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Monday, July 20, 2015

ATHEISTS IN FOXHOLES

ATHEISTS IN FOXHOLES

"There's no atheists in foxholes!"

Liar.

I'm going to guess that this statement is not meant to be taken as it stands.  Simply having someone crawl into a foxhole it would be stupid to have them suddenly undergo some sort of religious conversion.

"Oh, but you have to get shot at!"

OK - do you mean that someone has to literally be in a foxhole getting shot at for them to suddenly try to tilt the pinball game that is god through prayer?  If so, that saying not only seems really crazy specific but it is difficult to prove or disprove.

I'm going to guess that the statement actually means "When it looks like you're going to die you will suddenly start dry humping the leg of a god."

Which seems really stupid to me.  If I believed in a god, I'd guess that his divine plan probably revolves around me getting shot and my corpse violated in unspeakable ways.  He's mysterious like that.

So I'll assume the actual intent of the statement is more along the lines of "If you think you will die it will suddenly be come to (not on) Jesus time."

Which is complete bullshit.

As anyone who has been following my blog (http://logansvoyage.blogspot.com/) knows, I've thought I was going to die many times during my four plus years of wandering the world.  Any thing from getting maliciously stalked in Bosnia to having an emergency operation in Republic of Georgia to collapsing not once but twice on a gritty hotel lobby floor in Malaysia.  Earthquakes, revolutions, revolts and so forth have been events that I've witnessed.

Thinking back on it, I've actually lost track of how many times I thought "Well, shit.  I might die here."

Not once did I go creepily religious.  It could be stubbornness or not wanting to spend an eternity with religious types in an ill defined 'heaven'.

My thoughts when this sort of stuff happens are usually along the lines of "Well, shit."



HOT DAYS

People love to caution me when it gets a bit hot but after living in the tropics, the jungle and a bunch of deserts, I just smile and nod at them.  A 'scorcher' in Bulgaria is a totally different thing than when it happens in say Indonesia.

So I was out wandering around and  decided it was critical to get new shoes.

Being a fat guy, I am super proud of having worn a literal hole in my shoes.  Yes, I realize it may be through flattening the shoe with enough force to make diamonds but still, proud.

Since the bottoms had literally gone out from my shoes, my feet were cooking.

I went to a shoe store and managed to find some different sandals.  Of course, they were too small for me but still felt more comfortable than having my feet baked.

Shop keeper:  "These are leather."
Logan:  "Doesn't matter if they are plastic or leather.  The quality is not good.  They will probably wear out in two weeks."
Shopkeeper:  "They are made in Bulgaria!"
Logan:  (pause)  "One week?"

Yes, that is an actual conversation.



LOGAN'S GUIDE TO SURVIVING HOT CLIMATES!

Stay inside, run the air conditioning and drink chilled alcoholic drinks.

If that is unavailable (it usually is with my lifestyle), here are some extra steps.

Drink an assload of water.  More than that.  Those big liter and a half bottles?  You'll probably go through three per day.  More if you're doing much.

Watch your pee.  If it isn't mostly clear, drink more water.  Seriously or you might get sick.

Unless you are English, avoid direct sunlight.  English people will sunburn but due to their culture they must be sunburned to show other English people they "got some sun" when they were on vacation.  This is the only reason many go on vacation.  English people (the white ones) are usually either pasty white (beginning of vacation) or suffering heat stroke and second degree burns (end of vacation).  Assuming you are not English (or insane) stay out of direct sunlight.

If you can't, always wear head protection.  If you don't, you deserve what is coming.  Seriously.

Watch the locals, do what they do.  They've been surviving in this shitty weather longer than you have and may have some tricks.  Vary your schedule to match the locals.  It's tourists trying to see everything they can in as short of time as possible that are at the most risk for getting sunstroke and dehydration.

If you are stuck out in a desert with little in supplies, try to team up with Bear Grylls or some other famous survivalist.  Be nice to them and they may drag your useless ass out of there.  If you can't find them, try to make your inevitable death look like a bizarre murder to irritate the local police.



