I like drabbles. I like being able to evoke emotion in 100 words. I even like the ability to fiddle with the language to make the drabble exactly 100 words. This is a chart for various drabbles that I've written for faire-fic, games, BPAL and what-have-you that have graced the pages of *this* journal, as opposed to all of the other drabble charts I have rolling around. ( Chart!Collapse )
I've taken my blogging elsewhere and am working on a blog chronicling my wedding, which I think generally works better for me than dreamwidth or livejournal do. For those who are interested in what I have to say and the process of building a wedding and a life with another person, here's the link: http://rooandnate.wordpress.com/
All the best,
This entry was originally posted at http://belle-ecriture.dreamwidth.org/1178.html
. Comment wherever you like, although commenting on Dreamwidth with OpenID is probably best. Or not. Most likely a shoggoth will eat this message.
I can't read more than a few entries of Facebook right now. The staunchest liberals, the ones who have been most vehemently opposed to the war in Afghanistan are currently the ones doing the most egregious fist-pumping regarding Osama bin Laden's death. I'll go back to Facebook to do actual reading in a week or so. Right now, I can't bring myself to do it and I'm only responding to direct messages and friend requests.
I continue to do my receptionist's job for him, the novelty of which is wearing thin. Increasingly, coworkers are coming to me with requests that are theoretically in his purview because he can't be trusted to do them. Boss keeps telling me to give more stuff to receptionist... which I can't do if I don't want to spend twice as long fixing whatever he has fucked up than it would have taken me to do it in the first place.
However, these things aside, my life is excellent. I have love and friends and happiness. Just a few points of irritation that, all things considered, could be worse.
But they're *really* irritating.
This entry was originally posted at http://belle-ecriture.dreamwidth.org/867.html
. Comment wherever you like, although commenting on Dreamwidth with OpenID is probably best. Or not. Most likely a shoggoth will eat this message.
I'm sorry, LJ. I've held out as long as I can. But at the end of the day, what I'm here for is the circle of friends whose LJs I read, and the vast majority of my friends have either stopped posting or have moved to dreamwidth. Your communities aren't as good as they once were. There's little keeping me here except a few folks... and it's easy enough to check in on you guys.
I'm not doing a full data migration. I have no particular desire to. I'm moving the fiction over and some of the stuff that I know I want to keep handy and easily accessible. The rest of it? Well. I haven't entirely decided. My first post to Dreamwidth explains it all.
From here on out, I'll mostly be at belle-ecriture.dreamwidth.org.This entry was originally posted at http://belle-ecriture.dreamwidth.org/735.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
No, I'm not pregnant.
This is a PSA for all of my friends who are pregnant, want to be pregnant, will be pregnant at some point in the future, have been pregnant and now have little bundles of [joy/squalling angst/dirty diapers/etc].
I have said in the past that my objection to my friends getting pregnant is that I stop being able to have conversations with them. Where we once talked about literature, film, obscure corners of religious studies, feminism in primarily islamic countries, or our other friends, all conversations start to revolve around babies. And nothing but babies. And all attempts to change the subject to something we used to find interesting turn to babies.
I don't like children. On a good day, I sort of tolerate them, and usually I find child rearing fascinating from a purely intellectual perspective.
This doesn't mean that I never want to hear about your pregnancy/children/seamonkeys. You are my friend. I want to know what is happening in your life. I want to ask you questions about what it's like, how you feel, your opinions on how to raise children, whether you've read some obscure book on parenting and whether you feel that author is completely on crack and/or has never actually had children.
I also want to send you links to articles and blogs that I've read about childhood development, the nature of fear and why we feel it and how parents instill it into their children, and whether listening to Mozart will stimulate random parts of your child's brain and make them 76% less likely to become a serial killer than children who listen to death metal. I want to give you random children's books that I find that look really interesting/weird/just plain crazy, and I will occasionally wish to poke your baby and make them smile/cry/look at me like 'who the hell is the person?'
But I also still want to have those conversations about the development of architecture during the renaissance and whether we think so-and-so is crazy for dating whats-his-noodle and whether we should stage an intervention.
If you are a cammie, could you fill out the following form? I'm trying to get a feel for how many people are going to which camarilla conventions so I can make choices on my own attendance.
Thank you!Convention Poll!
