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Fri, May. 30th, 2014, 12:33 am
Personal Log

From the completely off-the-record and unofficial notes of Corporal Arius Numitor

Eos Castellum, 22nd of November, Year 239 (New Count)

Vague secret mission. Go 'there'. Pick up shuttle. Go to another 'there'. Civilian rendez-vous. Await further instructions. No support. Expect combat. In other words, dangle-your-ass-over-the-edge-and-see-what-takes-a-bite. Again. Fuck that.

But mission prep at least kept him busy. New ammunition, fresh clips, and new weapons. For Victus he had the new Velox-pattern assault rifle, just in time for some after-market modifications. For Castiel he had built a Primitus-pattern similar to the weapon with which Quintus had taken out a 'Stalker-class Living Tank' (blessed as it was by the Ekanesh Prisci). Castiel had also requested two side-arms, a standard Praecursor which he still had in storage, but also a new Spiculum-pattern hand cannon adapted for Frag-12 shells. In case she felt like some tank-hunting, he imagined. All of their weapons were modified for the conditions they'd come to expect on Eos, with a little more range and a whole lot more stopping power to put down the Kadu (suicidal maniacs hell-bent on close combat).

There were also the two new pistols. Pioneered by urban suppression squads they gave a shooter the firepower of a machinegun but small and stable enough to hold in one hand. It had a low clip size and was hard to reload in combat but could lay down a hail of fire you wouldn't believe, and that without any internal power source. And the other hand was left free for a shield or close combat weapon. They were still being field-tested, but Arius managed to get two assigned to Eos. Tiberius would test one, and the other would be rotated through-out the unit. Whatever survived Tiberius was good enough for him.

He'd als refurbished a few of their older weapons - weapons that were technically decommissioned but would only need a little care and attention to be battlefield-ready. Bringing plenty of spare weapons on any 'no support' mission was at least as important as bringing plenty of the right ammo. Now to improvise a quick-release so he could serve as "spare weapons cache" while maintaining suppressive fire, and perhaps add a carrying sling to the Arvus shuttle-door he was considering pressing into service as a combat shield.

And there was the tedious stuff. Check all the batteries. Recharge them. Check all the batteries again. Brass-check all the weapons. Spring-check all the clips. Run a full diagnostic on all the comm-systems. Run a full diagnostic on the suit shield systems and InterLink hookups, especially with Quintus' recent "new and interesting modifications" for the Asperi 3C Network.

The entire unit had already spent a day-and-a-half getting ready for this little excursion, which was probably longer then the actual mission was going to last. Such was the order of things. And at least he was glad to re-furbish the Sarge's old Gravus-pattern Light Machine Gun. He'd be leading them, and that cheered him up like no tomorrow. A mission with the team might be just what he'd need to cheer him up.

"Axios", he muttered, and got on with the prep.

Fri, May. 23rd, 2014, 09:26 pm
Dutch Larp Platform - building a community

After KP 2012 a few Dutch attendees came together and started a series of chill, informal meets between larp organizers under the banner of the Dutch Larp Platform. Held in the Dutch Game Garden in Utrecht, a gaming resource that has already been used often by local gaming outlets who are very supportive of any kind of gaming community, they have been - in my opinion - a success that is spectacular in its tiny scope.

Let me explain.

I have no idea of it is a unique or common situation, but we know of at least two previous attempts to do the same that have failed because of the intent or perception (as we only heard from it after the fact) to formalize a set of mandatory weapon safety and/or quality rules. Larper organizers being larpers, most of them said 'screw this' and the initiative bled to death. Whether or not that would have been a good thing I will just leave for a discussion between people that were actually there, but it did result in a lot of little 'larp islands' barely knowing of each other's existance.
What did not help is that there as some kind of fierce 'competition' boom around the launch of the Lord of the Rings movies between 7 to 10 years ago. I have no idea whether or not it had any merit (was still very much a junior back then) but it soured relations between clubs, groups and larpers. Going to multiple larps back then was sometimes an exercise in cautious diplomacy.

