Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Housing Scavenger Hunt

The Housing Scavenger Hunt (HSH) was brought up in the thread I posted about the Library on the Homeshow forums. The question of whether the Library had a section for the Hunt was asked.
The very first books on the shelf in the Library!
The answer is "Yes." The HSH has its own section in the Library on the Adventurer Authored Tomes floor. There is plenty of space for tomes documenting other player-run events as well. In fact, that reminds me that I need to move the books for the Festivals of Unity and Discord scavenger hunts to their spot beside the HSH books.

On to some background:

For those who don't know, in February of 2011, I decided to host what I named a "housing scavenger hunt." I requested submissions of homes. For each home submitted, I and the homeowner determined a good location for a clue to be hidden. Contrary to my belief that only a few people would be interested in submitting homes, I wound up with 75 homes submitted, belonging to approximately 50 different players. Some players submitted one home, others submitted many.

I learned a lesson--never allow unlimited submissions for something like this. Put a cap on it!

To give you an idea of what the HSH was, the text from the event book that each participant read is copied below. The event book was placed on the top floor of the Library v2.0, and adventurers were directed there to read the book. The event ran for one month, from Feb 8 - March 8 of 2011.

Adventurers of Norrath, 
  An associate of mine has encountered a rather embarrassing problem. She is a young wizard still learning her trade. During the casting of a routine spell, she managed to switch some runes around. The result is that she is stuck speaking in rhyming riddles!
  Jazamin has been understandably shy since the accident. However, now she has disappeared completely. The last time I saw her, she mentioned something about visiting various homes in Norrath to see if she could find the components for a cure. I would be most appreciative if you would take the time out of your schedules to see if you can track her down.
  As the Head Librarian of the Norrathian Research Library, Kelethin branch, I did some research for her. From the little I have been able to determine about my young associate's affliction, some of the ingredients for a cure will be rather difficult to obtain. There is also a bit of a timeline. If the components are not found by March 8th, 2011, Jazamin will be stuck speaking riddles for the rest of her life. Please spare us all the horror of listening to an Erudite rhyme.
  Jazamin mentioned that some of the possible items for the cure are best used fresh. If it turns out that she requires some of these items, you will not need to bring them back. Merely let me know what and where they are. In plain Common please, I am not fond of rhymes!
  To help you begin your search, I have included the last thing Jazamin said to me.
Thank you,
Jazabelle Wra'Eth, Head Librarian of the Norrathian Research Library, Kelethin branch
  Welcome to the first Housing Scavenger Hunt! This is not a competition. I repeat, this is NOT a competition. This is instead a challenge.
  You are to "run the course" as directed by the clues you will find in players' homes and guild halls. Please take the time to explore the houses and halls! These players have opened up their hard work for your pleasure and enjoyment, and it would be rude not to take advantage of the opportunity they are presenting.
  There are two paths to pick from. One will take you through Neriak. This is marked as the "evil" path. You do NOT need to be evil to run it, but you WILL need to be able to sneak through Neriak safely. The other is the "good" path. You do NOT need to be good to run it. Both paths will take you through good and evil cities.
  Some clues in the houses and homes will have secondary instructions. If you are not interested in the prize at the end, you may ignore these instructions. If you would like to receive a prize, and you qualify (restrictions on qualifications are in the rules section), you must carefully note down the secondary instructions and figure them out.
  If you cannot find a home on the list when you click the door, try typing in the homeowner's name.
  ANYONE MAY PARTICIPATE! That is right. Anyone may participate. Complete the challenge on time, and if you are eligible, you will win a prize!
  If you find any errors with the Hunt, please let Jazabelle know immediately, so they can be fixed and others may enjoy the hunt error free.
  The hunt will continue until March 8, 2011
  1. Unless you are from another server, you must be level 20 or above to participate.
  2. You are welcome to use whatever means at your disposal to view a clue EXCEPT sending someone else to find it for you. Ingenuity is required for good characters visiting evil cities, and evil characters visiting good cities. It is possible! Just difficult.
  3. Keep a list of the items the scavenger hunt wants you to obtain. Some items are part of the game world, and so you only need to tell Jazabelle what they are and where to find them.
    Example of how you might describe a reagent to Jazabelle:
    "A plate on the table in the Halfling's house in Rivervale."
    Other items are actual items you must loot. These items must be brought or mailed to Jazabelle before you may claim your prize. At the end of the hunt, you should have 8 items to give to Jazabelle, and 12 locations to tell her. 
  4. When you BEGIN the challenge, contact Jazabelle. It may be by mail, private message on the SoE forums, or /tell. If you do not, you will NOT be eligible for a prize.
  5. When you COMPLETE the challenge, contact Jazabelle. It may be by mail, private message on the SoE forums, or /tell. If you do not, you will NOT be eligible for a prize.
  6. ONE entry per player. Do not bring multiple characters through the challenge, and expect multiple prizes. You may run the courses as many times as you desire but only once will you receive a prize.

