Musashi’s Guide to Writing UO Roleplaying Stories

After I started posting some of my silly Musashi stories on UO fiction sites like Crossroads of Britannia, UOSS White Stag Legends board, etc., I actually began to read some of the stories there.  After staring in disbelief for a moment or three, I quickly came to the conclusion that there must be literally thousands of budding UO fiction writers out there just waiting to be discovered, yet did not understand how this was done.  Well, good news is here:  writing a UO story which will be acceptable to most people is as easy as doing one of those Mad Libs I liked in 4th grade.

A Note to Those Who Take UO Writing Seriously

IF YOU ARE ALREADY A GOOD UO AUTHOR you should see why this guide applies to 95% of the writers on UO story forums, and will know just how relevant these rules are.  Read anyway, if for no other reason than to brush up on the basics.

IF YOU ARE A UO AUTHOR WHO TAKES OFFENSE TO YOUR SECRETS BEING REVEALED then please send me the most scathing, hateful mail possible about it.  My mail page is kinda slow for hate mail content.  Bring it on.  Thou.

IF YOU ARE NOT A UO WRITER YET BUT WOULD LIKE TO BE read on!  Internet fame and social acceptance by anonymous faceless people are on their way!

IF YOU THINK I’M MAKING FUN OF YOUR UO RP STORIES IN PARTICULAR, I’m not.  It’s that other guy’s stories I’m making fun of, the one you don’t like.  I really enjoyed your stories.  Really.


Preliminaries

First of all, it helps if you have actually played Ultima Online.  Not really necessary, but helpful.   If you wish to try to write a story without actually playing the game, I suggest you at least become familiar with some of the game’s basic tools, such as EZ Macros, so that you get a better feel for UO’s high fantasy environment.  You may also wish to stare at your screen for a while and click the mouse over and over in the same spot for hours in order to better appreciate the UO experience.

Second, you need a rudimentary understanding of the English language.  The key word here is "rudimentary".  In fact, it helps a lot if you are able to make up grammatical structures and fake Elizabethan-era language on the spot.  For instance:  "Dost I have what thy desireth?", "Look out, he hath a heavy xbow of vanquishing!", "suP thou".  The fact that these statements make about as much sense as "such lovely hams they grow by the bay" means nothing; the proliferation of the "th" sound is enough to make people aware that you know what you are doing.

Now you have to figure out what the general bent of your stories will be.  If you wish to be accepted on the majority of UO roleplaying forums, your stories must be "good-aligned", in that the protagonist typically is out to slaughter people in cold blood for irrational reasons like vengeance, soiled honor, or just because they seemed like bad people (also known as the "He Needed Killin’" doctrine, the moral standard of the noto PK and most of Texas).  This is far more acceptable than stories about murder for legitimate, believable reasons like personal gain, professional contracts, and fealty to one’s government.

Evil RP stories are best left to the more advanced author, since it can be difficult to describe how you are screwing over your fellow gamer while still keeping the sympathy of UO fiction-reading RPers.  Some basic tips for those who wish to undertake this endeavor include:  pour on the RP BS; keep your crimes on the scale of stealing an apple and making witty remarks to your victims; basically, do stuff that a roguish Errol Flynn might do in UO:  The Movie (1938).


The Templates

To give you a head start in the world of UO fiction, I have presented templates for the 3 most common story types available.  In fact, you can usually get away with only these 3 story templates, or even one if you use enough thee’s and thou’s, during your entire career as a UO author.

The three templates are The Origin Story, The Nothing Happens Story, and The Fighting Story.

Template One:  THE ORIGIN STORY

This is a good story type to master, as it will be useful from time to time.  This is a good one to slip to your guild when they ask for character background, or to post on message boards after you have received a favorable reaction from some other types of stories.  Avoid posting this story as your first one on message boards, since in all reality people don’t care about your character… they want to read about cool stuff you pretend you did so they can envision their own lame characters doing it.

There are several rules of the Origin Story:

1) You are an orphan.  This is a common axiom in all roleplaying situations.  The lack of parents serves to show everyone what a rough, tough, and self-sufficient guy your character is, while also gaining their compassion for your situation, especially since their characters are all orphans too.  Being orphaned in fiction is also a good confidence booster for those of you who are in a situation where you see your real parents far too often, like every time you come up out of the basement.

