Name: James Carson
Character Name: T’berog
Shard: Catskills/Siege Perilous
After accomplishing all of his major goals in Ultima Online after just a few months of playing, James Carson was looking for a new challenge. He found it when he joined the Catskill’s famed roleplaying guild, the Shadowclan Orcs. Little did he know just how important of a role he’d play in the guild’s future.
While perusing the Stratics website in late 1997, a news posting caught Carson’s attention. The article explained how two players on the Catskills shard, Uguaguc and Ugruk, roleplayed their characters as orcs and were inviting others to do the same by joining their guild which they had dubbed “The Shadowclan Orcs.”
By the time Shadowclan made the front page of Stratics, the guild was already growing through word of mouth. The Stratics news post merely exposed the group’s innovative style of roleplay to an much wider audience.
Among that new audience was Carson.
“The idea of people taking on the roles of the NPC ‘enemies’ was appealing, something that would change the gameplay experience,” Carson said. “It was taking the idea of multiplayer to the next level.”
Outside of the game, Uguaguc and Ugruk created a website to detail the guild’s rules and language dictionary, thoroughly explaining what players needed to do in order to participate in Shadowclan.
“You had to make a new character, and it had to be an ‘orc’—bald, a specific greenish skin tone, and an orc name,” Carson remembers. “The philosophy behind that was two-fold. One, if role-playing an orc, you should look like an orc. Two, Shadowclan didn’t want people to join with their existing characters and any past baggage, but wanted the character to be a clean slate and entirely associated with Shadowclan.
Following the website’s guidelines, Carson created his orc character, readapted his name to “T’berog” and was born anew on the Catskills server.
Read more of James Carson’s story in Braving Britannia: Tales of Life, Love, and Adventure in Ultima Online.