Thursday, November 30, 2017

Why I Want to Go-Tournaments of Artemis VI and Trials of the Beyond

Saturday: Tournaments of Artemis VI: Real Lady Hours
By Gwen

The Huntress Guild holds a special place in my heart because of its history, mission, and continued purpose in our game. For those of you who are unfamiliar with its past, it is an organization that was formed by Tanya “Katasha” Johnson in the early 2000s. Tanya has always been someone that I look up to, both in and out of the game, as an example of how fierce a woman can be. Years later, one of my best friends, Alysha “Kyntela” Metcalf was tasked with reigniting the guild, during a time period where I was interested in anything but fighting in the game. However, under her leadership, I was inspired to fight again, if only for a while. Because the Huntress Guild, at its core, supports the women of our community, inspires them, pushes them to become better, not for the sake of others, but for ourselves. Within the past few years, I had lost my way again: refusing to fight, skipping practices, and avoiding combat at all costs. However, a new chapter of the Huntress Guild has unfolded, and I have been inspired a third time to pick up my sword and try again. This inspiration comes from a strong young leader, Nataliya “Shader” Kostenko. She is making a mark on our community by acting as the First Lieutenant of the Huntress Guild and inspiring members, young and old, to get back out and fight. Having just come back from the Huntress Guild practice at UConn that she organized, I can honestly say that the high spirits and good fun that make fighting worthwhile to me will be a hallmark of this event.
In my mind, what makes this event special is that, providing you have a team, anyone can participate but the spotlight remains on the huntresses. They will be challenged to demonstrate their leadership, martial prowess, and communication skills throughout the entire event. But perhaps what I am most looking forward to this Saturday is the intention with which the tournaments have been designed. Nataliya and her staff understand that one of the best competitions in life is a competition to see who can have the most fun. It is in this spirit that the tournaments have been designed. They are unique, focused on the huntresses, and will certainly be a joy to participate in. As someone who has not fought through an entire practice for several years, tonight I found the motivation to dust off my sword, try my best, and let go of my reservations in the spirit of having fun. I have no doubt that Saturday’s event will bring those same feelings out in all of you. I hope you make it a point to attend and support an organization and EH staff that are putting in their best effort to create a space for all members of our community to enjoy combat in a positive environment.

Sunday: Trials of the Beyond
By Keith “Saegan” Cronyn

It’s not exactly a secret that I love a good fight. Between practices and tournaments, I’d say it’s common knowledge. And I’m excited for this weekend because we have a chance to participate in an installment of one of my favorite line of tournaments.

Trials of the Beyond promises to be the next in the Tournaments of the Void brand. Let me tell you, I’ve been a regular at these events from the beginning. Zack/Dygen, Chris/Jaha, and Illy/Illy have put a lot of effort into these tournaments over the years. Regularly upping the game, whether it’s by introducing innovative new tournaments, having stellar props, and non com activities for the down time, or even just taking the time to provide great food on the cheap.

Traditionally, the Tournaments of the Void brand of events has focused on Single Competitor tournaments, tracking the individuals as they eke out points from hard won fights, and giving over to them belt favors of the void, emblazoned in different colors so that they can show off the status of their individual successes.

But as we’ve progressed through these trials, it’s been revealed that the backing power behind these events are an ancient, and perhaps evil company of beings. Finally we find ourselves challenged by these beings in what is promised to be a series of small team tournaments.

Now I love small team tournaments, they offer a different sort of challenge than the single tournaments, in the element of chaos that multiple competitors brings, but also a single person can make a big change real quickly in the right circumstance. So for me, this is highly appealing. It means big challenges, and intense combat. It means high maneuverability, and traumatic changes in the anticipated outcomes of things. Personally, I’d go if only to watch because there is some potential for some truly intense fights.

Zack gave me some inside insight on the fighting. To cope with the potential balance issues that these sorts of tournaments tend to have, the event team has come up with a really interesting system of balance that has an in depth level of strategy. Each team will be given a deck of power cards, to be used at their whim, within the tournaments. Each power may only be used once, and then it’s done. But with powers ranging from weapon types and styles, and heal limb, these things can dramatically change a fight.

To top it all off, the advantage on the next fight goes to the person in last, and reversed for the team in first. This means that holding onto first place will be a constant uphill battle, and hopefully that there will be a lot of shifts in placement, which just means more competitive fights.