2) Your father was a money mule and your mother dabbled in magic.  Variations on this are possible of course, but it’s a convenient explanation as to why your character starts with 50 magery and 50 in bowcraft/tailoring/mining/whatever, even if it sounds ludicrous.  It’s also important that the father be the one out there chopping down half the forest and making wooden shields, since no matter how liberated and equal the UO world and real society seem to be, the idea of one’s mom hacking down a redwood with a maul wearing a knit cap and a flannel shirt tends to be disconcerting.  If you are a powergamer and use mules to finance you main character’s E-bolt studies, this setup fools all the hardcore RP’ers into thinking you have only one character (suckers).

3) You are an orphan because your parents were PK’ed.  This gets you in with the roleplayer crowd, who all hate getting PK’ed.  It sets you up as the good guy in their eyes, since now your life is devoted to fighting scum like those who killed your family… after you tailor yourself a house and buy regs and macro some phat resist, of course.

ADVANCED OPTION:  You are a foundling, some brat stuck in an orange box or armoire that a passing Grandmaster something-or-other found and took home to raise.  This can lead to all sorts of other nonsense, such as your character’s eventual quest to find his parents, who turn out to be a money mule and a woman who dabbles in magic who were killed by a PK.  (If the parents are still alive, make sure they die as soon as you find them so that you can get back to being an orphan ASAP.)

In reality, that’s all you need for an acceptable origin story.  Dress it up as you will with some stuff about how he learned to wield the halberd (don’t mention sparring your stack of trapped polar bears) and refined his magic through study in a library.  If you like, you can even actually go to a library and macro magic so that part will feel more authentic.  Some teary scene where he swears an oath to avenge his parents is a nice touch and gives you a good excuse to go noto PKing later.

A short version of your story would look something like this:

A small farmhouse on the edges of Trinsic was the birthplace of Raul Pleier, and would be his home for the first, and happiest, years of his life.  Watched over by his father Carpentermule, and nurtured by his mother Magicgirl, he aspired to be nothing more than a simple craftsman.  He did, however, listen to the tales of the travelling hero Pow’r Gam’r, as he wove his fireside tales of blade spiriting liche lords, nerfing dragons with the Reactive Armor bug so they could be slain, and recalling from red names in the olden days.  Such things seemed far away for a humble peasant like Raul, and he did not think much of them aside from their entertainment value, but as time went on he thought more and more of trying to become a Grandmaster Swordsman/Mage/Archer/Warrior/Stoic with good fame and karma.

Then one day, his world was turned upside down.

(This sentence, or a similar one like "Then one day, his world was shattered." warns the reader to get ready for big adversity ahead.)

They came without warning; Badguy and his band of thugs rode swiftly into the village, heralding their arrival with the snap of strings and the "thunk" of crossbow bolts finding home.  The peaceful village was turned into a charnel house as all around, the people that Raul grew up with swiftly fell to a hail of bolts and halberd blows.  Those who attempted to escape in clever hiding places in the middle of the road in plain sight were swiftly flushed out with purple potions, and the air was filled with the screams of the dying, words of power, and the message "You see Badguy attacking ******!".

"Get Raul out of here!" shouted Carpentermule, shoving him towards Magicgirl, which only had the effect of lowering Carpenterguy’s stamina temporarily.  As the riders approached, Carpentermule stood in their way, practice hatchet at the ready.  He was no match for the true black-clad riders though, and soon his death cry echoed, seemingly forever, in Raul’s speakers.

(This is the tragic part that starts to establish compassion-inspiring orphan status.)

Running away from the carnage, Magicgirl wiped away her tears and began to thrust items into Raul’s pack that might be useful to him if he should need to flee… a spellbook, a few scrolls, some reagents, a dagger, a moulding plane, some boards, a candle, a blank book, and enough gold to purchase absolutely nothing useful.  "Vas Rel Por" she intoned, and a shimmering blue gate appeared.  "Raul, get thee through this gate.  Thou wilt emerge in (starting city) at (starting location, usually a tavern no one ever goes to).  Fates preserve thee!"  Raul stared at his mother for a long moment, Badguy and his gang riding up behind her, then did as he was bid and  plunged through just before the gate closed.

