Friday, February 27, 2015

The Bastards Guide to the Nations of the Realms

So your pals Tuilli and Ed have run into all sorts so far in their travels and have encountered many a “character”.  We’ve compiled this wee list of some of the nations we’ve encountered so far and our impressions.  If you are not on the list, then perhaps good for you?

Folkestone:  A long-lasting nation with great storytellers and writers led by Lord Sir Magus Malaki (who may or may not be led in turn by Dame Magus Phoenix).  If you go to a Folkestone soiree, you will be well fed and well entertained… or have to endure a long winded story about “the way things were”...
Do join: If you enjoy being in an nation with rich history and experienced players.
Don’t Join: If you hate hugs from Redheads, or people with knightly titles.

Ashenmark:  They say the black and gold stands for mystery and fading youth.  I’m pretty sure that the mystery part helps them hide in the shadows, but the fading youth is more just to hide the urine stains from when they couldn’t hide.  That being said, they have some new blood, and some guy who won’t stay dead as a leader and he is OK...
Do join Ashenmark: If you love Ashenmark day.
Don’t join Ashenmark:  If you’ve actually been to Ashenmark day..

Chimeron: Another old nation, led by Good King Cecil® is one of the largest in the Realms.They are host to many sub-nations and one shindig by the name of Uncle Cecil’s Crazy Tavern.
Do join Chimeron:  If you want to belong to one of the biggest groups in the Realms.
Don’t join Chimeron:  If you can’t help but laugh every time you encounter someone from a sub-nation called Griffindor.  Yes, this is a subnation of Chimeron.

Neden: a bunch of debaucherous, depraved madmen (and Karmha to round it off), but enough nice things about them, lets get into the bad parts...
Do join Neden: If you hate wearing pants, and love having fun.
Don’t join Neden: If you like being able to have people Google your nation’s name without worry.

Creathorne:  A nation filled with strong opinions; mostly those of their leader, Sir Shean.  They hate anyone who is not human or an “proper” elf; drow need not apply.  They are the host the famous Tournament of Creathorne, a “fight hard, play hard” sort of tourney from what I hear.  We have availed ourselves of the Tavern there on a few occasions and found it well stocked and also a fun place for a fight.
Do join Creathorne:  You enjoy a good tavern brawl.
Don’t join Creathorne: If you are prone to bring “trophies” in the form of a 30 foot long tentacle from some multi-limbed and dangerous beast you just killed back to the tavern and are not expecting the soul crushing rejection of offering it to Sir Shean as a trophy for the tavern only to be painfully rebuked.

Blackwood:  Not much is known to us about Blackwood (we didn’t really bother to ask).  They put on a fine tourney, have some of the top gambling houses in the Realms and are glad to take all your (and your childrens) money.  Members that come to mind are Zatarra and Tao.  Both of them you have to watch your coin purse around, although chances are, Tao will be more likely to swindle you out of coin and home on the Blackjack tables...
Do join Blackwood:  If you love gambling.
Don’t join Blackwood:  If you hate losing all your money to Sir Tao.

Northern Alliance:  they run a RP-only campfire which is pretty awesome, plus they are the ones typically docked out in the most fur and leather gear.  Well garbed for sure but they seem to get a bit tetchy if you try to speak with a Swedish accent (or worse, like the Swedish Chef).
Do join the NA:  If you love roleplaying so much that you snore with a Nordic accent.
Don’t join the NA:  If you are a member of PETA.

Grimloch:  A nation that chose to live in a swamp filled with necromancers and undead.  Yeah, they are that sort of crazy.  Run as a militant oligarchy by the Warlords and Warmarkes, they are the nation to call when you need something absolutely, completely and irrevocably dead.
Do join Grimloch:  If you like stabbing people.  Hard.
Don’t join Grimloch:  (The author will not fill in this section as he would prefer not to get stabbed, hard or otherwise)

Rhiassa:  Feastocrats and fancy hats.  Run by Lord Sir Aeston Stromgate, Knight of the Realms (and of the Eternal Flame, Rhiassa, the Blue Rose), Lord of Rhiassa AND Vinehaeven, and Patriarch of the Oaken Guard (yeah, lots of titles, he puts the Folkestone people to shame).  Rhiassa has some of the top feast events in the Realms, thanks in a major to Sir Sir Gwen (she just got knighted in a two-for-one special at the last Feast of Leviathan).  They also are responsible for the grand event that is the famed Queen of Hearts Tournaments and War Tourneys.
Do join Rhiassa:  You enjoy serving the community as well as good food.
Don’t join Rhiassa:  If you hate Aeston’s hat or people with too many titles.

Mayerling:  A bunch of well-dressed adventurers who all have taken the spell “Launch ALL the arrows, and let Tuilli’s throat get in the way of all of them”.  You can pick them out at the feasts as the ones who are sometimes more armored than Grimloch.  Mayerling’s armor is prettier.
Do join: If you love ranged fighting.
Don’t join: If you want heraldry that is easy to reproduce…

Saurabia:  a relatively new nation whose ranks include a bunch of dinosaurs and a Canadian.
Do join Saurabia: if your characters name could be made hilarious by adding “-saurus” to the end of it.
Don’t join Saurabia.

Raised in the Realms

Photo by Angela Gray
The founding members of Realms were barely more than kids when they started our epic community. As the game has grown. and people have remained active as they entered new life stages and we've attracted older newbies who've joined us with their families, our ranks have expanded to include kids and teens.  Their impact on who we are and ours on who they become is something that is fairly unique to us in the world of gaming. Welcome to a new interview column that asks parents to share their thoughts on these special relationships.

Speaking with Rissa "Quazar" Sullivan on her son with husband Rob "Dante" Sullivan.

