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Topics - Emily

Roleplay / The OOCs of Timberwood
November 14, 2022, 10:02:38 PM
Friends, noble countrypeople, fellow communists, welcome to the Out of Character thread for the Trees of Timberwood, the newest CalRef RP!

As the world expands and we get some wiki stuff up and running, I will be updating this first post to contain links.

Main thread:
Wiki page:

Feel free to discuss the world, plan out collaborative posts, and talk about your characters and ideas here!
Roleplay / The Trees of Timberwood
November 14, 2022, 10:00:21 PM
It started, as many things do, with a book.

The library of Summit was no stranger to books; indeed, it had books of many kinds across many shelves in many wings of its premises. If Lynue were to guess, she would say it definitely had more than 50 books, and probably quite a lot more than that. Unfortunately for posterity and the art of record-keeping, she and all of her fellow librarians were not maths people, and therefore the precise number of books within the building were unknown to the world. She would just have to hope that anyone looking at the plaque stating "Summit Library: Home to More than 50 Books!" would just take it well.

A new shipment had arrived that morning, a crate full of new books that would fill up even more shelves. These books were, presumably, written by people all across the land of Glimmerwharf with copies being sent to all manner of different libraries in different towns. The books always smelt so interesting, like a lot of paper in the morning. Lynue loved to smell those smells, and loved a lot of other smells as well. But the books that morning were not the normal fare, all whimsical fantasy and adult novels about businessmen with particular choices about what types of pants they enjoyed wearing. Indeed, today they were mysterious. A note on top of the crate stated as much:

To the Summit Library,
Enclosed, you will find several mysterious books.
The Author Collective of Glimmerwharf

One of the books was a murder mystery about a house full of strange people, seemingly set at least forty years ago. Another was a written play, with each line preceded by the name of the character who said it: apparently it was about a typhoon or hurricane of some manner. There was also a strange book about exploration of the cosmos, where a technomage took off in a whirlygig of their own design and explored the large planet visible in the sky. Full of sprockets and whatchamacallits, the whirlygig was truly a gem to behold, or at least that's what it was described to be. Lynue didn't know, she was only reading the back cover of the book.

And then, at the bottom of the pile, was a hardcover book with no title. The binding and cover were badly damaged, and the book seemed like it was going to fall apart. At first, Lynue was angered by the idea that either the people who packed this mysterious book or the people who conveyed this mysterious book had been so thoughtless and rough with it, but when she attempted to look it up on the itemised list of books that came in the crate, she found everything on the list was accounted for. This was just an extra. A surprise of some manner. A proper mystery for she and she alone. The only detail on the outside of the book were the letters "NEL", which wasn't incredibly promising. Even knowing the probably dozens of books that she knew, Lynue could not place what this one might be or where it might have come from.

She spent her morning putting the new books into the library's system, and then went back to her office with the NEL novel (ooh, could the answer be so simple as that? She assumed not) to see what she could find out from a quick skim. Once she was halfway through chapter one, noting it was a magic text of ideas and facts mostly unknown to her, she packed it up and set out across the city to the one person she knew who might be able to help.
Shortly before 5:00 local time this morning, Djorner vacated both the Calamity Refuge discord server and moved his nation out of Refugia. Djorner had been inactive for 14 days at this point, but was still a Member State in Refugia. As he didn't have an exemption to his member state status, the relevant guidance dictating his Member State status is RRS 3a, which states: "A Resident will lose its status as a Member State if it elects to depart the Region, its status is self-requested to be revoked, or the Resident is ejected."

On top of leaving the region for Free Nations Region, Djorner has had a rough half-term as Councillor of Culture, in which he was mostly absent. During his time in office, he has headed no events, created no content, and only copy-pasted the previous Councillor's official dispatch, leaving some coding out so that it was more or less botched. The only seemingly official moments during his time in office were a strangely in-character statement on the invasion of Ukraine and a couple trivia questions, the answers to which were factually incorrect and needed to be checked.

Calling for Recall

Djorner, elected Councillor of Culture on February 14th, 2022, left the region on the morning of April 7, 2022 for Free Nations Region and has remained there. Before this, he had not logged in in 14 days, and most of his activity in both the Calamity Refuge discord server and the region took place on four days, separated by significant spans of inactivity. A seeming lack of interest and no cultural input have defined his term to this point.

I am hereby invoking RRS 9 to call for a recall vote due to vacating the region and neglecting the responsibilities of the job.

List of Grievances:

  • Updated in Free Nations Region at April 7th minor, losing Member State status.
  • Long spans of inactivity, resulting in five active days since his election on February 14.
  • Has not been active in the CalRef discord server since February 23.
  • Has not fulfilled any responsibilities of the Councillor of Culture since his election.

Authored by: Sylh Alanor
Seconded by:

To push a recall election, I am calling for another Member State to second this proposal. Also feel free to give any feedback in this thread regarding a way to make this better if necessary.

Calling for Recall

At major update on August 31, 2021, the nation of Laisou CTE'd. Laisou was Councillor of the Interior for Refugia at the time of his CTE, having been elected on June 28, 2021. Given his 28-day period of inactivity leading up to the CTE, as well as his disappearance from the chat, I am hereby invoking RRS 9 to call for a recall vote due to neglect.

List of Grievances:

  • CTE'd on August 31, losing Member State status.
  • Has posted only three times on the RMB since his election, last on July 16.
  • Last posted in the Calamity Refuge Discord server June 28, the day of his election.

Authored by: Sylh Alanor
Seconded by: Lethodus

To push a recall election, I am calling for another Member State to second this proposal. Also feel free to give any feedback in this thread regarding a way to make this better if necessary.
RRS Double Feature: Operations Overhaul, Exemption Embellishment

PREAMBLE. This document proposes restrictions of the Operations Councillor's power to tamper with Member State status, while also patching an oversight in RRS 4.

