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Letter From Your Editor

Hoods and Welcome, to the fourth run of Questaholic Magazine! I'm very excited to be able to present this issue; I've long felt that Questaholic is one of the most unique parts of Clan Quest: a place where we can showcase the skills, creativity, and interests of our members. We're a big, weird, and wonderfully diverse family, and the magazine lets us put all of that on display.

A little housekeeping note: we're all busy people, so to make it easier to consistently put out a quality publication, I've decided to commit to four issues a year, rather than the twelve that we've done in the past. So if you're a long-time reader and are patiently waiting for the April edition, sorry! We'll be back in June with more Questalific content!

But in the here and now, I couldn't be happier with what we've put together for you this issue, and I'm particularly proud to say that this is the first edition of Questaholic, since the formation of the Old School RuneScape Guild, to feature content relevant to all of our active guilds at once. That's right: whether you're a 'Scaper, Old School or New School, or one of our eminent Chess noobs, there's bound to be something for you in these pages. We also have plenty of non-guild-specific content for everyone to enjoy, from tasty treats to brain-bending puzzles, and the return of a reader favourite: Interviews with Clannies, where you can learn something new about one of our members. You can see the full contents in the box to the left of this letter, so feel free to jump to whatever interests you most, or keep scrolling to take in the whole package.

Of course, none of this would be possible without the help of our contributors, so let me take a moment to thank everyone who agreed to pen a piece for this issue, and who put in the time to make the best magazine they could: Choto, Darkestnight, Derparnieux, Francine, Miss Alaska, Shane, Shiro_Shana, and TycoElf; and, of course, a massive thanks to Questcaping for the incredible cover art, made on a cell phone of all things. We wouldn't be here without the hard work of each and every one of you, and it's been a true pleasure to work with you on this project. From the bottom of my heart, thank you all.

And thanks also to YOU, dear reader. It's a lot of work to put this together, and knowing that you're reading and enjoying it is what makes all that effort worthwhile.

But with that in mind, I have a task for everyone reading this. Don't worry, it's a small thing: tell us what you think. What do you like about this issue? What are you less enthusiastic about? What would you like to see, that we haven't included? We do this for you, and if there's anything we can do to make it better, please let us know.

So any feedback you have, positive or negative, feel free to direct to me on Discord (either in the public Clan Quest Discord or DM me at Xurdones#3796), or via Offsite PMs. Likewise, if you'd like to contribute to a future issue, either as a one-off or an ongoing column, hit me up! We've always got room for more, and I'd love to see what you've got!

So unhoods, and enjoy!

Article by Xurdones

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Bulletin - March 2022

Hello Clan Questers!

It has been so long since one of us has used that introduction in the forum of Questaholic! Here in the Clan Council our goal is to make the dreams and goals of the members possible. With that, when we heard Questaholic was considering a return we jumped on it. We are so eager to see where this incarnation of our much beloved magazine goes and hope everyone gets as much joy out of it as the writers do making it.

Back in February when we got together for our State of the Union we provided a recap on the last year including charitable efforts, had the Heads of Guild Council (or their emissaries) update the clan, layed out the idea of some non-RuneScape themed event nights, and promoted Choto. Obviously one of these was a huge surprise and the work and dedication this fine individual has put in over the years needs to be called out again - thank you Choto for all that you do!

I also just want to take a moment and come back to the topic of board game nights as mentioned at the State of the Union. Board games online with friends (and games in general) are a fun way to spend an evening if you’ve not done that and it’s something we’re still very interested in. Cireon is looking to start these up in the next month or so. If you’re interested or have any ideas of what games you’d like to play or what times may work, ping Cireon on Discord.

Before wrapping up I’d just like to put a call out to our social media channels on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. These channels are updated regularly and if you want to see what’s going on with our events or the clan in general, give them a follow. We also have Cyan and Cireon’s weekly Twitch streams where they’re streaming a multitude of games.

The point and biggest thing that I want everyone to take away from Questaholic and the Monthly Bulletin being back is that communication is important. Being able to communicate with all those around you, no matter who they are or what they think. Clan Council is here to make the dreams and ambitions of our members possible. If there’s ever any ideas anyone reading this has for projects they’d like to pursue or suggestions for Clan Quest, there’s always someone on Clan Council who will listen.

In closing, once again, congratulations to the Questaholic team for reviving this Clan Quest institution. You will all do wonderfully and allow new and old Clan Questers to experience or re-experience Questaholic. With that, good luck, and see you all in the next issue!

~Shane for Clan Council

Article by Shane



An interview with Darkestnight

by Choto 3000.


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What are you currently studying?
I’m not formally studying anything presently, but I’m always trying to improve my cooking abilities and crafting skills. If I could study anything I’d want to do some university biology lectures, as a career I was always interested in was the mortician career.

What do you do for a living?
I was a dental nurse for 3 years, but in November I left the medical field to train as a deputy registrar. I’m the person you talk to to register a birth or death, I make referrals to the coroner for a possible post mortem if a cause of death doesn’t appear natural, and eventually I’ll be training to conduct weddings! In the year 202X, keep an eye out for a Clan Quest wedding coming to a venue near you?!

What's your favourite sport?
Lacrosse. I was dreadful at most sports but lacrosse I was a beast at. I was violent, I was driven, I was a force to be reckoned with. Lacrosse was the sport where I was always picked first for a team as the other girls feared for their knuckles.

Which are your favourite childhood cartoons?
Aw man, I loved watching Yu-Gi-Oh-GX in the morning before school when I was about 7-8? Frankenstein’s Cat was a favourite back in the day, and I loved Ruby Gloom too. All before the age of 10, I think I was around about 11 when I watched my first anime which was Death Note.

If you could have any super power other than invincibility, what would you choose and why?
Oh that’s easy, I’d choose shapeshifting. You’re telling me I can change my appearance however I like with no financial cost to me, and I can reverse the change if I don’t like it? Sold. I could do a real life heist as a camel. I could abuse this superpower by; avoiding people, scaring people, getting favours from people, and getting a callback after a first date :sob: The possibilities are endless.

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What are your favourite outdoor activities?
I like hiking! I don’t get the opportunity to do proper honest to god hiking due to living in a town, but I got to do some good hiking a couple of years ago across the cliffs of Cornwall. Lots of heather on those cliffs, and some beautiful views.

Which is your favourite movie?
I don’t think I have one? I don’t tend to watch many films due to poor attention span, but my favourite genre tends to be horror. I love the old slasher films of the 80s, there’s something great about the special effects makeup and the props. Any film that can get you feeling uneasy and genuinely dreading what’ll happen next without relying on jumpscares has the makings of a good film in my opinion.

What sort of music and artists do you listen to?
My taste in music is something of a pick ‘n’ mix selection. I like rock, metal, random indie songs, and the occasional pop song. The last seven songs I listened to were; Froot - Marina & the Diamonds, Something in the way - Nirvana, Papaoutai - Stromae, Lay all your love on me - Abba, Montero - Lil Nas X, Morning Glory - Oasis, and This Charming Man - The Smiths. I also listen to a lot of movie and video game soundtracks. Almost always actually! There’s something very soothing about the ambient sound provided by an OST.

Which books would you recommend?
How much time have we got? I’ll try and keep it simple by limiting it to 3 different books from 3 different genres: Silence of the Lambs, the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, and A Thousand Splendid Suns.

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What's your favourite type of food?
If my Mother could see this question she’d answer for me with “Cake”. I enjoy Chinese! Asian Cuisine in general, I’m trying to be more adventurous and try new things and Asian dishes seem to be something I enjoy trying most. But yes, I am partial to cake too.

Do you prefer mom's food or restaurant food?
Sorry Mum, but it’s restaurant food. My defence is I grew up eating frozen foods bunged in the oven, and Chef Ramsay has swayed me to the dark side.


Which are your favourite games?
Legally I am required to say RuneScape. I loved playing the Sam & Max Games, all the way from the original click and pointer games of the day to the Telltale Games reboot. The Binding of Isaac games were the most forgiving introduction to bullet hell games and I’ve put a few hundred hours into them so I can say I’m fond. The Magic Circle was a great meta game about game development, and appealed to my lore hunting sensibilities. Dishonored was also a bop of a game; I loved my empress wife, our beautiful daughter, and my ominously floating goth void boyfriend.

What are your favourite video game genres?
I love a game with a good story. Look, I’ll be real with you guys, I suck at first person shooters. Which is why it was so painful that I couldn’t play the Bioshock series myself (thank you youtube playthroughs). I like horror films but I’m iffy on horror games. I love a good horror ARG, but if a game relies on jumpscares then I’m not for it. A series that did do horror right was the Silent Hill series: great narrative, puzzles, and a creepy atmosphere. In that same vein I suppose puzzle genres are good? I grew up on Professor Layton games and adored Portal 2, so that’s a solid win for the puzzle genre.

Which was the most difficult video game you ever beat?
Simulacra: Pipe Dreams. I don’t think I can remember? If I had to be honest with you, the most difficult "video game" I’ve beaten was probably Sliske’s Endgame the first time I completed it. If you think I’m a PvM noob now then you hadn’t see me before. That took me months to complete. The scream of vindication I let out after I beat Sliske was one I haven’t done since.

What's the toughest thing you've ever accomplished in a video game?
Read above, Sliske can bite my shiny metal ass.

When playing with friends, do you prefer video games or tabletop games, and why do you prefer one over the other?
I’m gonna have to say video games. You can play online fairly easily, and most tabletop games require some level of brain function. Please don’t make me do maths, let the computer do that. Also how can I get solid gems like the ones I get in Quiplash from a bit of pen and paper?


What's your favourite skill?
If I don’t say farming I might get angry letters. That’s my highest level currently and I have Player Owned Farm to thank.

What's your favourite quest?
Oh man, so I’m gonna say up to the most recent releases it’s probably Azzanadra’s Quest. Killer soundtrack by the way, but the quest had me reading into every little line for lore. Honourable mentions go to Fate of the Gods however as that was a quest I thoroughly enjoyed, and to Ritual of the Mahjarrat as that was the gateway quest to all the interesting lore.

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When did you start playing?
Originally I started playing back in 2007 when I was 7 (just about to turn 8), but my current main account has been around since December 2008 though. I have very fond memories of the traditional OSRS soundtracks from that time and can remember being so proud when I was able to join the Cooking Guild. I took a break around the time of the EOC update, and made a permanent return in 2019.

What was your very first accomplishment?
That was farming! I was so excited to finally have an accomplishment cape as I felt naked without one while I saw just about everyone else wearing one. I reckon that was a good one to get for your first 99, and I have that untrimmed cape keepsaked.

