Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Ask the Editors

Ask the Editors
The Editors 
Episode 21

Well hello ghouls and goblins, Happy Halloween!. This weeks question is real treat:

“What's the best way to help a newer person that I might not be seeing? Lots of people out there are teaching them how to fight or making sure the have garb, but how else can I make myself useful in retaining newbies?”


Let's get an answer from the spooktacular Jen 'Areni' DeNardis-Rosa:

“I would say that one of the biggest things a player can do to help retain newbies is simply to put on a kind face and sport a friendly attitude. Being open and welcoming to newer players, even if you don't know them, goes a long way towards making people feel comfortable and accepted in the game. Speaking from my experience as a newbie, when I first started I didn't know too many people beyond those who brought me into the game (thanks, Kyomi!) and whom I'd met at WPI practice, and I often felt timid and shy. When older or more experienced players would take the time to interact with me, even if it was just to say hello or to say something nice about the garb I had painstakingly put together or the sword that I cherished - it helped make me feel like I wasn't invisible and that I was a part of the community.

In fact, one particular story always sticks in my mind. It was many years ago, during a Tourneys of Chiron event. I was new and was proudly sporting my 3' katana while I was learning spells. There was a bear pit set up that I decided to participate in. Of course I lost every fight, but I kept getting in line anyway because I figured any practice was good practice. Afterwards, three veteran female players - Tanja (Katasha), Angie (Phoenix), and Wendy (Makela) - came up to me and told me how awesome they thought it was that, as both a newbie and a woman, I continued to fight and put myself out there despite not winning a single fight. To say that blew me away was an understatement. Like I said, that compliment has stayed with me to this day, and it was a major factor in helping me to feel like people noticed me, cared about me and how I was doing, and wanted to see me succeed.

So if you're wondering what you can do to help retain newbies - if you see them doing something you think is awesome, say it! If you see them wearing something you think is awesome, say it! If you don't have anything to say at the moment, a smile and simple "hello" go a long way too!”

Excellent advice, Jen!

Now, we hear from the Boo-tiful Lani 'Gwen' Grayson:

“Being a part of this Realms community has been an integral part of shaping me into the person that I am today. I feel incredibly lucky to have been taken in by a group of people who come together to make sure that others are lifted up and having fun. This would not have been possible if it weren’t for all the small and large things that people in this community did for me along the way to ensure that I stayed a part of the Realms. Here are a few things that I think we could all do more of to ensure that our newer players are having that same experience.

Make them feel welcome. Talk to them, ask their names, and ensure that they have someone to connect with at events. The Realms can be a little scary at first, and feeling safe and supported is necessary to ensure that players keep coming back.

Give positive reinforcement. Did that newbie just do something great like kill a troll? Do a great job role-playing an encounter? Make a neat piece of garb? Tell them about it. They need to hear that they are doing great things, and your words of encouragement matter.

Pass along some wisdom. Each of us is good at something in the Realms, and, when appropriate, it can be helpful to share some useful tips and tricks to newer players who could benefit from our experiences. Just don’t be too upset if they don’t take you up on your advice, because sometimes experience is the only teacher.

Thank you, Lani.

And last, we hear from the fangtastic Diana 'Kiira' Lapierre :

"Be welcoming. Don’t be an insufferable prick."

That sums it up quite nicely. Thanks Diana!

And there you have it. Some excellent advice on how to help newbies. We may not remember, but we were once newbies ourselves. So if you are wondering how best to help them out and make them feel welcome, ask yourself what you would have wanted when you were a fresh young zombie and the world was bright and scary. You probably just wanted to be included and feel important like all the old, crusty zombies. So go forth, and give them the best the Realms has to offer!

Thanks for reading! Please join us next time when we take on the question: “I'm throwing my first event. What's should I make sure I do or don't do in order to make it as great an experience as possible.”

Questions can be sent to Sara “Zarine” Jessop via email (Sarajjesop@gmail.com), facebook messenger, or in person. You can also ask any of our editors! Please note if you'd like your question to remain anonymous and/or if you would like to address specific editors

Monday, October 30, 2017

Arc Sphere Distortions

Arc Sphere Distortions
by Steven "Therian" Matulewicz

Friday, October 27, 2017

Bountiful Menu

You guys! Last weekend I got to do one of my favorite things.


