This set of questions was compiled by Elendil aka Theodril aka Tallys' Apprentice

Interview starts below the line. Questions are in Bold, answers and other comments from the GM are unformatted.

It seems that the "Know your GM" has become very popular with the players. We've got a ton of questions for this month. We'll try to squeeze in as many as we can.

Our esteemed Shadowblack shoots an arrow from his quiver and asks about which suggestions the GM is looking for in order not to waste his time with suggestions he isn't interested in.

All suggestions are welcome! Perhaps the most useful suggestions are those involving plot continuances players would like to see, including which NPCs should reappear (or disappear). Suggestions regarding what type of adventures you enjoy most (including why you enjoy them) are helpful when creating new adventure scenarios. Reminders of which loose ends players would like to see tied up are also very helpful.

The second arrow from his quiver flies, "Is the GM planning on adding some new Random Encounters? The current ones have been around for years..."

Yes, there needs to be some new random encounters added. Eventually, the current random encounter system will be replaced with one that works in conjuction with the travel system. Characters will have the chance for random encounters while traveling throughout the kingdom.

And the final arrow in this volley goes, "What are the next few loose ends the GM plans on dealing with?"

I'll be working on tying up some of the loose ends in between the larger expansions that I'm working on. One area of loose ends that will be worked on once some of the larger expansions are ready for play is the Nevernal realm of Kyul-Thanor.

Dark is inquiring about icons, "I remember when the adventurer's guild first started, one of the most interesting new features was the introduction of nevernal icons which could be attached to weapons and armour to boost stats or give special attacks. I really liked this aspect of the game, it added some interesting possibilities for specialization…. imbuable equipment is so much less in MR and SP than the weapons and armour available in the rest of the game. Could you please consider adding additional uses for icons into the game, perhaps as items to be used in combat, tradable goods, or some other use?" And Shadowblack slips through with, "Is the GM planning to add another way to obtain Icons (for example Icons can be rewards for completing adventures)?"

Yes, the icons have been sorely neglected! There will be a way to trade in unneeded Icons to Mezaryl, who seems to have some sort of mysterious use for them. I will also look at adding new icons, as well as the ability to acquire special/unique/more powerful ones in adventures related to Kyul-Thanor, once work on expansions for that realm resumes.

Our dear Dustbinbag handles his dangled medallions and asks, "Can you please explain how the XP reward worked on the Ice Demon ? It seemed that some people gained loads and others gained hardly any, despite not running away during the entire fight." And he does seem a bit in longing for his Silver Amulet to be completed. When will he see his second half of the amulet? Remembering his other medallions, he wonders if his Raven's Foot Medallion and Shimmering Axe medallion will be put to use in the future.

I believe the frost demon provided 1,024 experience and completing the adventure provided another 1,024. The 1,024 from the frost demon could have been reduced if combatants used a high level power against him, particularly if those power(s) were used more than once. The reduction of experience for using high level powers against an enemy is a trade off that has always existed in one form or another. High level powers can quickly defeat an enemy, but they will also reduce the amount of the experience reward that is gained from the combat.

Most special items will have special purposes as the game expands, but this does not apply to every item. Most items that will have a special purpose are made to be non-droppable, though this is not always the case.

Our evil Subzero wants to ride a horse, when will he have his evil wish granted? If not a horse, our evil buddy is asking for a skill like beastmanship to allow him to ride a Draken or a skeletal dragon. We won't go to great lengths to appease our evil friend; but maybe we can shed light on this possibility. And he wants to show off Sword of Merzekk to his minions. Will he be long in waiting for that? On the side of the Good, Paladin is also asking about the SoM.

First, let me say that I will never call any of Sryth's brave adventurers evil -- especially not the illustrious Subzero! Horses are coming, as are other modes of transport in the first major revision of the game's travel system. The revision to the travel system will feature real-time delays, and other costs in moving from place to place, which can be offset and in some cases eliminated by a character's possessions and skills. For example, while a horse would reduce the real-time delays associated with travels, a superior steed would reduce the delays even more, and something like a winged mount or magical transport even more than that.

Moving from place to place in the revision of the travel system will likely incur a cost in gold (provisions/lodging) that characters must be able to meet before the trek can be made. Skills like woodsmanship (even thievery) may help to reduce this cost.

The idea behind the revision will be to add an almost transparent layer on top of the existing system to give it an extra element of "realism" while not adding any real complexity that players have to contend with.

The quest to obtain the Sword of Merzekk is going to be continuing, and will come into better focus as we move ahead. I can only say that the Sword is a real, wieldable weapon, and will be like no other weapon in the game.

And we have a gambler in the house. Zankai is asking, "What is the likelihood that The Russeled Grouse will be opened any time soon thereby giving us a use for our massive amounts of gold?

It is probable that the Russled Grouse will reopen in the future, though it will not the be same as it was (for those players old enough to remember it!). When exactly it will reopen, I can't say, as there is much more to be added to the game before that happens! One must also bear in mind that Thane Pyrond has never been a fan of the Russled Grouse -- or its owner, Thrall Bezzrin.

Ever the hoarder, Filraen asks, "Any chance of getting a way of expanding our holding capacity more? Or at least another home/expanding existing ones? I try not to exceed the limits of the two in game homes, but I also try and keep items that may have a future use." But he's a tidy hoarder and wants to know, "If items have no further use (Bronze Disc, The Black Claw, keys etc), could we have a Trophy room or the like to store them? Just to make the item screen a bit less cluttered with random stuff."

