Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 In Memorium

In Memorium
by Alex "Lucas" Newbold
Your Meme Goes Here

175 Socks lost in mud puddles, the bottom of your bag, and the unmentionable inncident.
27 Goblin masks, torn during use, left on a log, and not returned to the rubbermaid bin.
17 Pairs of boots, mostly due to mud.
2,576 Single short cores broken, bent, and cracked.
Your Dignity
5,708,908 Light sticks abandoned in the woods
12 Event ideas, forgotten after the car ride back from the event
4 Plots, left by the wayside as the EH didn't secure a site in time
17 Hotel pans of food, left to dry out in the warming cabinet during the feast
10 Rolls of duct tape, forgotten at home and replaced on the drive to the event
Your sense of humor, while reading comments on the Realms FB page
7 Right arm bracers, why do you never lose both of them at the same time anyways?
74,278 Index Cards used during Tournaments
7 Coolers, you need to remember to clean them out after events you know.
67,895 Arguments lost on FB about your personal opinion of the Magic System.
78 Hours of sleep lost, wondering if you'd checked under the car before driving over your magic sword.
8 Names of NPC's forgotten after they leave your sight.
78 Names of new PC's forgotten as they speak to them to you.
34 Spellbook props, not counting the spare you keep for Ritual Tournaments.
78,987,567,890 Bits of Bandwidth sacrificed by your friends saying "Why Do We Play This Game Anyways?"

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Arc Sphere Distortion

by Steve "Therian" Matulewicz

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Live Action Vampire v. Realms: A Comparison - Part III

by Gerald "Gray" Chartier

Part Three

A certain amount of plot in the Camarilla’s Vampire LARP generated itself.  What generated plot was competition between PCs for status and position within their sects and clans.  PCs had multiple levels of self-interest to attend to.  They defended the Camarilla (the in-game sect) from external enemies, their clans from the machinations of the other clans, their coteries of allies from the maneuverings of other coteries, and ultimately themselves from the rest of the world.  As you can imagine, that made fertile ground for PC politicking, and a considerable part of the player base was perfectly happy to spend whole games doing just that.

By comparison, Realms barely has any in-game politics at all.  I’m not saying it has none, but certainly it doesn’t have it to anywhere near the degree Vampire does.  There’s not too much jockeying for power, because our nations tend to be extended groups of friends, with the leaders being the people who take leadership roles in the OOC aspect of our community.  There’s not a lot of favor-currying because there’s little reward for doing so, and little detriment to not doing so.  Nations don’t compete for resources, because there’s nothing to compete over. About the only PC-vs-PC conflict we have stems from personal slights or theft, and such things are usually dealt with directly and immediately.

Absent IC causes for conflict, Realms is left with a population of characters that are largely reasonable(ish) people taking reasonable(ish) actions to resolve problems presented by the plots of events.  There’s nothing wrong with that per se, but it means plot doesn’t self-generate.  Without self-generating social plot, theres’s very little to do for people who don’t want to run around and either hit things or solve puzzles.

Closing Thoughts

I don’t want to leave anybody thinking I want Realms to be just like the Camarilla’s live action Vampire chronicle.  However, I think there are some things we can learn from it.  For one, information relevant to creating and playing a character in the game is much more readily available.  Second, the setting is well enough developed to lend a certain degree of consistency wherever one happened to play.  Third, the system and setting give reasons for PC vs PC conflict to exist, and ways besides direct conflict to engage in them.  All of these things promote roleplay and lend themselves to player immersion.

I’d like to see Realms take some steps to mimic the better aspects of live Vampire/the Camarilla.  One step we as a community could take that would be relatively simple would be to make information about Realms’ history and nations more readily accessible to new players.  The website could have tabs about IC history and nations above the tab for the rules.  Knowing how to play the game is important, but knowing how to play a character is equally important.

I’d also like to see our setting developed and fleshed out, but obviously this would be a much more complicated undertaking.  There is already a wealth of player-generated content, but somebody (or somebodies) would have to sift through it, and decisions would have to be made on what was kept as canon and what was set aside.  That would be quite the project, but doable.

The third point is stickier, because I think it would require new mechanics, plus a certain amount of top-down plot which Realms doesn’t have any mechanism to create or implement.  However, I think having nations negotiate treaties and trade deals with each other would add a level of depth to our shared world, plus another way to interact with it, and one that doesn’t necessarily have to involve hitting things with sticks. 

