Monday, June 21, 2021

Meme Mondays

 by the Meme Team




Friday, June 18, 2021

Spell-o-gram 3

The following is a cryptogram. Like most cryptograms you are tasked to figure out the very basic cypher in order to solve the puzzle. Unlike most cryptograms the clue you are trying to solve is a spell description from the Omnibus. Try to figure out what spell it is! If it doesn't load correctly for you Click Here.


Thursday, June 17, 2021

Morning Coffee Break

 Got your morning cup of coffee and a few minutes? Great! We're trying out a new feature at the View - we're going to be asking a series of questions and we want to know your answers! The question is posted below. So while you sip your morning beverage of choice, ruminate on this one:


It's June, and June always meant North/South War. What's your favorite memory from fighting on the tournament fields at Lone Tree?


Head on back to Facebook and let us know in the comments!

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Five Questions About Getting Back Part 3

The time will soon come when we will sit beside one another around the late night campfire, raise goblets together as we feast, or cross swords on the field of war, and all of us are looking forward to the day where we are safely and responsibly playing Realms together again. Thinking of the better days are just around the corner, we asked you some questions about getting back to playing Realms. 

Answers by: Alex Cannamela and Brookelyn Gingras


In your time away from Realms, what have you been spending your hobby-time on instead of going to or preparing for events? 

Alex: I spent a lot of time getting back into music.  I bought a synth, acquired a clarinet, and have been playing pretty much daily.  I've always been musically inclined, but it has been really good to consistently sit down and really practice instead of just futzing around for an hour or two every so often. 

I also was able to get more into brewing; while I was doing that before the pandemic, I was able to branch out more and do different drinks and larger batches as I got better.

I've also had more time to do some projects around the house, and have been working on that.  The biggest one was putting a pond into the backyard; we also cleared some space for a garden.  I've learned a good deal about taking care of plants (or, perhaps more accurately, what NOT to do) and hope to have an even better garden this season.

Spiced mead starting on the stove and prickly pear wine ready to drink.

Brooklyn: What HAVEN'T I been spending my time on? Crotchet, bee school, gardening, weaving, fostering kittens... oh, you mean the LARP-supplement hobbies? Well, I've had a lot more time for table-top role play games for starters.  Turns out, it's a lot easier to coordinate schedules for regular sessions when nobody has much going on. I'm playing my first-ever druid character in DnD (I know, it's been a LONG time coming). She's an eco-terrorist, it's great. I've also started playing Rangers of Shadowdeep - highly recommend that one (no DM required!). So I'd say I've been keeping up with the murder-hobo life.

One of the 50 million pictures of cats on Brooklyn's Facebook wall.


Accepting as fact that there are lots of things that we have all missed, what have you missed the most about being at Realms Events? 

Alex: I've missed the community the most.  Most of us are still in contact over the internet, but for me at least it's not the same.  I've made some really great friends playing Realms, and I miss them all.

Brooklyn: Dungeon Masters don't typically throw their players a feast, so that's surely to be missed! But even more than good food and good people, I miss the action going down over to the side. Shady deals, secret passageways, an undiscovered puzzle, or maybe even a story. The best times I've had at events were the unplanned schenanigans inspired by opportunity or even boredom. I have particularly fond memories of sneaking into a speakeasy...

A face that says "I'm up to shenanigans".


Are there are plots or specific events or anything that you are particularly looking forward to for after the Realms gets going again?

Alex:  While I love PCing in plots, I'm looking forward to getting back to staffing events.  I'm looking forward to those inevitable moment of the PCs trying something unexpected, and rolling with it as an NPC maybe a little bit too much.  I'm looking forward to having to deal with player shenanigans as a magic marshall.

And while this is a ways off, I'm looking forward to Leviathan prep with Rhiassa again.  As much as we jokes about how labor intensive it might be, it's something I look forward to each year.

A sample of what is waiting for Alex when she shows up for Leviathan prep.

