morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
Whoops, I did that thing again where I planned to make a big trip post - two, actually - and because I haven't carved out the time to sit down and write it up and embed pictures, I've not posted anything at all in the intervening time. Sorry.

Last weekend was the semiannual 33AR LARP session. Our cooking went well. I am continually in awe of my co-chef's baking talents. "Vegan cheesecake???" I said, occasionally with more question marks. And then I said, "this is amazing, this is delicious, please don't change anything, more please!"

LARP plots and LARP immersement are a curious thing. A full 33AR session runs from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon. On Saturday, there was an in-game incident I've reflected on a lot since. It reinforced my feelings of not wanting to LARP, but I feel I have a glimmer of what the participants got out of it.

There was a scene involving player characters and crew characters. The crew characters are bit parts; the crew go back to the crew room and swap out cultists' robes for soldiers' uniforms, and the next hour one might be a demon, and another might be someone's long-lost brother. Earlier in the day, some crew had been bandits and had "stolen" medical supplies from the players' Infirmary.

Then, the GMs sent some crew into the players' camp as traders, selling medical supplies. With limited props, the same physical item may need to represent a new item in game. Players will often have things taken and returned to them by circuitous means.

So these were "totally new medical supplies", but they were the players' kit. And one of the players didn't get the message about the status of the supplies. Thinking that the crew characters were brazenly re-selling what had been stolen, the player instigated a violent tussle scene, with knives; the trader defended himself; the trader's wife cried out in horror; another player reacted by "shooting" the trader's wife and then the trader. In barely a minute, two NPCs were "dead", and it very swiftly dawned on people that according to the information available to the characters within the world, our player characters had murdered innocent villagers.

(The GMs sent two more crew to be the traders' children and yell at the players that they DIDN'T WANT THE MONEY, THEY WANTED THEIR PARENTS BACK. Also to convey the information that the woman had been pregnant. Thanks for the knife-twisting, GMs.)

One of the players who was helping us with Saturday dinner prep explained the play-by-play. I felt rather squeamish. It seemed awful to me that this could have happened. Even just in a story. I'm invested in our player characters now - and Frank and Sophie had been playing Jack and Ivy for five sessions straight. And the way an out-of-character misunderstanding had led to an in-character debacle made me feel helpless.

What this meant, though, was that the central plot on Sunday was the involvement of distant but legitimate constabulary, Ivy's death by poisoning, the trial of Jack, and all the drama and fallout that that entailed.

Everything I've heard since about this, from players and GMs, has been celebratory: that for a while now, the 33AR characters have been veering away from their moral compass, and this was finally a chance to explore Consequences With a Capital C. It was worthy of celebration that Sunday's plot was purely player-generated, with only the lightest of following touches from the GMs. It was enriching. To me it seems like hell; to them, cathartic. Of course, when going through hell, keep going, out to the other side.

I'm still thinking about this. It was odd to witness.

Another big thing for me right now is that N is moving out. It's been coming for a while: she mentioned her intentions before we went on holiday, and has been flat hunting for weeks. Finally, last week, she closed in on a promising place. Her prospective landlady called me up:

"Would you say that N is tidy, reliable, and honest?"


"You sound hesitant."

"Uh, no, no I'm not. N is very reliable and honest. And tidy too." [moving into panicked babble stage.] "It's just that I'm the neat freak one in the house, you know? N definitely keeps things clean to a normal standard."

"Oh, right, I know what you mean. I'm difficult to live with too." [Embarrassed pause.] "Um, I didn't mean to imply you're hard to live with..."

[Ahah, the upper hand again!] "Oh, that's all right. No, I've known N for..." etc.

So she got the place, finding this out on Monday. It went out on Facebook before she confirmed it with me directly, and I reacted un-graciously. Finally we talked in person, and I managed to convey that I wasn't mad, and had no reason to be mad; I just had a lot of feelings about everything. This is what happens when your excellent and wonderful housemate of three years (and another non-contiguous year) moves out. Some emotional adjustment required.

I tend to tie myself up in knots about this kind of thing. I get upset about something and want reassurance and don't know how to reach out for it. Often I do so in prickly ways. I'm working on it. When I was a kid I had tonnes of temper tantrums. Obviously I learned to control them, but I think I also internalised the idea that anger is scary; if you are angry, you are at fault. I don't trust my anger. And coming to a tense conversation, and expecting the outcome of being told my negative feelings are unreasonable, is really scary; unfortunately that's a self-reinforcing pattern because it leads me to bottle things up, or justify them circuitously.

