The player of Xorus and whichever older inactive characters since the early AOL time period. Background is in physics and mathematics, but mostly indifferent to game mechanics.
I am mostly focused on relatively archaic or obscure material in general, subjects so esoteric no one else is likely to cover it.
There are several categories for distinguishing the things I tend to focus on:
(1) Paleohistory: Very old factual information, or finding buried information. Often Shadow World or Rolemaster source book based content. This is very conservative and solid, the ICE materials page being a severe example of it. These subjects amount to "lost history" being resurrected. In some situations this does not need to remain archaic, and even becomes reintroduced in some form.
(2) Cryptohistory: Identifying hidden meaning and content within the game design. This includes spotting easter eggs, such as references to other sources, or when terms originate in other foreign or fictional languages. In the more extreme case there have been areas of the game (and quests) where the degree of allusion making rises to the level of allegory. The oldest parts of the game, for example, make a lot of references to H.P. Lovecraft stories or comparative mythology. This unavoidably involves interpretation and sometimes poses the hazard of assuming coincidences were intentional.
Sometimes game areas are implicitly related to each other through being based on shared subtexts and source materials even though there is no surface connection between them or very limited ones. It is indisputable when things contain quotes making unambiguous references, but threading the details without over-threading them is tricky. In other cases it can be very objective and systematic such as when we cracked the hidden cipher behind the Tehir language. It was not clear that this language was based on cipher rules with English, and now in principle people are no longer constrained by the vocabulary.
(3) Paleo-cryptohistory: The overlap point between (1) and (2) where you identify the context that existed at the time things were created. This is fairly conservative and amounts to identifying when it is wrong to think things can be mixed together or have intended relevance to each other. Sometimes stories and areas that were created in the distant past have implicit information that can only be spotted by context. (Example: Lorgalis is the implicit villain behind The Graveyard, Broken Lands, and possibly Shadow Valley, but he is never explicitly mentioned. Or the Council of Light being Priests Arnak.)
(4) Esoterica: There are things in the game that are just obscure and little known. The healing pools of Upper Trollfang or the ability to sacrifice your soul to Luukos in the death mechanics would be examples. Sometimes highlighting these things has led to them being reincorporated in modern game development. There are sometimes "hanging hooks" that were never developed.
(5) Integration: Sometimes I will systematize a whole subject area with interleaving Wiki entries. I wrote almost all of the I.C.E. Age and Illistim category articles, which are largely cases of documentation synthesis. Sometimes it will consolidate instances of something such as mana storms or flows of essence phenomena. Other times it might consolidate information, such as the airship lore, that is dispersed in the game but to a large extent not written into actual documentation. Integration of storyline information is usually done instead through in-character authorship or vantage points.
(6) Storylines: I will sometimes update information related to storylines, but I usually handle this through in-character perspective content. This might take the form of essays, or behind the scenes vignettes. The same interest in revealing-all-hidden-mysteries cannot be applied here, because it is disruptive and meta-gaming to have privileged information be widely available to all.
Pages of Interest
This list is very incomplete and out-dated.
- Background fillers: Shadow World, Uthex Kathiasas, Bandur Etrevion, The Dark Path, Empress Kadaena, Anti-mana, Rhak Toram, etc.
- Obscurities: Flow storms, Jontara, Ordainers, The Void, Purgatory, Absolutions, Salorisa, Bellacorn, Traag, Crystyl, etc.
- Easter Eggs: Book of Tormtor, Muylari, Lesser vruul, Phantom Gatekeeper, Black Hel, Iruaric, Shuluri, etc.
- Pages for Kulthea Chronicles and Elanthian Herald (the official newsletters between 1994 and 1996.)
- Death messaging for the creatures (i.e. what they do when they kill you)
- Special temporal rift analysis
- Special limb analysis