Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Songs of the Abyss: NPC Perspectives

by Keith "Saegan" Cronyn

The following is a collection of perspectives of creatures that have passed on after the series of events known now as ‘Songs of the Abyss:’ 

Bae Wingman, Seagull Extraordinaire-  It had been days since I'd last seen real food. I'm not really sure why me, and my flock had let ourselves drift so far out to sea. I was so tired from flying and I'm sure my compatriots were as well.

I needed a place to land, and something to eat and this ship filled with humans and other such things was floating out there.

One of them warned me “not to be a dick,” I flew in to try and give her a piece of my mind, but then suddenly, it was just inky black.

Carson Crably, Crab twin and Body Builder.- Oh man, like there were these guys, y'know? And they were floating around under the water like totally not where they belonged. I was gonna go ahead and give them a good pinch. Y'know? Just like send them packin’. It turned into a real turn war though. I just had to get them off my land. Good thing my sister was around to back me up. They didn't know what was comin’.

We woulda won too, if it weren't for there bein’ so many of them. And one of them did somethin’ to me it just slowed me down so much. I just felt like everything weighed so much more, it was just embarrassin. I mean don't tell anyone I said that y’know, I got a reputation to keep with folks. But whew I was just exhausted.

Jasper, the Nearly Near-Sighted, Howler Monkey of the Thumb Council- I can't tell you how long I'd spent around that fire. It could be days, it could be years. But however long it was, there must have been something in the water that night.

Actually it was jellyfish apparently.

People come and go, y'know? Most of us don't really talk to each other. But most of us don't all come at once either. It was odd, different, unusual.

It made things seem more real in a way.

I'd spent a long night talking to new people. They were all interested in what I was looking for, which was an odd thought at first, that I was even missing something.

Eventually I realized I hadn't seen my glasses in I don't know how long.

Eventually I ended up sitting next to a fellow named Borjid, I believe was his name. He, like many of the others, had been killed by some terrible horde of jelly fish.

I asked him what he'd done in life, and he was kind enough to tell me about it. He had ended his life as a healer. But I guess he was led through life by some animal spirits, that guided him to his professions.

It seemed a bit strange, and I didn't know much about it, so I asked him if he thought he would choose to become one in his afterlife.

That seemed to spark a new life in him though, because then we started talking about what animals he might become spiritually. Starting with raccoon, and moving through squirrel and sloth, and eventually winding our way back to raccoon.

This came with the battle cry “chitter!” Which promptly followed either the stealing of some precious object, or the hurling of light spells or leafy bits.

And it was all because of the thumbs.

Eventually a lady named Karl ( pronounced Carol) joined us, and a man named Redd.

We all enjoyed the mischief of the raccoon and his thumbs. And spoke of other possibilities for spirits, I mentioned a Howler Monkey, and it's call, which in my impression sounded like a hearty “oooo-ahh”

Karl suggested the mighty Bonobo, with the mighty “bonobo sounds”

And Redd suggested the Platypus, which actually doesn't have thumbs, but the toxic talons were close enough for us. The sound he chose was a majestic “growl-quack”

Before we knew it, we had formed a council of thumbs. Judging people with our noises and our thumbs.

Soon enough, the other folks around the fire offered Karl a mirror, and she saw herself. She had a love letter of sorts which she gave to the adventures who had succumbed to the jellyfish. .

I'm not really sure what happened after that, everyone just sort of left. I never found my glasses, they must be around here somewhere. I hope the rest of the council moved onto a better place.

I guess I'll just tend the fire until they come back.

Curban, the Scourge, Lost Soul along the river of the dead.- Who the hell do they think they are? They're not any king of mine! Coming along my river and not giving me passage or tariff on their ship. If I ever see those bastards again I will cut them down!


Well now, that is quite the mix! I hope that the adventurers who passed through the Songs of the Abyss brought back some stories to share as well.

Why You Should Go to: Neden Monster Clean-Up

by Ethan "Jean-Baptiste" Goldman

Why I want to go:

Well you SHOULD go because you love me and want me to succeed in my ventures. But I suppose that may not be good enough for SOME of you (I’m not naming names, so long as I get my thirty signatures at least) so why else should you go?

You’re an adventurer, probably have a few years under your belt, you’ve been to hell, helped usher in the end of the world, you may have even met a god, thrown a dartboard at a knife, got shouted in the ear by Sir Sean, and even a stay in the stocks!

No one? Just me? Wow that’s embarrassing.