There are a still lot of differences in the Dutch larp world, but a lot of the organizers of today who came through that competition 'battle' have adopted a 'live and let live' attitude, which has now been leveraged into contacts between several larp groups that freely exchange information, manpower, (digital) props and resources. This is a wonderful thing, but as nothing is really written down in any kind of searchable format it stays local. You have to know the right people

So this time the meetings are being leveraged as a knowledge network, intent on providing a platform for sharing and discussion without 'needing' anything. There are many larpers and many larps, and we can learn from common differences. It is a wonderful start. If anything, it may actually be a little 'too soft' this time, as people are moving cautiously to make any statement or decision that might exclude others.

As we move from the starting-up phase to the building-phase I am quietly hopeful. For me, the ability to discuss cool ideas and exchange information with others is the core of what the out-character bit of the hobby is all about. Especially with an Edu-larp group in the same city that is making some very nice inroads with the Dutch Ministry of Education - Yes, members of Parlement have been spotted with foam swords.

If you are a larper in the Netherlands, and feel like hearing about larp-design, organizing and what your fellow larpers are up to? Sign up for the mailing list:

Wed, Feb. 12th, 2014, 11:42 am
Could be worse

Almost. I think that is the single word that defines the start of 2014.

While not bad perse, a lot of my efforts tend to end up on the 'good enough' pile instead of the 'just right' pile, and it is wearing on me. I am used to the luxury that if I put my mind to something stuff starts rolling and generally improves for all involved. Lately this has been only marginally so.

Work is proceeding apace, but I have realized that the actual technical challenge is gone. I find my joy in the overall process and not the nitty gritty of figuring stuff out. It represents a change, and an internal shift in priorities. I don't know what to do with it yet, but I have communicated it to my collegues and HR reps. Their advice has so far been useful and I hope to start seeing results in a few weeks.

Larp experiences have been a bit mjeh. It is the 'long dark' of winter, and there are few things to do at the moment with existing characters - some things were moved, some stuff is still in the planning stages with endless suggested and counter-suggested dates. After all was said and done my first player experience with one of my 'mains' will be in April - which is simply too fracking late.
If I had realized that earlier I would've see if I could've picked something up, but early Januari it still looked like February would see at least one special, potentially two. That'll teach me for keeping stuff into account. There is a failure in communication here and there, but I feel that I have reached the limit of what I can reasonably be expected to do as 'just another participant' in order to get things on the road. For me to start doing more will likely be deemed unwelcome at best and treated as hostile at worst.
Some of the stuff I've been working on in the background has tipped the 'work' needed to keep a character up and running from 'totally worth it' to 'I will start doing stuff again when I have a confirmed date'. This is severally impacted one of my favorite timesink passtimes. I miss the click of limitless brainstorming and just letting our imagination run wild, and I miss just being able to have that good clean fun with my friends. I just can't justify spending the amount of time that I would like right now, especially as results are middling at best. End of the month will luckily see Doodspoor, where I am an NPC and I should see loads of friends there. I need it. Too much crap throwing up interference right now to properly enjoy it. Thank Caine for Nocturne which keeps my larp-muscles from growing too stale...

Tabletop is still going awesome. I've got no complaining about that unless Karrad Vall blows up our ship or my own players decide to play a game of Thermo Nuclear War... I am surprisingly happy with my 'vote with your wallet' policy in regards to computer games and Games Workshop products. You can rant about not agreeing with business decisions, or you can vote with your wallet. Lots more relaxing and more money for other shinies ;-)

The personal plan for the year, both for me as for Lies & moi as a couple will need to change. There was a plan, and now we'll need a new one. We'll make it work, prolly - but it is less then ideal. We have done what we could and the rest is in the hands of others. Here's to some luck. While I have been able to re-build my food discipline I find that it takes a disproportionate amount of brainspace to start building a healthier me. Already starting with a less of my usual chipper self is making it so much harder to keep going.

All of this combined makes me a bit of a mjeh panda. Wouldn't call it sad. I've got it pretty good and I should keep that foremost in my mind. It is simply that those things that I consider emotionally important to me are all firmly entrenched in the 'less then ideal' category. Most of this is noticable is that I am mostly retro-gaming, and then mostly single player. After my day I find that talking to people about stuff that I am not looking forward to is taxing beyond belief.

