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Gazette - July 2009
Articles | Archives | Gazette | 2009 Gazettes | Gazette - July 2009
___The New Official AVATAR___________________________________
    ________                          __     __
   /  _____/ _____   ________  ____ _/  |_ _/  |_   ____
  /   \  ___ \__  \  \____  /_/ __ \\   __\\   __\_/ __ \
  \    \_\  \ / __ \_ /    / \  ___/ |  |   |  |  \  ___/
   \______  /(____  //_____ \ \___  >|__|   |__|   \___  >
          \/      \/       \/     \/                   \/
____________________________________________July, 2009______


Welcome to the text based version of the AVATAR Gazette. We
stripped a variety of ASCII characters from this version,
using only the ampersand sign to break up the sections.

While The Avatar Gazette is brought to you with the help of
many people, from Immortals, Angels, and players, the official
Staff is listed below. Feel free to contact any of us with
questions, feedback and suggestions! You can also write us at
Gazinput@outland.org. We'd love to hear from you!

Publisher: Cerdwyn
Editor: Anessa
Ashtaka, Cleites, Essenceroses, Ferrix, Glissade, Kariya,
Kenji, Proeliator, Synggve, Unruhe.

If you are interested in joining the Gazette staff, please
contact Anessa at anessa@outland.org or in-game via a tell.

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TABLE OF CONTENT

AVATAR Focus - Making A Difference                    Anessa
Player Submissions - Avatar Parables and Fables      Cleites
AVATAR Spotlight - A conversation with Zahri
AVATAR Immortal Trivia                               Ashtaka
Wings, Observations From The Cloud – Angels: Beyond Avatar
                                                   Glissade
Blind Mudding                                         Loxias
Murphy found in Necropolis                           SePadre
Thoughts From The Dark Side                           Kariya
Flashback!                                             Kenji
Recipe Corner                       Cleites and Essenceroses
Recipes courtesy Loxias, Cerdwyn, Tidnab and Anessa
Ask An Angel                                        Glissade
Tips and Tricks                                      Cleites
Book Review                                           Kariya
Command Of The Month - Config +condition            Glissade
Fun Links                                            Ashtaka
June/July Calendar

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MAKING A DIFFERENCE, by Anessa

I'd been stumped for just what to write in this issue of the
Avatar Focus, and was tempted to just leave it out and see if
anyone would notice. I've been working for several days, as I
have the time, on formatting the .PDF version of The Gazette,
and am now putting together the June and July calendars. Since
we don't have that many folks on our Avatar Birthday List yet,
I like to fill in the empty spaces with the birthdays of
famous people. As I was working through all those famous names
today, I realized what a wide variety of people have had some
sort of impact in our lives. On this month’s calendars we have
Authors, Nobel Prize Winners, Scientists, Politicians, Activists,
Athletes and Actors. Some entertain us, others have healed us,
and still others have taught us.

I'm a very strong believer in 'making a difference'. When my
nephews were young, and we'd go off on our weekend 'adventures',
we often found ourselves picnicking at various parks. Some were
remote National Forests, others popular and very busy, and almost
all were free for us to use. I taught the boys, early on, that
it was our duty to leave these beautiful places better off for
us having been there. We'd pick up litter left by others, and
make sure it all was thrown carefully into the trash before we
left. We'd participate in organized beach clean up days as well.

One year, when my youngest nephew was maybe 6 years old, and
we'd walked a couple miles from our starting point, he happened
across a very large, heavy piece of a tire. It must have been
off a semi truck as it was bigger than he was! He dragged that
tire all the way back to the collection site, where he was
awarded a t-shirt about 5 sizes too big, for collecting the
biggest piece of trash. Twenty years later, he still enjoys
telling the story of cleaning up the beach and his prize! We'd
also get up very early on July 5th and walk the local beach,
cleaning up all the trash left from fireworks! I am immensely
proud to say that they have both grown up into men that greatly
respect our environment, and to this day places they visit are
left better off for them having been there.

So, by now you are probably wondering just why I'm writing about
this, and how it relates to this game called Avatar. My 'focus'
for this article is on you, the staff and players of Avatar. I
would challenge each of you to make a difference, both here as
you play the game, and also in that place we call Real Life.

As with many folks that find themselves playing online games,
some here may not be as open with problems they are having, or
have the family support group others of us are lucky to have.
Others may not be as self confident or as socially outgoing as
they'd like to be. This is, after all, where we come to forget
our Real Life problems, isn't it?

So, what can you do? This is after all, just a game, right?
Answer a newbie's question, give advice in a polite and friendly
way, group that low hero that is struggling to level, or just
spend some time talking and getting to know someone new.  You
may never know just how much a friendly word or smile (even if
it can't be seen) can do. Yes, even online, you can leave a
place better, for having been there.

Editor’s Note: If you have a simple story about how someone
in Avatar made a difference in your life, even if it's just a
one-liner thank you with a short description of what the person
did and how it impacted you, we'd love it print it in next month's
Gazette. Send it to gazinput@outland.org.

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AVATAR PARABLES AND FABLES -Player Submissions-

In our travels across the realm looking for new material, the
Gazette Team has heard countless parables and fables from the
inhabitants of our world. These tales are sometimes touching,
often horrifying, but each and every one of them teaches us a
little something about our world and imparts a lesson for those
who are wise enough to see it. What we'd like you to do, dear
reader, is to jot down any parables and fables you have been told
in your travels across Midgaardia (or beyond, you mysterious
lords). We will publish the tales in the August issue of the
AVATAR Gazette so that everyone can share in them.

If you want to submit a tale, send it to gazinput@outland.org
no later July 21st. Your parable/fable can be completely original
or adapted from well-known stories to fit in the AVATAR theme.
We've decided to include two examples for you to get you started
and to give you an idea of the sort of thing we are looking for.
Also, rumor has it that the parables and fables submitted for
this issue may be 'immortalized' in a special way!



