Tag Archive: empire


August Life

First of all, apologies for a couple of weeks absence. Empire as always was fun, but draining and there was so much politics going on this time that I was busy the entire weekend despite planning on having a more relaxed weekend, but that’s always how it goes.

Since then, I’ve hit an energy low, culminating in being ill and off work yesterday. It was one of those things where you have low level background illness, but you have a full weekend of stuff lined up, so you just ignore the illness, and then as soon as you stop it catches up to you and slams into you.

On the other hand, I have been doing a lot of cool things, so I’ll just catch you up with some of them.

Empire Forest

Photo Credit – Charlotte Moss

Empire

So, only a three day event but that just meant everything was packed into a shorter time frame:

  • Started the weekend with a combat linear for my mages. Got to beat up an ice giant, and we rocked it!
  • Got invited to a banquet in the summer realm (which was really tasty roast)
  • Found out there what the linear had allowed an Eternal to do and caused drama – whoops!
  • Culminated in one of the Eternals getting super mad (that part wasn’t me) and flipped her food across the entire table!
  • Record length conclave sessions
  • Didn’t die during battle
  • Attempted to join mage coven and was prevented by yet more drama
  • A meteor is crashing into the Empire and one of my nation persuaded conclave to vote to crash it on our territory, striaght onto the Vallorn – TERRIBLE IDEA
  • Spent a good day running around undoing that decisions
  • Got that decision undone and it is now crashing somewhere much more sensible

So yeah, that was an interesting weekend. Bring on event 4. See above for a really cool photo taken by the brilliant Charlotte Moss of me striding through the forest. As far as I remember this was at the start of the battle on Saturday and the guy that you can just see under the tree tripped and hurt his ankle so I was making sure he was okay before going back to join in the battle.

Adara Cropped

Adara

Long Weekend

So I had a five day weekend the next weekend. I was supposed to be going somewhere, but due to drama and funding issues, cancelled those plans and had a lovely five day weekend just relaxing at home. Boyfriend was also off, which was nice, although his cats were a nightmare, bless their little derp faces.

Mostly what happened then was a lot of roleplaying. Monday was Princess, and Princess continues to be great. The GM is encouraging me to write a lot of fan fiction about it and my character, and I am happy to supply him with that. I have my special snowflake thing and a friend who’s visiting for the entire month came in and played a DPC (directed player character, somewhere between an NPC and PC) to help us with plot. It was fun!

Friday we then started up D&D again!!! The last time we played that was in January sometime, and we had the break because we hit level 11 and changed tiers. Admittedly we filled the gap with a Star Wars game, which was fun, but I had missed D&D so! Playing my hot-headed Ardent, making the bad decisions, getting talked down and round into the sensible thing and then running off straight into the terrible mist of death was so much fun. That, and our paragon path powers are amazing!

Orange Belt

NAMA August Graders

Last Weekend

So, Saturday during the day I clean the flat because people will be coming round and I’ve been putting it off for weeks and weeks. That was exhausting, but did mean that I didn’t have to stress about it when I went to my party in the evening. We saw Suicide Squad – enjoyable but messy is my official verdict – and then went for Nandos which is always fun in a large group. then back to mine for board games.

Sunday had to get up early so that I could go and grade for my next Taekwondo belt. As you can see from the photo above, I passed – First Class Pass! Although I was so nervous (and this is the ill as well) that I didn’t sleep the night before and my instructor said that she could tell I was practically terrified because when I did my Kata (set routine of moves) I was so wooden. Admittedly, I was, because brain weasels kept telling me I was failing. Silly brain weasels, I did fine. I now have an orange belt.

Straight after that I went to IoD to roleplay my changeling and werewolf. I was so tired I gave the last game of the day, Mage, a skip. And since I was grading I turned up late to the first game. But that was fine, that character’s a bitch so I can be exhausted in character and just avoid responsibility and doing things. Werewolf was the issue as the STs once again find new and interesting ways to cause my character feelings and yank her chain around. She went from confused to lamenting to lust to terror to rage to determined to full on lethal damage and hurt to extraordinarily upset and convinced that she’s got to break up with her boyfriend. Seriously. All in one game. I love the STs. And hate them. Mostly love though.

Birthday Dragon

Birthday Dragon

This Week

Of course because I was putting off my ill when I did all that, waking up on Monday was fun and after calling in ill I spent most of the day sleeping. Sleeping is great. Eating not so much. Back in work today but my boss has said if I feel particularly bad I can probably go home. Hooray for summer holidays and college being so quiet it could be called dead.

Tomorrow I do have the day off though because it’s my birthday! Hoping that if I take it really easy today then I can enjoy myself tomorrow, but actually I don’t have to leave the flat and I have some presents to open and I can have a super chill day, which’ll be nice. The legion pre-patch is live and awesome and I suspect that my partner is upgrading my computer with a couple of new bits as my present so I’ll probably play that. Might also see if I can get the N64 working and blast from the past with Pokemon Snap. Maybe some sushi. It’ll be chill and great.

