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Clan Lord
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Joe’s FAQ
General Questions

What is Clan Lord?

Clan Lord is a massively multiplayer cooperative online fantasy RPG that takes place in a persistent world.

Whoa, that’s a lot of buzzwords! What does that all mean?

Massively multiplayer - The current lingo for games that let you have more than about 30 people playing the game at once.

Cooperative - This is a game where, in general, the players work together to play the game. By cooperating in the game, players can work to overcome much tougher obstacles and advance faster within the game world.

Online - You play this game over the internet, by logging into a central server.

Fantasy RPG - This stands for fantasy role-playing game. That means it’s a game set in a fantasy (read: medieval technology with magic) world where each person creates a character to play in that world. The way that character interacts with other players in the fantasy world is called “role-playing.”

Persistent world - This means that the world you play in isn’t reset when everyone logs off. The world sticks around and your character is saved.

When did Clan Lord ship?

The version number tells you how many weeks we’ve been running. Clan Lord first went online in an alpha testing period in October 1997, and started taking money after beta testing was completed in March, 1999.

What kind of hardware and software do I need to play Clan Lord?

Bigger and faster is better. We recommend a PowerPC G4 Mac with a 28.8 modem as the absolute minimum, although broadband connections and newer Macintosh and Windows machines work much better.

Does Clan Lord have a goal?

Each character has his or her own goals. There is no way to “win” Clan Lord, but it is possible to participate and steer a great story as it unfolds.

Can player characters fight each other?

We believe that “player killing” (PK) has turned most attempts at online communities into unfriendly bloodbaths, so PK is restricted to designated areas, such as the Arena and the Badlands.

Why don’t you use 3D graphics?

We use an overhead view because it’s better for seeing who is in your adventuring party. Smaller graphics mean that you can see farther and more people, and Clan Lord tends to have lots of people playing together. (Why else be online?) And tiny graphics look better hand-drawn than 3D.

When will xxx be implemented?

There are many, many features to be added to Clan Lord, and we decline to answer “when” questions about them. We’ll tell you after they’re finished.

Do you ever reset characters?

Before we went commercial, character resets — where everybody was made a beginner again — were common. We have no plans to ever do them again. Of course, players can reset themselves to take advantage of new abilities, and sometimes old abilities will change behavior.

What if a character gets an unfair advantage because of a bug?

We will decrease their level to compensate for any exploitation of bugs. Of course, there will be rewards for those who help us track down bugs.

How big is the world?

Big. The starting island that Puddleby is on is one of 12 in the island chain — and the entire chain is barely a speck on the map of the entire world.

Is Clan Lord mostly about fighting monsters and gaining treasure and experience?

To some people, yes. To others, the community interaction and roleplaying storylines are a much larger portion of the game than the hack-and-slash part.

How many character classes are there?

There are three main “classes,” Fighters, Healers, and Mystics. Characters can train in widely varying ways, leading to great diversity. There are currently three fighter sub-classes available, Rangers, Champions, and Bloodmages, but not to starting characters.

Can we be multi-classed?

Not really. However, you do not have to choose a class right away if you would rather wait.

Will you give me more experience, items, or money?

Earn it in the game.

Can you help me change my sex, class, or race?

No, you can start a new character, or visit Resetus in the fairgrounds. Resetus will cause you to forget everything you once knew and start over.

How do I solve the such-and-such quest?

We aren’t telling. Figure it out yourself.

What happens when I die?

If someone heals you, nothing bad happens. However, if you are forced to depart your body, you will lose some built-up experience. This doesn’t affect your training, but it will make it harder to earn your next lesson. Some people think death may have other consequences that are currently unknown. (That said, don’t be unreasonably afraid of departing: it’s a perfectly normal part of the game. Some characters have departed dozens or even hundreds of times, and don’t seem to be any the worse for it.)

How do I know what level I am?

Level has little meaning in Clan Lord. A skilled player with low stats can be more powerful and effective than a novice player with high stats. You decide for yourself how powerful you are based on what you can do. However, there are some “circle tests” for fighters and healers.

What is lag?

Lag is a delay, usually consistent, between when you act and when your character appears to act. For example, every time you say something, the balloon always appears next to your mouth two seconds later. It is generally caused by a poor Internet connection somewhere between your computer and the Clan Lord server.

What is screen-lock?

Screen-lock is when your view of the world freezes momentarily (sometimes for minutes at a time), but you can generally see text messages and hear sounds. It happens when an area becomes so crowded and complicated that the visual information won’t fit into a single Clan Lord packet.

So-and-so is swearing! Make him stop!

Clan Lord is for grown-ups, and we do not prohibit adult language. Cursing when appropriate may aid in role-playing and embellish character growth. If a character’s language bothers you, it is perfectly appropriate to /curse him or /ignore or /block him.

