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Originally published at Eggwhite's Eggbox. You can comment here or there.

KapCon 24 in Wellington was, at roughly 18,800 kilometers, probably the furthest I’ve travelled for a spot of gaming, given than I’d have to leave the planet to go further (or find a convention in Dunedin or Christchurch, which are technically further).  I’m game for going further, but I suspect budget and convention availability would be a hindrance.

This was my first KapCon (but not K’s – she’s a regular) – and I enjoyed it immensely. I’m unlikely to be there every time as it’s a bit far to go… but I fully intend to go again.  If the logistics were easier, I’d even be interested in having a crack at running games (hell, even getting involved in helping with the flagship LARP – that kind of thing is in my wheelhouse, after all). Next time I come along, I’ll certainly have a crack at running something, though.

Read the rest of this entry  )

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Well, it's been a while since I played in a LARP before Upwick Manor started. I stopped when my head broke a bit, making LARPing pretty much impossible... and it's taken me a while to get back on the LARPing horse* even though I was probably recovered enough a while back.  But now I seem to have clambered back aboard with a bit of gusto, and have been enjoying it a great deal.  The whole "fully catered" aspect of the game has been a plus-point, of course.

It's a game set over the course of 24 hours in a 1930s manor house (the titular "Upwick Manor") after the death of the widely disliked family patriarch, with each game being based around one of the meals, starting with Dinner last month.

Last month - Dinner

Last month's opening event for Upwick Manor was a bit of a slow one, and whilst enjoyable, didn't have the feel of very much having happened as the big revelation came at the end. The main event there was dinner, which was rather nice, if somewhat diet-busting. Whilst it was interesting from a "getting to know characters" point of view, mostly it felt like I waited on other players and served a four course meal.  Because I did.  More happened too, but it was predominantly setup and foreshadowing until the big revelation of the evening once the plates had been cleared away.

That revelation was that the contentious and substantial inheritance would be settled by the staff - who must choose a single heir from the confirmed blood relatives or relatives by marriage.  That heir gets everything.  Everyone else gets nothing unless it's on the goodwill of the heir.  If the staff fail to all sign off on a single heir, the MP for scarborough will inherit and turn the place into a golf course, leaving the staff both homeless and jobless.

This month - Breakfast

This month's second game (out of three) was a bit more eventful.  It's difficult too talk to much about it, due to certain bits of key information not having spread across the upstairs / downstairs divide.  Suffice to say that surprising facts have started coming out about several characters.

We've got the following, that I know of:
spoilers for folks who missed the "breakfast" game )
There were also some glorious cliffhanger moments, which I somehow managed to be involved in two of.  Neither of these is known above stairs yet to my knowledge, so here's another cut tag:

spoilers for upstairs folks )

All in all, a good game.  I'm looking forward to the next game, which will be "lunch", with the meal being the point at which the staff must either make their decision or see the end of the house.

(* - LARPing horse - now that's a talent on a par with Dressage, I think)
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Sunday's mortals game was gloriously quotable. Some examples (all IC) follow:

(As Simon is handed a membership form...)
Peter: "It's for joining the lesbian friend society..."
Enid: "...mind the wet patch"

(uttered as Simon walks into the room...)
Annabelle to Enid: "Next time I'm telling them that you're my lesbian lover..."

(in general conversation...)
Enid, aghast: "I can't telepathically communicate with Annabelle when I'm on the toilet!"

(in general conversation...)
Katy: "Well you were waving it around in the middle of the street!"

Our game is totally serious. Deadly serious. Honest.
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A proper update? Well, it's been a while and my life has been leaning towards "more of the same" for a some time now... But it occurs to me that I've been gradually building up my repertoire of "same" and might not actually have mentioned it. There's also been a web conference, and then last night I also had a crack at something I'd not done for about eight years, which I'll come on to in a bit.

more after the bump )
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Lately, on my morning commutes, I've been thinking about the games I had lined up which suddenly got eaten by a combination of new job (and new commute) and a resurgence of theatre-stuff. I still plan to run "Scare" at some point, which was always going to be a one off... but my chances of getting Transhuman Space off the ground in its current were looking increasingly slim.

