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September 12, 2017

Robert Carter / James Glasgow ~ An RK Friend Is Gone

I have only recently learned of the death of our good online friend:
James_Glasgow in Renaissance Kingdoms. The man was known to the real world as Robert Carter, and I considered him my good friend. He had struggled with cancer for years, but never did he let on to me when he was feeling weak or sick. I actually thought he had beat it, because he told me last year that he was doing really well. So, I was hit with a rather large hammer when I read his son's post that he had passed in April.

Robert's family says that he was "determined" to beat it. To me, he always told me he was feeling "great". He would much prefer to sit and talk to you about the weather . . . anything to avoid complaining about himself.

Personally I've known Robert for around 8 years. In 2009, he joined Renaissance Kingdoms in Scotland. His game name then was Remus Dunbar. After some time in the game he changed his name to the one we are most familiar with: James_Glasgow. Back then I was living as Serendipity. He lived with me and many others in a wonderful county of Ayr, Scotland. He was a very active and participating member of our community. He was the one person who was so kind and honest to me that I decided to stay in touch with some of the people of Ayr. That time was rough for me. He was probably the single most person who kept me in RK. Upon my suggestion, when Ayr fell, James ended up in Penrith, England. He was the most reliable person in Penrith, other citizens have said. He made so many axes that I bet we could never count them all.  Over time, I continued to check on his progress after he made landfall in England. He was glad to hear that I was next door in Egremont.

We always had a kinship, and we both joined the family De Grey. That's when we began to talk more often. I knew him best as my RK cousin. Later he was an RP partner, and then later a good friend. We spoke on Skype and Facebook often enough. We liked talking about silly RK politics and he would listen to me gossip. He enjoyed it. The last few years were when we spoke the most in real life. He regaled me with stories of his real life adventures, stories of his kids and all the travels that he was doing. He was always curious about my real life, my struggle and my travels. I think he lived vicariously though me and his other friends.

Did you know that Robert was deaf? Probably not, because he never complained. He was always so sweet to me, and kind and polite and proper to everyone. Even when I hurt him, he came back at me with compassion and love.  I truly believe he was so generous that he would give most the shirt off his back. His humility also knew no bounds. When I praised him he would never accept it. He would instead throw some compliment back at you. Truly, he was a good man, and someone that I looked forward to hearing from. Always.

Please click on the image to read it in a larger format.
I regret not talking to him more than I did in the last year. We had a disagreement in 2015. It was the only one we ever had, and it was right before I changed my RK character. I was going through a rough time in game, and in my own life, trying to find myself once again after life had handed me a bunch of terrible playing cards. The funny part is that I was leaning on him, instead of him leaning on me, while the man was battling cancer? He rarely spoke to me about any discomfort or upset. He was just always curious to hear about my life. Now, I wish I had listened a little bit more.

He'd gone missing earlier this year. I thought he was fine, because I had spoken to him on April 2nd. I reminded myself to catch up with him again soon, but a few months ago I was in Penrith, so I started trying to get a hold of him. He didn't respond to any messages after that date, but I had no way of knowing that he was gone. I mailed him at least 5 times in the last few months especially, wondering where he'd gone to. I had no idea that he had passed and upon hearing about it today.  I will say that I am beating myself up that I missed spending time with him. Even one more discussion before he passed would have helped us both. Still, I was honored to have known him, and he truly did touch my life. I hope he knew that I loved him. I think he did. Still, I wish I'd told him more often.

Rest in Peace, Robert. We'll never forget you.

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Robert's family had no insurance. He wasn't insurable. If you have any ability to help his family with his medical bills and funeral cost, they would really appreciate it.  His three sons are all under the age of 23, so they've taken it hard. Mourning is important to the human spirit.If you would like to leave a memory or an inspirational message about him as James or Robert, please do! You can leave it in the comments here or on his memorial YouCaring page:

July 20, 2017

Play Renaissance Games

Care to make a wager? 

Elizabethans were generally pious, but they loved their gambling. From the epic boar-baiting to the no-less ferocious rat-baiting, from cards to dice, and gameboards scratched in the cathedral pews (really) -- you'd have no problem finding someone to cover your bet. There are many pleasant card and dice games suitable for Faire but they lack a certain spectacle. In the absence of the bloodsports (there being generally more pet rats than pet terriers on any given fairesite), I've found several period games that make fine street sport.