In the Regional interest of adapting to heretofore-unforeseen circumstances, the RRS shall be amended to include the following:

- Operations Overhaul, Exemption Embellishments -

4. Residents may apply for Member State status in conditions where admission to the World Assembly is declined, rejected, or impossible.
  • Residents applying for a World Assembly Exemption must have resided within the Region for a period of time not less than fourteen days and receive the unanimous approval from the Regional Council to provide the exemption.
  • In the event that an exempted Member State accrues influence in another region, requests their status be revoked, or is ejected from the region, the Member State's exemption status is revoked. The Member State can apply to have this status reinstated, following the same protocol as laid out in RRS 4(a).
  • If a Member State's ban or ejection is overturned by the Council, their exemption status will be automatically reinstated upon their return to the Region.
6(d) The Operations Councillor, whose responsibilities are defined as identifying internal and external threats to the Region, possessing a general knowledge of worldwide events and invasion patterns.

This Councillor shall:
  • Organise and lead the Regional response effort to worldwide crises.
  • Organise and lead the response to threats targetting the Region and within the Region.
  • Carry the ability to eject and bar nations from the Region.
  • Only eject and bar nations from the Region in the interests of community moderation and/or regional security.
  • Report the grounds and reasoning on which a nation was ejected or barred from the Region.

Authored by: Sylh Alanor
Seconded by: Refuge Isle

Spoiler: ShowHide
When WA Exemptions Go Bad!

PREAMBLE. This document proposes patching an oversight in RRS 4.

In the Regional interest of adapting to heretofore-unforeseen circumstances, the RRS shall be amended to include the following:

- When WA Exemptions Go Bad -

4. Residents may apply for Member State status in conditions where admission to the World Assembly is declined, rejected, or impossible.
  • Residents applying for a World Assembly Exemption must have resided within the Region for a period of time not less than fourteen days and receive the unanimous approval from the Regional Council to provide the exemption.
  • In the event that an exempted Member State accrues influence in another region, requests their status be revoked, or is ejected from the region, the Member State's exemption status is revoked. The Member State can apply to have this status reinstated, following the same protocol as laid out in RRS 4(a).

Authored by: Sylh Alanor
Seconded by:
Roleplay / The Other Side: OOC Thread
June 20, 2021, 09:00:25 PM
Hey friends, thought I'd throw this up to accompany the new RP I just posted. While a lot of the world around The Imperial Academy (feel free to give it a better name, I couldn't think of one) is currently in mystery, I had a few notes I was considering to give us a baseline to work from.

So they're part of an empire (hence 'imperial' in the academy name). It extends as far as everyone in the empire is aware of in every direction. The emperor isn't the strongest figure, and most of the power lies in the hands of the nobles that run each province. Because of the weakness of the emperor, there's some political instability in the background, but that mostly won't affect the magic academy itself, which is a mix of all the provinces and people from the empire, and is run by the central authority of the empire itself. While there are all sorts of biomes and types of people in this expanse, I've come up with a few ideas. I imagine there's a western and southern coast, and past a mountain range to the north is a desert that becomes an incredibly dry icy wasteland. To the east there's a lot of forests, and generally it just gets pretty wild out there, but the empire still claims all of it.

The academy is spread across a string of 12 floating islands around a mountain range in the north. It's possible these are suspended by magic, or are just strange aspects of the landscape, nobody's entirely sure. There are different schools of magic, but most of the courses are taught on the largest island, where the campus is. There are also dormitories where people mostly get their own rooms, which is nice, especially for those with different needs and accommodations. They have central dining areas, but I imagine this is also accommodating, and there's food available most of the time.

Go wild with the races all you like. I've obviously introduced elves and a notedly diverse race of reptilian people called kobolds, but we have no need to stop there. We don't have to be stingy with the academy, I think they have a lot of funds and we can just sort of accommodate for most ideas.

For those of you who aren't in the discord, here's my reference image for Ikou, drawn by Axbraun on Tumblr.
Roleplay / The Other Side
June 20, 2021, 08:51:50 PM
They had never been the tallest in their village, nor the bravest or smartest, and certainly not the best with a weapon. The other kids had always laughed at them for being smooth-skinned, never having developed the armour-like ridges and plating of other kobolds. They had never learnt the ability to breath fire, either. While this was not a unique situation- kobolds were famously diverse in appearance and ability- it was a disappointment to their village. The provincial lord was attempting to build an army, though he would not say for what, and all households were expected to provide at least one able-bodied fighter. As that was an unlikely scenario, Ikou was mostly left alone during their childhood, spending their time reading and studying.

They clutched the acceptance letter in their hands, running across the village square toward the giant balloon that had touched down outside the town hall. While kobolds usually wore little, if anything, they felt it would be awkward to show up to a magical academy entirely naked. So they'd gotten a small black cloak that clasped at their neck and hung to their knees, black boots, and tied a piece of red ribbon around a shepherd's crook to look kind of like a staff. Being a battlemage was their dream, they wanted nothing more than to finally impress their village and become the soldier they were always supposed to be.

The elf getting off the balloon was dressed in mage finery. His night-blue robes had gold lining and white stars throughout the edges. Ikou was entranced by it, hoping they'd get to wear beautiful robes like that someday. They weren't the only kobold who had been accepted to the academy this year, and two others were meeting the elf at the balloon. Jogging the last few steps, they stopped and looked up- very up- at the elf, holding up their letter. "Hello, are you here to take us to the academy?"

The elf knelt down and took the paper from Ikou, smiling gently at them. Their hair was a bright gold unlike anything the kobold had ever seen, and their eyes a mint green, almost the same colour as Ikou's skin. "Greetings, little one," he said, unfolding the letter and looking it over, "I am indeed. Just to check this against my manifest, what's your name?"

"I'm Ikou."

