Monday, September 30, 2019

Salt Queen's Log - The Return of Change

 by Hannah "Nhadala" Blood

It’s been a hot minute since I caught up with the adventurers of the realms. After living in 7,000 years of my nightmares, Asmodeus’ gift for getting me out of Gaol, I wasn’t ready to face anyone. They wouldn’t understand. Instead, Purple and I spent some quality time together in the salt mine. We hunkered down up north, and I was ready to accept the fate of talking to myself for the next however-many-years-I’m-doomed-to-live.

However, Change and Damion Redblade were having none of it. Damion’s messenger crow essentially kicked down my door, and said “it’s time queenie. Change has arrived.”

I threw on my champion’s belt and felt a new sense of power. He was right, Change was with us again, and calling for our aid. It was only through Change’s grace that I was able to survive so many encounters of the past few years, and I could not throw that in his face in his time of need. I heeded the call.

The realms greeted me warmly as I arrived. Much appreciated, but little did they know the reason for my sudden appearance. I made camp alongside my new apprentice, a woman I found while digging in the mines. She has no recollection of her past, but is more than willing to assist me in all my endeavors. That would be tested this weekend.

Night fell, and we set off to meet with Damion. We wandered as a trio for a while, getting a sense of what was happening. There was a wedding going on, and we apparently needed to gain blessings from the local pantheon before the grand event. I was only half paying attention when suddenly we felt the pull of our beneficiary. As if waking from a haze, we were suddenly face to face with Change. It had been so long.

“Followers,” he said. “I need your help…”

And thus began the weekend of quests for Change. In reality, much of the goals were aligned with the rest of the adventurers. We needed some flags, and a few swords (which we could touch for some reason without backlash), and ya know a few souls for kicks. There was limited time, so the challenge was staying one step ahead of the clever realmsies. We were successful due to our focus and reaction time.

As the second night fell, Change required the charged up swords. I’m not going to say how I charged them up, but let’s just agree that there was at least less one emissary after Saturday than when we started.

The adventurers threw the gathered power into the fire, immediately turning it green. We grabbed the three swords, and circled the fire to forge a new weapon. Through the grace of Change, a new weapon was forged.

Needless to say, Damion was excited.

Change spoke to us again. “The demon,” he said. “It’s possessed by the Three-Faced God. Destroy it my followers.”

At this point, everyone was on the same page. Big ol’ demon with these murder hobos? It was going down!

With teamwork only the Realms could supply, we continually charged the sword and attacked the demon until it met its demise. Amid the tired celebration, Changed appeared before everyone.

“Excellent work adventurers! You’ve aided me in my plight. With this success, I DECLARE WAR ON THE THREE-FACED GOD.” Purple relished with delight in my mind, but I was left slightly confused. I’m happy we were successful, but what was our end goal? Perhaps I’ll never know, so I let Purple’s joy sink in.

Again, Change disappeared without another word.

Again, we await his call


Friday, September 27, 2019

What You Missed at Feast of Blackwood X (photos)

Photo by Keith Cronyn 

Photo by Keith Cronyn 


Photo by Dustin Mack

Photo by Dustin Mack

Photo by Dustin Mack

Photo by Dustin Mack

Photo by Dustin Mack

Photo by Dustin Mack

Photo by Dustin Mack

Photo by Dustin Mack


Photo by Dustin Mack


Photo by Sean Finn

Photo by Sean Finn


Photo by Keith Cronyn 


Photo by Sean Finn

Photo by Sean Finn


Photo by Keith Cronyn


Photo by Keith Cronyn 

Photo by Dustin Mack





Photo by Dustin Mack

Photo by Dustin Mack

Photo by Dustin Mack

Photo by Dustin Mack


Photo by Dustin Mack




Thursday, September 26, 2019

What You Missed at: Feast of Blackwood

By Ed "Tuilli" Drummond


Kyuram and I arrived a day late to the start of festivities due to running relief up to the Sapphire Isle after their recent tragedies. Once we arrived in Blackwood proper, we set up camp and met up with the Broken Spears to get the low-down on what was happening. I spend a good majority of my time following along my siblings-in-arms in the Spears, as well as attending to Dagger of Blackwood, visiting from the lands beyond the Fog to the East.

While out with a scouting party, we encountered some elves which were gathering components of something. While talking with the elves to determine our next goal, we found that the agents of Change among us were already ahead of us and had not only gathered the components we were seeking, but had made a rather lucrative contract with the elves and were paid in gold for their service. Soon after we discovered an area occupied by a particularly powerful creature which had to be surrounded on two sides by two people chanting a specific incantation to be affected by our weapons. We also found creatures who were very fond of turning adventurers against their friends. We were able to eliminate that threat and move on.

