Thursday, October 31, 2013

Funny Pictures

In this series, we're posting some unique pictures of us as we play in the Realms. The challenge we present to you is to provide us with funny captions for the pictures in the comments section. Try to keep 'em relatively clean and fun. (Photo by Dustin Mack)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A First Time EH Reflects by Carol "Charwindle" Eddy

Me, by myself.  9:30 in the morning, unpacking boxes in the park.  A curious jogger, the only person in site, shoots me a look as he trots by.  Inside my head: I am so terrified.  I am so terrified.

An hour and a half before The Silver Eye is scheduled to begin, and I stand there wondering how the hell I let myself get talked into this.

It's not my fault, you see.  These terrifying jitters, this first-time Event Holder crisis.  It isn't.  It's Ranger's fault, who shot back at me guesses of what the players would do, ways they might 'break' the crazy plot ideas I was just spinning out into the air.  It's Aeston's fault, all those times we crossed paths at practice or behind the scenes at this or that event and he casually mentions (to the other Rhiassans, of course, I'm just close enough to hear... … …. ) that it's time for new stories to be told.

It's Jess's fault, all those times riding to and from fight practice – each and every week, without fail – when I talk about this or that idea and she gets so terribly excited by the possibilities.  It's Sheri's fault, when she lays out another incredible impeccable Realms-commissioned costume and I stare at it with my heart in my throat.  It's Panther's fault, telling stories of events long gone by as the leftovers hang out after SMAC at the local pizza joint.  It's the fault of every attendee at practice who comes in chatting about the occurrences at the Event the weekend before.

I blame you.  I blame all of you.

I blame you, and I bless you – and I write to remind you, all you old hands who have done this half a dozen times before, of how terrifying that first time was.  And I write to tell you, all you new folks who have heard the “I could do that...” whisper in your minds and have stomped it out, because all you have is a whisper and an idea -  that a whisper is all that's required.

For here I am, morning in the park, with the sun climbing, and I'm terrified because – what if no one comes?

Ranger shows up first.  (That's fitting.)  Then Jess, the enabler, my magic marshal who's never even shadowed a magic marshal before and has little notes in case she can't keep straight what the different Seer spells do.  We all begin somewhere – and I realize how much trust I'm putting in her, and how much responsibility.   That's the moment I realize how much I've grown.  And how far there still is to go.  Deep breath, and leap of faith.

Sheri's with Jess, and I show her how I've bagged and labeled all the costumes for efficient swapping.  (Pro tip to new Event Holders: 2 gallon ziploc bags, tagged with painter's tape and labeled with a black sharpie.  Get yourself a quartermaster on staff, and then you can just send the NPCs over to her in ones and twos with the name of what they'll be changing into.  Costuming went through flawlessly and this was why!)

We're just moving things down the path when the first car full of NPCs show up.  Friends all, fellow fighters from Uconn SMAC.  Seconds later the second carful pulls up, and I wonder how it is that I'm so lucky – more than an hour before the event, I have more than 10 NPCs on site.  All of them know the combat system inside out... I know them all from fight practice, after all.  Sure, a few of them are first time NPCs.  First time event-goers, even.  And just like that, I'm proud of all of them for coming.  Proud of myself, for throwing the event they went to first.

And a little less nervous.  (A little.)

I handed out little NPC cards – index cards with name and stats on one side, a short paragraph about 'who' this person or faction is on the other.  (Pro tip #2: I cannot tell you how many times this saved my bacon at the event.  I could pull an NPC off the line, say “go find Sheri and become a sapling,” or, “you three switch to katta”, and that was all the instruction I needed to give.)

My brain tells me: this thing is happening.  It's actually happening.

Yeah, I'm still terrified.

I wasn't worried about my story.  The story started a year ago, back when it was “just” a story, back when it was a ridiculous idea that I'd even be doing this.  I didn't worry about how practical or impractical it would be to make all those costumes, or how in the world I planned on pulling the costume changes off, or kept the PCs going in a linear direction... it was a big site!... or any of the later issues that would haunt me the weeks leading up to TSE.  I didn't worry because the event was never going to happen.  I didn't have the infrastructure, the gumption, the sheer know-how.  I'm a person of plans, of rules, of guidelines and absolutes.  There had to be a million things that went into throwing an event – where was my check list that I can go down so that I know I'm ready?  Such a thing does not exist, and there was no way – NO way – I would ever actually turn this story into anything more than a story.

