Fund Molten Aether

I am never one to enjoy the act of asking others for money so I will keep this short and to the point. Running this server and its associated parts costs me time and in some cases money. The web server along costs the bulk of my out-of-pocket expenses but I do think it has become an essential part of what we do. A place to keep all of our content is very important to me.

I would like to ask that anyone who feels they can consider becoming a patron via our Patreon Page. Even a small regular donation would do wonders for us and my ability to keep everything running. As things pick up I hope to be able to invest more time and energy into making content here. I also would like to start making short videos on YouTube about writing and role playing. Some of these may become content only for patrons but that has yet to be decided.

In the end, I would like to clear about $40 a month or so which would cover my web server costs for the forum, wiki, and wordpress. We have specialized patron roles, which is not much of a thank you but it is a start. Should we get enough patrons I will look into what else those people would like me to do to add value to their generosity.

To everyone, thank you.

URL Update

In the long process that has been moving to the moltenaether.com domain name, the URL’s for all blazingumbra.com will now automatically redirect to the corresponding page on the new domain. All BU links will work exactly as are for a good long while. Eventually we will be moving entirely to the moltenaether.com domain but probably not until 2021 at the earliest. Users may need to log in again to the Wiki or WordPress as the cookies are no longer valid with the new domain.

If anyone gets any redirect errors (most common is likely to be too many redirects) I encourage users to wipe their cache and refresh. If the error still occurs, let me know what page was being accessed so I can do testing and resolve the issue.

Discord Reunification

As many people know, we took a poll on what people think should be done to better revive our role play. Play has diminished significantly over the last few months and that is in the face of many people being stuck at home, which should increase participation. The pole revealed that while there is a certain amount of support for killing off the Angelic Sins and Embers of Soteria settings there was far more people who (thankfully) also think everything was fine. The top two things that people think should be done were to reset everything and start over and to consolidate the servers back into one.

My choice to split the settings up into their own servers was controversial and intended to increase role play. Unfortunately it appeared to do the opposite. From the server having right around 100 people (though most were inactive) the membership has been cut in half. Also role play in AS and EoS are both at an all-time low. Since I am not very keen on resetting everything back to scratch, though that might have some advantages, I decided to reunify all the settings into a single server.

As part of this I cleared out the server invites list and generated a new invite, cleared out the old servers, sent out invites to players who were not still a member of the Molten Aether server, and moved all of the channels back. All the channels are blank of course, but my hope is that under this new (old) configuration we can once again start getting all the settings moving again.

Since roles were changing, everyone should check and make sure they have the proper permissions on Discord.

Efforts in Renewals

This is a last-ditch effort to attempt to revive the settings and generate some stories. My biggest concern is that I cannot carry this place alone, I simply don’t have the ability to do so. I need people to participate in making plots that support the main overarching plot.

I have been trying to get things rolling to revive our role play settings. We have some excellent role players and really good minds here. My efforts have shown a greatly underwhelming response. It appears that my attempts are akin to shouting into the wind. So far a grand total of 4 people have responded to my attempts to revive old story lines. I am becoming convinced that the vast majority of our players have muted the servers and forgotten about them. This is not entirely unreasonable, my work schedule combined with school and a lot of other things has created a situation where for a very long time I just didn’t have it in me to keep things up. People are fickle and bore easily, so it should be no surprised that I entirely failed to maintain this group with any cohesion. I understand this is my fault, I have made people angry, I have promised to continue stories that get dropped, and frankly any game just has a low priority.

This is a last-ditch effort to attempt to revive the settings and generate some stories. My biggest concern is that I cannot carry this place alone, I simply don’t have the ability to do so. I need people to participate in making plots that support the main overarching plot. I have loosened nearly all the restrictions on what I allow people to run but after introducing characters it appears that people just wander off, no longer interested. I don’t have a solution for this.

To help with this, I’ve created a poll. In the past we would have gotten 10-20 responses to a poll, lately I’ve gotten maybe 3 or 4.