Soon after, we discovered some sort of spirit trapped in a castle. We discovered through trial and error that there were what appeared to be golden bones that needed to be collected, along with a vessel to hold them. We were able to gather up the required parts to free the spirit; there are unsubstantiated reports that this may have been an old flame of Syruss. Spirit freed, we were able to return to the tavern to regroup.

While others gathered something to enable a gnomish workshop to build a construct to defeat the dark power facing us later, I looked on as agents of Change were discussing the fate of the banners that were discovered with another group, to which they agreed on the single fact that it seemed we were doing the dirty work for an "evil god".

At one point, a ritual was called to drive corruption out of something, led by Gavin the Green, to which they called on one of the deities native to Blackwood that was similar to Vandor. Potential vessels were called forward, and the god found Cronin Barbaria worthy and heard the plea of the ritual, assisting our forces.

Our forces at one point had to storm an area that had some powerful protection. Only by running as fleet-footed as possible were we able to move faster than their weapon blows, we got through the security. Once at the base where we fought long and hard. They couldn't stop all of us, so we finally were able to probe our way into the base to see what they were hiding. We were able to secure everything we needed and headed back to regroup before moving onto our next waypoint.

Proper nightfall brought out the dark power that we needed to defeat. The forces of the Realms were able to build a construct, although keeping it powered was difficult. Through some flavor of Bardic Magic, Goosyrus was able to help empower the construct to swing strong enough to affect the adversary, surrounded by lesser demons and shadows. After a long hard fight, we were able to defeat it and the night was won.

The following day, it finally came time to gather for the celebration. We all gathered at the Amphitheater to wait for the bride to arrive, while water wyrms and dragons played in the lake behind us. Once Sir Tao was able to determine the proper section of the Book of Blackwood to read from, a lovely service was conducted, and we were all led back to the tavern for a proper celebration.

There was a grand presentation of gifts to the newlyweds, including a rousing performance of a song by Dagger and I (as authored by Dagger), as well as a number of opulent gifts and fantastic food. To top it off, for his services running the East Blackwood Company (and presenting a mountain of paperwork to the royal couple), Dagger was inducted as a Knight of Blackwood.

All in all, a fine celebration, although the ceremony and after party itself was surprisingly bloodless.


(OOC)
Thanks to all of Blackwood for a great party and event. It was a blast! I also really enjoyed the regionals this year, they were pretty great and the corrupted arm was SO MUCH FUN!

Remember to send in a review if you haven’t already!



Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Why I Want to Go-Non-Event Weekend Edition

by Lani "Gwen" Jones

In an odd turn of (non?) events--we have lots of opportunities to get together and hang out this weekend--and I promise--you can catch them all!

First, if you’re in the Worcester area, check out the WPI newbie night quest. This is an opportunity to introduce our newest players to the game, and I know that they are still looking for a few more NPCs if you are around. (The event itself is only for newbies--if you have questions, please reach out to a member of SMAS). I have some fond, fond memories of my first newbie night quest, and this can be the type of experience that hooks newer players! Then, it’s just a hop, skip, and a jump over to Marlborough for the 2nd ever Do Your Part(y).

Come join us for snacks, drinks, crafts, and a good cause this Friday night at the Marlborough Moose. This non-event series was designed as a way for us to hang out with each other, help a rotating good cause, and dance! This Friday we’ll be getting our arts & crafts on by making paracord bracelets for our active military friends through Operation Gratitude. If you’d like to help out even more, we’ll be running a raffle with a variety of neat baskets including: pasta dinner, pumpkin spice, football, and Halloween! We’ll culminate the party with epic dance moves fueled by our cash bar and your donations to our ever-popular Apple Music Jukebox where you can select 2 songs to play for just a $1 donation.

Finally, round out your weekend with A Walk in the Park--a non-event scavenger hunt put together by none other than the legendary Dave and Carrie Dolph. Fun? Check! Finding Stuff? Check! Fabulous Prizes? Check! It’s certainly going to be a walk to remember! (But, like, in a very, very good way.)

Having 3 non-events in one weekend really affords us all the opportunity to get to know more about each other, have fun, and help our community. I hope that you’ll make an effort to get out there this weekend and get to know someone in a way that you might not have before, whether that be as a crunchie enjoying the delight of newbies, eating, drinking, and making merry at the Moose, or hunting for hidden objects in the park with two of my all time Realms heroes.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

O'er The Lands of the Realms: Voraniss

by Jason "Aeston" Rosa



Description by Renee "Kindrianna" Booke

In the year 1017, Templar Hygar Athame and his allies championed the cleansing and reclamation of the small fishing village of Voraniss. With this act of expansion, a new nation was born. The Lycans of Darkspire, as well as the Humans and Elves of Aerenor, flooded forth in numbers ready to be reunited under a single banner in the hopes that there was a place for them, and their unique traditions, on the world stage.