(The story was the easy part; I fancy myself something of a writer, and stories are like breathing.  They're alive, they move, they write themselves.)

Then the local fabric place had a deal on cat-print fabric and... once I had put money into it, there was no going back.

I started making costumes some 3 months before.  Me, a $5 sewing machine picked up at a garage sale, some scrap fabric, and no greater sewing knowledge than how to stitch a straight seam.  Even that was shaky at first.  I learned.  And, to the background of 4 straight seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer I turned yards of Affordable Fabrics goods into Fern Folk and Katta, Saplings and Moon Spirits, cultists and werekin.

(Pro tip #3... start crafting in advance.  Way, WAY in advance.  But know, too, no matter how far in advance you begin, be prepared for your house to become a total disasterpiece in the days leading up to the event!) 

There were times I hated myself leading up to this event.  I was a novice, searching to fill in all the holes in my planning with a novice staff.  I was incredibly fortunate in that I'm a part of Uconn SMAC, and have been for three straight years of weekly fight practice.  I was lucky enough to have friends who were willing to come and NPC for me, who trusted me enough to tell the story even though they had no real reason to trust my ability to pull any of this off.

As for me – I in turn had to learn to trust them.  I admit it, I'm a control freak.  I would like to be in four places at once and be all my own Event Staff.  My own head NPC, my own quartermaster, my own magic marshal.  But you know what? - that's just not possible; and if Realms is, in a way, in the business of showing us all how to grow as individuals, then it's not leadership or honesty or responsibility that Realms is teaching me the most.  It's trust.  That terrible, ephemeral virtue that says, “I am willing to risk being betrayed”, because at the end of the day, promises made won't always be kept, directions given won't always be followed, and you can't be there yourself to handle every crisis.

And that's a GOOD thing.  The very BEST thing.

The story exists in your head.  The characters, the situation, the world, all in your head.  But as soon as you tell the tale you give it out to the world and it does not belong to you anymore.  That's the part where you just let things go.  Where you trust your staff, your NPCs, and your players to keep it all alive.  When the first of EH prowess relaxes and events just... unfold.  I'm not good at this part yet.  I imagine it will be a while before I am.

At the end of the day it worked.  Oh, we stumbled and erred, we slipped up and hedged.  But the monsters were slain (or negotiated around), the puzzles were solved, the speeches were given and the chapter closed... or rather, opened.  We learned.  And we had fun.  That is, after all, what this is all about...

To all of you, whether listed here or not, who pushed, prodded, inspired, and advised.  To my friends and family, who put up with my (not so temporary) insanity.  To the folks who came out to help out.  To the people who attended – you poor, foolish people willing and able to take that risk.  To everyone who stopped at my side afterward, a midnight chat over cookies and water and the autumn wind, to tell me what I did right, and what I did wrong.  I take your words to heart.

Now I learn, and move forward.

In the days before The Silver Eye I discovered a great truth of holding a Realms Event.  There is always more to be done and never enough time to do it in.  Those last few days, scrambling to make sure I had water and snacks, my bins organized and a list of regionals printed, all my little in-house doo-dads laid out... I hated it.  And I swore to myself that this was it.  One event, and only one event, and then I'd slink back into the anonymity of PCing war maneuvers and NPCing local quest events because this was hell and I'd never do it again.

Twelve hours after the event closed, I was planning the next one. 

(April 26th, folks.  May we meet again.)

So, you out there, you first-time Event-Holder-to-be out there with that whisper in your mind... with the dream and the ghost of an idea.  Be warned.  The muse is a harpy.  Her claws are sharp, and she's a persistent little sprite.  Feed her once, and she won't go away.

But oh, how she can fly.

Carol Eddy
Charwindle, Captain of Mayerling

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Why I Want to Go- Rhiassa Presents: What Lurks Beneath V

Rhiassa Presents: What Lurks Beneath V
November 2, 2013 (Saturday 12pm) - November 2, 2013 (Saturday 7pm)
Event Type: Questing

This series of events is coming to a close. If you've been going to them so far, you know these events are filled with interesting fights, interesting puzzles and solid costuming. If you enjoy well-done questing you will want to make sure to go to this event as they are sure to go out with a bang! There are a number of new combat calls so make sure to check out the event listing on realmsnet to make sure you know what to expect. Also, there is a PC cap for this event so make sure it is not full if you have not already regged for this event. Of course, I'm sure they would be more than willing to let you NPC for them if they are full.