VANITY AND THE ELF By Cleites

Many years ago a beautiful elf was traveling through the
countryside when she stopped in a particularly peaceful forest.
She spent many days dancing and singing among the trees,
delighting in the beauty that surrounded her. One day a scruffy
kobold passed by carrying a huge pile of potatoes in his weak
little arms.

"With all the work and running about you kobolds do, it is no
wonder you can't appreciate the beauty of the forest that
surrounds you every day of your life," remarked the elf to the
kobold.

"The forest might be beautiful to you but it is dangerous to
me. I am gathering food for my family for the long winter to
come and I suggest that you do the same while there is still
time left," replied the kobold.

At this the elf laughed and began to dance again, long into the
night. Several months later, as snow fell and the winds howled
through the trees, the elf could find no food and began to feel
hungry. When she could see starvation looming on the horizon
the elf searched out the kobold family and begged food of them.
The kobold she had met in the woods said, "We only have enough
food for ourselves and none to spare. There is nothing extra
to give you and you need to leave now."

With that, the elf wandered back into the forest where she spent
the night singing and dancing in the cold. The next morning the
kobold she had met earlier found the elf, frozen solid during
her life's last dance.


THE ORC AND THE CENTAUR by Cleites

One day an orc and a centaur met on the bank of a wide stream.
The orc, who could not swim and was in fact quite afraid of
water, asked the centaur if he would carry him across the stream
on his back. The centaur, knowing the evil reputation of orcs,
was at first wary of his potential passenger.

To help assuage his fears, the centaur asked the orc, "How do
I know you won't kill me while you are on my back?" The orc
replied honestly enough, "Because if I do, I will fall into the
stream and drown."

This answer satisfied the centaur who, being a kind and trusting
fellow, was more than willing to help the orc cross the stream
if there was no risk to himself.

The pair set out much as a horse and rider would, making quick
progress across the stream. Near the midpoint of the passage,
the centaur slipped ever so slightly on a slippery stone and
the orc struck blindingly fast with his shortsword, opening the
centaur's throat with one quick blow. With a shocked look in
his eyes, the orc fell with a splash into the stream and began
to drown.

As the centaur's consciousness began to fade, he gasped out one
word: "Why?"

With his dying breath the orc answered, "It is my nature...”


And finally, to give you an idea of what to think about for
future submissions we have decided to include a calendar of
upcoming calls for your work:


AVATAR parables and fables – Deadline July 21st
AVATAR-themed ASCII art submissions – Deadline August 15th
AVATAR-themed poetry submissions – Deadline September 15th
Draw your character! (any medium) – Deadline October 15th

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AVATAR SPORTLIGHT, A conversation with Zahri

The Gazette would like to thank Zahri for letting us visit
and get to know her a bit better!

Zahri's Library
[Exits: up]
Although this room is not as quiet as a true library, there is
an air of stillness and quiet contemplation within. Though
you might not always realize, there is always someone listening
and waiting for you to speak.

If you are not ready to talk yet, take a moment to calm
yourself by looking at the various items here: a few
bookshelves, an oak table, and a window await your gaze.
Hopefully, you will find solace in this little corner of the
universe.... just sit down next to me.

(White Aura) Zahri  Low Hero xp bonus: board 7, 232 is here.

The Gazette exclaims 'Hi Zahri!’

Zahri says 'yo yo ;)'

The Gazette says 'Thanks for letting me visit with you a bit'

Zahri bows low, with a flourish of her cape.

You smile at her.

The Gazette says 'So, this is going to be very casual, I
still have no idea what all I will ask'

Zahri nods her head solemnly.

Zahri grins.

The Gazette asks 'You are one of the more active Immortals,
especially when it comes to player involvement, so I thought
maybe you'd like to share a bit about yourself?'

The Gazette says 'Maybe some fun things about your rl.. so
folks get to know the person behind the sprite'

Zahri says 'Well, I just got my Master's in Library and
Information Science, and I currently work the reference
desk at an academic library. :)'

The Gazette exclaims 'congratulations!'

Zahri says 'I grew up in a small suburb around Chicago,
although I moved to the east coast within the last few years.'

Zahri says 'and I love sports. football, hockey, basketball,
baseball.. it's all good.'

Zahri blinks innocently.

The Gazette exclaims 'wow, a big sports fan. I don't see
wrestling listed there!'

Zahri asks 'Did you know Monday Night Raw was sold to Donald
Trump this week?'

Zahri suddenly tries to act innocent.

The Gazette says 'umm.. no, I did not’

You laugh.

Zahri grins.

The Gazette asks 'So what brought you to AVATAR? And how long
ago was that?'

Zahri says 'I found AVATAR after the previous game that I
played went pay to play, in February 1998. I was 14 at the
time. Let me just say it is quite useful to have a MUD that
starts with "A", when looking at the zMUD list of MUDs. ;)'

The Gazette exclaims 'I hadn't thought of that!'

The Gazette asks 'Do you get a chance to play the game much?
And if so, what race/class do you enjoy most?'

Zahri says 'Lately I have been trying to play Lord more,
although my centaur cleric is quite close to Hero 999 also.
But my favorite race/class will always be sprite mage. Even
if it dies a lot at Legend..'

The Gazette exclaims 'Ohh, a sprite at legend! Sounds
dangerous!'

Zahri exclaims 'Just a bit dangerous yeah... but it's a lot
of fun!'

The Gazette says 'awesome'

The Gazette says 'So you do get to play some. That's nice'

The Gazette asks 'When did you become an Immortal?'

Zahri says 'October 2007...I was running a Lord Quest (under
my Lord's name). I was logged into Zahri (who was then my
builder staff alt), sitting in a secret room above High King
Adrial, overlooking his room. It was then and there that I
was asked if I wanted to join the Immortal ranks by Kariya.
I said yes, and the rest is history. ;)'

The Gazette asks 'Has being an Immortal been everything you
expected?'

