Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Blast From the Past - View From Valehaven September 1990

In our modern age of the internet, we can forget that the View was the connection between players in between events. With webpages hosting event announcements, social media keeping players in touch and emails spamming us with events, IC and OOC announcements it is easy to forget that we once needed postage stamps to keep in touch.
This View is full of stories and poetry. Of particular interest is some history of the Southern Wastes. [Thanks to Janna "Iawen" Oakfellow-Pushee for the scans.]

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

This Spot Available

What? No Realms article, story, art today? How could this have happened?! The horror!

Ever thought about sending in something to the View? We take anything Realms related.
You can send it to me at or Also if you have any OOC news you can send that to for the Happenings on the Emerald Path column.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Question of the Week - 142

What do you think of Regional Magic? Do you find it too powerful, not powerful enough, too random from event to event?

Friday, April 25, 2014

10 Questions - Jacob "Grebinar" Ruggiero

Jacob "Grebinar" Ruggiero 

Photo by Angela Earle Gray
How long have you been playing?
I've been playing since KoEF tourneys 2011, just over 3 years now. 

How has the game changed since you've been playing?
Comparatively I haven't been playing for too long as others but even within the few years I have been playing I’ve seen a huge increase in the number of people participating in tournaments.  When I first started I don’t know if bamboo was really a thing back then but it has been play tested and become a lot more common and has changed the speed of combat quite a bit.

Who have you learned the most from?
Callahan Marsden, since my 3rd event when we first met he has always helped me with numerous things, from fighting practice to awareness in battles, tactics, personal fitness and general shenanigans! But the most important thing he taught me was that no matter who you are talking to you can both learn from them and teach them, and to give everyone a chance because even I was new at one point (still relatively am) 

What was your best moment IC?
Queen of hearts 2013 when I became a full member of Grimloch

What was your best moment as a NPC/EH/Player?
I havent really experienced a NPC moment that has really stuck out in my mind and I’ve yet to be an EH but some of my favorite moments as a player is when chaos breaks out and theres skirmishes going on every where around you and every direction you look is an enemy, being surrounded by the battle not knowing who could be right behind is just such an adrenaline rush!

What would you like to see changed or developed more in game?
I would like to see a better standard for garb, I myself am trying to get better garb. Also I would like to see more quests that are open ended and have the potential to have multiple groups split up and do different objectives, I've heard stories that it happened quite a bit but because of the amount of PC to NPC ratio's thats not always an option.

Photo by Lina Weldell

What advice would you give new players?
1. you have the potential to be anything you want, never let someone discourage you, if you just put yourself out there and in new situations you can rise to the occasion
2. if there is something you enjoy particularly in the game dont hesitate to talk to oldbies to learn more, they are very often willing to help new players with many things from teaching you about spells combat or sometimes even supplying you with armor
3. no matter what you are fighter or 3-path go to your local fight practices and fight! learning new styles of fighting can help you a lot even as a caster because you will learn how to fight against those styles and be able to defend yourself more effectively
4. npc often, cal always told me NPC every 3rd event that way you can give back to the community and let others enjoy PCing, plus its fun watching the PC's sit there confused not knowing how to solve a puzzle
5. be active, during quests tournaments really any event put yourself out there and get involved!

What do you love most about the game?
the community is what i love most about the game, i've met some of my best friends through this game and ive accomplished a lot thanks to there help, and all the time i see everyone coming together for fundraisers for various reasons and helping each other out when needed. also sitting by the fires at night after quests having some drinks and hearing the stories of past days is always a blast!

Who would you like to see the next interview be with?
I dont know who has been interviewed or not yet so here are some names anthony quintana, mike doherty (his interview can be read here), andy disbrow, paul tilton. 

Anything else you'd like to take the opportunity to put into print?
Always stay up late, thats when the best stories are told......and created

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Picture Puzzle - Who Is It?

Today's challenge is to tell us who is cut out? After the break is the full picture but before that we only provide a small portion of that picture. So give us your best guess in the comments and then check the answer for yourself. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

What You Missed- In the Shadow of the King

Photo by Dustin Mack - 2014

Photo by Dustin Mack - 2014
Photo by Jesse Gifford - 2014

Photo by Jesse Gifford - 2014

Monday, April 21, 2014

Question of the Week - 141

What do you think will be the next weapon material innovation?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Blast From the Past - View From Valehaven August 1990

Of interest in this View is that the rules for the game look to be included in them. I'm not sure if they are complete or if they only cover the combat rules. One interesting take-away is that there is a"deflection" rule in there; a weapon has to land squarely. This would imply hits could be ignored if they were "deflected".
[Thanks to Janna "Iawen" Oakfellow-Pushee for the scans.]

