Friday, October 31, 2014

Fireside Chat with Janus

This week we premier a brand new set of 10 questions.  Our first victi volunteer is Janus, who will tell us a little insight into what it is to be, well, Janus.  We sat down at a cozy tavern.  Beside a roaring fire and over some very tasty mulled ale, he shared a few things with me.

Where do you get your power?

This is a weird mixed bag of sources.  When I first started adventuring I learned to tap into the power of the land, and I have stuck with that for most of the spells that I cast, even the non-regional magics. Occasionally, Luna listens when I petition her for aid, and my lycanthropy does give me a few small benefits.

A bag filled with ten thousand gold just fell on your lap.  Now what?
Honestly, after buying a new pair of pants for questing and a second surcoat for feasts, I'd finally be able to tip as much as I would like to.  Oh, and maybe just gamble some of it away with my friends.

 What does your bedroom look like?
Oh, it is a complete mess.  There are remains of small magical experiments everywhere, not to mention tons of half-written books and other papers filled with notes.  And seeing as I just got this room within the past year, that is saying a lot.

 Tell us about your favorite feast dish.
So, my favorite feast dish is one that complements the day I've had.  Right now, i'm thinking back to years ago, after questing in the cold and rain, getting to sit down at a feast, it might be most of them in the winter, early spring or late fall, and just having something warm.  A soup, a chilli, or even Mac and Cheese.  They just hit the spot perfectly, warming me from the inside out.  For an individual feast dish that I remember, I would have to say the stuffed breads at Leviathan.  I always eat too many of them.

There are always new boots on the field, what advice would you give them?
You are not your spells.  You are not your weapons.  Even without those, you can still achieve amazing things.  Sometimes you'll find yourself without anything to aid you, and learning to rise above it leads to greatness.
Additionally, keep a list of things you have done, both the good and bad.  Years down the line, you'll be happy that you can look back at it.  I have my list of "Things I am no longer allowed to do" which contains many of my early mistakes, but I look back at it and smile.

What was your life like before you began adventuring? 
I was a simple farmer for many years before I went adventuring.  I lived with my parents, who are both alive by the way, my brother and sister.  You've met Luca.  She came to look for me after I had been adventuring for several years.

Are you currently squired (knighted) and if so, to what order? Who is (was) your knight?
I am not currently squired or knighted, but I was an apprentice to the Magi of the Realms under Cecil, until I was kicked out.  Of course, they later decided to call it graduating, but that's besides the point.

Are you married or courting and if so, to/with who? 
I am not.  I am too busy at the moment with rebuilding efforts.

Where and how do you spend your time when you're not adventuring?
Recently, I have been in Chimeron rebuilding after the defeat of bedlam.  When not actively rebuilding, often I am working on other theories or teaching at the University of Highbridge.

Tell me about the most epic spell you ever cast.  Did it succeed?
This is very hard to choose, but this is definitely one of the more memorable ones.  I was in the Mage competition at Queen of Hearts, and I had a ritual that was very well prepared ahead of time.  I had note cards and everything!  Well, when it was time to do the ritual in front of everyone, I dropped the note cards, and they went everywhere.  Then other problems started to creep in.  The stage was too small.  Candles were burning the wrong color and started to bleed.  The ritual asked for a 4 hour meditation period!  I even had to repeat steps because they were out of order, and those still didn't work right!  At the end though, the ritual succeeded properly, and my immunity to poison was cast. was either that or the time I engulfed a room in fire leaving nothing behind...or when I summoned a balloon sword that harmed things...or could fly by flapping my know, I should stop now.  I could keep going for hours.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

From the Kitchen of the Royal Patisseur of Chimeron

From the Kitchen of the Royal Patisseur of Chimeron 

(ie, Raynor's Winning Chocolate Pear Tart recipe!)