I also have some fun things lined up for this weekend, so as long as this illness starts going away, I should be having a pretty good week overall 🙂

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Empire Y3E4

So,four times a year, I and a bunch of my friends, take ourselves to a field and pretend to be citizens of a great empire, and I run around doing my magic thing and being one of the six grandmasters of magic.

Normally, after this event, I do a hot and nots. It’s a thing that a lot of players do where they talk about the bits of the weekend that they enjoyed, and the bits that were not so good.

However, this event, event 4 of year 3, I do not have hots and nots.

Or, rather, my hots and nots of the events have been utterly eclipsed by one single thing:

DRAGON!

Empire Dragon 1 Empire Dragon 2 Empire Dragon 3 Empire Dragon 6

Photo Credits to Judith Dawn Taylor & Charlotte Moss.

They made a freaking dragon! (Okay, technically a Drake, but who cares!)

It was mobile and everything, the neck moved, the mouth opened, it bobbed up and down, there were sound effects, smoke pouring out from it’s mouth due to excellent special effects.

After the main fighting was done, I went over to see it (still in character, being a human mercenary as we were monstering) and it was amazing, they had put so much thought and detail into it.

And then we realised that we had eight or so prisoners.

And a dragon.

😀

We fed the prisoners to the dragon.

All of the love to those poor players that did get eaten, they roleplayed it magnificently. Some of them were screaming and crying, others tried to attack the giant head, punching and kicking it, struggling with the orc monsters that were dragging them towards the head. I mean, it was epic, so so epic, and I had front row seats!

So happy.

They have since released a blog post, which you can find here, detailing how they went about making the dragon head, and even knowing how it’s done only serves to make it more amazing, as you realise just how much work PD puts into the games that it runs. It’s amazing.

So I have no hots. I have no nots, all I have is the magnificence of a dragon overulling all of my weekend. And I am so okay with that.

Cymru

Croeso i Gymru!

Cymru

And in English – Welcome to Wales!

My posting schedule is going to go a bit off this week.

I spent all day today (7 whole hours) travelling to Wales today, to do a thing tomorrow, and then I get to travel all the way back. Yeah, fun times.

And then this weekend I have Empire, so if interesting things happen (and they usual do) you’ll get a lovely long post about that next week.

But this week, I might be lucky and get some time on Thursday for a post on something, but for now, you’ll just have to have this lovely green picture of Wales.

Hwyl Fawr.

I am sorry that I have not posted in a while my lovely readers!

Over the weekend I was, of course, attending an Empire event. It was super good, and I imagine I’ll make a very long and rambling post about it in the near future.

However, the bad part of the weekend was that I managed to pick up some sort of bug whilst there. It started off with a really upset stomach, and has been working its way upwards over the last few days, so it’s gone through a sore throat and achy neck and has rounded off with a headache. It’s starting to go now, so I should be able to get to work tomorrow (unless something else crops up tonight) but it does mean that I’ve been on the sofa watching TV or sleeping for the last few days. Restful, but not very productive.

But, just to let you know I am not dead, I thought I would share these lovelies with you.

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Last week, just before I went off to be a mage in a field, I was in town and wandered into Waterstones. I’m not sure what the occasion is (perhaps the upcoming GoGo Dragons Trail) but they had a whole table full of dragon books and toys. I resisted picking up to toys, and had a fair few of the books already, but I did pick up the ones I didn’t. There’s two fact books, the brown one and the black and white one. The top right is the continuation of A Natural History of Dragons series, which I am totally in love with, and the middle one is called ‘Tell Me A Dragon’ and is a gorgeous picture book of loads of different dragons – seriously, the art work is completely gorgeous.

I cannot tell you how happy I was to come across it, and the window display was pretty epic as well!

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Ready, Steady, Flop

So there were a whole bunch of things that I was going to do over the weekend, including a massive dragon post because I’ll be a little busy with A to Z for normal posting, but as you can probably tell, that didn’t happen.

Instead I’ve been ill since Thursday.

blanket-bored-cold-cosy-couch-Favim.com-366635Cold’s aren’t very nice anyway, but this one was a strange one. I would get very restless, get up and do something, and five minutes later collapse onto the sofa complete knackered. Half an hour of lying on the sofa later, and I get restless and here we go again. Add in explosive sneezing and inability to breath through nose and I’ve had four pretty unfun days.

Better today (for a given value of better, but at least I can breath through my nose and stand up for more than five minutes at a time) but it is now Monday instead of the weekend, so a whole chunk of time has disappeared.

April starts on Wednesday, and that means that I have today and tomorrow to sort things out before it hits and I have to do things daily.

A to Z Challenge

I’ve picked my theme, got my letters, I just need to write the posts. I’m a fan of the write it on the day method, so I tend to follow that, except I’m going away over easter weekend, so I do have to write and schedule some posts in advance, because I will be nowhere near a computer/the internet/civilisation for four days.