Point is you’ve seen it all, there is almost no wonder spectacular enough to wow you.

So do something different for a change! Why not go help a nation with lawncare! Be a difference maker. It’s not REALLY summer without a good mow-down.

Though instead of mowing down grass why not mow down the hordes of feral undead! It is the Realms after all. And while you are at it why not stab a fellow adventurer! It IS the Realms after all.

Neden’s Front Lawn, a veritable No Man’s Land of wild animals, brain slugs, and everything else you find there. We are offering valuables to the best of the best who help us?

Kill the most monsters! Have one of Neden’s mystical ribbons, guaranteed to make any item as magical as friendship! (Only valid in select Neden establishments).

Survive the end of the event! Well then have one of the even BETTER ribbons that will let you take some little Neden magic to go! (Why are there so many ribbons in Neden you ask? Well look at you with the nosy questions)

Kill the most of your friends, okay wow that’s a little messed up. Look we’ll give you some gold just don’t stab us, geez, some people.

But we got more than just violence we have… MORE VIOLENCE.

This isn’t some happy little kingdom, this is Neden's Front Lawn, some of the more unsavory monsters and lowlifes have been causing trouble, and we will pay handsomely for their capture if you are up for it. If.

We also have left a lot of things in chests along the area, if you find them they are yours, we got spare armor repairs, extra lives, all sorts of things.

Speaking of extra lives, Neden's willing to provide some old magic to help out those who help us out. If you are a mage of two or three paths you can use a 3’8 in battle. That’s a full 8 inches or more! If you don’t think eight extra inches matter, ask your girlfriend.

For you fighters or one paths we have magical INVISIBLE armor you can borrow, it's so light it's like you are wearing nothing! If you don’t think not having to wear your chainmail matters, ask your back.

This was brought to you by Baptise Butchery: for you, from you.

We do commissions.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Arioch Tales

A Blue Tale: It Begins
by Daniel "Baron Diamond" Diamond

Ok “Blue”, the magic sword / extraplanar malevolent entity / trap for the greedy, was spotted at Feast of Chimeron recently. More importantly we know how to end the threat, but it won’t be easy. So it is only right you know how the it all started: You still get to choose how it ends. I’m Baron Diamond, and I’m the only one left active who was there and I bear more responsibility than most for what happened. So I’d appreciate it if we can fix what went wrong that day.

It all started in March of 996 with a rose, offered with evil intent and accepted in innocence. Accepted by the caring Lady Gwendolyn, who later went on to lead Thorn Valley.  Black rose, nice tournament.  But no day is nice when you lose your soul, and we soon learned that is exactly what happened to Gwen.  When that happens to one of your own, you do something about it, so that’s what we did. First, we had to figure out what had happened, so divinatory magic was needed. We asked for help, and got it. To that end, Meerkat of Chimeron was critical. We learned who had taken her soul and where it was. “Red”, and in a closed off plane of darkness which acted as a prison. We took steps to get there, and by June we had everything in place.

Gwen, Darwin, Veros, Bardin, and myself of Banecroft. Meerkat of Chimeron, and Sir Gonvf of Eagle’s Rook whose knightly power was our way in. We were joined at the last moment by Sir Randal, whose wisdom was a welcome addition. We found ourselves in a shifting, impenetrably dark area. Pools of colored light were the only landmarks, and they gradually drifted into and out of sight.  I was worried about Bardin: he’d been having signs of multiple personalities and had chosen to wear all black in a plane of blackness.  Better for sneaking, even better for being lost.

Each pool of light had a tricky entity which wanted out. We pretended to listen to Green’s lies, we overcame Blue’s Savage attack. We needed magic to affect these color creatures, so I put Blue’s sword in Sir Gonvf’s hands, but I made it clear we were not to take it out of this plane. We’d been warned the colors wanted out, and we were on to the trick.  If I’d planned on taking it out of the plane, I’d have been tempted to keep it myself. I should have kept it in hand temporarily to keep an eye on it.

White fancied himself a leader, and had the minions to prove it. When diplomacy failed, we beat them down, but White didn’t go down and the minions kept getting up. So I swiped his papers and we fell back. The crowd of minions hid the fact that Barden was missed in the darkness. When we regrouped and realized this, only a few feet away, it was already too late: the light went out and it was impossible to navigate back to him.

