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   | The Olympia Times                               times@olympia.rt.com |
   | December 1, 1991                                                v1n4 |
   |                                                                      |
   | Turn 4  Circulation 50                             "He's dead, Jim." |
                  Orders due:  Sunday, December 8, 1991

Questions, comments, bug reports, to play: olympia@rt.com

"What may not not be so obvious is that playing to test is significantly different from playing to enjoy... Testing is much more of an adversarial relationship; the tester should never give the game the benefit of the doubt. He should try his very best to make the game fall apart. Only by doing a thorough job of trying out the various alternatives provided by the game's design can the testers be sure that everything works as intended.

But playtesting is not just a negative process. Playtesting can often suggest workable solutions to the problems it discovers. It can also point out the importance of aspects of a situation that the designer overlooked or chose to ignore. Just as importantly, it can often suggest easier to understand, more efficient, or more exciting ways of carrying out the functions of the game than those originally conceived by the designer."

-- Peter R. Perla, _The Art of Wargaming_

Last turn uncovered quite a few bugs. Traders sold horses that didn't exist, workers double punched their menial labor time cards, and characters joined stacks that had left town days before. Great! All of these bugs are (hopefully) fixed now, as well as many others.

Service has been somewhat delayed because of my ongoing house buying nightmare. This week it should be over and I'll be moving to New Jersey for good. I hope for continuous Olympia service. Thanks for your patience!

Benefits of PBM programming:

No computation too expensive, no method too slow.

From the _Olympia Financial Review_:

The financial troubles at the _Times_ have been at least partly addressed by a cash infusion from a wealthy Drassan citizen. Wages due to reporters for the _Times_ have been paid, in some cases with bonuses for late payment.

Osswid clicked into his room atop the Tower of Darkness from a stint in no-time. The ever present din from the mob outside his door far below wafted in through an open window. "What is it they want, Master?" inquired Feasel, Osswid's right hand man. "Knowledge of the Dark Arts, no doubt" replied Osswid. "Curse those amateur would-be magicians...ah, but that one's not ready yet, either. They expect to incinerate their foes with balls of fire after a few months of study! Where did they get such ideas about magic?"

"Surely I wouldn't know, Master. But couldn't you give them instruction in the True nature of the Dark Arts?" "No Time, Feasel. I've got magical research to perform in Pactra, new spells to boundary test in no-time, and the dead to raise!" "But Master," pleaded Feasel, "the mob grows larger each day..." Osswid cut him off: "Any Drassan fool enough to set foot in the Tower will have those brutes from Pelenth to deal with!" Osswid's fury quickly waned, though, and he slumped into his favorite padded chair. "Ah, well, I can understand their impatience. It seems not too long ago when I was a small boy, chanting curses I didn't understand over dead mice and cat heads." He passed a hastily scrawled parchment to Feasel. "Anyone wants to know the Dark Arts, give them this."

Feasel read uncomprehendingly. "Master, I don't understand it. What does it mean?" "I can't explain. You'll have to wait for the Guild of Magicians to be founded, and for automatic lore sheet delivery. Let the bold experiment, and the meek wait for a saner world!" With that Osswid unstacked and set out for Pactra on foot.

use 106 [days] 0 [req [lev]] [anyway]

Rocko and his Guard trudged through downtown Drassa, toting their boat full of supplies. "Fool!" jeered a passerby. "Murderer!" screamed another. Rocko let go of the boat, and waved his underlings on. He eagerly looked about to see the object of the public vitriol. Doubtless some lout had committed some social faux pas and was being dressed down in the square. Try as he might, however, he could not find the wretch, and all the people seemed to be looking at him. "Must be behind me," he thought, and whirled quickly. Nothing. "Oh, well," he shrugged, "guess I missed him." He waved cheerily to the crowd. "Rocko for sheriff!" he cried, pumping his arms over his head.

"Did you hear their cries of support?" he asked Westley, his newest hireling, as they waited outside the Thugs and Mercenaries Guild Hall, Local Number 517. "My ears haven't stopped ringing! I could barely make out the words through all the din, but I heard them crying about murder and Orzok, and justice. Obviously they were impressed by my handling of the situation, and are cheering me on to become sheriff."

Westley scowled from where he lounged on the boat, and raised a hand in objection. "But no matter," continued Rocko obvliviously, "I would gladly strive to be sheriff if all of them were dead-set against me." He paused as Rocko's Guard and Puppet Show, now 4 members strong, trudged out of the guild hall and gloomily surrounded their omnipresent boat.

"Couldn't we get a horse, or an ox, or sumpthin' to carry the boat?" asked one. The others rubbed their hands together to soothe the pain of the blisters and calluses they were developing.

"Nonsense! A little suffering is good for the soul!" said Rocko piously. "Come, it's off to the town square and bazaar to see what transpires."

