Thursday, March 31, 2016

Why I want to go to the Western Front

Why I want to go to the Western Front
By Steve Nelson

The snow is receding (hopefully), the winter feasting season is winding down, and outdoor practices will be starting soon. It’s time to repair your armor and refoam some weapons. Or maybe read up on the rule changes from the EH and figure out how they impact your build. Perhaps you need to figure out a grandfathering? The questing season is right around the corner. There will be puzzles to solve and monsters to slay. It's the revolving seasons of the Realms. Somewhere an event holder is already planning your next epic struggles. Somewhere a crafter may be gathering rare and arcane materials to create the monster you will battle or the puzzle that will stump you.

I’ve been wandering the realms for a few years now. I’ve gone questing, dungeon crawling, tourneying, feasting and to war. I’ve gone to practices and crafting nights and helped run them too. What I haven’t done yet is step behind the curtain of eventing. But it’s been on my mind for awhile now. I mentioned that in my ten questions which is probably how I ended up writing this.

There are a few reasons I’m interested in battling on the Western Front. One is that I’ve noticed that year in and year out I see a lot of the same names on the Realmsnet event descriptions. I also see a lot of the same faces behind the monster masks, in the kitchens, and marshaling on the fields. The effort and time that people put into this game is remarkable. So certainly, at least, part of my motivation is to help shoulder some portion of the work. Even though I don’t feel ready for marshaling, and I suspect it’s for the best that I not cook anything.

But I also have a lot of curiosity about how things work. The metaphor of herding cats comes quickly to mind when I think about the twists and turns that happen while questing. What if they all turn left when they were supposed to turn right? I suspect there’s more than a little plot revision happening on the fly as the adventurers wander through a quest.

Now to be fair, I know that my role play is not strong. So I don’t anticipate being ready for any intricate or plot heavy kind of NPC roles real soon. But a grunting troll or cackling goblin I’m sure I can pull off. However, as I’ve said often enough, I love to fight. And I certainly see NPCs doing that. In fact, it sometimes looks like a pretty grueling pace of fighting, dying and circling back to do it again. That I’m confident I can do. In fact, that is something I’ll enjoy. I believe the technical term for that kind of role is a “crunchy”. And I’m guessing that in general the more crunchies, the better at least in terms of not burning them out and preventing idle swords while the thinky types are solving puzzles.

Lastly being an NPC looks like fun. You do a lot of the same kinds of things that you might while questing. But you get to see it from the other side, you know what the solution is and probably agonize as the questers try everything else. You have to think on your feet when the adventurers do the unexpected. You get to step into another character without long term commitment. And you get to be the bad guy! Who doesn’t deep down want to be the bad guy sometimes? When else would you get to wield a boulder? So hopefully, sometime this year I will be manning the ramparts on the Western Front. Care to join me?

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