You get 30 seconds of full attention from all employees of Jagex. What do you say?
“Give me Nabor’s medical notes or give me death! Also please give me more Light and Shadow, I love these Statler and Waldorf ass voices”.

You get a ticket to visit Gielinor IRL. Where do you go first?
The Empyrean Citadel. It’s one of my favourite places to return to to reflect and listen to the soundtrack. Otherwise, I guess it’d be either Prifddinas or Senntisten. There’s much to see and discover, secrets to be found!


What are your biggest dreams in life?
I want to win the lottery so I can finally satisfy my expensive tastes and go travelling. I wanna retire at age 25. (You didn’t say the dreams had to be realistic). I guess I just want to be happy.

If you could have any 3 animals in the world (only real animals, not fictional), which would you pick?
A cat, a rat, aaaand…. A fox?

If you had to give up one of your senses (sight, hearing, touch, smell, taste) which one would you pick?
I’m hard of hearing already but I love music too much to give it up, love food too much to give up smell or taste, which only leaves me with sight or touch. I think most people would go insane without the ability to touch or feel, so I suppose that leaves me without my sight? No, it’s going to have to be smell. Big F to food, but I would be the worst person to navigate the world blind.

How would you describe yourself to others?
Unfortunate, and apologetic for existing. I don’t know! It’s been used mostly as an insult and occasionally as a compliment, but people have always described me as weird and eccentric. Beyond that? I’m not sure. Negative qualities are coming to mind as it’s sometimes hard to be fair to yourself and give yourself a compliment. Anxious. Shy. Reliable. Contemplative. Hardworking.

What is your most used item in your daily life?
Oh definitely my headphones. The first thing I do when I wake up is put on my headphones to listen to music or to watch some videos. Work lunchbreak? Headphones. On the train to and from work? Headphones. Eating? Headphones.

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Will you go to RuneFest next year?
[Risitas Laugh] If there is one! I’d like very much to go to RuneFest, or at least the next clannie meetup that’s arranged!

If I were to visit your country, what do you think I should do first?
Reconsider. No, if I had to recommend anything it would be come and say hello to me >:D I’ll take you to one of Chef Ramsay’s restaurants since we all know how pleased you are to have his namesake pet.

What are your favourite cities/locations, both in RS and in real life?
I don’t really have any favourite locations IRL, hence why I want to travel. I want to find those interesting places! But in game it has to be the Empyrean Citadel, Prifddinas, Senntisten, and the various digsites for the archaeology skill.

Do you have a motto or a favourite phrase? If so, which is it?
“Can you do me a favour?”
“Depends on the favour”
Commit to nothing until you know what the favour is.

Do you play an instrument? If not, which instrument/s would you like to learn?
Not presently! I would like to learn to play guitar but my hands are too small to wrap around the neck of the guitar. I’d have to get a custom guitar for my hands and then I might have no talent at all!

Tell us the story behind your name!
Darkestnight is a username I’ve been using over many platforms for years now, probably circa 2010? All I remember was that I wanted a cool and intimidating username so why not be known as the DarkestKnight? Kid me was not brilliant with silent letters however, so I became the Darkestnight instead. Luckily it still makes sense, just in a different way!

How many languages do you speak? Which one would you like to learn?
I speak English as a native language, and I can lip read a little if we’re counting that? But otherwise alas, I was terrible at foreign languages at school. I wouldn't mind learning British Sign Language though!

If you had to escape your country immediately, what's the one thing you'd take with you?
Logically I would be taking my laptop, but if I can only choose one then it’s going to be my childhood soft toy of choice. Documents and files can be recovered, childhood memories cannot.

What's your first memory of Clan Quest?
I remember being petrified joining the clan chat as a guest for the first time, and I’d never guested before so I was really nervous about if there was some etiquette I had failed to do. Cut to me announcing I was guesting as I hoped to join, hahaha. On reflection, I didn’t need to do that but hey at least I showed I was keen!

Coffee or tea? ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
Oh you’re such a little shit. I bet you added that Lenny face in just for me huh? Neither, and you know it!!! Bonk bonk bonk!!! [Editor’s note: :aheh:]

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Which is the most interesting God? Why?
I think… It might be Guthix. Which is the most boring answer there is, I know, but with more relevant lore releases I think he’s the first god that feels… mortal. Human-like. He’s a god that doesn’t particularly seek to lead, he believes gods shouldn’t meddle in the lives of mortals, and he took action to back up his beliefs. Guthix isn’t the god of good or bad, he’s balance.

Guthix’s memory to the World Guardian in Azzanadra’s Quest explaining Sliske’s role in the murder of Guthix is chilling; it was pre-meditated suicide with the planned end result being Sliske’s destruction in the name of making the WG the ultimate weapon. This to me shows he’s tactical, and he’s willing to take harsher action to do what he thinks is best which isn’t a quality I would immediately associate with his followers.

I think the picture painted of Guthix in literature (religious propaganda?) isn’t the same as who he really was, which is true of all the gods. But I think the truth of his character and how it contrasts with what we were taught of him is where he becomes interesting, and I can’t wait to see what else he had a hand in in this fight against the Elder Gods.

Best thing of Clan Quest?
The community, hands down. The people here are wonderful, and I can’t say thank you enough to them for being so welcoming.


Did you find it yet?
Who wants to know?

Where was it?
Why should I tell you?

Are you going to take good care of it this time?
Are you insinuating I didn’t before?

Do you have a new place for it?
Again, why should I tell you?

Is this place safe?

Would it last a long time if it stayed there forgotten?
If all goes according to plan, then yes.

Do you need help?
If I need help, I’ll ask.

Is this a good idea?
Of course not.

Can you say that with confidence?
As much confidence as anyone has these days.

Is this how it's going to be?
It’s the only way going forward.


What is the most wonderful thing you’ve ever cooked?
Everything I cook is wonderful. Nothing stands out so far, which is a sign I have to keep practising so one day I experience the ambrosia of home cooking.

How would you rate your recorder-playing skills on a scale of 1 to 10? Can we get a demo?
Oh boy don’t you know it, all the recorder skills. If Careless Whispers was being recorded today it wouldn’t be a saxophone you’d hear on that track, it’d be my recorder.

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Please enlighten us on your thought process regarding your superpower.
For the readers, he’s referring to my super power to remember useless information that won’t help anyone but will amuse me. Well, the thought process is this; Too many thoughts AHHHHHH. That cover it chief? I have very specific interests, and my brain chooses to prioritise the storage of useless information that gives my brain serotonin as opposed to useful information that did not spark joy in the old brain unit.

What would be the perfect name for our Bakery?
Beauty and the Bronze. [Editor’s note: You’re just describing me there]

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What was the best dish in the first cook-off you hosted? WARNING, TRICK QUESTION


What about the second cook-off?
I legally cannot say as I actually haven't tasted any of these dishes! How a dish appears is one thing, but you could have the most instagram-able dish placed in front of me and it would be worth nothing if it tasted like garbage. Taste is king.

How many teeth have you pulled out (from other people or your own)?
So I’ve assisted with the extraction of many teeth over my three years, so I can easily say over one hundred teeth in that time. Easily. The largest number of teeth I’ve done in one go was 12 teeth, and that was a total of (I think?) 24 over two sessions for one person. Poor guy. As for my own teeth? I was the weird kid that delighted in having wobbly teeth, I used to bite my wobbly teeth off once they were just connected by gum.

What’s the most important thing to know about teeth?
Look after them. I know, obviously, duh. But the reason why is if you like being able to taste your food, then look after your teeth.

The most cost effective way to replace large amounts of teeth is with a denture, and to secure a denture they need to cover your palate to some degree (if it’s an upper denture). Dentures will reduce how much you can taste when you eat, how much heat you can feel in your mouth, and after eating you have to clean them.

You may need to use glue to secure the dentures in and even then if your gums recede they’ll become loose and you’ll need new ones, and like new shoes you have to wear your dentures in so expect to feel sore.

So please, save yourself the hassle and look after your teeth. There is nothing better than your own natural teeth.

But if you want an interesting fact about teeth then have this: The shape of your teeth are based on the shape of your head! The shape and size of your head influences the appearance of your teeth. So when you see celebrities with their brilliant white smiles, just know that they’re almost always veneers and that they don’t always suit them as they may appear as too long for that person’s face!

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USER SUBMITTED: Why did I redeem the Ramsay pet on the Advent livestream?
Bronze gauntlets means butter fingers. [Editor’s note: REEEEEEEE]

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
With any hope, even happier.

Tell us your darkest secret that would make us all shudder in fear.
I once smuggled a Freddy Krueger glove into Ireland to see if it would set off the airport alarms. I was 12. It didn’t.

What is the meaning of life?

Article by Choto

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Shiro Applies Maths

Welcome to the first edition of Shiro Applies Maths. As an Applied Mathematics student, I know all too well that maths can be very abstract and you either love or hate it. I'm very sure that everyone has wondered at some point, what would I ever use this for in real life?!. That's exactly what this column is meant to explain: The practical uses of mathematics. Since this is not everyone's cup of tea, I will try to keep the difficulty of mathematics as low as possible so that everyone can follow the principal ideas. I will also often choose to look into the history of mathematics, as I want to share with you how genius our ancestors actually were. Without further ado, I will present to you the first article!

The Origins of Geometry

As I said in the introduction, I'm delving back into the past. Our destination? 2000-3000 B.C. Egypt. People lived alongside the Nile as the earth was very fertile. In order to avoid chaos, the land alongside the river had to be divided equally among the people. Surely, if it had to be divided once, that'd be fine and easily done by estimating. This was however not the case. The area around the Nile suffered from yearly overflowing, causing the boundaries to disappear. This meant that the fair division of the lands was also a yearly event. Thus, a clever method was required. Earth measurement, or as we call it now geometry, was invented to solve this problem. Before we can get to a solution to this problem, we need to figure out how Egyptians defined this problem. The first question you may ask? What is fair to those people? In the modern days, we'd just simply say to hand out regions with an equal area. You must however understand that the Egyptians back then did not understand the concept of a mathematical area. They dealt with perimeters instead. So to them, fair meant regions with the same perimeter.

