Friday, December 30, 2011

10 Questions - Jonathan "Johan" Bernard

Jonathan "Johan" Bernard
Photo by Erin Martin
How long have you been playing?
13 years (December 1998)

How has the game changed since you've been playing?
The game used to be much less of a sport then it's become today. I miss having bardics that were period to the renaissance age and a general deeper sense of culture present in the game.

Who have you learned the most from?
One of the biggest influences in my career was Kevin Betie (Cinnabar). I learned a great deal about commanding on a battlefield from him. I attribute my general level of comfort in most battle scenarios from watching and learning from him.

What was your best moment IC?
At the Tournaments of Creathorne in 2000, I helped to give field commands to a battle line that stretched across a field to prevent the Myth Drannor elves from breaching into the area where part of our force was performing a ritual. It was the first time that I felt totally immersed in the environment and forgot that I was playing a game.

What was your best moment as a NPC/EH/Player?
At the Tournaments of Creathorne in 1999, I was Warmark for a fledgling group called Dragonsbreath. At that event, I helped to lead my nation to take third place in the war tournament. We were bumped out of second place by the Borderlands army which was more than double our size but we held out for a good amount of time against them. I learned that I was comfortable commanding on the battlefield and that I worked well under pressure. This actually helped to boost my self confidence out of character. I attribute at least part of my success in managing people at my work to what I've learned from my leadership roles in the Realms.
Photo by Robyn C Nielsen

What would you like to see changed or developed more in game?
The game could benefit by having more of an active monetary system. Currently there isn't a regular use for IC currency in the game and I think that adding a mercantile aspect to the game could give players something tangible to do with currency.

What advice would you give new players?
Don't be afraid to get involved and throw your ideas into the mix during events. Don't restrict your interactions to your own group of friends because you only restrict yourself from learning more about the game on a whole. Also, be sure to get involved in practices outside of events because it's the best way to meet other people in the game.

What do you love most about the game?
The game offers unrestricted possibilities of what you can be. I like that over the years we've seen a mixture of races with well developed backrounds.

Who would you like to see the next interview be with?
Jason Grey

Anything else you'd like to take the opportunity to put into print?
Not at this time

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Eventholding: Tourney Events

How to Throw a Tourney Event
As with any event there are a number of questions that need to be answered for a tourney event to run smoothly.

What is your target audience?
What type of player goes to a Tourney event? There are two basic types, the stick-jock and the social player. The stick-jock will attend to hit other players; she is all about the combat. It is relatively easy to entertain the stick-jock; just throw a lot of fights at them. The social player is there to hang out with everyone else. There is little to nothing you can do for the social player; they actually do not require much attention. However, one thing to remember is to make sure to allow people to watch the fights; hold them somewhere visible and where an audience can get comfortable while watching. The social players will then have something to do, as well those combatants waiting for their name to be called for a tourney.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The View From Vilehaven

Good Guy Campaign Launched
As Reported by I. S. Noop

In an effort to counteract the “coolness” of being evil within the Realms, the Organization of Good Guys has launched a campaign extolling the virtues of being a “good guy”.  At the beginning of the year they released their “Just say no to evil” campaign, but that has been met with derision and apathy.  Even members within the organization called the measure weak and ineffectual.  The new campaign is called, “It’s cool to be a good guy!”
The organization has now planned a series of bake sales to be held in various kingdoms of the Realms.  Along with the bake sales there will be lectures and question-and-answer forums for those interested in the “good guy” way of life.  Topics to be included are “What do you do when they call you a wuss?”, “It’s ok to kill an orc…if the orc swings first” and “White, the other color.”
Grimloch has since announced they are making bake sales illegal within their lands.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Monday, December 26, 2011

Question of the Week - 20

What new weapon type would you like to see incorporated into the Realms (such things as flails, nunchucks, 10' pikes, etc)?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Blast From the Past - Part 2

Queen of Hearts

Lady Anne (Anne Livermore) and the Savage Beast (Tom Johnson)

Shane (Colin Campbell) and Bane (Misty Kuprevich)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Eventholding: How to Get NPCs

How to Get NPCs

In my last part I discussed the need to utilize a number of people in important positions in order for an event to run smoothly. However, what can an Eventholder do to get a fair number of personnel for their event? Also, since the Realms is a combat intensive system, having someone for the players to combat, especially in a quest event, is important, so how does an Eventholder get enough “crunchy” NPCs?