Lastly, I’d like to see a certain amount of top-down generated plot, or at least some consistent elements from event to event.  This could be in the form of a Realms Regional Storyteller, or simply a consensus among a majority of EHs to have everyone pick up and run with the same ball, but having a big meta-plot to interact could hardly fail to deepen everyone’s immersion.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

I Can't Even Resolve!

I Can't Even...
 by Sara "Zarine" Jessop

            Yule is over and it's time for people to start thinking about the new year and what they want out of it. There is something about changing that number and thinking that we can change ourselves with it. “New year, new me.” You haven't changed one iota over the last three hundred and sixty six days (yes, you squandered an extra day this year), but I'm sure this year will be different... Just kidding! I don't for one second think that you're going to turn over a new leaf just because it's January 1st. Seriously, no one believes your ambitious resolutions, including you. Why do we make them? These empty promises that we have zero intentions of actually keeping? 
            Now, dear reader, I am not saying that you shouldn't try to better yourselves, on the contrary you really ought to, but perhaps you should try more obtainable goals. Below you will find a list of popular New Year's resolutions, why they are idiotic, and a more realistic resolution to make in it's stead.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Friday, December 23, 2016

Merry Christmas!

Wishing a safe, happy, and healthy holiday to all in the Realms community! May your weekend be filled with family, friends, food, presents, and pleasant memories, and may your heart grow three sizes with goodwill and good cheer.

Merry Christmas from your View staff!
Jen - Alex- Kelly - Diana

Thursday, December 22, 2016

What you Missed - AVMYatCCUT2 (photos)

What you Missed

A Very Merry Yule at Crazy Cecil's Uncle's Tavern 2

 Pictures by Jesse Gifford


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Live Action Vampire v. Realms: A Comparison - Part II

by Gerald "Gray" Chartier  

[ICYMI: Part I here]

Part Two

As previously mentioned, when playing in the Camarilla’s Live Action Vampire LARP, no matter where one played, there were always certain plot elements one could expect to find.  In particular, one could expect to find the same antagonists whether they played in Boston, Seattle, or London – no matter where one went, one could always find the Sabbat making trouble one way or the other.

There isn’t much commonality of plot within the Realms.  Every eventholder is free to make up an entire world.  Thus, there tends to be wildly different antagonists from event to event.  That can be both good and bad.  It’s good if I didn’t like the plot of one particular event – I won’t be seeing that plot at every event I go to.  However, it’s also bad because if I did like an event’s plot, I only get to interact with it when that particular EH/nation throws another event, which usually winds up being once or twice a year.  That lurching from plot to plot is another obstacle to immersion.

That is not a criticism of any Eventholder, past or present.  Our EHs routinely do a fabulous job coming up with interesting worlds and engaging plots to interact with.  However, because there’s so little agreed-upon detail in our setting, EHs are basically obliged to start from scratch.  If our setting had more depth, it would provide elements for EHs to draw on to shape their plots.  We might see more overlap from event to event if EHs were basing their plots around a common setting.

In addition to the common setting, the Camarilla’s Live Vampire game had storytellers at the chapter, regional, and national levels.  Chapter storytellers created plot and ran games at the chapter level.  regional storytellers created plot that was shared in common by all the chapters in the region, and national storytellers did the same with plot that was shared by all the chapters in the country.  The higher level STs would coordinate with chapter STs to bring regional and national plot to the players.

Realms as an organization is roughly analogous to the Camarilla’s Northeast region.  Broadly speaking, Realms nations serve the same functions as Camarilla chapters, gathering players in their area and hosting events for the community.  However, we lack an equivalent to the Cam’s regional-level storyteller, so even if someone was interested in creating a plot that could be run across multiple Realms nations, there’s no one to bring it to for coordinating with the EHs.  The Realms is poorer for it, because having those storylines that interconnected the chapters was a large part of what made the Cam’s Vampire LARP so immersive.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

I Can't Even...

I Can't Even...
 by Sara "Zarine" Jessop
… A collection of Thoughts

            I can't even count on one hand how many times someone asked me this weekend what I thought of some particular fashion. There I was, sitting alone and silently judging you all when someone would ask me to break said silence and voice my displeasure instead. Now it's not nearly as much fun to give my opinion when it is asked for as when it was most definitely not, but I enjoyed myself none the less.

