G2012 – The Gathering that nearly never was.

I usually do a list on facebook about what I liked and didn’t like about the Gathering, and I’m starting to see other people put their lists up. But for me, there was not one second I would want to change. Not one. I loved every single second because we nearly weren’t there at all.

You see, with Gof being sick and on leave from work, and me unable to find work after La Senza couldn’t keep me on after Christmas, we have been so low on funds we were incredibly lucky to be able to just make ends meet. So as much as we wanted to, the Gathering couldn’t be a priority of us this year. We tried to make it work, I even told Gof to go alone to save money as he’d never missed it and I’ve only been going 5 years (he refused to consider going without me, the big softie), but in the end the game was a boogey and we had to deal with not attending this year.

See, its not just about the role-playing for us. Although I love my character, I love seeing the people we see all too little of, at least once a year, and having a great time with them. Gof has had these people in his life for so long, and like the distance that separates me to the MMM (the Mad Mental Mob, aka mama, sis and kids), he mourns each mile that takes him far away from them. I’ve grown to, too.

In July, our friends (both here and elsewhere), these gorgeous, generous and frankly awesome (in the very truest sense of the world) people dropped a hell of a shock on us. We would be going to the ball, or at least the G, after all.

Tickets – paid for
Extra night camping –paid for
Travel – paid for
Food for both for 4 days – paid for

Extra spending money since so much was donated – here you go

Love – freely given, and lots of it

Gof has been through so much this year, they reasoned. He needed, after the dust has settled, a get away and to be surrounded by the loved ones he so rarely has a chance to see. Hell, we both did. To articulate how this overwhelming show of support affected us would be a task even Shakespeare himself would find difficult. We were in parts speechless, shocked, and warmed to the core. But it would be Thursday night, onsite, before I really broke down.

And then Friday. And Saturday. By Sunday I’d be emotional but too busy being Nessa to cry, thankfully. I was cried out. Almost.

I cried a bit on Monday again, bidding everyone farewell. I thought my heart would burst with so much love, both inside and out.

There is always a word that sums up each event perfectly, and in this year, both in character and out, that word was family. The family you create, the strength you find in the rag tag bunch of misfits you find make you a better version of you. Blood and bond, the lines blur until you see no difference in those you were born to and those your heart found. In loving Gof, I found family. In loving them, I find myself happier than I’ve ever been. My heart and world view have been widened by their presense. Nessa found family in the Crew, which is why she got dangerously upset by the bickering and potential fracture of that family. She will not suffer that to happen without a fight. Be warned!

I will never get over, in the best possible way, the Gathering and the events leading up to it. Neither will Gof, but that’s his story to tell. Over 30 people were involved in this scheme to surprise us – and more than the money (which was gratefully received!), it was the action of our loved ones… no, family, pulling together and making sure we knew exactly how loved we are that makes this so special. We have a card, signed with the names of all that took part, that contains the words that will now never fail to make me sob with pure joy.

Just because!!! From all your family

Just because, indeed.

LARP: Survival Guide

Today we’re off to get some last minute essentials for the Gathering, one of the biggest events the Lorien Trust puts on every year. We nearly weren’t able to make it at all, which would have been a first for Gof in the nearly 20 years he’s been going, but that’s a story I’ll be writing about soon. I first wrote this last year when we came back from the G, so thought I’d repost it since it’s on my mind. Any LARPers out there got anything to add? Comment below!

The crew of the El Toro!

There is never too much toilet roll, fresh socks, or cleansing wipes.

It is perfectly acceptable to have a cider for breakfast.

On that note, you’ll get away with a surprising amount if you have a beer to share.

Smile.

Offer to help clean up. Contribute. You’ll have friends for life if you don’t wait to be asked.

Experienced players will (mostly) patiently answer questions, but don’t bogart their time. They’re there to have fun too.

Don’t pack more than you need. I can easily pack 3 suitcases and 14 pair of shoes for a weekend away, but have slimmed my essentials down to one small suitcase to last me 5 days. Not including weapons, of course.

There is never too much toilet roll, fresh socks, or cleansing wipes. It bears repeating.

Don’t get on your high horse about the state of the toilets. It could always be worse.

Shower early.

Look for unfamiliar or scared looking faces. If you’re new you’ll be in the same boat, if you’re experienced remember you felt like that once.

Always compliment the guy/girl in the amazing dragon/troll/etc costume. In character, you may end up with a powerful ally, and out of character that much effort deserves praise.

Remember the difference between laughing WITH people about the absurdity of it all and laughing AT them. Most larpers are easy going enough to be self-deprecating, but the minute you offend someone you’ll have at least a few hundred people annoyed at you. Word spreads fast and you’ll be on a site with people handy with a sword, axe, and a line of vicious insults.

Drink LOADS of water.

Carry a lighter, a pen, a small torch and spare tissues.

Remember this is a hobby, and as such is as important as each individual makes it. That said, have fun!

And remember the toilet roll.

Note – this is based on the Lorien Trust system, but I’ve tried to make it quite general

LARP: A little story…

This is Elivinessa. From Friday to Monday, Nicki went away for awhile. When Elivinessa first sprung into being (see this post for more background info), she was shy, unsure and scared. She’s been gaining confidence though, both in herself, and in the company of those she travels with. This year, a few more people joined the Ship’s Crew, making Nessa even more confident, as she’s officially not the new kid now. Bousen still scares her (as is proper!), but she’s more comfortable around him, and doesn’t mind talking up more often. She no longer speaks only when spoken to. She doesn’t mind teasing other Crew members, or even casting magic on them if they piss her off.

The Ship’s new Helmsman, a rather dapper man named Tristan had brought some, shall we say, less than savoury postcards with him, and showed them around often. Nessa told him several times she didn’t want to see them. She may not be the lady she once was, but she still holds her principles! Tristan began teasing Nessa, taking the smutty postcards out several times in her presence, until she finally threatened to put him to sleep. Of course, he didn’t believe her, but when he did it again, Nessa promptly cast sleep upon him. Immediately, he was mugged by a strange man, and relieved of said postcards. Tristan, when he awoke, he complained to the Captain, and when he pointed the finger toward a man named Sparrow as his mugger, Nessa (feeling only a little guilty) cast sleep on the man, so he could be checked. There was nothing on him, and Nessa apologised to him when he came round.

Later, the Ship’s Crew had hired the private room in the casino, and Nessa, having very little poker experience, was content to watch her shipmates play each other. When she noticed Tristan looking several times in his pocket, she began to wonder if the postcards were in fact stolen at all! When he started teasing her again about the cards, she ignored him and waited until most of the crew adjourned the table for a quick break. She made her move, putting him to sleep and searching his pockets. Bingo! He had had the cards all this time! And more, he lied to the Captain about having them stolen! He came to before the crew returned to the table, and was none the wiser about his small nap. When the game restarted, Nessa quietly sat next to Tristan and informed him she would be telling the Captain of his lies, and show him the proof that he had the postcards all along. Quickly searching his pockets, he realised the cards were no longer there. Worry passed over his face, and Nessa assured him that the Captain need not be the wiser if 2 silver coins were to be passed in exchange for the cards. Tristan complied, and the exchange was made. Then, standing up and calling the Bousen’s attention, Nessa announced that Tristan had very generously made a 2 silver donation to the Ship’s coffers. Everyone it seemed, except the Captain (who remains blissfully oblivious), knew exactly what had just occurred, and all approved of the spellcasting, theft and blackmailing of Tristan. “She’s an asset, that one” one remarked.

See, Elivinessa is no push over. Oh no, not anymore. She’ll stand her ground, and win. She’s a lot more hard-nosed than she thought, and has no problem doing whatever it takes to protect the interests of both herself and her trusted shipmates. Tristan knows this now, and she will not hold grudges against his actions, provided he treats her with more respect. Maybe in time, she’ll trust Tristan too.

l-r, Jocim, Elivinessa, Blaith, Tsunami, Joshua, Bousen, Gt, Tristan, Mr Todd – Captain in front.


LARP: The Gathering!

So, The Gathering is at the end of August, and I’m already getting excited about it. I know, I know, I’m sad. But I do enjoy LARP (live action role play) much more than I ever thought I would, so there!

This year, the Gathering looks to be a biggie. Me and G are going, of course, but this time, so is Mac, and maybe too Emma, Stephen and Frances. So I’m helluva happy I can introduce my lovely friends into the world of dressing up, getting drunk, and hitting people with latex swords. On a field. In the middle of summer.

It’s not all battles and fighting though, one of my favourite things about the Gathering is walking about the Marketplace in character (IC) and talking to other people also IC. It’s fun, and can descend into ridiculous quite quickly. Imagine being introduced to a goblin named Sir Nikaz Askew, or an elf called Salogel (read it backwards). These are the silly bits you can have a laugh at.

I love my character. Her name is Elivinessa and she’s an aristocratic runaway. She stowed away on a pirate (ahem, I mean conquistador) ship and was caught by the ships first mate Mister Joshua. Dragged in front of the terrifying Mr Bousen, and the the rest of the ship’s crew, she had to convince him not to make her walk the plank. Scared now, that the stories of pirates and sailing the high sea weren’t nearly as romantic and exciting as in the picturebooks, she falteringly pleaded for her life and lavished praise on their way of life. Men of honour, she called them, and free, something she desperately wanted to be a part of. She kept her aristocratic status secret, not knowing if they wouldn’t just hold her for ransom instead.

Mr Bousen, although not softening, asked her if she had any worth, any talent to bring to the ship. She admitted she was a mage, magic came naturally to her. The ship already had a mage, he replied, what need would they have for another? Mr Joshua spoke up, the only one on the ship who could get away with it, saying more power through magic wouldn’t be a bad thing. The other mage, Tsunami, was charged with teaching her, after he discovered she was powerful yet inexperienced. It was decided. She would receive 10 lashes of the whip for stowing away, and thereafter, would be in the charge of Mr Joshua, and a functioning member of the Ship. Mr Bousen cemented this decision but passing around a hip flask of rum, to each crew member, a mouthful.

Disembarking from the ship, the crew went to the nearest bar, where she tried to refuse Mr Bousen’s offer of a drink, with the rum still burning a hole in her stomach. Seeing the look upon his face, she quickly accepted, realising her future involved a LOT of drinking.

Since then, she has opened up a lot more, although still keeping her heritage secret, she is gaining confidence in her abilities as a mage, and has discovered she is adept at fighting with two daggers. She is quite close to Galandra, the ships healer, and tries to stay by her side to protect her during battles. She is always excited, though a bit apprehensive about going onshore, the threat of her family finding her always stronger on land, but the Elivinessa who joined the crew last year is a lot different to the Nessa who is there now.

In the next few days, I’ll be posting about the hunt for new costuming for Nessa. I’ve a few ideas, but it’ll take some time getting it together.

Tonight, Stephen and Frances are coming up to talk about the Gathering, and some weapons practice. Hopefully, their maybe will become a definite soon!