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About hivemind

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    PR Nightmare
  • Birthday 08/02/1973

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    Utica, NY
  • Interests
    Games, IT, my wife, your mom...

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  1. Huge CK Work Day Thank You!

    Glad it went well, and sorry I missed it.
  2. Magic Lock and Lean-Tos

    We'll be looking for next year at the cost of getting custom canvas fronts for the lean-tos, that button securely into place, and have a tied-flap door. No promises, but it's the first major project I'd like to tackle over the winter.
  3. Best of September 2016

    I've ordered five dozen solar lights for the trails in town.
  4. Kingsley Scout Camp Director

    Hi Rob, this is Dave. Happy to have you come test the waters as an NPC if you'd like, it's a lot of fun. The best relationship we ever had with a camp was when the director was also a player. For the rest of you, a friendly reminder that all official communication with Rob should happen via me or Dan or Jimmy. :D
  5. The Helix and You!

    Maplewood owes its existence to a mysterious effect known as The Helix. No one knows what it is, exactly, but it is highly beneficial for the residents of Maplewood - in fact, the town was built here because of it. The townsfolk erected a simple flagpole to represent it, but the flagpole is but a physical monument, not The Helix itself - although scholars who studied it say they believe the effect to be the strongest where the flagpole is, and that whatever causes the effect is somewhere beneath the ground in that area. The Helix has the following effects: 1. It emanates a kind of repulsion field that affects evil beings, dangerous creatures, and malevolent entities (hereafter "monsters"). This is not a physical barrier or fence or forcefield that physically keeps monsters out, but a sort of subconscious effect that causes them to be distinctly uncomfortable, including but not limited to any (or all) of the following: mild itching, headache, nausea, fatigue, loss of appetite, night blindness/sunlight sensitivity, mental befuddlement, apathy, or depression. This is coupled with a distinct feeling of pressure away from the center of town. This effect is subtle, but increases both over time and with increased proximity to the center of town (as marked by the flagpole). Unintelligent and less-intelligent monsters, such as oozes, orcs, or most lesser undead, will simply and unconsciously avoid the area, going around it. If they are driven in, or ordered/controlled in, they will go, but they will be harder and harder to keep there. After about six hours, they're experiencing the equivalent of severe migraines, uncontrollable itching, mild dizziness, blindness, dementia, or vomiting. After twelve hours, these symptoms can become debilitating, and the pressure to leave feels almost physical. After twenty-four hours, they are usually completely incapacitated. Intelligent monsters, such as Dark Fae or Nosferatu, also feel this, however, they often have the mental fortitude to withstand it for a greater time - perhaps because they understand that it has an external cause, because they are simply more powerful entities, or some other reason. Essentially, everything the less powerful monsters feel is halved in effect and they can withstand it twice as long. Upon entry, they simply feel a pressure to leave. After six hours, mild itching, headaches, etc. After twelve hours, severe migraines, vomiting, etc. After twenty-four hours, the symptoms are debilitating, and after another day they're incapacitated. 2. It can create a magical bond with sentient creatures of good nature and benevolence (hereafter "people"). The effects of this bond include a general resistance to illness and disease, slightly extended lifespan (approximately 10% - 25% longer than average, perhaps as a result of the first effect), and healing of physical injuries and internal ailments, including poisons and mind-affecting effects. People so bonded are called Citizens of Maplewood, and often this is done in a ceremony with a Town Elderman and witnesses, however the children of Citizens born in Maplewood are usually bonded at birth, with no ceremony needed at all; they are simply born that way. These children will go through a formal Citizenship ceremony upon reaching their majority, however this is but a formality. To be healed by The Helix, Citizens go to the flagpole at the center of town and wait a short time (usually about one minute), then are affected as if by a Panacea spell. 3. It can create a more significant bond with certain Citizens it chooses to allow authority in Maplewood. These people are called Eldermen, Elderwomen, or simply Elders. These Elders are able to "speak" with The Helix (if you ask an Elder about this, they'll tell you it's not so much "speech" as images and sensations, but the effect is the same. They'll also tell you that this communication is decidedly one-sided - The Helix doesn't often answer back.). Elders are the ones who adjudicate major disputes within Maplewood and perform Citizenship ceremonies. Constables, the Citizens hired as peacekeepers, investigators, and mediators of minor disputes by Maplewood, have no special bond other than Citizenship. It is possible for an Elder to also work as a Constable. 4. It can create what is, essentially, the opposite of the Citizenship bond: Shunning. People who are Shunned are affected by The Helix in the same way monsters are. If they were a Citizen, that bond is replaced with Shunning. If you draw some lines, you can show this graphically on them: <------Elder--------Citizen--------resident-------Shunnning----> <-------Benevolent_People-------regular_people-----Monsters----> <----REAL_GOOD------GOOD-----------NEUTRAL---------EVIL--------> Shunned people are generally treated as if they were monsters by Citizens, but pitied rather than hated. Shunned people will be asked to leave Maplewood if seen by a Constable or Elder. Citizens will find an Elder or Constable and report seeing Shunned people to them. If a Shunned person was known to be volatile or violent, the Constables will usually form a posse to eject the monster, physically if necessary. If a particularly dangerous monster entered Maplewood, it would not be unusual for The Helix to report this directly to the Elders for action. This can happen because... 