What’s the time?

That’s right kiddies, it’s time for another instalment of everyone’s favorite program, “Gav talks about his mental health!”

So, what’s been happening to me? *deep intake of breath* BRUCE DICKINSON OF IRON MAIDEN ANSWERED A QUESTION OF MINE. IT WAS A DUMB QUESTION, BUT IT WAS MINE AND HE ANSWERED IT.  Sorry for the shouting, but as a Maiden fan for more than half my life, that meant a lot to me. To explain: Bruce was out here promoting his book and put on a show about it, followed by a Q&A. Everyone who bought a ticket got a signed copy of the book (I HAVE SOMETHING HE TOUCHED) and a bit of paper you put your name and question on, which got put into a tub. Word has it they got shuffled around and chosen randomly, and mine was one of the ones he answered! So, I’ve heard from the man himself: His stage clothes do not have an online store, they are a gift from God. Words can’t quite capture just how happy that made me, but I’m slightly gutted that my wife wasn’t there to see it. (She likes seeing me happy, surprisingly)

I ran 8 sessions of Flash Gordon at Phenomenon and, I like to think, did pretty damn well at it. 8 tables of happy players, and from what I heard, more than a few people excitedly comparing notes post session. I’m happier with some sessions, which always happens, but overall think they went well. Warms the heart and fires the blood it does, which is needed to push through the tired. I felt, well, appreciated running for them, in a way I’ve not felt for a while now. There was communication from the orgs, support and encouragement both online and off, all very useful things for a GM who’s more than a bit nervous at his first interstate con. Didn’t hurt that everyone who sat down at the table understood the sort of event I was running (A cheap BBC 1970’s serial, complete with jokes about crappy props and wobbly sets) and ran with it full pelt. I’m hoping to stay longer next year, to make the post con drinks and lunch afterwards. Also, to book the week off afterwards to sleep. I’m not as young as I once was and it really takes it out of you.

Oh, there were stories. Many stories, some cracking jokes and some truly harrowing puns. Ask me in person and I’ll recite some. But the one I’ll tell here is involves a team called the Dragon Ladies, 4 11-13 year old girls. I’d volunteered to run for them, as I only had 2 other players in that session, and while I normally run for 5, I had 6 PC’s so why not? I was bloody petrified, as it was my first session at the con, and running for children is something I don’t have much experience with. I didn’t have to worry a bit, as within seconds they got it. I’ll try to describe my favorite moment. To set the scene – the PC’s have boarded the first passenger vessel between Earth and Mongo, and things are getting trippy as they move between Earth and Mongo space.
ME: “The stars start to swirl, as the sky dazzles with kaleidoscopic colours. Eruptions of light and colour float through the skies. A strange blue box flies past you.”
DRAGON LADIES, in unison: “TARDIS?”
ME: Followed by a phone booth…
Seeing the looks on their faces was priceless and I’d happily run for them again. It took no small amount of willpower not to give them trophies right there. Speaking of that, I might have found my new schtick – smallgoods. I’d mentioned on the blurb there’d be prized for Biggest Ham and Largest Cheese, and as such, procured ham and cheese to give away. Prizegiving seemed to find this incredibly amusing, as did the winners of said prizes. (I overheard “Let’s make a sandwich” between them as they walked back to their seats) To all who played my humble event, I salute you and look forward to next year.

Alas, post con comes the post con crash, and this one hit hard. I knew something was really up when watching Tick Fucking Tock the day after the con ended and almost weeping. There’s a part in Episode 1 where Paul Livingstone’s playing The Auld Triangle acoustically and I nearly broke. I cry pretty much at the drop of a hat, as anyone who’s known me for more than 10 minutes can testify to, but this wasn’t the regular sort of thing. Emotion has frequently been a boom or bust thing for me, as much as I may hope to regulate it. The little things pile up and all looks bleak, with only the small rays of sunshine to light the way. Some days you’re the windshield, and somedays you’re the bug. Or, to quote my favorite author, gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth…

