Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Why I want to go...Ashenbounty III- Guest Post By Jason "Malaki" Gray

There are so many reasons why I want to go to this event, and why you should to! Do you like questing? Do you like delicious food? If you answered yes to one or both of those questions, this event will not disappoint you.

For the past two years Ashenbounty has been one of my must hit events. This event holding team has constructed fun, involved quests with neat stories and great mechanics. It feels like they are conscious about trying to build a story around the land of Ashenmark, which really helps with immersion. The RP is just enough to keep you entertained, with enough action to really get your blood pumping.

Did I mention the delicious food that will be available Saturday night? I’m not talking about basic food either. One of the most experienced feastocrats in our game will be preparing many sumptuous dishes. In the past we have seen a theme of harvest fare, I don’t know if that will be the continued trend, but I’m not worried, as I am sure that whatever is prepared is going to be absolutely delicious, and in such vast quantities that we couldn’t possibly hope to finish it all.

One last thing that has me really excited about Ashenbounty this year is that it is being held on a new event site, and that can only add to the atmosphere. It will be great to explore a new site, and who knows what exciting things any intrepid adventures might stumble across!

Great questing, great food, a new event site, what more could you possibly want in an event?!?!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Question of the Week 164

How do you explain Realms to your friends and family that don't LARP? What do they think of it?

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Nation of Gau Dring As told by Lakomasoi Nuntiak Top of Gau Dring

Photo by Jesse Gifford
The Lands of Gau Dring are mostly woodlands, with mountains on the Eastern Border and a river coming up from the south, on the northern border are plains used mostly for farming. Out on the Plains wheat fields are planted in the spring as well as rice and varying crops, one of the Major commodities will eventually be Ironwood Bananas once the trees grow to fruition. On the base of the Mountains fresh Grape crops will be planted and harvested to make Wines, and Kyara has plans to grow Tea trees around the Nation, until then she will have to make due walking to the Jade dragon tea house on the borders. Inside the mountains Im told there is potential for mining Jewels and Ores, both of which will come in handy once I move my forge from the Borderlands. 

In the Center of the Nation Ground has been broken on the Start of what will be the Main City of Gau Dring as well as the location for the Grand Cathedral of Harlequin. While Harlequin is the Main deity you are not required to worship. The nation’s policies are open to any Deity. Other gods that are worshipped within Gau Dring are Garm and The Fates.

The Lands pose a great number of advantages if things could go smoothly, however as the location I've chosen once was section of the Borderlands and still lies close to the borders we have our fair share of problems. Roving bands of chaos worshippers, Small temples set up that keep to themselves, the occasional Chaos portal opening up and spewing forth all manner of problems. Besides this however I feel there may be something we aren't seeing I get a feeling of something watching, whispering just out of reach in my mind. It will take time however i think we can reach an amicable agreement with the Natives here. 

This brings me onto the people of Gau Dring, many of the inhabitants that have chosen this as their home actually aren't from the area. After the War with Bedlam there were many who had joined in my Army under the banner of Harlequin who didn't have a home to return to, thankfully Vawn and Eagles Rook were able to put them up for the winter and I have now moved that Army here. The army has disbanded but many chose settle in Gau Dring. 

The Hierarchy of Gau Dring is simple. Most of it can be ruled into three parts. There are three Castes of people, Civilian, Recruit, and Military. (Names are subject to change once we find something suitable) Everyone who joins the Nation comes in as a Civilian, being a civilian gives you the protection of Gau Dring as long as you follow the Laws but you are not required to do any tasks. You may stay a Civilian as long as you want or you may choose to leave the Nation at any point without penalty. as a civilian you are not allowed to wear any of the Heraldry only the nations colors. To become a Recruit you first must have been a civilian for at least 6 months, this is the first step to becoming the next rank up and there is no set time Limit on how long you can stay at this position, during this time you must show a willingness to help the nation and to improve yourself, you must find someone in the next Rank to represent you. While you are a recruit a number of tasks will be asked of you and others will not, you will have to figure out what the goals are on your own. As a recruit you will be allowed to wear the Nations' Symbol on the left side of you attire The Final rank is Military which will be the standing guard and army of the nation, in this rank you can Achieve Various roles and Titles, you are also allowed to add a personal Symbol to your attire on the opposite side from the Nations Symbol. 

