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e e m m m o o n n s tttt e e r
eeee m m o o n n ssss t eeee r News 08-25-94
e m m o o n n s t e r
ee m m oo n n sss tt ee r #28
Headlines this time: Super New Creature List
Geez, More Complaints About ABM
eMonster News is published ideally on the 25th of each month. Send all
submissions, questions, letters of comment, and subscription information to
the email address below. eMonster News is available free for the asking to
anyone able to receive it on INTERNET, CompuServe, GEnie, Delphi, America
Online, Prodigy, or any other service tied into the net. Press run: 151.
To avoid problems with my mailer, I send this out in batches; for a full
listing of players on the net, send a note to Scott (below). eMonster News
is not affiliated with Adventures By Mail in any way, and nothing in here is
necessarily official. We like to think they like us, though. Please copy,
post, print, or otherwise distribute this newsletter to as many players as you
can; especially if they have email access. We want to promote this here game!
Editor & Publisher Scott Micheel firstname.lastname@example.org
Keeper of Blurbs Aaron Fuegi email@example.com
Group Man Brian Derks firstname.lastname@example.org
Monster Mapper & MI BBS Jim Wuerch email@example.com
Capture Creature Captain Larry Barrows firstname.lastname@example.org
Statmaster Jack Vinson email@example.com
Seeker of Demigods Ben Vincent firstname.lastname@example.org
Lord of the Hard Sell Tom Richardson email@example.com
List Director Sharyl Leis firstname.lastname@example.org
Q&A Lady Dana Barker email@example.com
Back issues of eMonster News can be got via anonymous FTP transfer. The
site is ftp.erg.sri.com , the directory is /pub/pbm/monster_island/newsletters
and all files are in GZIP format; to uncompress them, use GUNZIP.
This newsletter is also posted to the Internet newsgroup rec.games.pbm, and
usually ends up on the America OnLine boards, the World Wide Web, as well as
Bif's Monster Resort BBS. You are welcome to post this anyplace you wish, but
please leave it intact.
I can't reach the following players. If you are on this list, send me a
note as soon as possible, to let me know you're still active.
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Host 'telstr' unknown...
eMonster Departments: Creature List
Date: Thu, 28 Jul 94 15:29:20 EDT
Subject: Creature List is now on-line!
Here's a new total Creature list I've been working on. It contains all the
knowledge you need to know about every Creature in Monster Island. As you can
see I need tons of more information to complete this baby. Only you can help
me. So be a good sport and send me your data. (Damage was calculated at a
base Armor Class of 0.) No need to calculate damage, just send me your AC at
the time of the encounter and be sure to include the number of times the
Creature can hit in round of hand to hand combat. If you find any
differences, send 'em. Some of this information is based on second hand
material and most of the Health Pt Range data was taken before Jack changed
the amount of damage you can do. Now you can get a more realistic range since
you cannot "overkill" anymore.
Has anyone captured anything in a Dark Place? I don't think you can but I
haven't tried it yet, so I don't know for sure. If that's true, then you
can't Capture any Creature found in Dark Places only (i.e. Blood Mummy - not
that you'd want to).
Feel free to distribute this list to every and anyone who wants it, just as
long as you leave my address and name with it. If you send me an update, I'll
be sure to send you the newest version of this list. (S.A.S.E. would be
greatly appreciated.) Thanx! (The Creature List is now on-line! So just eMail
me for the most current.) (Hey I tried to keep the columns straight, but you
know...it may look really bad, but it should print okay!)
39 Bushwick Street
Melville, NY 11747
*****Editor: your should print this with a mono-spaced font like Courier
!Creature List Deleted, ADF!
From: "Jerry E. Ritchie" <email@example.com>
Date: 03 Aug 94 22:22:36 EDT
Subject: Spell List
S P E L L L I S T
The following is a list of known spells and the cost (in Action and
Spell Points) to cast them:
--Notes: "Varies" under Spell Points indicate the cost varies depending
on the result. "Spec" under Spell Points indicates that the
spellcaster specifies the number of Spell Points to use.
Spell Spell Action Spell
Number Spell Name Points Points Type
------ -------------------------- ------ ------ -----
1 Summon Creature spec 60
2 Ensnare Creature varies -
24 Identify Scroll 5 8
25 Read Scroll 18 5
33 Detect Dark Places 8 16
34 Open/Seal Temple Door spec 6
41 Detect Fellow Followers 4 8
42 Detect Rival Followers 8 12
43 Hide Fellow Followers 6 6
44 Detect Natural Hazards 8 16
50 Dig 1/hand 1/hand
52 Repair Small Silver Item 7 5
53 Repair Large Iron Item 12 8
54 Repair Small Iron Item 9 6
55 Detect Plants 6 12
66 Detect Items 24 32
71 Divine Monster 80 60
77 Detect Creatures 12 24
85 Detect Sacrosanct Structure, 8 16
88 Detect Above-ground Places 12 24
701 Torchlight 3 - Situational
802 Ensnare Creature varies - Defensive
805 Light Armor 3 - Defensive
811 Battle Dexterity 15 - Defensive
822 Fire Shield 12 - Defensive
828 Armor 11 - Defensive
844 Battle Slowness 15 - Defensive
901 Fireball 10 - OFfensive
903 Blinding Light 12 - Offensive(Kabukian)
922 Enchant Weapon 20 - Offensive
924 Sleep 9 - Offensive
928 Fear 7 - Offensive
933 Lightning 14 - Offensive(Shroudian)
This information is distributed compliments of the Disciples of Light.
Monster island players are free to copy each list in whole or in part as
long as this note remains attached. Everyone is requested to contact the
DOL with any updates/corrections.
BBS: Bif's Monster Resort (317) 962-BIFS 8N1.