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Picture Puzzle - Who Is It?

Today's challenge is to tell us who this is? After the break is the full picture but before that we only provide a small portion of that picture. So give us your best guess in the comments and then check the answer for yourself.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What You MIssed- Iron Lotus Presents: Dragon Masters 2

Photo by Dustin Mack - 2014

Photo by Dustin Mack - 2014

Photo by Dustin Mack - 2014

Photo by Dustin Mack - 2014

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Why I Want To Go - In the Shadow of the King

In the Shadow of the King: Helping the Resistance
April 19, 2014 (Saturday 2pm) - April 19, 2014 (Saturday 10pm)
Event Type: Questing

[Disclaimer: The author is a member of the staff for this event.]

The ongoing saga of the Shadowking continues. He has not been able to gain control of all of the Shades; some remain free and they resist him. However, a Free Shade village is in danger of being overrun by the armies of the Shadowking. Can the heroes of the Realms stop this? Can they find new ways to defeat the Shadowking?

The characters will be offered a variety of quests that will allow them to weaken the Shadowking or outright defeat some of his plans. This event is an opportunity to gain an advantage over the Shadowking. Of course, along the way there will all sorts of challenges both martial and mental.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Question of the Week - 140

If you could add a new path to the spell system, what would the "theme" of the path be?

Friday, April 11, 2014

10 Questions - Jason "Aeston" Rosa

Jason "Aeston" Rosa 

Photo by Jesse Gifford
How long have you been playing?
My first event was in the fall of 1997.
Tournaments of Rhiassa, serendipitously enough. For the first couple of years I tended to hit only Southern/Chimeron events. In 1999 I went to my first Tournaments of Creathorne and afterwards was when I started playing a lot more frequently.

How has the game changed since you've been playing?
Not all that much, really, in the scheme of things. Nations, of course, come and go, rules and spells change, combat gets more refined, new people join, old friends fade away. But the core of what gives our community identity really feels more or less the same. I think any differences that people perceive are mostly cosmetic, or seem to exist because of how they have changed as individuals, both in maturity and in their role in the game. The Realms is the Realms. The soul of it endures.

Who have you learned the most from?
I would have to credit several different people for helping me become the person that I am today. My first role model was Jared Buzby (McKrye) who demonstrated to me an unfaltering kind of leadership that pervaded his very existence. Sean Veale (Wil) instilled within me the conviction to serve the community constantly and with quiet humility. Steve Johnson (Duncan) showed me the potential that each of us has to push the game forward though our hard work and dedication. Tom Johnson (Blade) instructed me and inspired me to take combat more seriously and try to make a name for myself in the martial aspect of the game. Lots of other old names as well. Seth Flagg, Keith Gerrard, Kathy Horn, Kathy Journey, Jarrod Marshal, Alex Newbold... The people of my generation did not lack for good role models. I truly hope that young people today can say the same.

What was your best moment IC?
That's a tough one to nail down after so many years of playing. I'm rather certain that I've forgotten more than I remember about the past sixteen years. Certainly ranking high among them is the day I was asked to kneel and join the ranks of the Knights of the Realms. But more so than even that singular moment in time, I have to put in more general terms that the current era is a series of best moments for me, each greater than the last. Leading Rhiassa, teaching, and learning from my squires, and working together with everyone to accomplish the goals of our nation. I've never loved the Realms more than I have in these past few years, standing beside my closest friends united in purpose, able to celebrate our accomplishments together.

What was your best moment as a NPC/EH/Player?
Again, a challenge to nail down. I'll have to beg everyone's patience and mention a couple.

First, a humorous memory that has stayed with me over the years. There was an event at Sterling. Ian Struckoff was the Eventholder and it had something to do with his Ice Mage plot. I remember that the players were trying to reach an important NPC, a princess, played by Jessica Osio and I was playing some kind of named mook that was her guard. I was using a 6'6" popsicle-stick at the time, and it was a very heavy one. Even heavy for the 1" PVC we used at the time. So I'm standing in front of the princess, guarding her in the open field, and two archers, Twenaria and Aelias, both shoot an arrow at me simultaneously. Having a great weapon, I didn't have too many options available to me for defense, so I, in a obviously ridiculous snap decision, made like Donatello and just spun the weapon in front of me like he did in probably every episode of the cartoon. I couldn't possibly have had any expectation that it would actually do anything effective. Oddly enough, it did. Both arrows were hit and deflected away by the spin; I couldn't guess at the odds of it happening a second time. Kelly and Nate looked at one another. Looked at me. Looked at one another again, and then booked it as I roared and ran after them.

