He is a deadly assassin who had lived in many parts of Sosaria before settling here on Siege. He now heads up the White Council’s efforts to maintain law and order and more recently has forged a successful political career as governor of New Magincia. I caught up with him to discuss his travels and experiences.
The interview is to take place in Mr Ironfist’s New Magincia Town Hall, the closest building to the bank. I arrive several minutes early, and as there is no sign of the owner, I decide to take a look around. A grand staircase leads up to a flowered platform containing an almost empty Davies’ Locker, and smaller steps then lead up to a vendor area. Back on the ground floor, the south-east corner is occupied by the governor’s office, although the lack of any door into the room seems to make it unsuitable for any private discussions. Gazing around the main courtyard, I can see an assortment of shrubs, a noticeboard, a red and black Gilfane banner, and a statue of Ironfist together with a scroll commemorating his bravery during the siege of Exodus City. Still, the decoration is not exactly widespread, and the word “functional” comes to mind when I contemplate the building as a whole.
Taking out my timepiece, I see that the hour of the appointment has arrived, yet still I appear to be alone. As I turn back around toward the main rooms to the north, searching for another clock, I am startled to be suddenly confronted by a tall figure in a vibrant crimson robe. He smirks at my discomfort as he draws back his hood, and I recognise the visage of governor Ironfist. He appears to be in his early forties and his skin is of a dark grey. In his hand he is holding a formidable looking, dark green bow.
My host welcomes me in a voice which bears a distinctly Teutonic inflection, hinting at his origins, and he leads me into the Town Council chamber, where our dialogue is to take place. I sit down at the nearest chair to his desk and place my pocket watch on the adjacent seat. I then ready my writing slope and begin the interview.
By all accounts, you have travelled far and wide throughout Sosaria. I understand you spent several years in the far east?
That is correct. My life took me to the fair islands called Japan, and as the population of my old home was on the wane, and facing the dark throat of the lag monster, I decided to give Sakura a try. Ten years ago that was; time surely flies.
What did you mostly spend your time doing there?
Generally hunting monsters either in small groups or solo, partly because of the language barrier.
And you also spent some time in Oceania?
The language barrier kept my conversation on Sakura almost strictly to simple terms and commands being shouted at me or me giving them, but I was looking for a little more interaction and my Japanese did not develop as quickly as I hoped. So I looked around and the travel time to Oceania was still very fast from Japan, so I spent almost three years there.
What differences have you observed between the populations of the eastern and western lands?
As I mentioned, the population of Drachenfels, my old home, was already declining and in the Japanese lands I saw a huge number of people. It also receded somewhat while I was there, but never as much as I had the feeling happened in the west. There is also a somewhat different attitude in the east. Many people spend their time just chatting with friends, which is a big reason why I had trouble getting involved as my Japanese is basic at best (at least the written form). But everyone was very interested as to why a foreigner was there among them and out of that curiosity a few friendships evolved.
Can you think of anything in the way they do things in the east that would benefit us over here?
[ooc] Publicity! In game stores and family marts, UO is still purchasable (I was back there two months ago for three weeks). It is sold as “the classic MMORPG that still evolves”. Salesmen actually have played the game. That alone shows the support that the game still has in Japan and also encourages people there to play.
Before and after your time in the east, you were on Atlantic?
[ooc]I started out on Atlantic, but when Drachenfels was established I jumped at the chance to have a better connection (back then I was, as almost everyone in Europe, still on a 56k dial-up). Then after my return from Japan I started playing on Siege, but a few people from here “dragged” me back to Atlantic and I established myself again there a little.
When did you first move to Siege?
Well, during the days Siege was established, I peeked in, was blown out, and returned five years ago. I was not ready back then.
Do you ever travel back to other lands now?
Hardly ever. I sometimes look in, but if I am awake it is almost exclusively on Siege.
When did you first change to fighting people? And why?
In Oceania, because I was sick and tired of getting raided at spawns.
Did it take you long to learn the ropes?
After a few instant deaths, and a few hectic stress errors, I adapted and actually started to enjoy the adrenaline rush. I got my first kill after two months of getting my ass whipped, and from then on I started to win more than I lost.
So you enjoyed this style of fighting almost straight away?
I enjoyed the challenge, but I definitely rage-logged after a few deaths. But the periods between log and returning got shorter with every death I experienced, since I often realized where my mistake had been.
You are best known as using stealth and assassin tactics. Why is this?
