Original Link (now dead) -http://ac.turbine.com/?page_id=572
Foolish Ambition - March
The lonely lord sat in his private sanctum, staring blankly into the runes he had just inscribed into his heavy, leatherbound journal. He idly tapped his fingers on the top of his desk, and the only sound audible over the click of bone against chalcedony was the soft, keening whine, the sound of a soul in torment, from the altar behind him.
From the back of the study, interrupting the lord's solitude, came the sound of bootsteps in the empty corridor. He did not have to look to know that one of the household servants in charge of maintaining this library complex had come to his study.
"Speak, majordomo," he said, not bothering to turn around. "What is it you would have of me?"
"My lord," the servant rasped through a ruined throat, "the archivists are almost done with packing the most precious texts. The guards grow nervous as these… disturbances continue. It is almost time to leave, my lord. All that remains is… your part."
The clicking of fingers on writing surface stopped as the lord closed the book in front of him. The majordomo stepped closer, making sure to keep a safe distance from the garishly lit altar between him and his master.
"Shall I take that journal for you, my lord? There is room yet, not all of the boxes have been sealed for transport back to His Majesty's court. There is still time…"
The lord laughed, grim and bitter. "Time is one thing we do not lack, majordomo. It will be thousands of years before these halls are disturbed again, if my dreams are true."
"As you say, my lord."
The lord stood, pushing his chair out, and he looked down upon the sealed journal. For a long moment, he remained still. The majordomo took one nervous step closer. "My lord? Your journal? And the… other book?" As if to underscore his urgency, a dull, rumbling boom rolled through the chamber again. Dust sifted from the stonework above and trickled onto the desk and the floor nearby.
The lord hissed and swept the book off the desk with one angry motion. The book fell to the ground with a loud thump, and reflexively, the servant rushed to pick it up.
"No." The lord's voice echoed, even louder than the sounds of crumbling stone that surrounded them. "Leave it be. I am done with it. Tell the archivists to be on their way. I shall follow in a few moments. With the other book."
The servant retreated, scuttling backwards out of the room, bowing abjectly every few steps. The lord suddenly spun to look at him and called out.
"Wait. Where is my seal?"
The servant bowed again, afraid to meet his master's eyes. "My lord, I do not know. I thought you had it. I do not come in here myself, as you know, except in this case, when I had to tell my lord—"
"I know why you came here, majordomo. Very well. That will be all. Go, tell the archivists."
"As you say, my lord." The majordomo fairly flew out of the room in his eagerness to escape his master's strange temper and the pulsing book on the altar at the center of the room.
The lord looked around the study once more. He looked at the half-emptied bookshelves, ransacked for all irreplaceable items. He looked at the fallen journal on the floor at his feet. He looked at the altar at the center of the room, the vessel of his greatest triumph and deepest despair. "Would that you had been here, my lady, perhaps I would have thought better of it," he muttered, to no one in particular.
He shook his head and then straightened up, with an audible creak of dusty bones. He walked toward the altar in the middle of the room and the book that sat upon it, which bathed everything nearby in a ghastly red glow.
He stopped in front of the altar and reached out slowly, almost hesitantly, to touch the book. This book was larger and heavier than the journal he'd been keeping, and the binding sickened even one as inured to horror as he was. As he drew close, he could hear sibilant whispering in his mind. Down the corridor there were the sounds of running feet and shouted commands as his minions finished their preparations to abandon his library. Another rumbling roar echoed through the halls. It sounded like the very masonry was coming apart.
The lord addressed the book itself as he took hold of it with both hands. "If it were my decision, I would leave you here and hope these halls remain sealed forever. But I know that will not be true, that this library and that accursed graveyard will come forth again some day. And perhaps the only chance to reverse the damage done is somewhere else within your thrice-damned pages. Very well. Come on, you vile thing. My master awaits."
The whispers built to a crescendo in his head as he tried to lift the book from the altar. There was a moment of resistance, as if he had been encased in unyielding stone, before the book came free from the altar. The lord shook his head and snarled as he tucked the book unceremoniously under one arm like a novice in his own academy. "Never should I have agreed to use you. The Mhoires were not worth this. I have made too many bad bargains."
The book shivered briefly with malevolent humor. Ignoring it, the lord held his hand over the altar and spoke a few words in another language, a language even more ancient than his own. The altar shimmered as his warding spell settled over it. He stood there for a few moments more, probing at the ward with his own keenly attuned magical senses. The ward was incomplete. Flawed. It seemed that the consequences of his meddling had affected even his own casting abilities in this place.
