Friday, May 8, 2015

Fresh Faces - Brian "Bludwin" Healy

Photo by Jesse Gifford

How did you learn about Realms?

Freshmen at WPI at the beginning of the year have the opportunity to go to a huge club fair where each club on campus sets up a table.  In addition to the table, the Society for Medieval Arts and Sciences (SMAS) had brought boffer weapons and had set up a space to fight.  I got to sparring with Gareth, landed on the mailing list, and started showing up.

How many events have you been to?
While I have been at a good number of the SMAS fight practices, singing gigs prevent me from attending many of the events that I would prefer to attend.  That said, I have managed to attend six events since I started with SMAS in September of 2014.  The first one was Newbie Night Quest, thrown by the more experienced members of SMAS, and the most recent was Saurabian Questing (I’m sure stories about that one will be told for a while).

Have you ever LARP’ed before?

I have not, however, I did attend an event called Splash at MIT a couple years ago (when I was a junior in high school).  The event gave you the opportunity to take classes ranging from special relativity to the game mechanics of Pokemon, and while I was there, I ended up in a class to learn how to make boffer swords.  That class is what taught me what LARPing was and really got me thinking about it.

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

My character's name is Bludwin.  Although he will respond to anything that sounds reasonably like his name (ranging from “blued-win” to “blood-win” the "u" is actually pronounced like the "oo" in “wood”.  He is a wood elf from a small village out west, beyond the currently-settled Realms.  He has been mostly wandering and living off of the land after his village was destroyed without any warning , and without much evidence.  He has always been a bit of a loner; although he appreciates companionship, he will rarely seek it out on his own, and has a tendency to occasionally melt away from a party.

What do you remember most about your first event?

My first event was Newbie Night Quest X: A Small Task; later titled: To Hell and Back. I remember once we entered hell, all us newbies were told by our two more experienced guides that one should never make a deal in hell.  Later in the quest, the only way to proceed past a certain point was for a party member to pledge a year of their time in hell spent training to a demon.  Long story short, there are a couple people (who will remain nameless) who have pledged thier word to something that could have some negative consequences in the future.  It sounds somewhat odd, but that was one of the things that felt very “real” about that event.

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

One of the things a newer player struggles with is not being nearly as well equipped (armor, weapons, etc.) as the well-experienced players.  I have never had anyone refuse to let me borrow some equipment when they had extras, and when they didn’t, they often times would ask one of their friends on my behalf who did have extra equipment.  When I went to Ashen Bounty last year, my first event after Newbie Night Quest, I forgot to bring a sword with me.  I ended up borrowing not only a sword, but also a mail shirt and coif from Gideon for that quest.  When he needed to leave early, he even left the mail shirt with me, and trusted that I would get it back to him through other helpful players.  I have even had some people outright give me extra equipment; let me tell you, that is an excellent feeling, when someone lets you borrow something for an event, and when you try to give it back, they say, “go ahead and keep it, I have an extra.”

What parts of the game do you find most challenging?

I guess to continue on that same line of thought, it is really hard to get equipped well.  I am thankful for so much help from more experienced players, and from SMAS, but if something happens like I decide I want to be an archer, there is a large monetary and a huge time investment in preparing a bow, constructing arrows, and getting a quiver (I’m not counting the practice as a challenging time investment, because that tends to be a lot of fun).  On a more in-character note, I find it difficult sometimes to have the confidence to interact with the story, or even asserting myself enough to get some of the loot from enemies I helped kill.  I tend to defer to the older players, and more than once, that has led to me not getting any of the rewards from a quest that most other people were enjoying.

Do you have any game related goals (as either a player or a character)?
I’m really not looking for too much as a player right now.  Mostly, I’m in it to have fun and relax with my friends.  As a character, Bludwin does not have a goal so much as he is searching for a goal.  He is a little lost emotionally at the moment, and is really looking for a purpose.

What advice would you give other new players?

Interact with the more experienced players, you can learn a lot from them, and they generally enjoy helping newer players.  In my experience, most players are friendly in character, and nearly all are friendly out of character, so really just go up and introduce yourself.  If you see they’re a good fighter, maybe ask for some pointers, or to spar a couple of rounds.  You go to these events to interact with people, so do your best to interact as much as you can.

What have you enjoyed most about the game so far?

Really, the thing that I’ve enjoyed the most has been the community.  The Realms has quickly become a circle of both friends and mentors, and I love every minute of it.  I don’t make good friends particularly easily, but I feel like this as a place that will always accept me.

Anything else you’d like to take the opportunity to put into print?

 I was recently elected to be the treasurer of the Society for Medieval Arts and Sciences here at WPI, and I would like to take this opportunity to both officially, and personally thank every person who contributed to our club, whether by running workshops, running practices, donating, or even just being generally friendly to all of our newbies in game.  You people are why I decided to stay in the Realms.

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