The elf folded the paper and handed it back to Ikou, then stood up once more. He turned and opened the gate to the balloon's basket and gestured. Ikou marvelled at the finely-woven wicker of the basket, much softer and less severe than the stone and metal architecture of the kobold village where they'd spent their entire life. They weren't very tall, but they'd be able to see over the sides if they stood up on their tip-toes. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Ikou. I'm Raliph, one of this year's seekers. I will take you, Qes, and Moa back to The Imperial Academy, and help you to your quarters once we've arrived. Are you all set, do you have anything else you wish to bring?"

Ikou hopped into the basket and turned to the elf. "No, this is everything my dad said I could bring."

"Very well," the mage stated, climbing into the basket and closing the door. He checked with Qes and Moa to make sure they were ready to go and then tapped his staff against the floor. A spout of hot air propelled from the top of his staff into the balloon, and they lifted off.

The trip only took a couple hours. Qes and Moa, much taller kobolds than Ikou, chatted with each other and pointed at things they were passing over. Ikou occasionally stood as tall as they could, peering over the edge, but was never able to see anything but the clouds around them. With a sense of mild frustration, they chose to instead stand with their back against the basket wall and look at their staff, making sure it was smooth and presentable, and that the ribbon they'd tied around it was still in good shape. Everything seemed to be good. They were excited to arrive at the campus, especially since Qes and Moa hadn't dressed up for it. Everyone would surely be impressed with the effort they'd put into their mage's outfit!

Eventually Raliph, who had been occasionally updating them on their location and answering questions from the three of them about what was below them and why things looked the way they did in some of the other provinces they passed over, announced that they were arriving. Even Ikou had been able to see enough to spot the island that appeared above them. It was huge, the central island of the twelve that made up the Imperial Academy. They had never seen a floating island before- likely nobody had, none existed in the empire outside this one. The balloon's ascent slowed as it reached the edge, then it passed over the top and, soon enough, touched down on what felt like solid ground.

Raliph opened the door and let his quarry out of the basket. Ikou hopped out first, excited to see what the academy looked like, and was not disappointed. The buildings were bright and cosy, almost cabin-like in their design. Everything had large windows to let in the light, and there were flowers and other plants all along the exterior of the buildings. Walking paths of soft cobblestone connected the buildings, and there were plenty of spots to read outside. It looked like a beautiful paradise, everything they could have hoped for. Raliph gestured toward a large building a short distance away and informed them that it was the novice's dormitories. There were rooms for all of them, along with the other incoming students there, and there would be no issue getting them plenty of food and, if they wanted, clothing.

Ikou's room was one on the second floor, with giant windows that came almost all the way to the floor, and a bed with a stepstool next to it. It appeared the academy had known about them already, and accommodated their size. There were chairs that they could comfortably sit in, a study desk, and not only a dresser but a few bookshelves near to their size. Books, mostly around different types of magic, but also about the history of the empire and the different provinces, lined the shelves. Raliph informed them that most of these would be used in their introductory courses, but that there was space for them to add their own books should they want to over time. And then, finally, the question all new students were asked. "Ikou, while you don't have to decide this right now, is there a specific school of magic you're more interested in than the others?"

Ikou had waited their entire life for this. They looked up at the elf, held up their staff, and exclaimed, "I want to make fire!"
Hey friends!

Way back in December of 2018, Luca posted a thread about posting a timeline of the games that most defined you and your gaming life for particular years. If you scroll through that thread, you'll see a couple different takes on the question. First, there were a few posts listing one or two games each particular year as a "this defined this time period for me", and then some people moved on to talking about the games they remember most from certain eras, listing a lot more.

I'm going to try to dial this back to the original prompt, updating all the way to 2021, and limiting it to the most defining games of the different times for me. I'm excited to see responses, and if you like the other way of doing this more, totally go for it!

Pre-1996: Super Mario World, Mario Paint, and Sonic The Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles
1996: Super Mario 64
1997: Super Mario 64
1998: Super Mario 64
1999: Ocarina of Time, Pokemon Gold
2000: Ocarina of Time, Banjo Tooie
2001: Majora's Mask, Animal Crossing
2002: Majora's Mask, Halo: Combat Evolved
2003: Knights of the Old Republic, Sonic Adventure 2: Battle, Tales of Symphonia
2004: The Wind Waker, TES: Morrowind
2005: The Wind Waker, TES: Morrowind
2006: TES: Oblivion
2007: Halo 3, Twilight Princess
2008: Mass Effect, Fable II
2009: Dragon Age: Origins, Tales of Vesperia
2010: Mass Effect 2, Fable III
2011: Halo: Reach, Battlefield 3, TES: Skyrim
2012: Mass Effect 3, League of Legends
2013: Minecraft, League of Legends
2014: Minecraft, League of Legends, Dragon Age: Inquisition
2015: League of Legends, Undertale
2016: Pokemon: Moon, Fire Emblem: Conquest, Animal Crossing: New Leaf
2017: Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
2018: Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire, Divinity: Original Sin 2, Dungeon of the Endless
2019: Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Wizard of Legend, Assassin's Creed: Odyssey
2020: Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Warframe, Hades
2021: Crosscode, Warframe

Sorry for all the years, I am very old.
Roleplay / Writing Prompt 1: Magical Ideas
April 07, 2021, 05:51:52 PM
Heya friends,

Surprise! There has been some renewed interest in writing prompts expressed in the server, and I thought it might be nice to follow up on that. For those of you who might not be aware, on the old version of the Calamity Refuge forums, we thought that writing prompts might be an interesting way of exercising our creativity and getting nice things out there. The first one didn't really take off, and there were some bumpy roads soon afterward, so the idea didn't progress beyond that.

I thought it'd be nice to bring back this old idea and see how people respond now. The RP is doing pretty reasonably well, and I want to do more writing anyway, so I think it could be a really cool activity for us all to do them together. There are no limits on this, no character minimums or maximums, and no real deadlines. I think we can put a two-week submission goal in, but if someone has an idea for this that they want to share a year from now, go for it! Hopefully we have a lot more prompts available by that time as well. To encourage participation, anyone who submits an entry for one or more of the following prompts within the next two weeks (ending April 21st) will receive a forum badge highlighting their participation!