While this is not at all the full menu, it will give you some idea of the food featured at dinner of Ashenbounty.

We started off with appetizers like tortellini skewers, the expected bread and cheeses, tomato jam on crackers, roasted potato bites, and savory crostatas.  

Tomato jam and parmesan galette

This is one of four savory crostatas, or galettes.   We also had apple/cheddar and sage, caramelized onion and bleu, and mushroom with gouda.
The potato bites were slow roasted 'til crispy, and smothered in seasonings and provolone cheese.  
Atticus shows off his fancifying of the roast potato bites

Apps were followed by a course of mac n cheese.  Feast goers had their choice of traditional, pesto, or buffalo chicken.  The pesto was homemade with fresh from the garden basil, and layered in a mozzarella/parm blend.  The buffalo chicken, of course, had chunks of bleu cheese on top.
I failed to get pictures before it was gone.

To give a bit of a break, a harvest salad followed the mac n cheese.  It was chock full of apples, walnuts, greens, tomatoes, and cucumbers, all lightly dressed with an apple cider vinaigrette.


The main course featured a slow roasted beef, maple and sea salt roasted veggies, rosemary garlic mashed potatoes, and gravy.  Before cooking, the beef was marinated for 24 hours before being seasoned with fresh herbs picked lovingly by hand.  (that was me, by the way)

The beef

Dessert included super gooey fudge frosted brownies, pumpkin pasties, and the newest delight from the Ashenkitchen, the rum apple pie wontons.
you are sad if you missed these

Huge thanks to all the kitchen help.  Atticus was by my side from start to finish, and he didn't eat all the food before it went out!  For some unknowable reason, Nighthawk and Areni returned to help, too! We also had help from Genghis, the new kitchen mascot.  He decided to skip out on tormenting players to stay and helpfully taste the pasty filling for us.  Kindly, he even dressed appropriately.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

What You Missed: Ashenbounty VI

by Alex "Elouan" Groom 

Ah, Ashenbounty.  Personally speaking, this is one of my favorite feasts of the year, and something I look forward to every fall.  This year, Ashenbounty was held in Pacifica, one of the lands of the Imperium.  Well, formerly of the Imperium, but I’ll get to that later.  

For those who are unaware, the Imperium is an empire that (and, if I get any of this wrong, someone please correct me) were frozen in time for some number of centuries, only to wake up very confused at the current geopolitical landscape.  Their response was to attack what they perceived as invaders; unfortunately, these “invaders” were the various adventurers and nations of the Realms.  Needless to say, they hurt themselves in their confusion.  The Imperium is made up of four nations; the two that are important right now are Pacifica (a kingdom of traders and merchants, and a people known for their strong wills) and the Noxari (a kingdom consisting entirely of elitist mages, where having some degree of magical talent is required for citizenship; they are exactly as pleasant as they sound). 

For some time, there has been a power struggle going on within Pacifica.  Prince Skyros had been trying to steer the nation into a more peaceful and prosperous state, free of the wars of the Imperium.  This has gone against the will of the Queen, his mother, who (from what I could gather) was efficient yet cruel in her rule.  

This weekend, that struggle came to a head.  Prince Skyros openly announced his intentions to seize control of the throne from his mother.  The fate of Pacifica was to be decided by a series of traditional Pacifican challenges known as Ascension, with the Imperium backing the Queen and the Realms backing Prince Skyros.  So split were the Pacificans in this matter that they decided to remain neutral, and not participate in these tournaments.

The challenges consisted of some sort of monster fighting pit, war tournaments, and treasure hunting.  I spent the majority of the time at the event treasure hunting; I was in the process of learning new magics, and for most of the day did not have the powers I would need to fight in a war tournament to my satisfaction.  The treasure hunting was quite fun, presenting a number of challenges including map reading, albino tuber decoys (image my reaction when we found the X that we believed marked the spot, only to find a white potato underneath, and to notice several more X’s), riddles, and classic “walk X paces north” style navigation.  