What is your son’s names/character names? Bobby (ooc). No IC name yet. He is taking his time choosing.

How old is he? 8

What period of his life have he been involved in Realms? He came to Realms a bit when he was an infant and then sporadically when he was a toddler. Now we take him to everything that we go to which isn't high combat.

What events or types of events do he enjoy most? Anything that has kids activities at it.

What are his favorite things to do at an event? The Rhiassa Carnival. That will be a hard one to top.

What do you feel are the positives he has gotten out of being a part of the Realms? Independence. At this age we are comfortable letting him roam a bit by himself during feasts and probably contained tournaments.

Have you had any concerns/challenges related to him being a part of Realms?
We are still trying to convey the duality of hanging out with ooc friends and submersing yourself in this pretend world as it pertains to plot.
Other concerns have been how to balance childcare between 2 parents who want to go to Realms to be paste eaters and being involved in the adult time when available.
Normal concerns (for me at least) of what age does a child understand the adults he looks up to portraying some of the stronger emotions (rage, etc) for the purposes of role playing but be able to turn it off in a healthy way.

Any memorable moments related to his Realms careers?
Bobby won best sportsmanship award at Tournaments of Creathorne a few years ago. It was his first event where he was allowed to play. He felt bad that he didn't win, even though everyone else was a lot bigger than him in the kids tourney. After every match though he shook their hand and told them how good of a job they did. We didn't teach him to do this. This is just part of who he is and what he brings to everything he does.

Photo by Angela Gray
What tips or advice do you have for other parents bringing children to Realms?
Work with your child on "playing Realms" at home. Bobby is an only child and when he goes to Realms it is too overwhelming to start to the lessen of what its like to be in character. Go to the supermarket as your characters. Let them garb up for it. You garb up for it. Try letting them be your squire there and speak about the feast you will be at later that night.

Anything else you’d like an opportunity to share related to being a Realms parent?
Some parents are very happy bringing their kids to Realms at a young age understanding this means following them around and letting them explore. For us parents who grew up playing Realms WAY too much (spell slutting, staying up for 3 days almost every weekend during the summer, you know who you are), this can feel like you are giving up an activity that defines your independence. I think this is especially true for new parents. If this pertains to you, as it did to me, finding a balance with your partner and allowing yourself to be less involved for a bit is big.

Why I joined Gau Dring by Liz "Crystal" Ferraina

The Nation of Gau Dring is a fairly new nation to the Realms. It is currently made up of nine members: Joshua Fitzgerald, Rosemary Campbell, Joshua Whelan, Patrick Bucior, Cory Roy, Lisa Lacroix, Edward Lynch, Gabriella Leon, and myself, Elizabeth Ferraina.

Personally, as becoming a new member to the realms, I’ve had many great experiences when it came to creating my character, and finding which path I wanted to go down. I had very little knowledge as to what a nation truly was all about. I had met the members through Joshua Whelan, who had also brought me into the Realms. I am currently a citizen, for I am still developing my character Crystal.

The Nation of Gau Dring, being a fairly new nation, has great potential to grow. Since the nation is made up of a diverse selection of members- fighters, casters, both experienced and new, this allows the opportunity for us to grow together as a whole.

Photo by Jesse Gifford
We work well as a team, because we have patience, and keep an open mind on areas we need to improve. When the going gets tough, we think of ways we can work together, instead of calling quits. We are also open and honest with each other, and aren’t afraid of constructive criticism. Our nation leader, Josh Fitzgerald said “In truth our groups ability to do any job given to us and work as a team. This has been apparent to me since Folkstone Questing 2014. We work together unnaturally well for a young group and everyone is willing to pull their weight without question. It it's either that our how much we want to improve ourselves as a nation or individuals.” This will be our nation’s biggest strength is it continues to grow- because each of the members individually put in their time and effort to find ways we can stand strong together.  Nation member, Gabriella Leon says- “In character, only time will tell because this is relatively new, out of character, brings a sense of togetherness and family, while also fostering existing positive traits like work ethic, or teamwork etc. I want to be able to grow via adaptation, to fit in almost everywhere, and to not be afraid, or shy to accept a higher roll, or to move up wherever I could be in however much time that could take.”
However, being a newer nation leaves a few areas of improvement- such as the newer Realms members to become more skilled and strong. Member, Patrick Bucior agreed- “For weaknesses, we have a good member base, but the majority is newbies. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but there's still a lot to learn.” Also, member Gabriella Leon states “our weakness- we’re on the small side, newer nation, needs a lot of training in order to kick serious butt.”  With a nation as determined as ours, we won’t let each other fail, we will support each other as we improve.

Photo by Jesse Gifford
What attracted me to Gau Dring was the idea of a newer nation forming together. Being friends with the larpers who started the group also gave me an insight as to what they wanted their nation to become. The energy behind the individuals and their hospitality is what put the icing on the cake. Being able to grow as a member, along with several others who were also in the same position. Even being a citizen, I was able to have a part lending a hand when needed.Member Lisa Lacroix explains “The fact that we are all close friends who put together the nation makes for a good foundation for growth.”  Our second in command member Rose explained how she also benefitted from Gau Dring- “Joining the nation has had a couple benefits; one being that I get to be a part of a group growing and that's pretty awesome, the other being that the people we worked with before anyways are now a bit more organized. People have a purpose, a goal, and they want to work towards it.” Even though we rely on each other in the nation, we don’t have the constant feeling of obligation to do everything as a group.