5. The Helix is omniscient, at least within its area of effect. It is all-knowing and all-seeing. It knows what you have done, and it knows what you're thinking about, and it knows when you intend to do something. This is how it knows who to extend Citizenship to, and who to Shun. Now, this last one seems to be the bit that's giving people the hardest time. Let me explain why it needs to be like this. How else does it know monsters are evil? As a rule, in Kingdoms of Novitas, monsters are evil by nature. If this wasn't the case, players would be allowed to PC as orcs or dark fae or even Grave Spawn. Evil and good are not grey areas at KoN. Orcs don't rescue babies, and Light Fae don't kill people and take their stuff. Sure, we've all seen the "tame" kazvacs in the traveling carnivals, and we've all seen the occasional ogre try to get a drink and a meal at the Inn. Once I saw killer whales swimming with divers at Sea World. That doesn't mean I'm gonna dive off a boat in the ocean into a pod of them. Monsters simply do not adhere to the same code of morality that people do - at least good people do. This is why The Helix shuns monsters. If a person does enough evil/bad/immoral/unethical/pick-your-adjective acts, The Helix knows, and that person gets treated like a monster. Some players have historically taken advantage of the "on-camera, off-camera" nature of a LARP. There's always been a conception that if no one sees something, it didn't happen. Now, in the real world, people see things. You might think no one saw you murder that traveling merchant out in the woods and take all his coin, but in reality, there was probably someone hunting nearby, or a child in the bushes picking berries, or a woman with indigestion and a dark cloak walking to the outhouse at 2 AM, or someone heard a noise and looked out their windows at just the wrong time for you, or someone simply noticed you walked out into the woods with someone and came back with some blood on your pants. Any one of an infinite number of little things could give you away. This has been abused for far too long. The Helix's omniscience is a way to check this abuse. "But why can't we just allow that? What's wrong with it?" What's wrong with it is that it's an inherently selfish and masturbatory style of play that gives nothing to the game. You're not crafting some grand story, you're not giving quality interactions to the other PCs or NPCs, you're simply being, what we've taken to calling, a "murder-hobo". It's unrealistic and trite and lots of people got to do it for over a decade, but now we're discouraging that playstyle. Note I didn't say "forbidding", I said, "discouraging". If you're a person who likes that style of character, then by all means, continue. Just understand that you can no longer continue without consequences. "But these consequences feel like railroading or deus ex machina!" First, we should probably discuss what the consequences actually are for acting like a monster in Maplewood. 1. You'll be Shunned. 2. There is no #2. That's right, all that's gonna happen to you if you continue to murderhobo in and around Maplewood is that you'll be Shunned, that is, The Helix, and probably all the Citizens of Maplewood, will start to treat you like a monster (as already detailed above). You can still come into town, but Citizen merchants in the Bazaar won't do business with you, servers in The Jenny won't serve you, and if you're seen by Citizens you'll be asked (with varying degrees of politeness) to leave, or they'll go run and get a Constable, who will tell you to leave. You don't have to do what the Constable says, either, if you don't want to - but again, there'll be consequences. If you stay in The Helix's area of effect for too long (as detailed for intelligent monsters previously) you should start to exhibit the effects of long-term exposure - headaches, shakes, etc. But you can still play the entire game with no consequences or differences on the other 399 acres of Camp Kingsley. So, no, it's not railroading. It's just that actions have consequences, and you're not used to these particular actions having any - even though these actions should probably carry the MOST consequences of any action in-game. "But why can't we just let the PCs deal with punishing bad people? Why do we need Big Brother's all-seeing eye now?" We had twelve years of games where this almost never happened. It's an open secret that certain PCs are evil (literally worshiping evil deities), that certain PCs rob and steal (ninja-looting falls into this category), and that certain PCs will murder any NPC they're alone with simply for the chance at looking through their pockets. I believe that other players have a bias against action that would harm another PC. Kingdoms of Novitas has a strong culture of avoiding PvP violence. There are many reasons for this: some players spend a lot of money on PC garb and props and others feel bad wasting that money by killing them some players feel like others should be able to play the game any way they want to as long as they're not hurting other PCs some players have a misguided sense of "community" where anyone who lives with them in town should be given the unlimited benefit of the doubt some players are afraid that their own misdeeds will come to light if they act against another PC some players are afraid to take action against the PCs of veteran players or staff (this one's untrue, but some still think it) some players simply don't want to interject real morality into their fantasy game Ultimately, the other players cannot be depended to even agree on a code of morality, let alone enforce one. And if some ever ARE willing to do so, there are others who would rally against them just for the entertainment value of it. [*]"But why can't we just have the Constables do their job as cops and track down the evildoers?" Because we don't have the manpower for that, and it doesn't make sense mechanically. What is the difference between thee two things? 