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Author Topic: Principles of Avanian and Twelvern Belief  (Read 4843 times)
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Artimidor Federkiel
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« on: 25 August 2010, 03:24:01 »

The following thread was split from the Netherworlds thread:

---------------

Sorry about my ideas on the dwarves, which made things a bit more difficult - but on the other hand we get more variety in there now in the dwarven version with Judy weighing in. So in the end bringing up these ideas might get diverse beliefs, depending on which dwarven tribe you look at, and that's definitely a plus, as we don't want to have that everyone believes the same. So I guess with these different versions we have some interesting stuff for the dwarves.

Now on to the question what humans and what elves believe. I guess we have to define major principles of their belief first to get where we want.

I'm thinking about: What is the main difference in elven and human belief we can establish? To me it looks like elves basically operate in a passive way (they also live longer), humans are more active (shorter lifespan).

The Humans

The following might sound maybe a bit like "twisted Christianity" or something, but I'm trying to think how we can operate from the way humans tend to behave in comparison to other races and deduce where we might end up.

I suggest to express the human "need for activity" with a philosophical term, in the principle I'd call "teleology". In brief it means: A final cause exists and man works towards that. A human needs to have a purpose in life, needs to accomplish something, this defines the human existence. If a human hasn't accomplished something his/her life is worthless. Now human religion of course provides meaning to existence, especially when we look at the afterlife. Taking teleology as a human principle this of course also translates to what comes after death. We could now establish that there is a larger cause to human existence, that a human "soul" as you write in your human myth section, Azhira, goes on to achieve a greater purpose than in a single life. Now the Netherworlds come into play and the switching of the soul to the other world.

Here I think another assumption has been made implicitly, which is: Humans believe - as it seems - in a "personal human soul". There's that aspect that a person has a soul and switches after death to the Netherworld e.g. to continue his/her journey. Maybe according to human belief, a human is born as a human in this other world, taking his/her soul with him/her.

Now what exactly humans believe to be this ultimate goal might vary. It could be that humans think that good deeds (or those in line with the Gods) keep the soul in Caelereth (light side), while bad deeds will get you down to the Netherworlds. Maybe you become more and more a light figure with every re-incarnation (aha, indeed we'd have human re-incarnation with that idea!) and might end up as a powerful Caelerethian king/queen or something, or you turn into a demon in the Netherworld if your soul cannot be saved anymore.

What would be the ultimate human goal then? Hmmm... Ascending to some sort of "heaven" maybe. Remember, I've suggested back then in our beginning discussions about the origin of the Gods that the humans might actually believe that Gods derived actually from humans, being more or less ascended super-humans. Now a successful soul could follow the path of the Gods and ascend, just like the Gods themselves once did. And, say, their soul would eventually become one with the deity they align best with. So every human would then become a God. At least that's what humans might believe.

Now if we take this a step further, we could say that "bad souls" can climb up a hierarchy of importance on the dark side as well and become minions of Coór. Coór is just one evil God, but he's the manyfaced par excellence anyway, so if your heart becomes darker you get closer to him and are eventually claimed by him. One might choose that intentionally as a human maybe. Maybe there are some dark branches in human faith, which claim that to go the Coór way is the real way.

So basically there's the eternal struggle between the Twelvern Gods and Coór, Caelereth and the Netherworlds, and it is the human's active choice to decide his/her alignment. In a lifetime and over several lifetimes to finally end up on one side. Man has a purpose, a direct goal. If man fails to make this decision in life, he has failed as a human. Maybe it is part of the human belief that an undecided soul gets lost forever, it has literally no purpose. This plays in the problem of "theodicy", which basically asks the question: Why can God/the Gods "kill" an innocent person? Maybe humans think that the previous lives ended up in an undecided soul which loses its "right to live" and make a decision. Ok, pretty wild, but that's a thought experiment at least.

All that of course is meant to give the passage you've put up there under human belief in Myths a better basis and background, Azhira. - What do you think?

