purplecat: A selection of roleplaying dice. (General:Roleplaying)
I made some icons for posts about roleplaying, though considering I haven't run anything since early summer, who knows if I'll get a chance to use them.

Free to snag. Texture in second is by erniemay.
purplecat: (roleplaying)
I have found some more Edinburgh LARP photos and these ones even (*gasp at the new fangled-ness of it all*) have an accompanying CD with them all on.

I think these must be NPCS (it would be difficult to get a party all to wear matching tartan shoulder sashes). Note youthful looking B. on the far left.
purplecat: (roleplaying)
Late on Saturday night, while playing Cthulhu in Stoke I observed on my iPhone a plea on the [livejournal.com profile] huntleywood "This Year's Thing" page for more people to help. "Huntley Wood is quite near here" I thought (somewhat drunkenly). "We could pop by tomorrow and lend a hand."

Huntley Wood is a newly developed Live Roleplaying site being run by some friends of mine, I'd say from my F&H days but, in fact, I've known JE since I was about 4. "This Year's Thing" is their annual project to spend a week building a temporary structure that can be used for the following year by games visiting the site. This year's thing is intended to be customisable tunnel complex built out of pallets but they were nearing the end of the build time and were concerned it wouldn't be water-tight (or at least -proofed) in time.

In a fit of drunken sanity-compromised enthusiasm I posted a note on the Facebook page saying we would come along today. Of course, in the sober light of morning we realised that, among other things, we had no suitable clothing for painting or building with us in Stoke and that it wasn't, perhaps, the wisest event to inflict suddenly on an 11-year-old. In the end B. dropped me off at the wood. EK magicked up some rather large fluorescent work trousers and a spare T-Shirt for me and I was all set.

I then spent about three hours painting wood-preserving paint on the Thing while other people tried to cover bits of it in canvas.

Photos under the Cut )
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (tolkien)
I think I may have mentioned once or twice that I've been running a (more or less) Warhammer game based on Oxrandir's Kin-Strife MERP module. I've been running it once a month (in good months) since just after we moved into this house and it finally came to an end last weekend.

Anatomy of a Roleplaying Game )

Of course they now want a follow up. I'm thinking about it. If I do one then I'll be ditching the Warhammer system, though I'll be keeping Fate points which I think are an excellent idea (always assuming you aren't that interested in actually killing the characters). I don't know what they'll do - Ragnor appears to be strangely keen on the idea of some kind of fact-finding camping trip into Mordor, and there's always Angmar as well I suppose, not to mention, I believe, a rather good MERP module set in Tharbad.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
Not, apparently, having learned my lesson last year, I agreed to help run the Summerfest bar again this year. In fact I agreed to get back from Germany late Friday and set off for Summerfest early Saturday.

More under the cut )
purplecat: (roleplaying)
A couple of incidents recently have caused me to ruminate upon the Tragic Heroes of my youth.

I was leaving a comment on a piece of Hamlet fanfic which I realised amounted to "wasn't Hamlet an idiot and trying with it! I'm sure he deserved all he got.*" I don't think this was my view of Hamlet as a teenager and its possible that I would think differently were I actually to re-read the play. I don't think I've read or watched Hamlet in a decade and that means, of course, that my memory of the poor man has become filtered through the lens of the Twilight phenomenon. I can't help feeling, though, that Hamlet would have been somewhat at home among sparkly vampires.

In a related incident I've been slowly GMing my way through an old MERP module based on Gondor's Kinstrife. One of the central NPCs in this module is Neithan, who tragically disobeyed his father, got manoeuvred into a situation where he was forced to behead his best friend, and then more or less accidentally fell in with the forces of darkness. My party took a somewhat different view of Neithan's tragic history than I recall having when I first played through the module or indeed, as the character was originally described to me. In the party's view, Neithan had entirely brought his troubles on himself, was petty, vindictive and would make a terrible ruler. After several years of clearing up his messes they took the step of challenging him to a duel and then burying his body in an unmarked grave. This single action has, in fact, vastly simplified matters.