QuoteYour protagonist lives in a world where you can buy and sell bottled emotions. It is a government regulated industry, but illegal dealers and black markets run rampant. Some emotions are worth more than others.

QuoteA new shop opens that allows humans to rent mystical and magical things: superpowers, magical abilities/items, etc. Monetary payment is not accepted. You must pay much more abstract prices.

QuoteEach year, all the wizards, sorcerers, and other magical beings come together for a tournament. They gamble their powers and magical tools.
The Admin Tower / Calamity Refuge Discord Overhaul
March 15, 2021, 07:08:05 PM
G'diddia Refugi, non-Refugi friends, and assorted visitors,

As most of you are aware, Refugia is the NationStates branch of a wider and older community named Calamity Refuge. Though CalRef was on hiatus throughout most of 2020, we've gradually reintroduced elements of it so that the renewed interest in Refugia might get some nice people to filter through to the community. For the most part, this has worked brilliantly. NationStates has allowed us to meet new friends who fit well into CalRef's existing framework.

My job within the wider CalRef structure is to talk with people and make sure social aspects and dynamics are running smoothly. Ours is a community whose legacy is being close to one another. We're used to being able to share who we are, to talk openly and frankly about our thoughts and lives with one another, and to find support when we're having a hard time. Disagreements have historically been worked through, because we've tried to see things from each others' perspectives and meet each other on those grounds. At the end of the day, CalRef is a friend community.

My personal assessment of NationStates servers and communities outside of CalRef/Refugia is that they often discourage the attributes we've historically cared about. There's a tendency to favour ironic (or unironic) detachment and impersonality. People seem to play every level of NS, admittedly a game centred around politics, as political gamesmanship and popularity contests. A significant number of people make sure they're in as many NS servers as possible so they can spread their personal brand.

The people who rise to positions of prominence on the site, and those widest-swath cosmos, tend to do so by ensuring everything they say furthers an agenda, hiding who they are, and going with whatever is most popular or inoffensive in the moment. There's an encouragement to lie and manipulate to keep your brand looking clean, even while hyper-competitively trying to bury anyone you disagree with. If you're forthright and honest, sometimes there are going to be disagreements. And to quote someone else, people on NS tend to handle differences in beliefs or opinions as life or death situations. At best small, inconsequential disagreements over something will lead to people leaving servers or regions without saying a word. At worst, it leads to lies and twisted words to try and one-up someone else, to selectively edit quotes and try to frame a minor disagreement as a massively unfair attack on the character of a person or region. Over time, this leads to a dynamic where people take cover over the smallest disagreements or apologise profusely for talking about their personal problems.

These are toxic elements of NationStates, and I hate that I've begun seeing them infect the CalRef chat. Some NS culture bleedover was expected, though we kept a balance for a long time. But since late December, we've had at least six distinct conflicts that can be directly attributed to NS and its gameplay. Almost all of these were outside forces deciding they should be able to direct how we operate or what we do, and attempting to force their decisions on us. And for whatever reason, our responses to these issues have led to people leaving, going entirely silent within the server without leaving, or resorting to trolling until kicked.

So what are we going to do about this?

Starting today, we're making a series of changes to reorient this server back to a safe space for our members, a place where they can feel comfortable talking about their lives and feelings. We're going to be unapologetically Calamity Refuge again, and making sure that NationStates is just a thing that we do, not the thing that we do.

Some basic changes already implemented that you might have noticed:

  • The server has been renamed to CalRef.
  • The CalRef admins have been granted admin access in the server.
  • The server link has been removed from the region page.

The latter change has been implemented in hopes that we can push the CalRef forum for engagement. This provides an extra filter to ensure that the people joining the server are more likely to be interested in being friends instead of viewing us as just another NationStates server for their personal use.

Changes happening now:

  • #ground-floor-NS-Discussion is now the hub for all NationStates discussion. This includes issues, stats, cards. As such, the dedicated cards channel has been lost to the sands of time.
  • Regional Affairs and legislation drafting for RRS amendments will now take place in the NationStates subforum, or through dispatches and the Refugia RMB.
  • This server is no longer the place for external NS engagement. Those friends who are here to be part of our community are always welcome. Those who are merely here to represent yourselves or your region without further engagement will find no reason to stay here.
  • The CalRef admin presence (Emily and Natalie) will be taking a larger role in community moderation.

I'm hoping these changes will filter out most, if not all, of that NationStates-style hostility and toxicity from the chat. As Refugi maintain an interest in NS, there will be a place to chat about it. The members who get uncomfortable about certain aspects of NS, however, can be comforted that it is only a part of our chat. By taking a larger role in server moderation, the entire admin team can shoulder the burden of this gradual culture shift, so that none of us feel like we're individually resented or targeted.

Expect more changes going forward as we continue monitoring the situation and make adjustments as needed. As always, we'll be entirely up front about anything we do before we do it. Thanks so much for reading.

Roleplay / A Voice From the Storm (Reset!)
January 04, 2021, 02:02:55 AM
It was the first day of spring, and Aria noted she had many reasons to be excited. First, of course, was that the markets of Coxarif had opened. Though there was still a bite to the air, the final remnant of the frozen lockdown they had collectively suffered through for the past several months, one wouldn't know it from the people. Shopkeepers and their families bustled about hastily-crafted stalls, yelling at passersby to come and buy from them. Her shoulder-length silver hair bounced, always a bit out of her control, as she wound her way through the crowd. The wind told her there was a feeling of relieved familiarity in the air, almost as if everyone was happy to see one another despite their positions of economic rivalry. It was a happy experience, despite the crowds.

