Thursday, October 31, 2019

Why I Want to Go-Carnage 22

by Lani "Gwen" Jones

One of the things I love the most about Realms is that the community that we build is constantly expanding. Inviting new players to the game is the only way to ensure that we constantly evolve and become the best version of the Realms that we can be. We all have our unique starts to the game, but I for one found my place here because of the advertisement of a group of individuals who cared enough to actually demonstrate all the things that made Realms Realms. Carnage is one of those very special events that are specifically targeted at showing other nerd-leaning friends that there is a home for them with us.

You have an opportunity to join in this noble endeavor by being a Realms ambassador: teaching players how to craft our weapons, interact with our quests, showing off your fanciest garb, and marshalling tournaments. The EH’s have put a lot of time and effort into ensuring that the Realms puts their best foot forward this year, and they need our help and support to do it. By sharing your knowledge and skills this weekend, you never know who you’ll help bring into the game, and all of the wonderful things that they might become.

If that weren’t enough, $20 earns you full access to the whole rest of the convention, which ensures that not only will you feel good about your contributions to our community, but you’ll have the chance to explore as well. If you’re someone who is interested in sharing the good news of all that we all have to offer, then you’ll definitely want to make it a point to come out to Carnage 22 this year.

Why I Want to Go-Black & White 2019

by Lani "Gwen" Jones

Black & White is a staple event for me on the Realms calendar. The ability to bring together a wide variety of players, plots, palatable provisions, prancing, and purchasing proves that the event staff has a no-fail formula for success. Over the past few weeks, my facebook memories have reminded me just how much fun I’ve had at Black & White’s past, and gotten me excited for how much fun is in store for me this weekend. As I detail below why I want to go, please bear in mind that these are my own meandering experiences, and that one of the things that makes this event so special is that the large variety of activities to partake in throughout the day and evening.

In prepping for this event, I spend an exorbitant amount of time determining what I will wear, often opting for a daytime questing outfit and changing prior to the announcement of court. This is partially because I love primping, but mostly because there are so many activities going on it’s hard to know exactly what I’ll want to wear. My day typically starts with putting on questing garb so that we can welcome our newbies to the Oaken Guard and take them out on some of their very first questing adventures. I also love watching our newest community members chase down signatures for the very important newbie scavenger hunt. Then, if I’m lucky, Aeston will loan me the keys to the Rhiassan treasury so I can spend some time gabling at the Chimeron casino, while obviously taking breaks to indulge in the amazing appetizers that Aymise and her team are constantly running from the kitchen to our mouths. If we’re lucky, we’ll see the infamous Blue appear and wreak some havoc on players who don’t know any better. And of course, it wouldn’t be Black & White if we couldn’t write our letters to Pater Yule (after expertly hunting down his wandering mailbox, of course).

When I’m finally stuffed, I find that is the exact perfect time to find a way to squish myself into a bodice and prepare for court. Personally, this is one of my favorite parts of the Black & White because I love both pomp and circumstance, and Chimeron provides. In addition, some pretty epic things tend to happen at this court, and they are often the types of things you definitely want to be there for. While everyone else is preparing for the dancing, you’ll find me at the auction table, putting in my tickets for ALL THE PUMPKINS and whatever excellent stuff is present in one of my favorite give-aways of the year. (What’s in the box? It could even be a boat!)

Generally I like to wind the evening down with a poker game, provided that all the players at the table have reason to stay invested to the end (I’m looking at you Raynor...), while admiring the epic dance movies of my fellow Realmsies. Throw in a dessert contest, and you’ve got yourself one hell of an event. I hope to see you there.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

What You Missed: Echoes of Ragnarok V

by Mikey "Janus" Donnelly 

Ulric reached out to the adventurers of the Realms as things were really bleak. The many worlds of Norlund were in chaos, and their gods were no longer responding.  As such, us heroes of the realms were called in to go to Asgard and find out how to rebuild the worlds of Norlund from the gods directly.  Our one hint was a single Asir-rune we had deciphered ahead of time.  And so, with that, we took to the bifrost to begin our trip to Asgard.  We arrived in Midgard with fighting happening all around.  Death and destruction was rampant, but we fought our way successfully to the other gate.  The one we discovered how to make last year.  And so, through said gate, we found ourselves at the true beginning of this chapter of the story.  Our first steps into Asgard.

Upon stepping into Asgard, it became clear to us that there would be much to do this day. Prominently in the room, there were 6 battle maps set up, one for each of the realms where mortals resided.  It was readily apparent that things were not going well for the forces of the Jomsvikings in these worlds.  Near them were small forges with which to make troops should we have the materials.  Then there was what appeared to be an altar made of tiles with the symbol of Thor on it.  And finally, a canvas with supplies to mark it up.  Once we all had arrived through the gate, Thor finally spoke to us in a booming, but weak voice.  He stated.  That since bedlam had attacked, and the lack of Ragnarok, the Asir were slowly dying.  That the worlds were beginning to unravel due to the deaths of many of the Asir. To prevent this unravelling, we would need to travel to various worlds with the Asir-runes and place the rune within the Aether.  Next, we also had to keep the lands of Norlund safe.  We could command armies and while we could not create life, we could create forces from primal clay should we use them the correct way.  Finally, we discovered we needed to create unique aspects for creating new gods, also using this primal clay.  With this knowledge, we began ordering troops around, crafting the first of the Asir-runes and eventually departed to our first destination.