  Many wonderful prizes have been donated by generous individuals. This is just a small sample of some of the prizes.
SC Plushies
Mahogany furniture
Eucalyptus furniture
Music boxes
Rare books
Rare furniture
Venril Sathir paintings
Firiona Vie statues
LON paintings
LON tapestries
Happy Scavenging!

Good path:
Within the manors of the Twins,
It is the place your path begins.
Innis' name is on the door,
Use the portal on the floor.
It lies below the mining bins,
Where furnace burns and bellows roar.

Evil path:
On a road where Deadmen Walk,
Close by fearful dreadknights stalk.
Through the third door to survive,
Xravilec waits as you arrive.
In room where one is made to talk,
Grab the clue while still alive.

Included in the books for the HSH are three books with clues--the good side, the evil side, and the neutral side that both the good and evil merged into. There's a fourth book with the riddles for the different components.

I had two individuals who did an incredible job documenting their journeys through the 50 player houses each of them had to visit. Optikal kept a rather amusing journal (three volumes' worth!), while Aluriel took a screenshot journal through the homes she visited. (And yes, Aluriel, if you put the link into a book, or transcribe the captions under the pictures into a book, it will go on the shelf beside the other HSH books!)

I would like to do another HSH in the future, but it was a lot of work. Part of it is that I didn't delegate work figuring out clue locations. While I did have someone write the clues for me (I'm not that good at rhymes), I had to error check each clue, location check each clue, copy each clue into a book, then deliver each clue to the homeowners. Lastly, I had to ensure that the clues were placed properly before the Hunt began. Phew!

I'm tired just thinking about it. I think I'll go take a nap... Or maybe I'll shelve more books.

The Library needs books!

The following list is a list of books that the Norrathian Research Library is missing. If you're on Antonia Bayle, and you'd like to donate or sell me one of the books listed below, please contact Jazabelle.

All donors are honored for their contributions with a plaque. If you wish to remain anonymous, there's even a plaque for that. Even nameless contributions are honored. Thank you!

Books that are bolded are rare books that are no longer obtainable via questing. If you have one of those books, please be aware that there is no way to get those books in-game any longer. (I don't want to cheat you out of your books! If you'd like to arrange for me to steal or buy the rare book from you, I'd be happy to discuss it.)

Books with a red title are newly added.

The library needs 29 (28?) books for the collection to be complete. (Order of the Frozen Wastes may not actually be obtainable.)

Donors have their name and donation posted on the Donors wall.
  1. "The Age of Cataclysms" 
  2. "The Age of Destiny" 
  3. An ancient grimoire 
  4. Book of Hate 
  5. Books of Ancient Lore
  6. Books of Ancient Myth
  7. Books of Ancient Spells
  8. "Destroyer's Folly" 
  9. A disenchanted ancient grimoire
  10. Guidebook to the Queen's Colony 
  11. History of the Hand 
  12. History of the Runnyeye Goblins, Vol. II 
  13. History of the Runnyeye Goblins, Vol. III 
  14. "Horguz" 
  15. The Journal of Samantha Rageshree 
  16. The Journal of Ubdub of the Reet 
  17. The Journal of Yasva V'Alear 
  18. Legends Paintings: Volume 5
  19. Order of the Frozen Wastes (??)
  20. The Outpost of the Overlord: A Guide
  21. "The Pawn" 
  22. Paying Homage to the Past 
  23. The Pirate Queen and the Map
  24. Remembrances - Nyalla-Phon 
  25. The Tale of Alexander Simond 
  26. A Tattered Journal 
  27. Termble Clankerbang Findings Vol. 98 
  28. a torn diary
  29. Xass's Notebook

Needs a plaque:

  1. A Dilapidated Journal 

The Norrathian Research Library, Take 3!

I posted this same post on the Homeshow forums. However, I prefer to keep everything archived here.