Notes from our Readers
From: Gerald Hagedorn <HAGEDORN@UMR.EDU>
Date: Tue, 26 Jul 1994 11:30:50 -0600 (CDT)
I am curious at the the percentage chance of getting different
spells from unreadable scrolls. So I am asking you all to send me how many
scrolls you have identified and how many of each you got. I will compile
the statistics and relay it to everyone on the group.
Thanks in advance
Date: Tue, 26 Jul 94 13:41:00 EDT
Subject: MI on AOL
In case anyone's interested, here's the list of stuff that's available from
ABM's File Library on America Online.
The library is watched over by the folks at ABM and AOL. I think most of the
neat lists comes from the Disciples of Light, probably orinally downloaded
from Bif's Monster Resort. The Shadow Guardians have added a file or two.
Date Number of
Upld File Name Downloads
^^^^^ ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^^^
05/27 MONSTER: MI Newsletter #12 7
05/27 MONSTER: MI Newsletter #11 7
05/01 MONSTER: MI Newsletter #10 29
05/01 MONSTER: MI Newsletter #9 25
05/01 MONSTER: MI Newsletter #8 28
05/27 MONSTER: MI Newsletter #7 7
05/27 MONSTER: MI Newsletter #6 7
05/27 MONSTER: MI Newsletter #5 7
05/27 MONSTER: MI Newsletter #4 7
05/27 MONSTER: MI Newsletter #3 11
05/27 MONSTER: MI Newsletter #2 12
05/27 MONSTER: MI Newsletter #1 15
05/27 MONSTER: MI Newsletter #0 17
07/26 MONSTER: eMonster News #27 1
07/02 MONSTER: eMonster News #26 27
05/27 MONSTER: eMonster News #25 38
05/05 MONSTER: eMonster News #24 34
05/01 MONSTER: eMonster News #23 32
05/01 MONSTER: eMonster News #22 29
05/01 MONSTER: eMonster News #21 27
05/01 MONSTER: eMonster News #20 28
05/01 MONSTER: eMonster News #19 29
05/27 MONSTER: eMonster News #18 10
05/27 MONSTER: eMonster News #17 10
05/27 MONSTER: eMonster News #16 10
05/01 MONSTER: The Watch Tower #3 48
05/01 MONSTER: The Watch Tower #2 50
05/01 MONSTER: The Watch Tower #1 47
05/27 MONSTER: Turn Card Fax Template 13
05/27 MONSTER: "Make Item" Table 28
05/27 MONSTER: Groups, Totems, Battle 20
05/27 MONSTER: Gods and Groups 16
05/27 MONSTER: Far Building Coordinate 17
05/27 MONSTER: Far Post Item Prices 14
05/27 MONSTER: Cross-Reference Table 11
05/27 MONSTER: Far Inn/Far Forge Price 17
05/27 MONSTER: DOL Cross-Reference Tab 12
05/27 MONSTER: Group Coordinate Conver 11
05/27 MONSTER: Far Inn Item Appraisals 12
05/27 MONSTER: Item Buy/Sell Prices 14
05/01 MONSTER: PBM Entry Form 75
05/01 MONSTER: Rulebook 122
05/27 MONSTER: Excel Mapper 17
05/27 MONSTER: Armor/Weapons 40
05/01 MONSTER: Totems & Groups 36
05/06 MONSTER: Mapping Utility 11
05/24 MAGIC: April Newsletter 33
05/24 MAGIC: Individual Cards from ABM 35
05/27 QUEST: FAQ 9/16/93 83
05/01 QUEST: Mapping Utility (PC) 67
05/01 QUEST: Signup form 156
05/01 QUEST: Rulebook 87
05/01 QUEST Rulebook (ZIP) 124
From: Dana Wright <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 01 Aug 94 22:40:10 EDT
What is the maximum number of temples someone has been to and does it max
I know that monsters have 5 Temples visited; I believe that at least one
has hit the exact number (7, I recall). I don't think anyone has visited
*more* than the minimum, and if he did what he would get. I suspect that
you'd get more spells and more spell points, just like before. Maybe
And has anyone done a TS with their diety's favored Monster?
Lots of people have done TS with their god's Hated Creature (I myself have
sacrificed Myrrh Doves to Shroud). I have never heard of anyone doing
the sacrifice with their god's Favored Creature. One rumor awhile back
said killing a favored creature got him zapped and lost badness, or
something. TS might work that way too.
Is the TS obtained at a Temple or a shrine only or both?
Can anyone help me out here?
Article: 13771 of rec.games.pbm
From: email@example.com (CasbahCarl)
Date: 11 Aug 1994 21:56:01 -0400
Subject: Monster Island: The Shadow Guardians
Greetings Fellow Traveller!
I am privileged to represent one of the most outstanding groups on
Monster Island. The Shadow Guardians is a group of highly motivated,
fun-loving and otherwise rabid Fuvites.
Whether your monstrous dreams and desires urge you toward the discovery
of new knowledge through exploration, the mystical transcendence of
priesthood, or the bloody camraderie of warfare, we're the group for you!
There are three tribes within the Shadow Guardians--each seeking to
fulfill one of the three facets of the Fuvite mission: Battles, Knowledge
In support of these noble goals, the Shadow Guardians publishes a
monthly newsletter and makes available a wide array of resource materials,
including databases of maps and blurbs that are among the most extensive
on the Island. The Shadow Guardians has alliances with six other groups in
which we share information and trade newsletters. Thus membership in the
Shadow Guardians opens one to the collected knowledge of not just one, but
Best of all, we're a friendly and lively bunch of monsters who will
encourage and support your efforts on behalf of the group, as well as your
own personal self-improvement. We understand that your number one priority
is to have fun, and ours is to make sure that happens. We hope you'll
consider joining the Shadow Guardians--We'd Love to Have You!
