The Pyroto Observer
an entirely unofficial take on current events in the land of Pyroto

Sorry this edition is late -- first I was unhealthy, then my computer was. We're both okay now, so let's get to it before everyone renames again.

Wizzy Busy
A number of significant changes to the way Pyroto works have been introduced since the last edition:

  • the Ether now keeps track of which channels have new messages, and will allow wizards to go straight to the last message read
  • Ether channels now really do get deleted if they sit unusued for seven days
  • Hurl has been moved from the main spell list to the top of messages; costs have been changed
  • the ability to Hurl ether messages has been introduced
  • support has been changed to allow mountains to support a greater number of magenta wizards more easily
  • the Suggest spell has been suspended
  • the ability to Catapult non-magenta wizards from one mountain to another, without permission, has been introduced
  • the ESP spell has been reintroduced, apparently with fewer bugs
Many of these changes relate to the imminent arrival of the biggest change so far, the official introduction of "Phase II: The Plain". Unfortunately, TPO has been sworn to secrecy about "The Plain" for the time being.

Prodigals on Pyroto
Two hours after the last edition of TPO welcomed the Prodigals clan to Pyroto Mountain, the Prodigals and a previously unknown wizard named Dolphin_4u initiated a massive attack on Pyroto pinnacle wizards FFTobago and Ninjalicious.
       The basics of the attack are these: under different names (or named only as space characters), Soulrift kamikazied Ninjalicious, Sekhmet kamikazied FFTobago, Andreus reduced FFTobago and MsMittens reduced Ninjalicious. Dolphin_4u kamikazied both FFTobago and Ninjalicious while they were at the bottom, costing them no levels but a fair chunk of esteem. The Prodigals then kept the two wizards in negative at the bottom of the mountain while they repaired their own wounds, hurled a few messages, posted some messages posing as Ninjalicious, and did some damage control. The attackers issued a proclamation explaining their attack and their rules regarding the defeated wizards; on the web, Ninjalicious offered a retort.
       A variety of wizards, mainly from Pyroto and Restlech, spoke up against the attack and the Prodigals' rule that no wizard could promote FFTobago or Ninjalicious. Bestowals and promotions to FFTobago and Ninjalicious came anyhow, from Pyrotians Venus and Serena Williams, Nighty, Darkfox, Persephone, DigitalMan, JadeMage, Hedwig, Amado, and even from Thargor, who referred to himself as "the Prodigal with a conscience" and denounced his teammates' actions. Promotions and bestowals were also forthcoming from Restlechians Prince of Thieves (who also kamikazied Sekhmet in protest) and Isabell. Opposition to the Prodigals increased after MsMittens reduced FFTobago and Ninjalicious again to remove the levels they'd been given by Isabell; MsMittens later explained she hadn't realized that reduce did a great deal of damage to esteem.
       As the other Prodigals migrated off Pyroto or became inactive, Soulrift gradually began to soften his stand against the fallen wizards and their friends. After DigitalMan, Darkfox and Prince of Thieves first violated the Prodigals' rule against offering promotions to the fallen wizards, Soulrift initially attacked them but then restored their levels and even bestowed them. Not long after, Soulrift announced that the ban against promoting FFTobago and Ninjalicious was lifted, and soon enough, he began to promote and bestow the two fallen wizards himself. Soulrift continued to promote and bestow FFTobago and Ninjalicious until they were both returned to the pinnacle with maximum manna (though with seriously damaged esteem), and then joined his teammates in evacuating Pyroto.

