Thursday, January 31, 2019

Altar of Light Tutorial

by Stephen "Laika" Sanford

How to Make a Permanent Light-Up Disk for Rituals



Materials needed:
12”x12”x ¼ ” sheet of clear Acrylic
Pure white LED strip 1 meter/39” long with usb end.
USB power bank
5 minute 2 part epoxy
Super glue
Sheet of ⅛” poster board
Sandpaper 60-80 grit and 100-400 grit
Access to a 3d printer and filament (or substitute with wood)
Access to a Laser cutting machine (or etch/cut the acrylic yourself)


The first step is to get your design that you want to etch into the acrylic. You can look online for vector images or make your own. You can either print off the design and scratch up the acrylic yourself or use a Laser cutting machine at your local maker studio. You can find instructions for scratching it yourself online, but for the purpose of this article I'll be talking about using a laser cutter. Your design should be black and white with the colors inverted (anything black will be etched and shows as white on your disc) and a secondary color for vector cutting (red in this case).




Using a laser cutting machine involves two steps: first, raster (etching), then vector (cutting). Rastering can take a long time depending on your image, this project took an hour and a half of etching. Vector cutting often takes only a few minutes. Make sure to do your cutting second as the acrylic may shift and move after it is cut.






If you are 3D printing your frame, you can use a 3D design program to create the necessary files. I used TinkerCad, which is a very simple and free browser based software, but there are many available options such as Onshape or Fusion 360. For this project I had a 12” diameter acrylic circle so I needed to make my frame a little wider than that. For my frame design I went with 318.8mmx318.8mmx14mm for my outside dimensions and 300mmx300x23.25 interior dimensions with a groove on the inside that is 307mmx307mmx8.25mm.(Most 3d printers and design programs only use metric measurements.) If you make your own frame then make sure you have a interior groove that will allow the thickness of your acrylic and is wide enough for the LEDs (most are ¼” wide strips). You also need a hole on the bottom of your frame for your wires from your LED strip to protrude out of and plug into your battery pack. You will need to print with supports and remove them. This frame must be separated into at least 2 parts so that it can be assembled around the etched acrylic plate. You can either cut it down the middle and attach, or leave an overhang open and attach that to your bottom. Due to the size of this project, I was required to cut this design into 4 parts for the build volume of my 3d printer.




Take your LED strip and place it inside the track of the frame, making sure the LEDs are facing in and are tight to the frame. If they are not, you can use super glue to keep the LEDs in place. This can be tricky as you cannot have the frame fully put together until you epoxy the frame together with the acrylic inside. This process can take a half hour or more for the 2 part epoxy to set enough that it is stable, and then several hours to a day for it to fully cure. Once cured, sand all edges starting with a 60-80 grit paper and finishing with a 100-400 grit sandpaper.




Cut out your ⅛” poster board a little bigger than the size of your acrylic and spray paint it if needed (preferably a matte black for contrast). This will go on the bottom of the acrylic so you can see your etched design better and hide your battery pack. Clean the acrylic with glass cleaner and make sure it drys before this next step because any dust or smudges on the acrylic or poster board will be noticeable. Slide the posterboard inside the frame behind the etched side and super glue it in place.

You also need to design a method of holding the battery pack on the backside of project. I designed a holster to be placed on the backside and epoxy in place, however you can get away with other means of attaching it like using a small bag, velcro or even permanently bonding it into place. The LED strip that I bought had a remote control to turn on and dim the LEDs. I designed a holster to fit inside the battery pack holster to keep this control together. Make sure your wires are neat and secured to the board with either velcro or zip ties.




Finally you have to attach the legs for the project. Since my battery pack was 22mm thick and the remote control was 5 mm thick, I printed cylindrical legs to raise the project 29mm off the ground. Then I used 2 part epoxy to secure everything to the frame and let it cure overnight.

There you have it - a finished light up disc.





Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Heroes of the Western Flank - Thank You

by Lani "Gwen" Jones

My sincerest thanks and congratulations to the following individuals who were recognized as Heroes of the Western Flank at this year's Leviathan:

David Rubenstein (Tirvanel)
Neil Kusleika (Eldritch)
Tucker Noyes (Temorse Sorrowind)
Ethan Goldman (Jean-Baptiste)
Ryan Welch (Orion)
Sean Finn (Eamon Azzamean)
Nick Quadrini (Raynor)
Alyssa Lee (Umbra)
Sarah Fournier (Evie)
Sean Veale (Wil Craven McKrye)
Brendan Tarcotte (Baledor)
Kyle Yazinka (Killian)
Joe Sims (Rillan)
Keith Cronyn (Saegan)
Becky Baron (Kovaks)
James Murphy (Tao Ya Kang)
Emily Murphy (Kara Nithisdottir)
Jacob Ruggiero (Mogar)
Steve Nelson (Torolf)
Wendi Lovett (Belle)
Hannah Blood (Nhadala)
Benjamin Lacasse (Pilpus Finnigan)
Tom Gallagher (Avendar)
John Rescigno (Gordon Lightfoot)
Lynna Gallo (Nova Starr)
Michael Durocher (Vuel)

Combat NPCing is a tough job, but it's vital to the way that our game functions. The people who were recognized this year (and I'm sure we've missed those who weren't in attendance at Leviathan, or who were otherwise unable to register with us, or whose surveys we might have misplaced unpacking from the event), have provided a great service to our community. Although the Heroes of the Western Flank don't serve for the recognition, I think it's especially important to highlight those individuals who give us all some combination of their blood, sweat, and tears. Please take the time to thank them, and everyone who NPCs for helping to provide you with a quality player experience.


