trolls spent running circles around you, laughing and pointing before they attacked you! You didn’t even stand up!”
      You say, “Ah – see, that was my trap! And they FELL FOR IT!”
      Smeese says, “…”

      Yeah, I’m brilliant at excuses. If any of you school kids out there need one of those notes from your parents, you just let me know. I write GREAT sick notes – and remember, it’s L-E-P-R-O-S-Y. If you spell it wrong, sometimes the teachers catch on…

      How To Tell If You’re In Trouble

      I want Realm Points.

      For those of you not familiar with the concept, Realm Points (RPs) are the reward for killing someone of the opposing realm. When you kill someone of the opposing realm, providing they haven’t been killed lately, you get a number of realm points based on the other person’s total of realm points. Or something. I dunno. You can then use those RPs to buy Realm Abilities. Delicious Realm Abilities! Yum!

      All I know is that YRB (aka Yellow Rat Bastard, aka Yates Bast) is like the 2nd ranked Wizzie on Perc. He so much as breaks wind and he gets like a billion RPs. So of course I want to group with him. The problem with that is two-fold: 1) he’s 50th lvl to my 35th, so while he thinks nothing of charging through those little goblin bastiches, they will all immediately turn and drop-kick me. And 2) he’s a Bastard.

      Oh, it seems like these are things that could be easily overlooked. But you have to remember who you’re dealing with here – I’m not someone who partakes in such silly maneuvers like “going around” and “sprinting”. My usual reaction to a mob is to stare at it as I run past and wonder if it will kill me.

      YRB, being said bastard, will charge blindly by things. Case in point: we’re running around the frontiers when he decides he wants to run over to his guild’s keep. I tag along, because what the heck else am I going to do out there? But sure enough, he charges straight through a large group of trees that are all purple to me.

      Did you ever see Poltergeist? Remember that part where the tree busted in the window and ate the kid? Yeah, that’s pretty much what happened. Except MY parents didn’t run in to rescue me. Hrmph. It wouldn’t be so bad, but I’m running, screaming bloody murder, getting the crap kicked out of me and Yates replies with, “Oh.”

      Now we all know he is a bastard. So when he does something completely evil – for example, leading me into a gang of about a dozen purple trees – it is to be expected. That’s if he does it on PURPOSE. But he does this stuff without thinking about it! It’s like I don’t even register to him! Oooooh, I hate that. And then he just assumes whatever HE can run blindly through, I should be able to do, too!

      A prime example of this: one night, I’m tagging along, trying my best to help out earning RPs defend the realm, when we get word reaches us that one of the keeps is under attack by a large Mid force. So we decide we’re going to go help them. There’s YRB in all his 50th lvl glory, four of his Armsmen friends lvl 49-50, and me. In my lvl 35 fecklessness.

      I can make the party run fast. Wheeeee!

      Yup, that’s about the best I can do.  But that’s at least something, so I’m glad to chug along and try and help out. But now we’re charging into a keep that’s surrounded by a Mid army.

      For anyone that missed that, there’s a MID ARMY. SURROUNDING THE KEEP WE ARE RUNNING TO. Everyone got that? Any questions? We’re not running towards some secret door, we’re not going to sneak around and scout it out. WE’RE GOING TO RUN INTO THE MIDDLE OF A MID ARMY. The M-I-D-D-L-E of the A-R-M-Y. Hello?

      Apparently, I’m the only one that doesn’t like this idea. They’re all discussing what side of the keep to approach from. I’m like, “Uh….how about from another keep. Like ONE WITHOUT AN ARMY SURROUNDING IT!”

      But nobody listens to me. So we come charging up the hill, and sure enough, there’s a bazillion Mids playing grab-ass outside the gates. Yates runs up, tags the gatekeeper, gets hit with maybe one or two spells, an arrow or three and a couple pot shots. And he’s in. Ditto everyone else in the party.

      And then it’s MY turn. I run TOWARDS the gate, but then I start lagging so bad, instead of running to the gate, I try and run up the back of a troll. He promptly slaps my ass and steps on my throat.

      Great mission. This was a brilliant plan.

      “Well, Kwip, if you’re so crabby about it, why do you keep following YRB around?”

      Well. The RPs, of course. I mean, even dying, I’m getting bunches of points along the way… Soon, Mr. Siege Bolt, soon you shall be MINE!

