Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Winter Zodiac from Sir Iawen Penn

A long time ago, the races of the Realms have looked into the stars and wondered, "What if?", never realizing that in some places, in some planes, those very stars were looking right back at us, wondering the same thing.  There's a lot the stars can tell us, if only we show a humble want for knowledge.

In recent years, a man visited the Realms who was not a man at all, but a fallen star who took on a human persona as Hesperus Star-keeper. As it is, a Star Person named Orion still walks with us from time to time. Both have names, both have houses, both have a purpose and a drive.

And, if you're willing to listen to the what the stars have to say, you might just find yours, too.

These are thoughts on how your Winter, heading into Spring, might be turning out.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

View Award Nominee Profile- Katie Smith- Bard

Photo by Caitlyn LaPlante
How many times did you perform in 2015?
I have absolutely no idea. I love to sing, I love to sing with other people, and the Realms is full of

people who sing with me.

Why do you opt to perform in Realms?
A handful of reasons!
1. I love to sing. I might not be talented, but I sure am enthusiastic.
2. Other Realmsies are foolsome enough to join me in singing.
3. I feel like traditional music contributes to both the culture of the game, and the level of immersion. I like to think that it is some small way of contributing to the community.
4. We have a pretty boss history of bardic tradition. We love it when people tell stories of their past adventures- and we have Mahkta, Ladies Dee and Anne, as well as numerous others, who took pen to paper and set these tales to music- it would be tragic if we didn't keep our 20+ year oral tradition alive and kicking.

What do you do for performances and what are some things you keep in mind that you feel helps to make you successful?
Practice & enthusiasm. The more your practice, the easier it gets. Just like muscle memory for fighting. As far as enthusiasm goes, when you're having fun on stage, people are more likely to enjoy the performance. And when your cantankerous friends heckle you from the audience, you can keep rocking and rolling.

What are some of the challenges you face regarding performing?
Not everyone wants to be an audience. It's important to choose the time and place of your performances well.

Tell us about a memorable moment you had while performing?
A few Folkestone Questings ago, we had a *massive* party sing our way out of the Summerlands.
Other favorite bardic moments include:
Photo by Jesse Gifford
Running around Creathorne with a mildly inebriated company of fellow bards, singing at anything that moved, and some things that didn't.
Getting to drag my (OOC) performance troupe to Feast of Eagle's Rook this past year, and sharing the Realms with them. Super fun!
Anytime I get to sing with Kiira!
QoH Bridge Battle sing-alongs.

If someone wanted to get involved in performing in Realms what advice would you have for them?
Not every place is going to be receptive to your musical stylings, even if you sound amazing. Sometimes you have to tell people to shove off and continue the show, but other times you need to be aware of the fact that not every venue is an appropriate bardic one.
Group singing is awesome, and I'm always up for it, as are many other Realms Bards. If you're too nervous to sing all by your onesies, try reaching out, people are bound to respond.

Proposals Passed at the Event Holders Council 2016, by Pi "Kwido" Fisher

A lot of proposals passed at the EHC this year.  A total of 26 proposals passed, and only 11 failed.  There were originally 40 proposals which went to the EHC, and 4 of these were dropped by their writers before being voted on.  For those of you counting, these numbers don't quite work; I'll get to that later.

First, I'd like to say which people were elected to which positions.  All of these positions are in the Omnibus.  This coming year, Jason Gray will be the Death Marshal, Ian Pushee will be the Event List Administrator, and Neil Tozier will be the Keeper of the List of Realms Magic Items.  They've all been doing those jobs for the past few years.  The people to organise next year's Players' Meeting and Event Holders' Council are Angela and Jason Gray, who have done that for many previous years.  This year's Omnibus Editorial Committee consists of Pat Bobell, Jen Rosa, Christopher "Mikey" Donnelley, Adam Landry, and myself.

Now on to the proposals, which is of course all you probably care about.  Of course, I'll talk about them in roughly the order they were voted on, so the administrative things you don't care about will be first.