My idea behind much of the Nation is to take what I have seen over the years, what I feel has worked
and try to improve upon that in my own way.

Fresh Faces- Joshua "Enlon" Whelan

Photo by Robyn Nielsen
How did you learn about Realms?

I actually stumbled upon it. Originally I had no clue what LARPing was. Then I saw it on a show and I instantly wanted to find a group. Sadly, I could not find one in my area. Then, one day, my sister was having her cheerleading practice. While that practice was going on the Suffield realms practice was going on at the same time. My parents, who knew I had been looking for a LARP group. told me about it and right away I tried heading over to see them. Sadly I was too late and I had to wait untill the next week.

How many event have you been to?
After Folkestone questing 2014 I have been to exactly 20 events.

Have you ever LARP’ed before?  If so tell us about it?
I have never LARPed before Realms.
What is your character like?  Where are they from? What is their race? What is important to them? 
My character’s name is Enlon he is a good and kind person. He has no origin home but he is currently lives in “Gau Dring”.  His race is just a typical human, nothing special. The most important thing to Enlon is the people he is with and the friends he has.

What do you remember most about your first event?
The first event I had ever been to was Black and White, and I’d have to say my most memorable part of it was the food and also the newbie quest. Another thing I remember was that I didn’t really know how the magic system worked, but I knew I wanted to learn it.  My first spell was “Immunity to poison” because I wanted to drink the poisoned drink at Black and White.

What things have helped to make you feel welcome in game?

Photo by Dustin Mack
Really I'd have to say what made me feel welcome into the game was the people that helped me out at the first practice I went to ever.

What parts of the game do you find most challenging?

The part of the game that I find most challenging would have to be trying to find my niche into the game. To determine what type of role I should play in the game.

Do you have any game related goals (as either a player or character)?

My goal is to have a good balance in the game, being able to hold my own as a fighter but also being able to be a backup caster, to be able to hold off the enemy forces, but also be able to help solve the bigger picture.

What advice would you give other new players?
Don’t be afraid to go and talk to people in this game. You can’t meet new people unless you say “hello”. Also don’t be afraid to ask questions.

What have you enjoyed most about the game so far?

What I love about this game so far is the overall team work, and also I love how even though we understand there is the possibility to get hit in the face or in the nose when someone gets cracked in uncomfortable spots people around them stop and make sure they are ok. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

What You Missed- Free Nations Fall Festival by Jason "Aeston" Rosa

I specifically asked for the opportunity to write this "What You Missed" issue. I will begin with the disclaimer that, obviously, as a Free Nations event, I am part of one of the groups that was responsible for its creation. That being said, I was not involved with any of the planning or execution of the parts of the event that happened and therefore was a patron of the event in the full sense of the word.

I write this retrospective with very mixed emotions. First, I am elated overall with the theme, quality, and production of the Free Nations Fall Festival for reasons I will expound upon shortly, but also I am saddened by the great number of groups and individuals that did not get to personally experience a social event that is every bit on par with some of the best our community offers.

As this event was, from the beginning, planned to be a social event, I am sad to say that it suffered, even more than other types of events would, from the low attendance. It was still an engaging, enjoyable, and worthy event, but I could not help but see the myriad of ways it would have been exceptional had a greater number of individuals had attended.

The atmosphere at the event was well planned. Banners and pennants hung in the pavilion and bagpipe and similarly appropriate and festive music played all during the day. This site is one of my favorites, there is a fantastic kitchen and BBQ pit, and it has just the right amount of room for all manner of activities. It felt like a festival atmosphere.

