Posts Tagged ‘LARP’

I was a vampire for the JLA, part 3

Vampire: The Masquerade AnkhCan the Superfriends survive an endless maze of 100′x100′ rooms? Will they be thwarted by someone who’s a little too attached to her sniper rifle? Who is the mysterious “Fifth Yellowjacket”?

Find out in the epic conclusion of this great three-part novel! It may be an imaginary story, but all of it happened just like this….

At the lair, the lead ST told us the National Guard was in place. One of the NPC players interrupted, and told him that they were supposed to be gone. The lead looked flustered, then said something about more Resources being necessary. Ross and I put up our OOC hand-signals and headed over to talk to him- but not before reminding the rest our party to do an “Activate!” at the first sign of trouble.

And walking over towards the ST was when we got stopped by the Gun Lady. I don’t know exactly what her character’s deal was. Earlier, she had kept shouting how she had guns if anybody needed them. She was some kind of Austin vampire expert/cop thingy.

Gun Lady: “You can’t go over there.”

Russell: “We just need to talk to Rob.”

Gun Lady (realizing she’s dealing with newbies): “They’re someplace else. Although this is a Live Action game, some parts of the room represent different locations in the wor–”

Russell (interrupting): “I know. We’re OOC.”

Gun Lady: “But they’re someplace else.”1

Russell (gesturing more emphatically with my crossed OOC fingers): “We’re out of character.”

Gun Lady: “Fine. I was just trying to help, so this doesn’t turn into a big mess.”

By the time we got away from Gun Lady, Rob was very busy, so we left him alone. The Sabbat had already scared away the Guard by that point, anyway.

So, the ALJ sat down and waited. At this point, the game wasn’t live action anymore- we were around waiting for STs to get to us. Which they rarely did, because our initiative sucked, and they were busy enough as is.

One of the NPC players got up to explain what was going on:

“Okay, so we’re all standing in a stone corridor. The Sabbat are in front, with the Camarilla melee fighters behind them, protecting the Tremere. In the meanti– fuck it. The fighters are in the front. Behind them are the Cam fighters, and the rangers. In the middle, we have the magic users. And behind them, there’s another group of fighters and rangers.”

This particular cutting of the bullshit was met with well-deserved laughter. Unfortunately, it only made what the ST said next more painful.

ST: “You’re halfway down the corridor. Glass cases line the wall, containing grotesque living Tarot cards. At the end of the hallway are about 35 cultists, chanting. Behind them is the Nictuku.”

Gun Lady (shouting): “I have a sniper rifle! I can hit the Nictuku!”

From there, it was very unclear what was going on. STs would shuttle back and forth, and there would be occasional shouted updates. One of them was this:

ST: “Finally, you reach the organ pit. The organs and charnel smell vanish as the pit turns into water. Above the pit is a nude woman, spread-eagled, in chains. (Gesturing to Mary the Black’s player**) That’s her right there.”

Gun Lady: “Can I hit anything with my sniper rifle?”

And then more chaos. Mary the Black was cut down from her chains, but one of the Sabbat people cast an illusion that made her appear to still be there. Then one of the Camarilla tried to claim credit. Only she wasn’t Camarilla, she was some kind of a part-demon oracle. Who was hanging with the Camarilla.

I was getting hungry. Melissa the Malk was getting impatient. Gun Lady kept yelling at all of us to move so that our characters were where we were, even though, by this point, nearly all live action stuff had stopped. It had become a huge and disorganized tabletop game, basically.

Somewhere in there, the Justicar died. Another player came up OOC to deliver the news:

Random Player: “The Justicar’s dead!”

Wayne: “Whoa. What happened?”

Gun Lady (as if speaking to a small child): “Well, we’re in a ‘Baali’ lair. ‘Baali’ are vampires who worshi–”

Wayne: “I ST Werewolf, damn it. I’ve played Vampire. I know what the fucking Baali are.”

Gun Lady: “Oh, well, I didn’t know you knew that. So, anyway, our mission is to defeat the Baali. We were given this miss–”

Mel the Malk: “Just let us hear how the Justicar died.”

Gun Lady (obviously hurt): “I’m sorry. I know I have a tendency to be overbearing. I’m just trying to help out the STs…”

Russell (to the rest of the ALJ, under my breath): “Oh, go cuddle your sniper rifle.”