Brooklyn: Returning to explore new and exciting lands! Many seasoned adventurers know the Realms like the back of their hands, but once we step through a portal or onto the shore of a new place, we all see it with fresh eyes. And what wonders we have seen! I have learned so much of Teng Hua's rich culture, and yet I know that I have only scratched the surface (I have the BINGO card to prove it). And Gi - what mysteries lie within those starved lands? To learn even a little of an unexplored place like that is to know more than most.


Have you concocted any grand plans of any kind for once we can get back to Realms? Events you are planning or things you are going to do with your character? Any secret projects you've been working on that you want to give us a hint about? 

Alex: While I have to figure out a new date, I still plan on throwing the "Labors of Rawonam" event I announced right before we had to shut down.  The event is going to be war tournament with some mechanics that I think will be really interesting.  We've worked pretty hard to create a system that offers something for everyone while still firmly centering the war tournament aspect of the event.

Brooklyn: Well if I were, I wouldn't be dropping spoilers now would I?? But I can shed light on one particular weaving project that I'm hoping will see the light of day at an event - if I can keep the sigil from ending up looking phallic, that is... 

Although even if I don't finish it in time for events to start up again, I'll at least have the pleasure of bringing the loom along to show off around camp.

What mystery is being plotted here on Brooke's loom?


Anything else you'd like to say to the Realms about this past year we've spent apart from each other or in anticipation of us seeing one another again?

Alex: This year really put into perspective just how important Realms is to me.  I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels this way.  So many of my friends are from this community, and even for an introvert like me it's been tough.

At any rate, I hope to see you all soon.  After all, one of my pandemic hobbies was getting more into brewing. I have a lot of mead but haven't had friends to share with and fire pits to share it around.  I'd like to fix it.

Brooklyn: I'd like to make big shout-out to the resiliency the Realms community has demonstrated in the past year, particularly with the quality and variety of virtual-event content produced. Some say Necessity is the greatest inventor, others say it is Boredom.  And when there was a necessity for entertaining virtual content, the Realms delivered! (And by that I mean a certain few dedicated EHs and their talented teams - you know who you are). But cheers also to the players who have stood by in patience while their favorite hobby was put on hold. Here's hoping we can all return with fresh eyes once the wait is over!





Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Propping Up My Memories: Part 3

 by James "Tao" Murphy


I have my Katana, my bow, (strange that I call it that now) and a few coins, not enough, there is never enough. We have been asked to get back someone named Farfar. In his day he was a powerful wizard, but sometimes he forgets himself. He has run off and we have been asked to bring him back. We had been told he would probably have to be killed but they could take care of raising him. 

I had spent a few days in the woods by myself, well, not exactly by myself. I had company that I would not expect someone like myself to have. But that is another story. I had more coins than I think I had ever had in my life. I probably did not want to get involved in killing someone. But the town peoples begged us to help. So off we went. (when did I become one of the good guys?). 

We spread out searching the local woods where they thought he went. We first found some stray hungry wolves, a few goblins, and other minor threats. Not much of a contest, Just some bumps on the road. Judging by these early encounters we could handle anything. We had not yet realized that time itself was against us. 

We found what looked like an abandoned tower, just the kind of place a mad wizard would call home. It had a broken door, so we went inside. It was around lunch time when we entered but inside it was black as midnight. Well, almost midnight.  

When we went in. several of our magic users cast light spells and we could see we were in a large room, much too large for the tower we thought we entered. I immediately looked for a way out but did not see any. I wonder if this was another Oni, er, Demon playing tricks on us. I hoped I would not have to be covered in puss again. 

What I saw on the walls struck fear in me more than any Oni, demon, or goblin ever could: Puzzles, and switches, and knobs, and all over the wall’s things written with the common letters but in some kind foreign order as if it was some kind of cypher. Puzzles? why did it have to be puzzles? 

The only other thing in the room was up against one wall was a large clock. It was encased in dark wood and looked awfully expensive. I noticed the clock was moving and remarkably close to midnight. By the time I pointed this out, the minute hand moved to the 12 and it started to sound the hour.

