Monday, January 22, 2018

Friday, January 19, 2018

Fresh Faces with Madison "Lupa" Neal

1. How did you learn about Realms? 

I had originally learned about the realms from Emily Murphy (Kara) as I had gone to school with her at the time. She had been talking about the event she was going to and I was extremely interested.

2. How many events have you been to? 

I've been to 11 events thus far.

3. Have you ever LARP’ed before? If so tell us about it?

I've technically larp'ed before as Emily and I had been in a larp club at our school. Though it was not a full larp, it had followed the rules of Shards.

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

My character is more on the side of jokes and takes things less seriously unless she really needs to. Lupa is a high elf from a land that is not a part of the realms. Lupa finds her friends and necklace to be the most important things to her.

5. What do you remember most about your first event? 

My first event was the feast of Leviathan last year, and i remember two things the most. The very important life lesson of, it's really hard to run in a cloth corset. I also remember walking up to the guys of Invictus (shandar most definitely included) and asking them how I can join at my first event.

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

In all honesty, it's just the people. Almost everyone is nice, welcoming, and understanding (especially with newbies.) Some lend armour and weapons to new people, some give tips and tricks to others, and even get people started with gold so they can get garb.

7. What parts of the game do you find most challenging?

I find fighting with short arms to be the most challenging. When fighting against people who are taller than me, I find that they have longer arms and I really have to try and be smart with how close I get.

8. Do you have any game related goals (as either a player or character)?

In fact, I do have some player and character goals. As a player, I really want to have a family, I want close friends I can hangout with and enjoy my time with. As a character, I want to prove myself to everyone, that I can be a good fighter; that I can hold my own.

9. What advice would you give other new players?

I'd give other new players the same that I got, enjoy your time, find people you like hanging out with, and if people give you advice you should probably listen to them.

10. What have you enjoyed most about the game so far?

I've enjoyed spending my time in the game. I think I've enjoyed my time the most with shenanigans and fighting (you can technically count those as the same thing).

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Question of the Week and Responses

Question of the Week #8 Responses

Welcome back everyone! It's been a couple of weeks but we have for your reading pleasure the results of the latest Question of the Week, below. This question asked everyone to boast a little bit and tell us which of their abilities they are most proud of. Take a look!

Getting ____ed up! 

Fighting ability.  I'm not a great fighter by any means, but I've progressed a lot since I started, and am good enough to defend those important to me.

Being the fastest heal limb in the West 

Elric of Rathkeale
Im proud of my ability to animate and control the dead. It one thing to bring the dead back to life. Its another thing entirely to get them to the sweet spot of not really alive and not really dead

Jericho Axelthorne
Ability to learn new things

The ability to figure out how others think and how to predict they're has helped me in all facets of the game.

The Spider
For some reason people tend not to notice me.

How well I play ring around the rosy...such a merry game is it not?

Well, those were certainly some informative responses! Thank you everyone!

The next question of the week is below. It's a little esoteric this time but I think it will tell us a lot about how you perceive the world around you! Please answer it right away before you forget!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

WYM Feast of Leviathan XX

Leviathan is a complicated event, because a lot is going on, and it's really impossible to be apart of everything.

With games lining every table, puzzle challenges, economy games, carnival games, a casino, adventures and contracts from the adventurers guild, and some vendors to peruse, if you're bored, it's your own fault.

I was a busy man, meeting with the Knights of Blackwood, and the Kingdom of Blackwood, about nation politics. But business is one of the things people come to Leviathan for. I would try to name all the honors that went around but, honestly I know I'll forget some.

While every time someone gets knighted, or given a title, it's important, it's important to them and it should not be forgotten, looked over or passed up, I really need to mention two things that happened at Leviathan this year.

First, Matt “Mathies” Butler was knighted into the Knights of the Eternal Flame. He’s been playing this game for an age longer than some of our players have yet seen, and the sheer amount of passion he has for our community cannot be put into words without being understated. He's a role model through and through and absolutely deserving of the title.

Secondly, Lani “Gwen” Jones was elevated to be a Lord of Rhiassa, stepping up along side Aeston and Areni and taking the name Stromgate. This was a landmark moment, taking the reins of a nation is a huge responsibility, beyond simply establishing a new pecking order, there is a lot that goes on in running a nation. Especially one with such a brand and pedigree as Rhiassa. Beyond that, taking the family name of Stromgate is important as well. As a community we use the word family a lot. We say “my realms family” we interchange nation and family often, and generally speaking the community does a lot for the people that come into it. It's just a thing. But taking family name, a noble name is rarer. It represents a deeper connection, and has not happened since perhaps the time of Bedlam.

Take a second to recognize these things. They have meaning that transcends these pages.

It would be a crime to speak of Leviathan and to leave out the food, and I have to say for me this was a pinnacle year for this event. The appetizer round was awesome, I loved the idea of needing to venture out in order to acquire other appetizers and needing to hobnob with the other folks of the hall. As I already said, I was a busy man at this event and an excuse to pull myself away from all the business at hand and just mingle was welcomed.

