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'Does the moon look bigger to you tonight?'

The Sewer Tour Reviewer

Slouching Towards Reunion

The Ataniel Five-Year Reunion Newsletter
Issue Three - May 1997

Well, we're two and a half weeks away from the big reunion, and there's lots of exciting stuff coming together. This "issue", designed to just shoot itself out into the ether directly, rather than fooling around with that damn "paper" stuff, will cover:

Details on Housing
Unfinished Business Non-Titles
The Ataniel Web Page
What You Can Do For Your Country
Prequels, Part One
Secrets of the E-mail Game Revealed
Prequels, Part Two

So, without further ado...

Wherein Doug Relates Many Pieces Of Valuable Information For All

Kay and I will be arriving directly in Baltimore on Thursday, May 22, at 8:ish p.m. That puts us at the hotel at about 9:00, as we'll be able to shuttle directly over from the airport. Anyone else coming in to BWI airport can get a hotel shuttle by calling the hotel for one. We'll check in, get ourselves unpacked and settled, and I suppose we'll hold court there starting at 9:00 pm.

The rooms are in Kay and my names, so unfortunately, there isn't any good way for people to check in before us. Besides, I'd like a little time to get the game stuff set up. If you're getting in from out of town, maybe y'all can meet ahead of time and hang out in the hotel restaurant or something. I don't know. Talk among yourselves.

If you arrive after we get there, just ask the hotel guy which rooms are the Barre/Carter suites. I don't think they'll answer to "the Ataniel Suites", but I'll try to have a nice sign for the door.

As for the collection of the $150 to cover housing, you can get that to us in one of two ways: a) send us a check that arrives before the 19th, so we can deposit it. If we don't get it by the 19th, then we're going to have to kill you or you can... b) give us cash when you arrive on the 22nd. We're credit card free, so we can't float people. So far only Jonah (good man) has paid up.

Each suite has one bedroom and one living room. The bedrooms each have one king-size bed in them. The living rooms each have a queen-size fold out bed. Kay and I get one bedroom to ourselves so that I can, ah, plot the game. Yeah, that's it. The rest of y'all are on your own in terms of setting up bed situations. You might want to bring sleeping bags. Seven people, three beds... I think you'll be able to work something out, and it'll certainly make the game more interesting. "Max! How could you, after last night, y'know, I thought..." We'll all try to get as many pillows as we can get, but you might want to bring your own pillow, blankie, stuffed animal ("Melvin!") or whatever.

Each room comes with a fridge, but we're indeterminate about utensils and such. We'll probably go the disposable route for glasses and plates and stuff, so someone will need to volunteer, but that's a separate article (see "What You Can Do For Your Country", below.) The hotel also has a swimming pool, hot tub, and sauna, so if we all bring embarassingly skimpy swimwear, we'll have enough fodder to mock each other for years.

The rooms are both non-smoking, so if you've taken it up since last time we spoke, you're gross and you'll have to do it outside. We've also been told that there's lots of good delivery food to be had in the area, so that won't be a problem.

Kay and I are both really looking forward to seeing y'all (fifteen days and counting)! Now we've just got to start planning for the ten year one, I suppose. What? Kay, get away from me with that spatula! Nyarrrrgh!

Wherein Doug Taunts You With Some Useless Clues

I was flipping through my notebook the other day, and I found my list of tentative titles for "Unfinished Business". Note that many of them are not only obsolete but factually inaccurate, as the game has changed greatly since the final title was selected. Still, it's an interesting glimpse of things that might-have-been or might-still-be...

"Fear and Loathing in Trade"
"Art of the Deal"
"Heart of the Deal"
"The Strange Case of Dexy LaRue" (see email game article)
"A Rip In Time"
"The Bitch Is Back"
"Looser Ends"
"Nowhere Ends"
"World Without Pity"
"The Invasion"

Don't let these titles lead you too far, though, because I've taken out the two or three that really give secrets about the game away or that I co-opted for Chapter Titles. Just more red herrings to play around with until the real deal gets there.

