Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Why I Want To Go: to Aide for Aranea, by Saegan

Sometimes I think Eventholding is a dying art. It’s sort of sad to say that, because it’s literally what makes the game go, but it’s something that sits at the back of my mind sometimes. I feel like it’s my responsibility to encourage new people to step up and tell their stories, for us to play in. To help them sort of find their way.

So it’s just really interesting to me when people seem to come out of nowhere, maybe 10 or fewer events and just from my perspective, dive right in. Like kudos to you for that, seriously.

Just get in there.

Aide for Aranea promises to be an interesting event full of new. New lands to explore both in, and out of character, as the event holding team presents the game with a new site to develop and play on. New in character lands to adventure in, as Aranea invites the realms to come explore their lands for the first time. And a team looking to test their storytelling mettle to the game.

Based on everything I’ve heard, the event should consist of some really wild monsters ready to go absolutely ape on a would be adventurer. The players should be read for a heavy forest environment, and be prepared with their axes for the monsters that aren’t likely to be cut down by anything else. And they should come prepared for revelry and games as the action fades to night, because the gracious hosts come ready to party.

Honestly the amount of effort it seems that’s going into this event is what’s really perked my interest, and is the main reason why I want to go.

So hopefully I’ll see you on the field,

Keith “Saegan” Cronyn

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Community Post #1 - Results

 The results from the first Community Poll!

The results from the first community poll, in which we start to take a closer look at our origins




How did you come in to the game?
  • Saw people at a fight practice
  • SMAC
  • Friends (11)
  • WPI/ WPI SMAS (6)
  • I worked with Kathy Journeay/Queen Meg
  • Famliy friend Joe Fantasia
  • College friends who had just started playing.
  • I was brought in from another LARP and I liked this one more
  • Started dating a Realmsie
  • Some friends had played years before and suggested trying it
  • Someone in my art class happened to bring in some boffers to make and I asked them about it. We became friends and he brought me to my first event
  • I saw Hillary Fotino walking down the dorm hall with a foam sword, and I followed her
  • Andrew Adams (Emperor Lysis)
  • Through DnD friends who play
  • My boyfriend, now husband, told me about the game. It sounded like fun and I wanted to go to an event. 
  • Husband 
  • Got curious looked online and one had practice in my backyard basically went over got hooked
  • Henry Giasson
  • Swoop
  • On foot after a decent car ride.
  • River Hawk practice, then 3 years later a coworker brought me to my first event.
  • My dad, Decion
  • Joe Poepora aka reb brought to folkstone practice 
  • I sought out Chimeron's practice. Shortly after they brought in much of the WPISFS.


What was your first event?

  • Sca light weapons event 1981
  • Tournaments of Rhiassa, 1997
  • Black and White
  • Creathorne, I think
  • Feast of Blackwood 3
  • QoH and Feast of Leviathan
  • Technically TOC 16, but when I came back, Feast of Creathorne 
  • Black and White '98
  • FoChim 1997
  • Water war
  • North South war
  • Big Game Hunt
  • Black and White 2005
  • (sigh) Chaos Remembered
  • ToC in 93 or 94
  • Uncle Cecil’s 
  • Black and White 2018
  • Tournament of Blades
  • ToC
  • Black & White 2007
  • A Midnight Breaks In Storm
  • Nedengiving 2017
  • Tournaments of Creathorne 7
  • Black and White
  • ToC
  • I NPC'd the Event Which Must Not Be Named II
  • Neden BBQ 2018
  • Feast of Blackwood, 95
  • Feast of Leviathan 2014
  • Black & White 2014
  • Tournament of Tunics
  • That Which Escapes Us
  • Queen of Hearts 2
  • ToC 2016
  • Feast of Leviathan
  • Tournaments of Creathorne 1997
  • Storytellers 2012
  • Beyond the Hag and Hungry Goblin
  • I seriously don’t remember the name of the event... and the archive on RealmsNet doesn’t go back that far.  It was at UMass Amherst in 1991.
  • Fall 1990 Lackey's Plague Event.

Friday, July 26, 2019

The View Retrospective - Short Story

A short story by Steve Matulewicz (Sir Therian)





Originally published in The View from Valehaven, 2nd Edition, Volume 3, Issue 4; May 2006

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

What You Missed-A Rafting We Will Go (Again)!

by Lani "Gwen" Jones

We arrived a smidgle late to the questing party on account of the fact that I can’t seem to locate my gear in any reasonable timeframe, even when Aeston very kindly organizes and labels it for me (what a good brother I have). However, once we arrived, we were met by our Rhiassan friends, as well as Avendar, Ranger with a trio of new adventurers, Muursha, Thoril, and my old friend Kahlenar. At the outset, we were besieged by pirates who were searching the woods for treasure in the form of valuable sigils that contained scripts that seemed very interesting to say the least. I spend a lot of my time making sure Aeston stays out of trouble, and it occasionally ensures I miss a little bit of the WHY I’m doing something, but I've learned in my old age that when you see a pirate swinging at you with his sword, you probably should do something about that (with the exception of Kahelnar, of course). So we hunted for buried treasure, defeated a seemingly endless band of pirates, stole more treasure, and used the aforementioned sigils to unlock the current which would lead us toward the disturbance that was disrupting the river of Kawa no Oza.