Nate and I are moving. If you are in the area, are interested in helping us move, but are not on the moving filter (there's a poll up right now, so if you don't see the poll, you're not on the moving filter), please let me know. It's not that I don't love you or want your help or support... it's just that I'm crazy fsking busy and forgot to click on your name when I was creating the filter.
...and why it is necessary for the health of the global chronicle.
The Camarilla is a huge, multinational club that allows people all over the world to pretend to be supernatural critters together. Here, I will be focusing on the aspect that allows us to all pretend to be vampires together (the Requiem Venue, or just Requiem) as most of the issues are endemic to that particular venue.
Vampires, per Requiem canon, are paranoid, territorial creatures. They band together out of sheer necessity and given half a chance, they would just as soon kill another vampire as look at it. This can make for a difficult social game.
There are a number of mechanics in place to resolve some of the more obvious issues in trying to play a social game with a bunch of bloodthirsty, territorial predators, but they don't solve all of the issues. This is where we, as players and storytellers, have to be aware of the limitations of the game and also need to understand how to create an environment that is welcoming to new players and visitors. Enter metagaming.
Metagaming is most often defined as using out of character knowledge to make in character decisions and is most often used as a euphemism for cheating. This is unfortunate because the only way to create an environment that is welcoming to new players is by engaging in that very action.
Here's are some examples:
Bad Metagaming: The player of Bob Ventrue knows that the character Sue Daeva has a bloodline weakness that makes her vulnerable to blue polyester. Despite having know way of knowing this in game, he nonetheless ensures that his goon squad are all wearing bad suits from the 70s when they jump her.
Good Metagaming: A new player has a brand new character and is wandering around game site looking like he has no idea what to do. Despite having very little reason to approach a strange new vampire, George Gangrel introduces himself, asks a few leading questions about the character, and invites the brand new character to go on a snipe hunt with him and the rest of the clan.
See the difference?
In the Camarilla chronicle, we are frequently in situations where we have people wandering through our games that we've never seen or met before. Sometimes they are new players. Sometimes, they are visiting players from another domain or region. The important thing, however, is that we make sure they feel welcome in our game and go home that night with the knowledge that they've had an awesome time and want to do it again.
So, there's a rumor. I've heard it in various incarnations, but I've now actually heard it from a real out-of-towner, although he was vague on where he had heard it from.
The Sonoma domain kills out-of-towners.
I'd really like to know how this got started and why it's going around. No, really. I'm interested in addressing this in a reasonable, adult manner, because if this is an actual, honest-to-god rumor that is being spread, it needs to be addressed.
So, have you heard this before? From where/whom did you hear it? Do you have any evidence that substantiates said rumor?
(X-posted, oh, everywhere.)
It was a low key Christmas this year and one of the best. I'm sitting in my best friend's living room borrowing a laptop to write this, sitting by a fire merrily burning in the fire place. We are back from a Boxing Day party that was full of good people and food. Christmas itself was so low key as to almost not be worth noting except that I spent time with my blood family and the family of my heart. The only part I missed was my boyfriend. Had he been here to share it with me, it would have been perfect.
A friend of mine noted that Christmas is better for adults than it is for kids. I always used to think that it was the other way around, but this year I know it's true. When I was a kid, I never felt this *content* at Christmas.
Tomorrow is another day away from work, then another three day week for me. I intend to dance my way through New Years.
To all of my friends, family, and friends who are family: All my love, always.
I'm starting a new game after a lengthy hiatus away from GMing. As such, I've been spending my time not writing by looking at blogs on game theory, game design, and helpful advice. One of the best ones I've found is Black Hat Matt's Blog
. If you are running a game, used to run a game, or might run a game in the future, this is an interesting read.
No, seriously. Go forth.I'm looking at you, cuddlycthulhu, cyranocyrano, and all of my cammie friends.
The approval application questions are getting out of hand.
Some background, for those who are either new to the Camarilla or aren't members and have no idea what I'm talking about: The Camarilla runs a number of games, each of which have books that come out on a regular basis, and in each book are new toys for its players to play with. Not all of these toys are appropriate for all of the characters, so the Camarilla instituted a complex system of approvals. In order to get the cool toy, you have to convince a certain number of officials that you are not a douchebag and are only getting the cool tchochke to kill everyone else. This is done through an Approval Application.
Back when I started playing in the Camarilla, the application process consisted of the Thirteen Questions. These were pretty (in)famous questions that made sense. They were designed to make you think about your character, convince the officials that you had thought about your concept beyond, "Ogg Smash!", and to agree that you were not going to be a douchebag; and, if you were, you had made a contract that you wouldn't be and someone could make you pay for it in some official capacity (or tear up your character sheet while you stomped off to have a tantrum. Don't laugh; I've seen it happen). They had an added benefit of being a little bit time consuming, so the average thug wasn't going to want to jump through the hoops. Any and all thugs who got through it at least had to have basic reading and writing skills.
Over the course of time and as we ended one chronicle and started a new one, the questions for the application process changed. Over the last few years, the questions have changed a lot - so much so, that every time I put up a new application, I'm forced to review the questions because something, inevitably, has changed.
Now, there are eighteen bullet points, each with at least two questions, and those are just the national questions. Your region might have additional questions (and the SW does: eight more, for those who are playing the home game, and plus three for custom mechanics). The questions have become ridiculously repetitive (how many ways can you say, "I solemnly swear I'm not going to be a douchebag"?), going so far as to ask the same question two different ways within the same bullet point.
A friend of mine is writing his first application. Last night, he messaged me with one of the questions and asked me, "What the hell is this question actually asking?" We've gone from a system that requires some thought about what motivates a character to one in which extraordinarily smart people are unable to divine the nature of these unnecessarily oblique questions.
I actually support the approval process. I think that not enough people really give thought to their characters, and frankly, the application gives gamers a chance to talk about their characters to people who otherwise won't give a shit. I think that having the hoops are important, and once you've passed through them, you feel like you've accomplished something. However, if you can't make someone agree in thirteen questions that they're not going to be dicks, you can't do it in twenty-six. Maybe, you'll manage to scare them off, but mostly, you're alienating your player base.
And now, we go back to slogging through the application. I'll post a word count, and add it to my total words written for Madeleine-Antoinette. This may put me over the 100,000 mark.
The success of a LARP is usually measured in its attendance. If 60 people show up to your game on a regular basis, you are successful beyond your wildest dreams. If 30 people show, you're doing really well. If 15 people are your regular attendees, you're not doing half bad. If 6 people come, you might as well pack up and start a table top game.
That being said, that is the measure of "success" in LARP. But what makes a good game, in your opinion? Is it the attendees? Plot? The quality of roleplay?
As my local Cam friends are already doubtlessly aware, this is partially in response to this.
The quality of Sonoma Requiem has been called into question, and I'm curious to know people's opinions.
By all means, even if you are not a LARPer or a member of the Cam, speak up. I'm looking for all comers here.
My dad died. My mom sent me an email last night that I didn't receive until this morning. He's been living in Massachusetts with his sister and had a massive coronary. According to my mom, he died in seconds and didn't suffer. I guess that's good to know.
A few years ago, I said goodbye to my dad. It was right before he moved, and when we hugged for that last time, it had an air of finality to it. He didn't call me afterwards and I didn't call him. Somehow, I knew that was the last time. I remember standing in his kitchen and we talked and reminisced like we always used to. He told me the stories that I'd heard a million times and still loved.
Anyone who has seen my dad and me together knows that I'm my father's daughter. I look like his side of the family more than anyone else. I have his sense of humor, which is dry in the extreme, and his way of dealing with people and I roll my eyes the same way he did. I was always his little girl, even when we didn't talk. It was the knowledge that we loved each other.
He believed in reincarnation, but that if he had a choice, he wouldn't want to come back for a long time. He believed that he had been around this ball for so long that his soul needed a rest. He wasn't a great man, and in some ways, probably wasn't a very good one. But he loved me and helped me and taught me and protected me. He was my daddy and I'm going to miss him.
This post was originally going to be about why a reset is necessary. My wish that the Camarilla would just suck it up and reset already was only partially granted: we’re getting a soft reset.
Let’s get some terminology out of the way before we continue.
In a roleplaying game (in this case, the chronicle of the Camarilla), people will get tired of the game they’re playing, things will stagnate, power levels will go haywire. When this happens, the powers that run the game will declare a reset.
When the rocks fall, Armageddon comes, Ragnarok is nigh, and everyone dies, this is a Hard Reset.
In this case, we’re starting over from scratch and everyone rolls up new characters.
Sometimes, you don’t want to nerf campaign continuity. Everyone still likes their characters, and there are only a few things wrong that can be solved by readdressing power levels. When this happens, you keep your character concept, but rewrite your character sheet. This is called a Soft Reset.
The Camarilla Chronicle has some pretty significant problems with it, especially for players who are just coming into the game. When we first started playing Requiem in Chronicle, we had two books: The World of Darkness core rules and the Requiem rules. A number of in-game organizations that were mentioned in the core rule books were created by the players… only to discover, as the books came out for those in-game organizations, that what the players created isn’t anything like what the successive books dictated – and those are just the differences in canon. The Camarilla also suffers from huge power gaps between members who’ve been in the organization longer and those who just joined… and really, the list goes on.
Because so many of the problems in the Chronicle stem from a rough chronicle start, it would seem reasonable that, after playing for 4.5-5 years, that maybe we should scrap it and start over, utilizing all of the books that are now available to us. I know a number of people (myself included) who have started thinking about what we would do in the event of a hard reset – I never lack for character concepts.
Unfortunately, the Camarilla (and by Camarilla, I mean the Master Storyteller, evidently at the behest of White Wolf) has decided that a soft reset is in order. The Reset Guidelines
and the Reset FAQ
don’t really go into why
a soft reset is being made rather than a hard one, except to imply that someone in White Wolf says so. That, more than anything, tells me that whoever actually
made the decision knows that it will be generally unpopular and is trying to avoid having to answer for it. It’s shoddy management at the best of times.
So, what does the new system mean for people who already have characters in play, and are looking at rewriting their character sheets? Let’s take a look at numbers. ( Cutting for the uninterested.Collapse )
A lot of people are pretty upset about soft reset; a lot are saying that the new system renders their characters unplayable. We’ll see. There’s supposed to be some deus ex machina plot coming down the pipes to explain the sudden loss of power – of everything that is going on here, this is the part that I’m the most irked by, but I’m still hoping to be pleasantly surprised.
Over all, though? I wish that the decision was to reformat the drive and reload the OS, start fresh with the new material that has come out from the company, rather than just reboot the system - but if that wasn't an option, I'm glad we're doing something. The system has been broken for a long time, and if we can't set fire to it and start anew, we can at least test some other options in preparation for the new world order.
For those who don’t know, I spend my weekends engaged in a number of incredibly silly activities that mostly involve my dressing up like other people and pretending to be someone else. I often joke that I have all the best escapist hobbies and to a certain extent it’s true.
Any group of people who dress up like other people for their own personal amusement will wind up having drama that doesn’t strictly involve the people they are pretending to be. In gaming circles, we call it out-of-character (OOC), as opposed to in-character (IC). You still with me? Awesome.
Arguably, one of the larger and probably better organized of these organizations that allow for a whole bunch of people to pretend to be people that they are not all together is the Camarilla, the official fan club of White Wolf (WW). White Wolf is a gaming company that produces modern horror games (such as they are) like Vampire: the Masquerade/Requiem, Werewolf: The Apocalypse/Forsaken, Changeling: the Shining/Lost… and a number of other games that follow similar naming schemes. In the above examples, the name before the slash were White Wolf’s first product lines, the name after the slash denotes their later product lines. The old stuff is called, collectively, the Old World of Darkness (OWoD) and the new stuff is the New World of Darkness (NWoD). White Wolf was bought relatively recently by CCP Games, the developers of EVE Online. You may have heard of it.
Last week, White Wolf announced that they would be ending their relationship with the UK affiliate and a lot of nasty words were immediately said, culminating in the General-OOC list being moderated. The UK set out their side of the story pretty quickly and White Wolf has yet to really respond.
Yesterday, White Wolf released a copy of the Affiliation Agreement
that was sent to the UK. Canadians have stated that this is the same agreement that they signed a few months ago. Cam folks - take a look at it; it's fairly instructive. And once you're done with that, once you've decided that WW is the devil or not, or that CCP should rot in hell or not, and have read all the evidence of saber rattling that's on the alterna-lists that have sprung up so we can all talk about how much we hate everyone in charge, let's consider a devil's advocate argument.
White Wolf and CCP are corporate entities which own the Camarilla. By being a member of the Camarilla, you are agreeing to abide by their rules. The US already operates with WW as being the highest authority. In the opinion of White Wolf, the contract that has been issued for Affiliates more or less brings the affiliates in line with what is already the case with the US.
As a corporation whose primary purpose is to make money, CCP/WW see the Camarilla primarily as being monetary asset. On the high end of the membership numbers we hear, there are 6,000 members who pay WW $20/year to be members of their Official Fan Club. $120,000/year in direct revenue, plus whatever indirect revenue is generated by 6,000 people who buy their products is not an inconsiderable chunk of change... but when looking at the type of money that is generated by EVE Online (with its 250,000 subscribers and more on the way), how much are those 6,000 members even worth? The answer is not as much as members would like to think they are. A World of Darkness MMO (which would have monthly subscribers) will be a steadier source of income, generally more reliable, and certainly less of a pain in the ass than a number of Cammies who seem to think that they have worth as human beings and not just numbers.
A lot of people are blaming Kelley Barnes in her position as Club Director and not sticking it to White Wolf, or speaking out against her employer if the views that she is expressing as Club Director are not her own - and there's a lot more discussion about whether White Wolf can be held liable for anything she says.
Can anything Kelley says be held against WW when she is speaking in an official capacity? You betcha. As the face and voice piece of an organization, hers is the voice that everyone listens to. It's a sticky wicket at the best of times and right now, with a number of people making nuisances of themselves, it's not getting any better for the Club Director. Jon Herrman has already spoken on behalf of Kelley's character; if he is at all accurate in his assessment, she takes her job seriously. Part of being a good employee is not badmouthing your employers publicly, even if you disagree with some of their actions. Think of it this way: the White House Press Secretary doesn't always agree with the President. It is still the job of the Press Secretary to talk to the media and not badmouth the White House in the process.
White Wolf has yet to release more than a terse statement that they are choosing to end their relationship with Cam-UK. A number of people are looking for an official statement, as some rather nasty accusations are being levied, but none of these accusations have been made official to the best of my knowledge - although the inability to post on the General-OOC list regarding this stuff probably isn't helping.
The moral here, kids, is to think long and hard about what you're doing in the Camarilla. In a cost/benefit analysis, is what you're putting in worth what you're getting out? Don't think just about the $20. Is the Camarilla worth your time in terms of drama and emotional investment? Do you enjoy playing in a global chronicle enough to want to continue? Once you have the answer to that, you probably have a better handle on how to respond - but perhaps we should wait until all the information is in before making any final decisions.
Dorotea kneels beside me in church, coming perhaps a touch closer than is strictly appropriate or necessary, but it is very cold on the stones and I press against her.
“Have you seen him?” she whispers into her folded hands, rosary dangling from between gloved fingers.
“My new cousin.”
I shake my head mutely as the padre’s eyes wander over us, lips pursed in admonition.
Once Padre turns his head, she murmurs, “He’s an Orsini. Wrong side of the sheets, but definitely an Orsini.”
I widen my eyes and suppress a chuckle. This will be an interesting season.
He’s never liked children, never quite known what to do with them. They are small and fragile, loud when they should be quiet and rambunctious when they should be still. And worst of all, they stink when they should smell good, and inevitably come with a screeching mother, who is worse than all the rest combined.
When the nurse puts the small, squalling bundle in his arms for the first time, he knows… that he still doesn’t like them. His stomach rumbles, and he wonders if his wife will allow him to eat the baby, citing it’s a troll’s way?
I dream about it sometimes – cool water poured into tall glasses filled with ice. Diving into deep pools and swimming until I hit the bottom, pushing with both feet, hurtling towards the surface and taking deep breaths of fresh air. Warm water poured over my hair, rinsing white suds down drains.
Now, we search for it, go to the old ways – men with Y-shaped sticks wandering over dry fields. The places where water once came are as dry as lake beds, and we die slow deaths, each one more agonizing to watch than the last while we hoard plastic bottles.
It is raining on our June wedding; we picked June so we could stand barefoot on the lawn and say our vows. We do it anyway, as planned, with mud squishing between our toes and the pastor balancing a bible in one hand and an umbrella in the other.
It is raining when we first see the house, covered with fallen leaves. The covered porch is dry and inviting, so we run across the muddy lawn, laughing joyously.
And it is raining when we have sex on our porch for the first time, pounding rain as visceral as we are.