Dolphin in Distress
A wizard no Pyrotian had ever heard of named Dolphin_4u migrated to Pyroto Mountain one day prior to the Prodigal attack, and sat silently at level 100 with neglible esteem until the Prodigals had rendered FFTobago and Ninjalicious vulnerable to a Kamikaze by her. She then attacked both without explanation, logging off without having ever posted a message on Pyroto.
       Like many mountains, Pyroto has a rule against abuse of the Kamikaze spell, so Nighty was quick to dunk the dangerous newcomer into negative. Though both Soulrift and Dolphin_4u's real-life ex, Lou, repeatedly attempted to bestow Dolphin_4u out of negative, various Pyrotians including Nighty, DigitalMan, Venus and Serena Williams, FFTobago, Thoth and Bison were determined to prevent her from Kamikazing again. Their resolve to keep her down was strengthened when Dolphin_4u came out of negative only long enough to threaten wizards and insult the mountain.
       Lou and Soulrift continued to plead Dolphin_4u's case, explaining how eager she was to play Pyroto, and eventually FFTobago agreed that Dolphin_4u should be allowed out of negative long enough to migrate away to another mountain. In the midst of this conversation, however, the servants introduced the Catapult spell, and Lou simply Catapulted Dolphin_4u away to Piafil Tons.
       Taking a liking to the new spell, Lou then reduced and Catapulted DigitalMan and Deadmandead to distant Nettrivaerb, where his friends Thermal and Diecide were waiting in ambush. Thermal immediately began draining DigitalMan, but DigitalMan climbed quickly in bonus and was able to turn the tables and dunk Thermal and Diecide instead. FFTobago was then able to catapult the two kidnapped wizards back to Pyroto.
       As for the wizard who wanted to play Pyroto so badly she caused an intermountain war, Dolphin_4u was last seen on 5747 (27 days ago).

Bean Snatcher -> Pumpking
Dil~pickle -> Dil~icious
Hades -> Tzeentch
Jard -> PazClafi
Lord Tamislane -> Jemalas
Nighty -> E
Rhiannon -> Aversiera
Sekhmet -> Ming
Souldance -> [Nemesis]
Soulrift -> Pwyll
Thoth -> Keeper_of_Secrets
Venus and Serena Williams -> I_really_miss_spaces!!74
Wan_fam -> Duckpond

(Soup -> as yet unknown)