BOOK REVIEWS

"Redshirts" by John Scalzi.

Aside from the weird ranty stuff he goes on about after the primary novel is done (a bit of WTF), I found this witty and a bit funny in a couple places.

Recommended for fans of Star Trek.


"The Time Portal" by Joe Corso & Deborah McCarthy

Though I hated the reader in this (it sounded like he had a faint lisp) and there were several eye rolling moments in this, I powered through for as long as I could.

The book built up a guy who was a jewel thief recruited (for some reason) by the CIA.  After a big explosion he developed special sight which allowed him to see time curtains.

After going through one somewhere in the USA (I forget where) he ended up in jolly ole England and immediately set about working on creating time paradoxes by shooting a pistol around and giving a king a flashlight.

Eventually, I just gave up on the book.

2/10


COSTS

Buying new shoes, 45 lev.





Friday, July 17, 2015

FIVE BOOK REVIEWS

MORE AUDIO BOOK REVIEWS

Plovdiv is a quiet town.  No invasions, earthquakes or revolutions - unlike some countries I've lived in...  I'm stuck here for two more weeks.  It's nice and relaxing but after over a month in a place I chafe to move on.  Plus, walking about ten kilometers a day (with many rest breaks and  pain) I've seen pretty much all of this town.

Hence, not a lot else going on but listening to books



"Necromancing the Stone" by Lish McBride

Oh no, not this asshole again.  I thought I'd had enough of this bad guy last book.  Guess you can't keep a good necromancer down...

"You can't keep a good necromancer down" might be a good title for a book.

I enjoyed this book as much as the first.  The only frustrating thing is that the publisher wanted to wait and see how these books did before the author got commissioned to make more of them.  Instead, she went into another series.  So, Sam, the main character of this book and the previous one "Hold Me Closer, Necromancer" (see previous blog entry for review) will have to wait a bit (or indefinitely if sales are 'soft') before doing more with the story.  That was irritating.

6/10.



"No Easy Day" by Mark Owen

The firsthand account of the mission that killed Bin Laden.  It was OK but honestly I liked his second book a little better.

5/10



William Lee Gordon - "Here Comes Earth 01 - Emergence"

Normally, I'm not a huge fan of sci-fi books.

Movies, great.  As everything is often resolved in ninety minutes you don't get so bogged down as in a book.

The books break down to one of two camps.  The techno babble crowd or the blaster crowd.   The technobabble crowd will often go on and on with this crap for pages like anyone is following (or cares to follow) their made up futuristic gobbledygook.   The blaster books are pretty much ones that could be set just as easily in pirate times but instead of a blaster, they've got a one shot flintlock.

This book is quite a bit different.  It covers ground that has been covered in many other books but I've never seen this approach to it.  The basic plot is "Aliens come to earth and want to take some earthlings back to their planet to get a look around and see if they want to be part of their team."

Anyone who actually reads (or listens to) this book will say "Yes, that is the non-spoiler plot".

My only complaint is the varying point of view.  The author rotates between about five different people.  I'm not sure of the exact number because hey, I've lost track.  To me it is interesting as you get to see the events through different filters but the jumping around happens often enough (say every short chapter) that I've given up trying to keep track of who the fuck is who.  Really.

But the writing - and perhaps even more importantly - the big questions brought up during the course of the book is fascinating.  These are things that a lot of people wouldn't consider.

To put it in Star Trek terms to simplify it a lot, "Hey, you want to join the Federation?  Yes?  Boom!  You're in and now everything is wonderful."

Would that honestly really ever happen with humans?  Oh hell no.

The author explores why emotional humans getting hold of advanced tech may not be the best thing initially for the humans.  And a whole lot of other questions.  Like "what kind of idiot aliens would want to get humans involved with the rest of the galaxy?"  Seriously - you'd have to not know human nature very well to want to get humans as a whole involved.  Even a small group of humans would be quite  a disruption.

