Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Grimloch Tribune

The Grimloch Tribune

LEAD STORY – Local Law Locates Lumberjack Liches Lazily Laying by a Lake

In local news undead plaid wearing zombies have been cornered and exterminated by the T.H.U.G.S (Terrors, Horrors, Undead, and Ghoul Squad).

While going on a picnic T.H.U.G.S officer Sir CENSORED (Due to Copyright) noticed the undead jerks lying down on the job. Quickly assessing the situation he decided to call for back up. He used local seer and suspected telepath Dell of Grimloch to get Sir Rohde and Syruss to come assist in the removal of these foul creatures.

Local business owners and T.H.U.G.S agents were busy cleaning up after "Half-off Tuesday" when a vision of Dell appeared beckoning the two to make it to the aforementioned lake: “ Helps us Syruss and Rohodey your our only hope.”

After Rohde and Syruss charged into a battle that was already underway the four Grimloch Soldiers made quick work of the would be undead.

Traveling visitor Bright Oakfellow was happy to hear the undead tree- killing menaces have been taken care of.

LOCAL BUISNESS: Grim Gear Going to be Gearing up for Great Times at Feast

Feast of Creathorne is right around the corner and if your planning on being in attendance please stop by the one stop shop for all your fighting needs.

Do you need a new sword? How about some armor? A shield perhaps? Whatever the need we can assure if we don’t have it WE CAN MAKE IT!

These tried and true (extra light) weapons have been guiding Grimloch to  victory for years (Maybe all the practicing also has something to do with it who knows, I’m not a mind reader, that’s Dell.)    

So how about you even the odds with some of our excellent weaponry.

We are available for custom commissions, and all prices can be negotiated.

Grimloch Soldier Promoted to the Rank of T.H.U.G (S)

Warlord Jaha has seen it fit to reward the valiant efforts of one Dell of Grimloch for his invaluable Foresight and Divinations as well as his valiant behavior in the fight against the undead blight.

Warlord Jaha “Dell's actions at the lake are just the tip of the iceberg of what this Seer brings to our elite undead killing squad. His ability to send messages to other members will be a huge advantage when it comes time to organizing a strike against the undead. Now if only he didn’t have to recharge that ability on the weekends.”

Friday, March 30, 2012

Happenings on the Emerald Path

A news and announcements section of what Realms players are doing outside of the Realms. If you know of any news feel free to let us know at

Outside of  Realms, Matt "Thon" Norris is one of our many photographers. Those of us who have long admired his amazing work may be surprised to know he is self taught. After working professionally since 2006, he opened his first studio on March, 23rd, 2012 in Easthampton, CT. It is currently open by appointment. To view more of Matt's work at learn how to hire him view his website .  If you book a character shoot, be sure to mention you are a Realmsie as he is currently offering members of our community a special rate.



a^ga^thos (-ôi) 1. Adj., noble, distinguished, valiant, brave, skilful, pure-minded, ethically good. referring to the noble, achievement and physical prowess 2. good i. e. “useful” 3. A blog about people working to live a life marked by Agathos.

Though only a few current Realmsies are likely to remember Joe "Tahrdel" Callahan, his spirit remains.  He has been described as "An honorable bard, who could regale a room with a tale, and have perfect strangers laughing at the idiotic moments of life. And yet, who would take the time to embrace the excitement and enthusiasm of a brand new player. Making them feel like they were the be all and end all of their skill set".  He is also know as the person "who inspired Jarrod to want to be a knight". 

Joe currently maintains a blog, the purpose of which he has describe as, "to explore the idea of Agathos, what is “good” in the sense of what is worthy, a fully human life."  It focuses on the spirit of combat and life growth and can be viewed here.

He's the one with the beard!!
The Realms has been missing the presence of one of our favorite bearded mages, Aaron "Rel" Metzger (and his fiance Melissa "Aymise" Morianos) who moved to Pittsburg to do GUI programming for the steel industry.  His work has included regular trips to Berlin, Germany since February of 2011.  Although he is out of the area he remains the Lord of Rua Thar Cinn and has plans to visit New England and his Realms friends in the near future.

Welcome to the world, Elliot Jasper Dragon Bernard.  He is the son of Kym "Sarriette" and Jonathan "Johan" Bernard.  He was born at 2:41am on March 23rd and weighed 8lbs 1 oz.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

10 Questions - Janna "Iawen" Oakfellow-Pushee

Janna "Iawen" Oakfellow-Pushee

Photo by Christine Poulin
How long have you been playing?
This upcoming May will mark a decade of serving and playing in the Realms.  If you only go by event anniversaries, then I started at Feast of Chimeron X, the one where Queen Meg went Under the Hill and Sir Pyr became King Pyr through a contest and was knighted KoEF... oh, and Rel Zhirah snapped a Wayland blade over his knee.  And Lady Cassia served such a grand feast that there was even a sculpture of a naked lady made out of ice.  She had raspberry nipples and a mint bush... right then.  Next question.
How has the game changed since you've been  playing?
I feel sometimes that more and more spell-casters look (unfortunately) for more loopholes.  Not necessarily for cheating/cheesiness, but in an attempt to make their spells more noticeable, more stand-out-ish so that way people can and will remember them for what they claim to be in-game.  This is also the case, I believe, because of our community voting in one-cost buy downs (versus the two it used to be long ago).  It is really hard to tell who is a Healer (who claims the actual path) and who just bought into the path because they didn't like their Necromancy options, for example.