Soup Scorched, Redux by Bricker Prime
The second appearance of the Soup in The Land was filled with just as much drama, contention, and intrigue as his first run, compressed into a much shorter timeframe, and ending with the same denouement.
       Or an innocent wizard was targeted for transgressions he never committed, hounded unmercifully, and run out of civilized Pyroto society, as well as the game.
       It all depends on how you look at it.
       Readers may recall that the wizard Soup, once a ranker on Restlech, was ousted by concerted action of Tandyman and Havok, with assistance from others, and moved to Pyroto, where he attacked a random wizard and was Banished by Pyroto ranker Ninjalicious. Prior to that, he had been involved in numerous altercations, both through messages and attack spells, with numerous other wizards both on and off Restlech.
       Several weeks after the Banishment of Soup, a new wizard named HarmonyJones attracted notice on Broppsfar for fast climbing and a remarkably quick grasp of the game. Rumors began to circulate that HarmonyJones was the reincarnation of Soup, and these rumors gained some substance when Harmony migrated to far-off and otherwise deserted Workalk Mountain, and renamed to Chowder, although continuing to deny any association with the old wizard Soup.
       These denials were lost on perennial Soup-hater BunnyTNG, who moved to Workalk as well and Proclaimed a new Workalk rule that wizards on Workalk had to be honest about what wizards they used to be. Since the only two wizards on Workalk were Chowder and Bunny, this seemed to be simply an excuse to invite attack - and Chowder attacked Bunny, who responded by Draining Chowder into negs. The wizard Soulrift (now Pwyll), then a Paz Clafi resident, got into the issue by restoring both Bunny and Chowder.
       Chowder, at the invitation of several Paz Clafi wizards (to include this author), relocated to Paz Clafi, where the mountain's policies would reverse any "unjustified attack" against him. He spent several weeks there, building up esteem and levels, before migrating to Restlech - only to be immediately Kamikazed by Soup-hater Angel123. Chowder returned to Paz Clafi.
       While working on rebuilding his esteem, now damaged by the latest attacks, Chowder discovered the Ether channel "Big Beautiful Women", and posted some excorciating messages there at what he apparently thought was a grievous double standard espoused by channel participant and Imaz ranker Smallkat. Smallkat, of course, felt she was perfectly justified in putting her opinions in an Ether channel dedicated to such opinions. It was during this time that Chowder, while continuing to deny he was the old Soup, renamed to Soup, seeking, as he said, to rehabilitate the name.
       Soup continued to needle Smallkat, and other Imazians who came to her defense. The Imazians were not about to let written attacks on their character or their beloved wizard Smallkat go unanswered, and they responded with a series of Demotes and Drains aimed at Soup on Paz Clafi. The Paz Clafi rankers (again including this author) viewed these as "unjustified attacks," and reversed them - even though we were all very unhappy at our high principles being used in defense of such a low goal. This irked the Imazians, who viewed Paz Clafi's failure to muzzle this troublemaker as foolish in the extreme. This author, in fact, spent a fair amount of time on Imaz's Magenta band, arguing for the 'Ignore' spell - that is, that Soup's needling should be ignored, and not dignified with notice and attacks.
       But tensions were rising - wizards on both Imaz and Paz Clafi began to discuss the possibility of outright war between mountains. Angel123 migrated to Paz and attacked Soup, asking this author to Banish her as she was sick of playing the game. Soup, turning the burner flame up another notch, renamed again, this time to YT-Tiger - the former name of YT-Tigress, a former Restlech wizard and now an Iard Crimleu ranker. She was discomfited, to say the least, since the postings by Soup/YT-Tiger were not sentiments she wanted to be associated with. She asked, and then demanded, that Soup rename; he refused.
       Assisted by Soulrift/Pwyll, YT-Tigress took matters into her own hands - she migrated to Paz Clafi and Banished Soup, bringing the second incarnation of Soup to an end. Since Banish is not reversible by any means, this rendered moot any attempt by Paz Clafi to judge whether appropriating a name was justifiable cause for attack.
       During Soup II's tenure, he raised one point which remains unanswered, although the actions of many of the wizards might give a clue to how many feel about it. Soup claimed, in Ether messages, that he wasn't the old Soup. He said that it was irrelevant whether the human that controls the wizard was the same - a new wizard is a new wizard, and to hang wizard number two for the sins of wizard number one was not only wrong, but a violation of the spirit of the meta-rules.
       If Soup has risen from the dead a third time and walks among us once more, he's been remarkably circumspect in his actions; no one knows if he's around or not. But left unanswered is the deeper question: is a new Soup a new wizard, or Part III of the contentious Broth Wars?

Eight Minutes of Fame
Iard Crimleu wizard A Cappelican recently set the record for "shortest tenure at pinnacle", when she migrated from Iard Crimleu to Imaz only eight minutes after reaching the top. Here, she explains why she gave up the top spot:
       "As soon as I hit Penta I got bored. Also, I climbed the last 50+ levels expensively and wanted to power-climb 'em.
       "I feel one earns levels more if they are the one who climbs them, and was proud of having done it myself. I've played Pyroto for years, and haven't seen a lot of wizards who make all the way to the top without promotions. I got dragged into the Magenta Chicks - after asking NOT to be promoted, I found myself pulled up nearly 100 levels - but with migrations had lost most of the levels I was given.
       "I made the mistake of mentioning my independence and got comments about being a team player, how unsolicited promoting of lower-level wizards was encouraging, and how I apparently saw climbing as "nothing more than answering trivia" etc. I decided if my methods were so at odds with Iard, then I didn't want to be on Iard.
       "I could have just migrated to an uninhabited mountain to fall, but when you have esteem to climb into the 400s, where's the challenge? And it wouldn't have been fair to move to an INHABITED mountain with that kind of power. So I gave my manna to the remaining Pentas and Kamikazed myself. I asked to be Banished, though I hear they have refused, saying (despite my obvious intentions to the contrary) they want to keep A Cappelican active in case I want to come back. If I do, it'll be a new character on a new mountain, I am done with Iard Crimleu."

