Award August's Featured Contributor Is...

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IC News travels slowly in Mizahar. Fortunately there is a constant stream of news from around campfires, from caravan to caravan and from merchants to merchants. Within this forum lies the best of the best of this talk. Also, within this forum, OOC news from the staff and players can be found. This forum requires all posts to be 'approved' by a Founder before they are displayed. So if you post within, be patient. Your post did display - it simply will not show to everyone until approved as actual 'news'. Please keep all Introductions, Status Updates, and various other discussions in their appropriate forums and leave this area for game news!

August's Featured Contributor Is...

Postby Gossamer on August 2nd, 2017, 4:13 am

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Hello Fellow Mizaharians!


Keeping with our tradition, the Founders Circle and Regional Storytellers are proud to announce that the Featured Contributor of the Month of August 2017 is Gillar! Gillar was one of the original Founders. And while he might not seemingly be very active, the lore is ALWAYS being added to by him behind the scenes. He also maintains the business plan forums, and frequently assists new players. Also, along with his behind the scenes, hes busy developing a big part of the Eyktol region as part of our rewrite. I cut his interview in half because Gillar tends to be really long winded (or so I thought before I met Orin) so that's why we are at 6 questions instead of 12. Please join us in welcoming him to the elite club of Featured Contributor! His interview is below!


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The Interview


1. As a Founder, you have contributed so much development to Mizahar from the beginning. What are your favorite contributions and why?

While my favorite contributions are constantly changing and evolving, I would have to say that my current favorites include the Isur, Izurdin, the Price List and Mizahar’s Economy. The Isur grew out of my love for the traditional dwarves of DnD and more specifically, Dragonlance. While I have always enjoyed playing dwarves in various games, I felt that some things about them didn’t really make sense or sit well with me. They usually seemed to fall into the stereotype of the hairy, stubborn, drunks who liked to swing hammers and battleaxes. I never played them like that but it was a stereotype that was hard to break. So, when it came to designing the races of Mizahar, I wanted to include my vision of a race that had many of the good qualities of dwarves mixed with some of the things I liked about elves. The isur were my answer. I always thought it was stupid that a race like the dwarves, who took great pride in the forge had long beards that could easily catch on fire. Being so short also meant that they were even closer to their work than taller folk. That is why the isur are taller than dwarves and generally carry their hair short with the occasional goatee instead of beards. I also wanted a race that was beautiful like elves but with a more masculine build. They are still stubborn but are far from being drunks. I also wanted them to be highly religious stopping just short of being fanatical. I particularly enjoyed developing their history, society and everything related. It is my hope that one day soon I can open Sultros for the isur while still allowing some inclusion of non-isur.

Izurdin is probably equal to the isur as far as being my favorite creation. He is a god who takes no sides other than that of balance. He is the one who set forth the plan for what Mizahar would be built upon and is the ultimate planner. While he doesn’t necessarily look the future in ways that other gods do, he is able to see the patterns and pieces of choice and action and follow those pieces to the greater whole. He values creativity, industriousness, strength and patience, all of which I feel play upon and grow from one another. Having had the opportunity to play him in-thread has allowed me to further develop his personality and my ideas about him.

The Price List and the Economy are two things that took me a lot of time and experimentation to get just how I wanted them. The Price List involved countless hours of research on different games, historical comparisons and balancing of values. While this was oftentimes frustrating and tedious, I learned a lot and found the final form that it now takes to be more or less quite useful. Of course, such a massive undertaking is ripe with some oversights and mistakes but those have gradually undergone some ironing out and refining. If anything, I would like to be able to give it a massive update soon but I may have to stick with small ones here and there. The Gemstone article is an expansion of sorts to the Price List that is fun and slow going but when it is complete it will add a lot to the List in general. The Economy was born around the time of the Price List. I wanted something that was simplified compared to the bloated, over-inflated economies of some other games. While it is still relatively complex, it remains far easier to navigate than others out there. When I figured out how to avoid the vast ledgers that could have otherwise been a part of the game’s economic system, I was more than pleased. Is it perfect? Far from it. It does however make running a business somewhat easy for players.