Second was the prospect of getting snacks. Admittedly, this was more than a bit cheating, as the snacks were being bought at the markets, another thing on her 'a list of exciting things'. She stopped at a stall, looking at their bins of chocolate-covered peanuts, raisins, coffee beans. Jars of dried fruits, jams, and jellies lined the side counters of the stall. She pointed to a variety of things, and the shopkeeper's children quickly shovelled them into a pack, which was sat in front of her. "Twenny-five cilea, miss," the shopkeeper stated, holding out a hand.

She counted out two violet ten-pieces and a blue five-piece to him, then grabbed the pack and beamed. "Thank you so much!"

Third, of course, was that today was the day!! The day she'd been waiting for while sitting in that dreary dormitory for the past four months of ice and snow. She was passing through the Old District now, a place that was oddly quiet despite this being the first day of spring. Most of the shops here were indoors, and the goods much more aligned to magical interests than those of the market. Every building here stood in the shadow of The Inverted Spire, the premier magic school of Ustendelle and one of the main draws of Coxarif. It towered so high it made you dizzy to look up at it for too long, and stood in the middle of a pit in the ground, only reachable by two bridges. Aria had always been intimidated by it, and tried not to hold her breath as she passed it by.

She was, of course, making her way across town to Westbridge, a guild district along the western wall of the city. Golden eyes scanned the buildings before coming across a sign she recognised, Black Bow's. It was an unassuming, stone building in a corner spot of a few different businesses. Though primarily an adventuring guild of sorts, it was connected to a pub. The pub, unfortunately, is what drew most of the business, but it kept the rest of the organisation open and that made Aria happy. She had only been here a few times, but it was always helpful.

She entered the building and looked around. It was still pretty empty; it wasn't as if she'd expected the place to be full in the middle of the morning, but it was even more empty than she'd expected. A voice from behind the bar startled her, deep and gruff. A man stood there, a dark moustache oiled and curled and adding to the aesthetic of a well-manicured mohawk. "Mornin, miss. Anything to eat or drink?"

Aria nodded back at him, "A water, thank you. I have friends coming to meet me, and then we might get some food. Is it okay if I just sit near a window for a while?"

"Sure, I got no problem with that. You should probably eat somethin' though, you're the scrawniest person I've ever seen."

Her smile froze for a moment. "Thanks. I'll, uh, think on it. Thank you for the water, at least."

Awkward moment aside, she crossed the room to the furthest windowside table from the bartender and sat down her giant mug of water and the large bag of snack-shaped contraband. From her personal pouch, she pulled out a very old book. Multiple pages had the corners folded in to mark places, notes in the margins, and extra small notes stuck over areas to update information. The title read Ludwin Academy Herbalist's Guide, AE600 Edition. She sat it gingerly on the table and opened it up to a random page, looking out the window every few seconds as if waiting for someone to show up.
General Discussion / 2019 Retrospective
January 02, 2020, 10:04:54 PM
Hi friends!

Cas gave me an idea the other day in General Discussion, and I thought it might be an interesting group activity. I was part of a forum, Zeldafront, for about 12 years, and during that time we often did retrospectives around the turn of a new year. I don't really remember if we did a big decade one for 2010, but it's possible. Anyway, I thought we might be able to talk about some of our experiences for the previous year, 2019, and some of the things we're looking forward to in the new year without falling into shallow resolutions.

2019 was a very strange year for me. I've never felt closer to anyone than I do Luca, and I think our relationship has only grown significantly stronger over the past year. In 2018, we were stressed because we were in a new place and working opposite shifts at a bad place. Mines was awful, maybe one of the worst places I could ever imagine working, and entirely because of office politics. And it was in December of 2018 that I got a job at Starbucks (well, Target Starbucks) after years of trying to work for the organisation again, and was able to start moulding my hours to fit us together a bit better. Getting to wake up later, cuddle for a while, and eat breakfast together was incredibly helpful to us both, and I think it made us happier than we were previously.

I love being a barista. I've even written a blog post about it on Pillowfort. In fact, I'd say that article needs refreshing, since it was written about a year ago. Nevertheless, my love for the craft is at the same level as it was then. But it's a bit more nuanced now; I've had a lot of bad experiences with management while we were in Denver. Both of my managers were misogynistic and highly prejudiced against their LGBT employees. As I fall into both of those targets, it's a wonder that I was able to progress as far as I did, ending up in supervisory positions in both locations. While I had a couple coworkers at Target who I couldn't stand (see other PF posts), I dearly loved working with everyone at my actual Starbucks. It ended up falling on me to protect my queer and/or femme-identifying employees from the management, and that was stressful.

Gender has been weird (when hasn't it been for me, tbh). Before 2019, I'd identified as somewhere between non-binary and femme on the spectrum, but January of last year brought a hard shift to enby for me. I felt uncomfortable with the feminine aspects of my appearance and went hard toward androgyny. And it was great! I felt so freed by shorter hair and a more punk-rock jacket and a wardrobe of skinny jeans and polos, lol. My identity switched back to feminine in the summer, buuuuut here we are again :sweatsmile: another winter shift for for Emily's "world's slowest genderfluid pendulum" machine.

CalRef has been a bit all over the board as well. We had our best month in years when we first started putting a hyper-focus on the forums, but a lot of that initial shine has died away. I'm afraid that we have a lot of community members who just aren't interested in following us to the forums, and that's something that saddens me. I love most of the community, and I want us to all talk and be friends and have conversations. Forums were the only window I had to a better world when I was stuck on a farm in the middle of the most conservative, awful place I've ever lived. The communities I interacted with were my only friends for... ever, and I want to provide that to younger people who might need it. I want to be part of that, a group that genuinely loves one another and wants to be around one another.

I love you guys, and I want you to feel happy and safe being here with me.