Establishing the human version of course means we need to contrast the elven view on that. This will follow!
« Last Edit: 27 August 2010, 19:00:07 by Artimidor Federkiel » Logged



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« Reply #1 on: 25 August 2010, 04:46:29 »

Addition: The fight between good and evil would be fought in the existing world, Caelereth vs. Netherworlds, and if you so want the "solidiers" of each side would promote their cause on the other side actually as well. So if a, say, paladin dies on Caelereth, there's that judgement process (Soul Gryph etc.) and it is decided in which part of the world the re-incarnation happens. The forces of course pull against each other, Coór influences Caelereth, and the Twelvern have their "light people" of course also down there in the Netherworlds.
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« Reply #2 on: 25 August 2010, 21:04:56 »

Wow. Some deep stuff here Arti! It's just what this entry needs to make it a bit deeper and more complex, as the Netherworld should be!  thumbup I look forward to the elven perspective!
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« Reply #3 on: 25 August 2010, 21:14:04 »

Az - sorry to throw a kragghi branch in the stew there, but I'll try to stick with this and help sort out the dwarven perspective, as this bids fair to be an important, precedent-setting entry!

Shab, I love that suggestion re the sea.  That would so effectively underline the dwarven 'dislike' (ok, fear, but one doesn't use that word around the Thergerim) of water and provide a gut-solid rationale for their beliefs.  In the same way that humans use expressions like 'dark' to suggest evil (fright, mystery, concealment, terrors, etc.) and 'light' to represent good (revelation, beauty, warmth, etc.), dwarves would have a psycho-spiritual vocabulary where 'underground' (dry, solid, rooted, safe, surrounded, warm) suggests good and 'water' (bright, fluid, fearful, pallid, unsteady, dangerous, cold) suggests evil.    I think I can work with that!
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« Reply #4 on: 25 August 2010, 21:48:12 »

And a bit further elaboration on human afterlife/Netherworld concept:

If we follow the concept posted above this means as well: Humans in their typical hubris that everything needs to have a reason and a purpose consider their race of course pretty much as the center of the universe.

This means: There is only one Caelereth, and only one Netherworld. Everything that happens, counts, has a rationality behind it, and you do it in the one world or the other working towards a goal of a God (or multiple Gods). So for humans the concept of more than one Netherworld wouldn't make sense.

Atheistic or even agnostic positions would be despised by humans, as life then has no purpose following these ideas.
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« Reply #5 on: 26 August 2010, 03:42:11 »

Further addition on the humans, in regards of magic vs. belief:

The fact that the mentioned Archmage Quagoth Tunta was sucked into Deep Winds portal and ended up somewhere, doesn't yet prove exactly where he ended up. So it could have been in other parts Caelereth, in the Netherworld or it was all just in his mind. Wizards, who represent more a scholarly approach to metaphysics rather than through belief, might see it more like a place they can/should study, and this might cause trouble with the clerics, because they'd say that this is entirely unholy and against human nature to try to force destiny by changing sides that way. Would be seen as strictly forbidden, just like someone would patch up a Frankenstein monster and put some electric jolts in it to revive it. So from the Netherworlds issue we get a nice controversy, which just adds flavour to the whole thing, I'd say.
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« Reply #6 on: 26 August 2010, 04:08:18 »

Now to the elves:

THE ELVES

Contrary to the humans, the elves usually don't get involved. Instead of teleology I'd define their principle as strive for equilibrium, balance, harmony. This is because they see themselves as "dreamed up" by Avá, so they are part of a dream, and every elf sees himself/herself as a possibility within the Dream. This might be difficult to understand for a human, but an elven life doesn't really have a concrete purpose and goal. When an elf dies, he/she falls back into the Dream and naturally returns to it, but not necessarily as an elf, could also be as another race, as an animal, or even a stone, a plant. The pool of possibilities of the Dream just gives birth to another possibility and thus keeps the Dream alive.

Due to the nature of possibilities the elven universe is also constructed: It is a multiverse rather than a black/white (dark and light side) world the humans have. Time and space are relative. As stated somewhere when discussing the Tree of Life, the fact that the Tree was burned doesn't mean that it doesn't exist anymore, it was move into another reality, which exists at the same time like all the others.

