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Summer Solstice 2016

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Summer Solstice Event
Year 2016
Main Organisers Shadowfax
Theme Resonance
The theme of the Summer Solstice 2016 celebration event was "Resonance". The various events were orchestrated by Shadowfax. Draak contributed the Mud Volcano and Fortress of Sutton Vu. Morpheus and Dentin assisted with setup and debugging. Kagome and Aziz playtested the Drakdrol area.






Timeline

The various quests of the main event are organized into "Acts". There were three such acts.

Date Summary Quests Areas
June 10 Act 1 begins Consulted the Naginag Hierophant and the Keeper of the Elwood, Retrieved a fragment of a heavily inscribed slab, Retrieved a petition incarnate spellbook Sunken ship near Phtom Island redone, addition to Mud Volcano released
June 14 Act 2 begins Assisted in the assembly of a mass driver, Donated a starcatcher
June 20 Puzzlewood Body Count Challenge Puzzlewood forest area re-opened for the week
June 21 Act 3 begins, Acts 1 and 2 close Used the Ultimate Preservation Program to save the world from Drakdrol Fortress of Sutton Vu, Western Mengaw Forest, Drakdrol
June 27 Events end Puzzlewood forest area, Fortress of Sutton Vu, and Drakdrol are closed. Western Mengaw Forest remains open. Airam is re-opened.

Background

The first script for the main event was written in late May and presented to Shadowfax's peers for feedback. A second draft was posted June 2nd, based on the feedback received from Dentin and other world builders. The original script had Drakdrol as a living planet eater inhabited by aliens that were controlling it. Players would have had to fight the aliens and antibodies inside of Drakdrol. Other ideas that were scrapped were having a rogue titan team up with a demon to be the main villains, and having them be involved in a love triangle with another demon which aided players out of jealousy.

Act 1

Once Act 1 had begun, players saw this message with the 'event show' command:

Blanagan the Scientist observed the nighttime sky, charting the celestial objects as he often did.
Predicting the orbital paths of the thousands of objects that populated the solar system was part of his
research, but with so many he could only do the calculations for one or two a night.   Tonight was different,
however, for he wasn't choosing a random object to study, but a very specific one.  A quick examination was
conducted, and once again he plotted the trajectory of Delta-88, commonly called 'Drakdrol'.  He double
checked and triple checked the calculations, and his worst fears were confirmed.  Drakdrol is on a collision
course with Alter Aeon.  If nothing is done, they will crash into one another in less than 200 days.

Blanagan looking for messengers to retrieve rare information.  He is responsible for maintaining the Behr'zok
Orrery, next to the Gash'Naga School of Magiks.  He is there both day and night and will be waiting for you.

Once players accept the quest from Blanagan the Scientist, they see the following:

Blanagan the Scientist says, 'The rumors you heard are true.  While plotting the courses of the various bodies
of our solar system, I chanced upon the information.  The planet Drakdrol is on a collision course with Alter
Aeon, and our world will be destroyed if they collide.  I have a few theories on how to prevent this, and I am
hiring adventurers to seek out the data I need.

'If I recall correctly, 'fury of the heavens' was preceded by a more powerful spell, one that could destroy an
entire island or even devastate a continent.  The problem with it was that its use was unavoidably fatal to
the caster, so it fell into disuse.  My memory is unclear as to the details, but I remember hearing about it
from a Quelese woman named Shashay.  She was my astronomy professor back when I attended the academy here (and
back when they offered such classes).

'She resigned and moved back to Naginag some time ago.  I used to correspond with her, but you know how things
go.  Life gets busy, and you forget to write.  Then they forget to write, and pretty soon you lose touch.  I
know it's a tall order, but I'd like you to go to Naginag, find her, and ask her about what I told you.

'Let's see, she had curly red hair... I believe that's rather rare amongst the Quelese, although she would be
fairly old now, so perhaps her hair has grayed.  She was very tan, especially for a Quelese, oh... and also she
had orange eyes.  Yes, I remember now because they were very unusual!  Shashay was a druid of considerable
power, so she might still around the Druids' Sanctuary or at least the Park District.'

Players then had to find the druid, who happened to be the Naginag Hierophant.

The Naginag Hierophant says, 'Yes, I am Shashay.  How can I help you?'

You tell her about Drakdrol and its impending collision with Alter Aeon.  She listens to you intently and
pauses a moment before responding.

'Blanagan?  Yes, yes, I recollect.  A red Luglugl with blue accents.  He was a fine student.  He runs the
Orrery now?  Seth's blood!  Then this surely is no light matter.  Our world is truly doomed if nothing is
done!'  She calms down before continuing.  'What he's referencing is the 'starbomb' spell, which used
starlight as an explosive but was so potent and had such a short duration that it invariably destroyed the
caster.  Maybe such a device could knock Drakdrol off course, but I wouldn't know where to even start.  The
method of making starbombs is long lost.'

She taps her forehead, muttering 'think think think' to herself, then lights up as a solution occurs to her.

The Naginag Hierophant says, 'I believe that I can recreate the spell if I had some instructions to get me
started.