There’s been other events that have messed with me, that I’m still coming to terms with. So, I had a dentist appointment that didn’t exactly go to plan, and I’m staring down the barrel of some pretty heavy dentistry. Who knew self medicating for depression and stress, combined with the attendant lack of self care and dental hygeine, for the better part of 4 years would be rubbish for your teeth? Explaining that at Sunday dinner with the in-laws wasn’t part of the plan either, but what’s done is done. As a result of that (And to save money to pay the dentist bill) I’ve cut sugar as much as I can out of my life, and that’s a bastard of a thing. Given that it was something of a mood stabilizer for me, seeing that last Tim Tam on the table, sitting there uneaten, taunting me, has made me want to scream “SOMEBODY FUCKING EAT IT OR I’LL KILL YOU ALL” more than once.

I’ve even found myself comparing ingredients on chips to see which has less sugar, something I never thought I’d do. On the bright side, I’ve lost weight to the point my wedding ring is loose at times, so some good has come from this. There’s also the wanting to go out and do stuff again, like using swords and bows! Alas my regular LARP isn’t running at the moment, as I have a shiny new rapier (that I’m fucking rubbish at using) to play with. I’ve had my fill of trying to play anti-heros or scoundrels, and just want to swash my buckle – is that so bad?

Look, it’s rather late, and I really should be sleeping, so I’ll wind this up. Thank you as always dear readers, for your indulgence. I’m going to leave you with some advice, some of the finest advice I can hope to give. 4 simple words, that will improve your lives no end.

LISTEN TO BLACK SABBATH.

Be seeing you…

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ROOOOOOOOTS BLOODY ROOOOOOTS

Max and Iggor Cavalera / Skindred, Sydney Big Top Sep 22 2017.

Sepultura’s album Roots holds a special place in my heart, as what helped expand the visions of what metal could be, sending me down a different path. True, it didn’t eclipse my burgeoning love for all things Iron Maiden, but that passion was both A: in it’s infancy and B: still something of a guilty pleasure for me, a feeling that took me a good few years to openly embrace. Given the nature and ferocity of their split, or rather frontman Max Cavalera’s split from the rest of the band, I’d long figured I’d have had no chance of seeing the songs performed live. True, Max had reunited with Sepultara drummer (and brother) Iggor in 2006 and formed Cavalera Conspiracy, among Max’s numerous other projects, but when it was annouced the two brothers would be touring the Roots album in full, well, I was there. The fact ragga metallers Skindred would be supporting them was less the icing on the cake for me, and more the cake itself. Sure, it did seem a little akward to be keener on the support than the headline, but I figure support bands deserve love all, right?

I trundle my way down to the venue, check in my bag and already curse both the venue’s no steel cap shoe policy and my being raised Lawful Good. *sighs* I make my way to the front early, wanting to be right up there for Skindred, and after an epic wait, the strains of the Imperial March ring out and the band hit stage. Singer Benji Webbe, sunglass clad and impossibly cool, climbs up on the monitors, Under Attack kicks off and my head begins to thrash. They put on an impeccably cheerful set, freely admitting that they’re here to get people warmed up for Max and co, but in no way slacking off because of it. Kill the Power has the audience roaring, Machine (From the then forthcoming new album) howls like a banshee and we end Warning with the now traditional Newport Helicopter. The cheeky gits even leave the stage to a burst of Nobody Does it Better

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Benji Webbe – LORD OF ALL HE SURVEYS.

After putting my shirt back on, I vacate the mosh pit in search of food and drink. And safety – I have what could be charitably called a piss poor tolerance for pain, and I can see the size of the people behind me. Making my way to safety (AKA the upstairs seating), I settle in for the main event. Anticipation builds, the mosh pit grows even more frenzied and the they hit stage. what can I say about Max, other than he looks just like someone who’d give you a quest in a post apolyptic RPG. He grabs the mic, bellows “ARE YOU READY? ROOTS, BLOODY ROOOOOTS” and we’re off. Goddamn, I’d almost forgotten how hard that song hits, and I can barely draw breath. Attitude has the crowd roaring, and Cut Throat is extraordinary, to say nothing of the look of awe on my face at hearing Ratamahatta played live. Things slow down a little mid set , but picks up with a storming Endangered Species and album closer Dictatorshit. I’m lathered in sweat and ragged and 16 year old me can’t believe what he’s just seen. The encore of a medley of early Sepultura goes down a treat, as does covers of Venom’s Black Metal and Motorhead’s Ace of Spades, ending with a reprise of Roots, Bloody Roots.