Lastly, I would be remiss not to talk about the prize table. In the past some of the best crafts in the game have found their way to these tables, and that's no embellishment. Zack and Illy are some of the best foamsmiths in the game, and I know for a fact they have a custom buckler on the table. The amount of work that goes into these bucklers is in the hundreds of hours, and in auction could easily go for a couple hundred dollars, and I don’t even want to think about the gold value.

I should probably be chasing you off reader, so that prize could be mine.

But hopefully, I see you on the field.

10 More Questions - Gregory Falconer

10 Questions with Gregory "Daekara" Falconer

Photo by M.G. Norris Contemporary Photography

1) What achievement either in or out of character are you most proud of?

The most pride I felt was winning young champion at Queen of Hearts 2016. I was in my second year going up against people who had a lot more experience than me. Still can’t believe I pulled that one out.

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

Currently I’m a fighter but I used to be a 1-path. I broke restriction last year and while I can go back I’m just enjoying being a fighter more right now.

3) Have you ever owned an artifact, memento, or magic item  that has meant a lot to you, and why?

I haven’t gotten any magic items but I do own a sword I won during a charity auction from the Bud event. It’s my favorite and it only gets pulled out during special fights.

Painting by Alexa Lecko

4) What group of people do you spend the most time with and why?

I spend the most time with Invictus. They are like my second family and I can’t think of anyone better to spend events around. Also, anyone who yells at you to get off their lawn have has the best stories.

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

Probably Wrath because he’s one of the most fun having guys there is and he just great to fight with. Also he helped start me favorite hobby of telling Sybil every pun you can.

6) What event or moment had the greatest impact on you as a player?

Queen of Hearts 2015. Fighting on team Hooray where each battle was uphill and you had to push as hard as you could for the wins was the most excited over ever felt in my realms career. The queens war was the first time I also got to fight against many of the best fighters I’ve never had the chance to fight against. It cemented for me what I loved most about the game.

7) What event or moment had the greatest impact on your character?

The best in character impact was my first League meeting where I learned that there was much better things than cheap beer and getting drunk so it would taste good. Now I would rather sip the good stuff and try more.

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?

You should just do what makes you have the most fun. You aren’t paying to have a bad time on your weekends off, and don’t let anyone tell you how to play your character(s)

Photo by Erin Martin

10 ) What is the most important thing you've learned through the game?
Respect goes a long way

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

BONUS QUESTION #2: Anything else you'd like to take the opportunity to put into print?
The more likely it is you will lose the better it will feel if you win.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Ask the Editors

Ask the Editors 
The Editors 
Episode 23

Well, hello there! We hope you all had a lovely holiday and are stuffed full of delicious foods. This weeks question is:

I see a lot of nations out there in the game. I'm not sure what really makes them different from one another. Are nations just groups of friends or is there more to it?


Excellent question anonymous. Let's see what our editors have to say!

First, Jen 'Areni' DeNardis-Rosa:

“At their core, nations are just that - groups of friends that like to hang out together. This often has both an in-game component (nation members usually quest together, and may also decide to NPC together as well) and an out-of-game component (spending time together in "mundane" life). Most of the time, nations correspond to certain geographical regions - which is why you have the "southern" nations, based mostly in Massachusetts and Connecticut, and "northern" nations, whose members live mostly in New Hampshire and also Vermont (it makes sense - it's easier to hang out when you live near each other!)

But many people will tell you that nations are more than just "groups of friends." When you ask someone to describe their nation, the word that most often comes up is "family" - people with a close bond that love and care for one another both in character and out. This concept of family oftentimes transcends individuals nations and can be seen when the greater Realms community comes together to accomplish amazing things together, such as charity events and auctions.

Another important thing to keep in mind in terms of nations is that they often have different principles and philosophies that the group has been built around, and that is used to attract potential new members. These can be as different as the nations themselves; here are just a few - martial prowess, having fun together, service to the community, being a family, etc. Along with heraldry, these core values are part of what makes each nation unique and different from each other and gives each one a different identity beyond being friends that like to hang out.

If you're curious about a particular nation, ask to spend time with them! People are happy to answer questions and tell you about their in and out of character goals, projects, and principles. Many nations have a way for you to spend more time with members without actually joining - called "petitioner" status, it is an opportunity to make sure that the nation is a good fit for you and you can usually leave your petitioner status at any time if you feel things are not working for you.”

Thank you, Jen. 

And now, Lani 'Gewn' Grayson

“If you look around the Realms it is very clear to see that nations hold great importance. People proudly display their national heraldry and a person’s nation is a major part of their identity, both in and out of character. While a nation IS made up of friends, there is so much more to it than that, and there are several qualities that make nations unique from one another.