      How To Be Your Best Friend

      Yes, I thought all my worries were over.

      See, now that Anson is spending more time in AC1, he’s been letting me use his DAoC account. You know what this means? Yeah, I thought ‘buff-bot’ at first, too.

      But now, after a harrowing, gut-wrenching experience, I see I am a wiser man. I now know that if I attempt to trust myself to do something, I will invariably destroy myself. I think it all stems from some really deep-seated self-hatred. Ever since I realized I will NEVER be able to be like Mike, well, my life’s been in shambles. And this self-hatred now has an outlet.

      For those of you that don’t know, the way buff-bots work is this: usually they’re a class that has some sort of buffing ability – in this instance, I chose a cleric, as he’d be able to keep me healed in a fight. As he’s my level, we would then split the xp, and everyone would go home, happy and levelled. Since DAoC allows you to have a number of ‘hot-keys’ that you can map to such useful commands as ‘follow’ and ‘heal’ and the like, it seems like simplicity itself to run a bot. And if there’s anyone simpler than me, I’ve yet to meet them.

      See, that’s what I thought. In reality, though, this was just another way for my subconcious to express it’s extreme hatred for me. Here’s the scene: I have my newb infiltrator logged in on my machine. On Kwipette’s machine, right next to mine, I have my cleric (a newb of comparable level) logged in. All that is required to do on this machine is for me to reach over – I don’t even have to look! – and hit the ‘1’ key. That’s it. No complicated moves, no tricky shifting focus from one computer to the other. Just reach over, hit the 1, and my infiltrator can continue ninja-ing, secure in his health boost.

      That’s the theory. In actual practice, it goes something like this:

      Some people think I exaggerate, but I assure you: if -I- go down, then by hell and highwater, my subconcious goes down with me! None of this ‘let him live so he can rez me’ crap! That’s for the weak!

      Somehow, my subconcious manages to re-map the location in my brain of where Kwipette’s ‘1’ button is on her keyboard to where the button for sit down is, the button for quit, the button for run around like an idiot screaming at the top of your lungs… It’s either that, or there is a very small, very precise wormhole right over the ‘1’ key on her keyboard. And apparently it only appears when I’m having my ass rocked.


      Of course, my subconcious hatred of myself WOULD explain all those dreams I’ve been having lately where I go to eat a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and the only thing in the freezer is a pint of non-fat yogurt. VANILLA yogurt.


      Lazy Mothers

      Well, I got bored playing Bottom. No, that’s not entirely true – he’s still fun and all, but Yellow Rat Bastard and I are trying to figure out what we want to play when Mordred opens up. I mean, it’s probably not gonna make much of a difference – I’ll still die in like one hit, the only difference will be what I’m wearing when I die, I suspect.

      But to this end, YRB and I moved over to Merlin and started out in the Midgard realm. This was a pretty new thing for us; normally we play humans, because – well, that’s all there is in Albion. But now we were presented with a veritable CORNUCOPIA of choices! A PLETHORA, even!

      And of course, we both settled on dwarves. I suppose it has something to do with our perceptions of ourselves as little, angry and spiteful men. Well, -I’m- a man. That freak chose to be a women (and what that says about his perception of himself, I shudder to think!). Yeah – so if you happen across Kwipster and Yellowrat and you start flirting with Yellowrat and you see Kwipster begin puking; well, now you know why.

      Anyway, YRB wants to play a Skald.  I don’t know anything about any of the races, but I figure I like playing support characters so I’ll give a Healer a try. YRB’s had some time to level, so he’s up to like 7th already. He gets me to his town, Fort Atla, and then tells me to start trying to level. His advice? Quests. Okay, I’m game for that – they usually are fun, and will hopefully teach me a bit about the lay of this wacky land.

      So the first thing my trainer tells me to do is see this chick, Amora (or something like that). Yeah, okay, helping the damsel in distress! I’m all about that! I charge my stubby little legs over to their house. There’s Amora, and her daughter, Magnild. Now, I’m not the greatest Healer in the world, I’ll admit; but it seems to me if this girl was so sick, she should be lying down in bed!

      You say, “Hey, you should be lying down in bed!”
      Magnild says, “I don’t feel so well.”
      You say, “Well no crap you don’t feel so well! Lie down!”
      Magnild says, “I don’t feel so well.”
      You say, “Uh, right. Lie down? Please?”
      Magnild says, “I don’t feel so well.”
      You say, “Right, so you’re not really -sick-, per se; more like stupid, eh?”

