Tag Archive: live games


Character Generation

Dark Met is finally here!

And by here I mean that last night we had a stating session. But not your average stating sessions, Oh no, we didn’t even touch numbers and mechanics. That for the second session. This session was all about play styles and setting.

So, we opened with a quiz. I love quizzes, it’s part of being a nerd, but it was a multiple choice questionnaire, and at the end you tot up the number of As, Bs, Cs and Ds, and then see what dominant play style you have.

I came out with 4 Ds, 3As, 2Cs and 0Bs. This means I had 4 Actor points, 3 Socialite points, 2 Fixer points and 0 Cultivator points.

What are these four play styles? I’m glad you asked:

  • Socialite – a player who enjoys being part of a team, talking to other people/characters/needs attention from their gaming.
  • Cultivator – focuses on mechanical development, enjoys using mechanics and solving challenges with rules
  • Fixer – Someone who enjoys the setting and lore of the story the most, like finding challenges and solving problems and puzzles
  • Actor – enjoys the story of a character, character driven role-play is important

Now, this is a very simplified version of all of this. The quiz they gave us was based on Eddy Webb’s game theory. If you are interested in more about this, see his presentation here on youtube. It is fascinating.

He also has a 2014 updated version called Your Game Still Sucks. Here’s the mp3 and here’s the slides.

My play style is Actor with Socialite elements. Personally, I found that I have a lot of the good points of an Actor (character development and story) and a lot of the negative points (potentially) of a Socialite (I like standing out and having attention). There is no right or wrong play style, all of the play styles are equally valid, and all of them have good points and bad points. The purpose of the exercise was to see what our play style was and to think about what we want to get out of games and how we play the games. And you can be more than one (as a lot of people were). Many people were surprised at my lack of interest in cultivating. I like numbers, and I like statting, but it’s not how I play. It just happens at the start of games. To me it’s part of building a character, leading into my actor style.

So once we had our play style, we talked in small group and compared play styles and found some of the bits in games we had played in that we liked. I had some stuff about personal character arcs and learning special things, and also the time where someone tried to dick me over, so I got most of the player base and we had a big fight in the game and overthrew the prince. It was awesome. Also banishing that demon. That was awesome, I got to rock out, and had an arm bitten off. In character, not in real life.

The aim of this was to work out what we like and want from a game. Why do we play, and what do we enjoy the most. From here, we actually started thinking about characters.

They told us to turn up with three character concepts, which I did. Start with a one sentence idea. My three were Shy Artefact Scholar, Tough as nails Storyteller and Blind Architect.

Then, figure out what you would do in uptime. Aka, when the game is going on. Here’s where I hit a little stumbling block. The blind architect didn’t have anything to do in uptime. I tried to think of stuff to do, within my actor and socialite play styles, and I found that the novelty of the character would get old quickly. Beyond the initial “oh, she’s blind” there really was nothing there, so the character got scrapped. The other two, happily, had things to do in both uptime and downtime. My scholar gets to go after plot (I do occasionally like the fixer stuff) and I can develop her out of her shyness slowly, and my storyteller gets to be social and develop by bouncing off other people and being very reactive and the start point for other people.

Then, right at the end, is the question: What clan and Covenant do you think they might play. And the refs were encouraging us to not fix this down, but to have options. This is in Blood and Smoke / Vampire the Requiem so we have the new WoD clans and covenants. My scholar is definitely a Mekhet, starting unaligned to go into any covenant, although maybe Ordo Dracul over any others. My storyteller is Gangrel (maybe Ventrue?) and could either be Invictus, Crone or Lance, leaning towards Lance.

We then talked to other people, each of whom had at least one concept with options and we talked about all the concepts and there was lots of talking and speculating because we have favourites but no concretes because the refs need a level of balance between all the clans an covenents so we might have to change bits and pieces.

But anyway, the upshot of this all is that I am hyped, I have found out a couple of new things about myself as a gamer, a new way of approaching character building (which also helps with writing things), and I am ready to have fun. Now I just need to see if I can come up with a reasonable third character concept. I’m probably not going to want to play it as much as my first two, but it’s good to have options.