I did fight in a few war tournaments, and found them quite fun as well.  Throughout these war tournaments, the Noxari did what they do best: technically not cheat.  One particular incident that comes to mind was a competition where individuals had to wear either a blue or red piece of cloth, but could only affect those who were wearing opposite colored cloth.  The Noxari wear purple as a nation, and claimed that as a mixing of red and blue, they could affect anyone.  This was declared to be within the letter of the rules, if not the spirit.

The Realms ended up quite handily winning the Ascension for Prince Skyros.  However, when the time came for the conclusion of the ceremony and the crowning of King Skyros, he was nowhere to be found.  This was further complicated by the fact that if Skyros did not show up by sundown, the Ascension would be forfeit.  After some quick searching, we found his close advisor Alec dead nearby.  Alec revealed that they had been ambushed, and Skyros had been taken by the Noxari.  We confronted the Queen about this, who divulged that she had spoken with Candar, one of the leaders of the Noxari, saying she was willing to do anything to win, but did not expect Candar to go to these lengths. 

Thanks to Alec, we were able to track down where the Noxari had brought Prince Skyros to.  We fought through numerous waves of fire and lava elementals, finally to reach the Prince.  He was being kept captive by one of the Noxari and a number of lava elementals.  After breaking the ward the Noxari had set up, we were able to rescue Prince Skyros.  Myself and a small contingency of others escorted him back to the field, while everyone else dealt with a quite nasty fire beast that had appeared when the ward was broken.

Photo by Pi Fisher

Photo by Pi Fisher

Photo by Pi Fisher

When the remaining adventurers returned, the ceremony resumed.  The transition of power was made final, and Prince Skyros became King Skyros.  In the same moment, he declared that Pacifica was seceding from the Imperium and banished all members of the Imperium from Pacifican lands.  

Now that that was over, it was time to celebrate and feast.  Shortly before the feast began, there was a small court.  Business included King Skyros appointing ambassadors and deciding on how to deal with some captured Noxari, and Van Duke asking everyone what was going on (yes, that was the extent of his announcement).  With court finished, the feast commenced.  

Course after course of delicious food was brought out to us.  While we feasted, some other small matters went on, including Van Duke having been replaced with a doppleganger and causing some commotion.  I’m...not entirely sure what happened there, but it seems like the adventurers involved agreed on some future course of action to remedy this.  

Unfortunately, after finishing dessert, I had to head home.  Overall, this Ashenbounty was a great feast, celebrating a major victory for both the people of Pacifica and people of the Realms.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Why I Want To Go-Black and White 2017

By Lani "Gwen" Grayson

I honestly cannot believe it’s been a year since the last Black and White Masquerade Ball, but I’m really looking forward to celebrating the fall season and the Day of the Dead with all of you in the Realms. Black and White has a special place in my heart because this is the first event we at the Society for Medieval Arts and Combat typically bring our newbies to because it features so many wonderful things that the Realms has to offer. (I also love it because I was squired at Black and White and also took my first squire years later at Black and White.) This event showcases all of the variety of the Realms. There will be delicious food all day, and honestly, who can resist favorites like crabbies, deviled eggs, and poison punch? In addition, the day will be filled with gambling, shopping, questing, and tournaments. It also seems likely, from past experience, that we might just have to deal with Blue, that rascal.

I love that Black and White is an event that allows for a costume change, because for many of us the best part is getting all fancied up and enjoying the evening festivities. My personal favorites include the auction and court, but there will also be dancing, gambling, and socializing. And, lest I forget, we are also invited to taste dessert in the evening, despite that fact that many of us wearing bodices are constrained more than we would usually be around such delicacies. Black and White has a little bit of everything for everyone. You won’t regret taking the time to make this event, I guarantee it.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

I Can't Even

I Can't Even...
Sara 'Zarine' Jessop
… Cancellations

I have an important issue to talk about this week. We all know that I work in a service industry. As part of that,we at Alchimia Lupinaar allow you plebs to make appointments in advance. This way you get the person, time, and service that you desire without a hassle. But ever since I opened I've had a persistent problem; People don't keep their scheduled engagements.

Now I am not talking about sending a missive and canceling weeks in advance. I'm talking about canceling when it's too late to book someone else in, or simply just not showing up. Sometimes I get a missive a day later telling me that they cannot keep their allotted time. And if that wasn't bad enough then they request to reschedule. So now they want to take up more of someone's time, which they may not even arrive for. If you dare to ask for a deposit for future appointments they get offended. 'It's just an appointment' they say. 

