Original Link (now dead) -http://ac.turbine.com/?page_id=483
Come What Follows
Adso sat by his camp fire, writing down observations in his journal in a neat and precise hand. Spread out on the ground beside him was a map he had drawn of the Isle of Ruin in the Halaetans, thickly marked with annotations.
He looked up, limbs tense and ears alert, when he heard the sounds of footsteps nearby. He relaxed when he recognized the pattern of the footfalls. The younger acolyte was approaching beneath the rocky ridge upon which Adso had established his camp. He looked down onto the valley floor beneath and saw her approaching. As she drew closer to the firelight, he saw that her leather armor had been perforated and slashed in multiple locations. He jumped to his feet, blade in one hand, signaling with the other. He flashed a hand sign, asking if she was in trouble or being followed.
The acolyte returned the "all okay" signal, and Adso relaxed long enough for her come up to the fire and stand directly in front of him. "What news, Sabithra?" he asked her.
Sabithra sighed wearily and dropped a heavy pack by the fire. "Tough hunting," she said, waving her hand dismissively as she sat down. "I got everything Master asked for, and more besides, though." She crossed her legs, poured some water into a kettle, and began heating the kettle on the fire. "Tea?" she asked him.
He nodded cautiously, looking her over to see that she was properly recovered from her recent fight. They were in dangerous territory, and if she was slowed by her wounds in any way, they might both pay the price of another trip to the lifestone.
Sabithra's presence was the latest sign of his Master's growing trust in him. He'd recently been given charge of the young acolyte's training, and this trip through the most dangerous of the Halaetan Isles was their first major hunting excursion together. He had dispatched her to collect a list of creature trophies that their Master had requested, while he had gone around to map out some new fortified camps in the Shattered Out-Lands. She was a talented fighter, but he suspected the real reason Master had assigned her to him was to test his own patience.
Sabithra glanced at Adso's map and her eyes widened. "So Master was right. They have been moving around."
Adso nodded. "Yes, and it seems to me that they are going to start building further fortifications soon. I do not know what it portends, but analysis is not our task. We are merely here to observe and document their movements."
"And to collect monster guts, apparently," she said, grimacing in distaste as she eyed her pack full of ichor-spattered body parts. "Don't we have better things to hunt? Like, say, people?"
"It is not for you to question Master's orders," Adso snapped. "Trust me, if I'd taken that tone with Master as a wet-behind-the-ears acolyte, I would be lying in a patch of red snow right now." He locked eyes with her. She met his gaze defiantly. He put the force of his will into his own eyes, as the Master had taught him. He'd come to call it the "blank stare of hate" whenever he found himself under the Master's own cold gaze of disapproval.
After a time, Sabithra looked away. "As you say, Elder Brother Adso."
Adso nodded in approval. "Good. Now tell me of your hunting trip."
By way of answering, she opened the pack and rooted through the pile of body parts. "The strangest thing occurred... I was attacked by a pair of masked men. I defeated them, though they did cut me up pretty well. Each of them had one of these ..." She dug something out of her pack, dripping with gore. She flicked off some of the fluids and held it up to the light. It was a small, star-shaped piece of metal, but it glimmered in the firelight with the sheen of gold.
Adso's journal fell to the ground from nerveless fingers. His jaw dropped, and he snatched the golden star out of her hand. He inspected it closely against the firelight.
"The men who attacked you... Each had one of these?"
"It's just a shuriken, Adso. Not that different from the kind you can buy from any weapon merchant in the Sho lands... What, didn't Master teach you about them?" She smirked sardonically at him.
Adso stood, eyes alight with rage. The smirk vanished from Sabithra's face when she saw how angry he was.
"Foolish woman," he hissed. "It's not just a shuriken." He quickly packed his journal and map away and kicked dirt over the fire, some of which washed over the teapot.
"Hey! My teapot!" Sabithra protested.
"Pack your things. We are leaving now. We are going to see Master."
"But what about the trip to Sanamar? I was really hoping to—"
Adso grabbed her wrist with iron-hard fingers and yanked her to her feet. "We are going to see Master. We will show him what you found, and you will tell him everything about your hunting trip. And by Pwyll's bloody red bones, if you smirk or make any smart comments, or whine about your orders, I will bleed you myself and leave your corpse behind for the Eaters. If that's not enough to make you shape up, Master will bleed you, and there won't be any waking from that. Are we clear?"
Sabithra straightened her posture, now fully obedient to her angry Elder Brother. "Yes, Elder Brother Adso, I understand."
"Good. Now get your damn teapot and let's go."
