Bard Instrument Forum

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This forum was edited slighty for length, all essential information is included.

[Global Assembly Room]

The room is so full you can see nothing around you! The only thing that you can make out is the stage with a podium on it. A lone light shines down upon the podium.
Obvious exits: out.

Lyredaen says, "Tonight's forum is for discussion of instruments. I'll do my best to answer yourquestions, with the usual caveats regarding puzzles- don't be too surprised if there are some issues I remain vague on."

Lyredaen says, "I'm only going to take Bard Circle questions if they relate to the instrument modifiers. We'll have another forum for that later."

Lyredaen says, "First, two additions to tell you about..."

Lyredaen says, "I've added a way for you to check your relative skill level. If you'll type PLAY SKILL you'll see what I mean."

Lyredaen says, "Secondly, we just removed the restriction on profession. Non-bards can now play."

Lyredaen says, "Nowathen, the big thing for those of you who are not bards to remember is this:you'll not be able to play as well as a bard. Your skill level will only reach that of apprentice in those classes you wish to learn."

Lyredaen says, "With that, I'll open the question box..." Lyredaen takes the lid off the question box.

Use ASK to submit a question.

Lyredaen says, "Songowl says, 'pan flutes.. you've heard the complaints.. is it on the menu?'"
Lyredaen says, "Actually, it's on the menu to be yanked, purely for the reason that folks complained about it. The ones already out there are the only ones that'll be out there."

Lyredaen says, "Shallowgrave says, 'I would like to know the exact date and by whom the decision was made by to officially refuse to return non-working instruments that were confiscated prior not only to the recent release of working instruments but before anyone here was assigned to instruments at all?'"
Lyredaen says, "That decision was made before I was even on staff. It was relayed to me as policy by the Seniors, and I've followed it as I should have."

Lyredaen says, "Jhernish says, 'What are the levels of play skill?'"
Lyredaen says, "There are four: Novice, Apprentice, Journeyman, and Adept."
Lyredaen says, "As stated before, non-bards can only achieve the Apprentice level." Lyredaen says, "When you reach Adept, you can consider yourself an excellent player."

Lyredaen says, "Nodyre says, 'Will non-bards be able to play all instruments? or only specific ones? And why was there no case for the Cornett's sold at the cloud instrument shoppe?'"
Lyredaen says, "Non-bards can play any instrument they want to, they just will never achieve the same levels bards can." Lyredaen says, "On the second question- it was my shop, and since it was built in the wee hours the night before the Cloud arrived (we were working on the instruments right up til the end) I can only chalk the lack of a cornett case up to extreme fatigue."

Zamperon nods.

Lyredaen says, "I'm sure future travelling merchants will include some."

Lyredaen says, "Scarbarough says, 'are there any plans to change the scripts for different instruments of similar classes so they aren't identical? and are there plans to add more styles of playing? and is adept as high as those even with master quality instruments can go?'"

Lyredaen says, "On the first part: No, the messaging for similar instruments, i.e. flutes and piccolos, will stay the same." Lyredaen says, "On the second part: Right now our goal is to finish implementing the rest of the classes. After that we'll consider more styles." Lyredaen says, "On the third: Yes. Master quality instruments are unrelated to your skill at playing." Lyredaen says, "Adept is the best you can be."

Lyredaen says, "Tanri says, 'What about those who had instruments confiscated, when will they be getting those returned?'" Lyredaen says, "Asked and answered. Based on policy that's been long standing, as of now they are not being returned."

Lyredaen says, "Brynnah says, 'ask 'I am sorry. It's been so long since a forum, I forgot how. Question is--you said that trumpets would never be created. What is your reason for that, considering that they are one of the most ancient and archetypical of instruments? You can always call them trompettes, if you are worried that people will think they have valves and keys.'" Lyredaen says, "When the question originally came up, it was regarding "brass" instruments. What we think of today as "brass"- shiny gold trumpets, saxophones, tubas, you will never see in here. They aren't genre."

Lyredaen says, "Airica says, ''How do we increase our skill level?'" Lyredaen says, "Practice makes perfect." Lyredaen says, "I'm sorry, but we aren't going to tell you the mechanics behind how you improve your skill. Playing is what slowly improves you."