Red had Gwen’s soul and was willing to trade, but only for another’s soul. I was contemplating doing a lord’s duty, but at that Gwen flatly refused and threatened resignation if I didn’t drop it. I thought she was being heroic, she actually couldn’t open tell me she’s already recovered her soul while the rest of us had distracted Red. When negotiations ended, he attacked. Sir Gonvf and Blue kept Red back while others frantically searched frantically for the soul, and Gwen called for us to retreat. I didn’t want to give up empty handed and after another’s loss so close to our goal, and was immensely relieved when she revealed it hadn’t been in vain.

I’d given White’s papers to the wisest among us, and their conclusion was that the remaining colors were very bad news. It was time to contemplate escape. I’d been given to understand that Meerkat or Randal had the power to get us out, and when I asked them to get ready to do so I was flatly told that they couldn’t. That was bad. If we couldn’t get out, we had no choice but to go on. Hopefully we’d find Barden.

Big mistake. Of the colors that remained, we reluctantly set off towards the one whose White’s Papers described as marginally less dangerous. I began as I always did, by talking. That was a step too far: I was drawn into the light and completely paralyzed. I could hear plainly as the rest of my people fell into the classic trap: each one tried to save me and ended up in the same boat. Darwin’s plan had the most common sense: as talk had doomed me, he tried to simply silently carry me off. Veros and Gwen had their turn and shared our fate. Meerkat tried too, and his magic barely protected him. Finally, they decided to cut their losses.

I could hear them decide to leave, and that they could in fact leave the plane. They further debated my statement on leaving Blue behind, and decided otherwise. Of course, once they were back in the Realms proper Blue revealed himself from his sword form and escaped to wreak bloody rampage across the Realm. Those few who escaped the Rainbow plane spread the word and later organized a successful rescue effort, for which I am grateful.

For part 2 I’ll tell of our efforts to return Blue back to captivity. Until then, know that we finally have hope to end Blue’s bloody temptation. And of course may Arioch enjoy the tale. Let’s handle that obligation quicker than that of Blue’s, whose reckoning is 20 years overdue.

Monday, June 26, 2017

A Note from Mage Janus

To the People of the Realms:

As some of you may have heard, during the tournament at New Verai on the 10th, Nadia Cooke made an appearance.  She led an attack to recover a Bane Sword that was stolen from her.  After several spells being cast, we finally figured out what occurred and why.  It appears this is not the Nadia Cooke that was previously killed, but one from a reality where Jonas died in her place.  It appears that the Nadia Cooke from another reality, who I will refer to herein as the ‘Shadow Queen’ had her Bane sword stolen from her, and the Shadow Queen and her Shades simply chased the thief through a portal to recover her property.

We do not have too much information on the group that stole the blade from The Shadow Queen, or their overall goals, but after speaking with Chronos as well as interrogating the spirit of the one who stole the Bane Blade we were able to discover a few things.  First and foremost, this group is a threat to The Realms.  Next, the group seems fond of travelling between alternate realities, the one time we saw it was through a giant silvery portal.  If this group is left unchecked, all realities may become one.  I am not sure if this is a side effect or their final goal.  Finally, the least important information: the spirit we spoke with seemed to have a slight hiss in its speech pattern.  That is all we have discovered so far.

What does this mean for you?  Spread the information through your people.  Be ready to fight already vanquished foes once more.  Carry tools that were helpful in the past, as well as try to brush up your knowledge on how things have happened in the past.  You never know when finding the discrepancy will help us figure out what is going on.

 ~Magus Janus Kil'tra of Clan Rua Thar Cinn 
Court Mage of Chimeron

Arc Sphere Distortions

Arc Sphere Distortions

by Steven "Therian" Matulewicz

Friday, June 23, 2017

What You Missed at: The Gilded Lion Summer Festival III

by Pat "Saka" Bobell

The following is a summary of my experiences this past Saturday, by the Realms’ reckoning of time the 17th day in the sixth month of year 1017, recorded on the 20th day of that same month and year by my own hand, and submitted for public record as requested by Dame Areni of Rhiassa.

His Majesty, several of my fellow Chimeronians, and I journeyed southward to attend the now-annual Gilded Lion Summer Festival in Rhiassa. Upon our arrival, we were pleased to join many friends from other nations there, and expressed our gratitude to our fellows heading out to the Western Flank, and to our Rhiassan hosts. As expected, we met Ulric and journeyed across the Vanfrost to aid the Jomsvikings in setting their worlds back on track toward their Ragnarok. Our mission that day was straightforward, and befitting such an assembly of Heroes such as we: Go Somewhere, and Kill Lots of Things.

There was, of course, a reason to go kill everything we came across. The power which is resisting the natural death and renewal of Norlund’s Ragnarok, the same which had controlled the minds of the dwarves in Svartalfheim, had somehow tamed, broken, or bewitched the denizens of Jotunheim to serve its unnatural purpose. At least, so we have been told by Ulric, and one of the untainted persons of Jotunheim (whose name I may or may not have forgotten, but who was kind enough to bring us several special weapons to use in the fighting).

The only catch was that most of these things to be killed were rather large, averaging about thirty feet in height. Apparently, just about everything in Jotunheim is gigantic, including their beasts and monsters. To face them in battle we needed to bolster ourselves with “hex” magic from that land. Since many of party’s mortal forms would be hard-pressed to contain such power, the strength and magic comparable to that of a Jotun had to be distributed across at least three of us: one to become the enormous Body, at least one to contain its Life force, and at least one more to contain its magical Might. We performed the magics and started with four Jotun Bodies - His Majesty, Sir Wil, Sir Oliver, and Captain Orion each filled that role, and there were enough of us remaining for each of the four to have redundant Life and Might supporters. Later in the day, Enlon and Slade became Jotun Bodies as well, with their own Life and Might supporters. Power split three ways, go slaughter monsters. Simple enough.

Well, we were unable to safely approach our enormous friends, and had to stay a significant distance back as they fought. (They were new to the scale of their actions, and if I might say, somewhat clumsy.) To heal them, the Life supporters could channel healing magic from a distance by suffering the same wound as the Body they were tied to, and having it healed. The Might supporters could join their Body in combat, and their magical or mundane missile attacks would be appropriately amplified to deal mortal damage to their enormous foes. The Bodies themselves were very durable, and could withstand a full weapon blow before suffering any appreciable damage to their heads, limbs, or torsos. Unfortunately, their physical strength and size were such that they could not use any of our normal equipment. Since the friendly Jotun (who definitely has a name that somebody probably remembers) brought a giant earth sword and six enormous wooden clubs, this didn’t seem to be much of a limitation.

Ulric provided us with a representation of Jotunheim, and we were able to “teleport,” or instantly move to, specific areas of Jotunheim as we desired to fight the monsters assembled in each area. This effort took us all across the world, with different large regions being inhabited by creatures with specific elemental alignments. The majority of Jotunheim was filled with earth-aligned monsters, the exception being some impressive cliffs which were home to lightning-aligned creatures. Humongousness is apparently contagious, because the creatures just across the worldly borders into Muspelheim and Nivlheim were just as formidable as those in Jotunheim proper, and they were fire- and ice-aligned, respectively. In each of these four regions, there was a stronghold housing the mightiest beast of the corresponding elemental nature, and a fifth stronghold held a chimera of all four elements. This was starting to sound like a full day of fighting rather than a leisurely interplanar jaunt, but at least we had some clear objectives and could just get down to business.

“Why do these elemental traits matter?” one might ask. “A sword by any other name would stab as deep.” About that…

They matter because each was weak toward another, and resistant toward a third. Ice was particularly damaging to Fire, which could easily dispatch Earth, which grounded the power of Lightning, which broke apart Ice. It made a nice little circle, and going backward, for example attacking Fire with Earth, was next to useless. (I still have trouble understanding how it was that Ice could cripple Fire, but Fire couldn’t hold a candle to Ice.) As it turned out, the fiercest beasts, in the strongholds, could only be damaged by the element they were weak to. To take full advantage of these interactions, we needed harvest body parts from monsters of each element to forge elemental weapons and armor that our own Jotun could wield and wear. We started with the earth region, but did not yet attack the stronghold, not having an advantage and not knowing what to expect from it. We built what we could with the earth monster guts, scales, tusks, gems, bones, and other materials we gathered, and attacked the lightning stronghold with the advantage our earth equipment gave us. It then became a rinse and repeat operation: collecting and building lightning equipment, assaulting the ice stronghold and surrounding area. Collecting and building ice equipment, assaulting the fire stronghold and surrounding area. Collecting and building fire equipment, and assaulting the earth stronghold.

In each encounter, while we watched and facilitated the battles of our Jotun against the locals, we were set upon by some native creatures more our size. Thankfully, with Eagle’s Rook, Torolf, and Lord Malaki on one flank and Grimloch the other, we were more than up to the task of holding those forces off from our Life and Might supporters. There was one point at which a particularly motivated creature managed to slip through and break our mobile Circle of Healing, but otherwise the fighting progressed fairly smoothly. The great monsters in each stronghold were significantly fiercer than the others, even among creatures of such great size. It took an astounding amount of damage to bring each of them down, and in order to damage them at all, out Might supporters needed to hit them with missile attacks that were magically empowered with the element of their weakness, then our Jotuns could use weapons of that same element to hack them down.

With all the fighting and crafting of new elemental equipment for our Jotuns, we were running short on time to get through all five strongholds before dinner. Laika and Jamie each used particularly powerful regional magic to destroy two of the strongest enemy Jotun, which saved a lot of time, effort, and resources. Their magic did, however, result in such thorough destruction that it took several attempts each to Call their souls, with some divine magic thrown in to improve the odds. Indana was invaluable throughout the day with her Circles of Healing, empowered by Rosetta’s Intervention to be transportable. She worked with the Life supporters of our Jotuns throughout the day to keep everyone in the fight.

In the end, we were successful in destroying a significant number of the enemy Jotun, including each of the four primary elemental monsters and the chimera, a monster that seemed to be a combination of each fo the four primary elemental monsters. Once we were finished, we returned to Rhiassa for the rest of the evening enjoy some food prepared by Taliea and the other members of Rhiassa who weren’t fighting on the Western Flank. Many options were provided to us for dinner, and I expect they were all as good as the ones I had. After dinner, we did some talking and some magical investigation toward the unusual encounter we recently had at the end of the day in New Verai. Magus Janus will be publicly communicating a summary of our findings to the Realms sometime this week. Similarly, details on the construction of Jotun equipment and the magics we encountered in Jotunheim will be submitted to the Library of Ivory if they are not already recorded for public use in the Rhiassan archives.

All in all, it was an great day with good friends. I would like to again thank our Rhiassan hosts, and all those who spent the day serving on the Western Flank. I always enjoy spending time in Rhiassa, and the recent forays into Norlund have consistently presented new and interesting challenges for us to deal with. I look forward to the next such journey.

Sakariasvafnir Redwing of Clan Rua Thar Cinn
Warlord of Chimeron

[Editor's note: for photos of the event, click here]

Thursday, June 22, 2017

What You Missed (Photo Edition): The Gilded Lion Summer Festival III

Photos from 

The Gilded Lion Summer Festival III: 

Echoes of Ragnarok: Jotunheim

(all photos are by View staff)

Ulric of the Jomsvkings and the Jotun, Bors, speak to the adventurers about their task.

Ulric shows the heroes the lay of the land on the Jotunheim map

Wil and his allies receive the power of the Jotun. 

Not to be outdone, Orion and his allies Jounize

Heroes that have grown to the stature of giants are ready to do battle.

The giant adventurers take on an evil Jotun and some Troll Titans.
A pause in the action for some delicious lunch,

Armor is fashioned out of the scales of the slain beasts in order to better  protect the Jotunized heroes.

The giant adventurers team up to attack the Sky Fish, one of the greatest of the monsters they would face.

Surrounding the dreaded V-Rex is the only way to survive it's onslaught.

The ever-challenging Loki Boxes returned to the event once again.

There were some... odd... creatures in Jotunheim.
Not just giant monsters to fight, the heroes found many enemies to face of a regular stature.

More crafting of arms and armor from the harvested viscera of their slain foes.
The Flame Dragon approaches, ready for battle.

The Jotunized heroes, ready for their final battle.

Finally, the battle against the Chimera of the Four Elements

Nothing left but to cook and serve dinner. Look at all those delicious skewers!

Ask the Editors

Ask the Editors
The Editors
Episode 10 

Welcome back and thank you for joining us for a big milestone, our first double digit episode! Thank you for all your questions and for listening!

This week's questions comes to us via email once again, and it's a good one.

“What's your opinion on bullying in the Realms, IG and OOG?”


Anonymous always has such great questions!

Let's hear from Diana 'Kiira' LaPierre:

“My thoughts on In-Game bullying are definitely skewed. My groups and compatriots have been accused of In-character bullying. Oftentimes, they may have been bullying, but it was for In-character reasons. It's difficult because we are a role-playing game. Roles aren't always "good-natured". People can play an in-character bully. I don't take any issue with that.