See, I have proof!

Alas, none of my photos of the headliners turned out OK, and I don’t remember who the rest of the band were, though their moves came straight from the ‘Big Book of Metal Stage Moves’, complete with wide stance and head bob. But I can’t bring myself to mock much, given the faces I’ve pulled while playing Guitar Hero over the years.

As we shamble out into the night, battered, only slightly bleeding (Small cur on the finger, nothing to worry about) and very happy, I once again think just how much I love live music. There’s nothing like it.

MAIDENS! *clapclapclap*

A long overdue review of the Iron Maidens/Gypsy gig, Sydney Manning Bar 31/05/18.

It’s a cold and breezy night in Sydney, not a night to be kilted, as I am. *ahem* After an interesting amount of bus and foot travel, I arrive as Gypsy are ripping through Kiss’s I Stole Your Love, and continue in that vein, playing a set chock full of NWOBHM inspired rock, culminating in a blast through Judas Priest’s Steeler to close. They certainly put their all into things, and while the mid set bubble gun and balloons don’t set the audience alight as perhaps hoped, they deserve an audience that’s keen to see them, and not just the headliners. With a loud cry of “We’re Gypsy and we’ll see you at the merch desk!” they depart, and the wait for the headliners begins.

20180531_212228Sooty and Maiden go way back.

Thus begins the change over, during which I notice the Maiden’s drum kit features Sooty (As is customary) and an already rather inebriated man next to me tries to claim that since it’s his birthday I should buy him a drink. No mate, not happening. Nor do I care for the busty lady in photoshopped ‘I love thrash metal’ shirt wallpaper on your phone you keep trying to show me, nor indeed the large amount of wolf whistling from the crowd during the Maiden’s set. Really people? Moving on…

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SCREAM FOR HER SYDNEY!

After what seems like an eternity (Actually about 40 mins), the strains of UFO’s Doctor Doctor (As covered by Blaze Bayley era Maiden) rings out and the Maidens take the stage. Churchill’s speech begins, and we’re off with a bang as Aces High takes off! Yeah, I went there. We get a set chock full of classic era (The youngest song is from 1992) hits with a couple more obscure numbers thrown in (I don’t think anyone expected The Duelists) and whilst I was hoping for Wrathchild, seeing Alexander the Great done live was quite the treat – Steve Harris rhyming ‘334BC’ with ‘Aegean Sea’ still makes me smile. I almost turned in my fan card at discovering what I’d thought was Children of the Damned turned out to be Murders in the Rue Morgue, but in my defense both songs intros do sound a little bit alike. A giant cyborg Eddie takes the stage during Wasted Years and we end with a huge sing-along to Fear of the Dark, with, what else but Iron Maiden as the encore.

Do you call them a covers band? Well, yeah, they aren’t playing original material. But what shines through is their genuine love for the music and an incredible amount of skill at it – Maiden themselves haven’t played Alexander live. It was a hell of a night, and I hope they return soon.

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Photo from the Iron Maidens Twitter. I’m somewhere down the bottom left.

SET LIST:
Churchill’s Speech / Aces High
2 Minutes to Midnight
22 Acacia Avenue
The Trooper
The Duelists
Number of the Beast
Alexander the Great
Murders in the Rue Morgue
Wasted Years
Children of the Damned
Fear of the Dark
ENCORE:
Iron Maiden

Long time.

So yeah, been a while.

Stuff.

What’s happening? Not much. Work, gaming, laundry and sleep. The odd concert or show. I’ve a pile of half written reviews and posts that writer’s block has been getting in the way of. My mental health contines to pinball around, but the highs are relatively high, and the lows aren’t as low, which is pretty bloody lovely. Progress is progress.