Lyredaen says, "Lemandria says, 'Will skills decline with a lack of practice?'" Lyredaen says, "Nope. Once you know how to ride the bike, you don't fall off."

Lyredaen says, "Chutnee says, 'How long before harps yet? Couple months? Or more?'" Lyredaen says, "A couple of months is probably a good estimate, Chutnee- maybe a little sooner, but that messaging table has barely been started." Lyredaen says, "Each "class" of instruments contains..." Lyredaen says, "Somewhere close to 1300 messages." Lyredaen says, "I didn't really want to know that."

Lyredaen flails her arms about.

Lyredaen says, "So you can see why each one takes some time to complete."

Lyredaen says, "Jazurack says, 'where can we get instruments?'" Lyredaen says, "There are permanent shops now open in the Landing on South Ring Road, and in Icemule Trace in the Commerce Burrow." Lyredaen says, "When I can get them finished I'll open shops on Teras and in Solhaven."

Lyredaen says, "Dremerie says, 'Two quick questions. Will there be away we can squelch the messaging for RP purposes? And, back about a year ago some merchants altered items for three Bards into instruments. When they were confiscated, they were given to understand that they, or instruments very much like them would be returned to them when instruments were released. Is there any word on that?'" Lyredaen says, "There isn't any way to stop the messaging if you're playing. I'm sure you've easily noticed that the messages fire automatically about every 30 seconds, which you can modify by retyping PLAY yourself. If you do that, the round time resets to 30 seconds."

Lyredaen says, "It was a good time span we thought- I used to perform some when I played. That gives you time to sing verse if you choose, and change the messaging styles in between, or force them to appear. In response to the second part- as I have already stated, this has been policy since I was on staff. I've never told a player differently, and cannot speak for any GM who may have done so."

Lyredaen says, "Shantson says, 'Is there a direct correlation between ranks and age?'" Lyredaen says, "Only in the sense that the older bards can learn slightly faster than young ones." Lyredaen says, "If you put in the practice, you could achieve Adept at any level."

Lyredaen says, "Sadryne says, 'Can you explain the relative difference between a regular instrument and a master-class instrument? And how this difference will affect the playing of non-Bards, if it does at all?'" Lyredaen says, "Master-class instruments have one special feature that you can't see until you are an Adept. I decline to answer further... it's part of the discovery for you, and I would really rather not ruin it."

Lyredaen says, "Kakzuz says, 'Any clue when the bugs to percussion will be fixed? Such as tuning and why they play themselves on a fast script? Or when there might be more styles fer them?'" Lyredaen says, "I posted this on the message boards a couple of weeks ago, but I realize not everyone reads them..." Lyredaen says, "The BUG and TYPO tables were effectively broken from early January til mid-February. The GM who is responsible for them did not realize this."

Lyredaen says, "I discovered it when I checked that system after hearing bards say they reported bugs I wasn't getting, so anything you filed before say, 10 days ago, please refile it. I have fixed what I was able to get from the reports, but I have a feeling most were filed the week following the Cloud, when the tables weren't working properly."

Lyredaen says, "Krackenstar says, 'How can 1030 be of more use to instrument users when you are over 50th level , when hands free is going to get you killed ? '" Lyredaen says, "It depends upon what/how/where you hunt. I'm not going to make the bardic class a walking pure-spellcasting profession by virtue of holding an instrument- the bonuses are being added to fulfill you the players' wishes to have instruments aid songs."

Lyredaen says, "They do help, but they won't make you invincible. In particular, the bonus to 1020 is very nice, and certainly helpful. On a total side note, I've already sent a proposal to the Seniors/PMs regarding the DS problems for older bards. I only await their permission on a few things."

Banthis says, "There are some proposals in for review by my peer group that address some of the concerns you folks have been ... er what she said."

Lyredaen says, "I know it's hard at older levels. Varevice has taken over responsibility for the Rift area, and I believe she's going to do her best to address the imbalance issues for squares and semi's there." Lyredaen says, "Anyway- back to instruments..."