Things will look up. Its just a bit of a pit right now. I'll dig myself out giving some time and some fun stuff. Barring that, I believe a few people at Doodspoor feel like some decent nerf skirmishing.

Wed, Dec. 18th, 2013, 11:58 am
... And He Had A Plan ....

My 33rd cycle on this little green planet started in-character, probably around the time our Clan was trying to prevent the previous King from coming back undead. Go figure.

2013 was going to be my year. After a singularly sucky 2012 I started this year with a two clear objectives:

- Find self. Do not get lost on the way.
- Be happy.

I am happy to say: mission accomplished.

Overall, this was the year of less stress, more sleep and more space for me. While it wasn't always easy to stick to 'The Plan' - which entails a multi-tiered way of spacing appointments and fun stuff in such a way that I can also choose to be spontaneous and can do something that I want within a reasonable timeframe instead of having to schedule a meet with friends somewhere in the next quarter. This has resulted in me being able to do a lot of 'just in time' meets if I or someone else wanted to hang, talk, game or something. This increased 'buddy' time has done me a world of good and my friends have well and truly come through for me this year.
In regards to work I am managing it better, being able to put the day behind me when it is done and asserting less control. I try to grab bitesize bits that I can control, accepting what lies beyond it with an open mind. I am going to try to make a few careermoves this year as well - I think it is time to find something that is a little different to make sure my job keeps my interest.

The 'I must love me' thing is still hard. My greatest enemy has been the remnants of my previous self-image, haunting me left or right with "you should do this or that" and occasionally with a horrified "nooooooo!" at a few of my decisions. But I am more at peace with myself then I was, and I hope to continue the upward trend.

So, having 'found' myself, where do I fit in? As I put it last year:

Somewhere between the Space Marine and the ballerina, somewhere between the leader and the follower, somewhere between all the various versions of myself I gotta find my center - or at least close enough that I can build a place where I belong.

The surprising (at least to me) answer is that I don't have to choose. I am the Space Marine and the ballerina. The leader and the follower. I am me, in all its myriad forms. I have a bit more diversity inside me that I thought I had, and I am finding ways to leverage that realisation to practical ends.

While my physical health has been much less of a thing this year, less stress in combination with discipline paid off this year quite unexpectedly by dumping my weight into the green. I was pretty surprised. I have allowed myself some space to up and down a bit as things got busy and Lies was approaching winterdip, but I find that I have an easier time accepting it, and I expect to stabilize well in the green BMI zone somewhere halfway 2014.

So. What is next? Well, the search continues, but in a more practical sense. More of finding myself, but also settling into a new routine that fits my new paradigms better. There is still a chance that I may get lost on the way, but that thought doesn't bother me any longer. Sometimes it is how it is, and sometimes it isn't how it isn't.

An unusually quiet year for me, including a summer vacation devoid of any for of larp at all. First time in a decade that happened. I know why it was needed, but it is one of those necessary sacrifices that I do not intend to repeat. It will be more of a priority for me this year - I just love it too much.

Doodspoor saw me NPC'ing in the snow. I was pretty impressed with their new way of handling things, being able to balance resources between -effectively- two larps as the groups split along a 'Real World vs. Dream World' axis. I look forward to the next one, early next year. Tho I hope that I won't have to go arctic camo for it ;-)
Charm has been awesome - much more of a shades-of-grey pirate theme then the previous good-vs-evil cycle, which does work well for me. The second event especially this year saw me playing one of the pirate captains and I think I gave the players plenty to think about. I look forward to the plans the story writers.
Bertram has seen a big shift this year, and this year somehow feels somewhat final for him. The war is starting to wear heavily on his soul, and there are things in the future that may cause him to depart the front lines to settle down. We'll have to see how the dice will fall, but I have started to divvy up the task among subordinates and training a replacement - tho I don't know if they have noticed that yet.
Chronos: Frontier has made big steps forward this year after a rocky first event. While I still regard the rules as a mixed bag a lot of work and love has gone into polishing it up, resulting in a solid third event and the brave decision to switch to a once-a-year format with more plot and group specific special events in between. While the ending of this event left me a bit 'in medias res' in regards to the fate of a member of the group it is in my opinion growing into a very solid setting which adds a good deal of Omen-esque mysticism to a sci-fi feel.
Masuo and Junstal have been effectively on hold this year due to planning issues and priorities. I hate that it has to happen, but as stated: priorities. And sometimes that sucks.