What I saw on the walls struck fear in me more than any Oni, demon, or goblin ever could: Puzzles, and switches, and knobs, and all over the wall’s things written with the common letters. Obviously a cypher with very few letters filled out. Puzzles? why did it have to be puzzles? 

The only other thing in the room was a large clock up against a wall, I went over and noticed it was set to a few minutes to midnight I heard someone say “the cypher the F is really and E”, and someone else said, something about “these thee letter must be THE” by the time I turned back to the clock it was midnight and it started to make sounds like a small gong. 

 What I saw on the walls struck fear in me more than any Oni, demon, or goblin ever could: Puzzles, and switches, and knobs, and all over the wall’s things written with the common letters but in some kind foreign order as if it was cypher. But some of the cypher had already been solved? Puzzles? why did it have to be partially solved puzzles? 

I noticed a clock that was set to eight or so minutes to midnight. But as I was going over someone yelled out “that switch over there make sure it’s to the side that says weaker” a mass confusion broke out and I noticed that some of the party were changing where some of the dials and knobs were set. There seemed to be some spirited discussion on if the first switch should be set to “weaker” or “Stronger”. A Fighter that I did not know, had moved it too stronger. And they did not seem like they wanted to let it go. Another questor decided to attack the fighter so they could move the switch back to weaker but could not affect the fighter. While we were busy deciding on which way the switch should be set the clock in the corner stated to make a sound like a gong. 

What I saw on the walls struck fear in me more than any Oni, demon, or goblin ever could: Puzzles, and switches, and knobs, many had labels that were already deciphered but some were still blank. I also saw all over the wall’s things written with the common letters but in some kind foreign order. It was definitely a cypher. Quite a lot of it had already been solved but there were still several parts that had not been translated. Puzzles? why did it have to be mostly solved puzzles? What was the point?

I noticed a clock against one wall that showed it was about 15 minutes to midnight. Plenty of time to figure everything out. It was suggested that we had been looping back in time every time the clock struck midnight. And each time depending on how the switch was set; either Farfar would be stronger, or the party would be weaker. Because we did not know how many times we had looped, we had no idea how good or bad this was going to be. 

With just a few minutes to spare all the puzzles were solved. Knobs and dials and switches were set to the proper placement. We spread out and Farfar appeared in the center of the room. For an old wizard he looked to be in quite the fighting shape. He must have immediately cast a spell as all of us lost both legs and the use of some of our spells. At the same time, he seemed to grow in size and mystic armor now sheathed his body. 

A few of the questers tried to talk to him, remind him of who he was and that we were not the enemy. He responded by attacking them first. It was a tough fight, I got a few good arrow shots in, shots that would normally drop someone, but he seemed to shrug them off. Finally, he was down, with his death the room changed back to the ruined tower. With nothing to search we dragged his body back to town. They were happy to see us and rewarded us with a few coins. They promised not to raise him until we were clear. 


*****

Grandfather clock

The party needs to bring Farfar back to the town. Alive or dead, (it will be dead). He has run off and the town is worried. The party will need to set several puzzles before the clock strikes midnight. If they don’t it resets back. Every time it resets it goes back two additional minutes. But once the sequence is completed a big bad appears named Farfar (grandfather in Swedish). He will be stronger or the party will be weaker, for every time the clock was reset. For instance, he will have more armor, more special calls, or something like everyone lose a leg, two legs, two legs and 1 arm, all armor is destroyed. All spells in your pool can not be cast. All spells in your third slot, fifth, second, fourth, sixth. Come up with more as we need it. There will be one two position switch that will be labeled (in the cypher) Stronger/weaker. It should be more central than the rest. While someone is holding the switch in one of the positions they can not be harmed by the rest of the party. (but they can by grandfather). This will determine each time its reset which will happen. As soon as a player grabs this switch a marshal will have to give them a micro briefing, “IC: the switch has to be in one of the two positions. If you start to move it, it will go to the other position, and OOC you will call no effect to any damage the party try to inflict on you while you are holding the switch, your PC does not know this and will expect to take damage”) 

The party enters an area that has several knob’s switches, dials, and a large grandfather clock that is set to 5 minutes until midnight and starts running as soon as they enter. There is a cypher (simple substitution) printed on the walls. Many, many pages of it. The cypher describes in what positions the knobs, switches, etc must be set.  There will also be a few more classic puzzles like a sudako or magic square to determine where some of the knobs and dials have to be set. It details that grandfather will appear at midnight when everything is correct. That every time you fail time will loop and make grandfather stronger. The clock is set to 5 minutes until midnight. And starts running. 

