The New Workflow

Pushing along with the efforts to improve the server and revive role playing, another thing that was discussed in our thread discussing server changes was the fact that storylines are few and far between and people have trouble with coming up with plots. Some of the plot difficulty deals with how powerful Solas Tempus is in Blazing Umbra, however that isn’t the only issue. We’ve gotten similar feedback before, about how easy / hard it is to come up with plots for different settings.

TL;DR: New links to Trello boards are posted (please read on for details):

Moving forward we’re still going to be using Trello for project management but I’ve reorganized the Trello boards to demonstrate how a story idea moves from initial inception to a completed story that has been played. The goal is that every user who wants will have a definite say in what goes on from the brainstorming process onward to actual playing. Our ultimate goal is two-fold. We want to both utilize a system where the work of writing and running new plot lines and through use of that system, teach others how to make use of it as well. I know a lot of people have different workflows, the goal is not to squash anyone’s personal way of doing thing. For the server, the intention is to provide a framework where a project can be started and completed by the group in an understandable and easy-to-follow way.

I am also working on templates for what questions to ask / answer in order to fill in the necessary gaps of a storyline or story element. I will, of course, be seeking input on these as soon as I get them up and running. The idea with all of this is to create a way for more people to make and participate in more stories. To this end story ideas will be posted, even if incomplete, and players / staff alike will be invited to take up and story that is incomplete and continue it.

Following that I will be personally casting a more narrow net with regards to story writing. Personally, I will be only moving forward with stories if they inspire me to the point that the ideas flow out nicely during the brainstorming process or when there is broad support. Previously every time a story idea was brought up, it was followed and an attempt was made to develop it. I will personally be seeking support to write elements of the story from players and other staff members. Ideas will still be posted on a regular basis, Trello makes it incredibly easy to just toss an idea up into the system to be followed up on later. A mix of brainstorming posts and their responses along with potentially polls on Discord will be used to determine support amongst players.

I’m not here to force anyone to use a system they do not want to use. I do encourage people to at least try the new system in developing a story. It may seem too much / overdoing it. My broader idea in this is to allow us to link together smaller plots into larger overarching plots, the way I have tried to do before.

The server cannot survive without plots being written and played. While I have a lot more time than I used to, I also am not able to write everything without getting a serious case of burnout. I hope this redesign and addressing of issues makes it easier for players to get and stay involved.

Upcoming Server Changes

Our survey on things to potentially change on the server was fruitful and we got some really good feedback and discussion, which is still ongoing as we make some changes. Two of the biggest problems for people were about how character applications are processed both for moderators approving characters and players submitting characters. There was not a lot of love for the Google Forms approach. To solve this we’re going back to something we did early on, that is using the forum for character applications. The difference is now there is a default template that can be just filled out then cut/paste directly into the wiki with minimal modifications.

I will also be creating a list of open character positions soon. The page, Current Positions, is up now but I haven’t filled it in yet. Each setting will have a list of open / available positions in that setting. Once the list is up it will have each open spot with a spot for the location the position is in and any notes associated with that role.

Changes Made

While there were some reservations about the changes to be made, I still believe we can increase our total player count and activity across the 3 settings by splitting them across different servers. Over the last week or so, that is what we’ve done. All 3 servers are now operational and set up. All content on the original Molten Aether server has been configured to be archived and read-only until such time as we feel comfortable deleting it.

The server Molten Aether will remain online and be a centralized hub for all the settings / servers. All the OOC channels are intact and while the roles have been heavily simplified, it maintains the same idea of who can get where. The “Founders” role will also now contain those who run additional servers as well as those who have contributed a lot to the setting, since those are also mostly the same thing.