I love collecting books. You might even say I'm a bibliophile. But when a bibliophile runs out of space in her house, what is she to do? Build a library, of course! The first version of the Library came into existence because of precisely that reason. While building my Kelethin home, I ran out of room. I could either shelve most of my books and never add another book or item to my house, or I could move my library into a new house, and fill up my house with knicknacks. I chose the latter option.
The Library 1.0's lobby

Approximately two months later (after I'd shelved all the books), the lack of real windows in the library annoyed me enough that I tore it down, and then rebuilt it again. That resulted in Library 2.0.
The Library 2.0's lobby from the front door.

The Library 2.0's directory and information desk.
That library lasted for almost a year and a half. However, there were always little things that irritated me about it. The walls didn't line up as well as I wanted them to. You couldn't go outside the building. Each floor was a different height. I left it alone, despite all of that. For one, any time I mentioned redoing the library, I was jumped on by irate bibliophiles. Second, it took me weeks to sort, catalog, and shelve all of the books. The thought of doing it again quickly convinced me to leave it alone.

Then the Vale house was introduced. There are other library themed prestige houses. We have the Personal Library and the Arcane Academy. However, neither of them are unique, because they're pre-generated. Plus, the Library has been a tower for longer than those homes have existed. The Vale house was the perfect answer to the problem of rebuilding the Library. It's an island with character, unlike the Tenebrous island (don't get me wrong, I love the TT house. But it's very...bland. A perfect blank slate). It's a prestige house, so it's rent free--and that's a good thing, because I periodically forget to pay the rent on my houses. I took one look at the Vale house, and I decided it was high time to redo the library. We'd had building blocks and new tiles introduced. When both versions 1 and 2 were built, the only tiles that existed were cityfest tiles and the tinkered tiles. Now we have crafted tiles and building blocks!

For the first day or so, I left the old library alone. I bought the Vale house, and I began to build the tower.
Building the Library Tower version 3.0

View from the top of the partially completed Tower.
Originally I went with 10 floors, just like in Library v2.0. The problem with that was that the Vale house's item limit is much lower than the Kelethin house. Additionally, it takes more items to build a house you can run around the exterior of, rather than just building so you only see the interior. By the time I'd built all 10 floors, I had approximately a hundred items left for interior decorations and the books that count towards the item count. That wouldn't do at all.
Completed tower: 4 floors of books, three floors of other fun!
So I trimmed it down to 7 floors. That meant that I had to combine a couple of floors, and remove some floors altogether. The Lounge went away, as did the Rare Books floor. Luckily, Rare Books were just duplicates of books on other floors, just versions that are no longer obtainable in-game. Mythoi was added to "Notables and Mortals." Lastly, I moved "Chronicles" from "Chronicles, Cultures, and Hobbies," to join Mythoi. Floor IV will be pretty crowded, but it makes it easier for me to catalog the books--sometimes it's hard to tell which of those four catagories a book should fall under. By putting them all on a floor together, I neatly sidestep the problem!

I: Lobby
II: Adventurer Authored Tomes
III: Cultures, Lands, and Beasts
IV: Mythoi, Notables, and Mortals
V: Chronicles, Memoirs, and Hobbies
VI: Lecture Hall
VII: Observatory

The new lobby, south side. Pizazz thought I should switch the patterns of the floor and ceiling. While I agree with him, and think the star floor would look awesome, it just wouldn't be possible without rebuilding the entire tower. The tower floors and ceilings are rolled at an angle of 0.5, which means there's a difference of approximately 0.1 along the Z axis between the exterior of the room and the interior. Every piece of furniture was placed with this difference in mind. Furniture near the center of the room is 0.1 lower than furniture near the exterior, and all furniture is angled either 0.5 or -0.5 to keep the illusion that the floor is flat.
The new lobby, south side.
The new lobby, north side.

The directory. Spelling with books is a PITA!
Of course, once I finished the tower structure and the lobby, that meant I had to get started on decorating the interior of the tower. Then of course, I had to shelve the books. To do that, I had to destroy the old library, since none of the books belong to the character Library, and a lot of them are no-trade. I had to pack up the house and send the contents to the new library. Then I had to remove every item that wasn't a book from the moving crate, and move it back to the old library. Nearly a thousand items later, I was finally ready to start shelving books...
Four floors look like this.
Don't mind the mess. Eventually the books wind up on the shelves! Note the benches under the windows and in the center of the room, for people to sit on and chat. There are four floors that look identical to this--"Adventurer Authored Tomes," "Cultures, Lands, and Beasts," "Mythoi, Notables, and Mortals," and "Chronicles, Memoirs, and Hobbies."