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Emotional rollercoaster

Death is harder on those who are left behind     – Robert La Fosse, Nothing to Hide

My changeling character is a lively, enthusiastic, bubbly, life and soul of the party kind of girl. There’s an innocence and sweetness about her which never fails to bring a smile to other people, and at the national a couple of weekend ago, I got complimented about the way that I roleplayed her, and had people telling me how much they enjoyed it.

We had our local game yesterday though, and for once I didn’t get to play her as I usually do. Not even as the slightly confused person she can sometimes be, or slightly sad when she learns an unpleasant truth. No, yesterday we learnt that my character’s husband, and another prominent member of the summer court, were dead. They died taking down a True Fae, killing him so that our freehold and Suffolk’s could live in peace and the war could end.

So as soon as the one member of the summer court who was well enough to turn up to the gathering delivered the news, my character immediately shuts down, picks up for a frantic half hour of, “No he can’t be dead, he can’t be.” Sees his grave, and then immediately goes into a fugue state where nothing really gets through to her.

(I’ll make it extra clear at this point that this is all in character in the game that we play, and no actually people have been hurt, just their character and some imaginary NPCs)

P8096886And you know what? It was so hard to play her as a depressed person. And it was completely out of the blue (well, not completely, out of character I knew that they had gone to fight him, but not that they had died doing it), so I just had to make it up as I go along and it was actually one of the hardest thing that I have ever had to roleplay, just sitting there and staring into space and not reacting to anything. I did decide to wander off, back to his grave about halfway through the game, hoping other characters would chase me. They did in the end, but not immediately like I thought they would, as they kind of went “We’ll just give her some space.”.

It’s great, because my character has been after her independence for ages now, trying to prove that she can make her own decisions, and she can be a grown up and look after herself, but then this happens, and she basically shuts down so that she CAN’T look after herself, but people are still trying to let her, not realising that all the will and effort has gone out of her because she still doesn’t believe that he’s really really dead.

And after the game ended, I started crying, because playing a grief stricken person is hard, and all the emotion I had just welled up in me and I started sobbing whilst still going around and hugging people and it was just so emotional the whole game, and I don’t think I’m over it this morning.

I love story telling, whether it’s in a novel, or in a role playing game, but that doesn’t mean that it is always easy! The one thing it is though? It is always rewarding. And the grief is hardly going to be contained in this one game. To a future filled with more drama and roleplay!

National Characters

Last weekend was a pretty good weekend. There was a national, and by national I mean people from all over the UK gathered in one place and we did a lot of roleplaying. There was also drinking and hanging out, but mainly it was for the roleplaying.

I had a pretty good time. I have a definite favourite game that I played it (it was the first changeling game, with the mirror plots. I named all the NPCs and drove people insane, it was great!) but the others were good, if not fantastic. All in all, I had a solid weekend of gaming.

However, since the weekend finished there has been a topic on my mind more than others. In under a year, the whole system, all of the games, all of the domains, is resetting. Chronicles ends, we put our old characters and stories to bed, and then start up a new chronicle with new characters and new roleplaying to happen. So, I think you can see why, I am currently concentrating on hashing out some new character to play.

pen-and-paperI just have this tinsey little problem. I like statting characters. I love just sitting down and thinking up idea after idea and putting numbers, costume ideas, backstory and all the other things to them. I love playing around with stats and mechanics and variations, and this is before we even know exactly what the setting is going to be in the new chronicles! The people who are working on it could turn around and go ‘so it’s like this now’ which will entirely ruin a character idea and I’ll have to come up with a new one, and there will probably be some mechanical changes of how things work, or they’ll change how much xp we get or something that means that all this effort I’m putting in now will have to be re-written. Even knowing that, I’m still statting all of them. And coming up with backstory. And costume, and all the other bits and pieces that go with creating a character. I have a OneNote section filled with pages of notes, and seven excel spreadsheets of numbers for the various ideas! I just can’t stop myself!

