TBT: Sept. 25, 2014

Leaving Event

Throwback Thursday: This is from Spring of 1998 (I think). Post LARP packing from a Legacies event. I think it is earlier 1998 because there is no Torie with the group. I am sure this is before she became part of our circle of trust…

In case you can’t make it out, it is me with the red hair, Jello with the wings, Sean, and Bryon Logg. I always struggle on Sundays with lack of caffiene and I can see I still have “gypsy beads” on my neck, so maybe we had started hanging out with Torie and that was a gift from Sage the Mage

LARPs: Roleplaying

My last post I talked about the pros and cons of LARPing, I figured for my first post specifically about a pro/con I would start with what a lot of people consider the most important part, role-playing.

Role-playing is the most identifiable part of LARPing. The interaction between people ranges from the most intense situations down to the worst ham acting known to man. Also people’s attitudes about role-playing plays a big influence in this as well.

I want to note that this is my opinion, everyone has a different experience and your mileage may vary.

PROs:

The best role-playing experience I have ever been involved in was LARPing. There are times when a group all hit the same groove of being in the moment that all thoughts of the outside world disappeared. For those who have never role-played in any form, it is the ultimate form of escapism. You really feel like you are in another world.

This type of role-playing drowns out thoughts of work, politics, home problems, etc. All that is happening is the situation between you and the others. The relationships are an extremely exaggerated for both good and bad. You would die for your in game friends and would gladly salt the earth of your enemies’ graves. It is like the most intensive TV drama you could name. After a really good role-playing session you are both exhilarated and exhausted.

A good role-play session will last for years in retelling. These sessions are usually what comprise a LARPers list of stories they talk about (ok, even if the people aren’t interested in hearing about it, the LARPer will remember fondly).

CONS

1. Average level of role-play:

LARP role-play overall is lower quality in acting/interacting then all other mediums of role-play I have been exposed to (such as tabletop, online, forum/PBEM).

First it should be noted that LARPers are not innately actors, they don’t do it as a living, and most don’t engage in a lot of other speaking type hobbies (such as a toastmaster or other public speaking clubs). If you aren’t really in the mood, too tired from being up too long, too distracted because of real life or just having a bad day can impact the best actor’s performance. While I do think I am fairly good at role-play, I know some of my performances have been horrible, just like everyone else.

2. The role-play snob quotient:  A second negative issue about role-playing at a LARP (and honestly this is probably more about the community which will be more in detail later) is the snob quotient.

I might talk about the average level of role-play being less at larping, there are a lot of other aspects that can make a weekend really fun (the sense of community, just being away from the real world for a weekend, sharing a hobby with a few dozen others, etc). I have had weekends that were fantastic, that didn’t have great role-play, but a great time hanging with people.

Unfortunately, some people focus as role-play is the only reason to be there. Now this is valid for them, and I can understand if that is their total focus. However, I have witnessed a lot of people act in a very demeaning manner to individuals who just aren’t good at role-playing.

These people will ignore and cast out individuals that do not meet their “expectation”. I know that it isn’t anyone’s job to teach, but my opinion is if I claim to be one of the LARP’s role-playing leaders, then it is my responsibility to help others so it improves the overall experience.

Someone who is not good at role-playing will not get better if you don’t try and help them. In order to help them (in my opinion) is to invite them into your group, treat them as one of you and in my experience they learn and become better role-players and sometimes great friends.

The funny part about this is that there have been many people who claim to be great role-players, who demean and belittle others, yet the sadly ironic part is that they really aren’t that good at role-playing themselves.

Conclusion: I have not covered the relationships formed during role-play, I will do that during my post about the community itself.

It may sound in the end that I am bagging on role-play at larping. I don’t really think that is the case.

LARPing is made up of much more than just role-play, and even the role-play can be intense and fun. Would I personally come just for the role-play, probably not. I feel I would get more bang for my buck on a tabletop game, however like I said there is more to it (and I will cover that later). Role-playing is a great avenue at LARP, but it would not be the sole reason I recommend LARPing to anyone.