Also, odd as it may seem, but less and less I've seen casters role-play outside their spell-books ("Oh, I'm out of Y, so I'm useless for the event.") and engage generally with NPCs.  I've seen quite a lot of fighters recently taking up the role-playing mantle in more ways than one: better armor, garb, interacting with NPCs and newbies alike, not even going for the 'fighter DI', being courteous on and off the field about what they do and in teaching/marshaling, etc.  Granted, lots of casters don't enjoy tournament events (I'm one of them), but fighters just don't shine in tournies only: they're really making a mark in our community as of late (and a good one, in my opinion).

...that could also mean that we're in the middle of an upswing of martial over magic once more.  Just like any trend in the Realms, it sways back and forth over the years.

From an OOC stand-point, I feel that people are generally more open to the idea of communication: asking about sites, prop borrowing (or how to make things, etc)., asking for NPCs, working with other EHs to build plot continuity, and the biggest one about resolving issues with other players or EHs.  Open communication doth rock.   There are still the occasional people who constantly complain about everything, but refuse to help fix their situation or work with other players or EHs to make their situation better (or at least come to a neutral agreement).  Thankfully, these people are still in the minority and, again in my opinion, are on the decline.  That says something about us as a community, I think.  It's great that we can just seek each other out and talk.

Who have you learned the most from?
Kathy Fey, who plays Sir Mahkta McKrye.  If you mean in the more latter years of this decade, I'd have to say Sean Veale (Sir Wil McKrye) for keeping one's cool in the midst of Stupid Happening; Jason Gray (Sir Malaki), Leanne Hoffman (Magus Faelinn), and Ian Pushee (Sir Bright Oakfellow) on how to better handle magic and magic marshaling (in general and requests); Jacob Valeri  (Sir Gideon) and Jeremy Sullivan (Laurante) for weapons construction and prop building.
What was your best moment IC?
In an older View from Valehaven, I covered Bouquet... so again I think I'll go into this thinking about the latter half of the decade.  There are lots of moments that stand out: not so much as 'the best' but pretty awesome... Wait, here was one.  Going into an event called The Court of Miracles.  Think it was March 2011... anyway, we apparently for the Courage trial had to stand and face our worse fear(s).  Iawen Penn, having recently come out of torture from another PC's actions, was scared witless over... birds.  So, of course, they had one guy back there for me, dressed very colorfully in feathers head to toe, with a bird mask.  I screamed my damn head off and cried for help and used my blow-gun once (missed wildly) and threw my buckler at it and tried to use chairs, and got murdered by a damn big bird.  You had to face this fear by yourself.  Apparently it freaked out the whole site, because the acoustics in Riley Commons were awesome at the time.  That one was done by... Victoria Zukas, I think.  That's a PC named Valarie Hart.

Second best moment was a summer event thrown by Randy Gordon, where Iawen completed the quest to gain a True Name and thus The Gray Man didn't come down and take her away for not being a real person.  It was an all-female quest (including Cecil)... there were tears on that quest, too... ask her about sometime in-game.

Third was the first Just a Myth and pairing off with Sir/Lord Airavarri and discovering Minerva was actually real... yeah, I'm prattling.  Anyway.
What was your best moment as a NPC/EH/Player?
Latter half, latter half...  Anytime I get asked to play Dalindonna I'm more than flattered and do my best to make that role believable.  I've kissed people, worn armor and swung mighty weapons, cried tears, called souls, made knights, cracked necks, cursed like a sailor, and even eaten a boiled pig's heart, all in the name of the Light.  Turns out that hearts covered in lint aren't *that* tasty.  Note to future self: always ask if there is a 'stunt' heart available.

My brain is blanking on more moments, but I'm sure if anyone asks me again in a month or so I could come up with something!  ^_^;;;

Photo by Casey Lemay

What would you like to see changed or developed more in game?
That... actually changes pretty monthly for me.  Right now, in March, I'd like to say that for all those people who are out there going "OMF the changes to the Omnibus are bullshit!", I'd invite them to either throw their own event (or if they don't care about legality) or small quest and play-test the thing they think was so great (or wasn't) with their buddies, and start gathering data on it.  Or, if they're not the kind to throw stuff, maybe convince one of their Event Holding buddies to play-test it for them at an event they'll be at.  This way, they can see what works on paper and what actually works in the LARP system we have now.  I say this because, up until recently, I was a huge fan of blow-guns and other 'guns'/weapons in general who use NERF darts.  After actually having them be used by both sides en masse at Rock & Roll this past November, I feel they have no place in our game and just don't work (people don't feel the hits or just 'don't notice' seven times out of ten, and thus won't take the shot).

