Some extra baggage
White / Caucasian
I'm a graduate student in physics, and I hope to get a job in industry, particularly in the field of power generation so I can save the world OOG.
I don't have particularly strong opinions on music.
12 Angry Men, Inherit the Wind, American Beauty, Dr. Strangelove, LA Confidential, Lord of the Rings (most recent iteration), Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Spirited Away, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Oldboy, Princess Bride, Being John Malkovich
Mystery Science Theater 3000, Red Dwarf, Revolutionary Girl Utena, Seinfeld, ST:TNG, Babylon 5, Onegai Teacher, X-Files, Ally McBeal, Firefly (can't believe I left this out on my first pass), Battlestar Galactica
Lord of the Rings, Discworld, Doubt (by Jennifer Michael Hecht), Dune, Foundation
LARP, math (even though Tony insists that what I do doesn't count), science, technology, gaming, pi, and pie.
Jerks, blowhards, and associated malcontents.
LARP, computer games, reading, arguing on the internets
You may find a few hints around here someplace.
I'll let you find out for yourself.
Benjamin Franklin, Voltaire, John Adams, Albert Einstein, Michael Faraday, James Clark Maxwell, Isaac Newton, Alan Turing
Wednesday, October 22, 2008, 2:53 AM
The outdoors seem to hate me. If it's not the fauna, it's the weather.
I drove Liz and myself up the mountain, discussing various LARP and non-LARP related topics. Didn't have any problem navigating my way up the mountain, but we ran into a snag navigating the dirt roads once we were up there. There were conveniently placed signs that read "ApocaLARP: The End is Here" and red arrows. In the fading light, the red arrows were easier to follow, so we did. Then we ran into a hill that my car couldn't traverse. My car is a bit low to the ground, so I thought that I was just doing mountain trails wrong. Liz and I decided to get out of the car and walk for a bit, to see if there was some help to be had. Well, the path narrowed considerably about fifty feet after where we got stuck. It turns out that we were following the arrows for a bike race, not the LARP. Despite the dwindling light, we found the trail again and arrived at the game site.
Liz pointed out that we made the classic horror movie mistake: we left the car. I pointed out that I locked the car doors, before we walked away, but that doesn't seem to matter.
It was cold at the campsite. Really cold. As in below freezing, ice crystals forming in your watter bottle cold. Later that night, Meg (Meg has a harrowing story about her arrival that I will leave to her to tell), Davy, and his girlfriend arrived, all of who were NPCs. We spend some time bantering about trivialities as "what if we held a LARP and no PCs showed up?"
Now, this is a retort to Machiavelli's famous question: what if there was a war and only one side showed up? It's not a very good retort either, since the answer is obvious: we pack up and go to Denny's early.
That night, it SNOWED on us, and the temperature was 25F. Weather.com is useless. They predicted 0% chance of precipitation on Friady, 10% chance on Saturday, and 0% on Sunday. I advise against using their website for planning. Meg was kind enough to share her tent and heater with me, but it was still fricken freezing. Note to self: Do not LARP in Big Bear between the months of September and April.
Game itself was good. It consisted of several mods, in which I got to play the city's mayor. I recrited some PCs to be the city's police force. They decided they didn't like the mayor and killed him. I'm not sure how much, if any, this alters Rob's plans for the game. We'll have to see how this unfolds.
The game features factions heavily, and in fact there are territories that your faction can control and gain benefits from. The supermarket, for example, allows you to scrounge food every so often. I didn't check what the other territories did, but I think this is a cool idea. I'd like to see turf wars erupting, but for this to happen, there needs to be either more factions than territories or one faction needs to be able to hold multiple buildings.
The game also featured a robot assault. Some military robots went hayware and started attacking the village. They're tough (but not super tough), and fight hand to hand like boxers. The costumes are admittedly a little cheesy (red duct tape and cardboard) and the helmets are really difficult to see out of.
We decided to strike the set early and leave Saturday evening instead of waiting for Sunday morning, I don't think any of us could have taken another night in the cold. I enjoyed the game, but next time we've gotta find someplace a little warmer to play!
Tuesday, September 30, 2008, 9:46 AM
Another ambitious production, at least relative to what they've done so far. Up until last weekend, Dying Kingdoms has just done day games, but the most recent game was a full on camping event. Unfortunately, I could not be there for Friday because of work related concerns, and I wanted to watch the presidential debate. However, I arrived early Saturday morning, and set up my tent at NPC Central.
