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Above the Lore Episode 4 Transcript: The Secrets of SliskeEdit

  • Mod Osborne: Hello and welcome to Above the Lore, which is Secrets of Sliske. Above the Lore is the RuneScape podcast on the story of the game. I'm Mod Osborne, senior narrative designer, and I've got to apologise for postponing last week's podcast. I have a shoddy immune system and I'm only just recovering from a cold, so I do apologise. Anyway, today we have the first returning mod, in the form of Mod Raven...
  • Mod Raven: Hello.
  • Mod Osborne: Who has been mentoring, in a kind of Emperor vs. Darth Vader kind of way, mod Ollie.
  • Mod Ollie: Hello.
  • Mod Osborne: Who is a new developer, and is also developing the upcoming quest that features Sliske heavily.
  • Mod Ollie: Indeed.
  • Mod Osborne: So, our aim here is to give you an insight into this mysterious Sliske quest that is exclusive and hasn't been revealed before today, as well as reveal what it's like to come to Jagex and be thrown straight into a momentous quest that's got to redefine RuneScape. So, Ollie, this quest is your first project. How are you handling that kind of pressure?
  • Mod Ollie: You know, it's always nice to be chucked straight into the deep end when you arrive somewhere, but it's also nice to know that there's a bit of confidence in my ability to be given quite a big quest, but I like to think I'm handling the pressure well.
  • Mod Osborne: Well, from my perspective, you obviously trialed, and you did some work before to get it - that's how it works - and Mod Ollie's work was pretty stellar, and so we decided...
  • Mod Ollie: Ah, thanks Dave...
  • All: (Laughs)
  • Mod Osborne: We can hug later. It was quite stellar, so we thought "why not give him a quest". So far, what we've seen has been really strong, so I've got every confidence.
  • Mod Ollie: Brilliant.
  • Mod Osborne: But, how do you prepare for a project like this? Obviously there's a lot of lore attached to a Sliske piece of content. Do you play everything?
  • Mod Ollie: Yeah, so I played pretty much all the surrounding content, even loosely related. I really got stuck in surrounding myself in the lore. I just started thinking about where I could go and what people would really want to see in this kind of quest.
  • Mod Osborne: So, were you looking at things like forum threads?
  • Mod Ollie: Yeah definitely. I didn't just play the quests, I got on the forums, looked at what all the players are talking about, what's the hot topic of discussion, things like that. It's something I really want to do, to not just answer some of those questions, but ask more questions, get people talking about where this is going.
  • Mod Osborne: Cool. Have you received...obviously we haven't left you alone completely...have you received any help from the team?
  • Mod Ollie: Yeah, where I sit, I'm next to Mod Ana...
  • Mod Osborne: It's so hard not to mention our first names! I think most people know them.
  • Mod Ollie: Obviously, my name is quite easy.
  • All: (Laughs)
  • Mod Osborne: Everyone knows I'm Dave. I'm Mod Osborne. I think people can piece it together. So, you've got Mod Ana to your right
  • Mod Ollie: Obviously, she did World Wakes, so every now and again I've asked her something.
  • Mod Osborne: She's tried to crowbar things into your story.
  • Mod Ollie: Yeah, and James is my mentor...I mean, Mod Raven
  • All: (Laughs)
  • Mod Raven: I think we managed to do the whole thing of telling everyone everyone's name last week anyway!
  • Mod Osborne: But has he been trying to crowbar in some dark elements to your quest?
  • Mod Raven: Yeah, he's the evil genius behind anything that's bad that happens in this quest.
  • Mod Osborne: I think, if you had a Team Sliske, it would probably be you. I need to get you a Sliske hat. Sorry, mask.
  • Mod Raven: Well, Ollie didn't let me try some of the evil ideas I tried to put in, which was sad. I wanted to make the players cry.
  • Mod Ollie: If someone unmasked Sliske, it would just be you underneath.
