[Gossamer's Scrapbook] The Ethereal Canyon

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The player scrapbooks forum is literally a place for writers to warm-up, brainstorm, keep little scraps of notes, or just post things to encourage themselves and each other. Each player can feel free to create their own thread - one per account - and use them accordingly.

[Gossamer's Scrapbook] The Ethereal Canyon

Postby Gossamer on March 31st, 2019, 2:13 pm

Being An In-Game Partner

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l've had great times with thread partners, and I've had miserable times with thread partners over the years. This last year has been especially a rough one. I compiled a list, during this weeks hard hard work week, of all the 'rules' I think apply to being a good thread partner. I did this partially for myself as well, since I haven't been posting at all due to just massive amounts of work. I like rules. I like guidelines. I like thinking about all the things I really feel I need in life to be happy thread-wise. Do you have ideas that aren't on this list? Feel free to add to them by commenting below.

The Rules For Thread Partners


1. Don’t wait for your A+ posting moods so you can be the best thread partner ever. Just post. Suck it up and do it. People understand that you aren’t going to be an award-winning writer each and every time. They are just grateful to get replies. And frankly if you are a great writer and give them a mediocre reply, they’ll be grateful on a number of levels. First and foremost, because you are human and are lowering the bar a bit. It’s okay to lower the bar. People don’t actually need the stress of being 100% on point all the time. Think of it as a gift… you are gifting them with a post. Give lots of gifts.

2. Don’t be afraid of their crazy ideas or moods… or lack thereof. Support them. Roll with it. Who knows… you might have fun! Conversely don’t be afraid to share your crazy ideas with them. Who knows? Maybe this crazy is something they share with you already.

3. Be brutally honest and heart-wrenchingly warm. It’s the carrot and stick of the literary world. If they have stick or a carrot, equally love them. Don’t turn from them or only expect warmth 24/7. That’s not a true writing partnership. Take the good with the bad.

4. Always be the escape so that they don’t need a Deus Ex Machina in your group efforts. And conversely let them be your escape if your write yourself into a corner. That’s what partners are for.

5. Let them take the spotlight on equal terms to you taking the spotlight. If it is their moment, their thread, their deepest darkest pain… let them have it. Don’t steal it from them by claiming the moment for yourself.

6. Be sure to acknowledge what they do in terms of actions and react to them. How does your PC feel about what they just did? Was it an amazing kick or was there desperation infused into their smile? Try to feature their actions in your replies and they will hopefully reciprocate by featuring your actions in their replies - so the collective thread is about everyone involved and not just about you or them. As we move through the day, each person we encounter garners a reaction from us… either internal or externally. Make sure your PC mimics this reality in your writing. React. Each post should be something of a mini report card.

7. Communication is critical. Talk to your thread partner. Let them know what’s going on both IC and OOC. If you are truly too busy/sick/uninspired to post, take five minutes and tell them. But don’t tell them daily ad naseam because then you are just whining and it gets truly old. And truthfully people will start leaving your partnerships because of guilt or powerlessness when your health is involved. They don’t need to know your life story, but a brief explanation is always good. If you are growing bored with the thread, same case. If you don’t like their responses… talk to them about it. If the font is too hard to read, the size too small, the color not contrasted enough, etc.

8. Don’t lie to a thread partner. Always be straight up. If something makes you uncomfortable, be sure you let them know. If you absolutely love something, share it with them. Don’t be afraid of judgement. If you get it, move on.

9. Please don’t promise thread partners one thing then do the exact opposite. There’s nothing that shatters trust faster. Breaking trust will absolutely ruin your thread partnership forever. If you want something to happen, and its YOUR idea, keep to it. Don't change your mind.

10. Don’t reveal your thread partner’s secrets. If they tell you a secret, they are invoking a sacred trust. Take it to your grave! Expect the same of them. If they spill a secret, never trust them again.

11. Don’t be afraid to expose your needs and vulnerabilities to your thread partner. Make sure they understand what you need out of the thread and what you don’t want out of a thread. And in return make damn good and well sure you find out what their needs are as well. Sometimes no one needs anything. They just want mindless fun. Mindless fun is a need. Roll with it. If you don’t have a need, then you shouldn’t be threading. Have needs.

12. Never abandon a thread partner. Just don’t do it. Never tell them you are too busy, you’ve lost interest, etc. Make the time to log on and finish threads off and clean up. Regret is a hell of a thing and if you bail on partners, you will regret it.

13. Help your thread partner celebrate their successes and learn lessons from failures in equal measures.

14. Establish things that are only ‘yours’ together. That could mean sayings, quirky expressions, nicknames, singular looks, or little mannerisms that are tells to each other or even codewords. These things deepen IC friendships.

15. Figure out how to make your thread partner happy/laugh/smile. Then do so with abandon without minding that you might be judged for it by other readers.

16. Notice changes in your thread partners – new magic items, haircuts, attitudes, clothing, and make sure you make them understand ic that you’ve noticed.

17. Be the go-to-guy they want to run too when nothing is right. If you are the first one they turn to in order to celebrate when things are going amazingly well also… then you are doing things right.