...on the other hand, a hall-way with those PVC blowguns where PCs had to run Indiana Jones style through the gauntlet to not get poisoned...  hmm... (feel free to steal that idea) 

What advice would you give new players?
You will hear stories, both in and out of game.  All kinds of stories.  The ones that get you excited and happy, and the ones that make you feel sad, and the ones that might even color how you (or your character) feels about a certain other NPC, character, nation, or group.

But if you ever hear someone sigh and wish for 'the good old days', stop.  Don't listen.  Don't listen to one thing more.  Because every day in the Realms ARE 'The Good Old Days'.  This is your chance: to live in new stories, to survive events intact, to learn about why the spell system is supposedly broken, to get possessed or stuck in a contract, to win the flower for the fair maiden (who turns out sometimes to be a dude), to learn why the weapons arms race is important, why art in all forms is beautiful, why you should respect your lords and why sometimes the Big Bad Guy Reveal can still be earth-shattering!

There will be time to shed your innocence, your wonder, your illusions, but don't do it through someone else's stories.  Shed them through your own.  And if you manage to never shed these things, tell me how I can get mine back. :) 

What do you love most about the game?
Serving the community.  I like to serve, mostly because my dad taught me so.  I never consider a task too trivial at an event, too 'beneath me'.  You need the reg desk run all day and night?  Sure.  You need a goblin to go out and get killed 40 times for your ritual?  Done.  You need someone to do make-up, to sort bins, to haul stuff from place to place?  Can do.   You need someone to go and talk to that PC because they're having a sad/bad day?  I'll do my very best.

Because the community gave me so much and still continues to give, I love giving back, serving in whatever capacity the day has in store.  I might be around a little less than before now (what with the newest Realmsie entering our family), but I shan't forget the ten years I've been here, and look forward to another ten or so more. :) 

Who would you like to see the next interview be with?
Let's start doing the "young-ins": Richard Pavis, who plays Quinn of Gryffindor, Chimeron [his interview can be read here].  He's the Herald for Cecil, squired to the Knights of the Crown, went through the Apprenticeship of the Magi of the Realms, and is throwing his first event this year in the summer.
If we're sticking to 'oldbies', then Ian Pushee (Bright) [his interview can be read here], because that guy rarely ever interviews.  ;-)  Second would be Cheech or Jason Gray [his interview can be read here] (who out-rank me in xp forever).
If you mean someone from my generation (or there-abouts), do Josh Learned (Sir Shandar) or Leanne Hoffman (Magus Faelinn). 

Anything else you'd like to take the opportunity to put into print?
Never stop being creative, even if someone says 'that's stupid'.  Some of the best ideas in Realms have come from late night/dawn o'clock 'stupidity'.  :)

Also, if you get the chance, role-play at least once until dawn o'clock.  Or blue o'clock.  Or birdie o'clock?  Forget what the term is nowadays!

Keep on smiling! /big ol' hug for Realmsies :)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Huntress Guild Crafting Day

As you can see the crew that turned out for the Huntress Guild Crafting Day accomplished a lot!! Using materials purchased with the funds raised via the Sweets for Swords bake sale that occured at the KoEF Tournament, the large diverse group who turned out made swords, arrows, marns, armor and more which will be used at future Huntress practices.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Beyond the 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 need to write a verbal…

Whether this has you quivering with anticipation ready to wax poetic or shuddering in terror contemplating the question of, “is 'one, two, three, four,…' acceptable?” there are pointers that can help.

The first thing to do is to stop for a moment and think.  Think about what spell the verbal is for and how and when you’ll need to use it.  Think about who you are, where you get your magic from, and what is appropriate for you.  Consider your capacity for remembering and what mnemonic tips might help.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Question of the Week - 33

What amenities do you think are essential for weekend events (such things as bathrooms, a tavern, cabins, kitchen, etc)?

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Grimloch Tribune

LEAD STORY – Undead lumber Lumberjacks Act Like "Lumber-Jerks"
In local news undead plaid wearing zombies have been chopping down trees containing many residents of Grimloch's  homes.
Now as you may or may not have known, Grimloch is so overly infested with undead that it is unsafe to sleep and live on the ground.  Grimloch has constructed a series of houses in trees, “Tree Houses” if you will,  so that they can sleep safely throughout the night. Zombies and most common undead lack the motor skill and coordination to effectively climb, at least not without making a ton of racket, in which case it is a simple matter of pushing them down and watching the "necromantic nincompoops" fall to the ground.