My latest con game had it’s first playtest recently, and went well. It was a hell of a thing, as my brain and my GM’ing havent felt as if they’ve been working in unison of late, but more on that later. Anyhow, some stuff to do on that one, a few tweaks and adjustments. I’ll likely playtest it again before Pheno, to see how the changes work and get a bit more XP under the belt. It’s been fun to write, which has been a welcome change of late. Productivity in that area is useful, but still somewhat frustrating, as every time I try to write more stuff for the Conan LARP I ran a couple sessions of last year I want to put my fist through my monitor with frustration. Hello writer’s block, my old nemesis.

I’m increasingly of the mind that I should just run one shots every few months and bounce around settings and genres. Given how my ideas range about the shop, trying to stick to one settting after that initial burst of enthusiasm has faded is tricky. I’ve had issues writing sequels to my tabletops in the past, so this might be for the best. Realizing this, oh, a year and a half back might have been fucking useful as well, but better late than never. I enjoyed running Hyborian, it taught me that I can run something, but that I need more help and deadlines. On the bright side, I’m working on something of a freeform nature, of which I won’t reveal large details of (For once) but I’ll say this: I want to run it on a beach and I’ve been browsing Etsy for a tricorn hat. Make of that what you will.

The other big change has been the cancellation of the Star Wars game I’ve been running. Alas Team Fish Nipples is no more. There’s a variety of reasons, but mostly is that’s it’s become something I’m not enjoying. It’s not that it wasn’t fun, and my players certainly seemed to be enjoying things (My main critieria for running games), but I was getting increasingly cranky at them, and they don’t deserve that. I got all inspired by Rogue One, and my players went more in that direction than I was expecting or comfortable with. I don’t blame them at all – it’s my fault for not setting the tone and expectations in the first place, and they deserve no end of thanks from me, as I’ve said previously.  I still want to run for them, as they’re a lot of fun to run for but I don’t know what yet. I’d rather not announce it yet until I have a setting and campaign set up. I certainly have ideas, but I’m experimenting with fully developing them, having a campaign plan, authority figure NPC’s who are happy to see them – shit I haven’t always done before.

So yeah, I’ll try and clear the backlog of pieces, or at least post most often.  Thank you for your patience and indulgence.

 

 

Your Kung Fu’s alright eh? Right mate, carpark!

So, for those of you keeping track of my terrible game ideas, well, I’ve had another one. Prompted in part by an old idea (Wanting to set a Feng Shui game in Australia), reading the blog Ninja’s all the Way Down* and a recent viewing of Hercules Returns (Which none of the cast and crew at the post film Q&A had seen in 25 years), I present you thus:

AUSTRALIAN NINJA: ENTER THE YOBBO.

A 1 session 5 player game that uses the Feng Shui system.

With nothing more than that I’ve already had 4 people I know go “Yep, will play.” I’m not sure what that says about my reputation in local gaming circles, but whatever it is I’m happy about it. Maybe even a little proud.

For those wanting more info, I don’t have any. Well, outside of one character’s equipment list will have ‘Hotted up Ford’ and ‘Complete works of AC/DC’ and I want to stage the final fight on the Harbour Bridge. I’m tempted to add a cliffhanger where a fleet of Kiwi accented pirates sail into Sydney Harbour for no readily apparent reason other than it amused me, but I seem to be on a pointlessly obscure cliffhanger kick at the moment (For example, the cliffhanger/epilogue to my last convention game used Iron Maiden lyrics as flavour text).

Plot? What? I did have an idea of going full Godfrey Ho – take a regular Australian film’s plotline, add ninja’s, and then redub the whole mess. I don’t remember much of Moulin Rogue and I never saw Australia, but I’m fairly certain both could be improved by random ninja attacks, much in the same way there’s no film that couldn’t be improved by having Bill and Ted appear halfway through.**

So yes, that’s another game for the list. I’ll chuck it on the pile and now that it’s out in the public eye and try to get back to the stuff I should be writing first. For example,  I just submitted an idea for Pheno and whilst it’s not been accepted yet, more work on it is a good thing.