If you're undecided, would like to know more information, or would like
to do a little comparison shopping, please let us know! We'd be happy to
answer your questions and even provide recommendations of other groups for
you to consider. If the Shadow Guardians isn't your cup of elixir, we can
steer you to one of our allied groups. But since we're the best, why
settle for less!? :)
Daring Explorers --> The Pummel Bear Tribe
---- Garchoke Dar Mogore ----
Priestly Disciples --> The Xanxu Cave Spider Tribe
---- Ramses Sarcoma ----
Fearsome Warriors --> The Bloody Mummy Tribe
---- Sol-Rac Orim ----
From: Sindre Stabell <SIV91012%NOBIVM.BITNET@SEARN.SUNET.SE>
Date: Tue, 16 Aug 94 16:02:10 CET
Subject: Re: MI/UK news
In UK MI there are rumours of a Jewelled Mace (DC5 Bashing weapon) and
of a Wrestle With Jossmen blurb which allows you to enter the order WF Wrestle
Friend. You are supposed to gain a lot of wrestling skill from this. Do you
know anything about this?
From: Gerald Hagedorn <HAGEDORN@UMR.EDU>
Date: Tue, 23 Aug 1994 14:07:58 -0600 (CDT)
Subject: Question/Spell Points
I just noticed something odd on my turn. Since I got my 5th temple
I have been getting 25 spell points back each turn. Then all of the sudden
a couple of turns ago I started regaining 26 each turn. A similar thing also
happened to my other monster that has 3 temples in. Has this happened to
anyone else?? I was under the impression that the # of points you got
back each turn was effected only by the number of temples you had visited.
Could it be that once you have been following a god for a certain amout of
time you get a slight increase in the gain?? Let me know what you think.
From: fuegi@CS.ColoState.EDU (Aaron D. Fuegi)
Date: Tue, 23 Aug 94 13:12:34 MDT
Subject: Re: Question/Spell Points
Regarding your spell point question, first I will mention for you if
you don't know it already that the number of spell points you get is 20% of
your max spell points possible each turn regained. My guess is, given the
change you mentioned that Jack probably just changed the rounding so that it
is rounding up instead of down. What is the total number of spell points
your monster has? To figure this out you may have to go back to the turn where
you last got new spells?
Article: 13880 of rec.games.pbm
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Thomas Magle Brodersen)
Subject: Monster Island players at KJC Games
Date: Thu, 25 Aug 1994 10:48:50 GMT
I just wanted to know if there are other monsters playing from KJC Games that
have access to the net. I am willing to do information exchanges, if you like.
Article: 13882 of rec.games.pbm
From: email@example.com (Christopher G. Wood)
Subject: More MI newbie Q's
Date: Thu, 25 Aug 1994 09:07:46 -0500
Thanks to everyone who helped me out with advice a couple weeks ago. I
have a couple more questions if ya'll don't mind.
*****Editor says: answers were provided by the following;
firstname.lastname@example.org (David Perry)
email@example.com (Garrett R Le-Page)
(1) What do I do about thirst?
>You sate your thirst by either coming across a pond or a waterhole (both
>of which might be poisoned, but you only lose some health for that every
>turn until you flush that out with a clean water source), or by going to
>a Far Post or Far Inn, where you are served water free. You cannot get
>water from the Sea or a Geyser.
(2) I am about 30 squares east on turn 5. Should I be pushing eastward or
should I stop to take advantage of terrain. For example at an early Quest
for Knowledge last turn in Swamp, I discovered how to make Leather Armor.
Unfortunately there is no swamp near where I ended up. Should I backtrack
or just do without the armor until I find more swamp to the east?
>That's a tough one, and it depends in part on how eager you are to
>explore. If you stay west too long, you won't gain Toughness. But if you
>head east too quickly, you'll get your butt kicked. Personally, I think
>that Leather Armor is an essential item and I would backtrack to fashion
>My advice at this point is to keep advancing east - there will always be
>more swamp, and more interesting things await you the farther east you
>venture. (Unless swamp is only backtracking less than a turn's distance -
>then go back and make that armor.)
(3) If I reeneter a square where I killed a creature last turn, can I
attack it's relative? If so, will it be automatic or do I have to use an
>There are others of it's kind in the square -- the only creature known
>to travel from square to square are Plodders (and maybe Demon Condors.)
>Frequently, if you return, you'll find the same creature immediatly.
>Other times you'll have to look around -- using the A order, or even just
>Jazzercizing or Practicing Weapons, or Questing.
(4) Should I be using my knife or my driftclub as my primary weapon?
>I believe the driftclub is better, and you'll find better clubs before you
>find better knives, so it's good to have as high clubbing experience as you
>can get as fast as you can get it. Frankly, I'd say go Quest for a Carved
>Club (in low hills), and use that. In general, use the highest combination
>of skill level and damage class you have.
(5) I got to level 2 in Missile using my Sling. Should I continue to
practice with it or switch my practicing to a different weapon?
>The rules state that missile weapon practice is the most effective of all
>the weapon types. It's always a good idea to have good missile proficiency
>as well, and soon enough you'll have a better missile weapon with which to
>do it. Also, please note that every time you hit with it, you gain a
>little skill with that weapon -- and that hitting in combat gets you more
>skill than just practicing. If it were me, I'd practice Missle unless
>you only have level 1 in other areas -- then I'd work on a hand-to-hand
>weapon and get that up to skill 2 before going back to work on Missle.
(6) I'm getting 4-6 muscle per turn by (J)azzercising. Is this about how
much I should be shooting for?
>That sounds good. In fact, if I were you, I'd take advantage of the relative
>easiness with which you can gain muscle in your early turns, and shoot for a
>minimum of 5 Muscle per. More would be better. My one regret at the beginning
>of the game is not developing my muscle as fast as everyone else seemed to.
>My Turn-50+ monsters have to expend a minimum of 26 action points in order to
>get 1 Muscle. Get it while the gettingsgood.
