Friday, August 23, 2013

Fresh Faces- Conrad "Garharz" Barnes

How did you learn about Realms?
Photo by Robyn Nielsen
I've known about Realms since 2000 due to friends getting into it, plus knowing other Realm players via other gaming systems. It wasn't until 2013 that I chose to make the plunge and start doing it regularly as a hobby.

How many event have you been to?
As Garharz? Perhaps only 8 or so. Total Ever? add another 6-8 over the years. Mostly being some 1 off event lackey, or grunt NPC. Other times, I was just there for the company of the friends who were playing, so tending site and such.

Have you ever LARP’ed before?
Nope nope. Realms of Wonder has been my first and only (so far) exposure to LARP'n. Work with someone who's heavy into Legends, but know little about it.

What is your character like? Where are they from? What is their race? What is important to them?
What is Garharz like? Well.... he's like a blacksmith. Specifically, a mercenary blacksmith. He hails from the lands of the Northern Alliance and so follows many of the views commonly held by northmen. Garharz was born in a village called Mountain's Shadow (Fjellet Skygge in his native toungue), which resides north of Fort North Point. His home sits at the foot of a mountain range know as the Spear (Spyd). The Spear is home to a great many houses of dwarfs, and so Mountain's Shadow enjoys being a great entry point into the lands of the NA for the dwarves raw goods. From here, the products or raw materials will continue inland to Fort North Point. 
Garharz found his calling early on as a smith. Now and again a master dwarf would seek his fortunes above ground crafting in Fjellet Skygge, and understanding their supreme native abilities, Garharz would always seek to apprentice under them. While his skills as a blacksmith grew the need for more smiths inside his village unfortunately didn't not. Saying goodbye to the home he loves, and the parents who raised him was hard, but hardship is no stranger to those in the north.
At first Garharz planned to travel along the roads until settling down and becoming a town's blacksmith. It was with fortune, however, that at Fort North Point he crossed paths with a former master of his, Master Trian. Trian explained to his bright eyed young former apprentice (after much imbibing at the tavern) that being a blacksmith brought no riches. Even a dwarf such as Trian could only offer his wares near what others charged. To truly seek fortune in this profession, one must seek THOSE that seek fortune.
Thus, started Garharz' drive to seek his riches as a Forgemaster for hire. To arrive where help is needed, and, for a small retaining fee, help those adventurers. To one day retire and enjoy his aquired wealth in warmth, food, and drink. Within the company of trusted friends, hardened cohorts, and beautiful consorts. 

What do you remember most about your first event?
It was cold, and jumping on mattresses. No really, I think it was WinterFest 01? So my memory does it no favors. However, the cold stands out vividly. 
First event as Garharz proper? Well, that was Leviathan XV. Though I traveled to it with friends still playing Realms, I wasn't going to be given any special treatment because of OOC connections. Which, oddly, made the event amazing. To be turned down for conversation so coldly after approaching someone I knew for years helped solidify the aspect of RP I wanted to embrace. It was as I walked back to my seating I realized that, looking at it from an IC point, who was I to expect any different reaction from a complete stranger.
Also knowing no one, and knowing no one "knew" me, made for some fear filled moments when swords were drawn. Garharz even met a king, in person! The king nicely asked Garharz to move out of the corner he was cowering in, and the king didn't have time to explain why. His guard didn't stab Garharz or anything. (Which might have been a quicker way to obtain said defensive point.)
A few tiny things really made my first Garharz event fun and memorable. They certainly crafted a sense in me that I want to encourage in my time playing Realms. That some people, just want to lose themselves in the RP fantasy of Realms. 

What things have helped to make you feel welcome in game?
That mistakes are made and not intentional. That when I would ask questions, no matter how silly or stupid it might seem, I was never scoffed or rebuked for not knowing. That, even at my first event, I was talked to. I, in retrospect, blew it. (Nice pipe, story behind it? Nope, just some head shop cheap-o pos derp-a-derp. Oh, well good day then) But people would ID me as newbie and were inviting as people, even despite my natural derp tendencies.

What parts of the game do you find most challenging?
Challenging, but in a good way, is simply staying in character. Garharz has an obvious accent, and he has not grasped the common tongue perfectly. Trying to use simple means to explain harder concepts is, well, hard. Certainly even harder trying to do it on the fly, and smoothly. Practice will make perfect, until then, there might be large pauses in his conversatation. (A conversation that plays out in my head is that of a character trying to explain time travel.... it kinda boiled down to Tomorrow's tomorrow, tomorrow. Then even more tomorrows beyond that.)
Also, learning verbals, under pressure, in combat, with people needing that call, while others yelled at you.... I be damned if I don't have my repair item perfect now, but holy nuts that was a pressure cooker!

Do you have any game related goals (as either a player or character)?
(IC)Get rich, and don't die trying. 
(OOC)Perhaps starting to craft weapons, and armor for realms. Other useful items too. To not only be a blacksmith IC, but to have the wares available one would expect from a blacksmith. Also, to launch the crusade of wooden stools vs plastic + polyester sport chairs. Picking up best newcomer and best RP wouldn't be too bad either. 

What advice would you give other new players?
Not all important people LOOK important in realms. That Realms gives you what you put into it. Also extra  socks, duct tape, blankets, sunscreen and bug spray will earn you so many friend cookies. 

What have you enjoyed most about the game so far?
The people. The stories that are crafted in front of your eyes. The happiness of seeing a familiar face and a warm grin when you arrive at site. Also, not going to lie, getting my name guessed first during the game-show portion of Pressure Point: Flashback was a huge ego boost. (Even if I was the wrong answer) Just a little something that meant I was doing okay, so far. 

Anything else you'd like to take the opportunity to put into print?
Oh, yeah! Wait... no, I had something for this. Oh... dammit. Come back to me, I'll have something good I promise.

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