Original Link (now dead) -http://ac.turbine.com/?page_id=576
Upping the Ante - April
Mundagurg opened the canteen and sniffed it suspiciously. Three times he had returned to Angry Grandfather for help or at least advice, and three times Angry Grandfather had told him things he didn't really understand. The third time, however, Angry Grandfather had given him this canteen and instructed him to "take care of it and stop bothering me, or ask somebody else." So he'd taken the canteen and come up here again, to this distressed strand of beach where his glorious service on behalf of his confusing patron deity had ground to a frustrating halt at the finned hands of some corruption-fouled beasts that smelled even more pungent than he and his fellow Merwarts did.
Mundagurg, for his part, was flummoxed by Angry Grandfather's reluctance to come away from his shrine in the human settlement and use some of his awe-inspiring magical powers to help one of his most loyal and daring disciples. After all, who else among the Merwarts raised up by Angry Grandfather had been hardy or clever enough to explore so much of this strange and confusing land? Only Mundagurg. And had not Angry Grandfather demonstrated his godlike powers to them when he first raised them up? Had he not shown the ability to conjure fire in his hands and to call lightning from a cloudless sky? Had he not shared with them the secrets of the Blue Stone and the Magic Brew? Why was he reluctant to smite the enemies of his people?
The confused little Merwart waggled his big, melon-shaped head in resignation and decided that it was not for him to question the wisdom of Angry Grandfather. There had to be some reason why Angry Grandfather had tasked him with exploring all of this island, but would then refuse to assist him when an impediment to the mission arose, not even an hour's walk from Angry Grandfather's own shrine!
Sighing in a human-like gesture that he'd picked up during his travels, Mundagurg pushed all his doubts back. He had a task to accomplish now, and then he'd be able to think about more complex theological matters later on. Having settled his own internal debate, at least temporarily, he held his breath and took a big gulp from the canteen. The thick, bitter liquid almost overwhelmed him with its powerful, almost grotesque taste, smell, and fizzy texture, but his long practice and devotion to Angry Grandfather's rituals helped him overcome his natural aversion to the strong drink.
Almost immediately, he was rewarded for his efforts by a surge of energy throughout his battered limbs. The vitality that flowed through him bolstered his own confidence in himself. He scrambled up on top of the rock formation that he'd been hiding behind and examined the scene again.
There was a hole in the land here. The Fin-heads had dug their way up out of some hidden warren and were in the process of trying to claim a portion of the beach for themselves. More and more Fin-heads came out of this hole every day, and he'd even been able to get a glimpse of their apparent leader, a taller, smellier, shambling specimen that Angry Grandfather had named "Blightfinger" when Mundagurg described the situation. Mundagurg had explored just about every other inch of the humans' island, and he knew that the Fin-heads were not native to this area. They mostly kept to other areas, nearer to the hot, smelly Vesayen Isles that Mundagurg had already explored and catalogued, months ago, as one of his first tasks.
"Must learn to stop fearing what happen maybe later, think about what happen now for sure," Mundagurg repeated. It was a rough paraphrase of the advice Angry Grandfather had offered him each time he'd come seeking guidance on how to deal with the Fin-heads.
"Okay," he muttered to himself. "Go get club off dead not-me, then run away before Fin-heads send me back to Blue Stone… Then think about future maybes."
Mundagurg took a deep breath and vaulted over the rock formation. He hit the sand running, and his flat, flapping feet helped him keep a fast pace over the shifty sand as he sprinted forward. There was a handful of the Fin-heads outside of the cave mouth this time. One of them saw him coming and turned to bellow a warning to its fellows, but it was too late. The speeding Merwart was past the knot of them and running through cool, damp tunnels as fast as his little legs would carry him.
Mundagurg, like the rest of his fellow Merwarts, was not particularly smart, but his sense of direction in the dark was excellent, and he navigated the tunnels of the Fin-heads with ease, despite only having been through here briefly, and while fighting the whole time. He navigated the corridors without tripping on the vines that had slowed him up the first time, and he managed to evade or slip past a few other Fin-heads. Despite his adept maneuvers, the noises that reverberated through the tunnels behind him made it clear that the outside patrollers were still chasing him.
Finally, after a few twists and turns, and with by now half a dozen monsters on his trail, Mundagurg found what he was looking for: his own corpse. To even look upon the empty shell that once was his body inspired a tremor of theological terror in him. Not even the lessons provided by Angry Grandfather would ever completely quell his discomfort in seeing and interacting with his own corpse. But he managed to shove away those concerns long enough to reach out and take the glowing green club from his own dead hand: the prized weapon he'd carved himself, and lost during his first fateful trip into these tunnels.