Tuesday, January 29, 2019

A Voraniss Adventure: Part II


by Renee "Kindrianna" Booke

[Editor's Note: Part I is available here]

Tromping through the woods alongside Wynn I really began to appreciate the changes in my life. For so long I had felt like an outsider to the Realms. It was approximately eleven years ago that I had seen a tree for the first time after all. All these new experiences had overwhelmed me as I learned about them, and now here I was running through the forest like I belonged here. This was my domain now. I had made this place my home by fighting for it, spending time in it, and contemplating its many lessons and mysteries. It didn’t mean I had everything figured out yet. Occasionally there was still a new experience I encountered that I didn’t quite understand, but ultimately it all worked out for the best. I was happy. Even now, running through the woods and gathering my friends to head towards an unidentified threat, I knew joy.
When we found Tulkhan he froze like we had caught him doing something he wasn’t supposed to be doing. The extended eye contact made me nervous, so I froze too. There we stood, staring at one another. Me with squinted, nervous eyes and he with a large stick in his mouth. Wynn didn’t seem to pick up on the tension in our little exchange and ran over to greet him.
“Tulkhan, Tulkhan! There are people in the forest!” Wynn exclaimed. “We’re going to go investigate and see what they want.”
The young wolf dropped the stick, and his playful nature was replaced by that of the young serious warrior he aspired to be. “People? Are they supposed to be here? Are we chasing them out?”
With a heavy sigh, I shrugged my shoulders. “They didn’t seem too keen on Wynn sniffing about their camp,” I explained as I recalled her tale. “I doubt they are looking to make friends. To make matters worse she saw them by the Boar shrine last.”
Almost as if reading my mind, Tulkhan spoke one word aloud: “Mogar.”
I nodded my agreement. “We have to hurry. The Orc is not known for his patience.” I wrapped an arm around Wynn’s shoulder and encouraged her to sniff the air again. It was good practice for her to try and use the abilities of her bear form. I knew that if she struggled, Tulkhan or I would have no problem picking up the slack. Tulkhan’s wolf abilities put me to shame, however. Where I was still learning about what it meant to be a wolf, he had lived their experiences since he was born. Such tracking came as naturally to him as breathing. In this situation, I was glad for his expertise.
Wynn wrinkled her nose as she concentrated, turning to face the direction we were heading. “It smells like flowers and trees that way,” she said proudly. “I don’t know what that other smell is. I think I tasted it once though. Honey maybe? Cinnamon?”
Tulkhan stood beside her and closed his eyes to concentrate. “Oh! That’s just Evie.”
“Excellent. Let’s grab her as we go. If she’s on the way, hopefully, she’s not busy and can come with us,” I added, already starting off in that direction.
Tulkhan looked back over his shoulder at the stick he was leaving behind. He was a little sad about it but knew that there was a job to do. He didn’t linger long and began to follow after Wynn and me hurriedly. Out of the three of us, he was the quickest, able to navigate the forest floor without disrupting the leaves and branches that lay underfoot. You would have thought it was because he was small that he had this advantage, but life has its way of surprising you. Hygar, for instance, was able to sneak up on people all the time despite being a junior giant. No, this wasn’t a size thing. This was a practiced thing that I liked to refer to as the “hunter walk.” He passed us soon enough, going up ahead to scout out the area while Wynn and I continued together.
Despite all the drama, I could hear her stomach rumbling with hunger. I felt a little bad that we couldn’t stop for snacks, but this was too important. I would have to reward her later for her effort. I had almost forgotten the difficulties this time of year brought to any bear types. Hibernation was around the corner. Did celestial bears need to hibernate? I made a mental note to investigate at a later date. I would have to add it to my ever-growing pile of unresolved worldly mysteries for the time being.
“Wynn, sweetie, you doing okay? You hanging in there?” I finally asked her.
“Uh-huh!” she replied cheerfully. “I’m so glad I get to run around with Tulkhan and Evie today. Sometimes Tulkhan shows me where he buries stuff and I get to see his secret treasure collection!” She grinned from ear to ear, proud of herself.
“Ooooh. How fascinating. Well, I won’t tell him I know about his secret treasure collection now. It will be our little secret,” I replied, smirking.
“Okay!” Wynn giggled.
Evie was waiting for us in the clearing when we arrived. Tulkhan had beaten us there and informed her as to what was going on. She was beautiful as always, with a crown of flowers adorning her head and small little bunnies scampering around the clearing at her feet. They seemed to like her. Possibly because she was always giving them carrots or other vegetable snacks. They made her happy though because any time one of them wiggled their nose in a particularly cute way she would squeal in delight. As we approached she raised her hand in greeting.
Hi, Lady Kin! Hi Wynn! Guess we’re off, hmm? Tulkhan continued on ahead. He wants to see if he can catch Mogar before he encounters the outsiders,” Evie said.
“Thank you, Evie,” I replied, grateful for the update. “Let’s hope he can.”
Evie gave a gentle pat to a particularly plump bunny with a unicorn horn sticking out of his forehead. A creature that I was not entirely familiar with. “See you later little friend,” she cooed, before joining the rest of us on our quest to the shrine of the Boar.

Friday, January 25, 2019

EHC Spotloght: Interview with Justin Mitchell

Interview conducted by Ryan Welch

What motivates you to write proposals?

The rule book should be seen as one of the entryways into the game. I want the rule book to better convey and set accurate expectations for the way the game is played, in a simple and straightforward manner. I write proposals I feel will reduce the number of misunderstandings, unspoken rules, nebulous meanings and close known loopholes. My goal is to write simply worded, broad and inclusive rules, instead of creating lists of edge cases that focus on what is not allowed. I also want to see better balance in the spellcasting system that allows for more creative character choices.

Is there a particular aspect of the game’s mechanics that particularly interest you?

The spellcasting system is the aspect that is of the most interest to me. It's one of the things LARPing provides me the ability to play with that other activities do not.

You probably have written more proposals than anyone else this year. Do you have any personal favorites?

I do for different reasons and in different categories.

What about proposals written by other people? Are there any that you find particularly interesting?

I don't view proposals as having owners but evaluate them on their own individual merit.

After looking at the list I can't really say I have favorites but there are many so far I would love to see passed that I think would clean up the rulebook or enrich the game overall. Since I of course like all of my proposals, otherwise I wouldn't put them up, I'll instead highlight the proposals that others have put forward I'd most like to see pass.

Clarify Armor thickness
Clarify Regeneration
Combine purity

I like the idea of the wizard blade options but I just don't think they are quite there yet.

By "wizard's blade", did you mean Sorcerer's Blade 2.0, or Invoked Weapon?

Both. I like the idea of it but I think both needed more balance work. I haven't checked this week to see if they are in a better place now.

Do you have any suggestions for the authors of those proposals? Or any other authors of proposals?

I think it's important to think through all the ramifications your proposal may cause even beyond their current scope. Then if possible enumerate them and explain why those changes are good or how they are mitigated by your proposal. For example moving a spell up or down one circle changes not only the spell, but any build that contained or could contain that spell, and any choice of spell in both the new and old circle. Ask yourself does it add or remove a playstyle? A new loophole? Are there any unintended consequences? Are there other proposals that may alter the end result? Can you mitigate or prepare for those possibilities?

Really it comes down to putting as much thought as you can into each proposal and utilizing other players and the draft boards to bounce ideas around and check for angles you may have missed.
When altering spells ask is there something else that can already do this? Is it better here? Should it be removed from there? What is the value of each possible choice when compared to others at this circle? What does this add to the game? Why will this make things better?