Zahri says 'Yes. Though I think it is a ton more work than
players realize, that's for sure. But it's also a lot of
fun and I really enjoy giving back to AVATAR and I am glad
I got the chance. :)'

The Gazette says 'Do you have a specific set of responsiblities?'

Zahri says 'I have a lot of different responsibilities.
I am still actively involved in building areas, with some
side work in mobprogs. I am also the head of Publicity.'

Zahri says 'As publicity, I think it is awesome that so many
players take time out of their day to vote for AVATAR! It is
so much fun to see who is leading the race each month
(currently it is MapCen). I also like to hear about new
websites where we might be able to promote AVATAR.'

Zahri says 'I also do a lot of work with new players, as I
can. I have designed some helpfiles for players who use screen
readers, and I made two tour guides which can take players
to different areas by walking. There's one in Stonehall, first
floor, and one northwest of Aelmon.'

Zahri says 'I also unofficially designiated a buddyset as
a place for new players to get extra assistance, although it
is also populated by higher characters. The channel is public
and you can sometimes see it in my title. To join it, type
"buddyset hesperia" at any time (and feel free to bring
friends). Note that it is a public channel, so language
and similar rules apply at all times. :)'

The Gazette says 'I'll have to check out that channel,
sounds fun'

Zahri says 'Please do! It tends to have a lot of players
on it during late afternoons, system time.'

The Gazette asks 'Can you pinpoint a favorite, among all
the jobs you've taken on?’

Zahri says 'Building areas, definitely. I have been trying
to get back into that. I also want to put some cool mobprogs
in all of my areas to add flavor ;)'

The Gazette says 'The mprogs really are fun, and your tour
guides are really helpful to players. I often take new
folks to the one near Sol, and pay for their first tour.'

Zahri says 'Yep! Players love them.'

The Gazette asks 'Is it fair to ask what your least favorite
job is?'

Zahri says 'Probably disciplining players, but it must be
done to keep the game enjoyable for others, and fair as well.'

The Gazette asks 'If you could give one piece of advice to
the players, old and new, what would it be?'

Zahri says 'Group someone you wouldn't normally group
(especially with the new low hero xp bonus!). Show kindness,
and make someone's day. You'll never know what friends
you'll find along the way. :)'

The Gazette exclaims 'wonderful advice!'

Zahri smiles happily.

Zahri spins herself around and around and around...

Zahri collapses onto the floor from exhaustion.

The Gazette says 'And, on that note, I think we can bring
this to a close'

You giggle in Zahri's presence.

Zahri exclaims 'Thank you for interviewing me! Vote for
AVATAR!!'

The Gazette exclaims 'Thanks a lot, Zahri.. for letting us get
to know you better!'

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IMMORTAL TRIVIA AND FUN FACTS, by Ashtaka

This month, we decided it may be fun for everyone to learn a
bit more about the Immortal staff. We asked the Immortals for
a few fun facts that players may not know about them, and the
responses sparked some interesting conversation! In this issue
of The Gazette you will find fun tidbits about those that help
run Avatar. Now, for the catch! We aren't telling you which
Immortal belongs to which of the facts! We will publish the
answers in the next issue of The Gazette.

Which Immortal was married in a Scottish Castle located in
the US?

Which Immortal owns a balinese cat?

Which Immortal lived with the brother of a fellow Immortal?

Which Immortal Has 2 lizards named after Iliad Characters?

Which Immortal is making money selling seashells to tourists?

Which Immortal played rugby at Twickenham?

Which Immortal was asked to guard the President of the
United States?

Which Immortal plays with trains all day and gets paid for it?

Which Immortal has hiked and skied Tuckerman Ravine in the
past 6 months?

Which Immortal was present at the official opening of the
Sydney Opera House?

Which Immortal was a professional Actor for several years?

Which immortal is the parent of a retired immortal's wife?

Which Immortal won an award in 4th grade for a short story
about a dragon that couldn't breathe fire?

Which Immortal lived in a dorm overlooking a different
chemical factory on each side during High School?

Which Immortal has climbed Mount Fuji?

Which Immortal has slapped Snikt?

Which Immortal has experience fighting with a sword, pike,
musket, and cannon?

Which Immortal has lived on both sides (politically speaking)
of strictly divided countries?

Which Immortal had a weekly newspaper column in a large
metropolitan(US) newspaper as a sophomore in high school?

Which Immortal eradicated Pooh Bear?

Which Immortal has recently planned how to best accommodate
a skull saw in a room already filled with other cut up tools?

Which Immortal has a character named in honor of a class he
failed in college?

Which Immortal is the oldest of 8 children?

Which Immortal has made and used a dog sled?

Which Immortal Spent $15 Million USD in a single day

Which Immortal slept overnight on the grounds of Nottingham
Castle?

Which Immortal attended college on a bowling scholarship?

Which Immortal was paid to hack into banks?

Which Immortal won the Lord building Contest in 2007?

Which Immortal wrote an undergraduate honors thesis on
Edgar Allen Poe's works?

Which Immortal sold thousand dollar moccasins at renaissance
fairs?

Which Immortal has earned an order of Magellan certificate?

Which Immortal was one of two Immortals to live in both
hemispheres(N/S) of the world at one point?

Which Immortal was the only non-Hispanic member of a Spanish
dance troupe at the age of 6?

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"WINGS” - Observations from the Cloud
Angels: Beyond Avatar, by Glissade

Angel, a fusion of Old English “engel” and Old French “angele,”
both derived from the Latin “angelus” and from the Greek
“angelos” meaning messenger. Here is a little bit of history
about angels in other realms beyond Midgaard's walls. The
information comes from various internet sources, so make what
you will of it.

