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A land far away—a magical term that gives rise to mental images of exotic lands and exciting adventures. A land far away—the setting of countless fairy-tales and myriad bed-time stories. A land far away—that special place that we all go to when we need to escape the pressures and vicissitudes of life.

Welcome to A Land Far Away, a persistent world where the vast, wondrous Dungeons & Dragons™ universe takes on a life all of its own. A place where like-minded role-players of all races, cultures and creeds gather to delight in the wonder and joy of a thousand shared imaginations. A place where the raconteur holds others spellbound; a place where every decision has consequences; a place where the games unfold before your eyes. But don't just take our word for it - see what the professional reviewers from the Neverwinter Vault thought about us here.

ALFA supports the American Red Cross efforts of disaster relief

Despite being international in scope, in scale ALFA is predominantly an american project. Hurricane Sandy has had a measurable impact on our own project - it has left some of our members without electricity, and it has knocked one of our servers off the grid.

Thus, as an example of our spirit of community as well as to encourage it, ALFA's Administration has unanimously decided to support the American Red Cross' efforts of disaster relief. Some of our Administrators have already donated, others still will. You will read here from all as we hope that this example can inspire more of our fellow community members to give something if they can, and talk about it on our forums.

Information about this is found here (member's only page currently): 
http://www.alandfaraway.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=48594

ACR v1.88 Released

I've gone and proven myself a slacker with the last update.

So an interesting and outdated piece of news, ACR v1.87 was released back in July!

And in more-recent news, ACR v1.88 is officially released!

This update is primarily fixes, with attention given to many modules that have historically been thorns in our sides-- turn undead, combat expertise, trade scrolls, and invisibility have all gotten a little bit less painful to deal with, while (Greater) Magic Weapon is a little bit friendlier to archers and unarmed combatants. We've also added a few more spells, including Dimensional Anchor, to provide the most-available canonical way to prevent spells like Teleport or Dimension Door.

We've also seen ALFA's combat AI finally into a usable state-- though it hasn't yet entirely conquered the previous system, modules can now opt in with specific creatures to allow them to use the new combat logic, and we officially have monsters-- the zSpawn shadows-- who use it by default.

 

Happy gaming!

ACR v1.86 Released

 

Today, we're rolling out the latest version of the ALFA Core Rules. This set of changes is pretty significant, so players can expect a sizable download the first time they log into an updated server. We have the full change log in our technical documentation, as always, here.

Major thanks to the tech team for helping us get this together: Basilica, Paazin, FoamBats, and Ronan.

 

A few highlights from this release:

Automated Crafting -- Players who have the Scribe Scroll, Brew Potion, and Craft Wand will be able to craft items according to the rules set down by ALFA's DM team. Similarly, players with other crafting feats will be able to run crafting projects for permanent items with DM oversight (but only with DM oversight). 

Swimming -- Players who enter water will find that some of them-- specified by builders-- will require the players to swim. It comes with animations and responds appropriately to the swim skill, and includes drowning: be careful, and don't swim until you've put your tower shield away and given your lunch a chance to settle.

Player Report -- DMs who open the player list (by pressing P) will notice that the old player-facing report has been replaced with something much more useful to DMs. On the report is easy access to the server's wealth, a rough glance at players' alignments, faiths, and character classes, and an idea of who is partied with who. The reports are fairly powerful, and DMs who wish to get the most out of them should read the release notes for details.

 

 

ACR v1.85 Released

Today, we release the latest version of the ALFA Core Rules. This update includes the medley of updates and fixes we typically include in a rollout, and headlines significant improvements to our ability to have servers communicate with each other and for players to communicate across server and medium boundaries.

The ALFA IRC Bot (which maintains a presence in #alfa-players) now responds to a !page command, which allows one-way messages to be sent to players in game-- just in case you need to get a hold of someone who typically plays in full screen. It's limited to 256 characters, and not meant to hold any significant information, but can get a person's attention. The Bot now also responds to !seen, and will respond with the last time that a given player was logged in, and which server the player was on.

In addition, it is now possible to send tells to players on other ALFA servers. Players will notice a revised chat select GUI window, which now divides itself into two panes (one for DMs and one for players), which can expand to four panes (local players, local DMs, remote players, remote DMs) on demand. The expected interaction is the same as before: clicking on the person you wish to send a tell to will stage your chat entry box with the needed text, or you can type #t "Character Name" at the beginning of a message to send a tell to that character.