The Standings (now featuring underlined pinnacle wizard names!)
       Pyroto. FFTobago and Ninjalicious now share the pinnacle with recent immigrants Dil~icious, Keeper_of_Secrets and UPSman. Also newly arrived at the pinnacle are natives DigitalMan and E (formerly Nighty), who made it to the top in excellent time without receiving any mass promotions. Other magentas include [Nemesis], Loren_Silvercloak, Hedwig, JadeMage, Pumpking, Persephone. The indigo ranks are fortified by Noodle Dwarf, Kwani, Jimbo, Buggy, Deadmandead, Bison, Darkfox, I_really_miss_spaces!!74, Jemalas, Belgora, Cara_Mystique, Amado, Purple_Haze, and Tzeentch.
       Imaz. Imaz continues to be magenta mountain. At the tippy-top are AvylaJewelSynda, Havok, Mr.Paul, Munch, Polaris1, and Smallkat; they are trailed by a slew of other magentas including Squawkk, Annabelle, Snowflake, Danielle1, Dark_shadow, Dawnfire, Denizen, Drunk Troll, LadyFreya, Nibsy, Pegasuss, Sangiovese1, Saphirelc, Thurin, Zak, DejUhlVek, Jacee, JulianBaynes, Elgjeff, Saltire, Punky, AceWebster, Iksniper, and Philo. Imaz's indigoes are DaveM, Elder, Freyja, Kikenbak, mayed, Sadie7Seven, Serea, Kwil, Modaddy, Charilee, Cygnals, Cjilgott, @pril, Slumber, Robyn, ScarletRose, and muffley.
       Restlech. Since the last edition, Restlech has finally entered the pinnacle era, with Restlechians Harlequin, MetalTiger and Sethari occupying the top spot; lower magentas include Banaque, Kornbread420, NILREM, Rogueheart, DieKhan, Isabell, Thalamus, Silverleaf, and Speedfreack. Restlech's indigoes include Rooster7, daMuppet, Insider, Tempest, Draccon, and Algonquin.
       Broppsfar. Broppsfar has also entered the pinnacle era, with Broppsfarians Amsha, Eij, and Laffsman occupying that post along with inner-realm wanderer AmbushBug. The big pinkies on Broppsfar include Magenta Lizard, BigHairedTelevangelist, Duckpond, Imbrium, Ssiren, Joop, WyndeRiter, Barnabas, Manhattan, Duckfoil, JBlaster, Ecoliguy and Mabo. Broppsfar's indigoes are Copious, Gwynnifer, Bubba, Ljdarten, Zeno, DoctorWho, Ghola, PantherBoi, Cowboy Bebop, Venison, IAmAVerb, Mofo, Synergy, Hoffman, OjosOscuros, Gorob, Cayne, Sark, Cabot, Willbow, DayTurns2Night, LIX, and Strax.
       Paz Clafi. Bricker Prime, Falc, Sloopie, Subotai, and SuezQz are at the the peak, with Phronk, Turin, Corrado, BigRoryG, Fionn Mac Cumhail, Huh?, Thargor, Jart, CampGrrrl, Crabbymom, Clope, Hemiola, Severina, and Versifex further down. MadPoet, Vivamus, PbZep, Parking_god, Lord_Morpheus, BunnyTNG, Orpheus, Joram, Harrimaniac, Daelen, Dratsum, gerGin, Arterio, Jck_in_the_box, Vanyel, BillyHack, Bugman, Maya, Indiana, Fire$tarter, Mrgoob, Genitalia, Ezebezeb and PazClafi constitute the indigo band.
       Iard Crimleu. Iard Crimleu has become the primary roost of the Prodigals and has also entered the pinnacle era; currently, Chameleon, Jekyl, Ming, Pwyll, and YT-TIGRESS are at the peak, with Syrdarya, Myriad, Prometheus119, Zanzeeb, Clare, Brinn, Mr.Moonlight, Vidiot, MsMittens, and Kestra populating the Magenta band. Genessy, Koyn, Stamback, GurnB, Ellemir, SixthRhyme, Cid, Whammo, and Daisyboo comprise the Indigoes.
       Smihosdahm Smodira. This former hermit peak is the first mountain to become a ghost town, though there may have been one or two ghost hamlets before. After much conflict and silliness, Smihosdahm Smodira's six previous residents have all left the game or moved on to other slopes.
       Piafil Tons. No pinnacle wizards or natives yet. Arganon has the magenta band to his or herself; indigoes are ex-Sosopians Myrkjarten and Marauder and ex-Smodiran SunTzu.
       Ri Shoo. Info not available due to Ri Shooan shyness.
       Rumo. Iffirlili's twin peak remains dominated by the Venerable Masters of Sorcery clan, with BobTheWonderChicken, Hobo and Ultimate at magenta and Kiera, Larkspur and ex-Smodiran PsychoMage at indigo.

Miss Manna
Dear Miss Manna,
I noticed I have a new spell, Catapult. I was thinking of taking a guy and Catapulting him to a nearby mountain, just to see how much it cost, or what it does. This is okay, right, like experimenting with bisexuality in college?
Curious on Coffub

Gentle Wizard,
One of the biggest mistakes wizards make is to confuse clean-up spells with attack spells. For instance, both Hurl and Catapult can serve either purpose, but the community reaction will be entirely different depending on how the spell is cast. Catapult can either be helpful (to move wizards to their preferred mountain) or vengeful (as an attack spell that can punish either the catapulted wizard, the destination mountain, or both). Unless you are intending to be interpreted as hostile, sending any wizard (inactive or no) to a populated mountain without invitation is a poor idea.

Meet Your Overlords: Jekyl
Jekyl is one of the most experienced wizards playing Pyroto today, both in terms of playing time and accomplishments. He is best known as the coordinator of the exploration parties surveying "the fringes" of Pyroto: after touring the north of Pyrotoland, on 5756, he reached Payrsdam, at the land's south pole. Here, Jekyl is interviewed by FFTobago.

You've been playing Pyroto for nearly a year now -- how has your enjoyment of the game changed with the passage of time? Have you gone through periods where you didn't want to play anymore?
My interest in the game has always been rather full throughout my stay in the Realm. The aspects of the game that hold my interest have changed many times since the beginning.
       My favorite accomplishments have been being part of a very interesting clan, The Prodigals, as well as making other friends, climbing to the Pinnacle, helping decipher the Pyrotian language and exploring the lay of the land.

Do you think you'll ever be done mapping the land? Do you know what you'll do when you feel satisfied with your efforts in that department?
I don't know if I will be able to map all of the mountains in the Realm. I have spent quite a while on it so far and it will take a number of months to complete. I will continue to work on it as long as I am playing. With the introduction of The Plains I anticipate at least a little more work just in the Inner Realm.

Do you play the game a great deal differently (strategically, politically, socially) now than you did early on?
In the beginning I was just trying to survive. I had never seen anything like Pyroto and just like any other newbie I didn't have a clue. I also was nervous with my writing and communicating. I still prefer figuring out mysteries over politics, but I have tried to be more political and social as time goes by. I have learned a lot during my stay here.

What was the first mountain you visited outside of Pyroto?
My friend and I started at the same time and he ended up on Imaz while I entered at Pyroto. I would visit there from time to time to share levels and manna before the two mountains became truly separate.

When did you realize exploring and mapping the lands was a puzzle you'd enjoy solving?
Just after I was reduced, actually. I had been struggling for the Pinnacle the whole time before and migrating would have only hindered the chance at being the first wizard to the top. Once that quest was taken from the top of my list, I had the need to find something else to discover. All the theories of how the Realm looked inspired my new goal. I hate not knowing.

What problems have you encountered while traveling, either in terms of game-play, social experience, politics, etc.?
Interaction with others is greatly hampered while out in the Badlands. If a wizard were to mess up and accidentally get placed into the negs for example it would be a while before they could get any help. The Ethers are the only salvation to loneliness most of the time, and I find it to be a great experience when I get visitors.

What surprises have you come across while traveling and mapping?
I have found mountains that are so isolated that a Migrate to the nearest neighbor costs just less than 10,000 manna. I have seen twin peaks that are only 20 km apart. To the northeast there is The Great Void where there are no mountains in an area 1650 km by 5600 km. This is roughly the same area that all the mountains within 1500 km of Pyroto are placed in. The two known mountains that are farthest apart are Oulalo and Nama Lait at 31,582 km.

How do mapping/traveling expeditions work? Do you set your sights on a certain area you want to go to, and have people set out to meet you? Do you dispatch them to other areas you want to see, or is the effort better spent by combining manna and climbing in order that the whole group can move one step at a time?
On my trip mapping the Northeast I had helpers in Andreus and Nichiren. We traveled in relatively the same direction but on different mountains and compared notes as we surveyed. Since the mountains become quite sparse as they get closer to the edge it is necessary to split up to cover more ground. Mapping the surveyed mountains first and then migrating makes it easier to stay in the planned direction.
       Traveling to the southern edge we moved as a group using some tricks I learned the hard way on the first trip. This allowed for better support and use of the new Catapult spell. The second was much faster and cheaper than the first.

You've been fairly conservative with who gets to see the efforts of your extensive research -- have you ever had any problems with people abusing your trust?
I have been conservative, but not too miserly I hope. The people who have a view of my maps have accompanied me and helped me all the way to the Edge of the Realm. All I ask is that they don't take away the chances of others to explore the Realm by posting them publicly, and as far as I know they have not been.
       The findings won't stay hidden for too long as I plan to present a little at a time to the public. I will also help any wizard who is interested in exploring a little as I have already done it a number of times.
       Here is my list of wizards who have traveled and how far away from Pyroto they made it:
       5000 km: WogglyDog, whammo and Hedwig.
       10000 km: Andreus and Lou.
       15000 km: Jekyl, Nichiren, Pwyll, MsMittens, Falc, Souldance/[Nemesis], Ming, Prospero, YT-TIGRESS, Aversiera, Tandyman, and MtnMan.

How much of the land have you mapped by now?
It is only an estimate, but logically I have mapped about 25% of the Realm.

Do you eventually see yourself settling on a mountain "home" again? If so, do you think you'll prefer to start a new mountain, or would you consider returning to an older peak?
I have considered both starting a new mountain and remaining mobile, and I think if I am to do any more exploring a permanent home mountain will have to wait. Once you've been to as many mountains as I have it is difficult to call one home. I do have a couple of mountains that I find very fun to live on and feel welcome on. I guess these are my homes away from home.

You were one of the original authors of the infamous "No Mass Promotes" proclamation on Pyroto, and you continue to support the idea of no mass promotes. If you were running a mountain right now, how would you suggest or enforce this rule?
I would enforce it just as I did while I was on Pyroto. I would advertise the benefits of exploring and growing in the realm under the wizard's own effort or the cooperative effort of a clan, and warn of the problems that come when a wizard is promoted beyond their capacity and responsibility.
       It is a difficult rule for some to follow when they are starting out because they are impatient in wanting to reach the top. It is also a bit difficult to enforce at times because it is based more or less on opinion and it needs work in this area. In general it will remain to be a good rule and even wizards not living on Pyroto seem to have the same feeling about those who don't earn their place at or near the top.
       In essence I believe the new expansion called The Plains is related to the NMP rule. It is another tool to help new wizards learn and grow so that when they reach the level of responsibility they will be ready for it.
       In ending I would like to thank all the good wizards, bad wizards, whiners, introverts, warmongers, goofs, know-it-alls, poets, wanderers and everyone else I didn't mention that make this realm such a colorful place for me to visit. =^)

Admin Notes
My great thanks to FF, Bricker Prime, A Cappelican, and Jekyl for their contributions to this edition, and to Ultimate, Mr.Moonlight, and Joop for various helpfulness. Thanks to more wizards than can be named for encouragement and nagging. If you want TPO to be thorough, accurate and on time, please do consider submitting info or articles about your mountain to Ninjalicious; there's no possible way I can keep up with everything interesting on more than a dozen active mountains!
       P.S. Interested parties can access older issues of TPO here.

"Pyroto" and a bunch of other words here are trademarks of Pyroto, Inc.

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