Through the years I have seen various methods for gathering NPCs, some of which work better than others. Here are a few…

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What You Missed - A Very Merry Yule at Cecil's Crazy Uncle's Tavern

Photo by Dustin Mack

Photo by Casey Lemay

Photo by Casey Lemay

Photo by Casey Lemay

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Fighting Chance - Undead Plague by Leanne "Faelinn" Hoffman

Welcome to "A Fighting Chance".  This article series is dedicated to various threats of Realms and how you can become involved.

Threat:  Undead Plague/Grimloch Plot
Plot Masters: Christopher Marques, Tanja Johnson, Josh Learned, Tom Johnson
Plot Start: 2008

Undead have infested Grimloch for years.  It is well known that the Undead Plague was started by a group of powerful beings called Immortals.  There is a journal written by a "good" immortal which contains information about many of the towns and important locations in Grimloch.  In previous years the adventurers have visited many different towns, and have also begun to develop a cure for the plague.

The Monsters:

Many of the undead of Grimloch work a little bit differently than in other parts of the Realms due to the power of the plague.  Zombies (undead tabard) have to have their limbs hacked off first before a blow to the head will kill them.  Skeletons (skeleton tabard, skeleton mask) will require blunt weapons to smash their bones to keep them from rising.

Humans are not the only one affected by the plague.   Undead monsters, like kobolds have even seen wandering the woods.  The undead kobolds in Grimloch are very strange.  Each one is only vulnerable in one specific location.  Once struck there, they will be instantly killed.

The woods are full of undead.  Are you ready to fight them?

Blunt weapons such as hammers and maces are necessary against skeletons.  These weapons are usually in short supply while questing, so make sure there are plenty to go around.  

Special bone weapons have been found while questing in Grimloch.  These weapons have proven very effective when fighting any type of undead creature.  Bone weapons can be described as delivering a “poison armor-piercing” blow to any location that is stuck against an undead monster.  These weapons are rare, so keep an eye out for them.


While most of the undead in Grimloch seem to be slow moving, there are some that are incredibly fast and dangerous.  Many swarm their prey making it hard to get away if you aren’t paying attention to the things going on around you.

Regional magics of the land tend enhance necromancy or grant necromantic powers to those who can tap into that power.  Such powers include commanding lesser undead which can turn them against other creatures.  It is unknown if there is lasting effects to using these types of power.  Necromancy is also outlawed in Grimloch lands and the members of the nation are very strict about enforcing that law.

Who to talk to:

Want to know more about the progress that has been made so far?  The upcoming winter feasts are a great time to talk to people about this!  Make sure to talk to Ranger, Sir Aeston, or other members or Rhiassa.  They should be able to tell you what’s been going on.

Do you have a threat you want to see covered?  Let me know, so we can give other people a fighting chance.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Question of the Week - 19

What is one tip you would give the eventholders so they could run better events?

Friday, December 16, 2011

10 Questions - Nathaniel "Kahlenar" Soule

Nathaniel "Kahlenar" Soule

Photo by Melissa Fitzgerald
How long have you been playing?
5 years, since Black and White in 2006, though I practiced for a month before that.  That was my junior year at UCONN.  What I wouldn't give to go back and change that to my freshman year. 

How has the game changed since you've been playing?
This is a tough one.  Mostly my understanding of the game has changed.  When I started out things seemed a lot different, but as I started my third year things appeared to change, but did they really?  I'll never know.  But what seems to have changed is the grouping of players.  I watched outcasts be allowed to reenter normal Realms society, only to be outcast again, and a kingdom sundered but a new one put in it's place.  I've seen leadership and national rosters changed around, picked and chosen to best fit the way people want to play.  And I've seen 4 newbie groups... explode.   But is that all really different?  Maybe I just see the Realms without all the glamour it had when I first joined. 

I've also watched weapons evolve, from PVC to legalized fiberglass, to bamboo and "whatever the hell else you can find" to make a lighter, faster sword.  Heck, I've been one of the biggest players in the evolution.  But I wasn't around enough to see what competitive PVC fights looked like. 

Who have you learned the most from?
Jason Rosa brought me into Realms at UCONN.  He's been there at the right moments most of the time, giving advice on a situation, leading by example, or occasionally providing a perfect example of what NOT to do and why. 

Jay Bonci taught me not only every specific of how to make a top of the line weapon, but also how to innovate once at the top.  I can credit no one with teaching me more about weapons. 