The once abandoned fishing settlement was soon declared the new nation’s capital. Standing as a beacon of hope for growth and new prosperity, it was also a testament to the powerful magics of the natural world. The village itself is located on a channel known as Nathair’uncain (roughly translated to Serpent’s Channel or Channel of Snakes depending on your local Elven dialect) which connects Lake Irvan to the ocean. This channel separates the rest of the country from the swampy peninsula home of the Kul’Matha, territory reclaimed with the dwindling of the Lost Kingdoms. The Kul’Matha are what the Realms at large might call “Lizardmen,” and they are easily confused with snakes or other reptiles, thus the channel's name. Each summer, these Kul’Matha cross the water on makeshift barges and boats seeking to raid and blood their next generation of warriors.

Many people do not know that “Lake” Irvan is actually an inland sea, making Voraniss’ relationship with the water both profitable and necessary for supporting the lives of all its new settlers. Fish and crab are some of the capital’s primary exports, with Salmon and Trout acting as popular dishes. Poached fish with mint sauce is a local favorite for welcome travelers looking to try something new during their visit.

Lake Irvan is fed by the Geata’isen (Gate River) flowing down from the northern mountains. The Elves of Calandia quite literally used it as a gateway to move to and from the inland sea rather than risk the danger of the forest during the early days of their settlement. Calandia is the oldest city in the country and the place where much of Voraniss’ druidic culture was born. Othorion Elderheart, now the Totem of the Stag, ruled as Calandia’s King until his death in the Month of the Stag, Year 638. In life, he was a disciple of the wise tree Mendleaf aka Autumn-Elm and considered by many to be the first Druid of Voraniss. The heraldry of Calandia is a blooming flower, representing the birth of Druidism, surrounded by oak laurels believed to be symbolic of Othorion’s nobility, wisdom, and love of life. Trade in Calandia largely revolves around items featuring highly coveted Elven craftsmanship, including the famous copper daggers believed to affect creatures of the Spirit Realm.

Moving eastward from Calandia there is another river, one that separates Voraniss from Sharangil and flows past the coastal city of Mirador. This river is called Grianmhar'isen (Sunny River) by the Elves, a reference to the gold and prosperity of Mirador itself. Mirador is one of the less private places in Voraniss, a trade hub where passing ships and merchants are allowed to stop and exchange goods and gossip. Most other cities and towns in Voraniss will bring their goods to Mirador to sell because of the larger markets and client exposure. The banner of Mirador depicts a westward facing Octopus encircled by a compass and two diamonds pointing North and South. The compass honors the traders and voyagers that call Mirador home, while the Octopus stands as praise to both the ocean and those that demonstrate flexibility and intelligence in their dealings. Here it is easy to forget that Voraniss is a wild place, at least until you meet the Coral Prowlers. They are less of a Pack and more of a gang of assorted lycans that have taken it upon themselves to protect and defend the wealth of Mirador. They are also there to make sure that the trappings of civilization present within Mirador respect the rest of the country’s wild nature.

South along the eastern mountains and past the Shrine of Raven stands the mountain stronghold of Kenkilit. Destroyed when the Shadowlands emerged from the ocean, Kenkilit was a broken place that found new hope in the Broken Spears Free Company led by Commander Cronin Barbaria. It was Four Days Before the Flower Moon, in the Month of the Hawk, Year 1018 that Archdruid Hygar signed a treaty with the Broken Spears. Voraniss would provide the Company land to settle, farm, and build upon in exchange for protection and aid for the refugees that filled its ranks. The arrangement worked out nicely, for Commander Barbaria grew to love the land and its culture; and was eager to rebuild Kenkilit so that it might better serve the needs of all their people. Kenkilit now boasts most of Voraniss’ actual farmland and iron mines deep within the mountains have safely been reopened. More than seventy-five percent of non-Elven made weapons that come out of Voraniss have seen the fires of a Kenkilit forge. In honor of the treaty, Kenkilit took upon the heraldry of the Broken Spears but placed it on the Voranian field.

