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About Orm_Proudfoot

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    Global Moderator
  • Birthday 11/15/1981

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  • Character Name
    Oren Sturdyfoot
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  1. Reading a two month old copy of a Hanseti newspaper that finally made its way to Bramblebury, Oren frowned at an article on the front page. "A new halfling village? And apparently by a group splintered from Bramblebury." He thought about the ramifications of such a split. "This does not bode well for the cohesion of the halfling race. And to name the new village for that ridiculous false god..." Oren shook his head slowly in disbelief before turning the page.
  2. Beautifully compiled, but sorely lacking any halflings. I scrounged around on some old hard drives and found a few images from Dunwood, and a few more of the Undead City. Here is St. Dan's Cathedral of the Diocese of Dunwood. The Sturdyfoot Burrow at the corner of Dunwood near the waterfall. The floating Undead City from afar. And from nearby. Proof that even the Undead were regular players who adhered to the server economy. It was a rather unwelcoming place. We had some really good times back then. Yes, the world was a lot fuller of random builds and the build style was a lot less refined than it is today, but the community thrived and enjoyed what we did have. A lot has changed in 10 years.
  3. Again passing the notice board on his afternoon stroll, Oren paused to read through the lengthy missive. Another bit of history of the early days in Almaris. An interesting read, but one painting the halflings in a negative light with all the turmoil permeating the supposedly cheery, peaceful village. Having finished, he turned away and continued on his stroll while deep in thought.
  4. As he usually does in the late afternoon, Oren was taking his daily stroll through the village when a colorful pamphlet attached to the notice board caught his attention. He paused to read through the latest installment of the recent history of the halflings. He finally turned away to continue his stroll, mumbling quietly to himself, as he is oft to do. "Interesting bit of history. At least I've met many of them this time."
  5. This exactly. A definite emphasis on the word modern because LotC of old had tons of map interactivity. And a ton of roleplay. They went hand in hand. Imagine traveling from Providence to Elvenesse. Why? Because you are the Ambassador of Oren to Elvenesse sent to negotiate a trade agreement between the nations. Now, imagine a world without warps. You have to travel between by ship, foot, or horse. If by foot/horse, that's a long way to travel. Along the way, you stop at roadside inns overnight, gossiping with the innkeep, listening to a minstrel play the lute in a taproom warmed by a glowing fire, rolling dice with local farmers. A few days into your journey, your horse throws a shoe. You limp him to a small village just off the main road to find a blacksmith who can reshod the horse. The next day, you stand at swordpoint, wishing you had brought along guards because three bandits are demanding your purse of minas and your shoes, of all things. Dusty and tired from the long journey, you finally arrive at Elvenesse...only to find that war was declared between your nations while you were on the road. Now, you are the prisoner of the elves waiting to be ransomed back to Oren. The builds don't have to be perfect. The proprietors won't always be online. However, the world will still feel lived in, and if each player is limited to a specific amount of land, then the map won't be completely overrun by abandoned builds. And instead of staff deciding whether builds fit the theme or are "good enough," allow a player-run "Guild of Architects" or "Guild of Engineers" to travel throughout the land roleplaying with players whose builds could either use some help or need to be demolished because of "severe safety violations." There used to be a rule that a player cannot remove the walls of another player's build. This made it difficult to break into someone's house if the doors were locked. I remember some crazy go-arounds some people dreamed up to get in without breaking blocks, but for the most part, everyone was cool with the rule because it meant that their stuff would be relatively safe despite their settlement/house/etc. not being protected by a plugin. There are ways of making it work and still having just as much, if not more, roleplay opportunity.