When we arrived, we discovered a force of clay elementals opposing us, which would become a bulk of the forces we would continue to encounter throughout the day.  We fought through various corridors finding ways to make a new Asir-rune along with elemental clay, until we came to an area covered with vines and plant monsters while reptilian creatures began to attack us. We slowly discovered a way to make us immune to plant toxin and found the schematics for a structure which when constructed would lead us into the Aether to deposit our banner containing the first Asir-rune we had.

From there, we returned to Asgard, where we worked on the tiles for aspects of gods, ordered troops around the various realms and created our next Asir-rune banner.  With it, we fought our way towards a swiftly flowing river with a small island in the middle.  We fought various fish in it’s waters as we scavenged supplies to make ships and found the schematics to construct the next structure to make our way into the Aether, and hang our new banner.  From the aether, we returned to Asguard once more, made a new Asir rune, and started our journey anew once more.

Here we fought our way to where two glaciers were being held back by faltering campfires as the Aurora-Borealis shone on us.  As we began building a new structure to take us to the Aether, we noticed the glaciers slowly creeping towards us, bringing with it impending doom.  Quickly, heroes of the realms cut down some trees and used them to bolster the fires while the Aurora-Borealis slowly kept disorienting us, and made our building of the newest structure take longer than it otherwise would have.  Eventually, the structure was completed, and we left that place to hang the new banner.

With the new Asir-rune we had gathered we fought our way to a great sea which was truly dangerous to navigate.  The dragons and currents made the path difficult, but we navigated across the sea successfully and built a structure to lead us into the Aether.  This time, upon heading to Asgard, we feasted on delicious foods (exactly what we needed after the day we had so far) before going to create a new rune to bring us to a place we recognized for once: Ashenmark.

In Ashenmark, we found an old temple that was overrun by demons, and what appeared to be a corrupted banner of a god.  Specifically, of Dio.  We slowly managed to recreate the image of Dio by removing the corruption from tiles the demons had, but the image this time also contained a phoenix’s feather.  Upon completing the mosaic, we felt energy flow as Dio was reborn as Vivant, based from the High Auroran word Vive, or life.  He was reborn as a blank slate, and stated he would provide us aid in what was to come.  So, we hung the next Asir banner, and returned to Asguard.

This time, as we readied to leave Asguard we heard the voice of Udr speak to us as we were given a poem of what was needed to create the new Asir.  First we needed to snatch orbs of power from the air that we could only gather after defeating our foes.  We did this by killing clay elementals and grabbing actually gathering the energy from the air.  We then went to a place where six alter stones waiting for new Asir.  We layed 3-4 tiles down in front of each alter stone, and there was water with unlit candles within it.  Upon each tile we placed 3 orbs of power, and emptied into the water powder from a realm where we were having troops battle.  We lit the candles in the water with the spark of divine fire from the Asir runes we raised into the aether earlier.  And then we all gave our final breaths to be the first breath of the Asir.  It was in this way that the following Asir were born; Lormar, the Patron of Helheim who embodies Storm, Defence and Loyalty; Crow, the Patron of Nivlheim who embodies Vengence, thunder and Fortitude; Sovereign, the Patron of Muspelheim who embodies History/Saga, Reality, and Progression; Graynar, the Patron of Svartalvheir, who emboies Law, Balance, and Freedom; Tychiesaurus, the Patron of Midgard, who embodies Dinosaurs, Fun/Hooray, and Luck; and finally Vivant, the Patron of Jotenhiem who embodies Hearth, Community/the commonfolk, hope and the Deer/Stag.  Upon their creation, with all of us dead, we heard the voice of Crow thank us for the creation of all, with a request of giving them one year to gain strength.  In one year, I shall return to see how their world has changed, and find out how it has gone.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Echoes of Ragnarok: Asgard: An Epilogue

by Jason "Aeston" Rosa

The war between the Jomsvikings and the forces of Jarl Thorafin reached its dramatic apex, with Urlic’s forces finding themselves at last completely overmatched, the future looked grim. Yet, though he was not some great hero like those that had perished fighting the Black Death, Ulric was still a viking. He had still trained all his life to be a warrior, he still held the sanctity of his honor close to his heart. And with those warrior’s instincts and with that pledge of honor he had promised to keep clear the portal to Mane so that his allies from the Realms could arrive at Asgard. Now that the last of those heroes had stepped through the portal, Ulric had completed that duty, and he was resolved now to draw his last breath still in battle against those who would see all of creation destroyed for their own selfishness.

His remaining forces numbered but a few dozen. Battered from days of conflict, malnourished, ragged, little strength remained in the Jomsvikings to even make their last stand a glorious one. After all, they were not peerless warriors, they were small, humble men and women who had lived their lives without ever having done a great deed or having had a song sung in their honor. Yet, despite those things, each of them knew that they at least deserved to die on their feet, never having turned to flee. None of them would bear the shame of having a death-wound on their backs.

Certain now that he would perish in battle, blinded to everything but each next swing of his sword, it was almost impossible for Ulric to comprehend what happened next. All of a sudden, all throughout his ranks, the brightest of lights burst into existence and as each one faded in its place stood a man or woman fully armed and armored, complete understanding and purpose reflected in their glowing eyes. With nothing more than a cry of war these unexpected and inscrutable allies threw themselves into battle with a divine fury. Their strength was beyond comprehension, their actions thoughtful and coordinated and decisive. Jarl Thorafin’s warriors were immediately forced to give ground against their onslaught.

All across the six lower worlds this scene was repeated. In each of them were allies that the heroes of the Realms had made in their quest to set Norlund to right. In each of them were enemies united in purpose, to stop both the onset of Ragnarok or the worlds’ healing so that they might continue to rule in the anarchy of death that had gripped the lands. In each of those worlds war was joined and in each of those worlds, heroic allies born from bursts of light threw themselves into battle and started to push the enemy back.