The elves believe in that and therefore don't pursue personal goals, but try to maintain the balance of the universe in the places they were born in. They participate only in wars and such if they see it in relation to their belief to balance things out. Other than that they keep their distance. Therefore elven rulers never strive for power and dominance. It might even be that once a major threat has been averted, e.g. by defeating an invading enemy and an elven ruler has gathered tribes around himself to accomplish this feat, that this ruler goes into exile or becomes a windsinger, removing himself/herself from his tribe in order not to become too dominant. Elves mainly serve the world/Dream, they don't want to conquer and own it like humans do.

In the multiverse possibilities are endless, and they have inherent in them, as is the nature of Avá's Dream, to cross over into reality. So the constant fight between Dream and Reality, between Light and Dark if you so want, is the fight between Avá dreaming on or awakening. The Dream has it in itself to become a nightmare, and if it becomes realized, Avá awakens and with her awakening her Dream would be over and non-existent, as the possibilities which are the nature of the Dream are then gone.

Simply put: The Netherworlds are the "dark worlds" of the elven multiverse, and there definitely are also "light worlds". Note that the elven intention is not to destroy these worlds, but only to counteract in case they become aware of a distortion within the Dream and see a need to act.

That's my idea on that in a nutshell. Thoughts?
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« Reply #7 on: 27 August 2010, 06:25:40 »


The Humans

The following might sound maybe a bit like "twisted Christianity" or something, but I'm trying to think how we can operate from the way humans tend to behave in comparison to other races and deduce where we might end up.

I suggest to express the human "need for activity" with a philosophical term, in the principle I'd call "teleology". In brief it means: A final cause exists and man works towards that. A human needs to have a purpose in life, needs to accomplish something, this defines the human existence. If a human hasn't accomplished something his/her life is worthless. Now human religion of course provides meaning to existence, especially when we look at the afterlife. Taking teleology as a human principle this of course also translates to what comes after death. We could now establish that there is a larger cause to human existence, that a human "soul" as you write in your human myth section, Azhira, goes on to achieve a greater purpose than in a single life. Now the Netherworlds come into play and the switching of the soul to the other world.

I agree. The humans have a different perspective on the world and thus are not "a part of a Dream" hence the elves. This gives humans a finite view in that they have to start small and work towards a bigger goal. Yes, fits well.

Here I think another assumption has been made implicitly, which is: Humans believe - as it seems - in a "personal human soul". There's that aspect that a person has a soul and switches after death to the Netherworld e.g. to continue his/her journey. Maybe according to human belief, a human is born as a human in this other world, taking his/her soul with him/her.

Quote
Now what exactly humans believe to be this ultimate goal might vary. It could be that humans think that good deeds (or those in line with the Gods) keep the soul in Caelereth (light side), while bad deeds will get you down to the Netherworlds. Maybe you become more and more a light figure with every re-incarnation (aha, indeed we'd have human re-incarnation with that idea!) and might end up as a powerful Caelerethian king/queen or something, or you turn into a demon in the Netherworld if your soul cannot be saved anymore.

Yes, this agrees with the human belief too. I did envision from the start a "heaven and hell" mentality with the humans and I think it gives a basis that is grounded in RL.

Quote
What would be the ultimate human goal then? Hmmm... Ascending to some sort of "heaven" maybe. Remember, I've suggested back then in our beginning discussions about the origin of the Gods that the humans might actually believe that Gods derived actually from humans, being more or less ascended super-humans. Now a successful soul could follow the path of the Gods and ascend, just like the Gods themselves once did. And, say, their soul would eventually become one with the deity they align best with. So every human would then become a God. At least that's what humans might believe.

Wow. The belief that one can ascend to godhood would be fantastic. Imagine all the humans throughout Caelereth's history who have attempted such a feat? The plots and actions they have been driven by in order to become immortal like a god? Indeed, this sets humans apart from all other races in that the godhood goal would so conflict with elven belief that the Twelvern and Avanian groups would be embroiled in sometimes violent debates of faith...