Nine-Man Morris

Nine-man Morris is an excellent street game. The board can be scratched in the dirt of the street, painted on a cloth, or carved into a table. The 18 markers can be rocks, coins, wizened apples, or what-hae-ye (mongers were fond of beets vs turnips). The game is easily taught to passers-by and finishes up within 5-15 minutes. I've found it appealing to both children and adults and a fine way to take an afternoon ale break. The only downside is if, as Shakespeare's Titania laments, "The nine-men's morris [fills] up with mud."
The board consists of 3 nested squares with lines connecting the mid-point of each side. The gameplay is similar to tic-tac-toe: players alternate placing markers on the 24 intersections, attempting to get three-in-a-row. A line-of-three is called a mill. When a mill is created, the player may then remove (pound) one opposing non-mill piece from the board. A pounded piece is out of play.
Once all markers have been placed on the board (pounded off or not) the gameplay changes slightly. Instead of adding a marker, players now slide their markers along the lines. The game ends when a player has only two pieces left or is pinned-in and unable to make a move.
Variations include: disallowing shifting a single piece in/out of the same mill; pounding mills if no other piece is available; changing sliding to flying to any open intersection when reduced to 3 markers; six-man morris with 2 squares; twelve-man morris with 3 squares, midpoints and diagonals connected.


Quoits is essentially horseshoes but using a ring (the Quoit) rather than a shoe. Generally played with pins (Hobs) driven into the ground (at 15-25 paces), you can also use baskets or tankards or whatever. It is easy to make Quoits by bending straw into a circle and lashing it in place with a ribbon or string. Give them enough mass for a nice toss. Quoits looks great in the street and makes a fine spectacle when down on your belly measuring the distance from the Hob with a length of twine.
With two Hobs and 1-3 Quoits per player, players stand a toe to the Hob and cast their Quoits at the distant Hob. Ringing the Hob is worth two points, having the closest Quoit is worth one point. Play to five or some reasonable score.
Variations include: horseshoes; scoring additional points for each Quoit closer to the Hob than all the other player's Quoits.

Fox & Geese

Fox and Geese has a more complicated board than Nine-man Morris and is better suited to a painted playing board (cloth, wood, etc) than scratched in the dirt. The 13 (or 17) Geese start at one side of the board, and moving only forwards and forwards diagonally, try to trap the single Fox. The Fox meanwhile may move in any direction and tries to jump a Goose thereby removing it from play. The Geese move and the Fox jumps, as in checkers. The Fox goes first.
The Geese win if they trap the Fox in a corner (and peck him to death), and the Fox wins if the Geese cannot trap him or have all moved to the far side of the board. This is a little more difficult as a street game because the advantage lies with the Fox. It may prove unsatisfying to merely play once (as the Geese).


A nice reference is Walter Nelson's Merry Gamester. It is out-of-print, but he was kind enough to make it freely available.

July 16, 2017

Escaping and Healing with Renaissance Kingdoms

How do you know when you're unhappy? Well, for some it's obvious depression where you can't get out of bed. For others it's serious suicidal ideation, but for the vast majority it's hard to recognize. Many people trudge through their lives at jobs they hate and families that they avoid. Why? Could it be that they simply don't realize just how unhappy they are? Are they so caught up in obligations that it doesn't occur to them?

 That's what it was like for me, a numbness. No laughing or joy. No desire to go out and do anything. I had a lack of ambition, a lack of self esteem and confidence; confidence that used to be there when I was younger; confidence that had somehow escaped me when my body was ravaged by weight. That
confidence had helped me accomplish goals and now it was somehow missing. While I lost some looks I also realized how unimportant my looks truly were to me and how I wanted people to appreciate me much more for what was inside my head and heart than for what size my bum was.

In 2008 I found Renaissance Kingdoms. I met a man who was born in the game a few days after me. He seemed very funny and very honest. We talked online for a while and I soon made other friends. We had long conversations about the ranching of cows and sheep in the game. Silly mundane activities seemed interesting but that didn't really hold my interest. What did were writing story lines in a forum and hanging out in the taverns at night drinking virtual beer. This is called role playing in RK. Anyway, I remembered how much I loved to write. I remember the rush I got when I read certain books and it all came back to me; my love of reading and writing.