Seems like a flawless plan right, well it WAS until some smart-aleck necromancer started reanimating  lumberjacks to chop down trees.
Now these "corpse crazy carbon footprint fiends" are making a sheer mess of things.
Warlord Jaha has issued an APB on any citizen wearing flannel along with wielding an axe within Grimloch lands.

T.H.U.G.S (Terrors, Horrors, Undead, and Ghoul Squad) is said to be putting a stop to this menace "at their roots."

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Fresh Faces - Katie "Effa" Smith

Katie "Effa" Smith

Photo by Josh Learned
How did you learn about Realms?
I used to be in a LARP that had been founded by a former Realmsie. After hearing all of his tales of his adventures in the Realms, I decided to check it out. After my former LARP’s world ended, I crossed over to The Realms.

How many events have you been to?
I’m not entirely sure. My first event was Green and Gold 2011 (I’m a super-newbie) but I didn’t start going to events with any frequency until Queen of Hearts.

Have you ever LARP’ed before?  If so tell us about it?
Yep. My former LARP was very roleplay-heavy, but the combat system was pretty close to that of the Realms. It was much smaller- a large event for us had about 20 people. The first time I saw an actual line battle in the Realms I was rather overwhelmed- there were so many people on the field!

What is your character like?  Where are they from? What is their race? What is important to them?
Effa- or Aoife- MacTyr is a stranger in the lands of the Realms. Her people hail from across the sea, where the Clan MacTyr runs a less-than-reputable merchant company. She opted out of the family business after her brother ended up dead, and set sail for the Realms with her cousin Etain to find a place to start again. She’s mostly human- her many-time-great grandmother was a half-orc- the only parts of Effa’s heredity that makes itself known are the small tusks that she files down in order to appear human, and a penchant for battle.  Effa values her new-found ability to make her own way, and has been working toward improving herself on the field of battle, which is where she feels the most free.

What do you remember most about your first event?
It was Green and Gold, and I remember being so in awe of all the people. The green team was thoroughly trounced, but it was such a rush to be part of a proper shield wall, and a pike line. I was equipped thanks entirely to the kindness of strangers, since I came to the event on a whim and really had nothing to my name, but some kind souls provided me some arms and armor. That event was also the first huntress guild practice, and the ladies there really made my first event enjoyable.

Photo by Dustin Mack

What things have helped to make you feel welcome in game?
The aforementioned kindness of strangers certainly helped. I’ll be forever grateful to the people that made my first event a good one. I’ve recently started following the goings-on in the more plot-driven events, and being able to participate in those types of things is pretty freaking awesome. Outside of events the folks at Nottingham fight practice- all of  whom have gone out of their way to teach me to be a better fighter.

What parts of the game do you find most challenging? 
My first few events I spent a fair amount of time being dead since no one knew me. So being a faceless fighter was a challenge to overcome in the beginning. After hitting a few tournaments and introducing myself to everyone and their mother, I’ve found that it is no longer an issue.

Do you have any game related goals (as either a player or character)?
As a player I want to get more involved with some of the nifty plots that are going on, and as a character I want to improve my fighting ability. I'm working towards both, by hitting lots of fight practices, and badgering important people until they tell me things. 

What advice would you give other new players?
Go to fight practices. NPC. Try and make friends with as many people as humanly possible. Don’t immediately join up with the first nation you meet. Don’t get discouraged when people don’t raise you right away, and conversely, don’t get discouraged when you die a lot. Keep the faith my newbie brethren!

What have you enjoyed most about the game so far?
I love the camaraderie, the ability to be whosoever or whatever you can imagine, and also the hitting people. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What You Missed - Wooden Beams and Human Dreams

Angela Gray- 2012

Angela Gray- 2012
Angela Gray 2012
Angela Gray- 2012

Blast From the Past - Part 5

Today we take a look at the Rrathchllwyn Notes from 1992.  This is a fascinating look back at our early days. I find it interesting that event prices have not really gone up much in the past 20 years. I also found it intriguing that they still required qualifications with weapon types at this time. However, of particular interest is Page 10, which announces the birth of one of our current players! You should be able to click on a page for a closer look.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Why I Want to Go- Just A Myth 3

Just a Myth 3: Romancing the Stone
March 24, 2012 (Saturday 12pm) - March 24, 2012 (Saturday 8pm)

If you've been following the Just a Myth plotline you'll want to make sure you hit this event, or even if you've never been to one of these events before, you'll want to go if you want to have a good time. Following our theme lately in the Realms, this event will bring you through a portal to another Realm, with its own rules. In fact, if you are looking for more information on the plotline you can check out the A Fighting Chance article by Leanne "Faelinn" Hoffman on the topic here.