If you are new to this plotline, or simply too old to remember what has come before, you can check out a history of the past events at

Monday, October 28, 2013

Question of the Week - 116

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

Friday, October 25, 2013

What You Missed- The Silver Eye

Photo by Jesse Gifford - 2013

Photo by Jesse Gifford - 2013

Photo by Jesse Gifford - 2013

Photo by Jesse Gifford - 2013

What You Missed- Ashes in the Hourglass

Photo by Candis Gray - 2013
Photo by Candis Gray - 2013

Photo by Candis Gray - 2013

Photo by Candis Gray - 2013

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Funny Pictures

In this series, we're posting some unique pictures of us as we play in the Realms. The challenge we present to you is to provide us with funny captions for the pictures in the comments section. Try to keep 'em relatively clean and fun. (Photo by Dustin Mack)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Why I Want to Go- Tournaments of the Void 4

Tournaments of the Void 4
October 27, 2013 (Sunday 12pm) - October 27, 2013 (Sunday 8pm)
Event Type: Tournaments

This event has been slowly evolving over time as the eventholder continues to make adjustments and fine tunes the event after seeing what works and what doesn't. This has made for an event that gets better and better each time. This event is also the last opportunity for people to get Order of the List points for this season. If you are on the bubble or have someone close on your heels point-wise, this is one event you can not miss.

Note that there are some special weapons related rules that will affect what weapons you can and can not wield. Check out the listing on realmsnet or get in touch with the eventholder if you have questions.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Why I Want to Go- Black & White 2013

Black & White 2013
October 26, 2013 (Saturday 12pm) - October 26, 2013 (Saturday 11:30pm)
Event Type: Feast/Tournaments

This is the annual event that brings some class to the Realms. The day is filled with fairly light questing and fun combat tourneys - nothing new there. However, once the night falls things begin to really pick up. First up is the good food everyone can look forward to. Then we hit the court and ball which always are fun. This is the event where we get to bring out another side of our characters. For many players this is a new and challenging aspect to our game not often explored.

One thing about this event is that something interesting always seems to happen. Often it is not planned by the staff but inveritably something unexpected occurs that gets people excited and talking. Also, this is the event where various plots can come together, so if you are wondering what is going on in the Realms this is a good place to catch up.

If you are looking for some pageantry and the unexpected, this is the event to go to.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Question of the Week - 115

"For the 2013 season only, all characters who were in existence (first attended an event) before February 2nd, 2013 are allowed to have up to 18 spells, making a legal build following the rules of the current Omnibus."
This was the grandfathering rule for 2013. What was your initial reaction and how do you think it's played out this year?

Friday, October 18, 2013

What You Missed- Ashen Bounty II

Photo by Jesse Gifford - 2013

Photo by Jesse Gifford - 2013

Photo by Jesse Gifford - 2013

Photo by Jesse Gifford - 2013

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Funny Pictures

In this series, we're posting some unique pictures of us as we play in the Realms. The challenge we present to you is to provide us with funny captions for the pictures in the comments section. Try to keep 'em relatively clean and fun. (Photo by Dustin Mack)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

10 Questions - Peter "Valic" Burgess

Peter "Valic" Burgess

How long have you been playing?
Photo by Dustin Mack
I have been playing for about 7 years active, took 6 off for real life.

How has the game changed since you’ve been playing?
The biggest game change I’ve seen is, no more pc, vs, pc ???
It’s all gang warfare now.

Who have you learned from the most?
I have learned the most from Artex, he showed me how to have fun with the game and when to let things slide, and what it means to be in a nation, he made it feel like a family.

What was your best moment IC?
My best PC moment was making it to the order of the list, twice .
Followed very closely by watching Neden's demise ;)

What was your best moment as a NPC/EH/Player?
Best moment ever, was the first event I threw, everyone had fun, we had a Celtrex hunt, good times had by all.

Photo by Dustin Mack

What would you like to see changed or developed more in game?
Something I would like to see happen in the game is a set group of marshals that don't play the game, just either people who don't play the game anymore or who just learned the rules to marshal.

What advice would you give new players?
Advise for new players, listen, learn from everyone, even the guy/girl you dislike. Everyone has something to show u and u never know when it will come in handy.

What do you love most about the game?
The thing love most about this game is being able to be and do whatever you want, as long as you don't get crazy. It's about having fun and u never know what will happen from event to event sometimes.

