Friday, August 22, 2014

From the Editor's Desk—News from the View/Reflections on Queen of Hearts

If you are a regular View reader, you’ve probably noticed the recent influx of new staff members. The truth is I learned in June that Dave Dolph, the individual who started the online View back in July of 2011 was going to cease to serve as a staff person in the near future. While I immediately agreed to stay on, I strongly believe in striving to be self-aware and realistic about your weaknesses, and one of my weaknesses is consistency. I knew there was no way I could do as much as Dave has done for the past 3 years on a regular/consistent basis, without there being gaps in content, on my own. So I started recruiting for both contributors and for staff, and I was fortunate to also have people step up and express interest during the same period. With that said, welcome once again to Alex, Kelly, and Jennifer, our new staff for the View from Valehaven online edition.

With new staff members, come new ideas, as well as the rebirth of some older ones. One of Jennifer DeNardis-Rosa’s initial comments to me on the View was that reviving the “Letters from the Editor’s Desk” column that Doug Fisher used to write for the View would, “give a more "human" aspect to the View”. This is my attempt at providing that human element. You can look forward to hearing from other staff members in the future.

We are currently running a series of posts on Queen of Hearts 21. I had the honor of staffing that event this year, and I would like to share some of my experiences. First I want to emphasis the word I chose to use previously, honor.

Rhiassa allowed me to design and run the mages tournament. The plan for the future, is to have a member of the Order of the Magi run the tournament each year. I feel honored to be entrusted with such a significant portion of the event. I was surprised that Aeston had enough faith in me where he didn’t ask for many details of the tournament prior to the event, in fact he seemed surprised when I kept trying to share them and he repeatedly reinforced that he trusted me and how I chose to run it was completely up to me.

I ended up feeling very positive about how the tournament went. We had sections devoted to combat, combat casting, questing, information gathering, runes, research, spell system knowledge, and spell design. The competitors were involved in related activities for approximately 15 hours over the course of two days. The Mages all had amazing attitudes and were a pleasure to work with.

I need to point out what I feel was the smartest thing I did while planning this tournament. It was to recruit Andrew Bancroft/Rorin to assist me. This is the first time I’ve run a tournament this extensive with so many subjective components. His assistance with judging, helped me to develop confidence (our assessments were never far off and in fact almost always matched), and he helped to ensure that the judging was unbiased. More than that, he was a pleasure to work with and made the experience fun. I highly recommend drafting an excellent partner like him if you are ever in the position of running such a tournament. Thank you, Andrew.

The other reason I felt running the tournament was an honor, is that I’m sure I grew as a tournament designer, marshal, and magus, because of my experience running this tournament. When they say you learn by teaching they are right. I learned that you can also learn a lot by judging. Stepping back and observing some quality casters while consciously assessing their performance led to me seeing many things I too can improve upon in my own casting, and I will strive to work on going forward.

The awesome thing is you don’t have to be running or marshalling a tournament to observe in this way, so I highly suggest everyone do it. Spend some time picking out someone you know is strong, in things you want to learn, and watch what they do and don’t do. I can almost guarantee you’ll consider it worthwhile and be better for doing so.

Some other moments that stood out for me was listening to the bardics. There have been quite a few moments in my Realms career where while I’m listening to our performers, I’m overcome with gratitude for experiencing the gift of my fellow Realms members amazing talents being shared in such an intimate setting. This year was one of the times that occurred.

I also appreciate witnessing the evolution of our community and people earning new titles and establishing new ties. Kyro succeeded Kyntela who has been the Champion of Rhiassa for the past four years after winning the honor via combat. He also was squired to Dame Areni in their national Knighthood. In addition, Imari joined the Lion Militia.

I also loved watching Saka, apprentice to Borjid and myself, play the sax and be such a pretty, pretty proxy queen.

In closing, remember magic penetrates.