  • 1c steel-cut oats
  • 1/4 stick butter, softened
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • Shaved or grated chocolate
  • Liquid caramel topping
  • 3 oz dried pears, cut into strips
  • 12 oz pear nectar
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4c Fireball whiskey
  • 8 mini graham cracker crusts
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • For the topping: mix together the oats, sugar, and salt. Cut in softened butter until ingredients are well-mixed and slightly crumbly. Set aside.
  • For the filling: place dried pears and pear nectar into a large pot; bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Stir in the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and whiskey. 
  • Simmer the filling mixture until reduced, stirring every few minutes. Once reduced, pour into each tart shell. Sprinkle topping mixture over each tart, and bake for 15 minutes. 
  • Remove tarts from over. Sprinkle with shaved or grated chocolate while still hot. Once cool, drizzle lightly with caramel topping. 
  • Serve and enjoy!

What You Missed Black and White Masquerade Ball

Photo by Jesse Gifford
 The King of Chimeron addresses the court with a message of hope and friendship.
Photo by Jesse Gifford
 Sir Shandar gives a speech, and makes a presentation of gifts.
Photo by Jesse Gifford
 Mayerling arrive dressed for the Masquerade Ball.
Photo by Jesse Gifford
 The Auction was a success, Scorpion Canteen!
Photo by Jesse Gifford
There were so many dancers, that the ball had to be moved outside.  Fortunately the weather cooperated.

Also, those of you who went to the event.  Head over to and review the event.  Event Holders and Feast o'Crats need your input to continue providing high quality events (and high quality food).

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Here's What You Missed at Black and White 2014

Here's What You Missed At.......
Black and White 2014!

No matter what you're into, this event always has a little something for everyone, and this year was no different!

The event started off with a large tournament to determine the new Champion of Chimeron.  Many Chimeronians entered, and the fighting was fierce, but in the end, Sir Oliver emerged with the title.

Following that, the event began in earnest.  There were multiple quests available for those who wanted to do some fighting, including multiple plot teasers from different event-holders.  Of course, the event would not be complete without a newbie tournament, which all of the new folks seemed to enjoy!

Father Yule's mailbox made it's magical appearance again this year, though those wishing to drop a letter into Father Yule's mailbox had to hike a bit to find it, hidden off in the woods - but the walk was nice, and the trip was well worth it. The paper ran out at least once, so this seemed to be a popular "quest" for many, and it should be interesting to see what wishes are granted when Father Yule makes his appearance at the end of this year.

There were also an area for carnival games set up outside the tavern,  which gave participants a chance to test their physical and mental skills in a variety of challenging and entertaining ways. Prizes included dance cards and various colors of tickets which could be used for a chance to win items in the auction.  The games included:  an obstacle course with increasing levels of difficulty (including the top level,  in which two individuals ran the course simultaneously, tied together!);  a puzzle game called "Curse", wherein players were given half the pieces to a 3-D puzzle and had to attempt to assemble the puzzle by obtaining pieces from others via "cursed" words spoken by those people (according to the games marshal, only two completed puzzles were turned in -but this was not from lack of trying!!!); a traditional scavenger hunt; an exploration game in which participants had to find various ley lines around the site (represented by white boards) and "attune" themselves by writing their name on said board; and various types of board games, including a cooperative race-type game which pitted one half of the event site against the other to  get each team's pieces across the board first. The games were well-run and seemed to be drawing a good crowd consistently throughout the day.

Let's take a moment to talk about the food - because Black and White always has some terrific food.  People who pre-regged got a punched card which allowed them to drink the Poison Punch, which was a delicious concoction with just the right amount of sweetness.  Some of the food offerings included:  strips of beef which you got to cook in a hot pot to your desired doneness; a selection of hot dips with assorted dipping items; sweet and sour meatballs and wieners; pigs-in-a-blanket; deli roll slices; French onion soup with toppings; and a risotto that was delicious even though I'm not sure what was actually in it. These are just the items that I sampled - I'm sure there was more I missed. The food, as always, is put out consistently throughout the day, so there's always something else coming out if you find that you've missed the last item. This is on top of the staples that can be found on the tables most of the time, such as bread and butter, cheese and crackers, cut veggies and dip.  There was also a selection of cookies and other desserts near the end of the event.

