Friday, March 16, 2018

10 Questions With an EH - Tucker Noyes

[Editor's Note: the first of a new interview series focusing on event-holding experience, style, and advice from different EHs throughout the Realms. Enjoy!]

What events have you previously thrown? (include years)

I have been the Event Holder for Tournaments of Nadina II (2007), Festival of Nadina (2008), and the Ashen Bounty series (2012-2017), as well as being on the main staff for the Order of the List Invitational series (2011-2016).

What led you to start throwing events?

I was interested in having a say in the rules of the game, as well as wanted to give back to my community. I had done a lot of staffing and NPCing leading up to my first few events and I wanted to give it a try and see what it was like from the Event Holder perspective.

What would you like your events to be known for?

That is a tough question, and I think the vague answer would be “good.” I think that depending on the events you throw, you have different goals in mind, but the biggest consistency is that I think that the events should be a good quality. The specific aspect most important to me me, if I had to pick a single one, is being innovative and being able to try out new things.

What aspects of event holding do you consider most challenging?

When it comes to tournaments and feasts that I have participated in the staffing of, probably coordination is the most challenging. There is a lot of preparation into coordinating a good tournament event to make it run smoothly that isn’t always obvious. When it comes to questing I think the part I find hardest is writing engaging and innovative content that our player base will enjoy. It also have the biggest payoff when it works, which is a nice reward for a lot of hard work.

Tell us about an event moment you are particularly proud of?

This is a tough one, as I don’t know that I really have a single moment that stands out. Even small things like having the pacing of your event really work out and minimizing downtime is really exciting, or having a general mechanic work well over the whole weekend is something I tend to be most proud of. For me, throwing an event is more a marathon than a sprint, and having consistent good content from your grunt NPC grinds up to the final boss and equally important. Again, if I am to pick a specific moment, I would have to say any of our Ashen Bounty boss monster reveals. Our props team does such great work and it is always fun to watch the players react.

Tell us about something that went wrong and what you learned from it?

Well, my first two events pretty much went terribly wrong. It was my first time throwing an event, and I didn’t really seek out the support or guidance I should have had going in to them. I think the biggest learning moments I had there was that I needed to surround myself with a good team, and that I should take time to really learn from the events I enjoyed staff or NPC’d and take those lessons and apply them to my own event.

What do you think makes an event site “good” and how have you gone about locating sites?

Again, depends in part in what you are doing. Obviously a site like Hicks Arena at UCONN is great for a tournament like Order of the List Invitational, but wouldn’t be a great place to have a feast. I think for feast and tournaments, finding an affordable spot that suits your space needs are most important. When it comes to multi-day questing, that is a whole different story. If I am going to throw a multi-day quest, usually I require cabins for a site to be usable, as that seems to be appealing to a lot of players, and that it is somewhat centrally located. Anything within 45 mins of Worcester is a solid site location in my book.

Have you managed to maintain a balanced budget? Any advice for other event holders on doing that?

I can only speak to the Ashen Bounty series, which I can firmly say, no. However for me, throwing an event is a labor of love, and I want to make the event as accessible as possible, which means helping people out who may not have the cash to attend. I will say, for the most part over the six Ashen Bounty events we have thrown, our budget creeps ever closer to becoming balanced. Part of this is due to investment in props and equipment that we can reuse over time, borrowing props from other EHs that we don’t need to make ourselves, and planning better. I think that more EHs need to be a little more stringent on using expensive sites or overspending in certain areas if they really want to drive costs down. There are a lot of sites out there that we have not used that may be viable with a little more investigation. I think we as a player community also need to start doing a better job at registering (and reviewing!) for events, as a more accurate player count makes a big difference for an EH's ability to plan.

What staff positions do you feel are essential to running your events and what do you do to help empower and support them?

First let me say, I am immensely proud of the Event Holding team I have within the Ashenmark crew. No tasks is ever too big or too small for these guys and having such a great team is the foundation on which good events are built. If there is a single thing that I think can make and break an event, it is the quality of the crew behind the EH whose name is on the event. Specifically I think that having several key positions helps make throwing events much smoother:

A Den Mother - Something I learned from staffing Folkestone Questing over the year is that having someone at your NPC hut who knows where everything is, when those things need to go out and how they work is invaluable. Ashen Bounty 6 was the first year we implemented this (Pi Fisher) and it made a big difference, especially when it came to clean up.

