Thursday, May 23, 2019

Throwback Thursday - Dueling S's

Editor's Note: As Creathorne is fast approaching, we thought it would be fun to throw back to this classic advice, part of the "Dueling S's" series in which Soft and Sir Syruss answered the same community questions, each in their own unique way. In this column, published on May 26, 2016, the agony aunts tackle some advice for Tournaments of Creathorne. Enjoy!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Soft,
 I'm new to this plane of existence, and I find myself strangely drawn towards warm-blooded heroes of the Realms. They're just, my type, if you catch my drift. This year marks my first time in attending the Tournaments of Creathorne, and I've got some questions about it. I tend to sleep late, very late, and I'm wondering how much of the festivities I'll miss during the day? Also, I've heard that it can be very cold at night, so cold that one can see their breath. How observant are heroes of the Realms? I know they'll notice my wonderful evening formal wear, but will they notice the lack of steam as I breathe? I look forward to meeting the citizens of the Realms, and expect to have a charming good time.

-Signed,
 Frosty-Hearted in Creathorne


Dear Frosty-Hearted in Creathorne,

It will also be my first time in attending the Tournaments of Creathorne, however my...underground connection, let’s call it, has informed me that sleeping late will not be a problem. There are number of activities to participate in after sunset from night questing to socialization and everything in between!  Although the heroes of the realms are observant, in my experience if you dazzle them with your clothing the only other thing you need for people to look the other way to any odd behavior is a small treat for them. A bit of candy or an enthralled being usually works just fine.

P.S
Warm blooded they’re fine, but get them hot blooded and things will be much more fun.

Love, 
Illumier Soft- Nosetti

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Syruss,
I'm new to this plane of existence, and I find myself strangely drawn towards warm-blooded heroes of the Realms. They're just, my type, if you catch my drift. This year marks my first time in attending the Tournaments of Creathorne, and I've got some questions about it. I tend to sleep, late, very late, and I'm wondering how much of the festivities I'll miss during the day? Also, I've heard that it can be very cold at night, so cold that one can see their breath. How observant are heroes of the Realms? I know they'll notice my wonderful evening formal wear, but will they notice the lack of steam as I breathe? I look forward to meeting the citizens of the Realms, and expect to have a charming good time 

-Signed,
Frosty-Hearted in Creathorne


Ok Mr/Mrs Not some sort of Evil-Lich-like-vampire-thing-at-all (OK not my best nick name… my bad),

What I read from you being new to this plane of existence or as we like to call it fun loving Crea-o-thorne. I skimmed most of this vaguely worded letter about your questionable attentions at our beloved ToC, but what I got out of this was three questions…..WHAT TO DO, WHAT TO BRING, WHO TO DRINK ...erm WHAT TO DRINK (although I think you're looking for the latter.)

So you tend to sleep late very very late, LIKE SUN-SETTING KIND OF LATE HMMMMMM, I digress. Don’t worry Sir/Ma’am Sure-to-Kill-us-all-if-you-sleep-late-on-Saturdays, you are in good company a good portion of the event is still passed out drunk..um, resting for the Amazing Adventures that take place at night. That’s right if you sleep all day and miss the amazing Tournaments (which are worth Order of the List points, get you sick prizes not to mention get you entered into the Champions tourney held Sunday) then have no fear there are activities at almost all hours of the day and night.

Things you will see at Tournaments of Creathorne (not limited to*) The Creathorne Casino, Drinking Games, Darts, Dancing, Bards singing their hearts out, Night Time Questing, Pyrotechnics but most importantly Hundreds and Hundreds of people having a grand ole time.

Now you are right it does get cold in the north at night. So not knowing the lands here are some things to consider bringing.

Warm Clothing for night/lighter clothing for the day, extra socks, towels for nearby lake swimming, sleeping equipment with extra pillows (in case I forget mine I always do) and extra blankets in case the sleeping equipment is not warm enough, sun screen for the day time YOU KNOW YOU'LL NEED SPF 9000 or something….sorry sorry sorry, I am usually not his judgmental we just got this Un-Dead thing going on in Neden right now that has me kind-of on edge.

I know you say you have wonderful formal wear but remember you may also want to have something practical on stand by in case of snow. Not Kidding.