Throughout most of my time in Sosaria, I have been afflicted with the condition known as porpyngitus, which means my muscles are unable to respond as quickly as most of my opponents. So when I switched from fighting monsters to people, I had to look for a set of skills which allowed me to compete.
Are you able to take any medicines to treat your affliction? And do they work?
In recent times I have been using the potion called WTFast. It has increased my reflexes by about a third [ping down from low 300s or high 200s to very low 200s]. Furthermore, the world seems much smoother to me with WTF than without. I can definitely recommend it for people who suffer from my condition; it has really improved my experience on Siege.
What are your favourite skills?
Hmm, I have tried a lot of skills and thanks to these wonderful soulstone devices I still can rely on that experience. But I have to admit my favourite skill would be archery.
What weapons do you favour?
*looks at his trusted ‘Skullsplitter’* Well, that would be my composite bow.
It is said that you can drop an unwary opponent in just moments. How exactly are you able to achieve this?
I doubt any assassin would part with this information willingly. *smiles* Let’s just say my skill combination supplemented by the optimal equipment can add up to an amount of damage that is too much for many inhabitants of Sosaria.
So how many arrows would you expect to use to take down a normal target if they didn’t try and heal themselves?
Plain arrows, four. In combination with spells and triggers, two or three.
The casual manner in which he delivers the previous statement makes me wince inwardly, and I decide to skip further talk of his offensive capabilities.
How about armour? Do you tend to use the best equipment available?
From my understanding, yes. I custom build armour that suits my style. Many people try to argue that there are better options, but I like my set-up. Sometimes I even put on a Crimson and a Quiver of Infinity so if I get killed my opponents find something they can use.
Is there any advice you could pass on to aspiring assassins on Siege?
Patience and remain strong headed. If you have an idea for killing someone, do not trash it just because you could not finish the job on your first or second try. Hang in there, fine-tune your tactics, and you have a good chance of succeeding.
I understand you were one of the originators of the sampire fighter?
Well, it is hard to really figure out who thought up a fighting style first and who just followed. The self-healing fighter with a whirlwind weapon obviously came into existence when people started using necromancy. A good Japanese friend and myself discussed a lot skill set-ups and he went through the Japanese noticeboards a lot, looking for new ideas. But since the damage output was limited (no reforging or imbuing back then), you needed to have tactics and anatomy. So the idea of this necro bushido warrior that would only heal through a vampire’s life leech did not really work out. Until, that is, I discovered that you could put necromancy on a soulstone, replace it with bushido, and you remained in vampire form. So I told my friend that you do not need to keep the necro skill on to maintain vampire form, and from there on the style was born. He posted this “loophole” on the Japanese noticeboards and a week later the land was full of vampire dexers using bushido/parry and most also had resist. So let’s say I helped make it common knowledge that necromancy could be soulstoned after you cast the vampire form spell.
Can you explain the differences between a whammy and a sampire?
A whammy is a wraith samurai whereas a sampire is a vampire samurai. Both templates survive by leeching: the whammy thanks to the curse weapon spell and the vampire because of its inherited life leech ability. The wraith leeches mana and because of that is usually better able to chain weapon specials than the vampire. I guess it is a question of preference and what opposition one faces.
So which monsters do the two styles struggle with?
A whammy does not have resisting magic available to him, so any spell-caster with mana vamp can be certain death for a whammy. Sampires struggle most with the new breed of monsters that have this tainted life force aura which prevents opponents leeching life.
Is a whammy/sammy suited to fighting other people?
With no lag monster and a suitable weapon, it can have its moments. But I would definitely not use it as my other template is a first choice.
Do you tend to stick to the same tactics and skills, or are you frequently changing them?
I stay with the same, does not matter if it fighting people or monsters, although I have to admit that I changed back recently to my whammy template when we discovered that sunken ship, and Asteroth had to be killed.
So you also hunt monsters as well as people here on Siege?
I do. Much of New Magincia’s trade deal is financed through the sale of imbuing ingredients, which are collected by our citizens and often me personally.
What do you most like to hunt?
Hmm, for me, I really like the Abyss as a hunting ground, no monster preference really. Spawn-wise I have to say that I particularly enjoy the Abyssal Infernal spawn.
Which monsters give you the most trouble?
None that I can think of.
And what are your impressions of this new foe, Asteroth?
A tough opponent, but we have defeated him. We were one of the first on Siege, if not the first, to defeat this formidable foe.
But would it be fair to say that you would prefer to be fighting people rather than monsters?