In the Hebrew Bible, the Malach are Messenger Angels. There are
also other creatures who serve God, including Irinim
(Watchers/High Angels), Cherubim (Mighty Ones), Sarim (Princes),
Seraphim (Fiery Ones), Chayyot (Holy Creatures), and Ofanim
(Wheels).

A seraph (or seraphim if there are more than one) is one of a
class of celestial beings mentioned once in the Hebrew Bible.
Later Jewish imagery perceived them as having human form, and
in that way they passed into the ranks of Christian angels.
In the Christian angelic hierarchy, seraphim represent the
highest order, or angelic choir, of angels.

A cherub (or cherubs or cherubim if there are more than one)
is a form of angel mentioned several times in the Bible, also
sometimes considered the second choir. In modern English
“cherub” is usually used to describe “putti,” toddler angels
in art. I'm not sure how any of our newest angels on Avatar
would feel if you called them a putti, though! The biblical
prophet Ezekiel describes the cherubim as each having four
faces: a lion, an ox, an eagle, and a man; the stature and
hands of a man; the feet of a calf; and four wings. Two wings
extend upward sustaining the throne of God; while the other
two stretch downward and cover the cherubim. Other times they
have been described as having baby heads atop a bird's body.

Angelic creatures exist in other beliefs as well. Buddhists
have devas, or celestial beings. Hindu minor gods, or devas,
referred to as the “shining ones,” inhabit the higher astral
plane of the divine world. And Asuras are Hinduism's fallen
angels, the evil spirits or demons inhabiting the lower
astral plane. In Norse mythology there are Valkyries, dark
angels of death soaring over battlefields like birds of prey
and taking heroes away to Valhalla in the name of Odin. In
later Norse mythology, the Valkyries were Odin's
Shield-Maidens, virgins with golden hair and snowy arms who
would also soar over battlefields. Celtic mythology had
Faeries seen as the helpers of mankind.

What about archangels? That might be a tale for another time.

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BLIND MUDDING, by Loxias

Editor's note: The more I got to know Loxias, the more curious
I was as to just how he managed to play Avatar even though he
couldn't see the text. Nearly overwhelmed by the spam when I'm
playing my alts, I found it incredible that someone using a
screen reader could manage to play so successfully. Finally,
my curiosity got the best of me, and soon I was inundating Loxias
with questions. When I asked if he was interested in sharing
his experience with everyone by writing an article for the
Gazette, he quickly agreed. Thanks, Loxias!


Even though Avatar has help files and features devoted to
visually impaired players, I'm still commonly asked how I am
able to manage playing. Even on muds I've played in the past,
where the blind population was much higher and everybody knew
about it, the sighted mudders were still boggled as to how I
could keep up. I can tell you right from the start it can be
difficult to explain, it's just something I got used to and
adapted to from experience, but there are a few general rules
and patterns.

First for anyone who might not know and might be wondering
how I use the computer in the first place, I use what's
called a screen reader. These programs essentially read out
loud any text on your computer screen. It generally announces
what has been highlighted, but it can be set to read the
entire window, or special scripts can make it behave in ways
specific to a single program. This brings me to mudding with
it: There have been scripts made by people for this program
which make some mud clients accessible. Note that the key
word here is "some" - most Avatar players who already know
of my condition know so because they asked if I was using
Zmud, and I don't, because it is one of the clients not
supported.

The client I use is called MonkeyTerm. When I was still fairly
new to mudding, a fellow blind mudder showed me this client
and gave me a set of scripts he himself created. This allowed
my screen reader to read each line of text as it appeared,
so I could keep current with what was happening. But there's
much more than that. As you can imagine, if I just relied on
that, I would get terribly backlogged and things would happen
faster than the speech could read. The scripts therefore
incorporate a number of other features:
Speech is stopped when I press the enter key, so each time I
enter a command the speech starts again at what's happening
right then.

I can also stop the speech at any time with the ctrl key
(this is a feature of the screen reader itself). The computer
does not announce every letter I type or every key I press
like it usually does. This is so that if anything happens
while I'm typing, I'll know without having to scroll up, which
is very hard to do in times of spam.  Speech is sped up for
the client, above and beyond my regular speech settings, as
I need to know what's happening quickly.

Even with these features it can be tricky to keep up and play
in a fast-paced environment. One of the more important things
is picking out information I need from information that really
isn't relevant. If I'm fighting a mob, for example, things I
need to know are who’s doing damage, my health, if my spells
are casting or failing, the condition of the enemy, stuff like
that. Things that aren't really that important are stuff on
the infoset channels like Hero and Death, as well as casual
conversation on channels.

Another important step is to recognize the patterns of different
text lines. I can generally tell what kind of information the
line is going to give me by the first couple of words. Thus if
I start hearing it say "HERO INFO", I can just hit ctrl to
silence it since I know it's just somebody leveling and not
directly related to my health. Even if I hear something like
"you disintegrate..." I can generally silence it, since I have
a good idea of how much damage it's going to do, and the enemy's
condition is reported right afterward anyway.

However, if the line starts with the name of the mob I'm
fighting, it's probably something I need to pay attention to
because it's going to tell me if the mob hit me and how hard,
if it cast a spell on me, if it tailed me, the like. Even so,
in areas I've run several times and I'm comfortable with, I
can even skip some of this info, since I know what to expect.
Tortugas aren't going to do much to full spells and -1300 AC,
and if I randomly start lagging commands in Lake of Tears
it's because I've been tailed, etc.

One last useful tool is the use of audio triggers in my
client. These are triggered in the client, not the speech
program, so even if my speech is a bit behind, if something
happens to trigger the audio I'll know. Thus if I set up a
sound to play for when I'm below 500 hit points, it'll play
as soon as I get to that point regardless of whether or not
my speech is still reading from when I had 700. Another
useful application of this is for tells and buddychat sends,
particularly in the middle of combat. I still can't stop to
listen to it because I have to keep myself focused on the
fight, but I at least know to scroll up afterwards and know
roughly where the message will be.

