Sunday, July 16, 2006


So, after the strenuous exertions of Origins, I and other people got to discussing the possibility of having convention here in Lexington. Because aparently we have far too much time on our hands as it is.

But, it is abjectly obvious to us that Lexington has a great big hole in it where a con should be. We plan to start small and pay for the first one mostly out of our own pocket. If we can actually defray our costs on the day of, that'd be great.
It would be a game day to start, possibly becoming a weekend as we go along.

I may be in charge of the larp stuff. God help me.

More on this as it forms up.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The Legend of Pinkie Berkowitz

The things i do for you oh gentle readers...So i'm going to another party. Kindred parties are pretty much the same thing over and over and over, ad Nauseum, ad Absurdem, ad Astra...
This one is being held at a large mansion. And i do mean large. Like the Winchester House on steroids or some shit. I didn't know there was a form of diarrhea that affected Architecture. If you look at any given group of kindred from a distance you can pretty much tell what they're like. You've got you social butterfly types with their easy smiles and hearty handshakes. You got your fight-the-power-kill-whitey types, (Like yours truly) who tend to shoot their mouths off and casually offend anybody within earshot. You've got you Fuck-off-Don't-look-at-me types who spend the most time staring at you, and then either getting upset when approached, or bolting. You've got your stick up the butt types who just never loosen up. And i'm not tarring the Invictus solely with this brush either.
Body language can tell you a lot. It looks like i'm in for a dull evening of social brinksmanship. But then again, this place is supposed to be haunted, so who knows.
Jesus fuck. why am I sober?

So. I have heard bad stories about the Camarilla. I had other options to try out if this ended up sucking or into some kind of power player circle jerk. But i must admit i was curious to try a large scale larp and it appeared that this would be one. Last year, they hadn't offered one as the system was brand new and hadn't been seen by rank and file player yet. (As it happens, there WAS an NMET Larp last year, but as far as i know it hadn't made it into the con booklet. Ah well. spilt milk...)
So i go. I sit down with my books and think about creating a host of characters for a nice spread of possibilities. But an idea sort of filtered into my head that i couldn't shake.

Earlier in the week, I had re-watched my copy of "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" and being a longtime fan of Hunter S. Thompson, I decided to play a character like him. a rough iconoclast with a sassy mouth and a propensity for recreational chemistry. Why not? We're both from Kentucky right?

I roll in, and meet Kelly Herrmann (Who I later learn is one of the major players in Cam organization) She helps me get oriented and points me at the storytellers to help get me approved for play. This was a bit of a shock actually. I had expected to have the basic concept disallowed and tossed in favor of some pre-gen. I was actually ready to do so. I have the ability to take on a pre-gen and just play it with as much Elan as i can manage. It's all about commiting to the character and the scene.
But, shockingly, they look me over and decide that this is just fine and hand me an additional 50 points of EXP to re-tool with.
Which i do with some speed. I get approved and off i go! They handed me a sheet with some coterie materials so that i could hook up to them and throw my story into their communal pot. But i didn't see them the whole first night. and i got into some trouble on my own, so it turned out that i didn't need it. But it was nice to fall back on and was a good bit of forethought.

Going to a Kindred parties alone, when you're new in town is a bit like being the fresh fish on the prison yard. People circle like fucking sharks trying to decide whether you're interesting or exploitable. Some come with a sexual edge, other so painfully sexless that you feel their bleeding edge of pain.It's hard to deny the grim meat-hook reality of kindred existence when you can see the pain writ large on the face of a fellow kindred, especially while he/she is trying to cajole you into some attractive form of self destruction.
I amuse myself by taking pictures. I always ASK first, as it is otherwise fucking pointless. Oftentimes, elders will dress in period garb. Clothes they find themselves more comfortable in. Most times, they can't wear this gear on a regular night. So it's an opportunity to let the hair down and be "Casual" Also, Kindred parties are an opportunity to show off and look good and my photographer's eye is drawn to such things. Whether excessive or tasteful.
Some people don't like me to take pictures. I've yet to meet a Mekhet who was interested. Most Daeva, like myself, get their feelings hurt if you DON'T ask. Even if they turn you down.
I'm putting together a Book on Kindred existence, using my own experiences and feelings on the matter. Working at the Stone taught me the value of pictures and how they can make even a dull narrative jump and boogie. So, I take pictures and dictate notes.
Naturally, the Invictus decide to poke their nose in my entirely innocent business.

