Ah, the shiny clean landscape of a new year. I like making the first blog post of the year. It's a little like making a big pink bunny-shaped footprint in an expanse of fresh snow.
I hope that everybody's years' ends went well; I had a lovely time visiting family, though a 24.4 dial-up connection prevented me from keeping up on a lot of the forums and, well, from seeing much of anything online at all. Ha!
To start the year off and mark the noel on a nautical note, I thought I'd write up a Top 5 list about some vessel-related things that people might not realize about oceanmasters.
#1: Since people report bugs and things of that nature to us, we have a small collection of bugged ships in the Dread Ringers crew. For example, there's a war brig that has two deeds, a few ships that are eternally stuck in sea battle, and one with an invisible hold. I fondly remember one vessel that showed folks' names on board even after they'd left and logged off. The ships normally don't stay bugged forever, but they're a lot of fun to have around.
#2: I know that a lot of folks wish that oceanmasters didn't stand on their vessels and stood about on islands instead to socialize, but there's a reason for our ships that many people might not know about: the typical oceanmaster ship is a platform on which he can place every game table, a tournament board, and other pieces of furniture that might be needed while on shift.
For example, I might get a petition that somebody is doing something suspicious in a Spades game. On board a vessel it takes much less time to click on a nearby Spades table to check the game than it would to walk into an inn. A ship is also a handy place to test possible furniture or clothing color bugs, in a setting that won't cause a spectacle or ruin a surprise for people, or to store event prizes so that other oceanmasters can retrieve them when it's time to give them out.
#3: El Pollo Diablo looks like and is a normal grand frigate, except there are a hundred and fifty skellies on the main deck, standing perfectly still. The hold is empty, or at least it was until some wise guy put 1,337 pieces of eight in it.
#4: Oceanmasters can whisk aboard any ship, but only by its name. If there are five Arrogant Guppy ships on an ocean, we can jump to the Arrogant Guppy, but we'll go to a random one, so there's no guarantee we'll hit the right ship. We have to be careful when doing ship renames, especially when there are multiple ships with the same name in the same crew, or two ships with the same name in two different crews but ported at the same island. That's the reason that we ask folks to specify the ship type, the crew the ship belongs to and the island at which the ship is ported in the renaming petition. That's also why we ask for a list of ships in cases of theft- without the names of the vessels, we cannot board them and check the holds or refund them.
If you've ever been out innocently sailing and an oceanmaster appeared on your ship, looked embarassed and said, "Oops. Wrong ship." before disappearing, that's most likely what happened.
#5. Our ships look just like yours. We too have the choices of sloop, cutter, merchant brig, war brig, etc. We cannot make custom two-man dinghies with sixteen guns or anything like that. So for those folks that are always asking me what oceanmaster ships look like, the answer is: probably worse than yours. Take a normal, unpainted ship, remove most of the props, and dump a bunch of game tables in a circle around the boarding point, and you have a typical Hypnos ship. She ain't pretty, but she helps me get the job done.