Greetings adventurer, mercenary, merchant, traveller, or whatever you may be! If you’re reading this then you must be interested in, or already a part of, the Saphriel community; for that, we'd like to welcome and thank you for being here. In this short guide, we’re going to provide some tips and note a few things that will help players, newer ones in particular, better situate themselves within the server. First of all, we highly suggest you download our texture pack, as well as have custom textures turned on when joining; not only does it add to a more realistic experience, but we have many custom weapons and items included through custom textures, allowing the roleplay of the server to be more detailed and immersive. It is, however, graphically intensive; for those of you with computers that can't manage this, please download our client-side version of New Items and disable server textures in order to get the same experience. This can be found here; please read the entire page!
Defintions / Roleplaying Terms
IC = In-Character. This pertains to actions in the server's world, in this case Saphriel, or your own character, rather than yourself or the real world.
OOC = Out Of Character. This is used to describe whatever is outside of the server or your own characters. Similarly, to convey something OOC is often to either write in the OOC chat channnel or to write in a way that clearly conveys that what you are saying is seperate to what your character is saying. Writing in double brackets - '((This is OOC))' - is an common method for this.
Metagaming = Having your character know or make use of knowledge that they would not realistically have. An example of this is addressing a character by their name, despite having never heard it or met them, simply because you (the player) see their name in the chat. Similarly, your character cannot suddenly 'know' things unless it is common knowledge shared by many characters simply because you were told something out of character.
Powergaming = Acting in a way your character would not realistically be able to. An example of this would be using restrictive writing that gives your character a clear advantage (e.g. 'Dave stabs and kills Bob' without giving an opponent a chance to react) or having your character perform feats they realistically would be unable to do, such as dodging a hail of arrows without any form of shield or other means of deflecting them.
Some beginning notes
First, we’ll start with a simple explanation of the mode of interaction with other players and the world in the server. We are an RP-default server; this means that unless all parties involved agree, or a member of staff asks you to do so, there is no rolling! While rolls can help to decide a situation in the case of uncertainty, flexible modifiers are often applied based on the situation; in any situation, combat or otherwise, the actions of your character will be the deciding factor between success and failure. For this reason, you should always be aware of your character's limitations and abilities, whether in combat or performing seemingly mundane tasks. If you find your character in combat with another player, communicate with one another before going to staff; if an action or attack seems unclear, ask them to elaborate. Of course, do this within reason; if your character realistically wouldn't know something, don't resort to trying to get an answer out of character unless it's absolutely neccessary. If you come to an impasse that cannot be solved by player-to-player interaction, contact staff (via /helpop) to help regulate the fight, or simply discuss the issue and resume RP if possible. Always be sure to roleplay fairly, and never powergame.
Of course, things may not always go your way; Saphriel is a flexible, open world, with potential for both loss and gain, and no character is the main character within it. At the end of the day, you play a character within a fictional setting; failure can be the chance for new opportunity and character development, rather than an obstruction to growth. Above all, remember that ultimately, you and your character are seperate; it's fine to empathise with them at times, but if you cannot seperate your character's feelings from your own to a healthy degree, roleplaying may not be for you.
Next, we’ll cover skills and character progression. Aside from minor background skills, such as basic smithing or medical experience, all new characters will start at the same level for the sake of fairness. That means one cannot start as a master swordsman or mage; each character must work their way up in the world, rather than having great power from the outset. This also means no 'jacks of all trades', meaning that your character cannot be skilled in an outrageous amount of fields. An example of this would be a new character being a smith, woodworker, farmer, carpenter, fighter, lumberjacking, and tailor. Not only is this unrealistic by most standards, but unfair to other characters beginning with less skills, and can ruin the economy in-game. If this was an RPG, you could consider a new character to begin at Level 1, with some minor starting skills of their choice based on backstory.
When it comes to skill progression, things do not happen overnight. A few sparring sessions with an older character and some solo training won’t see you to being a master swordsman. Things take time, and many players have been training and working with their characters for OOC months to get where they are now. Again, realisim and common sense is key here; you couldn't, for example, take two weeks of karate classes and expect to beat Bruce Lee. With patience and practice, however, your character may well become a skilled figure in their field; like with any skilled figure, however, they must get there by hard work and practice.