We intended to traverse the river together, but the current had other plans for us. It was clear that the forces disturbing the natural order were fierce, as there were many rocks and shallows to contend with along the way. Luckily, Aeston’s pike served our two-person craft well as a force to propel us onward, and we developed the patented Rhiassan “butts up” maneuver to save our dierrers. Along our journey, we were met with more rouge pirates who we attempted to defeat, but were largely unsuccessful due to our oversight on bringing a shield to defend against their merciless cannons. Despite our initial struggles, we successfully landed on an isle that was home to a water spirit who sincerely wanted to aid our party in ridding the rivers in which she inhabited from the pirates and larger forces of evil that were disrupting the harmony of the once scenic and peaceful area. However, it’s hard to trust those whom you do not already know, and she felt that she needed to understand and connect with our party before she offered her aid to us all. Surprisingly she seemed to already know Aeston, which (as I learned later) was because he was honored as a "Keiro-rei" at Feast of Teng Hua for his attunement to the element of water during his days of being a Kathrani. She asked us to share our unique bonds to each other, through our kinship with Aeston. We were able to connect each individual in the party together in a meaningful way through Aeston, ultimately ending with Thoril who was gifted an orb that would guide us to the source of the corruption. What stands out to me most during this interaction was that the water spirit shared a piece of wisdom with us all, that the end of a chain is no less significant than the beginning. I’ll bear this advice in mind in the future when I’m helping to create such chains.

After a short lecture directed at Thoril, we departed, and journeyed once more down the pirate infested waters. However, our initial work may have benefitted us, as we had smoother travels (specifically fewer rocks meeting bums). Upon docking, we found much needed sustenance, followed by Thoril being led by the orb (in all manner of walking, spinning, skipping, and tree-hugging) to a treasure that clearly the pirates sought. They challenged us to a duel of pirate volleyball to control the treasure and the lands. After a few unsuccessful volleys, the adventurers of the Realms were able to soundly defeat the pirates, embarrassing them so much at their own game they were forced to flee out of shame. After their defeat, the water spirit reemerged to share with us a blessing for our efforts on her behalf. She indicated that while we had successfully chased off the invaders for a short time, that a larger evil was still looming and that we would again be called to aid the river and the lands of Teng Hua to protect the harmony of nature that they hold so dear. I for one cannot wait for the opportunity to rise to the challenge as it was a pleasure and gift to be able to aid our allies in their time of need.

Overall I walked away happy with our success, excited about future adventures in these lands, and a lot redder than when I arrived (even for a Rhiassan!)

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

The Thirsty Wolf Grand Opening

By,
Madam Zarine



Last weekend at the annual Tournaments of Blackwood saw the Grand Opening of the Thirsty Wolf Tavern. As much as I would love to take all of the credit for such an endeavor, many hands helped in the effort. Trent had the idea to have a tavern where folks could come and go, give us their gold, be entertained, eat, drink, and other wise be merry (or married, as the case may be). A few others were interested in conceptualizing such an idea, so Trent, Daekara, Zatarra, Runaris and myself got to work planning and constructing.

A lot of ideas were thrown around, and sadly we could not implement them all at once so really you only saw a small portion of what we will eventually be offering. We decided to start with the simple things: food, drink, fun, and games. The games unfortunately fell by the wayside as I honestly forgot about them in the rush to get everything decorated and set up for everyone but I promise you they were there and maybe next time they will even be available to play.

The d├ęcor was of course amazing. We hung tapestries, strung fancy lighting and placed decorative knickknacks about. The bardic troupe that we hired, Cu Dubh, was quite shy and asked to play behind the scenes, but if you enjoyed the music you can find them being less shy in other places. (https://www.cudubhtribe.com/ )

If you missed out on the food then you should know that it was quite delicious. Daekara made some beef stew that while not the fanciest of dishes, really hit the spot. Runaris offered up his sausage which people eagerly paid for and seemed to enjoy putting in their mouths. He also attempted to make fried dough, which was a learning experience for future evenings and I truly hope he tries again. I put together some of my favorite meats, cheeses and olives in small charcuterie samplers that were well received. We hope to add new food to our menus as time goes on so check back in and see what we are cooking up. Well I mean, not me, I'm not allowed to cook.

Trent mixed up his now famous Achorian Seawater which was very popular amongst our hosts and guests of honor. Thaddeus (who you may know simply as T-Main, but he for sure is actually named Thaddeus) made one of his signature 'pour a lot of booze into a container and give it a name' drinks called Pineapple Upside Down Cake. Freesia can't seem to resist the lure of selling delicious intoxication and jumped behind the bar to help out, assisted by T-Main's love interest who we call 'She-Main'. Apparently she has an actual name, but really we don't care. We also had mass manufactured beer which seemed to garner less interest than the fancy mixed drinks, and Trent purchased a humidor and had cigars for sale.