      Well, let’s see what the mother has to say…

      Amora says, “Oh, please help me Kwipster! My daughter’s been poisoned by the bite of the water snakes outside of town! The healer tells me he can prepare an antidote, but she needs the venom of five of the snakes! Will you help me?”
      You say, “Uh…”
      You say, “You know, I’m not sure snake venom’s gonna make your daughter any less stupid.”
      Amora says, “Will you help me?”
      You say, “Hello? Snake venom? Versus stupid? Not much help?”
      Amora says, “Will you help me?”
      You say, “Right, double dose, coming right up.”

      Sigh. So off I go to get some snake venom (stupid juice). I’m not really confident this stuff is gonna do much good. Again, novice healer that I am, it always seemed to me that helping stupid people involved doing things like putting their hands in fire and screaming ‘BAD’ in their ears repeatedly until they stopped playing with the damn lighter. Then again, making them drink poison sounded awfully appealing to me. This is, after all, the dark ages. Maybe this was something like leeching. For those of you that don’t know, in medieval times healers used to put leeches on the bodies of the ill people. This didn’t really help the ill people, but they pretty quickly learned to stop going on sick call for every friggin’ bang and bellyache they suffered. That’s why there grew to be such a problem with gangreen back then.

      “Bob, your arm’s rotting off! Go see the healer and let him put some leeches on your face and genitals!”
      “Nah, thanks, I’ll just wait a bit till it falls off, thanks.”

      Back to our story…I run out front of the fort, and sure enough, there’s lots of those little snakes out here. I mean, like all OVER the place. And they’re about as easy to kill as… as…

      You have died!

      Well, as me, it turns out.

      But after a bit of trickery, I manage to get five snakes to give up their juice. It involved some cigarettes and some dirty magazines. If you’ve never seen snake pr0n, count yourself lucky.

      I trudge happily back in town to get the antidote, but dig this: our master Healer bimbo has to brew this stuff up! Oh, okay, fine. Just throw it in the microwave for 30 seconds and we’re set, right? Wrong.



      Yeah, I pretty much got up to level five while I’m waiting for this stupid stuff to be finished. And you can BET I didn’t do any more quests for the idjit’s in this place. I was sure my next task was going to be trimming someone’s toenails or something equally enjoyable.

      Maybe it’s just me. Maybe there’s like my quests, and everyone else gets something else.

      “Oh, my son got his head stuck in the railing! We need the toenail from a hobgoblin to craft a Hammer of Freeing to pound his head out from between the rail…oh, sorry, thought you were Kwip. Here, could you run this bag over to the armorer? I’ll give you phat xp and whatever I can convince Kwip to give me.”

      Kwip; Champion of the Little People (no, not the Kobolds)

      I’m ALL ABOUT helping people. Especially da kiddies! After all, who’s going to be changing my diapers and pushing me around in my wheelchair when I’m an old man? Kids. That’s right, the future of our…something something something.

      Plus, they’re easy to make fun of.

      So here it is, another day, another character. That’s right; I’ve hung Kwip up. I now have a new and powerful character! The mighty Bottom, Theurgist of Great Reknown! No, you simpletons, his name has nothing to do with anatomy. It has to do with Shakespeare. Sheesh. Look it up.

      Anyway, since it’s a well known fact that few are brave enough to group with me…
      Death says, “Yeah, funny how people get about dying.”
      You say, “Quiet, slut!”
      Where was I… Oh, yes – see, everyone’s afraid to group with me. Some sniveling nonsense about getting everybody killed or something. Hey man, it’s not MY fault you can’t handle all the bad guys that come! Well, I mean, yeah, I know you say we’re supposed to only draw one at a time, but hey – if there’s five of us, let’s be fair and bring five of them! Right? Sheesh. You guys are such cheaters. I should report you or something.

      Oh, right. So anyway, I made a new character, Bottom. He’s a theurg, as I believe I stated. My guildmate Callico thinks I should get he last name of “Zup” – something to do with what position I always wind up in, but I’m not sure what she means by that. Doesn’t everyone have over 500 deaths by the time they’re fifth level? Oh, yeah, I’m sure it’s just me. Nice try.