I'm wondering how many of the heroes of my youth are doomed to this kind of re-evaluation in the light of impending middle age. Or is it just me? I do recall horrifying a cousin of mine years ago by describing Anna Karenina as a very silly woman: "The greatest tragic heroine in western literature!!" he stuttered in outraged tones...

*I believe Very Bad Things happened to him in the fanfic in question, though I skipped those bits so I couldn't say for certain.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (kin-strife)
In which we set off for Pelargir; Ranmes gives Ragnor a brief introduction to the politics of Umbar; we return to Pelargir without event to find Doronil, Merethin and Tegilbor recovered; Ragnor’s father reveals that Tegilbor points the finger at the Queen; Lord Lintoron and the Hyarmenost family turn traitor, but quietly; Ragnor gets a job; Doronil wants to swap places with Ragnor; Brand learns how to resist the Dark Arts and disposes of the maps; everyone is invited to a party.

From Ragnor's Player )
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (kin-strife)
In which we discuss what to do with the stolen maps; we are spied upon from on high by Celebrindor’s ghastly, grim and ancient raven; Celebrindor threatens to take matters to Heruvorn; the maps are hidden; Pimm shoots Celebrindor’s raven is shot out of the sky - hurrah; Dringol loans Bergil’s alta parma to Brand for copying; Celebrindor, with four cronies, attempts a burglary of the Moonswan; Pimm shoots Celebrindor in the strongroom – nasty; preparations are made for departure, including returning Bergil’s original manuscript to Dringol.

From Ragnor's Player )
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (kin-strife)
In which we learn of the burgling of Ondoher’s house and his disappearance; Pimm undergoes a change of employer; Ranmes conducts us on a tour of the Tower of the Moon; Brand, Pimm and Ragnor discover the hidden chamber and therefrom pillage diverse maps; everyone gazes in to the palantir, several suffering as a result; Celebrindor discovers our theft; we take refuge in a nearby tavern.

From Ragnor's Player )
purplecat: (roleplaying)
The team inform Antares that security are on Trilon actively seeking the missing men. Then they head to Jacques' digs where they are let in by the manager. They are impressed by the squalor. Miho and Andi find a blue gambling chip. It has a Flaming Salamander logo but patina reading reveals a different place: the Weeping Flamingo.

By 5pm it's deep night. The team sit by the entrance to the Weeping Flamingo. After about forty minutes they are approached by a pimp wanting to know if they're competition. Andi says no. She heads off to play poker. Meanwhile Miho and Robert end up being waylaid by a paranoid who is convinced aliens are imitating humans. They take his card, Ronald Grey, Society for something with an acronym. While this is going on they miss the entrance of Jacques.

Fortunately Jacques heads for Andi's poker table. Andi reckons he is patina writing the cards so she starts writes "Komiko. Job. Andi" on four of them. She notices him perform a take when he's dealing. She sneezes conspicuously at which point he faints. Robert notices and demands to be let through as a Doctor. When Jacques comes round the team manage to talk to him. He's run up a lot of debts and the team suggest that Antares might clear them. They get Jim round the front and take Jacques to the residence. Antares agrees to clear Jacques debts and take the money from his wages. Jacques explains that Giles contacts him every three days "at dusk" at about 6-7 in the evening. The next contact will be the 13th.

The next morning Andi's search program pulls up an article about a society woman called Suu Kyi (or Suki) Gonzales in a nearby town attending a premiere. On her arm is her latest toy boy, Gustav Braun. Andi's facial recognition program has matched Gustav to Anton. The team send Gustav a job offer message via Suu Kyi. Andi and Miho fly to the town, arriving late afternoon. There is a message from Gustav agreeing to talk to them about the offer. They meet Gustav at the Green Man at 9pm. Gustav is urbane and polite. He signs on the dotted line of Antares' contract and provides a contact email. He asks who is managing the new team and then leaves. Anton used to be a journalist. He clearly has his own agenda but it doesn't obviously appear to conflict with Antares'. At any rate, at this point, it is presumably Antares' problem.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (kin-strife)
All Diary Entries
Part 16

In which Ilvren returns; we buy gowns from Morwen the Red's dress emporium; Pimm buys drinks for everyone at the Eagle & Elf; Dringol agrees to discuss Pimm's uncle Bergil's alta-parma; Celebrindor talks about his travels and ambitions, he asks whether we know of a legendary artefact (Calvolului) but when we demure he wields a Word of Power at the dinner table - an outrage!