Okay, we now have a definition of fair, but what about the measurement tools? All they had was a rope, which seemed to be plenty. If we think about it, you can produce straight lines with a stretched rope, but you can also create a circle with it. The latter is done by having your friend stay put in one spot and you go stretch the rope, then run around your buddy while keeping the rope stretched. Great, we can now make straight lines and circles. Now, we can deal with the problem at hand. The first solution could be to just make a circle with the same rope over and over and give this to the people. This however would be awkward when farming on circular land and it's also not very land efficient. A better solution would be a square/rectangle. If you were to pick a rectangle or a square right now, which would you pick? In the modern day, we can analyse this by using algebraic geometry and I will show you how. In the picture below you can see two figures, a square with sides x and a rectangle with sides x-a and x+a.

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Their perimeter (add up all the sides) are the same, namely 4x. We want to analyse which of the two would be the best shape in modern times, thus we'll calculate their areas. The area of the square is equal to and the area of the rectangle is equal to (x-a)(x+a) = x²-a². Since we know that is larger than zero, the square has a bigger area. We can thus conclude that a very smart Egyptian geometer, or rope stretcher as they were called, would have been able to "cheat" his way into getting bigger land.

Now that we've decided on the shape, it leaves us with the question, how do you make an accurate square with just a rope? Obviously we can't say for sure how exactly they had done it, but I can however show you that it is certainly possible with just a rope. Remember that we can only work with straight lines and circles. For each step, I will include a picture of the step.

Firstly, we start off by making a single straight line of the entire length of the rope. On each side, we put down a sign to make sure we remember the position. We then find the middle of that line by folding the rope and also mark this position. In this position, we make a circle with radius equal to half the rope. We get the circle as shown in picture 2b.

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For the next step we increase the length of the (half) rope. The amount doesn't matter much, as long as it is larger than the half length. It is however important that in the next two steps, this length does not change! We're going to stand in one of the outside points we marked down before, in my picture this is denoted as point A. In this point we will make a circle with radius equal to the length we just chose. We'll do this again, but now in point B.

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These circles intersect in two places, we will mark these down with points F and G. We can now make a straight line between these points. Note that this line goes exactly through the centre of our original circle and that it also makes a right angle with the diameter. We can now mark down the intersection points between the original circle and the recently drawn line. We're now finally at the end as we only need to connect the points on the original circle. For the sake of convenience, I removed the larger circles as their purpose is now finished. Since all four points are on the circle and A and B are points on the diameter, all corners of the obtained shape are right-angled. Furthermore, we know that all edges have the same length, thus this is a perfect square.

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As you can see, the method described above is not trivial at all, but if you're careful enough with your rope, it's very accurate. Feel free to try this at home with just a rope and see if you can construct a perfect square in the sand. I'm also very sure there are multiple ways of creating a perfect square with just straight lines and circles, if you are able to come up with a method, feel free to send me (Shiro_Shana) a message to discuss it. Important note, using measured lengths is ineffective and inaccurate with just a rope. Furthermore, they had no knowledge of calculations with angles or measuring a angle for that matter, so straight lines and circles only!.

The rope stretchers are currently the oldest known civilization that used geometric methods, making them the origin of geometry. In perhaps a future article we will see that geometry will expand significantly in Ancient Greece and making geometry the base of Mathematics. Up until the Scientific Revolution in the sixteenth century, the people in Europe saw geometry as the only way of proving Mathematics. If you can't construct it using a ruler and a compass, it doesn't exist. But more on that later.

The Origins of Arithmetics

We can't even imagine what it must be like not having the means to do a simple calculation. This makes perfect sense as we don't really know when the human kind started doing these calculations. The oldest we know of dates back to about 20.000 BC, at which time people could perform some form of addition and subtraction. This is however pretty vague and Historian Mathematicians are still disputing how it is to be interpreted. We do know, however, that prior to 1800 B.C. these calculations were very chaotic and inefficient. In Babylonia, the first efficient form of Arithmetics was found, written on clay tablets, like the one shown below:

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This tablet is called Plimpton 322, named after George Arthur Plimpton, the guy who bought the tablet. It would be pretty boring if I just gave you the translation, so I'm going to teach you how to read it. Many of the tablets found were cheat sheets to read calculations, similar to what you're used to in primary school. This is very helpful, as I can use these to teach you.

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Since not everything on the tablet is a number, I highlighted in red what we're looking at. From the top left to bottom you can see a downward symbol. Let's assume that one of such symbol is equal to the number one. We can then see that this goes on up until the number nine. At what we would assume would be the number ten, a new symbol is introduced. We will make the assumption that this symbol is equal to ten. If we then continue we'll get eleven, twelve up until twenty. Afterwards we get thirty, forty and fifty. Don't worry if you don't immediately see it. Down below, I'll post a new picture with the answers.

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I've also taken the liberty to fill in the numbers on the right of the highlighted areas. Perhaps you've already noticed that it shows multiples of five, making this tablet a table of multiples of five. Something you can recall you used in primary school as a reminder. If we further analyse the tablet, we can indeed see the number five at the top left of the tablet, making me believe that our assumptions are indeed correct. There's however one detail I've left out so far. When we get to the symbol for sixty, it's the very same symbol as one. This is because in Babylonia they used the sexagesimal system. For those experienced with the binary system, youmay already have an idea of how this works, but I'll try to explain it as clearly as possible. In our normal decimal system we're counting upwards from zero to nine, to then go over to the tens and continue. With the sexagesimal system this works exactly the same, but they go upwards from zero to 59, and then move over to the "sixties". In modern days we use actual numbers instead of symbols, so we would just count up to 59 and then move to 1,0. The comma indicates that we moved over to the sixties. As you may have noticed already, the Babylonian people did not use an indication. Thus the symbol for one can very well mean: one, sixty or any other power of sixty, making translating these tablets very difficult. Just to make sure you've understood the translation between decimal system and sexagesimal system I'll give another example. We'll take the number 99. If we take the sixty out we'll get one sixty and are left with 39, giving us the number 1,39. A bigger example like 42069 consists of higher powers of 60, so we'll get the number 11,41,9. If you feel like it, you can check this by calculating it yourself. Besides whole numbers, they also used sexagesimal fractions, but like with the "sixties", they never indicated whether their symbol means one, ¹⁄₆₀, ¹⁄₃₆₀₀ etc. In modern days, we'd separate this by using ";", example: 1;26 = 1+ ²⁶⁄₆₀.

Since I want to discuss the tablet I showed you first, I won't be able to cover how they did their calculations using this system. If you're interested to learn more, feel free to send me a message, as I'll happily tell you more. I will explain one thing however. While they did computations like addition, subtraction and multiplication, they did not use division. Their method of division was multiplying by the reciprocal of the number they wanted to divide by. A modern example would be that 56 divided by 2 would be equal to multiplying 56 by ½.

Going back to the Plimpton 322, I still owe you an explanation. Sadly, this tablet is only part of what used to be a bigger tablet and it's partially damaged. Still, we figured out that it consists of two of a specific set of three numbers, which we would now call Pythagorean triples. A Pythagorean triple is a set of three numbers a, b and c for which a² + b² = c² holds. The easiest example, often used in high school, is 3,4,5 (3²+ 4² = 5²). But hold on, wasn't this invented by Pythagoras, an Ancient Greek who lived more than a thousand years later? This is actually incorrect. Long before Pythagoras, these calculations were used to determine for example diagonal lengths. I personally think that the only reason we call it the Pythagoras theory is because he had written it down as a mathematical theory instead of just examples. I will sadly not give you a full translation of the Plimpton322 tablet as some parts are not fully translated yet and because we're still not 100% sure on what the tablet represents. We only know that it covers Pythagorean triples, but we have no clue why and in what context.

Finally I want to briefly share the YBC7289.

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This tablet is again a tool for a certain type of calculation. They wanted to calculate the diagonal side of a square. Their idea was that since a square with sides equal to 1 had a determined diagonal length (square root of 2), they could simply multiply that length, by the length of the desired square's side. In this case, 30 times their approximation of the square root of two. The translation in the sexagesimal system is shown in the picture below. Their approximation of 1;24,51,10 (1.41421296296) is scary close to the actual value of the square root of two. A remarkable feat for their time.

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Now you may be wondering, this sexagesimal system is weird and what would be the point for us to know this system in the modern days. Would you believe me when I say you're actually using this system on a daily base? Time is the biggest example. One hour has sixty minutes and one minute has sixty seconds. But also quite well known to the Runescape players among you, geographic coordinate systems still use the sexagesimal system. If you don't believe me, go check your beloved (or not so beloved) clue scrolls.

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I really hope you enjoyed this edition of Shiro Applies Maths. If you have any questions, or answers to some of the above exercises, please let me know as I enjoy them a lot. See you next time on with Mathematical applications and history! I'll give a hint for next edition: I'll be using a one meter ruler.

Article by Shiro Shana

The Chess World Championship

Hoods! As Head of the Chess Guild Council, it is my pleasure to provide you all, our dearest Questaholic readers, with articles about the wonderful game of chess. In this first edition, I will answer one of the most burning questions for any chess novice: how can I become the Chess World Champion? Now, I'm choosing to answer this question because, believe it or not, there has been quite some drama in the chess world recently, much of which can be connected through the World Championship cycle. Strap in!

One disclaimer first: there are a few different World Championship titles, categorised most importantly by time control. Here, time control means the amount of time both players have at the start of a game of chess, as well as a potential time bonus received after making a move (increment). FIDE, the governing body of international chess, organises a number of World Championships; the three most important ones are the Rapid & Blitz Championships, organised annually, and the Classical Shampionship, organised biannually. These World Championships are open tournaments, essentially meaning the only qualifier for players is their international chess rating. There are also World Championships specifically for women, juniors, seniors and computers. In this article, we are concerned with the open classical World Championship, which is regarded as the most prestiguous of them all. The current reigning World Champion is the Norwegian Grandmaster Magnus Carlsen.

Magnus Carlsen

So... how do I become World Champion?

Ah, so you want a straight answer then? Well, luckily, the answer on paper is a lot simpler than it is in practice. The way to become the Chess World Champion is to defeat the reigning World Champion in an official World Championship match. Now, there is quite a qualification process that you would need to go through to become eligible to play an official World Championship match. Most importantly, you would need to win a tournament known as the Candidates tournament.

The Candidates

Every two years, eight of the world's best chess players play in a double round-robin tournament to determine who gets the right to challenge the reigning World Champion for his crown. The last edition of the Candidates tournament was set to be played in early 2020 in Yekaterinburg, Russia, although the tournament was disrupted by the global pandemic and the second half of the tournament was played in early 2021. This caused the World Championship cycle to go out of synch, disrupting its biannual cycle, although FIDE is working to catch up as we speak. The next Candidates tournament will be held in Madrid, Spain in June of this year.