This year, the Omnibus Editorial Committee has an additional power. Sometimes, proposals are written to change a rule, but there's a reference to the rule in the Omnibus that the author missed.  Last year, a proposal passed to allow lightning bolt props to be white javelins, but the proposal didn't include all the changes that needed to be made to implement that rule.  The OEC is now allowed to fix those proposals.

There used to not be anything saying which printing of the Omnibus is official.  It was generally assumed that the printed Omnibus was official, and most people assumed that all versions were identical.  Now the online version is official, and edits are allowed to be made throughout the year in case problems are caught.

Vawn's Rule of Awesome has been moved to a section where it makes more sense.  So has Mestoph's Rule of Awesome.  Both are unchanged.  (Dawn's Rule of Awesome: If an ambiguity in the rules would allow you a benefit, you may not use that benefit at an event unless you first check with the EH.
Mestoph's Rule of Awesome: If a general rule and a specific rule contradict, the specific rule wins)

The section on missing shots has been cleaned up.  The Omnibus used to say that intentionally missing shots is called Rhino-Hiding, and that Rhino-Hiding is cheating.  Now it just says that intentionally missing shots is cheating.  If anyone talks to you about Rhino-Hiding from now on, I encourage you to assume they are talking about skinning a rhino and taking its hide.

There used to be a disagreement as to whether or not it was legal to parry with a pike wielded with one hand if you held something (such as a shield or another pike) in your other hand.  Now the official rule has been decided: you may only use a pike in one hand to parry if you have nothing in your other hand.

The wording of the Omnibus used to suggest that NPCs could teach spells.  The implication was that a Goblin Sorcerer could come teach you a pool spell.  Then that Goblin could die, and a new Goblin Sorcerer (played by the same person) could be the first person to sign for your 2nd circle spell.  In theory, a single NPC could teach you three paths all at once.  This wasn't an issue until last year when we made it possible to learn multiple spells at one event.  Now it's been changed so that only PCs and people designated by the EH are able to teach spells.

The next proposal to pass was mine, and it is a fairly large change.  It used to be that there was a mechanical advantage to having a coif that was attached to a chainmail shirt.  If they were the same piece, a single use of Repair Item would fix the entire thing.  Furthermore, Enchant Armor would affect an extra hit location.  If you didn't have a way to connect your armour into a single piece, there was a 7th circle spell which could do it for three people.  This proposal, in effect, makes it so that everyone is considered to have armour that is a single piece.  If you wear a shirt, greaves, pauldrons, bracers, and a helmet as eight seaprate pieces, all of them are fixed with a single use of Repair Item.  This also cleans up Enchant Armor, which used to have multiple different interpretations as to what happened if someone wore a short-sleeve shirt and bracers, and the shirt was enchanted.  Rather than going into that, I'll just say that the proposal gets rid of the problem.

The next two proposals both clarified things which had multiple interpretations. For spells with verbal components, you must write your verbals in your spellbook.  You are allowed to write multiple verbals for a single spell.  You may change your verbals between events.  The spell Aura of Protection can be cast on targets other than the caster.  This means you can cast it on a fighter to protect them from Armor-Piercing arrows.  The arrow will still be a normal hit, but it won't be Armor-Piercing.

There is a new 5th circle Seer spell.  Fortell gives a benefit to casters who are good at making predictions.  It is a one-use spell which allows the caster to tell a prediction to the EH or MM.  If that prediction comes to pass, a boon will be provided to the caster.  The boon is up to the EH or MM, and will probably be more powerful if the prediction was more impressive.  Now, if you see a guide NPC at the beginning of the event, you can Foretell that they're going to turn on us, and we can get a benefit.  Another option is to predict that the magic weapon needed to kill the boss is going to break.  That way, if it doesn't break, we don't need a boon, but if it does break, we won't be completely screwed.  As part of this proposal, to prevent Seers from having 3 things at 5th circle, Find the Path was moved to 4th circle and reduced to 1 use.