It did not long for Raul to learn that he was the only survivor* of Badguy’s assault.  His mother and father were gone, his village destroyed.  Unsure of where his path would lead, he ran to the bank and stripped himself naked, managed to beg a club and a skinning knife off one of the more experienced players there, and headed for the training hall, the image of his mother’s face in his mind and a Use LastObject/UseSkill Hide macro prepared.

* The "only survivor" thing is an important cliche, and is necessary to assure the reader that he is reading a heroic fantasy tale.  Don’t worry if everyone else on your chosen fiction forum is also the only survivor of a PK attack; the landscape is NOT covered by thousands of burned villages.  The ground where the humble farmhouses were razed was built on 3 minutes later by some guy with a house deed so his murderer could have a place to macro.

Template Two:  THE NOTHING HAPPENS STORY

This one sounds the least interesting on the surface, is one of the easiest to write, and tends to be the best received amongst the lurkers on RP story boards, most of whom are writing them as well.

The primary goal of this story is to describe a lot of stuff and imply that something interesting is happening or will happen in the future, without actually having anything occur in the story.  If you have read real books by real authors, this sort of story is what would normally be the prologue.

The rules of the Nothing Happens Story are:

1) Describe everything in great detail.  This serves several purposes.  One, it gives your readers a feeling of nostalgia for The Return of the King by Tolkien, a staple of the fantasy gamer diet and notorious for excruciatingly descriptive narrative.  Two, it is easy.  Three, it eats up space that would otherwise be wasted on things like dialogue and plot development.  Think of padding a high school essay for a minimum word count and you’re on the right track.

2) You are tortured internally somehow.  After describing a lot of stuff, your hero reads a letter, has a conversation, or just thinks of something which brings him into serious emotional conflict, or just makes him a little itchy.  Don’t let up on the descriptive hyperbole!  Note that if you don’t mind sounding arrogant or if you are writing a story to bolster your guild’s faltering morale after they’ve lost their 547th guild battle, you don’t necessarily have to be in turmoil.  Rather, you just become more determined to win and defeat the enemy or something.  The story will not be as good.  No one will notice, espcecially since you will be posting it to your own guild’s message board, where crowds of yes-men will be glad to kiss your ass without even reading it.

3) You end the story in some sort of overacted manner.  This is actually the only thing that happens, which makes it all the more exciting.  Good options for a story ender include:  shaking your fist at the sky and swearing you will hunt down some PK who ticked you off; walking morosely into the sunset in an angst-ridden teenage fashion (remember to draw a cloak around you); grinning and chuckling to yourself, anticipating a follow-up story where something interesting may actually happen.

ADVANCED OPTION:  Nothing at all happens.  Omit step three.  This is a good filler story to send to a story board if you are sick of UO and haven’t played in 2 months except to refresh your houses, but you feel obligated to submit another story because you suffer from a delusional belief that people will miss your writing.  This is also a good way to test the limits of your audience and see how much pointless crap they will be able to read from you and still write replies like "*applauds* (nt)".

Here’s a typical Nothing Happens Story:

Raul Pleier sat alone in his tower, a 3-story edifice he had comissioned from the Trinsic architect some two months ago.  Carved of solid granite, it had many rooms, most of which were filled with chests commissioned from the grandmaster tinker Ka-BOOM and stacks of backpacks of the finest cowhide.  The latter containers, dyed various colors, were arrayed in a disorganized fashion, the contents seemingly random, ranging from sewing kits and scraps of cloth left there by m3w1m@n, to reagents Raul found helpful when macroing resist, to the loot of the victims of Raul’s wicked half-brother SupaKilla…

(Add more descriptive stuff.)

Raul sighed, looking out from the tower roof.  How long had it been since his lady fair Chlamydia stepped from the tower on a journey alone?  He had begged her not to go, for the way to Loot Island was indeed treacherous, but she was insistent, and he could deny her nothing.  he remembered still how she looked that day, beautiful and strong, clad in a shimmering samite dress which hid the hard lines of her armor with grace and evenness.  Her war mace, held firmly in her right hand, called Assmasher by some, was a powerful weapon of magic, wrested from the grip of…

(Describe even more.)

