Tuesday, January 31, 2012

10 Questions - Robyn "Sasha" Nielsen

Robyn "Sasha" Nielsen

How long have you been playing?
Since Queen of Hearts 1, back when it was held on an event site with llamas. So, a little while.

How has the game changed since you've been playing?
In addition to the mechanical changes mentioned in other interviews, the cast has changed a lot, as well. Some nations have fallen by the wayside, while new ones have sprung up. Others have stayed strong even though their active players have changed.

Who have you learned the most from?
This is a hard question! I like to think that I'm always learning, from many different people.

When I first started, I learned a lot about playing the game from Meerkat, Lornher, and Alcar. My first lessons in event-holding were in your old apartment, making props while listening to you, Carrie, and Pete talk about Nameless One plot, and occasionally contributing to the conversation. Actually, I still consider you my Event Holding mentor.

What was your best moment IC?
I love night quests at blue o'clock when we've been running around so long that I'm half delirious and start to be able to really experience things on a more in-character level. The Strongest Faction and the trip to Mechanus stand out in that regard.

One of my first moments of Realms confidence was at Four on the Floor, when Baba was leading our group. There was an SAT-style logic puzzle, and a whole bunch of people were arguing about which choice to make. I sat down, worked out the puzzle in my notebook, and told Baba, "It's that one." He said, "I trust Sasha" and hit it with no hesitation, and of course I was right and we moved on. It's good to be trusted!

What was your best moment as a NPC/EH/Player?
NPCing: I don't remember the name of the event, but Carrie Campbell was playing the Nameless One and I was playing the aspect of her that wanted to fail. The PCs had to convince me to confront her, and when I finally did we had this crazy back and forth yelling match that went on for quite some time. I remember some PCs just standing there looking really unnerved. 

EHing: Having an entire event site convinced that we had just burned the Mace of Rhomer, and not a well-made replica.

Player: Getting voted into Folkestone!

What would you like to see changed or developed more in game?
I'd like to see more events where role-playing really affects the plot - where you don't just kill your way through or solve puzzle X to get gem Y to active portal Z, but interact with NPCs who are more than just caricatures, and who can be convinced to help you (or with whom you can make really bad deals). This is probably easier for smaller events than 100 person quests.

What advice would you give new players?
Always carry rope.

What do you love most about the game?
At its core, this is a game where vastly different groups and individuals all come together to tell each other a story. For some, it's a story about boldly charging in and earning glory and recognition. For others, it's a more subtle story that casual observers might not even hear. But whatever your playstyle or preferences, the moment you sign in to an event, you are placing yourself in a story with 30-200 other people, and the willingness of our community to go along with people's side plots and footnotes is what I will always love about this game.

Who would you like to see the next interview be with?
My favorite bard, Dano Knobel.

Anything else you'd like to take the opportunity to put into print?
Just that I think everyone should know that underneath Callin's gruff and intimidating exterior, he is secretly extremely cuddly.  I may not have any evidence for this, but I'm pretty sure it's true. [Editor's Note: She is mistaken.]

Monday, January 30, 2012

Question of the Week - 25

What do you think of music playing in the background at events, specifically from a CD Player (as opposed to live music)?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Riddle the Realms

Find all the words. The letters not used will spell the hidden (9 letter) word.
D G A E C N O C G M R G A T P H G D D M Y W M R N 
U O U S E O O O I S R B F Y S I L O R O D H L X E 
M Y O R P V R S S I Z O Y C L U E O A D K I U P V 
D A F W E I T S F Y R S A L U Y N W C G V T N E A 
D F T N T Y S F I C H R I L R C D K O N H E A E H 
U J T K H E I N E C L U U E L T A C N I H C T K R 
E R W I R N E N O E A D S Q R S L O I K V O A S I 
Y N L P D E A L T R N A Y K D K E R A N R A R N A 
I L R O G B T K F E L O S T K I N G D O M S I O F 
S T R O L E E A S S H P D K E E B E M R E T S Y H 
S O U T H E R N W A S T E S T N N L D I M W M L B 
G L G R P T O E N K D A D W H N A O A E I A R E V 
A Q Q M G G A E M Y C L P F O R E B T C H W Q M T 
J T M F A S D E G N I A T S R F A L S S K H D D A 
S U T R H E D F R W E E L D N E E T G N E W N O R 
H A D Y N V W S N C W F J B E O E Y H Y O K O E X 
A T B O R D E R L A N D S B V F D H R K T G L O S 
D H A R N V E F H C V T R L A M E N O E E S A O D 
O F U B S H O S H I O H C A L I I R A L A A I R F 
W A H M T U K I C N I F R C L L H T I R D C L M D 
H S G O W R M T E A Q V F K E B O Z H G B K H E U 
A A N Q I E O W S D X N V A Y E V O R G N R E F P 
W C E M R R O S S W Q Y U V O I L L I N A R E T H 
K H T O Y O A P P A X T H A R K U S T H D R A H S 


__ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __
For the answer...

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Eventholding: Magic - Part 1

Due to the length of this article it will be broken up into two parts.

Eventholders and Magic

One of the most intricate and possibly event derailing aspects of any event is magic. There are a lot of things to cover when it comes to our magic system; there is much that requires the attention from an eventholder. And magic is the thing that makes our game fantasy based instead of just being a combat simulation. While I personally believe combat is the backbone of our game, magic is what makes it special. That being said, let’s take a look at how magic affects an eventholder…

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Beyond Basics-The Art of Casting

Beyond Basics- The Art of Casting
Being a caster is more than going to events and collecting spells.  As with combat there are skills to learn, strategies to be effective, and a responsibility to follow the rules. This is a series of articles by the Magi of the Realms, designed to encourage the effective, creative, and thoughtful use of magic in the Realms. 
So you have HEAL LIMB…
Congratulations!!  Unlimited and consistently needed heal limb is considered by many to be the most useful spell in game.  The person who taught you the spell should have confirmed you have a 20 word verbal, understand you need to be touching the target limb, and know you can’t move your feet while casting.  While that means you have all the information you need to cast the spell, there are lots of other things to consider if you want to use it as effectively as possible.  Because, like with any tool, how useful this spell is depends on how well you use it.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Question of the Week - 24

What monster have you never seen at an event that you wish you could fight?

Friday, January 20, 2012

A Fighting Chance - Just a Myth 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:  Just a Myth
Plot Masters: Dave Key-Wallace, Matt Daviault
Plot Start: 2010

In the infinite possibilities and infinite places, if you could be anything...what would you be?

In an alternate world, a murdered king was laid to rest.  A lost heir was found and the people of Pious City have ventured forth into unknown territory.  Across the savage lands a plot swirls around an evil goddess and her minions that plague their world.  The goddess Zerastryx digs her claws into the world and would destroy the world with fire.  An adventure through a portal has many possibilities.  A great destiny lies at the end of this chapter and all of that makes for a great story...if you take the word of a meddling bard.

The Monsters:
“I had a dream so deep and so real...the memory stays with me when I close my eyes.  A dream so real that the morning light does not chase away my darkest fears.  A dream so terrible I shudder and weep when the sun sets and darkness falls.”  from The Prophesy of the Falling Stars by Samuel e’Derleth, Exile

Monsters plague all the worlds.  Some are very similar to the ones we see often in the Realms.  Bandits (bandit masks) raid supply lines and trade routes from Pious City towards the Savage Lands.  Some seem more organized than others, but they are usually found in large groups.  

Draconic generals of Zerastryx (dragon masks, flame tabards) have been seen leading armies of human cultists or undead.  The generals have special powers depending on their color (green, blue, red, black and white).  There are also rumors that the powers and colors of the generals are mockeries of the gods.

The clans of the Savage Lands are easily distinguished by their attire.  Named after an animal, the clan members personify the attributes of their totem animal. While the Crane clan are graceful in their white cloaks, the Wolf clan is fierce in their fur mantles.  Of the seven clans, many do not get along with each other and will fight openly.

Running through portals into an alternate world?  Sounds like fun!

While the Lands of Myth might seem simliar to the Realms at first glance, there are some strange differences.  The most notable is the people of the world have different abilities than those of the Realms.  While you may be a learned scholar devoted to magic in the Realms, your alternate “twin” might be a holy paladin of Valinaar who can wield larger weapons and cast powerful healing magic.  What you might be able to wield and what your “twin” may might be very different.  Your subconscious might have an inkling to the difference so don’t think twice if you find yourself grabbing for spell components or weapons you can’t normally use. (Realms characters play alternate versions of themselves in the Land of Myth).  Bringing extra armor, weapons, or spell components can’t hurt.

