Ask Ark!


Ask Ark

2 by 2..



Oh grief. It's far to early days to start pigeon-holing things. Ask us anything you like, and me and the lads'll try to see you right.

Questions should be sent to

25th of August, 2000

Hail Ark!
When I met you in Qeynos yesterday you were bouncing with joy over getting your hands on a fine pair of intelligence raising earings. You said that they (and some other stuff you mentioned, but I forgot) were utterly obtainable for someone of my level, and even though I'm a rogue, I reckon they'ed help my skills improve a bit faster. So, spill the beans. Where'd you get 'em?


Well met Trokkar. They are earings of +3 intelligence, and I would imagine a pair of them would probably have an affect on your skill gains for sure. They are just one of the many treasures that the catacombs beneath Qeynos have to offer, with a little patience, to almost anyone.

The catacombs are a fairly safe area, even for a completely new character. The rats, beetles, spiders, and cubes which fill it are unaggressive, although there are a couple of rare wandering spawns that will attack, and probably kill anyone under 7th level. (Drosco, and a rather nasty skeleton. They don't show up often though.). The catacombs hold many secrets, not least the headquarters of the Bloodsabres, which lies beyond secret panels in the east wall. Should you find such a wall, I would advise venturing no further through it, unless you happen to worship the foul Bertoxulous. Only death and decay awaits beyond.

The easiest of the treasures to obtain would surely be the alligator tooth earing, which grants +5 hitpoints to the wearer. These are found without fail upon an injured rat (loc: 566 206), which strayed too close to the nearby alligator spawn. These are perhaps as tough as a large rat, though be warned that other rats may assist them.

The limestone ring, which also grants +5 hitpoints, is found on the undead knight (loc: 664 146). He is little more fearsome than a decaying skeleton, though his aquatic lair is hard to find by mere chance.

Now we come to that foulest of creatures, Cuburt. The child murdering cube lurks upon a platform on the east side. Should Cuburt not be present when you arrive, slaying any beast which refuses to stand still, typically either a sewer rat, cube, or mangy rat, will bring the knave out soon enough. The spawn point for Cuburt and his placeholders is a brown spot (loc: 133 -62) on the floor perilously close to the Frogloks. Upon his death, if you are lucky, you will find evidence of crimes. Should you give this to Zamel, who stand near the bank, you may be rewarded by a gold stud earing of int +3, or a hematite, if unlucky. Alternatively you may give it to Guard Elond, near the gate for a golden locket with 5 charges of courage.

The Frogloks I mentioned will not attack unless you get foolishly close (I got as close as I wanted to taking that screenshot.), but are a trio, so should not be tackled lightly. They lurk in an underwater bit mere yards from Cuburts spawn point. They occasionaly drop netted armour, which is magical, and most useful for younger casters and monks, especially the gloves in the latter case.

Finally, there is a chamber where two interesting creatures may be found. The nesting (loc: 342 334) rat will drop a golden locket which is not only +3 charisma, but AC 2 to boot. The nesting rat is no great threat, but be warned that from time to time, Drosco the zombie may arrive.

Drosco is sad evidence of the dangers of crossing the Bloodsabres, and is bound to their service. Should you have been working against them, Drosco will attack, as I learnt to my cost shortly after speaking to you. Previously he had not been aggressive when we met, but I suppose I have been a bit of a nuisance to the local gnolls. Be warned. He is rather poisonous, and hits hard, but I do believe I saw an amulet of thunder swinging around his neck as I lapsed into unconsiousness. I am sure that the House of Thunder would reward it's return. Alternatively you could keep it, I suppose.

To a tailor such as yourself, it might be of interest that the spiders of the sewers are no more powerful than spiderlings, yet their silk is of the sort suitable for weaving into clothes. An excellent way to practice the art of tailoring in the Qeynos area without upsetting Holly and Cros.- Arkenor

So, brother. You'd happily watch those you disagree with be murdered. Your nobility astounds me...

There are a number of spots for a Bloodsabre to avoid. While the miserable Lord Bayle's guard are too scared to mount patrols down here, there are a couple of rooms they lay claim to that pose a threat to the freedom fighter.

One is the base of the seemingly permanently exhausted guard (loc: -45 139). He really ought to have a lie down. As it is he can barely lift his sword to defend himself...

The other room contains two sewer sentinels (loc: 246 208). I haven't been foolish enough to approach them, as yet, but they appear to be rather more adept than their colleague.

At the north end of the sewers are Vin Moltor and Bait Masterson (loc: 875 89). While they are not aggressive to me yet, I fear they too may turn on me soon. From what I have seen, they are puisant indeed, and a real danger should they take a dislike to you.

Rumours of any secret area down here are of course false. Perhaps brother Ark has been working on his brewing again, or perhaps he merely wishes to stir up fear against our movement. In any case, I would suggest that the followers of Antonius Bayle stay out of the sewers.... We cannot afford to be merciful with the misguided. - Akenar

Och, Ark, in yer wizardy way o' thinkin' ye forgot an item for non-casters. There's also a couple of mercenaries (loc: 463 341), standin' about for some reason or t'other. I 'aven't figured out exactly what they're doin' down there. Anyhow, sometimes theres a shady mercenary there, and if you knock him about a bit, he always drops a AC3 cloak that covers my shoulders quite nicely...Well, 'e looked at me funny! 'E shouldn't be down there being shady if he doesn't want to face the justice o' the Tribunal! Best 'ope I don't run into yer fungus worshipin' brother. - Cyndylon

21st of June, 2000

Dear Ark,
I've been playing UO for a couple of years and while I get a real kick out of it most of the time but I often find myself getting really pissed at the number of losers who just seem to play for the sake of annoying others. Getting PK'd is one thing. We're used to it. But having to put up with abuse day in, day out is really bugging me. As a player I don't feel we have the tools to deal with them, and OSI doesn't seem to care. What do you reckon should be done?

Tolwyn of Yew

I'm a bit unsure as to exactly what sort of troublemaker you're talking about. after all, we have so many varieties in Britannia. From the foul mouthed dewd at the bank, to the scammer, to the duper, to the abusive PK (as opposed to the all too rare roleplaying PK.) who badmouths your ghost and hides by the body to slay your death-clad robed form on your return, amidst more taunts. Ahem. Not that such a thing has ever happened to one as worldly-wise as myself of course.

I had an idea today. The sort of idea which comes upon you suddenly, and you wonder where it's been all your life. I was reading the most excellent allegory, Oklahoma!, when I realised this vision. It's all about degrees of punishment, you see, and letting people play the way they want to.

In the real world punishments are many and varied, and generally the severity of punishment bares some relation to the magnitude of the crime. In online worlds however, warnings aside, the only real punishment is banning (and it's puny brother, suspension.). While there are countless folk that the games would be better off without this is a punishment which the forces of law are reluctant to use, for the excellent reason that it punishes the company financially each time it is used. OSI cannot afford to ban all the troublemakers. It would surely cost them thousands of dollars a month if they did. While this is a short term view that does not take into account improved retention of reasonable folk that would result, it is an understandable viewpoint from a shareholders perspective.

Grief players insist that it is their right to play in the way they do. So be it, I say. Let a server be created just for such fools, and their characters forcibly deported there as an alternative to current punishments. Let this server be called Oklahoma in honour of that noble sage, KittyHawk. Once there they may not create characters on other servers, and likewise non-griefers may not create characters in this purgatory (To stop newbies making a horrible mistake!). The shard would have relaxed conduct rules thus giving them the freedom to express themselves in their own way without ruining everyone else's day playing experience. Equally, exploitation of bugs would be perfectly legal here. Give the people what they want, and they will stew in a hell of their own making. The company retains, and maybe even improves it's cash flow, grief-players get to play their version of the game, and everyone else can enjoy their recreation that much more. Assuming that those who judge and sentence are fair, can anyone see a downside? This should not be a catch-all punishment by any means. Sometimes only banning is enough, and other times a warning would suffice, but it would serve well for removing an unnecessary burden on us all. I daresay there are more than enough people to populate it well enough for it to be viable.-Arkenor

20th of June, 2000

Dear Ark,
I work for a trendy new media agency in South London. Every now and then, one of our internet boxes goes wonky and cuts off our connection, which can only be rectified by getting our techy fellow to press some buttons in an order which is never the same twice in a row. The damn thing is driving us all nuts! To be honest, I think he may be close to the edge. I fear that the next time it happens he will snap and spray the thing with machine-gun bullets whilst uttering loud whoops.

What on Earth can we do?


Nervous of Brixton.

Humm. I'm glad to see you decided to start me off with a tricky one.

Some technical types have as much of an artistic mentality as their designer brethren. With that comes, as I am sure you'll know from your trendy new media antics, a tendency to get rather excited when things don't work properly. They are however, less inclined to share this feeling with those about them, preferring to mumble threats under their breath at the offending object or manager. Chances are, that flaky internet box just cut out while he was downloading some system update he considers vital. (or maybe he was just reading Slashdot. The effect on behaviour is much the same.)

It's possible he feels somewhat responsable for the behaviour of the box. For a sysadmin to extend the concept of self to include his servers and hubs is by no means unusual. That he is helpless before this threat to his technical reputation must be causing much embarrassment and frustration. It is unlikely though that he would cause physical harm to the device. Ply him with nicotine, caffiene, and sugar, and he ought to calm down a little.

Alternately, complain loudly every time the box goes down, and in no time you should have a new box; the current one having been LARTed with extreme prejudice. Even techies have their limits...-Arkenor of Britain

Sounds like the bloke's a nutter to me. Watch 'im careful-like, in case 'e starts whirlin' like a dervish, gnashin' 'is teeth and so forth. If 'e does, leg it. So as to not set 'im off, when this thingy does break, don't let on you've noticed. If you pretend it's all workin' great then ye might be spared 'is wrath when 'e finally loses it.-Dulcien of Minoc

What on Earth indeed! Or perhaps you should cast your net further than that. It is entirely possible that this box of which you speak contains not only clever electonics, but demonic energy! (Oh dear. You two are really lowering the tone - Arkenor) This box is there with the sole purpose to torment, and lead men to evil. It might be that your techie senses the darkness, and is planning to nobly engage it in battle. However, it is also a definite possibility that he has already fallen under it's thrall in which case getting him to check his machine-gun at the door would be a winner, though in my experience evil-doers are quite capable of havok with the bluntest of office equipment.-Doc Sanders of Tombstone, Arizona

My dear young fellow. You can hardly expect a scientist to be able to provide anything other than vague generalisations, given the meagre facts you have layed before us. The psychological turmoil of your engineer aside (poor chap), you don't mention exactly what purpose this box serves. Assuming that it is not the corruption of the human soul *sigh* we can then put forth one of the following theories. 1. It has been set up incorrectly. 2. It is having to put up with something for which it was not designed. 3. It's buggered. Frankly I haven't the foggiest which of these is the answer. Minor details as to the make of the box, the ambient room temperature, and the presence of any ancient artifacts would all have been useful. Bah.-Professor J Whitman of Arkham