            Many times I was asked to write an article on some issue or another, and I will admit to you dear reader, that I only vaguely remember a handful of them. (If you had a special request feel free to remind me of it via personal correspondence.) I have so many thoughts and ideas swirling about in my head that it was quite impossible to settle on one singular topic this week. Consequently, this week I offer you an inside look into my very fickle and ever changing mind with a collection of thoughts from this past weekend. “I wonder what Zarine is thinking...” Well, wonder no more!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Friday, December 16, 2016

Live Action Vampire vs Realms: A Comparison - Part I

by Gerald "Gray" Chartier defines immersion as: (the) state of being deeply engaged or involved.  In the Realms community, we talk about immersion a lot.  We’re often asking, how can we get people more immersed?  I had the thought we might find some answers in how other LARPs do it.  The only other LARP I’ve participated in for a comparable length to my time in Realms is Live Action Vampire.

Part One

My first taste of LARPing came back in the 90’s, when a friend brought me to a Live Action Vampire game.  This led directly to my involvement with Realms, because a friend I did Vampire with brought me to my very first Realms event. 

My initial exposure to Live Action Vampire was an independent LARP called the Apocalypse Club.   The Apocalypse Club was kind of notorious for being more like a live-action first person shooter than a roleplaying game.  Combat occurred with unnerving frequency, brought on by both plot and by incidental brawls between PCs.  However, it is where I met the people who later got me involved in the Camarilla.

The Camarilla was White Wolf’s official fan club (it’s still kicking around as the Mind’s Eye Society).  I got involved with the Camarilla when some Apocalypse Club alumni started a chapter at UConn in the late 90’s.    The Camarilla organized a no-shit international LARP – actually several, one for each of White Wolf’s World of Darkness properties, but chief among them was the Vampire LARP, which the UConn chapter was formed to take part in.

Generally speaking, playing in the Camarilla’s Vampire LARP was fairly similar to being a Realms player.  The success of the UConn chapter sparked the creation of others in the Northeast, so before too long there were chapters in Boston, NYC, Rochester NY, and Bangor ME.  Players from one chapter could participate with their PCs in events held by other chapters, and this was pretty common, particularly between UConn and Boston.

Live Action Vampire was based on White Wolf’s Vampire: The Masquerade RPG, which was extremely popular in the 90’s.  It was set in a more dystopian version of the modern day, where supernatural creatures were real, existing alongside humanity.  As the name suggests, PCs played vampires – specifically, vampires of the Camarilla, the sect who believed vampires needed to hide their existence from humanity, and that they should try to be as human as possible.

With everyone playing vampires of the same sect, the game generated diversity by dividing vampires up into clans – essentially bloodlines of vampires who all descended from one of the first vampires created by Cain (yes, THAT Cain), each with its distinctive traits and powers.

One of the things Live Action Vampire had going for it was an extremely rich background.  There was a well-established, detailed mythology steeped in millennial apocalypse lore, and all the clans had their own cultures, traditions, spheres of influence, and areas of interest.  These were introduced in the main rules and expanded upon in optional clanbook supplements, intended primarily for tabletop, but applicable to live play as well.  Those sources included material on how members of the clans interacted with each other and members of other clans.  There were also established antagonists – the competing sect of vampires called the Sabbat being the primary one, but there were also the other supernatural creatures in the world.  The ones that butted heads with vampires most often were, as you can imagine, werewolves.

Live Action Vampire and the Camarilla’s LARP were very immersive, which is no doubt why I stuck with it as long as I did.  Part of this was because the background was so detailed, with archetypes readily available.  That made it easy for players to pick their clans and know what playing a member of that clan would generally be like – players who wanted to be political/social gamers would choose to play members of the Ventrue or Toreador clans, for instance, whereas players who wanted to play more fighty/warrior types generally gravitated towards the Brujah or the Gangrel clans.

Such information is much harder to come by for new members of the Realms.  The website begins with the rules, and to get any information on the setting, one has to click on the Community tab.  From there, information on the setting is scattered among a disorganized hodgepodge of tabs, with little information to help a new player figure out how to play their character.  How does a member of one race get along with another race?  Where does the new PC fit in?  What are the customs and traditions of the nations?  What gods are out there to be worshipped?  What organizations are there to be joined?  Who are the most common antagonists?  What are the most common sources of conflict?

