Monday, May 30, 2016

In Observance of Memorial Day

 Today as we gradually pack our stuff and wander home from Creathorne, or relax at home with our families and friends eating burgers and dogs, or brave the crowds to shop some of the multitude of sales going on, or whatever else you might be doing today --

Today, on this day that many of us have off from work, and even if you don't --

Take a moment to remember that today is not just about a three-day weekend, or a day off, or the last day of a four-day long event --

And that many of the freedoms and liberties that we may sometimes take for granted, indeed; our very way of life, was hard-fought and hard-won by our ancestors and relatives throughout history and the not-so-distant past, a fight that many of our family members are carrying on in the present, and one that will continue to call upon us to be defended in the future through a changing world --

Please take a moment today, on Memorial Day, to remember and honor all those who have served in our Armed Forces who were never able to make it home to families and friends, and all those who otherwise died while in service to our country; those service members who made the ultimate sacrifice so that we may live the lives that we do in the way that we want. 

Wherever your travels may take you today, take the time to remember all of these brave men and women, even if you have no personal connection.

And remember that freedom is not free.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Flashback Friday - Tournaments of Creathorne XI, 2004

** All photos by Robyn Nielsen**

Take a step back through the years to May 2004 - maybe you'll see someone you know, or someone you think you know but may not be able to recognize ;)

Thursday, May 26, 2016

A Cautionary Tale, from Neden

ToC of the Town
"The birth of a nickname"
By Editor in Chief of the Kazoo, Dresden "PB" Silverspring

Well it’s that time of year again… Creathorne lands are holding their annual tournaments, and this Editor in Chief of the Kazoo could not be more excited to go. I’ve got lists upon lists of what I need to bring to make it a weekend that will be hard to forget (though some manage it). I always look forward to seeing familiar faces, and reconnecting with those that adventure in far away lands. This will be my third ToC and I can tell you thus far in my experience I have learned:

Be prepared.
Extra socks/clothes/shoes
Rain stuff (ponchos/waterproof bag)
Food that stays good besides peanut butter (jerky/canned/crackers etc)
Money for the store
Don’t forget sleeping stuff
Drink water, so much water.
Try to drink as much water as you are alcohol or  at least 1 to 2 ratio.
Sweating dehydrates you, so if you are active you should be having one bottle per hour of activity, and one within 30 minutes after you're finished
Pace yourself. You definitely want to hit the night quest
Seriously,  did I mention the water?
Bring more than a jar of peanut butter for the whole weekend.
Indeed some of you may recall this Editor in Chief of the Kazoo often going by the moniker of “PB,” or “Peanut Butter.” The origin of this nickname is steeped in mystery and intrigue (well not really). I brought a jar of peanut butter (a giant one) and a spoon to my first ToC. That’s it. Gold wasn’t as plentiful and I was still petitioning The Illustrious Nation of Neden, and it being my first ToC I imagined there would be plenty of water and food available. I’m sure there was, but also being green to the gills, it wasn’t easy to approach anyone regarding this grievous error in my judgement. Luckily Neden came to the rescue with plenty of food, water and non-peanut foodstuffs; they went above and beyond to welcome a then-new recruit.

So this Editor in Chief of the Kazoo is delivering a Public Service Announcement to all those new adventurer readers who are traveling to Creathorne lands at week's end:

Don’t be like Peanut Butter.

Ask Soft and Syruss, Tournaments of Creathorne

Dear Soft,
 I'm new to this plane of existence, and I find myself strangely drawn towards warm-blooded heroes of the Realms. They're just, my type, if you catch my drift. This year marks my first time in attending the Tournaments of Creathorne, and I've got some questions about it. I tend to sleep late, very late, and I'm wondering how much of the festivities I'll miss during the day? Also, I've heard that it can be very cold at night, so cold that one can see their breath. How observant are heroes of the Realms? I know they'll notice my wonderful evening formal wear, but will they notice the lack of steam as I breathe? I look forward to meeting the citizens of the Realms, and expect to have a charming good time.

 Frosty-Hearted in Creathorne

Dear Frosty-Hearted in Creathorne,

It will also be my first time in attending the Tournaments of Creathorne, however my...underground connection, let’s call it, has informed me that sleeping late will not be a problem. There are number of activities to participate in after sunset from night questing to socialization and everything in between!  Although the heroes of the realms are observant, in my experience if you dazzle them with your clothing the only other thing you need for people to look the other way to any odd behavior is a small treat for them. A bit of candy or an enthralled being usually works just fine.

Warm blooded they’re fine, but get them hot blooded and things will be much more fun.