  1. Different nations have different values. You can ask most people in the game to describe what makes each nation different, and the qualities that they will describe generally align very neatly with the values of that nation. Nations tend to have a few core values that drive their actions and attitudes, and that is what really sets nations apart from each other. Each nation is distinctive, because each nation is formed with a unique goal in mind, and the members that the nation attracts are going to need to share that sense of purpose if they are going to be a member for the long haul. 
  2. Nations are family. Nations are extensions of your family--sometimes you get along, sometimes you argue, but in the end, you have shared values and purposes that keep you together through thick and thin. They make an indelible mark on their members, and national identity is so special that some people choose to make that mark permanently on their skin, which is pretty incredible if you think about it. What makes nations so special is that they are a family that you choose, but just like a family it grows and changes with time. I can only speak from my experience, but for me at least, Rhiassa is home. It’s where my best friends are, the place that I know I can go when I have a crazy idea that I want to try, someplace to laugh and cry. 
  3. National ties extend beyond the game. Perhaps the most interesting thing about nations is that they really extend much further than it might seem on the surface. Although nations are a key organizational tool for the game, those ties don’t stop after the event is over. It is not uncommon to see nation members in people’s wedding parties and other major occasions in their everyday lives. Even people who aren’t active players still generally identify as a member of their nation. The bond of nationhood extends so far beyond the realm of Realms. It is a special thing to be able to choose your perfect family, and so even when our time in Realms ends, our love for our family doesn’t. "
Thank you, Lani. 

[Editors note: The following answers and additional text were added after Sara's initial post was composed.]

Now, debuting in his first Ask the Editors, Keith "Saegan" Cronyn!

"Are nations just groups of friends? Of course not.

I mean of course you're going to be in a nation with your friends, and not a bunch of punks you hate. Why would you do that to yourself?

While different player types may be drawn to different nations in particular, whether you like deep character lore, magics, fighting, or laid back partying styles of play, each nation has different bits of culture that make it up.

Whether it’s secret initiations, knightings in open court, how they lay their helmets around the fire, toasts, challenges, or any number of traditions that each individual nation has, they all bring content and immersion to our game, and that’s a huge deal.

You might not notice it at first, like how each member of Neden has an individual N on their tabard to represent them, or how members of Chimeron can challenge each other for the kings cup, or how you should bring a gift to camp if you’re visiting the Northern Alliance, even if it’s just your company, or a good story. These are just some things off the top of my head, there are probably thousands of things that make up the culture of the game, and much of that is brought on by the nations that make it up.

So if you’re not seeing the differences between the nations, then you probably just need to spend more time with them. Ask Folkestone why they punch Deck. Ask Eagle’s Rook what it means to be a Knight. Ask Stonewood about their gods. Ivory may not be around much, but check out their library. Ask Ashenmark how to become one of their swords. Ask all the questions you can, and then you'll see the difference, and the importance of the nations of our game."

Fantastic points and a unique perspective, Keith!

Also appearing for the first time in this column, Steven "Therian" Matulewicz! Take it away Steven!

"Nations and groups, at their core, should be a bunch of people you want to hang out with both IC and OOC for many years, if not for your entire time in the game and well past the day you may leave.  That being said, you can make many friends in many different groups, and yet do not need to join their ranks.  What usually differentiates the groups is their internal dynamic and their focus within the game.  Are they high RP?  Questers?  Tournament goers?  What is the expectation of the group itself towards events and events they may throw?  How much effort is put into events/ the Realms on a day to day basis?  Do they hang out heavily on line/ OOC?  Is it a family friendly group?  Larger groups may have a broader scope of interests, and in those cases, finding your niche within the group can be both challenging and rewarding.  Ultimately a group should be able to define their higher goals.  It is up to you to decide if you believe in those goals, IC and OOC."

A very pragmatic perspective from Steven. Thank you!

[Editors note: This concludes the additional text.]

So there you have it. Nations are indeed groups of friends, but they are also so much more than that. People that share common goals and views tend to come together and form nations, and slowly more people who share that commonality join them as well. If you want to know what goals and views a particular nation has, ask them, I am sure they wouldn't mind telling you all about themselves. If what they stand for sounds like something you also enjoy, then consider getting to know them better and perhaps eventually join them. There is a place for just about everyone in the realms, you just need to find it. 