Eviscerate was seen by some as a "trap spell".  It's a spell that usually isn't very useful, but might appear useful to newer players reading the Omnibus for the first time.  It has been removed.  However, the effect is still available to Assassins.  Assassin's Blade now can be used to deal 2 scalping blows per hit.

Animal Companion was reworded to make it more clear that the spell you get from your Animal Companion comes with as many castings as you would get if you learned the spell normally.

To adjust for inflation (of belt sizes), the length of a Circle of Protection has been increased from 10' to 15'.  Actually, I'm joking.  Last year, it was reduced from 30' to 10'.  This year, we realised that was too small for most people, so we bumped it up to 15'.

There were differing opinions on how Magic Missiles could be wielded.  Some people with multiple learnings used to hold all their bean bags in one hand, and would take one at a time into their throwing hand when they wanted to cast it.  This is no longer allowed.  While throwing a Magic Missile, the caster may have at most one Magic Missile prop in their other hand.  Also, a caster can no have a 4'6" in one hand while throwing a Magic Missile with the other; they must first tuck away the 4'6" or put it down.

For the spell Implement, your prop is now allowed to be a book.  It must be at least 4" by 7", and at least half an inch thick.  It can still be all the things it used to be.

Familiar used to be able to grant Mystic Forge, Seance, and Circle of Protection, all of which are 5th circle spells.  That meant that a Sorcerer could, rather than buying down for Mystic Forge, take Familiar, and get Mystic Forge plus other stuff.  Those three spells have been removed as options.  Combat Raise Dead, which doesn't provide a full 3 castings, has been left in.  Now, Sorcerers no longer have access to more Mystic Forges than Blacksmiths (but Alchemists still can have the same number).

Some spell names have changed.  Things which used to Create Undead now Animate them instead.  Also, Animate Limb now fixes all limbs of any Undead under the control of the caster.

For some reason, Resist Magic used to stop working at sunrise.  It was the only spell which did this.  Now it doesn't.

Poison Weapon and Create Poison are now a single spell.  The spell is in both Assassin and Alchemist paths.  It can be used either to make a poison (love, death, truth, or sleep) or to let a weapon swing "Poison".  Because the call of "Poison" is a combat call rather than an application of death poison, this change does not allow you to put a love poison on your weapon.  ):

Silver Strike and Enchant Blade have been combined to a single spell.  They were each rather mediocre, as many events had few if any uses for either.  Now the caster decides upon use if the next three swings of a weapon will be "Magic" or "Silver".

When events go onto Realmsnet, one important thing is that players know where it will be, when it will be, and how much it will cost.  All of these continue to need to be announced at least two weeks before the event.  However, players don't need to know exactly which member of staff is going to be technically in charge.  Sometimes things come up at the last minute, and a member of staff can't make it to their event.  The Event Holders now don't need to be announced until 5 days prior to the event.

The Players' Meeting is a long meeting with lots of proposals.  It's always a bit awkward when someone submits a proposal to the Players' Meeting but isn't there, because the proposal can't be amended in case it was poorly written.  Usually, proposals which were submitted the day of had less time to be proofread and have a higher chance of needing to be amended.  In light of this, proposals submitted the day of the Players' Meeting must be done in-person.  If you have any important proposals, it's in your interest to submit them ahead of time anyway to allow people time to read them over before the meeting.  If it's important enough to be brought up the day of the Players' Meeting and you didn't think to write it until the day of and you can't make it, try to get a friend at the meeting to submit it.  If they think it's as important as you do, they'll be able to bring it up.

The wording of Disenchant used to suggest that, every time it was cast, every single Magic Item, including those not at the event, were disenchanted, as well as every potion.  Now it is clear that only the target item is disenchanted.

When the Suspension Caveat was added, the spell Disrupt was meant to suspend spells rather than ending them for five minutes.  Now it suspends them.

When Implement was first created, it allowed you to spend points to change the active component of Protection from Missile to be kneeling, since that's easier for some of us than laying on our backs.  Protection from Missile now lets you kneel as its active componenet, so Implement lets you spend a point to gain no benefit.  This option has been removed.