  • All: (Laughs)
  • Mod Osborne: So, Mod Raven, what is the role of a mentor? Do you actually do anything?
  • Mod Raven: No! I just sit there going "lalalalala"! I want to say I sit behind Ollie, watch what he does and tut occasionally when he's doing things that are right, just to fill him with that level of fear. But no, I kind of sit there to help when things crop up. Sometimes when you're brand new to our procedures, they can be a bit daunting and script can be interesting at times.
  • Mod Ollie: It's magic.
  • Mod Raven: There are lots of witches involved. I help battle witches mostly.
  • Mod Osborne: I think you're doing yourself a mild disservice there as well. You've been involved in all the collaborative meetings. We as a group of three have talked over what we'd all personally like to do, and ideas have come from that group. Obviously, 90% of it has come from Ollie, but there's a splash of Mod Raven.
  • Mod Raven: There are a few things of mine that are still there.
  • Mod Ollie: There could have been some very dark touches from you.
  • Mod Raven: But they're not there anymore.
  • Mod Osborne: Okay, so talking about the quest itself, rather than developing your first quest, can we see this quest as very much a sequel to The World Wakes? Is that how you see it?
  • Mod Ollie: I see it as a sequel but not in the sense that it is in the same chain of quests. It's more the beginning of another set of quests that runs on from The World Wakes, but also some other things. It begins a new series of quests.
  • Mod Osborne: I'd agree with that. I think it's the case that The World Wakes is very much an ending for me, so saying that there's a sequel to an ending feels strange. This is taking a lot of those threads that were in the World Wakes and creating something new from it, and telling a story that may well go on for quite a while. I see the story that we're starting here as being as momentous, if not more so, than Ritual of the Mahjarrat – obviously, no pressure on you there.
  • Mod Ollie: That's fine.
  • Mod Osborne: That was the core aims, wasn't it? "Something absolutely amazing".
  • Mod Ollie: Momentous was the word used, I think.
  • Mod Osborne: Yeah, I clubbed Ana over the head with the word "momentous" over and over again, poor girl.
  • Mod Osborne: How does this fit into the Sixth Age?
  • Mod Ollie: So, this is almost the start of the Sixth Age – well, the start was obviously the World Wakes, moving it into that age...
  • Mod Osborne: We've got a number of starts haven't we, almost?
  • Mod Ollie: We kind of do. But this is the thing that will really kick it off. The story that unfolds through the Sixth Age is really going to start here.
  • Mod Osborne: I think, probably, it's the story setting of the Sixth Age. The setting where the majority of stories are going to take place is starting here. Cool. So, does this mean that the gods feature in it?
  • Mod Ollie: So, yeah, I'm not going to say too much, but the gods do feature in it.
  • Mod Osborne: Visibly? So I see gods?
  • Mod Ollie: Gods will be there. I'm not going to go through lists of the gods that will be there, but I will say that Icthlarin is going to make a big appearance in this quest.
  • Mod Osborne: So, there we go, the big reveal.
  • Mod Ollie: I won't say what capacity that is exactly, but you're going to spend a lot of time with him.
  • Mod Osborne: What interests me about Icthlarin is that obviously we have the desert pantheon and the desert quests - you 've got Do No Evil, your Contacts - so how does this sit alongside those desert quests? Does it mean he will not feature in the desert quests?
  • Mod Ollie: I don't think it does. I don't think it's going to take him away from any other things too much.
  • Mod Osborne: For me, the desert quests are very much part of the Sixth Age, but are separate. I've said it so many times I'm boring people to tears, but I see it as a microcosm of the God Wars, and I don't see many of the gods interacting with that fight, they're very much set apart. What's interesting for me about Icthlarin is that he doesn't really play much of a part. I feel that the story of the desert is about Amascut against Tumeken, or Amascut against the fractions of Tumeken. Icthlarin has played a sideline role, very much like Elidinis as well, and that means we can use Icthlarin in this content, while we can also use him on the culmination level of the desert content.