Larping Intro

Damn I am talkative today…

I have had a lot of friends asking if I would come back to LARPing (both for local LARPs Alliance and Oz). I have been warring over that idea for a long time. I really do enjoy the hobby, but it is expensive, time consuming and I am not sure if I enjoy it as much as I used (or if I even actually enjoyed it as much as I thought I did). It is a mixed bag for me, no regrets, but a lot of ups and downs and as I get older I am not sure which way I want to go.

I suspect I will have many posts about LARPing, with having attended three boffer larps (Legacies, Amtgard and Dying Light), ran two of them as both head of departments and as owners. Jello and I have designed two LARPs, one from the ground up (and another is in the pipeline). In addition I have had friends attend two other LARPs and their stories match up almost exactly with my experiences.

I think I will break down the pros and cons here and then address those separately.

PROS
The role-play
The sense of community
The costuming
Learning new skills

CONS
The role-play
The sense of community
The costuming
The monetary and emotional/physical cost

You might think it is weird that three of the items are both pros and cons, but actually the extremes of each of these are what is great and horrible about LARPS.

Those items are just the things I think everyone comes across, there are additional things I want to post about, such as designing LARP rules, handling disputes, dealing with emergencies, etc.

I suspect I will post more today 🙂

Dying Light Episode 2

Just got back from Dying Light. It was even better then the first game. Unfortunately some of our players were not able to make it, however we had several new players (and we are keeping at least three, a fourth that will play when they aren't in UT and have time and the fifth, well you never know maybe he will become a gamer) and even though it was a couple of players less the game was incredibly fun (a lot more fun then the first, and I loved the first).

There was undead, pirate merchants, Cyborg commanders, Beastmen shamans, Vampire merchants, Marketday, swarms of more undead, a skull that was a magical key, more undead, a Death Shrine starting to open, defense building by the town, sacrifice of people to the portal, more undead, a beautifully executed ritual that slowed the portal and finally more death.

Oh, and lets not forget a bitter Banshee that keeps coming back.

There are of course more interactions, and I am sure these I just listed don't make sense. I just thought I would give a incredibly quick briefing of the event before I got some tea and food. Be prepared for a more detailed update. All I have left to say is I love the game, I think we are building an incredibly strong core and by the time we are done with the BETA season (October 16-18) I think we will be well on our way to an established game, that may be smaller for awhile, but beats out the competition 😉

Regular life update.

Three weeks from today is the magic day I sit for the CPA exam (FARS section). I ask myself "am I ready"? The answer is not really. I have read all 1600 pages of hardcopy for the test, I have finished about 1/3 of the online study materials (about the same amount of pages, but there is quizzes on each section).

Could I have been more ready? Absolutely. When I first signed up and paid the money 5 months ago I assumed I would study for a couple months and take the test. I hadn't really paid attention to how much study it would take, so when I got through the 1600 pages in two months I thought I might be ready. I got to the online studying, took some tests and realized that was not the case.
 
At about that point in time is when I got promoted. Being an Assistant State Auditor 3 AIC (Auditor in Charge) means I am responsible for a whole hell of a lot more then I was. From start to finish the audits on cities, counties, water district, fire districts and about 100 other types (never had I realized before this job how many local governments there actually are). I can handle the job, I am good at it, but it took a lot more time getting into the swing of being in charge.
 
At that point I started the Snohomish County Financial Statement Audit. Its the largest audit of my team, and the third or fourth (depends on the year) largest state audit. I was a bit confused why I was selected (it is a tremendous resume filler if I ever decide to leave) and I know there were grumblings from people who had been with our team for 3+ more years and they have never been selected.
 
This audit required a lot of time and a bit of stress as I got the learning curve. This meant very little study for the CPA exam. Although it did mean a lot of exchange time built up that allowed me to take a lot of days off after that audit.
 
