Friday, September 30, 2016

From the Desk of Diana

From the Editors Desk: Thoughts on What Have You Done?
By Diana “Sir Kiira” LaPierre
Diana's pencil, not to actual size

There has been a recent trend in the Realms Community of players, especially veteran players, complaining about the decline of the game and community. Some have described this in terms of event attendance, event quality, new player influxes, or what-have-you. I would have to tend to agree with them.  They say they are finding it harder and harder to attend events and staff at them. However, might I ask a simple question that should be on the forefront of everyone’s mind?

What have YOU done to reverse the declination of the game?

Event attendance is a prime example.  You cannot complain about attendance and not show up.  It’s hypocritical and wrong. I understand not wanting to go to certain types of events, and I get it. I, personally, love all event types.

The socialization that happens at feast, when I am in and out of the kitchen, is simply entertaining. Whether there’s atmosphere provided or not, I can spend hours just talking with my friends. Tournaments, group or individual, provide ample time to improve my martial skill, and still fraternize with people. It provides a bar that you can keep pushing yourself toward and beyond. That leaves us with questing, which let’s our imaginations soar into new worlds of exploration and adventure. We live and act through a story that someone else is setting up for us.

So, you don’t like tournaments? It’s a good thing there are two other types of events for you to attend. Same goes for Feasts and Quests. Most of the time, however, the event types melt into one another, and though an event may be a Tournament, it’ll have shrunken down feasts, or in-character quests or scavenger hunts. You could even offer to help the event holder with new tournaments, bring a food to sell or another type of shop, or offer to provide questing content to those who may not want to participate in tournaments.

This leads into Event Quality. Be it inedible foods, lack of NPCs or quality NPCs, poorly run plotlines, bad marshalling, poorly run tournaments.  All of these are things that people complain about, even me. However, have you offered the staff your comments, either in person or online about the quality, or have you just stayed in your little protective bubble and complain instead to only your friends?

I understand not wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings, but constructive criticism is a NORMAL PART OF ADULT LIFE. If you can’t tolerate someone telling you that something you created sucked, then you clearly have never made clown pants like I have. If you are not doing it to spare someone’s feelings and would simply like to mock them behind their backs, then you are the problem, not the solution to it.

On the flip side, maybe you have spoken with the Event Holder, and they choose to ignore your helpful suggestions. That is another problem that is creating a dwindling event quality, lack of utilizing what the community is telling us they want and don’t want. Some people believe that their way is the only possible one and are unable to step away from their own awesomeness and see things from others’ perspectives.

If you are able, you can offer to help at their next event; whether you NPC, help cook or do dishes, or offer to help organize event running, and even making props.  All of these things are something you can do to help a struggling event holder, and there is something on that list that everyone can do. That is a way to improve areas of the game you may feel are lacking.

When that time of year comes around to vote for THE VIEW FROM VALEHAVEN AWARDS, don’t just vote for your friends because they’re your friends. Vote for people who really deserve the credit. If someone losses something that they had every right to win, it could dishearten them and create a bitterness which will take away from the future quality of the game.

As far as new players joining, have you attempted to recruit people? Are you running practices in spaces open to the public, telling friends and co-workers about Realms, or helping at Universities and Colleges which hold practices?

 I recently wrote an article that anyone can follow along to and help bring an influx of new players to the game. Have you read it? More importantly, have you contributed to our View from Valehaven Blog? Or will you just continue to complain about its lack of content and thought provoking articles and continue to not suggest articles to be written or what you like to see?

In my work as a preschool teacher, I see small children (ages 2-5) playing in Dramatic Play, mimicking the world around them: bringing into school what they see at home. When it’s a positive environment, the kids are warm and nurturing. When it’s a negative environment, there’s violence and authoritarianism. Maybe now is a time in the Realms where the real world is bleeding into our pretend one.  We see terrible things through the media and in our places of employment that have soured our lives, and it’s overwhelming. We do our best to bring warmth and love into our lives and that of our loved ones. We attempt to drown out the negative and fill it with the positive.

I ask that every time you think of something that bothers you in the Realms, think of figuring out a way to change it for the better. We can have a significant impact on our LARPing community and our game in a way that could really improve it for the better.  There is something that everyone can do make the Realms a better LARP.  I know that is not on the forefront of everyone’s mind all the time, but if you haven’t done anything recently to improve it, I don’t want to hear you complain, ‘cause, frankly, I don’t give a damn.

In the great almost words of President John F. Kennedy, Jr., “My fellow [Realmsies], ask not what your [LARP] can do for you, ask what you can do for your [LARP].”