2020 is a year with a lot of opportunities opening up. I start school on Monday (!!), my first time attending uni with no distractions since 2008, when I was a stupid 18-year-old with no ability to self-motivate and no money to actually justify being there. I tried for a while in 2014, but I was working two jobs at the same time so it was a no-go. This time, we have some money and we're going to be able to relax while going, so I can focus everything on just doing well. It's also the first time I'm going to school for something I like instead of something I think I have to do for it to be worth the trouble.

We're also in a new country! And we just got a new apartment in this new country! My goodness that's a huge change! Things seem much more relaxed here and, outside of the downtown area we've been staying in while searching for an apartment, it seems nicer. Also there are trees and moisture in the air and I don't feel like I'm going to have random nosebleeds constantly.

I'd like to get back into writing once I have a new computer. And maybe working on other things... I don't know what I'd like to do yet, but it feels like this is a new chapter of our lives (new country, new decade) and that seems as good a time as any to work. And I want to make CalRef everything it should be! I'm seriously going to keep putting a lot of effort into this place, so that you can all feel like you're at home here and feel motivated to chat and spend time with us :heart:
Spam / Three Words Only
November 21, 2019, 09:38:34 PM
Hello friends, today we attempt to begin telling a story cooperatively. But this is different from an RP, as each of us will be limited to contributing only three words. Use punctuation as appropriate, it won't count toward your word goal. Good job Emily sticking to your sphere of authority, nailed it.

There once was

PREAMBLE. This document presents guidelines and goals for Refugia and its Regional Councillors.

In continuity with Refugia's ambition of maintaining an efficient and active government presence, the Refugia Revised Statutes shall be incremented such that:

1. Abiding existing election procedural guidelines, RRS 9 and 10 shall be changed to RRS 10 and 11.

The Refugia Revised Statutes shall be amended as to create:

- Guidelines for Maintained Activity of Regional Officers -

2. RRS 9. At any time, a Member State can charge a Regional Councillor of neglect in their duties or mismanagement of their position. Their charge will be submitted in writing to the Arch-Administrator only after a second member state has seconded the motion. This charge must contain:
  • A list of grievances against the accused.
  • Argument as to why these grievances should result in the removal of the accused prior to the next election.

If all requirements laid out in RRS 4(c), 9, 9(a), and 9(b) are met, the Arch-Administrator will call for a vote of "No Confidence" among the member states. If this vote passes by a simple majority, a new election will be called for that Council seat within the following five days. The previous seat holder can run again granted they qualify under circumstances detailed in RRS 8a.

Authored by Sylh Alanor

Previous Version(s):
Spoiler: ShowHide

PREAMBLE. This document presents guidelines and goals for Refugia and its Regional Councillors.

In continuity with Refugia's ambition of maintaining an efficient and active government presence, the Refugia Revised Statutes shall be incremented such that:

1. Abiding existing election procedural guidelines, RRS 9 and 10 shall be changed to RRS 10 and 11.

The Refugia Revised Statutes shall be amended as to create:

- Guidelines for Maintained Activity of Regional Officers -

2. RRS 9. At any time, a Member State can charge a Regional Councillor of neglect in their duties or mismanagement of their position. Their charge will be submitted in writing to the Arch-Administrator, and they must have a second member state who has signed on as seconding the motion. This charge must contain:
  • A list of grievances against the accused.
  • Argument as to why these grievances should result in the removal of the accused prior to the next election.

Should the Arch-Administrator deem this charge legal, they will call for a vote of "No Confidence" among the member states. If this vote passes by a simple majority, a new election will be called for that Council seat within the next five days. The previous seat holder can run again granted they qualify under circumstances laid out in RRS 8a.

Authored by Sylh Alanor

PREAMBLE. This document presents guidelines and goals for Refugia and its Regional Councillors.

In continuity with Refugia's ambition of maintaining an efficient and active government presence, the Refugia Revised Statutes shall be incremented such that:

1. Abiding existing election procedural guidelines, RRS 9 and 10 shall be changed to RRS 10 and 11.

The Refugia Revised Statutes shall be amended as to create:

- Guidelines for Maintained Activity of Regional Officers -

2. RRS 9. At any time, a Member State can charge a Regional Councillor of neglect in their duties or mismanagement of their position. Their charge will be submitted in writing to the Operations Councillor or, should that not be a viable option, the Arch-Administrator. This charge must contain:
  • A list of grievances against the accused.
  • Argument as to why these grievances should result in the removal of the accused prior to the next election.

Should the Operations Councillor or Arch-Administrator deem this charge legal, they will call for a vote of "No Confidence" among the member states. If this vote passes by a simple majority, a new election will be called for that Council seat within the next five days. The previous seat holder can run again granted they qualify under circumstances laid out in RRS 8a.

Authored by Sylh Alanor

Refugia / Good news, everyone!
November 15, 2019, 06:27:43 AM
Here's our regional eco friendliness score as of this morning:

We did it!  :hawww:
Refugia / Dispatches and Factbooks
November 04, 2019, 02:27:51 PM
Hi friends! I thought it might be a fun way to connect to one another if we had a thread where we could share our dispatches and factbooks.

I can get started with my historical factbook entry on the rise of the only true Elvehn immortal, Silvehn. That story is documented here.

Also shameless plug we have the eco report for this month.
Roleplay / How To Roleplay
October 12, 2019, 03:45:58 PM
Hi friends!

This post is to give first some basics on how play-by-post (or forum) roleplaying works, and then afterward to give some details on how CalRef's forum RPs work specifically.

Play-by-post roleplaying is a type of collective creative writing exercise where multiple people interact with one another through characters in a pre-determined or agreed upon environment. The environment or play space is usually determined by the person who made the thread and started the story, and changes are maintained either through that same top-down structure or through a collective agreement. Play-by-post roleplaying is a unique method of roleplaying in that it has almost no restraints save graphical interfaces, whereas other methods (video and tabletop games specifically) are limited by the systems contained therein.