The daytime was slated for a smattering of different tournament types. The standard Order of the List individual tournaments were there, but the star of the day were the aloof, entertaining contests designed to be fun and casual, "archery bowling" and "the three legged race" among them. Here is one of the many places where the event would have benefited many times over from more people coming out. These tournaments were designed to be at their best with a whole crowd of participants and spectators, cheering and laughing together as a community in the spirit of friendly competition, and it is unfortunate that they did not get a chance to reach their full potential for entertainment.

Another component of the day (and the evening as well) was the food. As good as the food at any feast, this is one of the areas where the staff excelled. The ribs were fall-off-the-bone tender. The steaks were a fantastic cut and cooked perfectly. Bacon-wrapped chicken, gouda mac and cheese, deviled eggs, marinated steak tips, loaded baked potatoes, the list of amazing, hearty, perfectly made food goes on and on, and the deserts were nothing short of decadent. The staff was very kind to make every variety of food that they brought along to delight their attendees, despite not actually having enough people there to eat it all.

As day waned into evening the tournaments ended and the revelry began. I know that there was an evening tournament planned on the large field that sounded like it was going to be a lot of fun, but without enough players to participate I believe the staff decided to keep it secret and hope for a better turn out in the future. But unfettered by that disappointment, the staff and participants began one of the most fun and relaxing evenings I have been privileged to partake of in my time in the Realms. 

Live music was performed by several different musicians on a variety of types of instruments. The food continued to pour out of the kitchen, keeping everyone full and happy throughout the night hours, and, of course, people partook of spirits as they talked and celebrated late into the night, rekindling old friendships and forging new ones. It was honestly one of the most enjoyable evenings I ever had in my time in the games, and again, I must lament the opportunity lost. Had the event been more populated by a crowd more diverse in age and affiliation, I can only imagine the closeness it could have inspired in future generations and the myriad of ways the community could have grown from the ability to talk to one another as equals and to raise our glasses to each other in friendship.

I should note as well that the staff lived up to their boasts of keeping the celebration in character. The music was either live or played over the speaker but entirely appropriate to the mood. Plenty of tankards were brought or provided so there was not a red solo cup or aluminum can in sight. Even though there were tournaments during the day, throughout the entire event garb standards were high and conversations seemed to almost universally pertain to in character topics. It felt like a day of celebration for our characters, not just for us as players.

Sunday, was slated to be a day of questing, and because my own squire had developed it all from the ground up I am confident everything about it would have been successful. Unfortunately almost all of the people that remained for Sunday were staff members or people who had been asked to NPC, so it was decided that quest would be run another time. Another unavoidable result of the low turn out. But the staff did follow through as promised, providing a delicious and hearty breakfast to begin the morning with, allowing everyone a relaxing early day as people eventually collected themselves enough to leave their fantasy lives behind rejoin the real world.

As I said when I began, I asked for the opportunity to write this "What You Missed". I wanted to convey, as honestly and strongly as I could that we, as a community, missed something here, and I take no pause in editorializing how much so. 

I do not begrudge a single individual their reasons for not attending. Not everyone can go to every event. Very few people can go to more than one, maybe two a month, and there have a been a lot of superior ones in the last few weeks. I certainly have a limit of what I can go to and it is only a rare individual who does not have to pick and choose what events they hit. Each of us have real lives and other duties that we must attend to. Each of us have unfortunate circumstances that can get in the way even when we have every intention to hit a Realms event that weekend. I am not shaming those of you who were unable to come nor am I belittling whatever happened to keep you away. I believe very strongly that you would have been there if you could have, and I thank you for that intention.

In the end, I am only suggesting these things; first to the eventholders and staff of The Free Nations Fall Festival; you did a fantastic job in every way and you should not let the unfortunate circumstances of your low attendance dissuade you from doing it all over again next year. You did everything right. You provided a fully in character environment in a set of situations where people are always more likely to break character at any other event. Well done.