Now, this is significant. There was no one set up at NPC Central at the time, but I thought to myself "meh, other NPCs will show up and set up shop around me." However, this didn't happen, and I found myself sleeping alone at NPC Central, since even Jesse has his tent set up at PC Central. The fact that this was a problem would not occur to me until ~4 AM, when I woke up to the sound of a coyote calling, and I had to go to the bathroom really badly. Well...humans are bigger and heavier that coyotes, and one on one, I could fight off a coyote. Yeah the coyote call was creepy, and getting closer, but I really had to go. It wasn't until I was back in my tent that the other mental shoe dropped. "Wait...there are more dangerous things in the Santa Monica mountains than coyotes." Now, what I SHOULD have done is grabbed my sleeping bag and mattress pad, the lantern, and stumble my way to PC Central and finish the night under the stars. However, a combination of fear and tiredness paralyzed my mind, and this didn't occur to me. Somehow I thought that staying put was a better idea. Remember people, set up your tent next to everyone else's!
Back to the game. The story behind this game was that a silver town by the name of Tet-un-Namat was being repopulated on account of, well, the silver. Naturally the PCs show up too. Rob used his tavern setup to make a mine, which was populated by creatures called "nockers." These creatures are quite similar to D&D kobolds in temperment, but are much stronger. I was one of these creatures, and fought a group that included Diana and Ian from Live Effects. (Yay for LARP groups intermixing!) We stuck silver ore as treasure in the bungee cords that held the structure together, which I thought was a clever idea. The PCs were about to leave the room empty handed, but one of them had mining, and Jesse decided that was good enough to point out the ore to the PCs, so they didn't walk away empty handed after all. Since we were so short on NPCs, we had the PCs who ran the mod first switch off to NPC duty while the batch of regular NPCs went and did something else.
Then came what was the highlight of the game for me, which was my appearance as Ma'nakhtuf, corrupter of dreams, rightful ruler of Ikhten &c. &c. I had a nice chat with Antonius about the possibility of us workinging togehter, but he didn't seem interested. At first, he didn't even want to talk to me, much less negotiate. I spoke of my respect for the power of the Illumin legions and their heavy infantry, (some Becchan barbarian sneered at me calling the Illumin legions "heavy infantry," and I was too annoyed to clarify that I meant "heavy infantry that I actually need to worry about") and advised him to take that legion that was marauding around my desert and pull it back to the border so that they could establish Illumin law in another lawless territory. Too bad they didn't. I even offered to assassinate the legion's leader so Antonius could take charge. Oh well, he'll come around sooner or later, even if it's after it kills him.
I also brought one of my vassals with me. Fortunately for the PCs, none of them decided to attack her. That would have been bad for them. Really bad. I really do care a lot for my vassals. A lot of time and energy goes into them.
I wanted a chance to confront Liz about brandishing a silver weapon at me last time I was at Iron Gorge, but Antonius intervened on her behalf. I decided that the slim hope that Antonius would side with me was worth giving up the pleasure of taunting the poor Elf girl. I am, however, getting a little impatient with this solid wall of opposition I'm running up against. I tried being nice and negotiating with the current powers. It's time for the less subtle approach.
Speaking of my army, it's coming along nicely at my capital city of Hieratis. I look forward to taking Tet-un-Namat. It will be the first of many victories.
That wrapped up Ma'nakhtuf's section of the game, and by this time it was getting quite late. I joined Meg for a trip to McDonald's, and we also scored some booze from Ralph's. We ran another mod where one of Ma'nakhtuf's minions assaulted the town and caused some consternation, which was great. Davy Krieger did a great job of being Ma'nakhtuf's minion.
Then we had some booze and went to bed. I don't know what else you could ask for in a successful LARP weekend. Here's to a long and successful DK campaign.
Monday, September 29, 2008, 9:21 AM
Yes, I know that I've been neglecting this blog, mea culpa and all that. However, in light of the flurry of LARP activity (Dying Kingdoms, Eidolon, and ApocaLARP back-to-back-to-back) I thought that this would be as good of a time as ever to get back on the stick. Let's start with a little catch-up and Beyond the Veil/Wyrd of Avilion: Silent Waltz.
This game was really ambitious in scope. Taking advantage of the Labor Day weekend, this game ran from Friday evening to Sunday morning, giving us two full days of LARP instead of one full day. Andrew would be running Friday and Saturday, and Ira would run Sunday and Monday.
I had a particuarly nice personal mod which involved me wandering off into the night alone (and no one stopped or even questioned me. WTF guys?! XD) to meet with Aendaryn, the God of Swords (played by Rew, natch) who had somehow returned to the world. He gave me a blessing, which was super awesome (much to Rob's chagrin.) Someone spilled the beans on Aendaryn's presence. It was supposed to be a secret, you guys. Seriously. Now TDP and every two-bit shadowblade knight is going to be hunting the poor guy down. (Maybe there's an opportunity here...)
Saturday was the night from which the game derives its name. The story is that a long, long time ago, there was to be a wedding, and the bride's brother disapproved. He summoned up a fallen angel and hilarity ensued. (And by "hilarity" I mean "a curse descended upon the place that lasted for 500 years. Maybe the Unseelie fey gave this land to Miniver because they wanted to get rid of the spooks. Maybe it's their idea of a joke. We may never know.) So, as night falls and Olaf and Diana were wedded (the fact that Ian and Diana planned their characters' wedding for this event was completely coinicidental, BTW) the curse fell and more hilarity ensued. In this case, "hilarity" means "whenever you make noise your throat splits open and you start dying." There were also a group of ghosts that came in and started compelling people to dance with them. Hence, Silent Waltz! Get it?! Maybe you have to be an Unseelie Fey to get the humor. (Add to shopping list: 1 Enchanted Cold Iron Longsword of Stabbity Fair Folk Death)
Upstairs the bride and groom (played by Shannon and Garett, respectively) of the background lore were being forever tormented by the curse. I didn't get to see Shannon, but reports come to me that she was lying there RPing choking on her own blood for a half an hour before PCs found her. (WTF Shannon, srsly?!) Garett was in another room, fighting against shadowy creatures who were perpetually kicking his ass. Someone figured out the solution was to tell the groom "she knows it's not your fault," after which he found his second wind and slaughtered the shadowy creatuers and rescued his bride. Garett gave a rousing "let's go get the bad guys" speech and we were all standing with our swords in our hands before he even got a chance to get to "so who's with me?" We cut down the fallen angel and the brother, and Shannon gave the most heartwrenching "NOOOOOO" I've ever heard in a LARP. In the end, the brother's spirit came back, redeemed, and cut in for one last dance with his sister.
Sunday involved a foul plot from Mordred's soldiers, involving a giant purple dome of doom. The rules were simple: be the last one alive in the dome and you get out of the dome. (WTF BR?!) There might have been a touch of metagame consideration in our approach: did Ira really want everyone except Rondar to die in this game? We assume not. We found that there were a bunch of scrolls lying about that with encoded information on them. We used this information in order to perform a ritual and bring the dome down. This section of the game involved a lot more fighting, which was great except for the heat and dust. I overheated, and I'm a fricken bando. I don't overheat easily. Sunday also featured a standoff between the Shadowblades and Rondar: I told them to get out of Britain...or else. Or else what, you ask? I'm not sure yet. I'm working on it.
This game represents a high water mark for storytelling and RP in Live Effects. Shannon displays a range in acting that I'd kill for, while Garett showed a heroic brilliance that I haven't seen from him before 'cause I only saw him in Eidolon. Great work, everyone. I look forward to seeing what the October game brings.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008, 3:50 AM
Despite the recent tragic death of Sir Gareth of the Shadowblade, I still have a character to scratch my evil itch. This character would be The Corrupter of Dreams, the Lord of the Undead, The Rightful Ruler of Ikhten &c &c &c, Ma'nakhtuf. Truth be told, he's not really THAT bad of a guy (just ask him) and would like nothing more than to bring some order to the hellhole of marauding skeletons and other horrors that Ikhten has become. Anyway, on to the action of the game.
[IC]There I was, minding my own business and doing a survey of my lands to see what kind of intervention would be needed to bring the aforementioned horrors to heel, or if not, to destroy them. I found a fire node in the region, and proceeded to bring it back under my control. I then tapped into the node to summon up some minions. It would be useful to have them. Then those meddling PCs showed up and interrupted my work.
This huge necromancer fellow showed up, six feet tall if he was an inch. He asked me what I was doing and why I was doing it, and so forth. I reassured them that my minions would not harm them, and that I was merely striving to bring the node under control. Then I learned that these people had recently slain a local bandit lord by the name of Kreejak, whose exploits had recently shown up on my radar. Well, I couldn't let that go unrewarded.
To my surprise, no one accepted my gift of dream magic, necromancy magic, or strength except for a clever Verakeen swordsman. He accepted my gift of dream magic after I assured him that there was no taint involved. I promised them an opportunity to help me bring some order back to Ikhten, but that would have to wait for when I can actually hold court.
I was pretty happy with them up to this point. Then a vulgar earth mage spat at me. Fortunately for him, I was still without a body. Then some sneaky bastard went and sealed off the fire node. Then some young Elven woman threatened me with a silver blade. Not a good idea. Then, as I was peacefully marching away with my two minions, those meddling PCs struck them down! I was miffed, and charmed two of them and set them on the rest as a lesson. The nerve! [/IC]
I liked this encounter because it involved a lot of mental challenge. You have a crazy powerful incorporeal ritual mage doing a ritual to corrupt a node, so how do you stop him? Why, you distract him then shut off the node, of course! Also, there were no disads or taint to accepting the gift of dream magic. It's not as simple of a game as "you're a bad guy so any gift of yours that I accept will inevitably be my destruction." The gift of necromancy had taint attached it to, but if you're a necromancer you need some taint anyway. You can even be a good necromancer, as there are healing spells are under the necromancy tree.