Met some good people. Had expected to meet at least a few folks who required an OOC ass-kicking but that was not the case here. I guess it varies from venue to venue, but it seems like the Columbus area Cam has their act together as did the ST staff. If there were problems, they got solved behind the scenes and i didn't see anyone walk away from the game pissed. I can't say this about every game i've played in. Maybe the people who really love Larping stay with it while the people with maturity issues get bored and leave.

I have not, in fact, seen my first ghost. I did hear the Irish band playing. Heard a woman's sigh. Caught a scent of jasmine, but i've had way more intense hallucinations than that. I'm kind of underwhelmed. But then again, the restless dead tend to get more agitated when you fail to understand what they want. But on the other hand, our erstwhile host may have just hired a band to play Irish waltzes and move from room to room without being seen just to fuck people up.
Honestly though. The little girl singing in my head was way creepier.(Especially while sober) I started hearing her in the library. Nearly got attacked by an excitable Gangrel. Found a book with possible occult significance which i promptly handed over to the ranking Crone and made my exit as thing got spookalicious in the library. My curiousity is gonna get me killed.

The plot became obvious towards the end of the night. It was a bit of a scavenger hunt in the old house with the creepy ghosts. With some hunters in the neighborhood for good measure and occasional violent bits, for those who like a little violence. Not to mention the usual back-stabbing and throat-cutting. Most Scavenger hunt plots are dumb. But this one was well crafted and the ST staff seemed up on what was going on. The use of actual props helped a bit i think. As did the riddles. It gave investigator types like me something to chew on.The game was also helped by the fact that the Regency Ballroom was HUGE and had multiple areas for play. Although i will say that it worked against us when the ST had opening and closing remarks. Next year i'll bring my Bullhorn.

...At the point, where it became obvious that the Hunters had arrived to make trouble, I was told by the Invictus types that it was unsafe to leave the house and that we should all stay. Uninterested in bedding down with a hundred other predators strange to me in a creepy old house fulla ghosts. Not my idea of a good idea. Deciding to leave the house, i did so unmolested. Apparently the hunters attacked just after I left. Can't imagine how i didn't manage to get tarred with that brush.
Strange feelings on this nervous night. People are giving me the stink-eye. Makes me wonder whether i've chosen the right path for myself. Who can know? Who can say? When i came up with my Mission, I knew there were going to be kindred who weren't going to like it. An actual book that someone can hold in their hands is proof and maybe more of vampire society. Some get, that i'm trying to help educate my fellow Carthians, other's like the Ordo and the Invictus who are built heavily along the idea of personal mentorship, see my work as a dangerous risk. But Carthians don't have the same luxuries that they do, and we need to deal with the young and ignorant among us.
So, a book. That's the plan. But already, with their noses out of joint over photos, the invictus ass-reaming is engaged. I've been scoped by at least two people with Auspex...That i know of.
With rumors of hunters in the area, it's not hard for me to put 2 and 2 together. Even one of the ranking Carthians came over and had to talk to me about the thing. Oliver Hearst seems like a good guy, But the Invictus are here in greater numbers than us. And even though the Prince of this domain is a Carthian, he has to deal with some dude named Talbot who is a major league Invictus hard-ass.
So there's heat. If they knew about the rumors about me driving an Invictus Prince in Kansas city to a nervous breakdown, they'd be all up in my grill. I'll have a talk with the Prince, and hopefully clear this up.

The next night was even more interesting. Our erstwhile host, Now identified as Mr Bouchard, set the terms of the scavenger hunt, warned of us the traps and set us loose to seek our fortunes. I was convinced that Bouchard was actually old enough and Ventrue enough that he'd gone crazy and was, in actuality,the Ordo Dracul that he has supposedly taken the house from. Turned out not to be the case. We received some clues from that maniac's diary and off we went. Pinkie, having become curious about the house and all the rest of it, elected to stay and try to puzzle it out.
And that's when i met Emma Moreland. (Or rather, Tracy Matson as she's known in daylight hours.) A very cute young lady with a positive gift for dialect, who ended up working with Pinkie on the case. We actually managed to find at least one of the clues all by ourselves. It was a dinner table that had been involved with at least 1 murder in the house. We also managed to help with ferreting out some of the clues and the Carthians started working as a bit of a team.