'When I was young, I made pilgrimages to the Elwood and communed with the Keeper of the Elwood, an ancient
ent.  He is a being of great intelligence and longevity, and a master of all druidic magic.  I learned a
great many things from him.  If anybody would have the knowledge, it would be him.

'Be warned, however, that the Elwood is not what it once was.  The ravages of war have touched the land
since I last saw the Keeper, and the creatures of that forest are wild and hostile to intruders.  Should you
find the Keeper, please tell him that I sent you.'

The Hierophant of Naginag is consulted, and she believes that she can recreate the spell. It is hoped that the detonation will change its trajectory (only a few degrees is necessary) if not destroying it outright.

The method of making these legendary 'starbombs' is long lost, however. After exhausting her own resources, the Hierophant decides that only a being of great intelligence and longevity would have the knowledge, such as an ent.

Players are sent to talk to the Keeper of the Elwood.

You begin talking to the Keeper of the Elwood, stating that Shashay has sent you.  The Keeper is silent, so
you succinctly explain the circumstances of Drakdrol's arrival.  Suddenly, a strong sense of fear immerses
your mind.  You shake it off and finish explaining how the destruction of Alter Aeon is probable.  The fear
gradually shifts to reluctance.  Finally a feeling of resignation sets in, and it coalesces in your mind to
form words.  Fragments of sentences slowly take shape in a halting, venerable voice.

'Hroom...  fleshy one...  I have been expecting you... I will tell you... but only because... the situation...
is so dire...  I must... protect the forest...

'I do not know... how to to make... a starbomb but... I know where... the giants stored... the instructions
how...  A codex buried... deep within the earth... It was once known as... Mount Sar'sa... now it is called...
the Mud Volcano...'

The image of a mighty mountain eroding to a flat plateau over the course of time is rapidly played out in
your mind.

'The spell cannot... be cast without... the death of the caster... but there are beings... who can cast the
spell... without injury...  They are called incarnates... There is an oracle... who knows how to... petition
them... She resides... in a sunken ship... off the coast of... Phtom Island...'

And with that, the Keeper of the Elwood's voice goes silent, and his emotions depart from your mind.

He is reluctant to talk but once the is situation is explained to him, he complies. He does not know how to make a starbomb, but he knows where the information is: a codex buried deep within the earth in what is now known as the Mud Volcano.

The Naginag Hierophant quickly skims over the fragment and says, 'Yes! 
With a little research, I can make use of this.  While you were away, I
secured permission and funding from Queen Azshara.  Please inform Blanagan
that I will begin constructing the starbomb as soon as possible.'
Blanagan the Scientist says, 'That is splendid news!  My other theories
have proven to be duds, I'm afraid.  It looks like this starbomb is the
only option.  I will begin researching a delivery system for the starbomb. 
Hopefully the explosion will change Drakdrol's trajectory (only a few
degrees is necessary) if not destroying it outright.

'So I guess Shashay is a bigshot now?  No wonder she quit her teaching job.
Heh.

'Thank you for your help.  I'll probably need some more of it very soon.'

The Keeper also states that it is possible for an incarnate to cast the starbomb spell and not be harmed by it. The ancient art of petitioning supernals known only to a few. The Keeper suggests visiting a particular oracle to get the information. She gives you a spellbook for the ritual, which you give to Blanagan.

Miruana the Fallen says, 'Welcome, traveler.  You say you need to petition an incarnate?  Yes, I'm afraid
petitioning supernals went out of style with the rise of necromancy.  I'm probably one of the few beings around
who still knows how to do it.  Luckily for you, I've got an instruction manual for petitioning incarnates right
here, ready to go!  Convenient, eh?  Well, don't look a gift horse in the mouth, just take it!'
Blanagan the Scientist looks over the instructions, saying, 'So you say an incarnate can cast the spell we need
without getting anybody killed?  That's perfect!  Hmm, these instructions are so simple, even an amateur cleric
like me can understand.  I will memorize the petitioning ritual posthaste.  Terrific work.'

Act 2

When Act 2 began, the following was added to the 'event start' message:

Once the information that he needs has been retrieved, Blanagan the Scientist sends the plans he has developed
for a delivery system to stop Drakdrol to Master Architect Felix of Naginag, who has been tasked with building
it while Blanagan continues his calculations on when to fire it.  To reach Felix and begin Act 2, use
'event start 201' and 'quest list'.  (You must have completed Act 1 in order to start Act 2.)

What he comes up with is essentially a fixed mass driver that uses a track powered by magically generated electro-magnetic energy. Polarity of the coils is controlled by specialized wands of static blast. The coils are housed in a metal jacket that has an microportal opened to the Ethereal Plane of Ice surrounded by vacuum tubes. A gate at one end of the track leads back to the start of the track, allowing it to accelerate until the gate closes. Once the gate spell completes its duration and collapses, the mass driver sets the payload loose.

Felix has other guilds working on the parts and spells. He has players visit the various guilds and fetch any more materials that they need, then collect the parts so that he can assemble the mass driver.