I am really looking forward to this though, and seeing what all the other lovely followers of the challenge are going to post as well.

Camp NaNoWriMo

Not the main event, but Camp NaNo is nice for getting your butt into gear after the new year, and I really do seem to need that this year.

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The project I am going with is carrying on from NaNoWriMo. I finished writing Mechanica Awakening, and ever since the New Year I have been struggling to edit it. So I am making my April Camp NaNo project to edit Mechanica, and hopefully give myself a good kick up the backside because I am inching along at a snail’s pace with the editing so far. I haven’t even finished editing the first chapter (although to be fair the first chapter needs a lot of editing).

Empire

And, of course, because Easter weekend is coming around, I shall also be casting off from civilisation and going back into the world of changelings, cambions, eternals and great big battles. Having finally convinced myself that my costume is good and doesn’t need anything else to make it look good, I’m starting to feel the keen of going and camping in a field and romping around for four days (got to love the long Easter weekend. Bank holiday Friday and Monday? Thank you very much).

640px-Empire-map-illus-colour-hiresI’ve got some plans, some things to do, and some good roleplay to happen before we go into the big battles (last Empire game I was capture by orcs three times during the battle, so I get to play being really nervous about going to, overcome the fear, and being a little clingy to my protective warriors. I’m only a squishy mage healer after all! Also I get to hate on Dawn a little, it was their fault at least two of the times. In my character’s eye anyway. Roleplay!)

But I’ll have to play it out and see what happens when I actually get into the field. The only thing I have left to do is throw together some basic costume to put on in the event of death. Because that is a thing which is kind of likely to happen when you battle.

So yeah, busy April. Very busy first week of April, because of how Easter falls this year.

I look forward to it though, and keeping busy is always good. Now I’m going to go and research/plan/write my first few A to Z posts, and hop on over to some other lovely blogs to find even more amazing themes for April.

Empire Event 8

So. I was after a relaxing weekend. Hang out in the field, with some friends, maybe do some magic. Nice and relaxing.

I did not get relaxing. At all. Ignoring the fact that I had a bad piece of news from the family this weekend (not unexpected news, but that doesn’t make it any less bad), everything that happened at Empire definitely did nothing to calm my nerves down. In fact, they had the complete opposite effect.

 

Friday Evening

Turn up, pitch tent, time in. Standing (meeting of the Navarr nation) happens and I recommend a friend for the position of Coroner because she wasn’t there and I know her character would love that.

I then happen to be going past the Regio (powerful magic circle for casting rituals) when it exploded. Spent the next hour healing people who exploded in rituals. I’ve never seen labyrinth script engraved on someone’s organs before, so that was fun, and then there were a lot of venoms. So many venoms.

After that Conclave (meeting of the mages) and due to more than one person running off to do other things, I get to stand in a proxy grandmaster of the order and the rod and shield. This was pretty cool, but does mean organising and shouting at people. Luckily, these are things I am good at. There was then the silliest motion I have ever heard, that priests should be present for all Eternal/Herald (powerful MAGICAL beings) interactions. He was laughed out. There was also the narrow contest between Archmage’s for Spring, but Kallendar managed to hold onto it (I like that Orc a lot). There was also a contest for Warmage, but considering the challenger basically spent his entire time trash talking the current Warmage, and not listing why he was better, there really wasn’t a contest in that one.

That evening, we were then approached by a Night herald and offered a really nice new Night Ritual, which will allow us to look like vallorn to other vallorn (nature gone made and started growing, think big trees and bugs, but nasty). All we had to do was go into a vallorn infested area and retrieve an ever blooming weirwood tree for him. Not a problem. Not a problem at all (this may or may be sarcasm). But, I was really interested in this, since if we did it, and got this ritual, we would be able to walk trods (magical paths that counteract the vallorn infestations when you walk them) that we haven’t been able to in years. So I went to bed mulling over that possibility.

 

Saturday

Managed to get a bit of a lie in, which was nice. what wasn’t nice was the first thing I got told when I woke up was that the Archmage of Spring had been assassinated the previous night. That was a big shock, and really sad. He was a great Archmage. The Orcs of course, were also a little annoyed at this.

After that I ambled over to the Sentinel Gate (big portal used to go on away mission and battles) because the army that went out was coming back. I picked up one guy, who when told he had the neastest surgeon on the field working on him, asked to be left with a scar. Since I knew he was a big winter ritualist, I gave him a nice big W shaped scar, and put some little ice crystal round it. He then later became the new Archmage of Winter when the old one stepped down. Appropriate!

I then had lunch at Tykes. they were serving Dawn pig in a bun. So very very delicious.