Quote
Now if we take this a step further, we could say that "bad souls" can climb up a hierarchy of importance on the dark side as well and become minions of Coór. Coór is just one evil God, but he's the manyfaced par excellence anyway, so if your heart becomes darker you get closer to him and are eventually claimed by him. One might choose that intentionally as a human maybe. Maybe there are some dark branches in human faith, which claim that to go the Coór way is the real way.

I can guarantee that many humans would embrace such a path as darkness. Evil, twisted humans seeking Coor's favor (wicked demonologists, summoners and black clerics) would stoop to terrible acts in order to have a ruling place in the Netherworld. This would be a very human viewpoint likely rarely shared by any other race.

Quote
So basically there's the eternal struggle between the Twelvern Gods and Coór, Caelereth and the Netherworlds, and it is the human's active choice to decide his/her alignment. In a lifetime and over several lifetimes to finally end up on one side. Man has a purpose, a direct goal. If man fails to make this decision in life, he has failed as a human. Maybe it is part of the human belief that an undecided soul gets lost forever, it has literally no purpose. This plays in the problem of "theodicy", which basically asks the question: Why can God/the Gods "kill" an innocent person? Maybe humans think that the previous lives ended up in an undecided soul which loses its "right to live" and make a decision. Ok, pretty wild, but that's a thought experiment at least.

One can ask then...if a human fails his goal of achieving godhood (or similar lofty existences) then he is either dead forever...or he is reborn again as a lesser human with an even harder chance to get to his goal. So should an evil human decide to turn to "good" in the end of his life, he can pray or believe he'll be reborn to achieve that "good" goal. Or, he may be terrified that he'll be reborn as a nasty netherbeast with two heads... ;)

Addition: The fight between good and evil would be fought in the existing world, Caelereth vs. Netherworlds, and if you so want the "solidiers" of each side would promote their cause on the other side actually as well. So if a, say, paladin dies on Caelereth, there's that judgement process (Soul Gryph etc.) and it is decided in which part of the world the re-incarnation happens. The forces of course pull against each other, Coór influences Caelereth, and the Twelvern have their "light people" of course also down there in the Netherworlds.

So if Coor has an influence in the "light side Caelereth" then the light side as an influence in the Netherworld? So let's say that depending on the persons' faith, would determine how much light he brings in the Netherworld. Or how powerful he is. A noble paladin of Grothar would likely die, be judged and if he is needed in the Netherworld as a soldier of light, he goes there. It could be that if a human does not reach some kind of godhood with his deity, he becomes a soldier...

And a bit further elaboration on human afterlife/Netherworld concept:

If we follow the concept posted above this means as well: Humans in their typical hubris that everything needs to have a reason and a purpose consider their race of course pretty much as the center of the universe.

This means: There is only one Caelereth, and only one Netherworld. Everything that happens, counts, has a rationality behind it, and you do it in the one world or the other working towards a goal of a God (or multiple Gods). So for humans the concept of more than one Netherworld wouldn't make sense.

Atheistic or even agnostic positions would be despised by humans, as life then has no purpose following these ideas.

This I like too! A one Caelereth and one Netherworld, pushing and influencing each other, each with their own soldiers of light and dark. Very good. Humanistic and self-centered belief that conflicts with most other beliefs. Humans are both hated and admired for this, with likely being humans being the deciding factor (or the ones who spark it) in war.
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No, I would not want to live in a world without dragons, as I would not want to live in a world without magic, for that is a world without mystery, and that is a world without faith. And that, I fear, for any reasoning, conscious being, would be the cruelest trick of all.
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« Reply #8 on: 27 August 2010, 15:15:04 »

Quote
So should an evil human decide to turn to "good" in the end of his life, he can pray or believe he'll be reborn to achieve that "good" goal. Or, he may be terrified that he'll be reborn as a nasty netherbeast with two heads...