The Time Scale
The time scale here is pretty simple: each OOC day is one IC week, each OOC week is one IC month, and three OOC months is one IC year. Keep this in mind in roleplay, otherwise scheduling in-character can become very confusing! If you want to check the current ic date, use the command /date
So you’re finally here, where do you start?
You've been successfully accepted on to the server, and you're ready to get into Saphriel and play your character: if this is you, congratulations! Once you first join the server, you’ll notice that you’re in a spawn room that contains a basic info board, marking the most common commands. Please be sure to read this over to learn how to do things such as send and write letters, and ask admins for help. You’ll also see a rules board noting many of our key rules; always be sure to look over the rules on the website, not just the board in-game. There will also be a staff board, this marks all current server staff members. Be sure to look at this to know who can help you. Finally, there will be a news board, detailing key recent going-ons with the server.
There are also warp signs to the two main cities and RP hubs of the server: Falkvard and Barkamsted. Falkvard is the current capital city, where the king’s castle is located. The current ruler is a half-elf known as Glaedwin Arrynlocke, played by Rajaat/Scree1. Falkvard is home to the realm’s arena, playhouse/bards guild, merchant guild, and the largest hospital in the realm, as well as a host of other facilities. Barkamsted is home to most of the realm's farms, and also serves as the area where most of the current nobles live. Due to various events in the server, Falkvard is the more active of these areas: you are advised to head there for RP, though Barkamsted is nonetheless available to travel to.
Once in the IC world of Saphriel, there are fast travel points such as carts and boats that can take you to certain common areas, such as guild headquarters and both major cities. Once you’ve chosen where you’d like to go, you should take note of your starting items. You should have a set of basic tools as well as supplies. Your weapons will include a very rough and simple bow with arrows, and an old rusty longsword. Of course, depending on your character's backstory, some may know how to use these better than others; they are far from optimal, however, and to truly pursue a field, your character will no doubt wish to acquire better equipment.
There are a number of places your character can go for new and better gear. A good place to start would be one of the stores in Falkvard when they open, such as the Odd Bobble, or asking various characters in the taverns, such as the Chat Fonce or Dragon's Perch. Taverns are often the hubs of RP in the server, where many drink, socialise, and interact with one another. If your character wishes to seek out someone to get better equipment, you should keep this in mind; all things, be they gear, tools, or advice, are created and given by players. We do not have automated stores, and if your character wishes to advance, they are advised to interact with those around them.
If you’re in need of work, there are job and notice boards in both cities. They include advertisements from players, guilds, businesses, and the cities. You can also speak with other characters for information on jobs that can be provided by various people. Other forms of income can come from adventuring or bounty hunting, and bounty boards can be found outside the guard barracks of both major cities. Bear in mind, however, that it is common knowledge that the wilderness is dangerous; those who go out of the cities unprepared or alone often lose their lives, and remaining in cities and safe areas is essential for survival unless one knows how to face the dangers outside. In particular, areas most steer clear of are the ancient Elven forest, Manadh Calad, and the aptly-named Bleak Lands, home of creatures few live to tell tales of, to the far northeast of the realm, in the Jagged Mountains and surrounding area.
From here, it’s up to you to find your own way. There is a lot to discover, so be sure to interact with other players to learn as much as you can. Play fairly, be nice, follow the rules, and you’ll have a good time here. Good luck!
Learning about Saphriel
Beyond a fresh beginning on Saphriel and needing to learn much of its lore, your character may be new to the cities, and thus may wish for a means of learning about this new environment. Books in the Falkvard or Barkamsted libraries are useful for many general queries about the world, such as the Gods, magic, history, and so forth. Other characters and players can also be a valuable source of information, having experienced the world for themselves. Where these sources cannot answer queries, however, the Kingdom's Scribes should be the next point of contact: they are tasked with, besides giving permits, being the main bridge between the Kingdom and the populace where Councillors (listed here) cannot answer queries. A list of Scribes can be found here.