Wherein Doug Reminds You That Technology Is Your Fiend

Hey! Don't forget that the Ataniel Web Page is now up, thanks to Head Programmer Babe(TM) Kristin Andersen. There's already good stuff on there, and she's updating it daily with all the stuff that we've been sending her.

There's also a form to fill out about the PCs that I hope each of you can spend a little time on sending "in character" reactions to your associate PCs. The more we get, the better the PC site will be, and the more the page will seem like all of our home.

Anything else that you have that you think would go well on the web page, send it in to either me ( or Kris ( The more stuff you send in, the more stuff we'll fill its empty pages with!

Wherein Doug Asks Even More Out Of You

Well, as we busy ourselves with the preparations for the game, I've come to find that there are some things that Kay and I won't be able to bring, primarily due to travel considerations. For this, I call upon you, loyal min... er... players to help us out. If you guys could each sign up to bring something (or somethings, in the food department) potluck style, we can be assured of having everything we need for a horrifi... er... stimulating gaming experience!

CD player (preferrably multi-disc)
Easel (to hold posterboard-sized things)
Cooler with ice and soda (RC for Doug, please!)
Snack food (including Combos, natch!)
A big light (in case of poor lighting)
Some other things that it occurred to me that people might want to bring for themselves, I've compiled into a list (because everyone loves lists!) below:

Appropriate character music
Rulebooks (AD&D, of course)
Sleeping bag
Pillow (including sitting pillows)
Dice (are you listening, EDWARD EINHORN?)
Pencil, paper, clipboard
Tape recorder and blank tapes (does anyone want to volunteer to archive this?)
Swimwear and towel
Appropriate costuming?
Something soft to throw at Doug

Wherein Doug Tells Enticing Rumours and You All Cringe

Some of you may have noticed that by engaging me in extended conversation I let things slip. Some of you (and you know who you are) try to use this to your advantage. Well, ha! It's not going to work! I'm going to spill all sort of good stuff here, and like the stuff I tell you... it might not be true! So there! Hopefully, this will give you a feel for some of the attitudes prevalent in Ataniel today. Perhaps there's even a bit of truth hidden among the lies. Who knows, but it should make for fun reading.

  1. Bane is the vengeance of the gods, brought down to punish us for our hubris.
  2. Eric is dead, and Cynystra is being run by a doppleganger.
  3. The Diarian Underground is secretly funded by a Trade cabal.
  4. The One True Bloodscar is not dead, he is coming to save us all.
  5. The Trade Council is behind the appearance of Bane.
  6. The Trade Council has their own secret police, living among us.
  7. Southern Diaria was destroyed by the Brotherhood of Gila to prevent us from escaping Ataniel.
  8. There have been strange immolations among the clerics of Brionwy lately.
  9. The School of Significance is really a training ground for Cynystran Death Squads.
  10. Onyx and Silverblade have teamed up to rid Ataniel of governmental spies.
  11. Magnate has returned and is wandering the land, incognito, to judge us.
  12. Bryttanwych was swallowed up by a Titan who lives beneath the waves.
  13. The Ansalians are preparing to invade our side of the world.
  14. Duke St. Augustine has returned to Rimbor and bought the soul of Lord Eric.
  15. Bane is a weapon of a space empire, come to destroy our peaceful planet.
  16. Trillarillia Cararia has taken a new form and hunts her enemies.
  17. The Psionic Incident of five years ago gave birth to a new psionic race.
  18. Khyrisse, goddess of Trade, has taken mortal form to find a mate.
  19. Dreams of a dark, shadowy Overlord with eyes of green have been uncommonly frequent.
  20. Illithids have found a way to drain our world of magic through Bane.
  21. Robberies of artifacts in Tobrinel have been on the upswing.
  22. Knighthawke has made a deal with the Brotherhood of Gila to invade Cynystra.
  23. The High Diarian has set into motion an armageddon device.
  24. Someone has a dangerous paperweight collection that's going to destroy the world.
  25. Ariath's still dead.