Well, let me explain something to you. My entertainers are not paid an hourly wage. They actually pay me a percent of their earnings and receive room, board, and protection. So by taking up their time and then not receiving a service you are effectively taking gold out of their pockets. They aren't just there to serve you, they are working and earning a living. They are people, just like you, who deserve to be treated with respect and courtesy. 

Now, I am not an unreasonable woman. I understand that sometimes there is an emergency, or you just plain forgot. But let me put it this way: Say you work at a forge making a decent enough living to pay your creditors and feed yourself and your family. Your boss comes out to you one afternoon and says “I don't have anything for you to do for the next two hours, but you can't go home, and I'm not going to pay you to be here”. Sounds terribly unfair doesn't it? Oh, and then he asks you to come in tomorrow on your day off and do what you were supposed to do today. Does that sound acceptable to you? No?

We don't want to hear your hour long apology full of lame excuses. We just want you to understand why it's not acceptable and preferably to stop doing it. And not just at my establishment, but everywhere. People's time is important to them, especially when that time is literally money. People who provide you with services are not beneath you (unless that is the service you are paying for, I suppose) and we are deserving of basic decency and respect. Henceforth at Alchimia Lupinaar I shall be requiring a deposit for all advance appointments. If that doesn't meet with your approval, then I suggest you find yourself a new medical provider.

See you next Tuesday.

Zarine is the proprietor and Madam at Alchimia Lupanar, a magic marshal approved practitioner of medicine, an award winning author, and has 36 years of experience in giving her unsolicited opinion.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Arc Sphere Distortions

Arc Sphere Distortions
by Steven "Therian" Matulewicz

Friday, October 20, 2017

What You Missed: A Grave Discovery Saturday Night Quest

by Emily "Kara" Murphy

On Saturday night, after the events of the day and a nice dinner, I waved good-bye to Tao who was called to the West and the party set out for the village with our guide, Devan, to test out his and his friend’s theory that the Beacon crystal, an item we had received Friday night, was attracting the undead of Stonewood. They were correct, to say the least. 

 As we arrived to the village, it was heavily fortified with four gates with one opened throughout the night so that we could fight beyond the town’s walls. However, all four points were weaker and the undead flocked to them, trying to tear them down with their weapons. I used what magicks I know to help, and did a lot with them, but as the night went on, the undead grew more restless. Eventually, after while, we knew we had to seal the gates and to do this, we needed a ritual at each. We called out to Solaris, Justicar, Merkel, and Thane in that order. 

The funny thing with the last one is we ran out of a component needed to fix it, so naturally I cast a non-ritual divine aid to Thane, the head god of the Stonewood pantheon and judging on Tempest’s reaction to when I did that, I might’ve messed up, maybe not. He gave me visions of scalping 10 of the undead in exchange for what we need. However, during all of this, Devan was using his life force to be able to raise people to defend the town. He died, giving the rest of his life to make sure his town was safe. Seven of us cremated him as per his request and spread his ashes at the same time the others fought the big bad.

10 More Questions with... Damien "Dell" LaHaye

Photo courtesy of Jesse Gifford

1) What achievement either in or out of character are you most proud of?
Earning my A and becoming a full member of Grimloch.

2) Are you a fighter or a caster? Have you always been? How did you choose?
 A fighter. I have been a one path seer, and a 3 path, shaman, shaman, alchemist. I wanted to be as useful as possible for my team sometimes you need to pick up a pike because someone went down, or grab a door shield. Also armor truly adds, To the atmosphere of our game.

3) Have you ever owned an artifact, memento, or magic item that has meant a lot to you, and why?
Yes. I have owned many, one of them being a magic 4'6" sword called Molly Jackson no one was allowed to use this weapon besides me. This was the first create your own that Del had gotten. 

4) What group of people do you spend the most time with and why? 
Grimloch. I can confidently say we have the most fun at events. 

5) Who is your best friend in character and why?

6) What event or moment had the greatest impact on you as a player?
The moment I removed my tabard and handed it to Tallon and decided I would truly role play my last character(Sabboth) and begin the war with Folkstone. 