Out-of-game bullying, however, is fairly common and not much is ever done to prevent or stop it. People, usually specific ones, cry over the internet about it and people make a big to-do, but ultimately it never gets really resolved and the bullies just keep on keeping on. People would have been kicked out of the game, temporarily or permanently, by now if these issues were actually addressed. On the other hand, people now-a-days are more often to "Cry Wolf" then previous generations were, and ofttimes folks overreact to things. So, do I think bullying is a terrible problem for us Out-of-Game? No. It does exist, though, and will continue to do so unless more people stand up to that behavior.”

Thanks Diana!

Now, let's see what Sara 'Zarine' Jessop has to say:

“In order to address this question we must first define was 'bullying' is. It's a word to me that has lost a lot of meaning because of it's overuse. People use it to mean all sorts of things, from simply being laughed at when they didn't want to be, to actually being beaten up for their lunch money. I am in a group that often gets called bullies simply for being physically better at fighting. Just because someone beats you over and over on the field, and/or takes competition more seriously than you does not make them bullies. Bullying to me means 'harassing someone, either verbally or physically, over an extended period of time who does not deserve it to a point of oppression.'.

IC bullying to me is fine as long as both parties are okay with it OOC. This is a game, and we do not all need to play good guys. But it's also a game in the sense that people should be having fun a majority of the time. If you are making their OOC lives miserable, or their overall game experience miserable, then perhaps you should reevaluate your play style. On the other hand the person/group being bullied needs to understand that it's a game and not to take it OOC personally as well. If it's really bothering them, they should find a way to communicate that to the other person in a respectful and productive manner. You cannot control how other people treat you, only how you react to it.

OOC bullying is a different story. Sometimes I believe that it is deserved. Not everyone is a victim, and oftentimes the person being 'victimized' started or at least was complicit in the beginning of the whole situation. If someone is completely undeserving of it, I would hope that people would stand up and put a stop to it. Whining and complaining doesn't stop bullying, action does. If you see someone being treated poorly, help them. If we as a community show folks that bullying will not be tolerated, then the bullies will go away.”

Thank you, Sara!

Now let's hear from Jen 'Areni' DeNardis-Rosa

“Long story short, my opinion on in-game and out-of-game bullying is that it is unacceptable and should not be tolerated on any level. Personally, I have always felt that the game as a whole welcomes all players with an overall culture of tolerance. While I don't feel that bullying is a major issue in the game, I would be concerned if people felt they were being subjected to it and would hope that those affected would be able to talk about it with nation leaders or someone they trust so that issues could be addressed. The Realms in general is a good mix of players from many different backgrounds and experiences and it is the players that make the game so unique. We are all responsible for setting the tone of the game and the dynamics of the events, and that is a very important task. I think that we are fortunate to be part of a community that is generally open and accepting, where people can be themselves without shame or fear. One only has to look at the margin by which the "update pronouns" proposal passed the EHC this year for proof (by the way, it was 30 - 0). It should be one of our top priorities, as a group, to strive to maintain and nurture this type of atmosphere.”

Thank you, Jen!

Seems that a common theme here is stepping up and preventing bullying. We are a diverse group of people with varied interests and we all want to be free to be ourselves and most of us seem to want the best for each other. Sometimes the best thing is being truthful and letting others know that what they are doing is unacceptable.

Thank you for reading! Next week we will be taking a little break,but join us in two weeks when we answer the question "What's the one Realms "thing" you've always wondered about, but have personally never tried(and why haven't you)?"

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

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Why You Should Go to Songs of the Abyss

by Eve Windsor (Alyssa Weisblatt)

Well, for starters …  Sea monsters, sharks, Bounty Hunters, jellyfish, whales, and of course sirens.

Still not convinced?

The plot surrounding Songs of the Abyss has been building up to this pivotal point since The Event Which Cannot Be Named, when a Loch Ness Monster and a Kraken hooked up and somehow produced two eggs.

Since then these two eggs have been slowly incubating and putting their caretakers - Axel and Grebinar - through the loop.  Both eggs are very protective of their “fathers”, and soon they will hatch.

But besides that, there have also been a few black bottles showing up, some have been found, some have been lost.  However, the important thing is that there’s a map!  Yes every grand sea voyage needs a map, and an “X” to mark the spot.  A voyage now begins to get to that point and with any luck the heroes of the Realms will try to destroy a threat before it gets any worse.

There are also whispers of a mysterious goddess who calls her self “The Divine Harlot”, and she’s been singing… a lot.  Placing songs in people’s heads to try and tell them what dangers are making their way to the Realms.

If you plan on taking this voyage, meet up with Axel, Tuilli, and Swoop at Sapphire Isle where they are trying to find a brave captain who is willing to put their life and ship at stake to sail to the North Sea where the map tells us to sail.  It might take some convincing, but most captains will take on a job… for the right price.

A word of caution though, a siren’s song is deadly, it will either sound like nails on a chalkboard and cause your ears to bleed, or it can seduce you to protect the siren and kill your fellow heroes if they stand in your way…

And as always… Don’t die at sea!  For the lovers of lost sailors are the most common to fall victim to the siren’s curse.

This event has been a huge collective effort of many great contributions from fellow community members.  For example, if you want to see a new chapter of monster building, you should come and see what Josh Fitzgerald and his Gau Dring team have been working on, don’t wait for pictures.

Also, please give a warm welcome back to Amber (Haley) Borowy who used to play Lady Yipp of Val Dara.  She will be in charge of NPC “Monster” Camp.
Photo by Alyssa Weisblatt
 Sir Axel Penn Nosetti with his Kraken/Loch Ness hybrid egg, (Lochen? Krackness? The debate has been going on for a while)

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

I Can't Even

I Can't Even...
Sara 'Zarine' Jessop
… Tourney Fashion

Armor Created by

It's that time of year again, when our weekend activities tend to focus more on the competitive side of things. War maneuvers and one on one competitions are a fantastic way to get your body moving and get in shape. Unfortunately people also seem to think that it's a perfect opportunity to pull out their grimiest and most ill fitting clothing. Tournament fashion doesn't have to be terrible.

Now, you'll be fighting and running around all day, so formal wear is out of the question unless you are only there to spectate, and even then you'll likely want to dress a bit more comfortably for the summer weather. You'll want to keep practicality in mind while choosing your outfit as you are not looking to win a fashion competition, but rather a war maneuver. However, you can look good while dressed to kill, and I am here to tell you how.

Footwear is the most important thing. You'll want to be able to run, cut, jump, and stop quickly. You'll also need good ankle support as no one wants to deal with carting you and your disconnected foot off of the field. Boots are the obvious choice, though make sure you try them on with your leg armor before purchasing an expensive pair. And yes, you get what you pay for with footwear, so pony up and take care of your feet. The rest of your body will thank you. If your footwear is falling apart, either get it repaired or purchase a replacement. You will both look and feel better.

Pants and Shirts. Wear them. Of course there are all sorts of shirts and pants. You'll want something easy to move in, in a breathable and durable fabric, in a color that won't show stains. I prefer something tight for both as it won't get snagged on anything or anyone, specifically a weapon because before you know it your whole damn arm has fallen off. Of course the menfolk have some extra equipment so perhaps they prefer something a little baggier in their nether regions. There are pants out there with what is called a 'drop crotch'. I am not a big fan of them in a more formal setting, but for fighting they are fabulous. Others opt for shorts as they allow for more airflow. However if you are the type to spend a lot of time on your knees perhaps shorts aren't for you. Shirts can be sleeveless, but just remember that the armhole should not extend to your waist, giving us an unhindered view of your naked torso. It's not attractive. If your shirt has an attached hood remember to bring hair clips of some sort so that it doesn't fall off while running or due to wind. That's assuming that you have hair. If not, I hear that duct tape works. Just because clothing needs to be practical does not mean that they have to be boring. They can have interesting pockets, embroidery, and laces. Just make sure that none of the decorative items are going to interfere with your fighting skills, or lack thereof.

Belts. They hold your pants up, so they are quite important. They also can hold belt favors to denote your team or role, extra weapons, spell components and pouches. They allow you to display your pride in your knightly order. As an added bonus, you can also slap people with them, just remember to tuck it back in so that you don't trip over it while marching across the field. I imagine that would be quite embarrassing.

Armor. It should all match. It's understandable with folks new to competitive fighting, but don't be that guy who's been around for years and still looks like he got his armor from the loaner bin. And if you are a part of a nation your armor should all look similar enough that one of you doesn't stick out like a sore thumb. It should be well fitting both for practicality and visual appeal. And please for the love of whatever god you worship do not use duct tape on any portion of it. There are enough leather workers and ring crafters in the Realms for that not to be necessary. In an emergency it's understandable, but get it fixed as soon as possible. Clean it and care for it regularly, for it will both last longer and look better.

Tabards. Don't forget, lose, or otherwise not have your tabard. You'll never hear the end of it. Most nations in the realms don't have an official military uniform other than a tabard. On the field, it denotes who you fight for and represent. It's important and you can all learn an important lesson from me at ToC this year: be more careful with the important things and less worried about superficial ones. Take pride in your national heraldry and repair rips, remove stains and just keep it in over all good condition.

All of your clothing worn at such events should be cleaned immediately upon returning home. Do not leave it in your carriage for weeks, especially if it has gotten wet. Mold is not an attractive look on anyone and it could ruin your expensive leather armor. Metal armor can rust. Rust causes tetanus, which is something you do not want. After washing put it away in a way that will not cause it to become a wrinkled mess. You don't want to show up the next weekend looking like you just rolled out of bed.

And for goodness' sake wear clothing! I know it's summer and that it's hot but that is no excuse for running about in your skivvies. Make sure that the clothing you have chosen to wear is lightweight and comfortable enough so that you won't feel the desire to strip right on the field. Clothing protects you from scrapes and cuts, bug bites, and the harmful rays of the sun. And there is plenty of clothing that is not actual undergarments that will expose quite a bit of your body to the elements if that is what you so desire.

We have all gotten better at dressing up for formal events, but this progress has not extended into other events and it needs to. So I challenge you, dear reader, to not only improve your combat skills but your combat fashion as well. Find a way to look good while still winning. After all, don't you want those gold medals to rest on a chic background rather than a unstylish piece of cloth that looks like it came from the rag bag?

See you next Tuesday.

Zarine is the proprietor and Madam at Alchimia Lupanar, a magic marshal approved practitioner of medicine, an award winning author, and has 36 years of experience in giving her unsolicited opinion. 

Monday, June 19, 2017

What You Missed at: Neden Questing

by Paul "Grindin" Tilton

Naj, Temorse, and I go back, waaaay back to when we were Blue Falcons. We’ve since parted ways but those bonds aren’t so easily broken, so it should come as no surprise that we were amongst the many people who showed up to help Neden when Naj called for help. The Neden boys seemed to have something wrong with them- they were more glassy-eyed than usual and had affected all manner of hat, despite the sweltering heat. 

We quickly uncovered that mind controlling slugs (purple, green, and red) had found almost an entire nation to infect. The gathered heroes of the Realms set about the wholesale slaughter of all the infected. We continued on this gory path for quite some time, until we found Duke Nymbous, who had also been infected. Then we killed him, scalped him, and brought him back from the dead. This appeared to have done the trick, but unfortunately we likely did not have enough call the souls to heal all of the infected… so we kept killing them instead. 

Duke Nymbous told us of his uncle’s cabin which would likely contain some information on how to deal with the plague, so we slaughtered our way to the cabin where we retrieved information on which each slug type did: purple slugs could cast horrible spells, red slugs would berserk at the end of their host’s life, and green slugs could do something else, I don’t remember. We also received information on how to create the antidote: we needed baby slugs, scales, and vials of an elixir. We ended more lives until we got enough of the ingredients, then went to return to camp when we were beset by a “Breeder.”

This monster had a tentacled face, and threw acid bolts- by far the most nefarious of all of the destructive spells that were thrown at us. It was a hard-won fight, but in the end we prevailed. Beleaguered and extremely low on our reserves of magic, we were extremely pleased to see Naj, who said that we could call upon the gods to revitalize us. 

 While we were preparing for the ritual, Naj asked us for the ingredients for the antidote, so we placed them at his feet. Then Sir Tao plead to some God, and our prayer was answered- our magic was restored, but while this was happening, roots took hold of us and we were held in place… giving Naj the opportunity to remove his hat, reveal his own brain-slug, proclaim glory to the Breeders, and abscond with our ingredients. It seemed that the slugs had even gotten to my old friend. 

Thus commenced a tremendous battle, with the gathered heroes of the Realms facing down the brain-slugged Neden Boys, along with various other brain-slugged foes. The fighting was fierce, and it was made even worse when it became apparent that yet more of our comrades were infected: only revealing themselves at the most inopportune of times. The fighting continued unabated, until someone somehow got the ingredients and created the antidote- I don’t remember this time, as I had become infected as well, and only regained my memories after having the slug removed from my neck. 

Finally the day was won and we were able to return to camp, where Neden held court- announcing two new Knights of the Potentium (Sarix and Dalamar, if I remember correctly?). Additionally, Duke Nymbous announced that while we had succeeded in destroying the majority of the threat, there were still threats lurking in the woods in Neden, and that the Realms would be invited back to continue cleanup in just a few weeks’ time.