If you have never participated in this plotline before you'll want to make note of this in your registration as there are some unusual character constraints (and freedoms) involved in participating in this event. Also, be aware that there is a 30 player cap, so make sure to check out the event writeup on to make sure there is still a spot left...and if there isn't, I'm sure they would love to have a few extra NPCs. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Question of the Week - 32

What do you think of capped events (events that limit the number of players that can attend)?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Happenings on the Emerald Path

This is the start of a news and announcements section of what Realms players are doing outside of the Realms.

Congratulations!!Eric “Ged” Willisson is putting his WPI education to good use with an exciting new opportunity as a Software Engineer for the Google Flight Search team. He'll be working with ITA Software (the company that google just acquired that makes the databases for companies like Orbitz and Priceline). Eric just finished his two week orientation in CA last week and began work in Cambridge on 3/12.

Andrew "Lysis" Adams, has been chosen to represent North America at a theme park in Japan. He is one of 7 pipers and drummers performing at the Huis Ten Bosch park in Nagasaki. He is performing 4-5 shows a day from March 3-June 10. The park is a Dutch Village theme park.

Alex "Baby Drow" Sargent's studies have taken her to Rwanda, where she is studying Post-Genocide Restoration and Peace-building in the capital city of Kigali with 23 other students. The program includes excursions to Genocide memorials and local NGOs, as well as site visits with Millennium Village projects and even learning the art of weaving traditional peace baskets with local women. She is also living with a Rwandan family and learning to speak kinyarwanda- a language spoken in only one country in the whole world!. You can keep up with her on her adventure by checking out her blog, The Afreekan Diet, here.

When not roleplaying in the Realms, Dano "Piper" Knobel plays different roles on stage. He most recently was in Columbinus. A play by the United States Theatre Project written by Stephen Karam and PJ Paparelli and presented by the UMASS Lowell Off-Broadway Players. The play included the actual 911 call and dialogue from the events and aftermath of the 1999 Columbine High shooting, and, according to viewers, "did it justice."

Bethany “Freesia” Tozier is gearing up for her 4th year of participated in the full contact sport of Roller Derby. She is currently skating for NHRD. Known as “Irate Prirate” she is a member of The Skate Free or Die! All Stars and is the Jam Coach for the Granite Skate Troopers. Click on the links above to learn the schedule and make it to one of her games to see this exciting sport live and show her your support.

Welcome to the world- Sian (pronounced Shawn) Rodolph McCarthy, son of Michael "Myrrdin" McCarthy and Michelle "Tiara Moonstone" McCarthy. He was born 3-9-12 at 9:18pm 19.5 inches and 7 lbs. Both mother and baby are doing well.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Not Forgotten

Former Realmsie Jason "Rancor" Massey passed away on March 11, 2012. Although he hadn't been an active player in a few years, focusing on his family, education, and career, he still tried to occasionally stop in at events (most recently NPC'ing at Folkestone Questing 2010) to keep in touch with friends from the game

His obituary can be viewed on line and includes some beautiful pictures as well as information on how make a contribution to his family in his memory. In addition the Knights of the Blue Rose plan to collect donations at their upcoming Tournament.

10 Questions - Tim "James Swift" Suitor

Tim "James Swift" Suitor

Photo by Casey Lemay
How long have you been playing?
I'll be getting my fifth Tourneys of Creathorne bracelet this year, so I've been in almost five.

How has the game changed since you've been playing?
The game has been few a couple rules changes, some new spells, some nerfs, a fair bit of stuff, but it's still the same game.

Who have you learned the most from?
I've learned a lot from a lot of people.  Grimloch taught me a time or two to behave myself.  And I'm glad, I really am.  Travis Wilcox taught me a lot too, he taught me to 'try it', to experiment and see what happens.  And Janna Oakfellow-Pushee, she taught me to be loud, among a million other things.  (Believe it or not, once I was timid!)

What was your best moment IC?
We were in hell, sieging Lucius's castle.  I am more than well aware Abjury is next to useless in most situations, even more so against the big boss.  As a three path I couldn't really get in there two well, so I was settling on scalping the wall with my Holy Mace when he showed up.  The big demon himself.  What the hey, why not.  So I bellow out an Enfeeble Being him, ending in a nice loud 'SUCK IT!', and of course he just looks at me and Resists Magic.  The marshal next to me however told me the spell reflected, so I popped my Resist magic.  Then I heard him start off with "I banish you to...".  I had to recast my Resist Magic fast, and it just got up when he finished his spell, and it bounced right off me.  So, I started shouting my last Enfeeble.  I like to think he was walking away because I out Abjured him.

Photo by Douglas Fisher

What was your best moment as a NPC/EH/Player?
Feast of Blackwood this past year.  It was the most fun I've had in AGES.  But there was one moment when a wraith like creature scalped me, and it was supposed to really mess you up, it hurt your character's soul because it tried to enter you.  The marshal was explaining to me that it feels like I've been scalped ten times.  Another marshal came by and said "Wait, that's James Swift!  He actually roleplays his soul and scalping.  Swift, it feels worse than thirty times."  Yes it hurt, but it was nice to see marshals will play along if you have a schtick sometimes.

