August 2018 Contributor of the Month: Oracle
Please join us in congratulating Oracle
for being August's Contributor of the Month!
As a city mod of Rharne, Oracle has made many contributions to the community of both Rharne and Standing Trials in general. She is a player-driven mod that always strives to make interesting stories and developments for every player, and is a welcoming and friendly face that all of us have come to know and love. She has been an incredibly active member that has shaped Rharne and worked well alongside others and has earned herself the Contributor of the Month for it. Please join us in congratulating her with the interview below!
1. You have mentioned experience of past Roleplay sites. What history do you have with Forum Roleplay as well as Roleplay in general?
Gosh, well I’ve been writing on forum RPs for a fairly long time, at least fifteen years. I remember trying my hand at roleplaying back on Gaia Online before years later I ran into Aelyria. It was around 2008-2009 and I was in college at the time but within three months of starting my first character there I was applying for the moderation team in Frigid River. I worked on a wonderful team and made some long lasting friendships. After a few months I applied to work in another city: Imperia. I loved moderation and I loved telling stories. I remained an Aelyrian for a little over a year before I was struck with a terrible case of burn out and I retired from that particular forum.
Over the next few years I would occasionally find myself roleplaying with a handful of other communities but nothing ever felt “right” and I would quickly find myself burning out again. It was only last year that I finally began looking into writing again and I started writing briefly on Mizahar. I had played on that forum before when it was first created and thought I would give it another go. It didn’t really work out, but it was because of Mizahar that I found out about Standing Trials. The rest really is history. Being a part of this community had truly reignited my passion for writing and I can’t thank you all enough for helping me find my fire again.
2. You've taken a lot of care as the city mod of Rharne. What attracted you, as a player, to apply to mod Rharne in particular?
I knew from the start, especially after creating my second PC that I wanted to eventually be a member of the Standing Trials staff. Once I felt that I had enough experience under my belt I began perusing open cities that were looking for a Storyteller and Rharne immediately popped up. So I spent about a month perusing the lore and working simply as a player to help Rumour develop new content; be it locations, or native fauna. I greatly enjoyed working with her and I took a liking to the particular ‘flavor’ of the city.
Rharne is incredibly diverse in narrative tone, which is why I think I really liked the idea of working there. There it a faction of butt kicking priestesses, noble Knights and then a seedy underworld just waiting to be exploited. I’ve always preferred cities with a variety of concepts to play with and Rharne certainly brought that to the table.
3. If there was one thing on the entire website and world of Standing Trials you could change, what would that one thing be and why?
You know, it’s rather hard to name something like this right now because at the moment we are going through a great deal of changes. There has been a monumental effort by players and staffers alike to improve what we can as we make the transition over to the new site. Core game concepts are being reexamined, the lore is being further clarified and the format of the forums are being carefully considered.
I think my biggest hope is that we can make it simpler and easier for new players to get settled in. It’s always a daunting experience; learning the lore and creating your first character. I’d love to make this into a more approachable process with less potential roadblocks.
4. It's no secret you're a very active roleplayer. How do you balance time between your mod account and your PC?
Oh this is always a perpetual balancing act and it’s rare for me to have everything in perfect balance. Something that many staff and myself do is that we denote dedicated days for our PCs and for moderation. I have always struggled to jump from my PC to my mod account multiple times a day. Normally it’s best if I split things up and dedicate plenty of time to either modding or my PCs. Nothing’s worse for me than having to get inside the brain of Sephira before swapping to the perspective of an overzealous Thunder Priestess. I’m just not talented enough to jump back and forth like that so I make sure that I set aside plenty of time to get into the right mindset. Sometimes that means working on a location or another development project in-between to break things up but I need that separation if I intend on staying sane.
5. If you, the writer, could meet any Immortal in the Standing Trials lore - who would it be and where would you meet them?
Oh this is a fun question. I think my current favorite is Ralaith. I mean Bitterness, Bears, Time and Wisdom? What an interesting combo! He just seemed like someone you could really have a good conversation with over a cup of coffee. Raliath just seems to be the most emotionally complex of the Immortals and I’d think he’d have quite a few interesting things to say.
