Reflections of a Newbie: By DJ Sapienza (Varrmagn)

I’ve had plenty thoughts about Realms and Voraniss bouncing around in my head lately and I thought I would share some of them as a sort of reflection on Uncle Cecil’s and the calendar year. I want to sort of sum up my experiences as a newbie. I’ve been thinking a lot about some of this, especially at and after Uncle Cecil’s.

I decided to really expand on this idea after reading the post Renee made about all of our experiences over the weekend. And in that vein, I’ve got more to say about some of you than others. I hate to say it, but that’s mostly because I simply haven’t interacted with some of you enough. I’m really hoping to change that with upcoming events though!

I’ll probably get a bit sentimental in a way, and ramble some; but I hope nobody minds either.


Realms & Voraniss…
Renee has been bugging me for years to join and Derek started too, even before I was told about the forming of the Nation. I avoided the issue for plenty of reasons. I really dislike new situations and people, I feel a weird sort of guilt trying to insert myself into a pre-existing group, I was either not able or not willing to travel; and some other reasons. I knew some people had been in Realms for most of their lives, or did other games, or were just so much more experienced and I was intimidated.

 I am actually glad I resisted until now. I was guilted and bribed into trying Voraniss, knowing it would be a small group (to start, at least!). I was made to feel like I was helping to start something new, heading down a fresh path that would also be new to others so that my own broad newness would parallel the experiences of more veteran players in the new Nation. With Renee and Derek being back in NY and recruiting locally, with generous carpooling arrangements to events, and with the willingness of others to travel here to NY for Nation activities I haven’t really felt like the geographic separation mattered.

The Nation of Voraniss is one I would want to be a part of, even OOC. Open, but close-knit. Protective, but not possessive. Welcoming and intimidating, as appropriate. These are the snap-shot impressions I have developed and I feel they are reflective of some of the best aspects of the Nation. We have grown quickly, but with purpose and vision. There is so much respect earned and given within the nation, even to a newbie like me. I feel like I belong, IC & OOC. In that respect, I have blatantly tried to make my character’s experience directly parallel my own.

Frankly, I truly never expected to get this excited about the whole thing. I never thought I would make so many new friends so quickly. I admit to feeling a bit overwhelmed and anxious about it. But I can’t imagine changing it if I could.

Black & White…

The Voraniss coming out party. I was really honored to be a part of that. First time LARP event ever and I was part of something truly spectacular. And that was only the reveal!

The ritual performed there has also stuck with me in a quiet but significant way. It was an aspect of LARP I had never heard of, never considered. And it was pretty well done, and it was done in such a way as to feel a very deep and meaningful.

I got introduced to a handful of people, and I tried to take note of many more. I managed to forget most of their names automatically; there was just so much I was trying to take in, but some of their faces and characters stuck with me. I felt mostly unnoticed except as a part of Hygar’s new venture. But there were a few who took the time to interact with me which I awkwardly appreciated, and that was enough for my first event.

It was also my first chance to get to know large portions of the Pack. I was a bit standoffish, but quickly warmed to people. I took the easy path of “stoic observer” and was accepted, but encouraged to dip my toes in the waters, and rewarded with fun every time I did.

Uncle Cecil’s…

My second event, and my first event where I partook of any sort of questing or fighting. I had a better idea of what I was walking into. Discussions and crafting sessions and even lots of joking around really helped. I truly felt a part of the Pack and Nation at this point. I feel like being accepted by and associated with some players who were well-known and had earned some respect among the Realms was a big help. I never once felt like I thought I might as a “newbie.” I was accepted, involved, and even respected. I felt like I had to prove myself and earn those things. But I also felt like I was being given a real chance to do so.