The tide of of all of those battles swiftly and permanently changed.

In an empty but resplendently beautiful hall in the highest mountains of Asgard, holy energies began to stir for the first time in years. For months upon months the essence of divinity had drained from Norlund without pause, but that diminishing had now ceased. Instead energies poured into that room, originating from all throughout the multiverse, channeled through incomprehensible runes bathed in glowing light. Slowly but steadily, new Asir began to grasp their own egos and awaken to life.

Out of one great stone cairn a towering, imposing man took a confident first step. His skin was alabaster and about his shoulders was a great fur cloak adorned with armored plates. In one hand he held a thunderbolt, brightest of blue in color, crackling with energy. In the other an impossibly tall greatsword, blade emblazoned with runes, it’s terrible sheen speaking to the deadly fury with which it could be wielded. His name was Crow, patron Asir of Nivelheim, and he ruled over the domains of Fortitude, Thunder, and Vengeance. He looked about the otherwise vacant hall and saw the other standing stones beginning to birth his kin, but he also saw unused aspect tiles that lay all around his feet. He raised his arm into the air and set his gaze upon two of them. A flight of drakes, a woman with a fish’s tail. And gathering the divine energies that swirled though the room, Crow willed into existence his daughter, Thyra, Patron of Dragons and Mermaids.

Stirred to full awakeness by the giant man and his use of the temple’s energies, the standing stone next to Crow pulsed with light and another figure stepped forth. A slender woman with fierce eyes, who about her head wore a crown of swirling clouds. She was draped in a long purple gown that at some angles seemed to be cloth and at others appeared to be made of thousands of small feathers. On one of her arms was clasped a shimmering shield that gave the immediate impression of invincibility. In her other she held a long spear and dangling from it’s haft under the spearhead were two large golden rings, permanently linked together. Her name was Lormar, Patron Asir of Helheim, and she ruled over the domains of Storms, Defense, and Loyalty. Like her brother who was born only moments before, Lormar also took stock of the unused aspects around the room and with her spear pointed to two of them. One set with runes and swirling purple lines, one a pair of masks showing joy and sorrow. She then stuck the handle of her spear onto the ground and through it channeled the powers in the hall to beget her son, Birger, God of Magic and Theatre.

Life surging into the room inspired yet more life to join it. On the other end of the hall another cairn surged with energy and out of it stepped a man much different in stature than Crow. He was slight in his form, lithe and quick in appearance. Out of his brow grew two great golden antlers. In one hand he held a threshing flail, in the other a lantern emitting a warm glow. From his shoulders grew out several thin branches that knit together and fell down his back and they created a cape made of leaves and vines. What is more, his existence was altogether something incomprehensible. He was certainly an Asir of this world, as much so as his brother and sister that came before him, but his divinity existed elsewhere as well. And in that other place, his mother Gaia rejoiced looking over the temple in a place called Ashenmark that would be the seat of his power. There he was the just-restored god of Rebirth, but here in Norlund he held different aspects. His name was Vivant, patron of Jotunheim and his domains were those of hope, hearth, community, and the stag.

Meanwhile, in Nivelheim, an eerie, cautious calm had settled over the final battlefield of the war.

The otherworldly reinforcements had changed everything. As they had rushed forward almost ceaselessly from portals in each of the worlds, the heroic denizens of each plain happily got caught up in the fury of their battle and joined them in their fervor. The enemies that had all but conquered existence found themselves outnumbered and overmatched by not just men and women but giants and dragons and monsters unimaginable that had all joined the same holy cause. One by one the enemy’s strongholds fell. The heroes of Midgard, Jotunheim, and Helheim were the first to obliterate the foes that had at one point brought them to heel. Shortly afterwards, the heroes of Muspelheim and Svartalheim had taken hold of every defensible structure in their realms. Yet in Nivelheim things took a turn for the worse. Realizing it was the one battlefield where they had a chance at victory, the enemy used dark and secret ancient magics to rally all their scattered forces to that one world creating a force that could easily overpower the heroes. For a time, it seemed likely that Nivelheim would be lost to the enemy and become the seat of their power while they rebuilt and again readied for war. But that was not to be. Yet another miracle occurred as portals opened up in each of the other lower worlds allowing all the heroic warriors to step through and join together in one great allied army of all the realms.

The battle that was joined then was an epic one. Fire salamanders bit through the freezing hides of ice jotun, bone dragons crushed dark elves beneath their feet, vikings and dwarves, side by side, assailed wyrms and hounds and other monstrosities that would otherwise be far beyond their power. For hours the fight continued and the ebb and flow of the war shifted many times. At last with one final offensive push by the heroes the enemy army finally broke ranks and fled, leaving the combined army of the six worlds victoriously, ultimately, over their realms.

It was a long and hard-fought series of battles and their cost was incalculably high. But they were over. The heroic armies had won. And while new Asir were just being born in the realm above, Ulric looked over the remaining men and women of his Jomsvikings. Warriors who had pledged everything, sacrificed everything to win this day and help create a new future for themselves and for their children. No, they were not great heroes. No, stories might never be sung about the blood they spilled or the walls they scaled, but there was still an important duty left to all of them now. He communicated that duty with little more than a nod to all around him. At once a thank you and a goodbye to everyone who bled together to build a way forward for their world. And so, the denizens of the six lower planes left Nivelheim and returned to their homes to begin their final and most important duty. To rebuild.

