Friday, September 29, 2017

10 More Questions with... Jeremey "Boom" Monmaney

Art by Alexa Lecko

1) What achievement either in or out of character are you most proud of?
Nighthawk told me to keep this PG or at very least PG-13.

2) Are you a fighter or a caster? Have you always been? How did you choose?

I consider Boom to be both a fighter and a caster. I spent a lot more time as a caster but I change it up as often as possible while still enjoying myself. When I was 11 it seemed like a cool character quirk to chaotically change between being a warrior, sorcerer, or mage but then again, the name Boom also sounded awesome.

3) Have you ever owned an artifact, memento, or magic item that has meant a lot to you, and why?
 Yes, the Gift of Life was an MVP trophy from Pressure Point.

4) What group of people do you spend the most time with and why?
My nation, Grimloch, is my family. We basically do everything together - barbecues, Superbowl parties, rafting trips, kids birthdays, some of us even work together.

5) Who is your best friend in character and why?
Min for sure, more chaotic stuff happens in his name than the actual gods of chaos.

6) What event or moment had the greatest impact on you as a player?
The Folkstone “sliders” event from 2002? I forget exactly but it was my first time NPCing a major event and it was a lot of fun and made me appreciate crafting props a bit more.

Photo via Facebook

7) What event or moment had the greatest impact on your character?
It was an old Randy Gordon event where we were all traveling to a place called Gail (spelling?). For anyone unfamiliar with Gail, you had to enter in groups of any size. For every group that entered x-1 people could leave with x being the number who entered in that group. Strategically it would be wise to kill a troll and have all the realms enter as a single group with the dead troll and leave it there when we left. However, I was a punk so Boom stood at the gate convincing questers that the larger the groups who entered the more powerful the evil that would await us. Sure enough I got a lot of people to all enter in groups of 2 ultimately dooming at least a third of the questing party. Boom however fell victim to his own trap and ended up trapped trying to observe the chaos at the gate. He spent the next year of his life fighting hordes of wolves repeatedly until he could sneak out when another questing party came for a visit.

8)What is your most embarrassing moment, either IC or OOC?
 I have little to no shame. I can’t really think of anything that embarrassed me although I did get talked into strip pong one time. As a straight edge I have no practice at this so the game lasted forever.

9) What is the best piece of advice you'd give to other players?
 Have fun and meet new people. You will be shocked to learn most players are quite friendly and personable even if they don’t seem it.

10 ) What is the most important thing you've learned through the game?
To let things go and not take life so seriously.

BONUS QUESTION #1: Who would you like to see the next interview be with?

BONUS QUESTION #2: Anything else you'd like to take the opportunity to put into print?

Yes, as a matter of fact if you could put “The Winds of Winter” into print that would be outstanding

Photo by Eren Pils-Martin

Thursday, September 28, 2017

What You Missed - Feast of Blackwood VIII (photos)

[Editor's Note: credit for photos is denoted by the name in the parentheses]

Gathered for the start of the questing (Beth Tozier)

This looks ominous (Beth Tozier)

The menu (View Staff)

Runaris checks out the salad bar (View Staff)

Enjoying friendly conversation (View Staff)

Hard at work in the kitchen (Eren Pils-Martin)

Eating and chatting (Eren Pils-Martin)

The Mercenary Market (Eren Pils-Martin)

The Realms pipe available in the ticket raffle (View Staff)

Other prizes available (View Staff)

Vandoria sets up shop (View Staff)

Making donations at the Clontarf Casino (View Staff)

These flatbread pizzas were awesome (View Staff)

Sir Tao runs the poker tournament (Eren Pils-Martin)

Tournaments of the Void was running outside the hall  (Dustin Mack)

Socializing in the tavern (Dustin Mack)

Pork pie empanadas (View Staff)

Announcing Blackwood Court (Eren Pils-Martin)

The King accepts a gift (Eren Pils-Martin)

A delegation from New Verai addresses the hall (Eren Pils-Martin)

Pilpus joins Blackwood (Eren Pils-Martin)

Roasted chicken (not pictured: mashed potatoes, corn on the cob) (View Staff)

 More Tournament action (Hannah Blood)

Watching and participating in tourneys (Hannah Blood)

Shenanigans in front of the tavern (Hannah Blood)

A full feast hall (View Staff)

Hanging around near the tourney area (View Staff)

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

What You Missed: Feast of Blackwood VIII by Gerry "Gray" Chartier

Gerry Chartier here, player of everyone’s favorite sorcery-slinger, Gray Erikkson.  Because I’m a sucker for punishment, I attended another full-weekend event just three weeks after Folkestone weekend.  So, you, gentle reader, now benefit from my after-action review!