Becoming a citizen member of Gau Dring has been beneficial to me both in character, and out of character. In character, it has taught me how to strategize, work cooperatively with the members, and to understand more of what a nation truly was. Because we are able to work so well together, and we all support each other, this allows us to grow, while feeling the comfort of each other’s company. Nation member Cory Roys explains how it benefits him- “This nation has helped me grow. Knowing I have people who will be there to support me is very helpful. I no longer need to feel as if I have to do everything on my own I trust the people in Gau Dring with my life every event we go to knowing that they will try there hardest to help me when I need it.” Out of character, I had the opportunity to get to know the members. We have all become close friends, who I am very thankful to have in my life.

10 Questions- Aaron "Rel" Metzger

Photo by Angela Gray
How long have you been playing?
Since the dawn of time!

Actually, that's an odd question.  I started doing practices and even went to the Newbie Night Quest in Fall of '99.  But due to certain...interactions between me and a cliff, my first official event wasn't until March 2000 (Tale Eternal - The Footsteps of Heroes).  So I guess we'll call it...15 years?  Yea, that sounds right.

How has the game changed since you've been playing?
Might be better to ask what hasn't changed...

Our spell system has added an additional path, added tons of new spells, removed many spells and changed pretty much every other spell.
Fighters have gotten new materials for weapon and armor making, as well as new techniques for making both.
The rules, in general, have become more formal and less ambiguous.

But for all the changes, it's still The Realms through and through.

Who have you learned the most from?
Hmmmm, that's a tough one.  If I had to point at one person, it would likely have to be Karen Veale (Brynn McKrye).  She brought me into the game and taught me really everything that is the core of my Realms beliefs.  For sure, I would not be playing if it weren't for her.  I will eternally be Her newbie.

What was your best moment IC?
Oh jeez, there are so many good moments.  Let me talk about my first big IC moment.  This was at Folkestone Questing in 2002 (Slip Sliding Away).  PCs were jumping from world to world, fixing as much as we could, all the while tracking down the cause (which happened to be some Imp).  So on Monday, we were chasing after the Imp, but having trouble catching up to him.  I think someone sent their CoP rope after him, to tangle him up, but he was quickly breaking free from it.

So I happened to have a 7th Circle Regional called Take One For The Team, which let me ask the EH/MM to do exactly that.  So I went up to Dave Dolph (who was running things) and told him I wanted to stop the Imp by taking one for the team.  He stopped, looked at me and gave me the biggest grin.  Moments later, the Imp and I had our right-hands tied to each other.  Thus began an epic struggle, a battle of strength and willpower.
Photo by Jesse Gifford

The Imp was surprised by his sudden jailor and I took advantage of the opportunity.  I towered over the Imp, strength, adrenaline and force of will pushing the Imp to the ground.  Victory was within my grasp when suddenly the Imp caught his breath and began to regain his power.  White-hot pain shot up my arm, maddening visions invaded my mind and the Imp slowly stood up as he began to force me to the ground.  As my body began to fail and my mind shatter, the world began to fade from view.  As the last ebb of life faded, a single word resonated in my head: NOT!!!

The Beast entered my broken body and filled me with boundless power.  My mind raced as my senses went into overdrive; the world came into the focus as broken bone and torn flesh began to mend.  The tables had officially turned.  With feral strength and speed, I threw off the Imp's attack and began one of my own again.  The Imp was surprised, but recovered quickly.  The struggle continued, both of us refusing to give up, but both of us beginning to tire.  As our fight continued, the Imp's eyes flitted over to our bound hands and he began to grin. My eyes quick darted over and I noticed the rope binding us began to fray and fall away.  The Imp's forced incarceration was coming to an end.

I tried calling out a warning, but my words came out only as growls and guttural noises.  The Beast's power had no place for language.  I continued yelling out, the rope growing thinner as it began to unravel.  The heroes Realms watched, unsure what to do or how to help.  Trent Shadowdragon, be it by luck or sudden insight, grabbed a magic dagger and tossed it to me.  Just as the rope was about to give, I caught the dagger and plunged it into the Imp's heart.  With the Imp on the ground, I took its soul as a sacrifice to the Beast and finally passed out.

What was your best moment as a NPC/EH/Player?
Another tough question but it would be a tie between throwing Shadows of Death and throwing Twilight Champion.  Both had some great moments (really too many to enumerate here), between hoards of Faceless Shadows, creepy Silent Hill transitions, slashing guts and pulling out intestines, a Shadow Basilisk, a giant Shadow Dragon and a climatic final battle between a beardless Rel and a shadowy demon!

Ahhh the memories...

What would you like to see changed or developed more in game?
More community resources or unification of the resources which already exist.  There must be thousands of NPC tabards in the Realms, but I always seem to be scrounging around for them whenever I throw an event/quest.  Would be great to have some common stock EHs can use and contribute to, instead of having to reinvent the wheel every weekend.

What advice would you give new players?
Try everything.  If you're a fighter, grab some spells.  If you're a spellcaster, pick up that sword.  You'll enjoy the game so much more if you can see both sides of the coin.

What do you love most about the game?
Everyone can throw an event.  There are so many games where content is gated by the game's creators and sometimes it's disappointing to see a great world where no one else can really add to it outside of their character.  Realms doesn't have that problem and it's the reason our game still exists today.

Who would you like to see the next interview be with?
I'm a little out of the loop, but would be great to see Beth Tozier get a crack at this, if she hasn't already.

Anything else you'd like to take the opportunity to put into print?
I know I've been away for a while, but...
Expect to see me back this June!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

What You Missed, Feast Of Creathorne by John "Tallon" Berrini

Heading to Feast of Creathone chords of an 80s power ballad get my heart pumping as I approach the site. The outline of a new expansive hall through the magic of slowly falling snow emerges as we enter the parking lot.
Photo: Jesse Gifford
The feast hall scene is immersive, decorated with banners from nations new and old. The sound of period music can be heard behind the backdrop of characters engaging each other in lively talk. The aroma of good food and bacon greet eager palates.

