Thursday, May 23, 2019

Throwback Thursday - Dueling S's

Editor's Note: As Creathorne is fast approaching, we thought it would be fun to throw back to this classic advice, part of the "Dueling S's" series in which Soft and Sir Syruss answered the same community questions, each in their own unique way. In this column, published on May 26, 2016, the agony aunts tackle some advice for Tournaments of Creathorne. Enjoy!

Dear Soft,
 I'm new to this plane of existence, and I find myself strangely drawn towards warm-blooded heroes of the Realms. They're just, my type, if you catch my drift. This year marks my first time in attending the Tournaments of Creathorne, and I've got some questions about it. I tend to sleep late, very late, and I'm wondering how much of the festivities I'll miss during the day? Also, I've heard that it can be very cold at night, so cold that one can see their breath. How observant are heroes of the Realms? I know they'll notice my wonderful evening formal wear, but will they notice the lack of steam as I breathe? I look forward to meeting the citizens of the Realms, and expect to have a charming good time.

 Frosty-Hearted in Creathorne

Dear Frosty-Hearted in Creathorne,

It will also be my first time in attending the Tournaments of Creathorne, however my...underground connection, let’s call it, has informed me that sleeping late will not be a problem. There are number of activities to participate in after sunset from night questing to socialization and everything in between!  Although the heroes of the realms are observant, in my experience if you dazzle them with your clothing the only other thing you need for people to look the other way to any odd behavior is a small treat for them. A bit of candy or an enthralled being usually works just fine.

Warm blooded they’re fine, but get them hot blooded and things will be much more fun.

Illumier Soft- Nosetti


Dear Syruss,
I'm new to this plane of existence, and I find myself strangely drawn towards warm-blooded heroes of the Realms. They're just, my type, if you catch my drift. This year marks my first time in attending the Tournaments of Creathorne, and I've got some questions about it. I tend to sleep, late, very late, and I'm wondering how much of the festivities I'll miss during the day? Also, I've heard that it can be very cold at night, so cold that one can see their breath. How observant are heroes of the Realms? I know they'll notice my wonderful evening formal wear, but will they notice the lack of steam as I breathe? I look forward to meeting the citizens of the Realms, and expect to have a charming good time 

Frosty-Hearted in Creathorne

Ok Mr/Mrs Not some sort of Evil-Lich-like-vampire-thing-at-all (OK not my best nick name… my bad),

What I read from you being new to this plane of existence or as we like to call it fun loving Crea-o-thorne. I skimmed most of this vaguely worded letter about your questionable attentions at our beloved ToC, but what I got out of this was three questions…..WHAT TO DO, WHAT TO BRING, WHO TO DRINK ...erm WHAT TO DRINK (although I think you're looking for the latter.)

So you tend to sleep late very very late, LIKE SUN-SETTING KIND OF LATE HMMMMMM, I digress. Don’t worry Sir/Ma’am Sure-to-Kill-us-all-if-you-sleep-late-on-Saturdays, you are in good company a good portion of the event is still passed out, resting for the Amazing Adventures that take place at night. That’s right if you sleep all day and miss the amazing Tournaments (which are worth Order of the List points, get you sick prizes not to mention get you entered into the Champions tourney held Sunday) then have no fear there are activities at almost all hours of the day and night.

Things you will see at Tournaments of Creathorne (not limited to*) The Creathorne Casino, Drinking Games, Darts, Dancing, Bards singing their hearts out, Night Time Questing, Pyrotechnics but most importantly Hundreds and Hundreds of people having a grand ole time.

Now you are right it does get cold in the north at night. So not knowing the lands here are some things to consider bringing.

Warm Clothing for night/lighter clothing for the day, extra socks, towels for nearby lake swimming, sleeping equipment with extra pillows (in case I forget mine I always do) and extra blankets in case the sleeping equipment is not warm enough, sun screen for the day time YOU KNOW YOU'LL NEED SPF 9000 or something….sorry sorry sorry, I am usually not his judgmental we just got this Un-Dead thing going on in Neden right now that has me kind-of on edge.