Does anyone else ever have this problem? Writers for example- can you slow down your brain so that things come at a manageable pace and you don’t waste any effort? I know I don’t/can’t/won’t whichever one is more appropriate at the time.

So even though I know it’s probably going to be wasted effort, I’m statting all my current concepts. I have been neglecting the writing for a little while, and I probably should get back to that (especially since the beta of a web service I’ve been looking forward to just got released) but I seem to be on a big roleplaying high and I do like harnessing enthusiasm when it’s around.

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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.

Spring National 2

it’s the third and final day of the spring national and i’m not in the last game (it’s requiem, I don’t have a character) but I am sitting here having a nice time relaxing before the long journey home, which is fine.

Mage this morning was epic. the mysterium got to go on a linear to take back control of a thing that was the host’s but then the host got killed so whilst other people went and found his murderer the mysterium (turns out there are a lot of us) went and did some totally epic challenges to reclaim and take possession back of the tower.

Never mind that it was written for four mages, it was awesome and I had great fun and I got to do one of the challenges.

I feel like such a good mysterium right now. And I’ve also networkd with other Mysterium and have plans to become better in the near future 🙂

Have a lot of fun at thie national. Wish that it wasn’t monday tomorrow so I could not feel tired all week, but I think that was probably going to happen anyway.

At least the norwih games are happening next weekend, so I do not have to wait long for my next fix of roleplaying.

Spring National

In Manchester currently, having some fun at the Spring National, where there is lots of gaming, and talking about gaming, and socializing going on. It’s fab.

Saturday evening and we had Lost last night, which was very fun for me and I ran around completely ignoring the plot in the way which Zephyr does best, but had a whale of a time with all the activities.

This morning was Mage, and I got more involved in the plot, but didn’t go on any of the linear’s because I am not a combat character and screw going on a linear to kill a Stormling (read: murder chickens which feed off magical energy given off by mages, savage abyssal creatures that they are). And then I made some more connections, introduced myself to some people, and got involved in some national Mastigos plot that is going to happen in the future, going to be so good!

Requiem has just timed in, but I’m sitting on my arse writing this because they didn’t need any more NPC’s and I kind of want to nap in a second so I can do the soft roleplay for mage later. Soft roleplay means no card draws will happen, so it’s a more relaxed atmosphere.

I also largely helped/kept company the person who died during mage while werewolf was running, so I also got to indulge my statting problem, i mean hobby. Yes. Hobby.

Dissertation

In me defence – I’ve been ill over the entire weekend with a stupid cold, so not only have I not been updating this blog, I haven’t done as much work as I would like to have done either. So more than one thing has been neglected this week. Also I keep forgetting to eat, which reminds me of something I haven’t done today. I shall rectify that in a minute.

Gaming is at least going well. I felt horrible, but I did got to IoD on sunday. LARP was completely out of the question since I was ill, and there was snow, but apparently everyone else went omg snow as well, so no one turned up in the end. But IoD was pretty good. I have something to start to work on in Mage, and Changeling is just awesome. So much to do in Changeling, and far too few downtime action to do them in. Sigh. More resolve needed. On the other hand I have far too many downtimes and backgrounds to write – did sabbat last night so that’s one down, but that still leaves 4 downtimes and 3 backgrounds to write. I am sure I will get around to it at some point, but right now I’m trying to work!

Go work go! I hope by the end of this week to have 2000 words done, but since me week has been cut down by so much due to my stupid cold, the week is now not very long, so I have to get quite a bit done today and tomorrow, which requires waking up. Luckily Mark plans to come over tonight, so I can get some help with the waking up bit. As soon as I get into a working grove, which hasn’t quite happened yet, it shouldn’t be too hard. I have roughly 1000 words of planning and sketching out right now, which means that it’s bits of information and stuff I want/need to include, but haven’t written up into proper format yet. So I don’t think I’m actually in dire straights just yet. And then I can get that done and look forward to Mage, LARP and quite possibly Echo Bazaar at the weekend.