Walking through the gathered masses, Order of the list tournaments have attracted much attention. There is a wide field of competition with precision shots striking with recognizable thumps. When the dust settled it seemed that Guilliam had come out on top.
Photo: Jesse Gifford
Kitchen staff hit another home run. Chicken alfredo was prepared to a high standard and is a favorite of mine. Treats and multiple dinner courses were appreciated.
Eris did mom and dad (Shandar & Kiira) proud singing "Over the Rainbow". Aiden sang “Good Night Demon Slayer” and took second place. Garharz took the cake with a song parody touting himself as a worthwhile mercenary for hire. His prize was an item of choice.

Rillian won the Gambler's tournament.
Magical Moment by Jesse Gifford
Court held a few surprises. Tallon, long time leader of Neden, and its founder, stepped down and had Nymbous take his place. Guilliam took a new squire, Saka, into the Knights of the Sable Dragon. Zatara was in a new Achoria tabard, having chosen his providence of Blackwood.

All in all, the day sounds like it was wonderful, and a good time for friends, food and general folly. ---Kelly

The Felwood- by Steven "Therian" Matulewicz

I think I am in a fairly unique situation, in that the Felwood (a sub-nation of Chimeron) is my home, where I was born and raised.  I did not join so much as I have always been here.  It is just within the recent years I have decided to make the forest more than just a forest, to let people know it exists and would welcome new family.  I created the country because I did not want to be alone any more.

Our strengths lie in or ability to observe, to speak plainly and to act, in the service of protecting our nation and the Realms as a whole.  We want truth, and to spread the truth.  Silence is the enemy.

Our weakness presently is we are small: there are only 3 of us.  So from a martial standpoint, we are not strong yet.   But what we lack in numbers, we make up with in diversity.

What I get out of it, first and foremost, is family.  The second is perspective.  These are clear minded people that may not act as I would, but they act with a clear head and a keen eye.

To add a bit to what I was saying IC, I feel that the country is an attempt to fill a role within the Realms for those who do not want to RP someone used to a town or city.  I wanted to create a community or people who are a bit more RP- based, but are dedicated to helping make the Realms function in some way.  Since each new person will add to the over- all design of the country, it will tend to evolve over time to its purpose and ability.

What I get out of it is an opportunity to play the game in a way I have not previously and to stand outside my own comfort zone to try and learn new things and have different experiences,  I have been in the Realms for 24 years, so making the game new for myself and to convey what I have learned is important to me.  The Felwood allows me to do that.

Written by Master Sir Therian/ Steven Matulewicz

Belts of the Eternal Flame

Sean "Sir Wil" Veale

Photo by Jesse Gifford

1.  What year were you awarded your white belt?

2010  N+S War

2.  Who administered "the punch" and-- be honest!!--did it hurt?

Kathy Fey and it did a bit :)

3.  Whose belt did you wear until you got your own, and how was this significant for you?

Steve  M ,  as the current King of Chimeron it meant a lot to me to have that passed on.

4. Please describe your own belt's heraldry.

My heraldry has 3 purple downward arrows above a cross Sword and Spoon, with a Goblin face; with three teeth; over the spoon and sword.

5. Why did you chose that heraldry to represent you?

My the arrows came about as I saw many Knights belts with slashes or other markings and I wanted to keep that symbolism. Purple came about simply as my favorite color. The spoon represents my love of service, especially in a feast hall, the sword for my love of martial combat,  and the goblin mask for my love of NPC'ing. Three teeth because everyone knows the more teeth a goblin has the smarter it is.

6. Who did the artwork on your belt?

Kathy Fey

7. What do you remember most about your knighting?

 I remember having to work that day that ran late, so I decided to not go to the event. Karen Veale called me and had to convince me to show up without tipping her hand.  I don't remember what she said.  I remember being cranky coming up, but not soon after.

8. What does being a KoEF mean to you?

Being true to yourself means always try to keep improving.  I always am happy to give advice when asked, as well as take it when people have it.

Photo by Jesse Gifford

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Where Are They Now by Jesse "Barrett" Perry

"My name is Jesse Perry, and I've been hitting my friends with padded sticks since the winter of 1991.

My first official Realms event was the Spring Blakavar, thrown by John and Clarinda Merripen in the Spring of 1992, at the horse arena at U Mass Amherst. That was the first time Lars appeared, beginning a pretty crazy Realms career.

The winter before, Lackey (Pol Coville / Sir Peregrin of Tuath Fasach / Sebudai of the Plains), Clockwork (Sir Angus Coville, Avatar of Chimeron) Colin Campbell (Sir Shane of Chimeron, Clanlord of Clan Curaidh) Amy Reed (Treave Morningstar of Clan Curaidh / Reede), Kathy Journeay (Queen 'Meg' Marguerite of Chimeron) and others threw a nightquest in the fields behind Colin's parent's house for a bunch of high schoolers that had limited to no boffer experience. Kellera Born and Peter Brillinger had been to a few events already, but the rest of us were total nubcakes.

I was seventeen years old, in hip deep snow, fighting by the full moon and freezing my privates off. I did not know at that time that this was going to be the focus of all my time outside of school and work for the next thirteen years straight, but I knew that I liked it. A lot.

Lars, before he was a rogue healer, before he was a Knight of the Crown (Kill us first, Randy says so), before he was a Knight of The Eternal Flame, was just Jesse with a boffer in his hand. Plot was, frankly, for people that were known in game. I had spent more than one event, aimlessly wandering an event site with some newbie friends, completely missing every bit of plot, every fight, every skirmish. I knew I had to do something to get known, so I practiced.

