Thursday, October 19, 2017

What You Missed: A Grave Discovery

by James "Sir Tao" Murphy

What You Missed or, Uncle Tao’s Fireside Stories [ooc to follow, there is some interesting stuff there]

Stonewood, problems with undead, probably be really easy to deal with. Or not….

We gathered on Friday as a village in Stonewood had asked for our aid. With armor on and weapons in hand we set off. I was quite amazed by the large numbers that had gathered on this Friday night. We journeyed to a village where we meet a few villagers who let us know that there was a local dungeon where they thought was an artifact that was summoning the undead to the area. They asked us to go into the dungeon and secure the artifact so it could be found out if it was indeed the thing summoning the undead.

The entrance to the dungeon had some letters that had to be arranged into words in a particular order. While more ‘thinky’ people than me worked on this, I stayed to the outside expecting undead to start to appear. Luckily they did not. It was as quiet as a tomb.

Once the puzzle had been solved the way was opened into a room full of unbreakable stings that just looked a mess. Each string had to be untangled to continue. As I had my trusty large questy axe, and full armor on, I was not much help in the untangling. Myself and a few others in similar circumstances went to a corner where we would not be in the way. After a bit some of the strings were untangled, and some magic was used so that a wall opened up and we were able to continue looking for the artifact. 

The wall opened to reveal several statues that reacted to movement, and hit with the force of large rocks. It took some time but eventually we were able to get the large party around the statues with minimal damage.

The next obstacle we encountered was a bridge that had been trapped in a clever way. The bridge was a series of tiles that when you stepped on them the first time, you were pushed one or two tiles in a set way. For instance if the tile said N E; you would be pushed one tile north and one tile east. If this pushed you off the bridge you fell to your death, and would be returned to the start of the bridge. Once it had been stepped on once, the tile went blank and could be stepped on a second time without any forced push, but would reset to active once it was used this way. 

As is my way I stayed to the back constantly on alert for any monsters to rise and start to attack, but it continued to be quiet. We did not realize that there would be even more silence to come….

Getting everyone over the bridge took quite a bit of time. When we encountered our next obstacle, a room that allowed no noise, but had several riddles written on the walls. To solve the riddle the answer had to be written down.  With a party this size it was short work to solve them.

This led into a room where the artifact was found; a large triangular statute-like thing that glowed with the light of arcane magic. We walked it out to the village. It was decided we should keep it in our tavern as that is where the majority of the adventures would be. Usually I spend time cleaning blood and gore off my weapons and armor but this time I did not have too. We were never attacked by anything. 

The next day we gathered to find out more information about the artifact and to see what could be accomplished to make it stop summoning undead. I was hoping to continue not to have to attack anything; I was disappointed.

The undead started attacking as soon as we were gathered, and by going to where they were coming from we were able to follow them back to where they were coming from.  A quick warning, these undead were strong, they had unusual defenses. Alongside the normal zombies and skeletons, there were also ghosts who could only be affected by ghost-bladed weapons.

At one point, some magic happened and we all went to sleep, or at least I think we all went to sleep. After we woke up we learned that several people in the party had been scalping out undead and trying to send their souls to non-Stonewood gods. They also learned that this is a bad idea.

After many unusually powerful undead waves, a god(?) may have shown up. He had somehow ended up with one of our magic items and was pretty much looking for more battle and destruction.  After a long running fight with several cries going off, the god (Sorin?) was suitably impressed by our combat prowess and returned the item.

We were exhausted from the fight but continued to keep looking for more information. While I had not had to fight at all Friday night, by Saturday afternoon, I had been very, very busy.

We explored until we found a chapel with some very locked/stuck/blocked doors. There was also a large demon/monster thing that had some grudge against one of the party and gave us quite a bit of trouble. After quite a bit of shenanigans and general mayhem the party finally was able to open the doors.  We found nothing of worth inside. However while the work was going into opening the doors, the demon thing had finally been defeated.

So, the demon was defeated, one of the party had stopped it from blowing up temporarily. Almost everyone backed up a long way. But it was not long enough. Once the thing was allowed to blow up it killed almost everyone.

At this point I only have secondhand accounts of what happened. I had stayed close enough to the demon that if it was counting down to summing more demons, or more undead or just did not blow up like we thought it would I would be able to help the one party member in the middle of the field. There was a large noise and then silence for me.

Many people were dead; many people were scalped (myself included). Lots of magic was used to get us all back. We retired back to the village to have dinner. 

Here my tale ends, my soul was damaged, and I had received word that matters out west needed my attention.

Friday night quest had no fighting, none, not one skinny undead anything. The entire dungeon had only puzzles and traps. While I think the number of PCs that showed up Friday night was double what they were expecting it still worked with some longer wait times as most of the puzzles/traps could only be operated by a few people at a time.

The staff asked all of us to cover our weapons in white socks. This made combat at night much, much safer.  I liked it. They also used a lot of light props that looked like glowing crystals that upped the ambient light level. I liked these two changes. I feel they made fighting at night much safer and more comfortable.

Also when I got scalped by the exploding demon, I left all the stealables, a phis rep, and went to get a drink. I happen to walk up to two of the event-holders and sat down with them for a bit. They wanted to make sure the following exchange made it into print:

Me: “You just had a total party wipe, how do you feel?”
Travis: “Like a dick”

[Photos also by James Murphy]

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Why I Want to Go-Ashen Bounty VI

By Lani "Gwen" Grayson

Ashen Bounty is an event that I look forward to attending every year because it strikes such a wonderful balance between great questing and great food. As someone who has had the pleasure to quest at this event series in the past, I can genuinely say that this EH team puts in a great deal of effort to make sure that the plot is clear and engaging and that the encounters are well balanced and keep everyone in the questing party entertained. At Ashenbounty you can expect cool mechanics and effects, and also some unique ways of working with in-house magic items, ensuring that there is always something for everyone to be doing all weekend long. What sticks out in my mind about this series are the individual encounters: each one unique, fun, creative, and interesting. In years past we’ve battled Lightning Scorpions, ventured into haunted libraries, worked our way through charged fields, or battled the limbs of giant plant monsters. I’m sure that in our attempts to aid Prince Skyros that we will once again face off against some epic challenges.

As I’ve said many times before, I am in awe of EH teams that throw questing and feasting in the same weekend, because both of these skills take a lot of work individually but take a crazy amount of coordination to pull off successfully at the same time. I have no doubt that the food will be exquisite because I’ve had the pleasure of working with this feastocrat in the past and she can cook! After a challenging day of questing I think there can be no greater pleasure than sitting down to a delicious, warm, home-cooked meal.

If you haven’t come out to Ashen Bounty before, then you really need to make an effort this year because you will miss out if you don’t attend.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Ask the Editors

Ask the Editors
The Editors
Episode 20 

Hello again and welcome.

This week's questions was asked to us in person:

“Have you ever been snubbed by any entity in The Realms, and how did that make you feel?”


(At least we think it was anonymous, we never really asked, so it will remain that way for now unless they wish to come forward.)

First up, we have Lani 'Gwen' Grayson:

“This is a tough question to answer, because I think at one time or another we all believe that our hard work goes unnoticed. My theory is that people do notice, but often fail to say those nice things we love to hear out loud. That means that we can all be a part of the solution, rather than a part of the problem. If you see someone doing something great, don’t feel embarrassed to compliment them on it--just go for it and enjoy the smile that it brings to someone else’s face. And if you do feel like you’ve been overlooked for something you believe you deserve, take solace in the fact that the only person you have control over is you, and continue doing your best for as long as it makes you happy to do so. Someday someone may notice, or they might not, but either way, as long as you are doing what makes you happy then that’s what really counts in the end.”

Excellent advice. Thanks Lani.

Next up, Diana 'Kiira' LaPierre:

“The game has had a history of orders that are very subjective(not to be confused with objective which I often do). On just my own opinion, orders like that are made for hard feelings. I tend to disagree with them on that basis. 

What someone appears to do versus what they actually do can be completely different things, and when someone is not in your social circle, or they are in an opposing one, appearances aren’t always what they seem.