Those who run other servers will be granted access to the #staff channel on Molten Aether. I have also simplified our bot experience, we have 3 core bots on most of the servers, and a few more on Molten Aether itself. The main addition is the bot called Alyssa, which is an instance of Nadeko Bot that I host myself. If anyone is interested, it is open source and pretty easy to configure. The primary reason for this bot is that it provides some “global” options for when running a self-hosted version on multiple servers, as such we have use of the following global commands:


These commands replace the Dyno commands which were similar. In addition, on Blazing Umbra there is the command .welcomekit which gives links and a description of a welcome kit for new arrivals to the station. More commands will be forthcoming as they are needed.

The server invites can be displayed with the .servers command for all of the Molten Aether servers. Soon, I will begin posting advertisement links to the Portal and we’re already listed on Dynobot’s site for all the servers. The hope is that we will attract people for each setting who may or may not want to do other settings and each server gain increased membership that way.

Proposal for Server Changes

I have considered server changes for a while now. Everyone knows that the server has gone through many iterations. For a good while now I have seriously considered doing something we did previously… That is to go back to having a server for each setting. Not only that, I would like to allow those people who have starships to have their own servers for their ships and thus allowing people to play around more with time-fudge (as is kind of becoming a term in my brain) so that people could more easily break away from the constraints of being all on the same server at the same time.

At this time, the changes outlined here are a proposal awaiting commentary from the group. If no commentary is given, we will proceed with making the necessary changes, otherwise consider this post an engraved invitation to comment and / or complain about these ideas. I am especially interested in peoples concerns both with how we do things now (which feels excessively complicated at times to manage) and how I am proposing to do things in the future (which might also feel excessively complicated to manage to some). I would like any and all constructive commentary.

Setting Czars

I have decided that each setting is going to get its own “Czar” who will be in charge of said setting in its entirety, except for accepting some co-input from myself when and if it became necessary to do so. Though the intention is for whoever is in charge of that setting to have a server dedicated to that setting where they are in charge of character approvals, story line choices, and even setting / background choices.

Reality Czars

Along those same lines, since we have Janus Gate in operation, I would like to give people the opportunity to (again on different servers) run a linked-reality with even more control unto themselves. This is the framework I imagine for servers to partner with ours. A prime example is a pure Star Wars, Halo, or Troy Rising universe along with other customs (including Cyber Star’s custom setting if he wishes, or Winter’s setting if she wants). Within each of our 3 settings we have methods of traversing realities and such partnerships would come with a “full faith and credit” kind of clause. This would allow approved characters, ships, and technologies / concepts from one reality to traverse to another reality unchecked so long as it has been previously approved in one of our servers.

Reference Material / Game Mechanics

I have always found participation points to be an important part of any setup. Thus, servers joined together in this way would need a bot (similar to Tatsumaki in this feature) to accumulate points and displayer server-only points and network-wide (as I think we could reasonably call a set of servers a network) points. We would still all share the same Wiki (though reality-specific servers would get the choice to reference their own Wiki should one exist).

The in-game mechanic of the Janus gate or even a singular Stargate works for me for transit between realities within Blazing Umbra, and magical solutions in the other 3 settings, the Umbral Passages / Drochaid stones in Embers of Soteria along with generalized magical spells and such in a more advanced world such as is in Angelic Sins.

Since Discourse (our Forum solution) and WordPress (thus, duh) have an extensive capacity to be customized and provide a unified front for all things, those people who are running external servers could use the forum and/or word press to unify announcements and the like. Some adjustments would need to be made, in all likelihood, in dealing with cross-posting and such but that all can be dealt with on the technical side at a later date.

What and Why?

My life is quickly getting more complicated and my personal life is blooming out into something I am really enjoying. I don’t want to give up Molten Aether nor any of its sub-settings but I am becoming too busy to properly manage it (and I didn’t really have time before to do all 3). Also a lot of other people have a lot of other ideas that are far better than mine when dealing with things like Fantasy and Modern Horror and even SciFi that isn’t Star Trek and Stargate (which I know an obscene amount about). Doing it this way allows people to be creative and benefit from our combined creative talent which is, well I think it is an impressive amount of creativity we have here.