So-and-so called me a *&%#*! Make him stop!

Language that is excessively abusive or derogatory toward others is not appropriate or permitted, and may result in jailing a character or permanent removal from the game. In general, though, we don’t want to be thought police. Try not to offend others too much and you’ll be OK.

So-and-so tricked me into giving him all my money! Make him give it back!

By Puddleby rules, if you /give money to a person, it is theirs. Watch your purse.

Why [insert any why question here]?

Because we made it that way.

Can I help design the world?

Not yet, except by being a well-rounded character within it.

What language is Clan Lord written in?

English.

No, I mean what computer language?

Oh. C++. Monsters, NPCs, and so on are written in Socks, a custom language developed by The Amazing Timmer.


Making a Character

How do I make a new character?

Run Clan Lord and choose “Character Manager” from the File menu.

For character name should I just type in my name?

You could, but why would you want to role-play yourself? Your name represents who you are in real-life. This is a role-playing game where you take on the role of character living in a fantasy world. You might want to read the section of the FAQ on the background of the characters. Pick a neat fantasy name like “Tethlatori” or “Braveheart.”

How do I choose my race?

When you come into the game, you don’t have to choose your race right away. Your character will be represented by a cloaked, nondescript form. This gives you a chance to explore the game before shedding the cloak and “revealing” your race. To choose your race, just bump into one of the “picture changers.” They are in the Town Hall.

Why aren’t there any decisions when I make a new character?

In Clan Lord, the general principle is that all characters start off nearly the same and as they gain experience they become more defined. This is the opposite of most other online RPG’s where characters start off very different, but everyone ends up the same at high levels. We think specialization is cool, and want people of high levels to be very different from each other. As you go up in levels, you’ll find more and more decisions to make. There is one VERY important decision to make, however... though it might not be obvious.

What do you mean “VERY important decision?” I didn’t see any dialog boxes or menus items about it.

The most important decision you make when making a new character is figuring out who the character IS in this fantasy world. Your character didn’t grow up in a world of computers and automobiles and shouldn’t wander around the world talking about such things. Pick a simple personality trait for your character and play the character accordingly. Some sample traits are: honest, conniving, slow-witted, immature, innocent, joker, etc. When people talk to your character, try to get your character’s personality across to them without actually having to tell them. That’s role-playing at it’s simplest.

How did my character get to be on this island?

You have probably been exiled from the Western Continent, Shan Deral, by the Mad Emperor Mobius, and eventually found your way to Puddleby, a village of exiles in the Lok Groton island chain..

How do I know what happened to my character?

You invent your own history — it’s roleplaying. Make a reason you were exiled. The history of your character and your motivations are totally yours. If you do a good job, people will have much respect for you and you’ll stand out in the game world. If your background is silly or nonsensical then people will tend to not take you seriously.

Is there a way I can let other people know what my history is?

Yes, two ways. One is the same way you’d relate your history in real life. You tell it to your friends. Two is you can make up a web page about your character and whisper the URL to people in the game.

What is meant by playing “in character?”

When you are playing the game, you are playing a fictional character who lacks your experiences. When deciding how your character reacts to another person in the game, or deals with a situation, you have to put yourself in the position of your character. If your character gets killed to a tough monster, you shouldn’t say “This game has tough monsters!” What game would your character be talking about?

As far as your character knows, he (or she) is in the world he grew up in — although probably a bit more dangerous than his home. Your character shouldn’t talk about the world as a game.

Playing in character is learning to look at things through the limited experience of your character’s eyes. Wandering around telling people your homepage URL or asking how much RAM their computer has is called being Out Of Character, or OOC. The exception to this is whispering: if you simply must “break character” then use the /whisper command to whisper an OOC comment to someone.

I want my character to be evil and bad. What can I get away with?

In Clan Lord, we want a cooperative atmosphere to pervade in the world. In general, you’ll find life very difficult as an “evil” character. Not impossible, but difficult.

What does that mean? Can I kill other players?

There are “arenas” around in which duels may be fought, as well as areas of the world known as the “Badlands” where entire clans may wage war on each other. If someone enters an arena with you or you get them to come to the Badlands, you can fight them.

What if I want to play a character whose only goal is to kill players? Isn’t that going to be tough if I have to get their consent each time?

Yes, it’s going to be very tough. Go play Quake or Myth. You can kill all the people you want in those. After you get it out of your system, come back and play Clan Lord.

If I can’t kill people without their consent, how can I play an evil character?

