Before anyone goes off on the usual Jedi propaganda rant, I'd like to point out that the whole damn Jedi order presided over a 5-millenium "republic" with zero innovation, and rather a lot of slavery. The Sith by contrast - an organization consisting of two people - pushed massive technological leaps in one generation. Of course the only ones you hear about are clone troopers, star destroyers and death star(s), and lightsabres other than a single blade, but which side is writing those movies? Also: think of the peacetime applications! Cloned organs, cities in space reducing ecological footprints (do you want your planet to turn into another Coruscant?), and the ability to supply the entire galaxy with its mining needs with just one planet blown up every decade or so! Oh, and lightsaber-based food processors and lawnmowers.

And you can join at any age, and are allowed to love.


Actually, the non-satirical reason is that I can project myself onto a fictional character who is moved by her shadow, in touch with her id. Playing KOTOR, I realized that Lucas's good vs. evil barely holds up if you take long enough to think about it, and the Jedi are better at looking good than doing good. They are incapable of making real change. They are feel-good in-activism presented as glory. They are the state's dictum that legitimate agency in opposition to injustice starts at calm dialogue, moves into sign-carrying, and stops at passive resistance. All other forms of making change have been ruled out, cast into the shadow.

From there, both personally and politically, in projecting myself onto the "bad guy" within this narrative context, I can enter into dialogue with the parts of myself forced out of conscious acceptance (i.e. into the shadow), weigh them and give the parts that I like time to develop within a safe fictional shell. I do this with larp characters, and can separate those impulses which I fear into those I have and can/should use, those that I have and should only direct outwards when in a safe place while keeping in compassionate awareness for when I see other people living them, and those which I merely fear that I have. From this, I have learned: I can present in a dorky feminine fashion without the world ending; had, in the past, survivor guilt that I needed to acknowledge; I intuitively understand why people would submit to a tyrannical regeime but should only exercise that in my actual politics so as to fight that impulse in real life; and am basically, even when playing an awful person, motivated by fixing the world. 
I'm emailing you for a reason that I don't normally email people. I'm weirdly pissed-off after a few larp incidents in the last week. I emphasize *weirdly* as opposed to "really." The incidents started with the last Changeling game, continued on through trying to talk things out with Craig (nothing bad happened, it just relates to the below), and capped off with a not-very-successful conversation about Werewolf, and changes in gaming both mechanical and surrounding race, and how acknowledging these might assist in increasing the player base.
What's weird is that it's just been eating at me, and I keep think I've done the final private vent-to-myself, and I've even written a couple polemics, but I keep feeling angry. I guess I feel like I'm butting up against exactly the same problems in larp that I've seen repeatedly over the last seventeen years - at the same time as one of my favorite games (LutLL) closed down. Which was also tied into a process I started in therapy, which is creating some other weird feelings. The problems seem to run as follows.
(1) I realize that while a few multiple-game PCs I had left play voluntarily, most of the characters I've seen removed from play followed the same pattern - I tried to introduce some moral ambiguity or microcultural change into the game, and another character killed them as part of enforcing what said cahracter saw as an obvious moral system.
(2) I keep having the same unsuccessful conversation with STs about adapting improv and storygame principles. I actually started to get buy in from one recently who stated that one of J's birthday games was one of the best larp experiences he'd ever had, then spun around and got back to focusing on starting a WW troupe game.
(3) And, well, werewolf came out the year I started gaming and it hasn't changed. Even the revised 2nd ed larp book version seems to have more interest in small mechanical changes than addressing its shit.
So I applaud L's attempt to break the Cam monopoly with a game about interpersonal politics, but right now, for me, changing this hobby/medium that I love, or even creating space for alternatives feels frustratingly hard, like every out is blocked by some extra problem.
That's all I got. 


Apr. 16th, 2015 01:25 am
Two characters, both near and dear to me. Chris and Emily. A scruffy, ethical contract-killer and staunch defender of friends, even when they barely understand human beings. And a chirpy, energetic science nerd, full of optimism. One masculine; one feminine. One is an established character for a TV show. The other is a larp character who I want to do cool things with.

I had a box set aside for Emily's things, but I started taking them out to wear day-to-day. Her black, sequinned skirt. Her purple hoody.

As for Chris, today I took the lat of zer masculine, military things, packed them into a box today and took them to set. They are moving into fiction now.

Chris has reached zer jumping off point, has waited, and can now serves purpose greater than just 'being.' But ze can also be aside from my daily life. I'm just not that butch anymore.

Emily, on the other hand, I think we'll be seeing a lot more of her - or at least her elements.

I went to larp last night. I NPC'd, which means that I played a supporting character in other people's stories. Her name was Emily Watkins, and her goal was to Save the World through Science!

It's an understandable goal for her. She had a lot of faith in science. She probably used to be some gifted type who wound up doing research for DARPA before realizing that (1) she needed to transition and (2) building drones was actually not as good a contribution to humanity as she'd been led to believe. In any case, she stole access to the ground ingredients for a kind of spatial-informaional singularity, more as a "fuck you" to her superiors. She saw what happened to people who leaked info and she was indifferent to whether she lived to be one of them.

