Playing out the twists and turns of your character's personal story is the principal pursuit in Song of Avaria. The world's wider events may touch your character's life in ways both large and small, but it is the experience of their own trials and tribulations, dreams and goals, joys and sorrows that lie at the center of the game. This playing out of the story of your character's life is reflected in Avaria's Story system. Not only is it a concrete way to chart meaningful events and aspirations in a character's life, but it is one of the chief means of gaining experience!
So how do you pursue a story?
Identifying a story
The first thing to do is think about something relevant to your character that you'd like to develop and play out in the world. This could be a dream or ambition, a personality trait, a hardship to overcome (or not!), or practically anything else. It can be as big or as small as you want; the only thing that matters is that it's meaningful to the character in some way. Just to give a few examples of the almost limitless possibilities, as your character you might:
- want to improve your derelict neighborhood.
- want to learn to read and write.
- have a phobia of deep water and never want to get on a ship for fear of drowning.
- be lonely and want to make more friends.
- scheme to smuggle forbidden texts into the city.
- be determined to achieve renown as a champion duellist.
- have once been mugged in a dark alley and now want to improve the lighting of city streets.
- have a chronic health problem that you wish could be healed.
- be desperately in love with someone and want to win their affections.
- want to earn enough money to buy a prize racing camel.
- have grown up apart from your people and want to reconnect with your heritage.
- feel uneasy about a current political situation but not know what to do about it.
- want to find the ingredients to brew the perfect cup of tea from your homeland.
- dream of one day visiting the hidden kingdom of the dwarves.
- want to devise the perfect prank to get back at a rival.
- want to join a local organization.
- be convinced that evil jinn are everywhere disguised as ordinary people and animals.
- yearn to develop a closer relationship with your deity.
- be terrified of scorpions and want to do something about it.
- want to make someone happy by finding or creating the ideal gift for them.
- struggle against deep feelings of melancholy.
- have inherited a strange object and want to learn more about it.
If you begin playing with a randomly generated character, they will come with a story "hook" that you are free to use as inspiration for a story to pursue. Your character could also be responding to in-game events they've witnessed or been a part of -- for example, maybe they had an odd dream they'd like to understand, or they might have been present at a rally encouraging violent protest against local authorities, or maybe the town's bank was robbed and they want to get the money back. Again, the possibilities are nearly endless!
Creating a story
Whatever your motivation, you will start simply by recording it. You can do this by using the command STORY START and entering a short narrative about your new story. This should include some details about what your dream, scheme, fear, problem, or whatever else is, along with perhaps some background information about the motivations or circumstances underlying it. This will not only help you to remember how this particular story got started, it will also let staff know just what's going on with your character so that they can potentially choose to interact with your story in some way!
Once you have this information written up and submitted, that is the beginning of your new story arc, and hopefully many interesting experiences for your character!
Pursuing a story
A story arc can have many developments over time, which you can record using the STORY DEVELOP command. You might also meet people along the way who impact a particular story arc or are connected to it in some way, so you can additionally attach relationship impressions to developments. Logs of related events can similarly be attached to the story.
Earning experience from stories
Every five days, you will be able to receive experience from making a new story update. This doesn't mean you can't or shouldn't make updates in between as the circumstances arise. If you are heavily engaged with your character's story and show this with interesting updates, regardless of whether you receive xp there is always the chance for staff to respond to your character's experiences or to tie them in with the evolving story of the world around them.
You also shouldn't feel as if you're "missing out" if you don't make an update regularly. Your updates should be interesting to you and meaningful to your character; if you don't have anything you find interesting or meaningful to add just now, then simply don't. There are many ways to earn experience in Avaria, from developing relationships with other characters, to writing vignettes and letters on the forums, to simply being rewarded by staff or nominated for an award by other players for engaging roleplay. The main point is just to have fun playing and developing your character!