This is a role-playing game — role-play an evil character! If you think about it, you can come up with something. Often people love role-playing with an evil character. Try whispering to them before hand and set up a “scene” to be played out. This scene could end with a duel or battle in the Badlands. Not all evil characters have to kill people, of course. You could play a healer that likes to watch people die and comment on their observed pain, or a cleric that claims to get their powers from a dark deity.

Am I at least going to be able to steal stuff?

Right now, you can’t steal anything.

What other ways are there for my character to act evil?

You can come up with something. Remember that misinformation can be very effective.


Karma

What is karma?

It’s a measure of the good and ill will you’ve accumulated from other players in the world of Clan Lord.

How do I get karma?

Other players give it to you. If you’re nice to them, they’ll probably give you good karma, and if you’re rude, you’ll probably receive bad karma.

Can I get karma any other way, like by defeating evil monsters?

No.

What effect does this have in the game?

It has almost no effect on the mechanics of the game. However, the reactions of others may be based largely on your karma. Some clans, areas, and stores might be limited to people with good net karma. It might also affect what happens to you if you depart.

How do I give karma?

You type \thank <name> to give good karma, and \curse <name> to give bad karma. You can add a message if you want (\thank <name> You were great!), and if the recipient is in the same area as you, they will know that the karma came from you. If they are far away, the karma will still be “signed”, but have no message.

When do I get more karma to give?

You can give karma roughly every 10 minutes. You can’t save up unspent karma for later, so use it when the whim strikes you.

When should I give good karma?

Whenever somebody’s nice to you, and you’d like to give them a little reward. For example, suppose you ask how to kill a T’rool, or where the temple is. When somebody answers you, give them good karma. It’ll make them more likely to answer similar questions in the future.

When should I give bad karma?

When somebody bugs you, and you feel they should be punished. Using foul language is always a good excuse, as is harassing someone. Some might even give bad karma to someone who refuses to answer a simple question.

How do I find out who gave me karma?

You don’t, unless the person who gives it chooses to sign it. Otherwise, karma is anonymous. But a lot of times you can guess.

So karma doesn’t affect gameplay at all?

Nope. (Well, almost never. There are a small number of places where karma can have a marginal gameplay effect, but they’re all quite minor.)

If karma doesn’t affect anything, why should I care?

Some people might only help others with good karma. Some clans or guilds might require good karma to join. Or maybe you just want to feel good about yourself.

I’ve heard that karma is all about “stealing kills.”

For many people, that might be true. If someone kills a monster that you were fighting, you might consider cursing them. Many people, however, tend to use their karma to reward people who are courteous and friendly in ways besides combat.

How do I get rid of karma?

You don’t. Karma decreases gradually, or “decays,” over time. If you never get karma (good or bad) it will gradually return to zero.

Can we trade karma?

Sure, some people might say, “I’ll give you good karma if you give me good karma.” This is kind of missing the point, however, and there are others who curse anyone engaging in this practice to discourage it.

Can karma affect my clan?

Clans have karma ratings, just like members — it’s the sum of the karma of all its members. Of course, this just lets people know whether it’s a “good” clan or an “evil” one, and has no mechanical effect on the game — though it could certainly affect recruiting.


Accounts and fees and orders, oh my!

How much does Clan Lord cost?

See the order page.

How can I order it?

See the order page (we use Pay Pal), or call Delta Tao at (800) 827-9316.

Once I give you my credit card number, will you automatically bill me every month?

Once you create your account and ask for automatic billing, yes. (See “My Account Information”, “Clan Lord Account Management” to make the selection.)

Is there a demo?

Yes, see the Demo page for more information.

How long will Clan Lord be under development?

Forever. We plan to continue growing the world of Clan Lord for years. We have enough major changes scheduled to keep us busy for a long time. And we’re bound to think of more.

What if I want to run my own server?

You can’t, even if you have your own fast Unix box with a T3. We want to continue growing and developing the world for years, and we want everybody to participate in the one great world, not in a bunch of tiny ones.

How do I pay?

When you purchase the game, you create an account. After that, the game is free.

Will you give refunds if there are bugs?

If? Heck, we can guarantee that there will be bugs in Clan Lord. So no. We try to fix the nasty ones quickly.

Will the game run all the time?

Clan Lord is 24/7. However, there are rare times when the game goes down because of a crash or other mishap. In addition, we bring the game down periodically for a few minutes at a time to implement new features and improve the world.


The Clan Lord World

Does the world have a story?

The world has a past, present, and future that we’ve developed. Only the broadest of changes to the world will be felt by the casual players, but for those that wish to get more involved they’ll have the opportunity to affect the story of the world as it unravels.

What’s the world like?

Clan Lord is set in a fantasy world with evil monsters, sword wielding heroes and life-giving magical healers. There are no guns, computers, cars, or telephones.