As always, thanks for reading. Please join us next time when we answer the question “There are lots of other LARPs out there that seem to be competitors for Realms. What do you think Realms has as an advantage over those other LARPs and what do you think we could learn from them?”

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

An Amateur’s Guide to Healing like a Pro

An Amateur’s Guide to Healing like a Pro

(part 1)

By Gerry Chartier
Hello, gentle friends!  I’m here today to discuss the most important aspect of the magic system – healing.  Our system doesn’t work without healing magic – or perhaps more accurately, it would work very well for a few seconds.  We would not, however, be able to have days-long questing events without healing.  The PCs would all be down within the first hour. Healing is also a major factor in war maneuver events – the right kind can turn around a losing battle.  If you’re a new caster and you want to be sure to be useful, healing is a safe bet.
That said, healing is a little more complicated than it appears at first glance.  You can’t just take a single path of Healing and go forth to keep the questing party alive indefinitely.  Different situations call for different builds.  You need to know going in what kind of healing you want to specialize in, so you can tailor your build accordingly.
Attending Med School
The first thing to be aware of is that there are actually three paths of magic that are healing magic. Healing is, of course, the obvious one.  The other two are Alchemy and, surprisingly, Necromancy.  Each has their strengths and weaknesses.  Let’s take a look at those paths and what they have to offer.
The Healing Path
Pool: Ghost Blade, Cure Disease
Not all paths have obvious Pool spell lead-ins, but Healing has two.  Of the two, Ghost Blade is going to be more reliably useful, as it allows you to keep your weapon on you while performing slow Raises, or having them performed on you.  Depending on what you’re building towards, slow Raises won’t always be a primary concern, but they do get used at almost every event, and if you’re doing them, it’s nice to not be defenseless.
As for Cure Disease, you’ll go whole events without casting it once, but it occasionally comes up, and when it does, it causes you to have to invest double the healing resources into keeping your companions up and functional.  If you can spare the pool slot, it’s good to have them handy.
2nd Circle: Heal Limb, Group Heal
Heal Limb is the most important and useful spell in the game.  People fight more effectively when they’ve got all their limbs.  This spell lets you keep others fighting, plus it lets you keep yourself fighting – or running, as the case may be.  Dedicated healers often aren’t combat monsters, so being able to stay out of the way keeps one alive.  Plus, Heal Limb is a low-circle spell, easily cast, and unlimited casting, so it’s well worth buying down for.  Why every caster wouldn’t have Heal Limb, I don’t know.
Being in the shadow of Heal Limb, Group Heal struggles to get noticed.  It’s not a spell you would take unless you have other Healing spells, because it doesn’t do anything in and of itself.  Instead what it does is multiply the effect of certain spells – most importantly being Combat Raise Dead and Raise Dead.  Being able to use one casting to raise multiple people is very handy, but given that Group Heal is competing against Heal Limb, one is not likely to take it unless the Healing path is taken twice.
3rd Circle: Raise Dead
The spell name describes what it does.  Anyone at all familiar with our system knows how vital raising is.  However, the spell does come with two major downsides. The first is weapon sensitivity.  In order to cast Raise Dead successfully, one has to be 10 or more feet away from any weapon.  Most players are going to be carrying more than one weapon – even I generally carry three, and I play a 3-path caster!  So, getting weapons away from the casting area slows the process down – sometimes a lot.  It can also lead to a healer getting rolled by a hostile who slips around the friendlies (hence the importance of Ghost Blade).  
The other major downside of Raise Dead is limited uses.  Each slot of Raise Dead one learns grants only 5 uses of the spell.  If it’s only taken once, one can piss through 5 castings in the first ten minutes of an event.  By itself, Raise Dead does not make one an adequate healer.
When I had a path of Healing, I had a great Raise Dead verbal.  I actually occasionally got compliments on it.  I’d be happy to pass it on – feel free to ask me about it.
4th Circle: Call the Soul
There’s 3 levels of being dead in our system – dead, scalped, and 3-ticked.  Being 3-ticked is permanent character death, and it happens so rarely I’m not going to discuss it further.  Being dead is the most common level – a dead character is completely nonfunctional, but there are plenty of resources that can return the character to functionality.  Being scalped is a more severe level of being dead, requiring being un-scalped before the usual return-to-functionality resources will work.
Characters occasionally do get scalped, but not with enough regularity to make Call the Soul a spell one is apt to cast at every event.  That being the case, 4th Circle is a prime buy-down slot. When I had a path of Healing, I bought down for more Raise Deads, and not once did I say to myself, “Gee, I wish I had Call the Soul instead.”
5th Circle: Combat Raise Dead:
Combat Raise Dead is Raise Dead without an important downside – no weapon sensitivity.  It also only requires a 3-word verbal, so it can be rattled off fast.  The only downside is you get even less uses per slot – only 3 castings each time you learn it.  
6th Circle: Circle of Healing:
CoH is another multiplier spell, like Group Heal, but it is at once more potent and less flexible.  It provides one casting, allowing the caster to mark a spot with a circle of rope from which one can cast Raise Dead, Cure Disease, or Heal Limb an unlimited number of times.  Unfortunately, once the spell is cast, the rope can’t be moved without ending the spell, so it has to be used strategically.  Under the right circumstances, Circle of Healing can make the caster the most important PC on the field.  I’ve had that happen twice, once at The Silver Eye, and once at Folkestone Questing.  Most of the time, though, the caster will barely make back the investment of a slot that could be taken by either more Combat Raise Dead or Raise Dead.  When it’s useful, it’s really really useful, but despite how potent it can be, it isn’t vital for any of the healing builds one might want.
7th Circle: Cry of Life, Seed of Life
Healing is one of the paths where there’s a choice of 7th Circle spells, but one choice is clearly better than the other, and the better choice is Seed of Life.  Cry of Life seems like it can be a real game changer, but you only get 1 casting of it, and to have maximum effect, you really have to be able to project.  Plus, given that it’s such a significant investment, there’s pressure to use it at exactly the right time, but when that is won’t always be obvious – and may never come at all.