Getting a Permit
Permits are needed to legally perform certain trades such as logging, hunting, farming, and so forth. For information on how to obtain one, read this post.
Buying a house
Of common knowledge to most characters is that legally speaking, all land in Saphriel belongs to the Kingdom. Though this claim cannot be as easily enforced in more dangerous areas, to legally own any land, your character will need to pay for it. Of course, should legality be of no issue to your character, they are welcome to build their own cabin in the woods or the like; if caught and reported to the city, however, they could find guardsmen and knights knocking on their door with hefty fines.
As for buying a house legally, it's fairly simple. Just write to Tiziti (IGN: Alaienthas), whom manages the properties in the cities. It's best to contact her with the property you have in mind. All properties within the city are marked with block and numbers. They'll have a message on them, typically asking you to not remove them. Just write with the house number you want and you can expect a return letter as soon as the player has the time, containing the price and other information about the home.
We have a plugin which allows us to make our own furniture, models, weapons, foods, and items. This includes custom storage containers and light sources. That said it's always smart to right click on interesting things. Shelves, shrines, crates, corpses, and so on can be opened. Braziers, cook pots, camp fires, and other things can be lit with fire, and outhouse seats, chairs, benches, and other seats can be sat on.
Common Danger Areas
The following areas are well-known for being extremely dangerous; unless your character has a very good reason to venture to these places (or a death wish), they are heavily advised to stay away.
The Bleak Lands, the snowy wastes to the northeast. Easily identified by the endless plains of snow, ice, and pine trees, and its cold 'bleak' environment. Home to countless abominations that few live to speak of.
Manadh Calad, also known as the Dark Forest. Easily identified by its mass of giant trees, located to the northwesten half of the realm. Once the home of the Elves, but since lost; it is now home to many giant and dire beasts. Not to be confused with the slightly less dangerous (though still ill-advised to visit) Twisted Woods, located across from the Barkamsted swamp gate.
The mesas and deserts. Found in the east, these places are dangerous not just because of their scorching heat, but the many creatures that roam there, as well as hostile Orc factions.
Thonduhm, the old Dwarven city. Though the Dwarves hope to reclaim it, it is currently filled with hostile Trolls, Grimlocks, and other unspeakable beasts.
How staff handle Death, Encounters, and Risk
A message from Admin Rajaat to moderators asking how to handle encounters with players in a life or death situation. So people can fully understand how we treat all situations, and the risk that comes with serious RP.
When it comes to such scenarios, the consent is given when they enter terra incognita. They grant permission to maim or kill their characters when they persist in an action that would in fact maim or kill their character, and they do so by entering a server which says 'use common sense, and roleplay accordingly.'
The goal is fun. But not just the fun of individuals, the fun of the community entire. How do we determine such, many over a few, few over many? By risk. D&D, tabletop, they show that risk is a factor at the outset with rolls and stats. Most importantly with HP, a clear sign of 'you might die.'
The staff is generally harsh due to my training. I teach them fairly early on that we spare where we can, but we drop the blade where we must. If someone does something especially silly, we give them some chances, some small hints that it might be vastly dangerous. If they do not heed it they die. And this is not at the expense of their fun, but the confirmation of the enjoyment of others because they know they are validated in staying safe in the cities. They realize who are risk takers and who are not.
It makes the world a living, breathing thing. Those who do well, thrive. If they are clever in their encounters they may even surprise the gm and win through when they do not retreat.
In short, consent is already there when you are staff. Roll for yourself when you are not comfortable, it is what I do. Normally I can gauge it in my head based on descriptions, but at times I do an in server roll or a roll on my desk with a die. You've seen me do this for you in fact, a roll where I say 'this is for me, disregard.'
That sometimes factors for them without making it feel forced.
But ultimately, you must gauge it. If they really want rolls, factor in modifiers. But most times it will not be a thing.
