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Only a Game
| What is Clan Lord?
| Bonehead Directions
Installing Clan Lord |
All About Role-Playing |
Only a Game
This is a portion of a story by Joe Williams
“It’s only a game,” Del muttered to himself, glaring at the screen. His
heart was pounding. His hand flexed on the mouse, afraid to click.
His eyes snatched the time from the menu bar: 4:21 AM. And he had work
He forced himself to think. He’d worked hard to get to the bridge. He’d been
at his keyboard since 6:30 the previous evening, working his way down the
Troubled Road to this bridge. The trip had been costly. He was injured,
fatigued, and low on supplies. But he’d found the bridge, and now the urge
to step across it was almost unbearable.
But it would be a mistake. Even fresh, he probably was not prepared for the
dangers across the Gorge. And even if he was prepared, he’d never finish
before 8:30, when he had to leave for work. And that’s assuming he got no
sleep at all.
He rolled his head, popping his neck, feeling the tension as his muscles
stretched. His hand still lay frozen on the mouse. “It’s only a game.”
The only rational thing to do would be to turn back. He could get a nap, go
to work, and return to the bridge afterward. But what if someone else got to
the bridge today, while he was at work? And they crossed, and explored the
area beyond the Gorge? He could return tomorrow to find the area already
tamed and empty.
Heck, if he went to sleep now, he’d only get four hours of sleep anyway —
he’d be useless at work. He might as well call in sick.
Del stepped onto the bridge.
Steve rolled his eyes, dropping the phone onto the cradle. He raised his
voice so he could be heard over the cubicle wall. “Del just called in
Bee laughed. “I wonder what he’s into now. Loser.” She double clicked Clan
Lord and waited for the net connection to complete. When Sonya appeared on
the screen, she pulled down the Command menu to get info on Ferdo. Her
eyebrow raised. “Hey, I’ve never seen this before.”
Steve left his cube to look at Bee’s screen.
Ferdo, Indigo Lord
Last known location: The Troubled Road
Current location: Unknown
“Weird.” His brow furrowed. “Unknown? Is he blocking? I didn’t know you
could do that.”
“You can’t, as far as I know. I don’t know why he’d want to, really.” She
thought for a moment. “Maybe somebody’s after him.” She used her sunstone to
transmit to Ferdo: “Where are you?”
Lord Ferdo not receiving.
Steve, reading over Bee’s shoulder, whistled. “He’s in some weirdness.” His
phone rang in the next cubicle. “Crap.”
“Hey, watch the language.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah.” Steve rounded the corner and sat. “Bronze Age, this is
Steve, what can I do for you?”
Bee turned her attention back to the screen. A couple of clicks later she
had Sonya casting a spell, teleporting her to Ferdo’s location. The machine
responded with a telltale fizzle sound of a spell gone awry. Not that she
expected it to work. She drummed her fingers on the keyboard, indecisive.
She brought up her phone book. She double-clicked Del’s name, and picked up
her receiver. It rang, twice, three, four times — and Del’s machine picked
up. “Hi, this is Del, I’m not here right now, but you can leave a message.”
“Hey, this is Bee. Where are you? I know you’re in Clan Lord, but your
status shows ‘unknown.’ It’s weird. Give me a call, tell me how to get
wherever you are. Bye.” She hung up. Then she typed an e-mail saying what
her voice mail just said, and sent it off to both Del and Ferdo. She sighed.
Caution wasn’t Ferdo’s strong suit, but it was all that was keeping him
alive. Del had gotten up to get a two-liter bottle of Jolt from the fridge,
and when he returned he found himself surrounded by three green Dracoids. He
grabbed the mouse with a little shriek and started clicking madly, setting
himself for defense, trying to get his back to a tree. He’d thought this
clearing was safe, but maybe no place is safe across the Gorge.
With his back to the tree, only two of the dracoids could attack him at
once. He focused his attention on the left one, which looked larger. His
sword was ineffective, so he zapped it with a Shock Bolt. It froze, stunned
at least for a moment. His next two slices scored, dropping the beast.
The second one had hit while he was occupied with the first, and he noted
the poison starting to slow his system. He’d definitely picked the wrong
place to rest. He Shock Bolted number two, only to find that he didn’t have
enough magic left. Stupid! He pulled out a wand, the Violet Cold Wand he
kept for emergencies. He could be dead within two seconds, so he figured
this qualified. He stepped left, giving him a split second with both
remaining Dracoids lined up, and blasted the wand at an angle across them,
freezing them both solid. He sighed with relief.