What makes Seed of Life the better choice is that it is unlimited casting.  It’s slow, but the caster can just keep on using it.  This makes it an invaluable resource at a questing event.  Unlike Cry of Life, you’ll use Seed of Life all day, and there’s never a bad time for it.

Staff Changes: Goodbye and Hello

Goodbye and Hello

The staff of the View from Valehaven would like to thank editors Diana LaPierre and Sara Jessop for years of work and dedication in finding and creating content for the View from Valehaven. Sara's "I Can't Even" articles have been a favorite across the community and have left an indelible mark on the Realms and her work on the Ask the Editor articles made that feature come to life. Diana worked diligently behind the scenes to find and create content since coming on board in January of 2016. Her editorials and Casting Corners were always popular and highly anticipated.

At the same time we would like to heartily welcome our two new editors. Steven Matulewicz and Keith Cronyn, to our staff. Steven is a Knight of the Realms who has given countless hours to improving the community in many ways. His weekly comic "Arc Sphere" has run for the past year and he has agreed to come on board to help us imagine and create even newer content. Keith is a Knight of the Eternal Flame and one of the Realms most respected combatants. He is a regular contributor to What you Missed articles and is eager to lend us his elevated writing style in innovative ways. He brings the perspective of a true Northerner which we're excited to embrace as well as giving competitive fighters throughout the community a voice.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Arc Sphere Distortions

Arc Sphere Distortions
by Steven "Therian" Matulewicz

Friday, November 24, 2017

Question of the Week and Responses

Question of the Week, Week 2

Thank you everyone who responded to our first Question of the Week! We'd like to share everyone's responses with you below!

Below that, the question for this week appears. Please take a moment and respond. The more community involvement we have with this feature the more fun the results are to read!

The question answered below was: What is the most important thing your character has ever owned?

A Casino(New Eden Casino) A Bar and Brothel (Rohde and Syruss's Hump House and Bar)  A Pirate Ship (The Hand of God) but I guess the most important would be White Coast City where I founded the church of Dark Haven.

Orion Mars
My tabard

Sir Therian
My soul

Templar Belt from the Church of Vandor.

Jericho Axelthorne
His heraldry

Squires belt to King Sir Pyr

A lot of people probably think the answer is my Banana weapon. However I carry a lot of small trinkets in my from quests over the years, honestly all of them are very important to me.

A wish from the hidden order that used to save Rel

The Spider
Unicorn blood( always looking for more)

One of my old characters' masks. It allowed him to find out more about him and how they're connected. Thus finalizing their character progression.

A necklace from my brother.

A pair of rings I carried around until I suddenly needed to make a wedding happen.

His familiar

Nothing stands out

My Tabard

And now our question for this coming week! Please answer right away!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

Below, some of the View Staff share what they are thankful for this season: 

Today, I had to describe to my preschool classroom what it means to be thankful. I told them it was something that you love, appreciate, and something you wouldn’t want to lose. Then, I told them what I was thankful for.