Secondly, that if and when next autumn comes around, and this event again appears on the calendar, that those of you who are able to do so try your best to overcome competing obligations and conflicts of schedule to at least stop by. I am sure that next year's event will be every bit the quality of this year's, and it will be made all the better by your presence there to help us celebrate and to more fully join us together as a community.

Artist Profile- Maryanne "Shalindra" English Betie

What mediums do you work in? 
I tend to work in watercolors the most, but even then it's mostly a hodge-podge of watercolor paint, watercolor pencils, India ink, white gouache, and anything sparkly: glitter, Swarovski crystals... I work in a variety of sizes, from 11"x14" all the way down to 2.5"x3.5" for ACEOs.
Have you had any formal art training? 
Yes. I graduated with a BA in Fine Arts, with a concentration in Education. I've also got a wee bit of Graphic Design work done (through a certification program).
Where do you find inspiration? 
Music, nature, other artists. Random, weird thoughts during the day, like "Hey, my zombie girl ought to be our holiday card this year!"
Has your art been influenced by Realms? If so, how? 
When I was a lot more active, I did a lot of art pieces related to my old drow plot. I hope to get more Realms related work done as we get more active in the community.
Where do you share your work? 
What project/projects that you've created have you been particularly proud of? 
I don't do a lot of projects per se; since having kids my art isn't as prolific as it used to be! I really loved vending at some of the local Ren faires, and I hope to get back to doing that again in the future. One recent project that I have been working on are my Little Monsters, aimed at small children. It's the monsters of myth as toddlers with toys and treats.
What projects do you hope to complete in the future? 
I'd love to do a coloring book aimed at all ages, along with a children's book of Monsters Under the Bed. The MUtB are actually really cute, until some unsuspecting kid peeps under the bed and scares them into screaming for their own mommy! Helped one of my kids through that phase and I thought it might help other kids.
What other Realms artists work do you enjoy? 

Got to get back in the swing, see who's making the arts now. Ask me again in a few months. ;)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

What You Missed, Free Nations Fall Festival- Part 2

photo by Jesse Gifford

photo by Jesse Gifford

photo by Jesse Gifford

Rhiassan sign language
photo by Jesse Gifford

photo by Jesse Gifford

photo by Jesse Gifford

And thats why we call her "Turret-Head"
photo by Jesse Gifford

Kiira's Rhiassan beach front property
Photo by Jesse Gifford

photo by Jesse Gifford

Photo by Jesse Gifford

photo by Jesse Gifford

What You Missed, Free Nations Fall Festival

Photo by Uncle Jesse 

Gwen's entourage
Photo by Uncle Jesse 

Why can't we all get along?
Photo by Uncle Jesse 

warrior relaxing
photo by Uncle Jesse 

2 swords are better than 1
photo by Uncle Jesse 

2 blades, 1 shield?  Im in.
Photo by Uncle Jesse

Photo by Uncle Jesse

warrior, fashonista

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The View Retrospective

Though the View is no longer produced in a print format, there are still numerous gems contained within the paper pages of the many years of past editions. However, unless one has, or knows someone who has, a collection of past issues, it can be difficult  for many players to gain access to this content - let alone sift through each booklet to find it. To that end, the staff of The View from Valehaven would like to take this opportunity to announce the launch of a new Feature series.  Called "The View Retrospective," the goal of this series is to draw out articles, stories, and guides that are as pertinent today as they were when they were first written. By re-publishing these pieces in our current online format, it is our hope that these pieces can not only continue to serve as a source of knowledge, entertainment, and inspiration to the community as a whole, but will also find a more easily accessible home on The View from Valehaven blog. Additionally, re-publishing of past content through the "Retrospective" series will  serve not only to highlight some excellent  submissions from players that may not be as active in the game anymore, but also showcase their dedication to our Realms community through their writing.- Jennifer DeNardis Rosa

Back to Basics:
What new players should know, and old ones should remember....
By Kelly Bonci (Dame Twenaria) and Angela Earle Gray (Dame Phoenix of Folkestone)
  Originally published in The View from Valehaven, 2nd Edition, Volume 1, Issue 1, June/July 2004. 