Also, the best way is to not think of injury on the same level as death at all. I've done this for a few decades and at some point you learn a trick called 'resourcing.'
Resourcing is how one determines the gravity of an encounter. Every part of a person is a resource, character and player both. Mostly it focuses on the character: items are considered resources, expenditure of funds via materials that need replacement. Bombs, so forth. 1/day or 1/month powers are also resources, because it means they cannot use it for the rest of a certain bracket of time, thus another encounter can mean ill for them or a player can ambush them.
But, also, vitality is a resource. It is the most precious and final resource to engage depending on what they do. An injury is a cost, a limb is a huge cost and indicative of a massively dangerous encounter, and death is the greatest price of all.
A player resource, rather than a character, is fun. You must gauge their enjoyment, try to find ways to engage them and keep them interested without letting them push you around or guilt you. You are, in those situations, the law. But the ultimate goal is to let them have a blast. Sometimes this means if you know flat out they are going to die to transfer 'death' to 'deal.' Some creatures like fae will offer a lesser agony than 'end.' Which gives the option to truimph after what seems like failure.
My philosophy is 'harsh difficulty, wondrous truimph.' A world that is rough, that is out for blood, that will nickle people down but when they beat the odds they truly feel amazing for it. The sense of accomplishment is the reward. If they get hurt badly but beat the enemy, they feel amazing. And it's fine to settle on lesser helpops to train up. You're just starting, this is new, and it can be intimidating. Especially first character deaths hit hard. You wonder if you chased them away. But in truth, maturity determines that, and one should not balk at character death. If someone starts pleading out of character, you pull the trigger faster not to be cruel, but to be consistent. For sparing opens the gate for those who fell in the past to say 'why did they get the free pass and I didn't?'
Dropping a character is done at your own risk
Similar to the above passage, risk is employed also with dropping a character. If you wish to put a character away and give up the slot for it, then what happens to that character is no longer your decision. You have lost interest in it and thereby relinquish control of its fate. That said, there is a difference between shelving a character, dropping a character, and retiring a character.
Shelving a character: You either do not wish to play this character at present, find them too difficult at the time, or something happened to make them unplayable such as a coma. Shelving a character means you do not free up the character slot, but do not play the character presently which means it is free of current events. You may not shelf a character who has a bounty on their head, as that would be considered an abuse of the ooc systems to evade IC consequences.
Dropping a character: Here defined as removing the character from an active slot. If you choose to do this, you drop the character out of play permanently. You may not pick it up again, not for any reason or consideration. If the character is painful to play it should not be picked up again, and shall not be. When dropped, the character becomes an NPC; this means staff may determine its ultimate fate. This will not always end poorly for them, but it often can. You will be able to make a new character to take its place. This is not overly encouraged. Once is understandable, twice after a period of time is likewise understanble. Constantly dropping characters will eventually have staff asking that it not be done. The reasoning is simple, each time a character is dropped it heavily impacts all those who invested in them. As that can destroy ongoing characters it is deemed unfair to chronically take this action.
Retiring a character: Retiring a character is a very different matter. This is done when all of their goals are achieved and they have been around for a long time. Staff ultimately decides if this applies or if it is actually just dropping a character. Doing two things and then retiring isn't really realistic or fair.
In all three cases please discuss which applies with staff. None of these actions may be taken without being sanctioned by staff.
How staff handle decision-making, suggestions and complaints
Saphriel's staff team make every possible effort to remain coordinated and informed with each other, especially on matters regarding changes or additions to the server. While we encourage well-worded, constructive suggestions, know that no staff, not even the owner, can make decisions on the spot about the server: any suggestions will be forwarded to and discussed by the rest of the staff team before implementation, and even then only if there is agreement by a significant majority.
That said, if you have a suggestion or complaint regarding an already-existing issue, such as how an encounter was handled or how a staff member's behaviour was conducted, we encourage taking the complaint to the member of staff who was involved with the issue itself, so it can be directly resolved between the two parties. If you are unaware of which staff member to contact regarding this, please forward it to any member of staff and we will do our best to resolve the matter.