Weekly vlog 12-01-16

In this weeks vlog I talk about a couple of the games I’ve played in recently and my decision to step away from LARP for a year.

Weekly vlog 10-11-15

In my third vlog I rambled about the close of my Jadepunk campaign, Star Wars Tides of Change, LARP and Thashif’s forthcoming Dresden Files game:

Positive/Negative Language

This is not something I’ve thought about a lot on a conscious level until recently; generally whenever I am trying to sell my players on the virtues of a new system I prefer to point out the positives of adopting the new system rather than the negatives of the old. I’ve never consciously made that as a decision, it just always seemed like a logical thing to do; for example, recently I approached my group about bring our Star Wars campaign under the umbrella of theย Tides of Change Star Wars RP club.

For those of you who may not be aware, Tides of Change is a roleplay club where GMs run a series of loosely linked campaigns using the Fantasy Flight Games Star Wars RPG; GMs share rumours between games creating the feel of a larger universe, it also uses an innovative mechanic where in each game Tide Changes (plot twists) are proposed and the members of the club then vote on them in a facebook poll. The one with the most votes becomes the twist that occurs in the game.

Tides of Changes is chaired by Andre Martinez.

I didn’t want to spring such a change on my players so we had a series of votes in our campaign facebook group and discussions about what moving our campaign into Tides of Change would mean; I pointed out the positives of this, some of which included:

  • Being part of a larger game universe.
  • Use of the very interesting variant mechanics proposed by the group.
  • Support from a larger community.
  • Exposure to a wider audience.

At no point did I cast any aspersions on our current way of running things or say that there was anything wrong with our current method of gaming, partly because there wasn’t, but also I find that if you tend to portray things with a focus on the negative then people tend to respond negatively to them, whereas if you point out the positives then their reaction often (not always) mirrors this approach.

Contrast for instance if someone comes up to you at work and says “you’re doing this wrong”, you’re more likely to respond negatively in a knee-jerk fashion than if someone says “it might be better if you do this.”

I actively noticed this recently on a LARP Facebook group I belong to where people were setting out guidelines/dos and don’ts for the event, and I as I read them I noticed that I was becoming progressively more disenchanted with the idea of actually attending; I realised as I went through that this was due in part to the negative language being used, everything was “don’t do this” and “don’t do that”, the assumption seeming to be that people would behave like idiots, and this rankled me somewhat (although I am aware their are idiots out there).

It’s definitely something worth keeping in mind though whenever you’re trying to sell players a new game or campaign setting, focus on the positive points of whatever you’re trying to get across to them rather than the negatives of other things.

Favourite Quotes from the GEF 2015

There was a lot of cool and funny (sometimes both) stuff said at the GEF, i’m going to note some of them – there’s probably far more than I can remember (i’ll try not to lose my notepad in the first five minutes of the event next time) but here are the ones I can:

 

“Do you want some of this Rimmel 60 second red nail polish, I don’t know how good it is?”
“Same make as my black nail polish, pretty good.”

– Azzan and Larego during the morning fey glamour preparations

 

“Salami-when-you-wake-up”

– Redcaps even have to get a mention of food into a traditional Jackals greeting

 

“How have you been dealing with the effect on your glamour?”
“It’s very annoying there is less blood on my face than normal and none of it is coming from my hat.”

– Even redcaps were affected by Dolorous’ manipulation of Haven’s link to Arcadia

 

“Unless I can eat those women i’m not interested.”
“Do you want to re-phrase that?”
“No.”

– redcap response to a highly suspect party of suggestive young women arriving at our faction gate

 

“I think I better go and investigate those women at the gate.”
“Someone’s getting robbed then.”

– another response to the party of suspect women/muggers

 

“We’re 3 gold up – we’re in profit.”
“Dude, someone got executed.”

– discussing an evening altercation

 

“Dredd is an excellent bard, i’ve seen him sing songs that made a dwarf weep.”

– a true statement

 

“I’m sorry Lord Oberron, Edreja was speaking to me.”
“Tell Edreja to go away.”

– Lord Oberron, High King of the Unseelie discusses communication with one of his kin

 

“Do you have much experience in the Everwood?”
“It’s where I live.”

– discussing a trip to the Everwood in order to speak with Lord Cleaver

 

“We need claw beasts.”
* several people raise hands *
“Okay, you’re demonic high mages.”
* puzzled looks and waving of claws *
“They’re natural claws, you can cast in them.”
* several smiles and high-fives *

– monster statting

 

“There someone behind us… one’s got behind us!”
* whack whack whack whack *

– Ash, born to be a claw-beast

 

“I’m only here as a slow moving distraction for Ash.”

