cristovau: (Fresh)
So, I need to preset some black scrolls. I am not going to sweat it. Some poetry is better than none, not worse (Verse?) So, here are 10 Haiku about death. Yay?

Cast unfeeling eyes
In-between this life and death
Pass by, pale Horseman!

A spring flurry
Crows dark as ancient depair
Float from tree to tree

Stabbing through my soul
This life a creamy rosebud
Plucked from the garden

In a split second
During a Fall's thoughtless breath
A life unravels

The last flicker dies
Chills settle in your cottage
As friends start to weep

This limp hand is held
As the wind catches the soul
The candle flickers

One more tendrilled soul
Has found a strong lattice
To wind upon now.

Succumbing to death
The eyes shine as they whisper
I am not afraid

A peace will settle
upon the needled forest
Witness to a Fall

Silence in the sky
Despite the intents thunderous
For we cannot hear

Okay, I'm getting in the head space for this game.

More anon...
cristovau: (Fresh)
Am I seriously surprised when Prime Items are scheduled out a week, despite 2nd Day Air? Get it in order Amazon. I have LARPS to go to this weekend! Why do I have LARPS to go to this weekend? Seems sort of crazy, I admit.

Anyway, after some more selective shopping and I will be getting all I need...

A pad of Black drawing paper (instead of sheets)
A silver and a gold calligraphy pen (Instead of ink well & pen)
A black fleece tactical balaclava
Jet Liquid Eyeliner
Prime Time Foundation 15 Fl Oz (wanted 30)

So, that was 3 swapped out items and I dropped a second eyeliner. I guess that the Amazonians are a bit busy, and in the end I am okay. Still, I am a bit let down. Consider this a warning for holiday shopping.

Related, looking forward to 5th Gate's Conglomeration event.

More anon...
cristovau: (Fresh)
This event is rushing at me full force... ...so, in an attempt to get organized:

Order yumtastic treats from Laughing Oak Bakery
Buy Doubleshot Espresso pack
Buy cliff bars
Check Make up kit
Pack up and check on costume
I'm missing 1 pair of pants - replaced with mundane
Finish adjusting veils and head wraps
Inspect and tape pole arm
Make thrown weapon belt sheaths NOT THIS TIME, MONKEYBOY
Craft four new thrown weapons
Update packing list
Print packing list and Check it

Print out character sheet, PEL and info

The thing about 5th Gate for me is that I am not taking time off from work to pack or prepare. That is also true for Occams razor. My packing needs are somewhat simpler than other games, and I am better about staying organized for games. Still, without an eye on the ball, I am likely to stress out in preparation.

This will be a busy Fall. No packing stress need be added.

More anon...
cristovau: (Fresh)
"Every moment you have is a victory against death, and it is a treasure. Even when the moment is painful and regrettable, it is greater than the absence of life. Celebrate the victories and honor the treasures. Live fully. Live well."

I was uncertain why I was initially drawn to the Order of the Veil in Fifth Gate. When I was a freshman in college, I died my hair black and indulged heavily in the late 80's Goth scene. I grew out of it for it seemed hypocritical and pretentious. It seemed easy to become infatuated with death while young. I did not blame those who where drawn into the curious morbidity. Death is a primary motivator in life, and something worth contemplation and fascination. It was more that I did not connect with it. Not really.

So why now, on the cusp of my 46th birthday, did I take on a role that is the refined extract of my mope-tastic late 80's playlists?

It is hard for me to say precisely. The Egyptian themes do tie in with the environment from Shadows of Amun, but that is hardly enough. I am not a huge Egyptologist, despite my character's name (REN - the soul's name). Initially, I was considering the possibility of an exception to the order, a well-adjusted member. But with the order background, that wasn't an option, and still I was intrigued and determined to play this character. I thought, perhaps, I would be reliving some of my youthful fascination.

On the other side of the first event, it was much more. Dwelling in loss, in the absence of life and joy, existing as a ghost looking in on the waking world... ...there is mourning I must do. I mourn the loss of myself, and it is something I needed space to do.

I understand that I am not yet truly aged, but I feel as though I am approaching the threshold of my winter years. I think in our society we have difficulty acknowledging this transition. We celebrate and idolize youth. We cater to it and preserve it within ourselves. We compliment people on their ability to remain ageless. We try to deny our advancing years. It is a form of insanity. It is also something I have internalized.