I know you say you have wonderful formal wear but remember you may also want to have something practical on stand by in case of snow. Not Kidding.

Last What to drink...I personally enjoy Whisky and Cider specifically O’Leary Brothers Brewery Cider *ahem cheap plug cough cough ahem* But anything goes as long as you have been adventuring for 21 years or more. Bring something fun to share it is a great way to meet new people, also another important note bring water. Hydrate yourself after a night of libations but lastly drink anything you want but my friends, you undead son of a... hey hey!


It’s like Lord Sir Nymbous O’Leary always says: “Crap it’s almost ToC I need to stretch, how did the stores of cider last the winter? Where is the prize whiskey? Who's seen my traveling goat? SO MUCH TO GET READY FOR!!!!!”

Love you ALL
See you in at TOC
Sir Syruss O’Leary of Neden
Knight of the Blue Rose
Knight of the Potentium
Order of the List
Most relevant for TOC…………Champion of Min

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Why I Want To Go-Tournaments of Creathorne 26

by Lani "Gwen" Jones

It’s time to make my annual pilgrimage to Grafton this Memorial Day weekend for one of my all time favorite events of the year: Tournaments of Creathorne. Knowing that this weekend is approaching brings me joy every year because it means that the summer eventing season is about to kick off, and I’m about to reconnect with friends new and old for a weekend of food, fun, and fighting.

One of the things I love most about TOC is that there is always something to do. Whether it’s fighting in tournaments (which I’m actually toying around with doing this weekend--shocking, I know), or watching the bardic competitions, participating in non-coms, questing, visiting shops, gambling, or just kicking back and socializing, I’m never bored, not once, in a four day weekend. When you stop to consider how much it takes to coordinate that much content for that many people, you can’t help but be impressed. I also love the care and attention to make sure that all players, regardless of their interest, age, or social circle are all provided with something that feels “just right” for them.

This will be my 12th Tournaments of Creathorne (yeah, yeah, I’ll get off your lawn). It was my first event, and being on site always brings me back to that special nostalgia of being brand new to the Realms. The nervous excitement, the wondering if I packed enough socks and clothes (pro tip--you can’t ever pack enough of either of those things), and the wondering of what adventure will be in store for me. I can’t wait to see you all there!

Friday, May 17, 2019

A wild rant on marshaling theory, by Keith

Marshaling is a rough job. You’re like expected to know the rules and stuff, and actually pay attention, and even though I’m being glib right now, it’s really just exhausting.

In my experience there are really two main strategies to marshaling, and really an infinite variability between people on how well they live up to either ideas.

So the first idea is this: It’s the player’s job to call their shots. Thus, I am here to just really sort out any confusion that might arise in that process. You might not see this marshal make any calls, except a lay on, and they just sort of watch from the sideline.  Due to the amount of things going on, this strategy is most often employed during war tournaments, where there may be 50 people clashing at a time, and just one marshal watching.

What’s the down side of this strategy?

Well if you believe that it is the player’s responsibility to call their own shots ( Note: It is. ) and you reinforce that by minimizing your interactions within the fight, you’re more likely to call a refight.

What’s wrong with that? Well, let’s a set up a scenario.

Combatant A and Combatant B are in a single short tournament, one on one.

Combatant B lands a killing shot on Combatant A, followed a second later by Combatant A landing a shot on Combatant B.

CA should have called Dead first, or Don’t Take That,  but for some reason does not.

In a fight a second is actually a long time, so Combatant B is confident that his shot landed first, and also does not call dead first.

Late shots are important, and they look to the marshals to handle it. Now a more proactive marshal will probably just call it as it lay, but let’s say they think that player A should have called it, so they just call a refight to give them the opportunity to do it the right way, or something.

More or less the same thing happens--where CA should have made a late call but doesn’t, and CB has to fight a third refight.


Finally CB gets killed first, and makes the late call. The match is over, with CA being called the victor.

So like I said this is a made up scenario, and generally speaking not something I’ve experienced. But it illustrates my point very well--- re-fights encourage poor shot calling, because they give the person who should have lost the opportunity to win.

