Friday, March 29, 2013

10 Questions - Rhiannon "Demetria" Chiacchiaro

Rhiannon "Demetria" Chiacchiaro 

Photo by Robyn C Nielsen
How long have you been playing?
My four year anniversary was at this past Uncle Cecil's.

How has the game changed since you've been playing?
Apart from the year-to-year spell changes, I have noticed a new wave of reorganization and revitalization of groups that I am involved with. The Order of the Spoon, The Dancer's Guild, and The Bardic College have all begun to start making more pushes to enhance cultural aspects of the Realms and make it a more immersive world, even outside questing.

Similarly, the vendors of the Realms have increased in quantity and variety. I like seeing healthy competition between merchants, as well as novel things like the Rhiassan Game Shop.

Who have you learned the most from?
I have learned from many different people. I learned a lot about organization and event preparation from Matt Brenner (during my Order of the Spoon apprenticeship). Janna Oakfellow-Pushee taught me ways to engage new and normally disinterested players in a storyline. I've also learned quite a bit about myself and the way my mind works from Aaron Metzger and the rest of Clan Rua Thar Cinn.

What was your best moment IC?
I have had a couple memorable IC moments. Recently, I threw Feast of Highbridge, and I was absolutely ecstatic over the reception it got, and the amazing kitchen crew I had (we ran ahead of schedule the entire time). I am also very proud of the various awards for feasts, bardics, and even combat tourneys I have won over the years.

The most memorable moment to me as Tria, however, is when I was sworn into Chimeron by both Pyr and Cecil at Black and White '10. It was very important to me to be able to be a part of the nation before Pyr left, and to be able to take a knee to both kings was something that really meant a lot to me.

What was your best moment as an NPC/EH/Player?
As a player, I would say that picking out a particular moment is really hard. I think my best moments generally go back to Five Counselors plot (especially becoming a master of the Runes, which I poured so much time and effort into), and in being Luna's High Priestess. They are places where I feel strong and confident, and help me be the person I want to be. Additionally, any feast I run or bardic/dance/cultural event I participate in really makes me happy and feels like where I belong.

Photo by Michelle McCarthy

What would you like to see changed or developed more in game?
I am always happy to see more culture introduced into the Realms, via art, music, food, or just events where the players stay in character the whole time. I would love to see more things that focus on the world as a whole.

Also, and this is more like wishful thinking I know, but there always seems to be strong friction OOC between some people or some groups at any given time, oftentimes, but not always, due to some IC fallout (and no, I am not passively aggressively referring to anyone specific; this is a widespread general thing that even I have been guilty of). Conversely, I regularly see OOC issues brought into IC interactions, even if it doesn't seem to make sense. I know that we tend to be a "high stakes, high drama" game at times, but it becomes off-putting to see so much ill will and constantly have to be up on who isn't talking to whom and what nations won't deal with others for seemingly irrelevant reasons. I would like a little more concord, I suppose, but I don't know what the best first step on that track is.

What advice would you give new players?
Listen first, act later. Get to know multiple nations, not just the one you meet first or might be geographically closest to. Don't feel pressured to join a specific nation, or any nation at all, based on other people. The same goes for groups, orders, and religions. 

Get advice from people on multiple sides of an issue and from many different backgrounds, then decide for yourself what you think and do about a situation.

Be patient; you won't become a king or a champion in a day. It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of all the magic and wonder and fighting and heroism, but it's OK to take your time and feel things out.

You will make mistakes. You will have people think you're either impulsive and reckless or quiet and unimportant. It's alright; you will find your place.

What do you love most about the game?
It's a way for me to become something memorable, something that matters. It's also an amazing breeding ground for new talents. If you've ever wanted a safe environment to practice things like performing, cooking, fighting, or puzzle-solving, you would be hard-pressed to find a more supportive place.

Who would you like to see the next interview be with?
Well, to be entirely biased, I would like to see either my husband (Ged), or my laird (Rel) interviewed. If they're already on the list, then someone who perhaps left the game for a while and then came back and totally reinvented themselves.

Anything else you'd like to take the opportunity to put into print?
If you are looking to work with/employ Tria's Treats, the Tea Tree, the Bardic College, or just me personally, send me an email (my info is on RealmsNet).

Also, I'll leave with this: People say "remember that it's just a game" but it really is more than that. It's a community, a family, a world, and a story that we are all building together every weekend. Be cool to each other; support each other. And do the same for yourself.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Funny Pictures

In this series, we're posting some unique pictures of us as we play in the Realms. The challenge we present to you is to provide us with funny captions for the pictures in the comments section. Try to keep 'em relatively clean and fun. (Photo by Angela Earle Gray)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Blast From the Past - Part 13

Today we have another event brochure from 1994, specifically for The Dragon King. Ever hear of the Knights of the Crown? This event saw the naming of their new Knight Commander.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Putting it into Practice by Jason “Aeston” Rosa

The spring eventing season is creeping up. Soon the snows will thaw and people will begin to wake up from the long hibernation of the doldrums of winter. And with the warmer weather comes the revitalization of the fight practices that occur weekly around New England. Though many persist throughout the winter in some fashion, the longer daylight hours and nicer temperatures certainly inspire more people to venture out for an evening of exercise and enjoyment. What better time is there, then, to make a weekly fight practice a normal part of your schedule?