Now, this is all nice and dandy, but how does FIDE determine which eight players get to the play in the Candidates tournament? That's a fair question, and I do recognise that I've just been kicking the question down the road so far. Qualification for the Candidates tournament has different rules and regulations every year, and I will take you through the main avenues of qualification.

#1: The runner-up

Ian Nepomniachtchi

Traditionally, the runner-up of the previous World Championship match is the first person to qualify for the next cycle's Candidates tournament. In the last World Championship match, held in late 2021, reigning World Champion Magnus Carlsen was challenged by the Russian Grandmaster Ian Nepomniachtchi. For context, the format of this World Championship match was a series of 14 classical games, and the first player to reach 7.5 points (1 point for a win, 0.5 for a draw) would be declared the winner. The first five games were hard-fought draws. The sixth game was one for the history books, as it was the longest game in the history of the Chess World Championship; it ended in a victory for the reigning World Championship. The challenger, Ian Nepomniachtchi, seemingly collapsed after this, resulting in him losing three of the next five games. And thus, after only 11 games, the match was concluded and Magnus Carlsen remained undefeated.

Daniil Dubov

Now, this is where our first little nibble of chess drama comes into play. You see, the players in a World Championship match tend to be prepare for months, employing a team of expert chess players (their seconds) to assist them in their preparation. Typically, whenever a Russian qualifies to play the World Championship match, their team would consist of the top Russian players trying to strong-arm their way to a victory. As such, the chess world was rocked when it was revealed that Russian Grandmaster Daniil Dubov, current world number 27 and 7th best Russian player by rating, was a part of the Norwegian team rather than the Russian team. This sparked outrage among many (mainly Russian) chess players, some going as far as declaring this an act of treason. Even Nepomniachtchi called out Dubov on Twitter (of all places!). However, this drama was quite short-lived and everyone seemed to have gotten over it after just a few days.

#2: The World Cup

The next two players who qualified for the Candidates tournament, did so via a biannual tournament known as the Chess World Cup, the last edition of which was held over the summer of 2021 in Sochi, Russia. Now, I can already hear you think: "wait, Derp, didn't you say the runner-up is usually the first to qualify? Then how come the World Cup of the current cycle took place before the World Championship match of the previous cycle?". The answer to this question, as with many things over the past two years, is simple: COVID. You see, the World Championship match held late 2021 was actually supposed to be held late 2020; as such, FIDE wants to get back to their original 2-year cycle and hold the next World Championship match as close as possible to late 2022 (although it will be delayed to early 2023), and so some shuffling in the qualification schedule was necessary.

The format of the 2021 World Cup was a single elimination tournament, starting with a total of 206 players. After almost a month of play, the finals were played by the Polish Grandmaster Jan-Krzystof Duda and the Russian Grandmaster Sergey Karjakin, with the Polish Grandmaster coming out on top. Interesting to note here, is that Magnus Carlsen did play in the World Cup; he was defeated by Duda in the semifinals. In this year's regulations, the top two World Cup players (who hadn't yet qualified) would qualify for the Candidates, and this is how Duda and Karjakin received their tickets.

Now, it is never my intention to become extremely political in these types of articles; however, there are just some bits of chess drama that cannot be left out. In recent times, Sergey Karjakin received heavy and widespread criticism for his support of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. chess24, one of the leading platforms for online chess, severed all ties with Karjakin, and FIDE even submitted Karjakin for review of their ethical committee. As a result, Karjakin was banned from participating in all FIDE-rated events for 6 months, starting on March 21, 2022. Indeed, this means that Karjakin, perhaps the person who came the closest to dethroning Magnus Carlsen in the 2016 World Championship match, will not be allowed to play this year's Candidates tournament, and he will need to be replaced.

Ding Liren

How will his replacement be determined, you ask? Answering this question takes me to the story of Chinese Grandmaster Ding Liren, who is the current world number 3. In recent years, due to the pandemic and China's at-times-eccentric ways, Ding Liren has not been able to play many rated classical chess games. This is painful right now specifically, as Karjakin's replacement would be chosen as the highest ranking player who hadn't already qualified through other means, with the added condition that they've played at least 30 rated classical games in the 12 months preceding the Candidates tournament. As it stands, Ding Liren has played 4, so he will need to find a way to play 26 more rated classical games before the end of May. Otherwise, he unfortunately will not be eligible for the replacement spot. We'll have to wait to find out where this story ends.

#3: The Grand Swiss

The most recent addition to the World Championship cycle, introduced in the previous one, is a tournament known as the Grand Swiss. Like the name suggests, this tournament is a Swiss-style tournament. This cycle's edition took place in October and November of 2021, just before the most recent World Championship match. Of the 108 players at the start of the tournament, the top two finishers (who hadn't yet qualified) would qualify for the Candidates tournament. The tournament was won by Iranian-French Grandmaster Alireza Firouzja, followed closely by American Grandmaster Fabiano Caruana. Interestingly, Carlsen, Nepomniachtchi, Duda and Karjakin all rejected their invitations to play in this tournament, as they were already guaranteed a spot in the Championship cycle either as a Candidate or as the reigning World Champion.

As I mentioned, the World Championship match between Carlsen and Nepomniachtchi took place just after the World Swiss. After Carlsen's decisive victory over Nepomniachtchi, he commented on his future endeavours as World Champion. His statement caused some controversy, as he basically said that he would likely decline the opportunity to defend his World Championship title if the Challenger would not be Alireza Firouzja. Now, from Magnus' perspective, you can see how this makes sense: he had just won his fifth World Championship match in a row, showing his clear dominance over his contemporaries. Alireza Firouzja is just 18 years old at the time of writing, and is viewed by many as the most promising player of the next generation. It seems Magnus has grown bored of the classical World Championship title and might only be willing to defend it if his opponent is someone he deems sufficiently interesting. Now, you might wonder, what happens with the World Championship match if Magnus refuses to defend his title? Most likely, the top two players from the Candidates will play the match to determine who becomes the new World Champion.

#4: The Grand Prix

The last tournament used to decide the participants of this cycle's Candidates is the Grand Prix. The current edition of the Grand Prix consists of three legs, the third of which is currently being held in Berlin, Germany. The first leg was also held there, while the second leg was held in Belgrade, Serbia. A total of 24 players play in the Grand Prix, with each player participating in exactly two of the three legs. This means every leg consists of 16 players, who fight for leg victory in two stages. Firstly, the players are divided into four groups of four, and each group plays a double round-robin tournament to determine the group's winner. Afterwards, the four group winners enter a knock-out stage, through which the winner of each leg is determined. Every player is awarded a certain number of Grand Prix points depending on their result in each leg, and the two players with the most Grand Prix points at the end of the three legs qualify for the Candidates tournament.

Now, FIDE specifically invited 24 players to this Grand Prix, and they purposefully left out all of the players who had already qualified for the Candidates tournament. Two players in particular, the American Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura and Russian Grandmaster Daniil Dubov, were invited as 'wildcards'. As would be the case for any choice of wildcards, this sparked some anger in certain parts of the chess community, as people felt other players were more deserving of these wildcards. One player named in particular was 19-year old Russian Grandmaster Andrey Esipenko, who had been knocked out in one of the penultimate stages of the World Cup by reigning World Champion Magnus Carlsen. As a few players were invited to the Grand Prix based on the final standings of the World Cup, people argued this was unfair to Esipenko, as they believed the reigning World Champion should not be allowed to influence the process in which the Candidates, and ultimately his Challenger, are decided. Coincidentally, Esipenko was called in as a replacement for two of the three Grand Prix legs, essentially giving him the same shot at qualifying for the Candidates as all the players who were initially selected to play in the Grand Prix.

In any case, the 2022 Grand Prix is not yet finished, so it remains to be seen which two players qualify for the Candidates tournament through this tournament! Interestingly enough, even though the choice of Hikaru Nakamura as the first wildcard was quite widely contested as he hadn't played a classical game of chess in two years (blame COVID), Nakamura did manage to become the winner of the first leg of the Grand Prix, beating Armenian-American Grandmaster Levon Aronian in the finals. Virtually no one had expected such a strong performance from the chess streamer. The second leg was won by Hungarian Grandmaster Richard Rapport. Rapport had previously made it to the semifinals in the first leg, and so it is looking particularly likely (but not guaranteed!) that he will claim one of the qualification spots for the Candidates. It is generally expected that the second qualification spot will go to either Hikaru Nakamura or Levon Aronian. For the third leg, these two players have been seeded into the same 4-player group alongside Andrey Esipenko, so this is sure to lead to some interesting battles in the group stage. The third leg will end on either April 3rd or April 4th (depending on whether or not tiebreaks are required), so we will find out very soon which two players will qualify for the Candidates tournament through the Grand Prix!

Quick pre-publication edit: Hoods, Derp from the less distant past here! The group stage concluded on March 28 (except for some tiebreaks, but they are inconsequential as for Candidates qualification), and it ended in such a way that we can already say with full certainty who will make it to the Candidates! These two players are Richard Rapport, as expected, and Hikaru Nakamura, who came in first in his group with Levon Aronian and Andrey Esipenko after an incredibly tense group stage.

#5: Rating and wilcards

Historically, a few spots in the Candidates tournament have been reserved for players to qualify purely based on their chess rating, or as wildcard spots. This cycle's Candidates tournament is slightly different to previous editions, however, as there are no qualification spots based purely on rating. FIDE did award a wildcard to the Azerbaijani Grandmaster Teimour Radjabov, which made him the first person who qualified for the Candidates tournament in Madrid next June.

There are usually a variety of different reasons why a player would be awarded a wildcard spot. Sometimes, there are restrictions added based on rating and performance in the World Cup, the Grand Swiss and/or the Grand Prix. The story is different this time around, however. You see, Radjabov had qualified for the 2020/2021 Candidates tournament. Because of his COVID-related reservations, Radjabov had withdrawn from this tournament and was replaced by the French Grandmaster Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. When the tournament was ultimately halted, this showed Radjabov's reservations were justified, and so Radjabov asked to be reinstated when the tournament resumed in 2021. Vachier-Lagrave was in shared first place at this point, and so FIDE felt it was unfair to remove him from the tournament; instead, they promised Radjabov a place in next cycle's Candidates tournament.

Article by Derparnieux

Humanising the Adversary

A comparison between Mahjarrat and Dragonkin

Part 1 – Frenemies from Freneskae

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Within each RuneScape storyline, there has been unique and memorable villains for the adventurer to go up against. The vampyres of Morytania, the Iorwerth clan, Rabid Jack and his pirate zombies. The Red Axe led by Hreidmar, the dagannoth hordes, H.A.M, the void pests and the sea slugs. But two mythical races from RuneScape have captured the interest of players time and time again since their introduction as enemies in a couple dozen quests – the Mahjarrat and the dragonkin.

Both races started out adversarial. Heartless beings, considered to be inherently evil. They were a point of conflict for the adventurer and allied forces to rally against, defending the people of Gielinor from a doom that is heralded by these ancient races. Over time, however, and with a bit of work put in, both the Mahjarrat and the dragonkin evolved into characters that are now far removed from these insidious origins.

In this issue of the Questaholic, the lens will be on Mahjarrat. And by tracing their development across the narrative of RuneScape, a blueprint will be found and later reflected for the dragonkin next issue. Moving on.

"They are ancient and powerful beings of evil! It is said that they once had great influence over this plane of existence, and that Zamorak was once of their kind."

– Guardian of Armadyl, Temple of Ikov

"The Mahjarrat shall soon take their rightful place as sole inheritors and leaders of Gielinor, and I will be their lord."

– Lucien, While Guthix Sleeps

Let’s begin with a classic RuneScape villain – the Zamorakian-aligned Mahjarrat known as Lucien. He was the first Mahjarrat we ever met (running by release dates at least) way back in 2002. A dark hooded figure walking with a bit of a limp, who we discover later has evil plans in the works involving an elder artefact called the Staff of Armadyl. We’ll return to that in a moment.

Travelling forward a little time after this, we chance upon other Mahjarrat that exist in the world. There is General Khazard and Hazeel; both acting as forces of evil that the adventurer needs to deal with (or side with for Hazeel, if you’re feeling dark) before they can do more harm.

So far, first impressions of Mahjarrat: they’re the bad guys.

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Eventually, we hit Desert Treasure in 2005 and are given some pause. Upon meeting Azzanadra - or rather, his incorporeal form – we’re surprisingly not met with someone who wants to kill us, or wreak havoc on Gielinor. He simply rewards us for doing a solid releasing him from Jaldraocht. It’s ultimately a neutral encounter, but a bit more peaceful than our previous interactions with Mahjarrat. Enakhra and Akthanakos make their introductions a year later, and again, there’s a distinction made between these two Mahjarrat. With Akthanakos being portrayed as the hapless victim we free from a spell conjured by Enakhra, it echoes Desert Treasure and demonstrates again that there might be some ‘good’ Mahjarrat in the mix.

"To think I believed her when she said she wanted to become allies and make amends for our rivalry! That two-faced, conniving, backstabbing wretch... I suppose it is our nature, after all."

– slightly self-aware Akthanakos, Enakhra’s Lament

However, the old expectations of the Mahjarrat are restored when we are confronted with Zemouregal in Defender of Varrock - the necromancer responsible for holding Arrav, a hero of the Fourth Age, in undead slavery. Zemouregal plans to unleash armies of undead upon Varrock, finally claiming the land and its population under his power. We thankfully put a stopper on that, but the event leaves us with a sense of dread towards other Mahjarrat that might roam the planet.

Two months later, we are near the end of 2008 and see the dawn of the first grandmaster quest in RuneScape - While Guthix Sleeps. This quest is where our OG Lucien makes his next move. Having obtained the Staff of Armadyl after the events that took place in Temple of Ikov, he now seeks another elder artefact - the Stone of Jas. Lucien manages to accomplish his goal by the end of the quest, stealing away the stone while the adventurer stands powerless in the face of a Mahjarrat. With both elder artefacts working in tandem, Lucien aims to use them to achieve godhood; following the same path as Mahjarrat-turned-god, Zamorak.

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The underlying conflict between the adventurer and the Mahjarrat (plural) becomes more personal after Lucien annihilates the band of heroes making a stand at the Chaos Temple. These were allies to the adventurer…bordering closer to friends when considering Hazelmere and Cyrisus. And after this loss, the quest almost transitions into the adventurer’s personal chase for vengeance.

“You'll never have that satisfaction, Lucien! You killed my friends and no matter what it takes, I'll make it my mission to destroy you, and all of your kind!”

– the adventurer, While Guthix Sleeps

By now, the track record for Mahjarrat isn’t looking great. They’re powerful, near-immortal beings…and a lot of them seem destined to bring death and ruination upon the world. Whether intentionally because they’re just that awful; or indirectly, while pursuing other objectives.

Quick intermission to a boy in a cave.

While researching a strange, dormant creature in ice found by the Fremennik youth, Erjolf, we cross paths in the desert with another fellow researcher. He calls himself Ali the Wise, and is rather helpful in this quest – then helpful again in other quests to follow. He even coordinates a reunion for us with Azzanadra (who’s living under a human disguise called Dr Nabanik). The meeting with Azzanadra at the dig site offers a chance to establish a somewhat friendly partnership with this seemingly reasonable Mahjarrat freed from a pyramid.

“During my slumber, I must have dreamt of the Muspah: a horrific creature from my people's imagination. It is a mythical being from our folk tales.”

– Jhallan, The Tale of the Muspah

Here is where we hit an era more consistently evoking the sentiment of ‘perhaps not all Mahjarrat are bad’. In the cave mentioned earlier we find Jhallan, a weakened Mahjarrat who’s practically bark and no bite. Additionally, both Ali the Wise from earlier, and then Jhallan, bring up an interesting fact – Mahjarrat had their own folk tales. Some of them of them involved scary monsters, not too dissimilar to the folk tales from human cultures. This brief touch upon Mahjarrat history also highlights that they are a race of beings with their own sets of fears. Portraying Mahjarrat as ‘monsters’ doesn’t exactly hold weight when you acknowledge their nightmares about other monsters. It makes the Mahjarrat seem fallible, and that’s important for our shifting perspective of the species.

Later, during the build-up in Ritual of the Mahjarrat in 2011, we also secure a promise of assistance from Azzanadra to fight back against Lucien. And then there’s the…human, Ali the Wise, accompanying our forces as they march towards the ritual site in Ghorrock. With an interruption from General Khazard forcefully removing Ali’s magical disguise, we discover that ‘Ali’ was a ruse – he was the Zarosian Mahjarrat known as Wahisietel, working with us all along.

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Broken trust set aside, Wahisietel acts as our primary defence. For much of the quest’s battles, he goes one-on-one standing up against Lucien. As multiple fights between Mahjarrat and other forces break out by the ritual marker, Lucien manages to withstand all that is thrown his way. He eventually uses a momentary break in the fight to sacrifice Jhallan at the ritual marker – dispersing power to himself and the rest of the Mahjarrat. On the verge of ascending to godhood and seemingly invincible, it is only the arrival of the dragonkin that puts an end to the whole show. With Sakirth driving the Staff of Armadyl into Lucien, the first main antagonist of RuneScape is killed.

Following Ritual of the Mahjarrat, there’s a statement from the adventurer to Wahisietel, who has now returned to his home in Nardah under the Ali disguise once again.

“I'm not sure what to make of you. You deceived me, pretended to know nothing of Mahjarrat and had me gathering 'research' for you, the ritual... I...

I don't think I'd still be here if not for your assistance.”

– the adventurer, Ritual of the Mahjarrat

It’s an honest moment of acceptance from the adventurer and signifies a transition past the hatred and bitterness carried throughout the Rise of Lucien chapter in the game. It appears now that, willing or not - we have friends among the Mahjarrat.

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The Mahjarrat are found to be more complicated than the formative encounters suggest – they are people with a rich history of their own. And in many instances, the Mahjarrat do not seek the outright destruction of Gielinor and its inhabitants. They are simply trying to carve out a decent existence for themselves.

“Certainly in my time, there were many more sacrifices than births. So, when Icthlarin visited our world, we were all too keen to leave.”

– Sliske, Fate of the Gods

Exploring their origins further in the sixth age quests - pinning Fate of the Gods and Children of Mah to the board - it becomes apparent that the Mahjarrat were beings born into hardship, struggling to survive on the dead planet of Freneskae. Their conflict arose from rejuvenation rituals imposed on them out of necessity, with those same rituals later carried over in their migration to Gielinor and performed to ensure the survival of their race. The Mahjarrat latched onto the knowledge and privilege Zaros gifted them in the new world, and under his leadership the immense power of the Mahjarrat was at least given some focus. They were free to find new purpose, and that directive remained even after the fall of Zaros.

As a curveball, the Zamorakian Mahjarrat are portrayed more sympathetically in later quests – identified as the powerful uprising that brought an end to a repressive empire under the rule of Zaros. In 2015, Dishonour Among Thieves has us aiding Zamorak’s chosen followers for a heist mission. And regardless of whether you remain loyal or betray Zamorak in the end, there’s something nice about watching the Zamorakians - furthermore, the Zamorakian Mahjarrat - rely upon each other and leverage teamwork to get things done. In addition, there’s a rather poignant moment earlier in the quest, where we help Khazard locate his mother’s remains preserved in the Shadow Realm at Uzer.

“She died protecting Thammaron. A worthy death, but... it was because of me. She was weak.”

– General Khazard, Dishonour Among Thieves

It could be read with an impartial tone quoting the text, but it is worth noting that the music playing in the ruins of Uzer is rather sad. It leaves you feeling just a little bit of sympathy towards Khazard, and his struggle to find answers about his presently unknown father. Quite a departure from his characterisation in Fight Arena, at any rate.

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Children of Mah in 2016 sees a final Ritual of Rejuvenation performed, using the life of the dying elder god Mah to relinquish the Mahjarrat’s dependency on sacrifices for survival. The future looks to be more hopeful for the Mahjarrat than ever before – there is no more cause for conflict through the rituals…no objective reason for the Mahjarrat to remain split in two factions. It’s just past grievances and loyalty to their chosen gods holding back progression now. And perhaps with time these factors will lessen in effect, and peace will be unobstructed for the Mahjarrat of Gielinor.

The elimination of the rituals sets the foundations for more cooperation between the Zamorakian and Zarosian Mahjarrat. Now with the arrival of the Elder God War, and a common goal for survival shared between all inhabitants of Gielinor, it seems the Mahjarrat have achieved some fragile amity. It took a universe-ending tier of threat to get both factions working together for longer than an hour, but reconciliation might just be on the horizon. It’s underlined by Zamorak’s proposal to Azzanadra offered in City of Senntisten, about mending bridges. Though Zamorak’s untimely exit from the battle leaves things up in the air.

“This world is rife with folly, weakness and wasted potential. But it is...not without its charms. I will not let it die. Not while I have any other choice.”

– Enakhra, Eye of Het II

A ceasefire emerging between the Mahjarrat factions could mean that peace between Mahjarrat and the other races of Gielinor can be fully realised too. Practically all the Mahjarrat (Zamorak and Khazard pending) stand as our brothers in arms defending Gielinor and the rest of the universe from the elder gods’ Great Revision. Since their early appearances in the game, with them being presented as our adversaries...the Mahjarrat have figuratively shapeshifted.

Before wrapping up the Mahjarrat-side of this deep dive, it would be remiss of the author not to mention a Mahjarrat that - due to magical amnesia - believed himself to be a human for a great number of years. Kharshai, who was thrust into the human guise of Koschei the Deathless out of a need to hide and survive, is depicted as the most humanised Mahjarrat - even after we help restore his true nature. He willingly stays with the settlements of Rellekka, appreciating the life he had unwittingly built there as a human. Kharshai very much acts as the voice of reason between the two opposing factions of his race. This is reflected in his goal to help end the conflict between Zamorakian and Zarosian Mahjarrat, and – emphasising the theme of this article – to overcome past misunderstandings and develop a more welcoming relationship between Mahjarrat and the other races of Gielinor.

“I still have a fondness for the Fremennik people, but they know little of what I have become. I have spent time educating them, showing them the history of our race and working to reduce hostility towards the Mahjarrat.”

– Kharshai, Missing, Presumed Death

It's a step in the right direction and proves that those early quest impressions of the Mahjarrat as a collective were rather misplaced. Reflecting back to what has been said in the past, it's highly unlikely the adventurer of present day would ever seek to kill any of the remaining Mahjarrat - many of them being allies now. At least not before trying diplomacy first!

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Over the course of the Mahjarrat storyline in RuneScape, the adventurer has travelled a path of revelation that steadily began to depict Mahjarrat as people we could empathise with. They are an order of ancient beings that have suffered their share of conflict before even arriving on Gielinor, and then many centuries since. But they can be reasoned with, understood, and perhaps with a bit of nudging, encouraged to stand alongside us for a worthy cause. A few of them simply want to ascend to godhood and watch everyone beneath them tremble in fear. But the majority of Mahjarrat we’ve met now have proven that there’s a lot more going on than we were first led to believe. We can even read some friendship between the lines.

“And yet we have continually worked alongside one another. In my estimation, we have achieved much good together.”

– Azzanadra, City of Senntisten

Article by Miss Alaska

The Clan Quest Test Kitchen

Hoods, and welcome to the first edition of 2022's Questaholic Cooking segment! Throughout this year's edition of Questaholic I hope to take a look at a few of the recipes featured in RuneScape gameplay, and to see how close we can get to recreating the iconic dishes. So welcome to the kitchen, let's get stuck in:

Being the first edition means that we'll be taking a look at something simpler compared to let's say, the infamous Sailfish Soup. If I had to give this a difficulty rating I would place it at 2 witch hats out of 5 witch hats. It's a nice introduction to cooking and has a real life equivalent recipe to follow. Today we are preparing Goulash.

So what is Goulash? Well, Goulash is a stew of humble origins originating from 9th century Hungary. It is considered a national dish of Hungary and is one of dishes you would be encouraged to try if you ever visited. So what makes Goulash Goulash? Being such an old recipe it has of course undergone changes over the years with the discovery of different herbs and spices (notably the discovery of paprika which wouldn't have been introduced to the populace until around the 16th century), and then you have regional varieties to take into consideration as well which means there are many iterations of the famous dish.

The recipe I will be covering will be a fairly standard recipe which you can play around with to suit your needs.

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As a dish in RuneScape, Goulash is actually very limited. You can't trade it with others and you cannot make it. Goulash is a quest reward from 2008's Swept Away (which was originally released alongside the 2008 Halloween event of that year).

Interestingly, Swept Away is not a quest that was carried over to Old School RuneScape which is likely due to it being just over the 2007 era and more firmly planted in the beginning of the RS2 era.

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Your reward of ten portions of experience awarding Goulash is provided by Maggie, who has after a few quest location moves settled in Draynor.

You can find her by her caravan pulled by two skeletal oxen, Babe and Norman. Perhaps my sense of humour is a little twisted, but Goulash is traditionally made with beef (although it can be made with other meats) and Babe and Norman are looking a little.... thin? I'm sure Maggie sourced her beef from a very reputable butcher rather than from her poor oxen, but one can pretend! ;)

So with this background knowledge on the real life and in-game history of Goulash, here's the recipe!:


Ingredients (Serves 2)

  • 3 tablespoons of Pork Lard
  • 300g White Onions chopped
  • 4 tablespoons Paprika
  • 360g diced beef
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic (minced)
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • 1 Parsnip (diced)
  • 2 Tomatoes (diced)
  • 2 Carrots (diced)
  • 2 medium sized Potatoes (diced, preferably Red Potatoes)
  • 1350 ml of Beef Broth (I chose to use a liquid broth which was 350ml of water to 100ml pure stock, which came to a total of 1350ml combined)
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 teaspoon of Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Black Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Crushed Caraway Seeds (this is optional as it only features in some regional varieties of Goulash)
  1. Step one of this adventure is to prepare your ingredients. Yes it's boring, but trust me, having your vegetables all neatly prepared before you get going will have your future self thanking you when you don't find yourself madly chopping potatoes while the onions burn. For all ingredients listed as diced you'll want to have them chopped to chunks of about 1/2 and inch. As the Bluepeter hosts used to say, here's some I prepared earlier:

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    Preparing all those vegetables means a lot of peelings and chopped ends, so if you have a compost bin I encourage you to add these peelings to the compost waste rather than into the bin.

  2. Next, take your lard and melt it in either a pot or a Dutch oven on a medium high heat, and once liquified add your onions. You'll be cooking your onions until they begin to brown which should take around 5-10 minutes.

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  3. Once the onions begin to brown, add your beef to the mix. It should take a further 5-10 minutes for the beef to brown up.

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  4. Once your beef has browned and your onions are sufficiently soft you will then want to add the tomatoes, bell peppers, and garlic to the mix. Cook this for an extra 6-8 minutes. After this, remove your pot from the heat to add your salt, pepper, and paprika.

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  5. Next you'll be adding your bay leaf and your beef broth the mix. Bring the stew to a boil and reduce the heat to a medium temperature, covering the pot and allowing it to simmer for 20 minutes.
  6. After 20 minutes, uncover your pot and add your carrots, potatoes, and parsnips to the stew. Cover again and simmer for 30-40 minutes. Throughout the cooking period remember to top up your water if need be and to do regular taste checks to readjust the seasoning if it's needed.

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  7. After the second half of the simmering period, remove your stew from the heat. Remove the bay leaf, adjust one final time for seasoning if it is required, and then serve. Goulash is sometimes eaten with a helping of sour cream but I prefer not to, and instead favour a side of bread to dip into the stew.

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And voilà! You have made traditional Hungarian Goulash! Now that wasn't so difficult eh? Goulash isn't a difficult meal to prepare, but it is hearty and warming. Thank you so much for coming along on this culinary adventure with me! Tune in to the next edition to see what we cook up next!

But while I still have your attention... I am pleased to announce that in April 2022 I will be preparing the signups for the next Cook Off! What's the theme this time? Video Game Inspired Foods. What?! There's other games besides RuneScape?! I know, I was just as shocked as you are.

Keep an ear out on the discord channel for the signups thread I will be creating for this new Cook Off. A final signup date will be confirmed for this cookoff within this thread, but to give you an idea of when that'll be I would say around about the middle of April.

I hope to see you and your adventurous taste buds there! Unshood for now folks!

Article by Darkestnight

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Hoods to all reading my long but informative article, loyal clan members from RS3 and OSRS alike.

Many long-term members would know me as Sk8r_Dan_Man’s sister, but I’d like to think I have made a mark in the clan since I joined in 2012. With that said, he doesn't exist anymore. I am Francine1225, an interviewee of August 2019 Questaholic, and Head of Oldschool Guild Council since May 2020 Questaholic including my speech. I have played Runescape since 2009, but loyal to Old School primarily since it was released in 2013. So far I achieved the Quest Cape, 99 Farming, and 99 Cooking. I have base 80 stats and reached 2000 total level.

I am here to write an article about Old School's leagues, as I participated in all three previous ones. As you can see behind me, in the Leagues Trophy room of my house, the past three league trophies I earned. Adamant (top 20%) in Twisted, and Rune (top 5%) for Trailblazer and Shattered Relics. Also the Trailblazer banner, the Shattered relic hunter outfit, and I'm wearing the whip with shattered relic ornament kit attached. With these rewards, you can see that I am qualified to explain what leagues are, and why it is enjoyable to many. I hope you come and play the next one coming around next year!

What are Leagues?

Old School Runescape Leagues are seasonal, temporary, competitive game modes where all players experience Gielinor in a different way. You do not have to make a new account, but rather use any member account you already have and log into a green-star world. In these worlds, you become a brand new ironman with possibilities being endless. You must complete various tasks to gain points that advance you further into the game mode to unlock the locked content.

At the end of leagues, these points carry over to the main game on the same account you were playing on. You use these points to purchase various fashionscape and ornament kits that you can trade with others or keep for yourself. Each of the three leagues so far has had a different theme that makes them unique and memorable.

Why should you play Leagues?

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First, I want to make sure you know that even though this is a competitive game mode, you don’t have to take it seriously. Some of us may be able to pull all-nighters and play Runescape 12+ hours straight (and get 6-hour-logged twice a day); these people have the capacity to play and make it far into the leaderboard. If you are not one of these people, that is okay. However, I still encourage you to at least play while you have the chance to experience something different. This game mode is temporary, lasting only two months. Each League has a different theme, so the next league is a whole new experience too.

I play Leagues for many reasons, but here are a few important ones in no peticular order.

  • Relics, or superpowers, are there to break the game in a good way, will explain later
  • Boosted experience ranging from 5x-16x rates make maxing easier, giving you a chance to experience late-game skilling strategies and even higher level bosses
  • Boosted drop from certain bosses and clue scrolls from 2x-3x rates
  • Cosmetic Items in Main Game - Trophies, Twisted Horns on Slayer Helm, Tier 3 Relic Hunter Outfits, Teleport Scrolls, POH Leagues Room, Ornament Kits on Cannon, Weapons, Tools, Void, Mystic, and Graceful.
  • Competition among clanmates, namely, my brother Sk8r_Dan_Man
  • If you got bored of the main game, leagues bring you back to enjoying the game. So much you want to do, yet so little time.
  • With every task you complete, or the next tier relic you unlock, you get the feeling of dopamine released. Which successfully makes you keep wanting to play all day long.
  • The experience of being there and understanding what the community is talking about when they mention the league and anything about them.