After lunch we had a meeting to discuss the possibility of the vallorn mission. Mainly, did we want to do it or not. The Navarr, who ancestral home was torn down by the vallorn (maybe because we created them a little through tiny amounts of magical overuse) we obviously very interested in this. But we did have other nations coming along as well. We discussed it, and eventually agreed to try and rescue the tree, and more importantly, see if the ritual worked. I was quite nervous for the rest of the afternoon.

I then spent quite a lot of time sourcing potions, herbs, anti-venoms and a bond ring (magical item that allows you to get one person bonded to you up off the floor when they fall over), just so that we were super prepared for the mission tonight. I decided to wear armour and forgo magical healing, because although I was super excited to go on this mission, I wasn’t going to be stupid about it, and mages are really squishy! (You can’t cast magic in armour. So the choice was armour or magic. I choose armour.)

There was then a big fight between two Navarr. Sort of a grudge match, although the two are friends. They just wanted to know who was the better fighter out of the two of them. Carr won, and I got to patch him up, and that was my first encouter with these new types of traumatic wounds, where someone is infected by a realm of magic and starts turning into the lineage. This didn’t happen during the fight, it must have happened earlier, but it was still slightly alarming to learn that Carr had been turning into a Draughir (Winter lineage) for most of the day. Finding something perfect and beautiful to drive the winter out of him proved a bit of a challenge, but we got there in the end.

I myself then went to find a friend, and had the most terrifying encounter of the whole weekend, where I was tackled by a tiny monster, and defeated! She stood on top of me and proclaimed her victory to the whole world, continually hitting me when I got back up to tickle her. I love having children on the field, they are simply the best. Especially when they run to tackle you, over giving their parents a hug!

I tried to bid on some more Roseweald (the anti-venom herb) in the open auction, but was outbid. Also the Brass coast were having a holiday where they abandon all virtue and make a nuisance of themselves. The auctioneer was not impressed when they dragged their boat in and tried to auction it off. Thankfully, I didn’t need to stay for all of it, and got to escape the mad antics of the freeborn. Although they did chase Wisdom through our camp later that evening. But evening for me means Conclave.

Turning up to conclave in armour is fun, especially since I had to take it all off to cast the magic to travel to the Hall of Worlds (super secret mage club!) and then put it all back on again. But I was still acting Grandmaster since all the other people were off doing other things. It dragged on, there were loads of motions, one of which was for the elction of Archmage of Spring, since the last one had been murdered. However, the person who challenge him for it last night (and was his assistant when he was alive) had been cleared of any suspicion in his death and was voted in with popularity. Also, there was another really dumb motion, and I thought that we had run out of dumb. Someone put forward that we were using too much of our magic on battle magic, and that we should withhold all magical support from the Empire until they build us a College of Magic. Because that’s what we really need. Another College of Magic. Because we couldn’t just ask for one to be built. Needless to say, she was shouted at for a bit, rejected, and then laughed out of Conclave. Which then proceeded to run on, and on, and nearly into my mission time.

Practically running out of conclave when it finished, I thankfully had my armour on me, and could put it on as I join the rest of the party outside, and we had the Night ritual cast upon us in the Regio (which had thankfully stopped exploding) and then we left. Some Navarr had gathered outside the portal and the hospital had been prepared to deal with all of the poison, since that is what vallorn do. We didn’t stick around for very long, just enough to wait for a bumblebee (the refs where yellow and black tabards, so we call them bumblebees) and then we popped through the portal.

It was dark, and we had to go slow just in case we came upon Vallorn. Thankfully, the regio where the tree was growing was very well lit with the magics of spring, and acted like a beacon to draw us in. We started to shamble, and mumble and groan a bit, nervous that it wouldn’t work, but it did! The spell actually worked! Although it was still terrifying to be this close to vallorn, having them sniff at you, and having to remain calm and shamble on. The vallorn didn’t react to us, except in one instance where one member was bumped into, and growled at. When she didn’t growl back, she was attacked and dropped. But it wasn’t seeing through the disguise, it was just a vallorn hierarchy thing!  Then Cormac, blooming Cormac, picked the special bag to put the tree in off her body, shoved the tree in the bag, then dragged Meredith off the floor, healing her up as the vallorn twigged there was something wrong and they pegged it! Corageous to the point of idiocy! He then handed off the tree to someone else, and went back to make sure that everyone else got out. We all pegged it back, got through the portal, got checked over, and then I got to detect magic the tree. Turns out it wasn’t vallorn infected like we feared, it was just very spring attuned, to the magnitude of 20, which is why it’s ever blooming.

Best part? No one was posioned. Apart from Willa, who held the tree with bare hands. But she got cured. I went to sleep very very happy. And a little exhausted.

 

Sunday

Battle day! Woke up, got ready, was feeling rather confident after the events of Saturday. Boy was that a mistake.

The battle was a nightmare. A complete exercise in chaos where little groups were getting cut off, people kept retreating whilst others were fighting, stringing us out, and basically being absolutely terrible.