Seth Flagg said two things, one about gravity, and one about the distance between two points, and they've stuck with me since.  They are always the first things I mention when teaching a new player once they've learned the rules. 

Tucker Noyes yelled at me a few times.  I can't remember why ^_^

I've definitely picked up more about fighting just by fighting with the guys my age in the collective stick jock community. 

What was your best moment IC?
This probably happened at "Oh Brother, wherefore Art Thou?"  Jake/Gideon was recovering from his shoulder explosion, and that left me as A number 1 on site.  I had a crew, and good as they were Cavan and Surfer Dave were still well under a year and UCONN line fights don't train for every type of fight we encounter in Realms.  We're in a room with the Blackstar Guild, but we didn't know that so people started talking to them.  I get a hint from Vax's friendly dragon NPC that they're the bad guys, I tell Tara this, she says she knows, so eventually I decide to go whack one of them (played by Aaron/Rel).  I do that, I die, he gets back up, I get back up, no one really knows what's going on, so the good guys and bad guys just sorta keep standing around.  Then for some reason we're fighting.  I heard later that the EH dressed 6 or 7 people in blue and had them slated to be elite full power NPCs, and then they were told "go kill everyone" and apparently all dozen NPCs went out and slaughtered us.  Before I went down I managed to kill 6 of them, and then jumped back to where Cavan was, but lost my leg in the process.  He went down and I was stuck and surrounded and then killed.  Then Tara and Ged were both hit by some kind of generic brand Wayland.  Aaron called some orders, and before they pulled out he noticed me, said, "oh you're a special one," and scalped me, for the very first time.  I guess since I was scalped I probably forgot that whole exchange, so oops, my bad.  But really, it was the first time I was responsible for everyone else at the quest, and my martial failure caused us to lose a lot.  Yeah, I killed a ton of bad guys, but it wasn't enough. 

There was also that time at NS war where I killed 5 people in a limited 3-bridge battle.  Vawn called it out, "someone kill Kahlenar!"  Then I got hit in the leg by a questionable arrow that probably went under the bridge wall, so I hopped around looking dumb until I was shot again while not looking.  But the important part is that someone called me by name because I was killing a huge chunk of his team.  It was pretty awesome. 

Photo by Dustin Mack

What was your best moment as a NPC/EH/Player?
Mythquest 3, I was playing an incubus trapped in the cellar of some creepy collector guy.  Next to me was an angel played by Kat/Phyre.  We both looked like angels though.  The players had the keys to open our doors, but doing so would set us free, and divination wasn't working on us.  So we each had to convince them that the other one was a demon and that we were a real angel.  I also had a penchant for hitting on any women who cam near me.  In the end I don't think anyone believed me, but Kat's cage also had the way out of the house, so when they divined to ask which door they should open, hers was declared, and they left me.  As they left I continued my plea of innocence, but when it became clear that they were going forever and that I would be destroyed along with the house I changed gears and begged, and then screamed and cursed them yelling something about a fate a thousand times worse for them and their descendants.  It was the best roleplaying of an NPC I've ever managed to do, totally ad-lib, and the door popped open once really quick right after and I heard "Thanks Nate!" from one of the players and then the EH came out and high fived me. 

What would you like to see changed or developed more in game?
I'd like to see people better trained in combat.  Yeah, I know, shocking, right?  I know I love combat, and it's probably the most obvious thing about me, but when I see people thrust into situations they're not used to and watch entire quests be won due to blown shots it really disheartens me.  Cheating hurts all aspects of the game, and the people who call their shots well are punished for it and get to play 'the hero' less often then those that don't.  I know that when a player gets good enough to see other people miss shots and late shots against them they start to see their own mistakes.  And if everyone was better they'd bump themselves up a notch and maybe get a better appreciation for a fair fight.  I know I've missed shots before, and I know when most of those times are and they still haunt me, and I know that I harp on the subject more than most, so I don't want everyone else reading this to think I'm saying I'm perfect, but I know I try and I expect the same from everyone else. 

I'd also like to see more thought be put into the stories that quests aim to tell.  I feel that roleplay suffers when there is a lack of world for our characters to interact with, and with the simultaneous problems of plot not being revealed and plot being one dimensional we see a lot of quests turn into grind fests.  Grinding is grinding, whether with sticks or with puzzles, so let us not give the smart people a soap box to stand on.  Where is the opportunity to roleplay when the solution to the quest is the same every time, and everyone wants the same outcome, from the Aurorans to Darklore. 