    The site for Feast of Blackwood can be found on Google Maps as Camp Chenoa.  It is in the middle of nowhere.  I came up from Connecticut, and about two thirds of the trip was on little state highways winding through rural communities.  If you attend, bring what you need with you.  There are a few restaurants in Antrim, but not a lot.  Nor is there a lot of options for shopping.  Even Walmart isn’t particularly close – the nearest one is 40 minutes away in Marlborough.

    The sight itself is a very pretty, hilly wooded 300-acre former girl scout camp next to Gregg Lake.  As such, there is an abundance of cabin space.  I went to the event with a pair of friends, and the three of us had a cabin to ourselves.  Several other cabins also seemed to be under-occupied, and some were not used at all.  There are shower facilities on site that are much nicer than the ones up at Folkestone’s site.

    I arrived Friday night and had plenty of time to get settled in, garbed up, and head to the tavern (the camp’s dining hall) to await the beginning of the night quest.  Thus began a weekend full of walking.  Did I mention the camp was a hilly 300 acres?  The site is very spread out, and one winds up walking a lot.  There is a shortcut between the upper field and the tavern that can cut down a lot on the walking, but I didn’t know where it was when we first arrived.

    It always takes a while for quests to begin, and that night was no exception.  For this event, I debuted a couple new behaviors for my character, Gray.  One was keeping an in-character journal, to write down notes about plot, vital information, observations, and so on.  The other was to start demanding tasks of anybody who came to me asking me to sign their spellbook for a spell I know.  I was able to start with the latter right away and consistently whenever there was down-time at the event.  It was a lot of fun, and as it helps create player-generated content, I highly recommend it to all spellcaster players.

    On that note, I cannot tell you how excited I was when someone asked me to sign for Lightning Bolt.  I was giddy with the possibilities – then that unbelievable bastard Tuilli snaked it on me, signing the spellbook without asking for so much as a donut!  You’re breaking my heart, Tuilli!

    The plot for the weekend was a continuation of the plot from Folkestone Questing, so we PCs were still stuck in what can usefully be termed as Bizzaro-Realms.  Bizzaro-Bones turned up to ask us to find and assemble the pieces of the Planar Shield Stone, something that in Prime-Realms had been assembled some years ago.  The more thinky PCs confabbed on the notion.  Those more familiar with the Prime-Realms’ PSS thought assembling it could block our ability to get out of Bizzaro-Realms, but there was also the possibility it could be tweaked to send us home. It was the best lead we had, so we set out to pursue it.

    The first thing we encountered out in the night were silver-faced golems that initially mimicked everything we did.  They weren’t particularly hostile, but we soon learned they were learning spells from us.  They also started to get more sophisticated the longer they were with us.  These were ominous developments, pointing to trouble once we wound up having to fight something.  I was investing effort in getting them to develop in a benign fashion when a pack of hostile werewolves showed up.  They just sort of did a cruise-by, but some encounter at the lakeshore went sour.  The mimic golems hive-minded up, declared themselves Celeste, and went all Borg on us.

    This presented me and the other sorcerers a dilemma – we could affect the mimics with our lightning bolts, but doing so presented the danger of having them pick up our props and cast them back at us or the other PCs.  Under the circumstances, I didn’t dare use the lightning on them, so I fell back on my Channeler spells – particularly Ward Enchanted Beings.  The mimics started using it when I was using it, but they were still affected by it, and while they were mimicking my warding, they weren’t attacking anybody.  They also had forced regeneration and got harder and harder to scalp, making warding possibly the most effective way of keeping them at bay.

    As I was busy warding warding warding (at one point I wound up rearguard all by my lonesome), I wasn’t in on the particulars of the encounters we came across, but after some slogging back and forth across the lower end of the site in the dark (and it is so very dark at that site), we wound up with a couple fragments of the planar shield stone, and lost Rillan, as the mimics somehow learned Banish Conjured Being and sent him home.  On the way back to the tavern, we found a paladin of the One True God, from New Verai, and a non-hostile werewolf.

    At the tavern, we worked on deciphering the runes on the fragments we had.  I’m told they were in wild elf script.  I think the Northern Alliance had some translations of words which gave us a good starting point on the characters, and others were worked out.  Wild elf script isn’t just a straight substitution for common lettering, by the way.  It has several unique symbols for sounds common combines letters for.  It also doesn’t lend itself very well to writing quickly, which is why I snarled “Go away!” at the guy who sat down next to me while I was in the middle of copying these things into my journal and asked me to teach him Protection from Missile without even introducing himself!