Master Architect Felix says, 'Oh good, you're here.  Erenow, I know that
our world is in peril, and that Blanagan has the blessing of the Queen, but
his plans are a mess.  I've got builders all over the world trying to fill
orders for all of the crazy stuff this so-called mass driver needs. 
Everything has been paid for, but the logistics are a nightmare.  I really
need help expediting some of the farflung contractors who have been
underperforming.  There is a deadline to meet...' Felix pauses, and 
finishes his sentence grimly, 'and it's the end of the world if we screw
up.

'First thing I need you to do is visit Arcadia and see why Elbrak the
Silversmith is dragging his feet.  He's supposed to be making coils for the
superconducting magnets, but he's sent less than half of the amount that I
need.'
Elbrak the Silversmith says, 'I know Felix really needs those coils, but
I'm having a supply issue.  I usually deal in silver and maybe gold for the
well-paying jobs.  But I just didn't have sufficient platinum in stock to
make enough coils, even if they are paper-thin.  Adventurers like you have
ways of getting around, don't you?  Can you get some platinum for me?  I
might suggest trying my precious metals dealer first.  His name is
Huxduddle, and he lives in West Naginag.  Meanwhile, I've got keep working
on these coils.  They are extremely labor-intensive.'
Huxduddle says, 'Uh, I'd give you want you need, but I'm currently out of
platinum.  The locals mined out all of the precious metals some time ago,
and I have to rely on imports.  Maybe try the jeweler in Ralnoth instead.'
The jeweler says, 'Sure, I'll donate a bar of platinum to save the world. 
Take this to Elbrak, and tell him to send for me first the next time he
needs precious metals.'
Elbrak the Silversmith says, 'Wow, you got some.  I'll melt this down as
soon as I get a chance.  Tell Felix that he'll have his coils, and thanks
for the tip about the Ralnoth jeweler.'
Master Architect Felix says, 'Superb, I'm glad we got that cleared up.  Now
I need you to head up the Emerald City and pay a visit on a runesmith named
Gan.  He's supposed to be carving wands from some special frost ore that
they mine up there.  I've got an artificer lined up in Koralia's Heart, but
she says that she hasn't gotten any yet.'
Gan the rune smith says, 'Felix sent you?  I've got the first batch of
wands ready, but I ran out of material to work with.  If you can fetch a
block of frostshard from Darmer Snowhammer up in Khal-Rin, I can finish the
rest.  Somebody was supposed to brought me some ages ago, but I guess they
got lost.'
Darmer Snowhammer says, 'I've been waiting for somebody to come up and get
this.  Here you go.'
Gan the rune smith says, 'Great.  Can you take these to the mage Tabitha in
Koralia's Heart?  It would take forever to send them conventionally, but I
know adventurers like you can get around quickly.  Thanks.'
You give the shipment of ice wands to the mage Tabitha.

The mage Tabitha says, 'Oh neat.  I have been waiting for these.  Please
inform Master Architect Felix that will start preparing them right away.'
Master Architect Felix says, 'Superb work once again!  I've got some people
making up the jackets that the coils are to be housed in.  Could you drop
in on Helith the Clothier and take a peek at how she's coming along?  She
has a shop in Dorna.  Her letters have expressed a lot of self-confidence,
but I wonder if she's just boasting and can actually deliver what she has
promised.'
Helith the Clothier says, 'What do you mean?  Of course I'm fine!  That old
coot will have his fancy rope at the agreed time.  If you're worried about
them, you might want to go see Keishara Blackthorne over in Elborat.  She
supposed to be using some sort of magic on these things, but I don't think
she knows what she's doing.  Darn elves can't do anything right!'
Keishara Blackthorne says, 'That woman sent you over here, didn't she?  I
don't need any help, not yours or hers!  So what if I can't get any arjale
to enchant this fabric with!?  The nerve of her!'

She abruptly stops and takes a minute to regain her composure.

