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Active Aggression

A Monument To My Procrastination

You act like nothing ever happened / But it meant the world to me

Duty and Memory [Delirium]
WARNING: Contains SnaggleCollapse )

I remember when you were here

If there was a way, I'd hold back this tear. But it's Christmas Day. Please please please please, baby please come home.Collapse )

(no subject)
Knife resting there on a table. He waited for the flush of snow but it didn't come. It probably didn't need to.

The blood had dried across the bare floorboards. Most of it had hit sawdust & soaked in instantly. He couldn't smell it.

'You understand, Mr. Snaggle, that if you get up out of that chair I will stab you through the heart.' Drago sound patient, perfectly calm.

A grin hidden behind the rictus mask.

'Well I should fucking well hope so.'Collapse )

Oho boy...


The second letter just makes me rage. I think it's the quotation marks he uses at the end.

Just...Gah. Bereft of words, here.

The Wisdom of Nando's
Found written on a wall in one such restaurant:

"Men are from Earth.
Women are from Earth.
Deal with it."

Another Write Up, Just Like Every Other Write Up
I shall divide this into various different points:

  • The Wax meeting was basically the way I started off roleplaying. It was hosted in Fran's absurdly massive bridal suite room. Matt H managed to make himself seem non-ominous before jumping us with VII. It was nice that I got a chance to see Jacobe before he lost his head, and the flailing uselessness of House Wax in avenging him was amusing. We pulled 7 or so 1s, with my touch-attacks for Crone doom hands getting two 1s in a row. Courtesy of Charlie Wax's repeated grapplings (of which there must have been 4 or 5?) even this didn't let one of the assassins escape. All the same, that's being added to the annals of family embarrassments, never to be discussed with outsiders. On the upside: the massive amount of Agg. Io walked away with proved to be a conversation starter.
  • The rest of Requiem was really enjoyable. I actually can't recall a great deal of what happened, but I remember that my & Stephen's Crone basically approached the event with a view towards brute forcing it into being fun. Basically it was just social RP of a very high grade.
  • Promethean I was basically unconscious for, and NPCed some spirit I was basically winging inbetween disappearing off to the sofa to take naps. Midnight slots are a nightmare, and I don't think that I did a particularly good job here. I hear that lots of people who played enjoyed it, and there was certainly a larger number than you'd expect braving the 00.00-4.00 slot.
  • Mage and Dark Ages were thoroughly slept through.
  • Lost was hectic, and basically too short for all that was going on to be dealt with properly. Much like typical Hatfield games there was a sense of being under a constant barrage of plot, with my character constantly being tapped upon the shoulder and asked to deal with something. No bad thing, but it meant I missed the start of the Autumn Court meeting (which was really fun!), most of the singing, and...Basically we needed another two hours so that the contests could have been viewed, the big Summer Court meeting didn't take up such a large proportion of the game and just generally stuff could have happened in a linear rather than parallel fashion.
  • I didn't spend a moment of Lost bored, however, and it was really nice to get a chance to meet a bunch of characters I have heard of, but rarely have a chance to see. :) I'm also pleased that we managed to avoid any massive, sprawling combats: those that there were were brief and only one required a (short) full-room time freeze. Consider the amount of e-drama swirling around, it was a pretty nice session.
  • The Eve Crone meeting I'm divided over. Basically, as someone else put it, it was NPC theatre, although in my view it was done fantastically well. Eve and her minions are a genuinely intimidating bunch, and their domination of the darkened room was quite something. Unfortunately this made for an effective encounter, but pretty poor meeting considered how most of the PCs were cowed into utter silence (mine included: who wants their head eaten?). I don't know whether it would have been possible to square a good meeting with one where the Crone were heavily intimidated.
  • Requiem #2 itself, I didn't much enjoy. Basically most of the game seemed to happen outside, with people splintered into Important People Clusters of 2-5. The one moment where everyone seemed to be getting together unfortunately happened in a room which my character couldn't walk into without a Humanity check, seeing as there were a bunch of people hung from the ceiling being bled out into a bath in it.
  • Mortals may well have been my favourite game. T'other James H's immortal, anti-Dutch French nutjob was a spectacular NPC, and the set-up was probably the most imaginative I encountered all weekend. Basically the room was divided into sections, much like in Requiem, but in each we were given a bead depending upon which item within it we most connected with. This represented a mansion we'd been invited to by a fellow named The Alchemist who alleged he was 270 years old and being hunted by those even older (including The Flying Dutchman). The supernatural seemed to be slanted towards overt more than usual, or at least more prolonged, but given the stage we're at in the chronicle that seems understandable. I found the usage of space very imaginative, and although I didn't do a vast amount of character interaction, what I did made me happy. Because of the national paucity of games, Nationals are basically the one opportunity I get to travel and meet characters outside of the Cambridge Fortean Society. That's something I enjoyed a whole lot, although exactly how things will work when the IoD's second Mortals LARP (which seeing as it's about a bunch of gangsters doesn't exactly gel with this eccentric occultist stuff) begins remains to be seen.
  • Forsaken I actually got involved in the plot of! Bas scanned a spirit. It was a fun enough scene, but after that the game was basically just waiting for a combat, which I then sat out. Such is the way with lots of National games of Forsaken, it would seem. I imagine the large majority of its active players wouldn't have it any other way, so there we are. It was nice to get a chance to talk OOC some more with people, something I probably could have done more of this weekend.
Overall...I'm uncertain. A blight was the venue, who basically dicked us around no end. We were not supposed to take off our shoes, eat food or drink that wasn't from their absurdly priced bar (which we weren't even allowed to buy from after midnight if we weren't staying in the hotel) or...A whole bunch of things. I hear that we shan't be returning there, and I am glad. It was nice to meet people I'd encountered as online presences before but never set eyes on. It was nice to encounter a whole bunch of new characters. It was probably worth the huge amount these weekends end up costing when hotels are involved instead of venues with on-site sleeping spaces being booked (I am now completely skint until money my family have borrowed is returned, there's no way that I could have even contemplated this sort of an event two years ago, when I was properly poor).