Realms leaves all of that up to the individual player.  That allows for maximum creativity, but it has the downside of not giving the player much to work with or draw inspiration from.  This leads players to either come up with really shallow, generic characters and (hopefully) backfill the details as they go, or it leads them to draw on elements from outside fiction, or it leads them to go looking for something that does give them answers to those questions.

In essence, the lack of information about the setting of the Realms is an obstacle to immersion, particularly for new players.  It’s hard to find anything to get immersed in, which is why events tend to focus around provided content and not around roleplaying so much.  In Vampire, the player can roleplay for hours without any storyteller involvement, because there’s a wealth of information about the setting to base that roleplay on, giving players a common ground to start from.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

What You Missed: Gau Dring Presents: Mountain View

by Alyssa "Esper" Lee

We were summoned to the city of Dahme within Gau Dring. The Guild of the Guilty had taken over the growing town, and we were called to help. Past the city gates, we found the streets in chaos. As soon as we entered, we were met with lost citizens and hordes of the Eshkin, white goblin like creatures aligned with the Guild. We were able to fight our way in, but unfortunately not without civilian casualties.

We continued our quest, weaving through back alleys and greater parts of town, doing our best to clear the streets of invaders. However, the Eshkin weren’t our only problem. We were met with a rampaging minotaur. It was only by luck that a collapsing building separated it from us. However, in our mad dash to flee, we left behind one of our own: Borjid.

The party continued on to an outpost within the town. One of the city guards warned us of an impending attack, imploring us to shore up our defenses for a gruelling battle. However, many of us couldn’t take our minds off the comrade we’d left behind. We returned to the scene of the collapse, intent on digging our friend out. It was amidst this split that the attack began.

The outcome of the battle was not certain, but finally we emerged victorious. Instrumental in our victory was the town’s ballista, which we ultimately used to slay the minotaur. With the area clear of hostile combatants, we continued our search for Borjid. We found his skeleton, picked clean by the Eshkin.

Through the dismay of our loss, we continued into more treacherous territory. Scattered throughout the pits and alleys, we found items left behind by the ill-fated populace. Among these items were Borjid’s own possessions. Using these, his remains, and a bit of magic, we were able to return our friend to the land of the living.

Borjid was not the only person we had to rescue. We split up to save more citizens of the town, some who had been kidnapped, some who had been left behind in burning buildings to die. Meanwhile, a third contingent stayed behind to guard what little of the town we had taken into our control. How could we rescue the people if they didn’t have anywhere to go after?

After the rescues, the party reunited to combat the onslaught of Eshkin. We were successful in pushing them back. Our defense became a pursuit. The fight was all but won until we came upon a large monster the size of ten men. The beast was ravenous. It devoured its own allies, the Eshkin, without abandon, and surely would have done the same to us if we had gotten close enough. Fortunately, we were able to employ the town’s ballista again to slay it, slinging bombs down its cavernous mouth.

Finally, only one Guild outpost remained within the city limits - the town hall. While we staved off waves of Eshkin, we took the helm of the ballista once more to destroy it. Their attack dismantled, the Guild was defeated and we were victorious.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Why YOU Want to go: Uncle Cecils Crazy Yuletide Tavern

Let's begin with me saying I am incredibly biased, as I am on staff for this event.  When the event was first thrown, I was not involved.  After seeing the magic, I pretty much forced my way in so I can greedily be a part of it.  That said, let me tell you more about the Best Event Ever.

It all starts on Friday night.  Spend the evening chatting with friends, sharing warmth of friendship, maybe singing some songs.  This is when we deck the halls.  Literally.  We decorate the hall, put treats on the tree, and set the stage.  Please note, the tree this year is huge.  And gorgeous.  I cannot wait to see it lit up and adorned with all sorts of goodies.  Someone (Called Mistress of the Tree, by the way.  Real title) did an excellent job picking the tree out.  Not a night for partying, get some rest, because Saturday is a doozy.

Wake up and dress warm, things kick off with a quest.  Each year is different, but rest assured you will enjoy the days activities.  (this year might seen rain or snow, please pack accordingly).
Official Fancy Hat of Saurabia
Questing somehow always wraps up around dark, which gives us all time to head inside to warm up.  As people kindly remove all their gear (hint, hint) from the hall, find a place to get dressed to the nines.  Put on your party pants and fancy hats, this is the celebration we have been waiting for.  (Plus, you know the Peacocks will be watching)

Party kicks off with first toast, lead by our host with the most, King Alexander Cecil.  The tree is lit, the beautiful Shinegourd glitters down on us, and the party begins.  A special guest will stop by for all the good boys and girls.  And or a few others, too.  Father Yule will share some gifts and wisdom during his annual visit.  Who knows what will be in his bag this year.  Maybe something for you.  Were you good?