'I'm sorry for that outburst.  I know that the fate of our world is at
stake.  It's just that Helith is my competitor, and she makes me mad
sometimes.  What I said is true, I need powdered arjale to continue weaving
protective enchantments into these coil jackets.  Arjale is mined by the
fire giants who dwell at Abyrimoch, and they jealously guard it.  I posted
a letter to their king, but apparently they attacked the messenger and he
barely escaped alive.  We can't expect any cooperation from the fire 
giants.  If we are to obtain powdered arjale, you'll take to sneak in and
take it.'
Keishara Blackthorne says, 'This is exactly what I required.  I don't need
to know how you got, I'm just thankful that you did.  Now I can resume my
enchantments.  You should let that Felix over in Naginag know.'
Master Architect Felix says, 'Seems like you're quite the problem-solver,
resolving issues that I didn't even know existed!  Superb.  Well, here's a
problem that definitely exists.  I called in a favor with Gawain, the royal
alchemist of Trinsic, to make some tools for me.  Could you go to Castle
Trinsic and pick them up for me?'
The Royal Alchemist says, 'You know, if it weren't the end of the world, I
wouldn't even consider what Felix asked me to do.  Making anything out of
scrith is illegal in the Kingdom of Thalenwood.  And, of course, I don't
have any.  Dwarves used to mine scrith around the Green River.  Maybe you
can find a chunk of it somewhere.'
The Royal Alchemist says, 'Yes, this will do.  I cannot send the tools back
with you, as it will take time to make them.  Tell Felix that I will have
them finished and sent to him as soon as possible.'
Master Architect Felix says, 'He's just now making the tools?  That's bad
news, because it puts us behind schedule.  Let's see if we can get the gate
spell staves I need.  Do me a solid and go over the Bardic College and talk
to Dean Machpelah.'
Dean Machpelah says, 'Good show.  I have the staves here, but I need to add
one final touch before they are ready.  To do so, I need a sample of
nevermelting ice.  The local stores appear to be out of it.  I've heard
that Rogonian gypsies sell it, perhaps you should find a caravan.  They're
typically going through West Naginag, Zin and Ubar.'
Dean Machpelah says, 'Excellent.  I will apply the nevermelting ice to the
staves and have one of students run them up to Felix.  I also have run out
of lodestones.  I need them to make the chain lightning wands that Felix
also wanted.  I'm nearly finished but we didn't have quite enough to
complete the whole order.  We got the last batch from the yellow ochres in
the Labyrinth.  Can you run down there and get one?  I'll work on these
staves in the meantime.'
Dean Machpelah says, 'Yes, that's perfect.  I finished the staves and had
them sent up to Felix, so I'm free to finish the wands now  You should see
what he wants you to do next.'
Master Architect Felix says, 'Superb.  I received a shipment of jackets for
Keishara, but I don't enough glass fittings for these.  By Dowart's gavel,
there are surprising few glassblowers in the city.  I've had to call on
nearly every glassmaker in the whole continent to get the number for
Blanagan's blueprint.  One of the suppliers who has been slow about it is
Marcus, a glassblower from Caer Bre'en.  Would you minding going there are
telling him to speed things up a little?'
Marcus the Glassblower says, 'Yes, I'm behind schedule.  Don't
misunderstand, I don't want our world to be destroyed anymore than anyone
else would, but making the glass tubing to Felix's specifications has been
very difficult.  I've wasted a lot of glass, and I've nearly depleted my
stockpile of natron.  Can you get me some more?  Natron comes from soda
ash, and I understand that certain creatures in the Salt Flats, east of the
Aztec Jungle, can be found carrying it around.'
Marcus the Glassblower says, 'Thank you.  Now I can get back to work.  Here
are a few tubes you can bring back to Felix.  I promise to finish the whole
order.'
You give a few small glass tubes to Master Architect Felix.

Master Architect Felix says, 'Superb.  Even so, this quantity is much less
than I anticipated.  Don't these people understand that we are under a time
limit?  At least the Mages' Guild had the courtesy to send me a note and
ask for help when something went wrong.  Please go see their scribe's
office, find out what the problem is, and how you can help.  Thanks in
advance.'
The Mages' Guild scribe says, 'I need blackspore mold so I can make it into
ink, but I'm fresh out.  The harvesters I've sent already haven't had any
luck.  Can you get me some?  I think it grows in the Giftsmarch.'
The Mages' Guild scribe says, 'I'll begin distilling this immediately.  I
know Master Architect Felix is eager to get his scrolls.'
Master Architect Felix says, 'Superb.  The Guild does excellent work, as
always.  Those 'static blast' scrolls are proceeding right on schedule. 
We'll need them to charge up the coils.

'The starbomb is going to be in some kind of wooden container, so we have
to make something to go up the track that will interact with the
electro-magnetic energy.  I proposed making what is essentially a giant
aluminum bucket and sent the plans off to one frost dwarf name Zuth, who
received a royal recommendation.  I understand that he lives in Khal-Rin, a
stronghold north of Silverwind.  I know it's a long way to go, but you've
gone further.  Please go see how he's doing.'
Zuth the shopkeeper says, 'Yes, that's right.  I'm the best with aluminum. 
I usually stick to curios and bric-a-brac, but I'm up for a big job once in
a while, especially one with high stakes like this.

'I couldn't finish the bucket, though.  I ran plum out of aluminum and I'm
waiting for the ironmonger to come to town.  If ye want to accelerate the
process, perhaps you could get some aluminum ore for me.  What they usually
bring is bauxite.  It's mined in the Cornia Hills.'
Zuth the shopkeeper says, 'Aye, that's what I wanted.  Ye can tell Felix
that I'll have his bucket ready in time for the launch.'
Master Architect Felix says, 'That should do it for now.  You've been a
great help.  I'll keep collecting and assembling parts for the mass driver,
and when it's all done bring it Blanagan.  The Hierophant is busy working
on the starbomb, and I'm sure she'll have it ready in time.  It will all
come together soon.  If you haven't visited Blanagan lately, he's
collecting starcatchers for the cause and could as many as he can get. 
Good luck to us all.'

The mass driver is brought to Blanagan, the Hierophant of Naginag delivers the completed starbomb, and he waits until the precise moment that he has calculated for the petitioned incarnate to cast the spell and launch the starbomb.