And again, in a more general sense, I need to mention UCONN SMAC. SMAC practice has been in existence now for almost ten years. The time really does fly. As many of you know, it started with little more than the six members of Vinehaeven and a few local Wasterunners. For the first couple of years it wasn't much beyond that. Then, in 2006, we participated in the campus involvement fair for the first time. The response was greater than I could have ever imagined. Practice went from less than a dozen people to regularly more than thirty. Members of the community from around Connecticut, from Massachusetts, even as far as New Hampshire, starting regularly attending and spending the time to teach others and enjoy what was quickly becoming the largest practice in the community. The years rolled slowly by and as each one came we saw more freshman join the club and the best of them stay with us throughout all the years they were UCONN students, and beyond. Our community of students, alumni, and guests from around New England grew more and more. I look around the Realms now and see the people who are members of that community. I look at the people who have grown into exceptional players that started their tenure first on the fields at UCONN practice. It is extremely gratifying and supremely humbling to have been even a small part of what has made SMAC exist and what has helped it to endure. As I said in the last question, my greatest moments are not things of the past. They are the new moments I am a part of every day that I drive up to UCONN to fulfill my role in our community here.

Photo by Robyn C Nielsen

What would you like to see changed or developed more in game?
Mentoring. There are a handful of formal mentoring relationships in our community right now. The most obvious is, of course, the knight/squire relationship, but also quite prevalent are formal relationships with apprentices of different varieties. A fairly large number of us, commendably, have taken it upon ourselves to convey our skills and knowledge to the next generation. In my eyes, however, some gaps have developed in our system for doing so. I would ask us as a community to be mindful, therefore, of the following advice.

Be very aware of what it is you have to teach. Unfortunately, the community has seen examples of knights taking squires or masters taking apprentices because they believe that it is their societal role to play, without also having an understanding of what skills or philosophies they wish to teach or how to go about doing so. This can lead to stagnation in the teaching relationship as mentor struggles to come up with tasks that are valuable, goal oriented learning experiences, and it can cause mentees to lose interest or look elsewhere for instruction. I would ask all mentors and would-be mentors to give careful thought to what they want their squires or apprentices to learn and the best way to teach that information while constantly engaging and challenging their mentors to push themselves to greater heights. To do anything less is a disservice to both of you.

What advice would you give new players?
Get to know everyone. The people of the Realms are an incredibly diverse collection of individuals. There are a lot people out there that are probably a lot like you. Similar upbringing, interests, motivations, and goals. But there are also a lot of people out there who are very different from you. It is to your own detriment if you only stick to the people you know and the social groups that you are comfortable with. Every person in this game has a perspective that is uniquely their own, singular experiences that have shaped their role in our community and how they conceive of it. Learn about all of those types of people. Recognize that all of those perspectives are valid and are born of a wisdom that is singular to their owner. Treat every individual with courtesy. Make friends.

What do you love most about the game?

Its interesting. I don't think I would have been able to answer this question a few years ago. Of course I would have been able to tell you what I loved about the Realms then, but it is only in recent years that I have started to understand the true value of this game that we play together. Sooner or later, we all get to that phase of our life that society has dubbed "adulthood". It means a lot of different things; a career, a house, a family, a set of obligations that, at the very least, have some impact on our recreational time. For some people in this world, the beginning of adulthood also marks the end of everything that does not fit into our culture's narrow definitions of such. They eschew old friends, hobbies, the passions that defined them when they were younger men and women. Certainly their lives can be equally as rich and fulfilling without these things, but I still feel that there is a sadness in that loss.

And in contrast, I look around the Realms at our community here. I see men and women who have build fantastic careers and find joy in their work. But they still get to be heroes on weekends. I see men and women who own houses and deal with the tremendous burden of their upkeep. But they still plan events and through them tell stories. I see men and women who have gotten married, have had children, and who have created loving, caring places for them to grow. But they still hold their friends and surrogate families of community members close to their hearts.

The Realms is a pastime that most of us fell into when we were young, and spent a great deal of our youth pursuing. But it is also an avocation that can follow us later into our lives. More than that, it is a place where our role can change appropriately along with our age. Somewhat through happenstance, we have created a game that has grown along beside us as we have become "adults". And, best of all, it helps to keep us young in the process.