7) What event or moment had the greatest impact on your character?
Winning Queen of Hearts this year. This was a last minute decision as a team to fight it was the rally cry Del felt the team needed. Everyone pulled together and made that happen I was very proud as Warmark. 

8)What is your most embarrassing moment, either IC or OOC?
No comment. 

9) What is the best piece of advice you'd give to other players?
Follow Crystal Hall rules one and two....oh and tuck your elbows in. 

10 ) What is the most important thing you've learned through the game?
Make sure you join a group that you supports you. The game is like a long term relationship it has peaks and valleys. Sometimes you need help getting out of the valley. 

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?
Remember tattoos are permanent.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

What You Missed: A Grave Discovery

by James "Sir Tao" Murphy

What You Missed or, Uncle Tao’s Fireside Stories [ooc to follow, there is some interesting stuff there]

Stonewood, problems with undead, probably be really easy to deal with. Or not….

We gathered on Friday as a village in Stonewood had asked for our aid. With armor on and weapons in hand we set off. I was quite amazed by the large numbers that had gathered on this Friday night. We journeyed to a village where we meet a few villagers who let us know that there was a local dungeon where they thought was an artifact that was summoning the undead to the area. They asked us to go into the dungeon and secure the artifact so it could be found out if it was indeed the thing summoning the undead.

The entrance to the dungeon had some letters that had to be arranged into words in a particular order. While more ‘thinky’ people than me worked on this, I stayed to the outside expecting undead to start to appear. Luckily they did not. It was as quiet as a tomb.

Once the puzzle had been solved the way was opened into a room full of unbreakable stings that just looked a mess. Each string had to be untangled to continue. As I had my trusty large questy axe, and full armor on, I was not much help in the untangling. Myself and a few others in similar circumstances went to a corner where we would not be in the way. After a bit some of the strings were untangled, and some magic was used so that a wall opened up and we were able to continue looking for the artifact. 

The wall opened to reveal several statues that reacted to movement, and hit with the force of large rocks. It took some time but eventually we were able to get the large party around the statues with minimal damage.

The next obstacle we encountered was a bridge that had been trapped in a clever way. The bridge was a series of tiles that when you stepped on them the first time, you were pushed one or two tiles in a set way. For instance if the tile said N E; you would be pushed one tile north and one tile east. If this pushed you off the bridge you fell to your death, and would be returned to the start of the bridge. Once it had been stepped on once, the tile went blank and could be stepped on a second time without any forced push, but would reset to active once it was used this way. 

As is my way I stayed to the back constantly on alert for any monsters to rise and start to attack, but it continued to be quiet. We did not realize that there would be even more silence to come….

Getting everyone over the bridge took quite a bit of time. When we encountered our next obstacle, a room that allowed no noise, but had several riddles written on the walls. To solve the riddle the answer had to be written down.  With a party this size it was short work to solve them.

This led into a room where the artifact was found; a large triangular statute-like thing that glowed with the light of arcane magic. We walked it out to the village. It was decided we should keep it in our tavern as that is where the majority of the adventures would be. Usually I spend time cleaning blood and gore off my weapons and armor but this time I did not have too. We were never attacked by anything. 

The next day we gathered to find out more information about the artifact and to see what could be accomplished to make it stop summoning undead. I was hoping to continue not to have to attack anything; I was disappointed.

The undead started attacking as soon as we were gathered, and by going to where they were coming from we were able to follow them back to where they were coming from.  A quick warning, these undead were strong, they had unusual defenses. Alongside the normal zombies and skeletons, there were also ghosts who could only be affected by ghost-bladed weapons.

At one point, some magic happened and we all went to sleep, or at least I think we all went to sleep. After we woke up we learned that several people in the party had been scalping out undead and trying to send their souls to non-Stonewood gods. They also learned that this is a bad idea.

After many unusually powerful undead waves, a god(?) may have shown up. He had somehow ended up with one of our magic items and was pretty much looking for more battle and destruction.  After a long running fight with several cries going off, the god (Sorin?) was suitably impressed by our combat prowess and returned the item.

We were exhausted from the fight but continued to keep looking for more information. While I had not had to fight at all Friday night, by Saturday afternoon, I had been very, very busy.