Further South, beyond both Kenkilit and Voraniss, rests the Teorainn’isen (Boundary River.) It connects the eastern mountains and Nathair’uncain, but more importantly, it separates the northern and southern forests. Some believe the translation should be taken more philosophically, that Teorainn’isen doesn’t just act as a physical boundary but a magical one between the light and the dark that dwells within every soul. Early explorers did tend to avoid the southern forests, believing them to be haunted. The trees grew so close together there that even in the middle of the day the forests were dark and hard to navigate. Perhaps out of superstition, or maybe practicality, most of the population found it prudent to stay north of this river lest they tempt the wrath of the primordial wood.

The last of Voraniss’ rivers shoots off from the Teorainn’isen and continues south through the wilderness. This river is called Sealgaire’isen (Hunter’s River). Nowadays, the more feral of the lycan packs are allowed to roam freely within the southern forests of Voraniss and keep the spirit of the hunt alive. Most of the country’s residents know better than to go too far south without permission, for it is here that strength and ferocity are a currency more valuable than gold. Apart from the occasional shrine, the only permanent structure on record that offers respite from the elements in the south is Arashimura; a ruined keep built long, long ago as a holy place in the mountains dedicated to the veneration of wind and storm.

Voraniss is a large beast, with stories and legends permeating every facet of life within her borders. These are only some of her tales; mere whispers from a land where Trees can roam and Storms breathe prophecies into being. The rest we will have to save for another time.





Monday, September 23, 2019

Meme Mondays - MEMESTORM

by the Meme Team

It's a Memestorm of Garm memes after this past week's events!








Friday, September 20, 2019

Spotlight on: Queen of Hearts Armourer Entrys



Team Shadowdragon Armourer Entry

by Keith "Saegan" Cronyn 

This helmet had been an idea in the back of my head for some years. The concept was creating a helmet that emulates a cathedral by doing brick work along the outer portion of the helmet, and then using the pieces that were set in as stained glass windows.

Photo by View Staff

It was hard to create an effect that looked like stained glass, but basically I tooled the windows into place, and hammered them so that it would have a look of hammered glass once the stain and glaze were in place.

Photo by View Staff

Overall I'm happy with the piece, I did a style of helmet I hadn't don't before. I learned some new things about leather and stain, and I accomplished my goals as an armorer.



Team Shader Armourer Entry
by John "Gordon" Rescigno 

When I found out I was going to be building a helmet, I was pretty worried. I had only ever built one helmet before, and it did not come out the way I wanted it to. For that helmet, I followed Prince Armory’s Fantasy Helmet pattern and tutorial. This was all I really knew, so this is what I worked with. The difficulties with this kind of helmet were the sizing and not being able to hear very well, because it covered the entire head, so these were the things I tried to improve upon in my design. Before moving forward with my design, I tried to search for some inspiration.

Photo Provided by Author
Photo provided by Author

Photo provided by Author


Photo Provided by Author
These were the two images that stood out to me, especially the blue helmet. The tooling on the bottom and the faceguard were my favorite parts. I omitted the upper visor for better peripheral vision, and shortened the design to avoid the hearing issues. This is where I ended up. The helmet sits around the brow with the help of leather headband on the inside, which helps you size the helmet to the model. The back actually has one less overhead panel than the original design to improve both ventilation and make the fit more comfortable, while still covering the appropriate amount of the head. This feature is hidden with the soft leather in the back that hangs over the neck and down the upper back. 






With many helmets, the faceguard is incredibly important. It can, in my opinion, make or break the look of a helmet. The faceguard is what other players interact with, and can make you feel more powerful with that added anonymity as well as obscuring your facial expressions, which can give you an upper hand in a fight. However, I’ve noticed some faceguards muffling fighters’ voices too much at times, making fights harder to marshal or be a combatant in. My solution to this was to cut out some longer slits in the faceguard so that calls could clearly be heard, and the fighter wearing it could breathe while fighting, which I keep getting told is important to do.

Photo provided by Author

 Finally came the fun parts of the build. Structure is important, but being able to identify friend from foe on a battlefield is just as, if not more important! I am confident that with the black and gold being the most prominent features of this helm, you would be hard pressed not to identify the wearer of this helm as an Ashenmark fighter. 

Photo Provided by Author
Photo Provided by Author



I had an amazing time stretching my skills and venturing outside my comfort zone to create this helmet, and i’m sure it will not be the last one I build. Stay tuned for more, and thank you to Rhiassa and Team Ashenmark for giving me this opportunity!!

Photo by View Staff



Thursday, September 19, 2019

What You Missed- The Strangers War I

by Adrian "Cronin" Cronin

The scream of a wagon’s wheel roused me from sleep. The smell of death was thick, as thick as the fog which surrounded our modest caravan. After arming myself and my compatriots, I joined the heroes of the realms at a clearing near a graveyard, the appointed meeting place for our expedition to the Ashenfields.

