Friday, March 27, 2015

10 Questions Bethany "Freesia" Tozier

Photo by Matt Norris
How long have you been playing?

This is my 20th season. I started at Feast of Blackwood 1 in 1995. There isn’t much to write home about it, because it was (sorry) not fun. I did not think I would try again, but Henry convinced me to go to a weekend event (Tournaments of Creathorne, 1996). The first event I really loved was ToC 1996.

How has the game changed since you've been playing?

There is a little less emphasis on role playing, but I see that changing again. There are also more tournament events versus questing events. Really, it is a pendulum. It is something that is always in flux and will eventually swing back.

The biggest changes I have seen have been those in the magic system (I was here for the Arc system) and how seriously we take ourselves as an organization. When I started rule 6 was “There is no rule #6” which was a reference to a Monty Python skit. Now we have well defined safety rules (which help when getting new sites).

There is also, sadly, a higher emphasis on drinking at events. It used to be once in a while, after questing, and then not as excessive as some.

Who have you learned the most from?

I do not know I can answer that and not bog down the site. In 20 years you learn a lot from a number of people. Let’s just go with the big ones.

Andy Disbrow is the first person I think of, though. While not the typical mentor he taught me that fun should always be first, unless it is at the expense of others (that may not be how you see him, but that is what he taught me). He also taught me the basics of event holding, and that no matter how hard you try someone will be unhappy with your event. He really rounded me out as a player and instilled the idea of NPCing and Role Playing. He also taught me that integrity is important as is loyalty, even if it is “to a fault”. Honestly, without him I would not be a Knight of Creathorne and I would not be a Knight of the Eternal Flame.

Photo by Doug Fisher

Dave Dolph taught me the value of a good story. He has a way with making players really feel involved. It is something I strive for still. One day, I hope to write plot lines half as amazing.

From Tanja Johnson, Kathy Fey, Terri Armstrong, and Kathy Journey I was taught that as a woman in the Realms I can be more than just “a girl in the game.” They showed me I can be a leader, a person to contend with, and I can be more than a set of tits. Whether they knew it or not, they showed me that I could be active, on the front line and in the eye of the storm if I wanted to. They showed me, through actions and deeds, that I did not need to have my Sig-O back me on my decisions, and I did not need to be a caster to ‘make it’ in the game. I adore them all for this!

From Janna Oakfellow-Pushee I learned that any moment can be great Role Playing. She showed me what it means to be truly passionate about a story line or part of the game. And I also saw what real burn out looks like (sorry love) because she pushed herself a little too far sometimes.

What was your best moment IC?

Can I pick more than one? I have played a lot of people. (We’ll just stick with Freesia, because that is who you know.)

My first fun/big IC moment (that had me directly involved as Freesia) was questing with Thunder (Wes Woodman) and Zula (Matt “Frenchy” Daviault). No shit, there we were, Feast of Chimeron 8. We had worked all day to translate a batch of scrolls and thus created “Super Phred!” Super Phred tasked us with sneaking into a cabin that evening while the rest of the realms attacked a fort so we could steal an axe from a troll that we could not kill just yet (the green axe killed the orange troll, the orange axe killed the green troll). On our way to the cabin we did great, nice and sneaky. Zula drew the short straw and went inside the cabin. Thunder and I waited a few feet from the door, ready to rush in when Zula messed up. From the outside, Zula was taking WAY too long. Inside, Zula could not find the axe (it was above the sleeping troll). Outside we suddenly hear the door creak, a *THUD* and “RUUUUNNNN!” as Zula blew past us. We ran like hell with the Troll (Sean Veale) hot on our heels.

The next was at a Winter Fest. No one knew I was wearing a ring. I shattered weapons, killed a hobbit, made all sorts of mischief, before someone figured it out. Oh the stories I have from just that one weekend! (Ask me!)

The ultimate moment was at the height of the second war against Zermarx. We had been fighting almost nonstop all weekend going from nation to nation to take down cult-sects when we had to go to Idaris/Blackwood. At the time, the Planer Shield Stone was broken (again) and caused most of the nation to be undead. It was easy for Zermarx to get a foothold because… undead. The leader of Idaris (Blackwood) at that time was Dark (played by my husband).

Photo by David Harvill
I was in Creathorne at the time, as was Sir K. We went in and the first time barely made it out by the skin of our teeth. Sadly, one person was left behind. Of course, it was Sir K. I wasn’t going to just leave him behind so I convinced the others to go back. We lost again and I watched Dark scalp his own brother, Sir K. I was furious. Dark also took the Mace of Rhomer (which we needed).
I wasn’t leaving him behind. Forget the mace; I was going back for K.

I went in alone; me against Idaris and the armies of Zermarx with nothing but an astral dragon in my brain, and a magic five foot in my hand. I watched them as they lined up and prepared to face the next wave of the Realms army. I spotted Sir K tied to a post with an Idaris Tabard draped over him as if he were a trophy. I kept my eyes on Sir K and I got more and more angry.

There was a bright flash, white hot burning in my stomach, all the way inward to my soul, and the undead fled before me. I could only guess it was Gramantus’ power. I had never asked him for anything from him until that moment and we had been tethered for a year at that point. The only undead not to run was Dark.

I got Sir K, and walked out, staring Dark down the whole time.

When I reached the rest of the Realms, they were astounded I was back. I placed Sir K on the ground, pulled the Idaris tabard that had been placed on him off, pulled his Idaris Belt favor off, pulled of the belt favor I wore, and began the loudest tirade of my life.

“I swear at this moment that I will not stop until not only Zermarx is dead, but that thing as well. Dark and all of his people should be considered enemies of the Realms for the atrocities they committed against us all! This is the final straw.” And at that moment, I set all of the tabards and favors on fire (yes, real OOC fire). Dark sent Dagger out with the Mace of Rhomer as an “olive branch” and I killed Dagger on the spot, ripped off his tabard and threw it to the ground (I did not set that one on fire).

It took Kwartz coming out (at a Folkestone Questing) and 20 minutes for the rest of the realms to talk me down. The convicing factor was when Q said “We did this once, to Neden, and it was wrong.”
Gramatnuz was silent for a number of weeks after that. But, we spoke again about what that boon had cost us both.

The end of that war was amazing to tell as well.

(Afterward, people were shocked that Neil and I hugged, kissed, and laughed about the whole thing.)

Oh! Have I told you about the time Thunder, Argh and I snuck into a tower to retrieve the final shard of Narsil? Oh yeah, we climbed a tower while Chimeron sieged the front, and the heroes wanted to leave me behind in said tower!

Or about that time Thunder was a Jedi and I was a Sith? That was interesting.

There was also that time Thunder died trying to save me from an Oni. Oni-No-MAKI!

Hey, how about that time I protected the ‘annoying blue bug’ (and future queen of Fae) behind the shield of Amon until the whip-me-beat-me women went away?

Did I tell you how I became tethered to an astral dragon named Granamtuz?

Have you heard about the fight to save the realms? Or when I helped open the gates of Bedlam?

Weren’t you beside me when we fought through the Bedlam and Fae to reach Mad Tom?

Or how about… (ask me to tell you a story, and I will tell you a tale).
Photo by Casey Lemay

What was your best moment as a NPC/EH/Player?

Again, I have many memories of many roles. The saying once was “give me a goal, I will succeed” when asked to be a bad guy. Ask me any time about my years as Amato (girl), Sclos the child of Lolth, the Queen at the Shadow ball, or more.

Amato was a role I still have the props for, because she is still around with her twin Amato. The Role Playing involved was like non I had ever experienced. Also, seeing the reactions of players when I showed up in a pink Folkestone tabard was priceless, especially Jarrod’s.

My crème de la crème though, was the year that Kevin DeSousa (Kwartz), Illyana Golden (Illy), and I threw the first Realms Aid. The realms had suffered another loss. Our friend Krista had lost her battle with cancer. It hit home and hit hard for a lot of us; losing Krista was tough and a lot of us still feel it. So, with our extended Realms community we threw what I consider the most successful tournament event of my career. We raised over $4000 for the Norris Cotton Cancer Center. As an extended staff we threw 5 events total to raise money against a silent killer. Seeing the community come together for this has made me more proud than any other moment in my in the Realms.

This is another place I have stories. Ask me to tell, and I will!

What would you like to see changed or developed more in game?

I’d like to see us go back to more quests. I am a ‘questing fighter”. I do not do tournaments often, if at all. I am a paste eater through and through. I’d love to see a central location where we, as a game system, can put our props to share as well as developing better costuming for our NPCs.

What advice would you give new players?

Photo by Robyn Nielsen
Get involved, push your way to the front and listen to the bad guy rant. Help solve puzzles. NPC often. Don’t join a nation right away. Learn, make goals, even if they are secret goals (my 1st was to kill Mahkta with a pike. I eventually did, and I told her 5 years later it had been a goal). Talk, meet, reach out, and understand that sometimes people are assholes. Don’t be an asshole and don’t let the assholes ruin your fun.

What do you love most about the game?

Everyone says community. That is not false. I have made more lifelong friends through the Realms than in other parts of my life.

I also love running around in the woods and playing pretend. I love telling stories and helping immerse people in a world of make believe.

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

Janna Oakfellow-Pushee (can be read here), Joe Sims, Rori Boyce, and Dano Knobel (can be read here)---hey, I cannot choose just one!

Anything else you'd like to take the opportunity to put into print?

It is not about what you get. It’s not about material things. It is not about awards. It is about community and about the feeling that you made a difference.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

What You Missed - Northern Spring Tournaments

[Editor's note: all photos by Jesse Gifford]

This was a tournament event, as the name implies. Standard individual weapon-style tournaments were run including single short, sword and marn, sword and shield, and single combatant to name a few; as they were limited, each fight was fought best two out of three. The top four finishers were awarded Order of the List points unless, of course, a member of the Order of the List finished within the top four....which did happen on more than one occasion. There was also a bear pit running for most of the day, providing ample opportunities for both practice and general entertainment for those not actively fighting in a tournament. In addition,  combat training provided by members of the Order of the List was available for all who wished to learn new skills or sharpen existing ones.  

Syruss provides combat training to Akari

The top tournament winners:

Sword & Shield
Single Short
1. Rox
1. Dygen
1. Malaki
1. Grebinar
2. Slade
2. Syruss
2. Tir
2. Torolf
3. Temorse
3. Illy
3. Guilliam
3. Vuel
4. Syruss
4. Saegan
4. Illy
4. Dygen

Single Combatant
Sword & Marn
Sword & Dagger*

1. Grebinar
1. Slade
1. Temorse

2. Dygen
2. Nos
2. Dygen

3. Tao
3. Mestoph
3. Guilliam

4. Malaki
4. Tir
4. Tir

* single-elimination

Florentine tournament: Temorse v. Qwe

The interesting thing about the Northern Spring Tournaments was where they were held.  They were run primarily by Folkestone, a northern nation, but were held in a more southern location than one would usually expect.  Confused? Don't be! The reason for this was quite simple, and also quite admirable. Since many newer adventurers to our Realms tend to come through the Chimeron militia, the tournaments were held in a more southern location in order to encourage more widespread participation of these newer adventurers in tournaments such as these. The intent was two-fold as well; since the tournaments were run for Order of the List points, newer adventurers were also able to gain exposure to the Order in addition to the chance to earn points early (so as not to be potentially shut out as the season goes on).  Younger players who entered all of the tournaments were also given a certificate for a new weapon courtesy of  Folkestone. 

Overall, this is what you missed - a fun day of fighting, a nice opportunity to see friends,  a good way to get newer adventurers involved, and a solid start to the new Order of the List season.  

Single short: Hunter v. Don

Sword and Shield: Kiira v. Akari

Sword and Marn: Aioffa v. Quayloth

Hand-and-a-Half: Taliea v. a disembodied hand

Belts of the Eternal Flame

Kyle "Sir Kazmar" Brennan


Photo by Jesse Gifford

1. What year were you awarded your white belt?
2010 (Feast of Leviathan). I helped out with plot planning and
execution. What?! Things don't always go as planned! This was the year
Rob and Panther worked the bar and told stories (they do that wherever
they are, they don't need a bar/inn). Syruss was extremely helpful on
the NPC front (thanks a lot, buddy).

 2. Who administered "the punch" and-- be honest!!--did it hurt?
Rob Scarlett punched me, Eldritch held my arms back, the punch impact
was loud (people gasped)...but it was dispersed evenly over my manly
muscles. I punched Rob back, naturally.

3. Whose belt did you wear until you got your own, and how was this
significant for you?
I wore Sir Aeston's belt, it was relevant because he had recently
trickled various leadership opportunities my way. I'm going to take a
moment to stroll down memory lane; here are a couple early memories of
Jason as a youthful player and budding leader.

At a different LARP (Lak World), he was playing a courageous sea
captain who would run head first into battle, even when the odds were
against him! He'd start conflicts with a battle cry and just wade into
the fray. Oddly enough, he had a hard time rallying folks behind his
cause. You see, we were marooned on an island and he wanted folks to
pool their resources together to build a boat. Unfortunately, a "dark
gray" politician convinced folks that we'd never finish the boat
before the winter and would be better off building a fort to survive
the weather. My take away from this was two-fold (1) he was a
dedicated/entertaining player and (2) you gotta try things, even if
you fail.

There may have been an occasion where Sir Aeston accused a few
individuals I associate with of a horrendous crime. And he did this
while outnumbered, in a dark secluded area, without demonstrating
fear. They were totally innocent, but I digress. You know that Paladin
we've all bumped into, the one that gets into trouble for doing silly,
dangerous things because it's right? He nailed it and I'll never
forget his gumption. It may not have worked out exactly as he
expected, but I'm certain it was a memorable experience for him, too.

 4. Please describe your own belt's heraldry.
It's the Southern Wastes symbol, a goblin's silhouette in front of a blood moon.

5. Why did you chose that heraldry to represent you?

Various members of the Southern Wastes mentored me during formative
years. For better or worse, they helped shape me into the person I am

6. Who did the artwork on your belt?

I did (FYI, it's much easier to tape a stencil onto leather and then
burn in the artwork through the stencil).

 7. What do you remember most about your knighting?
Folks said nice things (Randy spoke a few words, I have a copy of
Mike's long-winded speech, Jason was too kind), and some buddies who
used to play made a special appearance that day.

Also, while getting belted, it felt heavy.

8. What does being a KoEF mean to you?

To strive to be a model person and better oneself.

To have achieved peer recognition of prior game service, as well as
gained their confidence in future game endeavors.

Photo by Doug Fisher

Photo by Casey Lemay