Those that knew me then knew I always had a few weapons in the hatch of my car. My freshman year of college, I started a club at UMass Lowell, the Mediaeval Combat Club, which floundered and died because I couldn't convince anyone else that what I was doing was cool.

Instead, I drove from Lowell to Worcester on Monday nights. And to UNH on some Tuesday nights. And to Nashua on Wednesday nights. Thursday nights is when I actually stayed at school and got work done late into the evening, and then it was the weekend, which meant events. I practiced, and flailed against those that were better than me (which was everyone). I watched and tried to analyze how Lackey, Jared (McKrye), Dave (Sir Callin), Sir Jarrod, and Blade fought. I sparred with Keith (Sir Dirk), Tanja (Katasha), Alex Newbold, , Quick, Rob Riley,  Ken (Topknot), J (Blak), Hiro, Terry (Dol Kugen), Jeremy (Nighthawk), and Andy Adams. So many others, faces I will never forget, attached to names that I'm too removed from the system to recall. I fought between three and six days a week. I got ground into paste by all comers, until I figured out how to, on occasion, block with the minimal amount of movement, and counter attack.

Right around the same time, I finally got a spell list together that worked for me, and I was able to finesse. Lackey had introduced the "circle" magic system a few years before, and a first circle healer could use 4'6" of weaponry, and heal limb, and wear and repair armour. Later, Armor Cloak would be a thing, and I swapped some stuff around to make that work. It was perfect. Armor cloak to give me some wiggle room, heal limb, and a raise dead to give some type of utility to a quest team. It was on, and doors were opened to me as Lars. I could go places, fight well enough, give some utility, and make friends. Now, I had some tools at my disposal, and was lanky enough and had fast enough hands to be effective.

Things started falling into place. I was in the right place at the right time for some of Randy Gordon's initial forays into The Ascension War plotline. I started helping out NPCing, because I wanted to give back to the game that was so much damned fun for me. I made helped make masks with Carrie Dolph, and weapons for the Southern Wastes, and sparred for hours with the next round of new kids coming up through the system. I made a lot of friends outside of my home in Chimeron, because fighting next to people and telling "No shit, there I was.." stories is part of the community.

King James of Coventry (played by Clockwork, for Randy's plotline) knighted Lars one summer night around a campfire on Andy Disbrow's land. Duty assigned, and gladly accepted. About two years later, Jarrod Marshall knighted me as a KoEF at the Lone Tree Scout camp. He hit me square in the chest, and it sounded deep and booming. Terri Armstrong jumped up and lit me up with a piercing punch, knuckles to the bone on my left upper arm, swinging in from the outside as a 'thank you' for the torturous plot I helped put her through with Randy earlier that year. I carried that bruise for weeks.

As the Ascension War ended, Lars lost. He and his Squire, Reed, were lost to the Well of Souls. Prices had to be paid for the games we played, and losing Lars made the game much more 'real' to me. On that drive home, a humble rock farmer named Barrett was born in the back of my head.

While Lars came back and was eventually killed and scalped by Randy plot, again, it would Barrett who could finally do some the things I wanted to do from the beginning of my time in the Realms.

As long as I could remember, The Eclipse, a PC Mercenary Company that NPC'd more than it didn't, was a fun group of good fighters that would help out with eventholders. On occasion, they would merc out en masse for tournaments. On rare occasion, did they get involved with plot on their own. This seemed like a fine way to try something new. So I asked Al Nelson (Sir Alanom of the Eclipse) if he'd be okay with me joining up. He and Frank (Fraswah!) agreed. We got some new tunics made in a blue and black particolor, so we all looked like we belonged together, and made some profound effects at the next bunch of North South wars and Queen of Hearts.

I didn't wear my KoEF belt until I was able to go through and win tournaments with every weapon style. Single shorts, florentine, hand a half (which was always my crutch, but also the hardest tourney to win, due to the number of one path and straight fighters that preferred the range and speed of the style), great weapon and sword and board. When I finally won the hand and a half tourney, I went back to my tent, grabbed my belt, strapped in on over my armour, and laid down in the sun at the Swift River Sportsman's club for the better part of an hour, laughing to myself.

The next few years were spent mostly teaching, tourneying, and hiring myself out at any event I could. I stumbled into the Erl King plot being run by Shawn Stoddard, and my only real disappointment in my Realms career was not sticking around to see that through. I loved how intricate it is, and is internally consistent with new things to discover at every turn.

The last event I PC'd was Championing for Team Twen. There were three teams that year. Blade was the Champion for the Folkestone backed team, and we spent the whole weekend trading simultaneous kills. I think the single short tourney between us went forty-something rounds before he finally racked up his two kills to my one. We spent our spare time training the relative newcomer who was the champion for the third team about each other's weaknesses and strengths. We all laughed like hell, and spent a lot of time laughing with each other. For as serious as we all were about winning, we also really enjoyed the experience. I'd like to think that fighter got a damned good education over those two days.

I knew that my time in the game was short at that point. I had things outside of the game I needed to tend to, real life adventures to seek out. I figured that going out on top would make for the greatest memories, and I cannot complain about it.

Memories? If that rambling wreck of an intro is any indication, I have too many great ones.