Wherein Doug Tries To Remember His Plans For The Non-Canonical Email Game

Thanks to Laura, I've recovered the email writings that I did for the late, lamented e-mail game of 1995. I'm not including them here, as they're a bit long, but they'll be available on the web site soon. If you want to go read those first, I'll wait while you refresh your memory.

Hmm, hmm, hmm... Doo de doo de doo... Wubba wubba wubba...

Back? Okay then...

Thousands of years ago, when Ataniel was still a young world, six beings from beyond the Realms We Know arrived to claim this world for themselves. Unfortunately for them, one man, an immoral gambler named Dexy LaRue, had learned of their arrival, and what it meant for the people of Ataniel. Challenging them under the Laws Unbreakable to a game of cards, he cheated them and won back the world of Ataniel. (This, despite Dexy's promise to his lover Kera that he would never cheat at cards again.) As a result, these six, now known as The Cheated, were banished from Ataniel, never to return.

Except one day, a mysterious figure came to The Cheated and explained to them a loophole, how they could still claim this pivotal world for themselves.

That's where you all came in.

Max was given a petroglyph and an amulet by a shaman who was, in reality, the cunning ally of the Six. This amulet would displace the lot of you dimensionally, slowly shifting you through parallel Ataniels (where Signet had different titles, one clue). Travelling through these worlds, you would displace dimensional dopplegangers of yourselves, who would do the work of the Six on Ataniel, hunting down Dexy LaRue, who still had the coin that represented ownership of Ataniel.

Centia was a character who was the combined seven alternates of herself, switching from one to another without control. Through her, and the realization of her nature, you would be able to return to Ataniel.

The petroglyph represented the eight of you, standing astride the seven worlds. The six large figures were The Cheated, separated by the dimensional barrier to their home dimension. The three eyed face was the face of Doctor Anomaly, the only being who wasn't duplicated on the parallel earths (except Centia, but differently). Dr. A would help you on your quest, popping up here and there. Things would also connect to the Ragnarok coming from The Gallows Lord, to the paradoxical rescue of Rip Hunter, and to a few other things, some of which I'm pulling out and using for the Reunion game, so I can't tell you about them. I was even going to have one of the weird alternate realms be the one where the aborted story "Null and Void" took place...

I even had a weird dream-realm where everyone spoke Egg Latin.

If there are any questions about the e-mail game, I'd be happy to answer them, in case I've left some stuff out. Just let me know! Maybe later I'll do an annotation of the file info that we can make Kris hypertextualize.

Wherein Doug Asks You To Tell Him More Stuff

As soon as I get your basic information (see last STR) about where your character's been and what you've been doing, I'll be putting together a small prequel for each of you, setting up for the beginning of the game at the Mithril Dagger (of course!) Anyhow, just to bug you each, I'll tell y'all who I have information from and who I still need, so you can bug your friends to get their butt in gear.

I have: Sunfighter/Laura, Luthien/Evan, Shilree/Jeff, Tila/Kay, Khyrisse/Kris, Praxis/Jonah.

I still need: Ulmo Glub/Ed (does this come as any surprise?), Max/Scott.

I'll be sending those out to each of y'all individually, but unless they're something that you don't want your fellow party members to know, please drop me a note with permission to post them on the Web Site. Also, some of you are doing stories, I know, about what happened in the Five Year Gap. (Black Dawn? Venado Bay? Never mind...) Please let us know if we can Webpage those as well... I'm giving free levels to people who do that.

In Which Doug Has No More To Say... For Now...

Well, that's the latest STR, with all the most up-to-date information on the forthcoming reunion, straight from the mouth (well, hands, actually) of the Evil Dougmaster himself. Looking forward, yada, yada, yada, and I'll see y'all soon!

Evil Dougmaster

'Does the moon look bigger to you tonight?'

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