If you want to know more you're welcome to send me a tell
in-game or post a note to me on board 2. There are some things
I just can't explain without droning on and on. I'm by no
means an excellent mudder either; I still have a lot of
areas to improve in, as well as a few things I haven't tried.
Leading groups, for example, will likely present a challenge
at first, trying to keep up a good pace so groupies don't
start complaining that my runs are worth less xp. With all
of that said, I do hope I explained everything ok, and I'd
like to thank the imms for their continued support and
accommodation.

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MURPHY FOUND IN NECROPOLIS by SePadre

SePadre the shadowfist, Mooo the berserker, Daedulus the
bodyguard, and Meme the warrior headed to Necropolis to gather
gear and experience.

In the beginning things couldn't have gone better, the xp was
great and we quickly rid Necropolis of Zahri's ice-blue fires.
That was about as far as we got before things started to get
crazy.

Our reward for defeating the ice-blue fires was a b11 crown.
After that we headed deeper into Necropolis where we encountered
Driders, Guardians and... Sorcerers. Meme was quick with cure
blind after the group had been flashed. After 2 or 3 bouts
of flash a walkin came and killed Meme.

Meme was the only one in the group that could cure blind. Now,
sitting deep in Necropolis were a blind Shf, bod, and bzk. We
couldn't gurney Meme due to our blindness so we decided to rest
and wait it out. The shf, the tank, however had unrest and
could not sleep.

Finally, the flash fell and we prepared to gurney Meme. He was
almost done spelling up when another sorcerer walked in and
flashed the group again. So we waited… again.

The flash finally fell and we gurnied Meme and moved on with
our run, avoiding any more sorcerers.

As spells were about to fall we decided to go get one more
crown. We reached the fires and just as the last one was about
to die, the shf’s racial fly wore off and the group was stuck
in a nospell room.

SePadre's racial exhaust expired and the group moved on to
claim their prize. Once again, our reward for killing the
fires was another b11 crown.

At that point we decided Necropolis was just not the place to
be, so we left!

Editor’s note: We’d recommend keeping a set of Griffon Wing
Bracers handy! Thanks for the fun story, SePadre!

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THOUGHTS FROM THE DARK SIDE, by Kariya

So when I was trying to figure out what to write about for this
second edition of the Gazette, I kept getting back to "What
does Avatar mean to us?" but the answer really is too complicated.

You see, I really consider Avatar to be "just a game" albeit
a game where I've spent 15 years of my life. But no matter
how much good and bad I share with my friends on Avatar, in the
end it really is a game. Which means that all game-related
happenings mean nothing in the real world. Which also means
there is nothing that cannot be solved by simply stepping back,
taking a break and laughing about it.

Did you just die and lost your gear? It sucks, but life isn't
over. Are you upset about events or changes..or even simply
by the way someone is talking? Log off and go do something
that will make you feel better. Even to the point where if
you simply don't like playing anymore, quit for a while.
There's surely something more important to worry about in your
life.

So simply keep in mind that Avatar is a game and don't take
it too seriously. That doesn't mean you can just run around
on the mud being a jerk because that's what you do when you
aren't serious. Try to respect the rules we have and all
players you see. You might not like them, or agree with them,
but respect them in silence (read: abide the rules, and ignore
the players).

And for the record, it's this "It's only a game" theory
that makes me not always do the things I was thinking of
doing. Are the qps late? It's probably because I wanted a
few days without having to worry about IMM duties. Have I
not replied to your email? Ooops..that new xbox game or
movie got in the way. Was I supposed to do something but
it slipped my mind? Sorry..I was trying to have a real life.
Just remind me. It might sound like a stupid and naïve
theory, but it keeps me sane so I'm sticking to it ;)

When life gets really interesting is when I have to deal with
someone who is not as laid back as I am.

Yeah...Good times...:)

So anyways, I am not going to write about what Avatar means,
because....oh wait I just did. This is actually funnier than
you realize because I had already thrown out two drafts
where I tried to explain my stance, but it got waaay too
deep. And now that I had decided to NOT write about it, I
wrote it all in one swift blurry minute (or two). See? The
moment I didn't take it seriously, it works out.

So..as you might've understood by now, I like this idea where
I just write and we'll see where it ends.

And let me share some deep dark secret with you. I like
feedback. I want to hear it all. Do you enjoy my writings?
Do you think I suck? Is there something you want to read about?
Let me know. I'll probably forget all about it, or seemingly
ignore you for a while (see above) but really, I do care.

You know where to reach me..drop an email to my outland.org
address and let me know how you feel about this ;)

Until next time..more blood and souls for the Dark Fire!
(And party on, dudes!)

Kariya

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FLASHBACK! by ArchAngel Kenji

One of the things I used to do years ago was "review" the
various websites that existed that were devoted to AVATAR. Of
course, the list back in 2003 was pretty broad. There were
websites devoted to locating players around the world, another
one that hosted photos of the players, auction boards, gear
websites, directions, and even a lord website that required
the old lord password to access its "secrets."

No list of websites back in 2003 would be complete without
Aejase, a website run by a player named Khazaad. Aejase was a
search engine with just about every item, mob and area listed
with relatively detailed statistics. Khazaad was (I believe!)
a French player, as much of the code and documentation was
in French.

Aejase was more than just a search engine, however. There were
message boards, player notes, and other utilities. But the
best feature of Aejase was that you could enter specifics
you wanted for your character, and Aejase would pump out a
list of the best equipment to maximize your statistics.
Pretty groovy!