Just to make it more precise in this regard: Humans, thinking that they are the center of the universe, would also think that they are the only race of real importance and that the others are just detracting them from their path or are meant to be used as tools towards their goal, to put it very bluntly. There might be differences however in how this is interpreted. E.g. there could be some who believe that elves or dwarves are imperfect humans, that could convert to the true belief and end up in their belief system.

But where I want to get is: I'd say that humans believe that they are only re-born as humans. Other races might have the seed in them to also become humans at the next re-incarnation, but bascially the system centers around humans. Now there might be the one interpretation that a good follower of the Gods accepts the other races as crucial to his/her task, other extreme views might say the complete opposite and exemplify the human hubris. So the range within the clerics on what makes a good human believer might differ considerably, giving us ample opportunities to allow twisted sects with their own self-centered agendas.

BTW: If these ideas represent the Twelvern belief more or less, it needs to be clear that not everyone accepts it. So there might be those that think that the Twelvern thing is rubbish, and others (like on Earth) might have trouble with its organized form, yet are believers in the divine principles they stand for. So there might be, say, paladins, who leave their temples to learn from the elves, as they see compassion and understanding among the races as something their God wants them to practice.

I would say that especially with the Twelvern faith we've got a lot of possibilities to show different sides of the same belief, and as long as there's a dynamic there, that's always great for good fantasy drama.
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« Reply #9 on: 27 August 2010, 18:53:36 »

More on the differences between human Netherworld and elven Netherworlds now:

In the human concept there's a concrete place where the Netherworld exists and it is also of clearly physical nature - and most people suspect that it's on the other side of Caelereth. There's also the idea that gravity has something to do with that Netherworld, that the two sides pull against each other. Thus "bad thoughts" could be considered as Netherwordly influence (maybe even with the same person existing on both worlds), a sort of "spiritual gravitational drag"... :)

To expand on this, though maybe that sounds more like psycho analysis. If nothing else, it could be a weird belief of a special human Twelvern sect:

The theory that the Netherworld might a reflection of Caelereth where the landmasses, even settlements and people exist on both sides could be thought a notch further. Like: Maybe a person exists when he/she is reborn on both sides. Thus the influence of thoughts from the other side, as they come from your other reality. Maybe there are two physical persons, one soul connecting them, and life means to let the one or the other side dominate. Death of one of the persons kills both bodily existences. So an "innocent" death could be explained by a death of your self on the "other side".

Now back to the elves and their view on the Netherworlds:

In the elven concept the Netherworlds are much less clearly defined. Obviously they don't believe in an own physical world on the other side of Caelereth. And the elves with the Dream idea are all a pretty spiritual kind of people, because from Dream/spirit they have emerged.

I guess elves also are people who don't want to change their own fate and put themselves before everything else, but they only want to help course correct the universe according to their beliefs. This also makes them more "accepting", maybe you could even say "deterministic" with the situation they find themselves in. I guess an elf feels that he/she is born into the Dream at a certain place, and that this is his/her destiny. I don't think that elves strive to visit other worlds (including Netherworlds), because that's not how Avá has dreamed them. Otherwise she wouldn't have separated these worlds.

There is of course a way to traverse into other worlds, and this kind of nexus (or at least one of them) probably lies within the Thaelon, a secret guarded by the light elves, the Aellenrhim etc. The light elves could even be light elves, because they have travelled worlds and can travel worlds and are therefore in semi-Dream state. Maybe as guardians of these worlds. I guess in general elves know that there are other worlds, but it is their conviction that if at all, then only a select few should actually cross between worlds, e.g. to get a sense of cosmic balance which may be in need to be countered.