Who would you like to see the next interview be with?
I think the next interview should be with James F Murphy JR [his interview can be found here]

Anything else you'd like to take the opportunity to put into print?
I was taught this is a game of honor. Sometimes even I forget that. Let’s try and help each other with that :)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Why I Want to Go- The Silver Eye

The Silver Eye
October 19, 2013 (Saturday 11am) - October 19, 2013 (Saturday 11pm)
Event Type: Questing

I always like events thrown by new eventholders. This is the first Realms event as thrown by the "Mayerling Crew". If you have seen them in-character you know they put a lot of detail into their costuming. I expect the same from this event (especially since they sometimes post pictures of what they are working on on Facebook and it always looks great). Knowing the players throwing this event, I know this will be an awesome time and I'm really looking forward to it.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Question of the Week - 114

Have you ever had a dream about the Realms?

Friday, October 11, 2013

What You Missed- Now to Stab the Serpent's Heart Part the Second

Photo by Jesse Gifford - 2013

Photo by Jesse Gifford - 2013
Photo by Jesse Gifford - 2013

Photo by Jesse Gifford - 2013

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Funny Pictures

In this series, we're posting some unique pictures of us as we play in the Realms. The challenge we present to you is to provide us with funny captions for the pictures in the comments section. Try to keep 'em relatively clean and fun. (Photo by Dustin Mack)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

What You Missed- Now to Stab the Serpent's Heart

Photo by Jesse Gifford - 2013
Photo by Jesse Gifford - 2013

Photo by Jesse Gifford - 2013

Photo by Jesse Gifford - 2013

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Afteraction Report- Now to Stab the Serpent's Heart

To the people of the Realms,

As of the first few hours of this past Sunday, all should know that Mad Tom is Dead, and Bedlam is no longer a plane of horror and madness, but it is a plane that fae is returning to, now to be referred to as the halls of Danaan.  The plane of fae is now wild and pure, and Sir Tara Fae-Eternal is in charge of defending it.  It appears any lands that were taken by bedlam for any period of time are now simply fertile land, with no infrastructure there.  As for our losses, Squire Valerie Hart, Tea Mistress Altana Cecil, and Kieren each sacrificed themselves to complete the ritual that would force Mad Tom to physically manifest so we could slay him.  Valerie and Kieren now reside in the Halls of Danaan, but I am not sure where Altana passed to.  It would appear that Lord Sir Rohde ascended when the Dark One perished.  In addition, many people chose to go reside with the Fae courts at the Halls of Dannan, or follow the queen.  The people who did this are Dame Sir Freesia Den'ier, Sir Zula Darkwillow, Seitei Harlest, Counselor Sir Ged Rosetta Loremipsum, and High Priestess Demetria Highwater.

A full story may be in the works for a later, but it should be known that these people are all heroes.

I know this to be true.  This is not the way the world ends.  This is the way the world begins.

~Janus Kil'tra
First Mage of Rua Thar Cinn

Why I Want to Go- Ashen Bounty II

Ashen Bounty II: Return to the Island of Dr Slashblight
October 11, 2013 (Friday 7pm) - October 13, 2013 (Sunday 4pm)
Event Type: Questing

Here we have a full 3 day weekend of solid questing. Last year saw the first event by this staff and from all accounts it was an excellent outing. This event will likely follow that trend with more exciting action. Along with the questing there is a full dayboard (I remember it from last year and it was awesome) as well as a full dinner and breakfast. From all appearances this looks like it will be another solid quest event, so make sure you show up.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Question of the Week - 113

Which spell do you think should have more uses than it already does?

Friday, October 4, 2013

Fresh Faces- Michel "Jace" Venne

Photo by Sean Finn
How did you learn about Realms? 

Owen West / Balthazar almost always gets me to try new things out, no matter what it is. He convinced me to go to an event which was about 20 minutes from my house and from there on I just kept on learning about Realms.
How many events have you gone to? 
I have now gone to six events. Feast of Chimron, Convergences, North South War, Book of Moons (Final Chapter), Pressure Point, and Grimlock Questing.
Have you ever LARP'ed before? 
I have never LARP'ed but I have done fencing, martial arts, performing arts and D&D (Owen also convinced me for the last bit). Combining all of these different things, LARP'ing seems like the perfect mix.
What is your character like? Were is he from? What is his race? What is important to him? What do you remember most from my first event?