    By the way, if you’re going to ask a stranger if they can sign for a spell in your spellbook, introduce yourself first.  You’re apt to get a more positive response.

    Anyway, when I got done with that, I noticed that a yellow cloth had appeared, covering the next table.  It had writing all over it, and Janna Oakfellow-Pushee hovering around to marshall.  New players take note, if you ever see Janna marshalling something, it is probably worth your while to poke your nose into that.  The cloth turned out to be the medium through which some spirit communicated.  One could converse with the spirit by writing on the cloth and reading the responses that appeared (by way of Janna writing them on the cloth).  The spirit wanted to pass on to me (Gray) some information from Lucian, who as you may recall from my previous What You Missed is the god of the Dreaming.  What the spirit told me did not seem to be immediately relevant to the plot of the weekend, so I’ll be looking out for future developments.

It was nigh unto 2am at that point, so I joined a group stumbling back to the cabins, and I do mean stumbling.  We took the shortcut, but all we had were crappy Light spell props that barely illuminated the ground in front of us, which was rocky dried streambed.  Miraculously, we did not get lost, and I availed myself of the shower facilities before crashing.

The next day, having gathered at the tavern, we were visited by Bizzaro-Nos, who was Bizzaro-King of Bizzaro-Blackwood.  When he appeared, there were raised voices, denials of kinghood, and a beat-down prior to setting out.

    There were all manner of encounters to be had during the day.  We met a druid gathering acorns for daily rituals, and a fortune teller offering vague prognostications.  There were also giant spiders, a mummy, and a ghost menacing PCs, and puzzles at the shrines to solve.  Those who turned in solved puzzles gained small but useful boons.  Having attuned to the four elements, one could then enter and fight one’s way through a pretty long dungeon.  Pieces of the planar shield stone and elemental pillars got policed up along the way.  This was mostly-assembled at the tavern, and mostly-translated, leaving out a few key bits so we wouldn’t inadvertently trap ourselves out of our own plane.

    During dinner break, event staff provided a meal, a simple but solid repast of spaghetti and meatballs.

    During the night quest, we had to go retrieve the elemental shrines by attaching them to their pillars, then use the pillars and ley line rope to make a giant, circle of protection-esque trap for a thing called a Pustulent Mugworm, lure it in, activate the trap, then defeat the thing.  Doing so would reverse the blight here, and let us know how to do so back in New Verai.  This sounded like a fairly simple, straightforward plan while we were discussing it in the tavern.

    Executing it in the dark event site was another matter entirely.  We had to fight our way to the shrines, with mimics and tainted animals we could barely see coming out of the night at us.  Retrieving the shrines proved to be the easy part.  We found the Pustulent Mugworm in a field full of light sticks.  It proved to be the ever popular big boss monster, and it certainly made a credible impression.  Besides having that thing slithering around laying indiscriminate smackdown, all the aforementioned lesser monsters were running around in the dark laying into us from all directions.  We were actually losing the fight until we got a spell reset, which gave back enough healing spells to get our forces back in action.

    Once we set up the magic trap, we lured the Pus-Mug into it with the only bait we had available – ourselves.  Fortunately, we could cross the lines of the trap, whereas the Pus-Mug could not.  With it secure in the trap, we then had people powering up at the pillars, which granted them 10 points of armor and a single call of Obliterate.  Pus-Mug took multiple calls of Obliterate to bring down, but we finally put enough on it to do the job.

    I don’t think anybody thought to try out an Obliterate shot on a PC.  I’m guessing that’s why the EH informed us about the Final Death call at the beginning of the event.

    Killing the Pus-Mug seems to have sent us back to the prime Realms, or at least a plane much more like it than Bizzaro-Realms.  Kay was king again, at least.  Saka speculated that our actions in Bizzaro-Realms may have pre-emptively contained the blight back in New Verai, but time will tell.

    After the night quest, I was in dire need of a shower, which is why I happened to be in the showers building when the Northern Alliance showed up to shower-quest.  If you’ve ever wondered when the NA breaks character, they used candles to light their way.  Also, I can tell you Loken has the best eye-liner in the NA, even after showering.