– Me, decidely not born to be a claw-beast but enjoying it none the less

 

“You are the most beautiful and unique creatures of this world, you are all perfect in your difference, you are dreams, you are what the other races of this world ache and long to be. I hate you all, and I love you all.”

– High King of the Unseelie, Lord Oberron addresses his subjects

 

“What was the name of the person you’re looking for?”
“I don’t mean to sound rascist but all you non-fey sort of look alike to me.”

– Redcap communication challenges

 

“Some things are better written down than said aloud”

– Inky bringing Larego up to speed on what he has discovered about Redcap history.

 

“Yes, Lord Cleaver is most… impressive.”

– Maximillian, envoy from the Unicorn Fey Courts of the Everwood

 

“It’s clear that we are not what we once were.”
“Things change.”
“Like any hunter we have adapted to be more effective in a changing environment, we have changed and have taken on the ways of others to more effectively camouflage ourselves so that we might move among our prey unseen and hunt where we will. That is what I believe.”

– Larego and other redcaps discuss redcaps past & present

 

“I know that i’m unseelie but you’d better believe i’m swearing my fealty to that big bald b*stard over there”

– Swearing fealty to the newly chosen fey princes

Great Edrejan Fayre 2015: Highs & Lows

It’s traditional after doing a LARP event to post highs and low points of the event, normally these are posted on Facebook but I thought ‘hey, since i’ve got this new kiss-ass website why not put them on there instead?’

I couldn’t come up with any good reason why not so here we go; as always i’ll start with the lows so that I can end on a high note.

Lows

  • Despite feeling more awake and energetic due to the controlled lowering of my epilepsy medications a combination of the hot weather and tiredness still left me flagging by the end of the day.
  • There never seems to be enough time to get around to doing everything that you want to do.
  • There was a lot of waiting around in the monster room whenever we went down to monster.
  • Watching someone spit their dummy because they shouted out a weapons call and the monster (surrounded by about five people hitting him with weapons) obviously didn’t hear them; by the time I tapped the monster on the should and said ‘You’ve been halted’ the person had stormed off.
  • At one point trying to get back to our faction camp and failing five times because each time I got called away by something, thankfully Alex bought me a sandwich so I actually managed to eat something.

Highs

  • Escaping with Excalibur as a demon high mage.
  • The pig men outside the Tesseract and watching as a combination of redcaps and beastkin leapt on them screaming about bacon – go Team NomNom ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Really enjoying the Unicorns as a faction, great friendly bunch.
  • Enjoying being a diplomat, a different game and very interesting.
  • Being told more about redcap history.
  • Lord Oberron’s arrival and the scene surrounding the swearing in of the two new fey princes.
  • Lots of entertaining and different monster roles.
  • The refs making good use of limited monsters in the final fight and trusting the monster crew not to take the p*ss with the abilities we were given.

Overall i’m very much looking forward to the next event, planning on stocking up on coffee/energy drinks in an attempt to keep me going throughout.

Post LARP post

Well i’m sure you’ll have noticed that all’s been quiet on the Red Dice blogging front for the past few days; that’s because i’ve been indulging in the other aspect of the roleplaying hobby that I enjoy, namely LARP. For those of you who may not be aware of LARP (or LRP as it’s sometime’s called), it stands for Live Action Role-Play and is basically a group of people who act out or physical represent the action of a roleplay game (to some degree or other depending on the system). Now I first remember hearing about LARP when I was reading the second edition Vampire the Masquerade rulebook; it talked about the possibility of acting out some more conversational scenes but didn’t really include any rules or much in the way of suggestions how to do that so I didn’t really think much of it.

The next exposure I had to LARP was when I was mooching around my FLGS Spirit Games and heard someone discussing a Minds Eye Theatre Vampire game that was going at the nearby station hotel; being really into the Masquerade at the time I went along and for the duration of that game I enjoyed playing various vampires, first in a Sabbat game run by a good friend of mine and then later in other various games. Mind’s Eye Theatre is a game where you act out what your character is doing but whenever combat or anything occurs there is a system (normally based on rock-paper-scissors) that takes over; this is a bit of a compromise and puts MET halfway between tabletop and LARP to my mind, the advantage being you can run it in much smaller surroundings and more cheaply without having to worry about insurance or anything (since it’s none contact) but on the other side games (especially combat heavy games) can get really bogged down and it can take ages to resolve a large combat.

That’s not to say that MET cannot be enjoyable, I still play in a Werewolf: the Apocalypse game that I very much enjoy and have run a Hunter: the Reckoning game in the past where I tried to bridge the gap between contact LARP and MET, I don’t think the experiment was without it’s flaws but the people who played in the game seemed to enjoy it.