If you had the power to change, add, or remove anything from the Omnibus, what would you do?

I would reorganize the rulebook to first address what is needed to make a character and get playing and move the crunchy mechanics, calls, and construction rules in their own sections at the back. Much like you would see in modern day rulebooks, where character creation is one of the first sections and crunchy combat rules is one of the last.

I would also rewrite it to focus on what is allowed within the system instead of what is not. When I first read through the rulebook as a newbie I was afraid of a game that had so many rules devoted to how players should not act, which lead me to believe that the game was rampant with people that required these things to become specifically stated. I would work on pairing down a lot of the specific exclusionary rules and verbose examples to instead use more common language and simple rules. If your example provides more insight than the wording of the rule itself, you should revise the rule text until the example is no longer necessary. If you have lists of exceptions players will always find a new loophole to make a new exception for, where a stronger and broader rule can provide coverage and allow for positive exceptions in specific cases by focusing on “you can” instead of “you can’t” in a specific cases.

I also believe the burden of knowledge on how the game works should be shared by everyone playing the game and not a select group who want to focus on one thing over the other. I would remove all references that specify or hint that any person or group playing the game does need not read the entire rulebook. Just because fighters don't cast spells, does not mean they should not know what they do, how they work, and what options are out there. In the same way all casters should know how armor calling works and what a legal blow is.

I would also do an overhaul on the spell power balance.
By first comparing and ranking all spells with similar effects mathematically based on speed, short term effect and long term effect per spell slot filled. Then comparing the player desire against every spell at the same level, level above, and level below to determine where each spell effect belongs in comparison to the others in the power structure. Then I would do this again with any combinations of spells that can feed off or interact with each other. This would go a long way to highlight and remove false choices without gutting the spellcasting system. Once the strength of spells are properly cataloged we can then create rules to allow for specific play styles or fix specific needs of the game. For example the strength of heal limb is much greater than any other second circle spell as shown by the fact it's an auto take for nearly every spellcaster, yet it remains there because it's integral to the way the game functions. I would prefer that we call it out as a special rule instead of a 2nd circle spell to balance other 2nd circle spells against.

Is there anything else you'd like to say before we wrap up?

I would love to see more voices, feedback, and opinions involved in the proposal process, specifically the drafting board. I have learned quite a lot about the current rules and the reasoning behind them by participating in the discussions found there.

Justin Mitchell took second place in the 2019 View From Valehaven Award for "Best Newbie" and has written an overwhelming abundance of proposals over the past few months. To see his and other proposals, visit https://www.realmsnet.net/proposals.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

What You Missed: Feast of the Leviathan XXI (photos)

[Editor's Note: all photos by Shannon Rosa unless otherwise noted]



Browsing the wares at Realms Outfitters

That's quite a lot of patches

Having fun at the Gilded Lion Carnival

The Chimeron Royal Casino was on hand 

A selection of biscuit puffs ready to go out to hungry guests

The new set-up of the hall - no more rows of tables

Watching some fighting and enjoying the weather

Torolf and Tao face off

The Adventurers Guild runs a kid quest (Matt Norris)

Raynor plays some skee-ball

Bardics take place in the new stage area

Guests relax at the tables

Delicious wings and stuffed mushrooms ready to be served

Working hard in the kitchen

Aeston and Areni present their new daughter, Lady Aelise, at court (Matt Norris)

Temorse presents Lady Aelise with lands gifted from Ashenmark

Matiya is knighted at court (Matt Norris)

A well-deserved and hard-won honor (Matt Norris)

The newest Knight of the Realms - Sir Iawen (Matt Norris)

Why I Want to Go-The Players Meeting 2019

by Lani "Gwen" Jones
In the week preceding Leviathan, I was lucky enough to be able to take a couple of days off of work,and this time, I didn’t even have to pretend to be ill. Within my first week on the job, I mentioned to some of my new coworkers, who also seemed to be pretty awesome nerds, that I liked to LARP on the weekend. In our first big meeting, they called me out to whole room, and the rest, as they say, is history. Upon my return to work this Monday, many of my friends and acquaintances were fascinated by the way that I spent my PTO. As I’m sure is true of many of us, I tried my best to explain what Realms is, and why I do it. Which has led me to this long winded introspective about why Realms is special, and why you should go to the player’s meeting this weekend. I’ll dispense this in my favorite manner: a three part list.

1. We are a Community. The thing I love the most about Realms, first and foremost, is that we are one community. We are a group of very different people who regularly come together to laugh and cry and support one another. We don’t do this perfectly all the time, but when push comes to shove, I’m glad that you all are my people, and I’m glad that we can passionately come together to share our ideas for making something we all love a little (or a lottle) bit better. The player’s meeting is an opportunity for every person who cares about our game to share their ideas for making it better, and that’s what sets us apart.

2. We All Have the Power to Make a Difference. Reading through the proposals reminded me this evening that Realms is unique and special because anyone can work towards the change that they believe in. I know that a lot of thought goes into the proposal process, and even if it doesn’t pass, each year I leave this meeting having considered something from a different perspective. This year, we get to consider new ways to organize the omnibus to make it easier for newer players to understand, decide whether or not to change how people learn spells, and potentially update a variety of individual spells to ensure the best play experience for all. I have seen it take years for great changes to catch on, and I’ve seen some ideas get shot down pretty emphatically. Either way, Realms is one of the places where everyone gets a forum to share their ideas, and, whether we agree with them or not, we’ll have a healthy debate, vote, and move forward. In an era where it can feel like we are losing our voices, I’m grateful that we still have this forum to make things better for a community we care about.

3. The Food.  Just kidding. Although I love a great potluck, what I really want to comment on is the camaraderie that we all share during those rare and much needed discussion breaks. I love that I can be vehemently opposed to someone’s proposals, but still find the common ground when we have the opportunity to relax and talk to each other. It doesn’t mean I won’t throw my blue card up against you, but it’s nice to know we can chow down together and still be friends at the end of the day.

I encourage you to check out the wide variety of proposals up on RealmsNet now so you can familiarize yourself before you come to the meeting. They range from social norms, wording clarifications, spell changes and everything in between. But I would ask that you come to this very important meeting with an open mind, ready to listen to the opinions of others in the room, and at the end of each discussion, vote with your heart. But I also ask you to remember that at the end of the day, we are all on the same team.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

What You Missed: Rhiassa Presents: Feast of Leviathan XXI

Leviathan is a staple event. It has etched itself into the history of realms and will hopefully be around for many years to come. This year was no different in that regard, it was a fine example of what our events can live up to. But it was different from previous years. While there were all the staple games, and there were plenty of people, the tables were separated, in an attempt to create a more open atmosphere, allowing people to wander and mingle, and it was good, it was nice, and it was fun.