The first time I got cut down, there was a small group of us who were trying to attempt a fighting retreat, because we had been cut off from the main force (they were too busy moving away to fight the Orcs around us), and a few of us fell because we were a really small group of about five, and there were twenty Orcs. One of them teased us for a bit, saying he was taking us prisoner, how did we like that, and then my potion kicked in, I got back up, and stabbed him, then healed people up and we tried to move on.

The second time was about a minute after that because the main force had gone quite a distance, and there were a lot of Orcs in between them and us. We got dropped, and left for a bit. Then another Orc came up, took out weapons, patched us up, and then one by one took us to go and taunt the other fighters. (OOC he was lovely. He said that it was shit that we were dying there, so he was going to throw us back to the enemy.) I was patch up, dragged off, forced to my knees in front of the front line, at which point people kind of ignore it for a few moments, then an archer shot one of the orcs standing over me, I whipped out the dagger I had hidden up my skirt out, slashed the ankle of the other one and then desperately crawled to freedom. Skinned knees and bruised wrists totally worth it (and the roleplay was amazing, thank you to that Orc!).

The third time I got dropped was when I was in the middle of a scrum of people, and lots of the people in armour decided that the better fighting was to be had at the front, the direction we were pushing in, so left the back. I got pushed out the back, and directly into the line of Orcs that were there. Thanks people in armour. Thanks a lot. A slave of the Orcs then picked me up, healed me and persuaded her Orc master that I was valuable, and we should ransom me back rather than kill me. I was popped down by a tree, right behind the Orc front line, which was blockading the entrance to the forest, while the Empire army had been forced out into the field. I waited, and waited, tried to heal some other Empire citizen but they were sadly beyond help, and waited, and when the Orc line broke, made a run for it, and tumbled into the waiting arms of a friend who healed me up, because of course the Orcs stabbed me as I ran passed, and all I had was a little dagger.

Then we actually had some cohesion, found one of the bit we were supposed to, made a push back into the forest, found the stone head we had come here to collect, did a ritual thingy, then picked it up and got it out. How we managed all that when we were so fragmented at the beginning I have no idea, but I came back through the portal, shaking all over and couldn’t quite believe that I was still alive after all of that.

I did get another great bit of roleplay, as someone else brought through the slave girl that had saved me that third time, and there was lots of crying and hugs as I told ehr that she had saved my life, and that she was a good person, and she was not horrible for helping the Orcs whilst she was a slave. Excellent little bit of roleplay, and I got to cry, which after being afraid I was going to die two times (the first time I had the potion, so I knew I was okay that time) is what I kind of needed.

After spending twenty minutes shaking and having little bits of food and drink shoved at me, we had a standing. Unfortunately, eight people of Navarr did die in the battle, which didn’t surprise me as that was the worst example of battlefield tactics I have ever seen. We then elected our new general, and my good friend Merryn was elected. The look on her face as she saw how long the line of people backing her was was priceless. We also celebrated Cormac’s courage and he was officially given the title of ‘Illium-Balls’ (Illium being the most precious metal in the Empire).

We then went and delivered that tree to the Night Herald, who was very grateful, and promised to deliver that ritual to us on a scroll by the Spring (two games time), and in the meantime cast it upon us if we needed it again.

Then I actually managed to have a nice quiet hour to myself, and calmed down enough to pack up the tent so that when time out happened we were ready to pack up the car and go.

 

So all in all, this was not the quiet event that I had wanted. But you know what? It was the best event that I have ever had, and I wouldn’t change it (not even the nearly dying bits) for anything. Even if it does mean that I am completely exhausted now, both physically and emotionally.

Oh, and I can find a dragon anywhere. I picked up this cute little guy on the field, made of green and purple felt. I named him Regio :3

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Empire Event 6

empire mud

That about sums up the weather for the weekend.

I think the thing that I took away from this event is something that I can relate very strongly to writing. When you write a story, it’s all about conflict. You make events and circumstances and things happen to your character that make things not go their way. And things did not go my way this event.

Because I couldn’t get any time off work, I only had time to make Flapjacks for the welcoming party, which were freely given, so I had nothing to sell and thus I didn’t make any money from selling cakes, which was the first bad thing.

Second bad thing, again relating to no time off work, I got there late on Friday, but at least I made it to conclave (wizards club meeting).

The third bad thing is a little more complicated. On Saturday, Heralds (think servants/aids/butlers) of the Day Eternal (Eternals – powerful magical beings (NOT gods), each on belongs to a particular realm of magic Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn, Day or Night) Ylenrith were in the Hall of Worlds (special mages only clubhouse) with some challenges. Ylenrith is an Eternal of Purity, Maths and Music, so the challenges were music and maths based. Since I’m a very logical and intelligent person who loves maths, I decided to give the maths challenges a try. Five hours later, I hadn’t gotten anywhere with even the first and easiest maths puzzle, let alone the other two. Needless to say, as someone who prides themselves on being a logical and intelligent person, this really really upset me. Especially when there were so many people completing the music challenges and getting an audience with the Eternal.