18. Put the job ‘wing man’ to shame when it comes to your thread partner. You should sluice out all their evil plans and be fully supportive of them if given the opportunity… or at least projectingly supportive of them and go along anyhow to make sure they don’t get themselves killed.

19. Always be there to give your thread partners (IC and In Chat) advice, chocolate, or buy them a beer depending… you know the situation; know the response.

20. You always keep their secrets absolute secrets. If they trust you enough to tell you a secret, its to help lighten their load… not for you to become the town gossip.

21. Keep your partnership balanced. Take as much as you give and vice versa. Don’t be the needy one 24/7 or the one that’s always confessing and needing help out of a situation. Those tropes are truly overdone in literature.

22. Respect your thread partner as a person, not as a bank account, a tittle, a position, or what they can do to elevate your own standing in your own scenario.

23. Take criticism graciously. Your thread partner is putting themselves out there to let you know something you are doing might not please them. This could be content, action, grammar, almost anything. At least have the balls or ovaries to accept that criticism graciously.

24. Don’t hog your thread partner. Advertise them to others if they are a fantastic partner. Share that wealth among the community and don’t get resentful if your thread partner posts for others and enjoys others equally.

25. The best most important advice for thread partnering and actually in game friendships/partnerships/relationships is to be the person you want to thread with. It’s really just as simple as that.

Gossamer

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[Gossamer's Scrapbook] The Ethereal Canyon

Postby Gossamer on March 31st, 2019, 7:50 pm

Cleo's Update - From Feral To Clinic Cat


I thought I'd inundate you with pictures of Cleo at the beginning of her journey. When the office adopted her in Kabul because of her sweetness they immediately took her to the spay and neuter clinic and got her vaccinated for everything common to cats. So when she became endangered, they also had a plan in place for her and Nowzad lined up to pick her up. Nowzad scooped her up, there was a cab ride across town, a bath, and more vet work... and now she's a resident clinic cat until her funding has come through.

We are 82% funded on Day Three. Do you know how amazing that is? And most of it is from the Army Core who knows her and Miz folks! You guys are awesome. Once she's fully funded, it takes two weeks to arrange her travel and we should be able to pick her up from Sea Tac (Seattle international airport) directly when she makes the trip.

And now I'm going to shamelessly post some more pics to let you guys know that this is a legit story, a legit need, and where your funding is going... I know this cat is just one little cat in a huge big world of cats. But she's really made a difference in a lot of people's lives that were far from home. The soliders/civilian core/Nowzad have no issues sending lots of pics to expedite her funding and help her wring sympathy out of your hearts via social media! :)

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She's a cuddler!


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Photobombing!


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Taking over a desk chair!


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Read the sign behind her on Theresa's Desk!


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She's a gamer too!


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My Keyboard!


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How come you people in Kabul have never heard of cat carriers? I had to gravel to Nowzad in a box!


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I had a bath. Not cool!


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I'm living in a Kennel! Where's my nice office?


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Seriously! What's with this bullshit? I want HOME!


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Someone hold me dammit. I'm lap cat not a kennel kitty!

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Much better. This is a strange human, but its better than by myself.


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Look at how white she is now after a bath!

Cleo's Fundraiser! She's Almost Home!


Seriously... thanks for the help, the interest, and your big hearts.

Jen
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[Gossamer's Scrapbook] The Ethereal Canyon

Postby Gossamer on April 14th, 2019, 1:32 am

Cleo Update

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Hey folks!

Just letting you know about Cleo since a couple people asked. Last Tuesday Nowzad featured her on their social media sites and she was within $250 dollars of making her goal, so Wednesday I donated the rest (yea for payday!) to get her over here. They required us to send all our information ... passport photos/drivers licenses etc... and she's booked on a flight this Wednesday that will take her into Seattle International Airport Thurs morning. She's flying from Kabul to Dubai, resting a bit, then flying from Dubai to Frankfort Germany then straight over to Seattle.

Thank you all for your help and support. It was a really good thing we did this since the base over there was attacked in a big way last week. She was safe at Nowzad and not roaming free on the streets.

I'll post lots of pictures when she gets here. Both Matt and I have learned a lot during this process and we keep giving generously to Nowzad for their other fundraisers. The stories are so heartwarming and heartbreaking all at the same time.

Goss
Gossamer

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[Gossamer's Scrapbook] The Ethereal Canyon

Postby Gossamer on April 16th, 2019, 10:14 pm

How To Write An Intelligent Character

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Background :
So… as usual we’ve had some site drama lately. It has been centered around Sunberth and involves players powergaming/metagaming/and godmoderating. One of our fearless brave staffers dove into the grading que and finally figured out why it’d been sitting for a few months. Much of the material there was… untenable.

The staffer (in the guise of a helpful grader tagged pc) ended up tagging much of the material with gentle respectable notes to see the DM or to do some editing to receive grades. Much of this was offered with a gentle urge to ‘show not tell’ or to ‘play to your character’s level’.

