Category Archives: Empire

Zephyr De Rondell, captured by Charlie Moss

Differences

Five years ago, I would have told you that liked playing the IoD games, but what I really enjoyed was running and crewing games.

Four years ago, I would have told you that I was looking forward to Empire, but what I really enjoyed was running and crewing games.

Three years ago, I would have told you that I enjoyed Empire, but I was considering changing over to crew because what I really enjoyed was running and crewing games.

Two years ago, I would have told you that Empire was finally starting to click for me, but what I really enjoyed was running and crewing games.

One year ago, I would have told you I was having a blast at Empire, but there weren’t any other games I was looking at playing, and what I really enjoyed was running and crewing games.

This year, things changed. I went to Future’s End and came away from that event with more energy and desire to play it again than I can recall ever experiencing from a game before. That led to me dropping IoD completely because it was a drain on my time for no reward. I’ve started playing Stargate and realised I was going to keep playing it when on the drive back I said “And next time, I’ll be playing with a compound fracture” and Fraser pointed out that I’d said I’d be playing the next one. This year, I got my Imperial Title in Empire, got over every problem I faced and produced the best results from a game I have ever had (thanks to a glorious mistake, but it worked!). I then promptly died at the next event but I have so much energy for going back and playing that my main worries are actually that I’m not going to look good enough for Dawn – not over what I’ll do.

I’ve also stopped being an active element in No Rest for the Wicked. After running By Schisms Rent Asunder, I went on break, and I’ve not really phased back in yet. I’ve done some things here and there, but mostly I’m letting the others handle things, and it feels good. It’s making me question how much I do enjoy running events, and what I want to be doing when I do run them.

There actually is no question about it: I do enjoy running events and I do enjoy crewing them, but I’ve also learned to love playing them as well. I’m going to take a longer break from running things than I anticipated (I still have three events on the cards to run[1][2]), but I’m going to keep back from being an organiser for a while longer[3]). The love for playing events is something I’ve been missing for a long time – I’m not sure I’ve ever really had it in the entire 12 years I’ve been LRPing, so it feels good to finally be feeling like this.

If you’re reading this, thanks to Kelly, Fraser, JD, Cat, Cherry, Rob, and the others who’ve made me come around to enjoying playing games instead of just running them.

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. my birthday party, one for No Rest, and one for Stargate
2. The Stargate one may actually be pretty far in the future
3. If you’re reading this Rob, I guess you were right.

Priorities

I’ve spent some time of late considering my priorities when it comes to my spare time and I’ve decided to start cutting down on the hobbies that have the lowest energy:enjoyment ratios. That is to say I mean to stop doing things that take a lot of time and energy but don’t reward my effort with add much enjoyment as I get from other sources.

What that means is that I’m not going to expend time and energy on things I’m not enjoying which should mean I have more time and energy to do what I do enjoy.

To cut a long story short, this means that I don’t intend to renew my membership in the Isles of Darkness. I’ve not enjoyed playing the games as much as I used to for quite some time and I’m tired of expending effort on IoD that I’d rather be using on other projects. I have other games I want to write and run that get put aside for the pressures of running an IoD game every month.

If I spent as much time on my next No Rest event as I’ve spent on IoD stuff this year, my event would be mostly done by now.

Part of my problem with IoD is that I enjoy storytelling but I don’t like being painted into a corner and having my work second-guessed by people who haven’t even seen it.

I’d much rather spend my time and energy on Empire, Future’s End, and the field LRPs I’m running and that’s what I plan to do.

I’m not going to just drop out of things, but my membership will lapse in a few months and that coincides with the end of my term as LST Scotland Awakening so it seems like a fair time to go.

Shaken till booze falls out

I spent my weekend in a castle, my face painted with scales and two bottles of booze in my bag. It was a good weekend.

To say I was unsure what I was going to do/achieve at the beginning of the event would be an understatement. I had no idea if I was going to manage what I wanted, never mind if it was possible. Turns out I was proven wrong.

My goals for the weekend were to introduce myself to some people, get better acquainted with others, and have some fun. All of these goals were met and then some.

Turns out that I accidentally ended up being the most competent person in the room at one point which led to me being embroiled in some politics I’d previously had no idea about – that’s going to give me a lot more to do in the field this year.