  6. I'm resurrecting this thread for two reasons. First, I read all the way through the replies and found the discussion interesting. Second, I actually have something to say about it. Some very good points have been made in the replies. While no one actually summarized them as such, almost all these points regarded player agency. This is a vital concept that is a requirement for retention in any game, but especially in a creative sandbox such as Minecraft. If players, new or old, do not feel as if their actions matter, they won't stay. This comes in various forms. LotC's hook is the roleplay element. It is what initially brings new players to the server. The application process is the first hurdle to retention. 10% of accepted players never log in! In part, this probably stems from the relatively long wait time between application submission and review. The Community Team currently has 21 members! There is no excuse for eight to twenty hours passing before an application is even looked at by a staff member - and I saw several cases of that in the last week. When I assisted in application review back in 2011, when the number of daily applications was considerably higher than now, we tried to review every application within two hours of submission. With 21 staff members reviewing applications and only a dozen or so new applications per day, the turnaround should be closer to that two hour mark. The second hurdle is freebuild. Players, new and old, need the opportunity to express their creativity through more than just their writing. Reserving tiles for future nation expansion is a lousy excuse for not allowing freebuild in non-nation areas. If nations want to expand into those areas, they can either declare war on the inhabitants and win it or negotiate with the inhabitants for annexation. Both would be fun, exciting roleplay opportunities. Just last night, I loaded up the old Aegis map and tried to find my old house in Dunwood. I could remember how to find Dunwood starting from Oren, but couldn't remember where Oren was in relation to the orc lands, which is where I spawned. So, I spent an hour and a half exploring the map again while trying to find Oren (which I finally did). In 2011, I thought the builds stunning feats of architecture. Through the reading glasses I now wear a decade later, they were decidedly less so, especially compared to the fantastic skill of today's builders. However, the world felt alive. Everywhere I went there were villages, walled towns, farmsteads, guild halls, forts, mage towers, universities, logging camps, bandit camps, and roadside inns, all linked by an extensive player-built road network. While the freebuilds were for the most part subpar by today's standard, they represent the creativity, activity, and enjoyment of hundreds of players over the course of only eight months or so. They represent the best of player agency - the players had the freedom to roleplay how they wanted. They weren't forced into positions they didn't want. Nations rose and fell, expanded and contracted. Diplomacy was a real profession and roleplayed brilliantly. The military camps that dot the map existed for a purpose. Almaris feels empty. Outside of the major cities, and not even in all of them, you rarely find another player. Mainly because nothing exists outside of the cities, or at least very little. Roadside inns or bandit camps would generate considerably more roleplay than a city full of afkers and silly jumpers, both of which I have encountered in the last week. Plus, as any author will tell you, conflict drives story. So your player gets murdered by bandits...so what? Create a new character and jump back in. So your farm out in the wildlands is looted and burned by a roving band of mercenaries...so what? Rebuild even better than before - maybe add some fortifications. So your wizard tower has exploded in a flash of light caused by a misfired spell...so what? Now it is an interesting ruin in the forest that adventurers will seek out in a hundred years while searching for the wizard's magical amulet. Destruction leads to more interesting roleplay than peace. The third hurdle is the lore. One of the replies to this thread recommended wiping the slate clean with each new map and starting afresh with new characters and lore. I can definitely see the benefits in doing so, but there are also negatives. Players have, in some cases, spent years spinning grand stories about their character or dynasty. Casting that aside will negatively impact player retention. However, lore seems now to be more of a top down system. Once again referring back to my days in Aegis, very little staff crafted lore existed. Yes, some ancient history was in place and the four racial kingdoms existed from the start, but from that point forward, lore was player generated through roleplay. Institutions were created by the players on the fly, not by applying for permission to start a new religion, or guild, or mercenary band. You simply did it and if your roleplay was convincing enough, others jumped on board and voila, you had an institution that worked its way into the server lore. If your roleplay wasn't convincing, your institution failed and faded away into history. Lore is part of player agency. Just let it happen. There are a lot of lessons we can take from the more relaxed early days of LotC. Things weren't perfect then, but boy did we have a lot of fun. Fun that I can sense is fleeting now. In just the week or so I've been back, I have already fallen into the common pattern of waiting for an event to be posted in Discord before hopping onto the server. Why? Because otherwise I would quickly become bored for lack of anything to do. I can't build anything. There are few players online roleplaying in my region. The crops are growing slowly so I have nothing to harvest and replant. I can't go off into the forests to harvest logs or herbs or mushrooms because it's all protected. And the roleplay I want to do has been denied by the story team. Doesn't leave much player agency. Sadly, LotC is a shadow of its former self. I'm disappointed to see it. After 10 years, I expected more than a museum. Give players agency and retention will improve. It really is that simple.
  7. A year later and still relevant. I definitely consider myself a Boomer.
  8. Slowly passing through the village center on his way back to the inn, Oren notices a new flyer on the notice board. A chance to meet more of the halflings of this village. He pondered over that as he continued on his way.
  9. Love it! It's cozy and well decorated. Definitely looks lived in. I especially love the exterior - how you decorated the top and sides with trees and small garden plots. Thanks for sharing with us.
  10. Just submitted my application for the new character. I doubt I'm still whitelisted after all this time, plus my minecraft account name changed. As soon as I'm able, I will hunt you down. Thanks again!