I recently became a Day mage, and I’ve really wanted to meet and Eternal, and I blew my chance. I couldn’t solve the puzzles no matter how hard I tried. And I’ve even brought them home with me, and I’ve still only made a small amoutn of progress with pens, pencils and most importantly a rubber. Really, they seem to be more like exercises in guesswork than they are in logic.

And that basically got me very down for the whole day. I had plans, but I put them aside for the chance to meet and Eternal, and I failed. I failed utterly and miserably. And it was only made slightly better when I happened to bump into the same Heralds the next day and asked them if anyone had solved the maths puzzles. Apparently only two people had, and I’m not sure if that was simply one of the puzzles or all three. Either way, it was a nightmare for me.

But that’s what happens to characters, and in life. Not everything goes your way. Things get thrown in your way, and you either overcome them or you have to accept that you failed and move on. Which is really, really hard for me and I suspect I’m going to remain upset about this for a while to come yet.

I mean, the weekend wasn’t all bad. I got to have fun in the battle, and physicked some people after a ritual exploded, and I got a new job investigating the Vallorn (nature went crazy with life magic and now there are ents and insects trying to eat everything), so the weekend wasn’t all bad. And I had a lovely time sitting in one of the taverns as a little boy was being adorable and bowing to everyone.

But overall? This wasn’t my favourite weekend for Empire. I failed at something that was important to me, and that’s kind of overshadowed the whole thing. Also I am all of the aches and pains today and I feel rather ill, which isn’t really helping. That and it’s STILL raining.

Characterisation

Yesterday evening, as I was relaxing after a long day of running around a field killing people with fake LARP swords and then stuffing myself full of sushi, the most delicious of meals, I found myself thinking about a discussion that I have many times had with myself and other people:

When making a character, should you focus on their characterisation or their stats?

I think I was thinking about it again because I had just been at Frontier LARP, which is a combat LARP and the difference between combat LARP and non-combat LARP was very striking at that moment. In combat LARPs, like Frontier, the thing that matter to you is your stats: How many hits do I have, what’s my damage call, do I have any magical spells or abilities to help me out in this situation? You are constantly and always using the stats on your character, and most of the time that is how you are defined. I was playing my archer yesterday, and rather than asking my name, I was simply referred to as ‘The Archer’ because there was only one person with a bow, me. I heard someone saying “I need more characterisation on <character they intended to play>” and I did find myself thinking ‘Why?’ I don’t come to Frontier for the roleplay, I come for the hitting and the running around and fun, if there is any roleplay I make up what my character would think on the spot, and then add it into her character from there. For instance, some of the monsters in one encounter surrendered. One character asked if they had any healing, and when they didn’t, we killed them anyway. I decided that my character was okay with this, since she’s a survivalist, whereas another character, who upholds a code of honour, decided he wasn’t and complained about the actions for the next three encounters. That’s about as much roleplay as usually happens.

Where as in non combat systems, it is all about the roleplay. The  number of draws I make in a game tend to be very low, especially for my more social characters, who just sit around and talk, so I have to have the character’s world views and opinions mostly formed before I go into conversations, because the entire game is based around how characters react to problems and dilemma’s that they are faced with, and building up the various relationships with the other characters. Stats tend to be incidental, and are asked for by the ref when it becomes necessary.

There was just something about the difference that struck me. Combat LARP are all about the combat, so we don’t appear to need the character development, we focus on the skill and points development. Whereas other live actions games focus on character and events and how people change over time.

I think the exception to this are festival LARPs, like Empire which is happening this weekend. Because although there are combat elements to the weekend, it’s not what we do all the time. Most of the time we are in a field with other people and roleplaying so we have to have our characters interacting with each other, and thus characterisation becomes a big part of that straight away.

Overall, I think I concluded that characterisation seems to be inversely proportional to time spent whacking people with fake weaponry.

I might be rambling a bit, but I was just having some interesting thoughts, and it struck me because I am a person who like numbers, so when I hear of a new game that I might get to play, I often jump in and start crunching the numbers and looking at the stats of a character rather than the characterisation, no matter what kind of LARP system it is. It’s taken me some number of years to look at characterisation more closely, and think about the character as a person and flesh them out before I put numbers to that concept. And I do back slide. A lot. For instance a non-combat system I play in, Shades of Norwich: A Requiem Chronicle, is about to have it’s last game. However, the refs are going to run a new system in 2015, Dark Metropolis, and already I have four potential characters statted up with numbers on spreadsheets. And only one of them has any characterisation. It is the one I intend to play, and I am quite happy to scrap those sheets with their numbers and start again with the simple idea of playing a very shy researcher (my concept in a nutshell) but I do realise that I like numbers and maths and stats and will jump on any chance to stat characters first and characterise later.

