The Island of Thain -
ThainA Neverwinter Nights Persistent World
The Island of Thain is the inspiration of two Neverwinter Nights enthusiasts from British Columbia, Canada who basically got fed up with the uptight, police-style approach that they had come across on some role-play servers. BitRaiser and Handover Phist had a vision of a laid-back meeting place where friends could get together and play in an environment that would encourage role-players but would tolerate other play-styles without the irrational smack-down they had encountered elsewhere in the Neverwinter Nights persistent world universe. They wanted their world to be open to all--no applications, no hak-paks to download, and no memorization of 385 rules of role-play... just jump in and play. They established one golden rule: "Respect your fellow players, the DMs, and the server." Their gaming friends scoffed, saying an open world without passwords would be ruined within weeks by munchkins and power-gamers. The co-founders took that as a personal challenge to prove their dream. And so it began...
Handover provided oversight and hosting services through his venture, Webster's Internet Café of Vancouver, while BitRaiser launched into the creation of the game world, marketing to establish a player base, and engaging that group of actors with masterful story-telling. Another gaming friend, Core Violate (Vio), took an interest and made major contributions in creating areas, non-player characters, and quests for the growing Island, complete with a deep-rooted plot to be discovered by the players. They launched the world publicly in October of 2002. Today, more than 3000 player accounts have "tried out" Thain and there is a steady player base of about 450, with 15-25 players in-game during peak hours of 10a-2a EST (where the server is currently based). The module itself has been released under the Open Source philosophy as a model for other builders and as a starting point for those that wish to take Thain in new directions, although the staff of "Original Thain" is still going strong with about ten active team members.
The Café was driven out of business by under-cutting competitors and the founders have moved on to other pursuits, dropping in occasionally to say hello or play an old favorite character. However, their visionary creation has left an indelible mark on the lives of many people that came to Thain as strangers and who were hoping for a better experience than Gamespy roulette. Many of those visitors ended up making great lasting friendships with fantastic role-players. You might too...