We had more guests than we anticipated on Friday evening, and we really weren't the most prepared of business owners, but we made it all work and most importantly all of our visiting plebs had an enjoyable experience. Drinks were flowing, stories were being told, food was being consumed, and Kharma and Rhage got married in the middle of it all. None of the folks that I actually hired really worked out, but a lot of folks with limited funds jumped in and helped for drinks and food as payment, and some of them just did it for the fun of being involved and assisting folks in need.

Overall our grand opening was a success! We are so grateful to the folks who came out and christened our big red building with their joy and revelry and we can't wait to do it again, but even better with all of the ideas that we had and the lessons that we learned. We hope to see even more of your smiling faces next time, and if you just can't wait until the next big gathering you can stop by our more permanent location in Invictus and pull up a chair, just ask myself or Trent to add you to our guest list. (https://www.facebook.com/groups/467472024029494/ )




See you all soon!


Friday, July 19, 2019

Why I Want to Go: A Rafting We Will Go (Again!)

by Lani (Gwen) Jones

On Saturday, members of Folkestone will be hosting another of the “A Rafting We Will Go” events. Fortunately, if you weren’t able to be a part of the first one which was run for charity a couple of weeks ago, the EH staff will be hosting this epic quest of tubular proportion once again. Since it had to be rescheduled because of weather, this is not an official event, but that will in no way affect how awesome it is going to be! I’m psyched to be able to help Teng Hua while simultaneously catching some waves and rays with my fellow Rhiassans and you! There are still a few slots open for this capped raft-questing event that is pushing the boundaries of what we’ve seen in the Realms so far. I have been long-looking forward to the opportunity to experience a truly innovative take on questing that I am sure that this staff will make great waves with. If Feast of Teng Hua is any indicator of this staff’s ability to create an immersive and interesting world that will keep everyone in-character and engaged throughout, then I honestly can’t even begin to imagine the wonders in store for us this weekend. Balancing an immersive plot with killer mechanics is what this team excels at, and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to continue to participate in the story they are telling. Stay tuned for the low-down on this thrilling event, and also, to find out whether or not I end up with a tan or a burn of monstrous proportions.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

What You Missed: Blackwood Tournaments VIII, by Jericho



I arrived in Acteon in high spirits. The weather looked good, friends everywhere, and rumors of a pig roast abound. This was my first time in Acteon and was looking forward to it. Especially because we were there to celebrate the happy couple!
Friday night, we all gathered by the tavern, and King K asked us to fetch some things for his crafters to be able to make a gift for Jinx. The first item to acquire was a special flower that could only bloom in the last remnants of a moonbeam. We eventually found the moonbeams, but we could not get the flowers out. We discovered if we put our weapons in, it seemed to allow us to swing them, and act like they were made of silver. I don’t quite remember how we got the flowers out, but it had something to do with the pixies attacking us. We eventually got them out, and made our way back to K. He then asked us to get two more items; the still-beating heart of an oak tree, and water from the stream a unicorn has drank from.
We eventually found the tree, who was not happy we were there, and he was being guarded by some sort of caterpillar that could basically crush us if we hit his legs too many times. We tried diplomacy, but it wasn’t working, so we made short work of the caterpillar, and convinced the tree to let us have his heart, and King Hygar promised to return it after. We left from this and I found another group had split off and gotten the water. All items in tow, we returned to K, passed them off, and participated in the festivities that night. I personally spent it down at the grand opening of The Thirsty Wolf Tavern. They served amazing food and drinks well into the sun rising.
The next morning found us on the field lined up before Jinx and K. They chose their teams of Stag and Doe. Stags wore bow ties to signify which team they were on and Does wore garters. K chose Daekara as his captain, and Jinx chose Mogar. We participated in team tournaments right from the beginning, including the castle siege, and the bridge battle. We also played in a couple I had never heard of before but enjoyed very much. After this we had the individual tournaments, including an obstacle course that you got to shoot a ballista in. Overall the competition was fierce all day, with hot, tired, and sweaty competitors all around. A while later was the dinner feast. Despite it coming out later than had been expected, it was worth every second of the wait, it was delicious. I heaped my plate full, and by the time I had finished, Bones had sown up talking about strippers for the bachelor party, and something about a keg that had gone missing.
So, we went out wandering in the woods looking for these strippers, which ended up being succubi. They seemed to make people love each other quite often, and we soon found ourselves in a field watching a fireworks display. And illuminated in the light of the fireworks was what appeared to be a massive demon. However, that was soon forgotten, as they disappeared, and we continued on. As we went along, we ran into a Demonologist, that had found a phonetic rune set that we could mark ourselves with. The words to this enchantment though, were from a set list, and they had to be words that we considered to be as true to ourselves as possible. We discovered that upon doing so, would protect our souls from the pesky succubi. Not many did this though, as it was very time consuming, and many wanted to continue onwards.
I did my enchantment and went on and found the group trying to convince the large demon, Big Pimpin, to let us take his strippers for the party. I believe he was looking for payment. During this time, a lot of people were being killed, and then when they got up, they would murder their friends. Being protected from this, I never had the problem myself. Although, once when I was dead, I heard a whisper in my head, asking me if I wanted to stay dead, or rejoin my friends. Luckily, I remembered hearing a waning about how this might be one of the Strangers are trying to infiltrate our world, so I chose to remain dead, and came to shortly after. Eventually, Big Pimpin was put down, and we made our way back to the tavern triumphantly. The night was yet another of revelry, and drunken marionettes.
Come morning, many had left for home, and the teams were much smaller than they had been the day before. It started out with the two captains putting on a dress or suit and fighting it out. The sight of Mogar in that dress is not something I will likely to be able to forget unfortunately. Despite the sweltering heat, we fought our hardest to a Doe victory.
Well done to all the competitors on the field this tournament, and a huge congratulations to King K and Jinx on their upcoming wedding! I know I had fun at this, especially as it was the first time for me attending the Blackwood Tournaments.