Of course with writing, there are no stats, and I have to focus on the characterisation, which in turn helps with gaming, and in gaming I only have to work on one character and make them a believable person, and then I can look at how other people make their character’s believable, and that feeds back into my writing for the characters in my books. Circles and roundabouts, it all works together in the end.

It’s been two weeks since the first fest LARP of the season, and I think I’ve finally calmed down enough to be able to talk about it.

First of all, the weather (I am British, the weather is something we talk about a lot): It was much better than last year, but last year was the coldest Easter on record for 70 years, so it was always hoped it would be. We had some sun (enough to sunburn me and my pale skin mildly) and a bit of rain, but other than that it was fairly spring like weather: couldn’t make up it’s mind whether it was hot or cold, bit of wind and some cloud cover. All in all, my perfect weather. Also one of my friends lent me this fur neck piece/scarf thing and it was so lovely and warm around my neck, it was gorgeous. And I had my lovely big cloak of course. Cloaks are the best for keeping you warm and mostly dry.

Camping: Me and my boyfriend got our first tent together, and it was lovely and big and we can actually stand up in it. I know! No more awkward trying to get kit on in a place where sitting up means you brush your head against the ceiling. And because we are now a couple we shared sleeping arrangements as well, so had one double air bed, and five duvets. One of the bottom, one of each of us, one over both of us, and one spare. We were toasty warm.

RaewynnCostume: My own costume didn’t change too much from last year. I had to make a couple of repairs, which is pretty normal when you spend three/four days straight in the same outfit, running around like a maniac and skidding on your knees fairly often. About the one thing I did add was a new belt, because my mum gave me this brown plaited one with a wooden buckle and it fit really well with the thematics of my costume and nation. I play Navarr, who are kind of like woodsmen/travellers, we wear very natural and practical clothes, and we like out belts. Belts are great for everything. One thing I will need to get for next event is a couple of new small pouches. I have a big pouch, but I now have too many things to put in it and it keeps falling open! So I need some new small ones. I also want to try and do something more interesting with me hair, maybe puts some beads or copper in there (which is something else very common in my nation).

The Mage Game: Half of my game is about me being a mage, and I get to go to the hall of worlds and play around with other magical people and the magical beings known as Eternals (not gods though. definately not gods). This event we had a new system in place for how we ran things and I have to say that it is So. Much. Better. than the old one. People get to put items on the agenda (paying one crystal mana to do so) and then they get exactly one minute to speak about it. If they want to speak any more, they have to pay one crystal mana per extra minute they want. Anyone who wants to respond has to pay a crystal mana to speak for a minute as well. It keeps things short, sweet and to the point, and means that instead of taking three hours, Conclave meetings (aka mage meetings) are taking just a little over an hour instead of three. It also means that we get to heckle people when they go over time (there are sand timers so everyone knows) and we shout “Mana. Mana. Mana.” at people who keep talking after their minute is up. It’s great and the environment in the conclave has really perked up from last year when people would groan and sigh at people who liked that sound of their own voice.

My striding mate (striding: a group of Navarr who have no regular home and travel the walkways know as Trods around the empire) managed to buy an invitation to talk to an Eternal: Mazen of the Many Faces, and Autumn Eternal of Pride, greed and manipulation. So he went and talked with him and got some interesting things and now he might be acting as an emissary of Mazen to go and talk to another Eternal that Mazen wants to deal with but that Eternal won’t talk to him. It’s interesting and weird and complicated, but Autumn Eternals are very good at schemes and plots. It’s kind of their stick. While he was away I got to witness a Winter Eternal turn up and a swapping of children took place, but that was a Varusken thing so I only watched. It was cool to see a Winter Eternal though, with all the smoke and blue lights that accompanied her.

DayI also might have found myself a coven ( a group of mages who get together to cast the big rituals that single mages by themselves do not have the power to cast). A bunch of Navarr day mages were looking for another person since they are one person off being able to cast some of the bigger divinations rituals, and I’m going to learn day lore this downtime (magic is split into six realms: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, Day, Night) so I should be able to join them and actually cast my first rituals. one of the rituals I’m picking up is about sending things to a celestial library, which sounds really cool and I would love to get to interact with that, so I’m definitely going to try and cast that next game. I just need something really cool to send to it. (Day Rune ->)

The Healing Game: The other half of my game is all about healing, since my mundane skills, and most of my magic skills, are focused towards healing. This involves going out on the battlefield, not dying, and getting in there, pulling people off the front line, taking them to a space and then healing them up with herbs or magic as appropriate. Having played someone with only Chiurgeon (the most basic healing skill which lets you stop people dying) being a physick (the advance healing skill) is so much more useful and you can do so much more for people. So I went out on the battle field, only got hit by one arrow (through a crowd of twenty people, so just bad luck really, and I could heal myself since it didn’t put me on the floor) and healed up a bunch of people. True Vervain is the herb used to heal people from the floor to full, and out of the 20 I had, I used 19. Then spent the rest of the event getting more and I now have 27. Bet I’m going to use it all in the battle next time!