Honestly, writing a what you missed for this event is hard. It’s like an episode of one of your favorite TV shows, where you have to follow a bunch of different characters to get a good idea of the whole picture, but at the same time, you feel like you’re missing something in the side lines.

I say that because there was questing going on, but I have no idea about what. There was political drama, something about eating babies. There were champions being named, there were gamblers, and people making pleas to gods. People joined nations. A while back I wrote something about what to do when bored at a feast, more or less my answer was “make business for you character, and do it.” I feel like more than any other feast I’ve been to this year, this event encapsulated that idea. You could ask 20 people what happened at this event, and very easily get different answers from all of them.

I’d be remiss not to speak on the food. It kept coming to find me, and I kept eating it. All sorts of lovely snippets, and snacks. The breads and dips were a particular hit for me. For the main course there were three options, and I had the chicken marsala. I only discovered my love of that meal some years ago, so I would call myself a novice to its nuances, but I have to say that there is a reason I took leftovers of that home. And there is a reason it was gone early the next day. Also, tiramisu, honestly this menu feels like it was calling me out somehow, which is a weird feeling knowing they were serving possibly a 100+ people. I could ramble on about the food, but I’m going to leave a little mystery, and force you to come find out for yourselves next year.

While there were a lot of things going on, and I tried to touch upon as many as I could, there is one bit of business that occurred that I believe needs explicitly stating. Janna “Iawen” Oakfellow-Pushee was made a Knight of the Realms. This is not a common occurrence, and it was certainly well deserved. When you see her next, be sure to thank her for all she has done for the game, for the community, and then congratulate her  for being recognized, and knighted.

I’ll see you on the field,
Keith “Saegan” Cronyn

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

2018 View Awards Results


The results of the 2018 View from Valehaven Players' Choice Awards, as announced and presented at Feast of the Leviathan XXI on January 19th, 2019. 



Best Special Effects
1st: Feast of Blackwood IX
2nd: Invictus Questing
3rd: TOC 25

Best Props/Costumes
1st: Feast of Blackwood IX
2nd: Invictus Questing
3rd: FolkeWood Questing 2018

Best Night Quest
1st: Invictus Questing
2nd: TOC 25
3rd: Feast of Blackwood IX

Best Plot
1st: Folkewood Initiative / New Verai
2nd: Invictus Questing
3rd (tie): Echos of Ragnarok
Yellow King

Non-Feast Event for Great Food
1st: Black & White 2018
2nd: A Very Merry Yule at Uncle 'Crazy' Cecil's Tavern 2
3rd: Rhiassa Presents: The Gilded Lion Summer Festival IV

Best Feast
1st: Feast of Blackwood IX
2nd: Rhiassa Presents: Feast of the Leviathan XX
3rd: Feast Of Verai

Best Dish
1st: Blackwood Meatloaf
2nd: Steak and Cheese Dip (Leviathan)
3rd (tie): Candied Bacon
Hungarian Mushroom Soup (Feast of Blackwood)

Best Tournament Event
1st: Rhiassa Presents: Queen of Hearts XXV
2nd: TOC 25
3rd: Order of the List Invitational 7

Best Quest
1st: Invictus Questing
2nd: FolkeWood Questing 2018
3rd: TOC 25

Best One-Day Event
1st: Rhiassa Presents: Echoes of Ragnarok IV
2nd: G.O.F.E.R. T.H.R.E.E.
3rd: Order of the List Invitational 7

Best Weekend Event
1st: Invictus Questing
2nd: Feast of Blackwood IX
3rd (tie): Ashen Bounty VII
FolkeWood Questing 2018

Best View Article
1st: A Voraniss Adventure by Renee "Kindrianna" Booke (October 2018)
2nd: My Order of the List Experience by Nataliya "Shader" Kostenko (November 2018)
3rd: Food and Feasting In the Realms by Melissa "Aymise" Metzger (April 2018)

Best View Series
1st: Legends of Voraniss (Renee "Kindrianna" Booke)
2nd: The Neden Kazoo (including "I Can't Even") (Justin "Dresden" Theriault)
3rd: What You Missed (Various Authors)

Best View Poem/Fiction
1st: Legends of Voraniss: Vangrim, the First Werewolf by Renee "Kindrianna" Booke
2nd: A Realmsies Lament by Ben "Pilpus" Lacasse and Hannah "Nhadala" Blood
3rd: What You Missed- Folkestone Questing By Eric "Rosetta" Willisson

Best Photo
1st: Major Air by Michelle "Rio" LaPlant
2nd: QoH Bridge Battle by Michelle "Rio" LaPlant

Best Group to NPC
1st: Ashenmark
2nd: Blackwood
3rd: Invictus

Up and Coming Group
1st: Voraniss
2nd: Arken
3rd: Order of the Lunar Aegis

Best Newbie
1st: Adrian "Cronin" Cronin
2nd: Justin "Artair" Mitchell
3rd: Sawyer "Jericho" Judkins

Best Bard
1st: Sarah "Evie" Fournier
2nd: Benjamin "Pilpus" Lacasse
3rd: Michael "Swoop" Zajac

Best Craftsperson
1st: Derek "Higer" Booke
2nd: Arthur "Aiden" Granger
3rd: Callahan "Syruss" Marsden

Best Photographer
1st: Matt "Thon" Norris
2nd: Michelle "Rio" LaPlant
3rd: Dustin "Toah" Mack

Best Artist
1st: Alexa "Kite" Lecko
2nd: Derek "Higer" Booke
3rd: Janna "Iawen" Oakfellow-Pushee

Best Vendor
1st: Realms Outfitters/Chimeron Shop
2nd: Vandoria Vestments
3rd: Arthur "Aiden" Granger

Best Dressed
1st: Sara "Zarine" Jessop
2nd: Alexander "Gavin" Sokolowski
3rd (tie): Derek "Higer" Booke
Renee "Kindrianna" Booke

Best Feastocrat
1st: Lani "Gwen" Jones
2nd: Liz "Matiya" Butler
3rd: Melissa "Aymise" Metzger

Best Servant/Kitchen Staff
1st: Lani "Gwen" Jones
2nd: Liz "Matiya" Butler
3rd (tie): Becky "Kovaks" Baron
Aaron "Rel" Metzger

Best Combat Marshal
1st: Keith "Saegan" Cronyn
2nd: Callahan "Syruss" Marsden
3rd: Josh "Shandar" Learned