I highlighted my family, describing my kids; then, I brought up where I lived; my job, how much I loved my students, and finally I brought up my friends. My friends, almost all of which I’ve made in my adult life, mostly became my friends through Realms. These friends, which are closer to me than some of my family, are the people I choose to hang out with and look forward to seeing at Realms, at Birthday Parties, and other social gatherings. All of these people I never would never have met were it not for Realms. I am so thankful to have these people in my life and that I have the opportunity to meet so many more new ones.

- Diana "Kiira" LaPierre

I am blessed to be a part of a community that loves so freely, cares for one another, and strives to be better every day. I cannot understate the importance of the support that I’ve received over the past decade of my time in the Realms. It has truly shaped me into the person that I am today. I am grateful to find beauty in both the small and large things in my life--a beautiful morning, an awe-inspiring storm, breaking into uncontrollable giggles with my friends and family, a nice stiff drink at the end of a long day, dancing my heart out, the look in a student’s eye as they finally understand a life-altering concept, reading stories to the babies in my life, sitting down in front of my sewing machine to tackle another project, watching the ones I love push themselves to be the best versions of themselves--these are the things that bring my life meaning, and I am certain that I would not be in a place to appreciate these gifts if it weren’t for the people of the Realms community. Thank you all, and Happy Thanksgiving.

 - Lani "Gwen"

If I’m thinking about the Realms and the many ways that I want to give thanks, there are certain things that immediately come to mind.

I feel so fortunate to be a part of this amazing community. All around me I see incredibly impressive things each and every day, year after year. I see people giving back to help the community grow and flourish and love every minute of doing it. I see people coming together to back each other up in hard times, like when we’ve had benefits or when we do charity auctions for good causes. People teach each other and help each other and push each other. I sometimes wonder where else in the world you can find a gathering of such incredible people who have the same purpose as each other and take care of one another so well. And as if that wasn’t enough, we have fun doing it too.

And because of this amazing community I’ve been able to build so many important parts of my own life. My country is made of my best friends and what we do together as a group is inspiring to me. When I first joined the Realms I never imagined myself being a part of something like Rhiassa or doing all of the things that we do as a nation but I’m so thankful to have found this group of people that has so readily accepted and embraced me. Of course Realms is also the reason that I met my husband and had a wonderful son together with him. Without this community none of that would be possible and I can’t imagine a life of family and friends as enriched as the one that I have now.

And finally, I have Realms to thank for the changes in myself over the years. Realms gave me a chance to come out of my shell. There are so many supportive people around me all the time and it helped me to become more outgoing and find my voice. I was able to learn lots of crafting skills through the help of people in the community and I got to develop and express my creative side in new ways. And becoming a part of the View from Valehaven staff has been an amazing challenge and experience that I’ve learned a lot from as well.

So I have a lot to be thankful for because of Realms. I met my friends and built my family. I grew in many ways and still see that there are new ways I can grow. I’m surrounded by a community of good people who care about one another. Realms has made me a better and more well rounded person. I owe a lot of who I am to this community and what I’ve learned here and I certainly wouldn’t have been here today without it. Thank you everyone.

- Jen "Areni" DeNardis-Rosa

Wherever you are or whatever you're doing today, please take a moment to reflect on the past year, both in Realms and out, and enjoy your food! Wishing you all a very happy Thanksgiving from all of us here at the View from Valehaeven!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Bardic Circle: Mouse's Bardic from Nedengiving 2

A Parody of Paddy Murphy for Neden
by Renee "Mouse" Booke

Oh the night that Lord Nymbous died, is a night I’ll never forget
Some of Neden got wicked drunk, and they ain’t got sober yet;

As long as the Siffy Sauce was passed around, every boy was feelin’ great

Syruss then broke out in song, til it was way too late

That’s how they showed their respect for Lord Nymbous
That’s how they showed their humor and their pride;
They said it was a gosh darn shame and they grinned at one another
And every glass in the place was raised the night Lord Nymbous died

As poor ole Sarix sat in the corner pourin’ out his grief
Priest Z and the boys came tearin’ down the street
They went back into the pub and a bottle of whisky stole
Then put the bottle with the corpse to keep that whisky cold

That’s how they showed their respect for Lord Nymbous
That’s how they showed their humor and their pride;
They said it was a gosh darn shame and they grinned at one another
And every glass in the place was raised the night Lord Nymbous died

