Legends of Belariath
Quests and Questing
What is a Quest? In Belariath we tend to use 'quest' as an overall term to cover a wide variety of happenings. In general, a quest is some structured event which is run by one or more players for the benefit of other players. Those running the quest do not usually join in with characters who are on that quest, instead they direct what is happening and may also introduce temporary characters who oppose (or more likely try to kill) the questing characters.
Quests generally fall into the following categories:
- Events - Planned activities to which all characters are normally invited. They may take the form of a religious festival, an orgy, a ball, a war, some upheaval to normal life, or other structured entertainment in which the players participate. Events may last several hours or several days.
- Mini-events - Usually run on the spur of the moment, these tend to be thrown in at random to liven up roleplay. Typically they will last a couple of hours and may comprise something such as a raid on the town by a band of goblins or a rampaging dragon.
- Quests - Actual quests usually involve a party going somewhere in search of something of value. No doubt you are familiar with the concept which is a staple of just about every fantasy ever written or played on a computer. A quest will generally run several hours but multi-part quests played over a series of days are not unknown.
- Tournaments - As you might expect, tournaments are structured competitions which usually aim to find the best fighter or the best magic user. They may have zones so that similarly ranked characters compete against each other and will go through a series of knock-out rounds until the winner triumphs.
- Storylines - These are often ongoing for weeks, months or even years. They don't require the full attention of characters all the time but they continue to surface periodically as new twists are revealed. A typical storyline could emerge gradually by strange things happening or strange creatures being seen. Or perhaps an expedition is launched to explore some unknown kingdom and they disturb the previous equilibrium, the consequences of which do not become apparent until much later. In brief then, storylines can give a sense of continuity - a concept of time passing rather than the roleplay being made up of a series of random events with no past or future, and no real consequences.
Note that it is considered poor form to ignore something happening when your character is somewhere that they could hardly be unaware of its occurrence.
So You Want To Run A Quest?
Anyone can run a quest or event such as an inn raid or a puzzle to be solved or even those rotten Necromancers that just can't leave the dead alone. There are in game short term events or some that can be played on the Main Board if time is a constraint and all parties agree. Of course during this process of a quest or even an event you might need Non player characters or better known as NPC's. Get an ops approval for creatures not listed or known. But what is a Quest you ask? The terminology is simple of course, its you the player gathering up an idea with your imagination behind it and putting it to paper and then into the text based world of Belariath for others to follow. It's a Story that you tell and the players must flush out its secrets to win the day. A Quest can last a few hours to a few days depending on the availability of who is running it to those that wish to participate. It can be as difficult or as easy as you wish. Never fear however if you have to run a Quest or event and just don't know where to start. What follows is a general guide line and of course the Quest team comprised of a few Ops will help you along the way.
Start out simple. First think of what story you'd like to be told. From an elves village that was decimated by trolls and one of the elders seeks adventures to help rid their village of said trolls. Or perhaps a stolen item that holds religious value was swept away in the night and your NPC character just needs a few good men and woman to help solve the mystery. You don't need to write page upon page but something simple and well defined. Such as "The poor maiden having looked about the ruins of her Temple wept the night through and with dawn early light, resolved to bring back the Necklace of Tears. Through the long forests and into the Town of Nanthalion she trekked seeking out those with the willpower and strength to retrieve the Necklace and return the peace to her village that she once knew." Synopsis - Retrieve the Necklace, hunt down those that took it and find out what the Necklace really does.
Such an easy thing, or so it seems but it's a Quest and it can be as easy as you the writer wish, or as hard as you feel you should work those that enter. It can also be as simple as rousting out rats from some local shop. It's whatever your mind can grasp and put to page and then into the world of Belariath to intrigue and pull along those that play here.
It should only last roughly a day, three days for those of a more stalwart heart. Include monsters that are approved and items that as well are approved. From wealth to special magical pieces of armor, jewelry or weapons is what you can give out to those that dared adventure forth and might lose their lives. It's all up to you. The Quest team will aid you in whatever manner you need from giving these items and the wealth that goes with it, to helping you run the Quest itself. You are not alone, they are there to help you, take the helping hand.
When doing a level 20 Quest or simply for your own fun and enjoyment there are always rules set down of what's needed, why and when. We'll try to answer these questions and more:
What should you send?