Some key ones were (in no particular order)

As Barrett, being lifted onto the shoulders of my team mates after being the last defender of my bridge at a North South war one year, facing down five or six, and eventually beating them, even though I had been legged. Hammer and shield for days.
As Lars, Crazy Astral Pol giving me his Duke of Glendale livery sash, as I promised to help him regain some of his sanity and power. I still have both bottles of Pol's Youth.
As Lars, Mike Palumbo stabbing a blood packet just under my arm with a real knife, pouring it into a cup for everyone else on the site to drink (and die from poisoning, because yeah, Lars as mostly Aspis at that point), and then dumping me into an open grave and covering me with dirt. Did I mention that being buried alive is my nightmare?
As Barrett, with Sebudai, being the team of two coming in second place in the Tourneys of Teng Hua. Defeating thirty person teams on the bridge battle was a particular high point.
NPCing as the original Shadowpack for Carrie. We were terrifyingly awesome, in my humblest of opinions.
Endless stories around the campfire in Creathorne. Putting out people that lit themselves on fire.
Sneaking around the misty woods at night with nothing more than a two-foot dagger, NPCing as a completely human assassin for Mike & Randy, and being far more successful than I had any right to be.
Being tricked by Carrie into being there when the KoEF knighted me.
Being one for the Four Horsemen for Randy, even though I had an awful first fight with Paul Drapeau
Being killed and drained by ElDave as the Shadowlord in the lower fields in Periden.
As Lars, Fighting my way through brambles and thorns at Glendale 92, bing the front man on the Relic Run.
As Barrett, finding out that there was a RAT tourney that involved killing and scalping me, by Janna's RAT killing and scalping me. I blame Keith / Dirk for that, in the best way  possible.


I live in central MA in an old farm house with my wife of ten years, Jennifer, who was also a Realmsie (Tuck of Clan Curaidh / Guild of Confusion). We have an adorable two year old son, James. We've recently adopted a one year old Great Pyrenees / Aussie Shepherd mix, Bella. I'm still a User Experience Designer, and have been putting that art degree to work for the better part of twenty years.

I've always dabbled with other game systems as well, but I've always found the combat to be the best in Realms. There is something about "lightsaber boffer combat" versus anything involving additional, artificial combat fighting mechanics. There are a bunch of incredibly talented fighters in other systems, and a lot of it translates well, but I've never doubted that Realms fighters, on average, are better fighters. Besides, head shots are delicious.

Speaking of other systems. A bunch of us (Lackey, Quick, Jeffo, Kathy Journeay, Vin Spad and others outside the Realms world) are running, and wrapping up the last couple of years of a Dark Horror / Archeology / Historical Fiction boffer game called Shadows Of Amun ( Once that wraps up, who knows what else I'll fill my time with besides being a Dad, being a Husband, and spending as much time as I can get on my motorcycle.

There has been some noise about a new group at UMass Lowell getting fight practices going again. It's not too far from where I work, so maybe I can get back into it. Even just to get an idea of how much has changed, versus how much as stayed the same.

I won't lie; I miss a lot about the Realms. I miss the camaraderie. I miss a lot of the friends I made through the game. I often consider coming back, but I keep telling myself that the game has moved on, and what I was there for might not be there, still. We shall see.

Do honor on to yourself, and the Realms. To thine own self remain true.
Jesse Perry
- Sir Lars of Clan Curiadh
- Sir Barrett of the Mercenary Company of the Eclipse"

Why I'm in the Northern Alliance by Peter "Axel" King

It's cold. Not that I expected it to be any different today, even the "warm" months are worthy of a
cloak. Life in the Northern Alliance is rough and rugged, breeding strong people and powerful warriors. I wasn't born or raised here, they still call me a southerner, and I don't mind, I am a southerner after all, and it's not a curse.

It's cold. That cold can sometimes be reflected in the people. If you come to our campfire, and we don't know you, you won't be treated like an insider. After all, you could be a bandit, looking to make off with our rations. We do not apologize for this, all are treated the same the first time they come to us; if they don't deserve our respect or trust, they shall not be allowed in.

It's cold. Not that you should expect any different. All of us are together, bonded by the cold, and the fellowship that only the cold can provide. The people are like the campfire. If you stand outside the camp, you can see it, but you are not a part of it and you cannot feel its warmth. If we allow you into our camp, you can feel the warmth that only comes from the cold, and if we allow you to feel that warmth, without disdain or mistrust, then you'll understand how the warmth that comes from the cold can exist.

It's cold. Kings die in the cold. Dogs die in the cold. In the cold, they both get buried in the same icy grave. We've all seen what the cold leaves behind when the summer months settle in, and the cold doesn't care. Kings alone in stone towers freeze, horses lashed to a post in a courtyard freeze, the cold doesn't care. These things shape the way life continues in the north.

It's cold. There aren't many tournaments in the north. There are enough dangers in the wilderness, and more to be gained. Food was never won by fighting your brothers in the safety of a castle or arena. Tournaments will divide that which dies once divided. Instead, there are games. Games that keep the cold on the outside, not in the in between. Games that bring about the hunter, and the soldier. Games that strengthen the body, and pull closer the campfire circle.

It's cold. The Deity guides them, their one god. She is worshipped by the young and old, bringing warmth in the cold night. Warriors and soldiers go into battle knowing that, if they die, the Deity will guide them across the Dark Stream into the afterlife. They sing songs about this as they march into battle or the unknown. For some, the Deity is the campfire that they huddle around. Despite this, they are largely still led by the idea that what one has, one has earned. The Deity can help provide, but won't coddle. You must build your own campfire, but the Deity may provide the wood to burn.
It's cold. The food will make you strong, warm your belly, and clear your head. The alcohol is strong, and the beer is dark, but they are not had before battle. It's easier to see and fight with a clear head as opposed to a head full of aches and alcohol. When meals are served, it feels like more of a ritual than food. Everyone understands the importance and significance of the meal, and appreciates the ones who provided it. The meal pulls the circle tighter, keeping the cold to our backs.