Props Team - I think another thing that is great is having an individual or small group of people who are skilled at making props. Every single person on the Ashenmark EHing team helps to make all sorts of props, but when it comes to specialty props that need to be detailed we have a group of go to people (Kyle Yazinka, Paul Tilton, Nataliya Kostenko, Keith Tatarczuk) with a diverse skill set that make amazing props.

Writing Team - While we always like to try and incorporate as many people's ideas as we can in the group, sometimes having fewer voices helps to create a more clear narrative. We have had a lot of people fill this role in the past (Steven Yazinka, Paul Tilton) and more recently, a great new team of writers whose keen minds have brought you our most recent Imperium plot (Alyssa Lee, Nick Quadrini, Pi Fisher, Nataliya Kostenko).

Beyond that, having solid NPCs you can trust to staff your events and be flexible both in the role playing and combat aspect is very important. A couple bad NPCs more concerned about flaunting their fighting skills and winning over making sure the players are enjoying the quests can really cause problems and affect player enjoyment.

What advice do you have for other Event Holders?

Try new things, but not all at once. One of the things that is great about Realms is the room for an EH to innovate. I love trying out new mechanics each year and hearing the feedback on it. However, if you do try to innovate too much at a single event, sometimes it is hard for people to decide what they did or did not like about those mechanics, especially if there is overlap. If you are an aspiring EH, I STRONGLY recommend seeking out some guidance for your first event or two. It will certainly help make your event more fun for players, because you won’t have to make the same mistakes that a lot of EHs have already made for you, and learned from.

What can we look forward to seeing from you in the foreseeable future?

Ashen Bounty will continue to be a staple event for me on a yearly basis, and I think the split format dungeon crawl we tried out last year at Imperium March is probably here to stay as long as we have player interest. I would also like to do a Convergences style quest with the Adventurers Guild team if there is enough player interest, so if you are a player let us know if and what you're interested in!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Ask The Editors


There are lots of other LARPs out there that seem to be competitors for Realms. What do you think Realms has as an advantage over those other LARPs and what do you think we could learn from them?

I haven't really played other LARPs. I mean I've made some brief excursions during practices, or at crossover events, but their just isn't enough of a draw for me to go to other LARPs. I'm more than busy enough with the Realms to get my LARPing fix. Why though? Well the Realms pretty much encompasses everything I'm looking for. It has highly competitive combat. It has the creative freedom to let me run mods and tell stories. It has old knighthoods with interesting cultural traditions and histories, new people are constantly coming in. And above all it's my family. I mean, I've said for years that ToC is my favorite holiday. That's not a joke. 

So what can the Realms learn from other games? I mean, again I think that I have to note my limited experience, but I hear a lot of people say the Realms could use an upgrade on immersion, but I think that's something as a community we’ve made strides in in the last year. But tips and tricks from other games is always good, so if you got ideas I want to hear them. 

-Keith “Saegan” Cronyn

Over the years, I have tried a few other LARPs, usually LARPS created by people who left the Realms.  I also have many friends who regularly play in other systems.  From what I have observed, most other LARPS are what I consider “RP Centric”, meaning they spend a lot more time and effort on story and immersion.  The Realms tends to be more “Combat centric”.  We started as a combat system that developed a world, rather than a world that developed a combat system to resolve conflict.

The advantage the Realms has over other LARPS is its flexibility to incorporate ideas and styles.  Because the EH has total control over content, we have the ability to see varying play styles and to showcase different types of creativity.  We can experiment with new weapons and materials.  We can try new methods of combat.  We are not tied into one person or a small groups idea of how the world works.. 

What we can learn from other LARPS is how better to coordinate and communicate between Event Holders.  To pool our creativity and resources to develop a more immersive world.    We tend to get locked into feeling we are alone with just our immediate friends, trying to put together events we ourselves would want to go to.  The more people and groups can work together, the more the over-all quality of our events can have.

-Steven “Therian” Matulewicz

I sort of fell into Realms, not knowing or understanding that I was playing a LARP until I was so far in that I couldn’t (nor did I want to) leave. So for me, Realms is more than a LARP, it’s my people, and that’s the way it always will be. I think what makes Realms stand out is that it’s accessible to a lot of people. It’s fairly inexpensive comparatively, and there are events practically every weekend. I do wish that there was more crossover with plotlines to keep the continuity that other LARPs have, but I wouldn’t sacrifice the mentality that anybody can be an EH and tell any story they want to have that continuity. I can’t keep track of the number of real-world skills that I’ve gained because I was able to be a Realms EH, but I can tell you that being supported by so many members of the community on my journey through the Realms has shaped me in more ways than I can possibly imagine even now. I think that each LARP is unique because of what it prioritizes. To me, Realms prioritizes the community above all else, and personally, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

-Lani "Gwen" Jones

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Rub a Khali's Camel Races

by James "Rub a Khali" Murphy

Photo by View Staff

Good day, may your various gods, goddess, and spirits protect you and not set you in harm’s way. I have been asked to describe the camel races that took place at the feast of Cerwyden. Well I must warn you that transporting all the camels can be quite tricky. Be warned they spit.

One of the first things you must have are camels, more are better so as to not tire out any one camel. You also need someplace for them to race. Such as a track of some sort that has twenty two spaces arranged in a circle, with four thoroughfares for the camels to follow. Imagine four ovals that are nestled one inside the next. The next thing you will need is some way of determining how many spaces the camels can move each turn. I have infinity for ordinary playing cards, but dice could also be used.

Now betters can play this game one of two ways. Up to four people can pay gold to race one of the camels.

Other players can bet on which camel they think will win.

If only a single player is available the dealer can also provide a camel for the player to race against.

Next decide where on the track the camels should start from; call this the start/finish line.

Next as I like to use playing cards to determine how far the camels will go, I have to prepare the deck in a certain way. I make four piles of cards, each pile has ace through nine of one suite. So the first deck has ace through nine of Clubs, then Diamonds, Hearts, then Spades. It does not really matter which suit is used as long as each deck is only nine cards.

Next we are ready to race.

I collet one gold from each player who wishes to race a camel. (It could be five gold, ten gold the amount does not matter as long as it’s the same amount for each player.

Flipping over one card from each pile, I move the appropriate camel that many spaces. For example, a four is revealed the camel moves four spaces. You get the idea, if you don’t then maybe this game is not for you. May you be blessed in other ways.

Next each player then decides if they want to continue to race. Once they have made up their mind, each player will place a gold in their hand if they wish to continue or keep it empty if they don’t. I then ask all players to reveal if they are playing or not at the same time. I collect the gold from each player that wishes to continue, and retire the camels from the board that are not going to continue. The gold is added to the purse.

A new card is flipped for each remain camel and they are moved that many spaces.

This continues until camels have moved at least twenty one spaces around the board. The camel that crosses first or the camel that goes furthest after crossing in the event of multiple camels crossing wins. Now while I would give the entire purse to the winner if I could, but my wife and children would not look at me with respect if I did not charge something for this. My standard cut is ten percent of the pot with a one gold minimum if the pot is at least five gold. So if four players start, but three quit after the first round, I would award all four gold to the winner. I am not a rich man, and my children do require me to provide them food to eat and tents to sleep in.

Next sometimes two or more camels will cross the line at the same time, but will cross by the same amount. In this case one card is drawn for each and the higher card wins. And because sometimes the gods of fate like to show me interesting things I have also determined that if after all cards are exhausted and both players have continued to tie then I would award an amount of gold equal to the purse to both winners.

If a player decides not to race the camels but instead just to bet on which camel will win, then it will work as follows.  All bets must be put in before the race starts. If the player bets on the correct camel then they will win one for three on their money if four camels are racing. If only three camels then one for two. If less than three camels I cannot accept bets as there is no way for me to feed my starving children.  A good example would be four camels race, a player decides to bet on the camel “Bob” (bless his tasty heart). Bob wins; the player bet one gold I would pay him one for three gold. So the player would end up with three gold.

Into Castle Ravensloft, Part 2

(This is a re-post of a story originally written for the printed version of the View some 10-15 years ago)

Into Castle Ravensloft by Steven Matulewicz
[Editor's Note: click here to read Part I]


He called it, simply, The Vault.

In any of the texts left by the Guthrevyn family, he had never seen reference to it anywhere. He had found it a few years after Sir Gunnar walked off into Fairy to marry a Princess. Pyr had been mapping out the rooms, or what was left of them. He wanted to have a complete detailed map of Haze and the Castle. It may be useful, even necessary, one day. He was able to map the castle “easily”, but Haze itself will take a lifetime. And maybe someday he might find the village of Haze somewhere in the mists.

And so it was on one of these mapping expeditions he found The Room.

There was an alcove, just beyond the left hand bookcase when you enter the room. It’s not readily noticeable as an entryway, until you get to where Pyr had placed the chair. It was well hidden for an archway in plain sight. The door was narrow and the bookcase deep. There used to be a tapestry over it and Pyr had replaced it, being very careful to find some extra around the castle and store them, so if this one tore away, he could replace it with one just as old and worn.

Inside the alcove was, from foot to ceiling, small wooden compartments for scrolls, components, items that would either aid in casting or were items for research. Or so Pyr had observed. His best guess is this was the tame version of what was in the Vault, meant for idle dabbling or curiosity. He had a friend come through here with detections, disenchants… the whole lot. Nothing of straightforward magical or malicious intent lay on or in the compartments. There is a small desk in the center of the room. There are 9 symbols on it, one in each cardinal direction and one in the center. The average person would probably use the table ponder the objects in the compartments, not even thinking about the markings.

The table is, like so many things here, more than it looks like.

He faced the far wall, his hands on the table. touching the center symbol. He had never found anyone who knew what the symbols meant. So speculating either original or potential use (or re-creating them for any use) was out of the question. Assuming they were just part of the combination for the Vault was enough.

The wall of components in front of him slid into the floor. Behind it was a large metal door, which had the same 8 symbols on it, the ones he did not touch.

Now began the fun part.

Pyr quickly runs through the multi-step, multi-layered puzzle that allows you to try and find the combination for the door. It wasn’t easy at all. Finding how the solid wood table will allow you to twist each symbol, but only in a certain combination, otherwise they either reset, cause a trap to go off, or just outright kill you. You need to know when to flip it as well, revealing multi-colored gems. The combination and method was not straightforward, like one puzzle then the next.

Once done, the next stage occurs. You have a time limit to find 8 reflecting prisms in the cabinets within reach to your left and right. Each one works on only one positioned stone. The prisms are never in the same place as last time, even if you put them there yourself. However there is a pattern. Again, doing it within time and doing it in order is critical.

Then the final step: you have a light from every stone hitting the proper prism which reflects onto the proper rune on the steel door. Oh, and those runes are never in the same order either.

Now you are able to try the combination of the lock. The symbols loosen on the metal door and you can rotate the circular drums of each rune. Each drum has 10 runes on it (not 8). You not only need to get them in the right order, but you need to do it without stopping the combination in a way as to duplicate the runes. Bad things happen if you do.

Pyr had been lucky all that time ago: in one of the compartments, he had found a thick scroll explaining the process, what might happen when you screwed up, and the like. And they also recorded the number of tries... and deaths… of each step they took. Needless to say, they only got through half way of the combination lock, although they had discovered the “trick”

Somehow Pyr didn’t think they got inside.

Regardless, after only a few times working with the combination (which was painful only twice. He dodged what seemed to be the Disintegration Rune trap), he had memorized the sequence and burned the “map”. “When I die,” he thought, “no one should be able to go in here. Not if they value their soul.” Pyr was not afraid of what would happen to him: this place was his... "inheritance". But he was bent on making sure this place was forgotten when he went to the Summerlands for good.

Pyr snapped his mind back to the present. He finished the combination and the last tumbler clicked into place. The whole alcove peeled away, left and right, and a wall descended over the entrance. You were suddenly in a very spacious, high vaulted room. It was well lit with candles that never seem to burn out. There were stacks upon stacks of tomes, display shelves with items, some with glass around them; some displayed openly, parchments upon a few tables. It would compete well with any storehouse of learning.

And almost everything, every surface, was covered with red glowing runes. The tomes only have the spines glowing. The parchments just glowed on their own with no visible runes. And on the farthest wall from where he stood was a giant sculpture that looked like a monstrous demon was trying to pass through the wall into this plane. You could see the strain on its face, the one hoof, and the fingers of its left hand; part of its chest and of course its massive face, straining to pull the rest through. It is very clear it was a sculpture, because it was part of a fountain that sat below it on the library floor. Even from here, it is clear the fountain had once been bubbling with blood, not water, and that it sprayed from the demon’s jaws and into the fountain’s pool.

Pyr assumed someone thought it was beautiful, powerful, reverent, or funny. Pyr was betting on Funny.

The one aspect of this room that seemed out of place was a clear walkway without runes that went from the door to one of the desks, then to a string of metal, human sized doors on the right hand wall.

That small fraction of the room was what Pyr had been able to clear in 10 years worth of work. It was enough.

On the desk was a few disenchanted books written in common. There mostly were history about ER, once then Ravensloft, how the country functioned, maps of the out land, when what was built, who owed taxes, etc. Some were bits of Realms Lore, but usually just scraps. Like how to build a flesh Golem. Problem is you can’t build one without components that are not found in the Realms any more. So the spell was mostly useless. But it stayed in this place, just in case.

The metal doors were Vaults within the Vaults. There had been 5 vaults not sealed when he found them. Why ward something you haven’t used yet? And it was a path to them that had been made. Because it was there he stored his items.

And just so it is understood, "not sealed" does not mean "not Warded". There were instructions left on the opening and closing of the doors, with notes to "Lock" them some time in the future. Pyr never intended on finding out how to "lock" this or any other part of this room. What enchantments they had put on the doors was enough.

And what the King placed here were Evil items. Items too powerful to really exist in the Realms, items meant to be forgot. All of which had either been given to Pyr, or been asked to safeguard. And no one asked for them back. So they all go in here.

He pondered that unless the people that used this room tip-toed slowly around this place, casting protection after protection, they most likely had some kind of ward that allowed them safe passage through the room. Either a mark on their skin, or an item. Whatever it may have been, there was no record of it. Except maybe somewhere in the stacks.

He walked over to one of the vaults and placed his left hand on it, saying an incantation. The door opened.

Inside were several Items. The Staff of the Planes, that lets you go anywhere from anywhere. The Skull of Necromancy, which allows you to summon a virtual army of wraiths, vampires and zombies so many times in an hour. A Wish Coin, an Amulet that controls Goblins. An item that befriends treants. A wand of DeathWish, a Sword of Scalping, a piece of Minerva’s Chest, the known whereabouts and phrase one can use in the Seelie Fae to create a Wayland Bomb, some broken pieces of wood with some runes on them and a rotting Wayland blade, snapped in two.

In the middle of this vault is a small platform, about chest height. There is nothing special about it, or so it seemed.

Pyr took a musty brown bottle out of his backpack. There are some faded elfish runes on the outside, but it is unclear what it says. Pyr gently places the bottle on the stand. He had thought he would have need of it and had brought it down to Chimeron some months back. But now it was time to return it. Maybe some day it will be brought out again.

He closes the metal door and sighs. It’s a long way to come alone, and a long way to return. These trips are the kind no one can know about, or follow him. The ride is quiet. There is no sound save the slithering things in the darkness near the end. Everything else is a deafening stillness.

He looks around the room again. As many times as he has been here, there has been only one item that truly disturbed him deep inside. It is a silver mask that looks like a woman in her early 20s. It is on one of the desks on its side, like someone had been looking at it and had just put it down. The woman’s face is one of stoic power. The way it is angled on the desk that day, it is clear it is either a mask or a helm, but the how thin it is and the look on her face indicates it must be a drama mask. A drama mask that encases your head fully in steel. They are usually clay, but it is not uncommon or unusual.

The Mask of Achlys.

There were several things slightly wrong with the mask. The first was that it was in a different position every time he came. Today it was looking at the stack of books. That was not uncommon either in the Vault: there were many objects here that shifted positions when you were either not there, or you were not looking.

The second is there was no dust around it, no decay. There is a scroll near the mask: the part nearer the mask was whole and almost new. The other was yellow and black with dust and age. The perceptible ring around the mask was only marred by a single drop of blood that hung on the forehead of the mask. It wasn’t easy to see, but after being here many times and viewing it from many angles, it becomes clear. Because the blood is fresh against the silver sheen.

Third was the skeleton on the floor just in back of the desk it was on. This is a place of evil, sure. And there were many body parts around. But they were on display. This was some kind of researcher left on the floor. So it begs to question what happened with this mask that was so frightening to those powerful evil mages who used this place that they would not clean up the body in one way or another? He was sure there had to have been other accidents or experiments. Why this one?

Fourth was the slight wind. You could see candles and paper around it blowing towards it. Not a torrent, just enough to ruffle the paper.

The man/ mage must have been seeking some kind of revenge for what the mask had done, Pyr surmised. And in that stupid mistake of rage a powerful curse came out of it. One so horrible and undoable the Wizards let the mask and the body be.

There were many, many items of great and “stupid powerful” items here. But he was sure it was the worst.

But most importantly the items in the Vault were dormant, waiting to be activated.

Except this one was still “on”. And it’s the only other place/ item not warded.

The mysteries here were always oddly interesting to ponder. What was the power or curse of the coin balancing on its edge in one of the display case? Why was a small bronze frog statue in a well secured cage covered heavily with the magical wards? Why was one of the books occasionally removing itself from the shelves and placing itself somewhere else in the stacks?

The ultimate lesson he believed is this was the best place to store powerful items that should never see the light of day ever again.

And why, you may ask, since it is very possible something in the room, or something from outside the room, will use the items to its advantage. The answer is written on the floors and walls. They created powerful curses and wards to contain the evil for study and possible use. This place doesn’t protect itself from “good” it protects itself from *everything*. They knew if anything they could not control got out; it could release all the other evils, or just crush them. And they were in this for their own power, not to be foolish and be a slave to the knowledge and what they discovered.

These items couldn’t be in a safer place. Nothing was getting in, nothing was going out.

Except down the path he created. But there was one trigger he had discovered, should the items in the metal rooms be compromised. A rune re-set all the wards of the Vault if the incantation used was incorrect. A Restoration if you will. That and the Metal Rooms seem to be in a pocket dimension. The room behind it is obliterated and a new one is restored to it's place.

One day, he knew, that as secure as this place is, nothing is impenetrable.  He will have to set up a final solution.  To collapse the Vault in the same manner as the smaller ones.  But that day is not today.

With one more look around, Pyr closed the inner Vault, closed the main door, took up his items and made his way to his horse to leave.

Friday, March 9, 2018

10 More Questions - Steven Loya

10 More Questions with Steven "Nalydros" Loya

photo by Chris Zurk
1) What achievement either in or out of character are you most proud of?

Having the opportunity to represent the Realms as a guild member at the Bicolline LARP in Canada is probably my most memorable achievement to date.  I am very thankful to have had that opportunity.

2) Are you a fighter or a caster? Have you always been? How did you choose?

I have always been a fighter – but there were times where I have given some serious consideration to spell casting.  Sometimes it feels like casting would really benefit my character a lot.  My friends and I recently had a dedicated healer join our questing party, so it could be some time before I take on casting. 

3) Have you ever owned an artifact, memento, or magic item  that has meant a lot to you, and why?

I have never owned a magic item. 

4) What group of people do you spend the most time with and why?

I spend a little bit of time with everyone these days, but it wasn’t always that way. I have friends in almost every nation, but most recently: Blackwood, Creathorne, Grimloch and Invictus.  Most of my friends come from the UML Riverhawk practices.

Photo by Andy Disbrow

5) Who is your best friend in character and why?

My best friend in character is Bartholomew Victor (Tom Keaney OOC), an independent two-path archer assassin/bard.  I had known Bart for some time out of game, but it wasn’t until Tournaments of Blackwood 2014 that he became really involved in the realms.  The rest is history. 

6) What event or moment had the greatest impact on you as a player?

Tournaments of Blackwood 2016.  I was presented with my first opportunity to petition a nation. But also, I broke rounds in one of the tourneys (either sword and board or Florentine – I can’t remember which) and made it to the third round.  There was a disqualifier for third place, so I wasn’t awarded a prize, but it got me a lot of recognition.  

7) What event or moment had the greatest impact on your character?

Some players know my character is wary of magic, and doesn’t trust fae.  Without going into too much detail, something happened at Black and White 2014 where my character’s life was placed in serious jeopardy by Goldmist, a fae lord.  After that, it just kind of made sense that my character be distrustful of fae.  I would like to see that rivalry between Nalydros and Goldmist develop in future plotlines.

8) What is your most embarrassing moment, either IC or OOC?

Haha – most people know about that one.  Uncle Cecil’s 2014 was a rough night for me, and an even rougher morning.  I passed out in the tavern.  I remember the point of no return was when I ordered a double of bourbon for an esteemed member of the Realms, then by the time it arrived, that person was gone.  So naturally, it went down the hatch and then – blackout.  I was dealing with a lot of stress from school, not that that’s an excuse, but it was weighing on my mind that night. 

Photo by Eren Pils-Martin

9) What is the best piece of advice you'd give to other players?

Meet with and talk to as many people as possible.  I have been presented with so many amazing opportunities just by talking and being friendly with people.  I am a cross-gamer as well and have some pretty great connections in other LARPS that I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t tried being just a little outgoing.  If you put yourself out there, you will be rewarded, but you have to try. 

10 ) What is the most important thing you've learned through the game?

To be honest with yourself and with your character.  Be confident – but don’t get cocky.  I have seen a lot of new players get really excited about larping only to burn out and quit because they had their heart set on something that they couldn’t quite pull off in game. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket – explore and experiment and don’t be afraid to fail.  The game is about improving, and you can’t do that unless you fail sometimes, and that’s okay. 

BONUS QUESTION: Who would you like to see the next interview be with?

Estome. OOC - Zane Raschick

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Ask the Editors

Doing the view seems like a lot of work! How do I start writing for it or start becoming a contributor?

I mean, What You Missed series are a good start if you don't have ideas of your own. Otherwise just send us a message and we’ll probably have a laundry list of project articles on the back burner waiting to be bust out. Or you know, just ask and Jen will probably find a spot for it.

--Keith “Saegan” Cronyn

I would say it’s like a lot about the Realms.  Ask yourself  if there are any current articles you want to contribute.  Ask yourself if you have any stories, art or poems you would like to share with the world.  Ask yourself if there is something you feel the View is missing, and you want to try to fill that niche.  Then convey what you would like to do to someone on the staff.    You can either contribute “one shot” items, or if you have the time, you can try contributing on a more regular basis.

-Steven “Therian” Matulewicz

The View accepts all type of content! Generally, anything you think that you’re good at is most likely something that could be published in the View. Do you like to write stories? We’re always glad to accept those - they can be short one-installment pieces, longer serial stories, and anything in between! Do you like to draw, create digital art, or do other types of crafting? Send along scans or photos - we’ll run them! Have you written any poems, songs, or bardics? We’ll take those! Is there a particular Realms topic or issue that you feel strongly about or are particularly interested in? Write up an article and send it along! The only real request we have is that submissions be related to the game or to a fantasy-based genre in general, and capture the spirit of contributing to the community.

There are other ways to contribute too! We run a few features that rely on questions such as this lovely one you’re reading now, Ask the Editor, and we also have our resident agony aunt, Syruss, who is always willing to tackle important issues. Have a question for us or for him? Feel free to message any member of the View staff and pass it along. We do several interview features such as Fresh Faces (a set of questions geared towards newer players), Fireside Chats (a set of questions that are completely in-character), and 10 More Questions, an expansion of the popular original series of OOC questions that focuses on player experiences and memories of the game. We will also be debuting a new interview series soon, 10 Questions with an Event-Holder, which aims to delve deeper into different aspects of throwing an event. If you haven’t done one of these yet, please reach out to a member of the staff! We would be happy to send the questions to you. You fill them out and send them back - super easy! We are always looking for people to write up What You Missed event reviews/synopses as well!

The View is a community newsletter. It is run for the community by the community. We always welcome submissions from the community. Have an idea about something to write, content you’d like to see, or items you want to submit, or just generally want more information, feel free to reach out to any member of the staff. We’d be happy to chat with you!

-Jen “Areni” DeNardis-Rosa

This question is very personal for me, because honestly, I thought I had no business helping out on the View. I had written a few pieces as part of my squireship, but beyond that, I believed that my writing skills were pretty meager and I was better off dedicating my time to other pursuits. Ultimately, I decided that the View from Valehaven is an important way for our community to connect positively with each other, so I decided that I would find a way to help behind the scenes. From there, I started to write pieces that were important to me, like How to Have Fun at Queen of Hearts, and regularly contributing to the Why I Want to Go Column--and you know what? I found out that I actually really enjoyed writing and that the View helped connect me to the people that I love the most. So honestly, if you want to know how to contribute to the View, I’d say in whatever way feels right to you. Going with your gut is a great plan, and every time you push yourself out of your comfort zone, I think you’ll find that you are satisfied with the results. No matter who you are, your voice is important, and we would love to have you share it with us and the rest of the community.

-Lani “Gwen” Jones