Xenophobia had its first episode, and I am happy with the way it worked - it is the first campaign with the lighter rulesystem we are using and it has its rough edges, but the story of the brave survivors is one that will get pretty interesting, me thinks - and we have a few reinforcements with fresh ideas to help us set up the next event.

I have been one-shotting a bit more this year, adding Obscurus and Long Live The King to our list. One is a bit more of a campaign-y thing and tho I will have to miss the next one I will keep my eye on it. Set in a darker, alternate Netherlands it has a bit of the Lex vibe that I have been missing so much. Long Live The King as an exercise in supporting others to unlock their achievements, and I am happy to have participated. While the orga and I have different opionions on orga-, plot- and play-styles they set up a very nice world for the players to populate and scheme in. That made it all work beautifully.

Still, I need an extra event. It needs to be something special, something with an edge. And something I can do alone. Plenty of group activity, but I feel like some solo-ing.

Plans for 2014
- Some more of finding self, and accepting whatever or where-ever I may find myself
- Be happy.

Mon, Dec. 2nd, 2013, 09:46 am

Quite the ride.

As my work project on the KNAW reached its closing phases I fell out of the rhythem I'd had built earlier that year, and subsequently spent some time on vacation and acclimating to my new work at OGD. In the meantime I've also had my share of larps and suddenly it is december.


The great news is that spotting that I was inching towards overtaxing early and concentration on the necessary really pulled me through. It was tough and wasn't too smart to shut down _everything_ but those are good lessons learned and things I can improve.

The long and the short of it - I am pretty happy. I have a few lows here and there, but bounce back easier and manage it better. What I am noticing is that a few of my buffers are still 'off', and I am quicker to show annoyance or speak up. A few unfiltered comments have escaped my head via the way of my mouth and they have not been the most... graceful.

I've been a good measure more 'introverted' most of the time. While I previously experienced it as 'isolated', at he moment my alone state feels like a comfy blanky which I can use to think and be. Dropping the methods that I have trained myself with to be more perceptible for a while had really restored easy acces to a bit of my core personality. It is nice.

That does leave me more 'out of the loop' then normal but I can live with that for the time being. The constant inload of trying to be perceptive 'artificially' takes a lot of brainspace.

December is looking to be quite busy (what else is new), but it is very doable. I managed to stick to "the plan" - the method I use not to overplan and to keep space in the week for spontaneous things, and spend plenty of time with friends and family. And shop strategically, because crowds are still not my thing.

Wed, Oct. 16th, 2013, 11:32 am
Ter informatie

Een combinatie van vermoeidheid, nog wat diplomatieke afwikkeling en de noodzaak om mijn werkproject goed af te maken zorgt dat ik op het moment erg beperkt ben in plancapaciteit en het oplossen van complexe (logistieke) issues naast degene waar ik al mee bezig ben op mijn werk.

Ik zal me in de komende weken met name daarop concentreren. In de uren die ik over heb zal ik mijn tijd besteden aan dingen waar ik op dat moment even mijn ei kwijt kan of zin in heb - dit is voor de rest niets persoonlijks, ik probeer hier met name aan verwachtingsmanagement te doen. Netto doe ik vanaf nu alleen zaken die ik moet doen plus dingen waar ik absoluut zeker van ben dat ze me meer energie opleveren dan het kost.

Hopelijk ben ik aan het einde van de maand door mijn stapel heen en kan ik zonder backlog en met de voldoening van een afgesloten project mijn vakantie in. Het gaat voor de rest prima, ik probeer vooral te zorgen dat de nu al vrij forse stroom in juiste banen gaat lopen in plaats van in het verleden op gaat bouwen tot een allesverslindende stortvloed. Onderdeel van mijn persoonlijke project in 2013 om op een andere manier met zaken om te gaan.

Mocht je iets willen betekenen zijn er op dit moment een aantal met name larp- en game-gerelateerde projecten die vooral even aangezwengeld, gemonitord of gecontroleerd moeten worden. Voor de rest is de status quo gewoon prima.