Last What to drink...I personally enjoy Whisky and Cider specifically O’Leary Brothers Brewery Cider *ahem cheap plug cough cough ahem* But anything goes as long as you have been adventuring for 21 years or more. Bring something fun to share it is a great way to meet new people, also another important note bring water. Hydrate yourself after a night of libations but lastly drink anything you want but my friends, you undead son of a... hey hey!

Ahem.

It’s like Lord Sir Nymbous O’Leary always says: “Crap it’s almost ToC I need to stretch, how did the stores of cider last the winter? Where is the prize whiskey? Who's seen my traveling goat? SO MUCH TO GET READY FOR!!!!!”

Love you ALL
See you in at TOC
Sir Syruss O’Leary of Neden
Knight of the Blue Rose
Knight of the Potentium
Order of the List
Most relevant for TOC…………Champion of Min


Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Why I Want To Go-Tournaments of Creathorne 26

by Lani "Gwen" Jones

It’s time to make my annual pilgrimage to Grafton this Memorial Day weekend for one of my all time favorite events of the year: Tournaments of Creathorne. Knowing that this weekend is approaching brings me joy every year because it means that the summer eventing season is about to kick off, and I’m about to reconnect with friends new and old for a weekend of food, fun, and fighting.

One of the things I love most about TOC is that there is always something to do. Whether it’s fighting in tournaments (which I’m actually toying around with doing this weekend--shocking, I know), or watching the bardic competitions, participating in non-coms, questing, visiting shops, gambling, or just kicking back and socializing, I’m never bored, not once, in a four day weekend. When you stop to consider how much it takes to coordinate that much content for that many people, you can’t help but be impressed. I also love the care and attention to make sure that all players, regardless of their interest, age, or social circle are all provided with something that feels “just right” for them.

This will be my 12th Tournaments of Creathorne (yeah, yeah, I’ll get off your lawn). It was my first event, and being on site always brings me back to that special nostalgia of being brand new to the Realms. The nervous excitement, the wondering if I packed enough socks and clothes (pro tip--you can’t ever pack enough of either of those things), and the wondering of what adventure will be in store for me. I can’t wait to see you all there!


Friday, May 17, 2019

A wild rant on marshaling theory, by Keith

Marshaling is a rough job. You’re like expected to know the rules and stuff, and actually pay attention, and even though I’m being glib right now, it’s really just exhausting.

In my experience there are really two main strategies to marshaling, and really an infinite variability between people on how well they live up to either ideas.

So the first idea is this: It’s the player’s job to call their shots. Thus, I am here to just really sort out any confusion that might arise in that process. You might not see this marshal make any calls, except a lay on, and they just sort of watch from the sideline.  Due to the amount of things going on, this strategy is most often employed during war tournaments, where there may be 50 people clashing at a time, and just one marshal watching.

What’s the down side of this strategy?

Well if you believe that it is the player’s responsibility to call their own shots ( Note: It is. ) and you reinforce that by minimizing your interactions within the fight, you’re more likely to call a refight.

What’s wrong with that? Well, let’s a set up a scenario.

Combatant A and Combatant B are in a single short tournament, one on one.

Combatant B lands a killing shot on Combatant A, followed a second later by Combatant A landing a shot on Combatant B.

CA should have called Dead first, or Don’t Take That,  but for some reason does not.

In a fight a second is actually a long time, so Combatant B is confident that his shot landed first, and also does not call dead first.

Late shots are important, and they look to the marshals to handle it. Now a more proactive marshal will probably just call it as it lay, but let’s say they think that player A should have called it, so they just call a refight to give them the opportunity to do it the right way, or something.

More or less the same thing happens--where CA should have made a late call but doesn’t, and CB has to fight a third refight.

Again.
Again.

Finally CB gets killed first, and makes the late call. The match is over, with CA being called the victor.

So like I said this is a made up scenario, and generally speaking not something I’ve experienced. But it illustrates my point very well--- re-fights encourage poor shot calling, because they give the person who should have lost the opportunity to win.

So what might be the answer to that?

The second ideology? Yes.

The second ideology is more or less this: I am the marshal, it’s my job to make sure everything is done correctly and I’m going to make it happen.

This marshal does their best to call everything as it happens. They don’t care if you’re going to get up in their business because you think they’re wrong. Your opinion doesn’t really matter.