Remember a quest is something you run for others. Your character is not in the quest, you run it. So it can not be used to advance your own storyline because your character is not in it. With that in mind, the plot line submitted should include a synopsis or brief outline of what the quest is about. Then the major plot points and decisions to be made at each one.
Here is a very brief example (you should turn in something more verbose than this):
Synopsis: A request has been made to rescue a princess from an evil dwarf named Bob. The questers will travel to her tower, and attempt to rescue her. Unknown to them, the princess is the evil one, and the dwarf her prisoner. She wants more victims.
Plot point one: The questers meet Jack, the princess's minion in the forest. He explains the situation, then leaves, after giving them a map. The Tower 2 days travel to the north.
Plot point two: The questers travel... along the way they are beset by 4 goblin bandits. Bandits are all level 3 npcs, 2 warrior class and 2 thief class.
Plot point 3: A fork in the road that is not on the map. They need to make a decision. If they choose left, they will come to a slaver encampment. The wolven slavers will attempt to capture them. 10 slavers. 2 level 1s , the rest no more than the highest level quester in level. They are a mixture of mages and warriors. If they defeat the slavers and continue on the road after this, they will find it leads to a massive swamp, miles wide, impassable and reeking of foul odor, and many bones on the shore. They will see something disturbing the water something massive and dangerous. They should go back and take the other fork. When they take the right fork, all is calm until they get to the tower.
Plot point 4: Once on the right road, they reach the tower and reconnoiter it. Description of tower etc.
At the plot points, consider what will happen if the questers do not do as expected. This will definitely happen and you must be flexible. On first draft, give levels of npc's, monsters etc.
Remember, your character is not in the quest. And, in terms of npc's, try to stay with current races/classes and approved npc's. Help is available from the Quest team to run npc's if need be unless you feel you can handle it on your own. However you do not need to run them all by yourself. Casual players often will help too, anyone can npc on a quest. Just ask around. Rewards may come out of your own pocket. However occasionally, the empire will fund rewards.
After the quest plot has been approved, you will be notified immediately either by a PM from one of the Quest team or by Main Board PM's. At that point you can post the quest and people can sign up. We suggest you keep it to at the least five people as the numbers and what a character may do can be confusing all on its own and keeping up can be a lot of hard work but if you wish more, the possibilities are endless. Just keep in mind what you can and cannot handle. Your post should have a subject of: Quest Name - Sign Up and within it a brief summary of what the quest is about or rather what you are seeking and what those characters would know while IC or In Character references. You can specify levels allowed to sign up etc or other special requirements. Make sure you include date and time zone for your quest when you post it. Most quests take 7-8 hours.
Above all, we want you to have fun with this, use your imagination, come up with something they've never seen or even simple hack and slash for a more boisterous good time. You are not required to be some genius here nor have a twenty page quest all laid out with monsters from every valley on the map. Keep it to what you know, what you can handle and with as simplistic a view as you can put down and out.
What does that mean? We not only want to be entertained and to be entertaining but we also have to remember that at times personalities can clash. Ops should be available when you run your quest but if not we have a few simple rules that all must follow:
- All quests will be on a sign up basis. Those who have signed up, have thereby CONFIRMED they have read this page, and agree with it. It is the Game Masters responsibility to list the time of their quests, if there will be a chance for death, the type of combat (Quest or Combat dice), as well as assign the date and time, so that Ops and Quest team can be available to them. Characters, who wish to participate then, are signed up, ready to go, and understand the rules lay down before them.
- If you sign up and do not show for three quests over time, without VERY good reason, you will be prohibited from signing up for a quest for 3 months or until such time as you develop and run a quest for others. Also YOUR behavior OOC can and will have you suspended from being able to participate within Quests.
- On quests, the quest runner is the final judge and ruler on all questions. You may not agree with the judgments, but remember it is a game. Also, when asked to HALT, please do so. The Quest runner can and will be allowed to remove your character from Quest due to your behavior, as a player OOC.
- OOC arguing, complaining and sulky fits will get you kicked out of the quest and possibly banned from others. Polite discussion over a point or questioning to understand something better is perfectly fine.