So, this is the official "I've made up my mind" announcement.

I'm going to re-cast my Transhuman Space ideas into a different format. Gone is the idea of an eight session ongoing arc, and in comes the idea of an eight hour one-shot. Obviously, this new format comes with some changes. So what would be different:

Tighter, Leaner Plot - This would mean stripping out a couple of troublesome minor plot threads I had in mind. All the big stuff will still be there, and will be pulled to centre stage much sooner. I don't need as many introductory, scene setting plots - I can jump straight in.

Less commitment requirement - We might well be able to reclaim some of the players who weren't able to commit to an ongoing game, and perhaps pull in a couple of new folks too.

Broader Venue Choice - When you don't need to secure a regular venue, it's easier to find a good one. I'm not looking for anything fancy, but something less "cosy" than the social hall would be great. Ideas welcome - must be a fairly neutral, flexible space, but have a feel that could fit with an SF game. Carpets and nice velvet curtains don't quite cut it. That school drama room that was used for a dark ages game a while back could suit. Or any similar drama room, for that matter.

Feedback & thoughts welcome!
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Unless my timekeeping's become shot to hell, there ought to be a dark ages game tomorrow. Is this the case? If so, where is it and what flavour of game should we be expecting?
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As a few of you might have gathered, I kind of dropped off the planet for a while.

I've been off doing theatre. It'd been a while, but I'd decided to get back into doing stage lighting and whatnot. The culmination of this was the recent production of Wyrd Sisters that took place in Englefield Green (no link at present, alas). My contribution can largely be identified as the fact that the play did not take place in the dark.

Well, that's not entirely fair, as they'd have had some light if I'd not been there, but I made it all fancy and stuff. Now, with the performances and set strike out of the way, there's only the CRAP to go... then I have time to have a life again.

This means that I'll be getting back on with planning for Transhuman Space. I have a few characters to generate, some plotlines to tidy up, some gamedates to pick and a [ profile] lawrencegillies to beat and then it's looking good to go. Perhaps a little smaller than I'd originally hoped for, but I've got enough players to beat my minimum number.

At some point in the near future I'll also be starting to prep for SCARE, which should be interesting.

In other news, I'm back at work now... and my technical co-worker is off on leave. My manager's taken ill, so won't be in either. So, once again I have the joy of being the only tech-capable web person on site. Expect me to be stressed and exhausted for a while...
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Right - I am still going to be around tonight. If you want to come round and chat about characters or flesh them out or actually stat them up, you can do so. This isn't going to be a big organised session, but I'm free if people want to get something sorted.

I'm looking at a big session on either Wednesday 27th June (7pm) or Sunday 1st July (2pm OR 6pm). This will be another "discuss things, talk setting and establish elements of gameworld" deal. I won't be making chilli this time, but I suspect that a massed ordering of pizza or chinese might happen. Which one we use will be based on who can actually make the dates. If nobody lets me know, then I can't guarantee that either will happen.

As ever, comments about this should go on the forum. If you want to get updated about new forum posts, you can get email subscriptions whenever somebody posts there about Transhuman Space (or in general). There's also an RSS feed or an Atom feed that you can pull into your feed-reader of choice - you could probably even pull it in to LJ as a syndicated feed if you wanted to and get the posts to appear in your friends list.
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So, I'm going to do a general chat session about this game again - hopefully ending with a bunch of characters ready to go... When can folks make? I'm going to suggest sometime this weekend, as I appear to be un-busy.

Comments & general feedback on the forum please, as it's easier for me to track responses properly there.
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A general reminder and kick to egham LARP type folks out there...

There's an Exalted game this saturday.

It's been announced via email. It's had the gamedate and location listed on my forum for weeks. It's been talked about and stuff. It's also been a month since the last one, two months since the one before and three months since the one before that (big clues, there). If you're playing in it, but have forgotten about it, or for some reason are unaware of it, you have nobody to blame but yourself.

If you play in the game, try to be there. The past couple of games have been fantastic, but need more of the players to be there before it can really kick off. If you're not going to be there, please try to let [ profile] thankyoukindly know ahead of time so he can plan accordingly.
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Oh, as an aside... my website's forum is back up and running again. I'm trying to stir up some Transhuman Space LARP discussion over there, so go login and post. You should be aware that the forum uses a different login to the rest of the site... I hope to change that, but need to rebuild a few bits of the site first... or at least come up with a system to sync the two together.