Thursday, September 29, 2016

What You Missed - Feast of Blackwood VII (photos)

Jesse Gifford

Jesse Gifford

Jesse Gifford

Jesse Gifford

Dustin Mack

Dustin Mack

Dustin Mack
Dustin Mack

Dustin Mack

Dustin Mack
Dustin Mack

Dustin Mack

View Staff

View Staff

View Staff

View Staff

View Staff

View Staff

View Staff

View Staff

View Staff

View Staff

View Staff

View Staff

Dustin Mack

View Staff

View Staff

Arc Sphere Distortion

Arc Sphere Distortion 
by Steven Matulewicz

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Why I Want to Go

Why I Want to Go, The Black and White Masquerade Ball
by Diana "Kiira" LaPierre

Intricate masks, ball gowns, delectable treats, tasty drinks, murder, and Death. All those things and more will be on the docket for Black and White Masquerade Ball. We gather together in Chimeron to celebrate the dead. Black and White signifies the onset of Autumn.

Throughout the early hours of the day, there will be small quests, fun tournaments, socialization, and wishlist writing. That's right, you can write your letters to Father Yule. So, if you've been really wanting that sword to help you defeat the evil minions of... we'll, whoever really... this is the place to do it.

This is the time to earn tickets to the famous Black and White auction, too. There are so many fun prizes to be had. Recently, I came home with a fuzzy unicorn journal, and really, I'm quite pleased with it.

As the day passes, folks will change into their finest outfits to signal the upcoming court and festivities. Remember, wear your mask since Death will be walking among us, maybe. There will be happenings in court that may be the gossip of the Realms. You do not want to miss it!

What better way to finish off the night than having a lovely lady teach fun dances to everyone, holding hands, and being merry. Now, anyone who knows me also knows that isn't my cup of tea, but maybe this is my year.

I want to go to Black and White Masquerade Ball because there will be a variety of fun activities to participate in. Also, I want to write an inappropriate note to Father Yule... again.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

I Can't Even

I Can't Even...

… understand people who don't like pumpkin spice

            It's September, you step outside and realize you need to go back in for your fabulous cloak made of some totally endangered species from some exotic place like Teng Hua because it's actually chilly out. The leaves are starting to change. It's beginning to smell like fall. It's at this time that I begin to crave the delicious amazingness that is Pumpkin Spice.  But I learned something recently while entertaining a... well, we'll just call him a guest.. at Alchimia Lupanar. Can you believe, dear reader, that there are actually people who's taste buds are so deranged that they do not like Pumpkin Spice?

            The only logical explanation that I can come to is that they simply have not had it prepared properly. I am the most avid of Spice lovers, but even I have to admit that the sheer abundance of things labeled “Pumpkin” is becoming a tad overwhelming to the senses. If your first experience with Pumpkin is an imported “snack cake” three years expired in the Creathorne Tavern, it may put a nasty taste in your mouth. No, really, it was disgusting.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Friday, September 23, 2016

Ask the S's

Ask the S's
With Sir Syruss and Soft-Nosetti

Dear Syruss and Soft

Winter is so boring! It's like all the bad things that go crunch in the night hibernate! And I'm sure all those terrible peacemongers out there just love that everything is feasts and parties, but where is all the war? Seriously, just let me hit things.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Special Announcement from the Clontarf Casino

by James "Sir Tao" Murphy

At Feast of Blackwood the Clontarf Casino will be offering a new table game, called “Blackwood’s Knights and Squires.” 

I thought I would show (advertise) how the game is played ahead of time so that people can have a better chance to enjoy this new game.

Blackwood’s Knights and Squires
Before cards are dealt each player puts up a single bet in either a multiple of 5 or 10 gold. It is in the player’s advantage to bet in increments of 10. The reason why will be covered later. 

Starting on the dealers left, cards are dealt out one at a time until each player and the dealer have seven cards. Cards are dealt face down. Any remaining cards are put aside and not used. 

Once all cards have been dealt each player then looks at their hand and divides it into the “Knight hand” of 5 cards, and the “Squire hand” of 2 cards. These hands should be placed face down in the Knight and Squire boxess in front of each player.

The Knight hand must be stronger than or equal to the Squire hand.

Only certain cards are useful to the Knights and Squires. Any card not listed here is not useful.