I'm actually not finished shelving and cataloging the books. Because the catagories changed, I have to redo it all. However, since the structure is finished, I decided to post.
This is what a Library looks like when the Librarian goes insane.
The Library has always been a spot I've envisioned as a roleplay location. I want people to be able to come here for their lore needs. Unfortunately, I'm horrible at advertising, so that hasn't happened. It doesn't help that I forget to pay the rent on the Kelethin library, as I mentioned. The benefit to the Vale house is that it doesn't matter how often I forget to pay rent since it doesn't need rent! I've promised myself that once I shelve the books in the Library, I'll advertise.

People are more than welcome to hold lectures or what have you in the Library, despite that all books haven't yet made it to the shelves. Stop by and engage in a little RP if you encounter another bibliophile here!

In the spirit of roleplay, v2.0 and now v3.0 have lecture halls. The stools can be sat upon with either /sit or /sitc. There are also benches scattered all over the island, but I didn't take screenshots of those.
The view of the Lectern from a seat.
Because the top floor of the tower is an observatory, the board to the side of the lectern is currently a star chart.
Star chart board for your astronomy lecture needs!
However, the back of the star chart is actually a blackboard. The rotating board makes it easy to switch from star chart to blackboard. Just be sure to take the chalk off of the edge before you do, or you may sling it into the eye of some unsuspecting student!

I was given the telescope as a birthday gift a couple of months ago. To be quite honest, I had no idea what to do with it, until I realized I had been calling the top floor of the Kelethin library an observatory. It made perfect sense to me that I should make the top floor of version 3.0 an actual observatory, complete with telescope!
Luclin through the window!
Luclin and Drinal through the window.
The library isn't actually complete yet, since not all of the books are shelved. In fact, I've only managed to shelve up to H. I haven't even begun sorting them.
Library reflected on the water.
Once the books are all sorted, shelved, and catalogued, I'll be posting the library on the leaderboards for easy travel. At the moment, it's not up. It is open for visitors, however, at Library's Vale of Halfpint Delight in Freeport on the Antonia Bayle server. It can also be accessed through Library's Aerie Kolmas in Kelethin.

Thank you for visiting!

Many thanks go out to "the usual crowd" for bearing with me and helping me to error check this monstrosity. You know who you are! I'd list you all, but there are so many of you, I don't want to risk offending anyone by forgetting your name. I couldn't have done this without all of you. <3
And for those who are curious, there are more screenshots on my Facebook page. EQIIShare makes it so easy to take them while I'm building...

I am amazed and humbled. Also, update on decorating!

So apparently 400 awards on the leaderboards turns your home's name blue.

I am amazed and humbled by how much people like this house. I keep expecting the Tudor Farmhouse to eventually drift off into obscurity. It's been around for nearly five months now. Yet every time it drifts down, there's a sudden surge of interest in it, and it pops right back up. I don't know why it's so popular, but there it is.

As of right now, the Tudor Farmhouse is the only blue named house on the leaderboards (on Antonia Bayle, at least). And it's mine?! What in the world are you guys thinking?!

I am awed, humbled, and amazed. Also, slightly peeved. It's almost impossible to read the name when it's that color. Oh well. I guess I can either take it down, or leave it up and hope that there's another color in the list of awards.

Jazabelle's Housing News:

I'm still working on my backlog of projects, in between being swamped by real life. I finally cleared one project off of my plate, only to have another two line up. Luckily, one of the new ones isn't due to start for another couple of months. The other supposedly is for a person who's perfectly fine waiting a couple of weeks for me to get my act together.

It doesn't help that when the Vale house went in, I'd just come back to the game after a few weeks of break. The Vale house seemed like an answer to my prayers for the Norrathian Research Library. Being the flaky decorator that I am, I immediately bought a house. Instead of finishing off the projects I had lined up, I put together a new tower for the Library. Good news is, the tower's been done since three days after the Vale house went live. Bad news is, I haven't finished shelving the books yet. Also bad news, I keep taking time when I should be working on other projects to shelve books.

Perhaps in my next blog entry, I'll post the screenshots of the new Norrathian Research Library that I have posted up on my Facebook.