Back in the Grand Temple of Asgard, another standing stone pulsed with life. Flames erupted into the chamber as a figure, swirling with fire, took a step out of the solid rock. In one hand they held a gigantic tome unburned by the blaze it endured, in the other they held a staff adorned with gemstones, surrounded by swirling torrents of every color of the rainbow. They wore a flowing white robe with a hood covering all but the lower part of their face, but of particular note were their feet, upon which were a pair of sandals that were tattered and frayed as if they were not brand new but had endured many lifetimes of use. They were Sovereign, patron Asir of Muspelheim, and their domains were that of Saga, Reality, and Progression. When it was their turn to set their gaze upon the unused aspects they chose three. A figure making strides up a steep hill, a white untouched field, and a compass and campfire. And from these Sovereign created their three triplet children. Their son Odgar, god of Effort, their daughter, Liv, goddess of adaptability, and their son Knud, god of Travel.

The fifth standing stone then burst with energy and from it emerged a man smaller in stature than his siblings but still giant by any reckoning. He wore long brown beard braided in three parts and his brow was furrowed in concentration. He was armored from head to toe in black shining platemaile, holding a great scale in one of his hands and a cudgel in the other. On each of his wrists was a shackle with a broken chain. His name was was Graynar, patron Asir of Svartalvheim, ruler of the domains of Law, Freedom, and the Balance between the two. He spotted an aspect tile adorned with a castle and a crown and from it willed into existence his son Bergernarit, the god of Leadership. Then he noticed a lone remaining tile depicting the image of a comet streaking through the starlit heavens and from it begat his daughter Apoc, goddess of the Night Sky.

As the new Asir and their children looked about the chamber and spoke to one another for the first time they began to conference about the fate of Norlund and how they could best fulfill their roles in making their universe again team with life and prosperity. Though each of them had existed for but a brief few moments in time, they intrinsically understood the state of their worlds and the domains over which they were to preside. In those first few moments of their being, everything about who they were and how they would bring peace to their realms began to settle.

Then the sixth, unnoticed, standing stone rumbled to life almost lifting itself off the ground in its ferocity. From the face of the stone stepped a single scaled claw, razor talons jutting from each digit. Then another. Then suddenly bursting into the hall was the final member of the new Asir. The being could only be described as a dilophosaurus, standing on two muscular hind legs, a pair of bright orange frills across the top of her head. Draped across her broad back and small shoulders was a surcoat of fine gold and silver threads, beautifully made as if by a great artisan, with a giant pair of dice embroidered on the back, showing a single pip on each. As the thunder-lizard regarded her brothers and sisters she opened her great toothy mouth and let loose an echoing high-pitched roar. This was Tychasaurus, patron Asir of Midgard, ruler over the domains of luck and fun, lord of all dinosaurs.

Certainly this development was an unexpected one, even by a new generation of Asir who already understood everything about their place in the universe. The rest of her divine family regarded Tychasaurus with a wide range of emotions. Crow was all too happy to have a sister who seemed well suited to do battle with their enemies. Lormar immediately understood that her reptilian sibling would be a great hinderance to the civility of their discussions. Vivant shared a kinship with her in their love for a fierce and untamed wild. Graynor was displeased knowing that this member of his family would never hold respect for the law of men, and Sovereign, they just shook their head in disappointment. And as Tychasaurus continued to roar out her greetings and the rest of the divine family struggled to comprehend her role in this new pantheon, something elsewhere in the temple was amiss.

In a dark corner, three aspect tiles sat torn asunder surrounded by a pool of ruined ritual components. If one was to inspect everything more closely they would have learned that the destroyed tiles were those of Death, Secrets, and The Hunt. Whatever happened in that place did so in such a way that the new Asir could not perceive it. Whatever occurred there was certainly something that was unnatural. And wrong.

Yet, regardless of that blemish of darkness, a great new light was spreading throughout all of Norlund. The erosion of the world had stopped. The energies focused from other universes and refined within the Asirunes had brought stability back to the realms and soon they would inspire growth to begin anew. The new Asir would grow in power as the denizens of the lower worlds learned of their existence, and a year from now the heroes of the Realms would return to complete one final task that would forever ensure the world they left behind would prosper.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Homecoming

a poem by Renee "Kindrianna" Booke


The sun breaks over Calandia’s mountains,
Singing hail to the leaves of autumn’s crown.
A forest thrives in hues of gold and amber,
Frigid breezes dance in flowered gown.
Elven poets lift their pens,
While quoting colors of the morn’.
Bards drip honey from their lips,
And pour cider from their horns.

Nostalgia sprinkled over apple,
Sweetens homeward siren’s songs;
For battle-hardened, wayward heroes,
Sent abroad to right life’s wrongs.
Their spirits haunt in meadows yonder,
Yearning for the hearth of home.
Adventure keeps them from returning,
Barred by forest and sea’s white foam.

Pumpkins line our fields and halls,
Awaiting bellies and warm pies.
Soon comes the Cold Moon of December,
And the hour ‘pon which Raven flies.
The only treasures of true worth,
Are the ones we cannot hold.
The empty chairs that line our tables,
Speak more of family than of gold.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Spreading Wisdom


The Magi of the Realms have a number of Tenets that it’s members try to follow. They are as follows: Seek Knowledge for ignorance is death. Spread wisdom, for experience unspoken is lost. Ascertain the Unknown, for life not questioned is wasted. Quest until the last quest is done. And finally to support the role of magic in the Realms. To that end, Spreading Wisdom is a series where we are going to get people knowledgeable about known upcoming adventures, and have them share their wisdom. Today, we will have Janus discussing Norlund.

*****

Back in 1015, a group of us went to enjoy a day of fun in Rhiassa. It was here that we first met and learned about the people of Norlund. Their world is one which is similar to some of the northern regions of our world, with similar gods such as Loki and Thor. A world where Ragnarok comes, destroys all, and allows a fresh world to be reborn. It was during the start of Ragnarok that the Bedlam (which they referred to as the black death) had hit Norlund, breaking the cycle, leaving stagnation in its wake. So Ulric made the journey to us to ask for our aid in restarting Ragnarok, as we were the people who destroyed Bedlam.

It was with this knowledge that we began helping Ulric bring forth Ragnarok (I won’t go into the full exploits, as they are chronicled at http://rhiassa.com/questing/echoes_event_history.htm ,) but I will cover some of the highlights. We helped craft the bifrost, a way to travel from the realms to Norlund and back. We dealt with various creatures that were acting well outside their normal nature. We repaired the way for dwarves to craft the weapons of the gods. We safeguarded the passages of the world tree and rebirthed giants. But throughout, it seemed there was a person manipulating things behind the scenes, and it appeared that he was doing so with the essence of Bedlam. The person was injecting the essence of death and madness directly into his troops. We found that this was being done by Jarl Thorafin, who wished to prevent Ragnarok from occurring, even though the world was soon going to perish into ice.

Around here in our story, I shall bring up Saegan. He had been opposed to restarting Ragnarok. While he does not agree with Jarl Thorafin’s means at all, he agreed we should not start Ragnarok, and instead, we should devise a way to save the world itself. And with this goal in mind, not one of madness and destruction, but life of rebirth, Saegan began seeking alternate pathways. Following his lead, the adventurers destroyed an artifact that would help restart Ragnarok and in doing so, saved what was left of Odin’s Essence.

With this new mission leading us, we restarted the moon, and devised a way to travel to Asgard. And that brings us to this upcoming weekend. We have a way to Asgard, the land of the gods. From there we shall hopefully find a way to make life worth living for those still alive in Norlund. We shall learn from the gods of Norlund.

There are a few last bits of information to be aware of. First, there is a great power that had been kept from Mortal minds. They are legendary sigils called Asirrunes. These symbols may hold the secret to what we need to do in Asguard. A copy of what was known was sent to us, and here is what we deciphered:


(Image provided by Laika)


We believe the drawn symbol to be one of the Asirrunes and each piece we found was instructions on how to draw a single line of the Asirrunes, where each piece was a formula for drawing a single line. The top section was the formula while the bottom section was constraints for where the line would be drawn. Second, here is the map of Norlund in case it becomes relevant:



And finally, here is a copy of all of the runes. Their starrunes (the circles) are portrayed by overlapping multiple letters into a single word.




Wednesday, October 23, 2019

What You Missed- From the Rift: The Five Plagues

by Adrian "Cronin" Cronin
We arrived in the lands of Stonewood Friday evening and unloaded our caravans. The village we found was barren with many unoccupied buildings, so we found two to fit our Voranian forces then headed to the tavern to meet up with the rest of the adventurers of the realms.

It warmed my heart to see my allies from Blackwood present as well as a few new faces and some seasoned veterans of the realms. I felt confident with the troops I had brought but teamed with such legends, I felt the cold of Stonewood dissipate for a time. Morale was high as we munched on treats provided by the tavern keeper who I am sure was just happy to have breathing patrons once more. But alas this is no tale of merriment, it is a tale of battle.

The tavern was set upon by undead and we were quick to respond,  with both steel and spirit we obliterated the undead forces but as expected they were only the tip of the spear. We pushed through the undead forces and to our surprise found a lone warrior who was in need of our aid.

A Justicar paladin fought valiantly by herself, and so we attempted to aid her but to no avail. These particular undead were possessed of some magical defenses it seemed. The paladin taught us the trick, which was to use “taunt”, scrolls we had picked up as plunder along the way. Once we mastered the technique and dealt with the undead, we moved onward through the forest fighting all the while.

We found a large fortress in the woods where a man named Stonewall resided. He welcomed us and gave us shelter that we may plan our next move. He had with him a key, which he agreed to entrust to us if we could prove that we could defend it. And so a battle ensued between our forces and his. His warriors shouted compliments and gave advice throughout and ultimately we were victorious. He gave us the key which we hid amongst ourselves as best we could.

The undead beaten back and the key to the rift obtained, we took rest in the tavern. But due to certain parties calling out to powers beyond their comprehension, rest would have to wait.

Zargon, god of death and undeath appeared in the tavern. He gave a speech about the hornet's nest that was was kicked and reminded the party of their responsibilities.

All the while, and far after Zargon had gone, our mystic Artair had remained within the tavern aided by Tempest and Elizah in deciphering scrolls which detailed the dangers and detriments we would have to choose to face in the final battle.

Finally, we laid our heads down to rest and recover.

Saturday morning we saw our forces bolstered by many new warriors and mages. With the key in hand and a party united in purpose, we went into the wilds to find the rift. Battling through the undead forces, we encountered several challenges of the mind.

We found a magical barrier of sorts that we needed to get magical orbs and place them into containers, which would be simple if the orb didn’t destroy our arms upon touch. We conquered the challenge and moved forward to a cave.

Within the cave were several bats, stalactites, some of which could only hold a small number of people and some of which needed many to stand upon to trigger a statue's hand to open revealing very small skulls which we would need later to be sure. Bats flew about the cave claiming the lives of a few but we were able to raise them and escape as is our way.

Once free from the cave we headed back to the tavern. From there we used a large magical arrow to find the rift itself. This too presented a large amount of undead to deal with as well as magical challenges beyond my perception or understanding. I was, after all, battling a large plant monster and keeping the undead from reaching the rift as our mages and Druids did their work.

At some point in the chaos, we lost Elizah into the rift. And despite my protests, we didn’t immediately go in after her as I would have liked. I have learned to trust my magical advisors and not to lose faith in battle so I agreed to move forward.

From the rift, we found a large podium with five symbols upon it. We also had five pieces for which to place upon the podium would result in our ability to track and engage the demon lords.

The time has come to face them and pick our first detriment. The order in which we fought the demons seems to escape my memory so I will do my best to save time and detail the demons and their detriments as a skald.


“We faced Botis the Viper, a poisonous foe.
Lacking armor on the left from thigh to toe.
We cut the head from the snake in that wretched place.
And moved to the next demon lord with determination and haste.

Yoram the diseased, had the speed of a steed.
We were slow as the tide as we had all agreed.
We destroyed his swarm, and cleansed his pool,
Then surrounded him and made him the fool.

Zigibreth the Mage Slaver, was cunning and cross.
We chose to be hunted, and many casters we lost.
We persevered and rescued our friends.
The battle was fierce til the demon met his end.

Alastor the Tormentor, was prideful and strong.
We allowed our enemies to silence our song.
We stood in our chains attacking friend and foe.
Until alas we were freed to Alastors woe.

Uvall the seer was smartest of all,
We chose to speak truth no matter how small.
We built half a bridge and watched it crumble away.
And Uvall escaped us having won the day.”

With four of the five demons destroyed the battle was won but the war would persist. Uvall, as many of us would agree is the most dangerous of the five and so we will need to return to the lands of Stonewood once more. Voraniss will answer the call when Uvall rears his ugly head once more as I am sure many others will as well.

Until then, I honor the heroes who battled into the bitter cold night against the forces of darkness. I will clean the blood from mail and prepare.

*OOC

This event was incredible, mechanically innovative and tremendously immersive. Stonewood remains the standard for dynamic questing and I am so happy to have gotten to hit this event.

The npc’s and the pc’s had a synergy that was remarkable. Hero fights mixed with legitimate realms fighting, npc’s taking early deaths for “cool moves”, etc. and generally communicating mechanics and shots back and forth really respectfully is a touch of what is generally hard to describe unless you were there.

The npc’s often wore sashes to indicate difficulty which was fun because we were able to both roleplay the danger and prepare for challenges instead of having to lose people to become aware of danger.

The grandest spectacle was the night quest lighting. This was the highlight(no pun intended) of A Grave Discovery and it seemed as if they doubled down on it for this event. Approaching a field covered in lit up crystals of various sizes and colors was a wonder to behold.

I could go on for another three pages but instead, I’ll say this: this event was a huge success. Great attitudes, dedication to high stakes roleplay, grand mechanics and lighting and more. 

Well done Stonewood team. Can’t wait for the next one.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Why I want to Go!: Rhiassa Presents: Echoes of Ragnarok V: Asgard, by Keith

It can be hard to feel like a hero in the realms. That’s kind of a weird thing to say, but it’s sort of true. Culturally, our game has evolved to a point where we refer to each other as murder hobos, constantly. And we laugh. 

We play anti-heroes. And we make unsavory choices. I can even recall a point where I’ve heard the players say, “yes they are  demons, and we’re going to let them out and they’ll turn on us, but we’ll fix it later.” 

So sometimes it can be hard. But not in the Ragnarok plot line, there is investment there. It’s feels like real choices. 

Ragnarok, a story where I had originally called us the villains has become the questline where it feels like we are most able to become the heroes we want to be. 

At least me. We can actually save a universe. We can change the way fate works. We can visit the gods, and really rub their noses in the s—-... stuff they’ve done. 

Echoes of Ragnarok V promises to be an epic adventure into the halls of Asgard. If it’s anything like their previous plot events it will be filled with challenging fights, thoughtful puzzles, innovative props and costumes, and delectable foods. 

And I want to go because I’m going to make good memories with my friends, and my Realms family to tell for years to come. 

So if you’re on the fence about going? Just go. 

And I’ll see you on the field,

Keith “Saegan” Cronyn

Friday, October 18, 2019

What You Missed at Ashen Bounty VIII: Kara's Story

by Emily "Kara" Murphy

Me and Tao arrived by boat Friday night to wherever we went (I’m not entirely sure if the peninsula we went to had a name). I took interest in the reading presented, after catching up with my fellow adventurers first. Eventually, We fount the ruins of a tavern and a lay line A.I type thingy (I forgot what it was called). We named it Leyla. Leyla gave us some information, but was in a pretty rough shape, seemingly abandoned to the elements. This is where we met the former residents of this place. The other natives called them hollows. In short, there used to be three kingdoms trapped on the peninsula, one to the north, one to the south, and one on the coast where we landed. These kingdoms had something called an Archon, which is similar to a god-king, but they’re still mortal apparently, since the one from the kingdom we were in had “died”. He was really just undead and sick, but has far at the land was concerned, he had died. We learned most of what happened here from some people we met from the north kingdom.