  • Mod Ollie: I see him as the one who holds everything together, so he's going to be in different places at different times, and I think it's going to be very interesting to find out more about him. He's only been in Icthlarin's Little Helper
  • Mod Osborne: Even then, only for a moment.
  • Mod Ollie: So I think people are really going to be excited to see him in this quest.
  • Mod Osborne: You've spent so much time fleshing out his visuals, fleshing out his role. I mean, players know that he's god of the Underworld, but what does that mean? How does that work? We can do a little bit of that. It's quite cool. So, will we get to find out about the Underworld do you think?
  • Mod Ollie: Well, yeah, like you said, we spent a lot of time fleshing out these details, fleshing out his character and his role, and that extends to the Underworld. Where people go, what happens when they pass into the Underworld, how do other characters have a role in that? It'll be interesting for the players to find out more about that side of things.
  • Mod Osborne: Hopefully the guys on the Future Updates forum are finding something of interest here. So, practically, what stage is the quest at? When are we getting it, dammit?
  • Mod Ollie: Getting it: later this year.
  • Mod Osborne: That's our aim, isn't it? Obviously that comes with the usual proviso, unless we all get hit by lightning...
  • Mod Ollie: Or a meteor hits Jagex. Or one of James's evil plans happens.
  • Mod Osborne: He decides to possess everyone. So what stage is that at?
  • Mod Ollie: Yeah, so the critical path is there, graphics are starting to get things done. You know, I'm getting a few models and things.
  • Mod Osborne: So it's coming along? But I couldn't sit down and play it through...
  • Mod Ollie: You couldn't, but you could. You could play the critical path and see some terrible placeholder stuff.
  • [Mod Raven] – There's some amazing temporary dialogue.
  • Mod Osborne: You'd push me away from playing it.
  • Mod Ollie: Mod Raven has seen some of my placeholder dialogue and thoroughly enjoyed it.
  • [Mod Raven] – Ah, I loved it.
  • Mod Osborne: Has he printed it out and put it on a pillar somewhere? That's pretty harsh.
  • Mod Ollie: No, just laughed at it.
  • Mod Osborne: So, what has Sliske been doing since The World Wakes?
  • Mod Ollie: He's been a busy bee, I think. He's got hold of some things, and he's been plotting, doing a lot of plotting.
  • Mod Osborne: I think that's a good way of putting it.
  • Mod Ollie: I don't want to reveal too much, but he's certainly got a plan together.
  • Mod Osborne: So, those of you who thought The World Wakes was THE plan for Sliske, for example, you'll be surprised there is more to him than that. Do you find him a good character to write for? He's certainly wasn't a character, in a sense, before Ritual of the Mahjarrat, now we're starting to build that. Are you having fun with him?
  • Mod Ollie: I think he's extremely fun to write for. He's such an unpredictable character to write for, so Joker-esque that you can do all sorts of things with him. It's very fun to write for a character like that, where you're not bound by morals.
  • Mod Osborne: What I like most about him is he is inscrutable. He will do something but not mean it, or have another plan beneath that. There are similiarities to Zaros in that sense, but he's so much more in your face.
  • Mod Ollie: In the World Wakes, for the whole quest it seemed like he was doing one thing, going along with one band of players and then at the very end he's like, that's not at all what I was about.
  • Mod Osborne: You take that and multiply it by about - what shall we say? – 70 or so for this quest.
  • Mod Ollie: Many times.
  • Mod Osborne: This quest ties into something we haven't talked much about – deliberately – which is the World Events. Is there anything you can say about that?
  • Mod Ollie: It might be best to let Mod Raven take this.
  • Mod Osborne: Go on, take up the reigns.