So, Me, and the English Rose, get called on the carpet by the Invictus, as a whole. This Talbot guy had showed up and decided he didn't like the idea of my little book and my pictures. Of course, the nature of my little project had gotten around the Invictus camp fire and had grown in the telling. Now i was of course taking sneaky pictures and taping kindred without their knowledge. So naturally they sent their boys around to collect me. (At least their guy was polite.) and we had a sit down. Naturally, they read me the riot act. I've been in tenser situations though, and had my poker face on. Oliver turned up to speak on my behalf, which was kind of him. But what saved my bacon was the fact that i told them the truth. Which i don't think they were prepared for. So, rather than butcher me on some kind of rumor and deal with the political fallout of it, they elected to let me go and admonish me to keep my mouth shut. Naturally this is not enough for some...

The next night, The Carthians sit down. We decide we want no damn part of owning this house. We also decide that since the Ordo want it so bad. We'll sell our action and our keys to them in exchange for consideration. In a deal brokered by Oliver, we manage to score a large estate for ourselves which Emma ends up owning in trust for the Carthians in the area. Pinkie hits on the idea of creating a Carthian Archive for his works and for the works of other carthians similarly interested. Such works would be held in the trust of trusted Carthians (Like Emma and Oliver.) We spend the rest of the evening talking politics with a couple of Invictus who seem interested in debate.
But as the evening wears on, it becomes obvious that one of our number has been ganked. Also, the Invictus Harpy sees fit to bring around the Sanctified Bishop with an earful of wrong information. He sermonizes at me for a bit and tells me that the Prince himself is talking about having my head separated from my shoulders.

...I fail to quake in my boots. which unnerves them a bit. It also unnerves Emma. So i go beard the Prince in his lair and ask him straight. The Prince is naturally shocked to hear that he's now killing fellow Carthians. He admits that i need more education. but that's not at all what he said. it occurs to me that the Harpy may have a hard-on for waxing me. and that sooner or later she'll find a sympathetic ear and her hands will be spotlessly clean.
So, with that bit of data bumping around in my skull, and our goals solved. I decide it's time to take my leave.
I have to say goodbye to my English Rose. And that hard. We'd come to like one another in a short amount of time. and i felt bad for causing her some problems. But i didn't want to tar her with my brush anymore. and i've always been rambler. So, i said my goodbyes and took my leave.
At least, i tried. I didn't get out without incident. A pair of hunters jumped me and shot me. One nearly got me with a stake. but they weren't expecting me to bugger off at a high rate of speed. Which i did. I found another car and hotwired it and left town. Hungry. covered in my own blood, pissed.
I'm gonna make some people sorry for the way this shook out.

Origins 2006 Post mortem report

Yesterday turned out to be one of the longest workday in a long time. Not only did i carry the entire load at my delivery job, but there was a massive amount of cylinders to break at the lab yesterday. As a result, when i arrived at home i fell into a coma. This became a problem because i woke up later that evening to watch "Blade: the series" on Spike and then could not get back to sleep easily. At least, it gave me a chance to over-pack (as per usual. I promise. I'm going to lick this habit.)
So i wake up on thursday with about 4 hours of sleep under my belt. Ah well, REM sleep is over-rated anyway right?
I clean out the car, Re-organize the tools that were strewn all over the back of it and then pack my bags into it, say my goodbyes to my housemate and my sweet kitty and i hit the road.
No "check engine" scare like last year thankfully. My original plan had been to go to the con and then visit my buddy Chris Foster on the way back but he's not going to be in town on my way back. So i visit on my way up.
Chris Foster and I were at Undergrad together at NKU studying theater. He went off to Louisianna after grad school and taught theater for a while before getting fed up and coming back to Northern Kentucky. Over the last few years, He's earned a black belt in Karate and when he returned to the area, began teaching Karate to kids.
So I visit his lovely school and we go off and have a bit of lunch. Wish i could have stayed longer. Chris is one of those sorts of people that make me want to be a better person and I kinda like the person that i am around him.
While at the school I ask him about a wooden bokken, that i was thinking about purchasing, and he gifts to me, Which makes me go all warm and gooey.
So now i have a katanna styled, wooden Bokken (Sp?) made of white oak that is, let's face it, cooler than hell.
Too short a visit, but i need to get back on the road. So i bid my fond farewells, and head towards Columbus.
Having had back trip mojo in the past, I am looking with a weather eye towards God trying to stop me from making it or having any fun. But as i am cruising along the highway, i am listening to a playlist of The Crystal Method, when their cover of "Magic Carpet Ride" comes on. At that exact moment I am passed by a fella on a motorcycle. I take this as a good omen.
Miss my Kitty already. :(

