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I Am The Vanguard Of Your Destruction

I am deathly allergic to all forms of improvisation, spontaneity, and fun. So when I logged in to Lusternia on the morning of the thirteenth to cries of “hey, who is taking the last dream god?”, and I looked and saw which role still needed filling, and then said, “well, I guess I can if we don’t have any other RP gods who can”, I was probably more than a little brain-addled from a lack of sleep. Or maybe too much sleep. Or maybe getting the right amount of sleep when I usually don’t get the right amount of sleep. Who knows? Sleep is hard. Like, what even is sleep? I digress.

Anyhow, I said I’d be back that evening and if no one had taken the last role, I’d take it. When I arrived home that night to discover that the role was indeed going to fall to me, my first thought was “man, this poor city is gonna have the worst god ever”. Then I checked out the description on the mob version while getting the character set up, and decided that maybe I could make something work. And then I asked if the gods had any particularly preset personalities, and I was told I could do basically whatever I wanted so long as it fit the basic theme. So the gears in my head turned a little bit, and I hit this idea, and my thought process basically went like this (note, harsh language and trigger warnings for basically everything ever for the video in general). Because, see, the god I ended up choosing was, without my having realized it previously, a giant robot with lasers. Perfect, since in real life I am also a giant robot with lasers. Also, Mass Effect is one of m y favorite things ever, so I decided to base Sciomere heavily off Sovereign (because let’s be honest, Harbinger was pretty boring, whereas Sovereign was absolutely amazing). Maybe this won’t be so bad after all.

So we start the event, I shoot Zenos with my face laser, and I go to Hallifax, declare that I own the city and everything in it, and get told that I need to sign a citizenship contract or something similarly bureaucratically pedestrian. Not what I expected in the slightest. Hallifax apparently is a bit different from years ago when I played Lusternia as a mortal. I can figure something out. Maybe. Hopefully. As I mentioned in the first sentence of this blog, RP godding is really not my forte. So I stumbled through a bit of dialogue, a bit bemused by the response I’m getting before saying something suitably ominous (I hope) and disappearing back to the Havens to regroup.

So then Frai zaps a Hallifax dude in the city. I’m pretty sure that part of it wasn’t intentional, as I think the person in question had been fleeing and just happened to enter the city as Frai hit the return key, but regardless it happened. “Hmm, maybe I can work with this,” I think to myself. Go beat up Gaudiguch and make Frai sad, I tell them. And they hem and haw a bit before someone manages to get them to actually go kill a fire lord. It’s not really working out well for me, and trying to improv isn’t really helping anything, so I jump on this stray say one of the Hallibirds makes about designing a weapon. “Do that for me! Design me a weapon!” I exclaim at her, thinking maybe I’d get a design for a small temporal bomb or a ray gun or something. Whatever, so long as there’s something I can work with and give them to do, I can try to pull something interesting from this event for them.

Next morning, I log in, and the little Hallifax mailbot drops me a letter or scroll or something. I read it. I do a double take and re-read it. It’s the weapon design. But it’s not some piddly little bomb or beam gun or something, it’s a @#*$ing flying death fortress with a giant cannon and a rec centre. “Yessssssss,” I say, “I know I can do something fun with this”. Because, see, I like blowing things up. This can blow things up. We’re gonna blow something up. First I have to build it, but I’m passable at descriptive writing so a little 8 room tech fortress with a handful of items is easy enough, and I’m a bit more than passable at coding things up, so overall it’s not too bad to put together at all. I whip it together, with it taking significantly longer than it should have because I find the language we use for quests and mobiles and such to be about as pleasant as trying to pull my own teeth with a set of car break calipers covered in spiders, but it’s what I have to work with so I make it happen. By the way, I hope someone paid attention to the room description of the rec room, which was probably one of my favorite parts of the event. I went a bit Welcome to Night Vale with it. It was fun.

So I appeared again as Sciomore, revealed the project to suitable awe from the gathered Hallifax people, and told them to go shoot up a mountain. A specific mountain, actually. Mount Zoaka being that specific mountain. I chose it due to its proximity to Gaudiguch (gotta play up those city relations, bro), and because it’s a reasonably low-population area that I Hallifax would have no real issues with shooting at. So they did the thing with the targeting beacon, and shot the mountain, and suddenly there was no Mount Zoaka left!

I doubt Hallifax expected the whole thing to ever go through at all. It’s kind of a big deal, but the (lack of) constraints allowed by the event made it trivial to work in to the game, since I knew that we could do basically whatever we wanted and we’d be able to undo less than a week later, so the various issues implicit in straight-up deleting content were avoided.

I doubt Hallifax expected the whole thing to go in less than a day after the request, but I really wanted to build a giant laser cannon that could destroy mountains.

I know Hallifax didn’t expect it to actually destroy mountains, because their response afterwards was “holy crap, I didn’t expect it to actually destroy mountains!”.

Overall I considered this a pretty big win for the event. I got to give my city a fun toy and they blew up a frigging entire volcano. But it was only Monday, so I needed something else. I mean, I probably could have left it there, and there was enough inter- and intra-org drama from the fact that Hallifax had a cannon that could blow up a frigging entire volcano to last for the week, but I thought we needed more.