For those that don’t know my dissertation is on volcanoes. Yay explosions. I’ve also got another bit of work coming up soon, which will be a 3000 essay on a topic of my choice for earth and life. So I really need to get a fair chunk of my dissertation out of the way before that comes along, although I think I know what I’m going to do that on, as long as the lecturer’s think it’s an okay topic – Did life originate on Earth? Evidence for and against. I love this module, it’s really really cool.

Right, off to do more work. If I can get 500 to 1000 words of real essay done today, I’ll be very happy. Also need to do some more washing up today. Godamn washing up.

Another one of these? Just looked down the list and there are … 5! of these days. Someone was feeling lazy when they wrote this list. Okay, so for this one you’re going to get a list of character I currently have in everything, all tabletops, live games and LARP! So get ready for a long list.

Live Games:

  • Requiem: Ryanne Hakuru – a Socialtic Deava Cronite
  • Sabbat: Tem – the Modern Vampire, Lasombra
  • Mage: Sara – Euthanatos Assassin
  • IoD Mage: Animus/ Dr Millie Sheldon – Mind Mage
  • IoD Changeling: Zephyr – Airtouched Elemental Dancer
  • GodShock: Aroona – Goddess of the Hunt and Predatory Animals
  • Echo Bazaar: Hannah – Amoral Tomb Colonist

LARP:

  • Leaf (Leaves on the Breeze) – Ranger
  • Alu – Poison Scout
  • Seraphina – Invoker of Luck
  • Lily – Water Mage
  • Lady Jaine – Paladin of the Lady of the Dawn and the Newborn Sky
  • Blaize – Bringer of Fiery Justice
  • NPC – Turtle Mage!

Tabletops:

  • Pirates Fate Game: Rose Sangria – Insane Navigator
  • Mortals: Charlie Tarburt – Gunsmith
  • DnD: Arisar – Down to Earth Ranger

This list just proves to me that I play a lot of games. No, I don’t consider this too many games. You can never have too many games.

December

Hmm. Where has the year gone? I remember signing up to do post a day at the beginning of the year. That didn’t happen. Oh well. Let’s see if I can blog every day for the next week. A reasonable challenge after the one I just did. Yeah, I won NaNoWriMo. Quite proud of that one. And my graphics coursework is coming along nicely, should have everything I need to work working by the time it comes around to my demonstration week 12. Project isn’t going so well, but I have all of the christmas break to work on that. Which reminds me, I need to book train tickets home.

New patch came out for WoW. I love the new content, and I have upgraded my gear so much in the past two days. So many drops and new items for points and I’m valour capped for the week already. And yes, I only expect players of wow to understand that last sentence.

I got my sleeping habits back on track finally. Now I’m waking up at like 8am every morning. It’s just weird to experience long days. I mean, it’s only half 7 now and it feels like it should be midnight or something. Guess it doesn’t help that we’re getting into the middle of winter and it’s getting dark super early now.

After doing work this morning (I don’t slack off all the time) I’ve been pointed towards some new online comics and have spent the last few hours reading through archives and have found them to be a good read. One’s called Girls with Slingshots, and the other is Grunnerkrigg court. Also Order of the Stick updated – yay!

Speaking about order of the stick I’m in a new DnD game being run by Seph. It’s fun since we stated the character together (mostly) and we have a part of teleporting. All of the paladin’s powers involve shifting in some matter, and half of mine do as well. Kiting monsters around the dungeons is so much fun.

Christmas shopping is on the list for tomorrow. Also need to search through charity shops for a couple of finishing bits for Isles of Darkness on sunday. I know, first time I’m intentionally skipping all of LARP to go do something else. LARP’s hit a bit of a rut lately, there hasn’t been any evening adventures in a few weeks now since people come for the morning but then leave in the evening for various reasons. Which is sad, but I have the sneaking suspicion that the universe likes pulling jokes on me, so if I don’t go for a week then something good will happen and it’ll all get back on track again. Either that or my shield will finally turn up in the post.

Sabbat tomorrow as well. I have stripey rainbow gloves I get to wear for Tem. Simple things like that make me ridiculously happy.

#MILLENNIALLIFECRISIS

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