What advice would you give new players?
Question authority.  If someone does something they have a reason.  Understand it. 

Keep your main hand and foot forward when you fight.

What do you love most about the game?
The combat more than anything in else, but I also love the story telling, good, unemphasized character interaction, and the food.  I hate puzzles though, but I pretty much love everything else about Realms.  If I can face a foe in straight up combat, win through superior tactics and skill, move to the next one and repeat, maybe throw in a few backstabs to pad my kill count, and get to the end and crack an in character joke it makes me feel like a super hero. 

Who would you like to see the next interview be with?
Jay Bonci

Anything else you'd like to take the opportunity to put into print?
If this is way too long let me know, I can shorten it if need be.  Also, if Jay is busy I have more choices. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Eventholding: Rule #2

Rule #2 of Eventholding

Keep the Players Busy! I can’t say this enough, keep the players busy! No one wants to go to an event and have nothing to do, or worse, be excluded from what is happening. The goal of every Eventholder is to have enough content going on, so if a player chooses not to participate in something it is their choice. It is unrealistic to have content going the entire time, there are always transitions of scene or NPC, but that is the goal.

Here are a few tips to help you move things along…

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Blast From the Past - Part 1

In the process of unpacking some moving boxes, I came across a binder with some old Realms photos. They are now scanned (not the best quality) and available for veiwing. Some of the faces will be unknown to most of the current Realms populace, but if you look hard you can spot some familiar (and much younger) faces.

Quick (Andy LaPorte) as a Fire Elemental

Kugen (Terry Armstrong) as a Shadowbeast

Kel Borne and Pete Brillinger (Magic Marshall) and Blak 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Why I Want to Go- A Very Merry Yule at Cecil's Crazy Uncle's Tavern

A Very Merry Yule at Cecil's Crazy Uncle's Tavern
December 17, 2011 (Saturday 12pm) - December 18, 2011 (Sunday 4pm)

The last event of the year. And what a blowout it will be. There is usually some questing for fun. Maybe some tourneys. Some food. And a bunch of drinking, letting loose and socializing! This event has kind of found its own niche as a celebration of the community we call the Realms. If you are looking for a good time where socializing and having fun is the order of the day, this is the place to be!

The event site is broad and spacious and that includes the main tavern area, which has an excellent medieval feel to it. There are some cabins available for staying overnight so you can sleep off the debilitating activities from Saturday night. So come out and hang with the friends you only see on the weekends in a relaxed friendly atmosphere.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Question of the Week - 18

Should the non-eventholders have more or less of a say in the creation of the rules in the Omnibus (compared to what they currently have)?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Eventholding: Rule #1

Rule #1 of Eventholding

This rule will likely be different for each individual Eventholder, but for me it is…Do Nothing. By this I mean put yourself into a position where you have no assigned tasks during your event; delegate the key staff positions to someone other than yourself.

Why? Not to inflate your ego, but you are the central person for the event. Often you are the only person who can answer questions relating to your event. It is your vision and your design. For example, if you are acting as Magic Marshall and checking in late-comer’s magic books and there is a problem out on the field, how can you resolve the problem from the reg desk?  If you are the main NPC that the players are trying to kill for the weekend, will you have to break combat to answer a question only you as Eventholder can answer?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Why I Want to Go- The Huntress Guild Presents

The Huntress Guild Presents: Tournaments of Artemis
December 10, 2011 (Saturday 12pm) - December 10, 2011 (Sunday 6pm)

One of the better organizations to have appeared upon the Realms landscape of late has been the reemergence of the Huntress Guild. This loose organization is all about promoting the fighting skill of our female participants, whether they are a caster or a fighter. Over the past year they have been holding special practices at various events to hone their skills. This event is where they get to showcase everything they have learned. However, it is not just for those of the Huntress Guild, but rather for any female...and their friends. It is being organized as a team tournament (with some individual fighting as well) wherein the teams are built around a female. These females do not have to be fighters either, as female casters may forgo their spells and break their spell restrictions without penalty.

This is an excellent opportunity to show our support and encouragement for the female fighters of the Realms. So you can either come as a spectator, cheering on your favorite team, or talk some female you know into letting you on their team. Of note is that part of the profits (which won't be much since the event admission price is soooo cheap) will be used to help fund an armory for female fighters.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Question of the Week - 17

What D&D spell do wish we could add to our spell system?