Honestly, this is one of the more interesting science fiction books I've read in years.  I know there is suppose to be a second book but it doesn't seem to be around yet.  That makes me sad.  And hungry.  Hungry for more of the sciencey words to get stuffed into my melon.  So I will have to wait.  It appears this could be a large series.

And yes, given the chance I would expand my tourism to the rest of the universe.

7/10



"Critical Failures" by Bevan

The beginning of this book is much like some we've seen in the past with the "Guardians of the Flame" series.  Shitty GM with shitty players all playing a shitty game system (yeah, I'm talking to you, D&D) send the players into a fantasy world.  The stereotype that they are all losers with serious anger, maturity and social issues is in full swing.

The first book of Guardians of the Flame was pretty good and (IMO) quickly went to shit in subsequent books.

Thus far, it is not possible for me to tell if this book series will go to shit or not.  Despite there being three books which have been out for awhile, only the first comes in audio format.  No idea why.  Tweeted the author but these people fail to instantly answer every random question I put to them.  Odd, I know.

If more audio books are made (the reader did a pretty good job) I will listen to them.  There were some good humor moments in the book but they were only now and then.  An average book.

5/10.



SEAL TEAM SIX

Some professions have much better stories than others.  From my days of being a cubical monkey, very few interesting stories have arisen.

Cops have good stories which usually revolve around the stupidity of 'perps'.   And, sadly, paperwork.

Special forces also have interesting stories.

The book kept me entertained.  It was a mix of a few different factors - wanting to complete the mission, getting dicked over by politicians, getting entangled in emotions, etc.

5/10



REPOSTING OF THE LOGAN SCALE

As I've done a bunch of reviews and some people may be too lazy to read the previous blog entry, here is the scale I use again.

Logan's movie (and other media) scale:

1 - Logan has many, many interests and this didn't trip any of them. Normally though I don't send hate mail to the director or writers for making such a piece of shit. Normally.

2 - It's a shitty movie I might have stood for over a half hour of but I'm glad to have escaped it.

3 - Here is the turning point. I either watched about 75% of this trash before turning it off or perhaps made it all the way through and feel disgust for having gone that far.

4 - The movie was watched in it's entirety but was just 'bad'.

5 - It's a movie. While not especially good or bad it did manage to suck an hour and a half out of my time and kept me entertained enough. It did it's job but no more.

6 - Generally enjoyed the film, book, etc.

7 - A very good movie, book, etc.

8 - This can be re-watched now and again.

9 - Very rewatchable. Undeniably a great movie. To me, at least.

10 - I will probably be seeing a lot of this movie. If I kept stuff, it would definitely be in some sort of collection.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

BOOK REVIEW TIME

All I have been doing lately is wandering around Plovdiv (Bulgaria) and listening to audio books.  That's why there are so many audio book reviews.  Fear not, in less than a fortnight I will be back on the road.



Logan's movie (and other media) scale:

1 - Logan has many, many interests and this didn't trip any of them. Normally though I don't send hate mail to the director or writers for making such a piece of shit. Normally.

2 - It's a shitty movie I might have stood for over a half hour of but I'm glad to have escaped it.

3 - Here is the turning point. I either watched about 75% of this trash before turning it off or perhaps made it all the way through and feel disgust for having gone that far.

4 - The movie was watched in it's entirety but was just 'bad'.

5 - It's a movie. While not especially good or bad it did manage to suck an hour and a half out of my time and kept me entertained enough. It did it's job but no more.

6 - Generally enjoyed the film, book, etc.

7 - A very good movie, book, etc.

8 - This can be re-watched now and again.

9 - Very rewatchable. Undeniably a great movie. To me, at least.

10 - I will probably be seeing a lot of this movie. If I kept stuff, it would definitely be in some sort of collection.