Once the day-time activities wound down, it was time to change into the fancy garb (and there was a lot of beautiful garb on display this year!) and settle in for Black and White court. A great many things happened this year - so here is a brief run-down of what you missed at court:

  • Lady Hope announced the top winners of the carnival games
  •  Squire Taliea of Rhiassa announced that invitations would be going out to individual Huntresses to participate in the annual Tournaments of Artemis
  • Sir Shandar of Grimloch presented Sir Lucas of Chimeron with a gift of new, hand-made weapons to repay the kindness shown to him by Lucas many years ago
  • Dame Twenaria of Ashenmark announced the re-launch of the Order of the Peacock with the focus of promoting good garbing practices by all. Belt favors were given to those who were seem by the Order as consistently upholding these ideals
  • Lord Sir Aeston of Rhiassa and Khalenar of Ashenmark presented Oaken Guard favors to those members who had graduated to other nations, so that they might always remember their roots. 
    • A patron's favor was also given to Jayne Wrath of Grimloch, for his support of the Guard over the years. 
  • Squire Monique of Chimeron sang a beautiful bardic to honor fallen comrades
  • Koshka of Myerling presented a gift of furred cloaks to Squire Taliea, Squire Gwen, and Sir Kyntela of Rhiassa, which mirror those given by Myerling as gifts to Sir Aeston and Dame Areni on the occasion of their wedding
  • Dame Freesia of Folkeston presented Bohis Nossetti and as new Page to the Knights of Creathorne
  • The Knights of the Eternal Flame presented two Fireball favors, one to Squire Gwen of Rhiassa and one to Saka of Chimeron
  • High Lord Sir Temorse of Ashenmark announced the founding of a new order, the Knights of Ashenmark, and named Khalenar, Killian, and Grindin as Knights Progenitor
  • Sir Hall named Sir Faelinn and Knight Commander of the Knights of the Crown
  • Phoenix and Borjid of the Magi of the Realms released Saka of Chimeron from service as their joint apprentice, having nothing further to teach him, so that he might make his own magical mark on these Realms
  • Lord Sir Tara Harkon, accompanied by House Griffindor, welcomed new members into said House 
  •   King Sir Cecil of Chimeron named Raynor of Ashenmark as Chimeron's Royal Patisseur for the coming year, the second consecutive year he has held this honor. The winning dish: pear and chocolate tarts

Following the end of court, it was time for the annual Black and White Auction, which is always a source of much excitement.  The tables were heavy this year with many different types of prizes. These included  mystery boxes, cookie towers, decorative items, garb items, weapon supplies, vouchers for items handmade by different skilled artisans in the Realms, and dream-catchers, along with various other interesting and useful items. A particularly hot item this year was a furry canteen shaped like a scorpion, sure to be a classic and undoubtedly destined for much use. All in all, the auction is always well-received, and this year was no different!

After the auction came the event that many people had been waiting for -- the dancing! Under the capable and lively tutelage of Dame Bynn of Chimeron (assisted by Freesia, Faelinn, and Cimone) and accompanied by the musical stylings of Sir Makhta, dancers were lead through a variety of different period dances.  Some of the most popular dances were Toss the Duchess, a circle dance in which the ladies are twirled or "tossed" from partner to partner, and Hole in the Wall, a line dance which has a couple dancing with each other and with the couple next to them before being "tossed up the hall" to the next couple. This dance was the one that ended the night and it was a good choice because of a unique occurrence called "sharking," in which people not actively engaged in a dance couple could step in and take the place of one of the dancers in the couple, leaving that person outside of the line and free to "shark" another couple.  People always seem to enjoy this aspect of the dance as it adds an extra layer of excitement, and by the end, there was almost as much laughter as dancing happening! It's also great to see people dancing who would not normally be thought of as dancers.