It's cold. No one acts alone. If a man or woman goes into the wilds, he or she brings with them things others have provided to keep them fed and warm. No one goes with a rusty blade or an empty stomach. No one sleeps without a wool cloak or logs for a fire. The cold does not afford us solitude.
It's cold. But only on the outside. Remain on the outside and you won't feel the warmth.

-- Axel Penn Nosetti of The Northern Alliance

The Burning Question

At Feast of Creathorne, our intrepid View editor went around and asked the question:

"Who do you predict to win the Order of the List this year?"
[Editor's note: these responses are in-character]

Guilliam or Graham - Saegan

It's too early to tell - Malaki

This guy! *big grin* *two thumbs up* - Quayloth

Graham - Natalia

Saegan - Rorin
Rawlin... - Rawlin

Dygan or William - Mestoph

Monique - Cecil

Saka - Monique

Hopefully me but it is a deep field so it would be arrogant and unrealistic to say that for sure.
Maybe Dygan or Graham if they keep practicing. If they both do I'd favor Dygan over Graham.
Of course, you can't count William out. - Guilliam
Dygan - Kealkatar

Saegan - Saka

William or Guilliam - Enlon

Guilliam - Tallon

XT - Aeston

Guilliam - Kyntela

William - Kiira

Vuel - Vuel

Vuel or William -Karmha

I'm not willing to give that information - Tao

Guilliam - just because of his fine posterior - Swoop


[Editor's note: this piece marks the second of a potential new series in the View.  In place of Question of the Week, which is driven primarily by comment responses, we are trialing a system wherein we will ask pre-selected IC or OOC questions in-person at a variety of more socially-themed events throughout the year, and then publish the answers in this manner.]

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The View Retrospective: Bardic Circle: Hysterical Recreation

A music clip of the bardic "Hysterical Recreation," by Kathy (Horn) "Makhta" Fey. Lyrics and original post can be found here:  

Why I'm in Stonewood by Mitty "Siobhan" Magoo

My name is Siobhan Cridnhe of Stonewood. I petitioned to join Stonewood about 4 years ago, I find it difficult to remember not being part of Stonewood, as I now feel like I have known many of my countrymen my entire life.

Last year, I was asked to be the Seneschal for what some might have considered a foolishly small team for Queen of Hearts. I was part of team Rawlin. First I would like to say that I was so proud of all the members of team Rawlin, but I'd like to specifically highlight a memory I have of my countrymen. Stonewood was represented by Widget, Vyx, myself and our petitioner at the time Sarabi. At the last minute, Widget was asked to take over the role of RAT as our first two were completely unable to do it. I did my best to fulfill my role as Seneschal (even with my limited understanding of what it entailed). Vyx and Sarabi arrived later on and did everything they could to watch my back (as there was a price on my head for the RAT tourney) and keep an eye on our heraldry (which I can assure you is one of the most boring jobs to have at QOH).

Working together we ensured that Widget was awarded the eight of hearts, winning the RAT tourney without assassinating one single member of the other teams. He was never found out before the RATs were revealed to one another. I was only assassinated once, but it was before Vyx arrived and never again thereafter, and no one stole our heraldry thanks to Sarabi. We learned that Widget was capable of being extremely sneaky and I was proud of him for that as well. I learned things about my countrymen which I feel made our team much stronger. At the end of the event, I felt a deep sense of camaraderie and I was so very proud of our team as a whole and the Stonewood members who could attend and did their best to help out with whatever they were capable of.

Prior to petitioning for Stonewood, I had been unaligned for quite a few years. I was sad and struggling to get my head together. I took losing my first nation, Draconia, very hard. I became very close to many of its members in the short time we spent together. Draconia was quietly dissolved and I found it devastating. It may have been less so if we had gone down fighting or up in flames, but we were just dropped and forgotten. I went about my business watching out for my former compatriots where I could. I followed a few into Achoria. I was enchanted by Sir Trent's storytelling prowess. I enjoyed many a night listening to the history of the Realms as remembered by Trent. Once again I found myself homeless very shortly after that. I have no idea what happened there.

After the second time I found myself even more distraught. Nobody knew how much I loved being part of these nations and I still love many of the members of my former nations. They were my family. I roamed the Realms solo until I was attracted to Stonewood by another former member of both nations. I was introduced and I fit in well personality wise. The members of Stonewood love one another, we all genuinely care about each other. I had been looking for a family and I definitely feel that I found one. I am home. I am a member of the nation of Stonewood and very proud to be. I will fight to the death to keep my Stonewood family.

Why I Want To Go, Pick Up Realms

While the Event Holders of the Realms are dressed as superheroes, waving colored card stock around and banging their heads against desks, the rest of our community can be engaging in a different form of chaos.
From what Im gathering, the event this Saturday at Riley Commons at WPI is a light hearted dungeon crawl in which the rules will change minute to minute based on the god's whims.  By the gods, I mean, of course, our hard working crew of EHs.
So come on out for some laughs, for a good story, and to learn just how long it takes for the rules of our beloved game to be tweaked each and every year.  If you are not serving the EHC with your presence, have a blast with some "Timey wimey" stuff.

Timey Wimey Stuff

Monday, February 23, 2015

Where are they now- Robert "Morgil Ravenswing" Traynor

Bob Traynor played Prince Morgil of Gwenethelin (originally from Blackavar) from 1989 (his first event Blackavar’s was the first Clarinda Rose-Turner threw, and was held in the old Grinnell Arena at UMass, at the time a sawdust-filled equestrian venue) to 2002 (his last event was held by Bill DeMarco, the plot of which was overrun by a war in which Banecroft and allies "curb stomped" Achoria and the Borderlands.)