Who would you like to see the next interview be with?
Age before beauty. I think it would be nice to hear from some of the other 97'ers that came into the game the same time I did, and see how their perspectives have changes since we were "kids". It's crazy how many of us are still around. Dave Martin, Ian Pushee (his interview can be read here), Jay Bonci, Dave Hayden, Amber Fox, Karen Veale, Matt Daviult, those are a few who come to mind at the moment.

Anything else you'd like to take the opportunity to put into print?
Throughout all of the years that I have been playing, I've watched people draw lines in the sand. Most people choose to define this community in terms of "us" and "them". I'm sure it began long before I started playing and it will, no doubt, continue for as long as the Realms exists. I'm guilty of it too, certainly more often than I should be.

But in the end, we should try to remember that we all have more in common with one another than we have things that set us apart.

We all want the Realms to endure. We all want the Realms to be the best entity it can be. Because we don't always see eye to eye on how to make these wants a reality, we come into conflict with each other. As much as possible, we should try to make sure that our conflicts and disagreements come from a place of tolerance and mutual respect.

We all care deeply about the Realms and what it has given us. We've all been given the opportunity to grow in ways that we might never have otherwise have found. I know that it is true for me and I suspect it is true for most of the people who are reading this article. So when the time inevitably comes again that tempers flare and people reach for hate, try to remember that the source of everyone's anger is the passion we have for the community and what it means to all of us.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Picture Puzzle - Who Is It?

Today's challenge is to tell us who this is? After the break is the full picture but before that we only provide a small portion of that picture. So give us your best guess in the comments and then check the answer for yourself. (photo by Angela Earle Gray)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Blast From the Past - View From Valehaven June 1990

This one is a doozy. Originally the Realms was led by one man. Eventually he faded away and the Realms organization became more of what it is now. In this View, he voices his displeasure with the direction of the Realms. Also of interest are the maps to the various event sites in common use in those days; before the days of GPS these were necessary. We don't use these sites anymore, but they do still exist. Also, there is a remark about what "charging" is - some things never change. [Thanks to Janna "Iawen" Oakfellow-Pushee for the scans.]

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Why I Want To Go - Iron Lotus Presents: Dragon Master 2

Iron Lotus Presents: Dragon Master 2
April 12, 2014 (Saturday 11am) - April 12, 2014 (Saturday 7pm)
Event Type: Questing

Following up their inaugural event last year, we see the plot continuing. This time the characters are hunting dragons on the Independence Isles. For those who bring in the most dead dragons, there is a prize. There are sure to be various challenges on the way. This looks to be a fairly straightforward hunt and kill, which can be a lot of fun.

Make sure you check the weather reports before heading out to the event. This past season has been fairly harsh and this is the first outdoor event of the year. It will still be fun but make sure to dress appropriately.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Question of the Week - 139

Can you write a limerick about the death of your character (this can even be of an imaginary has-not-happened-yet death)?
Writing a Limerick's absurd,
Line one and line five rhyme in word,
And just as you've reckoned
They rhyme with the second;
The fourth line must rhyme with the third.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Fresh Faces- Madison "Luca" Cunha

How did you learn about Realms?
Photo by Jesse Gifford
Although I didn't join until years later, I first heard of the Realms when I was still in high school. Mikey/Janus
Kil'tra and I knew each other from high school and he had been trying to convince me to come with him to an event for years. One spring in 2010, when I was on medical leave from school and didn't have much else to do with myself, he finally succeeded!

How many event have you been to?
I've been to six events since 2010 -- Feast of Highbridge II will be my seventh! I took an extended hiatus from the Realms from 2010 to 2013 while I finished up school, and when I moved back to the east coast, I jumped right back in.
Have you ever LARP’ed before?  If so tell us about it?
Realms was my very first LARP, but I'd like to check out others in the future!
What is your character like?  Where are they from? What is their race? What is important to them?
Leuconoe Kil'tra, better known as Luca (or "Janus's sister") to most, is from the same farm in rural Chimeron as her brother. Several years after Janus left to go adventuring, she finally got sick of being stuck at home with the same boring day-to-day life (really, there are only so many ways you can make milking a cow exciting) and decided she was going to be an adventurer too. She's a mischevious up-and-coming human adventurer who recently returned to the Realms after a prolonged venture into the deserts far to the west, and she's come back to get rich, get connected, and get famous. And, you know, probably do a few heroic deeds, too, if the opportunity comes up. She's a snarky spellcaster (currently a two-path, double sorcerer) and a bit of a trickster with some questionable moral priorities, although she's not nearly as clever as she thinks she is. She is resourceful, but she tends to get tripped up by her own self-aggrandizing (which is what makes her so fun to play!). Her top priorities are money, food, and looking forward to the day when everyone know's Janus as "Luca's brother" and not the other way around. She studied cartography when she was adventuring in the desert and wants to make a name for herself as a cartographer in the Realms. As of the Black and White 2013, she is also the court mage (sorry, Arcaneopteryx) of Saurabia. Fun fact! Her stomach is haunted by the ghost of an angry baker, and the only way to keep him at bay is to avoid eating wheat at all costs.