BOOK REVIEWS

Note:  People may think I only run into good audio books.  This is completely untrue.  For every book I review, two to five got deleted after half an hour or less.  Annoying readers, stories that didn't immediately grab me, etc cause rapid deletion.  I'm just reviewing the ones I liked rather than hearing the usual message of "Oh, it gets better if you stick with it longer."  For me, this is bullshit.  Most people don't really know the meaning of "Life is too short" unless they've experienced a lot of personal loss or are going to die from some sort of disease soon.  I'm surprised I'm still alive so my time is too precious to spend on garbage.  There are also some things I just don't like - 'graphic audios' where they put in the sound effects anyone not brought up on a constant diet of TV should be able to use their imaginations to get.  Multiple readers I find distracting.  Give me one talented voice actor.




Gun Machine by Warren Ellis

Reader, excellent.  Story - kept me engaged.  This is not too common so I thought I'd mention it.

I didn't read the wiki (etc) before reading it.  Normally, if the reader sucks or some element of the story/setting/characters doesn't grab me in the first few minutes, it's gone.  Life is too short and there is too much out there to read to wade through something hoping it gets better.

I really have no bitches about the book other than the same one critics gave (everything gets rapped up quick and neatly at the end) but it is not a serious gripe.

Recommend checking this book out.  It is NOT a genre I normally enjoy but in this case I listened to it in a day.


"Day By Day Armageddon", Book 1 by J.L. Bourne

This was a page turner though the very ending (and beginning of book two) was jarring.

A bit of a 'WTF?'

To discuss the book would be to give spoilers however I can say it is a world collapsing survival type book.  Pretty well done.  A page turner.

The second book gave a screeching halt to my reading.

Suddenly, there were zombies.  No explanation - almost as though the author decided "Fuck it, zombies are big right now - I'll just stick them in without explanation."

I thought more than once "Am I reading the wrong book?  What happened to the first cool character and his friend?  Who the fuck are these jokers?"

And that was the end of what started as a very promising series.


"Crooked Little Vein" by Warren Ellis

Audio book

After too many establishing shots of pathetic excuse for a human private eye, this book goes down the 'what the fuck did I just read' humorous rabbit hole quick fast and in a hurry.

There is shit in here I would have been proud to think up for the old HC campaign within.  My saying for table top gaming was 'If it causes the players to need therapy later, you have succeeded as a GM'.

This is right down there with that.

One thing that impresses me thus far is this author seems to have written only two books (which were big enough to get audio books) but they are of strikingly different genres.  Writing in just one is hard enough.  Mastering more than one, badass.

Just like the old coffee commercial, this was good to the last drop.

Highly advised.

9/10


"Ghosts of War" - by Ryan Smithson

This is a book about what happened in Iraq to a brand new 19 year old soldier who went over there.

There are only three types of people who are able to ask 'what's it like':

a) spouse or very close friend

b) people who have been over there (known as 'comparing war stories')

c) people who have seen there own bad shit back when they served

So, if you don't fit into any of these three categories this book is a good way to get a sample of what's it like. I'm enjoying it though the reader (who is the author) is not an actor - hence less smooth than audio book 'performances'.

The guy is 'hella' philosophical at times but overall I liked it.

6/10.


"No Hero - The Evolution of a Navy SEAL" by Mark Owen

Pretty decent book, good reader.  Nothing really special here but enjoyable.  This is the same author who wrote No Easy Day.  NED was a best seller and I'm going to get hold of that and review it.

6/10.


"Hold Me Closer, Necromancer" by Lish McBride

Catchy title.  Book Lumsie would have approved of.

There are aspects of this that felt very 'young adult' (we can't go to any authority figures, we're immature, etc) but oddly the main characters were all about 19-20 years old.  Odd.  Remembering all the odd stuff I had been through and done by that time, various espionage training, dealing with gangsters, blowing stuff up and shooting stuff down - it seemed these guys were extremely inexperienced at life.  Or I just had an abundance of weird shit going on with me.  I don't know.  But they did seem like nice people.