We have at least one individual that retired over it, and another one that sent me a pm that was on the passive aggressive side apologizing for a squabble we had in chat a few months ago when I threaded with them and abruptly ended the thread (by having my PC walk away) because they weren’t playing to their level and I wasn’t having any of it… they blocked me and got booted from chat for blocking me because they completely disagreed with my stance.

Fine. I don’t demand people agree with me. But you need to follow the site rules and those rules require you play to your level or shit goes down.

But I’m really sad that they sent me a PM of apology after the grader came down on them when they actually owed the grader and DS an apology instead. I could give a shit less if someone snarks at me because they disagree. That was months ago. Too little too late. I’m an old lady. We thrive on snark. But the result of me suggesting they send the grader and DS an apology was this pm…

I'm making my character considerably less intelligent. They won't be making nearly as many logical conclusions in the future. As to skills, from 0-25 I will not attempt solo at all, they will be taught. Starting at competent I will write the character's skill use similar to a novice level, and I doubt I'll be doing anymore combat in my posts.


Wow. Point missed, eh? Powergaming/metagaming/and godmoderating isn’t about your PC being smart. RP a smart person if you want to. Powergaming/metagaming/and godmoderating is about playing well above the level of your stats because either YOU as a writer know these things or you think your PC should be good enough to know about them.

Wrong. Stop praying at the alter of your PC, dumbass.

Your PC is only as good as his or her skill points and lores. I could go on and on about that, but instead I wanted to think about something far more fun. We need to talk about smart PCs and how to write about them. Because smart =/= know-it-alls/metagamers/powergamers/and godmoderators. What?!?! Seriously??? Okay stop mocking me. You know you want to talk about this too.




So you want your PC to be smart? Great. How? Is there stats you can grind out to give your PC a high IQ? Nope. Its all about how you want to write them. And while I’m far from the smartest person in the world, I am an avid consumer of books. I read quite a few a year, usually one or two a week. And because of that, I think I do know what to me stands out in terms of making a character appear or feel ‘smart’ to the reader.

First off…. you develop a smart character by developing habits as a writer that gives the reader the impression of the character being smart rather than the character actually knowing all the answers.

No one honestly likes anyone that knows it all. We like thinkers, doers, those willing to try. Let me make some bullet point lists to elaborate on this show verses tell situation. They are, after all, my favorite.

The YES PLEASE to being seen as a smart PC.


• You can always tell an intelligent character because they are good communicators without being verbose. They can use examples, metaphors, and often pause before they speak. Characters that blather on using more words than are needed (or bigger words that don't suit the scene) are often viewed as trying to hard or attempting to impress rather than express intelligence.

• Smart characters are characters that ask questions and always want to know the why of it. You don’t have to have a PC that repeatedly crows “Why?” all the time. But have them quietly ask themselves this question and go off and research the answer for themselves. Smart people don’t take things at face value without research. Best of all, smart people question themselves and their own actions A LOT.

• Smart character are curious characters. They really want to know things and thrive on learning. Find a way to show that in your writing and your audience will inherently know your PC is smart. Smart characters are have an appetite to learn the why and how of things, including history or technology, etc.

• Give your character a sense of style or taste that seems more refined. Smart people appreciate good craftsmanship, hard work, attention to detail (pay attention to that, it comes up later), and things like classic literature. They have hobbies that follow along these lines… like collecting antique (fill in the blank). Make it clearly why they love the things they collect or admire. The characters don’t have to be wine drinkers’ verses beer consumers. But have them understand the difference (or research to understand the difference) and what constitutes quality. Lurking around pondering random things in their spare time? Smart. Taking apart broken things to see whats inside? Smart.

• Much like the above bullet point, smart people tend to be well-read. Why? The why is more important than how a PC can get well read in a world where books are scarce. They talk to older people, strangers, folks from out of town, etc. “What is your home city like? How was the road? Can you tell me a story from your travels?” Social media exists because people aren’t truthfully social anymore. You don’t have to be a social character, but your PC might have to have some socialization to ferret out some information they might be wanting to know.

• Intelligent people are deep thinkers. They often think things out before they act. They ask themselves questions that involve comparing and contrasting people, places, things and ideas. And they are really good at matching up what a person says with what a person does to draw conclusions. Deep thinkers always cross-reference pieces of information and thus hop on the compare and contrast bandwagon mentally.

• Smart people are observers. They pay attention to detail and learn facts. In Mizahar terms, they are lore gatherers.

• Those that are intelligent aren’t often aware of their own genius. They tend to dwell on their faults and shortcomings above their intelligence.

• People that are smart are generators of information. They usually know copious amounts of useful or useless information. Why? Because of the above bullet points. They take notes, drive discussions, and often break things down into smaller pieces to better understand things.

• Characters that are prone to iterative thinking and processes are blatantly smart. What does that mean? This means they use a process for arriving at a decision or a desired result by repeating rounds of analysis or a cycle of operations. Their main goal is to get the desired result closer to discovery with each repetition or iteration. That doesn’t mean they get it right the first time. It means they try, tweak, try again, tweak and try again until something is as near to perfect as they can get it. The insta-success-every-time PC isn’t smart. Its cardboard and boring.