In addition we started Dying Light and that took time and effort away from studying, plus the fact that I have just finished a little over a year ago (well 18 months) about 10 years of college. I hate studying, and I definitely hate studying accounting stuff.
 
All of this leads me to now. I don't have a lot more time, and I have so much more studying to do. Does this mean I will buckle down and spend 4+ hours a day studying? No, no it doesn't. Too much is going on, Dying Light starts in 4 weeks, a new audit starts Monday and I want to see my beautiful wife and keep running games, and maybe even enjoy the remains of the summer.
 
Will I sit for the test? Absolutely. Who knows, maybe I will luck out. The actual test usually only covers 5-7% of our study materials (its a four hour test designed to cover almost 200 areas of financial statement treatment and GAAP pronouncements). Maybe I will luck out and that 5-7% will be in the area I feel good in.
 
If I don't make it, I will probably purchase the video aspect of the study materials for this section. I have always learned better in a classroom setting with someone lecturing. For about $200 you can get the video part of the study materials for this section, if I don't pass it this time then maybe I should invest in it. This means next time I wont even register for the test until I have passed all the study material and feel ready to go.
 
I will get this CPA, but I think I just wasn't ready to put that much time in studying.
 
I do have to say I feel better. I know my beautiful wife wont hate me, and she knows I will get the certification. Overall, having accepted my situation I feel much calmer and can now enjoy the rest of the summer.

First Dying Light Playtest

Well our first day of playtesting helped. Oh my god it rocked. The system is excellent giving everyone their own special abilities and combat is even more exciting then Legacies ever was. The biggest advantage is that combat is quick. In Legacies a group combat that we had during playtested would have lasted 10-15 minutes. During playtest true combat was over in less than 5. The funny thing was combat was still very equivelant to any of the awesome battles we have in Legacies.

Honestly ever since we gave up legacies I have noticed a large percentage of the people who proclaimed to be our friend and like what we did with Legacies are now spouting shit out of their asses. Its really frustrating to hear things concerning "the previous owners who screwed up the game" did they even understand that Legacies was over when we picked it up. Mike Haner and crew had decided it was over, me and sage at great personal expense (about $8000 and a bankruptcy) and got it going again. Of course we saw the "good old boys network" as wrong and we took the "privelages" away that certain people like Reijo, Drew and others. We made them play the same rules as everyone else and like little babies they quit and didn't come back. We spent a lot of time on Legacies and all we got was shit back. I gotta feel sorry for Sandy because I am hearing things already about how "fucked up the new owners are" and I know that Sandy is a great guy and doesn't deserve that kind of shit.
 
Well I will stop that ramble before it gets too extensive (I am still pretty bitter about whole situation) actually after Legacies I was very much of the opinion that Larping sucked ass and I never wanted to see Larpers again. Now I realize that not everyone falls under this category but its easy to stereotype. However sage really wanted to try Dying Light so I sat down and came up with the thought process behind the uniclass system, handed sage the notes (which were written on Shari's napkins) and she created it into a clear and concise set of rules. Then with much input and advice from Dunk we got the rules finalized. Then Sage did a huge ton of work on the histories, meanwhile I have created the website, and the monster manual (plus the entire setup for a new logistics, not at all like the old model at Legacies). But to be honest I have always felt a doubt about Dying Light. Well today that Doubt was almost completely erased. We had 11 playtesters and we went out to the park with full costumes (people thought we were strange). The day was great, we found the system to be extremely streamlined and the combat and system incredibly simple. After all this I am excited about the next playtest (which is probably going to be August 25th). So this means I think we have an awesome Larp and I think it will be fun. I really hope Sandman and Meta Diva can make it some day (if not to a playtest then to the actual event) its awesome and I would love to share it with some of my friends.
 
Well I will stop now, this has become a novel length post, I will probably post tommorrow.