For grandfathering, people are only allowed to grandfather if their spells were changed.  If any of your spells changed, you may swap them for other spells at the first event you attend after the 2016 Omnibus is available.

Whew!  That's it.  All 25 proposals that passed, all the elected people, and grandfathering.  Oh wait, I said something earlier about a 26th proposal, right?  Something about how 26 proposals passed, 11 failed, and 4 were dropped, and that adds to 41, when there were only 40 proposals going to the EHC.  There was a proposal written during the EHC this year.  This goes against what the Omnibus says is allowed to happen, so believe me when I say this decision was not made lightly.  The 41st proposal was so important that it passed unanimously.  This almost never happens.  There are somethings which the EHC is very poorly equipped to handle.  One of them which came up this year was a cheating charge.  A group of 40 to 50 people is a terrible forum for deciding what to do when someone is accused of cheating.  A proposal was written and passed to form an Arbitration Committee.  The Committee consists of 5 members and 2 alternates.  When someone is brought up on cheating charges, it will from now on go to the Committee rather than to the EHC.  If any of the 5 members feel they are too close to the person being accused of cheating, they are expected to have one of the alternates take their place.  The Committee has power over event holders; if the Committee decides that someone can't go to an event, or has to do certain things at events, and if an EH doesn't enforce such a ruling, the event is invalid, and the EH may not be able to vote at the EHC.  I've only been in this game for a few years, but some more experienced players have told me that this is the biggest change they've ever seen since the introduction of the current spell system, and some have told me this is the single biggest change this game has seen.

The members of the Arbitration Committee for the 2016 season are John Berrini, Jason Gray, Ben Greene, David Hayden, and Jason Rosa.  The two alternates are Henry Giasson and Jeremy Grayson.

Friday, February 5, 2016

10 Questions with Adam "Damion" Landry

How long have you been playing? 
19 years. Dan O'Neil (Hiro Yashida) brought my to my first event; Tournaments of Creathorne 97.
How has the game changed since you've been playing? 
The game itself has been remarkably consistent. The organization of spells might be different and the omnibus wordier but everything is fundamentally the same from when I started. I remember the View from Valehaven being a monthly half page zine with restrictions on how often you could contribute.

Who have you learned the most from?
I've learned most from the leaders I've followed; Kugen, Cinnabar, Jarrod, Blade and Jaha. Each of them had their own repertoire for handling challenges and problems and it gave me a large play book to pull from in the times I am called on to lead by rank or by example.
What was your best moment IC?
Cementing Grimloch's legacy of marital prowess by continuing to dominate the war tourney in spite of being a twenty to one underdog.
What was your best moment as a NPC/EH/Player?
With no legs and my sword impaling Blade, killing Yimmit with my marn to win the final fight of my gauntlet. Also, riding a unicorn.
What would you like to see changed or developed more in game?
A) Costuming. Both clothing and armor as well as props like latex weapons. John's no jeans initiative is a great program and I think it does a lot for immersion which in turn helps with... B) Role-playing. You can't role play without roles and what we have right now fighter with support caster, quester and self-sufficient aren't really roles but meta-games.
What advice would you give new players?
Don't let veterans bulldoze your ideas. Even if they say we tried that before, try it your way, do it better. If we like it things will change.
What do you love most about the game?
 love that this is a place where I feel at home with old friends I've known since the beginning and young ones I've only known a few years. The spring drive down route 4 towards Creathorne and the start of the season, being exhausted and sore after North/South, The long autumn afternoon of Queen's War. These have become the places I feel I belong at certain times of the year and are what I look forward to.
Who would you like to see the next interviews be with?
Please list three people. Cathy and Rob Hoskins, Tara Jackson and Steve Hinkle
Anything else you'd like to take the opportunity to put into print? 
I'd like to thank all the event holders who keep me entertained on weekends as well as the NPC's and Realms photographers! Lastly, a shoutout to all my brother and sisters in arms in Grimloch!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

View Award Nominee Profile- Dustin Mack- Photographer

Photo by Casey Lemay
I've taken pictures at about 11 events this year. I try to take some at every event I got to, though some are obviously easier than others.