What are Relics?

Relics are pretty much like superpowers, which successfully break the game in a good way. When I say that, I mean that it's a good thing they are not in the main game. In Twisted and Trailblazer League, once you choose a Relic from the three choices, you are locked to that choice on that account. So with that said, this decision should be based on your personal goals and playstyle and what you feel will be the most fun to use. This makes everyone’s Leagues' experiences and paths different from one another.

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For instance, in Trailblazer, one of the best, or overpowered, relic was Last Recall as it allowed the player to teleport back to the tile their last teleport occurred with the help of a new item. This made Runecrafting, among other things, much easier as you can teleport back to the altar, then use a fast teleport to a bank, then rinse and repeat.

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When I played Trailblazer, I didn’t go with this obvious choice. I felt like it didn’t fit with my playstyle, as I saw it takes delicate focus not to mess up that teleport to a "hard to get to place." I don’t have that delicate touch, so I saw myself messing that up and making it void many times. Instead, I chose a teleport relic that I saw would help me with my playstyle and goals, Fairies Flight. This Relic gave me a wieldable red mushroom that allowed me to teleport to any fairy ring and any spirit tree, as long as I can access them, from anywhere. This became useful for clue scrolls and unlimited teleports to a bank, at the Grand Exchange, without runes. I mostly used it to get to Prif, as a Spirit tree is just north of the bank.

Sadly, many early Trailblazer players that didn't choose Last Recall, then later found out how overpowered it really is, quit the game or made a new account and restarted. This relic came to be the most picked relic of the league as if you didn’t get it, you made the wrong choice and got bullied because of it. If I wielded my red mushroom, it would be called various inappropriate things, so I tried not to wear it in public places. On a good note, however, when I did come across others who wore the mushroom, I became friends with them, if they didn’t regret their decision, but enjoyed it as I did.

Tasks -> Points -> Tiers -> More Relics

Completing tasks is the only way for you to advance in the league. Once you complete tasks, you get points based roughly on how difficult it was and how long it took to do. The more points you have, the more Relics you can have. If you want to get far in the league quickly, focusing on these tasks will be priority number one. However, since there is a task for almost everything you could do, you can’t go wrong with just going with the flow, and doing what you want. Just remember, getting to the next tier, and completing tasks to get there should always be your goal to then unlock more relics.

All points you accumulate during the league will transfer over to the main game. There they can be spent on various cosmetic items like a Relic Hunter outfit, teleport scroll, banner, and ornament kits. These items can also be traded to other players if you care more about the profit than the fashion scape. Tasks come in tiers of difficulty: easy, medium, hard, elite, and master! Each tier gives a different amount of points. The harder the task, the more points you receive.

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First, everyone goes through the tutorial. Easy task completed.

Next, unlock the first relic. Easy task completed.

Now you have started the league, and the tasks you do are up to you.

  • You can instantly cast home teleport for an easy task! Even if you are inevitably going to do that in the league, easy points early on are critical.
  • You can go straight to fishing and catch a shrimp, get your first level up, first level 10, catch a Herring and an Anchovy. All easy tasks.
  • You can then chop a log, fletch some arrow shafts, burn a log, burn an oak log, burn a shrimp, and cook a shrimp, then cook 4 more. All easy Tasks
  • You can thieve a citizen, open 28 coin pouches at once, chose to die to get teleported to Death in order to visit him, rather than just walking to a graveyard. All easy tasks.
  • If you are experienced and want to take a risk to get a head start, you can complete the Waterfall Quest and get x5 boosted experience as a reward. Unless however, you may want to wait until your boosted experience rates are higher at future tier unlocks such as 8x, 12x, and 16x once you reach the last tier.

Leagues I - Twisted

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The first league started on November 14, 2019. Twisted League had the player locked to Great Kourend and Kebos Lowlands. As the first league, it may be considered a learning process for the players, and the moderators. There were many bottlenecks people ran into. For example, the only way to get a lockpick was from a young impling. This was fixed later in the league to have low-level monsters in the Chambers of Xeric drop a lockpick. Leading up to the start of leagues, many were skeptical. They considered it to be a xp waste, as the mode was temporary, and took your focus out of the main game progress.

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The league also took place in Kourend, a large island to the west that many of the skilling community haven’t yet explored, other than Wintertodt. However, PVMers that wanted to experience the Raids, Chambers of Xeric, used the league to learn its mechanics in a risk-free environment. This league lasted 9 weeks and ended on January 19, 2020.

Leagues II - Trailblazer

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The second league started on October 28, 2020. Trailblazer League had the player start in Lumbridge, completed a tutorial, unlocked the area of Karamja, and confirmed the decision for the first relic. This league had areas of the map locked: Wilderness, Morytania, Asgarnia (Pest Control, GWD), Fremennik Isles, Kharidian Desert, Kandarin (Ape Atoll), and Tirannwn. You had Misthalin, Fossil Island, Crandor, and Karamja unlocked for free, not counting toward the three other areas of your choice.

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After so many tasks are completed, you get to unlock a new area; After so many points are gained, you get to unlock a new relic. Once you got to the endgame, you would have the max area unlocks, three, and the max number of relics, six. This league lasted 10 weeks ending on January 6, 2021.

Leading up to this league, there was much more information given to the player base, which helped raise interest. The overwhelming response from many returning OSRS players and first-timers from RS3 far exceeded the expectations of the developers. After four days, on November 1st, the number of players on Oldschool Runescape reached a record high of 157 thousand people

Leagues III - Shattered Relics

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The third league was intended to start on November 3, 2021, but because its release was only a month after a big update in a new game mode, Group Ironman, the moderators decided to postpone the start date to January 19, 2022. Shattered Relics didn’t come with locked territories, but rather locked bosses and locked skills. This league introduced us to the Sage to explain the lore behind leagues. She knew we were spoiled with relics in the past, so she broke them into fragments and scattered them across Gielinor.

You are able to mix and match fragments you have equipped to go along with what skill you are training. This was a totally new way to use Relics, as you were not locked to your decision. Fragments are much less powerful, but if you are able to get enough of them with the same relic set effect, you can then have a powerful relic. This league was then able to nerf Last Recall, as you had to have 4 fragments with the last recall relic set effect equipped to use it.

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At the start of the league, players began just west of Catherby on the shore. The player goes through a tutorial ending in the decision on your first skill unlock: Magic, Range, or Strength. Once a decision is made, you gain a fragment corresponding with your choice. The player also unlocks the second tier fragment slot which gives the player endless run passive effect and the smooth criminal fragment (shown to the left). It would be wise to equip both that fragment and your combat fragment immediately after to gain xp in those fragments, eventually level them up, making them more powerful.

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What made this league unique is the fully open world, but if the league is not limiting you, it would be too easy. Players are locked to only gaining experience in Defence, Thieving, and Fishing and your choice of combat skill at the start. You can still chop and burn a regular log or cook shrimp, but won’t gain experience in those corresponding skills until you’ve unlocked them with what is called Sage’s Renown. These are gained alongside points after completing tasks.

For an easy task, you gain 5 points and 1 Sage Renown.

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For a Master task, you gain 250 points and 5 Sage Renown.

Depending on how useful the skill is, the more it will cost. This also goes for bosses, for the entrance of their chamber, you would find a glowing lock. For more endgame bosses, the more renown you must spend. Other than the KBD and the Corporeal Beast, which do have a chamber, Wilderness bosses are exempt from this, as most don't have a chamber. Jad and the mimic were also exempt from having locks on their chamber. This league was intended to last 6 weeks, but after 2 weeks of gameplay, on Feb 3, it was announced to be extended two more weeks. This league lasted 8 weeks ending on March 16, 2022.

Just a Bit More...

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Before you go, I want to point out a few more things. Leagues would be too powerful without restrictions. Every league so far has had them, making the league unique, but also challenging to the player base.

Twisted locked the player to the Kingdom of Kourned.

Trailblazer locked the player to only three more areas of Gelinor of their choice, not including the Kingdom of Kourned.

Shattered Relics had a whole new relic system, and locked skills and bosses until they eventually unlocked all of them with the new Sage Renown system.

The next league, most likely launching sometime Nov 2022-Feb 2023, will also have a restriction of some kind. (Goblin League is mentioned) What we do know that will be in this next league is what has been in the past three leagues: endless run, boosted experience drops, boosted drop rates, stackable clue boxes, renewed tasks and relics including slayer tasks choice, auto banking, and maybe the popular last recall. Other than that, anything is possible, apparently even running around as goblins?

Of course, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask me on discord. Also, there are plenty of youtube videos from OSRS content curators playing all the leagues. I like to soak up some of their expert advice myself. If you want to know where to start, Wildmudkip and WeSkillnow both played all three leagues, and where I would go for leagues information.

Lastly, I will be writing more Questaholic articles, so I would like to hear from you what Oldschool Runescape Content you are curious to learn more about. It could be Questlore that may be different from or not in RS3. It could be skilling bosses that are only in OSRS. It could be about training methods that are only in OSRS. Please let me know, so then I can write another informative article that lets you know more about the other and oldschool side of Clan Quest.

Until next time, unhoods

Article by Francine1225

Xurdones Reviews:
Jungle Cruise (2021)

With the triumphant return of Questaholic comes the less-than-triumphant return of my film reviews! I apologize if this article comes off a little less-polished than my usual fare, but I watched this movie a couple of weeks ago and there's one particular element that's been stuck in my head, and I need to talk about, and I'm running this show so you can't stop me ha-ha.

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*ahem*. But before we get to the thing I really want to talk about, let's have a quick plot summary and high-level thoughts on the film. Jungle Cruise is Disney's latest attempt to make the Pirates of the Caribbean lightning strike twice: it's an aesthetic adaptation of a popular ride from their theme parks, which takes plot inspiration from a classic movie genre (in this case, the slightly-problematic colonial adventure genre, and 1951's The African Queen in particular) on account of the source material being essentially without plot. Nevermind that this formula has literally only worked once, we're going to try it again, bay-bee!