The variety of foods was awesome, and it seemed that there were constant options and at every turn I was both enjoying one thing, and absolutely missing out on another. This is a huge compliment from me because I can be kind of a food snob.

So what did you miss? You missed a lot. Honestly it was a mistake, you should have been there. And I didn't even cover things like the NPC auction, the view awards, or the things I'm sure I missed myself. I didn't cover the decoration, the atmosphere, the immersion. You missed a feast as it should be.

Oh well, next time I'll see you on the field,

Keith “Saegan” Cronyn

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

2017 View from Valehaven Award Winners

Below are the results for the 2017 View from Valehaven awards presented at Feast of the Leviathan

Best Special Effects
1-   Rhiassa Presents: Echoes of Ragnarok III
2-   TOC 24
3-   Feast of Blackwood VIII
Best Props/Costumes:

1-  Folkestone Questing 2017
2-  Feast of Blackwood VIII
3-  Rhiassa Presents: Echoes of Ragnarok III
Best Night Quest:

1-  Folkestone Questing 2017
2-  The Event Which Must Not Be Named VI
      Feast of Blackwood VIII
3-  TOC 24
     Feast of Chimeron XXV
    A Grave Discovery

Best Plot:

1-  Folkewood Initiative / New Verai
2-  Echos of Ragnarok
3-  Risen Kingdom

Non-Feast Event for Great Food:

1- Black & White 2017
2-  A Very Merry Yule at Cecil's Crazy Uncle's Tavern 2
3-  The Event Which Must Not Be Named VI

Best Feast:

1-  Rhiassa Presents: Feast of the Leviathan XIX
    Feast of Blackwood VIII
2-  Nedengiving 2
3-  Feast of Highbridge V

Best Dish:

1-  Nedengiving Cranberry Sauce
2-  Blackwood Pizzas
3-  Aymise's Curry
Best Tournament Event:

1-  Rhiassa Presents: Queen of Hearts XXIV
2-  TOC 24
3-  Blackwood Tournaments VI

Best Quest:

1-  Folkestone Questing 2017
2-  Rhiassa Presents: Echoes of Ragnarok III
3-  Chimeron Questing

Best One Day Event:
1-  Black & White 2017
2-  N/S War 2017
3-  Nedengiving 2

Best Weekend Event:
1-  TOC 24
2-  Ashen Bounty VI
3-  Folkestone Questing 2017
     Feast of Blackwood VIII

Best View Article:
1-  I Can't Even: Plating (Cranberry Sauce) by Sara "Zarine" Jessop
2-  What You Missed: Echoes of Ragnarok III by Keith "Saegan" Cronyn
3-  What You Missed Songs of the Abyss by Michael "Swoop" Zajac

Best View Series:
1-  I Can't Even
2-  Why I Want To Go
3-  What You Missed
     Neden Kazoo
     10 Questions

Best View Poem/Fiction:
1-  The Wrath of Irvin Ruggles by Renee "Mouse" Booke
2-  The Imperium March: A Tale of Danger, Dungeons, and Dosh by Callahan "Sir Syruss" Marsden
3-  You Will Be Missed, Meatshield by Casey "Karhma" Lemay

Best Group to NPC:
1-  Ashenmark
2-  Blackwood
3-  Invictus

Up and Coming Group:
1-  Voraniss
2-  Nation of Arken
3-  Zimeya (Snake Cult)

Best Newbie:
1-  Madison "Lupa" Neal
2-  Shane "Jack" DeShone
3-  DJ "Varrmagn" Sapienza

Best Bard:
1-  Michael "Swoop" Zajac
2-  Renee "Mouse" Booke
3-  Dano "Piper" Knobel

Best Craftsperson:
1-  Derek "Higer" Booke
2-  Eric "Randolf" Marques
3-  Illyana "Illy" Golden
     Anthony "Levi" Quintana

Best Photographer:
1-  Jesse "Mestoph" Gifford
2-  Matthew "Thon" Norris
3-  Samantha "Cylas" Flanagan

Best Artist:

1-  Alexa "Kite" Lecko
2-  Maryanne "Shalindra" Betie
3-  Keith "Saegan" Cronyn

Best Vendor:

1-  Vandoria Vestments
2-  The Bronze Forge
3-  Karmha Creations
     Derek "Higer" Booke

Best Dressed:

1-  Alexander "Gavin" Sokolowski
2-  Sara "Zarine" Jessop
3-  Renee "Mouse" Booke

Best Feastocrat:
1-  Lani "Gwen" Jones
2-  Melissa "Aymise" Metzger
3-  Ben "K" Greene

Best Servant/Kitchen Staff:

1-  Jeremy "Nighthawk" Grayson
2-  Lani "Gwen" Jones
3-  Becky "Kovaks" Baron

Best Combat Marshal:

1-  Keith "Saegan" Cronyn
2-  Josh "Shandar" Learned
3-  Callahan "Syruss" Marsden

Best Magic Marshal:

1-  Matt "Mathies" Butler
2-  Jason "Malaki" Gray
3-  Alexander "Gavin" Sokolowski

Best Trainer:

1-  Keith "Saegan" Cronyn
2-  Josh "Shandar" Learned
3-  Callahan "Syruss" Marsden
Best Mentor:

1-  Jason "Aeston" Rosa
2-  Dave "Vawn" Hayden
3-  Angela "Phoenix" Earle Gray

Best Roleplaying of Magic by a Spellcaster:

1-  Lord Higer Athame (Derek Booke)
2-  Gavin the Green (Alexander Sokolowski)
3-  Templar Mouse (Renee Booke)

Best Roleplaying by a Player Character:

1-  Aryss Destevaul (Nikki LaRoche)
2-  Jean C'est Magnifique Try Baptise (Ethan Goldman)
3-  Torolf (Steven Nelson)

Best Roleplaying of a Single NPC Role:

1-  Scrooge (Jame Murphy)
2-  Prince of New Verai (Neil Tozier)
3-  Skrunk (Sean Veale)

Best Grunt NPC:

1-  Keith "Saegan" Cronyn
2-  Sean "Wil" Veale
3-  Tucker "Temorse" Noyes

Most Honorable in Combat:

1-  Keith "Saegan" Cronyn
2-  Steve "Torolf" Nelson
     Henry "Guilliam" Giasson
3-  James "Tao" Murphy

Most Dependable Person to Help Eventholders:

1-  James "Tao" Murphy
2-  Jeremy "Nighthawk" Grayson
3-  Sean "Wil" Veale
     Patrick "Saka" Bobell

Best Role Model:

1-  Keith "Saegan" Cronyn
2-  James "Tao" Murphy
3-  Matthew "Cecil" Brenner
     Jon "Trent" Jessop

Greatest Contributor to the Realms:

1-  Jason "Aeston" Rosa
2-  Andrew "Shean" Disbrow
3-  Matthew "Cecil" Brenner
     Matt "Mathies" Butler
     James "Tao" Murphy

Monday, January 15, 2018

Friday, January 12, 2018

10 More Questions - Josh Fitzgerald

10 More Questions with Josh "Lakomasoi" Fitzgerald

Photo by: Jesse Gifford

1) What achievement either in or out of character are you most proud of? 

Gau Dring, while I cannot take all the credit for where we are as a Nation I still am most proud of the people in Gau Dring who have gotten us where we are. We have won the Up and coming group two years in a row, which seemed odd the second time around to still be up and coming but something I think we received with pride. We placed 3rd in the Wa
r tourney at ToC, while there were larger groups and more experienced we did what we could and showed up, as a group this had to be one of the best things we could have done together.

I am also proud of Big Game Hunt while it has taken some time off this was something needed and there is a plan in place to return to the realms this coming year better than before.

2) Are you a fighter or a caster? Have you always been? How did you choose? 

I am a caster,  shy of a few times I have been a fighter due to plot reasons or regionals or other variances I have always been a caster.

I enjoy it, I enjoy the flexibility and RP chances that I am given, it is nice to have the ability to do things I normally can’t do in real life. I can get my fighter fix at practices or NPCing when I really want to.

3) Have you ever owned an artifact, memento, or magic item that has meant a lot to you, and why?

Magic Items- personally I’ve only ever owned two Items. Currently it is the shield of Air, this was a gift from a friend and something I have kept close to me since. The other item was the Jury Rig Amulet I don’t own it anymore but it was a nice little item that helped newbies along when they were just starting out.

EDIT AFTER Cecils: The Staff of the Monkey King- I put this on my list as a “If you could ahev anything” I have wanted that staff since I found out it was a thing, I didn’t care what it did, it was more of the idea behind the item. It started out more of a joke that I wanted it, but eventually it became something I strove to own. The person who owned it made me want to be worthy to carry it. Now that I have it I have to learn about what it really is. For me this Item is a new path of learning.

4) What group of people do you spend the most time with and why?

Gau Dring, they are my Nation and my family both IC and OOC

5) Who is your best friend in character and why? 

I don’t know how to answer this, however if I don’t mention Kyara I think she might kill me.

Photo and Editing by M.G. Norris Photography

6) What event or moment had the greatest impact on you as a player? 

Learn to Fly: This was the first chance I actually had to throw an event for the Realms. I have to thank John Berrini for the opportunity to give back to the community, this event was a huge success in my book, not only for kicking off a plot line that is ongoing, but also for the positive feed back and learning experiences that came from it.

7) What event or moment had the greatest impact on your character? 

The Bedlam Plot, I think a lot of people can pull from those events, however for me It really gave me a different direction to bring Lako as far as his interactions with the Realms.

8) What is your most embarrassing moment, either IC or OOC? 

Feast of Leviathan, Giving Enlon his Title of Champion. At the time Lako was poisoned to embarrass himself, so announcing myself as Top in front of the entire hall I felt was a good way to do it. That entire time up there things kept go awry, from the announcement to handing Enlon the sword sheath from Swoop.While it was embarrassing I don’t think I would change it, also some people still refer to Lako as the Top which for me is just entertaining.

Photo by: Dustin Mack

9) What is the best piece of advice you'd give to other players? 

Stick to your character and have fun. If you are playing the game as a character stick with it, people may tell you to change it because it isn’t popular, or it isn’t strong in current game sense, who cares. Stick with what you have fun with and run with that idea.