2. Your Scrapbook is filled with various items that you call, Creator Insights. What made you want to offer such insights and are there any you wish to touch on here?

After playing Mizahar for years as both a Founder/Contributor and a Player, I noticed that many of the things I had created were oftentimes misunderstood and just as often used in ways that didn’t fit with my initial vision of things. While the latter isn’t necessarily a bad concept, many things just didn’t sit right with me so I felt that by giving some insight into the what, how and why of my vision, I could help players and storytellers get a better feel for what I was going for and hopefully integrate that knowledge into how they moderated and played.

As for another insight I may offer, I have been thinking a lot about characters and how they are portrayed/played. When I play my character(s), I start with a general concept; race, gender, basic history, likes, dislikes, basically the 100 question approach. That exercise helps me get a good starting idea of who my character is. It forces me to think of them less like a character and more like a real person. I then let that person come to life through threads while telling their ongoing story of their life as it progresses. Where I’ve seen many players over the years misstep is when they try to force something upon their character that doesn’t fit with not only their initial concept but also doesn’t fit with the path through life their character has taken. For example, a character who has lived their life as a combat-oriented person, such as a knight, isn’t just going to wake up on day and decide that they want to take up magic. Nor would they wake up on day and decide they are going to worship a certain god or goddess because it seems like a good idea. The path a character takes should feel natural and fit the character more than the player. For my characters, if they are approached by a deity, it is a life-changing event that will forever alter their path. If they seek out magic, it is because they have already been exposed to magic in general and the desire to discover and learn more develops over time and is related to knowledge and experiences they already have.

Branching off of that, I have seen in the past, storytellers give out item rewards for threads that are completely unrelated to the character receiving them. It is almost like the items were given just because they seemed cool. Item rewards such as magical ones or even the cool rare ones, should have some deeper significance to the story as well as the personal make up of the character. A wizard shouldn’t be given a magic sword that ignites in flames if they have very little weapon skill for example. A ring with a gnosis mark from Izurdin shouldn’t be given out to a follower of Rhysol. It would seem like this is common sense but you’d be surprised.

To sum it up, I would say my insight here is to let your character be themselves. Think of them outside of yourself and your own desires as a player and let the character decide what they want to do with their lives and how they are going to react to situations based on who they are, what they know and what they have been through.

3. Many of your creations here on Mizahar are extremely detailed; the Isur for example as well as Ravok, the Ebonstryfe and the Black Sun. How do you find the inspiration and especially the patience required to put so much detail into a write-up?

My inspiration for various creations actually comes from distaste for other fantasy game related elements that either don’t make sense to me or seemed like they either didn’t go far enough or went too far. I take some of my favorite things about fantasy games and try to think about how I could do them different or even better. Sometimes, the things I create are based off of my experiences in tabletop roleplaying over the years. I’ve played tabletop games since I discovered my first Basic DnD module at a garage sale when I was in sixth grade. My gods and their gnosis, NPCs, cities and locations and my characters have all been influenced by my past gaming in one form or another and to different degrees. Sometimes it’s something as simple as the mannerisms of an NPC our group encountered 20 years ago in tabletop. Other times it’s the way one of my characters spoke or dressed. The Isur, in addition to what I’ve already said about them, were based on a mix of a dwarf and an elf I played back in high school. Ravok, Rhysol and his followers were inspired by a Rifts game I played where a high-tech nazi-like organization worked to dominate the world.

The process for coming up with ideas and developing them is not unlike when I create a character. I get the basic details down and then start thinking deeper into those details. With the Isur, I started with the basics of the race. I then asked myself how would this race have become what it is in the present? I outline certain events, important historical figures and locations and build upon those. I then dissected their society and outlined how they function and why. From there things like religion, specific locations, customs and themes emerge. It really comes rather natural when you look at as if you were studying a real-life society and all that makes that society what it is. Patience comes to me as long as the ideas keep flowing. If I get stuck on a contradiction, I get stalled. Sometimes I have to step away from an article for a while.

4. Most of the time, Featured Contributors are asked what do they love most about Mizahar. Let’s turn that around for you. What is the thing you like least about Mizahar?

That is a difficult question since there is so much I DO like about Mizahar. Having to choose, I would have to say it’s a toss-up. One of the things I like least is more a technical aspect in that I hate when I am editing a Lore page and it times out on me. So, when I click preview or submit, it takes me to the login page. I have lost so much work because of that due to panicking and either close the wrong window or hit some other function in the browser and wipe what I had written. I have begun doing the obvious thing and type in Word first. The other thing is players who don’t take the time to read the lore regarding a certain aspect of the game before they start posting about it. At least with the things I’ve created, there is usually an answer to most questions located in the Lore. That is something I try to help with by including so much detail in various Lore entries. I try to answer all the questions I can think of that may at some point be asked. Thankfully this isn’t as much of a problem as it used to be because I think our great players have become quite attentive to the Lore and realize more that reading through the Lore will provide a wealth of information to help them with their characters and stories.

5. Is there anything you would like to see players become more involved in as it relates to expanding development and contribution?

I would like to see both player characters and storytellers work more on expanding current ideas, themes, cities, organizations and the like rather than trying to take these things in completely different directions or even starting something new that is very similar to what already exists. There are so many good ideas out there that have already been started and established that could use a little push in evolving and growing. Over the years there have been many storytellers who want to create a new city or new organization when similar ones already exist that are in need of further development and evolution. There are players who want their characters to start up things that already exist in similar forms. There are too many really to list but I would suggest taking a little time and just surf through the Lore or check out the various City/Region/Domain information threads and see what’s there. I am amazed still at all the unique things I find by doing this that I never knew existed. Even my own postings contain things I totally forgot about or had an idea for but never fully realized it. I think if more players focused on the great things that already exist in Mizahar and tried to grow them, they would find all the inspiration and motivation they could ever want.

6. If you could share something about Mizahar that you think makes it stand out from other games, what would it be?

I like to think that on Mizahar we tend to function proactively when it comes to development as opposed to reacting. For example, I like to build upon existing elements. When surfing through the Lore, I will see things that could use a bit more detail or things that don’t really make much sense to me. Instead of waiting for those things to become bigger problems, I try to curb that negative potential and make it better. Of course, there will always be the things that slip through and need to be changed or altered because they have caused problems or misunderstandings but I think we do a good job at tackling these kinds of things early on.

I also think that the sheer amount of contributing from the players/storytellers over the many years we’ve been around shows itself to be quite a monumental thing to be sure. Our Lore section is MASSIVE and is filled with countless creations from people across the world. That level of collaboration really just blows me away. I have literally spent hours just surfing the Lore and learning about various aspects of the game I help create which I never knew about before. This is all because of the creative people who took our dream which is Mizahar and improved and expanded upon it.
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And I call it home. And there's no more lies. And the darkness is light. And nobody cries. There's only butterflies."


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August's Featured Contributor Is...

Postby Madeira Craven on August 3rd, 2017, 12:33 am

Well this was a decade coming. Cheers, Gillar!
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August's Featured Contributor Is...

Postby Aladari Coolwater on August 3rd, 2017, 9:22 pm

Hear, hear!
I know your work is thankless sometimes, so it's great to see some recognition. Good going, Gillar.
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August's Featured Contributor Is...

Postby Aoren on August 3rd, 2017, 10:40 pm

Congratulations! Thank you for all that you do.
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August's Featured Contributor Is...

Postby Yisanareysin on August 5th, 2017, 6:59 am

Thanks for everything you do Gillar :3
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August's Featured Contributor Is...

Postby Dovey on August 6th, 2017, 12:00 am

Congrats! Thanks for your hard work.
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August's Featured Contributor Is...

Postby Konrad Venger on August 6th, 2017, 12:43 am

Many thanks for all the behind the scenes world-building you do and continue to do, mate.

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