Be seeing you…

*Don’t trust me? Read their review of Ninja Terminator.
** There’s films that don’t need to be improved, but that still could be.

Black Panther. (Spoiler free)

So, Black Panther. Bloody fantastic. I’m keen to see it again, not just so I won’t be badly needing to pee during the second half, and to try to pick up on some of the dialogue I missed. (I’m a suburban white guy from the North Shore of Sydney – there were words here and there I didn’t catch) I can understand how that’s been as lauded as it is, how it’s inspired so many people. The fact they made an origin story that also wasn’t one was even more impressive. As said previously, I’m a white kid who’s never been oppressed in his life* so my laughter at a white character being addressed as ‘coloniser’ also contained more than a little bit of awkwardness, like a good round of Cards Against Humanity.

I’m keeping things vague to avoid spoilers, so here’s what I can say. Wakanda is bloody gorgeous and the costuming and design teams deserve all the awards they can get. I remain incredibly happy this wasn’t the film they screwed up (Because sooner or later one’s going to be terrible, and not on an Iron Man 2 or Thor: The Dark World scale). I believe a sequel has been all but confirmed already, and I’m already waiting impatiently for it. It’s tricky – I want to see more of this group of heroes, but post Infinity War I’d like to see others get the limelight.

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And I want that sleeveless outer robe in my wardrobe, please.

The fight choreo camera work wasn’t to my tastes, bit too much juggly cam in places, but not too much – like they accidentally added a pinch of Michael Bay to the recipe. Don’t get me wrong, it fits with the story they and each character has their own style, but it’s occasionally tricky to work out what’s going on. Still, many points to the stunt team and fight arrangers – the last 20 years have seen some amazing advances in those fields. It wasn’t till Fellowship of the Ring that I saw fight work where each culture felt different to each other, but I’ll stop now otherwise I’ll just keep talking about swords till the cows come home.

And now I guess my thoughts must turn to Infinity War. To prepare myself for the scale of the thing, to enter in the almost certain knowledge that characters I’ve been watching for almost a decade may well perish. To hope the CG on Thanos has improved from the trailer. To once again hear Alan Silvestri’s Avengers theme and feel the effect it has on me, that being wanting to stand on a mountaintop posing like I’m in a Frank Frazetta painting. Seriously, listen to this – the pertinent part starts about 2:25 in, but the whole thing is worth listening to for the buildup. How does that crescendo not stir the blood, to make your hands itch for an absurdly over sized weapon and your body almost involuntarily pose like you’re on the cover of a Manowar album?

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OTHER BANDS PLAY. MANOWAR KILL.

But look, no matter how much I may speculate, try to guess plot details and look forward to the film, my brain keeps coming back to one thing, and one thing alone.

Chris Evans with a beard. Daaaaammmmnnnn.

I’d always thought he was a bit too pretty for my tastes (The only permanent residents in my man crush list are Liam Neeson** and Nathan Fillion), but I guess I’ve a new addition. I might be starting to understand what my wife felt at that first image of Chris Hemsworth, shirt all damp, arms straining to lift Mjolnir. Ahem. I think I’ve said enough for the time being.

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Just keep running towards me, it’s OK…

Be seeing you…

*Not being allowed to see Masters of the Universe at age 7 doesn’t count. Besides, the films far, far funnier watching as an adult.
**The bit in Rob Roy when he comes out of the lake and wraps his kilt around his waist just in time, I don’t care what side your bread’s buttered on – WOOF.

 

Far over the Misty Mountains cold…

Far over, the Misty Mountains cold,
To dungeons deep, and caverns old.
We must away, ere break of day,
To find the pale, enchanted gold.

So, given recent faffing about concerning possible new LARP characters, a decision has been made: I’m going Dwarven. I have the beard, a (LARP safe) hammer and find Elves irritating, so how could I not? This leaves a lot of things to work out and/or find  – the name I’m leaving for a while, as I’ve always had trouble with them. For the moment I’m looking at costume and background. Costume wise, I want a lot. This involves digging through reference material and Google Images, which is, as you can imagine, an ardous task*. I have issues with the Hobbit films, but the art direction and costume work is fantastic. Well, mostly – I was never sold on Bifur having an axe stuck in his forehead or Nori’s hairdo**. Their cultural work is gorgeous – there’s a clear difference between each of the races, rather than simply throwing a costume on an actor and telling them to do an accent.

The basic costume concept is pinched from The Hobbit films, mostly Thorin. I love that fur trimmed open robe thing (Stuffed if I know what the actual term for it is) and the general look of his outfit, but I don’t want to copy the thing directly. Lose the armour, drop the fur from the outer robe (Seriously, what is the thing called?) and add a hood for starters. I’ve got jewellery I’m looking at and I’ve almost decided what adornments my beard will have (No, I’m still not letting you put plastic Christmas baubles in it). Also, there needs to be summer and winter weight versions, or adaptability thereof, switching out an outer robe etc. I’m wanting layers, outer robe thing, tunic, belt, maybe a baldric. Oh, the paralysis of options…

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That sleeveless robe thing – what the hell is it called?

As for weaponry, I’ve the hammer and that’ll be it till I can get enough XP to buy shield use. Won’t be the first time I’ve hampered myself combat wise for story purposes, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. I’d experiment further with two-weapon fighting, but I’m even more rubbish at that. The Hybrid Dwarven sword that Epic Armoury makes is very pretty though… Armour (at first) will be thanks to magic, which means I don’t have to wear the stuff, which is pleasing in the Australian summer. I do want a few things to bulk out the outfit though -bracers and greaves, with maybe extra padding underneath there (Under the rules of the system you have to take an ability to make armour count, otherwise it’s just decoration). Heavy leather most likely – Darkblade make a decent looking and relatively affordable set of gauntlets. It can’t be soon enough, given the amount of smacks to the hands I take.

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See, told you it was pretty didn’t I?

Background wise, he’s a blacksmith, but has the skill to forge magic items. So, wizard abiities, but not the boom spell throwing kind. As for why he’s come to the game area, I’m uncertain, but looking towards wanting to improve his skills, maybe to craft something for the Dragon Throne. It’s not much, but it’s a start. Item creation costs XP so it’ll be a while, but it’s nice to have goals to look forward to. Also, I’ve only got the one weapon proficiency, so it’ll be a few games before can use a shield. I’ve the feeling I’m going to lose more fights than I win, but I’m used to that. The stats I have are wavering between fighter and wizard being the main focus, but wizard seems to be winning. I can’t promise I won’t use a Scots accent (Or what I do that passes for one), but that casts a long shadow over Dwarven kind. (I remember doing a Scots accent when I first played a Dwarf back in high school, way back in the mid 90’s – I blame Games Workshop.) There’s other little things I’ve been comtemplating – fighting style, reactions to other races and even walking. May not sound like much, but a Dwarf’s going to walk differently to an Elf. Heavy boots and a rolling tread.

Which leads us to why he’s come to the game site. I’d like a better excuse than ‘I have a roaving foot’ – the old ‘highborn wanting to marry lowborn’ or vice versa cliche isn’t bad, nor is the ‘exiled for political reasons’ one. I like the idea of being a staunch traditionalist, hectoring any other Dwarves in game to be more Dwarfy. A bit more fussy, more than the steroetypical short Viking/Glasweigan. Enough there to identify as a Dwarf, but more depth than the bottom of a glass, unlike a lot of my previous characters..

Enough for now. More to follow.

*Also, going through YouTube looking for power metal covers of Over the Misty Mountains Cold.
**There’s moments I’m not sure what’s in the water at Weta Workshop. Somethings they do beautifully (Hobbiton), and other things go down like a cup of cold sick (I’m pretty sure that Legolas got more screen time and dialogue than at least three of the Dwarves).

Two more ticks on the list

I love live music. True, there’s a joy to a recording, but for me nothing can beat being there. Being amidst the sweat, split beer (and occasionally blood) is an experience like no other. There’s a joy to it I can’t quite explain- it’s one of those “If you aren’t there you won’t get it” sort of things. Or maybe it’s that I take music as serioously as a heart attack. Anyhow, I got to tick off two entries on the musical bucket list I have last night.

1: Getting to see the Celibate Rifles perform Ocean Shore live. Utterly hypnotic.
2: Holding my wife as the Sunnyboys played Alone With You. There were quite a few tears, mostly mine. I’d spent years thinking I’d never get to see them live, as when they originally split I wasn’t yet in school. Last night they were less a band, more a group of people who genuninely love these songs and were ecstatic to play them infront of an audience. And for those who left after the first encore, you missed The Seeker. The house lights aren’t up, you don’t leave.

Left with a t-shirt and the Rifles latest live album – it seemed rude not to, given one of their guitarists was working at the merch desk.  🙂 Hell of a night.

A Questing we shall go! Soonish!

Overkill by Motorhead is a damn near perfect song. It took me a long time to appreciate it (As a teen my main issue was that it wasn’t Stone Dead Forever), but as I’ve been heavily into their back catalogue owing to the recent death of former guitarist ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke, some critical reappraisal has been due. Philthy’s warp speed double bass drumming, Lemmy’s bass as rhythm guitar and Eddie leaning back into the outro solo, his body almost held up in the air by what’s pouring out of the speakers, it’s enough to bring a tear to the eye.

Anyhow, getting back to LARP related stuff. I’d been toying with the idea of going to Swordcraft Quest (A week long LARP in Victoria) for some time, and having a little extra cash in the pocket from recent convention work, I thought I’d investigate further. A week of gaming, of meeting new people, talking with them in a (possibly) terrible accent, trying to kill them and being killed in return sounds fantastic. Also, camping. Well, there’s a downside to everything. 🙂 Transports tricky though, being in regional Victoria and good incentive for me to get my license. Again. Do I carpool there and train back, or vice versa? Taking the train home does give me the advantage of time to myself, well time with headphones. I’m not a massive fan of crowds, and generally need time to sit in a cave by myself (So to speak), following large events.

The venue the next events at though, Kryal Castle, means there’s both public transport access and dorm room accomodation. Win! Frustration at trying to find more info on the format of the event followed, not helped by their website. I suspect much trawling through Facebook will ensue, or some polite badgering and buying drinks in thanks for friends of mine who’ve gone in previous years. What ensued was my typical mighty enthusiasm followed swiftly by a budget based freakout. What calmed me (Aside from my wife), was the realisation that they run another Quest later in the year, around the school holidays in September. Thankfully, this shouldn’t clash with the Phenomenon convention, which a friend has challenged me to run The Savage Worlds of Flash Gordon at, to which my response was something alone the lines of *twirls mustache* ‘Pathetic Earthlings, who can save you now?’

The September event also gives me more time to plan kit, grow my beard ever mightier, decide what warband to fight with (Or generate a small one of our own, as a housemate is also keen to come play) and prepare. Also time for me to relax, not freak out at the possibilities, and to find out what’s there apart from combat. My wife isn’t a fan of LARP combat (Or as I put it ‘words are her weapons’), while I enjoy a good scrap. Finding an event that indulges both of us, well, that’s the hope.

Now, with the convention further away, I have some cash in my pocket that’s burning hotter than Mustafar. What do I do with it? Armour? Shield? A swooshy cloakBaggy trousers? Whatever I buy, I want to make sure I’m going to use it, and that means actually deciding what character/s I want to take, not coming up with eleventy million terrible ideas, something I’ve long been fantastic at. There is one thing I’m set on though: beard rings*. But which ones? The Mjolnir and Jormangandr ones appeal the most, given my beard is mighty and may well bring about Ragnarok. 🙂 I’m also keen to get a couple of skulls to put in braids in my hair, but that’s more a legacy from my love of Warhammer 40,000.

There’s another more sensible option though – in place of spending large amounts of cash on postage, follow my wife to Spotlight and buy patterns and fabric so she can make it. Saves on postage and I get another chance to brag. “Who made this? My wife did.” A friend has also offered to make me a swooshy purple cloak. I know awesome people.