Make decisions IC that aren’t always popular but are true to your character. Get involved in plot, create your own interpersonal plot, Meet people and learn from them. Enjoy what you are doing, you are playing a game get involved with as much of that game as possible.

10) What is the most important thing you've learned through the game? 

Confidence, the ability to do something, fail, learn from it and grow. Also keep people in your life who are there to support you, not beat you down. Find a family who is willing to help you grow but isn’t afraid to tell you when and where you messed up. Don’t be afraid to start all over if you have to.

BONUS QUESTION #1: Who would you like to see the next interview be with? 

Kelly Bonci/ Dame Twenaria- or put names in a hat of people who have never been interviewed. Interview them.

BONUS QUESTION #2: Anything else you'd like to take the opportunity to put into print.

This is a really dangerous question. I considered Quoting the Odyssey, like the entire thing right here.

But in truth, Grow. Give back to this community and help it grow. Get to know opinions outside of your Circle, meet people you don’t normally talk to. Go out of your way to meet and get to know as many people in this game as you can.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Echoes of Ragnarok: 3D Printing Overview (Part Two)

Echoes of Ragnarok: 3D Printing Overview (Part Two)

Alexander "Elouan" Groom

Plastic.  It’s very useful.  It usually melts at a reasonably low temperature, is lightweight, has a decent strength to weight ratio, and is relatively cheap.  As it turns out, though, plastic can also be finnicky. Combine this with new technology that is still being figured out, and you are bound to have some problems.  

As I mentioned last week, printing the parts does not end at the software stage.  The transition from a digital file to a real object you can touch and hold is not a perfect process; even if the software is perfectly set up according to what should theoretically work, the real world will almost always find a way to interfere.

Sometimes, it interferes in a good wood.  The software I was using is set up in such a way that it’s build time calculation is inaccurate; however, it is almost always an overestimate rather than an underestimate.  In other words, all of my prints took less time than I expected.  This is always good; if you budget your time based on what the computer says, and the computer always overestimates, then you’ll always have a little bit of extra time to work with.  However, such a positive difference is rare; most of the differences between the theoretical part and the real one were issues that I had to deal with.

The first issue I had was an issue I had never encountered before.  This is bad for me, because it takes time away from actually working on the part; it’s good for you, because it means I have to describe how to approach and solve such an issue.  About halfway through printing, the printer would shift where it was printing towards the back of the printer by half an inch.  In other words, instead of getting a nice part, I’d get a part that looked like it had been sliced in half, and the top half translated backwards.  

A rough diagram of what happened to all of the parts in the initial build.  I had never seen this before, nor had any idea what would cause this.

A bit of googling of this issue (aside: Google is your best friend when troubleshooting 3D printing problems.  A lot of companies don’t have a good FAQ/troubleshooting page for their 3D printer, and some are downright unhelpful, but online forums commonly contain people bringing up obscure issues and the solutions to said issues) revealed that the most likely culprit was a stepper motor driver overheating.  I had also found through research that this was a design flaw with the Makerbot Replicator 2X; the driver for the stepper motor did not have a dedicated fan to cool it, and was located in a spot with poor airflow to begin with.  Put simply, the printer was getting too hot in a specific spot.  

A quick tangent: issues like this happen a good bit, especially when you first start printing with a new printer.  Some problems are design flaws that are difficult to test for or see coming, and aren’t address.  For example: the SD card slot for the Makerbot Replicator 2X is located inside the build chamber and is vertically oriented.  While obvious in hindsight, it might not be apparent during testing (especially given that there are other priorities) that a piece of plastic could easily fall into this, bend the springs pins used to make contact with the SD card, and render the SD card reader on the printer entirely unusable.  Other issues are just from the company being rushed, or dealing with the issue in newer models, but not fixing it in older models.  Either way, identifying these issues and finding work arounds is part of the art of 3D printing.

My solution to this was to leave the door slightly open during the printing process.  The door is simply a piece of clear plastic on a hinge; the printer could not care less whether this door was open or closed.  Mostly, the door is there to keep the space warm, so that you use less electricity to heat the part.  I was willing to sacrifice some power efficiency to try out this solution.  Lo and behold, this solved this particular issue entirely....

...only to leave me with a new issue: stringing.  Stringing is when strands of thin plastic connect two different locations on the part.  It looks like this:

An example of a part with a high degree of stringing.  Notice how awful it looks.

Now, this is mostly an aesthetic flaw, but these parts were designed around looking good and printing cheaply and quickly.  I had already sacrificed on structural integrity; I wasn’t going to sacrifice on aesthetics as well. To some extent, this could be removed by hand; however, this would still leave some aesthetic defects, and would be incredibly tedious for the volume of parts we were working with.

There are two ways to solve stringing: lowering the temperature of the extruder, or increasing the retention amount on the extruder.  Lowering the temperature makes the plastic solidify more quickly; as such, it tends to stretch less when the extruder moves away from the part.  Think of like cheese on a pizza; if you pull away a slice when it’s still hot, you get strands of cheese connecting the pizza to the piece you just pulled away.  If you do this while the pizza is cooler, the cheese separates more cleanly.  (Can you tell that I am writing this close to my lunch hour?)  

The other solution is to increase the retention amount.  This is basically how much material the extruder pulls back into the nozzle after it is done printing a particular area.  Pulling back more material creates a cleaner separation between the nozzle and the part when the nozzle moves, leading to less stringing.

Ultimately, I decided to start by lowering the temperature.  This setting is much easier to change in the software I was using, and my research had produced a number of suggestions on good temperatures to try out.  The retention amount is more finicky, and seemed less likely to produce good results on the first try.  As I wanted to waste as little time and material as possible, lower the temperature was the right choice.  

Thanks to a combination of know how, good research, and a bit of luck, changing the extruder temperature removed the stringing problem altogether on the first try, and the parts printed without any major flaws.  However, there were still a number of minor flaws I had to go back and fix.  For example, on the vertebrae, there were a number of thin areas in critical areas that might have been fine, but that I wasn’t entirely confident would survive the event.  To fix these, I went back to the Solidworks model, and changed these areas so that they were thicker.  I then saved these as new .stl files, and reprinted them.  This eliminated the problem, and produced satisfactory results.

The raven skulls and fangs, successfully printed.  The fangs show a small amount of stringing on the raft; and one of the rafts misprinted; however, this structure would be removed, so the stringing in this case did not have to be addressed.
Quick aside: I was in a rush to get these done, and optimistic/overconfident.  If I had more forethought, I would have printed a single part at a time until I got the settings/part right.  I did this on most of the parts, but for the first couple of tries for the first part I worked on I printed the entire batch.  Don’t repeat my mistakes: print only one part at a time, until the part prints as you want it to.  And keep in mind that issues may crop up when you have multiple parts that didn’t occur when you only printed one part; just because the print worked with one part, does not mean success is guaranteed for multiple parts.

Now, you may notice that those parts don’t look exactly like the CAD fires.  They have a flat structure underneath (the raft), and in some spots (especially the eye sockets of the raven skull) excess material (support structure).  These excess pieces of plastic are there because they were necessary for building the part; however, we don’t want them on the final part.

The solution here is good old fashioned cleanup with tweezers, pliers, and a file.  The tweezers and pliers were used to pull off the support structure and rafts (which print in such a way that they come right off); the file was used to clean up any leftover material.

Next, any secondary machining operations we needed to do were done.  On a number of pieces, I drilled out some holes so that these could be looped on necklaces.  If I had rushed less, I would have designed the parts to be printed with the hole (including the ones we took from an online depository; these files can usually be modified as needed, if you have CAD software, and adding a hole would have been an exceedingly simple operation).  This can have some drawbacks (3D printers don’t always print holes very well, especially if they are horizontal), but in this case it probably would have simplified my life a bit.  At any rate, this was done using a basic hand drill, and added maybe a couple of minutes to the entire process at most.  Finally, a number of units also suffered from layers delaminating (i.e., pieces splitting apart along horizontals planes); this was easily remedied with some hot glue. At any rate, we kept our secondary machining operations to a minimum, and as such this step was relatively easy.

Finger bones, cleaned up.  The flat piece in the picture is the raft; this structure exists for printing purposes only, and is waste material (i.e., can be thrown out/recycled).

Finally, we assembled the pieces into a test unit, to make sure they looked good.  Here are the final results:

A finished necklace.  The players would build these over the course of the event; we wanted to make sure that they looked good, actually fit together nicely, and were sturdy enough.  This test piece used almost all of the bones we ended up printing, save for the wishbone

We were incredibly satisfied with how the pieces turned out and looked together.  Ultimately, there are some small improvements that could be made in the future (adding holes to parts, not using rafts with certain pieces, increasing the thickness in some areas, make some areas flatter, etc.).  However, an important thing to keep in mind is that you are almost certainly working with a deadline and/or budget, and at a certain point you have to say, “Yes, this is good.”  A common phrase in regards to this is “The enemy of the good is the perfect.”  If your parts are good, and meet your standards/requirements, unless you have extra time on your hands, it’s usually not worth going back and fixing small issues until the part is perfect.  At best, you’ll end up with a slight improvement for a lot of effort and wasted material (low return on your investment); at worst, you’ll end up in an infinite cycle of improvement and never actually getting the project done.

This is not to say that you shouldn’t aim for perfection; rather, that at some point, real world constraints catch up (time and money, namely).  In some cases there just isn’t much you can do about the reality of the situation, and you have to compromise somewhere.  It may not look like we compromised much, but that’s because we did a lot of our compromising up front.  We went in and optimized for aesthetics, build time, and built material; we knew that we would suffer on the structural integrity end of things, but also knew that we could get away with some loss of structural integrity.

At any rate, that’s the 3D printing process in a nutshell.  Get a CAD file, set up the print in software, do your print, identify issues, fix issues, and repeat until you have a part you are happy with.  In the end, the process is one that can be a lot of trial and error, even when you fully know what you are doing.  Over time, as one obtains more experience with 3D printing, you can reduce this process by quite a bit, to the point of where the only problems you are dealing with are those “strange” issues (such as the stepper motor driver overheating).  As this technology becomes cheaper and more available (I personally have a DIY kit that cost less than $200; this even came with 1kg of material to work with, and requires no special tools to assemble), I think it is definitely something that event holding teams should look into and start utilizing for building props.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

An Announcement from the Adventurers Guild

Hello adventurers of the Realms!