Ready to take on minions of the dragon goddess?

The lawless men who organize themselves into bandit camps use their numbers to their advantage.  Usually there will be one barking orders to their underlings.  Taking out the leader can cause enough confusion for you to get the upper hand against numerous foes.

Just like human bandits, the draconic generals will lead small groups of human cultists.  The cultists are particularly fanatical in their belief.  The generals will usually send their groups to attack specific targets.  Listen for the orders and be ready.  Also keep an eye out for the color of the draconic general.  Each has shown to have different powers that can aid their allies.

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; Quinn of Chimeron, Iawen Penn of Coventry, and Malaki of Folkestone.  Many more people jumped through a portal to save the bard.  Maybe you can find them with a little asking.

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

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Eventholding: Without a Site

How to throw an event without a site
Getting an event site can be hard. But you still want to throw a plot and event. What can you do? Is it even possible to throw an event without an event site? Yes, it is.

The first thing to realize is that you will need the help of other eventholders, or at least their permissions. The basic premise here is you will throw your plot during other eventholder’s events. You will approach other eventholders and ask them if they are willing to allow you to run one of your encounters during their event. Assuming the eventholder allows you, you will then run one encounter at that event.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What You Missed - Rhiassa Presents: Feast of Leviathan XIV

Photo by Casey Lemay - 2012

Photo by Charles Davis - 2012
Photo by Charles Davis - 2012
Photo by Casey Lemay - 2012

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

View From Valehaven Awards 2011

Biggest Adrenaline Rush
1st Place
(3-way tie): Fae Questing, Feast of Blackwood (Dracolich), The War of Shadows
2nd Place: Order of the list (Wild Card Fight)
Honorable Mention: A Single Grain of Sand, Queen of Hearts XVIII (Hurricane)

Best New Tournament
1st Place: Champion's Tournament (Festival of Val'Dara 2)
2nd Place: Rhiassan Blitzball (Tournaments of Artemis)
Honorable Mention: Wild Card Challenge (Order of the List Invitational)

Best New Monster Concept
1st Place (Tie, but one doesn't count): Dracolich (Feast of Blackwood II), Hurricane Irene
2nd Place: Roomba (Rock and Roll)
Honorable Mention: Tree Beard (On the Brink)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Question of the Week - 23

What is the best prop you've seen at an event?

Friday, January 13, 2012

10 Questions - Jason "Malaki" Gray

Jason "Malaki" Gray

Photo by Maria Carr
How long have you been playing?
Since June 1995, so this is year number 17

How has the game changed since you've been playing?
There have been sooooo many changes. Pretty much the only thing that hasn't changed since I have been playing is what we define as our legal hit locations. I have seen a couple spell systems, a change from 3 pt armor to 2 pt, numerous weapon technologies and quite a culture shift.

Who have you learned the most from?
Hands down, you and Jarrod.

What was your best moment IC?
Best moment IC would have to be at the culmination of the Lord of the Rings plot when Baba went West. It was the perfect way to end that characters career.

What was your best moment as a NPC/EH/Player?
The best moment, wasn't actually at the moment it happened. The best thing to ever happen to me in game was when Jarrod gave me Folkestone. Of course, when he did it we were all a little shocked. But it really felt like winning the game to me. It was something that only a couple people in game had ever done, and to be picked by some of my *gasp* rolemodels to carry the torch was a huge honor.

Photo by Robyn C Nielsen

What would you like to see changed or developed more in game?
I am a huge fan of continuity. I really like it when storytellers work together and we have cross pollination with plots. I think we could easily have a handful of events each year where storytellers worked together to promote that.

What advice would you give new players?
Put yourself out there. Don't be afraid to try things. It takes some time to get comfortable in the community, but as long as you put yourself out there and listen to people that have been playing when they give advice, you will fit in very quickly. Don't worry about knowing everything at once. Do your best to take all your shots as best you can. People will be much more forgiving if you die a lot than if you call your shots poorly. I could go on for hours, if you want more advice, catch me in person.

What do you love most about the game?
We really are a community. When I stop and think about it, there are people I see more often then my real life family. I have been going to the same event site (Lone Tree) for more years than most boyscouts ever do. The traditions, friends, and family that I have gained from the game are definitely what I love best. 

Who would you like to see the next interview be with?
I think Robyn Neilsen and Alexander Sokolowski should do a joint interview. It will be epic.