Sounds great, right? An impartial marshal that calls the shots for you so you can focus on the fighting instead?

Where is the downside?

The downside here is pretty simple; if the marshal removes all the responsibility from the player to call their shots, we end up with a series of fights where the fighters crash into each other, and don’t call anything. Then when both agree that someone, or both of them is dead, they stop, and look at the marshal.

The marshal is then expected to do something that is factually impossible, and see things from every angle, all at once, and then process it at a rate fast enough to explain to the players what they did. As someone who has marshaled competitive tournaments with both of these perspectives in mind, I can tell you that in a war tournament this is a ridiculous expectation to have of a person. It’s fairly challenging in a 1 on 1 tournament, sometimes.

If a marshal can’t tell what happened because neither competitor cared about calling their shots, then it turns into a refight. Which I already told you encourages poor shot calling.

You might think, “Wow Keith hates refights.” And you’re not wrong, I don’t like them, I avoid them if at all possible, by trying to fight cleanly and getting clean and clear wins. But they do happen, and I do call them myself when I have to.

Generally speaking I try to find a middle scenario, where I let the players figure it out where it’s possible, and I call shots that seem egregiously missed, to me, and call refights as minimally as possible. The reason I aim for the middle is because both strategies have merits. It's important for players to have the responsibility of playing honorably and correctly. It's also important for an impartial person to make sure the game is played fairly when desire clouds truth.

Good luck in the ring, and look out for future rants on theoretical marshaling.

I'll see you on the field,

Keith “Saegan” Cronyn

Thursday, May 16, 2019

O'er The Lands of the Realms: Iron Kingdom

by Jason "Aeston" Rosa



Description by Matt "Thon" Morris

Orc legend tells of a FirstHome, a Bastion-in-the-Rock, a name as old as the Orc race itself, one that our oldest ancestors called home, and to which our last descendants will return.  That name is Blackmount.  It was here from which our ancestors departed for the stars, so long ago, to conquer worlds they’d never seen.  But conquest isn’t our Clan’s way.  We have returned to seek our roots and gather likeminded recruits from other Clans - from Pinkskins, too.  We welcome all who understand we’re stronger when we coexist.  This city-in-relief carved like an ant colony deep into the rock where our history began is both a hub and jumping-off-place for relief missions off-world.  The RiftAltar offers us the means to make a difference in the larger battles happening Out There.  This world remains our secret, our fallback position, and most of all our home.

Orcish culture can be offputting, at times, to the uninitiated.  As such, at the mouth of Blackmount Valley, the town of Windmere often serves as a first point-of-contact for those born elsewhere, looking to engage.  Take this local’s advice and try the herb-roasted potato wedges at the Staggerin’ Dragon, Windmere’s pub.

Finally, if trade goods are your reason for pathfinding to the West, the Blackmount Portal Transit Authority has granted licenses to a number of off-world merchants to set up at Rhakansia’s bazaar, just North of town.  You’ll find things there that aren’t native to this world, along with almost any legally traded commodity.  Feel free to carry your purse open on your person.  Its contents are safe from everything but silver-tongued merchants, thanks to the watchful eye of Blackmount’s elite BlackGuard corps keeping everyone honest.

Off-World expedition permits and job applications can be dropped off conveniently at Windmere’s academy, by those who feel a call to do more with their lives or feel the light of other suns.  All other business may be taken to the Warchief, personally, the first two days of every week, when they force me to set aside useful work and dust the throne off to hear petitions.  Bring me something interesting, will you?  We love a challenge, in the West.

We Hold All Powers To Account,
~JustCallMeThon no, seriously, no titles.  Also stop taking dictation. This part’s supposed to be a signature.  Just… guh….



Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Creathorne Clean Up What You Missed


Photos and write-up by Becky "Naralia" Garbos

This weekend I went to Creathorne Spring Clean-Up. I actually look forward to going to clean-up every year. It’s a weekend where we get together outside of an actual event to give back to our community and enjoy each other's company. This year was no different.

On Friday night, with a small handful of people, work started in the Tavern. Major changes are happening in there. The bar has been removed. This has been a dead, useless space for some time now. Taking out the bar and leveling the dirt floor there has opened up the whole building. We will be adding at least two tables for even more seating for people inside.