Then, sometimes, you can have someone who talks a big game but doesn’t actually do the things they say and/or believe they do, and if you take them at face value, you are being hoodwinked into thinking they deserve admittance into the organization. That person may not be in your social circle, but when they self-promote, you could think they deserve it. On the opposite end of that, there are those who do a lot to fulfill that requirement, but because they are humble and don’t promote themselves or ask for credit, they fly under the radar.

Bottom line is: friends promote friends. What I see happening is people promoting their friends within orders because it’s who they see on a regular basis and maybe someone who they push to do the same things as themselves. Ask some twenty or more year players and they may tell you that not much has changed. It’s human nature to want to help your friends.”

Excellent insight, Diana, thank you.

Next, we hear from Jen 'Areni' Denardis-Rosa

“So this doesn't technically answer the question, because my short answer to the question is no, I do not feel that I have been snubbed by any organization in the game. But as a shy newbie, I did find it hard sometimes to meet people and make friends within the game. I am blessed now to have a large circle of friends and acquaintances within the Realms that have built up over the years, but I didn't feel that this was always the case. I found myself often feeling intimidated by the "movers and shakers" during the time that I was a newbie, and tended to stick close to the circle of people who brought me into the game and to a smaller extent, the people I met through practice. While the majority of people I met during the time seemed to me to be welcoming and open to newbies, it was sometimes hard for me to "put myself out there" and get out of my box. Through the years I've gotten much more comfortable socially and have gotten to know a lot of the "big deal" people that I was once intimidated by, and it's been a very rewarding for me and has lead to many treasured relationships, for sure.”

Thank you for sharing your experience, Jen.

Last up, Sara 'Zarine' Jessop weighs in:

“So, this is an interesting question for me. Of course I have felt snubbed by a group in the game. If you don't know which, you haven't been paying attention. However, how it makes me feel is totally different than how it makes Zarine feel. Zarine is just a lonely, bitter harpy who likes to complain and hide her hurt feelings under sarcasm and haughtiness. Sara isn't upset much at all. I mean, on an OOC level I enjoy promoting fashion and culture in the game, but I don't need to be a part of a group to do that. I just continue doing what I enjoy and trying to promote positive changes where I feel that they can happen in my own way. I just happen, for the most part, to use my character to effect those changes.

Sara and Zarine are different people, though of course played by the same stunning actress, with different reactions and feelings. My feelings aren't hurt because I was overlooked, in fact, I don't even think I even was overlooked. I think that I may have been passed over for others who were perhaps better liked by the group. I am not saying it's not hurtful at all, to feel unliked, but in the grand scheme of things it's not that big of a deal, and I am probably reading too much into it anyways. I can still enjoy myself and do what I do without being a part of it. In fact, much of who Zarine has become has come about from the inner turmoil she feels from being snubbed. So really, maybe being snubbed has been the best thing that ever happened to me (in the game, let's be honest, way better things have happened to me IRL) so that I could make Zarine a better character to play.”

Thank you, Sara,

So there you have it. It seems that we all feel that the most important thing is doing what you love for you, because you can't expect other people to give you recognition. Be happy with yourself. You can still do great things without the validation of others.

We love answering your questions! Speaking of which, we need more, so if you want to keep reading out spectacular answers, we'll need you to send more questions our way. The information on how is in italics below. We hope to hear from you soon!

Questions can be sent to Sara “Zarine” Jessop via email (, facebook messenger, or in person. The question box will also be making the rounds at various events. Please note if you'd like your question to remain anonymous and/or if you would like to address specific editors

Monday, October 16, 2017

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Why You Should Go - A Grave Discovery

by Zach Senchuk

Hello and welcome to “A Grave Discovery” a full weekend quest in the lands of Stonewood this weekend 10.13.17. There are a few things we would like to highlight as good reasons to make it out this weekend. 

  • We will be testing some new mechanics for the questing that should highlight some interesting aspects of the game we often don’t delve into. 

  • This is Tim “James Swift” Suitor’s first event EH’ing in the Realms! 

  • We have a number of thing we’ll be doing to improve the quality of life while night questing that we hope will one, work…, and two- inspire others to make fighting and questing at night less dangerous and more enjoyable! 

  • Adventurers Guild content! If you’re one of the people who have been paying attention to the new Adventurers Guild content we will have some of those drops at our event, so come get your cross plot questing on!

We hope that these highlights peak your interest without spoiling any of the opportunities to roleplay and discover the actual plot at the event itself!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

What You Missed: Viper's Den

by James "Sir Tao" Murphy 

We gathered as heroes, but left as seamstresses.

Once again we journeyed forth to do good. We discovered a small village that had several businesses set up. There was a ssssweet shop, an old book seller, a junk dealer, and a potion shop. 

We also encountered Tugarin. This was the champion of the goddess who we freed in the past from his cursed armor. He let us know that we needed to make the portal system work to get to where we could stop the corruption that was happening to his goddess.  However the system was having technical issues, he let us know with the help of the potion seller that if we used the portal it would be a one way trip unless we found the missing power source. Tugarin unfortunately would not be able to join us on our quest. 

After some discussion if we should go, we learned there would be a bar so most people thought this would be ok. Taking a quick look to make sure Ranger was in attendance, I followed everyone else through the gate to find fish. Yes, cute adorable fish. Um, er, yes, we fought fish. 

In a short amount of time, we did in find a bar. The bouncer, however was very strict, and would not allow any weapons. After a few minutes of general revelry however I was able to convince her that the two shorter weapons on my back were allowed as long as I did not cause any problems. I guess my donation to her retirement fund helped with her decision. Inside were some green, very sweet drinks. There were also several bouncer/workers/drunks in the bar having a good time. Several tables were broken, and a few people may have stolen a mug. 

In the bar we did learn where we might find the power source to make the portal system work. It was down a hill across several lava streams, and guarded by fire elementals. There were fireballs flying through the air like snowflakes in the north. Towards the bottom of the hill, the elementals were joined by bandits. Fortunately we were able to defeat them. 

We encountered an aspect of the snake which would only let us pass if we told a “snake” themed joke. After several “Fang you’s” and “Grading on the scale” and “They use a forked tongue,” eventually everybody was able to pass. 

A new problem was waiting for us at the bottom of the hill. The path lead us to a tower that had a drawbridge. However, the gears necessary to lower the bridge were missing. Soon we were attacked by bandits who just wanted us to leave. However they still threw poison bottles at us. Joining the bandits after a bit were mechanical clockwork golems. When they were eventually put down we could scavenge gears from them to repair the drawbridge. 

Inside the tower was the big guy. He was willing to sell us the orb, but his price at 300 gold was a little high. We tried to negotiate with him several different ways, but in the end we resorted to murder. Somehow he did manage to get away. We expect we might see him and his stylish hat again.

After recovering the orb that would power the portal system we had to fight our way back to the gate through waves and waves of fish, yup, more fish.

After we left we learned from Tugarin that we needed another power orb to make the portal system work even better so off we went to a new section of the land. Here were snakes, lots and lots of snakes. Mixed in with the snakes were more of the clockwork golems. Somehow we learned we had to assemble some armor by freeing it from some magic circles-of-protection-like stuff. There were different ways to disrupt the circles that involved putting together cards with letters on them. 

The last piece was on the other side of a long deep pit. Some adventures decided to jump in the pit, they did not survive. We had to tie all of our ropes together to climb down to get them out, but instead of getting out of the pit back up the rope, they decided to go to the far end of the pit and climb a really tall wall. It was estimated it would take over 20 minutes to make the round trip. After killing lots of snakes and some occasional ticklish clockwork monsters I got a little impatient. So I went down into the pit, crossing to the base of the tall wall, I called upon the power of the divine to aid us and I declared that “This wall is too tall.” This resulted in a much quicker process to get the last piece of armor. (I believe if we had thrown boulders into the pit we probably could have walked across)

With the armor on one of our newer fighters we were able to bust into this room that had more snakes, but also some kind of eye monster. Earlier we had found four pieces of something that had different titles on them. This room had four circles that someone of that title had to stand in. I was told to stand in a circle with the bit that said “Knight.” After politely explaining that I do not just do things like that, I was then asked to stand in the circle after it was explained what was going to happen. Asking went better then telling. Once this was accomplished we were able to find the orb necessary and go back out the portal.

About this time we happened to notice a phoenix wandering around by itself. While that kind of thing sounds strange, on this day it really did not feel out of the ordinary. Coincidently a masked person came up and asked us to catch his phoenix and he would reward us with potions from the potion shop. What was most perplexing was that the man did not know the phoenix’s name, or even their favorite food, but somehow knew it was male. I guess I just don’t want to know that back story.

The phoenix was quite hard to catch and had to be chased down by some of the younger, more limber members of the party (and Ranger). However they did have to catch him twice. As soon as they brought the phoenix to the masked man, they just let go of him and he ran away again. The second time they caught him they put in in a circle before letting go.

This is when we learned that the phoenix would be put into an epic challenge of fighting another
phoenix in the phoenix fighting ring. Well never one to not try to make a profit, this sounded like opportunity to me. About this time we came across another phoenix in the company of some very disreputable looking people and followed them to the eight- sided ring.

The phoenix we helped capture, was obviously bigger (and meaner) then his challenger. I went looking for someone to place bets with but could find no one. So with a loud voice, and enough gold in my pouch to cover bets I let everyone know I was willing to take bets. Not many were willing to put up gold but enough to keep it interesting. But to the detriment of some and the gains of others, the larger phoenix won. With no other matches scheduled we wandered back to the gathering area and got ready for the next gate to be ready.

As soon as we went through the next gate we found a pool of acid that had orbs with letters on them. This was very close to a large enclosed area.

Infesting this area were spiders that could both bite you and spray webs that came in silly colors to bind you in place or to make it so you could not use your hands. We had to kill these spiders, search them for bits of stronger webbing that we could use to protect ourselves while we searched the acid pool for the correct lettered balls that would show us the password to open a door. We did know the orb we needed was behind the door. Not sure I have that totally correct, I was doing a lot of fighting at the time and handing the resistant bits of web off to other people.

Once we were able to open the door we found a skull splitting druid and a lot of his spider friends waiting for us. It was hard fought, but with magical help to negate the sticky effect of about half the web from the divine (Vandor I think), we were able to defeat the evil druid.
Once we had the last orb we needed we were able to go back to our gathering area and pause for some dinner.

After dinner when it would be considered night, we restarted our quest. Insert name here, let us know that we had been able to get the portal/gate system back to working but we would need a lot of focusing crystals to make sure we arrived exactly where we needed to go to cleanse the snake goddess of the corruption.

The people that had the focusing crystals were a competitive bunch. They insisted we perform tasks or defeat particular monsters.

There were two of them who insisted we perform stretching exercises and squats before hitting some kind of round bounce thing back and forth over a net-like thing. They were very interesting in getting us “pumped up.”

There was a single monster who hunted by sound. The way to get past it and through some tangled webs without making too much noise. There were also people asking questions and another asking riddles. We slowly filled up a chalice with the focusing crystals. Using the crystals we were able to go directly to the goddess.

So, sewing, yup, sewing.  So the snake goddess had been corrupted by the seamstress. The snake goddess asked our help to sew up some wound thing to help raise her? Some members of the group said they would help her. Myself and Ranger thought this was a bad idea. As is my way, I did threaten anyone who helped her in doing this. Fortunately the party members changed their mind about helping her with her plan to raise an even more powerful goddess bent on world domination.

Instead she challenged us to a race of sorts where we had to thread yarn through several hoops, before her snake minions could kill us. After some divinatory magic to make sure we were not doing something bad, we succeeded in a very short amount of time. We had defeated the plan, but did not remove the corruption. So that will still be a problem for years to come.

We moved back through the gate and we were free to go about our separate ways. We did have a fire going, there was a blackjack table that was good to me, and all in all had a very pleasant night.

Pretty solid fighting, funny interactions, and the absolute best spider web I have ever seen. It was suspended about 3 feet in the air and was about 40 feet across. It looked fantastic. This event was fun.