Article: 13896 of rec.games.pbm
From: Jack Vinson <VINSON@UNAGI.CIS.UPENN.EDU>
Subject: MI: Gnitgnats and the Far Structures list
Date: 26 Aug 1994 15:41:19 GMT
Okay, my poor monster has been plagued by Gnitgnats for about five turns
now. He's tried the two suggestions that occurred to him after questing
for knowledge: walk through jungle and sleep in a hidey hole. Nothing.
Does someone have the Far Structures list? And is it accurate. I've found
four Far Posts and the info on the list does not seem to be accurate. I'd
also like to know where (0,0) is on that list since it seems some Far Inns
are further West than the closest Far Posts...
*****Editor: We published a list of Far places in a previous issue, and
while it was the most comprehensive I've been able to find, it was
not exhaustive and contained a number of omissions and errors. Add
to that the nagging feeling that there are some Far Posts that have
the same name, so I would be wary of using it as your sole source
Article: 13898 of rec.games.pbm
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (CasbahCarl)
Subject: Re: MI: Gnitgnats
Date: 26 Aug 1994 12:08:01 -0400
Personally, I like Gnitgnats. That's a guaranteed creature kill and
missile practice for every single turn. Yeah, sure it's tough to get a
date ("It's been 435 days since you had any."), but otherwise I think
However, if you don't like 'em, the best way to get rid of the little
buggers is to stay at a Far Inn. The Jossmen are kinda particular about
the hygiene of their guests (go figure!) and will kill the swarm for you.
More Complaints about ABM and the world in general...
Date: Wed, 27 Jul 94 11:44:12 EDT
Subject: Fuvite Temple CS
A rather upsetting occurrence happened last week that has the DOL and at
least myself rather upset with Jack & ABM. We had been
reconstructing a temple ruins 4 squares to the northeast of the Jolly Ogre.
After 4 months of rebuilding while being attacked by Fuvites & Shroudians,
not to mention LV orders performed by these villains, we were down to
a few hundred AP remaining in the rebuild. At this point a group of
Fuvites entered the square and performed a Ceremony of Sanctification on the
Temple and made it a Fuvite Temple. The DoL Team still remained in the
Temple square with all parties alive, but the CS order still succeeded. Mark
Hall and I both agree that if they had left the square or had been killed
that this would have been understandable. Due to the fact that the Ceremony
of Sanctification blurb says:
"The sanctification can fail for two reasons: A follower of
another God is present in the square, or your God already has
a temple nearby."
We both are in agreement that this should not have occurred and are rather
upset about it. I just succeeded in talking to Jack Everitt about this and
he stated that the blurb is wrong in regards to this fact (CS with other
followers). He said that it is common knowledge that this is not true...
Just who this knowledge is common for I do not know. He said that he can
not change the fact that this Temple is now a Fuvite Temple. This has
happened several times in the past and he assumed that everyone knew that
the blurb was incorrect. I intend to make sure this is common knowledge --
I will post on Bif's MR and the e-Monster newsletter.
Date: Thu, 28 Jul 94 08:12:10 EDT
Subject: ABM coumputer error?
The following is from a friend of mine who offers another idea on the mailing
problems ABM is having:
"The problem may not be e-mail related, but related to the general insanity
of how that company is run. I just got back from overseas and was reading my
monster results (more on them later). my turn was processed on July 19 at
11:14 a.m. But the envelope (I notice things like this) was postmarked July
That turn was mailed in. I think one of their problems may be that there
computer is on the wrong date.
Date: Sun, 31 Jul 94 19:37:55 EDT
Subject: Jack the GM on AOL
Jack is back to posting on the AOL MI board--will wonders never cease!! :)
Here are his posts:
Subj: MI Programmed Using? 94-07-31 18:52:59 EDT
Rob, It's programmed in Microsoft QB 7.1 Prof. Dev. Sys. Have no idea total
size of programs, as I use many include files, etc.
Subj: Re:New order suggestion 94-07-31 18:54:11 EDT
Someday I'll "Make It So!"
Subj: Re:Jack and combat 94-07-31 19:00:57 EDT
Rober, Ah, but I've also programmed an information game. The problem of
course is that I haven't been able to add new info as fast you guys have
gobbled it. This is very frustating to me, esp. since I have a ton of
material waiting to leap into the game If only there was time to do it.
I personally dislike battle-oriented games and much more prefer
exploration oriented ones.
As for the future, with online communication speeding the spread of new
things discovered in the game - to a point where it's hard to envision
anything being secret - something new has to evolve here. Something that
takes into account Online info disbursion.
Frankly, what PBM game isn't a Stat building game? Something I would
love to expand is the depth of stats in the game, too.
Sorry this isn't longer.
Subj: All: Temple Sancto 94-07-31 19:13:54 EDT
Yep, that blurb is incorrect. Not intentionally. I intended to program it the
way it reads...but never got to adding in the part for checking to see who
else is there. THEN, players seemed to like it not working...so I forgot
about and of course, SPLATTT!
I don't intend to change the way it works. I will change the blurb when I
next tackle some MI programming tasks. -- Jack
Subj: Re: Blurb errors 94-07-31 19:15:11 EDT
Hmmm...don't think they're are any intentional blurb errors. You guys already
do a great job of spreading incorrect things, why would I need to add more?
<GRINS> -- Jack
Subj: Re: Bodden Camps 94-07-31 19:16:12 EDT
Gee, I haven't seen anyone enter one. Do I have a crooked Spyglass, or
something? -- Jack
Subj: Beyond the Crystal Wall 94-07-31 19:18:22 EDT
Ummm...it's not a question of How many desire it. I think Everyone who's on
turn 60+ wants to see the next huge area completed. Especially, ME. It's
simply a lack of time to do it. Fruststrate the hell out of me, too. -- Jack
Date: Thu, 04 Aug 94 11:50:36 EDT
Subject: Bob from ABM on AOL
The following is ABM Bob's wrap up of the situation regarding the BSE
Slowdown. I'm copying it to you because he talks a bit about the operations
at ABM, for anyone who is interested.