The Adventurers Guild will have an assortment of tasks that need doing at Leviathan this year, and we would like to tell you all about them.

Goblin Boom Squad
A group of goblins have been planning an attack on Rhiassa for some time now.  While their conspiracy is widespread among many goblin tribes, it does lack organization.  We are seeking adventurers to infiltrate their operation and replace their explosive goblin bombs with similar looking duds.  We will provide adequate disguises and the materials to construct the duds.

Lava Diving
Deep beneath Cold Springs lies a cavern with a hot spring.  Even deeper than that lies a magma chamber.  In that chamber there are some enchanted lava stones that we would like you to recover.  Beware, however, of the beast that dwells in the lava itself.

Imperium Commanders
We have been given the location of several members of the faction known as the Imperium in and around the area of Rhiassa who are targets wanted for capture by one Canary Cowl.  While she would like these targets brought back alive for questioning, these bounties don’t require it.

Alchemical Reagents
We also have an update on our ongoing requests for alchemical reagents.  We are still looking for these and will pay out 1 gold for every two reagents turned in to a member of the Adventurers Guild:

Reanimated Bones (89/200)
Valehaven Crystals (74/200)
Glowcap Mushrooms (0/200)

Finally we are announcing a new way for our members to make gold: work contracts.  At several gatherings a year we will be announcing new work contracts.  At these gatherings we will have a description of what good we need crafted, and a maximum price we are willing to pay for these goods.  The artisans of the Realms will have until the end of the gathering to bid on these contracts and the guild will take whichever offer is best.  As long as the item is crafted to our described standards, and within the agreed time limit, the crafter will be paid out upon receipt of the item.  We will only give a contract out to one individual at a time.  Please direct any questions about work contracts to any member of the Adventurers Guild in private missive, or see us at the Feast of the Leviathan in Rhiassa this weekend.

What You Missed: Stacked Deck Final Table

Photos and Commentary by Steven "Therian" Matulewicz

The Event space was pretty packed for the moderate sized group.  We all knew that food was not going to be provided and that Pot Luck was suggested.  I was personally amazed not just in the number of crock pots that showed up, but that it seemed there were no duplicates:

Neden had set up their modest carnival games and was offering popcorn to the crew.  They had a nice set of prizes to be won from their games:

They had also set up the Casino.  Blackjack was a the game of the day, but there were a few more tables  for those looking for something different. 

While the proposed wild Card tables did not happen (not enough  players), The  two Invited tables were set and ready to roll!

It was six hours of play with the blinds (amount of minimum bidding) going up every hour (which also allowed for time to switch in new dealers and to get some food).  Each player was given 20,000 in chips.   I personally did very well and made it to the final table.

The Final table (when enough people were knocked out so that we could combine into a single table seating 8 people and the dealer)  did not happen until the final hour.  I was chip leader (meaning I had the largest chip amount) going into that table,   However people around the table  (Phoenix, Rillan, Rorin, Slade, Daekara, Avendar, myself, and Zatara)  were making solid hands and my lead dwindled fairly quickly.  Soon  it was just Rorin, Slade, Zatara,and myself, with me and Slade  gunning for the 2nd place.  Time was running out, he and I went into a show down:  my Ace- 10 versus his 10 - 8.   He caught an 8, but I caught an ace.  On the River (last card) he got another 8 and I was out.   So the last 10 minutes or so were just the three of them.  Rorin was hanging in, but he was far too short of chips to catch up without some amazing play, and ended up going out.

In the end, Slade tried to keep up with Zatara, but the time ran out and Zatara had the most amount of chips.  Congratulations to Zatara, and for everyone who played:  Awesome game! 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

January 1018 Rumors

 As complied by Ryan "Orion" Welch

((If you wish to follow up on any of these rumors, please let Ryan know and he will direct you to the appropriate marshal))

[Across the Realms]

The cold nights have seemed to have brought a boon to many communities. There have been scattered reports of less Goblin sightings and raids than is normally expected. Some claim the sustained cold weather keeps them in their dwellings. However the winter nights and dwindling food supplies usually produce an annual spike of activity. So while some farmers on the edges of protected lands are relieved, the more militant among them are concerned.
People have still been discussing odd dreams where people in maroon tabbards briefly appear. It seems that any given person has not received this dream twice.
More elderly folk have been falling peacefully to sleep and then never awaking.  Young children also seem to have this odd sleeping sickness, but so far most tricks used to rouse a deep sleeping child have been effective and no comas have been reported in this regard.

[Eagle’s Rook]

After the return of an evil artifact by the hands of Yule himself, some citizens of Eagle's Rook are asking their higher ups to clear out the area that exists above Haze altogether; there are thoughts of going 'spelunking' in what remains as it was thought that the late Pyr moved the Vault itself, however no facts have been confirmed at this point.