There are many members of this community that have not made attending a weekly fight practice a part of their routine. Of course, there are a myriad of reasons we all have in our lives that prevent us from attending a practice, even if we would otherwise choose to. Family, work, school... all of these must remain paramount. But to those of you who have the opportunity, and I know there are more than a few, and who have not yet decided that you need to make a regular fight practice (or two, or three) a part of your week; I offer the following arguments to compel you to do so.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Question of the Week - 85

What do you think of events that switch format part-way through the event, such as a tourney event that turns into a quest event or a quest event that turns into a feast? What if it was an unexpected switch?

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Grimloch Tribune

The Grimloch Tribune
By Callahan “Syruss” Marsden
(A non canon fact update as told through the eyes of Theddy Quill)

Welcome back to the longest running newspaper in Grimloch history. We apologize for the lack of printing since our last issue as Akakios’ men thoroughly trashed our entire printing operation.
Now it is not all bad, our loving Warlord Jaha just so happens to love the work we do here so he has graciously updated our facilities with some of the latest inventions from the good town of Westwood.

So enough about us let's talk about US and the things going on down in Grimloch.  The constant battle between Akakios and Grimloch continues  throughout this harsh north winter.

The problem with undead in the snow is they feel no irritation due to the cold, which makes hiding in a snow bank really easy, so ambushes on our roads and our Rohde is at an all-time high.

Winter Solstice was not without its incidents.   Our resident curmudgeon Sir Nighthawk was visited by four specters. The first ghost came as a warning saying that three more would visit and haunt him if he did not change his ways.
Nighthawk who would not be intimidated by some ghost called the only people to call in a situation like this the “T.H.U.G.S” (Terrors Horrors Undead Ghoul Squad) agents.
Sir Rohde, Dell and Priest Syruss quickly dispatched these specters’ who were easily taken down by enchanted magical blades.

After the solstice was over the Grimloch crew went right to work fortifying the areas that they currently held.

In recent news both the ranks of Grimloch and their training camps grew a bit larger this winter. The stage was set at the Knights of the Eternal Flame's annual tournament.  The ranks of Grimloch poured into columns and the two Warlords stared down their ranks of proud warriors and looked at the hopeful prospect of the adventurer known as Effa.

She wielded not blades but instead arcane magic, because of this she decided not to meet the challenge ahead by herself but instead opted to pick a champion to fight alongside her so she could demonstrate her support casting abilities.

The fights were fast and exciting.   Her spells flew through the air with deadly accuracy and her raises were readily available for when her champion fell.
At the end she stood tall gaining victories by both her offense and defensive spells showing that she has the potential to fit in real nice in the Grimloch ranks.

Congratulations Effa but do not get comfortable your journey has just begun and it is a long road ahead.
But Effa was not the only one to run their first Gauntlet but she was the only one to run a petitioner's Gauntlet.

Very few people had the honor to be approached by Sir Warlord Blade to join the original cast of Grimloch even fewer pasted up on the opportunity.   Blade does not offer too many second chances  but every once in awhile there is a person that just fits with our mold, our mentality, and our family.  The first time might not have been the right time or place, but now almost a decade from the original creation of Grimloch one of its original members found its way home.

With the lines already set and each member salivating for another challenge especially at someone Blade considered to be an Original.

At the end of the battle tested tunnel known as the Gauntlet entered a Knight, a Knight who recently tied for 3rd place in the Order of the List Invitational showing he is still among the elite fighters in all the lands.
Sir Eldritch entered this day, with a smile on his face that his friends know could mean two things:
Either he is going to party or he is going to fight.  It was quite apparent he was here to fight.

Entering the gauntlet with Grimloch coined sword and marn he prepared to battle what would be become his countrymen. Matching blow for blow with his peers. He would show all that stood there that day why he was considered for an original member as well as why he is still very much relevant to the growth of this fighting powerhouse.

Congratulations to Sir Eldritch for coming home!

A deadly taste of Heaven: Recipes from Empress Katasha of Grimloch

Hey guys, back from the depths of hell a.k.a Katasha’s cooking space and have I got something great for you. Have you ever gone to a Feast of Folkestone or a Grimloch Grill and Games?  Maybe you have been lucky enough to have purchased one of those fancy private dinners from our culinary connoisseur Katasha and was all like “Holy Crap that was the best thing ever” or “BY ODINS BEARD I would go through dog status to eat like this”?  You're in luck because now that I have FOUR DOGS yes that’s right count em’ four, I no longer have to risk life and limb to get you a recipe for that coveted cookbook . So this week my main man Grebinar now sporting two black eyes and thirty two stiches brings you this weeks “A Deadly Taste of Heaven”


Original recipe makes 7 servings
  •  1 (19.76 ounce) package Johnsonville® Italian Hot Sausage Links, casings removed*
  •  1 large onion, diced
  •  3 cloves garlic, minced
  •  2 tablespoons chili powder**
  •  1/4 teaspoon cumin
  •  1 (15.5 ounce) can black beans
  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can red kidney beans
  • 1 1/2 cups corn (frozen or fresh off the cob)
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste  
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle dark beer (or light beer or beef stock)
  • Salt and pepper

  1. Decase the sausage and saute in a large pot; use a wooden spoon to crumble the sausage as it cooks. Once the sausage is nicely browned, stir in the onion, garlic, chili powder and cumin and continue cooking until the onion softens about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the beer and allow it to simmer for an additional 5 minutes scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste and allow it to simmer, uncovered for an additional 10-15 minutes on med-low, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.
  3. Finally stir in the beans and the corn. Let this come to a simmer and it's ready to serve!
Dygen Presents Clean Joke time.

Hey Guys,
T.H.U.G.S agent and all around kicker of tushies Dygen here, and do I have a joke for you.

Do you like to laugh? Do you like to be able to laugh without looking over your shoulder to see if it's cool to laugh? Well then this new segment is here to put a smile on you face without putting dirt in your brain.
A man goes into a bar with his dog. He goes up to the bar and asks for a drink.

The bartender says "You can't bring that dog in here!" The guy, without missing a beat, says "This is my seeing-eye dog."

"Oh man,” the bartender says, "I'm sorry, here, the first one's on me." The man takes his drink and goes to a table near the door.

Another guy walks into the bar with a Chihuahua. The first guys sees him, stops him and says "You can't bring that dog in here unless you tell him it's a seeing-eye dog."

The second man graciously thanks the first man and continues to the bar. He asks for a drink. The bartender says "Hey, you can't bring that dog in here!"

The second man replies "This is my seeing-eye dog." The bartender says, "No, I don't think so. They do not have Chihuahuas as seeing-eye dogs."

The man pauses for a half-second and replies "What??! They gave me a Chihuahua??!"
Well that's it for this issue I am Theddy Quill along side Syruss reporting the facts, the whole facts, and nothing but the facts. Stay safe see you next week
NOTES from the Author
Hey Guys,
I am back and going to try and provide stories more frequently. What would help, would be kind reviews letting me know what you want to see more or less of.

Also I am willing to write articles both satirical and informative on other countries, plot lines, or shop plugs.
If you have a story you want out there please consider using the Grimloch Tribune as a method.  I can make it to most events to do a real interview or I can be reached on the OOC list, my Facebook page or my twitter account.

I am looking forward to making you laugh
Cal “Syruss”

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Funny Pictures

In this series, we're posting some unique pictures of us as we play in the Realms. The challenge we present to you is to provide us with funny captions for the pictures in the comments section. Try to keep 'em relatively clean and fun. (Photo by Angela Earle Gray)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

On the Order - Magi of the Realms

By Faelinn Shadowmoon (Leanne Hoffman)


The Magi of the Realms was found in 1998 by Sir Randal the Light, KoR. 

Randal was tasked by the Knights of the Realms to create an order that celebrates the role of a mage and acknowledges excellence in spellcasting. During this time, spellcasters (Healers or Mages) could not become a member of the Knights of the Realms, though they could become members of the Knights of the Eternal Flame. The Magi of the Realms was intended to be a sister order to the Knights of the Realms with the newly inducted members of the order taking control of the Magi and make it something unique and special. 

Randal inducted five founding members into the Order: Tetch, Stuart, Meerkat, Arkendyne, and Heron Silver. 

These members were granted the title of “Magus” and were formally recognized at Feast of Chimeron 6. 

The tenets given to the order at it’s founding are as follows: 

- Seek knowledge. Ignorance = Death. 

- Spread wisdom. Experience unspoken is lost. 

- Ascertain the unknown. Life not questioned is wasted. 

- Quest until the last quest is done. 

- Support the role of magic in the Realms 

About the Order 

Since the founding of the order, the Magi of the Realms has maintained the learning of spells as a minimum requirement. The order also supports the role of magic in all its forms as well as seeking to do no harm to the Realms. There are both In Character and Out of Character elements to the order. 

Though a knightly order, the Magi of the Realms set themselves apart in a few ways. The knight commander of the order is called the Magus Prime, with Magus Meerkat holding the honor of being the first chosen. Squires to the order are called apprentices. 

The Magus Prime is the public face of the order and has three distinct responsibilities. 

- Coordinate and organize the Magi of the Realms 

- Call for the order to review and evaluate the status of a Magus should the sad need arise. 

- Appoint the next Magus Prime. 

Apprentices to the Order of the Magi: 

The primary goal of taking an apprentice is to encourage their development as a spellcaster and as a player. Secondary goals can include such things as leadership, marshaling, and being a positive contributor to the Realms both In and Out of Character. As the order is both in and out of character at times, Magi work with apprentices on out of character goals that will impact their in character performance. 

Apprentices to the Magi of the Realms are chosen by an individual Magus. A prospective apprentice can be chosen for any number of reasons, but they must be a spellcaster as well as someone who would benefit from the mentoring by the Magus and by the Order. Apprentices are expected to show initiative and express what they would like to learn. While apprentices have input on their goals, the Magus remains responsible for setting them and taking their input into account. Other Magi may give meaningful input to others’ apprentices in the way of tasks and direction. 

In cases where an apprentice’s Magus is unavailable or inactive for a long period of time, another Magus will often “adopt” the apprentice and continue their studies and mentoring relationship. 

Apprentices are graduated out of the order when their Magus has decided that the apprentice has completed their learning and they have nothing more to learn from their Magus. They are publically acknowledged for completing their goals. The newly graduated apprentice is granted the honorific of “mage” and sent off into the Realms to “make a name for themselves” as a journeyman mage. Though it is the hope that one day they will be called back to the order to be made a Magus, graduating from apprenticeship is no guarantee that they will become a Magus themselves. It is also not a requirement to have been an apprentice to become a Magus. 

Becoming a Magus: 

Many people will often ask “What does it take to become a Magus of the Realms?”. There is no easy answer for this as many factors are looked at. Each member of the order might have their own ideas of what a Magus is or isn’t and the opinions are not often shared to the outside. 

In general, the minimum requirements to be a Magus of the Realms are: 

- You must be a spellcaster. 
- You play a “good guy” in character, and are a positive member of the community out of character. 

As current Magus Prime, I will share my thoughts on what characteristics a candidate to the order might have other that the two stated above. Again, these are my opinion. 

- You play a good character. You don’t make deals with evil on the side. Though your own morals can be what you want, the way you conduct yourself to others and your actions will speak louder than anything you say. 

- You are a paragon of your chosen type of spellcasting. Are you a prominent ritual caster leading others through pomp and circumstance to call on a god? Are you the go to diviner who can ferret out the obscure answers that leads the quest to victory? Are you the war mage on the front line known far and wide for your accurate barrage of magic missile attacks? Are you a healer who cares for the fallen, encourages the new and unsure, and strives to make everyone feel a part of the action? Own your type of casting and make it a part of you. 

- You actively promote the role of magic in the Realms. You help or encourage others in learning their spells. You inspire others to find the joy in spellcasting. 

- You serve as a positive example of a spellcaster. You must cast your spells accurately and teach others correctly. You aren’t a cheater or one who games the system. You don’t exploit loopholes in the rules. 

- You are a Magus of the Realms. This means that you do the right thing. You don’t just do the right thing for you, your friends, or your nation. You do the right thing for everyone. To me, this is a reminder that the the Magi were created as a sister order to the KoR. This is something you should remember and strive to live up to. 

Again, these opinions are my own when I look at a potential candidate to join the order as a Magus. 

Should a Magus of the Realms lose the ability to cast spells, they are expected to step down until such a time where they have spells again and approach the order to rejoin. If the individual still meets the requirements of membership they will be invited back. If an individual becomes derelict in their responsibilities as a Magus (becomes a “bad guy”, is an OOC cheater, etc), they will not be invited back into the order or removed from the order with a vote if they have not already left. 

Lineage and Current Members: 

Because the order as a whole determines who becomes a Magus of the Realms, there is no official lineage of inductees to the order. There are three apprentices that have become Magi in their own right, with one of them having been a Magus with a previous character (the player of Stuart now plays Borjid). If the player decides to create a new character that wants to be recognized as a Magus, they have two options. They can apprentice to the order with their new character and go through the apprentice process or they can petition the order with a character they feel upholds the values of the order. The order will discuss this on a case by case basis of characters. 

The following are members of the Magi of the Realms. 

Tetch - Feast of Chimeron 6, 1998 
Stuart - Feast of Chimeron 6, 1998 + 
Meerkat - Feast of Chimeron 6, 1998 
Arkadyne - Feast of Chimeron 6, 1998 + 
Heron Silver - Feast of Chimeron 6, 1998 + 
Savyne - Feast of Chimeron 8, 2000 + 
Bright Oakfellow - Feast of Chimeron 9, 2001 
Borjid - Feast of Leviathan 4, 2002 
Alexander Cecil - Feast of Leviathan 4, 2002 
Shalindra Darkmoon - Feast of Folkestone 5, 2004 + 
Zeek McKrye - Feast of Folkestone 5, 2004 + 
Faelinn Shadowmoon - Feast of Chimeron 17, 2009 
Zula Darkwillow - Feast of Chimeron 17, 2009 
Rel Zhirah - Feast of Chimeron 17, 2009 
Malaki - Queen of Hearts 16, 2009 
Atticus the Red - Feast of Chimeron 19, 2011 
Phoenix - Black and White, 2011 

+ denotes inactive 

The symbol of the magi of the Realms has changed over the years. Initially, the symbol of the order was a gold M on a blue field. Many of the older magi have and wear this patch. A second iteration of the patch was a Silvery/gold M on a blue field. It has since evolved to the following: 

Per bend azure and argent, an open book argent, bindings azure counterchanged, charged with the letter M azure. 

(A field diagonally divided blue and white. A white open book with the bindings counterchanged blue and white. On the left page of the book, a blue script letter M.) 

This symbol follows traditional rules of heraldry in combining a metal (white/silver) and a color (blue). The book represents the book each Magus is given on being inducted in the order with the tenets written in it. The M is a nod to the older symbol of the order. The colors blue and white were chosen because blue is the color of magic in the Realms and white is a nod to the Knights of the Realms founding the order. 

The belts and belt tabs worn by the Magi of the Realms reflects these ideas as well. The primary color of blue represents the color of magic. The white tip of the belt is a reflection of the order’s founding. The blue script M is the “signature” of the Magi symbol that is easily recognized as a distance on the white field. 

Apprentices to the order are given a plain blue belt favor showings that they have begun their learning with the order. Apprentices who have been graduated are given a blue favor with the order’s symbol on it, but lacking the M which is reserved for those with the title of Magus.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Why I Want to Go- Tournament of (more than just) Tunics

Tournament of (more than just) Tunics: Let's Garb the Realms
March 23, 2013 (Saturday 12pm) - March 23, 2013 (Saturday 6pm)

I think they are throwing this event for me; the goal of the event is to raise funds to improve the level of garb in the Realms by providing garb for new and under-garbed players.The event will have tournaments (and will provide Order of the List points), some 1-on-1 mentoring for newer fighters, a mini-quest for those who prefer questing over tournaments and a marketplace featuring some of the best shops the realms has to offer. There is also something mysterious called the "garb swap" but we'll have to see on that at the event.

I am always a fan of events that try to give back to the Realms and that is the purpose of this event. In fact, in lieu of paying the entrance fee, you can instead bring in 2+ yards of cotton broad cloth; you'll know your entrance fee is then going directly to help out. The site is large and has plenty of room for tourneys and everything else planned (and plenty of seats for the older players).

Monday, March 18, 2013

Question of the Week - 84

"Normal" one-day event start times are noon; what do you think about events that start earlier, such as 10am? What about other "unconventional" start and end times?

Friday, March 15, 2013

10 Questions - Katie "Effa" Smith

Katie "Effa" Smith 

Photo by Angela Earle Gray
How long have you been playing?
My first event was Green and Gold 2011. I am a very new player. I am still eligible to participate in most newbie tourneys. 

How has the game changed since you've been playing?
I have been playing less than two years. The game hasn't changed much. Rhodefathering passed this year, so that's a thing. Minor tweaks to the magic system, really nothing big or special. People are pretty much the same as they were a year ago. 

Who have you learned the most from?
Josh Learned and Henry Giasson taught me everything I know about leather-crafting and weapons-making. The fine folks at the Nottingham Fight Practice have taught me to suck less at combat- though that's a work in progress. Diana LaPierre and Angela Grey have taught me a lot about combat casting, and the magic system. Jacob Ruggerio has taught me the importance of maintaining a good attitude. And now that I'm a Dog of Grimloch I suspect that I'll have a lot to learn from each and every A-member. I still have an so much to learn, and luckily for me I have an entire community to learn from- though some serve as examples of what not to do :P

What was your best moment IC?
 Currently my best moment was the gauntlet that gained me Dog Status. I was so nervous/excited that I think I might have been shaking when Jaha put the Dog tabard on me. I hope that in the coming months I am able to prove myself and make my newfound countrymen and women proud (or at least do well enough that they'll tolerate my presence. 

What was your best moment as a NPC/EH/Player?
 I don't think I've yet had a moment as an NPC that really sticks out in my mind (like I said, I'm really quite new), and I've yet to be an EH (though that will be changing soon) I suppose my hands-down most favorite moments in the game as a player are support casting for the line in bridge or castle battles. I really enjoy being in the middle of combat, and having a lot of people to be responsible for, the adrenaline rush I get from such instances cannot be beat!

Photo by Robyn C Nielsen

What would you like to see changed or developed more in game?
I'd love to see more of an effort on the player's part to wear garb. Or at least leave the T-shirts with logos and jeans at home. I'm not that picky. 

What advice would you give new players?
1. Don't act like a self-rightous d-bag who has nothing to learn from others, there is always something you can learn, and nobody likes self-rightous d-bags. If you're a self-rightous d-bag, you're gonna have a bad time. 
2. Attend fight practices- even if you're planning on being a spell-caster. Not only will it make you a better fighter, it will improve your ability to judge the flow of combat (a useful skill as a spell-caster) AND you'll get to meet and make friends with people.
3. Be sociable. As a newer player it pays to make friends with other people. It'll mean you'll spend less time dead, and if you get up to mischief, you'll have people who have your back. Being sociable also makes it easier to get involved in plot.
4. I know its really tempting to play a shady assassin character who's all mysterious and broody. But be forewarned, if you do naughty things to important people, or people important people like, you're gonna have a bad time. In that same vein, being a necromancer sounds super cool, but there are certain groups that are less than fond of those who engage in necromantic activity. So if you engage in such acts, be prepared to face consequences (murdery, death filled consequences). 

What do you love most about the game?
The community. I've made some really dear friends in the short time I've been playing, and I'm glad I had the opportunity to meet them. And I also met my fiancee through the game, so there's that.

Who would you like to see the next interview be with?
I don't know who has or hasn't done an interview, so I'm just gonna go ahead and list some names I don't remember having read about. Jason Grey [his interview can be seen here], Andy Disbrow, Paul Tilton, Steven Yazinka, Megan Matulewicz.

Anything else you'd like to take the opportunity to put into print?
Shop at Grimloch Gear! If Effa is dead, make sure you raise her! Come to my event in March! [Her event is next week!]

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Funny Pictures

In this series, we're posting some unique pictures of us as we play in the Realms. The challenge we present to you is to provide us with funny captions for the pictures in the comments section. Try to keep 'em relatively clean and fun. (Photo by Angela Earle Gray)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Realmscraft: Eagle's Rook by Gary "Dagger" Heinstrom

In this addition, we take a look at the construction of Eagles Rook City.  I have also added a Play Realmscraft section with helpful start up links for those who are interested in what this project has to offer. 

Realmscraft Project

“For over 20 years [Around 30], players in the Realms have met on weekends and played characters in a fictional world.  We have maps, and imagine that we come from lands with castles, roads, bridges, towns, and everything else that might fit a medieval fantasy theme.  Until now, those lands have lived in our stories, songs, poems, and fertile imaginations.  This project is an attempt to change that.

‘Realmscraft’ could never replace LARPing, but with the right approach it can be a tool to make our shared roleplaying experience deeper and more fulfilling than ever before.”
In service to the Realms,
- Stephen Johnson, KoR, KoEF 

Author’s Notes
The Realmscraft Project has had its ups and downs since I started working on it.  Recently, with the addition of some recent updates, work has resumed on Eagles Rook.  At the close of last year, all that stood in Eagles Rook, in Realmscraft, was the Castle Ravensloft, some lower fortifications and the outer bailey.  Now, Eagles Rook City is coming together.  Here is a look at what its builders have completed. 

Brief History
“Eagle's Rook was founded many years ago by Sir Gunnar Guthrevyn. Sir Gunnar took the lands, then called Ravensloft, from his evil uncle who had tainted the land and brutalized his people. Re-naming it Eagle's Rook, Sir Gunnar abandoned Ravensloft castle high upon the mountain and opted for the stronghold that directly overlooked the city of Ravensloft. Sir Gunnar reined for only 3 years before dying at the hands a demon. Power was transferred to Sir Myreil, but she spent most of her time questing and was unable to keep up with the much-needed work upon the castle and city. Power was soon passed to Sir Pyr Thalax, and subsequently Sir Vawn Coupant, who is the existing lord and Knight Commander of Eagle's Rook. There was also a 5 year period where Dame Anne ascended to the title of Duchess, but she stepped down from her position to bring Sir Pyr back from beyond the grave.” 

Eagle's Rook at Night

Eagle's Rook Gate at Night

Eagle's Rook During the Day

Looking Up at Castle Ravensloft (Possibly Not Named that Now)

Play Realmscraft

The Realmscraft project is not just for mass builders who seek to construct nations.  It is also for those who would like to enjoy a little tastes of what the Realms has to offer in a new light.  Quests, dungeons, Roleplaying, and all sorts of other activities are created, and made available, for those who would just like to enjoy another Realms related outlet. 

Here are some links that may be of assistance in getting you in to our rendition of the Realms World. – Stephen Johnson (Sir Duncan Conrad of Rhiassa) hosts the Realmscraft server.  The Rhiassa website is your gateway to Realmscraft. - Joining the Server Page.  You can also email me, Gary E. Heinstrom (Dagger Arkenstone) at  I would be happy to help - Minecraft website 

Join the Realmscraft Project
Do you have a nation that needs building?  Email us, and we will insure that you get the tools, knowledge, and help you need to complete the job.   

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Why I Want to Go- The Dragon's Den II

The Dragon's Den II: From the Ashes
March 17, 2013 (Sunday 3pm) - March 17, 2013 (Sunday 9pm)

Here we have a new questing event. While it is billed as sequel, and not many people were able to see it, this event will stand on its own feet. In it the player characters are charged with investigating an area that was the site of a battle with a dragon. The dragon was driven back into a cave gravely injured...and now some time later menacing sounds can be heard coming from the cave. Will the dragon reappear? What are the strange creatures seen in the vicinity? Will heroes be able to stop this potential danger?

This in-door event is capped, so make sure to see if there are still slots available on realmsnet (though there is likely to be plenty of room for more NPCs). In addition there is a new game mechanic, Willpower, that can allow for various affects to occur upon your PC; make sure to check the event write-up to get a better understanding of this mechanic. Due to the constraints of the site, no weapons over 5' are allowed. Note the unusual start time of 3pm; also the site does not open until 2pm, so don't get there too early..

Monday, March 11, 2013

Question of the Week - 83

What is the most you would spend for admission to a Realms event? Would this change depending on the type/length of event?

Friday, March 8, 2013

Happenings on the Emerald Path

A news and announcement section of what Realms players are doing outside of the Realms. If you know of any news feel free to let us know at

Apparently this is the new baby edition of Happenings...

Joshua "Merrix" and Anna "Runda" Bryant gave birth to Samuel on Febraury 26th.

Congratulations to Matt "King Cecil" and Lindsay Brenner, and welcome to the world to their son Samuel (where have I heard that baby name before?) was born on February 3rd. 

Welcome also to Arianna DeMarco, newly born daughter of Bill "Artex" Demarco and his wife Kristie.  

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Pointiness and You: Considerations for safe non-boff LARP props

Pointiness and You – Considerations for safe non-boff LARP props

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Boffer LARPing means that you are accepting a certain level of risk as nature has failed to make sticks and rocks comfortable to fall on, especially while we hit each other about the head and upper torso with padded sticks. We can, however, do our best to help create a fun and interesting fantasy world while minimizing damage to other peoples’ eye sockets, weapons and our wallets. Mixing functionality with creativity is how you can do just that.

As a community, we rely on the craftsmanship of garb, armor, and small props to make up for the safe but cylindrical bats that make up a good deal of visual aspects the game world. There are a lot of small things that we need to take into account when building non-boff props, like shields and armor with adornments, spell props, and the various pieces of equipment that we wear as our characters. Below are as many of the considerations that I could think of when you are designing something, but don’t let these guidelines stifle your creativity. There are plenty of situations where proper use of an item outweighs the a small amount of “risk” inherent in its design.

Keep it cheap – Let’s face it, boffer LARPing is a sport that is rough on gear. Stuff breaks down, gets slammed into trees, gets tripped over, and gets thrown into the back of your car after a late nightquest. Don’t pour a ton of money into a particular prop that will inevitably break down, unless you are willing to lose it. A lot of props are also Stealable in whole (or need to be returned as Event-Stealable items are), and you can’t always assume that people know how fragile something is or isn’t.

Know what happens when you might step on it – Things happen. Stuff breaks. Glass isn’t a particularly great material because it can shatter and cause a hazard.  Aluminum tubing, for instance, can perforate and become sharp if stepped on. You need to consider what might happen if you drop an item or if it is misplaced and stepped upon in the dark. Things like wood or bamboo tend to break or snap and can splinter, but they tend to remain contained or in a couple of easily moved pieces. Fiberglass can have a sharp edge if it shears, but more than likely you see the pipe crush in a way that breaks the fibers apart and makes the core suddenly flexible by some of the remaining strands. It’s why I suggest having the handles of weapons taped; it reduces damage due to knicks, and keeps breaks contained. You don’t need to worry about any prop being invincible, just easy and safe to move if it’s destroyed.

Know how something might deform if pressed – This is a bit trickier, and has as much to do with handling than it does the actual material. If you have a thin steel rod tucked in your belt for instance, will it bend when it contacts a tree while you are running or will it jab your leg? This sort of consideration doesn’t mean not to use the material (there might be other reasons for that, as in the case of steel), but it does mean that you might need to carry it differently. Will it take a weapon blow if you’re holding it?

How does the prop interact with weapons? – When creating armor or shields (things designed to interact with weapons) make sure that there aren’t protrusions or sharp edges that might hurt the foam on a weapon. Foam, especially when covered in cloth like many modern weapons are, is particularly susceptible to nicks and gouges.  Things not designed to be hit, such as the held prop in Implement needs to worry less about shredding weapons, but it still should be a consideration. Never have a sharp point on the end of things or spikes that come to a point. Rounded nubs can achieve a similar effect without catching weapons.  If you are going to wear the prop on your body, keep an eye out for how it might hurt a weapon if it is braced or held stationary. Because of the prevalence of combat, and how little control you have over your interaction in it, this is by far the most important consideration. Weapons are time consuming to build, and a weapon shredded during an event might not be checked until well after it can do damage to somebody.

