Taking it Easy, shadowrun group (artwork, sketch, 1991)

Wraith, Spook, and a bunch of characters I don’t remember, Pencil Sketch 1991 – Shadowrun

Shadowrun Group, pencil sketch 1991

At that time in 1991 this was actually one of my favorite pictures. In it is our shadowrun group. On the left is Wraith, my combat decker. Beside her is Spook, an asian cat burgler.. sort of (it’s hard to remember). The other two characters I think were Ben’s whose name I think was Mist… maybe. The other was Drew’s and I have no idea at all the name of the character.

The game was pretty cool, the group was a lot of fun but a lot of problematic things now that I am 28+ years older. Spook… that name would have had an objection from me now, but honestly we didn’t even consider other racist commentary possibilities.

As for other characters, Spook and Mace (Weylin’s characters) were really the only ones I liked in game, considered close and would protect. Ben and Drew’s characters were not liked by Wraith (or by me), they were just sort of filler/backdrop. 

The funny part is hearing other people’s stories, and its always intriguing to hear different points of view. I am sure Wraith was annoying to other characters/players just like they were to me. Just as humans we rarely look outside our own point of view to take it all in.

It was a good set of games, well at least until we started having bad things happen… then waking up from it like it was a dream. That pretty much killed the campaign for me.

Wraith, combat decker (artwork, sketch, 1991)

Wraith, Combat Decker (before they were a thing) Pencil Sketch 1991 – Shadowrun

Wraith was my first female pc. I had run as a GM several female NPCs and they had always been my favorite to fall back on. Once I ran Wraith as a player I never really went back for male characters. After that point I can only remember three male characters in thirty years. One was Grim, an ex-FBI sorcery adept in shadowrun, one was Shaan from my most recent Battletech game, and a very short lived character in a hubby game.

This was probably the first adult indication of who I was (not her personality), and that I preferred to be a female character in a game. I knew at this time what I felt I was, but in no way did I ever think I could jump the divide so I buried it.

I think the image is based on an in-game situation when we were imitating being a special forces team, or it could have been Bryon’s “Abyss” run, a shadowrun mission roughly based on the movie the Abyss. A lot of his games tended to fully imitate movies/tv shows for missions or characters this is not unusual, every GM does it, but I try to hide the details enough that at first glance you can’t tell.

Rage (artwork, sketch, 1991)

RAGE, Summoning Shaman, Shadowrun 2nd Edition

Rage, pencil sketch 1991

Rage was a 2nd edition Shadowrun character, a summoning adept that I had for a short time in a game hubby was running. It is horrible, and I admit it, but like I said I want to post the things I did in the past.

Her chest sucks (and the fact her chest is bare was originally going to be clothed but I wanted to practice breasts… obviously didn’t work).

The character itself was a bad guy, worshipped dark things and really wasn’t that fun past a couple of games (hence why it ended so quickly).

Berek Halfhand, (artwork, sketch, 1986)

Pencil Sketch 1986 – AD&D Character

Berek Halfhand, a half elven ranger from a First Edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. I drew it when I was 15, so that would make this 1986. Sadly the art pad got pretty damaged and I couldn’t do much to save it (well I guess there is always photoshop).

I started drawing just like everyone else in elementary school or earlier. I was always in awe of a childhood friend in school who could draw so realistically (it would still be a childlike drawing as an adult, but as a kid it was steps ahead of the rest of us).

I didn’t start really drawing until I hit my teenage years though (13+). Gaming images always stoked that fire. I know I have drawn dozens of fantasy cityscapes, castle views and characters. I also know they were not very good in comparison to others but that didn’t bother me at the time.

One problem though was we were so poor that we could only afford a single artpad I had for years. I was always terrified to use up pages, which I still did slowly up until I was 20 or so. Sadly the pad didn’t survive some of our moves and I only have a few pictures, mostly half done sketches (which still will go up). Here is the oldest one to date.

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 🙂