A noise at the doorway caught his attention.  Walking down the handcarved steps of marble and peering beneath the steel doors that led to the outside, he expected to see the shadows of a thief waiting to break in and tilde spam him to force him to lose connection.  Instead he saw a note.  Carefully retrieving it, he turned it about in his hands.  The slightly yellowish parchment was of fine quality, yet had an odd scent, like ancient dust left long undisturbed.  Frowning, he carefully untied the ribbon that held the…

(More description; the letter says something bad about his girlfriend, i.e. she got PK’ed or is trapped as a ghost in the liche lord room or something.  Letters are a good way to disguise the fact that your doofus friend just icq’ed you saying "d00d i got pked in decit coem get me!!!111")

"Zounds!  This doth sucketh!" he cried, clutching at his head as he staggered, gasping, into the armory.  Quickly snatching up his supplies, he girded his armor and swung several times at his trapped paladins in frustration.  His anger yet unabated, he intoned "Kal Vas Flam" and was instantly immolated in a column of fire, the heat of which could not compare to the rage in his heart at this injustice, despite the fact that he gained +.1 resist from it.  Rushing to the top of the tower, he shook his fist against the red sunset.  "By the blood of my ancestors, living and deleted, I shall have my revenge!  I shall travel to this faraway land, recover the spirit and loot of the fair Chlamydia, and then shalt this evil be punished forever!  So sweareth Raul Pleier!"  His words echoing across the rooftops of nearby houses that crowded against his tower, Raul swept his cloak about him, morosely mounted his nightmare "a", and recalled into the sunset on a mission of love and vengeance.

Template Three:  THE FIGHTING STORY

This is the sort of thing you write when you wish to show how buff your character is.  These are posted in order to gain hearty virtual slaps on the shoulder from the others on your chosen forum, and to garner the starry-eyed affections of all the readers who pretend they are female in-game.

In certain ways, this type of story is mindlessly simple to write, since you are just recounting something that happened in-game (or making it up).  However, since UO combat is astoundingly boring at its core, the budding author needs to spend a certain amount of time fleshing out the fight with RP stuff.

The Fighting Story writes itself, but there are some things to keep in mind:

1) You are the good guy.  RPers will never like your story if you write about how you jumped guys in the bone magi room who were low on health.  You will be derided and hissed at, and probably banned from the board, regardless of the quality of your writing.  However, if you play a good reputation character and came across a murderer who had lost connection and you killed him while he was helpless, you will probably be applauded, provided you use enough words with the "th" sound in them.

2) The fight should be motivated by some sort of injustice.  Good examples of an injustice include your guildmates being attacked and killed by PK’s, being robbed or witnessing a robbery, someone’s house being invaded, a friend being looted in a dungeon, etc.  Think of bad things that have probably been witnessed by the readers of your story that would have been acted on if they weren’t so damn chicken.

3) The fight must be PvP, not PvM.  Despite what some people say about PvP and how it takes away from the game (which is true sometimes), no one wants to read a story about how you hid on a ledge and dropped energy vortexes into the drake room.

4) You should win, but not too easily.  Hardship and being wounded and coming back from adversity are classic themes in literature, and are simple enough for even the most banal of your readers to understand.  It helps to grimace in pain and determination after getting E-bolted to get this point across.

Sometimes you can ignore rule #4 as long as you give your audience enough reason to hate the poor sap you slaughtered, as in the case of the lost connection murderer above, a newbie who dares to be rude to some widely admired player who pretends to be female in-game, or someone who dares to play the game in a manner which is inconsistent with the RP standards of your audience.

ADVANCED OPTION:  You lose the fight.  While this tack would never work on a board like the Mercs’, most of your readers can relate very well to this situation.  The difference in your story must be that you go down fighting, spitting your defiance at your enemies, rather than trying desperately to recall and then threatening to get your guild and a GM on your assailants.  Note that you can still snivel your way to death in game, and can still write a heroic loss story if you are convincing enough (and if the person who killed you never reads the forum you post on).