At the moment though, the main idea is green. Yep, Orcs. That might be owing to seeing this recently, which would (hopefully) help negate the number of crotch shots I take in combat. Yes, I know I should be faster and/or wear a box, but these things still happen. I also need to get my boots resoled, which I’m betting won’t be cheap. Prosthetics and makeup will be involved, but I’ve got time to practise. I’m tempted to go full barbarian in leather and fur, but that orc swashbuckler idea I’ve had kicking around is tempting as well. That would fit more with my less than mighty physique as well. *ponders* Too many ideas and not enough games!

* To those of you who suggest putting plastic baubles in my beard every Christmas, I have a word for you: NO. My beard is not for things bright and cheerful, but shall be adorned only by silver, bronze and the blood of my enemies!**

** Or as my wife knows it, the remnants of my breakfast Milo.

Momentum, or lack of it.

So, after some months I managed to recently return to my local LARP, Clans of Elgardt,  and things went… eh. Nothing to do with the admins (Who had plot going to get my PC back in to things), the game continues to be fun, but more the feeling that thanks to the break any momentum I had with my character has gone up in smoke. Sure, there’s the part that he didn’t have much motivation to begin with, short of coin and violence (In common with a lot of player characters), but in a world where virtually everyone is some flavour of dodgy (From thief to necromancer and in between), is there a point to trying to be more evil? Honestly, it’s like being in the black metal scene somedays. That’s probably a bit too harsh, but in a setting seemingly awash with evil, playing someone good seems more interesting, more of a challenge. I like that idea of that.

So, the mind turns to new character ideas. As usual, I’m awash in terrible ideas, some of which I shall detail below.
1: Halfling political agitator. (I blame one of my housemates)
2: Noble idiot. Flashily dressed, fancy weapons. While ordinarily my politics lean towards eat the rich*,  I like to think I play well intentioned upper class idiot very well. And I could wear a very swooshy cloak!**
3: Dwarven craftsmen. Well, my beard continues to get more Dwarven daily and while there’s a lot of boom spells being thrown around, I haven’t seen much crafting of items. Find a gap in the market and fill it.
4: Cleric. It’s been years since I’ve played one, though none of the setting’s gods really called out to me.
5: Lawman. More Sam Vimes than Joe Dredd (Adding a dash of Gene Hunt might be a bit too much). I’d like to be able to talk to other PC’s, and not them have just yell “It’s the fuzz!” and run. I’m sure that’ll happen at some point, but I like the idea of the contrast with the rest of the setting. Slightly amused at the idea of giving him a name something like Thorvald Thorvaldson, in gentle homage (If you could call it that) to one of the NSW Police’s finest. That’s the most recent one that’s buzzing through my head, with variations on it (Should he be an Orc or a Human? Or go half and half? Either way, he won’t be an Elf.***) still undecided.

Now, the fact that I bought a new warhammer over the weekend at CanCon (And am looking at armour and a shield) leans more towards the Dwarf or the Lawman, but I’m sure I’ll have a pile more ideas in the next few days.  Mostly I want to make sure that I’ve got a character with personality and who fits with the setting, something I’ve a long history of not doing. I’m easily distracted by a shiny new idea, bit of kit, or weapon, what with my recent interest in learning to use a spear mostly prompted by a re-read of The Illiad.  I’m hoping for a more fleshed out persona, something that’s going to be fun to continue to play for more than one session, unlike a past faction idea called The Butchers, where we fought with cleavers and machetes and carried a bag filled with steak and sausages to try to sell to people, like a pack of hyper violent CMOT Dibblers. Someday I’ll use that idea, but as a one-off.

More to follow soon.

*I consider myself a Marxist and proud of it. Groucho, that is.
** Some LARP for the drama. I LARP for the costume.
*** I didn’t use to hate Elves, then I saw the Hobbit films. Smug pointy eared self important gits, taking valuable screen time that the Sons of Durin richly deserved. Plus, that bit with Legolas running up falling masonry was complete shit.