An elite contingent of Chimeronians stood ready for battle, grim faces on some and unwavering resolve on others. We were there to rescue one of their countrymen afterall. Voraniss also answered the call in force, for a chance to strike back against the Strangers. Our secondary objective was to gain information on our enemy, primary being the rescue of Rekees, the Chimeronian captive. Answering the call as well, were heroes of Blackwood, Gau Dring, Northern Alliance, Stonewood and more, enough to form a squad of their own - an impressive group that would be the envy of any expedition.

We were told that in order to open the gate to the Ashenfields, we would need to move the gravestones from the cemetery and make a bridge to the Ashenfields. How eerie and appropriate. A ritual performed by our Druids and Chimeronian mages made it possible to remove the stones. But wicked spirits and undead husks did all they could to hinder and destroy us. Artair and several mages used their wards to keep the spirits at bay while Gavin knelt and chanted over graves. All the while our warriors were constantly set upon by undead. Step by step and piece by piece, we built the bridge we needed - through the cooperation and coordination of the party until finally we stood before the portal.

It was decided that once within the Ashenfields, we would separate into three groups. Voraniss, Chimeron and the collective previously mentioned. 

Voraniss started their journey in a guard house where we donned their uniforms. Asher got a bit too curious and was killed by a chest… I was able to escape with his body and bring him back but was reminded of the danger of this realm. The curious smile on his lifeless face too, gave me pause. Those without uniforms, we deemed prisoners and asked where we should go to “process” them. Our ruse was only successful half of the time but we made deadly work of any guards who caught on too quickly.

We made our way into a second building where we attempted to hide for a time. Within it, we found another chest, covered in many locks. Tempest, Tulkhan and Artair as well as others made many attempts to work their way through it but guards continued to pound on the door. The time had come to face the guards and move on, we needed to cover more ground if we were to find the lost Chimeronian.

After fighting our way out, we saw an incredibly large beast. It was made of Stone and crushed anything in its path. The time to fight was past, and we ran for our very lives. It was at this point that our Voranian squad had scattered to avoid the hulking beast. A new objective became clear to me and mine, unite the pack.

Running through the rain and mist, I saw the visage of my daughter Elowen. Relieved for I had feared the worst, I approached with arms open wide, then felt her elven blade sticking in my gut. When I once again awoke I saw her near, tears welling in her eyes. She had been corrupted, raised as an undead and unable to control her actions. I held her close for a brief moment as a father before telling her to swallow the pain if we were to get out of this alive. The rest of my nation was now present and awaiting our next move.

Gavin and I decided that returning to the locked chest from earlier was our best course of action, now that we had lost the attention of the guards and the Golem. So we made our way there and were joined by Pilpus, Gordon, Twen and a few others on the way. 

It wasn’t long before the building was being assaulted again, but Avendar used his savvy to buy us time. He offered the guards riddles in exchange for passage. They were far too simple to guess well and just simple enough to fall for our games, at least for a time. For the Golem returned and blasted the door to splinters. Once again we were fighting for our lives. But we fought them back and Evie repaired the door.

With only a few locks to go, our spirits were raising. But it was at this point we found out that ten Chimeronians entered a building and never came out.

After some debate, we made the call to once again abandon the chest, this time to save our friends. It was a hard fight to the dark building. We lost Tulkhan to the Golem, and a few of our group to the chaos.

Once inside we saw the strewn bodies of the Chimeronians piled in the corner of the room. Evie set up a circle of healing while we started to bring her bodies to recover… but once again the Golem approached with two boulder throwing Ogres at its side. We fought ferociously, as weapon after weapon was crushed by boulder and Golem alike. Using whatever weapons weren't destroyed, we remained a glorious distraction while Evie got to work bringing everyone back. A few times, I was able to convince the Golem to turn on his friends but it did not prove a lasting solution.

In the midst of the battle, Avendar called out to me. He crossed a magical barrier in which I could not follow. He told me to trust him and that I would see him again on the other side. He took a skull from the ground and disappeared. We then escaped, reuniting all three groups. Chimeron recovered their countrymen, we recovered an artifact as well as precious intel about our enemies, and we all escaped through the portal. Even Tulkhan, who had escaped captivity and returned to that chest with Tempest, the contents of which remain a mystery to me. I was just glad to know that we did not trade one life for another.

Once out of the portal we saw to our wounds, both physical and emotional, and set to repairing our weapons that were crushed by the Golem.