                PART I: When new players join our game there is often an emphasis on combat. The importance of learning to call blows properly and fight safely is rightfully recognized. However, there is a tendency to overlook the value of studying our in-character world, and the benefit of role-playing. Remembering the following when in-character can help you immerse yourself in the Realms world.

·         There are no such things as "NPC's" (Or Non-Player Characters). Thus, "look the NPC's are coming," is not an IC (or In-Character) statement. Try to figure out what you are fighting, and call them what they are, be it Trolls, Goblins, or brown, furry beasts. It is often helpful to ask an NPC to describe what they are playing to you, and keep that mental picture in your mind. For example if when fighting a Drider you understand they have eight legs, the fact that they are immune to leg shots can add to your mental picture. You can boast. "I took off one of his hairy legs, but he stood strong on his other seven, seemingly oblivious to my blows!"
·         Characters always take their shots. It is frustrating to fight against someone who doesn't seem to be taking their blows. It is an appropriate situation to go out of character to talk to a Marshal. Then try to let it go, or avoid fighting that particular person. Taking blows is an OOC (or Out-of-Character) mechanic, and focusing on if people are doing it well or not, changes your focus to an OOC one.
·          Your role-playing doesn't just add to the game for you. Many people come to Realms to immerse themselves in a living fantasy world. When you are in-character, it helps others play in-character and enjoy the game more. You may be able to come up with some wonderfully creative reasons that you have cell phones, soda cans. baseball hats, and other modern items. That doesn't change the fact that the presence of these items will often detract from the experience of others.
·         Having appropriate garb helps maintain the illusion for people as well. There are many simple and inexpensive ways to obtain or create garb, some are listed in the Newbie Guide, and more will be in future entries of this column. The most essential advice is to avoid clothes with advertising, or lettering.
·         Ask questions. Forming a picture of the world helps make it easier to live in it. Knowing where your character is from and their age lets you know where to focus your energy on. If you've lived in an area you should know something about what the land is like and who is in charge. A sense of major events that have occurred there in your lifetime helps a lot too.

                There are as many other pieces of advice as there are oldbies. Ask around, people are willing to share lots of tips. We are happy you're here. New characters add to the role-playing experience for us, and most of us would be happy to help add to the experience for you.

                 Just remember to catch us when we are out of character. J

Why I Want to Go- Tournaments of Chaos

This weekend brings a long standing Northern tradition: the 9th Tournaments of Chaos.  The event promises to be full of traditional tournaments (counts towards Order of the List), a feast of food, and (most exciting in my book) a set of modular quests.  The quests are designed to go on while there are tourneys, and can take parties of 6-10 people at a time.  While it centers on Stonewood plot, the EH seems open to tailoring the quest to allow player to have the most fun possible.  This is in addition to a night quest each Friday night and Saturday night.
While the event is a bit of a drive (Creathorne farm in Grafton) this weekend will be beautiful for checking out the leaves, so why not take a trip up North and see what the 9th annual Tournaments of Chaos has in store for you.
But be kind and pre reg!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Building the Fourth Wall, or, How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Paste by Rhiannon Chiacchiaro

There is a common piece of snark that goes around the Realms community: “The Realms is a LARP without the RP.” Some people blame “stick jock” culture, others say it’s due to the low barrier to entry, and yet another opinion places fault on the fact that so many of us consider the Realms a community first and a game second. Recently, there has been some more drive to keep the game in-character during events. Garbing initiatives, immersion marshals, and enhanced witchcraft rules have all played a part in trying to keep the Realms from becoming little more than a boffer sport with chainmaille. But I’m not here to discuss the fine points of what does or doesn’t make a LARP. Instead, I’m here to provide a guide to those interested in getting into character during an event and staying there. Some of these tips might seem silly or a little passive aggressive, but use your best judgment and adapt to fit your needs.