What you missed, Queen of Hearts

Photo by Jesse Gifford

Photo by Jesse Gifford

Photo  by Jesse Gifford

Photo  by Jesse Gifford

Photo  by Jesse Gifford

Photo  by Jesse Gifford

Photo  by Jesse Gifford

Photo  by Jesse Gifford

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Kiira's Bardic from QoH 21

Words cannot say, I will try anyway to tell you my tale so sorrowful
Of my brother so brave, now gone to the grave though his might and will were powerful. 
Build the pyre, ready the fire. Brother is coming home today. 
For the men he admired said words that inspired my brothers life to go astray. 

Mother did plea on bended knee, "Son do not march off to war. 
Their every breath will bring you death, and I will see you never more."

"Mother," he said, "I'd rather be dead than hide behind your cowardice. 
You stand there and mock and hold no stock in my skill and sword prowess."

Build the pyre, ready the fire. Brother is coming home today. 
For the men he admired said words that inspired my brothers life to go astray. 

He said his goodbyes despite all our cries, though our grief had just begun. 
Brother marched out with no fear or doubt. The path of war was the only one.  

"Mother dear, I sadly fear we'll not see him e'er again. 
He chose a life of war and strife and took a sword for his wife."

Build the pyre, ready the fire. Brother is coming home today. 
For the men he admired said words that inspired my brothers life to go astray. 

The tales revealed his sword and shield were able to triumph in the fray. 
Upon the field he never did yield to any attack that came his way. 

He traveled great lengths and climbed the ranks until he commanded scores of men. 
But hatred arised, sly and green-eyed in the form of a man my brother called friend. 

We've built the pyre, ignited the fire. Brother's body has been burned. 
Through his last written word, on wings of a bird, my brother's murderer I have learned. 

Through flame and smoke, my mother's heart broke. Now I am lost and all alone. 
So I'll channel my hate to retaliate and kill that traitor with skills I will hone. 

Light the fire, let it burn higher! Upon it I shall forge a sword. 
An eye for an eye, that traitor must die! Then I shall have the final word. 

Artist Profile- Zack "Dygen" Reynolds

What mediums do you work in?

When I make something that I consider at least somewhat artsy, I usually arrived at that medium because I wanted to make something specific, and that medium was the best fit. It’s very situational, so I would say I work in many mediums. I find it difficult to refer to myself as an artist, but I do feel I am lucky in the sense that, if I have a vision in my mind, I can usually make a physical version.

Have you had any formal art training?
I have taken the classes you expect to take in standard education, but I haven’t had any further art education. Most of the stuff I try is sort of trial and error. I would love to show some examples of my first attempts, but a lot of them are unpleasant to the eyes.

Where do you find inspiration?
This may sound counter-intuitive, but almost everything I create is fantasy based, but is rooted in reality. If I make something, I almost always want to look at it and think “This is the closest I can get this to look if this were real”. There are a lot of times that is impossible, but I think anyone who saw the baseball bat I made for Grimloch Questing 2013 was probably afraid I had lost it.

Has your art been influenced by Realms? If so, how?
Yeah, of course. The obvious part in this is that a lot of the craft things I do are realms based. It is also clear that the work I create for Realms and outside of the realms is quite different. What is less obvious, I suppose, is the fact that it’s impossible to avoid drawing some influence from the Realms. There is a lot of creativity in the community, and this type of setting can drive that.

Where do you share your work?
If I am proud of something, I post it on Facebook and/or (Noctaire). I post very indiscriminately. If I think it looks somewhat cool, I post it. If I haven’t got familiar with a type of medium, I almost definitely post it, because I don’t know better.

What project/projects that you've created have you been particularly proud of?
The baseball bat I mentioned before was one of the best things I created in my opinion. It looked like one. It was weighted like one. The measurements were exact. Unfortunately... It melted the very next day when we left it in the car, and I didn’t get a great picture. The stop sign was my first attempt at a weapon that looks somewhat real, so I am pretty proud about that. Some of the guns I have made (dieselpunk / steampunk) might not have the most extraordinary modifications, but they have allowed me to try different textures, and I have learned quite a bit from them.