      Anyway, I LOVE my little theurg. In a way that’s not healthy, know what I mean, nudge nudge, wink wink! He can solo oranges with relative ease! Why, this one time, I took out an orange AND a yellow! Well, perhaps I should qualify – I took out the orange, and his yellow friend came and pounded the snot out of me with the corpse of one of my earth elementals. But after I got back from the bindstone, I’ll tell you what! I walked right up to that guy and LET HIM HAVE IT! My grave, I mean. The next time I went back, I sent a few elementals at him instead.

      So I’m doing my thing, be-bopping around, at peace with the world, when the town crier in Cotswold tells me of a small child, Frip, that needs my help! Oh my gosh! This looks like a job for SUPER THEURG.

      So I’m off. First, I have to figure out how the heck to get there. Basically, this involves wandering into a stupid bandit camp, letting them chase me back to town where the guards WATCH THEM BEAT ME TO DEATH (yeah, I’m REAL fond of our might “Realm Defenders,” let me tell you). Here’s how that little encounter goes: I run into town, a stream of bandits hot on my tail. I see a guard, and I figure I’m saved! I run right at him. He stops, turns and looks at me. The bandits run up to me, form a circle, and commence to pound the holy hell out of me. I’m not positive, but I’m pretty sure I heard the guard giggle. Then, once I’m a bloody pulp, the bandits turn to leave, casual as anything. Well, now suddenly this realm guard is Dudley Friggin Doright, and he leaps to attack the bandits – now that they’ve been kind enough to put their backs to him. Sigh.

      I wake back up at the bindstone and decide I can’t do this myself. I call on Yates, whom I think I’ve explained is actually Yellow Rat Bastard.

      You send, “Hey, where the hell is Frip?” to Yates.
      Yates sends, “Who?”
      You send, “Frip” to Yates.
      Yates sends, “What are you talking about?”
      You send, “WHERE THE HELL IS FRIP?!?!?” to Yates.
      Yates sends, “Is that the kid by the bridge?”
      Yates sends, “Yeah. He’s by the bridge.”

      Right. By the bridge. Now, I’ve hunted around Cotswold, I know where the bridge is. I don’t remember ever seeing a kid hanging out there, but I’ve been known to not be the most observant soul in the world…

      Death says, “Hey, remember that time you walked out of the house without pants? Twice?”
      You sigh.

      Anyway, I trot over to the bridge. I don’t see him, but maybe he’s closer to the shore. I’ll just go down and have a SWEET MOTHER OF GOD GET THEM OFF ME! AIIIIIIIEEEEEEEE!

      Death says, “Oooo-hoo-hoo-hoo! Look at ‘em go! Get him, goblins, get him!”
      You say, “AAaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!”

      Well, one quick trip to the bindstone, and I’ve verified that there is no small child at the bridge.

      You send, “You lying bastich!” to Yates.
      Yates sends, “Try the other side of the bridge, jerk.”

      Oh. Right. The OTHER side of the bridge. Well, that’s pretty clever. So off I go, making sure I stay in the MIDDLE of the bridge as I cross – with my luck one of those bastich goblins is down there with a bow playing Robin Hood or something.

      But I get over to the other side with no problem. Upon my arrival there, I see some guards standing around, talking to another adventurer. I decide to kick a little Role Playing rap on them…

      You say, “What, ho, fellow adventurers! Verily I hath come seeking the wee tiny lad known as Frip! Pray tell, mightest thou tell me of location?”

      Right at that moment, about a hundred bandits come screaming out of the woods. The guards holler something about defending the Realm, but screw them, that’s why they get paid the big bucks. I do the smart thing and try to run off, but instead charge straight into the attacking bandits.

      Where they promptly kick the crap out of me, and send me back to the bindstone.

      Death says, “Hooo-hoo-hoo, stop it, ha ha ha, you’re KILLING me!”

      I hate my life.

      You send, “You lying jerk-off goombah! That stupid brat’s nowhere’s near the bridge!” to Yates.
      Yates sends, “Yes he is, doofus. He’s on the same side as the bindstone!”
      You send, “Ah-HA! Caught you lying! There IS no bindstone at the bridge!”
      Yates sends, “…”
      Yates sends, “You’re at the wrong bridge, dumbass.”

      Oh. Well, that makes sense. Finally I get this all figured out, and someone (who is NOT a Yellow Rat Bastard, thank you very much) actually directs me to the right horse route and everything! Yeay me!