Once the good Pater has moved on, the gift swap will begin.  Each year, people want to share a little joy, and one of the ways to do this is the gift swap.  People gather under the tree and give a gift to someone they normally wouldn't.  With small clues to guide them, thoughtful presents show that, in Uncle Cecil's tavern, we are all one family.

Around this time, we will have food to snack on, if you feel peckish.  By snacks, I mean a full spread that could make some feasts Ive seen pale in comparison.  Turkey, ham, fixings, soups, (are you hungry yet?)  Don't worry, theres food for you.

For those more motivated by gold, stop into the casino.  I know its fun, I always see people playing and hear gold shifting hands.

There is also an auction.  (this is an out of character auction to benefit War Dogs Making it Home, a group that pulls dogs (and a few cats) from high kill shelters.  The animals are then trained to be support animals for veterans with PTSD).  The auction is for cash, and prizes range from Mystery boxes, home made goodies, to garb, weapons, trinkets, magic items, and event entries.  (Bring cash or be Paypal ready)  If you make a donation, you can get tickets!  See me (Twen) for details.

This event takes a team months to prepare for.  Each year, we try to tweak little things to make the event as enjoyable as possible for each and every person.  This means we have to set a LOT of rules.  Please read the event description for that part.

In short, this is the event to attend if you want to solidify why this community is wonderful.  I know for quite a few people, this is their holiday.  This is the event when we are all family.  On a cold, frigid night, come into the coziest tavern around, see the glow of the tree, and feel the warmth of true friendship.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

I Can't Even, Winter Etiquette!

I Can't Even...
by Sara "Zarine" Jessop 
…  Etiquette, Winter Version

            Ah, winter. That wonderful time of year when we all hibernate in our homes, sipping hot pepperminty drinks and eating obscene amounts of delicious food that we will frantically try to lose the evidence of come spring. It's generally a quiet time of year. The social whirl dies down in favor of alone time and self reflection, and with that comes inevitable boredom.
            Dear reader, boredom can be relieved in many ways. Redecorating your home, catching up on written correspondence, spending time with the other inhabitants of your home, or (not so subtle hint) perhaps spending time with a paid companion could all be excellent ways to pass the time over the course of the long, cold winter. But there is one tried and true way that we all seem to like to alleviate our boredom: Arguing with each other.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Friday, December 9, 2016

Choose Our Own Adventure Part 4

Choose Our Own Adventure

To Sleep, Perchance to Die

By Jason (Aeston) Rosa

Let me tell you, it hurt me. It physically hurt me to pass up the ample gold of two wet-behind-the-ears brats who were certainly foolish enough to overpay for my protection. But when I really considered the pros and cons, if I’m going to be stuck with people whose company I won’t enjoy, it might as well be a crew where I won’t also be stuck on diaper duty for the duration of the trip. A few 120-counts later and the troop of guards was looking very alive and very embarrassed, except for that one fellow who kept swooning every time he saw Kenna’s angry glare. With a sort of a regretful look in their eyes, the pair of merchants’ children were on their way ahead of us. There isn’t a lot of doubt they’ll be killed by something else later on but, hey, the ravenous beats of the forest deserve a chance to eat every once in awhile. Circle of life.

With our erstwhile companions out of sight, and after taking the time to eat a quick and unsavory meal of trail rations, we packed up to see how far we could progress until the darkness would make continuing to travel basically a murder sentence.We were still in the woods when it became clear it was time to make camp and everyone spread out a bit in the hopes of finding  a place for us to rest that was as least uncomfortable as possible. I could feel my bad back already acting up.

Simon soon ran back to the group pretty excitedly and begged us to hurry after him. Soon enough it was pretty clear why. You don’t expect much in the way of accommodations when you’re planning on sleeping in the woods but I have to say, the sight before us made me regret this whole escapade a little less than usual. There was a swiftly running brook (a good indication that the water we would be drinking wasn’t rancid and full of disease). The ground seemed soft with tall grasses which would make for a comfortable mattress (as long as one isn’t terrified of insects). And there seemed to be ample fallen trees from which we could create a fire (as long as I could avoid the good times and camaraderie that are often inspired by such a blaze).