  1. Lead by example
In my opinion, the best and easiest way to stay in character is to make sure that you make a point to not break character, even if someone else does. The biggest examples of this are situations where someone calls out your OOC name, references plans for after the event, or tries to make other, non-game related small talk during down time. In these situations, the best thing to do is to not break character. For example, I have a lot of people call me Rhiannon during events. The way I respond to this is by saying “Sorry, I think Rhiannon is that lady from Folkestone. My name is Tria/Starmaw/Elspeth/whoever I may be at the time.” I usually then add some sort of good natured quip about how we don’t really look that much alike and I have no idea why we keep getting confused. Keeping IC and politely correcting is a good way to remind the person that you would like to stay immersed without giving them a hard time about it.

Another tricky situation is when you’re in an environment where it feels like nobody wants to RP. When you’re at a feast, it can be incredibly difficult to keep people IC because a lot of times they just want to socialize. There’s nothing wrong with saying “Hey, if you guys are going to be chatting OOC, I’m going to go hang out over there.” Look for a group of people working on puzzles or divinations, since those both often lead to more intense RP than people just sitting around. At the very least, you’ll be able to surround yourself in more immersion, and if you’re lucky, you might just make some friends.

If you find yourself really unable to get IC because someone (or someones) just can’t RP to save their lives and won’t listen to polite nudging, you always have the option to inform a marshal. I can’t guarantee that they’ll do anything about it, but most questing events (especially ones that have immersion rules in effect) will have someone willing to speak to the person about staying IC. You paid to go to a LARP, and you have the right to actually LARP while you’re there. (There is a caveat to this, which I explain in tip 5).

  1. Find your shtick
As with certain spells, a focus can sometimes aid your RP experience. When I play Starmaw, I have a very distinct accent. This forces my brain to remain in “Starmaw mode” until the end of the event, because I am so obviously changing something about myself (in this case, my voice). If you can pull off an accent or affect of the voice, it might prove to be helpful.  Be careful with this (and any other shtick) though, because if you end up with something goofy or inconsistent, it’s more likely to cause people to break character around you to rib you about it. Also make sure that whatever you choose won’t inhibit your ability to move or RP comfortably. You don’t want to hurt yourself and end up with a real bad leg because of your fake limp.

If you aren’t good with accents or don’t want to have to change your voice, here are some other possibilities for your IC “totem” as it were:
  • A physical tick (a bouncy knee or quiet voice)
  • A specific jewelry or garb item that you are aware of (a half-veil or bell bracelet)
  • A physical alteration (a tattoo or elf ears)
  • An action you do regularly (kissing a charm before battle or praying at sunset)
And remember, if you find yourself not liking the shtick you picked, you can do something to change it. Just remember to do it IC. We are a world of magic, myth, and meddling deities. Try to think of a way to RP your convalescence or change, and it may even lead to improved character depth.

  1. Hide your shame
Alright,” you might say to me. “I understand the point of trying to find something specific to use as an IC reminder, but what if I don’t want to have to constantly remind myself or be reminded? Is there anything I can do ahead of time to get into the game?” Good news, you! There are some very easy ways to make sure you get into character and it all comes down to one basic concept: don’t be naked.
Now, by naked, I don’t mean running around with your bits going everywhere. I mean wearing clothing that is just obviously not garb. While comfortable shoes and kneepads for fighters are important, there is a difference between being ready for the battlefield and being ready for the basketball court. Wearing sneakers, gym shorts, and a T-shirt is not being in garb. You’re not going to feel like you’re part of a medieval fantasy world in an outfit like that. You’re going to feel like you’re going out for a run. At the *very* least, throw on a tabard and a ring belt. If you can manage it, find some armor or perhaps a basic tunic and poofy pants. There are many newbie bins and resources out there for people looking to improve their fashion but are low on money, time or skill (and I highly encourage anyone who has such a collection going to comment below with their contact information).