Illumier Soft- Nosetti


Dear Syruss,
I'm new to this plane of existence, and I find myself strangely drawn towards warm-blooded heroes of the Realms. They're just, my type, if you catch my drift. This year marks my first time in attending the Tournaments of Creathorne, and I've got some questions about it. I tend to sleep, late, very late, and I'm wondering how much of the festivities I'll miss during the day? Also, I've heard that it can be very cold at night, so cold that one can see their breath. How observant are heroes of the Realms? I know they'll notice my wonderful evening formal wear, but will they notice the lack of steam as I breathe? I look forward to meeting the citizens of the Realms, and expect to have a charming good time 

Frosty-Hearted in Creathorne

Ok Mr/Mrs Not some sort of Evil-Lich-like-vampire-thing-at-all (OK not my best nick name… my bad),

What I read from you being new to this plane of existence or as we like to call it fun loving Crea-o-thorne. I skimmed most of this vaguely worded letter about your questionable attentions at our beloved ToC, but what I got out of this was three questions…..WHAT TO DO, WHAT TO BRING, WHO TO DRINK ...erm WHAT TO DRINK (although I think you're looking for the latter.)

So you tend to sleep late very very late, LIKE SUN-SETTING KIND OF LATE HMMMMMM, I digress. Don’t worry Sir/Ma’am Sure-to-Kill-us-all-if-you-sleep-late-on-Saturdays, you are in good company a good portion of the event is still passed out, resting for the Amazing Adventures that take place at night. That’s right if you sleep all day and miss the amazing Tournaments (which are worth Order of the List points, get you sick prizes not to mention get you entered into the Champions tourney held Sunday) then have no fear there are activities at almost all hours of the day and night.

Things you will see at Tournaments of Creathorne (not limited to*) The Creathorne Casino, Drinking Games, Darts, Dancing, Bards singing their hearts out, Night Time Questing, Pyrotechnics but most importantly Hundreds and Hundreds of people having a grand ole time.

Now you are right it does get cold in the north at night. So not knowing the lands here are some things to consider bringing.

Warm Clothing for night/lighter clothing for the day, extra socks, towels for nearby lake swimming, sleeping equipment with extra pillows (in case I forget mine I always do) and extra blankets in case the sleeping equipment is not warm enough, sun screen for the day time YOU KNOW YOU'LL NEED SPF 9000 or something….sorry sorry sorry, I am usually not his judgmental we just got this Un-Dead thing going on in Neden right now that has me kind-of on edge.

I know you say you have wonderful formal wear but remember you may also want to have something practical on stand by in case of snow. Not Kidding.

Last What to drink...I personally enjoy Whisky and Cider specifically O’Leary Brothers Brewery Cider *ahem cheap plug cough cough ahem* But anything goes as long as you have been adventuring for 21 years or more. Bring something fun to share it is a great way to meet new people, also another important note bring water. Hydrate yourself after a night of libations but lastly drink anything you want but my friends, you undead son of a... hey hey!


It’s like Lord Sir Nymbous O’Leary always says: “Crap it’s almost ToC I need to stretch, how did the stores of cider last the winter? Where is the prize whiskey? Who's seen my traveling goat? SO MUCH TO GET READY FOR!!!!!”

Love you ALL
See you in at TOC
Sir Syruss O’Leary of Neden
Knight of the Blue Rose
Knight of the Potentium
Order of the List
Most relevant for TOC…………Champion of Min

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Behind the Scenes: Feast of Chimeron

 [Editor's note: all photos by Ryan Welch except otherwise noted: (*) taken by Sam Teatum; (#) taken by Steve Sanford. All captions by Ryan Welch]

Construction begins on the beacons

Tangram assembly

Many crafting supplies

Laying out plastic to make the walls of the beacons

Pat calculates the dimensions of the siding

Fitting sides on the beacons

Cutting indicator ports into the beacon sides

Inside the beacon

Interior structure of the beacon assembly

Cutting out the door flap

Beacon frames wrapped in plastic...definitely not a body...

Making door shields for NPCs #

New NPC weapons #

Advanced Zaubermelds under construction #

Assembling the royal throne

Assembling the communication devices

Getting some much-needed help*

Hard at work*

Assembling some of the beacon core puzzles*

Organizing props for The Questening

A peek into the kitchen

Hard at work in the kitchen

Our NPC's are always ready to fight!

Scary monsters!

Setting up for the next module in the NPC hut

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A message from the Arbitration Committee

With the EH Council meeting months behind us and the event season ramping up, we, the Arbitration Committee, wanted to address the community to reintroduce ourselves and clarify a few questions that we've been asked.