Mon, Sep. 9th, 2013, 11:26 am
September - Happy

My overall state is happy. August was a tough month, without Drachenfest or any other significant larp. Choices, yes. Fun choices, no. I did have enough room for myself and my little projects, including clearing a lot of the back room and the shed, throwing away a lot of old stuff and finding out that I suddenly fit a whole lot more clothes in my winter-stack. I made a lot of progress on the brain front, with parts aligning in interesting ways. Again comparing to previous years I am so much more in tune with myself that I can hardly compare. It is a whole new ballgame.

Ironically, my first few days back are not going great. The vacation in Prague was awesome and we saw a lot of cool stuff (including the grounds and remnants of the World Fair of 1891, which was my absolute favorite) but despite minimal stress - even with our luggage lost in transit - my brain just was not up for it. In my current state the mental resources that I appearantly normally dedicate to 'adventuring' are all tapped out. This made it cool, but hardly relaxing.
I was glad to have a decent night of larping waiting for me on the other end, tho the real-life hammer came down pretty hard yesterday. The stack of emails, things that need arranging or people that want -something- is rather staggering (and a bit crazy), and it is messing with the things that I actually really want to do. If I take long in answering - sorry, I am currently dealing with a high volume of requests or emails that require planning, thinking or researching, and I am moving slow atm. I know it is just the current situation so I refuse to let it sully my mood too much, but it is taxing.

I hope I can clear all this week and start enjoying September. I still have some Rome: Total War action that I have yet to check out...

Thu, Aug. 8th, 2013, 11:47 am

And suddenly... August.

It kind off crept up on me, to be honest. The month July started with Xenophobia for me, and after that the familiar after-glow of the larp orga, that half-crash half-flight that comes with being tired from a big effort but have loads of awesome ideas. The rest of the month was odd with regular events postponed due to vacations, so a lot of evenings at home with very hot weather - not particularly bad, mind you, but it required some adaptation.
The public transportation route to work is very challenging with both tram in Utrecht and subway in Amsterdam under maintenance, meaning more walking (no problem) and a cramped bus (big problem). Luckily I can take the car to an offsite location most of the days of the week, significantly shortening my travel times and giving me a chance to wind down before getting home. The work project itself had now reached the phase people are actually working for the stuff I coded including a few blind tests (people who don't know they are working with new stuff) and it is going well. So yay.

The D&D party is now playing through one of my Adventure stories in the 1950's taking a hiatus from the megadungeon for variety's sake, and I'm storytelling a WoD Scion campaign which is also something different. I love the challenges / options of fresh settings and am currently functioning as Font of Knowledge for various larps, larpconcepts and organizers which makes me feel useful.

On a personal level the good news is that I dropped under a BMI of 25, meaning my weight is currently firmly in the green. I did not widely advertise it but people remark on it here and there. After re-vectoring my food pattern over the past few years I kept crawling closer to my goal and finally managed, as a bit of a surprise. I'd expected it at the earliest in a month or two so did not even pick what I wanted to give myself if I made it... go luxury problems. I am going to keep up the pattern and see where I settle, where ever that may be. For now I will enjoy that several of my costumes are fitting better then they have in years.
As for the brainspace - I found a modicum of a stable platform but shouldn't get lazy. The "I've come far enough, I can rest here for a while" is looming on the horizon and I am going to have to work through that feeling. Can't be getting complacent now. Up and at them.

August will have a bit more to do, luckily - Some decent gaming and larping to be had, Castlefest, first Xenophobia meeting and a few project plans in the works in various areas. It has been an odd month, but not the bad kind of odd. Glancing back at last year it is a marked improvement.

Fri, Jul. 19th, 2013, 12:05 am
Nittygritty II - Larp - Nalatenschap

Noot: dit bericht is in het Nederlands omdat de blogs waarnaar ik refereer ook in het Nederlands zijn. Op zich is het nog een discussie voor welk publiek je de posts zou willen maken: Engels om te zorgen dat het ook voor buitenlandse deelnemers en geïnteresseerden te lezen is, of louter Nederlands omdat het doel toch is voor Nederlandse larp een mooi platform te bouwen met ook vooral een set 'gereedschap' die werkt met en voor Nederlands publiek? Zelf schrijf ik meestal in het Engels omdat meerdere buitenlandse vrienden mijn blog volgen, maar of dit de juiste aanpak is?