We explored until we found a chapel with some very locked/stuck/blocked doors. There was also a large demon/monster thing that had some grudge against one of the party and gave us quite a bit of trouble. After quite a bit of shenanigans and general mayhem the party finally was able to open the doors.  We found nothing of worth inside. However while the work was going into opening the doors, the demon thing had finally been defeated.

So, the demon was defeated, one of the party had stopped it from blowing up temporarily. Almost everyone backed up a long way. But it was not long enough. Once the thing was allowed to blow up it killed almost everyone.

At this point I only have secondhand accounts of what happened. I had stayed close enough to the demon that if it was counting down to summing more demons, or more undead or just did not blow up like we thought it would I would be able to help the one party member in the middle of the field. There was a large noise and then silence for me.

Many people were dead; many people were scalped (myself included). Lots of magic was used to get us all back. We retired back to the village to have dinner. 

Here my tale ends, my soul was damaged, and I had received word that matters out west needed my attention.

Friday night quest had no fighting, none, not one skinny undead anything. The entire dungeon had only puzzles and traps. While I think the number of PCs that showed up Friday night was double what they were expecting it still worked with some longer wait times as most of the puzzles/traps could only be operated by a few people at a time.

The staff asked all of us to cover our weapons in white socks. This made combat at night much, much safer.  I liked it. They also used a lot of light props that looked like glowing crystals that upped the ambient light level. I liked these two changes. I feel they made fighting at night much safer and more comfortable.

Also when I got scalped by the exploding demon, I left all the stealables, a phis rep, and went to get a drink. I happen to walk up to two of the event-holders and sat down with them for a bit. They wanted to make sure the following exchange made it into print:

Me: “You just had a total party wipe, how do you feel?”
Travis: “Like a dick”

[Photos also by James Murphy]

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Why I Want to Go-Ashen Bounty VI

By Lani "Gwen" Grayson

Ashen Bounty is an event that I look forward to attending every year because it strikes such a wonderful balance between great questing and great food. As someone who has had the pleasure to quest at this event series in the past, I can genuinely say that this EH team puts in a great deal of effort to make sure that the plot is clear and engaging and that the encounters are well balanced and keep everyone in the questing party entertained. At Ashenbounty you can expect cool mechanics and effects, and also some unique ways of working with in-house magic items, ensuring that there is always something for everyone to be doing all weekend long. What sticks out in my mind about this series are the individual encounters: each one unique, fun, creative, and interesting. In years past we’ve battled Lightning Scorpions, ventured into haunted libraries, worked our way through charged fields, or battled the limbs of giant plant monsters. I’m sure that in our attempts to aid Prince Skyros that we will once again face off against some epic challenges.

As I’ve said many times before, I am in awe of EH teams that throw questing and feasting in the same weekend, because both of these skills take a lot of work individually but take a crazy amount of coordination to pull off successfully at the same time. I have no doubt that the food will be exquisite because I’ve had the pleasure of working with this feastocrat in the past and she can cook! After a challenging day of questing I think there can be no greater pleasure than sitting down to a delicious, warm, home-cooked meal.

If you haven’t come out to Ashen Bounty before, then you really need to make an effort this year because you will miss out if you don’t attend.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Ask the Editors

Ask the Editors
The Editors
Episode 20 

Hello again and welcome.

This week's questions was asked to us in person:

“Have you ever been snubbed by any entity in The Realms, and how did that make you feel?”


(At least we think it was anonymous, we never really asked, so it will remain that way for now unless they wish to come forward.)

First up, we have Lani 'Gwen' Grayson:

“This is a tough question to answer, because I think at one time or another we all believe that our hard work goes unnoticed. My theory is that people do notice, but often fail to say those nice things we love to hear out loud. That means that we can all be a part of the solution, rather than a part of the problem. If you see someone doing something great, don’t feel embarrassed to compliment them on it--just go for it and enjoy the smile that it brings to someone else’s face. And if you do feel like you’ve been overlooked for something you believe you deserve, take solace in the fact that the only person you have control over is you, and continue doing your best for as long as it makes you happy to do so. Someday someone may notice, or they might not, but either way, as long as you are doing what makes you happy then that’s what really counts in the end.”