Subj: BSE Delay 94-08-04 11:03:42 EDT
Sorry its taken so long to post a message regarding the recent delay in
processing BSE turns. Here is what happened:
The delay was simply caused by too much business being thrust upon us too
quickly. We are now involved in mail order gaming sales and are also
distributing to 400 stores. Such a rapid growth took us completely by
Since Mike is a partner in ABM it immediately took him into many other jobs
and what started as a BSE slowdown quickly turned into a stoppage after about
a month. BSE was the only game affected as it is the only game directly
processed by the three partners of ABM. All the other games kept up their
normal, quick turnaround.
Originally we had anticipated a stoppage of only about 2 weeks as we had
hired someone to take over Mike's new responsibilities. We waited for that
person to give their 2 week's notice at their current job so they could start
with us. Well, the day came and the new employee had changed her mind
without notifying us. That put us another 3 weeks behind schedule as we had
to restart the search from scratch. All the time this was occurring,
business was in the process of doubling once again.
So...to sum it up. We now have 3 new full time members of our staff, and 2
part time. Mike is back onto BSE...and is sorting out the pile of turns that
has accumulated. A lot of colony adjustments have been run, and a set of
colony turns have been printed. I believe they've already been mailed.
Everyone is receiving a coupon for a free 140TU turn for every turn you
submitted that was affected by this delay. The colony printouts also are
We still have some turns in the office to process, so everyone's turns are
still not done. The reason for this is that a lot of very difficult turns
have accumulated and these take considerable time to process. We are working
on getting things back to normal ASAP. Political turns should be in the mail
to you by this coming weekend.
I hope this has helped explain things. You have our apologies for the
stoppage as well as for not having been able to notify you earlier of what
was occurring. Other than the switchover to the new BSE system a couple years
ago, this has been the only "burp" in BSE processing in 14 years and it was
handled as quickly as possible.
Thanks very much for your patience and understanding.
From: Gerald Hagedorn <HAGEDORN@UMR.EDU>
Date: Tue, 16 Aug 1994 10:16:00 -0600 (CDT)
I have been extremly satisfied with the service Jack (and ABM in genaral) has
given me, in the past. Recently I tried to get a hold of Jack for two weeks.
The only way that I would be allowed to talk to him is if I was a Magic
dealer. What is worse is that, not only is Jack not coming to the phone.
Jack does not have time to even fix the bugs that exist in the program,
let alone program in the new things that have been promised to us long ago.
I am not going, spend anymore time complaining. What I am going to do is
attempt to propose a solution. I think that Jack should hire someone,
even parttime to program Monster Island. That would allow Jack to do
Magic and us to have some progress. I would be willing if the game was
updated constantly to pay $4.50, or $5.00 at turn. I just want something
done. I had hoped with the hiring of the three new people at ABM that
Jack would have time for monster Island, but that has not happend. What
do you think about my Idea that Jack hire a dedicated monster Island
program. If you like what you hear let me know, better yet let Jack know.
The only way we are going to get any thing done is if Jack know how upset
we are and how many of us are upset.
From: email@example.com (Ilya Taytslin)
Date: Fri, 19 Aug 94 11:04:44 EDT
Subject: ABM goofs
Concerning ABM's goofs: very early in the game (almost three years ago)
I got along with my turn results a copy of Mike Pan's credit card slip.
I destroyed it, but someone else might have decided to use it...
PS. Trident sells for 150 Ocs at a Far Forge.
Date: Wed, 24 Aug 94 00:03:15 EDT
Subject: ABM complaints on AOL
At Jerry's request, I posted his message on the AOL MI board, which raised
some issues concerning ABM and customer service. Here are the postings that
have resulted as of Aug. 23.
Subj: Re:Jerry Hagedorn's Message 94-08-16 17:33:05 EDT
I agree with Jerry. Many DoL members are thinking of quiting due to the
Temple incident, Jack won't answer many of our questions reguarding the
situation. And that no new major "things" have popped up recently, many
members are getting disatisfied with ABM service. It is getting boring
lately. I've slowed down in sending my turns. Oh well, just my personal
Subj: Re:Jerry Hagedorn's Message 94-08-17 00:11:57 EDT
Jack can, and has been, contacted here on AOL... he's called ABMJack. He has
answered questions for me via email, why not give it a chance?
Subj: Re:Jerry Hagedorn's Message 94-08-17 02:41:02 EDT
>>Jack can, and has been, contacted here on AOL... he's called ABMJack. He
has answered questions for me via email, why not give it a chance?<<
FYI: I have been informed of nearly *countless* instances of ignore-ance
from ABM to their players. I also have my own experiance to go by. Take a
poll of the very active and well conected, you'll find that in their opinion,
ABM was doing well some time ago, then suddenly customer service took a
SERIOUS dive. I guess you've been lucky. But I think others have been
giving ABM a chance beyond the extent of dignity.
Subj: Gen-Con 94-08-23 00:18:45 EDT
From: Cashew Nut
I went to Gen Con, the giant game convention in Milwaukee, WI. ABM said they
would be there. When I finally found them, Jack was there. His one small
table was completely filled with Magic Gathering card game. He didn't have
one single thing on the table for any of his play by mail games. I asked
about that and he pulled out some MI rule books and placed them on the table.
The next day there was not anything for MI on the table again. No wonder he
hasn't opened up the eastern area, nor gotten the Demi-gods into play. Any
questions that we asked he danced around the issue, and didn't give any real
20 days ago MI ran a turn for one of my monsters, and on his first move
he ran into another monster and the two fought. He killed the other monster
and then when he went to pck up all the equipment the computer crashed.
After waiting and waiting and no turn result I called ABM up, they informed
me of what happened and they said they are working on it. I still have not
recieved a turn result.