What would you like to see changed or developed more in game?
Honestly, I would like to see something done with Abjury.  Either buff it or drop it.  It has some great flavorful spells, but so many NPCs aren't even briefed on what to do, or marshals just say no, that it's next to worthless.  That, and Roleplay, we are a LARP gosh darnit!  Roleplay more people!

What advice would you give new players?
Meet people, introduce yourself, find out what's going on. Get involved in a plot, plots are a lot of fun and give your character more depth and things to do.  Other advice, get spells, Magic rules.

What do you love most about the game?
The people and the chance to really connect.  It may be a game, but feeling like you can trust someone and they have your back is a great way to bond with someone.

Who would you like to see the next interview be with?
My pal Roland, or Travis/Janna

Anything else you'd like to take the opportunity to put into print?
Oh boy, is there ever.  But I've been scalped 23 times in my 4 active years.  I'm not going to admit to anything in print ;-)

[For the ladies, we have an extra photo today.]

Photo by Dustin Mack

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What You Missed - Feast of Winter's Twilight II

Photo by Angela Gray - 2012

Photo by Douglas Fisher - 2012

Photo by Douglas Fisher - 2012
Photo by Douglas Fisher - 2012

What You Missed - Twilight's Dawn S.o.S.

Photo by Casey Lemay - 2012

Photo by Douglas Fisher - 2012

Photo by Angela Gray - 2012

Photo by Dustin Mack - 2012

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Why I Fight – My Advice to Female Fighters by Alysha "Kyntela" Metcalf

Today we have an excellent article sent in by Alysha on the topic of female fighters in the Realms. Give it a good read and you'll likely learn something. Also of interest is the fact that this Saturday at WPI in Worchester is the Huntress Guild Crafting Day where the goal is to make some weapons for their practices and participants. So come to help out, learn to make some weapons and shields, or just to socialize.

Why I Fight – My Advice to Female Fighters

My Realms career began at UConn fight practice in fall 2006. I arrived at college already having located the Society for the Medieval Arts and Combat on the University of Connecticut Student Activities website. It was the “medieval” part of that club name that grabbed my attention, but it was the combat that kept me coming back every week. The idea that I could hit people with a big stick and not get in trouble was immensely appealing.

When I learned more about the Realms, I faced the same decision we have all made at one point: fighter or caster? For me, the choice was easy. I liked the idea that I could use any weapon I wanted, and that I could have two points of armor. To be honest, I was also intimidated by the idea of learning spells. I didn't believe (and still don't believe to this day) that I could remember how many Raises I had left, or what spells I had in which slot.

Ever since I first made that decision, I have remained a fighter. I love fighting, but I'll admit that I wasn't very serious about it in the beginning. I fought at practices and the sporadic events that I attended. I only signed up for single short and hand and a half tournaments. I had no idea how to call my armor.

Then something changed. I started practicing more, and harder, with the goal of improving and learning new styles. I became more competitive at events and tournaments. At first I just wanted to win, but this feeling evolved into the desire to promote not only myself, but women in general, in the realm of combat. Female fighters seemed to be a minority, and I wanted to change that.

The struggle of female fighters is two-fold; like any fighter, you need to work hard to be good at what you do, but you also need to work hard to be taken seriously as a fighter. A man who chooses to be a fighter is more readily accepted into the fighter culture than a woman is. I think the fact that women are not expected to be fighters has been a big part of what has motivated me to keep fighting.

I have attempted to compile some advice for any woman who is, or is thinking of, following the female fighter path. What I have encountered may not hold true for everyone, but I have applied my experiences to a few points that I hope will resonate with the other women out there. I'm not perfect; I'll be the first to admit it. There is a lot of advice here that I myself need to follow more diligently. But I will be happy if at least one woman can take something away from what I've written here.

ñ     Practice.

The only way to get better at fighting is to practice. Improving your combat skills requires time and effort. You will not magically become an expert fighter over night. The top tier fighters you see at events and practices became that good because they have spent countless hours honing their crafts. There are several practices around New England: WPI on Monday nights, Nottingham on Tuesday nights, UConn on Wednesday nights. These are all excellent opportunities to work on a variety of drills and work with a diverse group of fighters. If you can't make it to any of the major practices, grab a friend and spar in your yard or driveway. Seek out chances to practice at events, whether it's sparring off to the side at a tournament event, or lining up against an NPC on a quest. NPCing also provides a great opportunity to practice.

ñ     Step outside your comfort zone.

