Monday, March 2, 2015

Where are they now- Wayne "Milo" Willard

Wayne “Milo Kest” Willard started the game at Queen of Hearts in 1995. When asked he said he tapered off from play sharply about 1998/1999, though I know I started in July of 1998 and have encountered him at least a half dozen times in character, with him showing up at Queen of Hearts as recently as 2010.  Those that remember Milo might also remember his dog Fang, as she was a big part of his Realms experience.

Wayne said, “In my mind Milo was at his best centering the Folkstone line, with Betty on his left with her pike. It always felt right in that line.” Milo was also instrumental in bringing about the elimination of the Cadre.

His comments on his time in game include, “So many good memories. I think some of best were prepping for my first event with Andrew Spring, Jim Marden, and Dave & Pete Starkey. We spent hours practicing, and making weapons. That first event I was so pumped. We fought with Folkstone. I wore the skin off the tops of my feet inside my combat boots”.

Wayne currently lives in Wendell, MA, the town he grew up in. He is currently an L.P.N. and member of the Wendell Fire Department.  He married his wife Dawn in 2007 (Jarrod Marshall performed the ceremony). In 2013 they adopted their two youngest kids Christopher and Haiden.

Why I'm in Creathorne by Tara "Alexis Jade" Jackson

My character joined Creathorne after leaving Stonewood. She had been a ward of Elwin
O'Bearikin and decided that Stonewood just wasn't what she was looking for anymore. She had known Sir Shean O'Quinnlin for many years and had fought many times with Creathorne and knew they had the same values as she did. She petitioned and was voted in as a member of Creathorne.
Creathorne members are always willing to help another nation should the need arise. They vote on everything important and even if not all members are available at the time of the vote, they still get a say. Creathorne tries to forgive when they are wronged, but when wronged by the same people they go by the three strikes and your out rule. As everyone already knows, Creathorne members are not allowed to scalp, and scalping on Creathorne land is forbidden.
From what I have gathered in my time in Creathorne, is that they really just want what is best for the Realms. They care about every individual under their protection. And Gods forbid you wrong one member of Creathorne, you will have not just one member of Creathorne, but the entire country coming for you.

An Atypical View

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Bastards Guide to the Nations of the Realms

So your pals Tuilli and Ed have run into all sorts so far in their travels and have encountered many a “character”.  We’ve compiled this wee list of some of the nations we’ve encountered so far and our impressions.  If you are not on the list, then perhaps good for you?

Folkestone:  A long-lasting nation with great storytellers and writers led by Lord Sir Magus Malaki (who may or may not be led in turn by Dame Magus Phoenix).  If you go to a Folkestone soiree, you will be well fed and well entertained… or have to endure a long winded story about “the way things were”...
Do join: If you enjoy being in an nation with rich history and experienced players.
Don’t Join: If you hate hugs from Redheads, or people with knightly titles.

Ashenmark:  They say the black and gold stands for mystery and fading youth.  I’m pretty sure that the mystery part helps them hide in the shadows, but the fading youth is more just to hide the urine stains from when they couldn’t hide.  That being said, they have some new blood, and some guy who won’t stay dead as a leader and he is OK...
Do join Ashenmark: If you love Ashenmark day.
Don’t join Ashenmark:  If you’ve actually been to Ashenmark day..

Chimeron: Another old nation, led by Good King Cecil® is one of the largest in the Realms.They are host to many sub-nations and one shindig by the name of Uncle Cecil’s Crazy Tavern.
Do join Chimeron:  If you want to belong to one of the biggest groups in the Realms.
Don’t join Chimeron:  If you can’t help but laugh every time you encounter someone from a sub-nation called Griffindor.  Yes, this is a subnation of Chimeron.

Neden: a bunch of debaucherous, depraved madmen (and Karmha to round it off), but enough nice things about them, lets get into the bad parts...
Do join Neden: If you hate wearing pants, and love having fun.
Don’t join Neden: If you like being able to have people Google your nation’s name without worry.

Creathorne:  A nation filled with strong opinions; mostly those of their leader, Sir Shean.  They hate anyone who is not human or an “proper” elf; drow need not apply.  They are the host the famous Tournament of Creathorne, a “fight hard, play hard” sort of tourney from what I hear.  We have availed ourselves of the Tavern there on a few occasions and found it well stocked and also a fun place for a fight.
Do join Creathorne:  You enjoy a good tavern brawl.
Don’t join Creathorne: If you are prone to bring “trophies” in the form of a 30 foot long tentacle from some multi-limbed and dangerous beast you just killed back to the tavern and are not expecting the soul crushing rejection of offering it to Sir Shean as a trophy for the tavern only to be painfully rebuked.

Blackwood:  Not much is known to us about Blackwood (we didn’t really bother to ask).  They put on a fine tourney, have some of the top gambling houses in the Realms and are glad to take all your (and your childrens) money.  Members that come to mind are Zatarra and Tao.  Both of them you have to watch your coin purse around, although chances are, Tao will be more likely to swindle you out of coin and home on the Blackjack tables...
Do join Blackwood:  If you love gambling.
Don’t join Blackwood:  If you hate losing all your money to Sir Tao.

Northern Alliance:  they run a RP-only campfire which is pretty awesome, plus they are the ones typically docked out in the most fur and leather gear.  Well garbed for sure but they seem to get a bit tetchy if you try to speak with a Swedish accent (or worse, like the Swedish Chef).
Do join the NA:  If you love roleplaying so much that you snore with a Nordic accent.
Don’t join the NA:  If you are a member of PETA.

Grimloch:  A nation that chose to live in a swamp filled with necromancers and undead.  Yeah, they are that sort of crazy.  Run as a militant oligarchy by the Warlords and Warmarkes, they are the nation to call when you need something absolutely, completely and irrevocably dead.
Do join Grimloch:  If you like stabbing people.  Hard.
Don’t join Grimloch:  (The author will not fill in this section as he would prefer not to get stabbed, hard or otherwise)

Rhiassa:  Feastocrats and fancy hats.  Run by Lord Sir Aeston Stromgate, Knight of the Realms (and of the Eternal Flame, Rhiassa, the Blue Rose), Lord of Rhiassa AND Vinehaeven, and Patriarch of the Oaken Guard (yeah, lots of titles, he puts the Folkestone people to shame).  Rhiassa has some of the top feast events in the Realms, thanks in a major to Sir Sir Gwen (she just got knighted in a two-for-one special at the last Feast of Leviathan).  They also are responsible for the grand event that is the famed Queen of Hearts Tournaments and War Tourneys.
Do join Rhiassa:  You enjoy serving the community as well as good food.
Don’t join Rhiassa:  If you hate Aeston’s hat or people with too many titles.

Mayerling:  A bunch of well-dressed adventurers who all have taken the spell “Launch ALL the arrows, and let Tuilli’s throat get in the way of all of them”.  You can pick them out at the feasts as the ones who are sometimes more armored than Grimloch.  Mayerling’s armor is prettier.
Do join: If you love ranged fighting.
Don’t join: If you want heraldry that is easy to reproduce…

Saurabia:  a relatively new nation whose ranks include a bunch of dinosaurs and a Canadian.
Do join Saurabia: if your characters name could be made hilarious by adding “-saurus” to the end of it.
Don’t join Saurabia.

Why I joined Gau Dring by Liz "Crystal" Ferraina

The Nation of Gau Dring is a fairly new nation to the Realms. It is currently made up of nine members: Joshua Fitzgerald, Rosemary Campbell, Joshua Whelan, Patrick Bucior, Cory Roy, Lisa Lacroix, Edward Lynch, Gabriella Leon, and myself, Elizabeth Ferraina.

Personally, as becoming a new member to the realms, I’ve had many great experiences when it came to creating my character, and finding which path I wanted to go down. I had very little knowledge as to what a nation truly was all about. I had met the members through Joshua Whelan, who had also brought me into the Realms. I am currently a citizen, for I am still developing my character Crystal.

The Nation of Gau Dring, being a fairly new nation, has great potential to grow. Since the nation is made up of a diverse selection of members- fighters, casters, both experienced and new, this allows the opportunity for us to grow together as a whole.

Photo by Jesse Gifford
We work well as a team, because we have patience, and keep an open mind on areas we need to improve. When the going gets tough, we think of ways we can work together, instead of calling quits. We are also open and honest with each other, and aren’t afraid of constructive criticism. Our nation leader, Josh Fitzgerald said “In truth our groups ability to do any job given to us and work as a team. This has been apparent to me since Folkstone Questing 2014. We work together unnaturally well for a young group and everyone is willing to pull their weight without question. It it's either that our how much we want to improve ourselves as a nation or individuals.” This will be our nation’s biggest strength is it continues to grow- because each of the members individually put in their time and effort to find ways we can stand strong together.  Nation member, Gabriella Leon says- “In character, only time will tell because this is relatively new, out of character, brings a sense of togetherness and family, while also fostering existing positive traits like work ethic, or teamwork etc. I want to be able to grow via adaptation, to fit in almost everywhere, and to not be afraid, or shy to accept a higher roll, or to move up wherever I could be in however much time that could take.”
However, being a newer nation leaves a few areas of improvement- such as the newer Realms members to become more skilled and strong. Member, Patrick Bucior agreed- “For weaknesses, we have a good member base, but the majority is newbies. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but there's still a lot to learn.” Also, member Gabriella Leon states “our weakness- we’re on the small side, newer nation, needs a lot of training in order to kick serious butt.”  With a nation as determined as ours, we won’t let each other fail, we will support each other as we improve.

Photo by Jesse Gifford
What attracted me to Gau Dring was the idea of a newer nation forming together. Being friends with the larpers who started the group also gave me an insight as to what they wanted their nation to become. The energy behind the individuals and their hospitality is what put the icing on the cake. Being able to grow as a member, along with several others who were also in the same position. Even being a citizen, I was able to have a part lending a hand when needed.Member Lisa Lacroix explains “The fact that we are all close friends who put together the nation makes for a good foundation for growth.”  Our second in command member Rose explained how she also benefitted from Gau Dring- “Joining the nation has had a couple benefits; one being that I get to be a part of a group growing and that's pretty awesome, the other being that the people we worked with before anyways are now a bit more organized. People have a purpose, a goal, and they want to work towards it.” Even though we rely on each other in the nation, we don’t have the constant feeling of obligation to do everything as a group.

Becoming a citizen member of Gau Dring has been beneficial to me both in character, and out of character. In character, it has taught me how to strategize, work cooperatively with the members, and to understand more of what a nation truly was. Because we are able to work so well together, and we all support each other, this allows us to grow, while feeling the comfort of each other’s company. Nation member Cory Roys explains how it benefits him- “This nation has helped me grow. Knowing I have people who will be there to support me is very helpful. I no longer need to feel as if I have to do everything on my own I trust the people in Gau Dring with my life every event we go to knowing that they will try there hardest to help me when I need it.” Out of character, I had the opportunity to get to know the members. We have all become close friends, who I am very thankful to have in my life.

10 Questions- Aaron "Rel" Metzger

Photo by Angela Gray
How long have you been playing?
Since the dawn of time!

Actually, that's an odd question.  I started doing practices and even went to the Newbie Night Quest in Fall of '99.  But due to certain...interactions between me and a cliff, my first official event wasn't until March 2000 (Tale Eternal - The Footsteps of Heroes).  So I guess we'll call it...15 years?  Yea, that sounds right.

How has the game changed since you've been playing?
Might be better to ask what hasn't changed...

Our spell system has added an additional path, added tons of new spells, removed many spells and changed pretty much every other spell.
Fighters have gotten new materials for weapon and armor making, as well as new techniques for making both.
The rules, in general, have become more formal and less ambiguous.

But for all the changes, it's still The Realms through and through.

Who have you learned the most from?
Hmmmm, that's a tough one.  If I had to point at one person, it would likely have to be Karen Veale (Brynn McKrye).  She brought me into the game and taught me really everything that is the core of my Realms beliefs.  For sure, I would not be playing if it weren't for her.  I will eternally be Her newbie.

What was your best moment IC?
Oh jeez, there are so many good moments.  Let me talk about my first big IC moment.  This was at Folkestone Questing in 2002 (Slip Sliding Away).  PCs were jumping from world to world, fixing as much as we could, all the while tracking down the cause (which happened to be some Imp).  So on Monday, we were chasing after the Imp, but having trouble catching up to him.  I think someone sent their CoP rope after him, to tangle him up, but he was quickly breaking free from it.

So I happened to have a 7th Circle Regional called Take One For The Team, which let me ask the EH/MM to do exactly that.  So I went up to Dave Dolph (who was running things) and told him I wanted to stop the Imp by taking one for the team.  He stopped, looked at me and gave me the biggest grin.  Moments later, the Imp and I had our right-hands tied to each other.  Thus began an epic struggle, a battle of strength and willpower.
Photo by Jesse Gifford

The Imp was surprised by his sudden jailor and I took advantage of the opportunity.  I towered over the Imp, strength, adrenaline and force of will pushing the Imp to the ground.  Victory was within my grasp when suddenly the Imp caught his breath and began to regain his power.  White-hot pain shot up my arm, maddening visions invaded my mind and the Imp slowly stood up as he began to force me to the ground.  As my body began to fail and my mind shatter, the world began to fade from view.  As the last ebb of life faded, a single word resonated in my head: NOT!!!

The Beast entered my broken body and filled me with boundless power.  My mind raced as my senses went into overdrive; the world came into the focus as broken bone and torn flesh began to mend.  The tables had officially turned.  With feral strength and speed, I threw off the Imp's attack and began one of my own again.  The Imp was surprised, but recovered quickly.  The struggle continued, both of us refusing to give up, but both of us beginning to tire.  As our fight continued, the Imp's eyes flitted over to our bound hands and he began to grin. My eyes quick darted over and I noticed the rope binding us began to fray and fall away.  The Imp's forced incarceration was coming to an end.

I tried calling out a warning, but my words came out only as growls and guttural noises.  The Beast's power had no place for language.  I continued yelling out, the rope growing thinner as it began to unravel.  The heroes Realms watched, unsure what to do or how to help.  Trent Shadowdragon, be it by luck or sudden insight, grabbed a magic dagger and tossed it to me.  Just as the rope was about to give, I caught the dagger and plunged it into the Imp's heart.  With the Imp on the ground, I took its soul as a sacrifice to the Beast and finally passed out.

What was your best moment as a NPC/EH/Player?
Another tough question but it would be a tie between throwing Shadows of Death and throwing Twilight Champion.  Both had some great moments (really too many to enumerate here), between hoards of Faceless Shadows, creepy Silent Hill transitions, slashing guts and pulling out intestines, a Shadow Basilisk, a giant Shadow Dragon and a climatic final battle between a beardless Rel and a shadowy demon!

Ahhh the memories...

What would you like to see changed or developed more in game?
More community resources or unification of the resources which already exist.  There must be thousands of NPC tabards in the Realms, but I always seem to be scrounging around for them whenever I throw an event/quest.  Would be great to have some common stock EHs can use and contribute to, instead of having to reinvent the wheel every weekend.

What advice would you give new players?
Try everything.  If you're a fighter, grab some spells.  If you're a spellcaster, pick up that sword.  You'll enjoy the game so much more if you can see both sides of the coin.

What do you love most about the game?
Everyone can throw an event.  There are so many games where content is gated by the game's creators and sometimes it's disappointing to see a great world where no one else can really add to it outside of their character.  Realms doesn't have that problem and it's the reason our game still exists today.

Who would you like to see the next interview be with?
I'm a little out of the loop, but would be great to see Beth Tozier get a crack at this, if she hasn't already.

Anything else you'd like to take the opportunity to put into print?
I know I've been away for a while, but...
Expect to see me back this June!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

What You Missed, Feast Of Creathorne by John "Tallon" Berrini

Heading to Feast of Creathone chords of an 80s power ballad get my heart pumping as I approach the site. The outline of a new expansive hall through the magic of slowly falling snow emerges as we enter the parking lot.
Photo: Jesse Gifford
The feast hall scene is immersive, decorated with banners from nations new and old. The sound of period music can be heard behind the backdrop of characters engaging each other in lively talk. The aroma of good food and bacon greet eager palates.

Walking through the gathered masses, Order of the list tournaments have attracted much attention. There is a wide field of competition with precision shots striking with recognizable thumps. When the dust settled it seemed that Guilliam had come out on top.
Photo: Jesse Gifford
Kitchen staff hit another home run. Chicken alfredo was prepared to a high standard and is a favorite of mine. Treats and multiple dinner courses were appreciated.
Eris did mom and dad (Shandar & Kiira) proud singing "Over the Rainbow". Aiden sang “Good Night Demon Slayer” and took second place. Garharz took the cake with a song parody touting himself as a worthwhile mercenary for hire. His prize was an item of choice.

Rillian won the Gambler's tournament.
Magical Moment by Jesse Gifford
Court held a few surprises. Tallon, long time leader of Neden, and its founder, stepped down and had Nymbous take his place. Guilliam took a new squire, Saka, into the Knights of the Sable Dragon. Zatara was in a new Achoria tabard, having chosen his providence of Blackwood.

All in all, the day sounds like it was wonderful, and a good time for friends, food and general folly. ---Kelly