“It’s only a game.” He sure wished he hadn’t stepped onto the bridge this
morning. He had no idea how to get back across the Gorge. And it was
disturbing not being able to talk to anyone — that had never happened to
He shook his head. This clearing wasn’t safe. That was clear. But moving
around was probably even more dangerous. Crap. He was in no condition to
explore, but so far, every time he’d tried to rest, he’d ended up in even
worse shape than when he started. He’d been running through valuable
supplies saved up for ages for a special occasion, and so far he’d found
nothing valuable at all. Just woods and deadly creatures. This journey was a
fiasco. He had to get home.
His Jolt, opened but forgotten, went slowly flat.
Steve plopped a McDonald’s bag on Bee’s desk and handed her a Coke. “Find
“Nope. He’s logged on, but still off in the weeds somewhere.” She pulled out
and unwrapped a burger. “I tried everything I could think of.” She took a
bite of her burger.
“He probably crashed and went to sleep.” Steve took a swig of his own Coke.
“He might even really be sick.”
“Maybe. That ‘last known location’ bit, though... it doesn’t normally say
that. It doesn’t say that for anybody else — I checked. I think he’s
“I could grab Glorak and we could look for him. We can probably track where
he left the Troubled Road, anyway.”
“Go for it. I’ve got some work to do, but I should be done about four. I’ll
mail you my Glasses of Tracking.” She made a few quick mouse clicks. “I’ll
buzz you when I’m done, and you can pop me in.”
“Cool.” He started to go back to his cube, but turned back to Bee with a
grin. “I sure hope this isn’t a glitch — it’s kind of exciting.”
Del had been in Clan Lord for 20 hours straight. He burned to put his hands
around the neck of the programmer who thought it would be cool to have an
area with no save points, no resting areas, and no way out. And chock full
of deadly monsters with no treasure. “Bastard,” he mumbled.
At least now he saw a sign. A small, wooden sign, with an arrow. “Gazebo,”
it said, and pointed north.
“Great.” Would it be a resting point? An exit? He shook his head. More
likely it would be an encounter site — a place to fight a major monster.
He couldn’t fight a major monster. He’d been running away from even minor
monsters for the past two hours when he could, fighting — and burning his
precious last resources — only when he had no other choice.
Ferdo had certainly never been in such dire straits. Del had been playing
Clan Lord for six months now, rising rapidly through the ranks of society.
He’d been killed before, sure, and set back lots of times. But nothing like
what would happen to him if he didn’t find his way out soon. If he got
killed now he’d revert to the way he was yesterday — but without all the
equipment he had used up over the past 20 hours.
He glared at the sign. It pointed to death.
But it was the first sign of intelligence he’d seen since crossing the
Gorge. He couldn’t ignore it. Besides, wandering around wasn’t getting him
anywhere. Even running away, he’d be dead within an hour.
He really had no choice but to follow the sign. He sighed.
He took a few steps north, and saw the woods open into a path. He was on the
right track — even more signs of civilization. But could it be a trap?
Maybe he should stick to the woods as he wandered toward the gazebo. It was
slower, and might be more dangerous, but... the path worried him.
He shrugged. If the gazebo was dangerous, he was probably dead anyway. At
least he could get some sleep.
“It’s only a game.” He walked up the path.
What is Clan Lord?
Clan Lord is a world of high fantasy.
As a character in Clan Lord, you are an exile banished to a dangerous island
chain for “crimes” against the evil Ascendancy of the West. You are one of
thousands struggling for survival in this strange land, threatened by
monsters, sorcery, and political strife.
Each exile, cut off from everything friendly and familiar, will choose a new
path and new goals.
Some will become Fighters, warriors who devote their strength and their
sword to the defense of their comrades.
Some will become Healers, spiritual physicians who learn the arts of
repairing those injured in the constant battles against the unknown.
Some will become Mystics, secretive mentalists that study mysterious and
All must work together, for the islands to which you’ve been exiled are far
from friendly. Monsters roam freely, sometimes wreaking death and
destruction upon the ramshackle settlement you now call home.
Once upon a time, our manuals assumed that you knew how to run your
Macintosh. Everyone here at Delta Tao is a longtime Mac snob, so we sneer at
novices, at least behind their backs.
If you don’t fall into the Novice category, skip ahead to the next chapter.
You’re special! Or continue reading to remind yourself what it was like when
you first got your Mac.
So You’re a Bonehead.
Big deal. We all were once. So what if the neighbor’s toddler in diapers
knows her way around computers better than you? She can’t even say her name
without drooling. Generation gap indeed!
A lot of computer-challenged people get Clan Lord. It, like Macintosh
itself, is approachable. Once you’ve got it going, you can pretty much walk
around, talk to people, and have a good time.