The plot follows Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt), a British botanist and graduate of the Indiana Jones School of Field Studies who, motivated partly by a desire to prove herself to her overwhelmingly-male-and-stodgy peers and partly out of a desire to revolutionize modern medicine, embarks on a mission to the Amazon River to retrieve the legendary Tears of the Moon, a flower whose petals can cure any illness. She's joined by her foppish brother, MacGregor (Jack Whitehall), and aided somewhat reluctantly by a local river boat skipper, Frank (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson). The trio is pursued by Joachim (Jesse Plemons), Prince of Prussia and youngest son of Kaiser Wilhelm II, who is also seeking the flower with an eye towards giving Germany an advantage in then-ongoing World War I. Prince Joachim is aided by a trio of undead Spanish Conquistadors, led by Don Aguirre (Edgar Ramírez), who centuries before attempted to find the Tears and instead ended up cursed. As one does.

With that short description, you already know 90% of the film's plot; congratulations. It's not a remarkably original film, and has a strong tendency to fall back into cliché, particularly in its first half. What cleverness does exist is mostly a result of gender-inverting the stereotypes of the genre: for example, MacGregor "hilariously" overpacks for his Amazon cruise, turning up with two dozen cases full of wool suits, less-than-sensible shoes, and a set of golf clubs. We're even treated to an extended scene where MacGregor and Frank, the rough-and-tumble outdoorsman, argue about how much room is on the boat, and MacGregor's personal belongings are thrown into the river. See, it's funny because MacGregor is male, and he's filling the stereotypically female role. D'you get it? D'you get the clever joke?

Incidentally, I would have taken back every criticism if the movie had followed this narrative logic to its ultimate conclusion, and made Frank and MacGregor the subject of the romance subplot. But alas, even in 2021, Disney isn't that brave.

There are also some very strange cinematographic choices. One that particularly stood out, which incidentally is also in the luggage scene, is a moment where MacGregor attempts to stand up to Frank. The humour of the scene is that MacGregor is an unthreatening British dandy and Frank (who, again, is played by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) is a beef mountain, and the confrontation ends before it begins when MacGregor realizes this. So far so cliché, but here's the problem: the scene is framed such that the actors appear roughly the same height (with what height differences do exist being obscured by MacGregor's hat), and is shot in profile so the benefit of Johnson's bulky shoulders is almost completely lost:

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The result is that the scene loses all of its impact, because although intellectually we know that Frank is a grizzly bear who could smash MacGregor into paste, the composition of the scene does everything it can to obscure that. Compare this to a similar (though, admittedly, less comedic) scene in Back to the Future, where Marty confronts the bully Biff Tannen:

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You can immediately see the difference between this and Jungle Cruise: the camera takes a high angle over Biff's shoulder, making him appear to tower over Marty (and the reverse shot, which I haven't shown here, uses a low-angle from behind Marty to the same effect). The scene composition also places Biff close to the camera, so he appears to fill the entire left half of the frame. The net result is that Biff appears monstrously large, and there's inherent tension in the scene as it's made extremely apparent to the audience that Marty has miscalculated. This is so comically not the case in Jungle Cruise that it's distracting.

The film takes a turn in the second half, though. For one thing the more stereotypical characters get a bit of depth to them (foppish and effeminate MacGregor is an adept Queensbury Rules boxer!), but also the supernatural elements are more played up, which is where the film really shines. The thing that most impressed me was how creatively the film used the rules of its universe. For example, the curse placed on the Conquistadors was specifically that they could never leave sight of the Amazon River, a wording the film exploits repeatedly in very interesting ways, a few noteworthy examples including:

  • Actually justified use of the Prometheus School of Running Away From Things trope to escape them, because as soon as they pursue you out of visual range of the river, the jungle physically drags them back
  • In the backstory, this weakness was exploited by simply dropping the Conquistadors into a big pit where they could no longer see the river (even though it was only a few feet from them, as the crow flies); the jungle tried to drag them back but was unable to pull them through the Earth's crust, and responded by calcifying them to the cavern wall and removing them as an active threat, until...
  • Prince Joachim is able to recruit the Conquistadors by locating their calcified bodies and spritzing them with water from the Amazon. Being "within sight" of the River again revives them for long enough to get to safety

All in all, the film is a basically enjoyable supernatural adventure movie. It's frustratingly by-the-numbers at times, but Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson continues to be a better actor than he has any right to be, and the film as a whole has enough going for it that I feel comfortable recommending it. But none of this is what I wanted to talk about. What's been stuck in my craw for weeks now is one particular narrative decision that I just do not understand.

Warning before we proceed: in order to discuss this topic, I'm going to need to spoil a plot element that I've managed to avoid up to now. This reveal is sort of a major tipping point in the movie, so if you haven't seen it and want to go in fresh, turn back now. You've been warned.

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Okay? Okay. So.

The very first lines in the movie are a monologue given by MacGregor where he foresadows the inclusion of the immortal Conquistadors by retelling their legend. As he tells it, Don Aguirre and his Conquistadors came to South America in search of the Tears of the Moon, because extracting valuable resources from South America is kind of a phase Spain went through in the 16th century. In their pursuit they attacked the tribe protecting the Tears and, as punishment, were cursed to never leave sight of the river.

So far so good.

About halfway through the movie, we have the big reveal I mentioned up front: there were actually four immortal Conquistadors, and the fourth is Frank himself, who turned against his comrades and as been whiling away the centuries living as a riverboat captain. He's the one who dropped them into the pit I mentioned earlier. Again, so far so good; I've got no issue with this plot point. After this is revealed, he tells the true story of Aguirre, which has some details that MacGregor didn't know.

As Frank tells it, Aguirre had a daughter in Spain who came down with an (unspecified) incurable illness. Desperate to save her, Aguirre funded an expedition to the Amazon in search of the Tears, just so he could heal her. Frank, who was adopted by Aguirre's father, joined the expedition our of loyalty and to save his adopted niece. The expedition was a failure, and all but four of the Conquistadors succumbed to sickness, but the rest were saved by an Amazonian tribe who, coincidentally, were the guardians of the Tears. The Conquistadors were nursed back to health, and lived with this tribe peacefully for an unspecified period of time, until Aguirre finally asked the tribe's chief to share the Tears with him. When the chief refused, a desperate Aguirre attacked, was opposed by Frank, and the dying chief ultimately cursed them all.

This decision baffles me. Let me be clear, I'm not confused about the purpose of this enhanced backstory: it exists because the screenwriters decided they wanted to make Frank into an immortal Conquistador, likely to invert the Jack Sparrow archetype from Pirates of the Caribbean, but they also wanted him to be a sympathetic character and love interest; that's a tough sell for a colonial invader and murderer. So they needed to make him sympathetic, and this scene accomplishes that by a) giving him a sympathetic reason to be in South America, and b) by placing him in counterpoint to more explicitly villainous characters.

What I don't understand is why they gave half of the sympathetic backstory to Aguirre. Doing this creates two huge narrative problems that I can't believe were intentional, but have an equally hard time went unnoticed by the screenwriters.

The first problem, and the one I have the easiest time believing was simply an oversight, is that it pushes a very romanticised view of the Spanish invasion of South America. Aguirre's motives, frustrations, and even his overreactions aren't portrayed as morally correct, but they are very understandable - who wouldn't go to extreme lengths to save their child? That isn't necessarily a problem on its own, but the language of cinema means that Aguirre functions as a proxy for Spain as a whole: the implication the film is (I assume unintentionally) making is that if Aguirre's motives are understandable, so were Cortés'. That's an odd decision for a film made in 2021, when conversations about the impact of European colonialism were becoming very present in popular discourse. That's not to say it's an inherently bad decision, and there could be a compelling narrative there, but it's a touchy decision for a family comedy aimed at children, a genre that isn't equipped to address the historical legacy of colonialism with any level of nuance. And it's definitely a bad decision for this particular movie, which has no interest in exploring the questions it raises.

That said, I believe that this was an unintended implication; that happens in Hollywood in general and Disney in particular all the time. What I have a harder time with is that this backstory adds nothing whatsoever to Aguirre's character. I watched this scene, and my movie-watching brain went "Aha! They're humanizing the antagonist, that means they're setting him up for a redemption arc." Nope, Aguirre is a straight line through the entire film: his characterization begins and ends with "make Frank's life miserable by whatever means necessary." We essentially have the set-up for character development that never actually happens, which is such an incredibly bizarre writing choice. I realize this doesn't sound like a problem (or maybe it's just a "me" problem), but I promise you it is; it's a problem of emotional fulfillment, something explained in this video about Chekhov's Gun and the Rule of Three:

To apply this back to Jungle Cruise, Aguirre's daughter is the Pink Unicorn: it's a plot element that draws attention (in this case not because it's absurdist or eye-catching, but because it's a major motivator in an emotional monologue) but never comes back; there's setup, but no payoff. I haven't been able to get this out of my head for months now, because the lack of emotional closure makes no sense, and the scene as-written is wildly unnecessary. See, it isn't a totally pointless scene, and it accomplishes two things:

  1. As I mentioned earlier, it provides a sympathetic reason for Frank to be involved in the plot, something that was needed if he was to be a heroic character and love interest
  2. It provides a reason for Aguirre to hate Frank: Aguirre blames Frank for being unable to save his daughter, or even be with her when she died, because Frank interfered and Aguirre isn't willing to accept the fact that his curse is a consequence of his own decisions

But these goals can be accomplished in other ways, and in fact every problem I'm complaining about here would be trivially solved by just giving Frank the sick daughter instead of Aguirre. That preserves Frank's status as a sympathetic character, and Aguirre's hatred of him is easily justified merely by Frank interfering (in Aguirre's perception) in the hunt for the Tears of the Moon and (again, in Aguirre's mind) getting them cursed. He really doesn't really need more than this.

This is such an obvious decision that I'm forced to assume that there actually was a planned redemption arc for Aguirre, but that it was cut at some point, maybe during scripting or maybe during editing, and the setup was just overlooked.

At the end of the day this isn't a fatal problem, and the movie is still enjoyable despite it (remember, I did recommend it earlier!), but I can't help but notice things like this when I'm watching movies, because my brain is broken, and I needed to get this off my chest.

Thank you for coming to my TED talk.

Article by Xurdones

Hi everyone! Spring has arrived and with it comes new times and exciting opportunities. However let’s not forget everything that’s behind us, the history that shaped us. Thus I have prepared a crossword for you all to solve. Clan Quest themed! The more answers you enter the bigger your chances are to win!

The Winner will be the director of a new Clan Quest GIF! Meme a friend? Make a joke about a clannie? Or simply want to make others burst into laughter? Those who saw the Choto-GIF (by me, Tyco) in Discord a few months ago know what I’m talking about. ;-) Everything is on the table for you to choose! So pick up that pen and start solving!

The winner will be drawn on the 15th of May! Feel free to ask each other if some answers are too hard to find on your own.

Questaholic - March 2022 059.jpg

Article by Tyco elf