The best answer to this question is Yes, and it will involve the ability for characters to obtain special dwellings, along the lines of those won by the finalists in the Festival of Blades tournament. While the new special dwellings won't have many of the bells and whistles of those special prize dwellings, they will feature expanded item storage. On the subject of item storage, on the list of updates is better organized storage for those special dwellings, with all items stored according to class and subclass.

The bugger who won the Avenger's Set, Daffanka (we all hate him for it) wants to spread his donations over multiple heroes. Will he see that option in the donation screen soon? Or will he have to keep making separate donations for each hero?

It's possible that something as he suggests could be implemented in the donation screen, though if anyone wishes to divide a single donation among multiple characters they can email me with the details of how the Sryth Bonus Points are to be distributed and I will make sure they are divided accordingly.

Our good Paladin wants to rub it in to Illiok the Brave again. Will he meet him in the future? And he doesn't seem to figure out what the Tattered Map from the The Caves of Westwold adventure is for. Does the map have a key? And how does it read?

You may see Illiok again (provided he is still alive in your particular game, as it was possible for characters to kill him). Do you mean the map that is obtained from the chest in the ogre lair, on the adventure with the priest, Tibbin? Your question has reminded me of the plans I once had for the map and I will put them on the list so they are not forgotten!

Warbviii has a complaint about Tallys' administrative and storekeeping skills, "How come there are items at Tallys that are exactly the same, or differing only in name for the most part but with different prices,or are out of order?" To make up for his lousiness, Tallys better have some new equipment for sale. Will he or will he not?

From time to time Tallys adds items to his store, and he may soon be adding a few new collections to fill up some of the holes in his current inventory. You are right though, for Tallys is/was a much better adventurer than storekeep! Items that differ only in name, which have similar/same prices/stats, etc., are there to give adventurers a choice and add some flavour to Tallys's offerings.

Our thoughtful Markus, ever mindful of the GM's bait about two very distinguished new game areas, asks, "Can we get a preview of the two upcoming areas of play - Fogbough and Saarngard Isle, like the preview we got of Ogredom that we never got to play?" Another question from him is, "What about creating a blog and posting to it about your work on Sryth and other things in general?" The final question in his stream of thought for this month is, "What are your future plans for Sryth...other than content do you want the game to evolve?"

There might be a preview of Saarngard Isle before it is released for play. Actually, players did get to play Ogredom, or at least in spirit they did, as it was slightly altered and became the very first Proving Grounds adventure, Raid on Quaris-Taen. A blog is an interesting idea, but anything that takes time away from creating game content is something I try to avoid as best I can, so for now a blog isn't likely. My future plans for Sryth include making every major (and many minor) places in the Kingdom of Tysa playable game areas, and refining/standardizing some of the basic game elements -- the first of these that leaps to mind is the combat system. The overall goal is to keep the game growing and have it remain a game that players can continue to enjoy as a rewarding single-player RPG.

Our hard-working Mysticstinger asks, "Would the GM consider accepting creative contributions for new Random Encounters?

Certainly. What I would suggest in that regard is that players who wish to see or have an idea for a particular encounter send them as a very short (1 or 2 sentences if possible) synopsis of the event/encounter.

Our Legendary Loremaster Laudimir (LLL) makes the following pitch(es), "I'm particularly curious about whether the GM has considered, or ever will consider, a complete overhaul of the combat mechanics (or any modification/change at all). I, for one, would be completely willing to start completely over, character-wise, if game mechanics were overhauled. Obviously, something would need to be done about donations and time spent grinding."

Yes, the combat system will undergo changes as the game goes forward to standardize certain aspects of it (power use, difficulty, weapon and item special attacks/uses). The changes to the combat system that I have in mind should make combat better and allow for more strategy to be employed in battles.

In addition, he asks, "Also, what about optimization of the XP rewards system? I think it would be excellent if XP was calculated based (primarily) on the relative difficulty of mobs, then modified by our skill & power levels. As an example, in order to illustrate my meaning, base XP could be determined by some Algorithm considering SP, Skill level of the monster Frequency of specials, and the Strength of the special. Then, the XP awarded to the player could be modified by Skill/Power levels, rather than Character MR." Now if you understood that question, you deserve a reward.

Much like the combat system, the XP system needs a few tweaks as well. Standardizing the combat system (with regard to special attacks, etc., as mentioned above) would be something that would need to happen before the XP system is adjusted. Your point is well taken, though!

Grumpy Elendil asks, "Removing 3 defeats from everyone (at least those who had defeats) equated between people who finished the PG with an "authentic" 100% record and others who "blundered" into it and were defeated in one or more scenario's. Why was this done? And do you think there should be a bigger reward for people who finished with an "unassisted" 100%?

There were a number of glitches that appeared during several of the scenarios in the Silver Crest Proving Grounds event. Sometimes I was able to adjust character's records individually to make up for the losses that were incurred due to a glitch, but in the end I felt the only fair way to address the issue (as many players suffered losses that were not their faults without reporting them) was to adjust the losses for all who had participated.

I hope I've been able to answer your questions, and I look forward to 2008 being the best year yet for Sryth and its many illustrious adventurers! I would also like to thank all of you for the suggestions, kind words, feedback and support (subscriptions/donations) you've provided Sryth with over the last year. It's truly gratifying to be able to provide the game to such sincere, thoughtful and dedicated players. Thank you!

P.S. These questions were all very cleverly worded. A very nice touch!

P.P.S. I still think you're being a bit harsh calling Subzero evil!

Questions for the GM
2007 December
2008 January · February · March · April · May · June · July · August · September · October · November · December
2009 January · February · March · April · May

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