You can also post a story about losing a fight if you are relatively new and wish to get compassion and free stuff from the readers of your stories, particularly those to pretend to be female in-game.  This is the RP-approved version of putting on a deathrobe and orc helm and walking around the bank shouting, "IM NEW ADN WUZ PKD CNA I HVAE FREE STUF???///"

Although all you need to get an example of a fighting story is to get into some PvP combat and then read your journal, here is a version of one with some of the appropriate RP flourishes:

"Something is wrongeth here," mumbled Raul Pleier to himself as he approached the tavern.  Just a short walk from the Yew moongate, The Lightloafered Orc was a favorite resting spot for himself and his friends, who would often stop by and purchase an ale from Callie the vendor and have very slow conversations while not moving at all.  Normally Raul looked forward to his visits here, but something seemed amiss this eve.  Ever wary of danger, Raul summoned up his courage, mumbled "In Jux Sanct" and precast Magic Arrow on the way to the tavern.

As the tavern became visible, he beseeched Saint AllNames for aid, and immediately his worst fears were confirmed, for there inside the brick tavern were "a corpse of N. Karakt’r", "a corpse of Nonn Makror", and "a corpse of Beer Man OOC".  Filled with rage, he strode toward the tavern; as he was fully rested, he shoved past something invisible.  Stepping back, he reached into his pack inside his pack inside his pouch beneath his spellbook and a deathrobe and drew forth a purple potion.  Throwing the explosive mixture towards the area where the hidden obstacle was, he watched the bottle explode, the shards of glass flushing out not one, but two skulking enemies, who now glared at him through the eyelets of their bone helms.  "a lizardman" and "SUPERFLY" seemed singularly unamused, and any sane person would have run from them as their hands darted for weapons and reagents, but the sight of his friends’ belongings poking out of their packs drove Raul Pleier into an unreasoning rage.

This is more than you actually need to set up the fight, but hey it’s expository material.  The more you stretch this out the less people will notice that your "story" is just a dressed-up copy of your journal logs.

Without hesitation, Raul stretched out his hand at SUPERFLY, and grinned as his own Magic Arrow was reflected back at him.  SUPERFLY drew an enchanted broadsword from his pack and was charging at Raul when the latter intoned "An Ex Por" and the villain was frozen in place.  Fortunately for Raul, SUPERFLY had neglected to carry the basics of outdoor travel with him, which included food, a bedroll, mess kit, tinderbox, and a number of Magic Trapped pouches, and so he could only stand still while his evil companion engaged their enemy.

"a lizardman" already had his "heavy crossbow crafted by w00dguY" equipped, and a powerful bolt slammed into Raul’s body, dropping him to half-life instantly.  A quick "In Vas Mani" and Raul was back in fighting shape, and while "a lizardman" was busy trying to reload his weapon, Raul pressed the attack.  "In Por Ylem… Vas Ort Flam… Corp Por…" and "a lizardman" was barely clinging to life.  Only the fact that he did not need to stop wielding or loading his prodigious weapon with both hands to bandage himself saved him from instantaneous death, yet Raul thought he could see him whisper to himself, "[28%]".  Now or never… "Corp Por…" and Raul was soon gazing at "a corpse of a lizardman".  However, he had drained all of his mana in the exchange, and SUPERFLY was shaking free of the paralyzation.  Drawing his halberd from its compact and convenient spot in his backpack, Raul prepared for further battle.

Obviously all of the participants here suck in some way or another, but that’s okay.  Also, you don’t necessarily need even the minimal level of tactics described here;  I have read plenty of Fighting Stories which described tactics like, "I hit him with a heavy crossbow, then I hit him with a halberd, then I drank a yellow potion, then I Corp Por’ed a lot" and they were still received warmly.  Oftentimes people will intentionally dumb down their stories, so as to not give people hints to their true mystical fighting secrets should they ever be attacked in game.

Weakened as he was by his battle with "a lizardman", Raul Pleier still bravely entered the fray.

Things like this help establish how buff your character is.  Everyone already knows from the Nothing Happens stories that your character is a good guy.