But back to our adventures Friday night, we figured out we could build a tavern with some resources we gathered off the land, and that we had to power three oscillators to fully power Leyla. So we went to go do both, splitting into two teams, team get-resources and team figure-out-the-oscillators. Team Resource, later renamed to Team Muffin, were able to secure enough resources for a cabin, while Team Oscillators (Or team thinky) were working through how to operate the oscillators. Turns out that technology that is completely foreign to us in a language we have yet to understand is hard to work. So I switched from team thinky to team muffin real fast and helped somewhat in the gathering of resources, though me and some others feigned at one point to avoid having to fight. Or move. Or do anything at all, really, now that I think about it.

However, I woke up the next morning to expedition pancakes, and the final oscillator’s controls still on the table. Thanking Tyche I didn’t have to deal with that, I briefly went on a small expedition of my own for non-instant coffee. When I returned, we practically got going for the day, splitting into two groups like the night before, team thinky and team muffin. I bounced between the two throughout the day, but I know we got a bunch of resources to be able to build some more cabins, a forge, and a whole bunch of other stuff. Which was useful, because we had like, zero ability to heal people at one point. But the highlight of the day (at least the high light for me) was running into a Southern Kingdom trader, who offered many goods in exchange for coins and whatever goods we had on hand. If Tao has taught me anything, other than how to adventure, he’s taught me to hunt for a good deal, so it was, weird refreshing to be able to trade on an equal level. I traded in a few coins I had (A Zimmain coin and A Blackwood 1 coin) and my jingle belt for a lovely fur coat. Similar trades were happening all at once aw well. I know someone walked away with a potion of cry of life. The Trader was rather fair and somewhat favourable to us throughout the entire process. It was during my meanderings throughout the day that I got some info on this place and its past, which I covered during the friday night quest part to give some context into who the hollows were. But I also learned that we had to get into the tower of Archon to help the other two Archons. Without going into to much detail, since I’m not sure how much to the two kingdom’s dirty laundry I should air out, we had to choose one Archon over the other, but that decision was for the night quest.

So basically we went into the tower of the archon with the three relics (Axe, Obelisk, and Feather Pen). The first relic we used was the Axe, which we had to dispel the corruption from. And let me tell you, that corruption fought back. It didn’t help that people’s hope was getting drained from their bodies and put into physical form. However it was with this distilled hope that we were able to purify the axe, so yay? We pressed on, our hope mostly restored and got to the obelisk room. There were hollows everywhere, carrying these ley line connector-thingys (I don’t remember the actual name). We were able to arrange them in various patterns, looking like the runes on the obelisk itself. It was a tough, cramped fight in that room, but we got through. To the final room before the heart chamber, the room for the feather, it was a wide room with even more hollows. They over ran us, but a few of us remained alive to get people back up. We were able to fight them afterwards and get to the pedestal, where we, as a group, decided to back the Southern Kingdom as they had been the most helpful to us. Laika, who had held onto the quill, placed it on the pedestal in that room. The Heart’s chamber’s doors swung open, revealing the corrupted Archon and a bunch more Hollows. The fight was rough, especially with the Archon commanding a decent chunk of the party to feel fear. Turns out, doing this for damn near half a decade means my fear response is to throw a lightning bolt and run (which is my response to most situations, to be completely honest). But we were able to get into the heart chamber, where discoperial voices told us to murder, which was, happening I guess. The good news is that being loud was enough to hold them off. Can’t hear the dark whispers telling you to kill your friends if you’re yelling, apparently. We were able to get the heart and run to the tavern, however, for better lighting to preform open heart surgery on the Archon’s heart, killing him in the process, but removing the corruption to be able to gift it to one of the Kingdoms we found, originally to the Southern Kingdom. It was a pretty eventful night, to be honest, so I’m probably missing something from this synopsis.

I unfortunately slept in Sunday, and was apparently a grouch to Tao when he tried to wake me up (Sorry Tao!). But he still filled me in on what happened. Basically, they had quested for the hearts of the four elements (four corner elements? He went to sleep before I got the chance to ask) and from what I hear, the party that remained out voted the party that had quested friday night and gifted the heart to the Northern Kingdom instead. For those of you who actively went against the party’s wishes, I am withholding my opinion on the final part of that sentence to keep the credibility of the View.

-Squire Kara Nithisdottir Blackheart Ya Kang

Thursday, October 17, 2019

What You Missed from Ashen Bounty VIII: Muursha's Story


By Christie "Muursha" Vasquez


Hello everyone! This is Muursha. You may remember me as a fighter at Queen of Hearts, but today I write to you as a chronicler of Rhune- always looking for new information to add to our humble archives. The following are snippets from my log from Ashen Bounty.

Friday, 10PM: I woke in the hull of a ship. You know, we orcs fight so hard, that when we sleep, we sleep like the dead. I was not terribly sure how I ended up down there, let alone where we had docked.

I climbed off the ship to a most beautiful land. Down the path lay a thrown-together tavern and makeshift cabins. Some adventurers entered the tavern, slamming down resources in front of… what appeared to be a glowing rod.

The rod introduced itself as “Layla, the leyline core” in a skipping mechanical fashion. How fascinating! I spent much time catching up with Layla, figuring out what exactly I had missed in my deep, orcish slumber.

Here’s the summary: we had landed on a series of islands that had been separated from the outside world for thousands of years by some barrier. Other areas have human settlements, but the area we found ourselves in is comprised of ruins.

These ruins are home to creatures called “hollows”. I had taken them for undead, but I was later corrected- they are people without souls, hence the term, hollow. They move mostly normally, fight normally, bleed, and even give birth normally, though incapable of speech. They seem to have a symbiotic relationship with wraiths - 8 or 9 foot tall shadows with glowing red eyes. Those creatures weren’t affected by normal weapon blows and did not in fact want hugs.