Best Magic Marshal
1st: Matt "Mathies" Butler
2nd: Christopher "Janus" Donnelly
3rd: Keith "Saegan" Cronyn

Best Trainer
1st: Keith "Saegan" Cronyn
2nd: Josh "Shandar" Learned
3rd (tie): Callahan "Syruss" Marsden
Steve "Torolf" Nelson

Best Mentor
1st: Renee "Kindrianna" Booke
2nd (tie): Jason "Aeston" Rosa
Josh "Shandar" Learned
3rd (tie): Derek "Higer" Booke
Jon "Trent" Jessop

Best Roleplaying of Magic by a Spellcaster
1st: Jack of Redwall (Shade DeShone)
2nd: Templar Kindrianna (Renee Booke)
3rd: Thoril (Tyler Chase)

Best Roleplaying by a Player Character
1st: Madam Zarine (Sara Jessop)
2nd: Mogar (Jacob Ruggiero)
3rd: Captain Orion Mars (Ryan Welch)

Best Roleplaying of a Single NPC Role
1st: Red Foreman (Jon Jessop)
2nd: The Grey Lady (Beth Tozier)
3rd: Prince Skyros (Nick Quadrini)

Best Grunt NPC
1st: Gregory "Daekara" Falconer
2nd: Keith "Saegan" Cronyn
3rd (tie): Tucker "Temorse" Noyes
Sean "Wil" Veale

Most Honorable in Combat
1st: Keith "Saegan" Cronyn
2nd: Steve "Torolf" Nelson
3rd: David "Vawn" Hayden

Most Dependable Person to Help Eventholders
1st: James "Tao" Murphy
2nd (tie): Patrick "Saka" Bobell
Eric "Randolf" Marques
3rd (tie): Matt "Mathies" Butler
Lani "Gewn" Jones

Best Role Model
1st: Renee "Kindrianna" Booke
2nd (tie): Keith "Saegan" Cronyn
Steve "Torolf" Nelson
3rd: Josh "Shandar" Learned

Greatest Contributor to the Realms
1st: Josh "Shandar" Learned
2nd: Jason "Aeston" Rosa
3rd (tie): Patrick "Saka" Bobell
James "Tao" Murphy


Friday, January 18, 2019

EHC Spotlight: Interview with Pi Fisher

Interview conducted by Ryan Welch
(Editor's note: one response has been edited for clarity. These changes are denoted by [square brackets].)

What is your motivation for writing proposals?

To make the Omnibus a better document. I don't have very many objections with regards to game balance right now, though I think casters might be a tad too powerful. The document itself could be better written to better present the information it has. I considered trying to do something with necromancy this year to make things cleaner, but I'm hoping for some short meetings instead.

If I remember correctly, you've served on the Omnibus Editorial Committee several times. What, in your opinion, is the difference between the things the OEC can clarify and the things that should go through the EHC process?

The OEC can't clarify rules. If there an ambiguous interpretation of a rule, it has to go to the EHC to be clarified. The one exception I see is when a proposal was passed, and the wording is ambiguous. In that instance, with guidance from the person who wrote the proposal, the OEC can clarify the text. If something is caught a year or more later, or if a proposal has an unintended side effect, the OEC can't clarify those problems.

How do you feel about the wording of a proposal being fixed during the discussion of it during the Player's Meeting or the Event Holder's Council? Do you find it more or less preferable to the OEC editing the text after the proposal has passed?

Depends on context. I'm generally in favour of giving more freedom to the OEC, so I'll often suggest that wording can be fixed by the OEC, but a lot of the amendments made at the meetings impact the rules being voted on, so those discussions should stay at the meetings.

You mentioned game balance earlier. When you're reading proposals, how do you determine if the proposed changes will have a positive or negative impact on game balance?

I have gut feelings about what things are a little too strong and what things are a little too weak. I'm not perfect on this. If a lot of people are currently doing a thing, it's likely too powerful. If hardly anybody is doing a thing, it's likely too weak. I see a higher ratio of casters to fighters than I'd like to see, so I suspect the current magic system is too strong. It's been that way for a few years. I don't see many two paths. I think that means a bow and a weapon shorter than 3'8" don't make up for what you can get from a third path of spells. Given that I think casters are a little too strong, I'd prefer to nerf three paths instead of buffing two paths.

Of course, not everything popular is too powerful. Our game would be fundamentally different if Heal Limb were a spell that most casters didn't have. Heal Limb is an example of a powerful spell at a low circle that should probably stay as it is.

Are there any other proposals this year that are particularly interesting to you?

I'm curious to see what happens with the scalping/death proposals. The undead revamp is interesting, and I have not yet decided how I feel about it. Of course, it might depend on what you mean by "interesting". I don't think any of my proposals are interesting, but I certainly hope they all pass.

For some of the proposals I [want] to fail, it's possible amendments will make me change my mind. For some of the proposals I [want] to pass, I have amendments in mind that I hope are made, and I might vote against them without those amendments. It's not a perfect system.

If you had the power to change, add, or remove anything from the Omnibus, what would you do?

I'd reformat and reorganise it. I guess if you really want to pick a rule change, I'd go with taking Familiar out?

Can you give me one or two examples of what you would do to reorganize?

I have a proposal to take Regional Magic and Alchemy out of the sections they're currently in and make a new section for them. If I had the power to do so, I'd look around more and do a more drastic reorg.

What about Familiar? Why would you take it out?


I've never liked the spell. It's mostly just better buydowns. Now that buydowns aren't as much a thing, it's no longer too powerful, but it's purpose went away.

Before I wrap this up, is there anything you would like to say or talk about regarding proposals?

Nah, I'm good

Thanks for your time

You're welcome

Pi Fisher is an Event Holder and member of the 2018 Omnibus Editorial Committee, as well as the author of several proposals which clean up the Omnibus. To see his and other proposals, visit https://www.realmsnet.net/proposals.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Heroes of the Western Flank-Update

 By Lani "Gwen" Jones

This year at Feast of the Leviathan XXI the Heroes of the Western Flank will be recognized for their service to the community. Now in its fourth year, this organization's purpose is to publicly thank those people who regularly serve as NPCs on quests. The role of the NPC is a vital one to our game: without monsters to kill, the heroes of the Realms would have very little to do. NPCing is accessible to all players, regardless of skill or experience, and it is the way that many players begin their service to the Realms, and still more players continually give back by acting behind the scenes in this manner. Despite the importance of NPCs, we often forget to recognize them for their hard work. Anyone who has served on the Western Flank knows that it can be an exhausting day and those that come back again and again deserve our commendation.