The Chimeron Casino also made its debut during this time, and the usual suspects were seen around the tables.  Another activity to participate in, and very well-received!

So there you have it. Look at all this great stuff you missed! Don't you wish you'd come now? Well, don't worry - there's always next year - so try not to make the same mistake again! :)

WIWtG Artisans of the Blade 2

Feel the need to fight off the pounds accrued with the delicious food from the Black and White?  Or maybe you just need to show people that you are better at dancing with a blade than with a partner.

Artisans of the Blade (2) is a tiered tourney event geared at letting you showcase your skills.  People will be given a tier and will fight with like-abled individuals in various events.  Im sure we will see the classic and well loved fights, but I would be more thrilled about the more unique inventions.  For instance, the Zombie Hangman, and Rohodey's Challenge.  Who knows what that could entail?  Im sure it will be challenging.

So go to stay in prime shape.  Go to keep your blade sharp.  Go to have fun!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Question of the Week- 168

We've been trying a lot of new things over here at the view
- Captions on event photos
- Write ups on what you missed
- Multiple posts per day
- More recipes
- More "guest writers"

We have very few ways of collecting feedback on what you think (page views, favorites on facebook, recommendations on G+, rare bits of direct feedback staff receive), and we really would like to know.  Are you loving it?  Hating it? Sick of the facebook posts?  Have suggestions for improvement?  Let us know!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Belts of the Eternal Flame Janna "Sir Iawen Penn" Oakfellow-Pushee

The KoEF as an order date back to the earliest days of our game, and is a way to recognize players who exhibit dedication and commitment to the betterment of the  game.  The white belt not only signifies membership of the order, but is also an outward symbol of each knight's personal  achievement within the game.  Decorating the belt is also highly personal, and each belt is as unique as the individual knight. Looking at all the various designs, I know I am not alone in wondering about the story behind each one. As such, I thought it would be nice to put together a Feature series to highlight the belt artwork in the View, along with mini-interviews to both explore the meaning behind each belt, and to share some fun information about each knight. This gives all players in the Realms the chance to learn about the knights, the belts, and the order.

1. What year were you awarded your white belt?

 I was Knighted at the Black & White 2007. While it was out of game held at the

Belchertown's Sports Club thing (where QoH is usually held), In-Game it was within the

lands of Eagle's Rook, who was a part of Chimeron at that time.

2. Who administered "the punch" and-- be honest!!--did it hurt?

 Kathy Fey(Horn)/Sir Mahkta McKrye punched me, and it hurt like a bitch! I had

an impressive bruise that spread over my clavicle; Kathy had been doing a lot more

fighting and hitting practices (SCA & Realms), so she made that punch count! :-D

3. Whose belt did you wear until you got your own, and how was this significant for you? 

 I wore Kathy Fey's(Horn)/Sir Mahkta McKrye's belt. This was significant for me

due to the fact that she was my mentor, and the group of close comrades she had

surrounded herself with were varied yet still always striving to improve and to serve, and

thus I was taught by all of them. :) It was also bad-ass to me personally, because I

hadn't heard (at the time) of anyone else wearing it.

4. Can you describe your own belt's heraldry?

The belt has multiple colors.

Dark Blue Stripe up top is Feng Shui for me. It's one of my favorite colors, and

means (in feng shui) a lot of stuff: Clarity, Inspiration, Wisdom, Healing, Insight, Noble.

Black Stripe is for the Western Flank. In feng shui, it also associated with

Introspection, Stillness, and even sometimes Hatred (Iawen, who was known as Sir A

then, hated the fae and it was the least offensive way I could think of putting that on the

belt, heh. There are other things Iawen hates now, so it stays. ;)).