I play in a couple of contact LARP systems, the Outcast system (which I help crew and very much enjoy) and the Lorien Trust system (where I play a type of fey known as a redcap); these systems actually have a contact based combat system where foam latex weapons with solid cores are used. The Lorien Trust runs four main events in the UK, two in May and two in August, i’ve just got back from the second May event, known as the Great Edrejan Fayre (previously the Heartland Games); the premise for the event is basically a fantasy world version of the olympics where the various nations of the fictional world gather together and compete in different games. I’m not really into the games themselves TBH personally, although I certainly don’t begrudge the people who enjoy them, so the GEF is normally a fairly quiet event for me, sort of a “rest event.”

This event got off to a fairly slow start but on the second day everything to get much busier; I few of the highlights for me were:

  • Oberron king of the Fey visiting the mortal plane.
  • Getting to do some more diplomacy (my character being a diplomat for our faction).
  • Swearing fealty to Arcadia and the two newly elected fey princes (one seelie, one unseelie).
  • Accompanying a group back to my IC home the Everwood to locate a mute fey’s missing memories.
  • Having another player redcap fill me in on what he has found out about our races history and being able to potentially help out with that.

This brings me to one of the fundamental conflicts I have when it comes to contact LARP systems, by nature i’m not a particularly physically active person and to a great extent contact LARPs rely on your OOC abilities (for example: i’m not a fast runner so i’m never going to play some incredibly athletic character); given that I don’t have enough money to do LARP and other holidays, live-action events double as my holidays so I at least want to relax a little bit. I do normally come away from events feeling like I enjoyed it but that I could have done more during the event if only i’d been a bit more awake or more motivated.

That said, i’m working on motivating myself more and had an excellent time at the GEF, i’m part of a group of beastkin, urucks and fey called Squad D, and I always enjoy hanging around with my friends, also really enjoying my redcap character; hoping to start delving a bit more into the racial background of the fey as time goes forward.

I also tend to die a lot at LARPs and so i’ve always got half an eye to my next character, currently I have two in the pipeline, a dwarf and a dark-elf but i’m hoping to survive for a while as my current character since i’m really enjoying that at the moment.

Perhaps I just need to take more energy drinks to LARP? ๐Ÿ˜‰

[LARP] Redcap Poetry

For those who may not be aware, as well as tabletop roleplaying I also LARP in both the Lorien Trust and Outcast systems over here in the UK, crewing Outcast and playing (also dying frequently) in the LT; my current character is a redcap, a sort of murderous, bloodthirsty fey, however i’m trying to play the character as outwardly polite, more Hannibal Lecter than Jason.
For a bit of a chuckle recently I decide to try and write some poetry in the style of my character and below is what i came up with:

Closing off my LARP blog

As some of my readers may be aware I did have a seperate blog concerning LARP (live-action roleplay) on my main G+ account, it originally started off as a series of in-character diary entries/event reports however due to a sizeable number of character deaths on my part and a general falling out of love with LARP I let it slide and haven’t posted anything to it in a while. However, my recent involvement in NaNoWriMo has rekindled my interest in writing, at the same time that a move to a new faction and a new character has really boosted my interest in LARP.
Reading through a friends WordPress blog this morning has made me think that I really should do some more blog posts about LARP, after all it’s a hobby in which both myself and my wife invest an awful lot of time and effort (not just playing, costume making, etc); however, given that my free time is limited I don’t want to split my efforts, so i’m going to start incorporating future LARP posts into this blog going forwards and will be closing off my old LARP blog.
Currently I am playing a Redcap in the Unicorns Faction of the Lorien Trust system, i’ve only been to one of the faction’s events so far but am looking forward to getting involved more in the future :