His club retrieved, Mundagurg spared a second to listen to the grunts and shrieks of his pursuers as they closed in on his position. He took an experimental swing, felt the strength still flowing through him, and tried to find an out-of-the-way corner in which he could hide for a moment, just long enough to surprise his hunters. He glanced back at his own body, and at the vines that crawled up the walls of these tunnels, and came up with an idea…
The Fin-head pursuit arrived just a few moments later. They saw the corpse of the little Merwart still clutching its club on the ground, and they saw the Merwart himself, apparently tangled in some of the hanging vines nearby. Roaring in outrage at the intrusion, they launched themselves at the little Merwart. So blinded were they by primitive anger that they didn't even notice the corpse get up, wielding its club with a fiendish gleam in its eyes. They jumped on the decoy in a pile and proceeded to become thoroughly tangled up with each other.
Mundagurg's first swing of the club shattered the kneecap of the last Fin-head that had jumped on the pile drawn by his corpse. The beast shrieked in pain and fell onto its fellows. By the time the beasts got themselves untangled, their quarry was far down the tunnels, chortling in glee. They could hear the hue and cry from their fellow tunnel-dwellers as the Merwart made his escape, but without advanced warning or a concerted hunt, the little Merwart could evade any one of them individually and probably make good his escape.
Mundagurg emerged from the tunnel still running at a breakneck pace, too afraid to even look back. Even though the sounds of pursuit died down a few hundred yards from the hole, he didn't slow down until he was within sight of Angry Grandfather's town. Surely, he thought, some kind human friend of Angry Grandfather's would be happy to kill all those Fin-heads, if only he could come up with the right reward to bribe them with… It was always rewards with the humans, after all.
Original Link (now dead) -http://ac.turbine.com/?page_id=578
Rollout Article - April
In a newly constructed underground fortress, protected from spying eyes by powerful concealing magic, a pair of old friends and sometime rivals stared across a table at each other. A nervous courier stood between them. The table, copied from a similar piece of furniture in Queen Elysa's royal map room, bore a huge, detailed map of the great island of Dereth and all its surrounding lands. Piled on top of the table, obscuring parts of the landmass, sat a pile of papers – reports from scouts who had combed the realm and investigated the recent ley line disturbances.
The elder of the two seated figures, an aged Empyrean mage named Harlune, sat back and fixed the scout with a suspicious eye. "Well, go on, then," he growled.
The courier cleared his throat, picked up the next dispatch, and snuck a glance at the other seated figure, whose only expression, a serene and sleepy-eyed smile, had not changed since this session began. Shaking his head, he read the dispatch out loud. "Discovered single playing card on corpse of undead Lady Tairla. Card depicts itself as Queen of Hands. Appears to be part of larger suit of Hands. Suspect Jester to be involved. Will continue to hunt graveyard and seek other cards. Also compiling list of Jester utterances, which could be crucial information or utter nonsense. Await further instructions."
Harlune snorted. "Once again it comes back to this Jester, eh? How did an undead fool gain such importance? He was a fool in life, and I'm now to believe that he is a repository of ancient wisdom just because he's dead and his bones haven't turned to dust yet? Are we supposed to fall all over ourselves investigating every time someone makes a knock-knock joke or passes wind comedically?"
"You are ignoring the context of this discovery, old friend," his companion said from across the table. "The Jester was present for Rytheran's mistake. He may hold the key to what has happened to the ley lines. The journal pages from Rytheran's study that we received last month suggests as much. I, in particular, am eager to hear what this Jester has to say. Remember, by tradition, a fool was often the one person in court who could speak truths the courtiers were too timid to acknowledge."
Harlune shook his head angrily. "Sometimes a fool is just a fool! And I don't believe that those pages tell a true tale. Rytheran got hold of the Book of Eibhil, used it just once, and then willingly gave it over to his master? Preposterous, I say. He could have obliterated Geraine with the book."
"At what cost to himself? Just because you do not understand why he would surrender such power, it does not mean he did not do so."
"I understand more about surrendering power than you'll ever know, woman," Harlune muttered, but he waved his hand as if to concede that point. Quickly enough, he blustered on to another issue.