Thanks and accolades go to Basilica for building the structure that these systems use, and for getting our new ALFA IRC Bot more than up to snuff-- bringing in functionality that we've simply never seen before.

One with eyes on the horizon would note the coming implementation of automated pen-and-paper style consumable crafting, currently expected to be in ACR v1.86.

Activity

 

Recently, we’ve seen more activity and larger numbers on our servers, enough so that it has been the cause of speculation as to why, how, or how severe it all is. Fortunately, ALFA has always kept solid data on its activity, though it has until recently been relatively disorganized in its appearance. Roughly a year ago, Hialmar produced scripts that would read our database to determine overall player and DM activity, track application numbers, and try to keep up with ALFA’s overall health.

Most recently, those scripts have been bent toward looking at ALFA’s history, to see how active we’ve been in the past, and how things in our history have affected our progress and growth, and it has produced some interesting statistics: namely, ALFA today is more active than ALFA has ever been. There are simply more people logged on more often than before: even in those first bustling days of ALFA2.

And so I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who contributes effort and creativity to our shared project and makes it a more appealing place to play.

It’s super effective. 

 

ALFA Monthly Spotlight - September

 Hello and welcome to hopefully the first of many ALFA Monthly Updates!  In these updates over the next few months hopefully we'll offer a short insight a month in ALFA, with a small window in game, as well as a server, DM or member spotlight!

 If there is anything you'd like to see in these, as they are very much a work in progress, please do give me a yell in chat or shoot me a PM over the forums.

 Adventure for all!

The Moonwood of the Silver Marches was a dangerous place in the best of times; but with a resurgence in Malarite activity the trio of adventurers knew that great risk lie ahead of them.  At first the trek was uneventful, wild animals their only accompaniment.  As they ventured deeper into the Moonwood however, the air became thick, the shadows long, and even the cries of birds seemed to fade into a troubling silence.  One of the elves lifted his hand, then raised four fingers to indicate he had spotted trouble; the other elf and the gnome made ready for a fight.  Spells flew and blades flashed against a vicious assault of claws and teeth as the trio fought against lycanthropes and their allies, the sounds of battle disrupting the silence of the forest.  The group fought hard, straining themselves as they faced even more resistance the further into the Moonwood they went, squaring off with a dozen foes at once from bugbears to massive wyverns, until finally there was silence again.  The trio stood there amidst the carnage, bloody and battered but alive.  And slowly the normal sounds of the forest returned, this darkness having been expunged if only temporarily.

(Short story by NESchampion) 

DM Spotlight

The DMs of Alfa have been working very hard across all our servers but we would like to spotlight just one this month, and that DM is Cloud_Dancing. She is a DM on the Moonshaes server and has been working very hard these past few months.  

Cloud has been DMing for Alfa for some time now but in the last few months she has ran a very in depth campaign on the Moonshaes that many players characters traveled across servers to be a part of. Cloud is known to be a very intensive story telling DM, of course she includes dungeon crawls and adventure (this is DnD after all), but she believes that a story should always be associated with what the PCs are doing and that there is room for roleplay in anything the DM sets up. One part of the campaign involved a doppelganger posing as people these PCs had contact with causing them to do things they would not normally do or be asked to do. This caused a lot of questioning and struggle for the PCs to find out who they were dealing with, exactly who was doing what, and why. This is only a small part of the campaign but one that surely shows the in depth story Cloud is willing and able to set up for her players. 

She is known for not only her DM story telling but also helping her players tell their PC’s individual stories. Talking to her players involved in these quests really helped in understanding just how much work Cloud puts into her DMing. Along with the great story intense DMing Cloud is a wonderful builder and has added a lot of new content to the Moonshaes. 

 Here is what some had to say… “Cloud’s ideas and stories are always inventive and creative.” “She makes an effort to pay attention to the little things and helps each PCs intents and motives along the way. If you want to do a side thing in the middle of her main adventures, she is happy to accommodate and loves the initiative.” “Specifically, the last campaign had a great deal of intrigue. There was much interaction with named and important NPCs and possibilities for IC contacts and story points for further adventures, both long-term and short term.” “She's able to take on a lot of different hats and make them sound different.” 

 We are lucky to have her on our DM staff and honored to spotlight her this month for her great work. If you have not had the great chance to be DMed by Cloud_Dancing please head on over to the Moonshaes sever as soon as possible.

(DM Spotlight composed by Aitana) 

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