Avlis Community Interview: scaylz

Interviews with various players
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The Avlissian
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Avlis Community Interview: scaylz

Post by The Avlissian » Wed Nov 02, 2022 8:38 pm


Avlis Community Interview: scaylz


Hamlet
Good morning, Dave. How are you holding up after last night's party? The one at Burnham's Hall, that is.

scaylz
Haha, really great. Fortunately, Kurn was the only one drinking heavily.

Hamlet
That you know of. -– When did the event wrap up? I had to leave fashionably early.

scaylz
It was mostly shut down around 1:30-ish, Elven time, except I think there were a few stragglers. But the hosts were picking up glasses and cleaning up, so...

Hamlet
...unlike Kurn, you can take a hint?

scaylz
Yup! Plus Kurn wouldn't want to stay and clean up.

Hamlet
But you would?

scaylz
A lot of times I'd be happy to lend a hand, yup.

Hamlet
It is no secret to longtime Avlissians that you have been lending a hand since Avlis's NWN inception, as GreyLynx. You gave us Orcscourge Chasm and the Village of Cor'Vallen. -– If I recall correctly, you discovered CoPaP through the Mythos server?

scaylz
Wow... so long ago. But yeah, started at Mythos as the first server I spent much time at all on. And then when they linked, I had a few characters migrate over.

Hamlet
They were linked only briefly, so you were in luck. -– Before CoPaP, what games were you into? Digital or tabletop?

scaylz
Way way back when I was in middle/high school, I wasn't much into digital games, but I played a ton of D&D. I didn't play much of anything in college, but afterward got into Icewind Dale and Baldur's Gate, plus a little bit of Age of Empires. They were mostly single-player against the computer, or multiplayer with just a couple friends locally. The pull of D&D/roleplaying was always the big draw for me. I always loved that game.

Hamlet
LAN parties?

scaylz
"Parties" is probably a strong word - but essentially, yeah. Oh, and Diablo! That one was fun, too. Particularly Icewind Dale and Diablo were great, too, for really creating atmospheres. Diablo had awesome music with it, while Icewind Dale had really great artwork – dreary icy landscape. Those pulled me in.

Hamlet
Back in 2003, what pulled you into Avlis?

scaylz
Probably easiest to explain if I contrast it to Mythos.

Mythos was a really trippy server in a lot of ways. The DMs were the gods there, and intervened a lot, and they were still working on a persistence system. When you played, your PC could get tossed around by DM/avatars that were actively engaged, and servers would get reset and you would always end up back at the original cut scene. The areas of the server were more like fragments of a world instead of a coherent real place you could imagine people living. I always felt like the PCs were trapped in a sort of demi-plane/playground for gods.

Then I found Avlis... and it suddenly felt like it was a real world. There were real cities, in real countrysides, laid out logically (except Elysia, of course)... There were nations, wars, governments. I liked the contrast. It felt like a real D&D world. And there were so many other PCs. It was just fantastic.

Hamlet
We fixed up Elysia eventually but not until 2011. -– In 2004 though, you really dived in. Your contributions include one of the highest counts of bug reports while we were still tracking those on the forums, and a stint as Le'Or T'Nanshi module coordinator in 2005. But then, you disappeared for some years. What happened?

scaylz
I was at a point where I needed to do some serious job-hunting, and my amount of free time really crashed. It was rough stepping away, but something I really needed to do for a while. I did try to keep tabs on things now and then, looking over the boards, and even poked in a time or two over the years. I really missed the world, but it was only just a couple years ago that I really decided to jump back in.

Hamlet
One last foray into the good old times, then. -- Before she was a Sage herself, my PC Miriel was a huge fan of Sage Hilde Meyldur, the mysterious author of The History of Avlis In Game books. "Mysterious" as in, there was very little public information about Hilde herself, even though she was a prolific writer. What was she like?

scaylz
Ah, she was meant to be a very old, somewhat absent-minded dwarf/scholar. I had in mind Verin from the Wheel of Time series. She was made solely for the purpose of having a Lorewarden re-write some of the world history from the boards. That said, she was only level 4 – so she didn't make too many appearances in the world in-person. I've thought about digging her out of the vault, but she would be OLD!

Hamlet
Wow. Well, even if she served a practical purpose, she still influenced my character to the point where her legacy includes a plethora of history books. Belated “thank you”.

scaylz
Hah, she would be happy with that!

Hamlet
Fast forward. As far as player character remorts go, Gilthodel and Kurn make for an unusual story. What was the inspiration behind that? Or was that purely circumstantial?

scaylz
Coming back after being gone so long, I had sketchy memories of lots of old plots and stuff, then a huge gap in knowledge. Kurn (having been mentored by Gil) provided a really nice mechanism through which I could draw on that knowledge, but it would also reasonably explain the patchiness of his knowledge.

Having the Gil/Kurn link allowed me to have a PC who inherited some of the cooler parts of Gil, but give them a bit more edginess. Gil was pretty up-tight. Kurn is... less so. The whole Underdark origin for Kurn also played well into his profound ignorance about recent historical events.

I was really surprised though at the turns that he's taken. But I attribute that all to the other PCs he's interacted with!

Hamlet
I shall have to refrain from comments on that last part, seeing as he married one of mine. -– How do you relate to your Avlis characters? If at all.

scaylz
That's a good question. I do sometimes see a bit of myself in my PCs. Definitely that holds for some PCs more than others. But it's not an intentional thing. I usually start a PC with a basic idea of their personality, a very vague notion of where I want them to go with their class, and then just throw them into the world and see how they end up. But I'm sure more of me bleeds through than I realize. Like when Faide gets bossy or impatient? That's probably more me than her!

Hamlet
There is a certain quandary for most of any Avlissian after a while. How do the people around you react to "the Avlis habit"? You just spent a Saturday night at an In Game party.

scaylz
I hate to say it, but I've aged beyond the time where my friends are going out on Saturday nights! So they don't really view playing a game in the evening as that much different from just watching a movie or TV.

Hamlet
I am struggling to remember that time myself. -– Now that you joined the Avlis Event DM realm, what was the greatest surprise for you? No spoilers.

scaylz
The greatest surprise has been the incredible number of tools the team has built or adapted so that the DMs can do all the things they do in-game. As a player, I had no clue what actually went into every little action the DMs do during events.

Hamlet
Did you pick your Avlis DM avatar, The'ton? Or was it assigned to you?

scaylz
I picked it. The'ton would always have been my first choice.

Hamlet
Should we be scared?

scaylz
Yes! OK... that sounds bad. What I mean is, I like scary stories. I'm not keen on PCs being scared in the sense of worrying about whether the party is going to get wiped out by an overzealous DM. More, I want them to have that trickle of fear – the mood. Trying to create that can be a challenge in a world of epic heroes, but I'm looking forward to trying.

Hamlet
After all these years, Avlis's journey continues in NWN EE. What do you look forward to? Outside the Player's Idea Box.

scaylz
I am really excited about the influx of new and returning players. Avlis really shines when the players are driving events, and a growing player-base really feeds into that, supporting more player-run guilds, player-driven research, you name it. I'm also looking forward to the new in-game clothing designs Gorgon keeps promising on Discord!

Hamlet
Spoiler alert: They are old. -– Last question! Inquiring minds want to know... why "scaylz"?

scaylz
The first PC I made with the account was a kobold. And "scales" seemed boring!

Hamlet
I'll take that. Thank you for your time & see you in game!
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