All heroes who are present at the Feast of Leviathan can submit a form indicating the number of events that they NPC'd. If you have NPC'd three or more events, you'll receive a ticket for each event, and will be entered into the Heroes of the Western Flank raffle. This year's prizes will include swords, pouches, gloves, garb, and two magic items that will last for the duration of the next year. Each item is a token of our sincerest gratitude.

Please take the time to congratulate the raffle winners, and always remember to thank your NPCs.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Why I Want to Go - Feast of the Leviathan XXI

By Crystal "Cressida" Welch

I am beyond excited for the Feast this weekend! The Food, the Puzzles, the Games, the Bardic Performances and the View Awards are the best of the best at Leviathan. This will be my third year going and I still remember how much I enjoyed the first two feasts. First off, I have a crazy long list of dietary restrictions and they always WOW me with how much food they make that I can actually consume and thoroughly enjoy. From the starter courses to the delectable desserts, I have yet to be disappointed and I cannot wait to see what surprises they have in store this year. I am also excited for the addition of a dry bar and the open space concept that is being tried out this year. Being able to walk around and spend time with friends, while food is being served on a platter, sounds like a great way to keep socializing without having to stop to feed myself every so often! I can already tell I will not be leaving hungry.

I am also excited to enjoy the annual puzzles and games. I am not much of a gambler, but I did have a lot of fun playing Merchant Barons last year and I am excited to try out the new and improved version. Plus the Gilded Lion Carnival is always a hoot! As a bard, I greatly enjoy watching other bard’s perform and the promise of a staged area this year is amazing! I would go if only to watch the wonderful performances and hang out with fellow bards and bardic fans. You never know what stories will be told or sung at the Feast and it would stink to miss out on a new piece!

On top of the fabulous food, puzzles, and performances, there is recognition for those who have kicked ass this year. I love watching the smiles on peoples’ faces as they win View Awards for all of their hard work. Also I know I voted, so I’d like to see the people I voted for win in person instead of hearing about it after the fact. All of that and more is why I Want to Go to Feast of the Leviathan XXI.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Fresh Faces with Justin "Artair" Mitchell


Photo by Robyn Nielsen


1. How did you learn about Realms?

I first heard about it during a pen and paper game I was running. Tonya Pirrone would often reference it and when we had a couple player spots open up Derek and Renee joined the group and finally convinced me to try it out. They even helped me to be fully garbed for my first event.


2. How many events have you been to?

At this point, I have been to at least 20 events


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

No, this is my first LARP


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

Artair is a calm and collected, yet highly opinionated druid of Gaia who has worked hard to contain the ferocity of the bear within. As a scholar and spellcaster, it is only recently that people have taught him that there is value in the ferocity he has been working to contain. Strongly connected to his God, he tries to follow Gaia’s teachings and the natural balance. He does not focus narrowly on Gaia’s growth and healing aspects but all aspects of the natural cycle. For without predators, death, and decay, new growth and prey would have no nourishment.

Originally from other lands, he was a druid of Gaia who gave himself to the long shift, turning into a bear to wander in nature for the rest of his days. After an unknown amount of years passed he awoke in the Realms, unsure why or how he got here. He has since turned to Gaia and his fellow adventurers to learn about his new surroundings and what his purpose here may be.

Artair is a human who once had multiple animal forms, but since his long shift has been deeply connected to his bear form. He views his forms as gifts of Gaia that, after so many years, have truly become part of him.

Artair is chiefly concerned with serving Gaia, the natural state of things, and the balance found there. While family and friends are always first in his mind, when they conflict with the natural order he struggles with which side to pick.


Provided Photo

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

I will highlight my first two events since they covered different aspects:

My very first event was Nedengiving. I remember feeling very scattered and nervous. There were carnaval games and a feast including the famed “cranberry sauce” and a tournament of some sort which I watched for a while. The magic system is what really had my initial interest so I started off trying to go 3 path caster right from the beginning. Learning spells was a high priority on my list and a good excuse to meet many of the different groups in attendance.

At the time I was following, what was then, the Shaman path and there were not many in attendance who had chosen that path of spells. Many of the spells were very difficult to find enough signatures for so I had to plan who signed for which spell or I would run out of teachers for the harder to find spells. Happily, I found some very nice people that helped introduce me to the people who could teach the spells I was after.

Each signature I got was a unique experience. Some teachers would sign after a few easy questions, a few required easy but silly tasks, and the best taught me as much about themselves as the spell I was after. I ended up learning 4 spells, (10 signatures!) by the end of the event and felt accomplished for doing so. A few of the more memorable experiences were: learning the “Regional” spell from Vanduke and Jean C’est Magnifique Try Baptise, and a magic marshall quest for “Death Watch” that required me to write and recite a poem about death and meditate as if dead for at least 5 minutes.

My first questing experience came at my second event, UCCT, where we trudged out in the snow to save Yule. It was a very light-hearted quest and had many memorable moments: a great portrayal of Scrooge, a “Charlie Brown tree”, making snow-golems, and caroling. It was also my first taste of realms combat and the speed and pace was quite the surprise compared to the other martial activities I've participated in. I had a lot of fun doing my best to keep my friends and fellow adventurers alive and healed on the front lines. This event was also my first time seeing and participating in ritual magic. When Voraniss called to the spirits out in the field at night, it was one of the things that really hooked me on Realms.


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

Having a good support structure through my friends/nation has really been the biggest factor, I have been blessed in this aspect. Other than that, there are a number of people who have gone out of their way to be nice, show me the ropes, and include me in the things that are going on. I won't list them all here for fear of accidentally forgetting someone but they have made a huge difference.


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

Sometimes it feels like the rules of the game are not how we actually play. There are a number of hidden hurdles that you can only learn about by playing and can vary widely from event to event. For example: Armor and weapon construction, combat speed and calling of shots, spell casting and the results you get, and full search, point search vs just saying “search” are all areas where you really need to do it, to learn what is accepted or the norm.

I also at times struggle with the pacing/reward structure of the game as it is so very different from any other game I have ever played. Having never LARPed before, my only comparison has been to similar role-playing experiences I’ve had such as DND, other pen and paper games and online MMOs. There, roleplaying was just as highly encouraged but they all had a very well defined, balanced, and paced reward/leveling structure. That's not to say that it's bad, just that it's very different and takes some getting used to.


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

As a character, Artair wants to earn respect as a person who can be relied on and turned to. He also wants to see Gaia and her followers become a more prominent force and involved in more visible ways.