Lyredaen says, "Whitedove says, 'I am really new at the bard profession so my question may sound silly, but your skill level for playing does that go up with you normal trainings or is there another way. and where can I find more info on this type of traing?'" Lyredaen says, "You get better at your instrument by playing it. Training in the character manager doesn't help you, as for more info... I am sure that any bard would be happy to visit with you. We also have an Instrument topic in the Bard section of the Message Boards, where questions and answers are posted."

Lyredaen says, "Songowl says, 'alright then.. given that they are slated for removal, will we see pan flutes again in another batch?'" Lyredaen says, "Given the objections, they would require an entire separate messaging table (read: 1300 messages). So if they return, it will be after Strings, after drums, after bagpipes."

Lyredaen says, "Hanzhel says, 'how do the levels work on different instrutments. can you be adept at more then one and is it easier for the second, thrid, etc'" Lyredaen says, "If you are a bard, and you practice instruments from all the classes, you could eventually become Adept at all of them." Lyredaen says, "It's no easier for the second class than the first. We do give you "freebies" in the sense that you can play instruments common to one class with the same skill- for example, if you're an Adept at the flute, you're also Adept at the piccolo."

Lyredaen says, "Jhernish says, 'Will you please give us a performance to show us the range that an adept player has in performing?'" Lyredaen exclaims, "Maybe later- that would take awhile!"

Lyredaen says, "Femereff says, 'must you reach skill level in each catagory and instrument, or is skill level all encompasing? and Do you gain skill level faster if playing for a larger audience?'" Lyredaen says, "You have to reach the skill in each class. Once you have reached it, you get it for all instruments in that class, and no- Zamperon can vouch for the fact that when we started this project, I was adamant about being able to practice in private. The number of people present makes no difference- you are learning your craft just as well in a quiet practice room as in TSC."

Lyredaen says, "Ylena says, 'Lyredaen, the random quality of message appearance combined with our lag sometimes makes for some jarring results when using instruments in a performance. What is the possibility we could get (1) a suppress message option, which would allow us to suppress messages other than the start play and stop play, and (2) What about the ability to pick WHICH message appears?'" Lyredaen says, "There probably will never be a way to suppress them. We have been discussing our options when it comes to allowing you to choose the messages that appear."

Lyredaen says, "However, I will shortly be implementing a new verb that will allow you to submit messages for future additions to the tables."

Banthis says, "The ability to pick from your available messages is something I'd like to see Zamperon or Lyredaen look at for a future modification to the PLAY verb."

Lyredaen says, "You'll be able to compose and submit messages, which will be reviewed, and if they fit, will be included in the messaging tables." Lyredaen says, "We built the tables to include capacity for twice the messaging they currently hold. We're very optimistic."

Lyredaen says, "Scarbarough says, 'what classes of instruments will there be when they're all implemented, if you don't mind saying?'" Lyredaen says, "Let's see... currently we have some percussion in the form of tambourines and cymbals, a woodwinds group that includes flutes, piccolos and fifes, and a horn-type group that includes wooden lysards, crumhorns, etc. Still to come we have bagpipes/cornemuses, another percussion set that includes a number of drums such as tabor and tympani, and the strings- harps, zithers, psalterys, dulcimers, etc. We'll make decisions about adding more classes/styles after everything we currently have on the table is finished."

Lyredaen says, "Kederijan says, 'You mentioned there are four levels of skill.. so is there any way to determine what our skill is without resorting to guesses, estimates or the like? Secondly, will instruments break or decline in quality with lack of tuning? And if yes (keeping in mind I tend to tune mine once a day), roughly how often will it actually be required?'" Lyredaen says, "As a matter of fact... tonight I rolled in a change to the PLAY verb that allows you to check your skill level."

Lyredaen says, "Yes, instruments will decline in quality and eventually become unplayable if you never tune them." Lyredaen says, "Everyone seems so fascinated with tuning that I haven't seen it happen yet." Lyredaen says, "As far as how often you need to tune, it depends upon how much you play. I'll have to come up with a creative way for you to detect the instrument's current "tune status"."

Lyredaen says, "Solan says, 'Is Charisma a factor in the play skill?'"

Banthis says, "I would guess you guys should not have to worry so much about tuning as a non-bard who cannot tune at all. They'll be coming to you now and again for that service."

Lyredaen says, "Nope." Lyredaen says, "To Solan's question, that is." Lyredaen says, "Actually, Banthis is reminding me I already added a facet to loresinging to tell you the tuning status."