Of course there was another big battle, but you only go on the one with your nation (you monster the other one to help out the crew running the event, since an army of 500 is way more impressive than an army of 100, and the keyword for battles is EPIC). However there were a number of skirmishes, which are small parties of around 30 warriors who go and try to accomplish a smaller task. They don’t tend to take pure healers with them (Or rather, they don’t take the squishy healers like me) so we stand around the portal (The portal gets opened and transports us to wherever we need to go to fight, it’s really handy) and wait for them to get back and fix them up when they topple through the portal. Another reason it’s so good is because a friend of mine is another healer, so when we hear about a skirmish, we go find the other one, and then stand around the portal and chat to the other healers who might have turned up and wait for the warriors to come home. We got a bit of a reputation doing so. Well, she more than I, but she has blue hair and thus is far easier to identify and remember. See the picture of us waiting around for a skirmish to come back.

Healers United

Cakes: Because I like baking, this event I decided that I was going to bake a bunch of cakes/biscuits/treats and sell them. In part this was because I saw a market opportunity – only mages can get into the hall of worlds where we have all of our meetings, so the competition is low, and the market captivated. So I spent Thursday baking my little butt off, took everything and sold it in the Conclave every night.

I made SO MUCH MONEY. I mean, this is in the context of someone who doesn’t deal with money very much, gets the standard 18 rings at the start of each game and some mana (20 rings to a crown, 8 crowns to a throne). I think I made a throne in that one event, and I was selling my cakes for roughly 2 rings a piece. I mean I spent some of it on various things (like massages, tea and cake, and more herbs) but I still had a good five crowns left at the end. And believe me, I plan to do the same next event. It’s going to be excellent, and I have learnt that tray bake cakes are the most popular out of everything, so I’ll be adjusting my menu slightly. My mother was also fantastic and bought me the wooden tray which I use to sell everything off, it’s a such a nice tray.

Next Event: I had already booked my ticket for the next event, but alas, I do not think that I shall be able to get the time off, so I shall have to time in late. Considering it’s another four day event, taking advantage of the May Bank holiday, I don’t mind too much as long as I don’t miss conclave that evening. I mean it would be nice to have the day off, but I do realise that sometimes these things just don’t go your way. Thankfully the boyfriend does have the day off, so he can go up early with the tent and get it set up with the help of friends, and then I can just drive up with the non-essential stuff, dump it, get changed and time in. It should be fine. Either way, I am really hyped for it, and am making some more in character stuff, including a guide to the Eternals, because it’s really hard to keep track of everything with a terrible memory like mine!

Gearing up for April

Turns out April is going to be  busy month for me!

I’m busy gearing up for two challenges – Camp NaNoWriMo, my writing challenge, and A to Z, a blogging challenge. See the badges on the right for more info (they link to the relevant websites).

Camp NaNo: I’m deciding to do another book, because that’s what comes easiest to me. I could do some flash fiction, but I want to get back into the swing of writing since I am trying to edit another novel currently, but seem to have hit a bit of a stalling point, so I’m going to use this month of April to start a new novel. Strangely enough, the advice I’ve been given is when you hit a block with one novel, take a break and start another one, and then you’ll get the creativity flowing again which will help you and make you want to go back to your unfinished novel. We’ll see how that goes. But yes, I’ve decided to write the book which I’m calling Eidetic, which is about a poor commoner girl who’s only talent is perfect memory. Her mother dies, and her father and brothers are off fighting in a rebellion so she has to deal with being all on her own in a society where women are second class citizens, and with her own feelings of abandonment set in a world where people struggle to control magical items retrieved from labyrinths (or mazes technically, labyrinths just sound cooler). So I’m writing up some short notes on that, about characters, setting and basic plot point before I start tomorrow. I don’t like planning too much, but it helps to have consistent names for lots of characters.

A to Z: I’ve got my ideas together so at least I will have something for each day to do with the appropriate letter. Some of them are a bit of a stretch, but some letters are just awkward (I’m looking at you here, X). I have also worked out how to set up posts to post at a specific time rather than immediately, which will be handy when I go away to Empire halfway through the month.

April is going to be very awesome for other reasons as well, not in the least because it’s going to be the Easter holiday’s, and I only work term time so I get a nice two weeks off. This means daily lie ins, and lots of time to work on projects, such as the ones above, but also sewing projects, some creative projects I’ve got planned. Just time to do the things which I can’t when I’m working.

And then Easter weekend is the first Empire of the year and I am so looking forward to that, it is going to be freaking epic. I’ve repaired some bits of my kit, the new tent has arrived, and now that  the trip to Manchester/Spring National has happened, I can actually pour effort into finding all of my kit and making sure that it’s in tip top condition. Or rather, in character appropriate condition. Mud is the best for Navaar.

In short, I am rather looking forward to April – can’t wait for tomorrow to arrive (the anticipation is sweet, but starting even sweeter)

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