The second ritual was truly impressive. I was honored to be a part of it, very proud of myself. I had put a lot of thought into the moment I was provided with and as cheesy as it is, once the ritual started, it didn’t feel like role playing at all. Just role filling. I remember watching for reactions from people. Voraniss seems to be getting a reputation for spectacle. And it’s glorious. From where I stood, I saw the crowd grow. I saw them lean in and step closer to hear what was going on. They were literally drawn in. And the crowd participation… There was less than I had hoped, but more than I had expected. But I felt like it was a powerful addition to, and a strong validation of what we were doing. In the moment and in general. I hope others had the same impression.

I know the questing was not plot heavy, but I thought it was well-done from the event side. Things I wished were different were largely the results of other players, or things beyond anyone’s control. I was genuinely pleased and impressed with most of the nation to nation interactions. I had heard plenty of trash talk from all sorts of people; some of it whispered in serious tones, some of it shouted like a 3 Stooges scene… But when it came to the quest and getting things done – I barely noticed any of it, and truly felt unaffected by it. It was refreshing and inspiring.

I drank. A lot. By my standards. I don’t think of myself as a lightweight, but I am not a heavy drinker. I’ve never wanted to be. But I learned a new level of my own intoxication. And I think it was good. I felt safe enough to really let go. I pushed my bounds and learned that super drunk me wanders around giving awkward compliments. I knew I was out of my comfort zone, but I never felt at risk. First of all, the whole hall was mostly looking out for each other. But mostly, I had my Pack. It was loads of fun.

THE CHARACTERS (I am going to try to be mostly IC here)

I sometimes have a difficult time separating Hygar from his alter-ego, Derek. I never really had a chance to get to know one before the other. Hygar is the founder. The leader. The Alpha. But he fills the role in one of the most subtle ways I’ve ever seen. He sets a goal, and he works towards it fastidiously. He gives expectations instead of orders, and he lives up to them himself first and foremost. In character he sets the standards high, and perches himself at that pinnacle; and then he lifts others up with him so that everybody can share in his vision.

At events, he literally leads from the front. We need no standard bearer, for he IS the standard. The point we rally to whenever needed. But I for one have never felt tethered. I’ve been given the freedom to explore this world in my own way, but fully knowing I am never truly on my own. This is the Nation Hygar has created around himself.

I honestly don’t know what to say about Mouse that somebody else hasn’t thought or said before. I sort of think of her as the “perfect companion” for Hygar. They can each function perfectly well on their own, but when together, she pushes things to a whole other level.

I think that’s what she does. She pushes. She pushes people she likes or has an interest in to do more or better. I bet she pushes buttons on people who annoy her. And I’m sure she’d happily push her actual enemies off the nearest cliff. (Maybe this is why she’s so proficient with pro-enchanted?)

Forgive me for gushing, and don’t take offense, but I have been continually amazed by Gavin. Every single time I interact with him, even for a few seconds, he pulls me deeper into the world of Realms. Every. Single. Time. And it’s not just that. He is constantly elevating the experience, and getting others to “up their game” but he does it in such a subtle way. To use a buzz word… He does it IMMERSIVELY.

I’ve come to look to him when I have some sort of issue or difficulty. He has helped me learn and grow both as a player and as a character, without me even knowing I needed that help. He uses the simplest things to help create a richer, deeper experience. From something as small as a feather, to something as simple as an otherwise inconsequential task. I really look forward to being able to quest and fight by his side.

Oh Mogar… I really wasn’t sure what to make of you before this weekend. I was actually worried you and Varrmagn might not get along. But you came out of the box swinging and knocked it out of the park. You managed to make an orc rather endearing. After Uncle Cecil’s, I frown to imagine Voraniss without you!

I know I was a slow student, but you were more than happy to try and teach me anyways. I just wanted to practice calling my shots, but you insisted I learn to fight not lose. I didn’t appreciate it at the time, but looking back… Your reputation as a fierce fighter is well-deserved. You were a tougher opponent on the training field than most I faced on the battlefield. (Even though I’m sure you were holding back at least some.)