I may also have almost started a new religion with my salted caramel cream liqueur hot chocolate – pronounced to “taste like glory” and to be “heresy, so I should confiscate it for the good of the Empire”.

Decided to join the tournament with the last minute addition of hidden steel chainmail under my Suaq layers. That helped me through the first round, but didn’t help at all against Rodrigo Barossa’s zweihander. If only I’d had my mage staff…

Bohemond even congratulated me on my duelling technique – shame he later shook me until booze entered his hand.

So very glad I went, and so very keen for Empire now…

 

Empire 379YE Autumn Equinox

Ugly

  • We got caught by a speed camera as we approached the site
  • Craig was in an accident the Tuesday before and had whiplash
  • Getting so dehydrated I felt ill and nauseous in Conclave

Bad

  • Taking the field meant I didn’t have as much time for running around organising things
  • Missed Saturday dinner due to not stopping all evening
  • Attaching latex scales took much longer than I expected
  • Trying to attend multiple meetings scheduled for the same time doesn’t work very well
  • Going “feck it” to touching up my makeup on Sunday morning means there a few photos of me with a rubbed off forehead
  • So tired on Saturday evening – kept napping everywhere
  • My bag got nicked while doing a ritual and we lost the covenstone
  • Bonding at last event went wrong and it turns out I wasn’t actually bonded to my robes…
  • Never stopping moving. Google can confirm that the only times I really stopped moving was Conclave…

Good

  • Taking the field meant I got to (a) try out chainmail as my elite mercenary without losing my new latex scales to an orc mask and (b) got to be part of Team Saker as part of the back-up Day ritualist team
  • Salted caramel cream liqueur goes down as well as ever
  • White chocolate strawberry fudge also went down well
  • Dem Cambion girls
  • Chilling on site on Friday meant I had time to experiment with latex scales
  • Two addresses and a gambit meant I got to make my name in Conclave
  • Being recognised in Military Council was a new experience
  • Tent is sufficiently cool during the day to mean beers aren’t overly warm
  • Civil Service Hub cushions are good for napping on
  • Now known by name to archmages, grandmasters, generals, senators, and the warmage
  • An Imperial Title has been created for the job I’m doing because people thought I deserved one
  • Political drama generating MC politics on Sunday
  • Suaq dance party
  • The Nightclub of Worlds
  • Mana rich for a while (before I miscalculated and gave more away than I meant to)
  • Tea-stained map experiments were a success
  • Mhorish breakfasts
  • Carrying the stool around gets annoying but it’s worth it in Conclave
  • Still not from Urizen

A lack of game

I don’t know why but I don’t do LARPs very well. I don’t seem to be able to hook into them or get involved in things. Plot passes me by and I never know how to get into the game.

It’s not just an IoD thing, but I feel it more there. At Empire, event plot pretty much passes me by but I’m so busy doing other thinBluträchergs that I don’t notice that I didn’t get involved in it. This is likely part of the problem I had in LT as well – I couldn’t get involved in things, so I didn’t like playing.

I can recognise this in IoD games as well – in Requiem, where I’m Harpy, I don’t notice as much that I’m not involved in the plot that everyone else seems to be pulling out of the woodwork somehow. In the other games, I can’t find my way in, and I feel lost as a consequence and don’t enjoy the games. I find myself asking if anyone would even notice my absence.

My lack of ability to hook myself into the games has led to me abandoning playing Forsaken to NPC, and abandoning playing Awakening to aST/NPC. I don’t really know why I haven’t given up on Lost yet. The thing is that I know I can enjoy these games, but typically the times I enjoy playing these games is when I have things to do that aren’t relevant to the plots of the game. My last Forsaken character was a lot of fun because he just wanted to punch things, talk about punching things, and intimidate people – and I enjoyed that game as one-dimensional as it was.

I find I always feel that there are groups of people who find the plot and run off with it and become epic in the game, and I drift along at the sidelines with no idea how to do that. The only reason that I’m where I am in Empire now is because Rob offered me some work and after a year of doing it, I’ve managed to make myself known to the point of being recognised by most of the Conclave.

It feels like there’s some trick I’m missing – something that I’m doing wrong or not doing at all that leads to people having fun at games and getting involved in epic plots. It feels like I’m failing at my hobby, and like there’s no point in my trying because I’ll never manage that.