 So, once I had started writing, people in the game saw my active and thoughtful mind and I was quickly recruited into politics and into clubs. In Scotland we have clans, where you support each other in the game as well as real life. You can form real friendships here. The cool thing is that my very best friends in the world are in Canada, New Zealand and England. I remember when I first met someone in Germany. It seemed fantastical to me, that I could have friends on the other side of the world. Now it's just "normal" to me. So, there I was enjoying sitting on my computer, socializing with people who had never seen my face before. I escaped the real world by reading or writing fiction; taking trips I've never taken, accomplishing huge goals in political systems or rallying the people in Scotland.

 For the first time since college, I wrote grandiose speeches and truly moved people with my words. The interesting thing about that was that people agreed with me, enjoying my speeches and my phrasing. Suddenly people I'd never met believed in me and my cause. If I ran in an election they voted for me, had faith in me. People appreciated my insight and had confidence in my abilities. They saw my intentions as good, loving, compassionate. They read my personality as unique and genuine. I heard, "Wow. You're a very real person." over and over. I received compliments and commendations that I felt I would never receive in the real world, all while raising my kids at home. I don't know if there is a place in the real world where you can get true praise; praise for who you are and what you do, having nothing to do with your looks or social stature.

I could rally a town, a county and a country. Mind you, I now realize that this would all be easier to do if I had used a male character because even in this fantasy land there is some chauvinism. You can't escape that. However, it's more obvious than the real world, where the chauvinism is ingrained subconsciously.

 As a woman in the real world (in America), I was taught to work hard, obey your man and go with the crowd. If you have a problem suck it up rather than make a fuss because as a woman you will just look bossy or naggy and the worst sin that a woman can ever commit is being selfish. Selfish to me meant anything self serving. I felt like I was born to serve others, and if I did something that was not serving people, then I was failing them. Looking back at young me . . . the one who actually thought this was some kind of rule, I can not believe how naive I was. I missed so many chances to grow and learn and succeed.  Chasing my passions would have meant that my family and friends benefited. My being happy would have made others happy! I mean I was recruited by the FBI out of college, but at the time I had a boyfriend who was having a hard time and didn't want to leave him. I look back on this and can not believe I stayed the safer course. Was I just afraid to grow up or was I obeying what I had been taught? I can't say for sure.

What I do know is that putting my social skills in print seems to be my talent. Maybe that's because I can back-space on my keyboard, but in real life once you make a comment it's out there . . . and you can't take it back. How many times have you said something and then thought, "Oh, I wish I had phrased that better." Well, online you can. You can edit most forum posts . . . delete your post completely if you felt it was too hasty. You'll still make mistakes, but very different ones.

 So, what did I find escaping in Renaissance Kingdoms? Well, surprisingly I found myself, an autonomous, strong woman who is capable of great things. I am a person that will never stick to the stereotypes I was taught. I can now take criticisms that I could never take before, face foes that would have shrunk me before. Maybe I grew up in RK or maybe RK just came along for the ride. I'm not sure. What I can say is that I stand before you today a more successful and outspoken person, a happier person because I had a chance to learn more about myself.

 Will I make more mistakes? You bet. Will they shrink me? Probably not as much as before. I'm ready to face the world now, alone or not. Bring it on world.


 P.S. Photoshop is pushed to the max when creating banners for these forums. They are amazing works of art. Work done by me first:

I feel terrible. I don't remember who made this for me, but I loved it:

By Patan:


I don't know who created these, but they're just amazing. I think Kenna made at least one of them:

June 13, 2015

Tremulous Config, Resolution & Mouse

Alright! Set up Treumlous again, but I had an issue with the mouse. Apparently you have to set up your custom resolution before the program will allow the mouse to work. So, I couldn't even leave the program. I set up Oticz's HUD, since it was the best one that I could find that's actually still online.

So, to drop down the menu, you hit ~. In order to quit Trem before or after doing these things, type in /quit
These are the settings that I used for my screen:

/seta r_mode "-1"
/seta r_customwidth "1366"
/seta r_customheight "768"

Your screen might be different. Excited to get started on Trem again.