On Saturday, the majority of people arrived and work got underway in earnest. This is when we really open up the site. Mowing of all the fields, cutting of trees and brush, raking up the tenting areas. Areas were opened up some more. Paths were cleaned up and made safer. In the kitchen area, we cleaned, organized, and took an inventory. Picnic tables were repaired and some rebuilt. All in preparation for the upcoming eventing season.


It’s not all work and no play either. In the evenings, when the day's work is done, there is time to sit and relax and enjoy each others company. This year we celebrated the moms who gave up their weekend to help us by giving them each a flower. And in honor of an 18th birthday, we had cupcakes.

I feel this is an extremely important weekend which is why I always want to go. Hundreds of people in our community use this site all summer long. Nothing on site can really happen without the help and hard work of the handful of folks we get every year. We are greatly appreciative of everyone that takes the time to come and help.





Friday, May 10, 2019

Rumors for May 1019

[Across the Realms]

(For those who are of the lycanthrope persuasion, secret or not) On April 19th, the Full Pink Moon (also known as Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, and the Fish Moon), were-creatures of many persuasions found themselves dining more on eggs, chicken, and fish than what is usually considered healthy; many a village across the Realms reported some whole catches or collections going missing over-night with minor scratches or fumbled damage.
~~~
More and more people are being re-introduced to the humanoid race called the Gema (JEM-ah), as trading is their business and know-how. They are usually bedecked in accessories and jewelry of many types, however more startling is the placement of a solid jewel on the forehead, or on the back of the hand (for example). Not much more information has been found to go on yet.
~~~
In every section of the Realms, areas where magic is most common have been buzzing with an odd feeling. Whether dark or good these energies may or may not affect lesser beings such as townsfolk, guards, and even some travellers just passing through.
Areas affected by a high concetration of magic, such as practice fields, magic towers, battlefields, portals and so on, may have started to develop affects on those who frequent the area. For good magics such as healing, divine sights and protection some may feel stronger, untouchable, immortal even and may seek to "purge" or "cleanse" the land.
For darker magics such as necromancy, poisons and inflicting harm they may feel sick, mutate into something or perhaps feel the urge to kill. Both sides are merely influences, side effects to something going on in the background. These affects go mostly unnoticed but for those with the insight to see what may be going on, there is talk of a Fey with "Swirled Eyes" who may know how to fix this.


[Chimeron]

A drunkard was turned over to the militia to sober up, but it oddly took three days for him to do so. He blubbered and snored and had odd fits of conversation with the cell walls, the most notable statements were: "The Strangers are Coming." "Meadow Crossing: building a better warrior since 980!" and "It was on October 27th, 990 that Prince Robert the Second left this mortal coil. And where does the fault lie? WHERE DOES THE FAULT LIE?"
~~~
 It has been 21 years since Chimeron was invaded by the forces of the Nameless One. The Queen was kidnapped by the Nameless One after her wedding to Sir Callin of Folkestone, then. The County of Cawdyll was completely destroyed, as was Chimeron Castle, and Chimeron Town. Blackwater and Qua Terreth Nuuna were also sacked yet saved through Heroic effort. A new castle for Chimeron was erected, and little more than a week later the Nameless One's gate and her will to fight had been shattered. Baron Diamond of the Barony of Banecroft, Sir Shane of Curaidh of the land of Cawdyll, McKrye of Clan McKrye, and Sir Peregrin were among the few notable ones to gain victory against the Citadel and secure a better peace for Chimeron. This was during the reign of Queen Margurite, also known as Meg Quickfists, the Battling Barmaid, cousin to Oliver of Chimeron. The rumor, though, as the stories are retold and retold again: what actually happened to that gate?
~~~
Several months have passed since the mysterious murders throughout Chimeron City ended. As a result, the curfew in the city had been lifted and Militia patrols had returned to normal levels. However, shortly after sunset on the Fourth of May, alarm bells once again rang throughout the garrison sounding a general call-to-arms. Rekees of the Azure Guard has been kidnapped by agents of The Strangers, and by King Cecil’s command, Captain Orion ordered the guards at every entrance to the City to be doubled and assigned patrols to every known magical soft spot in the area. While the starperson-captain’s expression continues to be hard to read, those who know him well can see the tension in his eyes.