• Smart people learn from mistakes and failures. They seem to be as fascinated as to why they failed as much as they are by actually succeeding. Why? Their brain is being fired and smart people get high on such things.

• One doesn’t overly complicate things when one is smart. One simplifies things. This includes a lot of ingenuity either physically or mentally in their plans.

• Occam’s Razor and Equifinality are always on their minds. You’re smart. Go look these things up if you don’t already know what they are.

When does smart cross the line to
metagaming/powergaming/godmodding?


• The character is fantastic at everything! They know how to do things, how to find things out, where to get things, what processes it takes, etc. There is no element of elimination, no iterations of failure, no experimentation… they go right for the prize and achieve it. The Hero of Hero Mountain. We all know this one.

• The character explains things in complex wordy ways rather than breaks down explanations into simple concise easy to understand situations/processes/circumstances. This is puking dialog on your readers. Don’t do that. No one likes puke.

• The character is verbose and talks down to everyone. Vocabulary isn’t intelligence. Communication is intelligence. This is just another way to say the above bullet point.

• The character has an Eidetic Memory. This is a big warning sign to me. It also tells me the writer is lazy as hell. The struggle is real. Face it. 99% of us can’t remember what we had for dinner last night or our anniversaries.

• Things come easily to the character. They don’t have to fail at things or have hard learned lessons. They don’t have to overly study or practice to get things going their way. Smart people love to study. They love to learn. Or they work overly hard using the processes I talked about above to get out of working hard or studying long hours.

• The character was born under a lucky star and just great fantastic things happen to them…. all the damn time. Yawn fest anyone? Go dice for your moves, you fucktard, then add in your skill bonuses or lack thereof. Then dice for your opponent and their bonuses. You’ll see just how much luck you have sooner or later (hint: The dice are cruel.)

• Instead of being detail orientated, the character can regurgitate information to every little detail perfectly all the time. They never forget, struggle with remembering someone’s name, or can’t remember a date. “I caught a glimpse of page 14 of the 12th book so I know the alchemical formula!”

• They are always right. OMG, this is an instant way to make any reader HATE your character. Always be right.

• They can duplicate something they’ve seen before perfectly upon demand regardless of the situation or atmosphere of the scene. Never picked up the reins and driven horses? No problem… you can jump on that speeding wagon, grab those reins, and save the day! Wrong. With a driving of 0, your probably going down in a big bloody ugly death. “But my character is smart and can figure it out!!!!” No. No, they can’t. This is Miz, not Hollywood. You don’t get a behind the scenes awesomely skilled stunt double.

• Them verses a crowd. You can always tell metagaming is going on when its one person verses five or six others and the one standing alone wins the day. In a group fight, one attacker doesn’t get attacked one at a time by a group. They get ganged up on, all beaten on the single person alone. Don’t forget that.


Yea... so this is my take on things as a consumer who loves consuming fiction. You might have a different take or have more things to add that I have left out. All that's great. But at its core, these are the things people look for in smart characters verses just plain ridiculous metagamers/powergamers/godmoders.

Goss

Gossamer

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Gossamer
Words reveal soul.
 
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[Gossamer's Scrapbook] The Ethereal Canyon

Postby Gossamer on April 20th, 2019, 10:02 pm

Being a 'Victim'

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Ladies… I think you need a pep talk.
Guys…. You can sit this one out.

There are some things in life that we can’t change. One of the big ones is that there are always those types of people in the crowd that are always the ‘victim’. I’ve seen it time and time again on Mizahar. And it’s so common its virtually classic textbook to me after all these years. A new person logs on (usually female), is charming and charismatic, and slowly gets to know all the people in the community. In doing so, they reveal little pieces of themselves.

They talk about their ‘situations’ and its almost always never a good one. There’s abuse, misery, they complain of being trapped, or take steps that others find super courageous to ‘get out’ of bad situations.
Meanwhile, in the community, they are scouting out social groups, seeing what relationships are happening, and getting to know the members. They tend to get super jealous of established in-game relationships and crave that sort of attention. They thrive on praise, have to outdo others, and frankly pour their hearts and souls into their characters to build something in a fantasy world they lack in real life.

Meanwhile behind the scenes, they are building something of a following – a fan base if you will. They chat people up, make them feel special, confide in them, and basically start slowly undermining their established relationships with others. They know how to make friends, pay attention to others and their troubles, and be supportive. They tend to highlight problems or play to the target’s insecurities and begin to build an entourage.

This is almost always an internet thing. It’s not something they do in their real lives. Why? In real life, the bullshit would be sniffed out much easier. Its hard to be fake face to face. It’s hard to build a persona or carry out nefarious plans when people know people who know people who know you. And the truth always gets out. These victims understand the somewhat anonymous nature of the internet lets them build any sort of façade they want. Mostly to them, even logging on is a fantasy. Every time they hit the information highway they can be anyone they want.