- On quests, fights may be free-formed, they may use regular combat dice, or they may use quest dice. You should expect any one of them. They are at the quest masters discretion. Quest dice are a set form, therefore there is no confusing walking into quest, and will be as follows. !r 1d10 to hit, 1-5 is a hit; 6-10 is a miss. Then a !r 1d10 to assign the damage. The amount of Hit Points you are allowed, is up to the Quest master, and therefore will change from Quest to Quest.
- Long or slow posters will be expected to adjust their posting to keep the flow of the quest going. Please realize, that in a group rp situation, with 6 participants, 1 round of posts at 5 minutes per post, takes ½ hour. Waiting longer for people to post will slow it down even more. So as common courtesy, adjust your speed or length, to one more appropriate for a group rp scenario. Pre-posting is helpful, if you can sense what might be appropriate. Then just adjust that post when it is your turn, and hit enter. It is also highly suggested that everyone keep their posts to one buffer, for the ease of the QM.
- When going AFK during a quest, you must assign an AFK tag to your nick. Your turns will be skipped so that post order is not messed up, until you return.
- Death is a possible outcome of questing, but only when it is declared on the Board you signed up on. Meaning to sign up to participate within a quest where it is stated. "This is auto consenting to death, if your character comes below the level of stated Hit Points." No Auto Killing is allowed.
- It is recommended that all who run quests have an OOC room for their quest, outside of the TLI's channels so that they can kick/ban those whose behavior has led to it, of the OOC nature. (Meaning bickering, constant conversation not of quest nature, etc). A member of Quest Team, or the OP on duty, should be asked to come within the OOC channel, so that the Quest Maker, if needed can kick from the OOC room they created, and the Op can kick those players from the TLI channel the quest takes place in.
- Because of the nature of quests, things run in a turn based concept, meaning that there is a posting order. It is bad form to jump that, and while accidents do happen (damn enter button) to make multiple posts before anyone, even the GM is frowned upon.
- It is not acceptable for those involved to argue, complain, or sulk. It is a game for adults, and therefore a certain behavior is expected OOC. For those who cannot follow the Quest masters instructions, heed those warnings to correct their behavior, there will be ramifications. There is no excuse for someone else's behavior to ruin the fun of a whole event, nor should it be tolerated. Courtesy of the OOC nature is the main theme. The quest runners spend typically 10 hours or more of their time, developing and running a quest for your pleasure and fun. And so, a level of maturity and courtesy, oocly is required in return. It is as simple as this. Treat them as you would wish to be treated on the OOC level. Remember, it is just a game!
So what can happen, if I sign up for a Quest but decide to throw a fit?
You will be warned. If you decide to not heed that warning, the following, CAN and WILL happen:
- You will be kicked from the Quest
- You will be kicked from the Quest, and banned for a time from future Quests
- You will be kicked from the Quest, and banned for a time from future Quests, and have XP taken
NPC's for quest cannot be the following:
- No Angels/Demons
- No portals to other worlds
- No Dragons
- No D&D creatures
- No Lab created monsters
- No Unicorns
- No vampires
All NPC's should, quite frankly fit into the game rules.
Monsters ARE allowed (HA! Had to make you laugh) , however a group of 3 questers taking out a Time Walker Spider God, more then likely will get a nix from Quest Team.
It is also recommended, that for your level req's, your quest doesn't run over 1-2 sessions. Questing online is far different then questing tabletop, or in a larp, because of that, the time limit is set.
Going beyond Normal role play in Quests
It's not unusual for quests to venture into areas beyond the norm for roleplay in Belariath. NPC beasts that do not appear elsewhere may show up and concepts unavailable in regular play may occur. While this is not of itself a problem, since quests do offer an arena in which to explore beyond the normal limits, such things do need some regulation. Anyone organising a quest in which beasts, races or events not available to the usual play within the game will make an appearance must:
- Clear it with the quest admins or HC
- Keep a log of what is proposed and the permission given to run the quest with those aspects
- Ensure that Ops are made aware of what will happen and that it has been sanctioned
Note to quest admins: Topics which go a long way beyond normal role-play must always be cleared with HC before permission is given to run the quest. This always includes dragons which need clearing with Ehlanna, but also includes subjects normally banned within the game and quests which go into channels beyond TLI-Quests. Items such as lesser unknown NPC beasts can be approved without reference but care should be taken to ensure Ops are informed. Subjects specifically banned from normal play will never be sanctioned for quests.