Being a good fighter means being a well-rounded fighter.  The key is to be open to learning new styles (even if you think there's no way you can overcome the awkwardness of fighting florentine). I spent almost three years fighting with a hand and a half. I became comfortable, and was afraid to try something new and potentially fail at it. I finally forced myself to put the effort into learning to fight sword and marne. Fighting with a combination taught me a host of new skills, encouraged me to be a more offensive fighter, and even helped improve my hand and a half style. Being competent with multiple styles can only benefit you. A situation might arise on a line, or in a castle, where the team needs another fighter to pick up a pike, or join the shield wall. That ability to adapt successfully to changing combat scenarios and switch weapon styles to suit the situation gives you a huge advantage and makes you an asset to any team.

Even the best fighters have aspects of their craft they need to improve. You should never feel bad or embarrassed if you lack skills in a certain area. Be aware of what you need to improve, and work on it. When it comes to fighting, there is always something new you can learn.

ñ     Participate in tournaments.

Think of tournaments as just another opportunity to practice. Sign up for every tournament you are eligible for. Not confident in your sword and shield fighting? Me neither. Sign up anyway and use the opportunity to learn something new. I also understand how difficult it can be to overcome that fear of fighting in front of a crowd of people. Do your best to forget the spectators. The only people who matter are yourself and your opponent. Everything else is just a distraction.

There is also a lack of female participation in many combat tournaments. An important step toward being taken more seriously is to increase the female presence on the tourney field. This goes along with stepping outside of your comfort zone. Even if you don't advance through the first round of a tournament, just the fact that you put yourself out there should boost your confidence. Other women will see you and feel encouraged to sign up for more tournaments as well.

ñ     Men will underestimate you. Use that to your advantage.

While this may not be a universal truth, it is something that you will face in one form or another during the course of your fighting career. Men will use their brute force to try and overpower you. Learn to adapt your fighting style to your strengths. You may not have the same arm strength as a male fighter or be able to fight the same way, but you can learn to work with your own body to create a fighting style that works with your natural strengths.

 If you step into the tourney ring against a male competitor, he might be thinking to himself that he has an easy win. Let that motivate you. Defeating an opponent who underestimated you is deeply satisfying. Even if you lose the fight, you can show that you aren't afraid to compete. If you're at practice, make it a point to line up against that guy who seems to keep beating you. Learn his style, and learn what you can do to beat him.

ñ     Don't be intimidated.

Easier said than done, right? We've all been in that situation. You get called for a tournament. So does Rohde, or Jaha, or Shandar, or any one of those people that causes that gut-dropping feeling of dread. You feel like the pressure is on; everyone is watching and you know you're going to lose. Never go into a fight with that defeated mindset. Even if you are facing a more skilled opponent, that negative attitude will defeat you before you even take a swing.

In general, female fighters are not as naturally aggressive as male fighters. Forcing yourself to be aggressive is possibly one of the most difficult aspects of fighting you will have to learn. Aggression is certainly one of my main obstacles. It takes a lot of practice and pushing yourself to move your feet, to commit to closing on your opponent, to learn to double-tap. If you are woman who is naturally aggressive, learn to focus that energy into controlled and effective combat.

ñ     Ask for help.

If you see someone at a fight practice or at an event and think to yourself “you know, I would really love to learn a few tips from that person,” don't be afraid to approach them and ask if they could take some time to practice with you. Most fighters in the game would be happy to help you. Female fighters especially will open to sharing their knowledge with you. Although approaching someone can be scary, I promise you won't regret the decision. Working with different people is extremely valuable. You will gain different perspectives and learn a variety of techniques that you can take and apply to your own fighting style. You will also find that you have an easier time training with some people rather than others, whether it's their teaching style that works for you, or your styles mesh in an effective way. Even just discussing combat with other fighters can open you up to new ideas or ways of approaching fighting that you may not have thought of.

ñ     Don't give up.

There will be times where you will get discouraged. Every fighter has moments of self-doubt, and questions if all the hard work is really worth it. Understand that becoming a good fighter is an arduous process that requires time, dedication, and a genuine will to learn. If you truly want to improve and want to compete at the level with the best fighters in the game, then you need to put a lot of energy into    the process. In those moments where you feel ready to give up, remember that every amazing fighter had to start from scratch. If you are struggling to decide if you really want to continue down the fighter path, think that your hard work and presence on the battlefield could be an inspiration to another woman out there.

ñ     Remember: the goal isn't to be a good female fighter; the goal is to be a good fighter.

Being a good female fighter is only half the battle. If you only compete against other women, you can't truly integrate yourself into the Realms fighter culture. There is no doubt that I have experienced fierce competition within the One-Woman Tournament, and I am proud to compete against my fellow female fighters. But I know that if I want to be one of the best, I need to compete against the best, and that includes men. Putting yourself up against male competitors can be intimidating, certainly, but the more you do it, and the more you practice, the more confident you will become that you can compete against anyone.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Question of the Week - 31

"Which proposal were you happiest to see passed?"