In the meantime, Blanagan asked for starcatchers. Players could give up to 50 starcatchers.

Blanagan the Scientist, 'We're going to need a massive amount of collected
starlight for our plans to stop Drakdrol.  I am attempting make racks that
we can gate into orbit and harvest starlight more efficiently, so I'm going
to need as many starcatchers as possible.  Give me all that you can get
ahold of.'

Act 3

When Act 3 began, the 'event show' message was changed to this:

The appointed day and time arrives.  Wherever you are, you pause and take a moment
to look up and see the launch.  The starbomb lifts off, and its twinkling image
arcs skyward, destined to save the world as you know it.

News of its success sweeps across the land, and the entire world breathes a
collective sigh of relief.  

But soon thereafter, the rumors start.  Uncertainty sets in as Drakdrol's salience
increases.  At first, it appears much as a shining star in the nighttime sky.
Soon, its size rivals that of a moon.  Its image becomes visible at all times, a
constant reminder of its looming threat.  You decide to visit Blanagan the
Scientist and find out what exactly is going on.

(To begin Act 3, use 'event start 200' and talk to Blanagan the Scientist.  Acts
1 and 2 are now closed.  You do not need to have completed them to do Act 3.)

(The main event is intended for high level players.)

The Puzzlewood Forest is now open with a new challenge:  how many monsters can you
kill in a week?  This event area is available to all levels and can be accessed via
'event start 108'.  Read the sign in the lodge.

The main quest went as follows, beginning with Blanagan's report and Gisco's request for ingredients to summon a demon:

Blanagan the Scientist is furiously performing calculations when you
attempt to engage him.  He says, 'The starbomb did what it was supposed to.
We knocked Drakdrol off-course by 0.3 degrees.  It's breaking up into
pieces.  However, I failed to take one thing into consideration.  I
calculated the distance between Alter Aeon and Drakdrol and their
forthcoming positions precisely.  But, I failed to take into account the
moon.

'The moon will be reaching the apogee of its orbit when Drakdrol passes in
front of our planet.'  He continues writing, saying, 'While its mass and
velocity will be sufficient to escape Alter Aeon's gravitational field, I
don't know if it can escape the pull of the moon...'

He stops abruptly and puts his plume down.  He remarks flatly, 'Oh my gods,
we made it worse.   Drakdrol will slingshot around and enter a descending
orbit, spraying ice all over the world and wreaking havoc on the weather
and tides.  The calculations confirm it.'

He breathes a heavy sigh before continuing.  'Since I suspected as much, a
call to arms has already been sounded throughout the Naginag Combine, which
of course has also trickled over the entire world.  The best and brightest
of all lands have been solicited for ideas on how to stop the incoming
planetoid from wrecking Alter Aeon.  The answer comes in the most unlikely
of forms.'  Blanagan jabs a thumb at the other being standing nearby.  'May
I introduce, the legendary Gisco the Necromancer.  I  suggest that you talk
to him.'
Gisco the Necromancer says, 'I believe that we can eliminate Drakdrol as a
threat by refreezing it and pushing it enough that it reaches a stable
orbit.  For the details of that plan, I want to summon the demon Ixillia
and need help procuring the items necessary for his restraint.

'First I need a lump of raw ziff.  I can enchant it and use it to begin
drawing the containment circle for him.  In the meantime, I'm going to
study the ritual necessary to attract his attention.'
Gisco the Necromancer says, 'Good.  Now I will need snow leopard blood.  It
works better than unicorn blood.  You get vials of it from various places
up north.  I will begin drawing the containment circle.'
Gisco the Necromancer says, 'All right, now I need crushed basilisk scales.
I'll overlay them on the chalk, and Ixillia will be at my disposal.'

Once Gisco had all of the ingredients, the following happened:

Gisco the Necromancer says, 'Good.  Stand back.'

Blanagan the Scientist pipes up, saying, 'Are you sure it's a good idea to
summon an archdemon in the middle of town?'

Gisco waves wags his index finger casually and asks, 'Why?  Is it illegal?'

Blanagan replies cautiously, 'No, but...'

Gisco interrupts Blanagan, simply stating, 'But nothing.  Silence.'

Gisco the Necromancer rapidly spreads the powder around and utters a short
incantation in a guttural tongue.  A plume of fire and smoke erupts in the
center of the containment circle, but not a single ember escapes its
confines.  A black, three-eyed demon with leathery wings and long, lanky
arms remains in the circle after the smoke has cleared.  The demon looks
around, looks upward, and then looks to Gisco and speaks, his voice filling
the area with a booming baritone.

Ixillia says, 'You've redecorated.  I love what you're done with the
place.'

Gisco the Nercomancer says, 'This isn't a social call, Ixillia.  Let's get
down to business.'

Ixillia chuckles, and then says, 'My payment, Gisco the Necromancer.'

Gisco waves his wave dismissively, stating, 'I'm calling in my favor'.

The demon's eyes blink in unison, a clear sign of astonishment.  'You've
sat on that favor for decades.'

Gisco replies somberly, 'Centuries, actually.  I have two questions to put
to you.'

'Ah,' Ixillia replies coolly, holding aloft two clawed digits, 'then that
would require two favors, but I only owe you one.'  He quickly holds his
palm up and spreads his fingers.  'Before you ply me with soulstones,
perhaps you could owe me a favor instead, Gisco the Necromancer.'

Gisco's response came promptly.  'Absolutely not.  Standard contract.'  He
held out a small black gemstone, offering it to Ixillia.

Ixillia hestitates a moment, and then accepts the soulstone.

Gisco asks, 'How do we put Drakdrol into a single mass?' 

Ixillia's reply goes as follows.  'I suggest utilizing the Ultimate
Preservation Program, an epic spell designed by Dentin and Draak as
failsafe to keep Alter Aeon briefly in a state of suspended animation in
the event of a global cataclysm that might require the divine intervention
of either one (or both).  The U.P.P. was designed to cover the whole of
Alter Aeon in a thin layer of ice, but I spectulate that it would cover
Drakdrol many times over because it is so much smaller than Alter Aeon and
may  freeze its pieces back together.  Futhermore, while the existance of
the U.P.P. is known in many demonic circles, none of them, not even myself,
knows how to complete the ritual.  With trepidation I suggest confabulating
with the other side, whose ranks are swollen with stuffy boors obsessed
with such abstruse nonsense.'

'Very well,'  Gisco says.  'After it has been made solid, how do we move
Drakdrol into a high enough orbit so that it doesn't crash into Alter
Aeon?'

Ixillia replies,  'As for moving Drakdrol, I proffer an obscure force spell
that was once known as 'unburden'.  It can change the gravitational
constant of local space.  Here, I will instruct you.'

Ixillia carefully and methodically teaches Gisco the spell, practicing it
by levitating small stones.  Within a few minutes, the necromancer has
mastered it.  Ixillia is dismissed, and Gisco erases the containment circle
with a wave of his hand.

Blanagan the Scientist says, 'If what he meant by 'the other side' are
angels, I think I know someone who can help.  Her name is Miruana the
Fallen.  She sent me a spellbook about petitioning incarnates.'

Gisco the Nercomancer cocks his head and says, 'Sounds like a plan.  I
certainly don't know how to summon an angel.'  He turns to you and
commands, 'Go talk to this Miruana and see if she knows how to petition
angels.'

Players then talked to Miruana again.

Miruana the Fallen says, 'Somehow I knew that you would come.  Here is a
spellbook about petitioning angels, just like you wanted.'

Players brought her spellbook to Blanagan, who gives another task to complete. There also was a sidequest which started in the Naginag Military District to rescue Colonel Sebastian, which is still available.

Blanagan the Scientist says, 'Thank you.  I will begin studying this
immediately.  While I learn the skill, pieces of Drakdrol are still falling
everywhere.  A particularly huge chunk of Drakdrol has fallen down into the
Naginag Combine in the western Mengaw Forest, not far from Zin, and we need
someone to contain the damage.  Of particular concern is the giant
insectile dragon that has been spotted.  It needs to be put down before it
can go on a rampage.'

Once the critter is put down, players return to Blanagan and Gisco, who were preparing to petition an angelic audience.

Blanagan the Scientist says, 'Well done.  Now have a seat, you're just in
time to watch me petition an archangel.  I've been petitioning lesser
angels to no avail, but it's been good practice.  Anyway, it's time for the
big guns.'

Blanagan arranges a few diverse items in a cross pattern near the patch of
flat stone where Ixillia was summoned.  He kneels and utters a lengthy
incantation in a melodic tongue.  A beam of light erupts from the center of
the pattern, and within seconds vanishes, leaving a gold-skinned humanoid
with white feathered wings in its wake.  The angel looks directly at
Blanagan, never breaking his gaze while he speaks in his echoing masculine
voice.  'I am Tyreial, Saintsword of Valor.  I have accepted your  favor
and now grant you an audience.  Speak.'

Blanagan clears his throat and replies in a well-rehearsed manner, 'O
Tyreial, Saintsword of Valor, I beseech thy wisdom on behalf of all of
Alter Aeon.  Please, if it is within thy power to do, make privy unto us
the secret of the Ultimate Preservation Program so we may save our world from
utter destruction.'

Tyreial wastes no time in his reply, 'Forgive me, for I do not know how to
perform the ritual.'  Blanagan begins to swear loudly, but the angel
ignores him and keeps speaking, causing him to stop.  'The knowledge of how
to perform the Ultimate Preservation Program is a closely guarded secret that
only one priest of Draak knows at any one time.  The priestess who
currently knows the U.P.P., named Winter, is being held prisoner by a rogue
doomsday faction of the monks of the Order of Harmony in the  Fortress of
Sutton Vu.  That is all I can tell you.  My time in this place has
expired.'   After Tyreial finishes speaking, a flash of light envelopes his
body, and then he is gone.