  • Mod Raven: Certainly I think the quest will react to the World Events. I don't want to say too much about the World Events, partially because I'm doing them all now and pulling my hair out, but also I don't want to spoil anything. Certainly we've been talking about how this will react to the World Events so there will be definite changes and definite things involved.
  • Mod Osborne: It's almost like we are watching and waiting, because there may be changes, that sort of thing. Gosh, you can't get much more vague than that. But we can't reveal...
  • Mod Raven: Not really, not without spoiling things. It'll be interesting, very interesting.
  • Mod Osborne: There is a reason we're not revealing this, because it will be so much more enjoyable if you experience it yourself.
  • Mod Ollie: When you've got a quest that includes the gods, and things are going on with the gods, there are obviously going to be tie-ins.
  • Mod Osborne: There's going to be ramifications certainly.
  • Mod Raven: It's going to be good!
  • Mod Osborne: In a similar vein, does it react to previous content?
  • Mod Ollie: Yep, not only is it going to react to previous content, but it's going to – depending on player experience, where they've been, what they've done – it's going to completely open up for them. There will be dialogue where people refer to things that your character has done and there'll be choices that will go on and affect future content.
  • Mod Osborne: Can you give us any examples of content that you'll be keying into? Do you want to?
  • Mod Ollie: So, players that have gone through things like The World Wakes, Ritual of the Mahjarrat, even very small things like Icthlarin's Little Helper, and the new update God Emissaries – these are all going to affect how the gods and how the people that the player might have met will react to them and the options that will become available to them.
  • Mod Osborne: So, would you recommend that the player plays that content first?
  • Mod Ollie: Well, you don't have to play it first, and you'll still have the same enjoyment of it, but if you've done those things and you've invested a lot into your character and you've done lots of stuff, then it's going to reward you for that.
  • Mod Osborne: Will the content be voiced?
  • Mod Ollie: It will be fully voiced, which will be awesome.
  • Mod Osborne: So, I will hear a god - at least – talking.
  • Mod Ollie: A god.
  • Mod Osborne: And for those lore hounds, as I like to call them – I'm one of them...
  • Mod Ollie: I think we're all lore hounds in here.
  • Mod Osborne: We've made you one, haven't we! So, will I get anything more there, is there anything I can get my teeth into?
  • Mod Ollie: So, we mentioned the Underworld and stuff like that, there's some lore to read on that.
  • Mod Osborne: Are we talking website stories?
  • Mod Ollie: Like with the God Emissaries, there was a book reward with that, where you found some juicy lore on some of those gods, there's going to be a book reward for this quest which details some of the lore on the Underworld and how things link in there.
  • Mod Osborne: Go on, give us one titbit of information that we don't already know about the quest.
  • Mod Ollie: You see, I knew you were going to do this, and I didn't think about what I was going to say. So, um...
  • Mod Raven: I think we'd originally settled on Icthlarin, didn't we, and now we've just been talking about him.
  • Mod Osborne: No, no, no, I want something more...Could we reveal the title?
  • Mod Ollie: Ah, yes, so we did decide.
  • Mod Osborne: I thought you were playing along!
  • Mod Ollie: No, I had completely forgotten. I had such a heavy weekend...
  • Mod Osborne: Here's proof that we do actually do some scripting, as we did talk about what we're going to reveal, we just forgot.
  • Mod Ollie: It was great acting on my part.
  • Mod Osborne: Really superb.
  • Mod Ollie: So we will reveal the quest title. It's Missing, Presumed Death.
  • Mod Osborne: Missing, Presumed Death. There we go. It might reveal a bit more about the story, perhaps. Mod Raven, we haven't talked to you much. This hasn't been about you, BUT what is next for you? Something's come up, hasn't it?
  • Mod Raven: Yeah, well, I'm doing the World Events at the moment, which is a big thing, but I have a quest coming up soon. Well, not soon...
  • Mod Osborne: So, as penguin curator, does that mean you have a penguin quest?