Original Link (now dead) -http://ac.turbine.com/?page_id=486
Ulgrim sat cross-legged in the shadow of the Smoking Axe Tavern in Ayan Baqur, tracing strange patterns in the dirt. A shadow appeared, looming over him and obscuring the patterns he was tracing. He looked up and squinted in the harsh sunlight of the desert town.
"Eh? Who goes there? You're blocking my light!"
"I apologize, Uncle," the stranger replied, shifting slightly to the side.
Ulgrim blinked a few times, then stood up to embrace his nephew. "Ardry, my boy! Where have you been?"
"Will you remember if I tell you, Uncle?"
Ulgrim considered that for a moment. "Probably not. So let's not waste time talking about it! What brings you to my town?"
"Ah, well, I wanted to consult with you about a strange artifact I found..."
"Of course, of course, my boy. There's no one who knows more about strange artifacts than I do!" Ulgrim rubbed his hands together. "But first, be a friend and get me a mug of stout, would you?"
"Okay, Uncle, I'll go get you some stout, but while I'm in there I want you to examine this..." Ardry pulled out a small velvet bag from his pack and placed it in Ulgrim's hand. It was heavy for its size and felt like it had an apple or a small fruit inside. "Mind you keep it discreet, as it is... very shiny." That said, he walked through the tavern's threshold and disappeared within.
Ulgrim snorted at his nephew's concern and upended the bag, spilling its contents into his palm. He let out a low whistle and immediately covered the object between both hands. It was a huge red gem, a ruby most likely, that seemed to possess a core of darkness. He turned his back so that the walls of the tavern would obscure what he was doing, and examined its many flawless facets. Ardry came back outside with two mugs of stout in his hands.
"Great galloping Golems, my boy! Where did you get this?" He accepted one mug from Ardry and quaffed half of it in one gulp, wiping his mouth on the sleeve of his robe.
"From an undead lord, in a recently uncovered crypt. I was asked to find it by a new and somewhat suspicious character who's taken up residence near Zaikhal. I need to know if you can tell anything about it, before I give it to him. I've been in situations like this before. I know what kind of havoc can lurk in the center of a suspiciously colored gem. I don't want to accidentally unleash the Hopeslayer, or anything like that."
Ulgrim shook the gem while holding it to his ear. "Well, on that account you can rest easy. I don't think there's any Hopeslayer in here. It does look very odd, though, doesn't it?" He paused, then held it to his nose and took a deep, rumbling snort. "Nope, doesn't smell particularly Bael'Zharonish, either, though that can be hard to tell. I say though, it does smell strangely familiar, like some other rubies I've come across..."
Ulgrim slipped the gem back into its bag and handed the bag back to Ardry. "I'd recommend you take it to Aliester and see what he can make of it. He's the gem expert."
Ardry sighed. "I know. I was hoping to avoid a journey all the way out there, just to endure another hour-long lecture on the geomantic properties of boiled river mud. I thought a nice mug of stout with my favorite uncle would be preferable."
Ulgrim gave his nephew a sly look. "Oh, very sweet. A mug of stout with your favorite uncle, eh? Why, if only your mother was around, so I could tell her what a kind and dutiful boy she raised... But honestly now, you've got something else on your mind, I can tell."
Ardry sighed, a little embarrassed, and drew another velvet bag from his pack. This one was slightly larger than the previous one. He handed the bag to his uncle, who took it from him with a suspicious glare.
"Now, before you open this, Uncle –" Ardry began, but it was too late. Ulgrim opened the bag and dropped the contents into his hand again. It was an egg, and very obviously not a chicken egg. Ulgrim grinned and licked his lips. "How nice, you brought me a hard-boiled egg for lunch. You know, I was just thinking of how hungry I was... Fetch me some salt and pepper, would you?"
Before Ardry could protest, Ulgrim knocked the egg against his boot to crack it. He was ready to start peeling off pieces of shell when it twitched and squeaked. He shrieked, a high-pitched wail of terror, and dropped the egg.
Ardry gave a wordless cry of dismay and dove for the egg. He hit the ground, and it sounded like a few things in his pack broke as he did, but he managed to catch the egg and save it from hitting the hard-packed desert dirt.
"What kind of hard-boiled egg is that?!?" Ulgrim yelled in shock.
"Not a hard-boiled egg at all, Uncle." Both men watched in fascination as the shell cracked all the way around, and bits and fragments of it cascaded from Ardry's cupped hands. The baby animal that had been concealed within the egg twisted and squeaked again. Once all the shell pieces had been sloughed off, Ulgrim saw that it was a very small Armoredillo. It looked at him with small, beady, but undeniably cute eyes.
"I didn't bring you lunch, Uncle," Ardry sighed, still prone on the ground with the baby Armoredillo cradled in his hands. "I brought you a pet. Don't feed it any stout."
