Thursday, December 27, 2012

At the Closing of the year

This is the obligatory "End of the Year Summation" blog. It will involve sarcasm, self-deprication and personal insight.

You've been warned.

It's been an interesting year, filled with ups and downs and sideways. It's not unlike a Wonk-vator. A fair chunk of it was spent gaming. The problem with being unemployed is that you have a lot of time on your hands. Gaming actually helped do something productive, from prepping for the next chron, to writing plot for Mage, to going to Dystopia Rising. It gave me a chance to be creative and constructive while I waited for interviews and shipped off resumes.

During the year, I've learned a lot about myself in the LARP circle. I figured it would be worth to Share.

The Wrathful LARPer's Top 4 Life Lessons in LARPING 2012

Lesson 1: Knowing how I play the game.

I know, it's in fashion to not adhere to labels. Well, as my Classics professor once told me "you have to learn the rules before you can break them." Using the GNS theory, the best way I can described myself is as a Narrative-simulationist. My main focus is on the Narrative of the game, where is this story going with these characters and how does that affect/change/alter/end that story? I add Simulationist in that a lot of the games I play runs almost entirely on decided source material and in a specific space. There is a lot of "I do this, this happens back" in the games and I tend to enjoy it.

This has become apparent over the past few months as I've explored games like Dystopia Rising and De Profundis, which strip the Gamist out the the GNS theory to give a chance for exploration and narrative. My love of Mind's Eye is still strong, but it's my goal to run a game like Dystopia Rising where people can play their characters in setting and make it less about playing a game and more about becoming these characters. Which brings me to.

Lesson 2: I love being an ST

It's been a bit rocky, still trying to get used to being in charge and having to be The Authority in the room. It's been a challenge, but things could be worse. Mage is one of those games where you have to be aware of your rules the closest, because the question of "What can these characters do" becomes closer to "what *can't* they do" Very. Freakin. Quickly. You have to know what the rules are, and fill in the gaps in them where they are brought up.

One of the other fascinating things about being an ST is the approvals system. As a Venue Storyteller, you're the first person whose gotta see these plans, whether it's just for stuff that is in your game or has to be sent out to Regional or National. It becomes very interesting to see how players see their PCs and their views on the abilities/items/whatever they are applying for through their approvals. This has also helped me figure out my concept as a gamer, as my main focus tends to be "What is your character's purpose in having this? what is being told here? How does this affect the story of the City? What is the story of this character attaining it."

Lesson 3: Upping my game.

I've been LARPing for exactly two years now. I walked into the December 2010  Requiem game with my Mekhet Dragon, Vincenzo Taglia. I knew dick about a lot of things, like how to write and effective sheet and knew only marginally more about the world around me. The Ordo Dracul in the City is played by a team of some of the most dedicated players and MES club members around. I've learned a lot about the Venue, the Club and LARPing in general just by hanging out with them during Covenant meetings or just hanging out.

Most importantly, during these travels I got to meet with Class A players and their legendary characters. I got to be a part of these plots from the far reaches of the Club and getting to do things with people I'd only heard about vaguely. Working with them, and especially their dedication and ethic towards LARPing has upped my game as a player enormously. Having my Mage character get trained by an awesome PC, run by my now-friend and ooc mentor Ericka, helped give me a deeper sense of the world I'm playing in and what I can do with it. So if anyone asks about my concepts on Mage and gaming: blame her.

Lesson 4: I like the global Chronicle

I know there is a lot of screaming going back and forth with the people running the global chronicle. That's not what I'm talking about. Keep that and never bring it up again. What I'm talking about is the ability that my character, and by extension me, can play with players in other regions around the world, that we're all in this together. My Mekhet can counsel PCs in Seattle, My Mage can Attune to Cities around the World. My Changeling can record the stories of others. I like the fact that my Retrograde Tinker can roam around the Caravan's of Dystopia Rising and find himself along the East Coast settlements, and if he's less than lucky, to the Lone Star settlement in Texas.

I like the fact that I can travel across the world and still get to play. I like the fact that I can see how other players play their games without having to roll a new one every time I'm in town. I like the fact that, sooner or later, I'm going to be at  convention where numerous players from everyone show up.

Those are the four main points. My plans for the next year include new challenges. The Chronicle begins in June and I'm ready to prepare my characters as I've written in a previous post. It's going to be interesting playing characters out of my usual range, but that's the challenge. The other is to visit Dystopia Rising more often and bring in my Retrograde for some  fun. I also have the challenge of potentially building the next Mage game from the ground up. How will that go? I'll probably report here.

It's been fun, 2012.

Later