You are an intriguing fellow. You somehow manage to combine being playful and stoic. I get the impression of you as being soft-spoken, cool and collected while out and about (questing and such). But then at the end of the day, when among Pack or friends, you seem no stranger to letting loose and ramping up the shenanigans. I really appreciate the sort of balance you have and bring to the group.

A little ball of genuine innocent ferocity. It’s tough not to feel protective of your excitable, cute nature. But I’d hate to be the one to rub your fur the wrong way! (Figuratively, I promise!) You have so much enthusiasm for everything that it’s difficult not to get swept up in it!

Your gentle curiosity is a real treat to have as part of the group. So far in our group, you’ve been like the warm soft gooey center of a delicious freshly-baked cookie. I am pretty excited to see just how you grow and find yourself a place in the pack. I wonder what sorts of adventures you’ll find to take us on alongside you.

I think you’re going to end up embodying the phrase “walk softly and carry a big stick.” Armed with just a dagger and a handful of new spells, you were right there in the thick of things behind me. You were a real boon, and a literal life saver. Not to mention, you had the cutest animal companion of the weekend! (I can’t remember, did you ever decide on a name for your friend?)

I admit, I’m a little confused by you… You have embraced the Pack whole-heartedly, and I really hope you feel like you’ve gotten the same back… You’ve been there a lot, but haven’t much jumped into the thick of things. I am worried you might not have found your niche yet… But I see you as a firework… One of the ones that doesn’t draw a lot of attention as it sizzles and sparkles up to the clouds, and then right at the apex, it bursts into something spectacular. I am VERY much wanting to quest with you, and can’t wait for the chance to do so!

Like I mentioned before, there are more of you in the Pack, I just haven’t had much chance to get to know you IC yet. But I have no doubt that it’s my loss, and just a matter of time before we fix that!


Out of character, he’ll work his fingers to the bone, even if he has to use an antique machete to do it. Any expectations he has are simple and reasonable – that everyone contribute what they can – and his rewards to those working beside him are beyond generous.

In the real world, I’ve shown up at varying times. Not once has he seen me at the door and thrust a project in my arms, or said “DSAPS, DO THIS!” But on several occasions, I’ve walked in and after a few minutes offered to help, and usually I’m given a rundown of things that need doing. I’ll pick one, and work on it, trying to give it my full attention, because Voraniss doesn’t do anything half-assed. And even when the reason I am there is to work, he’s always grateful.

It doesn’t come up much, but I’ve known Renee for a long time. Longer than anyone else in the group, I think. So let me mention something that might not be evident to some of you…

When you see how excited she gets about the Pack and the Nation and our adventures together… She’s holding back. What we’re all doing together really makes her happy. She puts so much of herself into this, and she’s too stubborn to really ask for very much in return; even though she deserves it. She just wants this to work, to grow, to be amazing.

You and I have gotten along since the first moment. You’re an interesting and intelligent person, and always seem to have something interesting to say. I really appreciate that and I’m really glad to have met you.

Craig, Cat, Kayla…
I’ve barely begun to get to know any of you, so it’s hard for me to really say much, but you’ve all been great. I was really worried about feeling like an outsider joining a group where most people knew each other already, but you’ve each done plenty to make me feel like an idiot for worrying about that.

It’s been a ton of fun to meet somebody in real life who shares such a wide range of interests and appreciations. It was really unexpected, but awesome.

I feel bad for saying that I was pretty put off by you at first. But damn, if that wasn’t the best example I’ve ever had of not judging a book by its cover! I’m REALLY sorry if I gave you the cold shoulder at first… You’re an awesome guy, and I’m sorry I doubted that!

Honestly, I could ramble on for several more pages, but I’ll be surprised and grateful if you’ve even read this much. Long story short… Realms, Voraniss, The Pack, and all of you… Have really exceeded my expectations in nearly every possible way. I’m hooked; and it’s your fault!


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