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March's Featured Contributor Is...

Postby Gossamer on March 2nd, 2019, 2:53 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 March 2019 is Neologism! Neologism has been with Mizahar off and on since 2014 and is one of our fantastic AS’s helping out in the city of Lhavit. Please join me in congratulating Neologism on earning this award. His Interview is below!


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The Interview!


1. I’d really like to know what Mizahar means to you. I’ve heard all kinds of answers to this question, but its always been an important one to me. And it is very telling as to why you are here. So why Miz? What is Miz to you?

Mizahar is a fun game, and it’s comfortable for me. At this point, I know the lore in and out (at least the parts that pertain to my modding or PCs, I can’t claim to know [ i]everything[/i]), and so it is familiar and enjoyable. It makes getting creative easier because there is not risk of messing up, nor do I have to go make up something when I don’t have the answer for something… I just play. I showed up because google told me to and then when I got the hang of it, I stuck around because it is fun.

2. What do you think the unique properties of Lhavit are? How has being a part of the Lhavit Team enriched your life?

Oh goodness, I absolutely adore Lhavit. I really enjoy the odd schedule and dichotomy of night and day that the city expresses. It has a rich history and culture, which makes it very fun for PCs to play in. But more importantly, at least to me, Lhavit is a massively religious city. Their patron deity, of course, being Zintila, but they also pay heavy homage to Leth. And it is because of this that they are unlike other God-driven cities like Ravok or Avanthal, because while they do have an active God leader, thye are not restrictive. Zintila, Syna, and Leth impact any Lhavitian’s day-to-day, but most other Gods are welcome as well and you will find deeply religious folk to many different religions. As a mod I find this fun because you get the chance to play with how all these followers view their Gods, and how their morals and ethics differ and interact with one another.

This is amplified by the fact that Lhavit is lead by a few different independent factions with relatively few checks and balances on one another. It causes civilians to pick a side and be loyal, and I’ve always thought the governmental systems to be relatively unstable. Because of this they are spatting over various ways to lead the city and the citizens that are loyal to them are also taking sides. It is a political playground, if you like that kind of stuff. It is also home to magic, which I know draws a lot of players in, so it offers chances to create chaos where magic is. Because even if Lhavit is welcoming of mages of all types, that doesn’t make the magic any less dangerous, and so the city has to face the dangers that come with that.

3. How did you find Mizahar and what made you stay?

Google. I always really really wanted to play Dungeons and Dragons, but no one around me knew how or wanted to learn. I think I started roleplaying on chat rooms and fandom sites when I was like nine or ten (I know, wayyyy to young) and kinda floated around until I found Mizahar at the fresh age of fourteen. At the time I had not seen anything like it and so it was really fun for me to learn new lore and fantasy. I had always been an independent writer, and still am, but Mizahar offered a pre-built world and community which was what I was looking for. I later found DnD and heavily enjoy that too, but I would no longer classify them as the same thing, although there are similarities.

4. Tell us a little about why you picked your ST Name? I’m always interested to hear the meaning behind names and the why of it. Neologism is a bit harder to guess at than most. Bonus points if you explain the chimp motif!

Well, when I started modding as a JrST I was just looking at the pattern of ST names, which seemed like simply being people’s favorite words or concepts. Neologism is the making up of a new word, and it is one of my favorite words so that is where it came from. I try to stay true to it by being as unique and anti-establishment as possible, but I’m afraid it might have just turned into a reference from the matrix that I don’t understand because I’ve never seen it.

As for the chimp theme, I can’t remember where that started. When I started in Zeltiva it was a deer theme, which sort of fit. When I got to Kalinor it was a spider theme, and then when I went to Lhavit it became a chimp theme…. Which totally makes sense because Lhavit is full of chimps, right?

5. You play multiple characters on Mizahar, and all of them are vastly different from each other. Is that on purpose? How do you decide which to play and what PC gets your love while still balancing your ST life?

I think the differences are just a result of my inability to concentrate. During my first few years here I had a habit of creating a new PC, getting them to 50-150 posts, and then dropping them to make more. When I came back after a hiatus, I wanted to make a new character but decided instead to pick up an old one and see if I could make something out of it. I really like projects and renovations, so it was kind of fun to pick Lani back up and start remaking her based off of what I originally had planned for her. She has now gone through a lot and is almost a completely different person than last time I played her, and has quickly slid into being my favorite character, but I think she is more fit for her over-arching goal now and I might be able to actually achieve it.

Another PC ya’ll have probably seen my tooting about is Ixzo. She is my absolute favorite, although I need to focus on her for inspiration. Her plot had always been to fit in and find family when she was in Endrykas. But now that Endrykas has closed (and I took a loooong break from her), all of that is gone and she has to start over. If I have the time I will work on her too, but she is a character that definitely needs a strong social support system otherwise she will perish, quite literally. My #1 bae though is Ssezzkero (I know, I’ve called all my PCs my favorites, I don’t care). She is a long-lived race who is basically a child due to inexperience. She cares deeply for nature and her patron deities, and she is a pacifist, despite being a massive Dhani. I don’t really have a specific plot in mind, I just find her fun to play, but I think I would play her in an instant if I had the time. I’ve got one more PC that I waver on bringing back, and he is perhaps the most odd of mine. He is a slave-driving self-obsessed noble. He is very much a troupe, but not one that I play often so I find him fun. He is a hell of a project if I ever want to bring him back.

6. Do you feel the Weekly or Weekend Challenges add to the productivity of PCs? What other kinds of things can staff or even individual players do to get people writing more and invested more in their plot lines?

As a PC I find them to be super helpful. I’ve always personally used inspiration mixers to help with my writing and so the weekend challenges are basically that but with prizes, which is great. I’m personally a fan of reward based systems, mostly because I think it creates a more positive environment. If you’re going to write anyway, why not be rewarded for it?

I’m not quite sure what to do on a general scale to encourage players to embrace their plots (or to even create them in the first place), but I have a strategy that I use with my own players. I find it requires a bit of personalization and attention, but it still seems like a reasonable amount of work to me. I’ve found that people really like enemies. Whether their character is good or bad, they need someone to fight with (physical, social, political, ethical, or otherwise). They don’t need someone to beat per say, but challenges are important. This was quickly learned from when I was DMing in Dungeons and Dragons. I found all my players would wander and have fun and not really pay attention to the plot until I gave them someone to hate. As a city storyteller this won’t always be just one NPC or faction because everyone’s PCs are so different, but as you get to know your players you find what would piss them off, and then you play that. If they win, that is awesome, and now you have elated players who are more confident in themselves and likely have more inspiration for bigger plots. If they lose, well now you’ve provided depth and angst-ey backstory for your player’s future plots, which, in theory, should push them to strive for revenge or to beat the next challenge you give them. And… if they lose and they cry about it, they aren’t worth your time.

And on an individual player note… make friends. Make connections and intertwine your PC’s life with other people. It’s hard to ask a bunch of people who get alone OOC to hate each other IC so you can leave that to the mods. I find most people cannot compartmentalize their IC and OOC interactions, and will often bring OOC stuff IC or be offended by something IC and change how they talk to the person OOC, but if you can, go for it. It is super fun. But I don’t think that makes you less of a player if you can’t, but it does mean you have to find your roots another way. Leave the enemies to the mods, and build a PC family that will keep you grounded and give you something to do and provide some output for your character’s antics. Also, I have a theory mods are more happy to help groups of people rather than just one, because even if one falls of the face of the earth, their plots can keep going (at least I am, tbh). Human beings are social creatures, so are your PCs, take care of them.

7. I’ve literally watched you grow from a late teen to a full-fledged adult on this site. Such transformations are amazing for me to see. I also recognize that both forms – the larva and the butterfly – see things very differently. What is different about Miz now that you are well and truly grown into your skin than perhaps the way you saw Miz when you were still finding your way in life?

Ugh, I cringe when I think about teenage me. I still am a child, I feel like a child. But I feel that I’ve at least changed. I’m not so reliant on what other people think of my any more, which is a huge relief. I find it is easier to relax when you aren’t trying so hard to defend your image and appear tough, especially over the internet. I don’t let people walk on me, but I don’t let words bother me so much either. I find my PCs have definitely benefited from not being used as pawns in other people’s plots because I was so desperate to please OOC. I also think they’ve benefited because I’m less flaky and indecisive and when I make a plot I can actually commit to it.

And, in the kindest way possible, I don’t care about Mizahar as much anymore. I mean that in the sense of I’m not sitting in my room at every spare minute and writing and never leaving. I have a social life and hobbies outside of the internet, which vastly help one balance their perceptions. Mizahar is still a fun game, and I’m definitely addicted, but I’m not micro-analyzing things said and done her because I don’t have anything else to do with my time. Also, the more life experiences I gain, the better my writing gets. I guarantee I would have never thought to write about half of the things I do had I not gained some life experience in various subject matters.

8. Can you talk a little about what kinds of things you love to experience in a thread? What really turns on your creative juices when you run into it? This can be from an ST position, a Character Position, or even from a reader standpoint… or better yet all three!

Let’s start with ST PoV since technically that’s what I’m being interviewed for. As an ST, I like to give my players puzzles. I give them hints and I want them to find the answers, however I don’t want to railroad them. The bizarre little details that I write are usually important, so pay attention. I will put a the same clue in multiple places so that there are more chances if you miss it the first time, but if you ignore it too much I will give up and move on and you’ll never experience whatever that plot was going to be. Now, forewarning, I also love Red Herrings, so that may not help. If you investigate a clue you’ll know almost immediately if something comes of it or not, but if you find top many dead-end clues, don’t be discouraged, I’m just messing with you. So I like to give clues, but not all of them are real, so good luck. Just approach my threads by questioning everything and you will probably find something. :P

As a reader, I absolutely love reoccurring themes. If your character has a small detail about them that is being brought up in most threads or in certain reoccurring situations, it draws me in and makes me want to read more. The reason? I feel more personal with your character. I feel like I know a little thing about them, like how they are obsessed with birds, or have a tendency to forget their coat all the time, or are particular about the color of clothes they wear. It’s the little things that don’t really mean much to a character concept that get overlooked, but they make the reader pay attention. They offer a familiarity that keeps us coming back, and on a site like this if you have a regular reader, you have someone who wants to write with you.

As a PC, I adore action and surprise. I want to get drunk and steal a cat with another PC only to not talk to them again until the end of the season when you randomly recognize them at the market place and try and tag down their attention to ask how fluffers is doing, but they thought you had fluffers, and now both of you miss fluffers. Saying hi and then immediately asking “why are you here” or “what do you do?” is boring. Show me what your PC does, don’t tell me. Or better yet, throw me a curve ball. Who cares if they get to know each other and become best friends. If the only time our PCs ever interact is because we have one mutual friend and my PC watched your PC trip once and so tries to trip you every time she sees you, well that is an awesome writing relationship. Let’s have experiences as PCs, conversations are boring. Also, the quickest way to get me to drop a thread is to have your PC watch what my PC is doing and then not respond or do anything back. I know we have all maxed observation, but sometimes it is fun to let your PC not notice something and run into some trouble (or luck) because of it.


9. What do you personally get out of being a full-fledged Assistant Storyteller verses perhaps contributing in other ways like Art or Grading? Talk about what you really like about being an AS! Give us the dirt about working under Lumi! Is she a slave driver or a sweetie?


Well, that is easy. I have far more inspiration to write than to mess around on PS or read. That being said, I still do do those things, and there are a lot of threads that I browse and will PM a player to let me grade rather than put it in the queue or grade it themselves because I need it for some city plot (and also because we STs need to grade way more than we do, let’s be honest we are all slackers). Basically I like being an ST because I think about all the things I want to do to my PC or want to happen to my PC and realize that a lot of it needs ST help. And if I’m sitting there wishing there was more ST help, there must be other people who are doing so right?

Also as an ST you can write whatever you want, basically. You do it for your players and your city, and you shouldn’t go ham on killing PCs or handing out rewards willy-nilly, but if I want to play a Vantha but don’t want to go make another PC? Easy, go give a player something to hunt, and see what it turns into. STing allows me to create plots with little reserve, and because everyone wants a modded thread always, there is never a lack of people to write with. It also removes the pressure of wanting your PC to succeed. If the NPC you are playing dies, so what? You have hundreds more. See above answer about player winning/losing inspiration.

I also really like projects. I like looking at a list of things to do and checking them off, and organizing things. And while a Storyteller’s main job is definitely to storytell, they also get to go in and look at ledgers and assign jobs and work out the logistics of their city, which for me is like meditation. It is satisfying to work on the machine of a city and watch it come together and work together, and knowing that I’m practically the only person who understands what each player is trying to do and can pair players together that would benefit each other but would not realize because everyone is keeping their plots secret or because no one is reading other people’s threads. As an ST you can pull those strings and put people together, and further plots, and oil up the machine so it runs smoothly. It is really satisfying.

I don’t know, I kinda ranted on this one. The summary is that it is really fun. It is fun to be a control freak and a puppet master and to make the experiences of your players more fun and exciting, because when they are having fun, you are having fun.

Working with Lumi is super fun. She is not a slave driver, but she will put her foot down when necessary. We get along really well, and I think our brains function on the same wave length so when we are plotting there is not a lack of communication, and we know what each other is trying to do with a situation. I’m not used to working on a team, but I find Lumi and the rest of the STs to be super helpful and communicative. She’s also far more chill than me, who is a bundle of nerves and energy at all times, so it can be nice to be reigned back in and grounded when I go off, she’s definitely showing me the lead by elevation model rather than brute force model, which is refreshing.


10. Can you tell us a bit about some of your favorite interactions with PC verses ST or PC verses PC? Post some links if you can!