I think we, the played, should demand more attention be brought to MI.
After all there are over 75 other play by mail games we could send our money
on. I like MI, I enjoy the game, but what about continue improvement,
customer service, fast turn around time, and game support.
In Paper Mayhem issue #68 it listed a rating of 72 Play by mail games,
Monster Island is listed as number 44 and ABM other two pbm games, It's a
crime and Beyond the Stellar Empire are the bottom two on the list. It goes
on to rate 42 pbm companys and ABM is listed 36. This speaks very badly for
ABM and their current operational procedures.
Subj: Re:Gen-Con 94-08-23 01:08:05 EDT
Unfortunately, ABM is in business to make money. They have many of us
already committed to MI for a few turns, + the time we've invested in our
monsters. They're testing our patience!
Subj: Re:Gen-Con 94-08-23 10:04:00 EDT
I think you made many good points. I feel that ABM should decide whether they
want to continue being a PBM company. In my personal opinion, developed from
talking with numerous other players, ABM has not been a PBM company for
several months now. They've been a distributor for Magic, and very little
At least we get our turns processed. Those poor suckers on BSE have gone
months without that happening, so I guess we should consider ourselves lucky.
By the way, Sol-Rac hasn't had a chance to slice and dice any Shroudians
lately. Would you mind letting me know where I can find one of your monsters?
Subj: ABM (The Magic Dist. Company) 94-08-23 14:30:17 EDT
Quoting Chuck>> At least we get our turns processed. Those poor suckers
on BSE have gone months without that happening, so I guess we should
consider ourselves lucky.<<
Luck? LUCK?! No Chuck, it takes skill to find a PBM company that'll take
your money and run you around as adeptly as ABM. Those suckers in BSE don't
get charged for there misfortune, we do. Thanks for your input, we can count
on you, and we're not even sending you 4 bucks every ten days. You are very
right about the question of remaining a PBM company, they could save the
customer base if they'd just sell the whole mess to another company. Hey
chuck, would you like to pool resources? Between the two of us maybe we
could BUY MI!! If we don't have enough cold cash, maybe we could get the
players to buy it!! Like an employee owned company, you know? I AM serious
PS: I vote for one of the DoL staff to moderate.
Subj: Re:Buying MI 94-08-23 21:58:59 EDT
>if they'd just sell the whole mess to another company. Hey chuck, would you
>like to pool resources? Between the two of us maybe we could BUY MI!! If
>we don't have enough cold cash, maybe we could get the players to buy it!!
>Like an employee owned company, you know?
How much income does MI currently generate each month? It's probably only a
fraction of what Magic brings in. Are the figures listed publicly anywhere?
What would the code, mailing list, and other MI related assets be valued at?
Ever since the BSE fiasco, I've suspected that ABM may be INTENTIONALLY
ignoring, and thereby killing off, the PBM side of their business so that the
Magic distribution side looks even better. Then they could justifiably say to
investors/financial backers/BANKS who they may have made contracts or loans
with before Magic: "look at the numbers guys, pbm is dying, magic is growing,
let us drop pbm and restructure the company (and our loan) to that of a
Jack may want OUT of the pbm programming business, and who could blame him?
After several YEARS of doing the same thankless job, Magic is probably like
a breath of fresh air, big bucks with relatively little hassle.
ABM might WELCOME an offer to take MI off their hands, along with BSE, Quest
& Its a Crime.
Subj: Re:ABM (The Magic Dist. Company) 94-08-23 22:32:09 EDT
From: Seneca LXI
I don't want to make it look like I'm laughing in all your faces (all =
anyone who sends money to AbM), but isn't AbM supposed to be active in this
forum, and all the other folders in their area?
How long has it been since anyone saw a message from any of them up here, in
any folder? Three weeks? A month? Six weeks? I vaguely remember seeing
something around the first week of July...maybe I was halucinating!
My heart goes out to you people who are still able to send money. Such
compassion. (But, as someone else said, at least you are still getting turns
back, unlike those fools in BSE!)
[BTW, don't bother trying to buy a game from AbM: people who truly loved
their games have been trying to do it for years. If they even accept an
offer, they'll ask for far too much...rumor is the last quoted price for BSE
was more than all of AbM grossed last year. You'll do far better off either
finding a new game or starting your own from scratch.]
Subj: Re:ABM (The Magic Dist. Company) 94-08-23 22:56:32 EDT
>How long has it been since anyone saw a message from any of them up here
If you want a Real Good Laugh, exit out of this MI forum and check out the
posting in the "Mail Order: Magic" forum, message from Hyperflash, dated
Is this ABMs new company in Florida, selling "computer products and jewelry",
or did some rogue wholesaler just post randomly here and ABM hasn't checked
their mail since then!? Pretty amazing either way. Maybe it was approved by
Subj: Re:ABM (The Magic Dist. Company) 94-08-24 01:59:48 EDT
I too went to Gen-Con and like Kathy said the table was filled with Magic
Gathering cards. What Kathy failed to mention was that those stupied cards
sold like hot cakes. In 15 mins. Jack must have sold $300 worth of cards.
(makes our $4 every ten days look like a boogier don't it)
I'm not going to knock what Jack is doing, and I would like to see him
spend more time on his own games instead of hocking someone else's stuff.
The Gathering didn't turn me on, but neither did Cabbage patch kids or pet
Subj: A watched pot don't boil... 94-08-24 05:08:56 EDT
The MI we knew is long gone. The game we play today is a back burner
enterprise, simmering away untended on the fading flames of reputation and
So now what?
Subj: ABM Downhill 94-08-24 14:07:50 EDT
What is this about ABM going down the tubes? I haven't been playing for a
long time so I don't know what it was like at the start. But, from the time
I began till now I've always got my turn's on time.
I have noticed one thing, though. I tried to get a new monsters a few weeks
back and it took so long that I had to call. They haven't been getting very
many new players in the last few months. So, that may be the cause for them
to sell Magic.