Original Link (now dead) -http://ac.turbine.com/?page_id=485
September 2006 Developer's Notes
New content and Functionality
This month we are introducing Non Combat Pets into Dereth. These pets will not have any combat features to start with, and will be there solely look cute. While we would love to add combats pets into the game, at this stage we want to make sure that any pets added in to the game are done in a way that will not throw that balance out of whack. At the start you will have 4 pets to choose from; an Armoredillo, Drudge, Thrungus, and of course the cute Ursuin. Players will be able to have all four pets, but only one pet per player is allowed out at a time. The Pets will not be killable, and they will not be able to block doorways or entrances of any kind.
Uninscription stones have been added into the game. Players will be able to purchase the stones from a vendor for a fee. Once they have the stone they can use it on any loot generated non unique item to remove the inscription from that item.
A new foe has shown up in various hunting dungeons across Dereth. These foes tend to be a bit more "stealthy" than your normal dungeon inhabitant. Make sure you are always paying attention; you never know when they might show up.
Miscellaneous Changes and Improvements
The Valley of Ruin on the Halatean Isles has had its balance reworked a bit. This valley has generally been avoided by most players, other than those who are traveling to dungeons near this valley. In order to make this area more useful to players who prefer outdoor hunting, we have begun making revisions to this area starting this month. This is a work in progress and in the coming months we will continue to work on improving this area.
Some changes have been made to the Dark Isle to help with balance issues on the island since its launch. These changes are a work in progress, so we will be interested in the feedback we get on the changes that were made.
NPC's now recognize that the stack size of Pyreals has been increased to 25000.
After a long period of darkness, the sun and the sky have once again returned to normal.
The Breastplates of Grace, Splendor, and Power received by completing the Sawato Extortion quest, are now able to be dyed.
In order to make sure that all those affected by the authentication issues last month have a chance to get the Pack Grael, Ulgrim's Emissaries have been left in the game for another month.
Letter to the Players
Original Link (now dead) -http://ac.turbine.com/?page_id=481
September 2006 Letter to the Players
Hello there and welcome to the September Letter to the Players!
With Grael finally defeated the people of Dereth can now breathe a sigh of relief. The sky has now returned to normal and the sun is once again a bright spot crossing it. Now is a time for celebration as we approach Fall and the Festival season. The celebrations this year should be grand, as the people of Dereth have once again proven they can overcome any foe.
Now let's see what's new and exciting this month in Asheron's Call!
New Content and Updated Functionality
With the Launch of Throne of Destiny, a tremendously dangerous area was added on the Isle of Ruin in the Halatean Isles. This valley has generally been avoided by most players, other than those who are traveling to dungeons near this valley. In order to make this area more useful to players who prefer outdoor hunting, we have begun making revisions to this area starting this month. This is a work in progress and in the coming months we will continue to work on improving this area.
This month we are introducing Non Combat Pets into Dereth. These pets have no combat features to start with, and are there solely to look cute. While we would love to add combat pets into the game, at this stage we want to make sure that any pets added fit into the overall balance of the game and don't throw that balance out of whack. At the start you will have 4 pets to choose from; an Armoredillo, Drudge, Thrugus, and of course the cute Ursuin. Players will be able to have all four pets, but only one pet per player is allowed out at a time. The Pets will not be killable, and they will not be able to block doorways or entrances of any kind.
Another new feature being added this month is Uninscription Stones. These are just what they sound like. Players will be able to purchase the stones from a vendor for a fee. Once they have the stone they can use it on any loot generated non unique item to remove the inscription from that item. If you have a player inscription on a quest item, the stone will not remove the inscription. It will also not remove the inscription from items such as the Pack Cow.
NPC's will now recognize that the stack size of Pyreals has been increased to 25000. Last month the NPC's did not get the memo about the increase in the Pyreal stack size. This made the change less exciting for those who had been asking for this change.
These are game changes that we are thinking about for upcoming events. We cannot guarantee when or even if these changes will be added to the game, as scheduling and priorities can change. These changes are in addition to the new quests, dungeons, and items we will be adding to the game. With each monthly event we will be discussing an in concept topic, in order to give you as much information about the item that we can.
One of things we are looking at going forward is how we can improve crafting. We know this is a kind of broad statement, but at this point we are looking at the crafting system as a whole and trying to determine what changes can be made to improve this already robust system. When we have more specific details on this we will post more information on what direction we want to go and what improvements will be made.
We are also investigating the possibility of Buffing Pets. These are pets that can cast simple buffs on the person who controls them. This of course brings up balance questions, so we are taking things very slowly when it comes to any pet skills we add to the game.
So there are just some of the things we have in store for Asheron's Call in September and beyond. Please remember that along with everything listed here, there are several new quests and exciting things going into the game for the September event.