Once you have something that can be considered passable garb, make a point of saying to yourself that once you put it on, you’re going to be IC. If you want, do what I do and have a “getting into character” ritual. As Starmaw, I make sure that as soon as I get my elf ears on, the accent goes with it and stays. From that moment on, I am IC. Even if you don’t use shtick like that, you can still make a point of saying “once my surcoat is on, I am my character” or something to that effect. Sometimes you’re running late and might have to throw your garb on last minute. Just make sure to take a second while doing so to remind yourself that you’re leaving real life with the car (emergencies notwithstanding of course) and you’re going to be immersed now.

  1. Define the line
One of the biggest issues I’ve observed in terms of people breaking character is that they will be talking about something IC and then suddenly just switch to OOC. This can be very jarring and can really screw with your immersion. Now, while you can’t force someone else to clearly define their IC/OOC line, there are things you can do to be obvious about it (and, by extension, do that leading by example thing I mentioned).
The official Realms method for talking OOC is to put your hand over your head. A lot of times, however, people in extended conversations won’t do that because it’s tiring. The best counter to this is to do it yourself. Always have your hand over your head when talking OOC, no matter how long the conversation. In my experience, people often say “Oh, put your hand down” after a while or something, which gives you the prime opportunity to let them know that if you do, you will be back IC. You can also pull the trick from earlier and refuse to break character if someone isn’t obviously signalling they are OOC. Without getting passive aggressive about it, you can make it clear that you as your character have no idea who these Bruins are or what it means to completely destroy a Hab, giving the hint that their OOC talk is going to fall on deaf ears.

Another option, if people don’t really regard the hand over the head, is to add a secondary, verbal cue. Many other LARPs use the word “Clarify” to indicate that they are asking an OOC question. You can use “Clarify,” “Out of game,” or some other short, unintrusive word or phrase to make it clear that you are taking a brief step away from your character. Just make sure to obviously step back into character afterwards.

  1. Don’t sweat it
The last piece of advice I have for you is one that seems intuitive but seems to be hard to live by. Don’t be too hard on yourself. If you make a mistake and slip up, deal with it and move on. If you accidentally start referencing something OOC and catch yourself, just a quick “my bad” and a return to character is fine. A common issue that I encounter is that people will get over-explanatory on something like “I’m acting this way IC but don’t worry because I actually feel this way OOC.” Ironically, that often ends up breaking immersion harder than if someone just stayed IC and let it happen. If you feel it’s something that warrants clarification, pull the person aside at some point and have a quick “Everything cool?” conversation, but don’t necessarily break the flow of the interaction to do so.

Additionally, don’t take it upon yourself to be the immersion police. If someone makes one accidental slip, don’t go dogging them for the rest of the event. Also don’t be that guy who listens around for other people breaking character, because that’s actually going to pull you out more and make everyone feel uncomfortable RPing around you. In the end, we’re here to have fun. If you find your fun inhibited, you have the right to make that known. Just remember that if you’re keeping someone else from enjoying themselves, they’re probably going to tell you as well.

So there you have it. Your basic guide to playing the roles. Next time, we’ll be taking a look at the EH perspective, and coming up with some good tips for running an immersive event. Comment below with your favorite techniques for keeping IC, or post questions that I can address at the beginning of my next article. Happy roleplaying!

Question of the Week 163

We're going to try a new format for questions of the week. The first week of the month we'll be asking people to share their advice on something. The second week we'll be asking for stories of specific things. The third we'll be asking out of character questions. The fourth we'll be asking for suggestions and feedback related to the View.

This week looking for suggestions for future questions of the week?