  • Mod Raven: It's not a penguin quest. I might try to fit penguins in there, I'm not going to lie.
  • Mod Osborne: Well, the penguin quests do have everything else fitting into them.
  • Mod Ollie: I'm expecting it to be horribly dark and twisted. He's just been sat at his desk, doing evil laughs and cackling all day.
  • Mod Osborne: It's a really weird impression we're giving of Mod Raven. Every time we've said that he's dark, but we haven't given any evidence of it. It's like he's sitting in filth at work occasionally throwing it at people. Imagine what you will from that. This quest is set in the Sixth Age as well, isn't it? It is, however, so early you cannot believe.
  • Mod Raven: I can give you no details at all yet.
  • Mod Osborne: Okay, so that's the group questions. We've also got the Quickfire Question Roulette, and for those of you who don't know the section, this is where we've grabbed questions from you on the Forums, and we're going to rattle through these quickly...
  • Mod Ollie: You say "rattle through them". At the end of the day, I'll answer them as fast as I can... You'll hear the cogs turning in my head.
  • Mod Osborne: Okay, we'll try to go fast, but this might form the vast majority of the day. Okay, so how did Sliske get the Staff of Armadyl from the Dragonkin?
  • Mod Ollie: I'd like to save that for the quest. That's going to be a pretty big reveal for the quest. People who are interested in that, and have played lore to do with that, will find it interesting.
  • Mod Osborne: I've certainly been asked the question several times, and I'll give the same answer. We always knew where the Staff of Armadyl came from. It's not as if this is a ret-con or anything like that. We had it very much in mind, because it's going to feed into this quest. Ollie gets that opportunity. Who does Sliske hate the most? Great question!
  • Mod Ollie: I want to say Icthlarin, because people will know, if they have looked into the lore, they have a bit of history together. Especially if you've read the recent book with the God Emissaries, then you will have found out a bit of a backstory, and they have a bit of a rivalry.
  • Mod Osborne: It doesn't reveal too much, but I almost see Icthlarin as the failed father.
  • Mod Ollie: Exactly. Sliske doesn't seem to have too many that he particularly hates.
  • Mod Raven: It's not so much that he hates, it's more like who he can troll the most.
  • Mod Ollie: You're his favourite toy.
  • Mod Osborne: Why have you – I guess you means all of us – chosen Sliske to have this much development? What is interesting is that we didn't have World Wakes in mind when we wrote Ritual of the Mahjarrat. So, why Sliske? For me it's because he was thoroughly interesting and pretty damn cool. He's also got a real intrigue for the player, he loves the player, and there's obviously some connection there.
  • Mod Raven: He wants to collect the player, which is the creepiest thing about him.
  • Mod Osborne: What game have you got planned, Sliske?
  • Mod Ollie: Makes an interesting villain.
  • Mod Osborne: What's interesting for me is trying to position Sliske between Zaros and Zamorak. He's got to offer something new. And I think – I'm hoping – that he does.
  • Mod Ollie: Especially, now he's not a follower of Zaros...
  • Mod Osborne: Oooh...
  • Mod Ollie: Or is he? Thing is, even we don't know that!
  • Mod Osborne: Let's say that. I like it. So, why is Sliske so obsessed with the player? Another good question. Have you got any ideas?
  • Mod Raven: Well the player is, in the world of RuneScape, the player is the most interesting person. Everything converges on them.
  • Mod Osborne: You know that Sliske is watching, you see him following in World Wakes, you must be massively interesting. Everything seems to convene on you.
  • Mod Raven: The change that the players reap across the world, as well, they do everything from milking cows to toppling civilisations.
  • Mod Osborne: So, to a follower of Zaros, who represents fate, to see someone who is fated to achieve everything in game is going to be quite intriguing.
  • Mod Ollie: I think, if you look at it from Sliske's point of view, the player's a catalyst to everything in the world, so whatever he wants to do, if he gets the player involved, it's going to blow up. It's like the person you always want at a party, because they're just going to bring loads of cool people.
