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Everything posted by hivemind

  1. MVGC Inc. / Kingdoms of Novitas LARP Policy update: Engaging in sexual activity inside public structures is strictly forbidden. A public structure is any building rented by the organization for communal use, to include lean-tos, A-frames, cabins, lodges, and pavilions. When you engage in this behavior in public, you are making some other players deeply uncomfortable. It is not right that they should feel it necessary to leave a public space because of your behavior. No, constructing a blanket fort does not make where you are private. No, you may not assume - or even ask - if everyone present is okay with it and carry on. Just don't. Please restrict your intimate relations with others to your own tents, or simply do not engage in this level of intimacy at KoN events.
  2. Code of Conduct: We do not tolerate harassment of people at our events in any form. In order to take action, we need to know about any incident during the event. Everyone is entitled to a harassment-free event experience, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, or physical appearance. Harassment includes, but is not limited to, inappropriate physical contact, unwelcome sexual attention, offensive verbal comments, deliberate out-of-game intimidation, stalking or following someone, making harassing photography or recordings, and disrupting talks or other events. Anyone asked to stop any unacceptable behavior is expected to comply immediately. Furthermore, discussion of real-world religions or politics is never appropriate during a Kingdoms of Novitas event. A request to “stop” or “leave me alone” means exactly that. If anyone engages in harassing behavior, the event staff may warn the offender, remove the offender from the area, or expel the offender from the event with no refund at the discretion of an MVGC, Inc. officer. If you feel that you are being harassed, or if you notice someone violating event or camp policies, we respectfully suggest the following: If you feel comfortable doing so, point out the inappropriate behavior to the persons involved. Often this will solve the problem immediately. If you do not feel comfortable talking with the persons involved, or if talking to them does not resolve the issue, please report the situation, in person, immediately to ANY member of the Kingdoms of Novitas staff, who will take you immediately to a Marshal. Try to provide a name and/or a physical description of the person or persons involved. In order to take action, we need to know about any incident during the event.
  3. 2018 Junebilee FF Auction Items

    PSA: Please be aware that we have not procured props for most of these items. It took longer than expected to find a day and time when the four of us who figure these out could all meet up for two hours. I will work directly with the winners to get them props that are within our budget and aesthetically pleasing for them. I'd like to do that in the week immediately after Junebilee, so if you win something, do some shopping, look for something you like, and send me some links. If you're stuck, I can probably give you some suggestions or ideas where to look. Additionally, a bunch of these things I'll likely just make for youse myself (the books, the jewelry, the bracers, basically anything I can produce in my shop I'm happy to do so for you) so that's another option if you'd prefer. I'm pretty okay at the craftings. I'll remind everyone of this right before the auction.
  4. MVGC Policy on Emergency Services

    Simply go to Logistics. If the person that you need is not there, they will know how to find them, or will escalate appropriately.
  5. From time to time at MVGC events, we have issues with participants taking it upon themselves to call emergency services (police, EMS, fire, etc.). While we fully support calling these emergency responders when warranted, you need to be absolutely sure the situation merits it. Calling emergency services when the situation does not merit it puts our ability to use facilities and sites at risk, causes unnecessary medical bills, brings unwanted public scrutiny on our weird hobby, and needlessly disrupts events. It's also a disgusting amount of drama, and I'm tired of it. The following situations warrant calling emergency services: Structure fires. If you can do so safely, please attempt to extinguish fires yourself using the camp's fire extinguishers. Criminal behavior, particularly active violence. However, depending on the severity of this, we'd prefer that you come to a staff member first. We have never yet had a substantiated instance of violence or theft at an MVGC event - although we've had a number of allegations which have all been proven false. Fraudulently calling the police while at an MVGC, Inc. event is grounds for permanent banning. Serious injury. This means serious blood loss, compound fractures (bone coming out of skin), etc. DO NOT call EMS for a twisted ankle or minor injuries. We have qualified medical personnel on staff, so for non-life-threatening injuries they should always be your first stop. If the person can speak and move, you probably shouldn't be calling an ambulance. Many injuries can be adequately treated on-site by our personnel, and at no cost to you. I would very much appreciate everyone's cooperation with this. XOXO, Dave
  6. Catapults and other stuff

    Feel free to use the forums here Rob.
  7. If you're new, WELCOME! We love new players, and we have a dedicated group of staff people in Marketing & New Player Outreach whose entire job it is to help you feel welcome, safe, and confident at your first event. Maggie Bechtel is the M&PO Marshal. "Marshal" is what we call the people who are in charge of different areas of responsibility at Kingdoms of Novitas (the whole list is here: http://www.kingdomsofnovitas.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=6 ). Her Second ("Second" is our extremely creative title for the second-in-command. Hey, it's better than "Number Two".) is Jordan Bellassai. One of them will be along shortly to answer your questions, or point you to the person who can! :) *********************************************** Existing players, please do not respond to new person posts until Maggie or Jordan have had a chance to, or it's been 24 hours with no other replies to a new person. It's important that we allow the people who have jobs to actually do them, and we'd prefer that all information comes from the same sources to minimize confusion for our new players. Thanks!
  8. The way we have allocated in-game space in Maplewood sucks for new players and makes them feel unwelcome or uncertain. While we say this is the case, "First Come, First Served" has effectively NEVER been how we actually determine who is using what space. It's also clear now, after our first full winter of weekend events, that hardly anyone is going to occupy the lean-tos, or Cayuga Cabin, throughout the winter. The lure of heated sleeping is too strong. Perhaps in the future, if improvements are made to make the lean-tos more weathertight, or add drivable access to Cayuga, we'll see this change, and if that happens we can adjust the policy. However, it is unfair to have parties lose their "dibs" over the winter months when no one else is staying in those structures either, and it seems particularly shitty for someone else to arrive before you in April or May and snatch your lean-to because you didn't want to stay in it through the winter (but they didn't either) - this particular situation is patently unfair to people coming from far away and people who have jobs that prevent them from being on-site at the 3 PM "site opens" time. Note that there is NO SLEEPING ALLOWED in Logistics, except for rare exceptions for medical reasons made by the Operations Marshal. If you think you need to sleep in Logistics, please talk to Dave H (hivemind / Ivan). From now on, this is how it works. As always, these policies are subject to change if something turns out to not work. If you have questions, the Operations Marshal (me) or Second Marshal (John Spencer) are the people to talk to, or post them here. 1. Groups are not expected to sleep in their structures at events where forecasted nighttime temperatures will be below 40 degrees (OPs will make this call). 2. Groups will retain their rights to a structure (their "dibs") over the winter months provided they occupy it in both November, and April or May (May if April nights are forecast to be below 40). 3. Groups that are assigned a structure are expected to do some sort of encampment, ie. Hide modern stuff, blankets on beds, hang a sign or a banner, make it look lived in, and so forth. Groups are also still expected to do a "bare minimum" encampment during the winter months if at all possible. Put out your banner or sign, have a lantern in there, etc. even if the lean-to will be empty. If the snow's too deep to reasonably travel up there, don't worry about it - but make the effort if it's possible. 4. Groups that have a structure and need to miss an event for whatever reason will need to post up by Wednesday night prior to the event they're missing so that we can use the space for something else that event (encounters, overflow, whatever). This allows OPs to temporarily offer your structure to another group so they can try it out, GMs to use the lean-to for a longer encounter that event, etc. 5. "No call no shows" make a group lose their "dibs" immediately (exceptions may be made in exceptional circumstances beyond your control, like if you all carpool together and get in a car accident on the way to game). If this happens, the next group on the waiting list will be given your building starting the next event. 6. Groups who do not completely fill their structure may still have other people assigned bunks in it. 7. If your group goes defunct or disbands, you need to inform OPs as ASAP as possible so that we can reassign your structure. 8. Operations reserves the right to move people around, based on size of group, regular attendance, actual space utilization, etc. Note: this post will be kept up to date, and ruthlessly moderated. Areas protected by The helix are in this color. Areas not protected by The Helix are in this color. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ Maplewood (Oneida Lean-Tos) ++ This area is in The Helix ++ Structure 1: Occupied (group has no IG name) Structure 2: Stone Structure 3: House of the Rising Phoenix Structure 4: Briar House Structure 5: Cephalopod Mafia Structure 6: Mercy House Structure 7: Dustin & Ryan Structure 8: Templars Merchant Bazaars: Hornbeck and Williams Pavilion ++ These areas are in The Helix ++: Currently there is more than adequate space to house all the merchants in-game between these two buildings, and merchants are welcome to use either one of these as they wish, provided you're not unreasonably infringing on the space or use of any other merchants. Stall spaces and tables are first-come, first-served. Note that there is no sleeping in the Merchant Bazaar (well, you can if you want, I guess, but there're no beds), and there's still no vending in Maplewood proper or in the Spinning Jenny. Merchants should get bunks in one of the cabins to sleep in-game, or upstairs in an A-Frame to sleep OOG. Cayuga Cabin So here's the deal with this building: there is no deal. It's clearly only habitable in fair weather for our purposes, as we simply can't get back there except on foot with backpacks from mid-November to May. That's like six months (November, December, January, February, March, April) it's a useless structure, for our purposes. I'm not going to expend a lot of energy during the five or so events we can actually use it (May, June, August, September, October) deciding who gets what, managing dibs, etc. If you can get there, it's available. Will Metott as Johann has a long-standing claim on the attic area and the common table area. Other than that, the ten bunks in that building are first-come, first-served. If people want to encamp there, be respectful of each other's needs and belongings, and work together to make it what you want. No one owns it, use it as you will. That building is OUT of The Helix now. Please do not make it into MurderHouse. Harden Cabin: The Spinning Jenny ++ This area is in The Helix ++ Bunks in the Spinning Jenny are first-come, first-served. Evans Cabin: The Slap & Tickle Bunks in the Slap and Tickle are first-come, first-served. Williams Lodge ++ This area is in The Helix ++ Williams Lodge is being used now as an in-game building for players who desire a more extensive in-character encampment experience year-round. There is a common room with four beds, two tiny bedrooms with five beds each, and a bunkhouse area with twelve bunks. As the players staying in here have more extensive encampments, we're going to manage the occupancy of this building a bit more actively. As long as you're staying there, you'll keep your individual dibs on a bunk bed (top and bottom) just as if it was a lean-to in Maplewood; all the same rules apply as far as regular occupancy and so forth. The only additional requirement is that you are required to cover the twin-size bright blue mattresses of your bunk bed with a fitted sheet of a solid color or an authentic-looking print (don't put your Star Wars fitted sheet on these) to add to the atmosphere of the building. Common Room Bunk Bed 1: Common Room Bunk Bed 2: Bedroom 1: Brave Companions Bedroom 2: Bless the Mask Players Bunkhouse Bunk Bed: Narene Tvarus Bunkhouse Bunk Bed: Joy Strifeborn Bunkhouse Bunk Bed: Phil & Daniel Bunkhouse Bunk Bed: Denise Bunkhouse Bunk Bed: Baldisare & Enzo Bunkhouse Bunk Bed: North Town / Ranger & Seneca Lean-Tos These areas are first-come, first-served The A-Frames ++ These areas are in The Helix ++ The bottom floor of the A-Frames are available for encampments and in-character activities (the upper floors of all three will remain OOG). Bear in mind that it is HIGHLY unlikely the GMs will ever send NPCs down there, so if you're encamping there for RP purposes, expect to entertain yourselves. If all occupants of an A-Frame agree that none of you is going to use it for this purpose, simply mark the door with a strip of orange and a note that says "Building OOG" and then feel free to scatter your mundane crap everywhere as usual. But if someone wants to use an A-Frame for their party's in-game purposes, they get priority. Sioux: The Covenant Pawnee: Druids Apache: The McFathom Five THE WAITING LIST for MAPLEWOOD LEAN-TOs To get yourself or your group on this list, you must make a post below this one, stating the name of the group, the group contact person, and how many people in the group. "Dibs" are allocated in the order I receive them. The Fishermen (Barry) LAST RUTHLESSLY PRUNED: 6/7/18 by Dave H.
  9. Coming in not blahhhh

    Also, for entertainment value, and comparison, here's where we STARTED with the game's XP progression, 15 years ago:
  10. Coming in not blahhhh

    Gil, you might be forgetting what it was like to be a first-game newbie. First game people generally have NO idea how things work, mechanically or thematically. This is why we require people to NPC their first shift. Giving them even MORE things to need to remember seems like a terrible idea. If you're thinking about alts or new PCs for existing players, remember that you retain half your levels on death or retirement. This is specifically to address what you're talking about.
  11. Puzzle Boxes

    Explosive Charge opens a locked box in an instant. A skilled lockpicker can open a lock faster than an Explosive Charge.
  12. The real fear

    Shit when did that change?
  13. Puzzle Boxes

    If they can't be stolen, it's pretty close to cheating in my eyes. At the very least an abuse of game mechanics. I'd rather not see them in game at all, than see abuses.
  14. The real fear

    Remember that Fear effects end when struck, too. If the person Feared just has to cower in place, it's a LOT easier for a friendly to stop the Fear.
  15. Puzzle Boxes

    Or make them a tinkering item.
  16. The real fear

    Stun makes them hold still. If affected by Fear with a cower effect, rather than a "run away" effect, the Feared person ain't gonna stand there while people with weapons surround him. We'd write it so that you could choose to cower, or choose to run.
  17. Puzzle Boxes

    The issue is that, since it's not numbered, it can't be stolen. A person wishing to break into one has to stand right there where you left it and try. He can't take it and puzzle it out over his campfire later for four hours.
  18. The real fear

    Actually I like this. We'll talk about it in Rules.
  19. Missing Radio at Kingsley

    We'll definitely keep an eye out for it Rob.
  20. 2018 Junebilee A&S

    Put me down as a judge. I will also display a couple items, with documentation. I feel it's a little unfair if I enter at this point. If anyone has questions about documentation, there are a few examples of standard medievalist A&S type documentation up on my mostly-SCAdian blog: www.snorriblog
  21. Hello Novitas!

    Hello young Miss Prindle. I knew your dad at Adventures in Mid-Land twenty years ago. :D Super to see the second generation of LARPers coming up!
  22. Rob wrote his own at my request, which is here: Dead Legends Larp Review Rob Denney III Pre-game: Dead Legends website looks great and polished, easy to access, easy to register, easy to research the character creation, lore, etc. The website shows you a code to reduce your first event price to 30 dollars, fairly reasonable. Some misleading issues however: The preregistration claims it comes with a printed character sheet, this is NOT true for your first event, apparently, and led to several first time attendees trying to draw their characters from scratch from their mind. If someone is paying 30 dollars and preregistering, at least print their character sheet. Another issue, the website says 50 points for character creation, this is also wrong as first time players get a bonus 4 points, making them 54 points... this is listed nowhere in the website. (Dave note: I didn't get those four points.) Check IN: Staff was friendly, but not very helpful or well coordinated. We were told all the cabins were heated, this was not correct. We were told people would be in 2 camps, but in reality all of the players, except Dave and I, were in just the one set of cabins. We were told that new players could go to the saloon and have weapons and characters checked, but they were actually not ready yet. At this check in we were given our basically empty pre-reg packets and told we had to make our own sheets, including a snide comment I overheard of, “I don't even feel sorry for them because the website says to bring your pre-made character sheet”, despite that same site saying pre-reggers would have a sheet made for them. The new player table was woefully undermanned, with people waiting literally hours for their guns to be chronoed, and paperwork to be filled out. It turns out items in this game are based around item cards in lieu of physical props. Even with pre-regged characters all of these were made on site, a huuuuge time sink, as well as sheet review that, again, could have been avoided by actually generating the pre-regged characters in advance. Another short-sighted problem was not nearly enough rule books for new players to make their characters. A handful of books for 30ish people. Game Start: Game started late, but the announcements were short. I won the first lottery ticket for “Dumb Luck”, a one use get out of death/bad situation card. The general state of affairs was given and game went live. New players got a small Q&A segment that was pretty well conducted, rules were explained, and the tone of play was explained. From here new players were split into groups for starter mods, where immediately we were set upon by crazed half humans. I found out here that my spear, though doing a 4th the damage of weapons was very handy in this setting. I was now immediately into the game, and would be immersed for the next 40ish hours. Economy: The game economy revolves around a minecraft-esque resource system. There are a variety of skills (mining, logging, gathering, etc.) that revolve around spending half an hour pantomiming a skilled trade. After this one heads to the “Trading Post”. The trading post was beleaguered by the same problems of the new player table. A few staff managed 100ish players of game economics. Cards were created on the spot for found objects (part of this being due to a durability system that makes old cards basically unusable). Each worker has a card drawn (Dave edit: from a deck of playing cards) and then gets a result based on where in the world they were based on an index table. This process takes a few minutes, and can result in minor goods, better goods, or perhaps unlucky injury to the worker. The entire process of being a logger took me approximately an hour of “cutting down a tree” waiting in line, and doing a card draw. These cards have a weight, and in theory you have a carrying capacity. The cards can often be seen traded across tables, much like Yu-Gi-Oh players trading CCG cards. The cards can be used with a series of skills to craft items in real time, combining resources into goods. This also takes an allotment of time. This system didn't really appeal to me, but a lot of players did tell me they prefer this to real props, or OOG production. NPCING: My NPC time was a 4 hour slot, which means out of a weekend, I would be NPCIng for about 1/9th of my time. As you can imagine this means the vast majority of people are always in game as characters, and the monster encounters were few and far between, with a giant mass of players responding to almost every encounter. My first few NPC tasks were basic merchanting, helping to facility the above economy. My first NPC as a monster was as a wight, with about 8 other players. We died basically immediately as 50 characters just ran up and executed us. My 2nd NPC monster role was about 30 NPCs and a dozen possessed PCs that essentially party-wiped the entire town. After this I was sent in as a musician to help restore focus (the mana of the game) to make up for the town death. This was mostly pretty typical to my NPCing in other games, just with the encounters being either unchallenging or unbeatable. Post Game: The game's system is new and definitely needs work, balance, and a better reception for new players. I am not a huge fan of the economic system as it just seems a way to eat up player's time to make up for the lack of NPC encounters. That being said I did enjoy a few aspects of PC to PC interaction in the game. Midday Saturday as a large trial with most of the 100ish PCs in attendance, it was interesting theater, bu not very engaging for most. I did have a nice lunch in character with an trading encampment group I wanted to sell my lumber to. People were mostly helpful and welcoming to new players, and despite the lack of NPC encounters not much overtly aggressive PVP was seen throughout the weekend. Based on the return player cost, needing to bring my own food, and distance form my home I probably would not attend this LARP again, but I would recommend it to western/lovecraftian fans who lived nearby.
  23. Myself and Rob Denney went down to Dead Legends (hereafter "DL"), a "Weird West" LARP, essentially Cowboys and Zombies. Combat is done with Nerf guns and boffers, with the boffers being "lightest touch" and no stabbing. Archery requires golf tube arrows (and was non-existent at the game). Combat is non-locational, meaning if someone hits you repeatedly in the hand you just die. Two gunshots kills most characters, but it takes eight touches with a weapon to do the same. There are no garb requirements. www.deadlegendslarp.com We had a good time, overall. Based on the expense, the travel distance, and general gameplay, this is not a game I'd return to, however. It's not so much that I think they're doing it wrong (although there are several instances of that), it's just that they're doing it differently than I'd prefer to play. That, paired with the fact that they're almost five hours away, made this a one-shot for me. My general pessimism aside, please don't read any of this as a condemnation of Dead Legends, it's got a bunch of fantastic people at it and if you're looking for something different to try, it's worth an initial trip. Pre-arrival stuff was good. Their website's pretty easy to get around, the world background is interesting and engaging for anyone with an interest in Civil War-era American history, and staff and players are friendly and engaging on their social media. We submitted character backgrounds and skill sheets for approval, and paid our pre-reg fees with no problems (or so we thought - more later). They have a code for new players to get $25 off your first event, which brings the normal price of $55 down to $30. Upon arrival, the first challenge was figuring out where to go. They had no signs out on the main road, or anywhere, actually (although GPS brought us there with no issues). The YMCA complex on that mountain is huge. We guessed, and took the most appealing road (it had flags on it), and guessed right. We drove up the mountain and into the camp, parked near some other cars, and eventually found the main building the LARP was running out of. We arrived around 6 PM, and virtually nothing was ready to go; they were not prepared to check us in at all. No problem, we thought, we'll go get some beds. We asked a person in the area of Logistics where to go to get beds. They gestured vaguely into the woods (we could see some cabins right below us) and told us any of those would be fine. We asked about heated cabins, and were told they were all heated. I asked where everyone else camped, and got the same vague gesture. I asked a second person, and was told the same thing. Turns out, this was not at all the case. The cabins we could see were unoccupied and unheated (not really an issue for us, we're pretty hardy), and the heated cabins everyone actually stayed in (the "town" area) were up the road a hundred yards. We had no idea, and no one told us. The cabin we ended up in had a heater, but the gas was off. There was a bathhouse, but it was locked. On the plus side, it was real quiet. We drove down to the cabins, chose one, and moved our stuff in. We got into garb, returned to the main building, and checked in, now that their check-in table was up and running. "Check in" was them handing us an empty envelope with our name and player number on it, a blank waiver, and a blank character sheet (wut?). Turns out, they don't print your character sheet for you after all. We were now faced with the difficult task of recreating our characters on-site. We looked around for a rulebook, but they only had a couple of them for the entire 100+ players to use. Fortunately, I was able to pull it up on my phone, and got to work. This is harder than you might think, because one of the nice things about DL is that they give you a lot of skill points in the beginning. However, their skill system is pretty complicated, with multiple skills offering free or discounted other skills, all cascading together. Also, their character sheet is simply blank lines for you to fill in, rather than nested checkboxes like our KoN sheet. Suffice it to say that this got my evening off on the wrong foot. While we were taking a half-hour to recreate our character sheets that we'd already done online, the line at the weapons check table was building up. All the Nerf guns needed to be chronographed. All the boffer weapons were checked with a metal detector. Everything got a big ugly wristband, like at a concert. Two people, one chrono, one metal detector, and 100 players needing to be checked and have their item cards written out. What's that, Dave? Item cards? What are those? Yes, dear reader, this game uses item cards instead of physical props for all their in-game items. These are business card-sized cards with a DL logo on the back, and a bunch of sections and checkboxes to fill out on the reverse. If you have, say, a bottle of high-quality whiskey, you don't actually need a bottle - you just need a card that says you have it. Imagine if Micah and Ivan sat down in the Jenny to do some serious business, but instead of seeing a table covered with potion bottles and jewelry and scrolls and alchemical reagents and magic items, instead you just saw us with piles of cards in front of us, like we were playing Yu-Gi-Oh. That's what a "master merchant" looks like in DL. The ridiculousness even extends to each of these cards having a listed "weight", and your character's strength determines your encumbrance, just like a 2nd Edition D&D game, so you can only carry so many cards. But every single one of them needs to be written out and signed by staff. By hand. Even stock items, like the "low quality pistol" that every new character starts with, has to be hand-written. They're not pre-generated. Needless to say, this took FOREVER. Around 11 PM, they were finally ready to start the game. There was a short player meeting, and then the new players were corralled in one corner, where we got a welcome speech, some people clarified some rules stuff, and we were split into two groups (there were about 30 of us, too much for the pre-scripted encounter to handle, so they doubled it). We broke up into, more or less, Northerners, and Southerners. We were walked out into the woods on a trail, with the story that we were all arriving by stagecoach, but the horses wouldn't come any closer to the town (our first clue that something was wrong in this place). As we walked in, we got attacked by some humanoid things with glowing eyes, simple combat to get us into things, and then we were set loose in the town. From there, the game was essentially a big sandbox. I could be as involved, or as uninvolved, as I wished. No one went out of their way to include us as new folks, but no one was anything other than welcoming, either. We very much were expected to make our own fun, which is fine. I turned in around 1 AM, but the game runs throughout the night (although there are no NPC shifts between 4 AM and 10 AM, so things slow down). I had an NPC shift at 10 AM, so I got up for that, put on some generic garb (grey pants, a longsleeve pullover shirt with some collar buttons, a Mexican serape and my Cooper's Lake Juan hat) and headed up to Logistics. I was a few minutes late, so I'd missed their version of "Orc O'Clock", and got sent upstairs to the Saloon (Logistics is below their Inn) to sell some booze. The GM started to write out a stack of item cards, and I went over to their props table (they have one table) and found a basket and some bottles. The GM was confused about what I was doing - apparently vendors just literally go sell the cards - but when I put the cards in the basket with the bottles, it was like I could literally see the lightbulb going off above her head. "Oh yeah, that looks great!" I laughed a little, and headed upstairs to sell my stuff. Second NPC role was more of the same, a vendor (this time with bodyguards) selling expensive "chemist" items like cocaine eyedrops and tea that restores Focus (their mana). Around 2 PM I was released from NPC duty and changed back in to PC garb. Played out the rest of the day as my PC, Father Seamus O'Leary, a retired Army doctor and Boston Irish Jesuit. I got worked into a few encounters, did some healing, sang with a pianist in the Saloon and a guitar player in town, and spent a lot of time sipping a drink and pretending to read my bible in the Saloon building, just watching what was going on and taking it all in. We crashed around midnight, and got up early and cleared out with minimal fuss. DL does a check-out, but as neither of us believes we'll be returning, we simply cleaned out our cabin well, policed the area, packed out our trash with us, loaded up and took off, not needing the XP. The game continues to happen until (I believe) noon Sunday, but we felt we'd seen enough and had a five hour drive ahead. I'll conclude this AAR with our standard Good, Bad, Ugly list, but I'm going to add in a "The Different" section, too, lest I list all those things as Bad and seem to unfairly malign the game. The Good ++ Website and online presence are responsive, useful, and slick ++ Campsite is large, and lovely ++ The world setting is interesting and engaging ++ Nerf guns are fun ++ Lots of skill points for a newb means you're not useless ++ Robust economy ++ Interesting mechanics, like Overwhelming and Addiction ++ The "Weird West" setting is fun and unique ++ Staff were super-friendly, if not always super-helpful ++ Players were very friendly and inclusive, if you put forth the effort to play with them ++ You can curse like Deadwood The Different ++ No locational damage. Makes combat faster, but dropping over dead from being shot in the arm twice is meh. ++ Late start, but overnight play ++ Much more "theatrical" combat. The fight is just another opportunity for roleplaying, not the point of the encounter. ++ They have unarmed melee damage, like, you can "punch" someone. Because you can't actually punch, you have to use these super-short white boffers - so everyone has one or two of these in their back pocket, or hanging from straps on their belt. It looks absolutely awful and ridiculous at first, but I imagine it's one of those things you just get used to, like how ridiculous Dagorhir weapons look when you've been using latex ones. ++ Very slow pace of action. They have mandatory NPC shifts, but they're only four hours, and only once. The GMs usually had about 15 NPCs to entertain about 80 players. ++ More expensive than KoN, but not terribly expensive when compared to other Northeast LARPs. The Bad ++ Item cards ++ Garb is real hit-or-miss. Much like the SCA, the top 10% looked fabulous, the middle 80% was adequate, and the bottom 10% was atrocious. ++ No food provided. Nothing nearby to go to, either. Bring a cooler and cooking stuff. ++ Check in takes F O R E V E R ++ LOTS of timesinks. Like, part of their crafting system is gathering skills. You literally have to go out into the woods and pretend to gather shit for half an hour, then wait in line at the "Trading Post" for staff to adjudicate your efforts. Healing takes one minute per hit point healed (I healed a dude with 15 HP). Regaining Focus takes time. It's all a little too "MMOish" for me. I really prefer that stuff to be done off-camera. ++ Lightest touch combat ++ A number of skills that do things like insta-hit call for damage, "if you can hear the sound of my voice" effects, and similar stuff that compensate for lack of skill. Why learn to quick-draw your pistol and fan the hammer, when you can just touch your gun and say, "Quickdraw, crit 12" and you auto-hit and auto-kill someone? The Ugly ++ Care and feeding of new players leaves much to be desired. No signs on the road or buildings, no welcome wagon to help you do simple shit like figure out where to sleep or park, character sheets and backgrounds were apparently just fired into the void to disappear forever. ++ Monster garb was atrocious. A "wolf" was simply a person in a small gray tabard and a wolf head hat. Might as well just have them in black with t-shirts that say WOLF or GHOUL. ++ Lots of SJW-type preaching at the intro, seemingly to the detriment of other things. Like, we were cautioned to use people's chosen pronouns three times during check-in, but couldn't find a single staff person who would tell us where to find a bunk in town. I'm not opposed to inclusiveness, just the opposite, but I felt like it got made a priority over things I'd think are more important - like putting a sign on Logistics. This is probably just me being old and out of touch with the kids these days, but I feel like their priorities are off here, and as an adult I'd like less lectures on my behavior and more assistance with actually playing the game. Publish your code of conduct, remind people once to follow it, and move on. ++ The GMs managed to wipe out the entire town Saturday evening, and had to do a quick dance to roll some shit back.
  24. Site selling real basic shield and sword baskets for $20 each: http://stores.renstore.com/weapon-accessories/
  25. I'm putting this here mostly so I can link to it, honestly, but some of it's applicable to different games, including KoN, so I'll stash it here, I guess. Over the last six months, I've done a lot of reading and research and talked to a lot of folks to get going in SCA heavy combat. These are the minimums for combat in Aethelmearc, which is the SCA kingdom most of us are in. Albany folks, you're in the East Kingdom, but these minimums are the same (except that I don't know if you're required to have vambraces - but they're a good idea). Helmet. This needs to be a minimum of 14 gauge metal on the crown, needs to cover your entire head from the neck up, and needs to have no gaps anywhere larger than 1". Gorget. This needs to cover your neck, your larynx, and the top few vertebrae. NOTE: gorgets are fairly miserable pieces of gear for a lot of people to wear. You can omit a gorget if your helmet has a long aventail or camail of heavy leather or maille. Kidneys and short ribs. The minimum for this is a heavy leather kidney belt over a gambeson or some foam padding (like a layer of blue foam). If you're wearing any kind of torso armor, this is generally covered anyway. Elbows. You need to cover the point of the elbow and the bones immediately on either side of that. A single, unarticulated elbow cop is sufficient. Forearms. Some sort of vambrace. Heavy leather with foam underneath is sufficient to meet minimums. Hands. The baseline answer to this is a pair of demi-gauntlets, paired with a shield basket (on a strap shield) or a recessed shield boss (for punch shields) on your shield, and a basket hilt on your sword. Crotchtal Regions. You're required to wear a cup if you're a guy. Females must wear foam or leather padding groin protection to cover the pubic bone area. Knees. Same as elbows. Those are the minimums. Most people will also want something on their shoulders, hips and thighs. Beyond that, it's really about what you're comfortable with. Some people want to be encased in steel, some prefer to fight light and take their occasional lumps. Beyond that stuff, you still need a sword and shield. Now, I'd like to talk about how to do this cheaply, while not looking like a lump of turds. My opinion is that there are only a few "mainstream" personas to do cheaply that can also be done well: 14th century knight/man-at-arms, Crusader, and Viking. These all work well to do cheaply because they all pre-date the full plate harness. Crusaders wore maille, 14th century armor revolved around the coat of plates, a sort of brigandine with overlapping plates on the inside of a jack or coat, and Vikings got by with just a helmet, or a helmet and maille. They also cover pretty broad time periods, yet remain distinctive. The main Crusades took place between 1095 and 1291. The 14th century covers (duh) a hundred years from 1300 to 1399, and "Viking" can be anything from about 800 to 1150ish. Please note that this entire essay is riddled with weasel words and qualifiers. I'm not a scholar, I'm a guy who really likes his hobby and wants to get others involved. Here are a few pictures to illustrate approximately the looks we're talking about: Crusader: 14th Century: Viking: (Note that these images are all from books from Osprey Publishing. While they're not exactly scholarly research, they're essentially solid books, and have pretty pictures in color, and are a great starting reference point. I recommend you buy one or two from your time period and check them out. They're short with lots of pictures. Perfect for most people who want to hit each other with sticks.) The defining thing here is that all of these personas come from historic times that are pre-plate armor. The 14th century knight will have some plate, but nothing articulated, and the Viking and Crusader have no plate other than their helmets. So, all that said, let's talk about meeting the SCA minimums to get on the field, for around $500. There is a buy-in with getting involved with the SCA's combat activities. $500 is a reasonable starting point. If you're a golfer, you will easily spend that on clubs, shoes and bag. Snowboarder or skier? $500 blown fast on board/skis, boots, and outerwear. Playing paintball seriously? You can't hardly get started for $500. And don't even get me started on what the wife's spent on scrapbooking supplies. Hobbies cost money. You can do it cheaper, but it'll take either more time or more effort on your part. I'm still under $500 for my gear, but I've done a LOT of barter and trade. If you don't have a skill to barter or trade, that means you're using money to trade with. That said, there are a number of us who are pretty handy with making things, and I'm more than happy to help anyone who wants help to get armored up. The hardest part, and the part most people will spend the most money on, is also the most important part: the helmet. People - big, strong people - will be swinging sticks at your head as hard as they can. With a good helmet, you're completely safe. You hear a "ding", your head rocks a little to one side, and you tell the guy you're dead. Then you fight again. :)/>/> Here's the general style you should be looking for: Crusader: great helm / barrel helm 14th Century: bascinet Viking: spangenhelm, either with a nasal or with occulars The trick here is to find one of these that's solidly built, not hideous, and economical. I highly recommend stainless steel for your helmet, but understand that it's not always possible at the sub-$500 price point we're talking about. There are some builders that are well-known for their economical helmets, and a few kits available too if you want to put in elbow grease. Let's look at a few for each. Crusader Great Helm. These tend to be really cheap, because there's simply not a lot to them in the way of complicated shaping of metal. Horsefriend Armory selling Great Helms for $80: http://www.horsefriendarmoury.com/Helms.html [/img] MAKE IT: Check out the kits from Zweihammer Armory: http://www.zweihammer.com/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=shop.flypage&product_id=5&category_id=1&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=26 They take a little forming and a lot of riveting, but the end result is an awesome helmet for (relatively) peanuts. The base kit in mild steel is $85, in stainless it's $180, and you can ad a bunch of extras (brass on face, they do some pre-forming, and so on) that will bring the price up almost another $100 if you get them all, but that's still a cheap helmet - and $85 for the base one is ridiculous good. Zweihammer Armory is out of business, so this is no longer an option unless you have a shop - but these are easy helmets to make! 14th Century Bascinet. These are the workhorse helmet of the SCA. With their angled top, they shed blows easily, and they can be constructed from two welded halves, making them quick to produce. They can be made with a klappvisor for a more period look, or with a bargrill for excellent airflow and vision. Probably the most popular helmet on the field, and appropriate for well over 100 years of history. BUY IT: Ironmonger Armory, $135: http://ironmongerarmory.com/stock-helms/munitions-bascinet-helms MAKE IT: Not really an option here unless you know someone who has a welder. :(/>/> Viking Spangenhelm: "Spangenhelm" is the name of any helmet that has panels held together with bands on the crown, usually a headband and a cross-shaped lattice with plates between the bands. Those plates are called "spangens", hence, "spangenhelm". This is an older way of making a helmet, because back in the days of yore, before metalshops had welders, a helmet dome either had to be raised in one piece from a solid hunk of metal, or else pieced together from smaller, shaped pieces. Raising helmets was time consuming and difficult, so most were made in pieces. BUY IT: Again, Hjalmr makes the cheapest helmet in the world, but it's butt-ugly. MAKE IT: Again, Zweihammer Armory to the rescue with an excellent kit. Technically, it's a Vendel helm (the ancestors of the Vikings), but it gives off the correct impression and is used by a lot of Viking personas in the SCA. Kit comes in the basic model for $115, or stainless with brass rivets for $223. I highly suggest paying them the $13 to pre-crease the parts that need creasing: http://www.zweihammer.com/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=shop.flypage&product_id=1&category_id=1&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=26 Zweihammer Armory is out of business, but Jamie at Polar Bear Forge has replicated the pattern: http://polarbearforge.com/helm_kit.html Jamie is a great guy, buy from him! Next...