As you can guess, I had tested this hypothesis. In an effort to restore power to different parts of the town, we looked for oscillators, power crystals and resources. This took us over a bridge to an old cemetery, which marked my first encounter with hollows and a wraith. I tried my best to communicate with the hollows and wraith, but to no avail.

The individuals who lead us to this cemetery were Brimiri Wayfinders, from a settlement to the north. A charitable bunch, they sought information on “The Third Archon,” a being that would shape the rest of my stay on this island. Once we powered up this oscillator, we tried to head back to the tavern. The head of the wayfinders stayed behind to hold off the wraith and ensure that it did not follow us.

Our group then ventured to botanical gardens and found yet another oscillator! This one proved tricky. We carried it back to the tavern, where Rosetta and Lako poured themselves into it, overnight and into the next morning. In the meantime, I learned all about Archons.

Excerpt, Archons: Archons, when first described to me, seemed like gods, but they are more like strong, long-lived spirits. They shape their people, and their people shape them into a major aspect. The Brimiri, for example, follow the Archon of Charity, Brimir. The people to the south, the Arazeans, follow the Archon of Trade, Qo Zarak. Information on the last Archon eluded us until Saturday evening, but we found the archon of the lands we were in, the third archon, to be the Archon of Secrets. These Archons live amongst their people by passing through their people, passing to the next in line when their current host passes away. How Archons came to be is still not understood, but I’ve been told that they will eventually pass of old age.

The Archon of this land had sickened, and the land befell a great tragedy. All of the people died, hollows began to appear. Layla told me the Archon still lived, but that seemed impossible given the state of disrepair of this society. Both the Brimiri and the Arazeans came to this land for answers once their Archons fell ill, so that a similar fate would not affect their people.

Saturday, 4 PM: Some traders set up shop near the botanical gardens, and I had the pleasure of meeting some Arazeans. Like the Brimiri, they were excited to meet us outsiders, but their excitement was directed towards our culture and tradable goods, rather than for our barrier-crossing abilities.

Many adventurers searched for the tower where the Third Archon used to live, only to find it sealed from the outside world. We collected artifacts of the three archons: a Brimiri axe, lodged deep in the back of a hollow; an obelisk belonging to the Arazean's archon, and a golden owl feather. But no plans amongst adventurers go off without a hitch- nay, the obelisk was stolen, by an Arazean siding with rebels. She cast a lightning storm in her wake, and to get through it, we would enlist the help of eidolons.

Recipe for an eidolon:
  • Two idolan helms, and two tabards
  • Lots of living earth, from very unhappy earth golems with boulders
  • A lot of effort! The spirit of effort yelled at us to run, fight till we dropped, do jumping jacks, push-ups, burpees, planks, AND bear crawl to the tavern. My muscles ache just thinking about it.
  • Mold the living clay into faces. The two sculptors were sure to infuse it with all of that effort we gathered!
  • Place the living clay faces in the helms, and on a railing with the tabard over them. Let the energy seep into their tabards, and, Viola! We had ourselves two very strong eidolons.

Our brave two earthen warriors walked into the lightning storm and absorbed the energy, allowing us to pass in their wake. We fought strong and true against wind elementals and their lightning bolts and rebels alike. Once the battle was won, we feasted like kings on a bounty of roasted vegetables, shepherd's pie, and baked macaroni. Not to mention the dessert! By the time all us adventurers stuffed ourselves like swine, hollows came knocking on the tavern doors, and it was finally time for us to make our way to the tower.

Now, I apologize, my fair readers, for I was cut down in the thick of battle. I will recollect what I can, but you will have to ask others for their versions of the tale.

In order to access the tower, we had to fight through hollows and purify the three artifacts. We placed the axe on a pedestal, and attempted to defend it from the hollows that swarmed from the outside.

Our group fell, as the corruption from the axe leaked off, and our open backs made a merry target. The secret keeper plucked a spell from Elouan and converted it into a Cry of Life, picking us up long enough for us to finish the ritual. I cannot say I was in high spirits- it was as if my love of life and my wits had been sucked from my very soul.

Before we could get to the next artifact, I was struck down. I have been told that the adventurers opened the tower, that the secret keeper was killed by a twisted version of the Archon, and that we killed that same Archon. I’ve heard that the archon was no longer the Archon of secrets, but had become an Archon of grief. What befell it, I cannot say.

Sunday, 1 PM: Sunday I awoke, my throbbing headache subsiding. We gathered what resources we could, reinforced the town to the best of our ability, and ventured back to the tower. After all, we had not yet removed the barrier from around the islands.

This puzzle required a piece of each element. We sought out elementals all across the island. One particular challenge that sent shivers down my spine were the flame elementals. Definitely one to be wary of- when they were taken down, they exploded with a final strike, over and over again.

Upon solving the final oscillator, the power was redirected to town, and took the barrier down. King Skyros arrived, using the same star chart our captain had used to get us here, and signed a trade agreement between Pacifica and these islands. It is because of his generosity that I am able to stay on these islands without getting stranded, as the trade vessels come and go fairly frequently.

Now, what awaits me? As I told you, dear readers, I plan to stay in this area. I’ll continue improving this foothold, and keep out whatever hollows come this way. I plan to work with both the Brimiri and the Arazeans while you all are gone, assisting the archons in whatever way I can. And you can bet, dear readers, that I’ll keep an ear out for any interesting information regarding Hollows or the nature of Archons.

Until next time, this has been your favorite Orc Chronicler,

Muursha (you’ve gotta put your tusks behind it!)