It would be hard to talk about the modern day community without talking about Rascii. Why? Bercause through all the community's ups and downs of the recent years, one community website has stayed stable, and that is Rascii's website, Creatures Caves. Now I have known Rascii for a good many years, from the time when he had no website whatsoever, and I know all about his detemerination for his site to succeed and be a central part of the community. The good news is, he got there.
The beginning of Rascii
Rascii first stumbled into JRChat sometime during 2000, I believe, where he soon became a firm member of the clique. Pretty soon, he began work on his own website. At that time, Creatures Caves lay on Geocities, and was... basic, to say the least. Thankfully for us, it didn't stay that way for long.
Rascii was always excited by the "behind the scenes" stuff on the bigger websites of the time such as Creatures Creations, Helen's Bibble or my own MC.net. These websites were the first of the generation to use dynamic techology such as PHP and Perl to create interactive and easily maintainable pages -- we no longer had to program all the HTML by hand! Rascii loved the idea of being able to update his news from his website, or allow other users to have a role in his own site.
So it wasn't long before Rascii was working away on a revamp of his site quietly in the background. I recall at the time getting many requests for help with the PHP coding because something wasn't working right, but it was help I was happy to give as Helen was to me. It was good to see new talent coming into the community, because that is what keeps us thriving.
I think it took us all by shock when  sprung up in the late Summer of 2000. It was pretty feature packed, and had a nice blue on white design. It was alot brighter back then than it is today. And the best part? A game, like pong, called phong, but Creatures themed, very cool.
Evolution of an Institution
Well it took about two years of hard work and slow progress with the site for it to turn into what we have today. It was after seeing the great forums pop up and then pop off around the community that Rascii introduced the new legendary Creatures Caves forums, hand coded and pretty easy to use, they became a firm favourite with his users. Infact most things on the site became firm favourites, because Creatures Caves, unlike many other websites, is a sub-community within itself. It has it's own regular visitors who login and take advantage of the easy to use community building features.
In 2002 and 2003, when the community was truely at a low eb, Creatures Caves stayed a strong force, outside of what was going on around it. It was in this time that we got Survivor, a game which managed to get everyone involved and got more users excited about what the community can be.