But aside from that, I enjoyed the story and the book seemed to go by very quickly.

7/10.

Monday, July 6, 2015

SEMI-POPULAR CULTURE

Since I'm currently not wandering around - and nothing special is happening in the town - this is a blog entry about various forms of entertainment Logan has been doing while he waits for August first!



MOVIE REVIEWS

The Age of Adaline, 2015.

Unfortunate name of the film.

There are some of the normal tropes one would expect to find in a "I live forever" movie.  The woman (immortal) has the Sherlock Holmes look at someone and know a bit about them thing going on - which is nice.  Her money is in long term stocks - great.  She speaks a few languages.  Her daughter now looks like her grandmother.  She makes out of date references.  (I don't have the stocks thing going.  Sad.)

Generally though it is a love story.  Which makes Logan sad.

You'd have thought this would have tipped me off.

There are some gaping plot holes in the story.  Early on (organization) tries to (spoiler) her and she escapes.  The logical thing to do for (organization) is to keep an eye on her daughter.  This is not complicated stuff.  Naturally, she keeps in contact with her daughter.  Illogically, they don't manage to find her.  It's a whole lot of WTF.  Also, the writers seem to think (organization) will give up on chasing someone they believe to be an immortal after a couple decades.  Because they obviously don't keep written records.

Also, she gets her new ID's from some nerd who works out of his own house.  This guy is clearly not a professional and I wonder how the hell he is doing this without getting busted.  At his house.

Generally, with fake ID's you get what you pay for.

She also decides to go on a date with someone who is either persistent or a stalker - depending on your point of view.  I'm thinking he's going more toward the creepy stalker type.  But, he's rich and women forgive rich guys for a lot of bad behavior.  See Fifty Shades of Gray for more information.  After just a couple weeks he is expressing love.  Rich and good looking apparently works.

One of the little romantic flourishes they do in this movie is offer to take each other to "some place they've never been before".  I keep hoping "bum fight" but apparently, it's not romantic enough for them.

I do like her 'move every decade' thing.

Though Highland did have some WTF plot holes, it was still twice the story.

I understand that she's still emotional and all but I'm wondering how much involvement with regular folk you'd want after a bunch of decades.

Sadly, wild coincidence meets the plot when the immortal meets up with (spoiler) who just happens to be (spoiler) and what do you know!  Riiiight.

Wild coincidence continues to rear it's ugly head when they play Trivial Pursuit and (ola!) all of the questions seem to be from the time period the immortal was alive during.  Which is to make the audience think since she was alive then, she would know.  Like people alive today know all of the trivia that is going on right now.

Harrison Ford is in the movie though, which is neat.  Sadly, not even he can save this rather lackluster movie.

"Even my stupid looking glasses can't save this horrible movie!" - Harrison Ford.

It is funny that - if you think about it, the (spoiler) ends up tagging the same (spoiler) that his (spoiler) did.  This is usually something people might vomit about or morally object to.  I'm guessing not a lot of people think in these terms though.

Unfortunately, rather than staying (spoiler) she became (spoiler).  I'm thinking "This is not a fucking happy ending."

This movie also highlights the importance of doing background checks on all your lovers if you are an immortal.

Because hey - they might just be The Kurgan.  You can never tell.

4/10


Comedy movie "Spy" (2015)

They were making fun of the hotel room the lady was in and I was thinking "Hey, that's pretty nice!  Look how big the bathroom is!" and so on.

Sigh.

There are several good laugh out loud moments in the film.

I'd thought that this might be one of those movies that only makes it through the first ten minutes before being deleted forever but I liked the action, the jokes and even the story.

This scene wasn't in the movie at all.  But, ever since my traumatic childhood incident I have been careful NOT to spoil movies for others.  Why this picture?  Because when I googled 'spy 2015' it came up for some reason.  Totally different movie.  Weird.  But, it fits in that it is wacky.  And Spy was a wacky movie.