  11. Orm_Proudfoot


    In the year 1351, Owen Sturdyfoot guided a group of halflings and priests of the True Faith during the evacuation of Aegis. While passing through the Verge, they were attacked and Oren killed. Becoming separated from the masses, the group found themselves trapped in the Verge when the portal to Asulan closed. They occupied the former site of New Oasis and lived their shortened lives in the harsh environment of the Verge. The four halfling clans intermarried over the next 12 generations and carried on the tradition of the True Faith. Besieged by the creatures of the Verge, the personality of the halflings changed over time, and they became more stoic and hardened. While most stayed behind the high walls of New Dunwood, parties were sent out periodically to search for a way out of the Verge. Finally, after being trapped for 468 years, a party discovered another portal far from New Dunwood. Braving the dangers along the way, the remaining residents ventured forth from the safety of the walls and journeyed to the new portal. Not knowing what lie beyond the swirling vortex, they took the chance and found themselves in Almaris. Oren Sturdyfoot is an eleventh generation descendant of the great Owen Sturdyfoot and a senior member of Clan Sturdyfoot. Now in his 93rd year, his body is ravaged by the harsh environment of the Verge. Gaunt, with wrinkles marring his once fine features, and snow white hair adorning his head and face, the venerable halfling is weary of life and resigned to death. He accompanied the group in leaving New Dunwood at the behest of his widowed niece, Everleigh Sturdyfoot, and for the sake of his grandson, Owen, rather than from personal desire, as he was content to remain behind to die. His faded blue eyes widened in shock upon seeing blue sky and green grass for the first time after leaving the portal, sparking a tiny desire to live and see the wonder of this new world. The tall, majestic trees and distant mountains dwarfed his hunched two foot, seven inch frame, but Oren was enthralled by it all the same. Educated at the church school in New Dunwood, Oren's knowledge of the world outside the Verge is very limited. In theory, he knows of trees, grass, water, and the like, but has never seen any outside of the few surviving books brought by the original halflings many centuries ago. He was born in 1726 in New Dunwood to Flynwan Sturdyfoot and Jillyse Boffin, their second son and third child. He entered the church as a young man, and trained to become a priest, as many in his family had done before him. In 1763, he married Lena Boffin, and remained together for forty years until her death in 1803. With her, the light and joy in his life died, and he retired from the priesthood. In the years since, he has compiled the history of the Verge since 1351, the desire to see it complete being the only driving force keeping him alive. He and Lena had one child, Branden Sturdyfoot, who died in 1816 while off trying to find a way out of the Verge. Branden's wife, Vayora, had predeceased him, leaving their son, Owen Sturdyfoot, an orphan. Oren's niece, Everleigh, now cares for the young Owen and her elderly uncle. OOC: My friend will be submitting an application to become Everleigh Sturdyfoot, my character's niece. There will be similarities in our applications as we are using the same general background. Way back in 2011, I was a member of the server, global moderator, and chief of religious development. My Minecraft account is the same, but I changed the name several years ago and would probably need to be re-whitelisted anyway after nearly a decade away, so am reapplying. Thanks!
  12. Thanks! I spent a few hours last night reading through the history of the current map and bits of history of the other maps since I left. There's a lot! I mapped myself out a direct family tree, so if I were to create a descendant of my last persona, it would be the 11th generation descendant of my last character. We'll see. I'm playing with a friend this time around, so we're discussing what type of characters to play this time. Thank you very much! I was looking at the map trying to figure out where halflings were living in this cycle, but couldn't see any telltale signs of burrows and fields. And the religious differences over the years is infinitely interesting. Might have to return to enliven the religious scene once again.
  13. Thanks! Even if the title has changed, I am glad to see that the True Faith continues after so many centuries. Thanks! It's warm and tastes a bit off, but I'm glad to finally have milk too.
  14. Howdy folks! A long, long time ago, when our people still dwelt in Aegis, I roleplayed three generations of a halfling family, serving as the Mayor of Dunwood with one, Bishop of Dunwood as another, and the High Priest of Oren with the third. If any oldtimers remain, they may remember the old halfling Sturdyfoot family. I was also one the GMs and the chief of religious development. Well, I'm back...eight years later. :P Sorry it took so long. I just ran out for a pint of milk. The line at the counter was really long...or something. New or old, I'm looking forward to getting to know everyone. I'll see you all in-game, with a new character, of course, as Owen Sturdyfoot has been dead for over four hundred years by this point.
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