We’ll try to address all your potential questions and problems here. But
first, the single biggest trick to learning the Mac:
That’s it. No matter how dumb you are, you pretty much can’t hurt your
computer without overt physical action, like heaving a blender through the
screen. Your Mac might confuse the heck out of you sometimes, sometimes so
much you’ll fondle that blender and imagine... but don’t do it!
Anyway, click everywhere. Pull down the menus. Hit all the buttons.
Generally speaking, if it’s going to do something bad, the Mac is really
nice about warning you. You can change your mind once you know the
How do I make it go?
Put the CD in your Mac and double-click an Install Clan Lord icon.
What’s a CD?
It’s that shiny thing that came with this manual. No, not that. That’s the
shrink-wrap. Get it out of your mouth! The round thing, inside the box.
I found it. It seems to be in a case.
Good. Take it out of the case (using excessive force if necessary), and put
it in your Mac.
It doesn’t fit.
Please, please tell me you have a CD drive. Press the button by the CD
drive. A drawer will open, with a hole perfectly sized to receive your CD.
Put it in (shiny side down), and close the drawer. An icon of the CD will
appear on your computer desktop.
I see it! Now what?
Drag the “Clan Lord Folder” icon onto your hard drive icon.
It’s copying a bunch of stuff.
Good. Now open that folder on your hard drive, and we’ll download a newer
version of Clan Lord.
Newer version? I just bought this!
Yes, but we improve Clan Lord almost weekly. Your CD was obsolete before it
was even printed.
How do I fix it?
You’ll need to download the most recent Clan Lord from our web server. The
easiest way to do this is to double click the Install Clan Lord document and
follow the directions on the page your web browser brings up.
Click on it twice, quickly. You can also just click on it once and go to the
“ File “ menu and choose “ Open .”
Hey, it’s going!
Hooray. The web pages will take care of you from here on.
The Clan Lord I downloaded gives me an error.
You need System 7 or later on your Mac, with the Appearance Manager
I can’t get into the world.
If it’s your first time trying to connect, odds are that something is wrong
with your system. Possibly you don’t have Open Transport 1.1.1 or later, or
your computer is behind a firewall and your modem won’t talk directly to the
Clan Lord server.
Installing Clan Lord
To install Clan Lord, first drag its folder from the CD to your hard drive.
Then open the appropriate Install Clan Lord document and follow the
directions. It will let you download the files you need to get started.
Potential Installation Problems
We’re usually so brief that the above would be the whole explanation, but
since we’re trying to fluff out the manual we’ll cover all the potential
problems you may face in installing Clan Lord.
Why do I have to download stuff to play?
Clan Lord is constantly improving. Between the time we sent these CDs to be
printed and the time they came back, we had already improved the world a
lot. And every month we improve it even more. So your very first step is to
get caught up with our latest improvements.
I don’t have enough room on my hard drive.
Consider buying a newer, bigger hard drive. They’re cool and cheap. As we
write this, you can get a 4 gigabyte drive for under $200.
I don’t have an internet account.
You must have an internet account to play Clan Lord. They usually cost about
$20 a month, and will probably be the most useful thing you ever do with
I’m having trouble downloading the current Clan Lord.
Our updater files will probably get fairly large over time, so it might take
quite a while to download all this stuff.
The web address for Clan Lord is www.deltatao.com/clanlord/,
in case finding it gives you trouble.
I can’t get the @#%$! CD box open!
Tricky, aren’t they? The fat plastic part is the hinge, so open the other
edge. Throwing the case at the wall sometimes works. At least we didn’t
I don’t have the CD.
It must have been lost somewhere, unless you’ve been doing some stupid
software piracy where you copy the documentation instead of the software.
Look for it. Maybe we forgot to put a disk in the package. Maybe it fell
out. Maybe your dog ate it. (If you don’t have a dog, come and get ours.) If
you can’t find it, call us, and we’ll gripe at you and send you a
replacement for a few bucks.
I don’t have a CD drive.
Sheesh, get one. Or you can pass Clan Lord across the network with File
Sharing or the like. Or you can just put the CD near your computer and hope
that the information oozes across by osmosis.
I don’t have a PowerPC Macintosh.
You’re starting to get tricky, now. Buy one. You’ll like it.
I can’t read.
You can too! Unless this is the audio-book version of the manual, as read by
All About Role-Playing
Clan Lord is a “role-playing game.”
This means that in the world of Clan Lord, you play a character in a story.
This character will have a name, a personality, and a mission completely
distinct from anything you — the player — might have.