Zoals beloofd hierbij een serie links van blogposts die (in mijn mening) interessante info bevatten over hoe langer lopende verhalen en one-shots zijn gedraaid. Ik heb het voor het moment nog gehouden bij artikelen van mijn eigen clubje en de posts gekozen voor hun mooie meningen en goede discussies - met name omdat er bij onze eigen stijl ook meerdere kritische noten zijn gezet - iets wat we belangrijk vinden. Er zijn er een aantal van deelnemers en een aantal van de organisatie omdat het interessante standpunten heeft voor alle kanten van een larp. Sommige posts zijn wat betreft ideeën ook inmiddels al weer gedateerd, maar ook dat is valide informatie al is het alleen voor het perspectief dat opvattingen veranderen over de jaren.

Uiteindelijk zou ik van een paar projecten per jaar dit soort posts willen zien. Lang niet voor elke larp, maar ook zeker niet alleen van de one-shots - er valt ook veel te leren van de larps die al 20+ evenementen lopen.

20 juli 2009 - Exit - door Erik:

7 juni 2010 - Exodus - door Olga:

25 augustus 2010 - Dead Fox Junction - door Olga:

13 december 2010 - Lextalionis - door Sander:

3 juli 2011 - Super Secret Mission X - door Lenny:

14 december 2011 - Extinction - door Erik:

8 juli 2012 - Exit II - door Brenda: &

Wed, Jul. 17th, 2013, 01:13 pm
NittyGritty I – Larp – Context

As part of my promise to write more on larp theory, welcome to NittyGritty. First things first: karijn, this is all your fault. This first in the series is called ' Context '. It will seek to put me as a person enjoying the wonderful hobby within a framework by which my articles can be correctly placed. I will also try to codify my preferences and styles as participant and organizer.

Warning: long with lots of text and no pictures.

HistoryCollapse )

And of course, being my resume, it means very little. I have never had any formal training in any form of game design, and larp 'experience' (haha) can be a very individual thing - though gaming is my lifestyle this is not the end-all-and-be-all. I consider myself a decent participant and an okay organizer. I may have developed the ability to headbutt Murphy a little better (also helps that we have a wonderful team) but I am still giddy as a schoolgirl for a new part and nervous as heck whenever an event that I am organizing is coming up. I just roleplay the gruff veteran ;-)

Style & OpinionsCollapse )

Current state of affairs, hopes and potential plans
It is a good time to be a larper in the Netherlands. There are excellent and wonderful games all around the country with widely varying genres and goals. The fantasy larp is still the bread and butter, but has found new appreciation now that players have better and more informed choices. In most segments competition is a thing of the past and organizers are lending time, props and expertise to other organizers in a collaborative effort to add to the value of the games. Social media, plentiful information and a mobile base of participants ensure that there is a good exchange of varying viewpoints, ideas and systems over the entire country. Many people regularly attend events (larps and conventions) in nearby countries or even overseas, and foreigners also find Dutch larps on occasion. People return with nice experiences and new ideas, and the hobby is the better for it.

All of this being said, the country still lacks a more formal base of discussion for new ideas. There are no blogs by organizers, few stories of what organizers or participants expected and got from the game, no regular meeting of minds beyond chance encounters, parties and birthdays. There is also no common larp platform, with personal initiatives getting a long way but never quit reaching the goal of creating a landing page for new larps and larpers or even something as simple as a semi complete agenda and roll call of larps.

I personally say that we could benefit from having a place where that is possible, although this should be in the form of offering advice and a tool set. Previous attempts at enforcing things have failed miserably for a variety of reasons, and that is something to learn from. Perhaps we should build this, but only if the neutrality of such places can be guaranteed.

Something to consider.

My next full post will likely be my personal view on Xenophobia, the recent launch of our new longer running storyline. If time permits I will try to dig through my blog for stories on previous larps ' post mortems' that either I or others have written down.

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