1. Bob commits a murder + robbery. Constable Joe (NPC #1)gets a complaint of a missing person (this probably comes from Plot). Constable Joe "investigates", that is, the NPC goes away and comes back next month with "evidence" (which came from Plot). Constable Joe tells the Elders (NPCs #2 & #3) he has evidence of Bob's crime. Bob hears of this, or sees the Constables coming for him, and either books it into the woods, or kills the Constable, or goes along to the trial. If he kills the Constable or runs, now we need either a posse (more NPCs) or another Constable (NPC #4). During the trial, witnesses must be called (more NPCs). He's found guilty, Bob loses his ill-gotten gains, is Shunned, and ejected from Maplewood. Bob did a bad thing, and there was a consequence, but it took a long time and involved a lot of manpower. Maybe Bob even got to have a lot of fun being chased around by NPCs. 2. Bob commits a murder. The Helix knows, issues a Shunning, and tells an Elder (NPC #1) that Bob is now Shunned. Maybe there's a little ceremony to announce it for some hot RP action, maybe his name is just given to all the Citizen NPCs and posted on some posters. Bob can still have his fun being chased by NPCs if he wants, but now it doesn't involve 5-10 NPCs to deal with one shithead who wanted to be a murderhobo. Plus, being cops isn't the job of the Constables, not in the "catching bad guys" sense. No one wants that job as an NPC, it's shitty. Constables are mediators and investigators, adjudicators of small disputes. Maplewood simply doesn't need a police force because it has The Helix, and they don't care about catching monsters, they just want them gone. Until all these Pinedale scumbags got there, at least. However, making The Helix work requires everyone to play along, in the same way that you're playing along when someone throws a beanbag at you and you pretend to be Stunned, or hits you with a rubber sword and you pretend to die, or that when you "die" you can be healed by magic, or we pretend that there are huge kingdoms containing millions of inhabitants surrounding us, or that we pretend there are a thousand residents in Maplewood. That's the game. So, now, part of the game is that when your PC does something bad, you need to "self-report" to Plot. But wait! What if my PC doesn't think what she did is bad?! It doesn't matter what your PC would think, every single one of you knows wrong from right as a real-life person, a functioning member of human society. We're not talking about societal or cultural values here, we're talking about basic, bedrock principles of human morality that have been acknowledged for over 5000 years in stuff like Hammurabi's Code, the Draconian Constitution, and the Torah. All it boils down to is two things: 1. Don't steal. Don't take things you reasonably should know belong to another person. Don't take things you're not entitled to (ninja looting) or that someone else might have a claim on until you're sure you're entitled to take it. Don't pick up unattended items that aren't yours unless your honest intent is to safeguard it or return it to it's owner (finders-keepers). If you kill a monster, sure, loot it and keep the stuff (unless you should be sharing it with others who participated in the encounter). If you find a sword leaning against a tree in the woods, sure, take it - but you should also return it if someone claims it as their lost property (this would be a great time to involve a Constable). 2. Don't assault. Don't strike people except in self-defense (fighting monsters is always self-defense). Don't rape. Don't murder. Don't detain people against their will unless they've committed a crime. If your PC commits one of these crimes, you need to let Plot know! You can let them know immediately by, say, a note or message sent in with an NPC or told to a Constable or Elder NPC. You should also include such actions in your PEL. But you MUST let the Plot Staff know within a week of the event's end, or as soon as you get a chance after that. "But what do I have to report?" All you need to report is if you assaulted someone (monsters don't count) or stole from someone (monsters don't count) including ninja looting and finders-keepers kinds of situations. Please do not think that your PC is going to be turbo-screwed by the invisible hand of god the first, or even the fifth, time you report that you did something bad. As with anything else in life, there are mitigating factors, explanations, and good reasons for some things. It's also likely that if you offer to make restitution and seem genuinely remorseful for your wrongdoing, that'll be accepted. However, the Constables and Elders (and the players playing those NPCs) are people, and people can make mistakes, be capricious, be inconsistent, misunderstand, and just generally be human. Just like real life, if you get pulled over for speeding, maybe you'll get a warning, maybe you'll get a ticket, or maybe the cop brings in a sniffer dog who falsely alerts to drugs in your car, they arrest you, tear your car apart and impound it, forensically examine your phone for evidence, and seize all the cash you had on you through civil forfeiture. But you could avoid all that if, you know... you weren't speeding. And, as I said above, no one's going to be put to death or imprisoned or something. You'll just have to get your drinks in the Slap & Tickle, and be sneaky when you DO come into town. For the time being, if someone feels like they've been wronged in the application of The Helix's powers, I'd like you to come directly to me. Open door, I'll hear you out and take your complaint seriously. Over time, I believe we'll see that this mechanism works great, but I understand that some people are nervous about it.
  6. You can see your name right there, at the bottom.
  7. Titanium

    18 gauge TI is fine. It's far stiffer than brass or aluminum.
  8. State of the Game Update, September 2017

    There's plenty of room for your tent. Plenty of room for lots of tents.
  9. So, I hate to be optimistic, like, ever, but... we may have stood up out of this pile of shit smelling like roses. The BSA staff seems excited that we're coming. They were very hospitable today, and showed us the entire camp before leaving us there unescorted to look the entire place over and hammer out details. They have a list of available weekends I'll be going over with them this week, and I'll post a 12-to-18 month schedule as soon as that's done. Right now, we're at the stage where I need to contact our insurance to get some paperwork for the BSA, and pay them a deposit. Let's talk about a few things. First, a list, in no particular order, of things that will NOT change: 1. Keep the place clean. Pick up your garbage, don't throw used scrolls, etc. on the ground, pick up ALL tagbags, and so forth. 2. We're still in Maplewood. This has always been Maplewood. We moved directly here from Pinedale. Effectively, we are retconning this site to be Maplewood. Everything that's happened over the last 12 months happened here. 3. There's still a town, and The Helix protects it. It is of a somewhat more compact nature now, however, and this new site is 400 acres, plus a huge parcel of adjacent state land. 4. Pretty much everything else, except for... Things from Pinedale we're bringing back: 1. You can sleep in the inn. But your stuff needs to be PUT AWAY or COVERED with a non-anachronistic blanket or cloth, or in period chests if left out. You can't go to bed during game hours, and you need to be up and out by 9 AM. 2. There's stuff out in the woods. The woods are huge. Go find the stuff. Encounters will not happen near town. 3. Winter break. We can't hold winter events in the available structures, not really, so we're going back to our old winter break schedule. For those unfamiliar, we run events April, May, June, September, October, November, and December. We might be able to sneak in an early July or late August event, too. We're also going to bring back an old Adventures in Mid-Land tradition: No Wimps Winter Weekend! This will be a full weekend event in January or February. There's enough heated indoor sleeping for everyone, it's just not real comfortable, so we're only going to do it once a year. But what about Feb Feast, Dave? Lemme tell you about that: it's done. Not feasible at this site. In it's place, we're going to do a summer campout at Delta Lake State Park, like we did this year. We'll rent a pavilion, run some fun battle games and shit during the day, then that evening we'll have a catered meal, a meeting and auction, awards, and adult beverages. Everyone seemed to have a good time at these this year, so let's keep on with them. The basic layout of Camp Kingsley is: ++ A large building for Logistics. This also can be slept in, however, just like the Inn you need to keep your personal stuff compact and put away. You should have NO expectation of quiet or privacy other than between 2 AM and 9 AM. This building has a HUGE commercial kitchen. We intend to do most cooking for NPCs in here, rather than the Inn. The days of sending NPCs to the Inn as random farmers to go get food are done - the new Inn just ain't big enough. ++ Two larger cabins, one smaller cabin. One of these becomes the inn, the other will be Mercy House (a spot for new players to get a bunk in). These two cabins sleep about 20. The smaller third one is a "town hall", a combination home base for Constables, a meeting place for Eldermen, and a place for town business to happen. It sleeps about ten. All three are within The Helix. All these bunks are first-come, first-served. ++ Two pods of eight lean-tos. These are three-walled structures with a curtain across the front and a wooden floor, and six bunks. One of these is quite close to the three previously-mentioned cabins, and becomes "Maplewood". They are within The Helix. The other is fuck-all far from everything else, and becomes "encounter town", and is outside The Helix. You can camp there if you want. The close lean-tos are pretty close to each other, close enough that someone standing by the central firepit has only to raise their voice to be seen and heard by everyone there. It's a very "town-y" area. There's even a flagpole. I expect these will be taken up by adventuring groups, and we'll assign them in order of seniority prior to the first event there. As usual, if your group doesn't encamp, we'll give it to some other group that will. ++ Three A-Frame cabins that are even farther away from the town area, and probably not useful as in-game sleeping areas at all. These will probably be used for OOG sleeping, but we don't know how yet. Stay tuned on these. They're so far from the rest of what we're using that we might not even pay for them or use them. ++ A partially-enclosed pole barn that will be used as a Merchant's Bazaar. It's right near the inn building. ++ Facilities. There's a bathhouse with flushies and a couple showers on either side. There's a bathroom and shower in Logistics. There are two big-ass shower houses that each have about a dozen private shower rooms with exterior access (the doors bolt from the inside, and display "open" or "occupied" when you bolt the door) that are brand-new and pretty nice. There are composting toilet outhouses dotted around. There's plenty of water at water stations. ++ Parking is easy and plentiful, if you don't park like fucking savages. Maps are forthcoming. Anyway, it looks good. Put the September 29 - October 1 date on your calendars.
  10. The Challenges of Corruption

    Who thinks they're being knighted this year at Ragnarok?
  11. 2017-2018 Event Dates

    Our June event will be a day event with optional camping. It will include character portraits, fighter practice, a fighting tournament, and a number of classes in various arts and sciences. WHEN: June 3, 11 AM to dark. WHERE: Delta Lake State Park. 8797 NY-46, Rome, NY 13440. https://www.google.com/maps/place/Delta+Lake+State+Park/@43.2906076,-75.4163146,15z/ ++ No fee for the event, however it costs $7 per carload to get into the park. I suggest you park cars in Rome at Price Chopper and jam cars full of people there to save money, if needed. Everyone attending will receive 1 XP. ++ Optional camping for the entire weekend: https://www.reserveamerica.com/camping/delta-lake-state-park/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=NY&parkId=56 Campsites are $15-$33 per night. ++ Event is GARB OPTIONAL. Players attending in garb will receive 1 XP bonus. ++ Players desiring to do a full sign-in with production can pay $20 to do so, and get 2 XP bonus. ++ KoN will provide some food, simple meats for the grills and some salads, however if everyone can bring a dish to pass or some drinks that'd be great. If you have special dietary needs that preclude you eating hot dogs and hamburgers, plan accordingly. If you have questions or concerns about food please contact Kerrie. ++ This is a state park, so kids, leashed/caged pets, and alcohol are all fine. If you are drunk please do not attempt to fight. Do not drink if you are under 21 - the park rangers WILL come around and card everyone, and we WILL all get kicked out. ++ If it's hot enough, there's a sand beach and we can swim. Delta Lake is an exceptionally clear and clean lake. ++ Kat will be doing PC portraits for those that attend in garb and wish to do so. ++ Dan will be running day battles. Expect things like group vs. group, CTF, etc. ++ Richard is running tournaments. ++ JC and the Plot crew will be running some classes on Novitas World History, what GMs do, and other flurby stuff. ++ Pat will be running some classes on character skills efficiency and a rules Q&A. ++ Kyle and the Props crew will be running several classes on crafting various things and stuff. The intention here is a mix of active and less-active activities so that there's plenty for everyone to do. If you have a suggestion about something you'd like to see, let us know and we'll consider it. See you all in three weeks!
  12. Helmet, Helmet, Helmet...

    FYI: No marshal will pass an 18 gauge helmet in the SCA for heavy combat. They'll pass a 16 gauge helmet, but it'll get destroyed quickly. I don't hit particularly hard and I can dent a 16 gauge helmet all day. SCA helmets these days shoot for a 12-14 gauge top and 14 gauge sides. We WANT the weight - it gives your head some inertia, which is important when people are swinging clubs at your head. My SCA heavy helmet is over 17 pounds.
  13. All irrelevant right now...
  14. There is NO WAY we're going to come up with 35 viable new spells. If you want to take a crack at it, go ahead. Another player did, years ago, and there were some gems in it that eventually made it into game. 35 more new, unique, balanced, non-duplicate spells? No way.