There's also a forum category for discussions relating to [ profile] thankyoukindly's Exalted LARP. As soon as you're signed up for the forum, you should be able to join all of the discussions...

For reference, the forum can be found here!

My "big thing" at the moment is to try and get folks to go there and let me know availability for Transhuman Space shaped things... If you're interested in this particular LARP, go post stuff!
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Right... If I'm going to get this thing off the ground, the following things need to happen, in the following order:

1) I need to talk to players about the setting.
2) I need to talk to players about character ideas, and work with them to generate characters.
3) I need to work out any obvious pre-existing character groups and relationships based on character ideas.
4) I need to tailor the plot to ensure all characters can get involved to an appropriate level.
5) I need to pick start dates and convince somebody to handle venue bookings and the like.

I figure that #1 should happen in the form of a social gathering with a bunch of talking about transhumanist/Hard SF with a mind to seeing what fits the game setting and what doesn't. I'm prepared to have a bunch of transhuman space books on hand, along with inspirational material and the like, as well as being around to answer questions and the like.

#2 can be started at the aforementioned gathering, and continued afterwards, possibly with another planned session, possibly with quick one-to-one character gen sessions.

#3 is something I can do in my own time after #1 and #2 are done, but might need to consult players about.

#4 is something I can do in my own time after #1, #2 and #3 are done.

#5 is something that can be at least provisionally done at the gathering mentioned in #1.

What needs doing NOW
We need a time to have this gathering. I'd suggest an afternoon into evening kind of deal in a nearby weekend. If the weather's good, we can have a barbeque. If not, we can have munchies and general chat. If this isn't possible then we need to pick a decent weekday evening. For this to happen, we need to know when folks can do. So, folks, When can you do?

Comment here with availability!
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So, if any of you guys are interested in general LARP discussion and community, the LARP forum over at is currently under threat of closure as it's kind of petered out a bit and way never hugely prolific to begin with. However! Whilst the quantity and speed of traffic has never been great, the quality of it has been rather good indeed. Unlike any other LARP forum I've encountered, it covers all styles of LARP in some way and is truely international. The board owners are keen to find ways of keeping the board going, but at the moment feel that unless things pick up, they'll have to close it to make way for other things.

I've picked up a whole bunch of useful advice, tips and tricks that I either have used or plan to use... as well as ideas for plots, subplots, game dynamics and ways of handling various things. If you're interested in taking part in that community, or in discussing the games you run or play with other folk around the world, go sign up. If you don't like the rest of the place, no worries - just spend your whole time in the LARP forum and the other stuff will never bother you!

That said, I tend to frequent Tangency, Other Media and the Tabletop RP board as well, and find them mostly enjoyable.
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Here's a checklist of the current state of play with my upcoming Transhuman Space LARP:
Plot issues - I've managed to tidy up the majority of the lingering problems, and anything that's left is loose ends, and will probably get sorted when I can add characters into the mix.

System - I'll be using a system based on FATE. I've found a decent way to simulate fudge dice using a deck of just 18 cards. If I can print off a bunch of appropriate symbols and a get a bunch of self laminating card pouches (or non self laminating ones and a laminator), then we'll use cards. Until that point, four quickfire rounds of RPS works nicely for four 0/+1/-1 dice. We will also need a method of tracking FATE points. I suggest either just counting and using trust, or using tokens of some form. I'll post a quick guide to how stuff works at some point - it might be daunting at first, but it's actually quite simple when it comes down to it.

Characters - Yes, we'll probably need some. I know a few folks have character concepts already and I've spoken to a few others about it. What I need to have by the end of the character gen process is a character sheet for your character. One of the good things about FATE is that it draws significant parts of your background in and works them into the character gen process. I'll accept a little bit of supplemental background as well, but if it's not covered in the character gen process then it's only ever going to be minor details. Anything I get beyond what goes into character gen is going to need to be in the form of quick bullet points for easy reference.