Probably the first thing to think about is what gender you want your
character to be. It doesn’t matter whether you are male or female — your
character can be whichever you like. It isn’t a bad idea to decide in
advance, though, so you don’t end up being a girl named “Stinky Harry” or a
boy named “Karen Redlips.”
Once you’ve picked your gender, select an appropriate name. Everyone you
meet will judge you first by your name, and the more your name fits into the
fantasy world of Clan Lord, the more you will fit in.
Names to avoid
We aren’t going to tell you what name to choose, but we will try to give you
some idea of what kind of names to not choose:
Your own name
You could, of course, use your own name, but that’s kind of dull, and “Janet
Wilson” doesn’t seem quite right as a name for a famous Sylvan warrior.
This means a name that doesn’t fit in with Clan Lord’s high fantasy setting.
Johnny Laser, Cyberchick, or Nintendo Player are off-genre.
Offensive, vulgar, or rude names won’t do. At best, you could be forced to
rename your character; at worst you might end up being deleted completely.
Clan Lord won’t put up with names like HeNrY, HENRY, —Henry—, or henry. In
general, capitalize the first letter of each word, and no others: Henry.
Try making a name, not just a bunch of letters. Remember, lots of the people
you meet are illiterate, so letters mean nothing to them. You’ve got
letters; spell it out.
It’s embarrassing to walk around for months named something like Ccccccc
just because you couldn’t think of anything good when you first started.
Give it some effort.
Before your character is seen in public, you might want to consider other
things. What is your character like? Quiet, or boisterous? Friendly, or
suspicious? Honest, or mischievous?
You’ll get some assistance from Clan Lord as you create your character, but
you’ll have to put some effort in as you play to make your character’s
personality strong and consistent.
That’s all you need to do to start a character. Many other decisions will
come up as your character develops, but at first, you’ll be just like all
the other new exiles to this land: inexperienced and confused.
In Clan Lord, characters start out the same, and grow more unique over time.
(In many games, characters start off different, but gradually grow more
Playing In Character
Since you’re playing in a world with so many other people, it’s important to
do the best you can as keeping your character consistent with the world —
this is called playing “in character.”
You are playing a fictional character who lacks your experiences. When you
decide how your character reacts to a person or situation, put yourself in
the position of your character.
For example, if your character gets killed by a tough monster, you wouldn’t
say “This game has tough monsters!” What game would your character be
talking about? As far as the characters know, they are in the world they
grew up in. They wouldn’t talk about the world as a game. It might be more
appropriate to say, “There are no beasts so fearsome in my homeland.”
Out of Character
Any time your character exhibits knowledge that they wouldn’t know, or talks
about something that doesn’t exist in the world of Clan Lord, they are “Out
of Character.” This might include talking about your web pages, your
computer, or the latest football scores. Your character doesn’t know
anything about this stuff, and if you talk about it in the game, you’re
spoiling the fantasy experience for other people who hear you.
If you absolutely must talk about something Out of Character, it’s usually
best to whisper it, and precede it with the letters OOC, so people know that
it’s an editorial aside, and not words coming from your character. For
example, you might say, “OOC: Sorry about leaving you in the woods — my
power went out!”
Translating OOC to IC
It’s fun to try to translate “real-world” events so that your character can
discuss them. For example, if the internet or the Clan Lord world server
seem to be slow, you might say, “We’re having terrible weather today.” If
your phone rings, and you can’t play for a few seconds, you might say that
your character is distracted by voices in her head. If you want to talk
about the President’s latest scandal, you might discuss that as if he was
the leader of a far-off country.
In Clan Lord, a cooperative atmosphere is the rule. In general, you’ll find
life difficult — but not impossible — as an “evil” character.
For the most part, you can’t attack other players. There are places, such as
the Arenas or the Badlands, where characters can fight each other, but for
the most part you can’t injure other exiles.
So how can you play an evil character?
It’s tough. You might rather go play Warcraft or Myth or whatever bloody
killing game is popular now. You can kill all the people you want in those,
and after you get it out of your system you can come back and play Clan
Or, if you’re creative, you can role-play an evil character. If you think
about it, you can come up with something. Some people love role-playing with
an evil character. Try whispering to them beforehand and set up a “scene” to
be played out. This scene could end with a duel or battle in the badlands.
Not all evil characters have to kill people though, of course. You could
play a Healer that likes to watch people die, and comment on their observed
pain, or a person that claims to get powers from a dark deity.
Also, while you can’t kill other characters, there’s nothing that prevents
you from lying to them — and a little misinformation can do considerable
evil, if that’s your intent.