"I still think we'd be better served if we spent our limited reconnaissance abilities investigating the undead and the witch's little gang of cultists," he insisted, thumping the table for emphasis. "Whatever important discoveries there are to be made will come clear soon enough, and we'll at least be able to make sure that they can't steal a march on us!"
"I agree that it is important to learn what our rivals plan, and in time we can do that. But for now, we must look at the things that have occurred – the bleeding ley lines, the tainted Moarsmen arriving on the western shore, and now these strange cards appearing in the graveyard -- and concentrate our resources on discovering the true nature of this threat to the realm. We must first achieve our own goals before we worry about the movements of our rivals. Nor am I convinced that they are actually inimical to our purposes!"
Harlune crossed his arms stubbornly. "We must seek to know what the others plan, if only to protect ourselves against their treachery. We know the witch hates us and wants to exterminate us. How can we watch our enemies, and you'll see in time that they are our enemies, if we leave ourselves blind to their movements? We can't figure out what they're planning if you're sending people off to Bur or down some rabbit hole in the Graveyard!"
The woman at the opposite end of the table sighed and flicked her eyes towards the courier, practically forgotten by this point. "When we have judged that it is proper to recruit more Isparians to our cause, they will be the ones who take on these additional burdens."
Harlune laughed bitterly as he, too, looked at the courier, who was doing his best to stare straight down at the piled dispatches. "You place too much faith in them, Ben Ten. Always have."
Original Link (now dead) -http://ac.turbine.com/?page_id=575
Release Notes - April
Hello there and welcome to the Release Notes for the April event, Upping the Ante. This month we have heard some reports about the Jester appearing in the Graveyard. Cooldown timers have been added to the game. Aside from some new content rewards, players will first notice this new tech on their Throne of Destiny gems. Let see what else is going on this month in Asheron's Call.
New Content and Updated Functionality
Cooldown Timers have been added to the game.
The Throne of Destiny gems have been changed to use this new cooldown tech. Players will now need to wait 30 seconds between each use. This tech is intended to be used on new items as well.
Aerbax has been revised again to resolve the issues that have been seen with him returning back to health. Please keep in mind if a player or players attempt to trap Aerbax in a state where he is trapped or in a state where he cannot hit players, he will return back to his home location and return to full health. The action is working as intended to prevent players from exploiting the nature of the platform that the fight takes place on. The new mechanic to prevent the unplanned instances where Aerbax returns to full health, is as follows. Players fighting Aerbax will get him down to a certain health level which triggers him to teleport to a new platform. And in appearance, that is what will happen. The actual tech change in this case is that instead of Aerbax teleporting himself, he will get to a certain health rate, delete himself and cause a new version to spawn at the next platform, at a reduced health level. Please keep in mind that when the new form of Aerbax shows up, it will say he is at 100% health, but upon closer ID, players will be able to see his overall health is lower.
The Emissary of Asheron now fixes all the reward bugs when you talk to him and if a player has received two helms one can be given for the next piece of armor.
The timer emote on Aerbax no longer counts down incorrectly (was saying 5 min left 4 3 2 5)
The Jester has shown up in the graveyard. Players may want to investigate this move.
The Jester will now re-teach players the Arcane Pyramid spell if they have deleted it out of their spellbooks.
The Jester now tells players when he teaches them the Arcane Pyramid spell.
The Ghost Jailer will now know if you released the Jester and give a different response.
If players free the Jester and then go back and free him again before their timer is up, they will no longer be able to start in the cell room.
Players can now choose to spawn at beginning of the Jester dungeon or at the trap in case they skipped turning in the letter to the wall.
Mages should now be able to hit The Jester with a bit more ease now.
An issue where players could possibly get stuck on the Shadow Kresovus quest has been fixed.
The Burun Collar on the Asheron's Abductor quest no longer looks like Darling's Collar.
Player corpses that have no items or Pyreals on them will now self delete after about 30 seconds. This should apply to regular corpses as well as PK Lite corpses.
Dark Scarabs should no longer burn upon use. They now will just go away once their timer is up.
Due to the issues we had in the March event, the Tanada House of Pancakes will be open with the start of the April event from 4/15/2008 through 4/22/2008.
An announcement is now made when a player uses a volatile rare. For those who do not know, these are rares that are burned upon use such as melee defense or magic defense rare gems.
So these are just some of the things we have in store for Asheron's Call in April. Please remember that along with everything listed here, there are several new quests and exciting things going into the game for the April event.