Oct 092014

Gnomon, no!
Gnomon, No! Just no. Nope. Nein. Nee. Non. Never.

The image above is Inquisitor Gnomon, sitting in the Bogwater Tavern in House Phiarlan, negotiating the murder of dozens of innocents as calmly as if he were ordering extra bread sticks.

His quest, Purging the Heretics, is one so repulsive it inspired one of my very earliest blog posts. So repulsive that I have not run it since 2009, not even once. Not when I needed House P favor, not when I needed quick XP, not even when my Gamer Girl and I embarked on an effort to run every quest in the game.

On the plus side, we get to slay Gnomon later in the game, very deservedly so, and I always find this to be even more satisfying than smacking Coyle upside the head. Although it is close.

But this post is not about Gnomon. Nor is it about Coyle. Gnomon is an in-game test of your personal integrity; there are no real world effects if you “pass” or “fail” his test. This isn’t an actual integrity challenge in any way.

You know, like finding a wallet and having to decide whether to return it (Pass!) or keep the cash and throw it away (Fail). Or hearing something you shouldn’t about someone you don’t like and deciding to keep it to yourself anyway (Pass) or spread the word (Fail). Or … well, you get it, real-life integrity checks happen all the time, almost daily.

I had one come at me from a most unexpected source the other day. My email inbox.


I’m contacting you as I’m interested in the possibility of working
with you on behalf of one of my clients – they run some very large
poker and casino guide sites.

What they’re interested in doing is writing for you an
article/blogpost which could include a link to their site – we’d
love to do a good quality piece that gamers would enjoy, relevant
to your site and my clients.

Could you let me know if this is possible, and an idea of costs?

Many thanks in advance


There was a name there but I see no value in including it.

I won’t pretend that I didn’t find this interesting. My site? My tiny little corner of the internet’s vast set of tubes? Me? I replied, asking “You are offering to pay me to put an article on my site that is really an ad for your sites? Would it look like an ad? I prefer answer to be yes, don’t want to try an fool people into thinking it is a legit review.”

I figured I’d never hear back. I’ve gotten inquiries about hosting ads before, real ads, not sneaky ones, and those guys never reply. But this guy did:


Yes we would be paying you to publish the article. It wouldn’t be an
advert as such, we would just want a text link in the body of the

If you feel uneasy about it at all, I understand but this is a good
opportunity to earn a bit of money and have a quality well written
article on your site.

Let me know if that would work for you.



Now I am curious. Is he intentionally evading my question about being an ad? I ask if it would matter if I identified it as an ad, and surprisingly he responds again:


You could view it as an advert but it won’t look spammy and dangerous. My clients website is a safe site that is a detailed guide to staying safe with online gambling.

You could not specifically identify it as an advertisement on your website as this a real article that we would create specifically for you.

If you are still interested in this prospect I hope to hear from you



I like his use of the word “advert”. Not from the U.S. apparently. Not that it matters, money all spends no matter where it comes from. But am I expected to hide this? I can identify it as paid content right? I ask directly, and again, I get a response:

Hi Geoff

My client says that you can’t introduce it as paid content. They would however offer you up to $250 USD simply for them to insert 1 paragraph with a link to their website included within the text.

They have made it clear that they do not want it labelled as an advert
or paid content



So it would be a stealth ad, but one that comes with a quid pro quo, and a surprisingly hefty one: enough to cover the expenses of running this site for a full year.

It is tempting. After all, none of you would really click over right? A sudden article about online poker would immediately look off to you all, right? Nothing like that occurs here, ever. You’d know better, right? No harm, no foul?

But still. I’m not even sure online poker is legal in the U.S. It ought to be, at least according to my own personal belief system, but I don’t think it is. Lots of things ought to be legal across the U.S. – according to me – but you don’t see ads here for drugs or prostitutes either.

To be totally honest, I am not always the pillar of integrity that I like to imagine. For instance, I once failed the wallet test, and I’ve done much worse than that. This was many years ago when I was younger, I am not that guy now. But nonetheless, I was that guy then, and I own my behavior today, even the most reprehensible behavior which I cannot begin to explain let alone excuse. That was me. It was.

Regardless. It isn’t me now. I haven’t answered the guy but I will, and I know what I’m going to say. No, Inquisitor Gnomon, I don’t want your $250. I won’t participate in fooling people who come here into going to your sites. I won’t.

So now I know the lower limit of my price for personal integrity. $250. I wonder what the upper limit is?

Everyone has one, right?

🙂 😀 🙂

  10 Responses to “$250 Worth of Integrity”

Comments (10)
  1. Yes, probably everyone has a price. Although when its too high, I think some people start to feel more uneasy because of it (as its clearly not ok, why would they offer that much otherwise)

  2. I’m curious – did the offer come after your post about your number of viewers and the number of countries you reach?

    Also I’m glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t run that quest.

  3. Insightful, Geoff. My thought: If I define my upper limit based on what I value most (which isn’t money, fame, even my life), then I can never, ever be bought.

    I’ve tried that quest by forcing different terms on it. I’m about to try it by using web traps to avoid slaying the bulk of the innocents with my Assassin, and I’ve used diversion and blinding techniques and stealth in a previous try. I still have to slay the two Host members, and that still never sits right by me. I don’t play it often; it really upsets me, and killing Gnomon later isn’t as satisfying since avenging isn’t quite my style, either.

  4. Good job dissecting the whole thing. I think you are bang on.

  5. If nothing else, the “and have a quality well written article on your site.” bit would put my back up for me – oh? really? REALLY? You sayin’ there ain’t any already, huh, buddy? Them’s fightin’ words!

  6. I don’t have too many lawful good characters in DDO, and those that are are probably paladins, and they’d follow someone like Gnomon blindly; paladins, and Jedi for that matter, aren’t in the business of making friends… Where was I? Ah, yes, my neutral characters are probably neutral evil, as they’ll work for the gold, and they do quests like Diplomatic Impunity (even though I argue quite strongly with the scout that the Droaam their army might just be getting a tan). If anything, they justify quests like this to bring balance after all those other super lawful good quests!

    Excuses, excuses, my characters are going to hell, right?

    I personally wouldn’t accept a covert advertisement[sic] such as the one you were offered, but I might do something similar to what you are doing, by dissecting and getting to the nitty gritty, the crux if you will, of the whole business. I’d also suggest the writing of the current articles was already quality.

  7. Well written sir. I might have reached the same decision albeit without the ability to understand how I got there. 😉 Ty. For the record, I’m the guy who corrects the Barrista when she undercharges my order, the guy who makes the 20 mile return trip on the highway enroute to Vegas to return the $10 that does not belong in my pocket. If the food is bad but the service good I let the waitress know that I would return for the service but will not be back because the food …..is less.
    Now here is the strange part; I actually feel a sort of guilt with sharing this sort of info outside the people who were with me, or part of the exchange, at the time of the event.

  8. Nice write up Geoff. Something does sound a little off to me. Way to stick to your morals!! 🙂

  9. Isn’t “purge the heretics” the same rules of engagement as the crusades (formally stated during the Albigensian Crusade), i.e. “Kill them all. God will know his own”.

    Oddly enough, my true neutral warforged sorcerer did this quest this life. He did not do this on a previous life as a (sovereign host) FVS. I got into practice running this quest way back when it was a good way to grind (silver was it) leveling sigils back when they were required.

    Grats on the decision on the ad. While I have no intention of playing online poker (or casino play), I would at least expect that such a review on this sight be more or less accurate (although I doubt you have the means to check the reliability of the RNG function. Probably the most important thing to do before throwing your money in a casino: virtual or B&M).

What do you think?

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