Green Stripe, which is the most faded now, was for me being a "Southern

Realmsie", so Chimeron notes, Faerie notes, pretty much all good at the time to me I

could see in green. Green for Feng Shui also meant things like Renewal (which I was

attempting to do when I retired Bouquet/Nimbus and started figuring out who to play as

a main PC), Hopeful, and Growth. Since then, both Chimeron, Fae Staff, and the

people in the South in general have helped me to grow in many respects. There is

always room for improvement, however, which brings us to our last part, the bottom.

The heraldry was Nimbus/Bouquet's - a silver Dragonfly like symbol, with the

wings protecting like a shield and the 'tail' becoming the point of a sword. I fought sword

and board back then and I loved every minute of it. If I could go back in an instant I

would, hitting all the practices available so I could at least get above newbie status

again, heh. Anyway, I digress. Silver was Aging (which I was doing in the Realms in

real time and also with experiences), but it also has Playful connotations, plus when

paired with Blue it's pretty bitchin'. The heraldry was so faded, though, I took a marker

to re-outline the heraldry for you. In between each of the stripes was also a Silver

Stripe. Other meaning of Silver are traditionally a feminine color, going along with the

moon (Luna in our game), and lights the way forward, clearing out all sorts of

obstacles. That's what I had hoped to be as I went forward as a Knight in the Realms -

a trailblazer in many directions. ... Life happens. I still attempt to do things differently

that the usual PC, ST, MM, or EH, but I can't think of anyone now who'd call me a

trailblazer, heh. ;)

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

Because they were the colors I felt both bonded me to characters and also to

nations at the time, and plus the silver in the design was to remind me that you don't

have to be 'the golden boy (or girl) of Realms' in order to still serve the community.

6. Who did the artwork on your belt?

I did. :)

7. What do you remember most about your knighting?

Randy speaking for me, and not recalling who else did, because Cheech flipped

it around and said, "It's not a he, it's a she!" and asked me forward. I was all O.O

8. What does being a KoEF mean to you?

A lot of things... falling asleep on the keyboard, but let me try... :)

When I chose to put down my belt (to the chagrin of some), it was because I take

very seriously the first vow we get asked when joining the KoEF, and that's along the

lines of "Do you swear (promise, etc) to do honor unto yourself..." <-- and when Cheech

asked me of it, "and to the Realms" had a pause behind it, meaning you had to take

care of yourself, honor yourself FIRST, and Realms second.

I think that's what screwed me up shortly after the Knighting, and then for a good

chunk afterward. Now that I've been allowed and joyfully accepted back the belt, I

understand better (I think) why so many players can get burned out with the game and

the community before any such accolades (if any) might pass their way: it's because

there are people out there, like me, that made the Realms first. This caused themselves

to suffer: with relationships, family ties, friendships, job histories, schooling, some even

medical; it was different for everyone of them (and myself), I'm sure. And yet the

burned-out feeling remains.

For some, this means taking a step back and re-evaluating. Some find the only

way to take care of themselves is to leave the Realms entirely. Others find new ways to

play and/or involve themselves a bit less, while still attempting visibility. Still others go

another (yet worse) route; staying connected in the game and community in the least

way possible, but willing and ready to spill bitterness and jadedness to any newbie that

would grant them voice and an ear.

May I not fall into that last category, if I can still help it. And since I've

been "helping myself" first over Realms, I feel that the relationships have gotten

stronger. There are those who have moved on from me in friendship, and others who no

longer seek my plot counsel on things, and so forth. Seven years ago that would have

bothered me to the point of serious stress and tears. Now, I have the experience, the

love, the confidence and courage to shake it off.

 Each KoEF that I've acted with before and since being Knighted, I think, has that

air about them, too. They're here because they had a moment of mental introspection,

or took a break, or what have you, and then came back to the game and rocked on.

And they've served, and they've loved the community. The community is much

improved because they are there.

This is why I'm proud to be KoEF, and this is also one of the things I think that

makes a KoEF...

You know, it's like that Nelson Mandela dude: "The greatest glory in living lies not

in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." Sometimes it takes a good fall to really

know where you stand.