My character is human named Jace Moonshadow. He is from a tribe of peaceful nomadic gatherers who try and stay out of the general view of others. Jace and his brother Fenrir were two chosen to take a peacekeeper trial but their sister was kidnapped during the trials by an unknown beast. Jace now fueled will the desire to repair his family, set of to find her and bring her back safe.
Jace always puts friends and family first no matter what. Many times, Jace will put himself through unnecessary pain just to help someone else. That being said he absolutely despises scalping and any form of death magic as he morally despised the mishandling of bodies.
I remembered the amount of fun I had at Feast of Chim just helping out the experienced fighters because I felt useful and it was great to watch them do their thing. Plus as a caster with the spell light against shades and bois I was very useful for just my first event.
What things have made you feel welcome in this game?
The people that I have met so far are too numerous to mention but almost everyone I have spoken to or interacted with make me feel like I am a part of the game. The hospitality, kindness, and camaraderie that Realms people show to everyone equally is really amazing and makes Realms feel very unique.
Photo by Robyn Nielsen (Michel is in the middle in brown)
What parts of the game do you find the most challenging?
Fighting is the one thing that will always be a challenge no matter who you are because of how fights change depending on the situation at hand. Eventually it all comes down to training and experience, of which currently I have little. I do plan on making a few fight practices occasionally but the majority of my free time will be for my studies at UMass Amherst during the school year.
Do you have any game related goals?
In and out of character, I would love to gain a bunch of new friends as well as networks. I have always found that the more people you know and respect, the more opportunities are available for whatever your trying to achieve whether it's an alliance in-game or finding real life opportunities for jobs or internships out-of-game. As a player, I would also love to create some sort of plot line or event as I have always loved to tell a story. I feel like event holders and NPC's sometimes have the coolest perspective and I would love to partake in the NPC's and Staff's side of Realms as well.
What advice would you give other new players?
I would give two pieces of advice. #1 Don't be afraid to ask. About anything. I started off just asking as many questions that I deemed necessary to understand the situation at hand. Just by asking the question "Is Spider OK by himself? Should we help him?" I learned about Regeneration, Embrace Death, Heal Limb, and that Spider is always hungry all in the same conversation. In short, questions are very helpful, if you have one, ask it.
#2 Always call shots. Even as a spellcaster, you will be hit by weapons and you must be aware of what hits where at all times. For this reason alone fight practice is a must because it will get you in the habit of correctly calling shots. People will also respect you more if you call your shots correctly and this will help you in the long run.
What have you enjoyed the most about the game so far?
The constant adventure is something that I do enjoy and the game allows me to interact with an adventure as opposed to reading or watching it. The different plot lines also makes the game super enjoyable because it give the impression that every decision you make in game will affect you at some point in the future.
Anything else you'd like to take the opportunity to put in print?
Thank you to Owen/Balthazar for introducing me to Realms and getting me pumped for almost anything. And thanks to all of the people that I have quested and fought with for the past few months, you guys are the reason why I want to stick around for a while.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Funny Pictures

In this series, we're posting some unique pictures of us as we play in the Realms. The challenge we present to you is to provide us with funny captions for the pictures in the comments section. Try to keep 'em relatively clean and fun. (Photo by Dustin Mack)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Why I Want to Go- 8th Annual Tournaments of Chaos

8th Annual Tournaments of Chaos: When someone asks if your a God...You say Yes!!!!!
October 4, 2013 (Friday 7pm) - October 6, 2013 (Sunday 5pm)
Event Type: Tournaments, Questing.

This event packs a whole bunch into one weekend.You have a wide assortment of tournaments being run, both combat and non-combat. The tournies also tend to be diverse and new so as to keep everyone's interest. Dinner is being provided on Saturday night. There is questing on Friday and Saturday night. Past attendees have all said how much fun this weekend event is. Now is your chance to check it out. With so much to do it'll be hard to go wrong.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Why I Want to Go- Now to Stab the Serpants's Heart Part the Second

Now to Stab the Serpent's Heart: The Quest to Slay Mad Tom
October 5, 2013 (Saturday 12pm) - October 6, 2013 (Sunday 12pm)
Event Type: Questing

This is it. The end of the Bedlam plotline. This event is so epic it will take two full weekends of questing to finish. This is the second weekend of the two weekend event. If you paid for last weekend's event this weekend is free for you. Dinner will also be provided on Saturday night. But who cares about the fact you are getting so much for what you are paying for. No, what we should be caring about is the end to one of the most dynamic, far-reaching and epic plots to hit the Realms in some years. How will it end? Will we lose much of the Realms to Bedlam? Will we lose those we love to Bedlam? There is only one way to answer all these questions and that is to be a part of the end of Bedlam.

Bedlam rules apply...
Needless to say - This is a High Risk event.