Shaking his head, Lord Rytheran strode out of his study and ritual chamber for the last time, accompanied by the ominous rumble of shifting rock and barely audible laughter.
Original Link (now dead) -http://ac.turbine.com/?page_id=573
Rollout Article - March
Adso crawled across the rubble-strewn field on his belly. He moved slowly, almost torturously. Each limb moved at a glacial pace: undetectable on first or even second glance, but he managed to cover significant distances that he would otherwise have been unable to move across without alerting the creatures in the area. It took a prodigious amount of muscle control and discipline to move this way, but he had been well trained by his master in all manner of infiltration techniques. A human observer would have found him near impossible to detect, even if it had not been a moonless night under the dark pall of the graveyard. The supernatural creatures were harder to fool, but even so he had managed to evade detection by using every bit of his tradecraft and he was within a few paces of his goal.
Finally he managed to creep in under the cover of a pile of rubble near a low stretch of broken wall. It was enough cover for him to move at a normal pace as long as he stayed hunched over. Around the corner of the wall was a crypt he needed to search, and he was close… so close...
He was so close he momentarily lost focus, and forgot to keep track of where he was stepping. As he edged around the corner his foot brushed against something heavy, hairy, and warm. It was the merest touch, but it was enough. Adso looked down, cursing silently, as he heard the first warning chitter from the grave rat whose nap he'd just interrupted. A half-gnawed human arm nearby was evidence of what had happened to the last person to run afoul of the beast.
Small, glowing eyes snapped open and the creature began to hiss. With his quick hands, Adso managed to draw his blade and jab it into the rat's skull before it could attack or spit acid or scream. The rat died with a strangled gurgling noise. An alert glance showed that there were no other rats near enough to notice. He whispered a prayer of thanks to whatever deity would listen, then got back to work. In a smooth motion, he set the heavy, stinking corpse down on the ground behind the wall, withdrew his weapon, and cleaned the blade on the beast's mangy fur.
A few steps later, he slipped into the doorway of a dark and seemingly empty crypt. He stuck close to the wall and made his way around to the back of the crypt, where he could barely make out the outlines of some kind of chest or container. As he got closer, he was able to confirm that the object was, in fact, a chest. His pulse quickened. It was here, just as he'd been told…
Adso glanced back at the entrance to the crypt again and swept his eyes over the entire interior. Still no sign of other creatures in here. Breathing deeply to calm himself, he knelt before the chest and probed around it with fingers and picks to search for traps.
In a few moments he'd satisfied himself that there were no traps and that the chest was unlocked. Praying for more luck, he grasped the edges of the lid and began to lift ever so slowly. With just a crack of opening, his keenly trained eyes were already able to make out the glint of gold. Surely this was the seal he'd been sent to find…
A scratching noise behind him froze him in place, with his fingers still under the lid of the chest. He looked around to the entrance. Another grave rat had crawled into this crypt and was making its way down the stairs. It didn't seem to have noticed him yet, but if he stayed where he was, or tried to open the chest to fetch the seal, he'd almost certainly be spotted. Very carefully, he began to lower the lid again, keeping one eye trained on the rat and its maddeningly casual progress into the crypt. He'd have to sneak up on the rat and kill it before it could alert any of its kin, just like the last one.
As he lowered the lid smoothly into place again, a shadow darkened the entrance of the crypt. It was a man-sized shadow, but with an odd silhouette… As if it were wearing some kind of strangely shaped helmet. Quite heedless of the danger, the intruder seemed to dance down the steps. The rat spun to look at it and hissed, and was met with more giggling and dancing. The stranger leaped from the middle of the steps and landed gracefully on his tip-toes, then spun a complete circle and finished with a flourishing bow, right in front of the angry rat.
As Adso watched in horrified fascination, the rat leaped up at the stranger, shrieking with rage. The stranger caught it with strong hands and cradled it against his chest. Its screams and squeals echoed deafeningly in Adso's ears, and he knew that in a few moments this crypt would be filled with other rats drawn by the screams. The rat continued to thrash and even let loose a stream of acid, at which point the stranger performed a strangely beautiful pirouette, redirecting the stream of acid to splash on the wall near Adso.
Adso ducked and covered as the acid splashed near him. He rolled away from the chest, determined to escape this crypt before he was trapped in it, and try to re-approach later. When he looked up, the stranger was standing right in front of him. The rat continued to thrash in his arms, but it wasn't making any noise now that the stranger had clamped a hand on the underside of its head and throat. With one slow, sickening turn of his hand, the stranger crushed the rat's throat. Drops of blood and bile dripped onto the floor as the rat's life slowly drained out of it.