But what they really want is attention. They want to be the center of a maelstrom of chaos and drama. They tend to thrive on other people’s misery, and they feel empowered when they can be more interesting than someone else and steal someone else’s attention away from a person it was focused on to focus on the victim.

They feel that wins them life.

It’s a great big lie though. Happiness is steadiness, loyality, friendship and longevity in the real world. It’s being truthful to your writing partners and standing by them through a lot of bullshit and strife. It’s not buying into the newest thing out there… especially someone that needs saving.

There’s a high percentage of people in the world who have these odd internal yet to be discovered glands. I’ve talked about them before in scraps. I’ve mentioned that some women tend to have horse and puppy (or insert whatever animal here) glands that swells up and ooze and can’t be controlled until we go out and acquire a new horse or puppy to tame the monster inside us. What does this have to do with these infiltrating victims? Well, they know a certain other percentage of people have a different sort of gland. This is usually found in males. It is called a ‘white knight gland’. And when they play the victim and put on their song and dance to get sympathy… they cause that gland that a lot of people have to swell, bleed, ooze, and normally decent folks (usually men) to do completely retarded things in the name of trying to ‘save’ or ‘support’ the victim.

They dump loyal long-term RP partners (or get very sluggish for them) for something newer shinier and unknown. The cycle is usually to lavish attention on the poor sops with White Knight Glands, confess all your problems to them, let them be your shoulder, then lead them on a merry fictious chase that may or may not get them laid in thread at the end – but the promise is always there. Then, when you’ve left a pile of hurt people behind and have a loyal following of seat sniffers trailing in your wake, you flounce off the site as if it sucks worse than a movie that was all a dream…. and head to some site you claim is better. A bunch of dumbasses tend to follow, leaving their ex-partners behind and setting off for new and more exciting pastures.

Yea. I’ve seen it alright. I have also laughed in merriment when promised putang isn’t put forth or someone kills a relationship with someone else in game only to find their intended next relationship already moving on to another alt or another site.

Words reveal soul.

And let me tell you there are dozens of warning signs. Let me share some with you because I love bullet points.

• The Victim ALWAYS comes from a horrible site. They were abused there and treated poorly, probably had ideas or concepts stolen, and of course the site can't survive without them. They’ve left because they weren’t respected. Note they will never mention most of their issues they brought upon themselves and they didn’t get respect because it wasn’t earned.

• They never take responsibility for their actions or say they are sorry for doing things that they do. And don’t get me wrong. They don’t ‘accidentally’ do anything. Every move they make is well calculated and practiced.

• They tend to shut out people that could actually make their lives better.

• They tend to see themselves as the prefect character, perfect artist, perfect writer, and show all kinds of arrogance and narcissism in their actions.

• They don’t have relationships with stable strong honest and trustworthy people. Those people are too down to earth and smart to let this kind of stupid affect them.

• These people are highly critical of EVERYTHING. This doesn’t mean they want to improve anything or make life better. Their whole goal is to tear down established structure and pull apart established social circles in favor of new circles that revolve around them.

• These victims are brutally unhappy in their real lives = usually because of their own doing.

• Comparing themselves to others is a hobby and they don’t do it in a nice or flattering way. They don’t buoy people up. They tear them down.

• These folks feel extremely entitled. They DESERVE and have EARNED to be happy, even though they haven’t lifted a finger usually in any scenario they apply themselves too.

• These people get into arguments and they refuse to let the arguments resolve themselves. They hold onto it. And this often leads to holding grudges. Most of them will take a grudge to the grave rather than pull an Elsa and Let It Go.

So… pep talk time people. If your thread partners turn out to have a dumbass white knight gland, just let them go. Be thankful you had time with them and understand that while they are busy being a groupie, the victim is busy looking for more groupies to collect… because one or ten is never enough. And someone that stands by them for more than five minutes gets boring. Victims can’t pull the wool over other people’s eyes forever. They slip up. They get bored.

The fake loyalty only goes so far.

And soon enough the white knight gland people will feel left out, alone, ignored unappreciated and moved on from when the victim starts the cycle all over again. They will too, because there's never enough attention, never enough drama for them. You can’t simply hide this type of selfishness and self-centeredness. A new site will go well for a bit, but most site admin’s aren’t completely closed to this situation and the victim will once more shit in their nest, get mad at the new site (or booted), and move on yet again.

So stand firm. Do what makes you happy. Write the crap out of your characters.

Adapt for gaps when you get abandoned. And if your thread partners buy into the bullshit and move on, let them with confidence they will soon see first hand what its like when they get that same treatment in turn when their ‘saving’ investment kicks them to the curb for someone else that is newer and shinier and MORE sympathetic. I can’t tell you how many people have quit this site for this situation over time and have been back a few weeks or even a few months later with quite the story to tell. It humbles them. So its not always a bad thing

It happens a lot. I just shrug. I hope people learn. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. But if you ask a group of women about these types of ‘victims’ they ALL have a story about this… about how someone broke up a friendship, relationship, etc. It all involves jealousy, insecurity, and the need for copious amounts of attention.

