When the application starts, choose "Host New Game..." from the File menu, or press Ctrl-H on your keyboard. You will be presented with a host game setup dialog. For now, leave the defaults alone (you can change Host Name to your own name, if you like), and press the Start button. NOTE: You don't need to be connected to the internet to start a host game: other players in your LAN should be able to connect, or you can simply play "solitaire".
RealmSpeak will build a map, and construct the view. This may take a few seconds, depending on the speed of your system, but you can follow along with the progress by watching the status bar at the bottom of the window.
When the map is finished, two windows will appear inside the RealmSpeak window. The most obvious window is on the right, and contains the map. You can manipulate the map by clicking with your mouse, and dragging it around. If you want to change the scale of the map, click once on the map, and change its size by adjusting the mouse wheel. If you don't have a mouse wheel, or you don't like using it, then hold the shift-key down while you move the cursor left and right, or up and down on the map, and the scale will change.
The other window to appear is the "Character List" window. As there are no characters, the table is empty, and the "New Character" button is enabled. Press this button, and you will be presented with a choice of 16 available characters. Select your favorite, keeping in mind this will be a non-combat type of game, with looting and moving being the best advantages.
Selecting a character brings up a new window, where you can customize the character's level, starting location, and victory conditions. You only get one chance to do this, so make careful selections!
Pressing "okay" loads the character into a new internal frame along with a plethora of new controls. (At this point, you may want to maximize the RealmSpeak window to get the best benefit of the GUI.) Across the bottom of the Character Frame are a number of TABS which indicate different sections of information on the character you are playing. Each tab has its own panel and controls to go with it. Take a moment to click through the tabs, to familiarize yourself with the layout.
Now, click back to the first tab (Record Actions), and look at the icons near the top of the frame (below your stats). These are your recording controls. The first button is a Send button, that closes out your recording action, and sends the information to the host (which in this case is you). Once you have pressed this button, there is no going back! The next button is a backspace, that lets you remove the last recorded action.
All the remaining buttons are actions you should be familiar with, as a Magic Realm player. Clicking these buttons add actions to the table, and sometimes (like MOVE - more on that below!) require further input. These action buttons are dynamic, and will become disabled when they cannot be added. Because many characters have special extra actions, its possible to see all buttons disabled except one.
The MOVE action is a special case. When you press this button, the map immediately highlights all of the possibilities with color circles. The green circles indicate clearings that are available this turn without any further action. The yellow circles indicate clearings that would be available if a path or passage became available during the turn (ie., successful SEARCH). The red circle highlights your current position, and is a quick way to cancel a MOVE if you decided not to record it. Finally, the gray circles mark all other clearings in the current tile. This allows spellcasters who are planning to enchant the tile, to plot a move along paths that may not be available at the time of recording. If the spellcaster guesses wrong, or doesn't enchant the tile as planned, the move to that clearing is cancelled, and the player is blocked.
Once you are happy with your recorded actions, press the Send button (first button). The host will receive notification that you are done, and process turn order. The first player (only you at this point) will have the opportunity to play out their turn. A new tab is added to the Character Frame (dice icon), and your plotted turn is displayed as a number of rows in a table. Two buttons at the top allow you to step through the turn ("Play Next"), or run through it quickly ("Play All"). In either case, when further input is needed, you will be prompted, and all die rolls and results are shown in the table. When you have made it through the list (or have been blocked), the "Done" button will light, and you can finish your turn.
That's basically it. Finishing your turn cycles you back to Birdsong (unless you have combat to resolve), and you can record your actions for the next day. As you find treasures/spells/gold, take a look at the various tabs in your frame to see how they change. Especially keep an eye on the 2nd and 3rd tabs, as these detail the status of your chits, and inventory. Be sure to activate new treasures to gain their advantages.
If you would like to play with a friend, the setup is similar. One person will Host a New Game, and the other will Join a Game. The person joining the game will have to know your IP address, which you can find in the "View Connections" window at the bottom. If you are behind a firewall, you will need to give them the access point IP address, and forward the port (default 47474) to the host machine. If you don't know how to do this, let me know, and I'll see if I can put up some instructions on how to do this.
Once your friend has joined the host, both of you can pick a character and start playing as above. Keep an eye on the Character List window, as it shows a status depending on what is happening with each character. If one player (other than the host) loses their connection, no worries! They simply need to reconnect, and everything will return to normal. If the host computer dies, or disconnects, you are out of luck.