Blanagan the Scientist says, 'Well, at least that's a better answer than 'I
don't know', which is what every other angel I've petitioned up until this
point has had to offer.  Please, go to Sutton Vu and rescue Winter, before
those idiots do something rash and kill her.  Meanwhile, Gisco and I are
going to work on getting a gate spell up to Drakdrol, or at least close to
it.'

They are informed by the petitioned angel that the UPP is a closely guarded secret than only one priest of Draak knows at any one time. The priestess who currently knows the UPP, named Winter, is being held prisoner by a rogue doomsday faction of the monks of the Order of Harmony. Gisco scrys it out to confirm it. Players must storm their fortress and rescue her from the brainwashed and crazy cultists. Once rescued, the priestess informs players that the knowledge of the UPP in contained in the mantle she wears, which she gives to the player.

Winter, high priestess of Draak says, 'I know this is what you're looking
for.'  She removes a stick from her robes.  'This appears to be an ordinary
stick, which is why the cultists did not take it from me.  It is the Ferula
of Draak, and whoever possesses it has access to the Ultimate Preservation
Program.  Draak would want you to have it.  Here.'

Winter gives you the Ferula of Draak, and your mind is filled with
knowledge.  You know what must be done.  Return to Blanagan the Scientist,
he'll have what you need.  The Ferula says so.

Players then reported back to Blanagan.

Blanagan the Scientist says, 'So the U.P.P. is contained in the ferula, eh?
Don't lose it!  It just so happens that we have a stable portal leading to
Drakdrol's surface now.  Drakdrol should have collected enough heat and
enough of Alter Aeon's atmosphere during its initial passes to be
tolerable.  Gisco has been scribing scrolls of unburden, and I have been
constructing the racks to hold them.  Once we see that the U.P.P. has taken
effect, we'll gate the racks up and remotely activate the scrolls.   Good
luck.'

The Ferula says that it is safe to travel to Drakdrol.  Once you are there,
you must use it on the fissures that it will guide you toward.  The
indigenous life will be hostile, so be prepared to fight.

Now, with the mantle in hand, players are prepared to be transported to Drakdrol's surface and begin the rituals. The mantle guides the players to the optimal locations and instructs them how to petition the supernal aspects of Draak necessary for anchoring the epic spell. All the while fighting off the ever increasingly hostile indigenous life. Should the players manage to install an aspect of Draak at each of the four locations and defend them until the spell begins, they win and are treated to the message:

You feel that the Ferula is pleased.

Then the mantle teleports the players away so that they aren't affected by the UPP, and players view the beautiful scene of Drakdrol being pulled back together and covered in ice from a safe distance.

You gaze down at Drakdrol as a burst of bluish-white energy flies out from the shrines to enshroud the
entire planetoid.  Chunks of Drakdrol that had begun to float away from it are caught in the miasma and drawn
back to the central mass, and massive cracks and gaps in Drakdrol's surface seal up, including the crater
left by the starbomb that struck it earlier.  The energy turns to mist, which then fades away, leaving
Drakdrol frozen in a grayish-blue ice.

Players are then returned to Behr'zok, where Blanagan and Gisco are waiting.

You feel a tap on your shoulder.  You turn to find Gisco the Necromancer,
who speaks to you.  'I've been praying to Draak, and he tells me that we
can turn that ferula into something you'd really like.  You deserve a
reward for all that you've done, don't you?  Give the ferula to me.

'Also you will want to talk to Blanagan the Scientist.  He has something
for you, as well.'

Talking to Gisco yielded the Stole of Draak.

Gisco the Necromancer takes the Ferula and pulls on both ends, stretching
it out.  He then rolls it in his hands for a moment, and then once again
seizes it by both ends and flicks his wrists.  The stick unfurls into a
scarf, which he then offers you, saying, 'A gift from Draak, with his
thanks and mine.'
Name:       'stole draak sky blue cloth length'
Inventory:  'the Stole of Draak'
On ground:
A length of sky blue cloth lies here.

Long description:
The stole is a length of soft, sky-blue cloth, much like a scarf.  The
image of white snowflake has been embroidered into each end of it, on both
sides.  Snow slowly trickles from the dark blue fringes on both ends, which
evaporates a few seconds after it appears.

Weight:        1   Size:      3'0"   Total levels: 115
Dieroll:     1d8   Speed:   -15   Damage type: pound (2)
Wield str:  (10)   Cost:( 20534) 
Type:      OTHER   Comp: FABRIC   Hp: 100/100
Wear locations are: NECK 
Object flags are: ARTIFACT NO_SAC BIND_ON_GET QUESTLOAD NOWIELD 
Item has other effects:
Affects:  SAVING_FIRE by -5 (25%)
Affects:  NONE by 0
Affects:  NONE by 0
Affects:  NONE by 0
Affects:  NONE by 0
Affects:  NONE by 0
Object interactives/programs exist.

Affects wearer with:
Spell 'ice shield', -1 ticks (-10 minutes), level 40

Talking to Blanagan yielded the Telescope of Ils.