If Grandfather wins (unlikely but possible. The clock resets and we go again) Scene ends when grandfather is defeated, and the party can bring him back to town Dead.

The clock can be speeded up manually by a PC. However, that PC will be killed by doing this. They can be raised normally. 


Monday, June 14, 2021

Meme Monday

 by the Meme Team




Friday, June 11, 2021

Home Questing: The Final Results!!

 by Christopher "Janus" Donnelly


Hi all, Janus here and welcome to Home Questing.  Over the past 30 quests, we had 27 different people submit a wide variety of different tasks, involving puzzle solving, rituals, stacking things, and feats of strength to earn a shot at being one of the top 5 participants to get a prize.  And what are those prizes you may ask?


Well, there was a prize pool where each winner could make a choice from.

There was 500 gold gifted by Father Yule himself.

There was 250 gold gifted by the generous Tao.

There was “The blade of variance”

There was “The discarded stone”

There was divinations by Janus on a subject of their choice

And something else that wasn’t selected (so 5th place would have a choice)


So, with those prizes selected, let’s see who won!


In 5th place was Saka with 32 points.  A noteworthy submission of his was his week 1 entry for the most impressive stack:





In 4th place is Kovaks with 37 total points.  A noteworthy entry of hers was her participation in “Everything Janus Says is Wrong”:


   


 In Third Place is Laika en'Naur with 48 points.  A great entry was his edible recreation of bridge battles:






In second place was DelHemar with 247.5 points.  He participated in a vast number of the tasks, so one of the noteworthy ones is his haiku about Chimeron:





And finally, in first place with a whopping 280 points was Cressida, who didn’t miss a single week.  And here is her attempt at a nature based summoning which instantly came to mind when I thought of the tasks she had done:


 


 This is Janus, and I look forward to seeing you in the field.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Morning Coffee Break

Got your morning cup of coffee and a few minutes? Great! We're trying out a new feature at the View - we're going to be asking a series of questions and we want to know your answers! The question is posted below. So while you sip your morning beverage of choice, ruminate on this one:


What is your character's personal heraldry or symbol and what led to that choice?


Head on back to Facebook and let us know in the comments!

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Spell-o-gram 2

 The following is a cryptogram. Like most cryptograms you are tasked to figure out the very basic cypher in order to solve the puzzle. Unlike most cryptograms the clue you are trying to solve is a spell description from the Omnibus. Try to figure out what spell it is! If it doesn't load correctly for you Click Here.


Tuesday, June 8, 2021

The View's Gauntlet Throw Down with Pat Bobell

The Inspiration: There are a lot of things I love doing within and for the Realms community, but I can say without a doubt my favorite creative tasks have been making unusual in-house plot items - typically for Father Yule requests. Sometimes they're simple foam and duct tape props. Occasionally, they'll include a little mischievousness. (See Exhibit A.) Or animatronics. (See Exhibit B.) Sometimes they're a magical document that players can write in and get responses to in real time during events, or a one-of-a-kind board game designed to answer a question that was asked. Anyway…


The Throwdown: I bet you, the community of the Realms, that I can create your suggestion for an in-house item with an unusual physical or mechanical twist.


The Parameters: The item I create will actually physically exist. It must be reasonably safe to have within a Realms questing environment (though I reserve the right to make it breakable - safe does not always equate to durable). I'm not going to spend a ton of money on materials, so if you ask for gold leaf plating you'll be getting gold duct tape or aluminum foil with yellow sharpie on it. The item will also, in some fashion, have more to it than one might regularly expect from an average Realms prop.