Part of all this is that I’m terrible at setting character goals for myself. When I write an NPC for myself, it’s not an issue to find goals because they’re related to making the plot work right, but when I write a character I just can’t do it right. It’s sheer luck that I’ve managed to both get a character goal and (potentially) achieve it at Empire, and it wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t been handed a job by someone else.

Perhaps I should just stick to crewing and storytelling as it seems to be where my abilities are stronger.

urgh

I feel sick, it’s hard to focus, hard to breathe, and I’m trying not to let on that anything is up.

My little brother was run off the road this morning by someone driving recklessly and is currently in hospital waiting for a CT scan. He (and his new car which dove into the ditch with him) was supposed to be on the boat from Shetland tonight, and we were going to be heading down to Empire on Thursday.

Now I don’t know if he’ll be able to leave the hospital today, never mind attend a LARP at the other end of the country this weekend.

What makes me feel worse is that I feel terrible about looking at alternate travel arrangements. This is a nightmare, and I feel awful about being selfish like this.

#rpgaday2015 day 23 – perfect game for you

Honestly, depends what I’m doing and what type of game we’re playing, but I want a game I can get involved in, that I can engage in as I want to, where I can work to my own agenda, and/or to a shared one, and where I have OOC support in doing so.

I find all of that at Empire. I usually find it all in most tabletops I play in as well. Genre, system, and setting tend to matter less to the above criteria because I can usually find a hook into genre and setting I wouldn’t normally play in, and systems just take adapting to.

#rpgaday2015 day 22 – perfect gaming environment

For my perfect gaming environment, I need to be comfortable. It doesn’t need to involve sofas, or cushioned seats at all (though they can help) – it just has to be an environment I’m comfortable in. I should feel comfortable enough to go and get a drink, or a snack, and ideally comfortable for the other people to do likewise. It doesn’t need to be a space that’s mine – neutral spaces or spaces belonging to other people are also good.

Most of my gaming is at Empire, or with the Isles of Darkness. The RAF Club where we hold IoD games is somewhere I’m comfortable – I’m on the Committee, I know the staff, and I have the run of the place. I very rarely feel uncomfortable because of the environment, no matter what’s going on. At Empire, there are over a thousand people on the field, and I know that no matter what else happens, I could duck into Mhorish and catch a friendly conversation with people in there and restore my calm or I can retreat to my tent for a bit and get away from people. These are environments that I am comfortable gaming in, and that means a lot for me.

Basically, perfection is an ideal you’ll never really reach, so I’d rather stick with what I know works – which is a friendly atmosphere where I feel comfortable.

#rpgaday2015 day 17 – favourite fantasy RPG

I don’t know that I can answer this one really. I’ve played fantasy systems, but I wouldn’t ever really say that fantasy was my go-to roleplaying genre. I’m more into modern or futuristic games in the main.

I’ve of course played D&D (3rd and 3.5) but didn’t really find it an enthralling setting (though I do get occasional urges to go monkey with the spell system again). I’ve played Heroquest, Earthdawn, HERO Fantasy, and Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (1st and 2nd). I’ve massively enjoyed some of those games, but I don’t know that I’d call any of them my favourite fantasy RPG.

Other games I have sitting on my shelf, or games I’m anticipating include Fireborn (the RPG of being dragons reborn as humans) and Karthun: Lands of Conflict which is based on the fantasy RPG campaign in D20 Monkey. Thing about Karthun is that it’s not actually an RPG, but a setting. It’s a complete rewrite of setting based around some of the ideas in D&D [1] with completely different takes on how things work – and the Kickstarter (which I backed) is also providing a GM’s book with guides on using the setting in various systems including FATE, 13th Age, Pathfinder, D&D 5th, Dungeon World, and Savage Worlds – I’m looking forward to getting my hands on the PDF to give it a look through.

To take a different tack, my current favourite fantasy RPG is Skyrim (yes, it’s a video game). I’ve not counted LARPs in this, where the majority of the LARPs I’ve played have been fantasy games and I am finding it difficult to decide which of Skyrim and Empire I enjoy most – it’s a tough call. Currently I think Skyrim wins because I don’t feel particularly extroverted at the moment and what I do at Empire requires a certain level of extroversion (which is a strange word).

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. this interpretation based on reading the webcomic