I was young and I lived well. I loved deeply. I laughed loudly. I played with enthusiasm. I felt deeply. I contemplated with sincerity. Much of that life has passed. By my estimation, at best, I have lived half my life. It has been good, bad, dull, glorious, painful, charitable, mirthful... ...so many things, and it is largely past. The world I walk through today is not the many times I have lived before. Friends are gone - passed elsewhere to other lives, changed by circumstance, or dead. The pillars of my past are the acquaintances of today, and a once fond acquaintance is my bedrock, my wife. I have passed through many versions of my life and cannot be those lives again. Time eats it all.

Part of me is much like Ren. I look outward and past a Veil looking back at life and knowing it is all gone and more will be gone. Strangely enough, this game allows me to dwell in that space - that observation - in a way I do not allow myself in life. Renfield has died - given up everything and become a tool to ensure the life of others. He feels nothing, but looks out on life and knows it is worth the loss. He is in a constant mourning, and all too familiar with everything that he can no longer have. The aspects of my youth that are further from my reach, or simply not possible for him.

And he celebrates this. To him the life he looks on is not a loss, but a validation of everything that has been and everything he is. He became what he is to defend life itself. Frequently other characters talked about how beautiful the day was, or the area, in a way of consolation for the emotional difficulties presented in the game. Looking out on the most beautiful spring day imaginable (we had such blessed weather) I knew Ren could not actually feel it - he was beyond such appreciation. He recognized warmth and sun and trees... ...but all of it was alien to him as he was alien to life. I did not immediately know how Ren would respond. Finally, after grappling with this on several instances I came to this decision. "It is beautiful. I do not understand this beauty, but it is life, and I know that life is worth everything."

This odd focus on life from beyond life is why I chose this role, I think. I had a panic moment in game because I made a chump mistake. I got a magic item from the kickstarter and we were able to chose which one we wanted. Beyond a nifty small bonus power, each item also carried some personal plot identifier with it. I looked them over and decided to take the undead-sounding one from the corpse-born without double checking the background information. In game, it suddenly hit me, the corpse-born hate the undead. How the heck was I going to explain that?

Well, the group hates the undead because (at least on the surface) they believe that existence is a process of earning life. Philosophically, my character is in live with them. While he does not despise his order of heroic undead, he does loathe the way he must exist - the constant self-horror. He does not blame them for loathing him. Some part of him feels he, and his order, deserves this. So, in my mind I created the scene;

During the war, Ren was fighting with a number of the Veiled against the Ebon Order, and the Corpse-Born ridiculed them from the distance while the Veiled were losing ground and getting cut down. Then, having felled the Veiled, the Ebon Order turned their attention to the Corpse-born and began destroying them. Renfield managed to revive himself and healed those of his Order still in existence and rallied them to save the corpse-born who has treated them with jeers and loathing. He personally healed, many of the corpse-born. He and the other Veiled made sure they and could retreat before the unstoppable force.

But this heroism was not the reason Ren earned their respect. When one of the oler corpse-born asked Ren why he had done such a thing, Ren replied, "I exist purely to serve life. You do not respect us, but you are alive and worth preserving. I would rather cease to be than see life die." It was with this answer that he was given the token of respect from the corpse-born.

Ironically, a simple mistake that caused a bit of confusion helped me define him. Ren is first and foremost a healer. He chose to give up life that it might be preserved. He can not experience the thing he cherishes most, and all other joys - love, delight, indulgence, decadence, humor - these too have been banned. He sits past his life... and he is old, as this game allows players to be capable and physically sprightly despite their age.

Being there, being ancient, and past life... it is something I need to celebrate as I stand on the threshold to my Autumn years and Winter. I am not a young man. I will be an old man. I have seen a lot of life. Life is the cause for itself.

Already, this game is emotionally challenging and deeply philosophic. I am sincerely looking forward to where this game is headed.

More anon...
cristovau: (Fresh)
So, I do have a life outside LARPs, but these games do take up a lot of my social consciousness and thought processes. And I have a question for the masses; What do you use for you core costumes, and where do you get them?

It is always a tricky question for me. Certainly, I like having some major identifying signature items, but a multi-functional or replaceable core outfit is great, too. For Kristoff I played a sort of nifty trick in that I used some of my favorite renaissance shirts (which I could order online) and basic black jeans. That made up a great core outfit and I could get three of each, or replace them as needed. The signature items were my hat, a black suede vest, and a coat. For HAY! I used an inexpensive round collared shirt (period-oid) that I found on a reasonable online dealer, and then tan scrubs for pants. While this core is less versatile than basic black jeans, these were inexpensive and easy to replicate. For Ondrej, I have two old suit jackets, and he wears nice modern clothes - stuff I would enjoy wearing to formal events. That is not a problem at all and is perfectly reused.