      So I make it to this bridge. Sure enough, there’s little Frip, doing this little thing. Well, basically just standing there, looking pathetic. I approach him, and he whines…er…tells me about his father being lost. Well, no problem there! I shall go find his dad! And it turns out I’m in luck – no sooner have I agreed to help the little basti…er…child, then someone says something about his dad being off to the East along the river in some old ruins. Excellent! I’m off like a prom dress, in pursuit of my prey!

      Well, of course nothing’s that easy. I get there, and there’s all these stupid Bloody Bones and dumb zombies wandering around. I figure, hey, no problem – I send in a couple of my earthen buddies to take out the Bloody Bones. Their friends get a bit feisty, well, I whip out the ol’ Field of Frost. Which hits. Every single thing within about a 300 mile radius. Every single one of which then resist its effect.

      In turn, they all descend upon me.

      Sigh. I don’t even get a quickcast off before I’m ripped limb from limb.

      This time, I’m a bit more careful coming in. I scout the territory out, go AROUND the Bloody Bones & Co., and approach from the rear. As I get near the tower, out of some ruins comes charging Hugrath, whom I’m supposed to be looking for.

      Except now he’s a zombie. A zombie with friends. And they ALL want a piece of my sweet, sweet brain.

      So. I’m back at the bindstone.

      Death says, “again”

      Thank you. I’m back at the bindstone AGAIN. Sigh.

      But this time, I know where he is, who he’s with, and what to expect. So VERY CAREFULLY, I make my way back. There he is, hiding in what I previously mistook for an empty ruin. I find a nice, distant spot from which I can launch my assault.

      And a demon comes walking around the corner and eats my ass.

      His tag says he’s a weakened demon. Right. Weakened enough to tear through my sorry butt in about three hits.

      Now I’m back at the bindstone, weeping inconsolably. I attempt to throw myself in front of several passing horses, all to no avail.

      Okay. Fine. I will go back. ONE MORE TIME.

      And you know what? I killed him. Pretty easily, in fact. An ice creature to draw him out, then four earth critters to pound the snot of him. His spirit tried to tell me something to pass on to his son as it departed its vile host, but I was too busy crapping on its carcass to notice. Ah, well.

      I make my way back to Frip, his eyes all aflutter with excitement. Kids.

      You say, “Hey Frip, sorry man, but your dad was a zombie from hell. I sent a couple of my boys over to sodomize him to death. But don’t worry. He said he LOVED it.”

      Frip says, “No! Not my daddy! No!”

      And then he ran off! Not even a ‘Thank you for risking life and limb!’ or anything! Hrmph. Kids. Ungrateful bastiches, the lot of ‘em.

      Wait, explain this roleplaying to me again?

      So I’m trying to find my way around here. I feel pretty damn proud, ‘cause I tricked Yellow Rat Bastard into giving me a bunch of gold, and now I’m roaming the countryside, living the big life.

      Yates tells me that the place to go is the Mad Friars Inn in Ludlow. Me, being the social animal that I am, instantly decide that this is a PERFECT place for me to meet the locals!

      I stroll in there, and first thing I see? A rock imp has obviously mezz’d everyone in the room!

      You attack Pebble!

      Well, next thing I know, some big goombah named Corwin has tackled me and is giving me a stern lecture about disrupting the performances, accenting each point by bouncing my head off the floor.

      Bouncer Corwin says, “Youse ought to not inter… uh… inter… mess wif da show!”
      Bouncer Corwin says, “We’s pay good money to gets Lady Darden here.”
      Bouncer Corwin says, “An’ we don’ need the likes of YOU messin’ wif her or her liddle friend!”
      Bouncer Corwin says, “Youse gots dat?”

      Well, now I know how he got his name. Being the mighty warrior that I am, I demonstrate that I understand completely by bleeding all over his boots. He drops me back onto the floor, where I take a moment to compose myself.

      Yates shakes his head.
      Yates says, “How many times do I have to tell you – this is a roleplaying server. You have to learn to blend in!”

      Oh, right – roleplaying. I’m all over that! Lessee…

      You yell, “Barkeep! Get yer most full-breasted wench over here with some ale right away, ye scurvy dog!”

      Next thing I know, Corwin’s back at it. This time he carries me up to the second floor to throw me out a window. Apparently, there’s no good windows on the ground floor.