Miz will be here long after they get bored or burn through multiple cycles and sites and probably run low or have to hit up the furry freak sites. Know that. Take comfort in it. Don’t rise to the bait. Just be the thread partner to everyone you want everyone to be to you. And if you spot a ‘victim’, don’t listen to them, don’t pander to them, and certainly don’t give them any credit. You already have what they want; happiness in life, stable solid relationships, and just downright contentment. They don't have it because they've been getting in their own way. And remember, It is after all, the internet folks.

Goss

P.S. Now I have scrapped about you, you fucking Twatwaffle.

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[Gossamer's Scrapbook] The Ethereal Canyon

Postby Gossamer on May 3rd, 2019, 1:18 am

Living Rent Free In Your Head

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Hello All.

I just wanted to make a brief post about this subject. If you aren't happy here, just move on to some place that makes you happy. Life is really just that easy. But most people that leave this place are affected by this place. They linger, enjoy hating us, post up negative reviews, and vent in utterly unhealthy ways.

You know what that accomplishes? Nothing you'll like.

That means we are lingering in your mind way more than you are NOT lingering in our minds. You're giving us free rental space in your brain and truthfully I love that. I love making a difference and making an impact on others I don't even know. Because it means we're worth something, we are doing things right, and winning. If we were nothing and no-one... we wouldn't matter so much or leave such lingering strong emotions.

And trust me, five minutes after you're gone here, we don't remember if you left in a bad way, posted an angry note, started pointing fingers etc. There's too much stuff going on. I've taken to putting notes in SS threads because that's how little space I let things that are negative take up space in my brain.

Life is too short. We honestly only remember those who were fantastic and touched us through their writing or moved us through their presence.

If you are unhappy, take control of that unhappiness and migrate to a more happy place... in your mind, in your heart, on the internet, etc? Half the time, to be quite honest, its not even the space or place that's promoting so much unhappiness.

Most of the time its YOU... your own head... your own hate... your own vitriol. You think behaving badly helps you let out posion, but honestly its just a band aid over open bleeding wounds that most everyone can see but you. The poison never goes away... until you kick it out of your headspace.

If you want to feel better... treat yourself better. Move on. Forgive. Treat the deeper wounds and get in a better headspace. It's not a place on the internet that makes you miserable. It's your own life, your own thought-processes, and your own actions. Until you deal with that sort of thing in your life, your life won't be any better.

Goss
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[Gossamer's Scrapbook] The Ethereal Canyon

Postby Gossamer on May 16th, 2019, 3:40 am

Work Work Work!


I just wanted to let everyone know work has been eating me alive. I haven't been around much, but I'm hitting a home stretch of 2 weeks in a row where I know I won't have weekend work and I'll have plenty of time to kick it around and do some writing.

If anyone has anything on hold for me, let me know. I should be doing some serious posting starting friday. Thurs is already kinda in the books because its scheduled from dawn to dusk with things that keep me away from the PC.

Goss
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[Gossamer's Scrapbook] The Ethereal Canyon

Postby Gossamer on June 9th, 2019, 5:18 am

Mizahar Without Winter

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Morwen has been missing for three full cycles of the world, and without her things are growing vastly different. That means there’s been three years without a winter. One might assume that means that the planet is hotter and someone that is a bit more educated on climate might assume that means that the planet is drier. But really, what does Morwen missing really mean?

To answer that question, we have to understand what winter does for the world and what that very prominent list of very important things means. Winter means snow and ice, plunging temperatures, a shortened photoperiod, and plants and animals often going dormant. Snow cover helps regulate the planets temperature.

Snowpack is like water storage, so as they build up then winter passes, they melt and fill the rivers and reservoirs in many of Mizahar’s six regions. Snow covers the largest part of Mizahar – Kalea – which means it regulates the heat exchange between the earth’s surface and the atmosphere. Snow and snowpack, including the dropping of temperatures seasonally, creates specific weather patterns.

The snow’s albedo is very high. That’s the ability to reflect sunlight back into the atmosphere. Snowpacks world wide reflect 80-90% of the sunlight that streams down on Mizahar. Flora and soil reflect only 10-30 percent depending on where you are talking about on Mizahar. This albedo cools the planet, keeping it from burning up – especially in the springtime.

Snow has incredible thermal properties that have very real and important consequences on climate. Without Mizahar’s insulating blanket of snow, flora and fauna that depend on that insulation to survive drastic air temperature changes go without it.

That means that while the albedo effect is reflecting sunlight aka heat, the insulation of the deep layers of snow help hold the heat already in the planet and preventing moisture from evaporating into the atmosphere. Areas of permafrost, river ice or sea ice also prevents ice from forming quickly – so if you can wrap your head around this one… ice prevents ice.

Frozen soil locks in chemical components in gas form such as carbon and methane, which inhibit chemical exchanges between the ground and air. It also inhibits the movement of water within the soil and on its surface. This causes more climate change in big and unpredictable ways.

Climate change drives changes in currents in the atmosphere – things like the jet stream. And the influx of fresh water (unlocked due to warm weather out of what was formally snowpack) can drastically change ocean currents.