As a bonus, if I can reasonably transport it back across the country I'll include it in one of the various events I staff (once I'm able to safely run in-person events again).


How You Can Help: On the Facebook post for this article, comment suggestions for something your character wants to do, know, or have and I'll build an in-house item that makes it possible! I'm not going to constrain your imagination, I'll just pick whichever suggestion sounds the most interesting to make.



Monday, June 7, 2021

Meme Monday

 by the Meme Team



Friday, June 4, 2021

Home Questing: The Final Task Judging!!

 by Christopher "Janus" Donnelly


Hello, and welcome to the last judging of “Home Questing.”  This week, we are doing a retrospective where I asked you to do the best reinterpretation of a previous task.  So, let’s take a look at what people came up with.


First, from Cressida is this touching submission:

For Task 30 we were asked to reinterpret a previous task, so I chose Task 28: “Something you are proud of”. I have decided to reinterpret it as “Someone(s) you are proud of”. Over the past year I have seen people across the Realms accomplish so much and I want to tell you some of things I have been observing that I am so proud of you for. I won’t list names to keep you from feeling too embarrassed, but I do want to list the amazing accomplishments and tell you I see you and I am proud of you!

To everyone who had a baby or raised kids this year, I am proud of you!

To everyone who worked on their physical and/or emotional health this year, I am proud of you!

To everyone who crafted and created this year, I am proud of you!

To everyone who moved this year or started a new job, I am proud of you!

To everyone who continued their education or graduated, I am proud of you!

To everyone who brought a new furry friend into their home, I am proud of you!

To everyone who cleaned and organized this year, I am proud of you!

To everyone who showed kindness and love this year, I am proud of you!

And lastly, to all of us in the Realms because we are still together even after all the unpredictability and the stress, the not knowing and the waiting, and the long months of missing each other. I am proud of all of us and I can’t wait to see you all again soon.


And from Janus, we received this more lighthearted interpretation of a “Pickup line”

“Hey baby, are you a troll, cause you managed to grab and lift that boulder with quite some ease.”


Now, I was planning on contacting judges of the previous tasks to ask them to judge them yet again...but the submissions I received didn’t have traditional judges.  In retrospect, I should have seen this possibility coming, but alas...I didn’t.  So, I’ll have to judge this as fairly as I can by myself.

I can’t do anything but give first place to Cressida for this beautiful submission.  It makes me happy just reading it, and giving anything shy of the full 11 points would be a disgrace.

On the flip side, I can’t do anything but disqualify Janus for reinterpreting “pickup line” as “picking up line”.

So...with that said, I need to confirm with a few people about the prize pool, so I’ll release the final results next week, where we will publicly announce the winners and what they have won.


Thursday, June 3, 2021

Five Questions about Getting Back part 2

Though we can't exactly predict at this point when we will sit beside one another around the late night campfire, raise goblets together as we feast, or cross swords on the field of war, one thing is for certain, all of us are looking forward to the day where we can safely and responsibly play Realms together again. In anticipation of the hope that better days are ahead, we asked you some questions about getting back to playing Realms. 

Answers by: James Murphy and Sara Jessop


In your time away from Realms, what have you been spending your hobby-time on instead of going to or preparing for events? 

James: I have played a lot of computer games. I bought all the expansions for Civ 6. I have been still writing encounters and throwing things in my idea bucket file. Some friends stated playing some online poker for slightly more then “just fun” stakes. While I feel my cash game has improved, my tournament game is quite dusty. 

A pretty good hand for James

Sara: I have mostly been playing video games and catching up on TV shows that I was behind on. I also got into some house projects, mostly getting the outside looking nice with some flowers. A lot of my hobbies have involved Realms in some way. Wrote some articles and started the Information Society (realmswiki) which sadly, hasn’t gained much traction but I hope with the potential to get back to the game soon that folks might find the time to write some entries. My biggest accomplishment was starting my video series, Alter Egos, and learning how to shoot and edit videos. 

Sara's First Alter Egos Video

Accepting as fact that there are lots of things that we have all missed, what have you missed the most about being at Realms Events? 

James: Hugs, sweat, fires, blue o’clock, the rush of the fight, taking about the fight, doing the fight again. But without a doubt interaction with more than just the 5 people that live in my house. 

Sara: Getting to be someone else for a little while. I love exploring new parts of my characters and interacting with other people as her. I also miss just letting loose on a Saturday night with some pretty awesome people. 

Are there are plots or specific events or anything that you are particularly looking forward to for after the Realms gets going again?

James: I want to see what Folkestone has in store I feel it might be likely they might be the first event back, (no pressure there). I was looking forward to being involved with the next installment of the yellow king plot, but I am not sure if or when that will happen. 

Sara: I am not super into any plots. My limited event time means that I miss a lot of the story part of events and come too late into them to really get caught up. I tend to skip heavy questing and plot events now and focus on tourneys and feasts. I’m not counting on events happening before the end of summer, so for me I am looking forward to Feast of Blackwood and their delicious balled meat the most. I’m also looking forward to doing many things at Cecil’s which I may or may not remember later. 

Blackwood Meatballs (picture by Sara)


Have you concocted any grand plans of any kind for once we can get back to Realms? Events you are planning or things you are going to do with your character? Any secret projects you've been working on that you want to give us a hint about? 

James: Concocted? Yes? Been talked out of by my wife, also yes. But I have keep chucking ideas in the bucket so who knows. Tao seems like he is pretty stable in what he is and how he does things. So I will probably just keep doing what he is doing. I am certainly not planning on overthrowing the realms as a whole and opening casinos and noodle houses on every corner. And I certainly would not be designing and ordering a new coin….

Clontarf Casino Franchise #2347 (photo by Casey Lemay)

Sara: I am not very good at keeping secrets. Most of my projects have already been released to the public. I am looking forward to having more material to write for my blog and talk about for my show. It’s getting harder to motivate after so long away from the actual game. I also have tentative hopes that the Wiki will see more use as we get back into it, so I’ll likely promote that more when I feel people might feel more into Realms related things. 

The Splash Page for Sara's Blog

Anything else you'd like to say to the Realms about this past year we've spent apart from each other or in anticipation of us seeing one another again?

James: It’s been hard, we all have had strains and stress in our lives that likely we have never encountered before. Differences of opinion that were brought out into the light. These are interesting times. Combat is the very heart of our game. But let’s try to keep the conflict on the field. Let’s show up to play a game, to have fun, to keep the real world on the other side of the gate.

photo by Rebecca Murphy

Sara: I can’t even. 

No, but really, I think it’s been really amazing seeing what people have done to put out some Realms content into our lives. The View articles, puzzles, and questions, all the awesome virtual events that happened, videos and blogs of all sorts, home questing tasks, work put into consolidating and recording history and characters, #stalwartsundays, and any of the other amazing things I might have missed… all of them were proof of how passionate we are about this strange little world we’ve all helped to build. Thank you so much to everyone who’s contributed to the realms in these odd and trying times in incredibly creative and fun ways. 

photo by Casey Lemay



Wednesday, June 2, 2021

A Challenge from the View: Keepsakes for Goodness Sakes

If you've been playing Realms for more than a couple years, we're willing to bet that you have accumulated a fair amount of things that *at one point* had some sort of purpose but definitely do not any longer. An odd prop, an interesting scroll, a memento of something heroic... or foolish... you once did. And those keepsakes are certainly on a shelf neatly arranged, or maybe carefully organized in a special bin, or in a big tangle inside your car trunk.

So here's the challenge. Take a picture of the most obscure or cherished keepsake that you have. Send it to areni.daru@gmail.com with a brief description of what it is and where/how you got it. If we get a few of them we'll put them together into a View post with everyone's submissions.

We're looking forward to what we get!

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Meme... Tuesday

 by the Meme Team