Category Archives: Musings

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.

Why don’t we reprint old books?

It’s obvious: there’s no money in it. If you print books that no one wants then you have to pay to buy them back, to have them pulped and recycled so you can make them into more books that people do want. Publishing is an expensive business and profit is a key motivator. It’s why most authors need to keep writing new books as the only way to remain profitable is to keep writing new material as eventually the publishers will stop printing the old stuff.

eBooks are changing this to a degree, but even there I imagine there is pruning of the archives. You could let people buy any book that has ever been converted to an eBook format, but doing so means that they might fail to find the expensive new ones you want to promote.

Certainly there’s been little effort to re-publish many of the books that are now out of print in eBook format – why expend effort on a market you consider dead?

And this, finally, brings me to my point. There are books I read long ago that I have wanted to re-read at certain points in my life. As a teenager, I devoured my local library to the point I had to buy reams of my own books to keep myself in books. Amazon was a saving grace for me, as it meant that I could buy books I didn’t even know existed. But now, fifteen years later, there are books I once read from the library that I can’t find any more. At least not new. Some of them I’ve managed to buy used copies of, but I’m sure there are others I haven’t found at all, and even getting complete sets of some of the ones I have found has been an arduous task.

It isn’t even like the authors I have been seeking out are of little consequence. If anyone can say that Isaac Asimov and Timothy Zahn are of little consequence to science-fiction then they’re missing out on some great material. Collecting the Conquerors’ trilogy by Timothy Zahn was a bit tricky, but I managed it – by no means his most famous work but I always liked it. Asimov’s Foundation series also presented a challenge and that’s despite films and television series supposedly being in the works.

There is little profit in reprinting old books so companies don’t do it, meaning that you’re left with the choice of the new up-and-coming books while your half-finished collections are sometimes destined to go unfinished. But it doesn’t stop me wishing that this wasn’t the case – that I could reach back and pluck new copies of any book I wanted out of its time and into mine so I could share them with others who’d enjoy them as well.

If eBooks have one fault beyond all others, it’s that you can’t loan them to other people.

Pirate Laws

Started thinking about some pirate laws today. For reasons.

  1. Be ye not on fire
  2. Pillage before ye burn
  3. Possession be more important than ownership
  4. If I licked it, it be mine
  5. It be Cap’n, not anything else
  6. No doublin’ up on monikers
  7. Dying your beard to get a new moniker be acceptable
  8. Swords be better than guns
  9. Thar be no pirate laws
  10. The pirate code be more like guidelines

Lost Letters

I may come up with a better name than this, but I like the alliteration of Lost Letters.

Letter-writing roleplay is something I had never really considered to be it’s own thing until recently, having set it firmly in the category of “assisting other roleplay” in my mind. The idea I had was that letter-writing made other games better – writing letters between characters enhances roleplay. I’m not sure when I changed my mind about that and determined that the act of writing letters on its own could be more than enough roleplay to be getting on with without needing the structure of an external game to support it.

And so, my concept of “lost letters”. These are letters or emails which while addressed (correctly) to the recipient[1] seem to be impossible or out of left-field, encouraging the recipient to respond and between the two of you create a new world of roleplay.

The first example of this I did was crafting a letter from a shady laboratory to a replicant[2] offering assistance with maintenance and upgrades in exchange for the opportunity to study them. This was well received, and it’s been in the back of my mind ever since.

Tonight it came up again, and I came up with the concept of letters that are replies to letters that were never sent by the recipient. Exactly how the chain of letters came to be is up for decision by the participants in it, depending on how they craft their letters and responses. It could be that the letters are travelling in time somehow ala The Lake House, or perhaps the original letter came from an alternate reality. Perhaps a doppelganger has been pretending to be you and sending letters on your behalf, or perhaps you aren’t who you think you are. It could be that it’s all an honest mistake but you find yourself enthralled by the contents of the letter.

There are no rules to this game except those you apply yourselves. You need only someone to roleplay with and a chosen medium to do so in. I doubt the concept is entirely original, but feel free to attribute me if you want to, or link to this post – I appreciate a bit of traffic now and then.

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. not “to the occupier” or “to whom it may concern”
2. a cybernetic entity capable of mimicking human form and behaviour

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.

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.

Self-censorship

Last week I wrote a 1000 word post on some issues that I felt needed said. I was venting into that post, and it was one of the most inflammatory pieces of writing I have ever written. Three people have seen that post, and the general responses were “yeah, you probably shouldn’t post that”. I set it aside, scheduled it to post on Saturday and let it be.

Then after a couple of days, I wrote it again without the anger and bile, and with a better attitude in general. If I hadn’t written the first one, I’m not sure I could have written the substantially better second version. Having written that, I felt much better about not publishing the first one and removed the first one from my scheduling queue.

It was an act of self-censorship as I’m not going to be saying things as directly or matter-of-factly as I was before, but I’m saying what needs said in a better way – and that’s rather more important.

I’m aware this post is a little cryptic, and I kind of apologise for that, but I’m sure the context can be garnered by those aware of certain situations.

Looking for book recommendations

Looking for book recommendations. I’ve just finished listening to Nexus by Ramez Naam, before that was Off to be the Wizard by Scott Meyer, before that Strata by Terry Pratchett, before that Firefight by Brandon Sanderson, before that Armada by Ernst Cline, and before that Dune by Frank Herbert.

Specially looking for audio books as I listen to them while cycling to work and exercising in the gym.

On the subject of audio books I’ve gone from loathing audio books to listening to then voraciously. A change in times and an extra fifteen years will do that to you, I suppose. Probably helped that I’ve been listening to excellent readers, but I do still find my concentration slips away from the book pretty easily sometimes. On the other hand, I’ve found myself just as enthralled listening to an audio book as I have with paper copies, so it does vary.

I should post more book reviews, really; get down my thoughts on some of the many books I devour throughout the year.

#rpgaday2015 day 31 – favourite non-RPG thing to come out of roleplaying

Cheat answer: LARPing, but a LARP is just another form of RPG.

Cheesy answer: the relationships I’ve made, people I’ve met. My entire network of friends over the last decade has come about because of gaming. Between the people who I met directly by gaming with them to the people who I met by partying with those people, I’ve made a vast network of friends across the world through roleplaying.

When I was in the Imperial Order (way way way back in the day), I could honestly say I was talking to people on five continents on a regular basis – the only ones I didn’t have covered were South America and Antarctica. Nowadays I’m getting name-checked with seemingly every second introduction at events (“oh, you’re the No Rest for the Wicked guy, right?”). It’s an odd feeling but it promotes the community feeling of the LARP crowd (as does small-world LARP syndrome where it seems that everyone knows everyone after a few years and you get the constant “how do you know X?” questions on Facebook).