Hmm, people give more adrenaline rush. But hunting monsters can be soothing to the mind.
Have you ever used the arcane arts as primary skills rather than just support skills?
Actually, when I first came to Sosaria I trained as a scribe mage. I sold recall scrolls at Britain bank for 40gp each. Back then, I went by the name of Wolfman, a nickname I still use to this day.
Not long after arriving on Siege, you joined the Gilfane guild. What made you choose the lawful path?
Since I was just fighting monsters at the time, I was looking for like-minded people to hunt alongside. Gilfane seemed the right fit from the moment I read their guild noticeboards.
Have you always been on the good side?
Yes I have, but let’s say I’ve also killed some deserving ones in my past. *laughs*
Do you ever feel frustration with having to be good and not being able to attack anyone you like?
No, it is the path I have chosen, and I honour our guild’s policy.
Your alliance, the White Council, has always struggled to field many fighters in recent years. Why do you think this is?
Because we are a defensive force. We are not usually looking for battles, we try to avoid them. Almost every fighter is eagerly looking for combat. Those differing attitudes make recruiting difficult.
You are now leader of the Gilfane “House” called Nemesis? What is its role?
We are the protectors of Gilfane. If there are killers troubling our crafters, hunters or gatherers, or if a big guild hunt needs protection, House Nemesis tries to provide it. Since most of our guild members are not fighters of other people, it is an interesting task.
Who are your chief lieutenants in Nemesis at the moment?
Since we are all awake at different times, it is more a matter of being available when needed. Whenever a cry for help is heard, any Nemesis member is bound by his/her oath to protect, to rush to the victim to help.
Who are your biggest enemies at the moment?
I have no enemies, only our guild has. And as far as I know we are in opposition to the pirates of Arrr, basically any SL faction guild, SCUM and any guild or person that is an alliance with these.
Are there any famous victories or defeats that stick in your mind?
Every battle gets my adrenaline flowing, so there are no special ones for me.
Are there any particular types of fighter that you fear more than others?
No, every opponent can be dangerous to my life and every opponent can be dead after a few seconds. It is just a question of who the Sosarian gods favour that day.
Who is the most formidable opponent you have ever faced?
That has to be Righty, no ifs or maybes attached.
You have, more recently, become Duke of New Magincia and now the governor, too. What drew you to this particular town?
The new architecture and the new vendors. Also, the houses inside the guard zone make it special.
As a solider, what made you decide to get into politics?
Politics determine our future. I felt it was too an important subject to just skip and let someone else do it. If I want my opinion to be heard, I believe it is easier as a governor than as a soldier.
New Magincia is the only city that has maintained a trade deal from the very beginning. Has it been difficult to raise the funds for this?
Well, I’ve had five years on Siege and have acquired some wealth. The first term was funded almost exclusively by myself, but now in my second term more and more loyal citizens chip in, not only in gold but also imbuing ingredients which can be sold easily. So I would say that is a good development.
Are there any improvements you would like to make to Magincia if the king approves?
In general, I would like to see a fee implemented that goes straight to the city treasury when the trade deal is utilized. Besides that I would assign lumberjacks to cut down the forest so that the arena near Khaldun could be relocated close to New Magincia’s moongate. It would then be much more accessible, and our citizens need some entertainment.
How did you acquire the town hall?
It was given to me by a guildmate when he heard that I was running for office.
Did you design it yourself?
No, it was designed by one of Gilfane’s master house designers.
Do you see yourself continuing to run for governor for the foreseeable future?
I would say so, or at least until I see another candidate who corresponds with my interests.
Apart from combat equipment, is there anything in particular that you collect?
Not really with a passion like others do, but I have some oddities and nice deco items in my villa in Gilfane town.
Are there any changes you would like the gods to make to the lands of Siege?
Some combat imbalances need to be addressed. For example, faction artifacts are too easy to acquire compared to the non-faction equivalent. But besides that, I love to be here and I spend a lot of time in Siege. That is all that matters to me.
And any changes that you would like to see the gods make to Sosaria?
Any change that would bring back people to the lands.
Any thoughts on what might do that?
[ooc] Advertisement along the lines: “Why do you think this game is still running after sixteen years? Check it out yourself!”
On that note, I decide it is a good time to end the interview. We exchange pleasantries as I pack away my things, and he bows as I make my way out the door. As I am about to close the portal behind me, I realise that I left my timepiece on the chair, and I return to retrieve it. But of the Duke there is no trace. Nervously, I recover my property and then hurriedly make my way out of the building…