As I read that old review (2003-09-05, if you want to look
back), I started wondering why no one else had taken up the
Aejase helm. Surely, a large database like Aejase would incur
some costs. I remember Khazaad had a link for donations,
probably to cover the costs of hosting, providing bandwidth,
searching, etc.

But, as any seasoned player will tell you, the nature of
AVATAR has changed a bit since then, too. Back in 2003,
people were obsessed with statistics. I remember sitting
watching while people argued whether their m50 12/12 wield
was better than someone else's m49 14/14. To this day, I've
never really understood (or cared) about that argument.

Nowadays, while AVATAR is still about running, experience
points and leveling, there seems to be less focus on
statistics. People are content to equip their characters and
go, rather then spend countless hours foddering equipment,
just to get a "double-brilled b12 wingding."

The community seems much more about conversation, socializing
and having fun. People are much lighter and more enjoyable
on channels. Hero chat might as well be called "the locker
room," because that is what it reminds me of, the locker room
banter at work. (To include the bigger guys shoving little
guys into a nearby locker). People are just as likely to be
talking about a new movie or the latest video game as they
are gear, areas or mobs.

Aejase was a great website, but it also shows how much
AVATAR has changed in six years.

ArchAngel Kenji

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RECIPE CORNER, by Essenceroses and Cleites

With the 4th of July just around the corner, we thought it
would be a great idea to ask for your best grill recipes and
other delicious summer treats. The response to our request was
great and we have a whole slew of recipes to share with you.
Hopefully you pick up something here to try out soon, whether
for the 4th or not.



TIDNAB’S LAZY HAMBURGERS

This may very well be the laziest recipe for burgers in
history! The ingredients are simple, the preparation almost
non-existent, and the results are *usually* good.

Ingredients:
1 pkg of onion soup mix
1/2 a head of red cabbage
2 lbs of hamburger

Mix the onion soup mix and the hamburger. Coarsely dice the
cabbage and add to the hamburger.

I also like a dash or six of jalapeno salt, but not everyone
does, so use your best judgment. Grill the burgers and serve
with the usual condiments. The cabbage adds a lot of texture,
and doesn't seem to alter the flavor significantly. Enjoy!


CERDWYN’S 5 MINUTE CHOCOLATE MUG CAKE
For my chocoholic friends, a recipe everyone should know.

The most dangerous cake recipe: 5 MINUTE CHOCOLATE MUG CAKE

Ingredients:
4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
a small splash of vanilla extract
1 large coffee mug


Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well. Add the egg and mix
thoroughly. Pour in the milk and oil and mix well. Add the
chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract, and mix again.

Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at
1000 watts (high). The cake will rise over the top of the mug,
but don't be alarmed!

Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.
EAT! (this can serve 2 if you want to feel slightly more
virtuous).

And why is this the most dangerous cake recipe in the world?
Because now we are all only 5 minutes away from chocolate cake
at any time of the day or night! You are going to print this
out straight away, aren't you??


LOXIAS’ GARLIC PANINI SANDWICHES

Ingredients:
2 slices prepared garlic toast, untoasted
2 kinds sliced lunch meat (your choice, my favourites are
cajun turkey and roast beef)
1-2 slices cheese
4-5 slices onion
(Note: amounts vary depending on preference)

1. If you cannot find pre-prepared garlic bread, you can
butter and garlic your own bread. Place bread on grill side
by side.

2. Arrange lunch meat on one slice of bread. 3 slices of
each kind should be fine, but feel free to add more or less
as you see fit.

3. Place sliced cheese on top of meat.

4. Place onion on top of cheese.

5. Put the other slice of bread on top to make a sandwich,
close lid of grill.

6. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until bread is toasted and cheese
is melted, starting with a cold grill.

7. Remove and enjoy.

Being a sandwich, you can really do whatever you want with it.
I've seen people add other things such as roasted red peppers,
different kinds of cheese or meat. Great for a hot lunch that
doesn't require too much work.

*Editor's note: I don't have a grill but WILL be trying this
either in the oven or in a Panini press



ANESSA’S FRUIT PIZZA

Ingredients:
1 C Butter
1 C sugar
1 Tsp almond flavoring
1 egg
Cream above together, then add 1 Ÿ C flour and mix thoroughly.

Spray Pizza pan, press dough onto pan and bake at 350 degrees
for about 12 minutes.

Mix:
8 oz cream cheese
1/3 C powdered sugar
1/2 tsp almond flavoring
Beat together and spread on cooled crust.

Top with fruit of choice. Mix 1/3 C orange marmalade with
1 tsp water. Spread/drizzle over fruit.

You can decorate this is all sorts of ways. Peeled and sliced
Kiwi's are awesome, surrounded by strawberries, grapes, etc.

For a Fourth of July theme, use an oblong pan and decorate with
blueberries, and rows of strawberries to form an American Flag.
Space the fruit out, letting some of the white layer show
through. It's yummy and usually a big hit at Fourth of July
parties!


And finally, we would like to announce the winner of last
month's contest: Alrin! Alrin found all of the ingredients
Essenceroses needed to make her famous No-Bake Cookies and
has been generously rewarded.  Now for the recipe...


ESSENCEROSES’ NO-BAKE COOKIES

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup cocoa
1 stick butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup peanut butter
3 1/2 cups (uncooked) oats

Mix the sugar and cocoa really well. Add milk and mix well.

Add butter and cook on medium heat. Let the mixture come to
a boil and then let it boil for 2 minutes before removing
from heat.

Stir in vanilla and mix, add peanut butter...mix well again.
Add oats and mix.

Place rounded teaspoons of mixture on wax paper, let cool
Completely, then eat


Well there you go! We hope you all try out a recipe or two
from this month's Recipe Corner, and while you are chomping
away we hope you start thinking about what to submit for NEXT
month. We are looking for the best comfort food recipes out
there, so let us see what you've got by sending your favorites
in to gazinput@outland.org by July 15th. We look forward to it!