Round two o’clock in the morning after emptying his mug
Jean Baptise opens up the box to see the poor dead lug
Naj then stopped the clock, so Dresden couldn’t tell the time,
And quarter after two they argued it was after nine

That’s how they showed their respect for Lord Nymbous
That’s how they showed their humor and their pride;
They said it was a gosh darn shame and they grinned at one another
And every glass in the place was raised the night Lord Nymbous died

They stopped the hearse outside the O’Leary Boys Saloon
They all went in at half past eight and staggered out at noon
They wandered to the graveyard, not knowin’ what they’d find
Found out when they got there, they’d left Lord Nymbous behind.

That’s how they showed their respect for Lord Nymbous
That’s how they showed their humor and their pride;
They said it was a gosh darn shame and they grinned at one another
And every glass in the place was raised the night Lord Nymbous died

Oh the night that Lord Nymbous died, is a night I’ll never forget
Some of Neden got wicked drunk, and they ain’t got sober yet;
As long as the Siffy Sauce was passed around, every boy was feelin’ great
Syruss then broke out in song, til it was way too late

That’s how they showed their respect for Lord Nymbous
That’s how they showed their humor and their pride;
They said it was a gosh darn shame and they grinned at one another
And every glass in the place was raised the night Lord Nymbous died

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

View Awards Feedback Poll

View Awards Feedback Poll

I Can't Even

I Can't Even 
Sara 'Zarine' Jessop

A few weekends ago I attended Nedengiving, because someone finally understands that Sundays are better than Saturdays. It was indeed the fantastic time that was promised.

Games of chance were awarding tickets for the raffle quicker than the spread of the plague. Of course my gold did get stuck halfway down the Plinko board a few times, but I'll let that one slide because Plinko is clearly the easiest way to get a hand cramp from writing your name on hundreds of tickets.

The cheddar broccoli soup, while no Blackwood meatloaf, was delicious and I ate far too much of it. The sandwich buffet was excellent, and as we all know I am an excellent judge of meats. All of the food was quite delectable. And of course having a fully stocked tavern next door did not hurt the ambiance at all. In fact, I find having ample access to alcohol really improves my opinion of our social gatherings.

I was asked by some high muckity muck in Neden to give their gathering a good review. I have to say, I was well on my way to, and then I saw this...

Photo courtesy of Tucker 'Temorse' Noyes 

… and I like, literally could not. What even is this? “Zarine, that's cranberry sauce,” I am sure you are saying in your large empty head. I know what it actually is, you ignorant plebs. I mean, what kind of presentation is this? This doesn't say 'eat me, I'm delicious', it says 'throw me in the trash, I'm gross.'

Food plating is important. Why, you are undoubtedly asking? Because, (with the exception of that blind dude at the table next to us, who I am pretty sure won some sort of weaponry, which is highly concerning) we see food before we taste it and presumably you want people to want to taste it. People want to try things that look good, not like a cranberry-ish colored blob.

Now, plating something like cranberry sauce can be challenging, especially when you purchased the jellied kind in a can, and no matter what you try to do with it, still seems to resemble said can. So my first bit of advice is to acquire some real, homemade cranberry sauce. But if you find yourself with the canned stuff and need to plate it, I have some ideas for you.

Use the moldable nature of the jelly to your advantage: Use cookie cutters to turn your cranberry sludge into festive shapes. Garnish with an orange, as both the colors and flavors compliment each other well.

Put it on an interesting plate. And no, a plain paper plate is not interesting. I get that we don't want to be spending a lot of time washing dishes, so I am sure if you look hard enough you could find some sort of disposable plate that fits the bill. Something that isn't too much bigger than your cranberry log and compliments its loggy shape would be preferable.

Garnish it with some for reals cranberries. 

Slice it. For some reason people respond to food that is already partially prepared for them. It's like they aren't sure where or how to cut it unless you've already started it. Add a fancy garnish for fancier fanciness. 

Don't serve it. Seriously. It's disgusting anyways.

This plating issue aside, it was quite an enjoyable feast. Will I attend in the future? I could maybe...

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, November 20, 2017

Arc Sphere Distortions

Arc Sphere Distortions
by Steven "Therian" Matulewicz

Friday, November 17, 2017

Question of the Week

Question of the Week, Week 1

Welcome to an old feature that we're bringing back with some new life for this winter season. Every week we'll be asking our adoring readers to fill out the answer to a single question that we'll embed on the page, and every week we'll be posting everyone's answers. It's a great way to share some interesting information about your character with the rest of the Realms!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

What You Missed - Nedengiving 2

by Cal "Syruss" Marsden

For the second year in a row, Lord Nymbous has opened up the halls to his friends and family across the realms.