[Griffindor, Chimeron]

A band of dark elves were fought off by a small amount of nameless militia; the elves got away with many wounds and the militia took in the banner that had been raised for their captain to investigate.

[Thorne Valley]

A small family had been found frozen in the snow, and none of the four were recoverable to life once thawed.

[Unclaimed Land]

On the roads west of Invictus and east of the Iron Kingdom, there have been rumors of  groups of travelers in black, worn cloaks, stopping anyone upon the roads. The reported leader among them, a figure calling itself Shale, is asking for any information people may have about a skull made of solid gold. While no one has been reported as harmed, most come away from the encounter with a deep feeling of dread. The number of the group encountered has been between 5 and 18 figures. No one has been able to give any other detailed description.
A band of fur trappers in the forest south of Blackwood reported seeing a trio of shooting stars followed by a thunderous crash just after sunset on Midwinter. Three of the trappers went to investigate but had not returned to the camp by the following morning. The remaining two trappers attempted to locate their missing companions by following their tracks, which lead them to an area littered with fallen trees. The rough terrain and impending snow storm forced them to call off the search without finding another trace of the three.

[Valley of Dreams]

Mercenaries hired by the Misty Hill Mystics have been getting rougher, and there are also rumors that 'soft spots' are appearing in random places on the Prime Material Plane, and then just as often as not disappearing on the same hour its discovered.  The Mystics are deeply disturbed by their newest guest, who claims to want to exist in both their Realms and The Dreaming, as no one they can recall has done that successfully in recorded Realms history.

[Western Mountains]

Ribbons of intense yet colorful light could be seen all this week from the City of Ivory and points closer from midnight until dawn.  Some said that it was the hand of Aurora showing that She was still alive and well; other commoners suspected wizardry.  Children of all types found it to be a wonderful display.

WIWTG: Feast of the Leviathan XX

By Steven “Therian” Matulewicz

Photo by Jesse Gifford

It is difficult to capture in words the landmark of the Realms that Feast of Leviathan has become.  In the middle of the coldest months, our community comes together to celebrate and to socialize.  Are you looking for good food?  You can have it.  Perhaps the short days and long nights have you itching to fight?  There are tournaments and the occasional bad guy to try and disrupt our revelry.  Perhaps you consider yourself good at cards.  Here is your chance, with an open casino and the Realms Stacked Deck Tournament’s season opener.  Maybe you have some gold and are looking to peruse merchants for some new items?  How about some carnival games of skill?  Those are there as well.

There are also other games (try out Merchant Barons).  There will likely be singing, stories.  There are Knightings on occasion.  There are raffles to win amazing prizes.  The View from Valehaven will be handing out its awards.

Or, to make a short story long…  This event has just about anything and everything you would want a mid winter event to have.  After 20 years of throwing this event, Rhiassa has become well skilled at bringing to the hall a level of entertainment and spectacle that can appeal to just about anyone.  Do as much, or as little, as you want.  Bring your family (children are welcome), bring your friends.  And definitely bring your appetite.  This feast tends to be innovative not only in the entertainment provided, but also with the food plated before you.

With this many people, the hall can be noisy.  The hall can be crowded.  But this is a testament to how good and how beloved the event is.  So get you best garb, shine up our favorite drinking container, and stop by.  It will be worth it.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Friday, January 5, 2018

Question of the Week and Responses

Question of the Week #7

Happy new year View readers! At the end of 2017 we ended up with some interesting thoughts on New Years resolutions. Allow me to share them with you below!

Adopt some wolf pups.

Be twice as bad as the year before ;)

Jericho Axelthorne
To make order of the list if it happens this year.

To have guests. It's been so long since we had guests. You would have loved my old Uncle Leo, back in the day. Charming dinner conversation, when he wasn't bringing up old girlfriends. Literally, regurgitating them. Nasty habit.

Slade (again)
To make just one friend......

Slade (additionally)
Get hired to assassinate someone, finally.

Sneak into the Risen Kingdom at least once, just to mess with them.

Show up more.

Obtain fire magic and learn to control it.

Slade (because follow-through is important)
I want to successfully assassinate someone for the first time.

Tao Ya Kang
To make good on something that was destroyed while it was I  my possession. 

Elric of Rathkeale 
Try to be less dark and edgy.

To improve as a craftsman. 

Thank you everyone, especially Slade, for your honest answers! Now for this week, please let us know a little bit more about where you think your strengths lie. Bragging is absolutely allowed!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Echoes of Ragnarok: 3D Printing Overview (Part One)

Echoes of Ragnarok: 3D Printing Overview (Part One)

Alexander "Elouan" Groom

The players at Rhiassa’s most recent event did not just get to go to an event, but also saw the debut of Rhiassa’a 3D printed props.  These props were a number of different bones, printed in various colors.  For this article, I am going to outline the process we used to create these props, along with some of the issues we encountered along the way.

While there are many notable differences, a 3D printer and a 2D printer both operate on similar principles.  They take some sort of digital file, and turn it into a physical representation of that digital file.  In the case of a 2D printer, this is usually some sort of word document or PDF.  For 3D printers, this is a CAD (computer aided design) file.

CAD files are generated in various different CAD softwares, and have a variety of different file types.  I could go on for an entire article about this (and, if there is interest, gladly will!), but the kind we are concerned with is called a .stl file.  A “.stl” file, without getting too technical, is what most slicer softwares use to generate files for 3D printers.

Slicer software is software that takes a CAD file, and turns it into a set of instructions for a 3D printer to use.  There are a variety of slicer softwares available; some are even specialized for specific makes and models of 3D printers.  In Rhiassa’s case, we use a Makerbot Replicator 2X (before anyone asks-yes, most of that is in fact meaningless buzzwords) 3D printer, which has it’s own slicer software (called Makerbot Desktop-real creative in the naming department, that company).  
A Makerbot Replicator 2X.  This was useful for us, as it has two printing heads, each of which can extrude either a different material or different colored plastic.  This saves time and effort on unloading and reloading filament. 

Anyway, there are two basic ways to get a CAD file: make your own, or grab one from an online depository.  For these parts, Rhiassa used both methods,.  

I’m not going to talk much about making your own CAD file here.  If there’s interest, I will do another write up dealing specifically with how to make your own CAD file.  Long story short, there are a variety of softwares available for making CAD files, ranging from free online services that favor simplicity (Tinkercad comes to mind) to high end, expensive softwares that favor complexity.  In general, the more complex your part, the harder it will be to model with simple software; at some point, you either have to make some concessions and simplify your part, or figure out how to access and use one of the more expensive and complicated softwares.  For reference, the raven skull, fang, and vertebra were custom made in SolidWorks.  Final note on making your own CAD files: make two copies; one in the format preferred by the software you are using, and a .stl for 3D printing purposes.

The raven’s skull, as seen in SolidWorks.  This was a custom CAD model built entirely from scratch.  This part took several hours of work, a lot of which was fixing errors within SolidWorks.  This is as someone with a decade of CAD experience, so keep in mind that it may take longer depending on the software you are using and your level of experience if you choose to go this route.  

It is far easier to just grab a CAD file from an online depository.  This is what we did for the finger bone and wishbone.  My personal favorite depository for CAD files is Thingiverse (no, I don’t have an endorsement deal with them-though if any of you have the power to offer one, I am not saying no.)  Thingiverse is specifically for 3D printing, too-a lot of the files include additional information on the best print settings to use.  This also means that the parts have been proven to print well (which, if you are making your own CAD files, is far from guaranteed, as I will show).  
Speaking of online depositories for CAD files: one of my goals is to get more people in Realms involved in doing these sorts of things.  To that end, I have started a “Realms CAD Files” google (link: ) drive for storing CAD files, and will be adding the custom CAD files we made for this event to it, in both .sldprt (SolidWorks’ standard save format)  and .stl format.   Anyone is welcome to use these files for their own event.  If anyone has any files of their own they would like to add for community use, they are more than welcome to do so.  Also, if anyone has any problems accessing this, please let me know.

Now that we have a CAD file in the proper format, we come to using the slicer software.  As I previously mentioned, the slicer software takes a CAD file, and turns it into a set of instructions for the 3D printer.  To do this, you need to specify a couple of things.  First, you need to load your part into the slicer software.  With Makerbot Desktop, this is as simple as opening the CAD file with the software.  Next, you can play around with the scale, orientation, and location of the part.  If you didn’t dimension your part properly, you may need to scale it to get it to be the appropriate size.  You also want to orient your part such that the bottom surface is relatively flat, and there are as few as possible overhangs.

The raven skull, properly placed and scaled.  Multiple skulls are present so that multiple skulls can be printed in one go. The surface chosen to be the bottom surface of this part was intuitive; it was the flattest surface, and minimized overhangs in cosmetic areas.  In this case, the scale was chosen by setting a particular dimension to 50mm; Makerbot Desktop automatically scales the rest of the dimensions proportionally.  

Next, specify if you want a raft and a support structure.  A raft is a layer of plastic below the part that makes sure that it adheres to the surface you are printing on during the printing process, and peels off the part at the end.  This is good, but can leave a rough surface finish on that surface of the part.  In general, if the surface finish of the bottom of the part isn’t a concern, you want to use a raft.  A support structure is basically plastic that breaks off of the part at the end that is used to print overhangs.  If your part has overhangs, you usually want to use a support structure.

Finally, there are a number of settings that can be altered depending on the material that is being printed.  Makerbot Desktop is friendly in that it has several settings for a variety of materials stored as presets; in theory, all you do is select the material you are printing with, and the slicer software takes care of the rest.  If the slicer software you are using doesn’t have preset materials, or doesn’t have the material you are using, you can almost always find the proper settings for a given material.  I personally find that RepRap (link: ) has good information on a variety of materials.

The settings used for the raven skull.  I’ve had problems with parts delaminating in the past, so I used a raft.  Support structures were enabled due to a couple of overhangs present in the part.  Material settings (including the temperature) were defaults saved in the software.  Resolution was set to “low” and the layer height set to 30mm as this was sufficient for the level of detail I needed, and would keep the build time to a minimum.  Number of shells was set to 2 and infill to 10%, as both of the