Photo by Jesse Gifford
What do you remember most about your first event?
My first event was one of the very first trips into Kord, and it was a lot of fun! On her very first adventure in the Realms, Luca got kidnapped by elemental spirits and had to make a deal with a trickster god to escape. I met tons of awesome people and had such a blast that I just knew I had to come back for more!
What things have helped to make you feel welcome in game?
The overwhelmingly warm and positive atmosphere of the Realms' player base is a big plus. The game is really newbie-friendly, and for the most part people are really encouraging and helpful for newbies (as well as established players). Knowing I could ask questions of almost anyone in the game, however silly they might have seemed, has really made Realms a positive experience for me. Getting to know people OOC has also been a great experience and made me feel even more at home at events.
What parts of the game do you find most challenging?
If I'm perfectly honest, combat. My three-year hiatus from the Realms didn't do anything for my already minimal combat skills, and I'm still getting comfortable with my spellcasting. I definitely need to work on my aim and my boffer skills. I don't get the opportunity to attend nearly as many practices as I'd like.
Do you have any game related goals (as either a player or character)?
Luca's very interested in getting rich and well-connected -- and so am I (well, mostly the latter). I'd like to get apprenticed into the Order of the Spoon and start working in the kitchens more -- it's kind of a lofty goal, but it'd be really cool to one day have a hand in making a really allergen-friendly feast for those of us Realmsies who have more severe dietary restrictions. I'd also really like to improve my combat and spellcasting skills and hopefully one day become an actually formidable sorcerer instead of an amusing joke whose magic missiles always go horribly wide.
What advice would you give other new players?
Don't be afraid to ask questions, and more than anything, don't be afraid to get involved! Events are the most fun when you jump in with both feet. Some cool stuff will happen to you if you stand around long enough, but if you really want the action, you have to make it happen for yourself.

What have you enjoyed most about the game so far?
Questing events have been some of my favorite events, and I'm excited for the weather to warm up and the questing season to start back up! The sense of adventure (and camaraderie) that comes from questing events is one of the best things about the Realms. I've also really enjoyed myself at feasts thus far -- I served at Feast of Leviathan this year for the first time and even though it was exhausting, I had an incredible time and I'm looking forward to serving again at the Feast of Highbridge! I had a killer time working in the kitchen and helping the kitchen staff and it's very much something I'm looking forward to making a regular part of my Realms experiences.

Anything else you'd like to take the opportunity to put into print?
I'd like to organize a Boston-based fight practice, once I've had some time to look into practice locations, so any Boston-area Realmsies who can't get out to WPI/UMass Lowell/etc for fight practice on a regular basis will have somewhere more accessible to go. And, of course, I am always looking to meet & make friends with new players and PCs alike, so if you see me at an event, please don't be afraid to say hi!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Picture Puzzle - Who Is It?

Today's challenge is to tell us who this is? After the break is the full picture but before that we only provide a small portion of that picture. So give us your best guess in the comments and then check the answer for yourself. (photo by Angela Earle Gray)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Blast From the Past - View From Valehaven March 1990

We are taking a jump backward a couple of years from our previous entry in this series. Most of the printed Views we are used to were edited by Stephen Johnson, but this is before he took over the periodical. I find it interesting that there were actually a bunch of events going on then. They were all from Spring to Fall, with no winter events, but some of those months had nearly as many as we do now. Also, you might recognize a couple of tourney winners' names. [Thanks to Janna "Iawen" Oakfellow-Pushee for the scans.]

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

What You Missed- Feast of Highbridge II

Photo by Jesse Gifford - 2014

Photo by Jesse Gifford - 2014

Photo by Jesse Gifford - 2014
Photo by Jesse Gifford - 2014