The AC was formed at this year’s EH council meeting and charged with the task of “holding accountable, to the Realms-at-large, those who are accused of negatively affecting our community, in a timely manner outside of the EHC meeting.” As a reminder, the 2016 AC includes John Berrini, Jason Gray, Jason Rosa, Dave Hayden, Ben Green, Jeremy Grayson and Henry Giasson.

“Arbitration” within our name speaks to a commitment of conflict resolution, and holds us to a standard beyond rule enforcement. When approached with a cheating charge, our intent is to see any issue resolved at the lowest possible level. One question the AC will ask you is “Did you speak to the event holder where the issue arose?” Or, if the issue is between group members, "have you spoken to your leadership?"

If the time comes where you need to file formal charges against an individual, we have put together some guideline information that we feel is necessary to effectively arbitrate your issue. This information includes:

- Your name
- The offending party's/parties' name
- Names of any witnesses
- The event the issue occurred at
- The issue/matter/something else for us to consider
- What, if anything, has been done to try and address the issue.

Know that in this process one of us will be speaking with the other party involved making sure we understand their side of the incident. At the present time, the Omnibus states that “charges must be brought by an event holder” this means that if you are a non-event holder who wishes to bring charges you must have an EH validate your cause.

In an environment of friends and fun, it is our hope that  the AC will not be necessary, but, if needed, we are willing and ready to serve the community and the good of the Realms. Thank you.

Why I want to go, Twenty Three Years Ago

23 years ago.  I was there.

I was there on the fields, when the strength of man clashed.  I was there in the tavern, when it had no walls.  I was there, when the Port-a-Johns, were handmade from wood over a hole in the ground.

23 years ago, I was at the first Tournaments of Creathorne. Somehow I'm still here.

I was playing Alcar in those days, Keith was Dirk, and Amy was Talia.  We'd hit some events together, had some fun, and my friends wanted to hit "a weekend event" with me.  I took some time between events, scrobbled up my old Boy Scout gear, and we hit the road. Grafton NH, was a dot on the map.  We planned to take the highway north, pay a toll, and then head West until we saw a sign that said "here be dragons".  No really, that was the plan.  Columbus himself was shaking his head at us.

Maybe $75 in cash, as we were college students, a borrowed cooler, with not enough food in it. Let alone water.  My Eureka Timberline 4 man A Frame tent (green of course) and what I hoped was enough blankets.  You see, I'd been a Boy Scout, I knew what that region of NH brought for cold at night.  As for my partners in adventure, I  had no clue what they knew about cold spring nights.

The thing is... this is where my memory fails me.  Not due to age, or the abuse, but due to repetition. Over the years, there were countless adventures at Little Creathorne Farm.  There was the Aspis Fae War (which had no Fae), the Quest into Hell (where Lars screwed the pooch), and a few more ToC's than I care to count.  Drow were fought, Myth Dranor was a bunch of jerks, and Death Knights were dueled at the Crossroads.

After all these years, memory gets weird.  Which year was it that Dol Kugen was there with the Chocolate Oatmeal Stout he'd brewed?  When did I do flaming shots with Eldritch?  What year did the Cadre arrive?  I forget which year that the Brewers Coins were all the rage, but I know that I turned 21 on site, but it wasn't at a ToC.  But it was the same night that King James of Coventry appeared to knight Meerkat on the field in the middle of a pitched battle.

...But that's the thing.

That's Creathorne.

It's not just a site, its not just a Tournament event.  It's a cultural phenomena.  The site itself is as much a part of our community as the people, as the spell system is, as our stories are.

That's Why I Want to Go.  Because of what the idea has become, what it has evolved into.  What it is.

23 years of stories, adventures, and shared memories.  Thanks Andy.

I'll see you on the field.

Details You Should Know
It's NH, it gets cold at night. Bring gear and clothes for this.
It's NH, the sun and wind will dehydrate you during the day.  Drink WATER
Tournaments during the day, Questing at night, other stuff as time goes.
No Showers, unless you bring one
Toilet paper, in a ziptop bag.  Just in case.
The land has different magics, be warned about Scalping
Got a horse?

Friday, May 20, 2016

Happenings on the Emerald Path - Graduation Edition

Mackenzie Garbos, whose character Rani (Valley Girl) hails from Thorne Valley (a Blackwood province) is graduating from Elm St Middle School in Nashua NH, and will be starting her high school career in the fall. Best of luck

Photo provided by Becky Garbos
Pi "Kwido" Fisher graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute on Saturday May 14th, earning a degree in Mathematical Sciences. 

Photo by Jesse Gifford

 David "Tirvanel" Rubenstein also graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute on Saturday, May 14th, earning his degree in Robotics Engineering.

Photo by Matt Norris

Catherine "Rayne Nosetti" White graduated on on Saturday, May 14th from Southern New Hampshire University with an Associate's Degree in IT.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

On the Subject of Combat Garb by Diana "Kiira" LaPierre

Although we can all definitely agree that it takes a special kind of person to LARP, we, as a community, have a variety of play styles and interests in the game. Whether you enjoy the role-playing aspects, creativity and crafting, combat tournaments, feasting, questing, social interactions, or any combinations of the above, you are playing because you enjoy it. There are ways, no matter your play style, that you can contribute to not only your experience but also the experience of those around you.

Today, specifically, I'm going to discuss the role of garb in combat. I'm the first person to agree with some by saying garb can be a hindrance to combat. Puffy sleeves make larger, balloon-like targets. Wrap pants can get tangled and cause trips and falls. Billowing cloaks hinder movement and create large areas. Needless to say, it causes a lot of problems. 

So, at what point is it an acceptable sacrifice for immersion to wear items that are not immersive? I think we can all agree that footwear during combat and questing could be considered an acceptable sacrifice. Physical safety is very important. Ensuring that everyone has proper foot and ankle support, weather-proofing, traction, etc., seems only logical. Are there options out there that could fit both immersion and practicality? Yes. Are they always cost effective? Maybe not so much for a good portion of our game or a more casual player. 

What about combat clothing? There was, and perhaps is, a trend where wearing athletic clothing which wasn't exactly "immersive" was (is) perfectly acceptable. Whether it's the Nike Swoosh on your shirt or your Under Armor symbol showing. You can get away with wearing Under Armor, because you're covered in chain and it still works thematically. But in a situation where you are wearing just ADIDAS striped shorts and a nationally colored athletic shirt with your tabard and a braided belt over it, with no armor covering it, it leaves a bit much for the imagination to make up. Could there be better options?

It's hard to say for sure. Firstly, Under Armor feels amazing. It's moisture-wicking. It keeps your body cooler. It prevents sun burns. I mean, let's be real here; technology, while being much more primitive in the theme we are presenting, is advancing for our benefit. There are reasons that we use new materials now. They work. 

The thing with our game is that it is not based on historical events or times. We have had events with aliens, guns, super heroes, and other non-medieval things. So, saying materials must be linen, cotton, or wool seems a bit extreme. Also, styles were vastly different. Men wore kilts or skirts in some areas of the world, and in others they wore tights. Does that mean we have to wear things only worn before 1700? I don't think so. I think we can make sure that our clothes are thematically appropriate by finding materials and styles that can mesh well in the overall setting. You should probably avoid overly modern items such as zippers, athletic clothing symbols, baseball caps, etc. However, if you'll be more comfortable in a pair of shorts than a kilt (not bashing them, but they aren't for everyone), get a basic pair of cotton shorts with no logos, or commission someone to make you some which will go well with your other garb. Same can be said for sleeveless shirts. Just cutting off collars on modern clothes and cutting a small line down the center(see keyhole neckline) can do a lot for making it feel more medieval. 

As for materials, there are so many options out there to choose from. I like to use a cotton looking material that's used in leotards for a lot of my combat garb. It is breathable and believable in a fantasy setting, especially when not being worn under armor. 

Bottom line is, you can keep costs down and still look the part of a peasant or knight with simple steps. Remember, it's about fun for everyone, not just yourself. Before walking out onto that tournament field or that path of adventure, ask yourself one question: do I look like I could be a model for Larp Life Magazine (TM) or do I look like a Dick's Sporting Goods advertisement?
[Editor's note: click  here for a YouTube video on how to make easy and cheap faire garb]

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Rejected Event Ideas for 2015

Top Ten Rejected Event Ideas for 2016

1. Walk down the path, see what happens 12th Annual Festival

2. Spellcaster Ritual Circle Contest Sudden Death Match!

3. Your Mom, My Ogre, and the Story they Share

4. Feast of Cheezewiz, Saltines and Bologna

5. Recycling Bin Crawl, Armor Extravaganza!

6. I throw this event to back YOUR friends magic item, you throw one for me next month.  OK?

7. Mow my Dad's lawn, clean his pool, and a monster hunt in the crawl space under his house!

8. Thank you please drive through.

9. Prom Quest

10. Tournaments of the Tidybowl