James Swift and I sought to use divine magic to fix Azurewrath, the angel blade, by calling upon the angel itself. I made an oath to protect the innocent and destroy evil, upon the blade, and to the angel lest my soul be damned. I also committed myself to journeying to the lands of Stonewood - to slay demons and rid their forest of undead. 

I then gathered my countrymen and journeyed onward - to return home with stories of glory, horror and adventure.

Evil must never go unchecked.

OOC:

What a fantastic event. The players and the staff both seemed committed to telling a great story together. It is events like these that ignite a fire in me and keep me coming back.

Kudos to the event staff and to my fellow veterans of the Ashenfields. Can’t wait for the next event.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

What You Missed - Storytellers VII


By Stephen "Laika" Sanford 

To those who have never been to a Storytellers event, generally the way the event series works is an Eventholder pairs up with two or three more people who will break up the event into three parts with little to no interaction between the three. This is a good event for future event holders to dip their toes in event writing on a smaller scale, and a good event for players to experience three different plots over the course of a night. Generally Storyteller events are done in “Arthurian Style” where PCs can play in two sections of the event and NPC for one section. I was told by the event holder that there was enough NPCs and I would not need to follow these rules. Fun note about this event, this is the second Storytellers VII, the last Storytellers was XI. I look forward to the second Storytellers VIII next year.


Section 1: Teng Hua

At the beginning of the night I grouped together with several other players inside the tavern where we made our orders of delicious burgers and fries. A local Tenghuanese woman came up to the tavern with a corrupted Woodlad Yousei asking for help. The Woodlad was harmed out in the forest and would not let anyone near it to help heal it. The way to heal the Woodlad would be find a bandage and coax the yousei and tie the bandage around them. Due to the woodlad’s fear of pain and people’s patience thinning, several people flatted the yousei and bandaged and freed them. Down by the beach of the coast of Teng Hua we found a boathouse where a woman let us know that there was an earthquake recently which released miasma across the land. To allow us to enter area,q she gave us protective masks to safely breath while in the miasma.

Heading back outside we found some more Woodlad who needed to be healed. I asked one of them where it got hurt and it pointed me towards a cave in the woods. Inside this cabin was a Dutch ghost trader. This dutch trader who might have been dead for a long time had been logging and while logging had caused the earthquake and corruption. Inside this cave was filled with miasma which was seeping in from the floor. After several failed attempts to purify the miasma, Lako came up with an idea to trick the ghost and used an intervention to banish the ghost which stopped the miasma flow but did not dissipate the miasma. The miasma should have dissipated by the morning. The corruption of the woods had not dissipated. Rosetta took one of the bandages and performed a seven point rune ritual to purify the corruption.

On our way back to the tavern we discovered the body of a man with bones around his neck and wearing a hockey style mask. This man rose from his deathly slumber and attacked the group swinging armor piercing. After many of us ran off and some of us split off and creeped back to the tavern to safety. At this point we learned his name was Jason the bone collector.


Order of the Magi: Section 2: Electric Boogaloo

Upon returning to the tavern famished and burgerless, some people had received our glorious burgery food while myself and Lako did not. A bumbling wizard showed up and asked for our group’s help with a ritual that would get them to be in the Order of the Magi. This ritual consisted of many different items many that we already have and one was asking for a mage who has never, ever, ever been a fighter. I volunteered myself for this as I had never been a fighter before (remember this for later) but wasn’t needed to satisfy this as I had the banner of wind to symbolize the wind for the ritual. Upon completing the ritual, we were sent out of the tavern, away to lands that were not filled with the smell of delicious burgers. Upon leaving, Lako used his divine powers to have his burger summoned to him.

For the whole quest the group was split into two halves. Upon stepping on the path we encountered goblots which are goblin robots which would stun or kill us. On those goblots were rune tiles, half of them were in Futhark the other half was in Ogum. To proceed we needed to find all the pieces and translate them both to the word “Open”.

The bumbling wizard had now let us know that we needed to ring two alloys to proceed to the next area after passing through a spider’s nest. To pass through the nest you must not touch any of the webs or be sent to the other group’s path. We were able to get through without swapping and Lako and I were rewarded with our burgery deliciousness mid quest delivered right to us. After finishing our meal, we fought more Goblots who had now become more self aware due to reprogramming by others in the group. The Goblots staged a revolt against the wizard and tried to seize the means of production. While the goblots staged their intelligent revolution, we had to find the silver and crimson plate to ring to get to the next area. Unsurprisingly, both plates had shattered and needed to be put together. Unfortunately due to the darkness, we could not find all the pieces and time ran out and rocks fell and only some people died.