Date: Wed, Aug 24, 1994 11:09 AM EST
Subj: Re: More ABM complaints
I am glad that my posting got a dialog going. My intention was to
find a suggestion to give to Jack on how to solve the problem. I have to
agree that Jack is burnt out on monster Island programing, being a CS major I
can't blame him much. I would think though that MI is bringing in enough
money on it's own to hire atleast a part-time programer. I hope that ABM
gets there act together soon because they are running alot of my friends out
of the game. There are three reasons why I stayed with the game; the game
itself, the people I run with, and the upgrades and service to MI by Jack.
Soon I will Only have one of the three reason and when that happens ABM will
no longer be getting my money for MI. They are already not getting my money
Date: Wed, 24 Aug 94 16:48:14 EDT
Subject: More complaints from AOL
Subj: Aaa!! It's a monster... 94-08-24 14:56:27 EDT
Well, I would give you a summary of my turn results but honestly,I am so
disgusted with ABM at the moment, I am not in the mood. I have been
extremely satisfied with the service Jack (and ABM in general) has given me,
in the past. $$Ah, the good old days!$$
I have to agree with the complaint about Jack. I also hear he is spending more
time with Magic....his business. I would hate to see the game loose the
valuable expertise/experience of the older monsters, but it maybe what Jack
needs to shake him up. (Although the way his attitude has beenprojecting
lately, it probably won't)...with the impending baseball strike, have a
solution! WE STRIKE! Why doesn't every monster in most of the groups, (I
would say we could contact about 50% of the players using bif's alone) not
run a turn in the month of november. This would give everyone 2 months (8
turns) to find a Far Structure, and hole up. The strike would not hurt any
monster since, with the make up turn policy, you could just make up the turns
you missed, pressing whatever monsterly advantage you long term gamers are
$$A certain editor says$$ Take a poll of the very active and well connected,
you'll find that in their opinion, ABM was doing well some time ago, then
suddenly customer service took a SERIOUS dive. $$Could that have been when
some lonely jerk invented a faddish money grabbing wonder called Magic? I
heard that ABM's next trick is the cornering of the market in the resurging
Pet Rock industry.$$
I HATE it when long time gamers drop out of the game. There is something
lost, especially in an open ended game, when quality players stop playing...
WE STRIKE! I agree with the idea that we have to make ABM remember that the
customer (us) is still out there giving them money. MI has seemed to reach a
point where ABM does not seem to care whether we are here or not, but this
may not be the case if in some month (say November) a group of monsters does
as you say. I have recently started playing Suzerainty and have decided that
Steven Massey is an excellent GM. He is interested in the comments of the
players and wants to know of any improvements that we would like to see to
increase the enjoyment of the game. Jack seems to have lost this -- he does
not seem to care at all.
I have been informed of nearly *countless* instances of ignore-ance from ABM
to their players. $$Welcome, have a seat. Grow old and die$$
I would be willing... ...to pay $4.50, or $5.00 at turn. I just want
something done. $$Send us money. If we make a mistake, or fail to notice
that you exist, send more.$$
WE STRIKE! Striking is a little drastic, but it could be what we need to do.
I (and several of my electronically challenged friends) have been having
problems with errors in input on our turns (and sometimes with turns just not
showing up). The most recent was a weapons training at the Bottom Hill, was
left off my turn. I called ABM and spoke to Jack. $$I guess SOME people DO
get to talk to Jack!$$ He assured me that he was adding the order 'as we
spoke' and that I would not have to waste an extra turn at the Far Inn. I
then sent off my next turn. Low and behold, when the results arrived,
weapons training at the Inn was not part of them. $$ Kind of like the dog
that finally catches up to his own tail, it stinks (dogs don't wipe)$$ I am
very dissatisfied with the (lack of) customer service the non-Magic side of
ABM has shown in the past 3 months. I'm switching to Suzerainty...well,
Subj: Re:ABM Downhill 94-08-25 01:05:13 EDT
>I tried to get a new monsters a few weeks back and it took so long that I
had to call.
If you, or anyone else, wants to adopt a couple monsters, mine will be
available shortly, stay tuned.
I've found another open-ended fantasy game to play, PBEM this time, which is
brand new (turn 8), lots of fun, much cheaper ($2.50 flat fee, weekly
turns), and is ACTIVELY supported by the GM.
Subj: Re:ABM Downhill 94-08-25 02:56:14 EDT
From: JKim 21
I have to agree that ABM's service has deteriorated greatly. I remember a
long time ago reading the Beyond the Stellar Empire board on AOL, and there
were alot of IRATE former players posting messages. At the time, I never had
any major problems with Monster Island (whenever there was a problem, it was
solved quickly and courteously) and figured that the players that were
complaining were just a bunch of whiners who didn't get their way. Lately,
I'm beginning to sympathize with those former players. I've had a great
increase in the number of input errors for turn submissions, the corrections
seem to take forever and ABM's cuurent attitude about such problems are that
they're a BIG hassle and make it seem like it's my fault. I agree it's a
hassle to both sides, but the mistakes shouldn't be happening in the first
place. A simple double check on turn inputs would probably eliminate most
errors. A "J 26" turned into a "T 26" should not be happening. Turn
results sent to the wrong player should not be happening. Errors made in
correcting a previous error should not be happening. All these problems make
a great game less enjoyable, and the question of "Is this worth $4?" comes up
more and more often.
One thing that stands out in my mind about the old Beyond the Stellar Empire
posts is that these bitter, former players used to love the game. And mixed
with their anger was a regret that a game that they had alot of fun playing
before was ruined. I'd really hate to see that happen to Monster Island, but
lately it seems to be on that path. I hope that Jack and Co. don't remain
mesmerized from all the money coming in from selling trading cards, and still
have some loyalty to their original customers. The same customers that kept
the company running before Magic was around.