Sascha en Repose

Time passes and i find myself at a dead stop 20 miles out from Columbus. that lasts for about an additional hour or so. But things thaw out a bit and we get moving again. 71 north is dotted and scarred with ongoing construction like 75 that never seems to stop. I don't actually get to see what the blockage is but once we're clear of it, traffic picks up it's pace. I arrive in Columbus with little fanfare. I spend an additional hour, looking for my hotel. Mapquests information is incorrect and I discover that nobody who works downtown seems to know where anything is. I ask 5 separate people and get 5 separate sets of directions. None of which are, in fact, correct. Finally i remember that the Hampton people helped me find the place i was looking for last year, So i pull up and ask the valets. True to form, the Hampton valets help me out and in 5 minutes i am in front of my hotel.
The Hampton people are BUST-ASS. Wish i could afford to stay there. Maybe next year.
I arrive at my hotel. I discover an ugly truth. I had chosen the hotel based on the fact that according to the Origins Website, did not have additional charges for parking (Valet service really.) The main reason why i couldn't stay in the Hyatt is not their room prices. I can come up with the scratch for that. It's the 21$ a day just to park that i have trouble with.
Unfortunately, The Courtyard by Marriott, does indeed have valet parking and it's an additional 15 bucks a day. That's 45 bucks i end up paying out of my pocket that i had expected to spend elsewhere. Man did THAT suck. On the other hand, My stay at CbM was utterly pleasant otherwise. The staff was friendly and courteous, It was only two blocks from the convention center as advertised, The breakfast bar was damn good and was highly exploited by yours truly. The pool and whirlpool area were well kept, and both mornings that i stayed there, i had them entirely to myself. Sybaritic pleasure pure and unapologetic. There is nothing quite like getting up early, having an enormous breakfast, going down to the indoor pool and quietly floating in the hot whirlpool while sun streams down on your from the skylight. Other than the parking thing, I loved my stay at the CbM, and i'd recommend them to anybody.

Cthulhu chilling in his Rl'yeh crib...Bizatch!

I make it in to the con, Pick up my pre-reg package, with no muss or fuss. Find instructions to get to the Cam Larp and make my way over. I pick up some dinner first (One of the food court outlets, so i got hosed a bit.) and then headed in.
I had built a character on off-the-shelf points according to the MET book and prepared to be told no, and be handed a dull pre-gen. This did not happen. in fact, they told me that if i wanted to bring in a built character, that would have to add 50 points of exp...


So, i sit down and re-tool the guy, change his clan a bit, put a little meat on his bones and away i go. I'll talk about the larp in a separate post. I want the reportage to be correct. Suffice to say here, that i had a very good time at the Camarilla Larp and it seemed to me that a lot of the horror stories that i had heard about them seemed to be in little evidence that weekend. Maybe ongoing larps are a different story, but we'll see. Met some good people. Feel like i made some friends. Put the old "Pete Sears" patented stamp on things and then made my way back to the hotel.
Oops, Almost forgot, stopping in at the big bar on 2 before retiring and seeing Bull and Mr and Mrs. Metalian from Didn't see anybody else i knew. Got tired and went back to base and didn't see them the rest of the week.

A lovely day. Abused the breakfast bar, Swam. Long leisurely shower. Dressed and went to the Convention center. Not too hot, Not too humid, a bit too sunny for this poor third shift worker.
Arrived at the Con in time for a bit of shopping and then the World of Darkness Tournament.
Bought an Origins Travel Mug,
Bought a Cthulhu T-shirt,
Picked up a new copy of the Silicon Valley Tarot Deck for 2 dollars. (Apparently the Steve Jackson games guys take great delight in buyers with exact change.)
Cruised around the White Wolf booth a bit, but could not buy. I'll pick up the new stuff this week though. Made a point to meet as many of the staffers as i could. I'm a groupie. Sue me.
Bought a button or two at the "Order of the Stick" booth and got to meet Rich Burlew too.
When i ran out of money, i started collecting business cards and may post some links later.
Got some nice swag from the Gencon booth too. A con-badge/wallet looking thing that is UTTERLY perfect for larpers., a nice gencon hanky. (excellent for allergy sufferers like me) and a Gencon meshback cap.

I am so turned on right now. It's wrong. I know.

I went to the Tourney, The game was Werewolf: the Forsaken, naturally. A game i was completely unfamiliar with. But oddly enough, I had fun and I died a heroes death. Tourney games can be good for that kind of thing and it's oddly cathartic. I was named as an alternate for the Final of the tourney. May have to look at Werewolf again. Was told that the last game of the tourney was going to be Promethean. This was a carefully crafted piece of disinformation. But more on that tomorrow.

Afterwards, had a moment of mental paralysis. Ended up paying 11.25 for a burger,a small bag of doritos, and a cold 20 oz of Mountain Dew. Don't know why I went ahead and paid. instead of throwing a fool fit.
The real work at the Convention is trying to figure out ways to eat on the cheap. Subway on the food-court has been a real godsend. Columbus is a cool city but it seems that it's main ability is the way it hoovers my wallet clean. Maybe that's just convention area.

I am so turned on right now. It's wrong i know...

Later that night i returned for more larping action. Again, i'll handle that in a separate post.
I was however told by a couple at the larp that if i had travelled one block down from the hotel i would have found public parking in columbus that would have only dinged me for 6 bucks a day.
There is much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Started to feel a bit blue. I don't travel with anyone because i am territorial like a wolf. I have trouble sleeping when anyone is near. I imagine, it'd be a different story if i were sharing a bed with someone of my own. At least, with that situation, i'd have someone to share the trip with and the expenses. and of course, the hot nasty hotel sex. (because hotel sex, even in a NICE hotel is always nastier than at home.)
One of the other reasons why i travel alone is that i want to protect the possibility that i might meet somebody and then not have to negotiate some "Alone time" with her with 4-8 other people.
So it gets a bit lonely at times. Especially when you don't realize until you go to the con that most ladies, even most geek ladies rarely go to the con, to pick up fellows. Most of the women I saw at the con were paired off already. So maybe, i'll have to amend my habits in some way to make this sort of travel more possible. Either that or find a lady who interested in traveling to cons with me and some hot nasty hotel sex. Ah well.

PlayVamp Presents Girls of Ordo Dracul

On saturday, I get a chance to play in the end of the White Wolf tourney. I am under a Non-disclosure agreement vis-a-vis the game. But i can tell you a few things.
1) I Met Rich Ranallo from, who had the best idea of the game.
2) I also met Corey Atwill and Ann Doyle, who also seem to be involved in the industry.
3) Our GM was none other than Will Hindmarch, (Line developer for Vampire)
4) Hindmarch is an EXCELLENT GM. with a keen understanding of pacing.
5) He got us hip to a basic idea of development that i think is nothing short of brilliant and which White wolf will be trying out. And it kills me that i can't talk more about it.

Saturday evening i get involved in the Cam vampire larp again, Giving the Firefly larp a miss. I'm already embroiled, and they want 10.50$ to play in the Firefly Larp. Not for me. Not tonight.
Had a good time. Made some friends. Garnered some recognition and came within a hairs-breath of winning the Old Vampire Chess set which White wolf still has a few of. Would have liked to have won that, but it was an honor to be nominated. Truly.
Was also exposed to an interesting idea by the fellow playing the Carthian Prefect Oilver Hearst. He pointed out that when you are exposed to some sort of social discipline (like Dominate or Presence) that if you fail to resist it, then you should at least ham it up. Those people paid real points for that stuff. Might as well help them get their money's worth.
I like it. It gives me yet another excuse for some over the top acting. Which is fun.
These people seem to "get It."
Also: figured out that in a Con larp, one BIG plot is preferable to the ten little plots that i usually like to have floating around. This is not say that you can't have ten additional little plots, but you should have the one big one.

I want the woman i marry to wear this to bed on our wedding night. I make no apologies for this.

Got up. big breakfast, gave swimming a miss. Packed my gear and had them bring the car around. (Hey, I PAID for Valet service.) Got in and headed home. Stopped at the first place i could get gas for the trip home and cried bitter tears of anger at the price of gas on 4th of july weekend. Gah! Drove home in full clench mode, convinced that i would not have enough gas to make it.
But i was lucky. I also carved off about 30 miles on the return trip by dint of driving through Cincy on the Interstate. Forgot that although driving in and around Cincy makes me crazy, it is still a very pretty city.
I make it home without incident. Lots of police on the road so I take it easy. I'm glad to be home. Good to see my kitty. who i missed.

Will i go back next year?
If i do no other thing next year. I will do that at least. I also hope to manage Archon as well this year. Wouldn't it be sweet if we could do a real con here in lexington? I could dig on that real hard.

Sono Finito.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Back from Origins

Ah...Now i can truly relax.
I have arrived home from Origins and let me tell you, it was a blast. i enjoyed it very much. I have about an hours worth of tape from the event and a camera full of pictures. So a much fuller report on the con is forthcoming including the legend of...

But no. I must not tell of that yet. Soon will come.