Importing of Magic

There is already enough incredible work done on magic and psionic abilities elsewhere. As such, players wishing to use magic can import magic spells for characters much in the same way we’ve done with abilities, skills, and technology. Since magic systems are very different, players should attempt to find comparable spells via the D20 SRD (System Reference Document) first. Preference would be for d20 3.5 or Pathfinder but 5th Edition is also acceptable. Spells from the SRD can simply be linked to their SRD pages from the wiki. Spells with conflicts to the magic system or which need additional balancing with have codified canon version for the Molten Aether family of settings.

Since all 3 settings take place within the same largely continuity, any spell imported for a single setting can be used in the others. This may require some fudging to determine how something reacts with high technology areas. Also in Blazing Umbra it should be noted that almost all knowledge of magic has been lost over time and thus spells are very hard to come by. Players should be aware of this fact when designing character for Blazing Umbra that use magic.

Finally it is also acceptable to use areas of specialty and pull spells from the SRD that don’t need, strictly, to go on a character sheet. This grants a considerable amount of power to some characters which should be limited by common sense given the characters skill level and ability category. Any spells imported from outside the SRD will require some approval in their details to make sure they don’t break the magic system or throw off the balance of the game in other ways.

If you have any questions, please contact Cyclops.

Discourse Single Sign On

All users of the forum can now use their Discourse login credentials to sign into the WordPress. This will automatically link your Discourse information and profile from the forum to the WordPress database. I’m working on possibilities for using Discourse as a Single Sign On solution for the Wiki as well but that is a long way from finished.

Those people who already have accounts on both, the system will use email address to link the two, if anyone has any issues let me know and I’ll do my best to fix them. This is going to make it a lot easier for people to post their own updates for their own stories.

Infinite Codex – Notes & Tags

For a long time now I’ve been using OneNote for my notes, before that I used Evernote. I’ve used a lot of other software as well, the problem comes when you want people to collaborate on those notes.

Discourse has a feature they call a “Wiki”, by that it means a post which can be edited by anyone the way a Wiki is. This isn’t nearly as powerful as our wiki, but is still pretty useful. I have called this kind of universal notebook the Infinite Codex. As I explain in the description of the area, it is a place on the forum to put notes about plots and other ideas which can be edited by everyone, commented on, and doesn’t have to be correct nor is it instantly part of our canon. This is designed to be informal, similar to a post where people comment and reply but where the author or anyone else can go in, make changes, additions, and the like.

I’ve started by posting to it almost all of the half-finished storylines I have notes on in hopes that this will give people an idea of how it can be used. All of the information is up there, it can be easily edited, and it can be easily linked to elsewhere on the forum or anywhere else. My hope is that when people want to get some ideas out, they feel comfortable just making a post in the codex and editing it as they need.

Tags

I have also enabled the tagging feature of the forum. It’s had this feature for a long time, but until today it was disabled. Posts within RP areas need to be tagged with the tag for that setting. This allows using the tags to pull together information from across form areas. Major plots will also have their own tags for the same reason. People who’ve been here long enough to be in the “Regulars” group or otherwise have sufficient access can create their own tags, otherwise use the ones that are already there.

I’ve gone through and tagged most everything where it should be. Hopefully this will allow better organization and finding information (say from Phoenix Nebula or the Codex) and tying it to a particular post or series of posts.

Rebuilding the Community

For those who want the short version, I’m looking to have people increase participation by using the posts on this site as a starting point to have characters / NPCs who may not otherwise interact to do so. Short or long doesn’t matter, but use these as a source or a topic to talk / interact on in RP sessions. Next, help others, try to gently pull people in via inviting people into scenes. Finally, help get ideas rolling be constructive, be a sounding board providing feedback on pros and cons and help refine and build ideas for play. Don’t be afraid to be wrong or look silly, just create.