    The actual feast part of Feast of Blackwood began Sunday at noon.  One thing Blackwood knows how to do is put on a feast.  There was salad, bread with five different kinds of butter, two different kinds of soup, two appetizer courses, a main course, and dessert.  Staff timed the courses so people had time to partake of the tournaments, try out latex weapons, gamble at the gambling tables, or simply socialize with each other.

    For my first time ever, I tried out the gambling.  I sat myself at the blackjack table and bought 20 gold worth of chips.  I found myself up a little, and told myself if I doubled my money, I should walk away.  It appeared to be my lucky day, because I did indeed walk away 20 gold richer than I’d been when I sat down.

    Another thing I decided to do at the feast was interview people, not for any publication purposes, just to get to know the people and the nations of the Realms better, and to add more cool notes to my journal.  I’m glad I did, because I had several neat in-character conversations, and I learned a lot of nifty things.  Among those I spoke to were a vampire, a sentient fungus, and (I sh*t you not), a were-octopus.

    Of course, there was court business.  King Kay got gifts, Pilbus was accepted into Blackwood, there were Knights of Chaos shenanigans, and Wrath’s award for winning the day’s tournament killed and scalped him because he put it on as Sir Matthias was saying, “Before you put this on…”

    There were also some hints of future plot.  A vague announcement was made about Sayeh delivering a package to the Ambassador to the East, representatives of a group of refugees asked for permission to winter in Blackwood (which King Kay granted), and a New Verai contingent extended an offer of alliance to Blackwood.  It seems we’ll be hearing more from New Verai at future events.

    As they say, all good things must come to an end, and it was starting to get dark by the time the feast ended.  I left exhausted, the kind of tired that lingers and makes one drag ass all day Monday, but it’s the good tired of a weekend spent playing hard as a member of an amazing community.  I’d like to thank everyone who ran, staffed, and attended the event, because each of you were part of an amazing weekend!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

I Can't Even

I Can't Even ...
Sara 'Zarine' Jessop
… Dining Disappointment

This past weekend another Feast of Blackwood came and went. It's one of my favorite days of the year. I love dinner parties and the fine folks in Blackwood throw one of the best year after year.

There were many excellent things about the day. I got to spend time with my dear friend Piper while we haughtily judged all the plebs of The Realms, though I must say that it's getting harder to look down my nose at you as you've all taken much of my advice and were much better dressed and your manners were much improved. I was impressed by the Folkstone party having perfectly matched salt and pepper shakers. In fact, most of the tables were quite well decorated and set out. The blackjack table was kind to me for once and I walked away with my purse slightly heavier. Sir Bones even managed not to spatter me with blood when he exploded outside the feast hall.

The food was delicious as always. The Hungarian Mushroom soup was exceptional, even if it was far too hot and humid out to truly appreciate anything even slightly warm. The cheesy cauliflower substitution was far superior to the cheesy macaroni dish, and I hear tell that vegetarians were served one of my favorite dishes, ratatouille. I am slightly offended that the people with dietary restrictions got such special treatment and respectfully request that we all get fair and equal treatment in the future. My taste bud's hurt feelings were bolstered by the lemon prosciutto flatbread however, which could possible be one of my new favorite things, and if the recipe for it isn't published in The View in the very near future we should all riot on King K's front lawn.

Overall I was having a very pleasant day eating, gossiping, and giving refugees fashion advice. Yes, dear reader, I was quite enjoying myself. And then court happened and King K announced that he hoped we had all enjoyed our food and that dessert would be on it's way; effectively signaling the end of the main courses. Well I almost couldn't hide my outrage, but I did because I'm a lady and sometimes you just have to suck it up, but I literally couldn't even I was so upset. “But Zarine, what could possibly have upset you so,” you are thinking. The same thing that should have upset everyone; dinner was over and we weren't getting any Blackwood Meatloaf.

You see, my dears, if you are new to The Realms or just have never visited Blackwood then you don't quite understand exactly what it is you have been deprived of. It's a true delicacy. The most wonderful of all of the loafs. Other loafs hang their heads in shame when told of it's tastiness and succulency as they know that they can never compete with such a champion of cuisine. We were all dispossessed of the joy and glory that is Blackwood Meatloaf and I for one am not going to take this laying down. I mean, I am, because I take most things laying down, but you get my point.

The people of Blackwood owe us all an apology and I demand that we be recompensed with large quantities of Blackwood Meatloaf at your earliest convenience. And throw in some of that lemon-prosciutto flatbread for pain and suffering. And maybe some cheesy cauliflower. And that Hungarian Soup. We have gone without for too long! We don't want a whole chicken that we must carve ourselves. We want individually packaged, easily portable, and easy to reheat king of the loafs, Blackwood Meatloaf!

