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If you are reading this, then my suspicions have been confirmed, and I have been rendered incapable of effectively using a mouse, a keyboard, or both. I wish I could say this was entirely unexpected, but I have been anticipating this moment since the last weeks of May.
Some of you may remember me complaining about having trouble with one of my hands on the 23rd. For a brief period, I seemed to make a complete recovery, but this lasted for less than a whole week, and by the time I finally got around to preparing this message on the 4th and 5th of June, I estimated that I would have maybe a week before my symptoms returned in full - and that they probably wouldn't go away again without medical intervention (if at all).
Good News, Bad News
The good news is, there probably is a medical solution, so I'll still be good for something besides doing a Shali imitation and lying in bed all day. As for the bad news... there's a pretty good chance I won't be coming back, even after I've recovered.
For one, NWN2's control scheme seems to be particularly hard on my hands. While I'm sure this has been slowly cooking up for years, the three months I've been on this server definitely haven't helped, and I don't know if I'll be stable enough to afford that kind of wear and tear again. (Who am I kidding? Until now, I've been perfectly comfortable overriding my better judgment to get a little more RP in before all hell breaks loose, so why would I feel any different later? )
However, even if I am crazy, apathetic or simply bored enough to take my chances, I don't think it'll be up to me. If there's one thing I've learned in my nearly-22 years of life, it's that my parents will veto my decisions in a heartbeat if they believe it's worth the trouble. If I've posted this message, chances are I'm about to lose all agency in the matter for the foreseeable future... so that's probably cutting my gaming time down to a big, fat zero. Trying to delay that scenario is why I have so far been reluctant to draw further attention to my ongoing deterioration, as it would deny me the opportunity to control the circumstances of my departure... or the ability to see if I might still bounce back from this. (You can all see how well that worked, huh?)
Speaking of my departure, I have some loose ends that need to be tied up. I would prefer to pretend none of this ever happened, in case I ever come back... but on the timescales we're talking about, this really isn't feasible. So, I'm gonna wrap these up as well as I can, hopefully leaving just enough leeway to make some kind of comeback if the need arises.
Shali Menner Parting Words
I have not written this post to seek pity, or sympathy. Whatever comes next, it is the culmination of a lifetime (if only a brief one ) of deliberate decisions that cannot be undone, decisions which have inevitably locked me onto this path. Decisions whose outcomes I was initially ignorant of, yes, but it would be a mistake to deny just how long I have been aware of the consequences - how long I have told myself "Nah, it'll be okay" or "That won't happen to me," refusing to believe it will come to this until it was far too late to stop it. No - if there is anything about this that is worthy of being pitied, it is the consistently poor judgment that allowed it to happen (and, by the time this is posted, will have continued to do so).
Instead, I have written it for two reasons. One was to provide closure for my characters, yes. But I believe the other one is just as important. You see, even though I've only been here a few months (and spent one of those almost completely offline), I have found something here that I haven't seen in years. Something that should not be left unmentioned, not in what may very well be my final moments as a member of this community.
My first encounter with online gaming was a long time ago, in a number of Star Wars games sometime during the last decade. (Look, that was almost half a lifetime for me! ) I was... not very nice to be around. Nonetheless, as broken as it was, there was a sense of community, finding people with similar interests and... shooting them down or outmaneuvering their fleets and armies, or being pissed off when they did the same to me. Yeah, I'm gonna stick with "not nice" there, but the community bit was satisfying.
Later, a few months after StarCraft 2 first released, I found something else entirely in the "Cortex Roleplay" custom maps. Suddenly, I was with people who shared my own interest in creating and playing out our own adventures instead of mindlessly blowing things up or repeating the same conflicts over and over again. (Not that I don't still do that sometimes.) This was a whole new world for me, and in hindsight, I still wasn't very good at making people like me. Which mattered a lot more in Cortex than it did in, say, Star Wars Battlefront. Despite this, I made a few friends, and one of my greatest regrets in these past 5-6 years has been failing to keep those friendships alive. They went one way, and I just... dropped out.
Since then, I've been wandering from community to community, looking for those magical feelings that I'd lost along the way. Star Ruler 2, Movie Battles 2, Neverwinter, The SWG emulators "Legends" and "[An?] Empire in Flames"... Each of these had something, but none of them felt quite right. EiF was the closest, by far, but the bulk of its population has always been focused on a timeslot that I would not be capable of making for years, at the very least. I could find a community there, but it was perpetually just out of reach, taunting me and my inability to break out of the confines of my European timezone.