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Grimloch Tribune

Grimloch reported in January that two of the country's most heinous murderers apparently fell in love with each other behind the locked doors of their psychiatric institution and following a 26-day  "courtship" through letters, have decided to marry. Mr. Isakin Jonsson ("the Grimloch Cannibal") was convicted of killing, decapitating and eating his girlfriend and various other townsfolk, Mr. Jonsson was certain that he turned into a zombie despite being told other wise, and Michelle Gustafson ("the Vampire Woman") was convicted of killing a father of four, drinking his blood, then raising him as her undead minon. The love-struck Jonsson said (truthfully), "I have never met anyone like (Michelle)."

Randolph, District attorney for Grimloch, commented that the pair will almost certainly remain locked up forever; though Gustafsson wrote that she hopes they will be released to live together and "own pets and pursue our hobbies: knick knack collecting and scrapbooking."

Non-Humans' Human Rights:
Elena Zakharova of Compton, Grimloch became the most recent litigant to challenge a state law that regards Undead Soldiers as "illegal property" (and that  the owner of an injured or disfigured Soldier during a T.H.U.G.S raid is entitled to no more consideration than for a defective appliance).

She sued a local tavern “Rohde and Syruss’s Hump House and Bar” that had sold her a “life challenged friend” with allegedly bum knees and hips, claiming that Undead Soldiers were living creatures that feel love and pain and deserve to be treated better.  She asserted that they have souls and should be compensated for their pain and suffering. The case is pending.

In February, a local judge in Grimloch  heard arguments from People for the Ethical Treatment of Spells as well as from T.H.U.G.S agent (Terrors, Horrors, Undead, and Ghouls Squad) Sir Rhode, who had this to say:

“It’s a spell dammit; spells don’t have rights. No one has ever complained about abusing an Armored Cloak or said is was mistreatment when a Create Magic Weapon was left lying around by a Blacksmith.”  

A Un-BEARable Situation.
Westwood citizens are begging for help as their neighborhoods are currently being tormented by a rabid bear…WITH A KNIFE!!!!!!
Locals report that the "Badass Boo-Boo" has been bullying bystanders with a barrage of bites and stabs. Several locals have been reported slain due to the honey eating hit man.

Local Grimloch soldier Biggs responded to the crises two weeks ago.  Since then Grimloch has lost all communication with the town and no one has seen or heard from Biggs since.

A reporter caught up to Grimloch muscleman XT and asked if he had any plans on taking out the "Berenstein Bear Brawler". He had this to say:
“Fu@#k that man it’s a FU@#ING BEAR WITH A KNIFE, the most dangerous thing alive.”

The hibernating horror still remains at large.

Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday come to Grimloch to see the Battle of the Bayou.
Are you a fan of Grimloch-Greco wrestling? Well the masterminds that brought you that grappling grudging greatness is stepping it up a notch with full on cage fighting.

That's right for months now Warlord Jaha has been training Syruss (that’s me!) to fight his greatest challenge yet, Rhateeki, a 250 LB nightmare from Pota.

This bout is scheduled to go for five 3 minute rounds.

I caught up to our captivating competitor to get his insights on the match:

Investigative reporter Syruss: “Syruss your predictions for the fight?”
Syruss: “My prediction are simple I’m looking for a knock out in the third, if not a submission much much sooner. However the goal is to knock him out and give the crowd a show."

Investigative reporter Syruss:  “What is you game plan going into the match?”

Syruss : “The plan Jaha and I came up with is simple. Wear him down and use the fact that he is big and slow to hit him more times than he can swing. We want to keep it standing, unless he gives me an opportunity to take his back. Basically go right to work and no monkeying around.”

DELLS DAILY HOROSCOPE, a reading for upcoming Birthdays by Grimloch’s favorite Seer.

Aries (March 21 - April 19)
Too many details about where, who and why will be crowding your brain today, making it difficult to relax and just have a good time. Before things get too noisy inside your head, quiet the ruckus by distracting yourself. Spend some time with people you love to laugh with, and take plenty of time today to talk about lighthearted matters. Forget about things you have no control over -- by obsessing about things, you are sacrificing your strength.

Taurus (April 20 - May 20)
One of the many good things about having so many people in your life right now is that you always have tons of feedback available at your fingertips. So why aren't you taking advantage of this abundance of honesty? Reaching out for the opinions of others isn't a sign that you don't know what to do -- it's proof that you value what the people in your life think. Integrating their ideas and listening without criticism is something they'll really appreciate.

Gemini (May 21 - June 21)
 It seems as though the more things change, the more they stay the same! After a big shakeup in your work or school life (and a high level of accompanying anxiety), today you'll discover that you had nothing to worry about. Either your flexibility skills are at an all-time high, or the changes you expected weren't so drastic. Either way, you can breathe a great big sigh of relief today. This new way of doing things is just as good as the old way -- if not better.

Well that’s it for this edition; I am investigative reporter Syruss signing off saying “Stay Classy Realms.”