6. Do you have any upcoming projects or events you can tell us about? Don't give too much away!
There’s quite a bit in the works right now for Rharne, although I just finished releasing most of the new Rharne Expansion. That particular project was the culmination of a couple months of work between myself, Pepper, Velaine, and Jon/Moulder. The region has a wonderful new map and the Stormlands have been hugely expanded. There are now three new settlements, along with little oddities scattered across the map and a new and dangerous area known as the Stormwastes. The world just got bigger and I can’t wait to see how players take advantage of it.
I’m also working on a couple other projects, the first is a new mission system for the Lighting Knights and Thunder Priestesses along with a new style of Unarmed Combat just for the Thunder Priestess faction. Those should be released in the near future.
7. What decision process happened for you with your staff name? Is there a story behind it?
My very first RP character was something of an oracle/seer whose identity was tied to concepts of “fate”. This was my own special way of honoring her memory. It’s a small gesture, but it ties me back to the very first character I ever made, who set me on this long winding road.
8. What advice would you give to new staff members that wish to join the staff team and help out, or to players in general that want to contribute?
My advice, get out there and make something that you are passionate about! Whether it’s crafting locations, skills, flora, fauna or guest storytelling, just get out there and make it happen. There is no time like the present. Just get out there and do stuff! The world of Idalos will feel different when there is a piece of you somewhere out there that is a part of it. It makes moderation and development so rewarding and fun when you realize that you can have an impact on the world and on the players themselves. I can’t tell you know happy it makes me when someone uses a skill I created or someone goes to a location I wrote. Just get out there and get your feet wet, the water feels great!
9. Do you have a process for writing, things that you have to do to be in the mindset?
For sure! I am not the sort of person that can force myself to write. I need to be in the right frame of mind if I’m going to get words down on the page. When I am writing for my PCs, especially Sephira I normally listen to music. I was something of a band nerd back in the day, so a lot of what I listen to is instrumental music. Things like Two Steps from Hell and Audiomachine really help out.
Storytelling normally comes easier to me, probably because there is a variety to the perspectives I am writing from rather than having to get inside my PCs heads. I think writing for my PCs is a more personal and intimate process, so I need my muse on hand if I’m going to get any writing done.
10. How do you tackle writer's block, and do you have any tips that help you that could help anyone reading this?
Music helps a great deal, but so does taking a break or switching up tasks. Sometimes I’ll swap to development work or I’ll go play around with making a template when I hit a rough patch with writing.
11. If you could do one giant event in the world of Idalos with no limitations, what would you do and why?
This is a difficult one since I really don’t feel all that limited right now with the stories I can tell. However, as someone who loves writing combat and threads with darker themes I think I’d love to launch a highly player driven war. Wars are messy and complicated but I think it would be rather fun to see the players run with something as impactful as launching or defending against an invasion. It could change the face of Idalos forever and I think those are the best kind of events, the ones that have a real impact.
12. If you were in Rharne for a day where would you go and what would you do?
I’m heavily biased here but I think as of right now I’d want to spend a day in the Spire. This location was recently added as a part of the latest expansion of Rharne. It’s a massive library manned by reclusive scholars and filled with strange mysteries along with a hidden labyrinth beneath it.
As a nutty introvert myself, I think I would fit right in!
13. If you, as a writer, had three Mortalborn domains what would they be and why? Any ability ideas on top of that?
Me personally? Gosh, probably, “Books, Technology and Art” I’m something of a super nerd, I work in IT in real life and I always adore a good book (Especially Brandon Sanderson novels). Art has always been one of my hobbies, especially digital art and I’ve been drawing since I was a little kid.
14. What is the favorite thread you've read or reviewed since joining the site?
Probably Door Wars
by Zipper. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much in my life from reading a thread. This was one of the first threads I ever reviewed and I just adored it. Zipper has a wonderful comedic talent that was really put on display in this dream. Please take a second to read it if you have the time.
15. Anything you want to add for the community to hear and read?
I just want to say that after over fifteen years engaging in forum roleplay, that the community on Standing Trials is the BEST that I have ever experienced. You guys are fantastic writers and amazing people. Your stories have made me laugh, cry and feel all the emotions in between. This community has heart and a resiliency that will carry us ever forward into the future.
I’d also like to take a moment to also thank our staff team for frankly being amazing these last couple of months. We’ve been going through some changes but everyone has really come together to support each other. I’ve never worked on a forum RP team that has such a positive can-do attitude. You guys are great and I hope you know it!