Taking Applications

So what is going to follow is going to be the draft application for doing a partner server to ours:

Server Name:
This should be a paragraph or 2 at least.
Base Universe:
If the reality / universe is based on an existing one (such as Babylon 5, Star Wars, Star Trek, Firefly, Halo, Troy Rising) or anything that we can look up specifically as the base for the setting, it would go here include existing resources for if an original setting is being used here as well.
Special Information:
Anything we need to know about the in-universe game play and rules, be as detailed as possible if there is anything unusual outside the rules outlined on the Molten Aether Wiki that needs to be considered.
Additional Notes:
Anything else we need to know.

Application Terms and Conditions

These terms and conditions apply to every partnered server, of any type, which is added to Molten Aether. All partner servers should aspire to the same overall feel, our goal is to create a network of servers to cater to the creative desires of everyone who may wish to join and support those people in becoming better role players, writers, and such.

Full Faith and Credit

Any and all characters approved on any individual server are valid for every server within Molten Aether and its subsidiary servers and our character creation guidelines must be met as outlined here. All servers must follow the rules of conduct as outlined here, at a bare minimum, this does not mean that individual servers cannot have more strict rules of play so long as they do not violate the rules specified. Interpretation of rules should be as uniform as possible, but server admins do retain the ability to interpret the rules as they see fit while minimizing conflicts with other servers.

Moderators vs. Administrators

Moderators are defined as those who work within a server to assist in role play, producing plots and stories, going over applications, and enforcing the rules of an individual server. Administrators are defined as those who administer the server’s framework, channels, bots, roles, and other such things. Administrators also, under this plan, will assist in unifying all the servers in the network should some kind of conflict arise.

Admin Sharing

While each server will have its own administrators moderation privileges will be extended to administrators from the other servers. This does not have to include moderators getting similar privileges on all servers. However, anyone who is an Admin on one of our core servers (currently defined as SysOp we currently have on Molten Aether) will be expected to be administrators on subsequent servers unless there is sufficient reason not to. Moderators can also be shared, but it is not required and individual server owners have the final say on if a moderator of a partnered server is allowed to be moderator on their server.


In addition to our normal comments being on the forum, there is a Google form for extended comments and voting for these changes.

Change to the Wiki

Over the last few days I have been making a lot of changes to the wiki, most everyone who has a character probably got an email. I went through every single character bio that we have there and reorganized them. All players that had 4 or more characters now have their own category, this helps keep the People category easier to read through. We also have categories for some of the races, organizations, and settings. There is also a new setting category of Cross Setting which is for characters in which the same version of the character crosses between settings; such has to be approved by staff of course.

The changes include the requirement of a setting field in the Character Box template, but more than that, we make more use of the player field, which we’ve always had but hasn’t been widely used. Now, the system will attempt to automatically categorize a character by the person who plays it. This does mean that we’re going to have to make sure the field is consistent, an excellent example is Neeko (going by many names, usually revolving around being on Spotify a lot). Now, his character pages are all listed under that name, Neeko. Thus all characters he plays have to be listed under that name. If the player name has a user page on the wiki, it will automatically be linked as well. This also means that if the player has a Wiki account, we should use that name for the name of the player. This will help keep it consistent and link into the user information on the wiki.

The other thing this means is there should no longer be a need to add categories to the character pages manually. Simply fill out the setting information in the template along with status and player, the wiki should do the rest.

We are also now going to be making better use of our category for NPCs. I was also inspired by something that Chaos Spartan said and from here on out, if someone would like to claim an NPC for themselves to play as a proper character, contact the staff; we should be able to arrange that. Character bios for NPCs will be filled in as needed during game play, it is important to keep track of details, so try to record traits that you want an NPC to have during play and slap them into the wiki, even informally, after.

Thank you to everyone. Happy gaming.