Many species of plants can’t actually break out of seeds unless they are frozen for a period of time before they are gently warmed and germinate. This is called stratification. So regardless of how warm temperatures rise, seeds won’t respond unless they have stratified. There are numerous species of wildflowers, trees and shrugs. If these don’t germinate, especially annuals that die year to year and don’t winter over… think of the huge impact on insect life. Some insects feed exclusively on these wildflowers. And what about the smaller birds that feed on these insects that are impacted? You can see where I’m going with this.

Without winter, even with just a few short years, rivers dry up, climate changes drastically, sea and air currents are different, and the ecosystems start to radically change or even crash. When all this happens, crops fail, food sources change, fish presence vanishes, and priorities change. If you aren’t playing up climate change in your threads … you’re ignoring a huge part of Mizahar at the moment.

It’s a BIG DEAL that Morwen isn’t around. It would be a big deal if any of the seasonal gods left – but her… her most of all. Parts of Mizahar are turning into a desert. And parts of Eyktol that are already hot are completely uninhabitable now. Animals aren’t where they traditionally should be, if they are alive at all. Fishing is vastly different. Even things like coral reefs have been influenced and altered.

This should be part of your roleplay. This should weigh heavily on your PC’s minds. If it doesn’t, they aren’t aware of where they are and have no real connection to the environment.



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[Gossamer's Scrapbook] The Ethereal Canyon

Postby Gossamer on August 7th, 2019, 12:13 am

Figuring Things Out
City closures, moderator retirements, and reposting locations.


Sometimes it takes me a while to make decisions on things. Namely because as an INTJ I have to analyze every little aspect, weigh the consequences, and then determine which avenue makes the most sense. I've been doing that lately. I've had too. Why? Miz is changing and with the changing times, we have to adapt or die. We have a solid steady playerbase, but as always our number one issue is moderator retention. In the past, Moderators have been held to high standards and we've always had plenty. But the problem is that being a moderator is hard work. If your doing it right, you're constantly inventing plots, running things for your players, and working hard to keep your city interesting and unique.

Over time, that has changed. Moderators have not been retired (my fault entirely) for when they go inactive or drop activity level without letting us know there was an irl issue over thirty days. Instead, we've been really understanding and as a result we've had moderators that have been around for ages and ages with little to no posting, no IC activity, no development, and no work in the wiki. To me, that means the game stagnates.

Ines and her work in the wiki has really opened my eyes to how little the moderators have been doing and how many time after time "I'll be busier..." comments they've made to me and haven't followed through. How is this? Well, Ines and crew have accomplished more in a week than most of the current moderators have done in regard to the wiki their entire stint here. Well, because of that situation, I've really started posting moderator stats and its depressing. I've seen week after week go by with moderators having 0 in character posts and 0 ooc posts.

I'm pretty fed up and I've had enough of people promising to volunteer here and then not following through with it. Its not so much that they've personally wronged me, but I am of the generation where we keep our word and honestly with the amount of players in some of these scenarios keeping their word isn't gonna take them too much time. Instead of action, I hear excuses, and its pretty saddening to me because I honestly don't think people don't have the time to devote a few minutes here and there to running their city or posting for their players. And in most cases, when relieved of a moderator, these people come back and play PCs actively... like suddenly their guilt is gone and they are back to their full Miz addiction.

I've seen this over and over again.

So... I'm going to retire inactive moderators. I've mentioned this in chat. I mean it. I'm 100% set on it. That means we might virtually have no one left at the end of August... and that's fine. We move forward. Why is this okay?

Because think about it. No moderator is actually better than an inactive inaccessible absentee moderator especially if I do what I decided to do. I'm going to keep cities open. As long as there isn't twenty or thirty active players in a city, I can run wages, jobs etc through the HD and it won't take any time to do these things so long as people ticket them and graders step up to grade.

In fact, I might even reopen a few more cities to players that are interested in playing there. Will there be calender's and seasonal events? Maybe? Maybe not. But we had virtually no calendars posted until mid season this Summer and since no one is really doing calendar events in those cities anyhow... would it really hurt? I don't think so.

I've lingered too long in liking people and considering them friends and not insisting they be active and the game has suffered for it. I'm very sorry for this. I let this situation we are in happen. Gillar is going to step up and help a bit with help desk tickets and such if they get overwhelming. That's a happy day for me. I've always liked working with him and this new development he's done over the gangs, guilds and organization opens up huge avenues for players to start cults, run pirate ships, and do anything under the sun they wish to with very little in terms of starting funds.

And in case you haven't noticed, I'm also experimenting on how a group can get away with roleplaying in the wilderness without a moderator's help. That's another aspect that will help the cities along as well.

So if you are one of those players in a city who's moderator is on the chopping block... and lets face it, there's only three other mods besides founders... Lumi, Regime, and Solstice.... then you don't have to move if you don't want too if your Mod gets retired due to lack of activity.

And if you are one of these three moderators that steps up their activity and keeps it stepped up.... I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart. Its not a favor to me though. It's a thing you pledged to do when you volunteered to be a moderator here.