Sigh. So, combat dragged on. Someone with True Faith was on our side, but that bugged some of us. Not Mr. Wayne, of course. He didn’t have much Humanity, you see, owing to his tragical past.

The ALJ made overblown, heroic speeches to each other, and exchanged e-mail addresses. Gun Lady walked around complaining OOC that someone had one of her guns. It was apparently a pretty valuable index card or something. I hope it wasn’t the sniper rifle.

Eventually, we ended up having an OOC awards ceremony. The Cam officials said nice things about everybody, and even invited our group up to the front and complimented not only our costumes, but our figuring out who we were supposed to be.

(We were actually remembered in 2005, too- we got the band back together and, when we were given an award for, uhm, torching half the LARP, one of the STs brought up the Justice League. That’s another story, though.)

I was in a game with one of the STs later, and it turns out that everybody with pregens had a theme group. There were the Sugar Babies (90210), the Rebels With a Cause (Teen Titans), and various others.

The only other player who had figured out who his character was based on was the troublemaker from the Yellowjackets.

Poor guy was Yoko.

  1. She was wrong about this. Actually, the people the ST was talking to were right in front of us.

I was a vampire for the JLA, part 2

Vampire: The Masquerade AnkhSo, there I was, trapped in a world I never made. A vampire. A mad, bloodthirsty creature of the night. And also a Superfriend.

Join me for part two of this epic three-part novel. Not a hoax! Not a dream! But definitely a con!

The next night, after some shopping in the exhibit hall and a meeting with my friend Beth, I headed to the game. I was wearing a black, sueded button-down shirt, open in the front and with the sleeves rolled up. My hair was in mini-spikes. I had green suede bracers on each wrist.

And I had on one very special t-shirt. In the exhibit hall, I’d grabbed a black shirt with an outlined Green Lantern emblem on it. In the center of the lantern design, I’d placed a glow-stick style green disc I’d gotten from the nVidia booth.

Oh, and I had a ring. I didn’t have to tell you that, though, did I?

I met up with my coterie-mates. Lynda was a trenchcoated, tank-topped Spider-Man. Ross (“Wayne”) was wearing a distressed-metal Batman tee. And the wonderful Mel the Malkavian had a t-shirt depicting the entire Silver Age League, as well as Spider-Man and Hawkgirl puppets.

We were officially the goth Justice League. Needless to say, the STs appreciated the effort.

(I should note, at this point, that we were dressed based on what cool stuff we could come up with, rather than what our stats said we were. I’ll fill you guys in on the original sheets later, when I dig my packet out of my luggage.)

Things got off to a good start, with the Sabbat and the Camarilla forming a tenuous alliance to take out a Baali lair. A group of Tremere were organized to do some kind of a ritual.

It got stranger as the first hour moved along, though. Even though we were beginning to notice themes among the other kindred (there were Star Trek and Avengers groups, though they hadn’t noticed), we also couldn’t help but notice that the entire population of the LARP was being organized into combat teams based on their weapon specializations. And that the villains were getting power-creepier. We were now up against a Nictuku (a really nasty geezer Nosferatu) as well as a recently awoken Baali named Mary the Black…

Actually, I was unclear on this. At first, we were told that the Baali were trying to turn Mary the Black. Then, it started to sound like she was the mastermind. Then it went back the other way.

But we were busy. We were trying to get the National Guard pulled out of the infernalist lair before they got slaughtered. Fortunately, two STs told us that was taken care of.

So, anyway, to cut a long story short: we ended up at the lair. And by “we,” I don’t just mean us Superfangs. I mean the whole damn LARP.

The Great Vampire Dungeon Crawl had begun.

Tune in Monday for the exciting conclusion featuring… The Sniper!

LARPer Girl: You need this

MC Diabeats

MC Diabeats

If you have ever needed anything, it’s a song about LARPing Vampire: The Masquerade with a lot of love and a snide sidebar about social mechanics.

Vampire: The Masquerade Ankh

I was a vampire for the JLA, part 1

Vampire: The Masquerade AnkhHere begins a story of fear, darkness, and how Dungeons & Dragons comes in handy at the weirdest times.

My story begins the Friday of Gen Con 2004. Gen Con’s pretty much the definitive roleplaying event of the year. Tons of geeks, tons of games, tons of fun. It’s the kind of event where you can run into a noted goth/industrial band, and they’ll be trying to sell you their post-apocalyptic game.