Safe travels,

Jericho Axelthorne
Lord of Arken

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Results from Tournaments of Blackwood


This year at Blackwood Tournaments we were celebrating the engagement and upcoming marriage of King K, and Sir Jinx. In honor of their future, and in the name of the celebration, we decided to have a Stag and Doe party for them up in Acteon. Naturally we named the teams after the Stag and Doe, and to go along with that our King, and future Queen got to pick the teams that would fight for their honor. Here are the results of those tournaments.



Group Battles

 Father of the Bride, Mother of the Groom 
Team Stag 

Survivor 
Team Doe 

King/Queen War 
Team Doe 

Blackwood Side Board
Team Doe 

Line Battle 
Team Doe 

Senchukulas ("Donut of Doom")
Team Stag 

Castle Defend 
Tie 

Castle Siege 
Team Stag 

Bridge Battle 
Team Doe 

Grand Melee 
Team Doe 


Individuals
V for Vendetta 
1 - Wrath 
2 - Daekara 
3 - Vuel

English Longsword 
1 - Wrath 
2 - Shader 
3 - Eldritch 

Obstacle Course 
1 - Scalar 
2 - Gordon 
3 - Herk 


Non-coms

Monopoly 
1 - Thoril 
2 - Elora 
3 - Valkyr 

Liars Dice 
 1- Valkyr 
2 - Thoril 
3 - Nova


Winner: Team Doe (45 points total)
Team Stag: 32 points

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The Photos You Missed From Blackwood Tournaments VIII



The King presents a gift to his future Queen. ( Photo by Steve Nelson)



A gift received. ( Photo by Steve Nelson. )



Eager competitors. ( Photo by Steve Nelson. )



The Pig's Pit. ( Photo by Steve Nelson.)

Image may contain: one or more people, outdoor and nature
 Obstacle Run. ( Photo by Dustin Mack. )

Image may contain: one or more people, tree, outdoor and nature
 Avoiding a Magic Missile. ( Photo by Dustin Mack. )

Image may contain: 6 people, outdoor
 Staring down the bridge. ( Photo by Dustin Mack. )
Image may contain: 1 person, outdoor and nature
Generals duke it out. ( Photo by Dustin Mack )

Friday, July 12, 2019

Flashback Friday: Looking back on View posts in July



From July 26, 2011: the very first post on the View from Valehaven blog as it makes the switch from print to digital under Dave Dolph:

https://viewfromvalehaven.blogspot.com/2011/07/welcome.html


From July 5, 2012: a 10 Questions interview with our very own Keith Cronyn:

https://viewfromvalehaven.blogspot.com/2012/07/10-questions-keith-saegan-cronyn.html


From July 31, 2013: What You Missed photos from Pressure Point:

https://viewfromvalehaven.blogspot.com/2013/07/what-you-missed-pressure-point.html

From July 2014: a series of profiles of different artists around the Realms:

https://viewfromvalehaven.blogspot.com/2014/07/artist-profile-zach-rubis-senchuk.html
https://viewfromvalehaven.blogspot.com/2014/07/artist-profile-carol-eddy.html
https://viewfromvalehaven.blogspot.com/2014/07/artist-profile-amanda-phoenix-rose.html

From July 10. 2015: a behind the scenes look at event design process for the first GOFER event:

https://viewfromvalehaven.blogspot.com/2015/07/behind-scenes-look-into-event-holding.html

From July 2016: a spotlight on the armor entries from that year's Queen of Hearts, and a summary article on the Fight-a-thon to benefit the TakeThis charity:

https://viewfromvalehaven.blogspot.com/2016/07/qoh-23-crafting-special-armourer-tourney.html
https://viewfromvalehaven.blogspot.com/2016/07/take-away-from-fight-thon-for-takethis.html

