Note: This was an email sent out to the project list discussing the purpose of the project, its submissions process, and standards. Although the project was not without problems, it was the most productive project on the Realms-Project list.
Since the Arylon project began, we on the council have worked steadily to make this project the best it can be. We have carefully and systematically laid the foundations of how the project is run, as well as what the results should be. We have been working with a clear idea of the project goals for quite some time now, but we haven't given you those goals. Here they are, in somewhat simplified form. It would take more long posts to explain the details of our editing and review process that makes these goals possible, so I'll dispense with boring details.
There are a number of primary goals for the project. I'll list them all, then try to cover them one at a time, to give some reasoning where it seems necessary, in the next few paragraphs. Each these can be changed by the council; this is how things stand now.
Arylon will be a city created primarily by members of the Forgotten Realms Mailing List and the Realms-Projects Mailing List.
In the future we can open it up to others, but for now it is purely the work of these people.
Results of the Arylon project will be presented in two ways; on the Realms-Projects List and on a webpage.
Currently, the council-edited submissions can be found at "http://sefton.tradepage.co.za/Arylon/" and Oracle information can be found at "http://users.bluebonnet.net/crsimmons/oracle/". The webpages are not yet current (submissions are coming in and going out regularly). Our volunteer webmasters are adding information as quickly as they can. (Editor's Note: As far as I know, this is the only website currently hosting the Arylon pages. The edited submissions were posted to the Realm-L mailing list, and can be found there by
There are two basic types of material, council-edited and free form.
The first is the template driven material that goes through the council's editing and evaluation process, to produce many individual submissions of high quality, consistency, and "realism" (as explained in the next 3 goals). There are lots of details to be considered in this process, so as to keep certain traits of some submissions (like "munchkinism", for example) from snowballing into major problems in later submissions -- the council is very concerned with setting the right precedents. The second type of material is the free form material that does not necessarily go through the council at all, to be found in the Oracle (as explained under the "maximum creativity" goal below). All Arylon material is somewhat "celled" in nature, since it consists of individual submissions by individual authors, pieced together by the council or in the Oracle.
The Arylon project will produce a high-quality product. Arylon will, to the best of the council's ability, stand out as one of the best web-based gaming projects, made by the group effort of many creative individuals.
This goal is to be accomplished by the council editing process. Submissions are made to the council, according to the submission templates. The council then edits and evaluates the submission, improving it till it is acceptable to the author as well as to the entire council. This means the process of going from rough draft to final draft can sometimes be slow, and sometimes involve a lot of effort on the part of the author and each council member. This produces a coherent volume of sourcebook style material, similar in nature to what one might find in materials published by TSR. Details of goals and requirements for this sourcebook type material are elaborated in the next two goals below.
Arylon will be a "Realms realistic" city.
We want to create a volume of information about Arylon that is consistent with materials published by TSR. This means that, to the best of the council's ability, no information about Arylon will directly conflict with published sourcebook material. It also means that the city should be similar in many important ways (such as power level of NPCs, types and numbers of businesses, social and ethical behaviors of it's people, and so forth) to other cities in official material of similar size and situation. This is done by the council's editing and evaluating process.
Arylon will be internally consistent.
This means that no new submission can directly conflict with previous submissions. The information in the submission can elaborate, expand, and refine information in previous submissions, but it cannot conflict. This also means that certain types of information (such as info on infrastructure, government, policing, law, and taxes) must be created, at least in rudementary form, by the council itself, to provide a consistent, pre-planned foundation for other submissions to build on. This "core" information can and should be elaborated on and expanded by members of the lists, once the general patterns are made. These goals are achieved by the council's editing and evaluating process and by temporarily limiting submissions of the aforementioned types until the foundations of each type are finished (most are currently in progress and nearing completion, and provide good bases to build on).
Finally, the Arylon project will allow for maximum creativity from the authors, both through council-edited and free form materials.
The submissions edited by the council allow for high creativity, but are somewhat limited by requirements of quality, consistency, and realism. Also, the template requirements for council-edited material, though allowing for a lot of creative material, are still somewhat limiting in themselves. Therefore, the project will have a second type of information, to be found in the Oracle, posted weekly and also available on the web (the web posting still in process, by the way). This is for all material that would not fit into the templates of a typical sourcebook (or that _would_ be found in the sidebar features of a sourcebook). This includes, but is not limited to, poems, songs, myths, alternative details for council-edited submissions, adventure hooks, creative writing, and regular submissions that (for whatever reason) did not make it through the council's editing process. The material in the Oracle is not edited by the council (unless requested), but is lightly edited for spelling and punctuation errors. Therefore, it is completely unrestricted, other than relevance to Arylon, and does not have to meet the requirements for quality, consistency, and realism that council-edited submissions must meet. The Oracle is as official to Arylon as council-edited submissions, but should be treated as creative works maybe-true "facts" to help DMs and players make Arylon a more rich, vibrant setting.
I hope you find this helpful in dealing with the Arylon project.