These worlds I think aren't real as such for the elves. They are products of the Dream, just like Caelereth. However, if an elf is born in Caelereth, then this is this particular elf's reality, that's where he/she was destined to be. Other worlds could be only experienced in a spiritual/dream-like way, and interference is only for a few, who know what ripple effects in the Dream pool their actions could have.
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« Reply #10 on: 28 August 2010, 08:00:07 »

Thanks for putting this together, Arti. I am busy reading this over so I can absorb it all...plenty to ponder over!  :D I'll have some replies and then we can work on what to include in the Netherworlds entry itself. We'll have to break some of this down and make it relevant to the entry.
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« Reply #11 on: 30 August 2010, 06:03:12 »

*runs in with not much time on her hands*

I see one problem with what I have planned concerning the belief of the humans

Quote
Now what exactly humans believe to be this ultimate goal might vary. It could be that humans think that good deeds (or those in line with the Gods) keep the soul in Caelereth (light side), while bad deeds will get you down to the Netherworlds. Maybe you become more and more a light figure with every re-incarnation (aha, indeed we'd have human re-incarnation with that idea!) and might end up as a powerful Caelerethian king/queen or something, or you turn into a demon in the Netherworld if your soul cannot be saved anymore.

My idea was, to have in Santharia the idea, that the gods give their blessings (or whatever) without the need of good deeds, wheresas in the Aeolranian religions good deeds are the way to get the blessings of the gods ( --> magic works in Santaharia alone out of the faith (sola fide), in Aeruillin through good deeds.

But there is surely a way around, I haven'thad time to read the netherworld stuff either.

Can't write more now, don't have access to my stuff either... cu later.


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« Reply #12 on: 01 September 2010, 03:20:47 »

Just a brief answer here: Don't know what exactly you mean with the word "blessings", Talia, but the paragraph you quote lays out the general focus of the human belief and what results from that (supposedly according to Twelvern belief) in the afterlife. This doesn't mean that Gods can't give their "blessing" by interfering actively in people's life should they feel the need to. That might be the privilege of a God to do that.

In terms of clerical magic this also doesn't really imply that you're a good person to cast magic, but just that you try to focus your magical energies according to a principle in pure form, which a God just embodies. Radical Ximaxians might say that there are no Gods and that your focus on a principle makes something magical happen. So you don't need to be "good" all around to cast a spell related to Arvins (God of the Hunt) if you try to aim at something with your bow e.g. If we interpret it that way, this would of course also mean that "dark clerical magic" is possible and works the same way.
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« Reply #13 on: 26 June 2011, 20:22:40 »

You know, I'd love to see this discussion continue! It's such a fascinating topic. Perhaps we could sum up what we've discussed so far and roll it into a short & sweet entry, which can be expanded as the discussion continues?
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« Reply #14 on: 28 June 2011, 05:16:26 »

This discussion was born from the Netherworlds Update thread. I needed some background and differences between the beliefs to develop some lore. This is still very much a valuable resource and not forgotten, however, getting back to finishing the update may take some time. I am currently not actively writing entries much.
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No, I would not want to live in a world without dragons, as I would not want to live in a world without magic, for that is a world without mystery, and that is a world without faith. And that, I fear, for any reasoning, conscious being, would be the cruelest trick of all.
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Last 10 Shouts:
14 September 2017, 09:40:04
Hello all! It's been a minute since I poked my nose in here. Can't remember if I ever did anything useful.
09 May 2017, 14:17:18
Ah, too bad that internet is so restricted in China, Ferra. Can't be much fun surfing the web that way if Big Brother's watching you... Hope you enjoy your stay nevertheless!
03 May 2017, 17:41:19
Hi, dear Arti and other developers!

This year I am in China and cannot use any Google services including YouTube. For this reason I stopped uploading new Nepris videos. I can also not read any comments there.

It just crossed my mind that this information might be useful to you.

Cheers

F
26 March 2017, 12:48:56
Hello to anyone that might read this. :)
22 December 2016, 02:38:16
Merry Christmas everyone!
29 November 2016, 01:45:48
Hey all!
11 November 2016, 09:19:02
Calling all developers; come help me write the New-Santhala article ^^
15 September 2016, 02:24:10
Still no problems here, Erutan...
14 September 2016, 14:55:28
Still having trouble accessing the RPG side, anyone else? Or is it just me?
27 August 2016, 21:17:33
Short note: We had a bit of downtime Friday/Saturday night due to a server change. Site went online first, message boards took a while longer - now everything should be back to normal.
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