Blanagan the Scientist says, 'I received this telescope from an adventurer
like you, many years ago when I did her a service.  I want you to have it. 
You've saved our world.  Words cannot do justice for my gratitude.  Thank
you.'
Name:       'telescope scope ils black cone'
Inventory:  'the telescope of Ils'
On ground:
A black cone lies here.

Long description:
This is a black metal cone, with a clear piece of glass at the narrow end
and a black orb set into the other.  A thin white slit divides the orb in
two.

Weight:        1   Size:      2'0"   Total levels: 115
Dieroll:    3d15   Speed:     0   Damage type: crush (3)
Wield str:  (10)   Cost:( 23692) Ac-apply: 0
Type:      MAGIC   Comp: CRYSTAL   Hp: 100/100
Wear locations are: HELD 
Object flags are: RARE ACCOUNT_BIND QUESTLOAD 
Item has other effects:
Affects:  HITROLL by 2
Affects:  DAMROLL by 2
Affects:  NONE by 0
Affects:  NONE by 0
Affects:  NONE by 0
Affects:  NONE by 0

Affects wearer with:
Spell 'extended sight', -1 ticks (-10 minutes), level 10

Puzzlewood Challenge

The Puzzlewood was structured differently than last year. Instead of encountering waves of increasing difficulty, players had to fight endless waves of autolevelled enemies with the intention of killing as many as possible, with the top prize for slaying 3000. For every 100 mobs slain, players received a levelled magic necklace with random stats. Those that killed 3000 received a ring of limitless possibilities, a ring that can be randomized at will.

Event conclusion

While adventurers were gallivanting about on Drakdrol, Gisco the
Necromancer and Blanagan the Scientist created huge metal racks covered in
scrolls of the 'unburden' spell.  Using Blanagan's calculations, Princess
Anzu Firewalker cast the gate spells that allowed them to push the racks
onto Drakdrol's surface moments after the adventurers had fully activated
the Ultimate Preservation Program.  Gisco then remotely recited the scrolls
through the open gates using demonic thralls.
The church of Dentin has put forth an official declaration that while the
efforts of Blanagan and Gisco were exemplary, the spells alone were not
enough to span the distance required to push Drakdrol away from Alter Aeon,
and that Dentin himself intervened at the last moment to bridge the
remaining gap.  Dentin will soon be creating a permanent portal to the
surface of Drakdrol.
Drakdrol is now in a stable location celestially near Alter Aeon, occupying
its lagrangian 2 point, and is thus being towed around the sun using Alter
Aeon's gravity.  Because Alter Aeon is between Drakdrol and the sun, it is
usually in Alter Aeon's shadow, with only occasional slivers of it visible
now and again due to libration.  Because it remains in the dark, its
surface temperature remains low, meaning the native life is no longer in
danger of extinction.  Druids are now studying Drakdrol's animals and how
to harvest moonlight reflected from Drakdrol for magic spells.
Blanagan has resumed his duties of maintaining the Behr'zok Orrery and has
been bestowed with the title of 'Astronomer' in lieu of 'Scientist' in
light of recent events.  Gisco the Necromancer taught a few spells to
Blanagan before returning the wilderness and remains at large.
THE END 
161 players consulted the Naginag Hierophant and the Keeper of the Elwood.
124 players retrieved the starbomb plans.
140 players retrieved the petition incarnate spellbook.
89 players helped build the mass driver.
780 starcatchers were donated to Blanagan.
63 players saved the world from Drakdrol.

268 players completed the 100 monsters Puzzlewood quest.
101 players completed the 1000 monsters Puzzlewood quest.
73 players completed the 2000 monsters Puzzlewood quest.
63 players completed the 3000 monsters Puzzlewood quest.
333683 monsters were killed for the quests over the course of the Celebration.
Like with other years, the Summer Solstice Celebration could have come
together as smoothly as it did without the help of my fellow immortals.  I
want to thank Draak for building Sutton Vu, Morpheus for editing and
streamlining the Puzzlewood quests, Dentin for debugging the new code and
control dprocs for Drakdrol, and Aziz and Kagome for playtesting the
Drakdrol area.

I hope you enjoyed the different styles of play that the event areas had to
offer.  The Puzzlewood events this year were supposed to be more of a
marathon and less of a bloodbath than last time.  Drakdrol was intended for
a style of play that we don't often encounter in Alter Aeon: point defense.

The Sutton Vu and Drakdrol areas will be closed for a brief time so that
they can be re-tooled for normal gameplay.  The Western Mengaw Forest will
remain open as-is.  You may have encountered Sebastian and even saved him! 
His real quest starts in the city of Naginag with Lieutenant Unalak.

If you are dissatisfied with any of the magic necklaces you received during
the Puzzlewood events, you can trade them to Xena in the event room (Room
1392), located south and west of the Bulletin Board Central Hub (and just
west of this board).  You can do this exactly once for each one, and she
will be available until the end of the month.  If you did not complete the
main event with Drakdrol, you can turn your ferula into Blanagan for a
participation prize.

The Celebration ends with bang!  Today marks the grand re-opening of a new
and improved Airam, so you can go play there now that the event areas are
closed!  Happy mudding!

See Also

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