Occasionals / NPCs - I have a couple of characters that might well only be occasional. If you think you'll maybe make half of the games... I may have character options for you. As for NPCs - I am quite likely to need some from time to time.

Cost - I'll need to find out how much it costs to book the upstairs room of the social hall, and find somebody to assist with the organisational side of making sure it's booked and all that. I'm a bit rubbish at such things, so I prefer to devolve the responsibility if possible.

Time - I'm thinking of using the afternoon of the Sunday after the Exalted game, because that reduces travel requirements for non-local players. Other options can be considered, but that's where my thoughts are right now. When will it start? Depends what characters I end up with, as I'll be tailoring plot elements to the characters... so will need some characters...

Character Gen Session - Now, it'll probably take a bunch of these sessions... but I'd like to start getting some statted characters together so that I can pull the last plot details in line and actually get things started. Suggestions of who can do when might well be useful.

More? - There's almost certainly a bunch more that I should info-dump as well, but I can't think of it right now. Feel free to ask me questions about the game.
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Just submitted my downtime... Unfortunately, I didn't manage to properly speak to [ profile] majic13 properly, and he's about to flee these shores for a fortnight, so my actions are not in any way tied up with those of my protege! Ah well.

I know that [ profile] thankyoukindly is keen to recieve downtimes, so if you've not scribbled yours yet, please do so! The more he gets, the more he can tailor future games to fit what we want!
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I've got a concept for a character for Runnymede Dark Ages... but not a character sheet yet. I've got who he is, but he's currently completely lacking any form of history. I'm trying to decide if I should try to go tomorrow or not - right now I'm feeling kind of wiped out, so don't feel like frantically doing character generation and coming up with a background..

I'm also still feeling quite burned out on Dark Ages... and I'm not sure it's a good idea to go along with a new character if my enthusiasm's not quite there yet. I also have nothing I can sensibly use for appropriate costume... It's a minor point, but it's another niggly thing that puts me off. Right now, I'm thinking I'd be better off waiting for next month, or waiting until after the planned "IC time gap".

What's even more worrying is that the burnout seems to be fading faster when I think about being an ST again. I don't want to go back to being an ST in a WoD game using MET, though. Or at least, not out-of-the-box MET.

I still want to run Transhuman Space as a LARP, but right now I'm stuck on trying to think of enough to keep players occupied in the first couple of sessions... the time they spend getting into the setting and the character, before they get a good enough handle on things to start interacting with any kind of plot. Right now, the later sessions don't pose a problem... There'll be plenty going on. But I think those first two sessions might be a bit dull unless I can think of some kind of IC icebreaker or "start with a bang" kind of deal that isn't enough of a bang that everyone ends up completely screwed!
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A while back, I suggested a local games day.

The idea was to gather all of the myriad gamers in the area together and basically mix them all up to play a few different games. Back then, the idea fell over because my life got eaten by something or other.

I'm suggesting it again now. If you're interested, there's a discussion on my forum (You'll need to sign up for the forum to post to it).

We need the following if it's going to happen:
People to run games
People to play games

The idea is that it's aimed at locals and people who are known to locals, and that it's focussed on tabletop games in the daytime slots and a single one-off LARP in the evening. Interested parties, sign up for the forum and post in the thread. If interest grows enough, I'll add a forum specifically for the event, which can cover things like working out when to do this, how much it should cost, etc.

[To clarify - we're starting with locals and friends of locals. This might change, but I think trying to do too much too quickly would be a msitake. Start small, and if it works, do it again but maybe with a few more folks from further afield, and so on.]
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So - it's been a while since I did a proper "what's up" update. So I'm going to do one now. It'll probably be somewhat patchy and with vast gaps in it... but hey, at least it's an update!

Work has been, quite frankly, barking. As an example of how daft it's been, I've been working solely on one project, and I was scheduled for the past four weeks to work on that project for five hours a week longer than I actually work. Naturally, I have not worked those extra hours. I've been working without proper breaks and generally exhausting myself making sure it gets done, because it'll fall on my head if I don't. As you might expect, my opinion of my current workplace has dropped like a stone. Considering how poor it was before, this is quite impressive.

I am working hard to either get a better job, sort this one out or (if the situation arises, which is a distinct possibility) steal my bosses job.