While we were admiring what would certainly not be the most miserable place to spend the night, fate decided to kick us in the collective junk as we heard the patter of raindrops on the above treetops. We were inspired, therefore, to notice another feature of this serendipitous glade, a cave set into the nearby hillside. As we started to get wetter and considerably less pleased with our circumstances, I suggested we stop standing around soaking up water and instead...

Thursday, December 8, 2016

What You Missed - Echoes of Ragnarok II: Muspelheim (photos)

The heroes of the Realms fight through a door guarded by the demonic Faenfolk.
As expected, the dungeon is tight quarters and the rear of the group is dangerously less protected.
The heroes are figuring our how to use the light-totems they were provided to open the door forward.
One of the light-totems creating a zone of safety.
The questing party continues to fight their way forward through the domain of fire.
The waves of faenfolk seemed endless. Luckily the heroes were well provisioned with magic and well armed.
Heroes that were wearing protective necklaces could leave the zone of safety created by the light-totems.
A salamander guards her clutch of eggs.
One of the six urns containing the ashes of Surtr, locked underneath a dome of glass.
Raiding the salamander nest for eggs that can be used to solve the room's puzzle.
The goo from the salamander eggs filled in the shapes in this moving puzzle board.
The heroes pass along the sparking flame of Muspelheim to solve this cavern's puzzle.

Finding themselves in a strange forest with piles of wood, the heroes were instructed to build a fortress.
By completing puzzles the questing party was able to arm traps to help them defend themselves.
The completed fortress, ready to stand against the armies of undead that would soon approach.
The pool of fire-water was a breeding ground for fire-frogs. A unique creature that could be used to carry that same water.
Adding the firewater from the pool to a ceremonial goblet that would be used to activate the volcano.
The erupting volcano that would expel another of the urns.
The urns, collected together so that Surtr could be reborn from his own ashes.
Dumping Surtr's ashes into the magic pyre to give him new life.

What You Missed - Echoes of Ragnarok II: Muspelheim

by Christopher  "Janus" Donnelly

Ulric of the Jomsvikings called for our aid and we answered it once again.  The fire jotun of Muspelheim had been leaving their home and have been found in a variety of places, including the world tree as well as Svartelheim.  We have seen their devastating effects upon the battlefield, and that they have always been a thorn in our side.  It appears that their leader, Surtr, was killed not by bedlam, but something else, and we were to collect his ashes in Urns and reincarnate him so he could later burn Nordlund and help complete Ragnarok.  WIth this quest in mind, we were handed off to a Dwarf, Bairn, to help us navigate Muspelheim.

Bairn came prepared to help us and provided us with three things to help us survive the sweltering heat within Muspelheim.  First were five necklaces which would protect the wearer from the environment within Muspelheim.  Second was a ritual mat and the instructions to create more of the necklaces (in addition to a note that we may find more instructions to craft other items on the way.)  Finally, we were gifted a pillar which would generate an area which would negate the environment within in.  And so, with these tools, and Bairn as our guide, we crossed the Vanfrost to enter Muspelheim.

Within the fiery lands it became apparent we would only last seconds if we left the protections we brought with us.  Luckily we found two more pillars so we could cover the cavern we were assaulting as well as the cavern we were moving from.  For a while it was simply fighting various creatures (some of which looked an awful lot like imps...and may well have been, I should have had Ged identify them in retrospect) and finding materials to craft the necklaces as well as other components.  We swiftly came to a door we needed to use a pillar to open and continued.  As we traveled deeper into the heart of Muspelheim, we came to a point of reprieve and assessed our resources.  We took the second to breath and forged more necklaces as well as bracelets which allowed us to allow us to recover our dead faster.

After this reprieve, we found a twisty set of passages which was cooler than the others we had been in so far with.  Within it, several Salamanders defended their nests while a fire jotun dragged a magical ward around the room.  At the center of the passages was a pedestal that contained the Surtr’s ashes (perhaps the ashes were the reason why this area was so cool).  We realized that Salamander egg yolks could perfectly fill the ward being dragged around the room, and so we slaughtered the salamanders to get the eggs from the nest.  Eventually, we bypassed the ward and the ashes were freed, and thus we went down another cool passageway.  This one was mostly wide open and nothing was fighting us.  There were simply four pedestals, three with open flame on a colored plate along with a pile of metal wands.  On the fourth pedestal was another warded urn surrounded by three unlit candles on colored plates which matched the plates the flame was on.  Someone hesitantly poked a flame with the metal wand and sparks were emitted from the wand slowly moving towards the wielder’s hand, but it became so heavy that the person holding the wand couldn’t walk with it.  So after a few failed attempts (which I shall spare you the details of), we formed three chains of people who lit their wands from the other wands until we had all the wands in the chain lit and lit the candles at the same time, which unlocked the urn.