Due to last-minute changes in plans (the law ate my Jeff), I was pretty much on my own. The good part was that I made a lot of new friends. The downside was that I kept making people’s boyfriends jealous when I sure didn’t mean to. Hey, it’s not my fault that I’m pleasant and I bathe.

I was looking around for a game, and someone suggested the Camarilla event, Candles in the Dark. Looked like fun, and, let me be frank with you, it had been forever since I did a LARP. And a little longer since I did one that wasn’t stupid.

So, I decided to go along. On the way over, I tried to get into something resembling character. Vampire. Right. Paranoid. Slightly grim. Terrified of myself. Got it.

I picked up my character sheet. Okay, Ventrue. That works… ooh, got three levels of Fortitude. That’s cool. So I found my coterie, and together we had a look at our group description.

We were the “Alliance of the Lawful and Just.” Hrm. We trusted each other implicitly, having fought many battles together. Double hrm. We were “Interested in improving cooperation with human authorities to fight criminals, both human and supernatural.” Holy crap.

And then the Malk uttered one fateful sentence:

“Is this normal? It says I have a lasso.”

“Alliance of the Lawful and Just. ALJ.”

“JLA.”

“Fuck, we’re the Superfriends.”

“You better believe it, Mr. ‘Wayne.’”

Well, didn’t look like we were much for a game of personal horror. So we hit the beats, making deals with the Cam and Sabbat to try and avoid harm to humans. The game was quite a lot of fun until an infernalist showed up in our midst. Killing her took an hour and very few people got to act. Eventually, the lead ST just handwaved it and let people make cool suggestions.

Having been bored to tears, the ALJ’s spirits were down. This wasn’t helped by the fact that we barely missed the bus to get to the Vampire: The Requiem release party. Waiting an extra half hour to go to a kickass pseudo-goth event can be a powerful downer.

Yet, as we stood around on the curb, I had a wonderful, excellent, positively enormous idea.

“Hey, they want a Justice League? We’ll give ‘em a Justice League.

“Tomorrow night… we’re going in costume.”

Tune in Friday! Same Protean time, same Protean channel!

The Deadly Years

Lev Lafayette’s RPG Review interviewed me recently, in my capacity as Vampire: The Requiem developer. The interview has some tidbits about the creative process behind the clan books and Rome series that I don’t think have been dropped before.

A younger Russell Bailey

Me, younger and better dressed

It’s odd to reflect that most of the work I was interviewed about, I did at least three years ago. The rate at which time passes seems to change as you near Carousel. Growing up, maybe, I don’t know.

Speaking of which, I’m flatteringly referred to as “young and prolific,” though reading it, you might think I’m a little younger than I actually am.

I let them have the pick of photos off my Facebook page. Amusingly, the one they used is about seven years old. It’s kind of like an old yearbook photo or something, except that it actually means something to me.

That particular photo was taken in the University of Maryland Performing Arts Center after a Buffy: The Vampire Slayer game I ran. The PAC was great for a lot of things: being divided into four large sections with a massive central area, it kicked ass for lazer tag.

The upper lounge, though, was a great gaming space. Big couches, large, low tables. That particular game was a bit of an odd one; I was running for three women who’d never done traditional tabletop gaming before. Since they were all really experienced with freeform online RP and LARP, I’d planned my end of the session to let them do what they did best (in-character scenes) and showcase what a live GM does best (create a living environment).

Okay, yes, I milked it

The game was fun, but not really what I was expecting. I’d been figuring the players would want to direct a lot of the plot themselves, since that’s what they did in their other games. In fact… I found them waiting on me to introduce the plot, and being very afraid of messing up my (presumed) carefully planned script for the game.

We played for a couple of hours, and got to maybe half of the stuff I figured we would. The mystery, such as it was, revolved around spontaneous student combustion. Again, the players all assumed I had some deep, complex agenda here, which would require them to adhere carefully to a planned sequence of actions.

Really, it was just a story about a funeral, and coke cut with vampire blood. Regardless, it was a lot of fun, though not as fun as when I dipped into their Harry Potter by way of Wuthering Heights game.

Anyhow, the picture was taken right before we went to dinner, and features me more or less dressed as Spike. That circle were always wanting me to dress as Spike… or Draco Malfoy. I think I pretended to be naive about why.

I think the ultimate result of that was the Mary Sue Buffy Fan Film, the footage for which is still languishing on someone’s desk somewhere. I both fear and hope for its eventual appearance on YouTube.