Make sure things that aren’t weapons don’t look like weapons – For instance, it is a better idea to leave a wooden staff unfoamed to visually indicate that it is not a weapon than it is to foam it to avoid incidental contact.

Try to avoid props that when worn, would harm your ability to feel shots – This is a bit vague, and sometimes it cannot be avoided. If you have a large piece of wood as a prop, and your character is carrying it strapped to your back, be very careful that you can feel a light tap to your back while running away. It is very difficult, and if you can design around this problem, do so.

Don’t design something that will entangle your fingers – Though some people will disagree with this point for style reasons, things like firm pistol grips on swords don’t work particularly well for small props. It is possible that your prop will get hit when you are holding it, and things entwined in your fingers is a bad idea, even if it looks cool.

Always assume you are about to be hit from behind – A good rule of thumb to think about is what might happen if you are holding the prop in the manner in which you intend and you are hit from behind. You could jump, jostle the wrong way or it could fly out of your hands. As an example, holding a stethoscope to a dead NPC is just fine, but a wooden oak stake made out of real wood might not be.

Don’t mimic the Light spell without having it – Since light is a spell in our system, having something that sheds a large amount of light (such that you could use it as a proxy for the spell), is considered bad game form if you don’t have the spell. If you are planning on using it as an alternate Light component, check it in with the magic marshal.

Foam is your friend – Foam, both open and closed-cell is a pretty well-used material, and if you are clever with it, you can achieve a wide variety of effects. Liquid latex on top of foam provides a flexible cover that can be painted so it doesn’t look shiny like duct tape. When working with foam, don’t use hard adhesives like hot glue or Gorilla Glue as it tends to strip away the advantages of the material. Use a flexible one like DAP contact adhesive. Experiment and ask more senior craftsmen; they are pretty willing to share their knowledge.

Don’t be afraid to ask before you build or use – There are a wide variety and tolerances of alternate designs in the game, so don’t be afraid to ask.

Don’t be dumb – During the filming of the first movie for Harry Potter and the order of the Phoenix, Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange) ruptured Matthew Lewis’ (Neville Longbottom) eardrum by accidentally poking him in the ear with a wand. It was an accident, and while that doesn’t mean that wand props aren’t wildly unsafe, it just means don’t go shoving them in people’s ears for dramatic effect.

I hope these short notes help people think about the technical considerations of prop-making, so that you can let your creativity enhance the game for yourself and the people around you in a responsible way. If you are an eventholder, and you are designing something that isn’t going to be moved, as in a large prop, then don’t worry about this as much. People know not to strike a spikey-looking altar or a candle that’s actually lit with their sword.

Go out there and make stuff. Have fun.

Funny Pictures

In this series, we're posting some unique pictures of us as we play in the Realms. The challenge we present to you is to provide us with funny captions for the pictures in the comments section. Try to keep 'em relatively clean and fun. (Photo by Angela Earle Gray)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Meet the Merchants - The Gilded Lion

What is your shop called, and who runs it?

Rhiassa’s shop is called The Gilded Lion. Our primary shopkeeper is Darkoan, who you have no doubt seen at his post every year at Feast of Leviathan.

What do you sell?

Our shop focuses on our unique line of Realms themed board games. Some of these games (like Munchkin and Risk) are Realms adaptations of classic, well known games, but we also have original game concepts, which are mostly based off of war maneuvers at Queen of Hearts. As a side business, the Gilded Lion also runs the betting table at the Order of the List Invitational.

What are your preferred currencies?

We accept any backed gold at the shop. Our preferred currency, of course, is the Wooden Scale. As an added bonus, when the shop is at Feast of the Leviathan, we accept scales at twice their normal value.  We also make a specific point of accepting golden coin of the realms at ten. Our board games are also available for cash, through the Rhiassa website, where you can buy them online and have them directly shipped to you by our print-on-demand supplier. Our prices are based on the one-dollar to four-gold ratio.

Where can an adventurer find your wares?

Our shop is consistently at Feast of the Leviathan and we are hoping to start staffing it at Queen of Hearts as well. There may be some other social events that we will be set up at, but as I said, our wares are also always available online.

What makes your wares super awesome?

Certainly their uniqueness. There is no other merchant offering a similar product. The quality of the game components is exceptional, and the care and time put into the design and artwork are all evident. Every game is
play tested extensively to ensure that it is well balanced and that it can be replayed many, many times while still holding its appeal.

Anything else?

Our intention this coming season is to bring our games around to more events just to allow others to play them or see them played. Look for us at feasts this winter and spring.

To any of those who have board game ideas bouncing around inside your heads, we are more than happy to work with you to make them a reality. We have several experienced gamesmiths in the group and a lot of graphic
design talent as well. Whether you would like to sell your game through our shop and make some gold, or just make one for yourself and your friends, I am sure that we can help.