I'm honestly not sure what I keep in mind when photographing, if there even is anything. I feel like I've got my timing down pretty well to capture combat, getting a shot just as a sword connects or an arrow leaves the bow.

During tournaments, one of the biggest challenges is positioning in a way to keep marshals from getting in the way. I know them seeing the fight is more important than my picture so I do my best to work around them. At quests the challenge comes from staying alive while taking pictures. And of course there is the challenge of taking pictures that can compete with what the other photographers get :)

Off the top of my head, one of my personal favorites was from Tournaments of Creathorne maybe 3 or 4 years ago. There were some people throwing a hula hoop in the air and trying to shoot arrows through it. Bean comes over to give it a try and I got a picture of the arrow just as its going through the hoop.

For advice, I'd say just grab a camera and get shooting. I don't use anything fancy, right now I just have a Nikon Coolpix. Practice timing your shot. We all know combat is very fast, sometimes a fight is over before you can aim your camera. I try to be prepared from the moment the fight is starting and will wait and follow the competitors until I see a sign the one is about to strike.

 Photos by Dustin:

House Nosetti


By Amanda "Phee" Sieracki

It’s a name many people hear, recognize, and sort of seem to file away. No one really fully processes how many of us there are, including ourselves, until we start to group up at events.

So what is our deal?

We welcome new adventurers. We help those who can’t help themselves. We never leave anyone behind, no matter what. We spread information. We’re a family. But that’s only a really quick explanation.

House Nosetti, the House of the Silver Tongue, is a noble household back in Sheshawnii. Airavarri, my cousin, is the lord, as the Realms would understand it. But that’s back in Sheshawnii, where it doesn’t matter to the Realms.

Nosetti, as a family, is what we’re seen as. You can tell us by the tattoos on our faces: lines over our noses and down our chins. There are intricacies within the tattoos as well, but those are a lesson in and of itself.

We were founded as a proper family years ago, during a Tournaments of Creathorne, having split from the Tinkers. There was already Airavarri, and myself (having a parent from that House), and one of Airavarri’s wifes, Najishi. During that time he had set up a structure for us to be able to talk to each other, and a guideline for us to grow by. We were to carry on what the household meant back home: to be diplomats, to be the voices between nations, guilds, orders, and knighthoods. We were to be the voice that could go “Family first. Let’s talk about these problems, and see if we can’t bring solutions back to our higher ups.”

A few years back, I can remember a Creathorne clearly, where we all took possibly the most awful spot for camping, at the bottom of that sharp hill, full of tents and laughter and terrible jokes at each other’s expense, where we welcomed people to our fire constantly.

When, a few years later, Airavarri became a Fae Rune to help us, he left behind a will, asking that we no longer induct people. They could still become Nosetti, by marriage or birth, but no longer could they just ask to join. As such, we’ve honored that wish.

So what does that mean now?

It means that though we were asked to disband, we are still a family. We’ll have our own adventures, our own lives, but when it’s time to quest or feast, you’ll find us gathered together at some point, doing what we do best. We joke, laugh, tell stories, play games. We tease each other, we get angry. If anyone comes after one of us, we back each other up. After all, we’re a family. We still live by our ideals and codes. We still talk to people, welcome them in, help newer adventurers.

By my count, there’s about 20 of us.

Airavarri, myself, Salem of Creathorne, Bohis (though I hear his name is now Bahis? Oh, Airavarri…), Iste, Rayne. Somewhere, there is Odox, Ryu, Yume, Najishi. There is Sarix and Axel, Airavarri’s sons. There is Thanius, though he never took the tattoos. Rubis, Iawen, Kerra, Therrin, Celeste, Imari...and more. There are names that escape me, these days. I heard there was even recently a marriage! Borderlands style, as is what seems to always happen with us.

It’s been nearly a decade since I first stumbled into these Realms. I look back to my first year, and wonder how I ever felt so alone. All along, there’s always been family looking out for me. It’s just...grown.

Felnar Dulintel Dawncry-Nosetti