From Ragnor's Player )
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (kin-strife)
All Diary Entries
Part 15

In which Ragnor and Brand recount events of the last 24 hours to Ilvren and Pimm; Ilvren hurries off to help Aerin fend off unwanted mercenaries; Ragnor, Brand and Pimm spend a pleasant evening in the company of intellectual women; we learn of two Adunaphels and Pimm's uncle's girlfriend; finally, at last actually becoming worried, Ragnor leads Brand and Pimm to succour Aerin; who, of course, is preening herself for having saved the little girl and foiled Hargen, the captain of mercenaries.

From Ragnor's Player )
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (aisb)
You all thought I'd finished didn't you! I was just pausing. The last slew of talk posts were all for Thursday. This is a Friday talk but I actually have less to blog about on Friday. I heard fewer interesting talks, and several of those I did hear, I had heard before. Ethan Kennerly of Fine Game Design was invited to talk about, you know, actual games rather than game theory ones. He was particularly interested in the connection between the game mechanics (or simulation as he called it) and the game story. So, for instance, in chess the simulation (rules) is embedded loosely in a battle/combat story. Obviously in some games the story aspect is more important than in others. Kennerly attempted to highlight some practical problems in game design, particularly those related to making the simulation and story match up in an aesthetically pleasing fashion which he felt might benefit from some sort of theoretical framework which would help game designers understand what they were doing. The areas he highlighted were:

  • Correlating the simulation dynamics of risk and return to the aesthetic experience of play - so when a player does something risky in game mechanical terms they should understand it as risky on the story level.

  • Developing a theoretical relationship between challenge construction, skill acquisition and the aesthetics of drama

  • How does the combinatorial game theoretic heat of a simulation state correlate to the aesthetic experience of its users?

  • How do knowledge games (e.g., ones of bluff and information acquisition) extend to model correlations of a user's aesthetic experience?

  • How to make the dynamics of the simulation and story channel in a dramatic game reveal character and advance conflict toward a conclusion

The presentation was a lot of fun as well as being interesting. Kennerly kept getting us to suggest either story choices that might match a particular simulation or a simulation that might match a particular story.

He also brought with him a card game he'd devised for his son to help him learn mental arithmetic. It was a surprisingly complex to play, especially in a version where you played as partners, and had us all sitting around trying to do subtraction and multiplication in our heads.

On Friday evening four of us, including Kennerly, went out for dinner during which it became clear that three of us were roleplayers. We then went on to have one of those conversations which is very boring if you happen to be the fourth person at the table - though he asked for it somewhat by asking us to explain what roleplaying actually was, which devolved into an argument about whether one-off freeform political type games counted as roleplaying; how character and mechanics should be balanced; and the extent to which the player's skills determined the character's skills. Not to mention the aesthetics of rolling lots of dice at once in order to simulate a really big fireball.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
We have, for many years, made do perfectly well with a succession of tables that seat 6 people. When our roleplaying group consisted of two childless couples and one single man this was more than sufficient to feed the group round. These days roleplaying consists of three couples with, between us four children who come along for the ride. We end up feeding the kids, putting them to bed and feeding the adults - start of roleplaying thus delayed.

Now, thanks to some family politics I'm not examining too closely, we have "borrowed" my SiL's large dining table which I reckon will seat 12 at a squish. It needs sanding and revarnishing at some point in the future but even so I keep going into the kitchen and stroking it.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (larp)
... but like so many others of my generation its how I originally got into roleplaying:

Gary Gygax Dies


purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)

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