Skotos: Why Yes, I Am God


This year at Gen Con saw the launch of This company intends to bring online role playing to a new level. Unlike Everquest or Ultima Online, there is no software to purchase. One need simply to point one's web browser to and start playing. (Once they are up and running.) Skotos is the brain child of CEO and President Christopher Allen. I had the chance to meet with Christopher and get the rundown on his baby.

This year at Gen Con saw the launch of This company intends to bring online role playing to a new level. Unlike Everquest or Ultima Online, there is no software to purchase. One need simply to point one's web browser to and start playing. (Once they are up and running.) Skotos is the brain child of CEO and President Christopher Allen. I had the chance to meet with Christopher and get the rundown on his baby.

All of the games to be offered by Skotos are to be text based games. Similar to Infocom's Zork and the multitude of MUDs and MUSHs. Their first game, Castle Marrach will be released for an online beta test September 21st to specially invited players that have announced an interest. While the games are all text based, they offer basic graphics by way of maps to allow a player to keep track of where they are.

One of the major differences between Skotos' new line of games and the old Zorks, etc, is the placement of the player. As a player, you are actually able to move about within a room. Just because you have walked into the common room of an inn, doesn't mean that you can reach anywhere or anyone within that room. As a player, you actually need to cross the room to warm yourself by the fire, approach the table at which the comely lass is enjoying a mug of spirits. Along the same lines as this new spatial sense is the control of conversation. In a normal chat room, you are at the mercy of the rest of the chatters. If everyone is saying something, the messages fly by on your screen and you spend half of your time scanning through every message trying to find one meant for you. Skotos has developed a system that will allow a player to only "hear" the conversations that are near to him physically. A shout will be heard by everyone, but two people whispering across the room will not. Very slick. Very nice. If anyone is wondering whether or not combat is a possibility, yes it is. However, right now it does not look like you will able to randomly jump another character from behind. You will actually have to announce your intent and receive permission from the opposing player. I'm sure that this won't be a factor when battling Mi-Go. For those gamers out there that are actually not of the male gender, Skotos has made and is still making an extra special effort for you. Just like in the everyday workplace, sexual harassment will not be tolerated. Skotos realizes that the game industry is heavily weighted towards men, and wants all women to feel as comfortable as possible in their games.

Skotos has six different flagship games in planning at this time. The first will be Castle Marrach. The game revolves around the court of Queen Vivienne, the Winter Queen. All game play takes place within the castle, and the press releases tease that the players may find they are prisoners of some kind while playing the game. All characters will wake up without any prior memory. The other games are OG, which Morbus has already covered in an earlier article. Lovecraft Country, 1925 Arkham with all of Lovecraft's ghoulies and ghastlies. Don't forget to keep up with your therapy bills. Alvatia is set on an isolated isle soon to face an invasion from a far away continent. Golden Gate 1849 offers what could be great fun in San Francisco during the gold rush. The last game is Paranoia. The rule of thumb with Paranoia is to remember the computer is your friend and keep your clones handy. The game is in the future when all of mankind is living underground and under the control of the computer. Great fun and hilarious. I'm glad to see that a wonderful game is being brought back to the world.

Along with all of these major games, Skotos is already planning to offer up a bevy of other choices. Hopeful game designers as well as writers will be able to set up their own games using the same engine as the other Skotos games. These games can be one shots or even long term games. Those of you seeking to run games and tell your stories online can start submitting your ideas for approval right away at Skotos is also looking for seven games to fill in the wholes between their flagship games. If you can prove yourself and your idea to Skotos, and make it as one of the 'seven' will turn your hobby into a part time job with actual pay. In fact, all of the games have the potential for financial return. The determining factor in getting some of this financial return? Your game/idea has to be hot, and you need to be able to demonstrate commitment and responsibility to Skotos. No, they're not looking to marry off any daughters, but they don't want to offer contracts to people that are going to get bored with what they're doing after a month or two. They mean business. They want to provide online gaming that will last.

For those Game Masters out there. If you don't feel up to trying to design and run your own little milieu, you have the option of stages. The stages will be smaller areas that are both independent of all other games. (The one-shot style of games I mentioned earlier.) As well as based out of one of the standard games. These stages will allow a GM to run that really nifty Innsmouth mission in Lovecraft Country, or camping out on Alcatraz in Golden Gate 1849. How much is all of this niftiness going to cost you? It will only cost you $10 per month. That's it. If you actually have the time to play more than one game, you still only will have to pay the $10 month. Castle Marrach is slated to open for beta play by randomly selected players that have notified Skotos of their interest on the 21st of September, with an independent stage opening later in the fall for the game "The Emperor is Dead". The Emperor is a sci - fi game in which the players are delegates from the worlds of the empire forced to stay on a space station until they have selected the new emperor. Early next year will see the release of Lovecraft Country, as well as the opening of the site to all players. For those of you in desperate need of The Computer, Paranoia is slated to come out soon after that. It would seem that player demand for the game has caused Skotos to move it's release date from summer 2001 up to winter.

Everything coming out from Skotos looks to be top notch. I know that there may be many people who feel graphics are the way to go, but I have to say that I like text. By making their games text based, Skotos will be able to have much more complex and involved games than any other out there. I hope to be one of the lucky few to get a first crack at Castle Marrach next month, but even if I don't I plan on being there January no matter what. If you want to learn more about Skotos and their games, be sure to head over to their site. Their people are very helpful, and I have to say that I have never seen such prompt response from a "contact" address on a website.

Hey, look, another company trying to throw themselves onto the fact that the common lame internet gamer doesn't know what the heck a MUD is or even how to find one to play. (Or, if one is found, they sit there scratching their heads going "How the hell do I connect to this with mIRC...")

Sigh, sorry, I'm pessimestic. Or maybe I'm just a stupid ass who doesn't know what I'm talking about.

Skotos is in beta for their first game, Castle Marrach, and it has been quite a success so far.

Those who play it are quite devoted to the unique environment that it offers. This isn't just for mudders, or for rpgers ... they get all types.

Extremely friendly to the female population, it is a rarity in the online world, with an almost 50/50 population.

Give it a try ... it is well worth it.

Been playing for a week and it rocks, best true RPing I've ever seen. Killing monsters and gaining xp is not roleplaying, castle marrach is.

Tried it a while back. If Skotos had the basic decency to let players, say, use plain ol' MUD emotes/poses or, oh, actually describe their characters instead of picking a couple of traits from a list, I'd be wasting my life there 'stead of on Iconoclast.