This system didn't expose the military industrial complex, but it also didn't irradiate her (much). Instead, it knocked her stepped out of time into a higher reality. In this extra-ordinary non-space, she'd technomagically edited her own memories to give herself a self-consistent physical/mental life history on the Clavius Colonies, on Luna's Southern hemisphere, where she grew up in a peaceful posthuman multifaith/multiculture microecologically-aided water mining, where she ultimately took on the ("summer") job of operating the fusion reactor. I'm sure this sounded like a good idea at the time, but when her fantasy world ended in a nightmare invasion of hostile weaponized von neuman systems - the descendants of what she used to build - she got bounced back to Earth with no idea how to operate without the usual comforts of airtight rock shelters, postscarcity cultural-economics, somatic freedom, mindcasting or socialist-libertarian-Sharia. And there was that matter of re-learning English instead of proto-Marainic Interlingua.

She's pretty cracking smart, so a few months after her rough return, she entered the imaginary charity ball, elegant in a plum and silver gown, loudly lamenting "this attire is impractical." (Which it is compared to a multipocketed low-G coverall suit with the usual assortment of sensors, tailored microbes and emergency vacuum survival gear) Then she roughly threw her backpack into the corner and asked for instructions on socializing.

Conversation starters included:

"It rains a lot right now."

"The... Canucks are playing hockey."

The entire event took place at an imaginary charity ball where, to elude the Faerie Lords, everyone's identity was magically concealed. No-one could recognize anyone else. This could be a problem as she was there to track down and apprehend a spy. But for Emily, who has both aspergers and prosopagnosia to go with it, not being able to recognize people was nothing unusual. When she figured out that everyone else was having trouble, she gave a chuckle at how "So... neurotypicals are operating on my level. Dope."


"If the cord is giving you so much trouble, why not just quantum-tunnel it?"

"It's still not haram here? I've never consumed ethyl alcohol at these concentrations before.  I mean, you said that I've done it twice, but all that I remember is waking up with a headache. Ooh! More champagne? And it's free? Please!"

(forty minutes later, with her head on a table) "Why do people consume this!? Why don't you just gland your drugs!?"

"The don't like to be called 'robots.' It's rude, due to the implications of slavery. Thank you for the offer of employment nonetheless, but I'm not an abiotic person. Tomasz is building one though."

"Sure. Sure. Wõ shì hen xão xìexìe. Ní. Oh right. English. And then I say. I am also well. I thank... you."

Anyhow. This character is an exercise in being completely unfiltered. In terms of speech (see above examples), in reacting to people (hitting a 1654 pirate in the back of the head after a relatively-mild in-character  rape joke) and in terms of gender. I din't not have that creeping feeling of operating in a pre-tranisitional state at all. AT ALL. Which is very rare, especially of late. I also felt pretty. And that was pretty darn nice. I also felt more confident and calm afterwards.

I'm not sure what this means, but I'll have to find it again.

I learn a lot from larp.

I have tried to be all things to all people - including myself. I take on too many commitments, external or internal, then either stress myself or do a job that is not what I'd hoped. Or both. Often both. That level of stress isn't just unpleasant, it's a wearing down of the self's resources.

To get some persepctive on what was going on in my life, I thought of making a character who overcommitted herself and had to choose between wearing herself down, dropping the ball on commitments or both.

But in many games, this is impossible

You see, many larps have a "downtime" system. You write in with your character's actions between sessions; the narrators write back. Due to administrative workload limitations, and/or the push for strategy, this is often limited to three tasks or "actions."

Players know exactly how much their characters can reasonably try to accomplish. There is no more.

Lucky them.

Consider downtime systems - and their applications for real life.

How many actions do you have? How many hours in a week, sister? How many weeks in your life?

 Note on larp characters - following up on:

Creatures of the White Wolf RPG system, they have "virtues" and "vices." But their vice attracts; their virtue repels. Their vice leads them into conformity; their virtue into challenging the system, into changing the game

Vase's vice is "envy;" her virtue, "faith."

In envy - vase enjoys taking powerful people down a peg. Other people find this useful insofar as she enjoys taking their rivals down. This also makes her successful as a forensic auditor.

In faith - Vase believes in a higher purpose. As a manufacture mage And she wants to make enough people into mages that mages (and, by extension, humanity) are no longer at a disadvantage to the Seers, who want to constrict humanity. The rest of the ("naturally" awakened) Magi consider this abhorrent.

Areli - "pride" and "fortitude"

Areli is fantastically confident and independant. she's kind of an asshole so people don't like her personally, but they respect her. And a lot of people think she's hot.

She wants to turn Faerie abductions into a positive - by making them it into more of a refugee system, where people can be smuggled into Aracdia when things are just that bad. The other changelings feel the Fae can never be truseted and finds the mention of this plan retraumatizing in terms of their abduction experiences. Areli thinks they're soft and privileged and don't understand the stakes.




Areli has a lot more success than Vase. Areli also sees her actions as "the best I can do under the circumstances" while Vase wants total awakening, Age-of-Aquarius/Matrix style, and she just can't get the buy-in.

"Secret are like splinters under the skin," she said "They hurt while they're in there, and they're most painful on the way out."

"Write it down" she advised. "Do it though a character. And control the outcome."

"I'm already partway there," I said. "I have characters."

There's a lot to (re)write. I can give shorts of a few characters. Some of this is old material. I'm writing this for myself and my therapist.

Read more... )


Common themes:


People who deliberately cut themselves off from social norms, humanity, and guilt to become themselves, even "fully human." Tension. And astrange sense of forgiveness that follows.

People who break the game - who live in a world full of secret powers, and try to make it just, fair and transparent. And who take a lot of shit for it.

Second/third-wave tension re: trans

Romantic frustration, self-imposed inertia or self-sabotge in pursuing it
(factors: 1/4 Oxycontin, 500mg acetamenophen, stool softener, large suture across my forehead, home for Christmas, thinking about the Changeling rpg as a beautiful game written by people unaware of their sheltered lives, watched the trailer for "Prometheus" which is also the name of my favorite god*.)

In my bed in the old house, the single bed, the child's bed. Night


Read more... )

Consider the heroic cycle.
Then consider what the American Monomyth says about America.

An interesting point came up during my conversation with my Sweetie, and it has many implications fr applying narrative psychotherapy to geeks. It is "What do the stories we tell say about whe we are, and how do amateur (or professional) writing, storytelling and roleplaying games play into this?

This is intense for me.
If you write or game, I suggest that you try this out for yourself.

D0 (Zeroday of week 0: week of the New Year) --- Happy New Year!

I wish to extend a hearty thank-you to our most esteemed hosts: Mr. Sam Bradd on Thursday; and Paula and Leum on Friday (actually, there are probably still people at their house now)

Mr. Breklor posted a meme just recently: things that you probably didn't know about him. I am combining it with my resolution for this year:

I'm  feeling... good? Not sure why. Just am.

I was chastizing myself a little while ago for screwing around reading when there was real school-work and studying to be done. Then I realized that the book I was reading was a course text. This happened a couple of years back, when I realized that I shouldn't worry about recreating too much if my idea of recreation is "eat food; maintain homeostasis."

But if you're talking about real screwing around, you should walk North on Hastings until you get to the ramp that goes to the port. There's a path to a little park there. Perfect site for Wrapped in Grey. It even has a mysterious bubbling pool.
So we have a future international emergency authouriy that is "responsible for the physical and economic security of certain portions of North America" - Canada, USA, Mexico, maybe a central American country or two. It needs a name and an acronym and I'm trying to sort out which sounds best. It's a bit of a fuck-up as far as these things go, but it has the potontial for some Big Brother jackbootery. Suggestions?

Location: North America, Continental, Pan-National, Multinational,

Gestalt: Federation, Joint, Composite, Co-Operative, Organization

Function: Security, Emergency, Management, Economic

Power/Region: Authourity, Council, Zone, Bureau, District, Interim, Democratic, Agency, Bureau, United, Trade

Found art

May. 26th, 2006 12:50 am
  • No Discrimination: No manner of discrimination, verbal or otherwise, will be tolerated in any function of the club, be it based on race, religion, disability, age, sexual orientation, length of club membership, or gender...

  • No Substance Abuse: Members shall not participate in Camarilla events while noticeably impaired by mind-altering substances (including, but not limited to alcohol)...

  • No Drinking Blood: The Camarilla does not condone the drinking of blood. While some of the fictional characters we portray may do this, even discussing the drinking of blood in reality is not permitted while participating in a Camarilla event.

  • No Illegal Activities: Members shall not cause or participate in any illegal activity...
  • I want to run a story-game of some kind. Larp especially appeals to me, but I want to make something to suit the materials and people at hand. Several settings come to mind:

    1 - modern day superanatural... with the main characters being humans!
    2 - cyberpunk
    3 - frontier sci-fi a la Earth 2 or Firefly
    4 - post-apocalyptic like Harsh Realm, Zombie movies, etc...

    1. I know, I know, I'm so innovative. I can see this being done as a social club and support group kind of thing for people in various conspiracies, or maybe if the attendants are there for another reason, like they're antique dealers or carpenters, and then all the superantual stuff starts happening

    2. I feel really scavengery, subcultury and fascist, and this appeals to all three. I see NPC actors in black coats and shiny boots standing down the street from the main event, asking players for their identification and reminding them about cufew.

    3. I see a new Botany Bay or Mayflower, a colony in another place formed of people who were asked to leave... now. Maybe on a a Terraformed world somewhere. Or an abandoned section of the Earth. A thawed Antarctica? People who have been in jail or in hibernation for awhile

    4. Also good. Easy to get props. Also: zombies! Grrar, Aak. Hruh. Groan. Mmmrmrr... Anyway, this yields a lot af option and has a nice situational metaplot ender character control.

    Do these appeal to anyone out there?

    #2 and #3 require the most pre-briefing, the most "here's how the world works." They are also the clanest breaks from tradition.

    #3 and #4 need between-session justification, since the chraracters are around each other at all times, they should know each other inside and out.



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