As a player, in my experience, this game is very much what you make out of it for yourself and being inclusive and asking people if they want to be pulled into what's going on really makes the difference, especially for new people!! It's something that I will always strive to pay forward whenever I can because without it I would not still be here.

Since I most enjoy the role of GM/DM at the table top, I also have a long-term goal of throwing my own plot and hosting events, but before that happens I feel I still have a lot to learn about what works and what doesn't, from a player perspective, NPC perspective, and marshalling perspective.


9. What advice would you give other new players?

Find people to help you on your early journey. There is so much you cannot find from just reading the rules or available websites. You really need to get out there and experience it. Don't dive into getting or making your own armor or weapons. Have someone else help you make them for you, or borrow at least until you really understand what you're up against. This is a community game and no player can survive it completely on their own. Find someone, multiple someones, who will get you back up after combat. Make friends with healers or those who can find you one. There are tons of people willing to help, all you have to do is ask. If you see something you're interested in, go ask about it, and most importantly don't get discouraged if you get turned down a few times. Not every character is a “good guy” or wants to help new players and that’s ok.


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

All of my favorite moments have been when everyone involved is deep in character, be it dealing with an issue, doing a magical ritual, or having in-depth conversations. Those moments when you just go with it and let your character take you places.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Rumors for January 1018

[Across the Realms]

There has been a rise in peasants dying by morning. Men, women, children are found dead with a look of abject horror on their faces. Conversely, there has also been a rise in non fatal injuries. Humanoid races are reporting creatures living with injuries that usually result in death. Reports of animals with crushed skulls, impaled in traps, or burned by fire, surviving the experience. Healers have seen a greater need for their services as a result.
~~~
The copies of the following missive have spread around the adventuring community: “Unto the Realms, If you have any sort of access to seer magic and are interested in the adventure that is to take place in mid-February, please contact either me (Kara Nithisdottir) or Sir Vawn. Even if you can't attend the adventure itself, you can still help. -Kara”.
~~~
Guards of several nations are claiming they have seen a hooded theif sneaking into taverns at night and stealing from the drunk. Others claim they have seen a monster or demon stealing souls of those misfortunate. The name of this would be monster thief is circling as "The Black Dagger" but others insist that name is wrong and refer to the thief as "The Shadow Crow". They also claim that this being is like trying to catch smoke.
~~~
Something dark is lurking. One could almost taste it. Something is coming... Something vast, powerful and deadly. There will be no survivors…

[Unclaimed Lands]

The road between North Paradise and Stonewood Borders: A woman's body was found, wearing faded scarlet robes. Her outfit was mainly reduced to tatters, and her pack revealed nothing but torn books: spines ripped off the base and pages stuck in trees or in the mud.
~~~
Over the Western Mountains: Rangers and those that make their living by hunting and trading in the Ivory and Iron Kingdom marketplaces have reported much activity seen on the other side of the range. It seems that some group may be thinking about colonizing beyond what the cartographers have on the current Realms map.
~~~
Borders around the Great Swamp: People have been coming into taverns and inns, wherever there might be a shelter. Some are wood elves, although a few sassed they were "swamp elves", and most are humans. They claim they're moving on as "the Spiders are moving again" and "rather take chances topside with Strangers" and so forth. One, in particular, is heading to Rhiassa, bearing a book and a white flag.
~~~
On the path towards Achoria, a territory of Blackwood: a woman carrying a very old, wrapped sword on her back has been asking for stories and telling older ones in return. She also is teaching those who care to listen to the way to make a sort of tack-bread, good for carrying on long quests. She is also looking for the Misty Hill Mystics.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

2018 View Awards ballot: Best Photo



EHC Spotlight: Interview with Alex Groom

Interview conducted by Ryan Welch

What is your motivation for writing proposals?

The scalping overhauls I wrote up shortly after the scalping proposal failed at last year's EHC. It seemed like a good change to me; I was rather disappointed when it failed to pass, and didn't want to see that change die there.

The death overhaul was the result of a discussion about how Realms treats character death very nonchalantly, and thinking that it might make sense to move to a down/dying/dead system (or, at the very least, have a discussion about it).

The enchant weapon/assassin's blade proposal was the result of considering taking assassin's blade. While reading up on the spells, I noticed that as written enchant weapon can't be used on an assassin's blade arrow.

Unlike last year's effort, your scalping proposals go beyond just changing the name of the condition. For people who aren't familiar with the changes you've put forward, would you mind pitching a short summary?

Scalping Overhaul A changes the mechanic to be time based, and the exact action to remove a soul from a body up to the player. It could still be dismembering a body, but no longer would have to be under this proposal. It also changes the language to be more accurate; the word scalp is removed altogether, and a lot of the language replaced with more accurate terminology, such as soul, soul loss, soulessness, etc.

Scalping Overhaul B has similar language changes, but leaves the mechanic intact. The mechanic in this proposal is talked about in terms of destroying a body to sever a soul from the body.

Scalping Overhaul A exists due to specific objections with requiring players to dismember a body; Scalping Overhaul B exists so that if A fails, we can at least still clean up the language.

How did you come up with the time-based mechanic in the first option?

The time based mechanic was derived from the current 200 scalping blow based mechanic. I wanted something similar, but that wasn't tied to a specific action. Making it time based (with multiple people causing the timer to go faster) seemed like the obvious way to go; it allows for the current action (destroying a body), while also opening up new roleplay options for people who want to more permanently kill a foe but don't want to destroy a body.

In general, what is your process for coming up with proposals?

Generally, it starts with me noticing a problem. Sometimes this problem is an oversight - as was the case with the enchant weapon/armor piercing case - and the solution is simple.

Proposals like the scalping proposals or death overhaul start similarly - I notice some sort of problem, and try to fix it. In those cases though, it's much more complicated than simply making a spell work as intended. A good chunk of both of those proposals came from talking to others, and seeing how they felt about them. At an even more basic level, a lot of my initial discussions are making sure others feel that there even is a problem to solve. Sometimes, something that looks like a problem is actually a solution to a very specific problem that previously existed; other times, it can arise from misinterpretation of the rules. Ruling either of these out is an important early step.

Next, I write a first draft, including edits to the omnibus. This can be a bit tedious, but also ensures that I go through the omnibus and better understand how my proposal would affect the game.

After that, I'll make any edits I think are necessary to the draft and put it up on Realmsnet to get more feedback. This has been especially useful for the scalping overhauls; I've already made improvements to both based on feedback I've gotten from others.

Are there any other proposals this year that are particularly interesting to you?