The known world consists of a continent known as “The Western Continent” and many islands. A particular chain of volcanic islands 2 weeks east by ship of the Western continent is called the “Lok’Groton Islands” and is where new characters start off. Historians believe there to be another continent far to the east of the islands. A great exodus was said to have happened where all the people of the Eastern Continent fled away from it, perhaps landing on the Western continent and the island chain.

The nations of the Western continent are all ruled by one incredibly powerful individual, the Emperor Mobius. Mobius rules what he calls “The Ascendancy.” Many nations chafe over his rule but are loth to see their armies destroyed by the Emperor’s Dark Sentinels.

Several hundred years ago when the Emperor formed the Ascendancy, he established the Compact of the Ascendancy. The Emperor stated in this Compact that all nations will cease behavior that would jeopardize the Ascendancy’s stability and well-being. To this end he created a group named “The Defenders of the Compact” who would seek out people or things that in his opinion could destabilize the Ascendancy. The highest ranking members of this group are the Inquisitors, trained in both magical and scholarly arts they travel the continent enacting the Emperors will and making sure the Compact is upheld.

When this was put in to place long ago, some nations benefited from his policies and many thought the Utopia the Emperor described as being possible. As time continued, however, the Emperor became more and more withdrawn and self-absorbed. His word and the Compact were Law and there were no exceptions. The Inquisitors ruthlessly enacted the letter of the law and never made exceptions for circumstance.

One of the more interesting parts of the Compact made killing another member of the Ascendancy the highest crime, even for the Inquisitors. This fact created a problem in that it limited the Inquisitors in their options in dealing with those they saw as a threat to the Compact. The policy they decided upon was to exile all of those deemed destabilizing to the Emperor’s vision of Utopia.

It became clear that the Emperor’s vision of Utopia was much different then any sane being’s vision of perfection. The Emperor’s Utopia was one of stagnation, where no new ideas were sought and where the status quo was mandatory. Many of the people that the Emperor exiled in addition to thieves and scoundrels were brilliant scholars and mages.

The Lok’Groton island chain is significant because that is where the Emperor and his Inquisitors send the dissidents to.

What kind of things are going to happen in the future?

Much of are story is tied to our development of the technology the runs the Clan Lord world. As the technology grows, the world will grow. The island chain that people start out on will be tiny compared to what will be discovered later on.

The Emperor sounds very oppressive, how can I free my character’s nation from his reign?

Many nations have been trying to do that for quite some, with no success. Many think that the Emperor’s current state of apathy will make him more vulnerable. He participates very little currently in the decision making of the Ascendancy. To overcome the Emperor though, you must first deal with his Inquisitors and his army of Dark Sentinels. Who knows? In the far future of Clan Lord maybe someone will figure out a way to do this.

Huh? What’s that supposed to mean?

In our outline for the future, it’s possible that information may be uncovered in a new area that might allow someone to set about the downfall of the Emperor.


Principles

What principles do you use as you’re developing Clan Lord?

We have a set of principles we follow when deciding if and how to add new features to the game of Clan Lord. These aren’t hard-and-fast rules, but guidelines to be applied with some judgement.

  1. Clan Lord is fun, not frustrating.
    • Fun activities should prove profitable; boring ones should not.
    • Actions that are fun for other characters should be rewarded.
    • A player should not be forced to do things he or she thinks aren’t fun.
    • Characters never go dramatically backward.
    • Nothing bad happens to characters when they’re offline.
    • Rewards are large; penalties are small.
    • Rewards are common; penalties are rare.

  2. The world of Clan Lord is full of surprises.
    • The world is large and diverse enough that one can always explore.
    • Each day is potentially different.
    • There is always the possibility of an unusual event.

  3. Each character should feel special.
    • Characters can grow more diverse over time.
    • Characters should always feel they can be useful.
    • Active characters gain in rank and stature compared to the general population over time.
    • Characters can do things alone if desired.
    • Characters can have both short-term and long-term effects on the world.
    • Characters get to decide, as opposed to having decisions made for them.
    • Characters can change their growth direction if they choose to.

  4. Clan Lord is about interactions between characters.
    • Groups are more effective than individuals.
    • There is no upper limit on the total population.
    • Characters can communicate with each other in a variety of ways.
    • Characters can form and join a wide variety of organizations.
    • Clan politics is a major factor.
    • Good characters vastly outnumber evil ones.

  5. Clan Lord is approachable and easy to learn.
    • Initial play is simple, with more twists added as the character grows.
    • Characters are not forced to make permanent decisions before they know the consequences.

  6. And a grab-bag of uncategorized principles:
    • Different types of characters can advance at comparable rates.
    • There is little inflation or deflation in property values over time.

What if I have more questions?

Ask people online. joe@deltatao.com never answers e-mail.