Here is the order of weapons (cards) usefulness:
Any Ace: this is a dagger, the weakest of the weapons but better than nothing
Any 3 by itself: this is a 3 foot
Any King: single short
Any Queen: magical attack
Any Jack: Florentine combination
Any 5: five foot
One 3 and one 8: sword and board
Two 6’s: 6’6”

In the event of a tie between two Knight or two Squire hands; an Ace (dagger) can be added to three foot (3’s), single short (K’s), or magical attack (Q’s) to win a tie.

Up to 6 players can play at the same time. Once all players have decided, the dealer reveals the house cards and arranges the cards in the strongest possible way. The dealer's Knight Hand must also be stronger than or equal to the dealer's Squire hand.

If the players Knight beats the dealer's Knight, and the players Squire beats the dealer's Squire, the player is paid on the bet (more on that later). If the dealer’s Knight and Squire beats the players Knight and Squire then the dealer wins and the bet is collected. If only the Knight, or only the Squire wins, it’s a push and no money changes hands. 

There is an unusual situation where if the players and the dealer’s Knight have the same weapons, then if the dealer’s Squire beats the players Squire; then the dealer will win. However if the players Squire wins then it is a push. 

If the Squires tie, then it is decided by the Knights alone. 

If the player wins they are paid either 5:4 or 10:9 depending on how much they bet. If a player bets some combination of 10’s and 5’s for example 25 and they win they would collect 22 gold; 10:9 twice and 5:4 once. No bet this is not divisible by 5 will be accepted.

If the players knight and squire are stronger then the dealers Knight and dealers Squire = Player wins.

If the Dealers knight and squire are stronger then the Players Knight and dealers Squire = Player loses.

If only one of the players Knight or Squire wins = push

If the squires tie and the players Knight wins = player win

If the squires tie and the players Knight loses = player loses

If the Knights tie and the players Squire wins = push

If the Knights tie and the Dealer squire wins = player loses

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Why I Want to Go, Feast of Blackwood

Why I Want to Go, Feast of Blackwood

by   Diana"Kiira" LaPierre

This event is titled "Feast of Blackwood" but the title is a bit misleading. Calling this event a feast is a great understatement. Feast of Blackwood not only has delicious food, something I'd compare to Mom's cooking-- if you're mom is good at it-- but it covers every aspect of the game! There's food, tournaments, and questing. It's the whole shebang, folks! Something for everyone.

Not only does this event do it all, but they do it well. I'm not talking cheesy costumes and subpar cheeses; they go all out to provide good content at a more than reasonable price. We are talking $40 for an entire weekend, and they feed you all day on Sunday! Wow!

I Can't Even, Wearing white after Folkestone Questing

I can't even....
by Lady Zarine

...believe people still wear white after Folkstone Questing.

Paladin found lurking outside Neden Lands, wearing white.

It's Autumn. I know, I know, not officially, but it's after Folkstone Questing. And while we may not know why Folkstone decided to call their annual holiday weekend 'questing', we all know that marks the unofficial end of summer. I myself decided to stay home over the holiday and go on a quest very near and dear to my heart; the quest to switch my armoire over from summer clothing to non-summer clothing. For you see, summer clothes consist of light, cool, airy colours like whites and pastels, made of lighter fabrics such as cotton and linen. Winter clothing (which covers all manner of clothes unrelated to the summer months) includes dark, warm, somber colours like browns and deep blues and reds, and are of heavier weight fabrics. Alas it had come time to put away the white and take out the dark, an arduous task that took me all of the long weekend.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Friday, September 16, 2016

My Favorite Green and Gold Memory, Part II

"So we were on one of those three-hour battles, had to have been a bridge, and everyone was dying because it was like 90 degrees out. So finally it ended, and everyone was dragging themselves off the field to go get freezy pops and drinks and stuff like that, and I said to Rel: "Dude, absolutely, under no circumstances, do not call a secret ninja chaos battle right now." Well, Rel decides that "under no circumstances" actually means "absolutely, certainly, I should call a secret ninja battle right now." And so he calls one, and everyone is kinda like "Seriously?" but they fight it out. Afterwards, we took Aaron's air horn away, and gave him just the button. We took the can and put duct tape on it and wrote "Not for Rel" on it. So that's why Rel is not allowed to have an air horn every again." 
- Jason Micciche/ Veros 

"It was back when Veros and Makhta were still throwing it. I was up early, probably 8 or 9:00, sparring with someone in front of the tavern when Veros comes out and says, "Messy, you seem like you have a lot of energy this morning." And I'm like, "Oh yeah, you know, just waiting for things to start." And he's like: "Ok, you have a 10-minute head start." I said "What?" and he said, "Now you have a 9-minute head start." So I just take off running, and I guess that was the start of the "Kill Mestoph" tournament, which had previously been the "Kill Qwartz" tournament. So I ran all the way to the back edge of the site, all the way to an old stone wall that separates this property from the next. As far that way as you've ever gone, and then some more. 