Usage has been on the decline for a bit now. Even before the server split participation has been on the decline. A few have been pushing forward anyway and being active. I want to support those players who have been active. First off, a shout-out to Winter who has been working on some amazing stuff in Embers of Soteria. Her contributions have been aided by many but her writing, effort, and creativity have been exceptional in adding a flavor to the story and components that fit into the greater narrative of the setting nicely.

I still fully believe that the server split was a good idea; though I do question it at times. Regardless the genie is out of the bottle with that one so either way that is how things are set up. I do recognize that it might not have been my best idea.

TL;DR

For those who want the short version, I’m looking to have people increase participation by using the posts on this site as a starting point to have characters / NPCs who may not otherwise interact to do so. Short or long doesn’t matter, but use these as a source or a topic to talk / interact on in RP sessions. Next, help others, try to gently pull people in via inviting people into scenes. Finally, help get ideas rolling be constructive, be a sounding board providing feedback on pros and cons and help refine and build ideas for play. Don’t be afraid to be wrong or look silly, just create.

Why is there a lack of participation?

We did a survey last year about participation. I have discussed the results at some point with the staff and I don’t think the situation has really changed that much. One of the biggest issues is that people don’t have a lot of time to sink into role playing and if they do, they may not want to role play here. It’s unreasonable to assume everyone with time is going to really become a devoted role player / writer here so I largely classify this as an unfixable problem. We cannot make people have more time and we cannot dictate how people should spend it. I myself have very few bits of time to string together and real life often gets in the way.

The other issue the survey brought up was about the games and playing; there is a feeling that the lore is at times impenetrable and there is a general enthusiasm with plots but a general inhibition or hesitation toward posting. People who are here who have a lot of good ideas, want to role play, are even talented at role play, but have no idea what to add to a game. This timidness toward being wrong or somehow screwing up a game is a huge factor, the second of all factors for people not participating (the biggest being time).

What do we do?

What I’d like to do is to use this site as more than just a collective history or creative narrative to add spice and color to the setting. I would like to use this to provide background that then people can use to base role playing on. So we have some recent posts about the Solas Tempus Marines and what their training is like. As an example, we have a lot of military characters and they could talk about or comment about the marines and their training in Finnegans (good or bad). People could NPC a group of marines for character to interact with or even make a marine character to play. This provides a place to go for shorter (or longer) role plays with characters that may not otherwise have a reason to interact. A drunk marine in Finnegans being an asshole and provides a reason for two military (or non-military) characters to react, talk, be brought together over a drink.

Similarly we had a recent post about troubles brewing around Chicago. This is intended as not just the introduction to a story arc (which it is) but also players in the Saevae could be talking about that and that could bring in other characters who normally wouldn’t interact. There’s a lot of fear that would be going on, fear is a powerful motivator. There would be everything from scam artists to heros showing up and with so much social pressure people are bound to get into conflicts. This is a jumping off point for side-RPs.

One of the biggest things I want people to take from this is to really try the dumb idea out, don’t be afraid to be wrong, don’t be afraid to look stupid. Make stuff up, you won’t be wrong. Often the crap that gets made up becomes part of the story arc and there suddenly you’ve participated in the whole arc!

Pulling vs. Pushing

I also want to ask everyone (especially staff) to begin pulling. I say pulling because I don’t think it is a good idea to go and pester people to role play. A lot of people have @here and @everyone suppressed and the server muted. So ping or DM someone whose on the server that we haven’t seen for a while and invite them to do a role play. Look at what characters they have, don’t push… Don’t ping them 3-4 times in a row and then keep at them but offer… “Hey, haven’t seen you around the server for a while, we’ve got some stuff going on, maybe want to do a scene?”

From what the survey from last year said a lot of people don’t know what to contribute, so I ask everyone to try to help fix that. Be vocal with ideas, advocate for the people that you know are good writers and help them with ideas. It’s often so much easier to see ideas for other people than it is to see ideas for yourself! A lot of this is about collaboration no one has all the ideas on their own.