In a roleplaying scenario, it's entirely up to you to create and maintain your character. While those of us who have been doing this a long time might play around with minor adaptations of characters from other RPs, it's always an interesting experience to start from nothing. Consider the world you're playing in, the limits you want to impose upon yourself, and start writing! Because your character is your own IP and entirely under your control, it is not allowable for anyone else to determine your character's actions or behaviours without your consent and acceptance. Occasionally, we will game out posts between two characters in the OOC threads or over private messages, so that eight posts of single lines of dialogue can instead be one long post submitted by one of the two players involved. If your character has something to say to or interactions with another character, contact the player before writing! (09/11/2019)

Calamity Refuge has some specificities to how we approach roleplaying, and I think in those are where we find the most interesting avenues to explore. First of all, each thread on the roleplay subforum is a singular story and setting. While there might be related threads afterward or alongside a roleplay, for the most part each thread is a standalone story. This is the least-unique angle of CalRef's RP structure, as many other roleplaying forums do the same thing.

One of my favourite unique aspects of Calamity Refuge is that we provide a recommendation in structure where the world isn't entirely filled out at the start. When you write your first post establishing both the world and your player character, the idea is to describe only what is needed for the scene. This way, everyone can join in. No matter what happens in the RP, everyone else involved incorporates it into what they're doing and runs with it. If there's a hyper-realistic modern world and someone introduces a dragon, it's generally more fun to figure out what that means in the context of the story than to get upset about how it shouldn't have been there in the first place.

Finally, we have a roleplay wiki! Once a world gets filled out enough to start writing articles, feel free to create pages for your cities or countries or characters. We even have helpful how-to articles pre-written to give you the tools you need to write up your page. There are no restriction on this, so feel free to start right away!

If you ever have any questions or feedback, please feel free to post in this thread, send me a private message, or post in the roleplaying room on our discord server. I hope to expand this how-to as we find things that I've overlooked, and make this a comprehensive guide soon. Thank you so much for reading :heart:


P.S. New additions will be included in bold, along with the date they were added. (09/11/2019)
General Discussion / General Discussion
March 10, 2019, 08:20:31 AM
Hey everyone, I noticed we were lacking a general discussion thread in this area!
Roleplay / The Oracle
February 01, 2019, 05:24:15 PM
Bzzt, Bzzt, Bzzt...

A small, blinking light lit the otherwise pitch-black apartment space. In its periodic flashes, elements of the room were illuminated. The outlines of a bedframe with messy blankets and pillows strewn about. A pair of pants that hung off the edge toward the floor, somehow having not fallen through the night. The wall, slate grey and made of a material not immediately identifiable as either plastic or metal. And a ceiling approximately 3.5 metres above the floor. The room was slightly colder than the comfort zone of most people, and silent save for eased, deep breathing and that small, muted buzz.

Bzzt, Bzzt, Bzzt...

The mass of messy blankets on the bed shifted, stopped for a moment, then shifted again. A long, thin arm emerged and grabbed onto the object emitting the flashing light. As it did, recessed rope lighting began to slowly brighten, gradually bringing the room from pitch black to a starry night. More furniture pieces were now visible; the outline of a small sofa, a desk with some manner of computer on it, a few chairs. An end table sat across from the sofa, on it a couple books and a large tablet almost thin enough to be a sheet of paper. The floor itself appeared to be some manner of wood, or at least the texture and patterns of wood, with various rugs situated to make things more comfortable. The room wasn't very large- an unfortunate necessity even on a massive space station- but it held the furniture that was in it well.

A humanoid creature, both lithe and long, sat up from the mass of cloth, her eyes squinting at the screen on the device she now held in her hand. At her pronounced movement, the light level rose to that of a comfortable interior space, imitating the warm golden sun of her home system. She yawned, rubbed at her eyes with her free hand, then sat the device back down. A muted grey on the screen showed 7:40 for a moment, then faded to dark. She rotated, long legs taking their place on the floor, then stood up. She stood at nearly 2 and a third metres, and was all thin extremities. She threw on a comfortable shirt that buttoned up the front, itself a wine red with a collar, and some black cloth pants, then moved toward her bathroom space. It was quite small, with just a toilet, sink, and sonic shower space, but as long as something was tall enough, she wouldn't complain. The woman examined herself in the mirror as she brushed her teeth. Her skin was nearly white, though it had a pale lavender tint to it. Her head was round, and ultimately soft, but entirely hairless. Her ears were long and thin, coming to a point at the tip.

After she'd prepared for work, she threw on some soft flat-bottomed shoes and exited the bedroom area, the wall lights dimming to darkness as she did. She emerged into a relatively-sizeable living room, thinking on how she was lucky to have it. The space was larger than what she normally would have been able to afford; it was only a favour that she was given this area. Much like the previous room, warm but hidden lights brought the space to a comfortable level of illumination. The floor was still seemingly wood with rugs laid in various spaces to allow for comfortable feet. A larger sofa graced this space, as well as other tables, chairs, and a gargantuan viewscreen that took up one entire wall. A kitchenette was attached to the living room, separated by only a waist-high (for her) bar, but she wasn't about to stop in there, at least not at the moment. She grabbed a bag by the door and placed a hand to a small screen nearby. With a muted "wssh", the door slid to one side, and she stepped through to the main hallway of her apartment bloc.

It was a quick, easy walk to the rail, which rocketed her and several dozen other commuters through the arms of the space station Hestia toward the central Hearth Plaza, which was the commercial and working district for the community. The tubes the rail travelled through were clear, and the windows of the train allowed the passengers to look at the distant stars and nebulae that made up the galaxy around them. The star of their own system had long-since been covered by machinery and metal, harvested for all the energy it could produce. Nobody would complain for the lack of a view, however, as the Hestia was a beneficiary of the energy being harvested.