I tend to find proposals that create discussions about how we want the game to work to be the most interesting. There's a couple of proposals like that this year.
The "breaking restriction is cheating" proposal started a discussion about whether or not breaking restriction leads to dramatic moments or is cheesing the system. There's another proposal to remove a number of spells from the game on a variety of reasons that looks like it might start a discussion about how we feel about PvP right now.

Even some that just look like mechanical tweaks can cause interesting discussions. For example, there's a proposal to make it so that masterwork hammer repairs all armor; this has launched discussions about the place of armor in the game, whether or not repairing it should be something that can be done unlimitedly (like healing), and how such a change could effect the flow of events.

Proposals like these are great because whether or not they pass or fail, we usually learn something about the game that we may not have even considered before.

If you had the power to change, add, or remove anything from the Omnibus, what would you do?

I am going to apologize in advance for giving an underwhelming answer.

I'd probably add a section about NPC'ing. We have sections about attending events and throwing events, and the expectations on anyone who does those things, but nothing about what NPC'ing entails and the expectations of that are. Also, the omnibus never actually explains what an NPC is; this may seem obvious, but we do explain what a PC is (and that seems to be just as obvious to me).

I like that idea! Before we wrap up, is there anything else related to proposals that you'd like to talk about?

To anyone out there who is thinking of proposing something: you should do it. The worst case scenario is the idea will be shot down, and you'll leave with a better understanding of why the proposal wasn't a good fit for the game. You may just spark an important discussion that we didn't even know we needed to have. And you never know; your proposal could very well be a positive change for the game no one had thought of before.



Alex Groom is an Event Holder and the author of three proposals to change the way death and scalping work in the Realms. To view his and other proposals, visit https://www.realmsnet.net/proposals.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

View Retrospective: Proposals

 On Writing Proposals
by Tucker "Temorse" Noyes
[Editor's Note: originally published on January 15, 2015]

This is a short guide to writing proposals that will hopefully help people trying to make changes during this proposal season.  Included is the basic proposal structure that will help you communicate efficiently and concisely.  In doing so you will allow your readers to better understand what you're trying to accomplish and enable them to give you more effective feedback.

Proposal
This should be the meat and potatoes of exactly what you are doing, much like the abstract in a professional paper.  Having a clear concise message will give readers a good idea of what the proposal is all about.

Rationale
Your rationale should include just that, a set of logical reasons for the change that you are making.  This is where you should identify the problem or area of improvement that you are addressing with your change.  These reasons should be logical and not just “Because it’s cool.”  If more people can identify with the problem at hand, the more people will likely vote for or give helpful criticism of the proposal.  Here you also want to include your reasoning on how these changes will address the problem you have identified.  When you can try to reference specifics from the omnibus and stay away from anecdotal evidence.

Changes
Here you should include the specific changes you are making to the omnibus text.  Use the html guide to the left of the text box while you write the proposal to properly highlight the removals, additions, and changes you are making to the text.  This section shouldn’t include anything but the text changes to the omnibus.

Notes/Updates
Finally after the changes I like to include any relevant notes that might not be obvious changes or any updates I make to the proposal for the sake of record keeping and helping people keep up with the comments.

Make sure you always review your proposal before you submit it, I recommend vetting it through a group of people who may have experience in the area that you're proposing something in (ie. if you changing the Healer path, you may want to have some well known Healers review it first).  This will give you a more polished product to present to the greater public and let you deal with any glaring issues outside the limelight.

And on a final note, although this is more personal opinion, you should always have a good reason for a proposal.  This doesn’t mean taking a “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” attitude, because innovation is a very important part to a thriving game, however proposing things just because you think it seems cool, is generally not a great basis and leads to a lot of wasted time and effort.  Good luck on your proposals this year!



Reviewing Proposals 
by Tucker "Temorse" Noyes
[Editor's Note: originally published on January 24, 2015]

This is a short guide on commenting and critiquing proposals, both online and at the meetings.  This set of guidelines will help you assess and give advice to those people putting up proposals.

In general, there are a few things to consider when reviewing proposals.  First is having decorum throughout the entire process.  Most proposals have had a lot of time and effort put into their inception and creation, so taking a hostile stance against a proposal will likely not help you get your point of view across.  To truly analyze a proposal there are three questions to ask;

Are there any errors within the proposal?  This first question is just assessing the proposal itself.  Are there any glaring errors such as removing a spell from the system that would leave a gap in the path or by changing a weapon material requirement a certain weapon type may no longer function.  These generally are more objective errors than subjective.
Does this proposal fix the addressed problem?  Some proposals aim to fix a problem in the game, others aim to make an improvement to some aspect.  Here we want to question if the proposal actually does this.  For example, if I were to propose we fix Heal Limb, the changes made probably shouldn’t only affect how long Magic Items can be backed for.  This is where we will start to move into some murky areas where both subjective and objective opinions can both be valid.
Is this a good chance.  So finally we ask if the proposal is intrinsically and ultimately a good change for the system.  This tends to be very subjective and where people opinions and outlooks on the game clash.  It is important to keep in mind game balance, not just what is beneficial to ourselves or friends.

Now when we are discussing proposals and asking ourselves these questions there are a few things to keep in mind.  First of all we should try at all time to use objective information as the basis of our arguments.  Now this gets tough because we don’t have any studies or spreadsheets to reference (well, most of us), and a lot of our evidence comes from our experience in game.  That being said it is important to be as specific as possible when it comes to giving evidence and that it is more empirical than anecdotal.  Also for those making proposals is it helpful to remember the importance of compromise and critique.  If there are ten people saying that there is a specific issue with a proposal, it is probably worth looking into.  Likewise sometimes other people are the ones who can come up with major improvements to your proposal, and recognizing when that is can help make your proposal even stronger.

As someone who has a proposal going to the EHC/PM you may also have the opportunity to accept amendments to your proposal.  Anyone may offer an amendment to a proposal, but it is up to the proposing EH (or the Players Rep in case of a Player Proposal), to decide whether or not to accept one.  An amendment is a suggested change to the proposal, generally with the hopes of making an improvement without changing the roots of the proposal itself.

For those of us attending the EHC/PM it is extremely important to come prepared.  This means looking over and reviewing the proposals before showing up at the meeting.  Every year there are a lot of complaints over how long these meetings take, but oftentimes this is due to the fact that many people who attend haven’t looked over the material they are going to be discussing.  If you have any questions or major concerns about a proposal we have a great forum to discuss theses things over on realmsnet.net, and if you are uncomfortable posting there most people making proposals wouldn’t mind a private email or message asking for clarification.