Well, I will say that I have a short list to choose from for ST and PC interactions, simply because I haven’t been back that long. That, and my absolutely horrendous memory will not procure any outstanding threads from last time I was here. But recently, I really enjoyed this rapid-fire modded thread I did called The Catalyst. It was definitely a situation where I went in expecting to have a throwaway NPC and just create an event for future seasonal plots, but it turned into a whole thing. The characters were not just fighting my NPC but thinking about what was going on, working together, and finding my clues. It was a quick and rapid tuffle that ended up turning into an interesting plot point that inspired some events for Spring as a result. My favorite moment was definitely when Madeira figured out what it would take to defeat Ponrose, after having had the wrong idea to begin with. Also that Gemma was taking initiative and working in her strengths rather than not. I enjoy the ingenuity of PCs, and not once did I feel like someone was watching and without reacting. Very fun read that turned out to be quite important.

11. Any future teaser plans for us? Is Neo sticking around Lhavit or setting off on his own? Bonus points if you tell us if you have a PC hitlist... who's on it!?

Future teasers… hmmm. Well I do plan on applying for DS as soon as I hit my sixty day mark this month. I’ve been eyeballing my roots, where I started as a JrST and where I started my current PC funny enough. I obviously still have to apply and get approved, but you may see more ships than stars when this chimp moves to Zeltiva. Worry not, even though I apply in march I will finish up any plots in Lhavit regardless of when I go over.

As for a hitlist, I do not have specific PCs I want to kill, to be honest. However, if you wander into my grasp know that the possibility is there. Although to be truthful, I prefer maiming and emotional havoc to killing, because if you mess them up good they will stick around for more because PCs are weird and masochistic. If you kill them, they may not come back to you. What I do have in mind is furthering your plots and giving you the ST opportunity to do those restricted things everyone wants to do. All you have to do is prove you can handle my sadistic tendencies and not come at me with the expectation of favors or free things (you will be disappointed).

12. This is your soap box question! Anything you want to tell us or say in this spot that you weren’t asked? Your audience wants to know!

Soap box! I only have one thing to say, apply to be an ST! It’s really fun and rewarding if you like being the cool uncle and also the evil stepmother at the same time! But if you’re nervous, apply to be a grader first, come to an ST for some help and we can help you get a foot in the door. We can give you a Guest Modded Thread to do or find a way to get your toes wet so you can jump in.

On another note, I’ve been putting “Throw a shoe at another PC” as seasonal challenges for years now and no one has done that yet (what you guys don’t like shiny medals more than mortifying embarrassment and awkward plotting?), so if anyone wants to write that and send me a link so I can laugh my ass off, please do.

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March's Featured Contributor Is...

Postby Gemma Parker on March 2nd, 2019, 3:14 am

Congratulations, Neo! I'm proud to be in Lhavit with you and can't wait to enjoy your STing and RPing even more!
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Postby Itt on March 2nd, 2019, 3:35 am

Congrats Neo!! It was so well deserved!! I will be sure to throw a shoe at another PC as soon as It gets a pair of shoes!
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Postby Antipodes on March 2nd, 2019, 4:31 am

Congratulations Neo! Very well deserved! I love seeing your passion for and dedication to the city and players you look after and am so grateful that you are a part of the team. Very much looking forward to seeing where DShood takes you once you are there <3 Thanks again for all you do!
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Postby Zavya on March 2nd, 2019, 4:45 am

Congrats, Neo! :D You're doing a great job over in Lhavit, and I can't wait to see what you do if (when) you take over Zeltiva!
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Postby Madeira Craven on March 2nd, 2019, 10:18 pm

Congratulations Neo! You've been a whirlwind in Lhavit with all your planning and threads. We're so lucky to have you!
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Postby Luminescence on March 2nd, 2019, 11:20 pm

Come on you slacker, back to work with you! *cracks whip*

But in all seriousness haha, congrats Neo! This is extremely well-deserved, and I can't thank you enough for all of your help in Lhavit. Working with you so far has been an absolute pleasure, and you're going to make for a fantastic DS soon enough. :D
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Postby Mauriel on March 4th, 2019, 10:36 am

Congrats, Neo! Thank you for everything you've been doing for us over in Lhavit, I've really enjoyed threading with you as a mod. :D I'm very excited for Zeltiva to reopen if your application passes, I have cringy teenage roots there myself and it's making me nostalgic. xD Glad you're staying in Lhavit as Lani at least though.
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Postby Timothy Mered on March 5th, 2019, 12:45 am

NEO!!

it has been like FOREVER but I just popped in and saw the interview and devoured the whole thing. So great to see you're active here still, and congrats of course! Are you looking to bring your favourite pc Jed back? :)
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Postby Neologism on March 5th, 2019, 12:51 am

Thanks y'all!

TIMTIM! I'm sending you a PM its been too long.
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