Friday, September 19, 2014

What You Missed- Disregard of Shadows- by Leanne "Faelinn" Miccichi

This even promised high roleplaying and did a great job of trying to immerse the players.  At the start of the event, the reading of the event specific rules was done completely in an in-character fashion.  You really got the feel of the event right off the bat.

There were plenty of people to interact with if you didn't want to go on the various mini-missions.  The students (who were very well prepped NPCs, complete with their own quirks and magical specialties) encouraged participation and exploration of not only the magic school itself, but also various forms of magic.  A wild-eyed alchemist looking for just the right potion combinations (don't touch his stuff, he's sensitive).  A shady merchant with his discount scrolls of dubious origin.  You even got to learn about the importance of fire-magic safety.  Don't sit in the line of fire of a dubiously warded piece of paper while a fireball is being flung at it.  It turns out the paper will be completely fine, but you'll be burnt to a crisp and your fellow adventures will use your body to experiment with runic magic trying to raise you.  Just ask Magus Meerkat!

As stated, there were various missions and adventures going on all day that let you get a glimpse of the bigger picture without giving it all away.  NPCs not affiliated with the school hinted at a sinister "Mistress" sending her minions looking for a mana sprite and various dark magics trying to blight the land.  There was even an alligator infested river!  And a cube of ULTIMATE EVIL!!!

Due to the low PC turn out, you had to really try to not be involved.  You didn't need to go on every exploration adventure or talk to every NPC to feel like you were a main player.  The upside/downside of that is that when the PCs spent longer than necessary trying to solve some problems, there were NPC students to help troubleshoot or solve things for you.

At the end of the day, we were asked to flee from the school when the Mistress's onslaught became too much.  Why was the Headmaster so reluctant to order an evacuation?  What do you do with the font of power left over from curing the blight?  What else was empowered by the ritual?  And what was up with that little girl and her "dragon" familiar?

All in all it was a fun day that players explore, learn weird powers, and dip their toes into a larger plot with ease.

Also ice cream cake!

Jeremy "Nighthawk" Grayson

Photo by Robyn Nielsen
How long have you been playing?
My first event was The Brenda Armageddon, Labor Day Weekend 1996, although I had attended practices in CT before that.

How has the game changed since you've been playing?
Weapons have gotten lighter and it has sped up combat and made it more accessible to the  less burly crowd. Tournament fighting has become more prevalent, partially due to the Order of the list and its members.  I think your average quester has become much more reliant on spells and seer magic to solve problems, instead of critical thinking.

Who have you learned the most from?
I have learned from almost every person whom I have had continued contact with in and out of game.  To all of you, I thank you.   To Dave Dolph, thank you for being goofy with a first event newbie who was out of his element.

Photo by Robyn Nielsen
What was your best moment IC?
Being knighted. All of them.

What was your best moment as a NPC/EH/Player?
There are several: helping Lani and Alysha throw their first event, winning the “Most Dependable to Help an Event Holder” view award, being involved in Lani winning her first “Best Feast” award.  Any time I can help the new people in our game learn how it works.

What would you like to see changed or developed more in game?
I think combat has a little way to go. Armor calling seems to be the issue I see the most; increasing armor use at practice will hopefully fix this. If not, we might need a more drastic change. The Spell System… it is bloated and needs to be changed or pruned.
Somewhere the rules interpretations changed from, “if the Omnibus doesn’t say something is legal, I can’t do it” to “if it doesn't say I can’t, I can.” This is a bad understanding shift.

What advice would you give new players?
Photo by Jesse Gifford
Learn to separate the player from the character. Ask for help and input. Try new things in game. The most important things in the game are to not cheat and have fun.

What do you love most about the game?
The people. All of my longest and closest friends are from game.

Who would you like to see the next interview be with?
Dave Dolph, but as of this printing his Interview was published (and be read here), and Travis Wilcox.

Anything else you'd like to take the opportunity to put into print?
NPC more, there are almost never enough.