Lyredaen says, "Poiniard says, 'Can we look forward to seeing perhaps a Loenthran merchant in the future?'" Lyredaen says, "Of that I am quite certain." Lyredaen says, "You'll be seeing much more of the elves."

Lyredaen says, "Brynnah says, 'I was asking about the in-genre and in-period trumpets. The long metal things with bell-shaped mouths that play the harmonic series. Angels play in 11th century church carvings, and heralds play to announce the king, in every world that's ever been created. What is your stand on those?"'" Lyredaen says, "As I said, no stand at the moment. They are not included in the set of classes we are currently trying to complete. When these are done, we'll consider adding more."

Lyredaen says, "Chutnee says, 'Can someone with a master class instrument gain proficiency faster?'" Lyredaen says, "No."

Lyredaen says, "Lemandria says, 'May we get at least some idea which (other) songs will be modified by instrument use in days to come?'" Lyredaen says, "I actually already worked on 1001 and 1008, although I have not made them live yet. 1002 will be included, 1015, and a number of the songs still in development as well." Lyredaen says, "The only ones we know will not be affected are straight defensive songs and offensive songs."

Lyredaen says, "Isong says, 'Could you hint at some of the advantages that will be had within the lower levels?'" Lyredaen says, "Uhm, I have no idea what this question is referring to..." Lyredaen nods to Isong, who stands up to address the assembly.

Lyredaen asks, "Can you clarify a bit?"

Isong asks, "Will the lower levels be effective at modifying some of the spells, when playing?" Lyredaen says, "It depends upon your skill level with the instrument. Being an Adept, playing a two-handed instrument, will give you a much better boost than being a Novice playing a tambourine."

Lyredaen says, "Merely having skill isn't enough- it's the level of skill that counts for a great deal."

Banthis says, "In most cases, I believe, the actual benefit is not modified by your level of training in your profession."

Lyredaen says, "Another question about instrument replacements is being skipped. I think I've answered on that subject to the fullest of my ability."

Lyredaen says, "Sadryne says, 'I'll ask the greedy question. Are we going to see alterers anytime soon that work on instruments only?'" Lyredaen says, "Sure. I've already done that myself, and I'm certain there will be more to follow."

Lyredaen says, "Coricopat says, 'A couple of questions, how do you know if you have a master-class instrument? and is there any chance of adding something like increased experience absorption while playing, sorta like a cleric meditating?'" Lyredaen says, "To tell if it's a master, you can loresing it, and as previously stated, a master-quality instrument does nothing to help you learn faster."

Lyredaen says, "Kakzuz says, 'is there a way to change playing style without playing until the round time is up? And will there be any way to check precisely the number of 'ranks" as we have call them.. or the number of time you have felt a sense of accomplishment? Might there be more master's instruments sold? And any idea on when the bardic songs might finish being implemented? I have noticed a lot of work on Clerics but hardly any on bardic'"

Lyredaen says, "If you wanted to change the style, you would need to beat the timer with your input. And No, the PLAY SKILL utility is as specific as we get with your skill level. Master-quality instruments were designed to be raffle/auction items only. I'm sure we will continue to do both with them." Lyredaen says, "They will never be sold on the counter of a shop. If everyone had a 10x falchion, 10x falchions wouldn't be very special."

Banthis says, "Pretty darn close to plenty of +50 falchions out there right now..."

Lyredaen says, "As for the last part, as I requested earlier, this is an instrument forum and not a song forum. Songs are being worked on- updates are posted on the boards and in the News when songs are added/updated."

Lyredaen says, "Femereff says, 'When i asked about becoming skilled in a class i wasnt asking about instrument class (sorry fer my confusion) , i meant do we have to learn each style, such as; fast, slow, aimless, somber, etc'" Lyredaen says, "No, you don't have to learn each style- practicing an instrument within the class is what allows you to learn it, regardless of whether you play aimlessly or jauntily."

Lyredaen says, "Xris says, 'An idea...how about style 1...2..3 make it up us to learn through practice which is witch is what message'" Lyredaen says, "This is under discussion among us already. We'd like to come up with something a little more in-character than PLAY AIMLESS 9, but we'll have to see."

