Saturday, June 29, 2013

NPC Spot: Shade from Endgame

Shade's makeup consists of white cake makeup,
which is cheap and sadly streaky, and black and blue Mehron 
eye pencils, and some bronze eye-shadow powder.
So, I'm notoriously bad at taking pictures of any and all makeup that I do for NPCs. (It's the only reason I took "Alternate Appearance" in Mirror, Mirror.) For this reason, I decided to attempt to recreate and photograph some of the makeup I've done for larps. I did this for my benefit, but figured I'd make a blog post out of it. (I did this makeup project in humid, 88 degrees Farenheit weather-- poor choice). And, so, without further ado, I present to you Shade, one of my Endgame NPCs. I had a good time with her costuming, though I've only preserved her final form.

Shade was based on sea creatures. In her final form, she was like a jellyfish mermaid thing.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Villainy and Demise

Villains, as I have mentioned before, are important parts of many games: they motivate plot; they stir players' emotional investments; they provide adversity and strife; they allow game writers to explore the less savory corners of the game universe; they let NPCs sink their teeth into rich and unpredictable characters. Crafting the villain arc, however, can be difficult. How does a staff introduce a villain? How does that villain bubble and boil into an evil that is greater than simply problematic? How does that villain, once made into an arch nemesis, maintain intensity over a long-running plot? I have seen many plots where the villain-- due to over-exposure, over-writing, and poor timing-- becomes a comical, unbelievable mess of excess. However, I have also seen many brilliant plots where the villain is a living, breathing, seething creature who garners both hatred and empathy from PCs.

For these latter plots, a singularly important questions pops into my mind: how does one end a villain's narrative? What makes a satisfying end for a well-crafted villain? I think there are many answers to this question, and I'm curious to hear responses (one of my responses is below). How have your favorite villains been successfully ended? Why was it satisfying?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A Farewell Toast

On Sunday, the long-running campaign, Endgame, came to its conclusion. There are many things that could be said about this game-- and many discussions about how games end, and how, in my opinion, this did LARP endings proud. But, instead, I will be brief.

For me personally, Endgame has meant a lot. It's the first game I really NPC'd. It's the first game I staffed. It's also the game that taught me-- to borrow from a fellow player-- that LARPing isn't just a hobby, it's an art form. It taught me that modules and encounters can be difficult, challenging, and deeply personal. It taught me that PCs will usually surprise you. It taught me how to write characters that are as dynamic and unpredictable as those PCs. It taught me that narrative is fluid, and I should never have expectations of where "my" story will go. It taught me how to collaborate with like-minded people. It taught me, in short, how to LARP.

To my fellow players-- I raise my glass (of water-- I'm still mildly dehydrated). Thank you, Mac, for leading us into places unknown. Thank you, staff, for trusting me with parts of your gameworld. Thank you, NPCs, for helping me make stories come alive (and for being really patient when climatic modules required, essentially, a hike through the camp grounds). And thank you, PCs, for teaching me what it means to really, deeply care about a player-base.

(And thanks to all of you for dealing with a few of my bouts of extreme profanity, which were just a little loud. It was never planned, but it always seemed appropriate.)

Cheers, Endgamers. I think we've made something just a little bit magic.

(I open the floor to all of you-- share your favorite moments, your reflections, your appreciations... whatever you want.)