Well, we have returned from the Realms of Despair 20th Anniversary Barbecue hosted at Thoric and Jane-wh0-does-not-mud’s house and for those of you who could not attend due to the short notice (as travel plans go) I hope you will enjoy living vicariously through this post. I will break away from my tradition of not overwhelming people with pictures for this post and hope I’ve chosen enough to give you a good feel for the day. A word of warning and a lead in apology: I am bad with names at the best of times … I am HORRID with game names. There are a few of you whose names have slipped back out of my head and I apologize wholeheartedly. If someone reminds me I’ll make an appropriate edit here.
Where to begin? We had a nice drive up to Cambridge from Hamilton, it’s a drive I’ve done several times before back when my car had air conditioning and my apartment didn’t … we passed the pub I used to have a rib and chicken wing special at before returning home to sweat.
As we arrived we knew we were in the right place when we saw the “Thoric” licence plate. We were lucky that our little dude slept the drive up, which meant he was quite ready to play with anyone or anything in range. It took him very little time to meet and begin playing with all the little Thorics and Janes wandering about and to discover their cache of blocks for tower building!
Moving into the back yard I was struck with just how beautiful the property is. It is very quiet and peaceful out here, or at least it will be until we get this party rocking!
The forecast called for some rain but we were fortunate that it seemed to skirt around us. I noticed as we drove home that it appears to have hit just the other side of town, so thanks prevalent weather system for dodging us!
We were getting set up when other guests began arriving, Kali, Despeyre, Cygnus, Destre, Oxnyx, Adamus and Eisengrim. In the meantime, the kids took over as is right and proper! 🙂
If not for this yard equipment, I think my day would have gone very differently, but as it stands it served as the most wonderful babysitter and provider of exhausted children at the end of the day. Behind this equipment is a small path that led around the lake, notable later in the RL quest. A short time later a stopping car informed us that Hoerkin, Stoneheft and Loril had arrived and with the arrival of Serina, Azrielle and friends we had our cast of characters set. The only things left to do were to eat, chat and have fun … and then be put through quest hell, well hell only because it meant leaving chairs and keyboards behind and having to actually … run? Or jogging … errr shuffling at an above normal pace? Well, something like that.
Thoric, Jane and others did a great job of manning the grill,if anyone went home hungry it’s their own fault!! Lots of pickings like fruit and salads were brought, as pot lucks go I’d say we had a winner. There was a discussion which ended with a few simple assertions … firstly that salads are the sort of things that food eats and secondly that we have a buyer available should we ever get down to our last pig … who would buy it so that it could be cloned, providing riches as the bacon market becomes dominated by a user of the Realms of Despair.
The day was not without party crashers, some of whom felt quite entitled to simply drive right on up and tell people to pay attention to them! The nerve of some people eh? 🙂
So once everyone was sufficiently fed and adequately lethargic it was time to quest! Some of you would have known right off the bat how to find a Nenmellon among the reeds in the shallows of the lake, some of us appropriately asked “what the hell’s a nenmellon” … yet others used true Realms questing experience and waited for the groups to start moving and followed them!
Once you had your frog, you had to take it to the gazebo on the other side of the lake. Yes, that one below those trees. To get a better perspective, the zoomed in shot is the same shot as the first picture of the lake above. We used the trail behind the playground and we were off! Stoneheft and Adamus had a great lead that disappeared when their frog escaped from the bucket they had it in allowing me and Jeremy to move into first place for a short while …. until a Kali like blur sped past me to capture a lead he wouldn’t relinquish.
Once we retrieved our crystal, ran it back around the lake we hunted down a warrior who gave us a cryptic riddle … a question whose answer could change the fates of everyone ….. “You hear it speak, for it has a hard tongue. But it cannot breathe, for it has not a lung?” Though Serina and her partner had passed us by being in better shape than I am they chose the wrong trail to find the Shaman and ended up having to adventure over very rough terrain while I stalked Kali’s team on the easy path. We answered the riddle and managed a few sprints to close the distance and arrived to plant our sacred plant in the second terrace of the garden while observing a square dance style jig that will forever remind me that while he can drop a hand grenade in the room, obliterate my corpse and purge me from the Realms for all time, I have survived seeing Kali dance a jig… which we promptly copied since Jane-who-does-not-play disliked our Chicken Dance.
This Supreme Wife-ity told us that we had to present Thoric with the “Jewel of Thoric’s Eye” … but we were too clever … this wasn’t lost boots time, but we spun her about and presented her to him and completed the quest, 2nd, but happy to be able to indulge in the warmth of success and chilled by cooler fresh Coke 🙂
From our lofty perch atop a lawn chair we watched the other teams complete the quest and it looked like everyone had a lot of fun… and once the questing had completed … the desserts! We cut into the Cake of Despair and attacked another piece of devilishness … prepared by the wife of another ranger and typer of blogs … This picture only took a particular new player helper a handful of tries on a phone before giving up and taking a picture with *gasp* a camera!!
All in all it was a great day, for everyone who was there I hope you enjoyed yourself as much as we did. For anyone who missed it I hope you will get the chance to attend another get together in the future.
In this era where the Realms population is less than it was at it’s peak I think it’s important to remember that this game started with a few dozen people who enjoyed the Endless Medieval Adventure … 20 years later it is still alive because of the efforts of hundreds who have come and gone. Thoric saw things lacking in the mud world he participated in and threw himself into coding something better. Many creative people have brought inspirations from literature and other games into our world, be it Vampires:The Masquerade, Dragonlance, The Books of Swords or many countless other be they obvious or subtle. I encourage you to find a way to improve the Realms in some way. Make friends, learn something, expand your horizons and most importantly … have fun.
Happy 20th anniversary Realms, best wishes for the future!