Lyredaen says, "Arianiss says, 'Is it possible for a butcher category, or a "really bad" category in the future? This being the first time I've ever had possession of an instrument, I do not expect to be putting together musical pieces and from one who's not inclined to music, the scripts for the beginner aren't all that bad..'" Lyredaen says, "It cracks me up that you guys want this..." Lyredaen says, "Back before instruments were implemented, all I heard was "We aren't gonna play bad are we, cause if so I quit!""

Lyredaen says, "But yes, there is potential to add it as a style. New classes/styles will be considered after the current groups are complete."

Banthis says, "It would introduce some interesting roleplaying possibilities." Lyredaen nods.

Lyredaen says, "Ylena says, 'You've stated on the boards that master quality instruments are going to be rare. How rare? Do you envision them being a special auction item, or a quest item, or raffle items? It would be nice, since they're special, to have the opportunity to earn one.'" Lyredaen says, "Auction/raffle."

Lyredaen says, "If merely becoming Adept qualified you to get a master-class instrument, that would defeat the whole intention behind them. They are meant to be rare." Lyredaen says, "You can be a world-class violinist, but not own a Stradivarius."

Lyredaen says, "Jhernish says, 'I think I remember your mentioning "Colorful" songs a while back. Did that become a reality? '" Lyredaen says, "No idea what this is asking..." Lyredaen nods to Jhernish, who stands up to address the assembly.

Jhernish says, "I think I heard you mention that our songs would not only be words but express colors in others eyes lile whispering appears blue to me"

Lyredaen says, "Hm... don't remember anything like that." Lyredaen says, "If you're referring to the colors in the Wizard, the individual would have to set that up themselves."

Jhernish says, "I mean that the songs would force themslves on peoples eyes" Banthis says, "Something we'll have to forward to Keith perhaps.. it would require a way to highlight multiple lines." Lyredaen says, "I'm sorry Jhernish, still doesn't make sense to me." Jhernish says, "Oh .. so when an adept person plays a somber song .. everyone using the Wizard would see gray" Lyredaen says, "Ahh."

Jhernish says, "Make more sense I hope" Lyredaen says, "The only way they would is if they chose to trap for those strings in the Wizard and color the results themselves. I don't think Keith could do that, and not sure we'd want him to- we would not want to force highlights on anyone." Lyredaen nods to Jhernish.

Lyredaen says, "Halomantis says, 'at what skill level can you tune at?'" Lyredaen says, "You can tune when you're a Novice, but you need to practice a bit first. If you wanted to count your feelings of accomplishment, it'd be four, however only bards can tune. Even though other professions can play, they can't tune."

Lyredaen says, "Brynnah says, 'By the way, I've been gibbering with delight, ever since the instruments showed up, and particularly tonight, with the news that non-bards can play. But, any plans to make tuning instruments take a semi-reasonable amount of time, instead of the blink-of-an-eye that it takes now? And--what is the pan-flute problem the very first question spoke of?'" Lyredaen says, "I've thought about adding a round time to tuning but not pursued it yet. Tuning isn't the most incredible thing, but we needed a way to decrement the instrument's viability if it wasn't cared for, and a verb to let you care for it. TUNE was the obvious choice."

Lyredaen says, "The problem with pan flutes is that some of the messages in that class table address fingering issues that don't necessarily apply. So they'll be gone until another table can be developed for them."

Lyredaen says, "Chutnee says, 'Kind of silly question, but gotta ask... If we are fortunate enough to acquire a master class instrument and let's say it is decorated with oh, purple birds and I have an alterer change it to gold sprites, would the master quality of the instrument be retained? Considering the delicacy of these things?'" Lyredaen says, "They'll stay as they are Song, and get switched later. If you really hate yours I can certainly subtract the pan from it."

Lyredaen says, "Yes, Chutnee, but since I know I raffled no instrument decorated with purple birds..."

Lyredaen says, "Tanri says, 'Since it's been refused to return out instruments to us, will we be getting a chance to get master quality replacements?'" Lyredaen says, "Master-quality instruments are raffle and auction items only." Lyredaen says, "As far as the replacement issue, asked and answered."