I am currently in the running for at least one other job, and have a promised "we'll get back to you" from another (I actually believe they will, too). More news as it happens...

As for the project from hell, I've managed to get my bit of the current workload done. I have another bit to be getting on with (fixing the accessibility gaffes the consultancy have made and that we've introduced in the process of CMS wrangling), but I figure I'm going to take it fairly easy today... I consider it payback for my missed breaks for the past few weeks. I probably have about a day's worth.

We have a mysterious broken/not broken shower. We lost internet for about three days for no readily discernable reason. I have also discovered the mightiness that is WH40K Dawn of War on the PC, but am still striving to remember that there is life without it.

Edit: I do think, having played the campaign a bit, skirmished a bit and played multiplayer, that it's a game best played with other humans, though.

I don't talk about it a vast amount, but for the unaware:
For about a year and a half leading up to the start of this year, my parents were trying to get divorced in spite of the efforts of the solicitors who were allegedy representing them.

This last weekend my dad re-married, so [ profile] izzy_stradlin and I went to the wedding. It was odd, but enjoyable. Also got to meet up with [ profile] blufive and [ profile] calatrice, which was also good. Amongst other things, we discussed the fact that I'm hoping to attend my first Eastercon in a couple of years - Orbital 2008. The Guests of Honour make me think that a couple of other folks may also be interested...

Unknown Armies was a blast. I didn't get back from the wedding until about 1:30/2ish, so was frantically trying to finish getting things ready prior to time in, which kind of meant that I missed the beginning of the game I (allegedly) run! Still, there was chaos, distrust, headbreaking, an atmospheric meeting in a rainy beer garden, identical sextuplets, headbreaking, amusing drunkards (IC), phone conversations on hands-free and more headbreaking. So that was all good. I must confess that I'm enjoyng running it every bit as much as I enjoyed running mage - making it joint top of the "LARPs I've enjoyed running" list.

Every LARP I've run has it's ups and downs, but so far UA seems to be almost entirely ups with only a couple of minor downs. I think this comes down mainly to two things: A fantastic group of players (and co-GM) and having created characters ahead of finalising the plot. This has let me hook all of the characters into events in some way, and I think people are generally starting to see the results of that... I think only one hasn't yet seen much direct involvement, and I'm working on fixing that.

I have been listening to the finest in audio cheese! I admit it - I can't help but find power metal cheesy, but Dragonforce were sold to me as "what Dream Theatre would sound like if they were less clinical, faster and had a decent singer".

Now, the Dream Theatre stuff that I like isn't really that clinical, and I'll defend James LaBrie a little - he's a good singer as long as he's singing songs by other people - It's Dream Theatre's own stuff he's not so good at. But anyway - I've been giving Dragonforce a listen, and it's all pretty enjoyable in a compressed, high speed, musically very proficient yet still incredibly cheesy kind of way.
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I've rejigged my web forum again. I decided that the split between system and setting that I was using was too artificial, so I've merged them. I've left logistics (venue booking, player rewards, etc...) as a separate board, but all general gaming discussion is now in the same board.

I'd like to see a few more folks signed up, so feel free to prod folks who are likely to be involved in any games (LARP or TT) in the area... I want to get some decent discussions going about expectation management and "how to make games better". Mainly because discussions about that kind of thing, you know, help people who run games make them better and meet expectations. Such discussions also help players get a better idea of what's reasonable to expect, and perhaps get some new ideas for how they can make games better themselves...
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Since Unknown Armies has three (maybe four) games remaining, and since I'm stepping back from Dark Ages in eight games time, I've been thinking about what to run next. I have ideas... and so it's time to narrow those ideas down so that I can start thinking sensiblty about one or two of them.

Since I'm moving most ongoing LARP discussion off of my LJ and onto the forum on my website, this topic is no exception. There's a thread and a poll in the Story, Setting and Background board on there. If you're interested in playing in LARPs that I run, go give it a prod. Comments are welcome as well as votes, and I'd prefer people to think a bit, ask questions, read responses and then vote, rather than voting arbitrarily. You'll need to register on the boards and log in before you can post or vote, but it's not exactly a hardship to do so!

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