[Eagle’s Rook]

A large memorial banner has been hung from the top spire, known as the Commander's Tower, of navy blue and rust, sporting the colors connected to the late Sir Vawn Coupant. Various smaller and simple ones can be found hanging in a window there, attached to a tree here. The people quietly mourn their leader and their country-folk also lost to the Summerlands, yet proudly tell the stories of the how and the why of it all.

[Najenna]

Seems there a new cult that is fast spreading around najenna worshiping something called the one true bones.

[Unclaimed Lands]

A small nondescript village in unclaimed territory, near to the remains of Brandon's Pass in the south, are causing a bit of a stir at their good fortune: when raising a barn they dug up a brightly colored 'stick' that seems to cheer people within a certain closeness to it. It's residing with the family whose barn is about to be raised, and bears odd symbols that glitter with ivory and gold.
~~~
On the Road, between Fey Reach ruins and Lhenrok ruins: goblinoid activity is being noted back and forth in greater numbers than usual, and merchants and other travelers are encouraged to perhaps consider hiring an adventurer or three to keep traveling groups safe from the green menace.


Thursday, May 9, 2019

Feast of Chimeron's Garb Contest

By Kim "Mayumi" Coffey, based on written entries and oral presentations by each participant

Found Item Outfit


Mave Moonstrider [Winner]

Total Cost: $50
On their 18th birthday, daughters of the Moonstrider family don the ceremonial cloak of crescent and go on a pilgrimage to seek the goddess Luna and to become a priestess in her name.



Evitta (Evie) Jainrose

Cost: $0
My gold belt originally belonged to my mother, from when my family resided on the Isle of the Seven Sons. She purchased it from a famed blacksmith who lived down the road from our residence. He was well known for being one of the only villagers to adventure in the Realms, in pursuit of coinage to provide for his family. This way of living was revered by the rest of the villagers, who were too fearful of the outside world to leave their cozy Island.











Pattern Based


Elena Llwellyn [Winner]

Cost: $30 and Stash Fabrics
Crafting Time: 15 hours
I earned the fabrics during my travels in the eastern lands as an Entertainer. When I arrived here, I realized my old clothing was terribly worn and set about making myself something new. The resulting outfit will be well cared for, and I will cherish the generosity of the people in the East that helped me create it.












Tao

Cost: $45
Crafting Time: 7 Hours
I needed a new shirt for over the chainmaille I’ve recently taken to wearing, so my wife made this one for me.
















Melethielle (Mel)

Cost: $20 and Stash Fabrics
Crafting Time: (Over the course of one week)
In my travels north, I met many insectifae and marveled at their fashions. My new friends brought me shopping for linens and corsets to bring my wardrobe forward to suit the far northern styles.














All photo credits: Dennis and Kim Coffey

Feast of Chimeron’s New Bardic Tradition


By Crystal “Cressida” Welch

This past weekend at Feast of Chimeron 27, I decided it was time for a new tradition, one that I hope catches on with other nations. Instead of a bardic competition for the title of Royal Bard of Chimeron, I thought we should stop competing and start recognizing the many different talented bards in the Realms. Instead of a title, bards who participate in the new Bardic Exhibition will receive a sash and an unique event badge. This year only, we offered a fancy sash to the first ever participants, as well as this year’s FOC badge, a golden rowan leaf. It was all very well received as I had ten different bards, including new bards and returning bards, participating. I received feedback that because of the new format, several bards were willing to take up their songs and stories once more without fear of embarrassment in a competitive setting. I was also approached after by several newbies who now want to become bards after seeing everyone perform. It has been my goal for a little while now to find a way to encourage bards to do what they do and to reward them for it. I hope the success I saw this weekend continues on for many years and that one day I will see the sashes filled with badges.


Aiden performs an original historical ballad

Fortuna returns to the bardic stage for the first time in several years
Sharlindra tells the tale of a time she seduced an army of Drow

Tarnisha leads the hall in a classic Chimeronian favorite

Sharlindra plays the part of "Buttercup the Dwarven Woman" in Cressida's improvisational bardic
All photo credits: Dennis and Kim Coffey

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

What You Missed - Feast of Chimeron XXVII

By Tucker "Temorse" Noyse