See you next Tuesday.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Arc Sphere Distortions

Arc Sphere Distortions

by Steven "Therian" Matulewicz

Friday, September 22, 2017

Weekly Poll Results #3: Location, location, location!

by Becky "Kovaks" Baron

Total Responses: 91

Red = Gau Dring
Dk. Blue = Folkestone
Lt. Blue = Creathorne
Yellow = Blackwood
Purple = Grimloch
 Green = Chimeron
Orange = Other

Random Facts:
The nation that had the most petitioners who responded to this poll is Chimeron.
The average ZIP code of respondents is 04727.2
Respondents from New Hampshire were least likely to volunteer their zip code.

Note: Duplicate survey responses within a short timeframe were removed to reduce outliers due to technical error.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

A Note from the Adventurers Guild

Adventurers Guild Bulletin

Denizens of the Realms,

We would like to provide an update on quests in preparation for this weekend's upcoming gathering in Blackwood.  Most importantly - after speaking with our friends in Blackwood, we no longer have a need for any shards of the planar shield stone. 

Our current ongoing quests are as follows:

In Search of Components
The Adventurers Guild is looking to acquire 200 of each of the following alchemy reagents in order to stock our up-and-coming alchemy lab as well as provide a base stock of reagents with which to experiment on the creation of potions.
200 Reanimated Bones (0/200)
200 Glowcap Mushrooms (0/200)
200 Valehaven Crystals (20/200)
Reward: 5 gold for 10 of each type of reagent

Electrifying Power
The Adventurers Guild is looking to create a ward system for our new guild hall.  We have decided to collect raw energy from a Lightning Elemental, but in order to do so we will need to create a system to absorb its elemental lightning.  In order to create this device you will need to acquire the following, then see us for the next step:
Copper Vine
Earth Elemental Cores
Reward: 20 gold, once the lightning energy is extracted

Alchemical Brew-haha
The Adventurers Guild is starting to assemble the equipment needed to build our alchemy lab.  We are putting work orders out for the creation of the following items; however you procure or create them is up to you as long as they meet the correct specifications.  Gold will be awarded to the first to turn in these items:
Black Cauldron 10”-16” in diameter, between 6”-8” tall
Blue translucent or semi-opaque square flask no more than 8” tall
Red translucent or semi-opaque  round flask no more than 6” tall
Reward: 10 gold per item, see above

Members of the Adventurers Guild will be present at Blackwood to accept any turn ins or answer any questions you may have.

Why I Want To Go-Feast of Blackwood VIII

By Lani "Gwen" Grayson

Feast of Blackwood is this weekend--are you ready for some great questing and food? I hope so, because the staff is ready to give it to you. First of all, can we talk a little bit about events that feature both feasting and questing? It still blows my mind that there are EH teams crazy enough to provide both experiences in one weekend. But thank goodness for us, because that means that we get to enjoy both of these in one weekend. After a weekend full of questing, you know you will be hungry anyway, and the staff is excited to bring you a comforting, family-style meal that you can enjoy with all of your friends without having to make reservations for 20 while you are still smelly from questing, wearing questionable clothing choices out in public. If you have questions about feasting fashion, please refer to Lady Zarine, who has written about the topic before in her weekly “I Can’t Even” series (pro-tip--don’t be a pleb). I’m excited to see what Blackwood cooks up for us this weekend, and you should be too.

The prelude to the feast is a weekend full of questing, featuring plot from the Folkewood Initiative. By bringing together two experienced event-holding teams, this initiative is bursting full of exciting ideas that are sure to engage you throughout the weekend. Pay close attention at each turn, because the staff has designed a weekend of challenges for you and you don’t want to miss anything that could help you along the way. Also, fun fact, our friends in Blackwood know that you get hungry more than once in a weekend, so they will be providing dinner for you on Saturday night as well.

Last, but certainly not least, Feast of Blackwood is bringing back a regular feature, play-testing. They put out a call and you responded--there will be several new ideas in play this year at the quest. If you are someone who loves to come up with ways to improve our game, if you’ve already planned what you are bringing to the Players Meeting Potluck, and you love seeing how new rules fit in with our current structure, than Blackwood has you covered. This year you can try out a new version of Seed of Life,  and two new spells: Chain Healing and Fighter’s Stance. In addition, there will be play-testing of new weapons and arrows, as well as a new call, double strike (specifically for archers).

This is a staple event on our yearly calendar friends, don’t miss it!