What projects do you hope to complete in the future?
I really hope to make some great stuff for the final year Grimloch Questing. I obviously can’t say exactly what those things are. It’s been all crafting this year, though, so I hope to get some time doing some other things, like drawing.

What other Realms artists work do you enjoy?

Everyone that came before me has done such unbelievable work. I am not just saying this, when I state that every one of them is leagues above me in artistic talent. With just a submission or two of their work, it was clear how talented they were. As much as I wish I could single any of them out, I can’t. Instead I am going to reference someone most of you don’t know, as he hasn’t played the game much, but he is a good friend. He is also, incredibly talented for being self-taught. I tried so many different techniques, but also comes back to the ones that work well. I am going to try and cheat here, and post a link to just one piece of work. His name is Josh Sawyer. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What you missed, Queen of Hearts

Photo by Britini Chandler

Photo by Britini Chandler

Photo by Britini Chandler

Photo by Britini Chandler

Photo by Britini Chandler

As always, don't forget to head over and review the event.

Queen of Hearts XXI- Winners

Champion - Dygen - Team Syruss
Mage - Mestoph - Team Iawen
General - Vawn - Team Iawen
Senschal - Faelinn - Team Iawen
Hadrian's Wall - Team Iawen
Bridge Battle - Team Iawen
Blood Bowl - Team Syruss
Field Battle - Team Iawen
Folkestone's Art of War - Team Syruss
Kill the Queen - Team Iawen
Caste Siege - Team Syruss
Castle Defense - Tie between Team Iawen and Team Syruss
Live Chess - Team Syruss
Team Grand Melee - Team Syruss
Luck of the Draw - Team Syruss
5-Person Traditional - Team Syruss
5-Person Generations - Team Syruss
5-Person Questing Team - Team Syruss
5-Person Class Battle - Team Syruss
One Man - Wrath - Team Syruss
One Woman - Illy - Team Syruss
Couples - Shandar & Kirra - Team Syruss
Ranger - Laurante - Team Iawen
RAT - Widget - Team Rawlin
Newbie - Luke John - Team Iawen
Young Champions - Drike - Team Syruss
Knight & Squire - Malikai & Kwido - Team Iawen
Spirit & Steel - Syruss & Rudy - Team Syruss
Single Short - William - Team Syruss
True Florentine - Syruss - Team Syruss
Sword & Shield - Shandar - Team Syruss
Hand and a Half - Vuel - Team Syruss
Great Weapon - Shandar - Team Syruss
Spear & Shield - XT - Team Syruss
Sword & Marn - Wrath - Team Syruss
Boff Archery - Valic - Team Rawlin
Dagger - Wrath - Team Syruss
Duncan's Challenge - Guilliam - Team Syruss
Strategist - Rawlin - Team Rawlin
Loremaster - Iawen - Team Iawen
Bard - Kirra - Team Syruss
Banner/Heraldry - Kharma - Team Iawen
Cleaved - Sir K - Team Iawen
Gambler - Tao - Team Iawen
Foamsmith - Killian - Team Iawen
Armourer - Giddeon - Team Iawen
Garb - Kharma - Team Iawen
Artificer - Rudy - Team Syruss
Strongman - Mestoph - Team Iawen
Teamwork - Tie between Team Rawlin and Team Syruss
Athlete - Wrath- Team Syruss
Marksman - Mikail - Team Iawen

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Why I Want To Go- Tournaments of Sharangil

Tournaments of Sharangil: Test your Might!
August 23, 2014 (Saturday 12pm) - August 23, 2014 (Saturday 6pm)
Event Type: Tournaments

Part of the goal for this tournament (other than having a good time fighting) is to determine the new Champion of Sharangil. So not only can you get Order of the List points, but a cool new title as well. One nice thing about this event is that it will be at a new site. I always like going to new sites since it makes everything feel "new".