The day started of with some access to various shops in the Realms, some gambling, and some time to socialize with old friends.  Not long after the festivities began, several classes started opening up for adventurers to hone their skills and learn new ones.  While I was not able to attend any it appeared that there were a great variety such as Rune Solving, Leatherworking, Court Herald Information, and more.

Captain Orion held a War Council regarding the next steps the Realms would take in the ongoing conflict with the Risen Kingdom of Gi.  After defeating them here in the Realms and retaking their portal between our worlds, we discussed what the future may look like.  After much discussion, hesitant diplomacy was chosen as our first course of action.  Based on our past interactions with the Risen Kingdom we don’t have high expectations, however it may be a chance to at the very least learn more about this former foe.

On a similar note, we continued work on the portal to Gi, in an attempt to deactivate one of the (I believe) remaining two wards, specifically the one that wards our ability to contact our gods on Gi.  We were only able to gain access to the portal for short increments of time, which resulted in a diverse set of teams entering the portal to slowly work on nullifying that ward.  All of the mysteries in the portal we had to suss out involved the gods of the Realms, including requiring teams to use the sense of touch only to identify items that represented each god in some way.  This resulted in Osric’s, very loud, identification of one of the items as a sandwich (specifically ham and maybe some sort of cheese), which later with the help of King Cecil who supplied some divination, determined was linked to Discordia.  Ham sandwiches aside, we were finally able to unravel the wards mysteries and obtain a tome that allows us to inscribe its cover with the symbol of a god, which will allow some limited contact with that god in Gi.  We were also able to determine that we may be able to empower the tome to increase the number of gods, and how limited we are in our connections to them.

A small handful of us also traveled to an area that held a variety of items that we might be able to us in the upcoming conflict with the Strangers.  Dame Twenaria was sent a vision by Gaia of a way to travel to a place guarded by earth spirit that contained a handful of items.  While we were unable to bring back everything, we brought back the items we deemed most important, and the mission was a success.

The food served throughout the day was fantastic, in true Chimeron tradition.  Appetizers were served on platters throughout the day, including some fantastic Chimeron Beef and spanakopita.  The next  courses all the way through to the main course were equally fantastic.  The pork dish was especially well seasoned and served with an excellent carmelized onion apple sauce.  Dessert followed court which was equally impressive, I favored the chocolate pecan pie in particular.

Court saw a variety of topics, including several fantastic bardics, entries of a wonderfully innovative new style of garb competition, as well as the game entered into the strategy game tournament that was being run.  We were able to witness the Chimeron family grow a little bigger with both Mayumi joining House Sorbus and Melethielle joining those in Service to the Crown of Chimeron.  However, despite many positive reasons to celebrate, court was overshadowed somewhat with a message from Darkmoon, informing the King that one of his vassals, Rekees of the Azure Guard had been taken captive.  King Cecil rallied our spirits with a rousing speech that promised that the Chimeron and the Realms together would bring justice to the perpetrators.

What you missed at Chimeron this year, is much what you would miss any year.  The chance to reunite with old friends and meet new ones, to experience the unique culture and traditions of Chimeron, to engage with new mysteries and foes of the Realms, and to eat a great deal of very, very delicious food.






Tuesday, May 7, 2019

What You Missed In Photos - Feast of Chimeron XXVII (Part 2)

All photos by Dennis and Kim Coffey, unless otherwise noted

Cart-Loads of Food!


Photo credits: Melissa Metzger

More Food!



Makin' Da Pizza Pie!



Stuff that Isn't Food (?)



"I hope I don't touch something gross..."

Ser Kovaks teaching her Runes classs

Attentive students

Examining the wares

Lord Temorse is at the ready

Having fun at Cub Care

Bubbles!!!

Discussing the Risen Kingdom

"Is it naptime yet?"

Poker or Highbridge class? Why not both!

King Alexander Cecil hold court



What You Missed In Photos - Feast of Chimeron XXVII (Part 1)

All photos by Ryan Welch unless otherwise noted

Welcome to our hall!

Looking up the hall towards the High Table


Centerpiece and napkin on all of the tables



Tasty appetizers! (Photo credit: Elyse Donnelly)


Truly a table fit for a king




Monday, May 6, 2019