      But I’ll not be stayed! Yeay, verily shall I layeth waste to thith…er, this challenge!

      So I storm back in the pub, working EXTRA hard to blend in. This time I figure I’ll just follow the local’s lead.

      Keener Woedin says, “Excellent Yasminea! Show us some more tricks!”
      You say, “Yes! Show us some leg, ye scurvy wench!”
      Trini Pipper says, “Shhh…Just watch the show and don’t make a lot of noise!”

      I don’t remember much of what happened next. Apparently, at some point, Corwin attempted to make castanets out of my testicles, and Trini inserted her Cutter in a MOST unpleasant place.

      And then they have the nerve to ban ME from the Inn!

      Hrmph. Roleplayers. They just can’t handle it when someone beats them at their own game, I tell you.

      Ah-ha! I am a SCOUT! Taste Death! Gah, I meant YOU!

      I don’t get it.

      I mean, I FINALLY battled enough frogs to make it to level five. I have saved every snippet of frog legs that were dropped to afford a trip to Camelot. I get there, get accepted into my profession (Scouts, for those of you not paying attention), and NOW I’m finally well equipped! My guildmates felt sorry for me and sprung for a nice longbow – and it cons ORANGE to me, buckos, so you just KNOW this is one bad bow! Another gold and they’ve provided me with nifty armor – and it’s orange, too! Why, I’m a walking death machine!

      So why the hell is it that I get killed by an ANT as soon as I leave Camelot? Sigh.

      Well, never mind that. I’m through hunting monsters now! I’m level FIVE! I’m a full-fledged Scout! That means I can travel to the frontiers! Woot! Prepare for death, evil…erm…guys from other realms! What’re their names again? Right, Mids and Hibs. Gotcha! Prepare for death, Mids and Hibs!

      Off I go, saddle sores and all, to Sauvage. Ah, there’s the transporter pad! And my guild mates! NOW we’re gonna wreck some shop!

      Yates (you guys know him better as Yellow Rat Bastard) says, “Uh – Kwip, this may not be such a good idea.”
      You scoff.
      You say, “Dude, I totally OWN PvP in AC!”
      Yates says, “Two things: first, this is a rp server, goof. Second, you SUCK at PvP in AC!”
      You say, “Yeah, but…er..True, kind sir, but verily I say unto you that while I may sucketh at killing others in the lands of Dereth, nobody here knows that, so shuteth thy blathering piehole!”
      You say, “Besides, here I can do THIS!”
      You are now hidden.
      Yates laughs.

      Hrmph. YRB has no confidence in my keen skills, that’s obvious.

      But now the mage transporter thingy guys have arrived! Now to speed off to distant realms!

      You say, “Hey! Where the hell did everyone go?”
      Yates sends, “Uh…did someone forget to get their medallion?”
      You send, “Medallion?” to Yates.

      I hate being left out of the loop on these things.

      Fifteen minutes later, everything’s straightened out; I’ve got a medallion (FIVE silver! No wonder nobody’s got any money in this game!) and the next teleport’s on its way!

      Now I’ve already missed the rest of my guild, but no worries – they tell me they’re just up the road. So off I go – but I’m SMART! I travel INVISIBLE! Nobody’s gonna surprise ME in these parts, by golly! I can’t wait to demonstrate all the skills I’ve learned from…

      Skathdar waves to you.

      Huh? I don’t see any…

      Skathdar stabs you for 234 points of damage!
      You die! (Well, yeah, no kidding. About four times over in that one shot.)

      Hrmph. Lucky shot. A few minutes and several whining sessions later, and my guildmates have sent back a rescue crew. This would later get to be a habit.

      Mekali waves to you.

      Who’s waving to me?…

      Mexliplex waves to you.

      That’s an odd name. Where is this guy, I don’t…

      Klump waves to you.

      Gah! Run run run…

      Apparently, having a level three stealth skill does NOT make you invisible. When I finally make it to the rest of the group, I discover that while having a level three stealth skill is pretty bad, having a level one bow skill is worse. Were it not for gravity, my shots would not be hitting the ground.

      However, my guild’s a pretty resourceful group. They put me to work scouting out areas. When I got killed, they’d know someone was out there. I felt important! I was doing something helpful! I was helping our guild!

      Then I found out Yates had a stopwatch running and was taking bets on how long I could go before getting killed. It seems that 45 seconds is my record.

      Sigh. Back to the frogs.