Subj: Re:Next BMT 94-08-25 03:18:29 EDT
When is the BMT coming out? I've been wondering the same thing. ABM has
been sitting on it for quite some time now. Actually, stacks of Magic cards
are probably sitting on it. The BMT was probably buried under stacks of
Magic paraphernalia immediately upon arrival. Or maybe they got some coffee
and/or magic stains on the proof copy of the BMT and discarded it. Who (at
ABM) cares anyway? Keith?
I would like to concur with those who think Keith is an asset to ABM and
the players. I think they should establish a customer service dept. and
place Keith at it's head. Keith is always helpful and often perky. Yeah
Keith!! If the players buy MI maybe we could hire Keith to moderate.
Subj: Re:ABM Downhill 94-08-25 03:39:50 EDT
Quoting Jkim>>I've had a great increase in the number of input errors for
turn submissions, the corrections seem to take forever and ABM's current
attitude about such problems are that they're a BIG hassle and make it seem
like it's my fault.
Hey!! Thats my feeling exactly!! How'd you do that?!
Subj: Looks like the plague to me... 94-08-26 17:20:29 EDT
My my my. Has the screw-ups of AbM surpassed even BSE? Now, one of their
most easily run games (input vs. turn cost) is suffering because AbM has
actually not done what they promised? SHOCKING. Well, Carl, start keeping
your eyes open because it will get a whole lot worse. They really believe
that these cards are gonna make them millions and they'll last forever....
Gee.... many people said that about D&D. Nothing last forever, especially
fads, and that is what these cards are.
Once more AbM has chosen what part of the population they want to cater to,
the younger crowd who have no real concept of money and the power it gives
someone. Mark my words, as soon as they get a sign of these cards dwindling
they will come running back trying to salvage what they have, covering up
everything that happened.
Life goes on, people, so don't waste your time waiting for these guys to
start listening to you. They haven't tried that for over 6 years, and they
are not going to start now.
Subj: Re:ABM Downhill 94-08-26 17:01:35 EDT
From: Sarnath GM
I'm a former BSE player and I started the question to AbM in their folders up
here and we were all kicked out and put in the commercial area (see the BSE
thread in there for a lot more detail). I played MI for a few turns, but
didn't like it, but it seemed interesting. The unfortunate thing is that AbM
is running it like they did most of their other games that are either history
or heading there (IAC and BSE).
You all have to realize something, and that something is you are all
consumers, and should get what you pay for. Your vote is your dollar, and if
you are not happy then leave. If the game gets better, you can always go
back, but be careful! AbM has a very good history at lettng teir games slip,
and as long as they are making money (somehow and someway) they'll go in that
They seem to not realize that a company should have as its number one
priority CUSTOMER SERVICE. If your customers are satisfied they will not
only continue to play, but bring others in. AbM seems to feel (and have said
it in the past) that they can always make up the losses of a few players with
new ones. There are a lot of quality games on the market, and there is no
need to settle for less. So if you are not happy, tell them to "mothball"
your monster, and sit out the game for a while. If they really do change
(and I doubt it, sorry) you can come back, but at least you make your
Sorry to be so long winded, but sometimes I just cannot sit by and watch
others fall into a nasty thing like this. Whatevr you guys decide to do I
wish you all the luck with it! :D
Subj: Re:ABM Downhill 94-08-26 18:09:50 EDT
Well folks, I'm bummed. I just started playing MI. I waited 3 weeks for my
first turn, which I recieved only after writing to ABMbob with no response,
and then my second turn sheet was lost! I waited 2 weeks before realising
something was amiss. I wrote a heated letter to Bob and a make-up turn was
generated. Now I found this board only to discover that these problems are
But the other thing I've noticed is the mention of other PBEM games.
Luckily my losses are minor in quitting this game as I have no time invested
in a character. Why should I continue playing a game when the only response
I get is after threatening to quit? Nor am I willing to invest money in a
game run by a company whose rep is questionable if there are other
competitors out there anxious to get a piece of the pie, especially if it
translates into superior product and response? So the search begins anew.
Anyone have a recommendation?
Subj: Re:ABM Downhill 94-08-26 20:10:29 EDT
Oh well! Just 275 turns down the tubes.Let's see 275 times $4 equals only
$1000. Actually there were $3 turns in there but who cares? It's still to
damn much if I can"t finish what I intended to do with my monsters.It's hard
to kill a demi-god disciple when they aren't even in the game. Believe me I'm
starting to rack up make-up turns and I had never done that before.It used to
be as soon as I got my turn it was going back out the same day so I could get
my next turn as soon as possible.Now.........when it gets there it gets
Date: Sat, 27 Aug 94 14:04:35 EDT
Subject: Jack's Response
Subj: Superior Service 94-08-27 12:49:08 EDT
Please accept our apologies for the less than stellar service at times in the
past month. I'm afraid it's going to get worse in early September, but by
October we hope that everything will be running smoothly again. So, please
bear with us, as we are trying very hard at our end. -- Jack Everitt
Editor Gets The Last Word...
I run two monsters with about 200 turns between 'em. I've been lucky, I
guess, to have had no major problems with ABM. I've never had a turn lost,
or delayed very long. Had a few input errors, but they were so minor I
never even bothered to have them fixed.
Both my monsters are still in the thick of it, getting 5 blurbs a turn
for the last few turns. Maybe they are developmentally challenged, but
there is still lots of things for me to do out there.
I have sympathy for those who've reached 'the wall', who've done it all
and await the new with desparate hope. I hope myself that by the time
I reach that level, the new area has opened up and all is right with
For now, I'll continue playing and hope for better days. But if you
decide that the game isn't any fun for you anymore, please give us
on the net a chance to give your monster a new home. There are more
than a few people who would love to take over an established monster.
Meanwhile, stay tuned! eMonster News will continue to bring you every
bit of news that happens.