The stranger giggled again and tossed the dead rat aside. Adso could only stare up at this thing in fascination. He was dressed in checked black and white, his face was painted like some garish marionette… And his eyes glowed with the light of pure madness. Still laughing, the stranger slapped his hand, still slimy with rat drool and gore, over Adso's forehead.
"Here for my secret stolen treasure, are you? Someone's been telling tales out of the academy again!" The stranger's voice was high and cracking, and spoken with a strange inflection.
Unable to think of a response, Adso tried to pull away, but he couldn't. He felt a burning pain on his forehead, a pain that seemed to be growing by the second. His eyes rolled back into his head as the pain became unbearable. He thought he would go mad from the agony when, abruptly, the pain stopped. Adso opened his eyes and found himself alone with the chest and the dead rat. The stranger in motley had vanished…
A voice echoed above him. "Broken vows and treacherous hearts! The withered lord flees his broken arts! They come seeking for the lordly seal, but they know not what the seal reveals! Now run, little man, run to master. The fool has come to cry disaster!"
As more insane laughter rang out through the crypt, Adso saw the roiling silhouette of a horde of rats that had appeared at the entrance, drawn by the death squeals of the stranger's victim.
"By the way, pal, watch out for the rats," the disembodied voice echoed once more, as the swarm of rats surged forward.
Original Link (now dead) -http://ac.turbine.com/?page_id=571
Release Notes - March
Hello there and welcome to the March Release Notes! With the defeat of Aerbax, there is a feeling of hope in the air. Could it be a coincidence that spring has arrived early?
Let's see what else is going on in Asheron's Call for the month of March.
Aerbax Fight Changes
The Emissary of Asheron is now friendlier to players who have defeated Aerbax.
Some new items have been added to the rewards for defeating Aerbax. Players may want to run this quest again, and see what they might get.
A typo in Aerbax's intro dialog has been fixed. He now knows how to spell his own name.
Players should not be able to stay on Aerbax's platform after defeating him.
Aerbax should no longer be having the issue which caused him to pop back to full health.
Due to the change that was needed to make sure Aerbax did not pop back to full health, we have raised his overall health level to ensure the fight remains challenging to players.
The Emissary of Asheron should now give time estimates to players waiting for another group to finish the Aerbax quest.
There is now a shortcut to the portal device for players, so there is no longer a need to make the long run after each death during the Aerbax fight.
The Spear of Purity has had its attack modifier raised to 15% and its defense modifier raised to 10%.
The Chorizite pea now splits into Chorizite powder instead of oil.
Asheron's Servant now accepts the Charged Shards.
The Gladiator's Defense Armor Augments description has been changed to, raises bludgeon resistance by .2 (since that's what it does). Its cost has been lowered to 15 coins.
The Chorizite pea from Trial of the Heart now states it can't be split (it never could be and confused some people).
The Gem of Spectral Force's description now states melee weapons only.
Scepter of Might now has a 18% attack mod and a 7% defense mod.
The Spectral Crystal of the Life Giver now has a life magic icon instead of war.
Winter is over in Dereth and spring is upon us. The snow has melted away and once again the baby creatures of Dereth roam the landscape.
There have been reports that some kind of strange statue has appeared near the Mage Academy.
As we approach the beginning of April, make sure you are on the lookout for some "foolish" activities.
The Magic Defense Weapon Augmentation gem now works on wands.
The Sword of Soroku has had its multi strike removed, and should now have a wield requirement.
The Spellbook interface has been reorganized in preparation for level 8 spells.
Quest Experience Updates
We have changed or raised the experience that player can receive on some of our older quests this month. Many of our older quests gave a flat rate or no xp at all for completion. We have begun the process of adjusting some of these quests to be more in line with the rewards we are now giving out for quest completion. Below is a list of the quests that have been adjusted for the month of March. If the xp mechanics have changed in any way, it will be detailed below. Please note that at no point should the rewards player get be lessened by these changes.
Aerlinthe: No change to mechanics, players will now receive a percentage based reward for completion.
Gaerlan: Players will now receive a percentage based xp reward for completing the quest, as well as the xp for turning in the sword.
Impious Staff: Players will now receive a percentage based xp reward along with the staff upon completion of the quest.
Crystal Array Core: Players will now receive a percentage based xp reward for turning in Soul Gems to the same NPC's who hand out the weapons upon completion of the quests.
So there are just some of the things we have in store for Asheron's Call in March. Please remember that along with everything listed here, there are several new quests and exciting things going into the game for the March event.