Excellent advice. Thanks Lani.

Next up, Diana 'Kiira' LaPierre:

“The game has had a history of orders that are very subjective(not to be confused with objective which I often do). On just my own opinion, orders like that are made for hard feelings. I tend to disagree with them on that basis. 

What someone appears to do versus what they actually do can be completely different things, and when someone is not in your social circle, or they are in an opposing one, appearances aren’t always what they seem.

Then, sometimes, you can have someone who talks a big game but doesn’t actually do the things they say and/or believe they do, and if you take them at face value, you are being hoodwinked into thinking they deserve admittance into the organization. That person may not be in your social circle, but when they self-promote, you could think they deserve it. On the opposite end of that, there are those who do a lot to fulfill that requirement, but because they are humble and don’t promote themselves or ask for credit, they fly under the radar.

Bottom line is: friends promote friends. What I see happening is people promoting their friends within orders because it’s who they see on a regular basis and maybe someone who they push to do the same things as themselves. Ask some twenty or more year players and they may tell you that not much has changed. It’s human nature to want to help your friends.”

Excellent insight, Diana, thank you.

Next, we hear from Jen 'Areni' Denardis-Rosa

“So this doesn't technically answer the question, because my short answer to the question is no, I do not feel that I have been snubbed by any organization in the game. But as a shy newbie, I did find it hard sometimes to meet people and make friends within the game. I am blessed now to have a large circle of friends and acquaintances within the Realms that have built up over the years, but I didn't feel that this was always the case. I found myself often feeling intimidated by the "movers and shakers" during the time that I was a newbie, and tended to stick close to the circle of people who brought me into the game and to a smaller extent, the people I met through practice. While the majority of people I met during the time seemed to me to be welcoming and open to newbies, it was sometimes hard for me to "put myself out there" and get out of my box. Through the years I've gotten much more comfortable socially and have gotten to know a lot of the "big deal" people that I was once intimidated by, and it's been a very rewarding for me and has lead to many treasured relationships, for sure.”

Thank you for sharing your experience, Jen.

Last up, Sara 'Zarine' Jessop weighs in:

“So, this is an interesting question for me. Of course I have felt snubbed by a group in the game. If you don't know which, you haven't been paying attention. However, how it makes me feel is totally different than how it makes Zarine feel. Zarine is just a lonely, bitter harpy who likes to complain and hide her hurt feelings under sarcasm and haughtiness. Sara isn't upset much at all. I mean, on an OOC level I enjoy promoting fashion and culture in the game, but I don't need to be a part of a group to do that. I just continue doing what I enjoy and trying to promote positive changes where I feel that they can happen in my own way. I just happen, for the most part, to use my character to effect those changes.

Sara and Zarine are different people, though of course played by the same stunning actress, with different reactions and feelings. My feelings aren't hurt because I was overlooked, in fact, I don't even think I even was overlooked. I think that I may have been passed over for others who were perhaps better liked by the group. I am not saying it's not hurtful at all, to feel unliked, but in the grand scheme of things it's not that big of a deal, and I am probably reading too much into it anyways. I can still enjoy myself and do what I do without being a part of it. In fact, much of who Zarine has become has come about from the inner turmoil she feels from being snubbed. So really, maybe being snubbed has been the best thing that ever happened to me (in the game, let's be honest, way better things have happened to me IRL) so that I could make Zarine a better character to play.”

Thank you, Sara,

So there you have it. It seems that we all feel that the most important thing is doing what you love for you, because you can't expect other people to give you recognition. Be happy with yourself. You can still do great things without the validation of others.

We love answering your questions! Speaking of which, we need more, so if you want to keep reading out spectacular answers, we'll need you to send more questions our way. The information on how is in italics below. We hope to hear from you soon!

Questions can be sent to Sara “Zarine” Jessop via email (Sarajjessop@gmail.com), facebook messenger, or in person. The question box will also be making the rounds at various events. Please note if you'd like your question to remain anonymous and/or if you would like to address specific editors

Monday, October 16, 2017

Arc Sphere Distortions

Arc Sphere Distortions
by Steven "Therian" Matulewicz

Friday, October 13, 2017

What You Missed: Viper's Den (photos)

 All photos by James "Tao" Murphy