And then I found this place. A chain of lucky accidents, both outside and inside the game, simply dropped me into your midst. A community large enough, robust enough that timezones were no obstacle, united by the same goals that have been driving me for nearly a decade. A place to let my imagination run wild, and add one more thread (or seven ) to the fabric of a world that we could enjoy building and exploring together.
I don't know if I'm coming back (though I'm likely to lurk around in Discord from time to time). I don't know if you'll even have to read this, and the closer I am to finishing this message, the more I hope I'm wrong about having to write it. But I know that, whatever happens next, it has been an honor to be a part of this community, and you will all be missed.
Thank you, goodbye...
And good luck.
(P.S. Edited Shali's fate to be slightly more in line with her current level, and made a few minor tweaks to the rest. This morning's encounter with the Krinkraks actually gave her a passable excuse to try snooping around the High Moor...)
(P.P.S. My condition hasn't yet reached the critical stage I originally expected to prompt this message, but it's gotten bad enough that I can no longer make any pretense of normal functionality. So, that's that.
On a lighter note: I don't think I should learn any more Divination spells. I'm obviously predicting the future just fine with the stuff I've got. )
- Max Hatchet
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I’ve had problems in the past with RSI - physical hand problems from computer overuse - if that is one of your problems it can be overcome
Djaimin Shadowcat - Soft hearted archer of Shevarash
- Head Builder
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- Global Admin
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I hope things improve for you in the weeks and months to come: We may not have had an opportunity to write or play together, but I'm glad to hear that you were able to find belonging here with this community.
Know that it should still be here should you recover over time, or should you find alternative ways to play (I don't know if NWN2 would work with voice recognition software, for example, but that might be one way around typing emotes).
Either way, though, thank you for letting everyone know what's going on. I'm sure your characters's friends (and enemies) appreciate having the closure. It's always jarring when a "main character" just disappears into thin air!
I'm glad that you gave them a way to return in the future, too. Hope to see you playing again eventually!
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I may have overestimated just about everything about the current situation. How grossly, I don't know yet, but perhaps letting everyone believe Shali was dead may have been premature. (As was the 'deathbed confession' that made up half of the OP... But, better to say it too soon than not at all! Right? )
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"A bit ex-Zhentric" -Winterborne
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Well, it's only a temporary inconvenience if someone finds you in time to raise you.
Anyway, I've had some more time to reassess the situation. In what is simultaneously a very disappointing and a very convenient turn of events, the only effects of bringing this to my parents' attention have been getting an hour off work this Monday, and strongly-worded recommendations to the effect of "maybe you should tone the gaming down a notch". (Gee, thanks for that bit of insight! How did that never occur to me? )
It's disappointing because it means I have to wait for them to work up to my current mindset before we can move away from the realm of pseudo-educated guesswork and half-solutions. I had hoped that the benefits of raising the issue with them would outweigh the control loss that typically occurs when they've got me under a magnifying glass - evidently, this is not yet the case.
On the flip side, it's convenient because my exit - while still unavoidable - can be handled a little more gracefully than "everyone vanishes for some reason". A little. Also, it greatly improves my projected odds of returning to BGTSCC, so I don't need to make my characters' fates ambiguous anymore. (And, of course, until my condition catches up to the state described in the OP - as I'm sure it will soon enough - I can still pop in on Discord and the forums from time to time.)
Unfortunately, I still have no idea how to kick Silia out of Sshamath for an indefinite period without resorting to the botched(?) assassination attempt. Going after her sister worked once, but that was a task with a predictable (if slightly padded) duration. So yeah, that's going through without any further modifications.
Shali's exit story is going to be tweaked a little, though. She's still going to get in way over her head trying to snoop around the High Moor - to that extent, the OP can be taken as a valid account of what happened. However, she will remain accessible via Sending and other appropriate spells (as will all my other characters, though this will obviously need to be done somewhat asynchronously via forums or Discord), and will have teleported back to the Friendly Arm sometime in the next 48 hours, minus a large chunk of her tunic. After she's had time to clean up, she'll pack up and head back home to spend some time with her family. (I'm hoping to get in a quick session with Isabella before I put her on the next ship to Waterdeep, but failing that, she'll probably leave a letter at Candlekeep or something.)