They galumphed along, and eventually came to the message board that the citizens used to air their grievances and express their views. "Mayhap I'll catch a glimpse of that cur the good townsfolk were berating earlier," thought Rocko as he approached. A few moments later, he was standing awestruck, his face white and his lips moving weakly. "Me?" he breathed. "They think I am a murderous fiend, a bandit? Nay, nay, this cannot be!" he protested weakly.

Suddenly, he began to shout. "Hear me, people of Drassa, hear me! I see that you are wroth with me, and believe me to be of ill bent. I shall prove my worth to you! I shall rid you of the wolves, and you will see that I am fit to be your protector. Rocko Zigarelli shall not rest until the wolves are gone from Drassa, and if I cannot accomplish this task, then I will forsake this, my homeland, and take up the life of a vagabond. No, really, I mean it!" he cried as he was pelted with apple cores rotten vegetables.

Blimph the Trader looked down at the carefully written list of orders in his hand. "Buy 1 small boat" it said, and he did. He checked his list, and then eagerly bid on a bundle of cloaks. He piled them all into his one small boat, and vainly tried to drag it to the river. When he couldn't do that, he consulted his sheet of paper for further instructions. "Sell cloaks" it said. The perplexed vendor shrugged and accepted the cloaks back. "Any more at home like you?" he asked. Blimph was obviously a few fries short of a Happy Meal.

Blimph smiled vapidly and continued on his list. "Buy 5 horses for 640" was the next item. "Look, Mac, the sign says 760 a pop." said the harried equine trader. "Can't you read? C'mon, whaddya want?"

The moronic merchant consulted his sheet, then tried to drag his now empty boat off to Pactra. The boat, however, was still not minded to go, and he pitched forward onto his face. He got up, dusted himself off, and looked at his list again.

"You will buy three horses from me." he intoned, and the horse trader's eyes glazed over from the apparently powerful enchantment. The vendor reached into his purse and extracted 2070 coins and handed them to Blimph. "Will that be all?" he asked, despite the fact that Blimph obviously had no horses for sale.

Blimph scratched his head, aggravating the fleas who were idling there. "Yup, that's it for me, mister. Thanks a lot!" Our bungling hero climbed into his boat, there to await the coming of his master, nad more instructions.

Having recently arrived at Drassa, I witnessed a town filled with people of all sorts. All hustle and bustle. It was difficult enough to push through the crowds of people without all of their weapons and armor getting in the way. Among the throngs of would-be warriors and merchants, I chanced to glimpse a pack of wolves. All I ever hear is people talking about the constant threat of these wolves and nothing ever being done about them. My only hope is that I do not become their first victim. It angers me that all complain and none act. I thought that I would do something myself, until I saw their number -- a pack of 40 predators! Having had absolutely no experience in combat, and no ability to judge my relative strength, I gave up , hoping to catch just one or two of them away from their pack so that I may test myself before I charge foolhardily into a pack of 40.

The mage looked up from his books and rang the bell on his desk. Instantly Okelos, head of The Riders opened the door, moving with great ease for a man wearing full armour. 'Take your men to Pactra. Oh, and you'll be wanting some bows'. The mage tossed a rather full purse over the table. Okelos turned to leave, but was instantly stilled by the voice 'Before you leave, tell The Seven pick up some more help'.

Okelos stood a full six foot tall, and weighting in at two hundred pounds was by no means a small man. He was in fact a man afraid of nothing, well nothing of this earth. The Seven on the other hand...

A week later in the full of the moon, The Seven moved out onto the streets. Actually there were only four of them, but once there had been more. They bore neither weapons nor armour, needing neither. During the day they worked as normal labourers, but night was when they did their real work. Silently they crept into the darkness

The mage waved his hands, and the vision vanished from the flames. yes, soon, soon the wolves would be no more, well, no more bother, at any rate not to him. In fact they should prove useful allies. With the wolves brought into the fold, the tower would be next, and after that...

Write for the Olympia Times! Top Dollar paid for talented writers!

- 25 gold for each story submitted.

- Send your work to times@olympia.rt.com

- See it in the next issue!

Sure 'nd it's been a tough month for Laughing Jack. The talent in Drassa is being hired by every company in sight. Only one of the applicants proved to be up to me high standards. The search for beasts of burden also was fruitless. So I've decided to take a little road trip to try and scout up new talent.

Any late auditioners in Drassa can contact our patron, Erekosse [552], for our current location and our hiring status.

Opening soon in Drassa! Les Crapeuleaux (***) fine food & wine Reserve your meal now! mail traizet@clipper.ens.fr

Dearest Mumsie, It seems that the murders here are being committed by a man named Rocko. They have such quaint names here. I saw him in the square the other day, he was handsome, if a bit dull-witted. He reminded me a lot of Reginald. Apparently he is trying to gain support to overthrow the local lords here and become something called "sheriff", which I suppose means conqueror or something. Anyway, I'm staying far away from all the foolishness. I think someone is going to kill the wolves soon, they are forming some sort of grand hunt for it, a "council", I think they called it. I hope all is well with you. Say hello to Percifal for me.

Your Loving Son,