Eh. I'm rabbiting on about this partly because I find conflict management really interesting. I'm also happy to have words spilling out. I've written many stories over the last few months, but blog writing is such a different skill.

I'm sorry I've been commenting so little on your lives and adventures and interesting thoughts. I have been following along, a little. Yuletide is taking up so much space in my brain.

Other good things: my boyfriend has a job; I've had a good few days at work; the Medieval Reading Group session tonight went really well. I'm happy about my part in 33AR. Final session in March! I am in awe of these people.

I keep needling Joel to make a suggestion for his 30th. "If you want me to organise a surprise party, you're going to have to hint harder," I tell him. The dessert party last year was pretty neat. We'll think of something. It's just that large birthday parties in late December need to be planned well in advance. And not just because of my immersion in Yuletide, ha.
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
It's 33AR again! I love 33AR so much. Tomorrow, I will get up earlier than I need to, dash to the specialty bulk grocery store, and rush back to my house so that the campaign LARP (live action role play) GMs (game masters) and I can go shopping properly. We will buy enough food to fill a small trailer. Eighteen litres of milk! Sixteen loaves of sliced bread! Mel's car's motor will whine valiantly as we struggle up the Wainuiomata hill, up the road whose lights sparkle across the harbour, on any ordinary Wellington night, like a ramp to the stars.

I will wander through the scout camp in a light daze as the players arrive. I will set up indoor gazebos and hang coin belts for the Taverna, help to arrange cloth walls and stretchers for the Infirmary, and scatter cushions for the Tea Room. I will start the chickpeas soaking.

Players half in costume, half out, will sprawl across the benches outside the hall, eating McDonalds and other scavenged dinners. The GMs will dash hither and yon. There will be muster, and then weapons-check. Then the drama begins. [personal profile] 20thcenturyvole and I will observe for a while and then retreat for an early night.

At 6am, the Vole and I shall rise to prepare porridge, hash browns, frittata, fruit, and other such things for the sixty-odd players and crew. The automaton character Jane may deliver letters of great import as other characters eat their breakfasts. There will be dramatic entrances, exits, demon attacks, Science!, and possibly a zeppelin crash. We shall set lunch in motion.

After delicious soups for lunch, we shall make dinner.

And so on.

When a great deal of my friends got into LARPing, I tried it and hated it. My experiences ran the gamut from optimistically neutral to very upsetting. It is simply not fun for me to stay in character in realtime, however undemanding that character might be. But my friends were doing this amazing thing, and I felt left out.

Then Mel asked me to sign on as camp cook for 33AR, a 50-ish person LARP that would take place over six major sessions, over three years. This was daunting, but potentially the perfect solution. And so it has proven. I love being on the fringes. I love knowing just enough of what's going on, and having a valuable role in this very creative world of costume and staging, dramatic talent, and storytelling - without having to contribute any of those things myself. I also love the flattery of everyone telling me how good the food is.

This weekend is going to be great.


Sep. 26th, 2013 09:58 pm
morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
So, in March, I said to some anonymous people, "if I ran a song-based fic exchange, what are the problems and difficulties you foresee? What might go wrong?"

Perhaps due to their helpful suggestions, the [present] answer is: Nothing. Gloriously nothing.

And now there are stories!

"Jukebox" is a challenge modelled after Yuletide, where participants get to choose the canons they will offer and request, and submit requests. They are automatically assigned a prompt for a canon they've offered to write. There is a writing period, and then there is a lovely collection of stories.

The collection is here.

To help unfamiliar readers follow along, there is a playlist of all songs for which a story was written, here. (It omits Nana Mizuki's 'Justice to Believe', and Seanan McGuire's 'Mother of the Crows', neither of which were available on YouTube. The author of the Nana Mizuki fic has linked a video within their story.)

There is also a table of links for all nominated songs, A-L and all nominated songs, M-Z, including lyrics.

Authors are anonymous for a bit over a week. Please consider checking out their stories and commenting on them.

And on a different note, I am about to go offline for a weekend for the immense fun and effort that is being camp cook to a Campaign Live Action Role Play game. I am definitely not coming down with a cold. Definitely. As usual, the food will be More Elaborate Than Necessary, although my associate cook and I have no plans to top last session, at which the GM groaned that I was providing food for an in-character wedding that was "more fancy than a real wedding".


morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)

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