  • Mod Osborne: So, why is Sliske letting his emissary spread his word?
  • Mod Ollie: Hmmm...
  • Mod Osborne: Who wants to grab this one? For me, there's obviously the question of whether Relomia is worth his attention - in a sense of "does he really care that this is messing with people"? People still don't know, and he's quite happy with that. I don't think he's putting out any kind of press release that he's a god. I think he likes that. So, how high-ranked was Sliske during Zaros' reign?
  • Mod Ollie: I would like to think he was pretty high-ranked. I don't think he personally would have cared that much.
  • Mod Osborne: I think he's one of those utility troops. He's not a general who commands troops. He's powerful: I'm going to let him do his own thing.
  • Mod Ollie: A lone ranger.
  • Mod Raven: Sounds about right.
  • Mod Osborne: Good. I'm glad we all agree on that. You can all stay. Does Sliske trust anyone other than himself?
  • Mod Raven: Does he even trust himself?
  • Mod Ollie: Ooooh!
  • Mod Osborne: Sliske-ception! Imagine that.
  • Mod Ollie: I think the people who find it hardest to trust are the people that are the least trustworthy themselves, so I don't think he's going to trust anyone.
  • Mod Osborne: Which is why he's the lone ranger, as you say.
  • Mod Raven: Weirdly, the person he'd be most likely to trust would be the player. In a weird kind of way.
  • Mod Osborne: In the same way as – gah, it's the Joker again. Just a note that there's more to Sliske than the Joker, there's actually more elements. I take a lot from Arcane which is a Marvel character. I've lost the plot now...the way that Joker responds to Batman, he needs Batman - there's something similar there. Will we ever get to fight Sliske?
  • Mod Ollie: Oooh! I would love to think so.
  • Mod Osborne: Yeah? Gosh that would be an interesting fight. It would be one of those fights where you'd fight and then kill him, and it would turn out he was an imposter.
  • Mod Raven: Behold! The Sliske-bot!
  • Mod Osborne: Was Sliske the first Zarosian Mahjarrat?
  • Mod Ollie: I'd like to say, after the God Emissaries story, then I'd like to say he was. Because, I don't know how much to say here, but I think he was the first to leave Icthlarin.
  • Mod Osborne: Yeah, I'd agree with that. It depends on how Zaros gained the Mahjarrat, what that process was. Zaros isn't one to come out into the open, so I don't think he gathered a meeting. We don't know if he gathered them individually or not. That's not something we've decided on.
  • Mod Ollie: It could be some manipulation from Sliske, one of his plans – you never know.
  • Mod Osborne: And the last Sliske question. I don't know how many times I can say Sliske in one podcast. Did Sliske ever have contact with Zaros from within the Shadow Realm?...So, Zaros is capable of contacting those in this world – we know this from previous quests. The notion of Zaros not getting in touch with Sliske, I would find very surprising. I imagine there has been some contact between Sliske and Zaros, but what that relationship is, I would really like to save for a future piece of content.
  • Mod Ollie: I would love to find that out.
  • Mod Osborne: And don't worry, Zaros will be a subject for future stories of the Sixth Age. So, that's it! That's the end of the Quickfire Question Roulette, which wasn't very Quickfire. Next week you can look forward to Bigging up the Dwarves. See what I did there? That's going to be with Mod John A and Mod Sarah, talking about the future of the dwarf storyline. And obviously there's the Chaos Elemental bit. So, for those of you who like to work out a puzzle about future content: a familiar three will play Pinkeye to Napoleon on a bike ride for the Tulip Food Company.
  • Mod Ollie: Is it us three?
  • Mod Osborne: So that's it, thank you very much for tuning in! We hope you listed to our next dwarf podcast in two week's time. Thank you very much – goodbye.
  • Mod Ollie: Goodbye.

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