Lyredaen says, "Poiniard says, 'How does one tune, say, a flute?'" Lyredaen says, "See above. TUNE was the best single verb we could come up with to use on the classes in general. We needed a way for you to maintain them."

Lyredaen says, "Arianiss says, 'You stated that playing an instrument and singing bardsongs will help the spells, what if you invoke a bardsong?'" Lyredaen says, "You have to be playing when you sing the spellsong. Since you can't hold rune paper and invoke and play two-handed instruments at the same time, this is mostly a moot issue." Lyredaen says, "I can't remember if invocation requires two hands or one- Banthis is checking."

Zamperon says, "2 hands"

Lyredaen says, "Holding the scroll in one hand, you must have the other free. So no instrument bonus for invoking, sorry. Hm, unless you invoke to prepare and then begin to play. The last part of this to remember is that the spell bonus is directly tied to your skill with the instrument." Lyredaen says, "If you are a non-bard the best you can be is apprentice, which isn't going to get you a very large bonus."

Lyredaen says, "Krackenstar says, 'Before I forget , I would, and I am sure we all would, like to thank you both for coming by and doing this session , its good to hear these things . My question is will instruments be at risk when held if breakage returns ? '" Lyredaen says, "We're still discussing that, I dunno yet. If it does come into play, I will make sure it's announced so that you aren't surprised by it."

Lyredaen says, "Kakzuz says, 'Will a instrument degrade to th point then that it can ne'er be used again, even if you tune them? And actually a point of history is that some advanced pan flutes in medevil times used at court did include fingering as well as multiple reeds though they are rare for a pan flute wasnae a 'courtly' instrument... And will there ever be any tuning or care items for instruments other than cases similiar to the rosin and oil used by archers.. Like strings or reeds or a wood oil or tunings keys for instruments'" Lyredaen says, "If you never tune an instrument, yes it can eventually become unplayable."

Lyredaen says, "As for the second part, I defer and will allow you to argue it out with Songowl, who has wailed mightily about their inclusion." Lyredaen says, "And yes, there will be implements sold by merchants (mine anyway) like polishing cloths and such. They won't be required for maintenance, however."

Lyredaen says, "Lauranathalasa says, 'Are there any other verbs one learns to use on an instrument as one progresses in skill, such as tuning?'" Lyredaen says, "PLAY, STOP, and TUNE are the verbs involved with the instrument system, there are no others."

Lyredaen says, "Chutnee says, 'I believe this was addressed on the boards at one time, but not sure what answer was... Would it ever be considered to have masters in a class be able to "teach" someone else an instrument in their master class only of course and aid in the student in quicker proficiency? Let's say perhaps as a bard guild skill?'" Lyredaen says, "That style of skill progression is in use in the parallel world... but no, not here. It is up to you to practice."

Lyredaen says, "Arianiss says, 'If you don't tune an instrument, will it show signs of degrading over time? IE, the script shows the wear and tear on the instrument during the song, or will your first notice that something isn't right (aside from loresinging) be when you can't play it?'"

Lyredaen says, "Actually, I'd have to defer to Zamperon for that one. He wrote the TUNE verb. Loresinging will tell you if it is out of tune, but I don't believe there is any other way to tell."

Zamperon says, "ok as for instruments going out of tune, as an instrument goes out of tune, the quality of the messaging will be reduced, and if you keep playing it while its out of tune it will become unplayable. Tuning the instrument at that point will return it to its normal operation. I've had thoughts of making the instrument slowly degrade if you always let it go out of tune though, so that at one point it will need tuning all the time to even use, but thats just an idea and something Lyredaen and I would ned to discuss"

Lyredaen says, "One additional note about the "quality of messaging"... what actually happens is that you get less messaging. If you normally see a variety of 5 messages, for example, as your instrument goes out of tune you'd see fewer and fewer, til you only got the same one, and finally none when it went completely out of tune." Lyredaen says, "You don't get a message specifically stating it's out of tune, nor a "bad" playing message."

Lyredaen says, "Kakzuz says, 'Will an instrument degrade to the point of being unable to fix?'" Lyredaen says, "You can get it back by TUNEing it, until/unless Squirelly and I do something like his suggestion regarding eventual ruination for ill-kept instruments."

Dated:  February 1999

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