I really enjoy this role, and the DK PCs like my performance thus far (<3 you guys!) I've been making some suggestions to Jesse about where to take Ma'nakhtuf's story from here. He's got plenty of evil in store for all of you guys, mwahahaha!
Monday, July 7, 2008, 12:59 AM
As I was heading back towards the dealer room to meet with Mowi and Kai, I saw a group of girls, the average age must have been no greater than 15, and there were all chanting something loudly.
"Mowi! Mowi! Mowi!"
This gave me pause. Normally, in order to attract a following of screaming teenage girls, one needs to be either something like The Beatles or something like Hannah Montana. It is conceivable, I suppose, that Mowi leads a double life; one as a LARPer and another as an idol to teenage girls, and yet I was skeptical. I followed them for awhile, after all, we all had to negotiate a narrow stairway to get to the dealer room and I wasn't about to push my way past.
I was about halfway up the staircase when I had an epiphany. They were chanting for YAOI. Now, being more old school, I'm used to hearing it pronounced "ya-oi" or even "ya-o-i." However, most people have taken to pronouncing it "yao-i," so to my fogie ears it first sounded like "yowie." Sure enough, they made a beeline for the booth labeled "yaoi." The stuff seems to drive the young girls wild for some reason.
If you don't know what yaoi is, I'm not about to spoil it for you. Go ahead and type it into Google image search. Note that the first page of images as of this blog post is mildly NSFW.
Monday, June 30, 2008, 7:23 AM
Dramatis personae: Rondar, Salaris, various fey creatures
[Rondar and Salaris are in the Wyrd of Avilion. It is twilight.]
Rondar: Salaris, I think we're going to be up to our armpits in Unseelie raiders tonight. If you're going to distribute buffs, now's the time.
Salaris: Of course. By the power of Aendaryn and the blessing of the light, I cast...+1 damage...divine damage.
Rondar: Thank you, Salaris. What's that out in the field?
[A line of fey creatures, unidentifyable in the darkness, march across the field toward the Wyrd]
Rondar: Gods, that must be the entire Unseelie army!
Salaris: That doesn't look like like any army formation I've ever seen. They're not holding weapons, either...
[The fey creatures continue to approach. Music begins to play: How Death Comes]
Rondar: Sweet merciful Athena! That's not an army, that's the Unseelie Court itself!
Tuesday, June 24, 2008, 6:58 AM
[Pix or it didn't happen
I've updated Olaf and Raven, and added Chloe, Fun and Miscellaneous, and Marc - RIP. (That's the character Marc and not the player Franky Resting In Peace.)
Tuesday, June 24, 2008, 6:49 AM
No, I'm not talking about the Live Effects game coming up this weekend (though I well could be.) I've gotten most of the pics that I can justify putting up with only cropping and resizing. Even some of these came out darker than I hoped. Some of the others that I had really hoped would come out didn't come out at all.
I went and downloaded a copy of The GIMP (that's GNU Image Manipulation Program) to try my hand at retouching some of the photos to improve some of the darker ones and get some others at least to a point that I could justify posting them. If I do a horrible hack job on you, just tell me you didn't like what I did and I'll take it down or ask someone better that this to have a go at it.
I intend to distribute source photos via CD at the Live Effects game this weekend.
Addendum: Video of me at Strategicon uploaded.
Friday, June 20, 2008, 5:09 AM
[Pix or it didn't happen
You want 'em, I post 'em. New galleries added, Silver Dawn as well as Salaris and Vendieh.
Thursday, June 19, 2008, 6:26 AM
I've been fighting and fighting having some internet presence beyond an E-mail address, but on this day, the Eighteenth of June in the 2008th year of the common era, I finally have to surrender. The LARP photo shoot took away my last excuse (but there aren't any good pictures of me or my characters out there!) There is, of course, the excuse of mere laziness, but that one only holds for so long without becoming extremely unattractive.
Summary of last weekend's game: Well, it finally happened, and Sir Gareth got his comeuppance.
To be honest, I had hoped to last a bit longer, but if I had already managed to antagonize the PCs to a point that they were ready to gack me on sight, then the character has fulfilled his purpose and it's time to move on.
On a slightly less self-centered note, this game's production values were quite good, with effective traps (poppers underfoot &c), strobe lights for the banshee room, and ample props and costuming (thanks, Cosntance & Robin!) I'm not sure how it looked from the players' perspective, but from mine it played out like a successful dungeon crawl.
We'll need to find a better way to give people glowy faces. The glow-in-the-dark makeup on the banshee only worked when she was very close to the blacklight, and the scene called for her to walk around the room. Constance said that the fluid from the glowsticks works well for that. If we want to get more elaborate, though, perhaps a blacklight built into some kind of headgear...
Note to self: Bring a broom next time we use poppers for traps.