So, after a day and with a chance to make some adjustments to the relevant prog, I decided to up the ante big time. I told them to shoot Gaudiguch. Sciomore, you see, had enough of Frai’s attitude, and Gaudiguch smells anyway so it seemed obvious that they’d have no qualms about shooting at them. They didn’t know this, but shooting wasn’t actually going to do anything other than ignite more inter-org hostilities because of a shield Frai had raised. So as far as Hallifax was concerned, they were going to be responsible for taking out Gaudiguch once and for the rest of the week. But Hallifax was like, “no”. And Sciomore was like “do it, it’ll be sweet”. And Hallifax was like “no”. And Sciomore was like “do it or I’ll blow you up” and then disappeared to let them ruminate on the threat, thinking they’d come around by the next evening.

Only they didn’t. They were still like “no”. So Sciomore was like “you guys should know that [REDACTED] is actually a part of me, and I basically am your city, so do what I say”. Hallifax was like “no”. Since I hadn’t expected them to actually not destroy their enemies under threat of destruction themselves, I hadn’t really prepared anything. So Sciomore gave them one last deadline, complete with “hacking” into [REDACTED] and setting a timer with alarm emotes through the city and etc etc etc.

My original plan hadn’t been to destroy the city. Instead, Sciomore was going to release [REDACTED] and Hallifax was going to have to do an event quest type thing to fix [REDACTED] and save the city. But then I realized that, while that’d have the potential for fun, it wasn’t really game-changing. I wanted to do something game-changing, and being a developer for Lusternia I have the access and skills to do things in a big way. I decided to destroy the city if Hallifax didn’t comply. I got to coding up blocking out most of the city commands for Hallifax (which was, thankfully, easy, due to the way city commands are handled), and a couple other minor things to make it all look good. I realized that the exact threat I’d made to Hallifax involved them having never existed; I couldn’t exactly pull that off, as good as it sounded, so I went with the idea that after the Matrix was destroyed, Sciomore reweaved time so that Hallifax was destroyed in the Taint Wars instead, leaving the players as a small group of insular refugees who had endured for the past few centuries. Maybe not the most solid reasoning, but I wanted to make sure players still had the organization so they didn’t run off and join other orgs thinking Hallifax had been completely deleted forever and then regretting it when the dream ended, so I had to make do. I think it worked out okay.

Anyhow, for the day between giving Hallifax the deadline and the deadline arriving, Hallifax was in a joyous chaos. One of the RP god administrators jumped in and took over a lot of mob possession duties for this, which is good because I am terrible at mob possession. I had ears in their city leadership clan, so I had access to a lot of the juicy drama going on relating to the event. I missed a lot of it leading immediately up to the deadline due to schedule conflicts, but I saw enough while I was frantically finishing up the code touches to feel pretty good about actually having managed to give Hallifax something to do during the event. 

Towards the deadline, I was worried for a bit that a certain Hallifaxian might actually run in and fire the thing, so at the urging of basically everyone in Havens (everyone who was able to be logged in was logged in to watch everything go down), and because I really, really, really wanted to blow up a city, I fudged the deadline just a little bit and did the thing. It was awesome. Because I rushed it a bit, the plane messages were a bit improvised (see above) and were nowhere near as wonderful as they should have been, but I managed it anyway. There was a little bit of awkwardness with a delay between the Matrix exploding and everyone actually dying (I had switched the word order on my “hallinuke” command without realising it and was freaking out over it not working), but I successfully blew up the city and killed everyone on Prime. It was joyous. As an aside, this was my second time running an event in an IRE game that culminated with the deaths of the vast majority of online players. Also with the major destruction of an important in-game landmark. What can I say, I like blowing things up and killing things.

Afterwards, Hallifax played well with the drama of dealing with their city no longer existing (or having never existed in the present). The day following the destruction of the city was the beginning of contact between the Elder Gods and players, so I felt the flow for my part of the event went pretty well.

All in all, though, I don’t really know what would have happened if those weapon designs hadn’t ended up in Sciomore’s hands. Hallifax probably would have ended up having a seriously boring week, because I was at a loss of what to do and doing the actual roleplay of Sciomore wasn’t something I was doing terribly well. After we were in full swing, midway through the event, I of course had come up with a few ideas of things I could have done, better ways I could have approached the character, but since I was rushed into the whole thing I didn’t have time to do that beforehand, and by the time I’d come up with them it would have been to late. Basically, Kiradawea was responsible for Hallifax even having a meaningful event, even if it meant destroying the city for a few days.

I enjoyed it, largely because I got to approach it in the vein of giving Hallifax toys, and using the minimalism of Sciomore’s input to let Hallifax largely make its own fun, drama, etc. for the duration of the event. Sorry that Hallifax didn’t really get any good interactions directly with their god as the other orgs did, but they did get to blow up a mountain so it kind of balances out. I really hope Hallifax enjoyed everything. I probably should have played up Sciomore’s hatred of Serane a bit more (read: at all), but alas. There’s no need to worry about Ieptix taking over one of the RP god roles, however, so you can all breathe a sigh of relief there; I’ll leave the RP to the people who are actually good at it.

So that’s my highish-level walkthrough of the event from Sciomore’s perspective. I’m considering writing up a part 2 to this, discussing the mechanics that went into the event and some other idle musing relating to the event, but that’s not set in stone. We’ll see.

This exchange is over.

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