He was the founder and Grand Master of the Guild of Alchemists, Knight-Commander of the Knights of the Sable Dragon, and in his words held “several other titles and knighthoods that sound fairly meaningless at this remove, and had whole lot of IC deeds and achievements, which would be tedious to relate to anyone who had other plans for the next couple of days.

He had connections with many who are still active in game including Avendar (Tom Gallagher), Celtrex (Ken Crowley), Liselle (Maria Carr), Metron (Doug Fisher) and Baba (Jason Gray's previous character) were all in groups that were sworn to him.

He also has a long list of out of character contributions. He noted, “there are a number of rules I proposed for the Omnibus that are still in there; many were by way of setting down written rules superseding the unwritten – and oft-contradictory – customs of the Realms’ cowboy era.  I was one of the organizers of the first joint event holders/players meeting, in the wake of Shannon Slate’s withdrawal, to help decide Where Do We Go From Here?  I wrote a newcomers’ guide which circulated for several years.  (As much as anything else, I’m grateful to have convinced an event holder that tent-burning rules were a bad idea!)”. In addition he was a long term event holder, throwing both Feasts and Quests.

I’ll always be grateful to the Realms for distracting me in the summer of 1993, when I wasn’t in a good place in my life.  I remember the next couple of years where night quests dragging on until four in the morning (not at all uncommon in the early 90s, when it wasn’t unheard of for night quests to run to dawn) had people hauling me out of bed because Only My Powers Would Save The Day, and however much I grumbled and bitched, secretly I was pleased to be one of the go-to guys.  There was the event in which I set the record – which I devoutly hope no one’s had to break – for raising the dead, around 1500 in a four-hour period by a couple people’s count, well before the end of which I couldn’t speak above a whisper.  I’m proud that people thought enough of my play to have been voted either first or second for the Roleplaying By A Spell caster View award three years running, and just as proud to have been voted a couple of Best Editorial awards as well.

Of quite literally a hundred or more quests, I’m proudest of the quest into the Dreaming where I led a handpicked team (including my wife Princess Julia, Baron Diamond, Sir Callin, Sir Lucas and several others) on a whirlwind quest to rescue Sir Pyr’s soul, which we had to finish in a half hour or be damned ourselves.  We were tight, we were fast, we were perfect, and we got the job done.”

Bob currently lives in Turners Falls, Massachusetts, with his wife Amanda (Dion) Traynor who played Dame Julia his in-character wife.  He shared that she “proposed to me out of character.  Our tenth anniversary will be in a few months, and she’s by far the best to happen to me in my Realms involvement.  (Or at all, ever.)

When asked about his life these days he shared, “I did the high-powered legal whirl in Boston for too many years.  I’m now back in western Massachusetts, administrator of a local church, living a much quieter life and a good deal happier.  I’m also an active editor, author and editorial writer.  (The last will likely surprise few 1990s View subscribers.)

I found that *not* being in the Realms enabled a number of changes in my life.  Away from the dust of event sites, my singing voice recovered from over a decade of damage.  I rejoined my university chorus, which allows alumni to sing, and became a soloist and the only non-undergrad section leader in the chorus’ history.  With weekends no longer constantly taken up, I started tabletop RPGs once more, and began attending my local UU church.  No more twice-a-week fight practices or vassals on the phone most nights wanting me to sort out issues?  That time went into becoming a senior Wikipedia editor and one of the encyclopedia’s top contributors.

And some will remember the feasts I used to throw, for years traditionally the final Realms event in the calendar.  I still put those skills to good work, as an active contributor to the Franklin County Community Meals program, feeding hungry children instead of costumed questers.

His final thoughts were, “I was one of the oldest regular players there was from my first event forward, and it took several grueling hours a week of fight practice by the end to keep my skills from deteriorating.  (And that coughing I used to do a lot of at events?  Turned out I’d been asthmatic all along.  Oops.)   I’m closer to collecting Social Security than to my last event.

Beyond that, I was seriously turned off by the increasing PvP of my final years; if I’d wanted a game in which half the players were real or potential enemies, I’d have done Vampire LARPing.  Perhaps things are different now and the game’s back to being “us-vs-the-monsters” instead of a PvP-laden cockpit.  One can always hope.

That being said ... well, let’s just say that there are plans afoot, and I’ve been talking with some folk.  I predict an interesting eventing season.

What I’d like, some quiet weekend, is to put up a tent in a forest somewhere, alongside a bunch of old friends I haven’t seen in years.  We’d pull on some tunics and adjust sashes and belts around thickened waists.   I’d break out the Coleman stove and some pots, and throw together a good field dinner.  (Beef stir fry dished over homemade rice pilaf sound good to anyone?) We’d sit around a campfire, swap stories about monsters we had known, tell lies about how great we were in the old days and how today’s players couldn’t possibly measure up, and toast absent friends.  There wouldn’t be a scrap of pipe foam around, and the spell books and NPC masks would stay in the tents.

THOSE were the best times of the Realms to me.  Not the quests, exciting as they were, not the Interventions, however much I loved to show off, not the tourneys, however much it was fun to compete.  Campfires and friends.  I hope those of you I haven’t met (at least, not yet) are out there making good friends and memories of your own.

Editor's Note- While I recognize I’m a flawed person who has made many mistakes and continues to make them, I do also pride myself on being willing to admit that and continuing to work on improving. I mention this here, as I was truly shocked to not just receive a response to my request for information on where Bob is now, but to get a gracious and friendly one. I say this because when I read his comment that he was, “was seriously turned off by the increasing PvP of my final years”, I did so realizing I was a complete little shit at that point in history, and likely am someone who specifically decreased his enjoyment of the game. I am very grateful that he looked past that and contributed to this series. - Angie