So what might be the answer to that?

The second ideology? Yes.

The second ideology is more or less this: I am the marshal, it’s my job to make sure everything is done correctly and I’m going to make it happen.

This marshal does their best to call everything as it happens. They don’t care if you’re going to get up in their business because you think they’re wrong. Your opinion doesn’t really matter.

Sounds great, right? An impartial marshal that calls the shots for you so you can focus on the fighting instead?

Where is the downside?

The downside here is pretty simple; if the marshal removes all the responsibility from the player to call their shots, we end up with a series of fights where the fighters crash into each other, and don’t call anything. Then when both agree that someone, or both of them is dead, they stop, and look at the marshal.

The marshal is then expected to do something that is factually impossible, and see things from every angle, all at once, and then process it at a rate fast enough to explain to the players what they did. As someone who has marshaled competitive tournaments with both of these perspectives in mind, I can tell you that in a war tournament this is a ridiculous expectation to have of a person. It’s fairly challenging in a 1 on 1 tournament, sometimes.

If a marshal can’t tell what happened because neither competitor cared about calling their shots, then it turns into a refight. Which I already told you encourages poor shot calling.

You might think, “Wow Keith hates refights.” And you’re not wrong, I don’t like them, I avoid them if at all possible, by trying to fight cleanly and getting clean and clear wins. But they do happen, and I do call them myself when I have to.

Generally speaking I try to find a middle scenario, where I let the players figure it out where it’s possible, and I call shots that seem egregiously missed, to me, and call refights as minimally as possible. The reason I aim for the middle is because both strategies have merits. It's important for players to have the responsibility of playing honorably and correctly. It's also important for an impartial person to make sure the game is played fairly when desire clouds truth.

Good luck in the ring, and look out for future rants on theoretical marshaling.

I'll see you on the field,

Keith “Saegan” Cronyn

Thursday, May 16, 2019

O'er The Lands of the Realms: Iron Kingdom

by Jason "Aeston" Rosa

Description by Matt "Thon" Morris

Orc legend tells of a FirstHome, a Bastion-in-the-Rock, a name as old as the Orc race itself, one that our oldest ancestors called home, and to which our last descendants will return.  That name is Blackmount.  It was here from which our ancestors departed for the stars, so long ago, to conquer worlds they’d never seen.  But conquest isn’t our Clan’s way.  We have returned to seek our roots and gather likeminded recruits from other Clans - from Pinkskins, too.  We welcome all who understand we’re stronger when we coexist.  This city-in-relief carved like an ant colony deep into the rock where our history began is both a hub and jumping-off-place for relief missions off-world.  The RiftAltar offers us the means to make a difference in the larger battles happening Out There.  This world remains our secret, our fallback position, and most of all our home.

Orcish culture can be offputting, at times, to the uninitiated.  As such, at the mouth of Blackmount Valley, the town of Windmere often serves as a first point-of-contact for those born elsewhere, looking to engage.  Take this local’s advice and try the herb-roasted potato wedges at the Staggerin’ Dragon, Windmere’s pub.

Finally, if trade goods are your reason for pathfinding to the West, the Blackmount Portal Transit Authority has granted licenses to a number of off-world merchants to set up at Rhakansia’s bazaar, just North of town.  You’ll find things there that aren’t native to this world, along with almost any legally traded commodity.  Feel free to carry your purse open on your person.  Its contents are safe from everything but silver-tongued merchants, thanks to the watchful eye of Blackmount’s elite BlackGuard corps keeping everyone honest.

Off-World expedition permits and job applications can be dropped off conveniently at Windmere’s academy, by those who feel a call to do more with their lives or feel the light of other suns.  All other business may be taken to the Warchief, personally, the first two days of every week, when they force me to set aside useful work and dust the throne off to hear petitions.  Bring me something interesting, will you?  We love a challenge, in the West.

We Hold All Powers To Account,
~JustCallMeThon no, seriously, no titles.  Also stop taking dictation. This part’s supposed to be a signature.  Just… guh….