I hid under a log for probably close to an hour before a group of Baronials happened upon me. This was a time when Brighthammer was still in Bancroft . It was Brighthammer and two other people and they were like: "Ok Messy, just come with us, we'll make this easy for you." And I said, "Well, I'm not going to make this easy on you" and threw my lightning bolt at Brighthammer. Now I didn't just throw my lightening bolt at Brighthammer, I threw it with a flip so that when he lifted his shield to block it, the tip hit the top of his shield, flipped over it, and hit him in the back. I magic-missiled down the second guy, rounded off of a tree and  killed the third guy with my dagger (this was back when I was a three-path). 

Unfortunately, the next group of people I ran into was a group of Folkestoners in addition to some guy named Ray who just showed up that day (he was having a problem with his Lord of the Rings ring so Radstar wasn't there, he was just playing a fighter alt named Ray). So yeah, that was my favorite Green and Gold memory, when I managed to take out like five people before they took me down. I felt a little bad-ass. It was also the most running I've done at almost any event ever. "  
 - Jesse Gifford/ Mestoph

"So my favorite Green and Gold story was, I believe, the first year we had Deathwish back in the system after a long period of time, and a lot of people had Deathwish. So pretty much whenever there was a chaos ninja battle during Green and Gold everyone would activate their  Deathwishes. And a lot of people would just yell things to make it seem like there was a deathwish, so innocent people were murdered. Sometimes a deathwish was something like: "One person's name, activate!" and it was for another person, so the person whose name got called was mowed down, while the other person ran free and mutilated their teammates. I think over the years, chaos ninja battles have always been my favorite, and I think that year was the highlight."
 - Tucker Noyes/ Temorse

"When I think of Green and Gold two stories jump out more than most.

The first happened about 9 or 10 years ago.  Back then when I was in Grimloch, me and my comrade Dell got up very very early, like at the crack of dawn. We made our way down to the tavern to see if there were any snacks and to our surprise, the gods had left a small magical device that summoned loud bursts of noise compelling people to attack each other. Well, we knew what to do with this - take it back to camp and wake up the rest of Grimloch. While we made a ruckus at our camp, the noise traveled to other camps as well, making people think the battles had started. This upset the local gods and they decided that the first tourney was to be "Catch the Syruss."

Not knowing this, Dell and I continued to look for snacks when we stumbled upon members of the Green team, my fellow compatriots and they started to attack. Not knowing what was going on, I defended myself (justly) and proceeded to slaughter the poor group of new adventurers. As I was finishing off one of the runners one of my teammates must have told my good buddy Dell what they were doing because before I knew what was happening, Dell hit me three times flush on the noggin. He then proceeded to turn me in for points for the Gold team. The lesson here is: "Never play with things you aren't supposed to, the gods don't like it." Well, that and "Never trust a gold team member."

My second favorite memory happened more recently when my Brother and Lord Sir Nymous O'Leary presented me with my Green N tabard,welcoming me to my new home Neden.  Little did I know at the time that one of my most recent memories would also be the last.

This event has had so many memorable moments for me and I could not possibly list them all, thank you so much to the staff that gave me so many great night quests, a chance to general, the experience of marshaling my first large war event, my first Night Quest I got to throw with the Blue Rose and the event that I joined my
best friends group. Thank you so much, guys."
- Cal Marsden/ Syruss

"I have many fond memories of Green and Gold, but they do not translate well to stories. They are all moments of personal triumph, growth, or other odd things that have happened over the years, that without Green and Gold I never would have encountered. I never would have killed Jarrod with a well-timed Magic Missile in a bridge battle, shifting the battle. I never would have been hidden in the boat house at a flag waiting for someone else to find it in order to defend the point. I remember trivia, and night quests and EXTREME BANDITOS when we were promised no bandits. I remember overwhelming odds and chaos. I remember the first time I was on Gold, and this year being astonished I was somehow on the "ice age". All of these are memories that are not great stories...but together make me fondly remember Green and Gold."

- Chris Donnelly/ Janus  

This was maybe the last year before I started running the event. It was during a bridge battle, the teams were lined up at either end.  We were fighting the other team. Owen and I had pikes and we  strode forward on the bridge,  almost like daring the other team to run us down and hurling a few insults while we went. Unfortunately, they didn't. The battle went back and forth for a while, but eventually we (Gold team) won."
- Sean Veale/ Wil