We took this urn with us, going even further into Muspelheim.  The heat was at full force again, but we started producing more and more trinkets to aid us.  In addition to the bracelet and the necklace, we found two other trinkets we could make: one which allowed a spellcaster to cast more spells while the other prevented weapons from breaking.  We fought, and destroyed our foes until we came to a open clearing which was cool.  In it was a warded urn, a set of scales with weights on one side along with building supplies and traps which we could arm.  We intrinsically knew that undead were going to attack soon, so we started to fortify our position.  We built a small fort and armed the traps.  As we neared completion of the final few traps, waves upon waves of undead attacked.  Upon searching our kills, we found stones, and while fire jotun tore our fort apart with their bare hands, we managed to carefully balance the scales, killing all of the undead and freeing the urn.

From there, we found another cool passage and found a volcano with an empty goblet nearby.  There were dangerous pathways we fought a variety of snake creatures down until we found a frog pond filled with blood.  We eventually realized that the only thing that filled the goblet was the blood from the pond, and the frogs were filled with it.  So, to save the Nordlands, we started hatching frogs and then slaughtering them for the blood they carried.  We filled the goblet, and we felt it was the right time to toss it into the volcano and stand clear.  A moment later lava flowed forth from the Volcano and from there we were able to recover the final urn.

Bairn felt he knew a good location to go next, so we followed him into Ember’s Lair.  Ember was a dragon who had happened to have cooked a large amount of food, and we partook of it.  Apparently while we ate, Ember had communed with Thor and was informed he should help us on our quest, so Ember gave us information. Surtr’s brother was the one who klled another’s prompting (note to self: look into who) .  To restore Surtr, we need to bring his ashes into a pyre along with the pieces of Surtr’s obsidean crown, which was being worn by his brother.  Knowing this, we finished up our food and headed out.  A group of us killed Surtr’s brother while another group figurd out how to work the pyre.  But, before we could complete it, one of the urn’s broke.  So, we gathered up as much of the ashes as we could, and with what we had left, we caused Surtr to live again.  A bellowing voice warned us that peering upon him would destroy our we took that as our cue to leave.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Arc Sphere Distortion

Arc Sphere Distortion

by Steve Matulewicz

Why Should I Go - Mountain View

by Josh "Enlon" Whelan

Why should you go to Mountain View? The amazing sights of course - we as a staff are doing our best to bring you NPC’s in garb, monsters that will look like monsters, and an event that will pull you in.

After our success with Learn to Fly, Gau Dring is hoping to bring you our first solo-thrown event and deliver an experience that all will enjoy. Our goal is to push the PC’s in a difficult siege situation and constantly keep you on your toes.

Also at this event we will be play testing new mechanics as well as an old proposal. From the fighter abilities to the elemental missile, we want to incorporate as much into this event as possible to give people something to be talking about for a while.

So if you want a tough fight, immersive event, and a chance to lose, come on out to Gau Dring Presents: Mountain View.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

I Can't Even... Gifting

I Can't Even...
 By Sara "Zarine" Jessop
...The Art of Gift Giving

            It's the most wonderful time of the year. Snow is falling out my window, and Yule is fast approaching. Soon, we will all gather together at Cecil's Yuletide Tavern (which is a way better title than whatever he's calling it this year. Why do we let Kings name things?) where we shall socialize in all our fancy finery, exchange fabulous gifts, sing carols, give money to charity in hopes of winning sub par prizes, and learn who among us can't handle their liquor. Since I have already covered public drunkenness and fancy dress, this week I would like to focus on something a little bit different; gift giving.
            Dear reader, selection of the perfect gift and the presentation thereof is quite more important than you might imagine. A gift conveys to the recipient how you feel about them and how much thought and effort you are willing to put into their happiness or misery.
Oh it hath, it hath.

Monday, December 5, 2016