Friday, December 2, 2011

A Fighting Chance - Nemesis by Leanne "Faelinn" Hoffman

Welcome to "A Fighting Chance".  This article series is dedicated to various threats of Realms and how you can become involved.

Threat:  Nemesis
Plot Masters: Jay Micciche, Kathy Fey, Al Nelson
Plot Start: 1993/1994

Nemesis is a demon prince who has shown up in the Realms over the past fifteen years.  No one seems to know what exactly Nemesis is after or why his wraiths have been showing up more over the past few years.  Some people have been marked by the wraiths and are actively being hunted by the demon.

The wraiths made their first appearance in many years at the Island of Dr. Slashblight  in Kelguardia in 1004, and continue to crop up with increasing frequency.

The Monsters:

The most notable monsters associated with Nemesis are the Nemesis Wraiths.  These wraiths are easy to spot (all black garb, black cloak, black masks) and each sport a unique magic weapon.  Because they look so similar, the wraiths are usually noted by their weapons to tell them apart. (ie. the Bow Wraith, the Mace Wraith)   Each of the wraiths has a unique set of powers and have proven very difficult to keep down for long.

Historical accounts say that Nemesis was able to possess and control heroes of the Realms.  Baron Diamond Banecroft and Tetch have recounted stories of all the nobles in the Realms working for Nemesis against their friends.  Nemesis has been shown to possess individuals to speak to others or to direct and command his wraiths in a more hands on manner.

Demon princes and wraiths? No problem!  Just take a few things with you...

It has been said that to defeat  the Nemesis Wraiths, one would need to fight them with matched weapons.  All the wraiths have been bested in honorable combat at least once, save for the Bow Wraith.  The wraiths are very particular about how precise the matched weapons are.  Come prepared!

The magic weapons wielded by the wraiths yield some pretty devastating powers and effects.  Make sure you’re ready to go with your armor and some back up weapons.  Magic weapons have been known to get disenchanted.  Make sure you have a spare, or a friendly Blacksmith to fix it for you.

“While the art of writing had long since existed, very few of the natives of that Age bothered to write anyting down. Many of the myths of our time have actually been substantiated by the scrolls penned by Lornher.” - o Brandine, Scribe of Layldon

Nemesis wraiths are almost never found alone.  Groups have been known to swarm an unwary adventurer and leave them in the dirt.  Keep your eyes open and watch for an opportunity.

The wraiths employ many unique powers and effects when fighting.  Some attacks from the wraiths are hard to overcome, so keep trying and don’t get discouraged.  Experience will let you learn what to expect from each wraith.  Watch out for Power Drain and the occasional fireball or armor piercing shot from one of them.  

Nemesis marks are pretty easy to point out as it looks like a stylized N  - *)\(*. People who are marked cannot actually see the mark themselves, so don’t be too confused if they don’t know what you’‘re talking about.

Many older adventures have learned things the hard way in dealing with Nemesis.  Those stories of days gone past might hold a valuable key to combating the wraiths today.  Information can be lost over the years, but sometimes it’s still there.  Ask around!

Who to talk to:

Want to know more?  The winter months usually mean missives and plotting! Try to catch these people and talk to them; Baron Diamond Banecroft, Malaki of Folkestone, Bright Oakfellow, and Gideon of Coventry are all good people to talk to.  The Library of Ivory also a large supply of information about this threat courtesy of Lohrner.  

Do you have a threat you want to see covered?  Let me know, so we can give other people a fighting chance.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Eventholding: How to Start

This is part of a series on the topic of being an Event-Holder. These articles will touch on various subjects on the topic with the intended goal of provided some core concepts and suggestions for improvement. Hopefully this series will be of use for both a beginning EH or one who has been throwing events for a few years.

How to Start

Often the idea of being an Eventholder can be daunting for someone who has never thrown an event before. And it should be. You are responsible for the enjoyment of dozens of people over many hours. You are responsible for giving the Realms a good name as a place where people can go to have an entertaining time within a structured system. The choices you make will have a positive or negative effect on your event. And it is a lot harder to throw an event than you think it is.

Now that I’ve scared everyone who hasn’t thrown an event before, just do it. While there are many reasons not to throw an event, throw one anyway. If you are even considering throwing an event that means you have idea you want to bring forward for others to see within the Realms. Do not let all the reasons not to throw an event stop you.