  The hall was decorated with all the Green and Black grandeur that one comes to expect from visiting Neden. With the tables decorated for the upcoming feast and the Banner strung among the hall with precision by Priest Z, the people of the Realms were immediately hit with the smell of fresh popping popcorn as they entered the halls, followed by the soft sounds of carnival music. Siff had transformed part of the feast Hall into a miniature Carnival complete with Games, Prizes, Attractions and Pinatas and Popcorn. Adventurers competed for fragments of the Magic Ribbon the lands of Neden is being known to produce.

Soups were cooking in the main hall for all to smell and anticipate, there were plenty of finger foods to keep everyone satiated while waiting for the main course. There were four different kinds of soup including an authentic gumbo from our Newest Full member Gumbo, but the Broccoli Soup stole the show in this Duke's humble opinion.

For those not interested in Carnival Games but still interested in pageantry and wonder there was the return of Nymbous's SmithNEDian Museum which featured new artifacts all with unique stories and magical properties. After last year's heist of certain items, Nymbous was determined to have even more artifacts. This year he found Ancient Portraits of our more colorful O'Leary Clan, these portraits were embedded with magical properties that allowed them to speak as if they were alive. Nymbous was feeling so good about his Museum this year he even allowed some of his private artifacts to be purchased. With the magic CoP's power waning under stress from too many visitors Nymbous will be looking into a new way to protect the integrity of the museum.

If you wanted a chance at some coin then you were in luck because the New Eden Casino was up and operational, and when you were done making your money you were free to spend it at Vandoria's Vestments or with Neden's newest merchant to the New Eden Emporium running an Anthem Outlet in Neden, Xabi one of Priest Z's monks.

For those who wanted to get tickets without the risk of the Carnival games, there were multiple ways to do so. For starters, adventurers could test their mettle in the various someone comical tournaments. Each contestant had a chance at glory as well as tickets to gain special artifacts. IF fighting wasn't your desire there were magical roaming treasure chests that kept spawning throughout the hall. Miniature versions of the chest found during Neden's Monster roundup, filled with tickets and gold as well as items of wonder. But the most important way one could get tickets is by bringing a can tribute to the lord, which he donated to a very noble cause.
The food was amazing with ham, turkey, all your favorite holiday side dishes and four different pasta courses. All of which left players full, but not too full they couldn't raid Neden's dessert table.

While the players ate they also performed in many different styles of bardics as well as the first-ever Why I Am Thankful contest. They sang, played music, told stories but most importantly gave thanks for the past year's bounties.

With all the food and games done it was time for the Auction. We here in Neden have an aptitude for finding magical artifacts. Some more powerful than others but all with a rich history. It had seemed like the most popular item was an Ax forged by our very own Razmith, and enhance in magic by Priest Z, Sir Naj and myself.

All in all it was an amazing time spent with friends from all over the lands. We hope you enjoyed the atmosphere, we hope you left full on delicious food, we hope you didn't take too much of our money at the Casino and we hope you tell tales to your friends about the amazing time they missed.

With all that said it is time for one more Why I Am Thankful.

I am so thankful to our friends and family who showed up this past weekend to make this the most successful Neden feast to date and in doing so helped us nearly double our donations from last year. The charitable nature of this community never fails to impress.

I know this wasn't a Noir Mystery nor was this an Ask Syruss but allow me to leave you with wise words from my lord all the same.

"It is the giving nature of this community that is the true lifeblood. Their ability to set aside all personal difference for a greater cause is why I will always call the realms my home." -Lord Sir Nymbous O'Leary, First of his Name

I love you all and hope to see you all again next year.

Love and Respect,

Sir Duke Syruss O'Leary
Knight of the Potentium
Knight of the Blue Rose
Detective extraordinaire 
Look for the return of Detective Syruss in the upcoming mystery..."The Case of the Missing leftovers..."

Photo by Andrew Whitty

Photo by Cal Marsden

Photo by Andrew Whitty

Photo by Andrew Whitty

Photo by Cal Marsden

Photo by Andrew Whitty

Photo by Andrew Whitty

Photo by Cal Marsden

Photo by Andrew Whitty

Photo by Andrew Whitty