I'm very grateful to all the people who made it happen. Although I did some stuff to help out (set up, carrying out bundles of glasses, etc), there were people who basically seemed to be working for most of the weekend. It seems like it was an especially great headache, as these things go, but basically we got to host all of the games scheduled and ultimately that's what matters. The STs all did a good job, and basically in the games where I didn't have a good time throughout it's largely because I either don't have an immesenly active PC, or don't have a PC at all. There were a few annoyances, but no absolute travesties, and I am very happy that Luke was made Member of the Year and Fran a Life Member.

My condition over the past few days has interested me. In the unlikely event that this also interests you, here are my findings...

Basically over the past two days I have largely felt god awful. Tired, irritable, suffering from an acute case of anhenonia in places and at times. I've felt drained of energy, yet utterly bloated. I've been generally suffering from a surfeit of misery. I lashed out once (albeit at an absent party) in a fashion which caused me to surprise myself, and even more than usual have been dwelling upon sources of misery rather than springs of joy.

Initial analysis (conducted during Cambridge Mortals, so probably a bit late seeing as that was early Saturday night) suggested that this was basically just a standard case of my happiness fading in the face of dehydration. Three glasses of water, however, served only to stir my misery. After some further contemplation I recalled that my meals over the course of those two days had consisted of the following:
  • Breakfast upon Friday afternoon was a Fiorentina Calzone. I justified this to myself (rather than the rather lighter breaking of fast which I had intended) on the basis that, having become lost while searching for a shortcut to Cafe Rouge, this random genuine pizzeria in the middle of nowhere should be tested out, for later reference (by which I mean dates & so on).
  • Lunch was rather shortly afterwards, consisting of a bit of veggie pizza and some chippie chips, which I failed to finish.
  • My exercise this day was minimal: we spent an interminably long time driving, due to having to relocate, then getting lost.
  • On the way down I had a portion of a bottle of wine, then drank cocktails until I was capable of enjoying dancing to 1980s music (this is rather a lot of alcohol.)
  • Upon the way back to Cambridge, we dined via a drive-through McDonalds.
  • Saturday, and I broke fast with a fatty tagine, ala chips.
  • After this I had four slices of garlic bread.
When the healthiest aspect of two day's eating is a greasy, saturated fat permeated tagine, you are in trouble. Basically I'd been eating crap, oily poison, for two days solid. I really don't know how people manage to sustain a diet as a matter of routine. I've been poor before, very poor, but was cushioned by my mother's rigid determination to prepare family meals to the highest standard, a feat she managed on a budget so miniscule that less seasoned chefs would have been reduced to weeping. It is easy to forget that her acumen, so stable a part of my existence until very recently, was atypical.

The absolute nosedive I experienced in just 48 or so hours off of (the far higher quality) college caff food bountiful during termtime is just staggering. I don't normally eat enormously well, nor exercise nearly enough, but this shift has pummelled my body far more rapidly than I'd anticipated. Literally all that is good in life felt that it was ebbing away, drowned in a tide of salty junk food gloop.

I think that I shall have to rectify my present condition with a fruit binge, tomorrow.

"Antagonist" does not mean "fiend".
So Yoda's post on the topic and this month's Writing Shadows theme of "Villainy" caused me to start booting around my thoughts on the notion of an "Antagonist PC".

Now, my immediate reaction to this was that it is a simple contradiction in terms: the players in a roleplaying game are the protagonists. The entire point of the dichotomy being forged between protagonist-antagonist, rather than hero-villain, is that the former serves as a better neutral tool for assessment of a narrative. For example American Psycho's protagonist is Patrick Batemen. We follow him through his butcherous yuppie lifestyle, indeed he even narrates for us (sharing in an aside his love of prog-rock band Genesis). But he is, by no stretch of the imagination, the novel's hero. But terming him a villain would imprecise too: he isn't there for the good to thwart, he's there because the story's about him. The antagonists are in fact most probably the individuals he violates and kills.

In a conventional roleplaying game, you can play a Zack Brusner or an Atticus Finch. But as a player, you are who the story centres around. You are the protagonist. The ST throws up hoops for your characters to jump through.

Now things arguably start to change when we reach the world of LARP. According to the critique of certain people's playing styles, they play characters that effectively try to be the evil ones; be it from a desire for attention or an admiration for villainy. Now I can see the case being stronger in LARPs than in tabletop roleplaying, as an entire world must be constructed and there are really only so many STs around. However I maintain that for the most part what gets a character labelled as an "antagonist" is opposing the interest of other characters. By being the focus of what is conventionally (and I would say misleadingly) termed "PvP" action.

I shall say a few words on "PvP", here. As I imagine most readers are aware this stands for Player Versus Player. This is conventionally cast in a binary with "PvE", Player Versus Environment. Personally I'm a tad uncomfortable with the term "Player Versus Player", because it really shouldn't be the players who are fighting. All it constitutes is an instance where two characters have a set of goals which place them in a conflict. This is an easy occurrence to happen across, and indeed for a character with a well established set of aims is pretty difficult to reliably evade.

For the sake of evading contentiousness I'll use my own characters for examples of this:

  • Snaggle desires to eliminate everyone he terms "Traitors". This places him into conflict with those PCs who disagree with this position, or his definition.
  • Cleanse wants to live a happy life alongside his Fetch. Were any Lost who see Fetches as inevitable spies for the True Fae were to find about this then they'd probably try to kill his Fetch, leading to conflict between him and another PC.
  • Clarence wishes to serve his master to the limits of his capacity. Were his orders to be opposed by whoever they involved, conflict would ensue with another PC.
  • Io tries to keep himself at moderately high Humanity while also keeping himself amused (a difficulty seeing as he is my sole sadist character). Those PCs his amusement is at the expense of may well wish to enter conflict with him in the aftermath.
White Wolf games actively cultivate this variety of encounter, by establishing in every games a set of factions with ideologies that are less than entirely mutually compatible. It is no coincidence at all that the game least heavy of PvP, Mortals, is the venue devoid of these canon groupings.

Now, for a character to truly be termed an "Antagonist character", I would say that their goal would have to be something along the lines of: "Oppose/foil/thwart [insert PC's name]". I can see how that could arise quite easily, but suspect it would be most likely as a tributary from source aims such as: "Assert my dominance over those around me", or "Avenge all slights against my pride". In that respect, these are still characters who are protagonists: their players are following their story unfold. They are not part of the fabric of the conceit which the game rests upon, they are actors against its backdrop.

Of course, there are instances of characters moving between these two categories: Annatar Winterscale entered play as a PC, then became an NPC. But I am reluctant to term any examples which do not make this formal transferal "antagonists".  If they are operated by players who are in sovereign control of them (the ST or other players may only take control of them in the instance of a derangement or spell) and they pursue a set of aims (regardless of whether this sets them against others), they are a protagonist. Although they may perform acts of great heinousness, under any useful understanding of the term this is simply not sufficient for them to be deemed "antagonists".

They remain protagonists, surrounded by plot which exists for them, rather than consisting of them. No matter how many babies they toss in furnaces or kittens they defenstrate.

(no subject)