As they clashed, SUPERFLY’s blade darted out and drew blood, just as Raul’s mighty halberd chopped deep into his enemy’s armor.  However, something was wrong, and soon it became apparent that "Raul Pleier is wracked with extreme pain!"  That scoundrel was using an envenomed blade!  As Raul weakly ran off onto a nearby doorstep and managed to cure himself with whatever mana he had left, he seethed at the thought of such a dirty tactic, and regretted not using his own, more virtuous version of poisoning before this encounter.  SUPERFLY took advantage of the situation and, sheathing his weapon, intoned "Uus Jux ~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~" to drop Raul’s own reflection, then spoke the words, "An Ex Por ~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~", freezing Raul in place, helpless, wounded.  Raul grimaced in pain, yet steadfastly faced his attacker, preparing to fight until the bitter end.

Actually he had no choice; UO auto-target facing turned Raul towards SUPERFLY after the former ran away to cure like a chicken.  It looks better this way though, and you get that "grimacing in pain and determination" thing in.

"Vas Corp Por ~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~" chanted SUPERFLY, and he began to gesture.  Raul thought desperately of what he could do.  He had neglected his own supply of magic trapped pouches, and was still out of mana, and still paralyzed.  "This cannot end in this way…" he thought to himself, when out of the corner of his eye he noticed that the building he was next to was the Lightloafered Orc itself!  Quickly a plan formulated.

"l8r bitch" said SUPERFLY as he completed his incantation, and at that very moment Raul instalogged, remembering that he was considered a friend of the tavern, and as such could instantaneously go to sleep safely at any time.  "I pray this gambit worketh…" he said as he dreamed of checking his ICQ and relogging on, half-expecting to be greeted by a spectral voice that said, "You are dead."

As he rose from his slumber, still on the porch of the tavern, he heard a death cry from a short distance away.  It had worked… the vile Energy Vortex had targeted the only living thing nearby, which happened to be SUPERFLY!  Carefully making his way around the building, he watched the purple cyclone slowly wander around "a corpse of SUPERFLY".  Having regained a bit of mana, he chanted "An Ort", and sighed with relief as the horror disappeared from this world.

Two greyish spectres shimmered into existence nearby and began howling at Raul.  "oOoo ooO"… "Oooo OoO"… none if it made sense to Raul, since he had neglected his studies of macroing Spirit Speak.  Instead he *laughed* at the apparitions whilst collecting their belongings, as well as those of his friends.  "Get thee gone, spirits!  I have no time for those who sucketh such as thee!"  Furiously, the ghosts floated off in the direction of a shrine, as Raul began the process of depositing their loot in the Lightloafered Orc’s secure containers for later distribution to his friends, who would be coming back from the shrine at any moment.  Finally healing his wounds with more words of power, assisted by the phat regz SUPERFLY and "a lizardman" were carrying, he sat calmly inside the tavern, with an eye to the door, and an "I ban thee" ready to go, should his adversaries return.


Important Notes Regarding Being a UO Writer

Know Your Audience
Lurk on the forum of your choice for a while and see what kind of stories get heckled and which ones garner the "*applause (nt)*".  Do not look at things like the quality of the person’s writing, only the subject matter and the projected attitudes.  Clone these from the popular writers, and soon you will be in the forum’s elite clique, looking down your nose at those who post stories you find disagreeable.

When Things Get Stale, Become Evil
If it seems like your stories are being seen for the vanilla tripe they are, change things up on your audience.  Write a series of "Nothing Happens" stories which make your character darker and angstier, like those guys who play White Wolf RPG’s or those kids who wear black and sit in their rooms covered in Marylin Manson posters because their parents don’t understand the depth of their problems.  After a while, go and PK a bunch of people and dress up your combat logs for some "Fighting" stories.  As long as you pour on the RP BS, your audience will be happy with you, since you’ve already established yourself as a person with a good heart with earlier works.  Later on, write some more "Nothing Happens" stories which bring you back to the side of good, blade spirit some liches for karma and macro off your murders, and everything will be cool again.

NOTE:  It helps if you can actually fight to do this, although it’s not necessary; just make the stuff up during long periods of macroing fishing or muling for reg money.