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ASK AN ANGEL – THIS AVATARIAN LIFE – by Glissade

“When do I see how long my spells will last?”
Submitted by Kocho, level 23 Centaur Rogue

As you gain in levels, more and more of the world of Avatar
will be revealed. Here are some special milestones that keep
lowmort progress interesting. Special thanks to Calanthe who
started the newbie guide on the wiki,
http://avatar.melanarchy.info/index.php/Getting_Started, where
you can find this information and more.

Level 2: Nchat channel and Title become available; your
character saves!

Level 3: Chat channel and Emote available

Level 5: Recall Reset will take you to Sol in Stonehall

Level 10: You can see a numeric value for your alignment on
your Score

Level 10: You may freely worship any of the gods available
to learn how they affect you

Level 15: You can send socials from afar to another player
in your area

Level 15: Recall Reset will take you to Aelmon in Midgaard

Level 15: You see your hitroll and damroll on your Score

Level 19: This is the last level unworshipping is free,
starting at 20 it will cost you practices

Level 23: Movement costs start to increase. They will
continue to increase as you progress in levels

Level 25: Herothank becomes available to you

Level 25: If you have practiced Magic Lore you should be
able to see the duration of spells cast on you. Without
Magic Lore, you will see a general message of how long your
spells will last

Level 25: You see a numeric value for your armor class on
Score (lower is better)

Level 35: You can set the room entrance and exit messages

Level 51: Welcome to Hero!

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TIPS AND TRICKS by Cleites

There are countless powerful items scattered across the realm,
but unfortunately for the young adventurer many of them
require fighting powerful and frightening opponents. That's
why the AVATAR Gazette team thought it would be a great idea
to share a few of our favorite items that can be safely bought
from storekeepers - without risking life and limb

Here are our top five favorites

Cotton Candy - A reincarnation of an old favorite, cotton candy
gives you a great boost to your moves when you need it most.
See Lohlee in the Carnival for this tasty treat, and check out
her other sweets while you are there.

Fiery-red vials - No low level adventurer should be without
the healing power that the Alchemist in Midgaard pours into
these potions. They might be a bit pricey and a tad heavy, but
if you can afford them you should always have a few of these on
hand.

Rowan Wood Branch - Cheap and long-lasting, the Branch cures
painful poisons. Kelsee sells these wonders (along with the
disease-curing Light Red Potions), so if you can get to her
there is no reason not to buy a few and keep them around for
emergencies.

Purple Potion - Expensive and heavy (25,000 gold and 50 lbs.
a potion!), the purple potion is a rare item in that it grants
the regeneration spell. All brutes should buy one from
Andromeda in Midgaard and keep it on hand for when they need
an extra healing boost.

Silver Staff - Are you one of those big, dumb brutes who can't
cast spells to save their life... or their groupies'? If so,
you may want to talk to Andromeda about buying a Silver Staff.
Just learn arcane knowledge and brandish it to cast the area
damage spell chain lightning, drawing all those pesky mobs to
attack you.

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BOOK REVIEW by Kariya
The Elric of Melnibone series by Michael Moorcock

Have you ever read a book that just turned your world upside
down? I had that when I first read Elric of Melnibone by
Michael Moorcock. At the time I hadn't read too many fantasy
books. Sure, I had read the Lord of the Rings, some other
Tolkien books and a few other novels left and right. I thought
they were fun reads. But when I got a (battered and worn down)
copy of Elric and opened it I knew this would be different.

Before I continue let me give you some background info.
Michael Moorcock started writing in the 1960's and wrote several
short stories for various magazines which later turned into
numerous books.

He created the character Elric as an answer to/parody on Conan
the Barbarian. While the latter is a huge muscular barbarian
who shuns magic, Elric is a magic user, and is the crown prince
of a highly developed and cultured, yet decadent empire of
inhumans. He is a sickly albino who needs drugs to stay alive.
That is until he finds a demonic soul-sucking blade that passes
a victim's life force on to him. He loathes having to use
this source of energy but he depends on it. He looks down on
humans, but is forced to live amongst them, and eventually fights
for them against his own race and the Gods. Basically the man
is a walking paradox.

In the following years Moorcock wrote six books starring Elric,
and at a later time five more. Interesting detail is that one
of the first published stories was actually the END of the
saga. People liked the character so much that he decided to
go back in time and fill in the missing parts of the story.

As Moorcock wrote more books (not just about Elric) he tied
everything together and created 'The Eternal Champion'. A
being that exists on all worlds of the Multiverse, or simply
said, numerous alternate realities. The Champion is destined
to fight for whatever grand cause there is to fight for on
their world.

Elric is one of the aspects of The Champion, although of
course he hates the idea that he is simply a pawn on a board.
Eventually he agrees to follow the path to his doom, accepting
he will never find peace no matter what.

So what makes these books stand out from all the other books
that are out there? From the first page you know this is not
your ordinary fantasy book. The opening scene describes a ball
at the court of Melnibone and the writer goes out of his way
to show you how decadent and cruel these people are. Also he
makes it clear that Elric is not your standard hero, be it
Melnibonean or human.

Basically this doesn't stop for the next six books as Elric
continues his mental and physical struggles. And while some
of his actions seem cruel and he often makes the wrong choice,
you cannot help but feel sympathy for him.

Add to that the ever expanding world around him (as the
Multiverse comes into play) and the destiny of the Eternal
Champion and the new questions this brings and you have the
ingredients for an epic tale.

The most recent three books, written in this decade, take a
whole new direction and manage to tie Elric into the history
of our own world. As strange as this sounds, it actually works
thanks to the complex Multiverse that he has created over the
years. And while the older books are straight forward most
of the time, these books have a lot of philosophy in them, and
are in a league of their own. In a way they tie up the story
(or does it start the story? You never know with Moorcock!)
and once again left me gasping for air.

The character of Elric is one of the inspirations for my
Kariya character. A creature of evil who finds himself fighting
for good & balance. Not to mention the evil sword in his
hands>:)

It's no coincidence that on several occasions I have tried
to somewhat tie him into the Eternal Champion saga. This is
most noticeable in the "Demon Ascension" area I wrote which
is as clear a tribute to Elric and Michael Moorcock as
possible.

If you're interested in reading more about Elric, Del Rey
publishing is currently reprinting the entire series. Also,
maybe your local library or bookstore might have older copies.

Enjoy!

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COMMAND OF THE MONTH
CONFIG +CONDITION by Glissade

Some days the fighting just clicks and it feels like you could
spell up, kill, spell up, kill, lather rinse repeat forever.
Unfortunately, your equipment, while generally sturdy, isn't
going to last forever without proper maintenance and care.
Equipment tends to take a bigger beating when mobs cast attack
spells (WARD, REINFORCE, CONSECRATE, and the lord SPIRITLINK
are sometimes used to help protect gear).

CONFIG shows you many settings you can use to customize aspects
of your character. CONFIG +CONDITION will show you the condition
of your gear. You need to have weapon lore practiced to see
weapon condition and armor lore to see armor condition (there
is no configure for treasure condition). Voila! The condition
of your gear will now show up when you look at your inventory
or equipment list. CONFIG -CONDITION turns it off if it is
too spammy for you.

"Object Quality (98 / 100 hps)" when you identify an item tells
you how many hitpoints your item has -- that is, how much damage
it can take before it is destroyed forever. HELP CONDITION tells
you the stages of deterioration -- from Pristine to Destroyed.
Beware, if it gets too shabby the damage might be irreparable.
When you see the condition starting to deteriorate, the REPAIR
and SMITH command are your friends. With low hp items, smith
them early and often.

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FUN LINKS by Ashtaka

Periodically the staff of the Gazette will give you a few fun
links which you can check out when asleep in the Sanctum. If
you have links you'd like to share, email them to
gazinput@outland.org.

Ever wanted to know what your attributes and stats would be
if you were an AD&D character? This is your chance to find
out! Http://kevinhaw.com/add_quiz.php

We've all faced an angry drow in our lives. But maybe we
wouldn't be fighting if we could just reach out and talk to
them? Now you can thanks to this handy Drow-Common translator.
http://www.grey-company.org/Maerdyn/resources/translator/

This one is for when you have too much time on your hands.
Warning: Very addictive. http://fantasticcontraption.com/


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June 2009 Calendar

June 1 – Marilyn Monroe
June 2 – Shaykes, Ponomariov
June 3 – Jefferson Davis
June 4 – Angelina Jolie
June 5 – Bill Moyers
June 6 – AVATAR Multi-Day
June 7 – Karl Urban
June 8 – Frank Lloyd Wright
June 9 – Michael J. Fox
June 10 – Saul Bellow
June 11 – Jacques Cousteau
June 12 – Anne Frank
June 13 – William Butler Yeates
June 14 – Harriet Beecher Stowe
June 15 – Jim Belushi
June 16 – Stan Laurel
June 17 – Joe Piscopo
June 18 – Bedeiah
June 19 – Moe Howard
June 20 – Errol Flynn
June 18 – Bedeiah
June 19 – Moe Howard
June 20 – Errol Flynn
June 21 – Jean-Paul Sartre
June 22 – John Dillinger
June 23 – Edward VIII, King of England
June 24 – Jack Dempsey
June 25 – George Orwell
June 26 – Pearl S. Buck
June 27 – Bob “Captain Kangaroo” Keshan
June 28 – Mel Brooks
June 29 – Slim Pickens
June 30 – DreamShatter

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July 2009 Calendar

July 1 – Canada Day
July 2 – Vincente Fox
July 3 – George M. Cohan
July 4 – US Independence Day
July 5 – P.T. Barnum
July 6 – AVATAR Multi-Day
July 7 – Ringo Starr
July 8 – Wolfgang Puck
July 9 – Nicola Tesla
July 10 – Ancients
July 11 – John Quinsy Adams
July 12 – Henry David Thoreau
July 13 – Cheech Marin
July 14 – William Hanna
July 15 - Rembrandt Van Rijn
July 16 - Ginger Rogers
July 17 - J. Michael Straczynski
July 18 - Nelson Mandela
July 19 – Lizzie Borden
July 20 – Carlos Santana
July 21 – Ernest Hemingway
July 22 – Alex Trebek
July 23 – Arthur Treacher
July 24 - Amelia Earhart
July 25 - Maxfield Parrish
July 26 – George Bernard Shaw
July 27 – Triple H
July 28 – Beatrix Potter
July 29 – Benito Mussolini
July 30 – Henry Ford
July 31 – J.K. Rowling

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WE WANT YOU!

Send your creative contributions to gazinput@outland.org

Send us: Ask An Angel, Favorite Recipes, Puzzles, Tips and
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Qismat
Aug 02 2022 22:13
Daeron is running Push Your Luck now. Mini-HoG just ended!

Halari
Jun 30 2022 04:23
It is!

Vanusk
Jun 28 2022 23:55
Testing. Testing. This thing on?

Qismat
Aug 17 2021 05:50
Halfway through August and so many events yet to go! Log in now to join our newest event.

Qismat
Jul 27 2021 04:03
While you are grabbing XP, we are busy testing out the quest events before August!

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Aug 13 2022 23:21
Zupov has remorted into a Centaur Assassin.
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Malphite has remorted into a Golem Berserker.
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Bemble has remorted into a Golem Paladin.
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The HOGathon has ENDED. HOG is no longer a valid command.
Aug 13 2022 23:01
A HOGathon has just BEGUN!!!