Anything else you'd like to take the opportunity to put into print?
As a one time View Editorial Assistant, thanks for keeping it live Dave!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Eventholding: Feast Events

How to Throw a Feast Event

What is your target audience?
Feast events tend to draw the non-fighters; the role-players and social players. This makes it slightly easier to entertain your event goers; they tend to amuse themselves. However, this does not mean you can sit back and make no effort to entertain your guests. A good feast will still strive to provide the players with enough diversions. That way if they are enjoying your diversions then they will remember the unique entertainment you provided and if it is not to their tastes they will still fall back to entertaining themselves. The key to remember here is that feasts are an opportunity to focus on character interactions.

While feasts are the bastion of the non-fighters that does not mean you can not throw a few tourneys for the fighters as well. As other people have noted in the past, even fighters like to role-play and socialize at times. Give them a chance to hit other people and they will stick around for the social aspects.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Why I Want to Go- The Secret of the Chimera

The Secret of the Chimera: Arisia 2012
January 15, 2012 (Sunday 12pm) - January 15, 2012 (Sunday 6pm)

This series of events has been running at the Arisia Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention in Boston for a few years now. This is an excellent opportunity to promote our game to people outside our community, people with similar interests to us. The event itself appears to deal with pirates, buried treasure and things that want to kill you. It's hard to go wrong with that combination. So, attend to help promote our game or to just have a good time.

Due to room constraints no weapons over 5' or bows are allowed. In addition, you should check out the event write-up for special rules dealing with water environments. Here is a link to the actual convention if you wanted to attend the convention event as well and make a weekend of it.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Why I Want to Go- Rhiassa Presents: Feast of Leviathan XIVI

Rhiassa Presents: Feast of Leviathan XIVI: The Tipping of the Scale
January 14, 2012 (Saturday 12pm) - January 14, 2012 (Saturday 8pm)

Ah, the first event of the new year. This long running tradition is a mainstay of the Realms. Here you can quest during the day and then be fed a variety of good food that night. The quest is part of a long running plot line Rhiassa has been throwing for some time now. If you missed some of the earlier parts, the event write-up has a link to some background information. As for the food it is always well done and there is plenty of it. The event will be full of social activities and interaction and is an excellent venue for bringing the Realms community closer together. This is a solid event for everyone.

As usual there is a dessert contest and this year it is cheesecake, so start cooking! This is also a new site from previous years due to the large numbers of Realms goers that attend this event; they needed the room. I suspect this year will have an even higher attendance than last year so make sure to show up to see and be seen.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Question of the Week - 22

Do you think there is enough "fear of death" at events? or too much?

Friday, January 6, 2012

View From Valehaven Awards

One of the longest running things to come from the View From Valehaven is the annual Awards. Heck, the Awards have been voted on and handed out even when there was no View being published. For me, the Awards are a way for players to express their opinions and a way for event-holders to get a nice pat on the back for their hard work. Sure, some parts are popularity contests and some are results of block voting, but I still believe they are a reflection of the Realms overall. In fact, the more people that vote the truer reflection we will get.

So, get out and vote. The voting is closing tomorrow. Here is a quick link to the Realmsnet website that is hosting the voting. There is an icon in the bottom left of the front page with the VOTE message below it. Click on that to start the voting. After you are done with the first page of voting pressing Onward! will bring you to a second page of voting wherein you can vote for the best photo published on the View From Valehaven website this year.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Eventholding: Quest Events

How to Throw a Quest Event

As expected throwing a Questing event is very different than running a Tourney or Feast event. Here are a few ideas to help in this endeavor.

What is your target audience?
There is a wide range of type of player that goes to a Quest event. Quest events are the one style of event where you get the full gamut of player types .You get the stick jocks looking for a good fight. You get the role-players eager to play their characters to the hilt. You get the thinkers and social types as well. This makes the Questing event one of the most difficult kinds to throw; you have to entertain a wide variety of player.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Blast From the Past - Part 3

Torrin Silverbow (Scott Rodlin)

North-South War

Peregrin (Lackey-Chris Chaney)

North-South War (w/Tardhel!)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Monday, January 2, 2012

Question of the Week - 21

With the annual View From Valehaven Awards being voted on this week (the voting ends this Saturday, the 7th, so make sure you go and get your votes in) I thought I'd throw out a question on the topic...

Which Award means the most to you and why?