Staring down at a 5th Gate campaign, and then Crossover, I am faced again with the challenge of buying a core outfit that is either inexpensive, or reusable mundanely or long term in the SCA and other games. Three outfits is tricky, especially as my 5th gate character may be wearing blue & silver, a combination I do not regularly wear.

What do you all do? Thoughts?

More anon...
cristovau: (Fresh)
Had a good Thanksgiving, despite traffic and poorly devised plans which mostly involved me being stubborn and saying WE-CAN-DO-IT! We did manage, although we were late to the party in New Jersey. Overall, I love that our kids have a sense of the extended family. It doesn’t hurt that I like Bess’ family a lot. We also saw Big Hero 6. It was awesome and I loved it. This might be one we have to own.

I spent part of yesterday (between taking calls at work) working on Ondrej Vlk’s family history. I have a family tree and a few additional stories. I hope to submit this addition by the end of the week. It is curious because I seem to be painting him much more sympathetic than I originally envisioned. This might be because I have already played him longer than expected? In any case, I like his background more now, and some of his history that he has been telling people might be exaggerations.

In similar LARP news, I have been poking my build for 5th Gate. Now that a teammate is taking on the role of Heart of the Warband, I am focusing on being a big damn caster. The more I play with the build, the more my card gets confusing as hell. I had hoped to keep it simple, but now I have at least two skills for each statistic and a pool of per event statistics to share on my skills just in case. It makes sense, and is a good build that will allow me to throw a lot of uncalled packets (and 3 back-up thrown weapons because at 1CP why not?) but it won’t be easy to keep track of all my skills and incants and stuff. AGAIN! If, for some reason, I pick up Heart of the Warband later, the build will be good for that as well. Most of my utility comes from having a big pool of uncalled packets. This is good by me because, on reflection, my main advantage as a packet chucker is that my throwing arm has excellent range. Being able to throw over our defensive line into a cluster of foes will be too much fun and I can enjoy doing that ALL DAY. Plus, the Necromancer header (with a slice of Dead Speaker) will provide a lot of great role-play possibilities. I suspect that I will end up taking Heart of the Warband as I build my character and we realize we need another war band, but I will let that form organically in game. It is a relief to dial back down to two headers. Also? The off-hand weapon skill for the Necromancer does not specify the type of weapon being held, just the material (bone). This means I could be a caster with a pole-arm or a two-hander, which, you know, is a complete weapon form. Not that staff isn’t, but pole arm is even cooler… and bone? If I do this right, it will look AWESOME!

Cottington Woods is coming up, and I am excited for the ball. I ordered a tailcoat on EBAY and it is not quite right. It is too nice for HAY! So, I am stuck with the dilemma, do I mess it up a bit and add patches, or do I keep it for other LARP uses? Part of me just wants to make HAY! a much more awkward coat. Maybe I can make a quick mock up for a tailcoat, and make it in some rough fabric, and use that mock up for HAY! It is a thought. Who knew doing too well on Ebay was a problem?

With the holidays coming up, I am horribly off for getting presents. I have a few ideas, but I will need to wait for my next payday (Dec 9) to pursue these. My budgeting in 2014 has been HORRIBLE! I must get this under control next year.

More anon…
cristovau: (Fresh)
So, my calender is pretty much LARP-centric lately, and will be next year. Do not be surprised if this LJ becomes largely a forum for LARP topics. One of those things. Next year? Here is what I got...

APRIL
10-12 Cottington Woods (and missing Occams Razor, drat conflicts)
17-19 Shadows of Amun
MAY
1-3 Fifth Gate (I am not playing this - okay, I might be)
8-10 Bess goes to Clockwork Skies to NPC
15-17 Occams Razor
22-24 Shadows of Amun (Memorial Day weekend. conflict with Aralis CLOSER - SADface)
29-31 Bess goes to 5th Gate
JUNE
5-7 Cottington Woods (Bess misses Clockwork Skies)

(SUMMER BREAK?)

SEPTEMBER
4-6 I go to 5th Gate
11-13 Clockwork Skies for Bess
18-20 Cottington Woods
25-27 Shadows of Amun
OCTOBER
2-4 Bess at 5th Gate
9-11 Bess at Clockwork Skies
16-18 SHADOWS OF AMUN
23-25 COTTINGTON WOODS ENDS!
31- Occams Razor
NOVEMBER
20-22 OCCAMS RAZOR
DECEMBER 4-6 FIFTH GATE (ALL THE PLAYERS)

So, for four games each, and 5 total, there is only 1 conflict for me, and 1 conflict for Bess. That is pretty amazing. Also, CRAZY

More anon...

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