Upon our return to the tavern the lights went out and Jason the bone collector came to claim his next victims. This time swinging disease, he felled many of us and some of us cowered in fear and others with the courage tried to stand their ground with Jason. Eventually a group of us ganged up and dragged him out of the tavern and locked the door keeping us safe as the clock passed midnight securing our safety as Friday the 13th had passed.


Section 3: Divine Intervention

Here comes the part of the night many of us had been waiting for, the high risk continuation of the story that ended earlier in the year with the freeing of a god that was long gone. We started the quest inside Darkvale where we were greeted by a familiar local Priest of Justari, Brother Warren. He had let us know that the Aspis (snake people who worship the god Rexan) were invading Darkvale again and had poisoned the local well. We shortly were attacked by Aspis on the field under the full moon. The Aspis had opened a portal into Darkvale and just kept coming with no stop. Eventually we got close enough to remove the supports to the portal and stopped them from entering.

Brother Warren then invited us back to his temple where we found several scrolls from Garm, the god who we had saved 6 months ago. I could go on for a very long time on who Garm is and his aspirations but to make it simple he’s a god being forced to follow and enforce the rules set by the gods. The balance of the gods has been off for a very long time while Garm was gone and got even worse. In the scroll Garm declared war on all followers of gods until the nations of the realms can declare war on a god. Look out for more progress on this at Black and White at the God’s Moot.

Here is a copy of that letter:

Mortals

You have restored me to power, I would thank you had you done so for my benefit. for nigh on a decade I laid pinned by that cursed blade while you went about your lives, but still you've made the right choice and restoring me that I may restore the balance and save the world. In my absence new gods of emerged or lesser ones risen to restore the balance this must be rectified.

As mortals, I know you will only act when forced to, so I will graciously do so. Until the kingdoms of Realms declare war with the intent to kill one of the greater gods of the pantheon and banning all worship of that God is publicly stated and enforced, all who worship any God will be hunted and destroyed. My death knights march now.

Garm


Brother Warren then showed everyone a beautiful Justari sword that swings silver and gives the wielder immunity to poison (which is useful vs Aspis which are snake people). This item would be extremely useful but could only go to those devoted to Justari. Lawrence aka “The Swoop”, came forward and was going pledge himself to Justari but the group said he should wait off until he felt ready. Brother Warren told us that we should go to purify the poisoned well. I talked to my goddess and found out in order to accomplish that someone would need to have immunity to poison cast upon them, enter the well and be killed in the well where their blood would purify it.

We then left and went to go fight the aspis by the well. It was a hard fight in close quarters where aspis kept sneaking around the flank killing the group. We had almost wiped and Lawrence went back to the temple, devoted himself to Justari and took the sword, using it against the Aspis. I had died somewhere in here but was later told that Kovaks had bravely purified the well herself, stopping all regeneration that the aspis had and allowing us to succeed against the Aspis.

Upon returning to the temple the lights went out once more, except this time it was not Jason the bone collector seeking our deaths, it was Garm’s Death Knights. They proclaimed the temple heresy and planned to burn it to the ground. Death Knights are beings who are immune to most wounds except those directly inflicted by Aurora’s power in honorable combat. With the swords of light I had, we tried to fell Garm’s General to no avail. He quickly culled the rest of the group. While he was razing the temple a voice spoke to myself and others to challenge the Death Knight. Lawrence, Kovaks, Tirvanel and myself volunteered to challenge him in that order. Those three all challenged and lost to the General and knowing it was all up to me, I grabbed the Main Gauche of Saint Daniel and the Bone of Shoshanna (the weapons of light of a knight and his squire) and broke weapons restriction trying to fell the General. With all my might and furiosity I jumped on that General quickly taking out two points of his head armor but because I did not have armor myself I took a blade to my back.

Upon dying I heard a voice asking myself if I wanted to challenge them again in exchange that if I lost I would lose 1/3rd of my soul. Without hesitation, I volunteered myself and the Bone of Shoshana left my hand and was replaced with the Sword of Kings. For reference, this god slaying blade was used to pin Dionin and Garm previously. With this power I challenged the Death Knight General once more destroying him entirely. Upon his death, the sword spoke to me once more telling me that it will be back when the time it is needed. The Sword of Kings then left my hand and the Bone of Shoshana was there once again.

I have not had such an adrenaline rush in a very long time and such an enjoyable short quest. As a person who had claimed to have never been a fighter less than 2 hours earlier and then ironically broke weapon restriction to save a temple to Justari it was an amazing experience and kept me up many hours later into the night. I want to thank all the storytellers and the people who helped npc, the grilling staff with the delicious burgers and the players for sharing this eventful night with me.


Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Why I Want To Go - Feast of Blackwood X

by Lani "Gwen" Jones

I'm so incredibly excited for this event and I can't wait to tell all of you about it. When an event reaches it's tenth in the series it's not just great news for that event holding team or that nation, it is an important milestone for our entire game. It's a symbol of how much history we have as a community, how the traditions that we create together last, and how much we can depend on the Realms continuing to exist in the future. It also makes me feel a little old to think an event that started after I began playing has already reached a decade in age!

Feast of Blackwood has established itself again and again as a can't-miss bookmark event of the eventing year. With a Friday and Saturday full of well thought-out questing with amazing props and a feast on Sunday that raises the bar year after year, theres nothing about this weekend not to love. There's so much to say about the effort this event staff puts in to make their national events engaging and memorable, and what I'm looking forward to this year, so what can I do except sum it up in one of my patented lists?!

Narrative - I've always enjoyed the plot ideas that the Blackwood staff have come up with each and every year and I'm intrigued by the teaser for this year. "Come bring aid to the people, help bless the lands in the name of their beloved Gods and wish well upon the wedding in what can only be a fun and simple quest to remember." Of course we expect this to be simple. Certainly nothing can go wrong when all we're doing is helping to bless the land. Of course there aren't any fantasy tropes out there that might suggest anything could go *wrong* when planning for a wedding. You've piqued my interest Blackwood crew!

Novelty - One of the things I respect the most about this event is the tradition of play testing new rules ideas on the quest. Trying new things and innovating the way we play are both very important to me, and that can only happen if event holders are bold and are willing to take risks. Blackwood never shies away from those risks, even inviting other people from the community to suggest ideas to test out as well. I'm really interested to see how this year's "Fighter Abilities" work out and how much they can add to the game if they are successful and are embraced.

Nuptials - Of course the headliner on this event, the occasion of the season, is the marriage of Sir K and Jinx! In Character weddings are always so much fun. It's always great to see the way that groups interpret the ceremony and celebration of the moment in their own unique ways. And I love the idea that we have dinner options that we've ordered ahead of time as well. The food at this event is always exceptional and I expect that they'll use it to make a statement about how much this wedding, and the bride and groom themselves, mean to the nation.

Feast of Blackwood X promises to deliver like all of the others in the series. You won't be disappointed if you attend. Fun, friends, and food await all of us!

Friday, September 13, 2019

Spotlight On: Team Serra's Armourer Entry




Helm Created by Hygar Athame (Derek Booke)

Write Up by Kindrianna Athame (Renee Booke)




The helmet you see before you started off as a pile of paper and poster board. Hygar wanted to create something new and special for Queen of Hearts this year, so his first step in the creative process had to be creating a custom design/pattern from scratch. Knowing that our Queen Serra is from the nation of Eagle’s Rook, one of the original Knightocracies in the Realms, Hygar wanted to draw inspiration from more historic/traditional helmets and settled upon the visored crusader’s bascinet as a contender. He quickly realized he would have to build a helmet like this in multiple pieces: first the dome and helmet base, then a separate faceplate/visor.


The separate helmet pieces before assembly!


The visor opens and closes so that if a fighter needs to take a quick drink of water/breathe better while wearing it they have a simple solution to do so. The way the pieces were designed to line up it also prevents the visor from falling back closed on you at an inconvenient time. The faceplate is also completely detachable for the fighter that just doesn't want to be bothered with it and it easily snaps back on as desired. Side feather pieces, once hand-tooled, were kept shorter to not interfere with combat effectiveness and molded closely to the head. When fully down, the faceplate uses decorative cut out designs to cover the earholes of the base helm while still providing their benefits. On the front of the helmet Hygar specifically used the cutout design (which he painstakingly did by hand with an x-acto knife) to enhance the field of vision and allow for better breathing in a helmet design that focuses on coverage. Another feature of the helmet that I'm particularly fond of is that it was made so that it can be worn with glasses. Nerd friendly!

Side view!


The helmet was dyed using Fiebings Black Leather Dye and Eco-Flow: Silver. Once the base coats were on, Hygar used a black wash on the silver feathers to highlight the detail and went over the silver with actual silver lead to really make the helmet shine. Once dry, everything was sealed with leather sheen.

Going with the classic look and striving to create a piece reliant on mixed media, Hygar also drew inspiration from the "aventail" aka the mail covering attached to the back of the helmet that covers the neck and shoulders. He used black and silver rings in a four in one weave to do so.

Hopefully, you all enjoy this piece as much as we did! It was a challenge to create and we were both pleased with the results and proud of some of the design features that we came up with. If there are any questions about the process, methods or materials please feel free to ask!