That leads me to the fact that we need moderators! If you are one of those people that have always wanted to moderate on Miz, I'm willing to let people try... even if its a second chance or third go around. We need staffers. We need staffers badly. I won't lie. Its hard work. And when new mods are made, there will be changes.

No more reworking locations. No more wasting your time reposting old content. I might in fact yank a lot of the reposted shit in favor of stuff thats new, innovative, or reset back to original parameters. This especially hurts me deeply because here today gone tomorrow mods have erased my own work and reposted it in their names with no additions... its wrong. Its hurtful, and in many ways deceptive. So... no more of that stupid shit.

If you want to see a city opened, let me know. You can DM on Discord or PM me here... I'm going to let two or three open in the next season or two. Maybe more.

I hope you understand why this Scrap needed to be written.

Goss


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[Gossamer's Scrapbook] The Ethereal Canyon

Postby Gossamer on August 31st, 2019, 3:22 am

Your Reality Verses Well... Actual Reality

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Mizahar is more than a roleplaying game. Mizahar is more than a chance to interact with other people portraying characters in a fantasy world and doing things you could not do in the real world. Inherently, over the last ten years that I’ve ran Mizahar, I’ve discovered something really important and unexpected about the game that most people don’t give a singular thought too. What is Mizahar exactly? Mizahar is a challenge that each and every one of us accept when we register to dream up a character and then do our damndest to make that character manifest the way we see them being. Ie. Its goal is to turn our internal brain reality into everyone else's reality. That, to me, is one of the most important aspects of the game that people almost never think about. When you can convey whats in your mind out into the world.... and make people understand.... that's Winning Mizahar.

Yesterday we had a new player that failed before he could really launch because his vision of his new PC could not possibly match what he saw the new pc being. That happens to so many of us. What do you mean? Well, each of us gets this image in our head of what we want the PC to be. New players, especially male players, often want to start a big warrior with a certain mindset, certain background, certain ethics, etc… and they get very upset when they fall short. When you start you only get 50 starting points plus your racial bonus. So big… you start with a race that can be tall. Then you fill out the PC with a weight, but you neglect bodybuilding as a skill completely which means your big heavy bruiser is fat. Ugh. You don’t like it. But you give them a high weapons skill - because they are a fighter type – and maybe something to match their background like some Wilderness Survival or a way to patch themselves up as in medicine. But still, this vision isn’t anywhere close to what you had in mind when you thought up the character.

This very simple fact builds frustration in so many situations. And that frustration often obfuscates the real ‘game’ behind Mizahar. The real game is playing your character and building into their threads, slowly an surly, that image you want to project. You see your PC one way. But the facts of your PC on paper are very limiting and its hard to convey the true PC and its core. The actual GAME that is Mizahar is the challenge that we as players take on every day to get those we interact with and those who read us to ‘see’ our PCS the way we see them.

You can have the nicest PC in the world, but if he or she translates to hollow in your writing, folks will never see them the way you see them. I’ve seen so many people come up with amazing character concepts – characters I really want to read – but yet lack of posting, lack of content in threads, lack of them being anything but misfunctional bobblehead dolls reacting constantly rather than acting proactively in a thread ruins the effect.

I personally interact (and have played/do play) PCs that don’t manifest themselves. I hear their players say constantly “My PC is….” or “My PC feels….” And to me it’s a shame because I never see those PCs actually manifest who and what they are in their threads. Sometimes, in solos, they manage to do this. But to me, that is an empty thing. They spend all their time reacting, not stepping up and acting and not showing their faces.

As a writer, you should never have to say “My PC feels…” or “My PC hates…” Honestly, the readers and those that thread with you should know all this about your PC because of their interactions with your PC. If they’ve had thread after thread with your PC and they know nothing about your PC, then you are playing Mizahar as a game ALL WRONG.

Everyone knows about the concept “Show not tell.” But honestly, most people don’t show or don’t take show not tell into practice in their threads. They know all there is to know about their pcs in their heads, but they don’t think to actually educate others on their PCs via their threads. Just because you know all these things about your PC doesn’t mean other people do.

People so often overlook this. They so often forget about the inner dialog or they are so inner dialog heavy that the PC never actually shows any emotion or expresses any like/dislike outwardly if the writer is doing it justice internally. And that can leave the others in a thread as blinded or ignorant as when they started. And truthfully, those sorts of PCs – the ones that overuse inner dialog and don’t translate it to outer action… or those that forget to actually display anything at all in terms of likes or dislikes…

So, what is my point to this scrap? I’d love to see everyone follow through. If you have an inner dialog, give that dialog in thread some follow through results. If your PC is one way, spend a bit of time in thread conveying that ‘way’ to others. Don’t cardboard cutout your PC. Failing to do these things make the people you are playing rather cardboard, one dimensional, and uninteresting. You can have the greatest concept in the world, but if its just inside your head it means nothing.

That’s what this game is about. This game is about getting people to understand and translate what you have in your head onto paper so people can see how fantastic your PC is up front.

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