Planning for my first G+ game

Okay, so a few friends of mine who I do LARP (Live-Action RolePlay) with and myself were chatting a while back about tabletop roleplaying and I was telling them about some of the games that i’m GMing at present; now most of them live a fair distance away and a couple of them were lamenting the lack of tabletop RPG action in their area, also, although we all meet up for weekends of LARP there’s not quite the same impetus to travel the length of the country in order to do a single night of tabletopping. Given that a few of us have been getting more into Google+ and Youtube recently (https://www.youtube.com/user/MrLARGEJO/) and i’ve seen numerous recording ‘actual-plays’ of people using G+ hangouts to play RP sessions over the net we talked about doing something similar; now life, as it often does, got in the way and we never really got to do anything about it as we were swept up in the chaos of the 2013 Lorien Trust LARP mainline seasion.
Recently I decided that we really should make an attempt at actually pushing forward with a session, partly because i’m keen to experiment more with G+ hangout roleplaying and also because i’m interested in seeing what it’s like tabletopping with people whom i’ve only ever really done LARP or boardgames before (both of which are quite different); so I set up a facebook event and arranged a date (this Sunday evening), but then of course we were left with the question of what do we play?
I have numerous RPGs on the shelves in my room but, given that this is the first TT experience for a couple of the players and that it was our first time at RPing over G+ I wanted something that was simple to pick up, kept the game very dramatic and allowed it to move along reasonably rapidly since we only have about four hours of gaming realistically since most of us have work the next day, I want to cram as much game into those four or so hours as possible. As usual when I want a good game to introduce new-comers to TT RPing i’ve turned to one of my favourite systems, Fate Accelerated Edition (FAE) along with a brilliant G+ Fate roller extension (http://www.diceboy.com/).
One of the players is quite new to TT and wants some sort of easy to get into fantasy game because, although new to TT, the LARP that we do is fantasy based and he has experience of lots of fantasy films; this is fine, i’ve already done some consideration of how to adapt FAE to a D&D-esque setting (detailed in previous blog posts). For this game though, i’ve decided to keep things simple (anything not mentioned below is as it is in the core FAE book):
Aspects: In addition to their High Concept and Trouble, players will also have a Race aspect (dwarf, orc, etc) that can be invoked (as normal) whenever they perform an action that fits with the concept of their race (i’ll be keeping it pretty simple and stereotypical for this game, orcs are brutish and violent, dwarves are rigid, stoic craftsmen, etc etc).
Magic: In order to have magic a sorceror must have the Aspect ‘Sorceror’, they must also have a Stunt (or Stunts) that defines their type of magic; for example, a sorceror may have the Stunt ‘Fire magic’ and all of their spells will involved heat or fire in some way. Magic will use the normal action rules as described in FAE (attacking, defending, etc).
Equipment: Unless taken as a Stunt equipment is assumed to be of insufficient quality to make any real difference to the dice rolls, if taken as a Stunt then it can add the normal +2 to an appropriate situation.
Taking inspiration from the recent Dungeon World session that I ran, I intend to use the player character Aspects (and a brief Q&A with the players at the start after character gen) to create a rough map of the world and detail out the major threats/challenges, once we have this i’ll run with what i’ve got and see where it goes from there. Assuming all goes well with the technical side of things then the game will be recorded and uploaded to my Youtube Channel  when we’ve finished the session.

Cleaning metal armour

I’ve always shied away wearing metal armour at LRP (live-action roleplay) before, partly due to the often high costs associated with such equipment and also due to the fact that my one attempt to wear partial chainmail had resulted in a lot of back pain even with a large leather hero belt supporting much of the weight. However, recently I was lucky enough to be given two pieces of metal armour (shoulder pauldrons and a set of arm bracers) by a couple of friends; as anyone who knows me will tell you, I love free stuff and so determined to give metal armour another go- my excursions to the Outcast system proved an ideal run out for the metal armour.

The armour I was given was pretty rusty when I got it and I did not have time (or the knowledge how) to clean it prior to the event and so I wore it as it was; I had a great time during the event (as detailed in this post) and was able to cope with the weight of the metal armour (although I did end up going to bed early most nights due to fatigue). Whilst at the event I was able to ask a few people there who have experience of metal armour and caring for it (such as CJ Bateman) for any tips and advice they might give me about how I look after the armour.

The process below is based on what they told me and some additional research that I did into the subject.

This is what the armour looked like when I got it – note the rust on it.

Step 1: Removing the Rust

There were two main ways that I had found online to remove rust from metal without have to use specialised cleaning materials; the first was to use white wine vinegar and scouring pads, the second was to soak the plates in diet coke for a few days.

I decided to attempt the white wine vinegar method first; a quick trip to Morrison’s furnished me with the necessary vinegar and scouring pads and I set to work on the armour when I got back.

The vinegar had the effect of making the armour plates take on a slightly duller finish but this didn’t particularly bother me and it was possible to visibly see the rust being removed from the plate.

The armour after the surface rust had been removed with white wine vinegar.
Step 2: Removing any lingering vinegar or rust particles on the surface of the metal
I did this simply using some toilet tissue and gently dabbing at the surface of the armour plates.
Step 3: Polish the metal

In order to polish up the metal a little I purchased some Brasso wadding that I used in a circular motion to bring some shine back to the metal; although it hasn’t restored the former shine to the unrusted sections of metal I believe that this may have been due to some linger rust particles (despite my attempts to remove them), I plan to have another attempt at polishing the plates once it has had chance to dry.
Cleaned up pauldron when I started polishing.
Set of pauldrons, cleaned plates on the right and still rusty plates on the left.
Many thanks to all the people who offered me advice on how to clean and take care of metal armour, I also found the following website very useful: