Friday, January 18, 2019

EHC Spotlight: Interview with Pi Fisher

Interview conducted by Ryan Welch
(Editor's note: one response has been edited for clarity. These changes are denoted by [square brackets].)

What is your motivation for writing proposals?

To make the Omnibus a better document. I don't have very many objections with regards to game balance right now, though I think casters might be a tad too powerful. The document itself could be better written to better present the information it has. I considered trying to do something with necromancy this year to make things cleaner, but I'm hoping for some short meetings instead.

If I remember correctly, you've served on the Omnibus Editorial Committee several times. What, in your opinion, is the difference between the things the OEC can clarify and the things that should go through the EHC process?

The OEC can't clarify rules. If there an ambiguous interpretation of a rule, it has to go to the EHC to be clarified. The one exception I see is when a proposal was passed, and the wording is ambiguous. In that instance, with guidance from the person who wrote the proposal, the OEC can clarify the text. If something is caught a year or more later, or if a proposal has an unintended side effect, the OEC can't clarify those problems.

How do you feel about the wording of a proposal being fixed during the discussion of it during the Player's Meeting or the Event Holder's Council? Do you find it more or less preferable to the OEC editing the text after the proposal has passed?

Depends on context. I'm generally in favour of giving more freedom to the OEC, so I'll often suggest that wording can be fixed by the OEC, but a lot of the amendments made at the meetings impact the rules being voted on, so those discussions should stay at the meetings.

You mentioned game balance earlier. When you're reading proposals, how do you determine if the proposed changes will have a positive or negative impact on game balance?

I have gut feelings about what things are a little too strong and what things are a little too weak. I'm not perfect on this. If a lot of people are currently doing a thing, it's likely too powerful. If hardly anybody is doing a thing, it's likely too weak. I see a higher ratio of casters to fighters than I'd like to see, so I suspect the current magic system is too strong. It's been that way for a few years. I don't see many two paths. I think that means a bow and a weapon shorter than 3'8" don't make up for what you can get from a third path of spells. Given that I think casters are a little too strong, I'd prefer to nerf three paths instead of buffing two paths.

Of course, not everything popular is too powerful. Our game would be fundamentally different if Heal Limb were a spell that most casters didn't have. Heal Limb is an example of a powerful spell at a low circle that should probably stay as it is.

Are there any other proposals this year that are particularly interesting to you?

I'm curious to see what happens with the scalping/death proposals. The undead revamp is interesting, and I have not yet decided how I feel about it. Of course, it might depend on what you mean by "interesting". I don't think any of my proposals are interesting, but I certainly hope they all pass.

For some of the proposals I [want] to fail, it's possible amendments will make me change my mind. For some of the proposals I [want] to pass, I have amendments in mind that I hope are made, and I might vote against them without those amendments. It's not a perfect system.

If you had the power to change, add, or remove anything from the Omnibus, what would you do?

I'd reformat and reorganise it. I guess if you really want to pick a rule change, I'd go with taking Familiar out?

Can you give me one or two examples of what you would do to reorganize?

I have a proposal to take Regional Magic and Alchemy out of the sections they're currently in and make a new section for them. If I had the power to do so, I'd look around more and do a more drastic reorg.

What about Familiar? Why would you take it out?

I've never liked the spell. It's mostly just better buydowns. Now that buydowns aren't as much a thing, it's no longer too powerful, but it's purpose went away.

Before I wrap this up, is there anything you would like to say or talk about regarding proposals?

Nah, I'm good

Thanks for your time

You're welcome

Pi Fisher is an Event Holder and member of the 2018 Omnibus Editorial Committee, as well as the author of several proposals which clean up the Omnibus. To see his and other proposals, visit

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Heroes of the Western Flank-Update

 By Lani "Gwen" Jones

This year at Feast of the Leviathan XXI the Heroes of the Western Flank will be recognized for their service to the community. Now in its fourth year, this organization's purpose is to publicly thank those people who regularly serve as NPCs on quests. The role of the NPC is a vital one to our game: without monsters to kill, the heroes of the Realms would have very little to do. NPCing is accessible to all players, regardless of skill or experience, and it is the way that many players begin their service to the Realms, and still more players continually give back by acting behind the scenes in this manner. Despite the importance of NPCs, we often forget to recognize them for their hard work. Anyone who has served on the Western Flank knows that it can be an exhausting day and those that come back again and again deserve our commendation.

All heroes who are present at the Feast of Leviathan can submit a form indicating the number of events that they NPC'd. If you have NPC'd three or more events, you'll receive a ticket for each event, and will be entered into the Heroes of the Western Flank raffle. This year's prizes will include swords, pouches, gloves, garb, and two magic items that will last for the duration of the next year. Each item is a token of our sincerest gratitude.

Please take the time to congratulate the raffle winners, and always remember to thank your NPCs.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Why I Want to Go - Feast of the Leviathan XXI

By Crystal "Cressida" Welch

I am beyond excited for the Feast this weekend! The Food, the Puzzles, the Games, the Bardic Performances and the View Awards are the best of the best at Leviathan. This will be my third year going and I still remember how much I enjoyed the first two feasts. First off, I have a crazy long list of dietary restrictions and they always WOW me with how much food they make that I can actually consume and thoroughly enjoy. From the starter courses to the delectable desserts, I have yet to be disappointed and I cannot wait to see what surprises they have in store this year. I am also excited for the addition of a dry bar and the open space concept that is being tried out this year. Being able to walk around and spend time with friends, while food is being served on a platter, sounds like a great way to keep socializing without having to stop to feed myself every so often! I can already tell I will not be leaving hungry.

I am also excited to enjoy the annual puzzles and games. I am not much of a gambler, but I did have a lot of fun playing Merchant Barons last year and I am excited to try out the new and improved version. Plus the Gilded Lion Carnival is always a hoot! As a bard, I greatly enjoy watching other bard’s perform and the promise of a staged area this year is amazing! I would go if only to watch the wonderful performances and hang out with fellow bards and bardic fans. You never know what stories will be told or sung at the Feast and it would stink to miss out on a new piece!

On top of the fabulous food, puzzles, and performances, there is recognition for those who have kicked ass this year. I love watching the smiles on peoples’ faces as they win View Awards for all of their hard work. Also I know I voted, so I’d like to see the people I voted for win in person instead of hearing about it after the fact. All of that and more is why I Want to Go to Feast of the Leviathan XXI.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Fresh Faces with Justin "Artair" Mitchell

Photo by Robyn Nielsen

1. How did you learn about Realms?

I first heard about it during a pen and paper game I was running. Tonya Pirrone would often reference it and when we had a couple player spots open up Derek and Renee joined the group and finally convinced me to try it out. They even helped me to be fully garbed for my first event.

2. How many events have you been to?

At this point, I have been to at least 20 events

3. Have you ever LARP’ed before? If so tell us about it?

No, this is my first LARP

4. What is your character like? Where are they from? What is their race? What is important to them?

Artair is a calm and collected, yet highly opinionated druid of Gaia who has worked hard to contain the ferocity of the bear within. As a scholar and spellcaster, it is only recently that people have taught him that there is value in the ferocity he has been working to contain. Strongly connected to his God, he tries to follow Gaia’s teachings and the natural balance. He does not focus narrowly on Gaia’s growth and healing aspects but all aspects of the natural cycle. For without predators, death, and decay, new growth and prey would have no nourishment.

Originally from other lands, he was a druid of Gaia who gave himself to the long shift, turning into a bear to wander in nature for the rest of his days. After an unknown amount of years passed he awoke in the Realms, unsure why or how he got here. He has since turned to Gaia and his fellow adventurers to learn about his new surroundings and what his purpose here may be.

Artair is a human who once had multiple animal forms, but since his long shift has been deeply connected to his bear form. He views his forms as gifts of Gaia that, after so many years, have truly become part of him.

Artair is chiefly concerned with serving Gaia, the natural state of things, and the balance found there. While family and friends are always first in his mind, when they conflict with the natural order he struggles with which side to pick.

Provided Photo

5. What do you remember most about your first event?

I will highlight my first two events since they covered different aspects:

My very first event was Nedengiving. I remember feeling very scattered and nervous. There were carnaval games and a feast including the famed “cranberry sauce” and a tournament of some sort which I watched for a while. The magic system is what really had my initial interest so I started off trying to go 3 path caster right from the beginning. Learning spells was a high priority on my list and a good excuse to meet many of the different groups in attendance.

At the time I was following, what was then, the Shaman path and there were not many in attendance who had chosen that path of spells. Many of the spells were very difficult to find enough signatures for so I had to plan who signed for which spell or I would run out of teachers for the harder to find spells. Happily, I found some very nice people that helped introduce me to the people who could teach the spells I was after.

Each signature I got was a unique experience. Some teachers would sign after a few easy questions, a few required easy but silly tasks, and the best taught me as much about themselves as the spell I was after. I ended up learning 4 spells, (10 signatures!) by the end of the event and felt accomplished for doing so. A few of the more memorable experiences were: learning the “Regional” spell from Vanduke and Jean C’est Magnifique Try Baptise, and a magic marshall quest for “Death Watch” that required me to write and recite a poem about death and meditate as if dead for at least 5 minutes.

My first questing experience came at my second event, UCCT, where we trudged out in the snow to save Yule. It was a very light-hearted quest and had many memorable moments: a great portrayal of Scrooge, a “Charlie Brown tree”, making snow-golems, and caroling. It was also my first taste of realms combat and the speed and pace was quite the surprise compared to the other martial activities I've participated in. I had a lot of fun doing my best to keep my friends and fellow adventurers alive and healed on the front lines. This event was also my first time seeing and participating in ritual magic. When Voraniss called to the spirits out in the field at night, it was one of the things that really hooked me on Realms.

6. What things have helped to make you feel welcome in game?

Having a good support structure through my friends/nation has really been the biggest factor, I have been blessed in this aspect. Other than that, there are a number of people who have gone out of their way to be nice, show me the ropes, and include me in the things that are going on. I won't list them all here for fear of accidentally forgetting someone but they have made a huge difference.

7. What parts of the game do you find most challenging?

Sometimes it feels like the rules of the game are not how we actually play. There are a number of hidden hurdles that you can only learn about by playing and can vary widely from event to event. For example: Armor and weapon construction, combat speed and calling of shots, spell casting and the results you get, and full search, point search vs just saying “search” are all areas where you really need to do it, to learn what is accepted or the norm.

I also at times struggle with the pacing/reward structure of the game as it is so very different from any other game I have ever played. Having never LARPed before, my only comparison has been to similar role-playing experiences I’ve had such as DND, other pen and paper games and online MMOs. There, roleplaying was just as highly encouraged but they all had a very well defined, balanced, and paced reward/leveling structure. That's not to say that it's bad, just that it's very different and takes some getting used to.

8. Do you have any game-related goals (as either a player or character)?

As a character, Artair wants to earn respect as a person who can be relied on and turned to. He also wants to see Gaia and her followers become a more prominent force and involved in more visible ways.

As a player, in my experience, this game is very much what you make out of it for yourself and being inclusive and asking people if they want to be pulled into what's going on really makes the difference, especially for new people!! It's something that I will always strive to pay forward whenever I can because without it I would not still be here.

Since I most enjoy the role of GM/DM at the table top, I also have a long-term goal of throwing my own plot and hosting events, but before that happens I feel I still have a lot to learn about what works and what doesn't, from a player perspective, NPC perspective, and marshalling perspective.

9. What advice would you give other new players?

Find people to help you on your early journey. There is so much you cannot find from just reading the rules or available websites. You really need to get out there and experience it. Don't dive into getting or making your own armor or weapons. Have someone else help you make them for you, or borrow at least until you really understand what you're up against. This is a community game and no player can survive it completely on their own. Find someone, multiple someones, who will get you back up after combat. Make friends with healers or those who can find you one. There are tons of people willing to help, all you have to do is ask. If you see something you're interested in, go ask about it, and most importantly don't get discouraged if you get turned down a few times. Not every character is a “good guy” or wants to help new players and that’s ok.

10. What have you enjoyed most about the game so far?

All of my favorite moments have been when everyone involved is deep in character, be it dealing with an issue, doing a magical ritual, or having in-depth conversations. Those moments when you just go with it and let your character take you places.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Rumors for January 1018

[Across the Realms]

There has been a rise in peasants dying by morning. Men, women, children are found dead with a look of abject horror on their faces. Conversely, there has also been a rise in non fatal injuries. Humanoid races are reporting creatures living with injuries that usually result in death. Reports of animals with crushed skulls, impaled in traps, or burned by fire, surviving the experience. Healers have seen a greater need for their services as a result.
The copies of the following missive have spread around the adventuring community: “Unto the Realms, If you have any sort of access to seer magic and are interested in the adventure that is to take place in mid-February, please contact either me (Kara Nithisdottir) or Sir Vawn. Even if you can't attend the adventure itself, you can still help. -Kara”.
Guards of several nations are claiming they have seen a hooded theif sneaking into taverns at night and stealing from the drunk. Others claim they have seen a monster or demon stealing souls of those misfortunate. The name of this would be monster thief is circling as "The Black Dagger" but others insist that name is wrong and refer to the thief as "The Shadow Crow". They also claim that this being is like trying to catch smoke.
Something dark is lurking. One could almost taste it. Something is coming... Something vast, powerful and deadly. There will be no survivors…

[Unclaimed Lands]

The road between North Paradise and Stonewood Borders: A woman's body was found, wearing faded scarlet robes. Her outfit was mainly reduced to tatters, and her pack revealed nothing but torn books: spines ripped off the base and pages stuck in trees or in the mud.
Over the Western Mountains: Rangers and those that make their living by hunting and trading in the Ivory and Iron Kingdom marketplaces have reported much activity seen on the other side of the range. It seems that some group may be thinking about colonizing beyond what the cartographers have on the current Realms map.
Borders around the Great Swamp: People have been coming into taverns and inns, wherever there might be a shelter. Some are wood elves, although a few sassed they were "swamp elves", and most are humans. They claim they're moving on as "the Spiders are moving again" and "rather take chances topside with Strangers" and so forth. One, in particular, is heading to Rhiassa, bearing a book and a white flag.
On the path towards Achoria, a territory of Blackwood: a woman carrying a very old, wrapped sword on her back has been asking for stories and telling older ones in return. She also is teaching those who care to listen to the way to make a sort of tack-bread, good for carrying on long quests. She is also looking for the Misty Hill Mystics.