She got the occasional look, usually from older humans, usually from older male humans. That look of mild discomfort and judgement. Not that she could blame them, she and those like her were reminders of a painful period of their history, from not even that long ago. She just did her best to smile and appear as non-threatening as possible, and remained at her edge of the car, hoping it would get to its destination soon enough.
Roleplay / A Voice From the Storm (Closed)
December 10, 2018, 10:07:16 PM
Síne had always been afraid of Kingfisher Forest, because she couldn't explain it.

She could explain most things, because even if she didn't know how they worked, there was a clear logic to them. She might not understand exactly what caused the sun to move through the sky, but it did so at approximately the same time every day and followed a pattern of birth, death, and rebirth every year. The seasons lasted approximately the same length every year, and followed the same pattern as the sun, with a time of sewing, growing, reaping, and death. The cycles were so predictable that the farmers of Ceadaichte Mòir anticipated them every year and could accurately plan their yields around them.

But Kingfisher Forest didn't make sense. Trees only grew in the forest; according to the traders that came by the town twice a year, there was a dead zone for approximately 100 kilometres from the edge of the forest before trees started growing again. And even those trees were very different, small and dull of colour compared to the massive red-brown of the trees in the forest. Whatever trees were felled by axe or storm regrew in a matter of months, as tall and as vibrant as they were before. The forest was unfathomably large, extending further north and south than anyone had ever gone, and deeper west than anyone had ever been able to venture. It was an infinite expanse that happened to end right at this spot, where Ceadaichte Mòir had been founded. There were other villages, though Síne had not seen them, to the north and south along the tree wall, but none within an easy travelling distance. She would often hear animals playing or calling for mates within the trees, and the children of the town often ventured out and played among them. The forest itself showed no malevolence or intention to harm. And that's why it was scary.

It was the 8th of Sun's Rebirth, only a few days away from the beginning of the sewing season. Síne was at a desk in her home, reading scraps of paper by candlelight. She was trusted with the responsibility of teaching the town children letters and numbers, and was only able to get them to gather during the winter at the main community building, in a room near the mayor. She was also responsible for rationing out what paper and candles the community would afford to her for this task. Her last candle of the year burned with a matter of centimetres left to go, lighting the last few shreds of paper that had been left. The remaining paper was wrapped in twine in various piles around her floor. She would exchange it with the traders when they finally arrived, and they would return in the fall with it having been reformed once again blank. All of the empty ink pots had been rinsed and sat atop the various bound piles of paper, as glass was always a valuable commodity with the tradesmen. That being said, they were a few days later than expected this year, and if they took much longer she would have to start reading next to the fireplace.

The wind outside rattled her door, causing the woman to start. With a hand placed against her rapidly-beating heart, she turned to look at it, waiting. One, two, three, four... the room remained silent save the friendly crackling of the fireplace and the occasional muted pop of a candle wick near its end. If it was any quieter Síne was sure she would be able to hear her heart beating raucously against her chest. Once she was sure it wasn't an intruder, the woman sighed, blew out the candle and stood up to stretch; it had been a long day of reading; the children this year seemed more generally interested in the old stories, and were writing a lot of their own. Hence the shortage of paper. Still, it brought a lot of joy to her heart to see the spark of curiosity in one of her classes, and she would try to get more paper from the traders in the fall. Some of the children had already started borrowing out books from her, which hadn't happened before, and two of them had stayed behind the last few days to ask about one of the legends she had recited, a story about a clever princess who had evaded capture by running into the Kingfisher Forest, which had recognised her virtuous heart and protected her from her pursuers.

They had asked how the forest protected her. She wasn't sure of that; the story that had been passed down to her wasn't as concerned with the details as the inquiring minds of babes. One boy, a brash little one who was often playing pretend swords with his friends just inside the forest, theorised the forest had cut the pursuers down to size with whips of vine and spears of branch. The other boy, a shy child who had lived with and helped his grandparents after the pox had taken his father, theorised the forest made the princess disappear, and those that chased after her gave up after not finding her for a time. The fact that both of these assumptions could very well be the truth was what frightened Síne. But then again, most things surrounding the Kingfisher Forest did.

She stepped to the door and grabbed the handle of the metal bolt, rotating it up and pulling it to the side, then down again so that it caught in the unlocked position. She then pushed down a latch that allowed her door to swing outward and open, letting in the night air. It was somewhat cold outside, though it was much warmer than it had been even a few weeks prior, and was warmer still during the day. Still, she was small in frame and stature, lacking any heft that might block the chill of her environment. The ground was no longer stiff with frost, and the grass along the ground had started coming back to life. She stepped outside and stifled a yawn, then looked to the forest. The Kingfisher Forest didn't change during the winter either; its leaves were still as full, its wood still as vibrant. Though the trees felled by axe or storm dried and became quality firewood, what was still connected to the ground never changed. A wind rustled through the tree tops, causing the branches and leaves to stir and rattle quietly, as the air moved toward her house. It rustled her shoulder-length brown hair, causing it to tangle even worse than it had been before. But even then, the forest did not seem intimidating. Not of its own merit.
General Discussion / The Welcoming Committee
December 09, 2018, 09:38:59 PM
Welcome to Calamity Refuge! I thought we could go ahead and open this topic up so everyone can introduce themselves to each other.

I'm Emily or Valkyrie, so-called "Social Administrator" and general all-around culture generator. I'm married to Luca and live in British Columbia. I love writing and music, and have officially stopped toying with video content creation. I have two RPs going, though only one (A Voice From the Storm) is probably worth joining unless you have an itch for sci-fi like I do. You'll see me around driving activity and attempting to make the RP section more interesting in general. I'm on a slow genderfluid pendulum between non-binary and female, and right on the edge either way, so please use whichever is your preference between they/them and she/her pronouns.

I want more than anything for this to be a warm, happy place where we can all be friends and enjoy each others' company. If there are any issues or you want to reach out to me, I'm always just a PM away :heart: