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clauclauclaudia
clauclauclaudia
Claudia
Mon, May. 15th, 2006 03:30 pm
"Ah, how you promised, and ah, how I lied"

I NPCed for a second run of thekinginyellow's The Dance and the Dawn LARP (from locke61dv's RPG) and it was just as much fun as the first time, though harder to photograph (because tighter quarters). New pictures and old are up. It's quite possible to scrutinize them for plot points, so if you aren't spoiled for it and might want to play it at Vericon, well, don't scrutinize them like that!

Seeing the same scenario played twice with different players was really interesting. saxikath and I did that with Live-Action Clue once upon at time, but that was partly a way of debugging the rules of the game. Given that some of the characters are heavily based on Utena characters, thekinginyellow noted early on that it was like watching the TV series of Utena and then movie of Utena. Variations on a theme.

The players are mostly trying to find their true loves by the end of the game. Unless they're just trying to screw things up for potential true loves. I am simply fascinated that essentially the same pairings ended up happening this time around, though in some cases for different reasons. Emergent TDaTD behavior? If it happens a third time I'll be inclined to suggest that the GM is wrong about who should end up together. ;-)

Now I dissect the end games some. LARPfic! No, no, not really. That would be truly scary.


So, the Lords except for the Prince have no choice in the end game. They can woo the Ladies, but in the end the Ladies choose. I can *almost* reconstruct the sequence of choices for each game from the photos and knowing which flowers I delivered. If anyone can fill in the gaps, let me know.

In the first game, Lady Kassirin chose Lord Selle first.
Then two things happened, I'm not sure which first: Lady Clara chose Lord Kieron, and Lady Viridian chose Lord Samangelov. Between them, Lady Elia chose Lord Armster. (So either Kieron, Armster, Samangelov or Samangelov, Armster, Kieron. Given the characters, I expect Clara got to choose Kieron first.)
Then Lady Gedra chose Lord Mirabilis.
Lady Jade chose the Prince, and he accepted.

[EDIT: or not... lemme check my notes again]

[EDIT May 27]In the second game, Lady Elia chose Lord Armster.
Lady Kassirin chose Lord Selle.
Lady Gedra chose Lord Mirabilis.
Lady Clara chose the Prince, who rejected her. (Burn!)
Lady Viridian chose Lord Samangelov.
Lady Jade chose the Prince, who accepted her.

I'm not certain where in this sequence Lady Viridian's choice came. But you'll see that all the player couples in game two are the same as in game one!

In both games, all the ladies successfully avoided Lord Tachrymon. But in one game Clara and Kieron got the happy ending, while in the other they were left lonely--but took over the Isles as the Queen and Duke got their happy ending. So even there there's some symmetry. Clara is probably the best qualified to take over the Queen's job, but I fear for the tender hearts of ladies entrusted to the care of Duke Kieron! In each case the Prince chose the same lady and left his mother at last.

I think that if you leave aside the Utena-related mappings, then Prince & Jade works perfectly well. Why *shouldn't* she have a Prince? And why shouldn't a Lady who demands respect and a peer work her way through the Prince's facade?

Or at least, reasoning somewhat circularly, any Prince who would say yes to Jade works as a partner for her. This is not at all what I thought initially after seeing the character sheets, but it's what makes sense to me after watching some of the game play out. And Gedra and Mirabilis was my early guess, and still makes more sense to me than Gedra and the Prince. I don't see how a fragile thing like Gedra can get the Prince to break through his emotional armor, basically. Whereas it makes sense to me that Jade can demand an equal from him, and, after some tussling, get one.

So, suppose Jade / Prince and Gedra / Mirabilis. I think I buy all the other intended pairings, though: Clara / Kieron, Viridian / Armster, Elia / Samangelov -- and those last two pairs just got swapped in each game. I'd love to know what their players think of the "correct" pairings versus the ones that happened in game.

Unfortunately that leaves Lady Kassarin with either Lord Selle or Lord Tachrymon. I'll say this--I don't think Kassarin would bore Selle very quickly. ;-)

Tags:
Current Mood: curious curious
Current Music: A Little Night Music - Sondheim

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heavenscalyx
heavenscalyx
Calyx of the Heavens
Mon, May. 15th, 2006 07:49 pm (UTC)

LARPfic! No, no, not really. That would be truly scary.

I haven't written LARPfic, but I've written Salem Pirate Faire fic. It's, er, scary, yes, scary.


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madbodger
madbodger
Spam
Mon, May. 15th, 2006 10:04 pm (UTC)

What's TDaTD? I'm drawing a blank, and the acronym dictionaries give a meaning that I'm pretty sure isn't your intended one.


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clauclauclaudia
clauclauclaudia
Claudia
Mon, May. 15th, 2006 10:13 pm (UTC)

The Dance and the Dawn, from the first sentence of the post.

The reason I phrase it that way is that in the *first* running of the game, characters who were based on Utena characters behaved towards each other as they would have in the series even though there was nothing explicit in their character sheets that would lead to that. So that was "emergent Utena behavior". And occultatio was wondering if that would re-emerge. ;-)

I was not in a position to see if it did, for the most part.


ReplyThread Parent
lignota
lignota
L'Ignota
Tue, May. 16th, 2006 06:50 pm (UTC)

I've just discovered this discussion, and as the second Lady Jade, I'm finding it very interesting.

The dynamic between me and Kieron, Samangelov, and Selle, respectively, felt very similar to how their equivalents interact in the Utena universe.

Kieron and Jade are obviously going to despise each other, especially after Jade fights a duel. I thought it was very cool this time that Samangelov was able to warn Jade away from Tachrymon, because I was actually considering picking him for a while. Selle made me suspicious by being too charming, so that I didn't think he was sincere.

In the series, Utena picks the Prince over Touga, which I think Jade did in the LARP for similar reasons. So it may not have been the "right" choice, but I hope it was at least in character.


ReplyThread Parent
occultatio
occultatio
Matt
Mon, May. 15th, 2006 10:36 pm (UTC)

I think the Jade/Selle matchup makes much more sense if you look at it from Selle's perspective than Jade's. She really is just about the ideal lady for him. The confusion on Jade's part comes from the fact that the bits of Selle's personality which make him good for her are also, largely, present in the Prince. But then again, that's sort of the Prince's job description.

And yeah, I totally want a third test run of this. I'm powerfully curious now. Maybe at Vericon...?

(although I hope to have a sequel/second edition game written by the end of the summer.)


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clauclauclaudia
clauclauclaudia
Claudia
Mon, May. 15th, 2006 10:42 pm (UTC)

A Vericon run was mentioned, I hope it happens! But I also hope to play in one, so start/keep writing. :)

Scott's argument as the Prince was that he was looking for the anti-Queen, and that's probably Jade more than anyone else. I see what you mean about Selle's point of view, but I actually kind of see Kassarin as suiting him in a different way. He doesn't want to be used in a superficial way, so he uses women. Well, the last thing she'd do is go for superficiality.


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tiamat360
tiamat360
Alexa
Tue, May. 16th, 2006 04:01 am (UTC)

Unfortunately, parts of Selle's character make him unappealing to Jade, just as parts of Touga make him unappealing to Utena - he's far too charming for either of them to really find the guy genuine.

I like your idea of most of our choices being more "correct" than the ones

[Error: Irreparable invalid markup ('<lj-user="thekinginyellow">') in entry. Owner must fix manually. Raw contents below.]

Unfortunately, parts of Selle's character make him unappealing to Jade, just as parts of Touga make him unappealing to Utena - he's far too charming for either of them to really find the guy genuine.

I like your idea of most of our choices being more "correct" than the ones <lj-user="thekinginyellow"> laid out for us, Claudia. I'm pleased at the idea of Jade being supposed to end up with the Prince, for reasons of playability alone - by her nature, Lady Jade is likely to be last to pick at the end of the Dance. However, because the Prince can refuse other Ladies, if the two of them figure out their pairing reasonably well, he can refuse any other suitors until it's Jade's turn. It makes Jade's position less screwed over with respect to the rest of the Ladies.


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clauclauclaudia
clauclauclaudia
Claudia
Tue, May. 16th, 2006 05:37 am (UTC)

"I was raised to be charming, not sincere." Heh.

I think most any lady but Clara can easily end up bottom of the pecking order depending on player choices. One Kassarin curried the Queen's favor, the other provoked her at every turn. Most of the players have that option, some blatantly, others by being too sincere and not spiteful enough. Then the remainder rise or fall in relation to the provocateurs. Gedra was in surprisingly (to me) good favor in the second game--I thought it was hard for her to be in the queen's good graces. But everyone else was being so outrageous in the second game that she rose toward the top! I agree it's hard for Jade to do the same, or at least to both rise to the top and have any chance of finding out what she needs to about the Lords.



ReplyThread Parent
lignota
lignota
L'Ignota
Tue, May. 16th, 2006 07:09 pm (UTC)

Unfortunately, parts of Selle's character make him unappealing to Jade, just as parts of Touga make him unappealing to Utena - he's far too charming for either of them to really find the guy genuine.

Yes, exactly. Oh, wait -- you were Lady Jade in the first round, right? Then I'm glad to find Jade's two incarnations in agreement. *grin*

The second time through, the Prince struck me as far too arrogant, so I wasn't going to choose him. Then he got beaten in three or four duels in a row and got humble, so he became a possibility again. I was going around asking all the Lords who they wanted to be chosen by, because Jade couldn't stand the thought of putting someone else in a cage, either. The Prince answered twice that he would prefer to be chosen by me. The first time I didn't take him seriously, but the second time I did.

After I fought a duel and asked Lord Selle what he thought, he said he found it "exciting" -- which I took as meaning that he thought it was "cute," like Jade's unwisely chosen first husband. Right now, I can't think of a way for him to have won over Jade, though of course that doesn't prove anything. I think it would be difficult, though not impossible.


ReplyThread Parent
dumble
dumble
Emily
Mon, May. 15th, 2006 11:42 pm (UTC)

You've got your order of choosing for the first game somewhat mixed up. I (as Elia) was the second to last to choose. Jade was last. I don't remember the order before that, but I know that my only choices were Armster, the Prince, and Tachrymon.

I don't particularly understand why I was supposed to end up with Samangelov. I'm certainly not supposed to end up with Armster, though. I/Elia knew that: Armster told me that he was looking for someone who he could talk to about his experiments, and I obviously wasn't that person. But I also knew that I wasn't supposed to end up with Tachrymon or the Prince, and I knew that Armster and I would get along Just Fine, so I figured he was the best of my four options (the fourth being not to choose).

I think the Armster/Viridian pairing makes perfect sense. I didn't quite figure it out ingame because I didn't recognize the religious aspect of Armster's studies, but as soon as I heard more about Armster out of game, I figured out that pairing without being told.

So, Armster/Viridian is perfect. Elia/Samangelov could use some work to make them fit better.


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clauclauclaudia
clauclauclaudia
Claudia
Tue, May. 16th, 2006 05:29 am (UTC)

Hm, thanks. I'll look at the flower sequence again and fix it tomorrow. I was filling in the gaps between pictures with the knowledge that L. and I alternated delivering flowers, and I know I delivered Selle's and Armster's flowers. I'll check my notes and pictures and fix it. :) I remember you having a tough choice.

Armster's studies weren't really religious--they were alchemical. The pairing is a pairing of religion and science. Trust thekinginyellow for that. ;-)


ReplyThread Parent
thekinginyellow
thekinginyellow
thekinginyellow
Tue, May. 16th, 2006 05:43 am (UTC)

Just so it's out there, this was the GM thinking that went into the (controversial) pairings:

Prince/Gedra:
1) The Prince is used to playing off of Ladies' weaknesses and expectations. It's what he's been doing his whole life. For all that Jade is strong-willed and likeable and awesome, she has simple character hooks, and that means that she's vulnerable to his standard manipulations.
("Oh, sure, I'm not like those *other* horrible men--I respect you and your desire to go play with swords. Aren't I just wonderful?")
This means that she's as much a toy for him as the others are, and as easily crushed.
The thing about Gedra is that he can't actually do anything to her that hasn't already been done. He can't play with her expectations, because she doesn't have any. The idea is that she can actually force him to be genuine through sheer passivity.
2) Gedra is really far more the anti-Queen than Jade is. Jade is loud and willful and has an agenda, while Gedra is weak and shy in all the ways that the Queen is loud and manipulative.

Kassarin/Mirabilis:
In both games, Mirabilis has been played as a Parsifal figure whose naivete just underlines his moral perfection. If you read his character sheet, that's really not what he's supposed to be. He's a romantic, but part of the baggage there is that he has Expectations: he needs a Lady who wants all the tremendous attention and affection that he has to give. On some level, he really is a stalker. Gedra, with her horrible history, would be traumatized by it.
Kassarin, on the other hand, wants exactly that. For all that she's outre and sexual and scary, she has one of the most traditional desires: she needs someone to love her tremendously and unconditionally. Mirabilis is really the only one who can do that for her, given what she is.


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thekinginyellow
thekinginyellow
thekinginyellow
Tue, May. 16th, 2006 05:52 am (UTC)

Also, in response to a couple of random things that have been said:

-Clara can also end up on the bottom of the Queen's pecking order, *if* she has the cojones to try and take over the court for herself. It is explicitly suggested.

-Armster's work is indeed religious in bent, at least in a sense. One of the reasons I wrote the part for Ada was that she understood how old-school alchemy worked; for all the playing with crucibles and such, there was a lot of writing very long treatises on the Nature of Providence or the Transmutation of the Human Soul Into Angelic Substance or similar awesome nonsense.

-Duke Kieron is totally sweet. (In Utena terms, I can totally see Touga and Juri and Miki and even Nanami graduating and ultimately finding their Happily Ever Afters...and Saionji, bitter and puzzled, eventually turning into an Akio figure and starting the whole thing over.)
My very favorite image from the second run, as I've mentioned elsewhere, was Kieron crumpled in the Duke's chair as the Duke was up dancing and having the time of his life.


ReplyThread Parent
clauclauclaudia
clauclauclaudia
Claudia
Tue, May. 16th, 2006 06:04 am (UTC)

re Armster: I stand corrected! I don't remember that actually in the sheet as opposed to subtext, but I don't know enough about alchemy to appreciate that aspect. The part I tended to carry away about each character was the stories we told and not the rest of the sheet. (I *think* we told Armster's once in the first game, but I could just be remembering the rehearsal.)

Duke Kieron is a great ending for the character, but, again, I pity the ladies in his care!


ReplyThread Parent
clauclauclaudia
clauclauclaudia
Claudia
Tue, May. 16th, 2006 06:16 am (UTC)

Much as I know, intellectually, the theory on the Prince pairing, I still can't feel it as emotionally truthful: the way I see it, the Prince can totally toy with Gedra, it's just not much of a challenge.

As for who's more the anti-Queen, I guess it's a matter of what attributes you look at. Jade has no patience with the niceties of court, while Gedra is willing to play along with them. I'm pretty sure that was Scott's perspective.

Maybe there should be something in Mirabilis's story hinting at how obsessive he is? I'm pretty sure we told his story more than anyone else's. (I think it goes roughly Mirabilis, Prince, Selle, Tachrymon, Samangelov, Kieron/Armster.) I think that particularly in the context of a dance where there's *supposed* to be wooing going on, it's hard to tell the difference between a gallant and a stalker, even well-played.


ReplyThread Parent
tiamat360
tiamat360
Alexa
Tue, May. 16th, 2006 06:37 am (UTC)

While the logic behind the pairing of Gedra and the Prince may make as much sense as the logic behind Jade + Prince, the first is really really difficult for even the best roleplayers to pick out. Cecy's definitely mentioned that Gedra's nature makes it very difficult to ever figure out that the Prince, of all the Lords, is her pairing. The meekness that supposedly makes her perfect for him also prevents her from ever guessing that a frickin' Prince is right for her.

Even if you argue that the first game lacked experienced roleplayers, Gedra didn't pick the Prince in the second game either, where not only did she get to pick first, but where most of the players had a lot of experience and skill in roleplaying. I bet that even if Gedra had an inkling that the Prince was right for her, she'd have a hell of a time letting him know that in-game, and thus he'd probably refuse her anyway.

Now, if you're going for perfect Utena symmetry, that's just the way things will have to be to make the story work. But keep in mind that pairings that seem to have perfect logic to you feel different to the players, and while the game is fun despite the really low success rate, you cannot reasonably expect players to come across these pairings during the game without a miraculous stroke of luck.


ReplyThread Parent
tiamat360
tiamat360
Alexa
Tue, May. 16th, 2006 06:42 am (UTC)

Also, to be perfectly clear, not all the pairings are strange or impossible to get. Pretty clearly, it's possible to get Clara + Kieron, or, so I believe, Armster + Viridian.


ReplyThread Parent
lignota
lignota
L'Ignota
Tue, May. 16th, 2006 07:14 pm (UTC)

("Oh, sure, I'm not like those *other* horrible men--I respect you and your desire to go play with swords. Aren't I just wonderful?")

The interesting thing there is that Jade's standard tactic for judging men (challenge him to a duel and see if he turns away in disgust) completely breaks down at the dance, because every single Lord, with the exception of Kieron, thinks that Jade dueling is just fine. At least, that's what they told me.


ReplyThread Parent
tiamat360
tiamat360
Alexa
Tue, May. 16th, 2006 07:28 pm (UTC)

Agreed. It's especially difficult when you want to watch/be in duels and the GM warns you away from them *coughWarrenwhy??cough*.


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clauclauclaudia
clauclauclaudia
Claudia
Tue, May. 16th, 2006 07:33 pm (UTC)

Was it Warren or the Duke? :)


ReplyThread Parent
lignota
lignota
L'Ignota
Tue, May. 16th, 2006 07:19 pm (UTC)

Oh, and I just wanted to clarify that nothing I'm saying here is a complaint -- I think the LARP was great fun, and it's interesting to discuss the possibilities.


ReplyThread Parent
thekinginyellow
thekinginyellow
thekinginyellow
Tue, May. 16th, 2006 07:44 pm (UTC)

That's good. It would have sucked if I'd ruined the LARP with bad design.

As for the issues with Jade, dueling, and picking out suitable Lords:
The dueling mechanic can be abused to break the game. If they conspire, the players can set up a series of duels that reveal a number of the true-love pairings. There are a number of safeguards against that--one of which is the Duke's insistence that dueling is a bad thing under most circumstances. (Another is the Lords' Rule #1, which is that the Ladies never get to learn the dueling math.)
This disproportionately screws over Jade, as you both undoubtedly noticed. The counterbalance is that Selle, of all the PCs, has substantially the easiest time picking out his true love. If he's smart, he'll catch on quick that he's supposed to be with Jade, and spend the entire evening trying to maneuver that into happening.


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clauclauclaudia
clauclauclaudia
Claudia
Tue, May. 16th, 2006 09:49 pm (UTC)

And goodness, I hope I didn't come across as complaining either. I thought it was lovely to be a wee part of such a lovely LARP. That's why I want to keep talking about it.


ReplyThread Parent
lignota
lignota
L'Ignota
Tue, May. 16th, 2006 06:30 pm (UTC)

I'm going to say the most irrelevent thing first: You know saxikath?? (I've been in MITG&SP shows with her.)


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clauclauclaudia
clauclauclaudia
Claudia
Tue, May. 16th, 2006 06:44 pm (UTC)

Heh. So have I. ;-) My one and only MITG&S show was Iolanthe (I was a chorus fairy, she was the queen) two Iolanthes back now.

She and I should have met long before we did, but I took time off during college. The year I came back, I dated one of her roommates, but she had graduated and was on the other coast. Then we became acquainted via e-mail, and finally met during a Unix "talk" session. "I'm in the lab" "What? me too!" etc.

We ended up running Live-Action Clue for several years, refining the rules, and we seem to have finally handed that off to undergrads. Which is good since Kath has moved on to all things NLP.


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clauclauclaudia
clauclauclaudia
Claudia
Tue, May. 16th, 2006 06:49 pm (UTC)

Ah, er, NPL.


ReplyThread Parent
lignota
lignota
L'Ignota
Tue, May. 16th, 2006 07:20 pm (UTC)

Well, cool.


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clauclauclaudia
clauclauclaudia
Claudia
Tue, May. 16th, 2006 08:39 pm (UTC)

Now *that's* what I need for my renamed journal. I, Claudius icons.

Random trivia: I once got the most awesome of bear hugs from Brian Blessed.


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