From July 2017: Zarine's delightful musings on first impressions in her I Can't Even column, and What You Missed photos from the final Event Which Must Not Be Named:

https://viewfromvalehaven.blogspot.com/2017/07/i-cant-even.html
https://viewfromvalehaven.blogspot.com/2017/07/what-you-missed-event-which-must-not-be.html

From July 2018: 10 Questions with an EH featuring Aaron Metzger, and What You Missed at Neden Monster Cleanup:

https://viewfromvalehaven.blogspot.com/2018/07/10-questions-with-eh-aaron-metzger.html
https://viewfromvalehaven.blogspot.com/2018/07/what-you-missed-neden-monster-cleanup.html




Thursday, July 11, 2019

Ask Zarine




Dear Madam Zarine, I’m new to the community and I went to Tourneys of Creathorne a couple weeks ago and mostly had an amazing time. It was fun watching people fight and I even competed a little bit. The evenings were also a lot of fun watching people celebrate, but I just didn’t feel like I fit in with anyone. I’m introverted so it’s hard to just put myself out in social situations. What should I do next time to find a way to click with people and have as much fun as they’re having?

***

Many people might think that this is a difficult question for me to answer because clearly I have many acquaintances and I always know just what to say. The truth, my dear, is that I haven't always been that way. There was a time when I was new to these lands and quite shy. There are probably some who wish that I would go back to being so quiet and unassuming, but once you find your confidence you'll find that it can be quite intoxicating and you'll want to flaunt it at every opportunity. But how do we get you there, that is the question.

Have you tried drinking? I find that whenever I am feeling a bit bashful and modest all it takes is a few drinks to loosen me up and suddenly I feel much more friendly and uninhibited. Now, being new I wouldn't suggest over imbibing, you'll want to keep your wits about you as you don't know who to trust yet, so find that fine line between overconfident stupidity and social awkwardness and you'll be all set.

If you don't drink, or can't drink, quite frankly things might be more difficult as you are going to have to actually address your problem head on. In the end this is probably for the best, but truthfully it's a lot of work that I personally would prefer to skip and skipping all the healthy coping mechanisms is why I am such a well balanced individual. So take that under advisement.

Tournaments of Creathorne is a rather large event with a lot of craziness going on. Some people thrive in that type of imbecility and some do not. If you are the shy type, I would assume that you would not. Perhaps try smaller gatherings where it is easier to meet people and the people you might meet could possibly be sober at some point during the weekend. While at a larger gatherings such as ToC, find the smaller gatherings within it. Befriend someone who can bring you around to the different fire pits and find ones you feel comfortable at. Hang out for a while and get to know some folks. During the day on the tournament field is also a good time to visit different groups of people. It might be less intimidating than during the night, though I will warn you some inhabitants of these lands are far more frightening to look upon in the full light of day.

If you like to gamble that can be another excellent way to meet people. It can be a very social activity depending on who is around at the time and who's dealing. I you don't gamble but would like to there are always folks willing to teach new plebs like yourself, and most of them won't even take advantage of your inexperience. If gold is a problem I find that if you just stand nearish to the casino complaining about it gold just appears in your hand, or other various places if you're into that.

Have you considered that it's alright to just be shy? It's completely acceptable to simply sit and listen. Just don't be creepy about it or anything. You can learn a lot about people and the realms by paying attention to what others say, which is much easier when you aren't the one doing all the talking. You can then take all of those things you learned about folks and come sit with me and tell me all about it. I may seem intimidating because I am so popular and mean, but really I am quite easy to talk to and love conversing with new people.

If you need someone to introduce you to new people, help interject you into a conversation, or get you into a poker game, come find me. I'll make sure you're having a good time.



Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Why I Want to Go-Tournaments of Blackwood VIII

by Lani "Gwen" Jones

It feels like it’s been a few weeks (or months now) since I’ve had the opportunity to test my fighting (and casting!) prowess and I’m looking forward to hitting Tournaments of Blackwood this weekend to scratch the itch. This event features all of the things that I love: fighting, food, and questing. Additionally, I hear that there is going to be a bachelor party and since I plan on being one of those for an awful long time, it seems like my kind of event.

In honor of this Stag and Doe event, there will be some old favorite tournies and some brand new ones as we start the journey of wishing Sir K and Sir Jinx a long, and happy life together. Can’t wait to see what Sir Saegan has in store for these fesitvies. Additionally, it wouldn’t be Tournaments of Blackwood without some explosives and monsters to defeat during the dark, dark night. As for me, you’ll find me on the tournament field, sipping an ice cold adult beverage, LARPing responsibly, and enjoying the company of all my favorite people (which is generally determined by who else feels like sipping on adult beverages with me, again, responsibly).

Bring your bug repellent, bring your appetite, bring your gear, and bring your best celebratory self as we come together for Tournaments of Blackwood VIII. I look forward to seeing you there.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

What You Missed: A Rafting We Will Go

by Pat "Saka" Bobell

OOC: Before getting into the actual content of this quest, I want to say that this private non-legal event was donated to a charity auction last year. The money we players bid in the auction did not fund the garb, props, food, and other materials staff needed to run the quest, and I want to call out the effort and resources Zach Senchuk and Jason and Angela Gray put into this for charity and for their players. I also want to thank Tucker Noyes, Pi Fisher, John Rescigno, Kajsa Senchuk, and Kelly Bonci for NPCing and/or helping with various logistics/food things! Okay, now for the actual WYM…


This past Saturday, the 29th of June 1019, I joined my fellow members of Rua Thar Cinn, three of our petitioners, and some of our closest companions on a quest to aid a Teng Huanese town with literal (not littoral) troubled waters. Apparently, a nearby river wasn't allowing people in to fish or transport goods. Something was clearly disturbing the natural balance, so we set out to determine the cause and find an appropriate resolution for the affected commonfolk. I should note upfront that I was involved with a lot more of the "how" and "what" aspects of this endeavor than the "why" or "who"; readers looking for such details should probably get in touch with Rel, Iawen, or the relevant Teng Huanese officials.

We arrived midmorning and started preparations for the journey. The plan was to find a way to traverse the river and look for any particular areas of concern. A local person or spirit gave us a puzzle that when solved, instructed us to communicate our intent to the river in verse. (For those who are curious, the solved text is included after this account.) Iawen wrote an excellent haiku on the fly and after we all recited it together, the river consented to grant us passage. My alligator turtle from the Rhiassan tunnels, Kiku, has grown quite large over the years and was kind enough to carry me. I had also forged an axe that could serve as an oar to help us navigate the occasional rapids, and I certainly recommend something of the sort for anyone else going on such a quest. Our party had many other aquatic mounts, and several rafts. (Most notable, in my opinion, were Rel's dragon, Aymise's shark, Rosetta's giant octopus, and Iawen's giant jellyfish.)

Not long after we started downriver, we were beset by freshwater pirates. Apparently that's a thing. They were adept swimmers and rowers, and some even had enough arcane prowess to heal their compatriots or cast magic missiles our way! Over the course of several clashes, our party became quite strung out along the river, with some of our dead floating downstream out of reach. In the end things worked out since the local river spirits were answering calls for divine aid with the power to raise our friends by voice alone, and we regrouped on a gravel beach where it seemed the pirates had established a small base of operations.

While fighting the pirates on dry land, we noticed that the river was no longer welcoming to us if we tried to step back into the water and would push us back to dry land. Those who were less involved with the fighting found several piles of sunfruit laid out, and noticed that each piece of fruit had some sort of rune on it. There were only two different runes, and I'm told one looked like a series of lines and the other looked sort of like a grumpy face. I was mostly fighting, but the fruit was gathered and Rel apparently ate one, because why not? Doing this did not change the river's attitude toward him, but someone decided we should all try eating a sunfruit to see if anything would happen. So we did. I remain unconvinced that this actually did anything, but the fruit tasted good.

After another good bit of fighting I was called over to join everyone else in a small ritual to demonstrate our ability to cooperate. A water spirit (possibly a large sentient fish who didn't mind dry land) told us we all needed to be inside a large green magical rope circle, hold the rope off the ground, and then find a way for all twelve of us to be at least two feet off the ground at the same time. Because there's no way following random ritual instructions from a giant fish out of water could ever go wrong, we did what he said by climbing up on various rocks and logs of sufficient height. (We tried a simultaneous jump first, but the fish was unimpressed.) Indana was instrumental in coordinating the effort, and the big fish gave her a puzzle that he said would come in handy later. She held onto the large part and I put the small parts with letters on them in my waterproof rucksack.

Ah, right, I also brought a dry-bag with way more gear than was really necessary. I highly recommend a waterproof pack for trips like this, but less so the extra ten pounds of equipment. We don't need to talk about the steel grappling anchor I brought in case we needed to hold a position against the current.

Anyway. Having dealt with the pirate outpost and completed this strange test, the river seemed cooperative once more. I ate a few more sunfruit (wouldn't want them to go to waste, now would we?) and we resumed our journey, following the current and engaging in the occasional swashbuckle with the pirates who would sally forth to harass us. At one point, Kiku and I were sufficiently separated from the rest of our group for three of the pirates to converge on us. Their magic missiles overwhelmed my parrying ability before I could attack them with my axe-oar, but thankfully Kiku was able to carry me safely downriver. I believe I was dead for ten to twenty minutes before we caught up to Janus, Indana, and Tirvanel, and Tir was able to bring me back. Everyone else was pretty far behind us, so we found some shallows to wait in. After a short while our compatriots and assailants caught up with us and had apparently established a "parlay". This was a foreign concept for me but is apparently common in nautical conflicts. It seemed like something between a surrender and a truce, but I'm not quite sure who was surrendering to whom at that point. Aymise's shark and Iawen's jellyfish were a little worse for wear, so Rosetta's mount and Bright's raft were each doing double duty. The pirates went ashore and we followed...right into their stronghold! I think "parlay" might actually just mean "please stop attacking us until we think we have the upper hand".

Unfortunately for those scalawags, we are fairly competent and well-coordinated when we want to be. Janus isn't even blind anymore, and he was somehow channeling Indana's healing magic. I almost felt bad. At one point, the horse that had done a surprisingly good job of carrying Laika downriver was stolen by a pirate attempting to flee and we had to chase him down. That was a nice run.

One pirate band that advanced on us tried to "parlay" and started negotiating with Rel. I made a wide circle around the pirates and intended to take them out from behind while Rel kept stalling, but by the time I got to the pirates the negotiations were pretty entertaining. So I tapped one on the shoulder and asked if I could join them, and they gave me one of the bandanas they all wore as heraldry. The pirates offered Rel a truce and one of their own number in exchange for Rel's magic sword, and he convinced the pirates to flip him for it. They didn't flip a coin, as one might expect, but they flipped the two peace offerings. The sacrificial pirate was stabbed with the magic sword and Rel would throw him up in the air. One of the surviving pirates would call sword up or sword down before he landed. Naturally, as a loyal pirate myself, I volunteered to call the flip and the other pirates agreed. I somehow managed to call it incorrectly, to all of our complete and utter surprise. The pirates wanted to go double or nothing, so Rel stabbed a second pirate, flipped him, and I called it correctly that time to see what Rel would do. Rel gave me a look, I shrugged, and then we killed the remaining murderous thieves who had been corrupting the river.

Several pirate skirmishes later, the party had determined the nature of the word puzzle we'd acquired earlier and most of it was solved. There were four rotating dials that fit into a large rectangle with six empty squares. If the dials were turned such that they spelled a word with the letters closest to the squares, one of the squares would permanently change to show progress toward the complete solution. Each word was related to greed or banditry, so we assumed this would somehow relieve the river and local spirits of the pirates' corrupting influence. Eventually, we figured out the last of the six words and boy were we wrong.

Teng Hua has their own type of demon called an Oni. This was the first one I've encountered and while I appreciated his wit, I can't say it was an overall pleasant experience to make his acquaintance. He said his name was Hame, and he thanked us for summoning him. He had two green Teng Huanese runes on his forehead, and he informed us that we did as well. After briefly looking around, he turned out to be correct about that. He said they were a mark of greed, and waxed poetic about how lovely it was to have other greedy folks to steal from. His argument was that with other avaricious folks around, ownership of everything is more concentrated and thus easier to acquire for himself. I have to admit, there was some logic to what the oni said. We bantered a bit, and then he decided he wanted our weapons and things. So we fought.

This Hame creature had no weapons of his own, but could make ours appear in his hand simply by pointing at them. If he did this while his hands were already full, the extra weapons would hover in the air around him, defending him. It took us a bit to get a grip on this situation, as many of us were unable to injure him when we attacked. After some trial and error, we discovered he could be harmed only by those whose possessions he was carrying or controlling. Most of us would fight to keep him busy while those missing weapons would get replacements and try to deal some damage. It took a lot to bring him down, and we had to kill him three times before he finally stopped regenerating. During the fight we'd cached some magic weapons beyond the fray so they would be outside the oni's notice, and I ran to retrieve them after the fight was done. When I returned, others were hesitantly examining his body. He had a pendant of some sort around his neck, so I reached to pull it over his head. Rather than coming away in my hand, it appeared around my neck. Thus far I have been unable to remove it. We tried to identify it, but our magic yielded no information. So far I am not aware of any adverse effects, though I do have a second pair of the "greed mark" runes while everyone else only has one. I tried pointing at Rosetta's sword in case it gave me the oni's power to steal weaponry, but no such luck. Perhaps there's just more to it that I need to figure out.

In any case, with the oni dispatched, a local townsperson or government official or another spirit arrived and offered us a meal, some Teng Huanese coin, a scroll, and a small box with a lucky golden cricket in thanks. Tirvanel asked to keep the scroll, and we decided he could keep it on the condition that he would transcribe copies to be distributed. (He followed through, so the text of the scroll, which details methods of attracting the spirits called Yosei, is included with this account. Good job, petitioner!) Indana indicated a fondness for the golden cricket, and nobody other than Tirvanel expressed interest, so she said she'd rochambeau him for it. While they started doing this, I may or may not have stolen the cricket from the table next to them, circled around to Indana, and handed it to her. Regardless of how it came to pass, Indana ended up with the pet cricket.

For the next couple of hours, we dried out in the Teng Huanese sun, ate our fill, and discussed the day's events before heading home to Chimeron. I feel like it was strangely difficult to distinguish river spirits from the friendly local populace, but maybe there was something I was missing. We have yet to figure out how we all got the first "greed mark" runes, but our best guesses so far are that it was a consequence of taking the lives of the pirates, or eating a bunch of the sunfruit. Most significantly, we have no idea if the oni we fought is actually defeated, or simply weakened. We were told that the river seems better than we found it, but not entirely uncorrupted. I had intended to return the following day with Rhiassa and a couple of other adventurers, but the weather turned prohibitively cold overnight. Whether this sudden and unseasonable chill was coincidence or something more sinister, I cannot say. I would recommend another party attempt to investigate the area in the near future. And if you do, maybe don't go touching demons' jewelry.

Til likevekt og utvikling,

Sir Saka Keeneye



Addendum - River Entry Prompt
"River Flows Swiftly
It Has A Life Of Its Own
No One Commands It

Those Who Would Enter
Permission Must Be Granted
In Verse You Must Speak"


Addendum - On Yosei
"The following details how to entice various Yosei to come out from hiding. I hope this work will help future generations to be able to share in the joy that Yosei bring. I will briefly go over how to attract some of the more basic types of Yosei.

MetalLad - In order to attract a MetalLad, one should find a piece of metal that is tarnished or rusty, and polish it to a shine again. This will be pleasing to the MetalLad.

VoidLad - In order to attract a VoidLad, one should spend time doing one of the following: either draw a picture while blindfolded, or tell a story without using any words. Who knows what might happen if you manage to do both at the same time!

WoodLad - In order to attract a WoodLad, one must collect enough natural wood-like materials and arrange them in a decently large, pleasing shape.

FireLad - In order to attract a FireLad, one must create their own coal or ash, and use it to draw a sketch. The sketch should be pleasing to a potential fire yosei.

EarthLad - In order to attract an EarthLad, one should make a rock sculpture using at least ten distinctly different size stones. This sculpture should promote serenity. It is especially impactful if multiple sculptures exist near each other.

WaterLad - In order to attract a WaterLad, one should collect water from five distinctly different sources, mix it, then use that water to nourish something.

WindLad - In order to attract a WindLad, one should make a set of windchimes, any material is fine as long as they make sound, and then hang them out for all to enjoy, and to attract the WindLad.

Lastly, there is a type of Yosei that is more free spirited in its nature. This very adaptable Yosei is only attracted by a collection of all the other types of Yosei.

I hope this writing helps you find Yosei of your own. They are wonderful beings, and very resilient. Once you attract them they will most likely want to stay with you for the rest of your life, unless you choose to send them away, which they won't mind either.

Oku Kyoju"

Friday, July 5, 2019

Rumors for July 1019

[Across the Realms]

With the summer heat comes a strange occurance, all throughout the realms odd fireflies have been showing up atracted to any campfires or lanterns. They create a strange jingling sound, almost like wind chimes, and leave a glittering trail behind them like fire embers. These fireflies are being popular called Fire Dancers. As the months go by their numbers are increasing and they seem oddly attracted to those who play music. They even bob and sway to the beat.
It is said that a creature of many black feathers has use of them and is willing to offer valuable trade.

[Blackwood]

Some residents of Eroewan in the vicinity of Tut-Tuts Deep have been complaining about bright light at night emanating from Sir Seeker's home.
~~~
Great numbers of Blackwood Men and allied forces seen moving into the tunnel openings at Steward Fenrys Jainrose’s command. No sightings of Meenlocks or Flayers above ground have been reported since the Siege. The Flayers have all but disappeared even in the tunnels. The mission success rate of our raids have quadrupled.
~~~
The Villages of Eroewan are seeing their villages re-erected in record speed due to the outpouring of support from the fellow lords of Blackwoods and, again, allied forces.
~~~
A well armored man dressed in red and emblazoned in skulls was overheard speaking with a cloaked figure about summoning some demons. He said it would really be the life of the party.

[Invictus]

Construction seems to be nearing completion on a new Tavern. Want ads have been seen hiring help. Trent has been seen directing the construction and recently ordered a sign "The Thirsty Wolf". The building really stands out as it's walls and roof are bright red.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

What You Missed: Do Your Part(y)!

Eventholding is often considered a thankless job. You put in a lot of effort for a community and the kick back is usually some really negative commentary about something you simply couldn’t foresee. But even still, event holding comes with a certain level of prestige. Title, status. Whatever.

If you want a thankless job, look at non events. We had two this past weekend and while I can't speak for the happenings at “A Rafting We Will Go”, I can speak to what happened at Do your Part(y).

It was a blast. An all around great time, with great company. Let me take a moment to speak to the bravery of Lani to throw a charity non-event, that's out of character, and generally just a party. If you think on that she asked a bunch of nerds that really only see each other outside of full garb to come be normal people together. And it rocked.

There was music and dancing. Snacks, and adult beverages. There were games and friends. Fabulous prizes.

Every indication says that this was the first of many events, and I think that a showing from the Realms that raised over 500 dollars and created more than 50 cards for the Boston’s
children's hospital is a great start. You can bet I'll be there.

Great job Lani and crew.


Keith “Saegan” Cronyn

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

What You Missed: Do Your Part(y) photos

All photos by Jason Rosa

Raffle prize baskets

Making cards and socializing


A little dancing 
 
Putting in tickets

Playing some games
 

 
Light snacks -- a trio of dips, and macaroni and cheese


A labor of love