Keep Your RP Shields Up In Game
You never know when someone will recognize your character’s name in game, if you are stupid enough to use your real character’s name when writing your stories.  Magnus even had some jerkoff paparazzi stalk him for a while.  People who recognize you in game expect you to RP all the time, so keep up your "RP shields" whenever you are outside of your house and around strangers.  Letting it get around the forums that you talke like a d3wd is potentially bad for your reputation among the RP community.

As crippling as it is, you will have to give up that "Vendor Bank Buy Guards recsu recdu I Will Take Thee Destination I Ban Thee I Resign From My Guild ~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~" speech macro and actually type, or else split it up into a number of different macros, all written in that bad Elizabethan English we have already discussed..  Be careful not to overwrite your Energy Bolt or Last Target keys when doing this.


Abusing Your Power
Once you are established as a "good writer" on your home message board, get some web space, an FTP client, and a free copy of Netscape Composer.  Steal the background image tile from Origin to give your page a feeling of UO continuity and start posting your literary masterpieces.  Don’t neglect to spam your stories on every forum you can think of, and include a link back to your homepage.  As long as you continue to RP a good guy and pick your forums correctly, people will encourage you, even if they think your stories are weak.  This is the "nurturing" phenomena, and you should exploit it as much as possible by being painfully polite and humble when introducing your stories, and when replying to responses.

Eventually you should be able to sucker some people into coming to your page and writing you pointless mail saying how much they like your page.  (Always reply… it makes them feel important, and they will tell their friends, expanding your power base.)  Continue to publicize and post on other forums occasionally.  Soon you will have a "fan base", a virtual army of about a dozen damn RPers who like your work.

If people recognize you in game as "that guy with that page", you may find them going out of their way to help you out with things like money, reagents, free nightmares, and house deeds which you can’t place.  Sometimes they will just not kill you when they really want your plate, but don’t count on it.  You may also have to deal with things like RPers with their newbie carpenters wanting to go on an exciting trip to the Hall of Virtues in Britain and talking a lot, on the off chance that they will wind up in one of your stories and achieve a modicum of UO fame in this fashion.  Deal kindly but firmly with these individuals, for they are the core of your web of influence, as they spread the news of your story page.

Now that you have become widely known and loved by people who would rather read stories about a computer game than socialize, what can you do with this web of power?  It is unlikely that a UO author will ever have as much ability to make people do stupid things as a UO comics creator, but you can still get away with certain things.  You may not be able to summarily call for the deaths of people who imitate you, then reverse your decision and ask that they be treated well, then convince people to give you a ton of money because you are moving shards like Tryon of ImaNewbie fame, but people will give you free stuff as mentioned above, and you will be invited to hang out with a lot of RPers in public buildings and such.  If they have good loot, just ICQ your friends with where you are and then die "defending" your new friends.  Not only will this earn you respect in their eyes and on the forums, but you will get your loot back from your friends, as well as a share of theirs, and no one will be the wiser.

You may find yourself invited to join a lot of guilds.  This makes you the perfect spy for your own guild.  Simply show up and join their guild with a copy of your fictional hero and worm your way into their confidence.   Get access to their housekeys, claim you are going out of town for a while, copy them, and raid the place with your alternate character and friends when they’re all macroing AFK.  (Thanks to Lord Hades of the Warhall for this horribly evil idea.)  When your hero guy comes back after the fact, claim you read something about some made up break-in bug involving UO Plugin and a pile of jester hats that the looters probably used but was fixed and so they can’t test it.

Not into exploiting people’s admiration and trust?  Never fear; there are countless ways to abuse your influence and reputation as a "writer", just be creative.  It’s the most creativity you will ever have to exercise in this endeavor.  Play your cards right, and you can be a king in UO, at least until someone hacks your account and instaresses your GM mage 50 times and you go to Everquest.

One Response to “Musashi’s Guide to Writing UO Roleplaying Stories”
  1. [...] but there is something that I must quote. It’s not another comic, but the fantastic Musashi’s guide to writing UO roleplaying stories. The guy who wrote it is a genius, and lines like “By the blood of my ancestors, living and [...]

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