8/10 - bumped up from 7/10 for the number of actual laughing out loud moments.  I am not an 'easy audience'.



MMORPGS

(If you don't like MMORPG's, skip this entry)

I've been looking around the internet to see what MMO's are out that don't suck.


Only ESO doesn't suck - but I've played the shit out of it.  Oh, but they have so much new stuff, yada yada yada.  Yeah.  It's the same game of kill shit, level up and get gear.

Oh but Logan, all games are like that!  Well, unless they have good crafting systems are more 'sandbox' than 'theme park', I suppose you could be right.

A picture of a theme park game.  Eh, close enough.

But there are several good games, I'm told, on the horizon.

Which is the problem.

They are always on the fucking horizon.

"Well, yes, most of the released games suck so much ass that you will want to kill yourself for having spent money on them after a mere couple months but in the future - IN THE FUTURE!"

I've been hearing that rubbish for about fifteen years.

They've put in a new twist called 'early access' now.


That means you can pay money to get access to a half completed buggy piece of shit.  Which people do in droves.  I suspect simply because there aren't enough good finished games out there they haven't already played the hell out of.

With all these games that are going up on Kickstarter, I'm wondering what their motivation for upkeeping and updating the game after it is released is.  You've paid for the game, they released it.  It will be buggy as all new MMO's are.  I suspect they'll fix the biggest of the bugs but after that, the product is 'done'.

Good luck with paying for half (well or much less) completed shit.

We'll see how this goes.

There are several games which I looked at on various youtube videos.  It's amazing how well they get reviewed and when you go over to look at Steam, they basically warn you that you'll be bathing in dog shit if you buy this game.

"Don't do what Johnny Don't does."

But in the future!  Oh, in the future we'll have flying cars and games which don't suck!

Picture is inaccurate only in that both these bitches aren't texting.

So what am I looking for in a MMO?

Well, I've done the kill stuff level up, get better gear, kill bigger stuff quite a bit.  Theme park style games are where you go to the area you'll hunt in when you're characters around level twenty then over to here when you hit level twenty five and so on.  Been there, done that.

I still feel Minecraft is a landmark game though many can't get past the graphics.

Open worlds are nice when you have the option of going to anywhere and hunting anything.  Better still if it has a good crafting/gathering system.  I would like it if you can build stuff and change the terrain around.

Games which look interesting then I become wary of are ones which have forced PVP.  An example of that is the partially completed alpha buggy you can pay twenty dollars to get in on it 'Reign of Kings'.  In addition to forced PVP, you can also tie a rope onto someone's ankle, drag them around, stick them in a cage and torture them.

Which all sounds fine until you consider this could be done to you.  Over and over and over.

Possibly by this guy.

Reading up on their reviews, it looks like as with every other forced PVP game I've heard of, they have gotten the cream of the crop in terms of scumbags.

Other than what looks to be an Ultima Online 'hey lets grief the new people till they quit' type of community, it doesn't look too horrible.

I am hoping they address two of the big problems I brought up a decade and a half ago (bet they don't) about being able to build/destroy stuff.

If destruction is free, your shit will be destroyed and looted pretty much as soon as someone finds it.  Which apparently is happening in 'Reign of Kings'.  Regularly.

If you can build stuff which doesn't have any real purpose other than 'being pretty', you get large waste lands of 'pretty buildings' which serve no purpose.

We'll see how it plays out... IN THE FUTURE!  Oh, the future.



LARPING

How to write a character background for LARPing.

by Logan Horsford (player of Lumsie) with a special thank you to Kyle Kent.  He reviewed this article and gave valuable feedback and insights to it.  Thank you, Kyle.


Before starting, realize that the entire purpose of a 'character history' is to inspire plot to use parts of it in an ongoing game.  Histories filled with deeds of no current relevance are just poorly written fiction.

It's all about plot hooks.  If you can't write things that fire the imagination of the plot team, just submit a 'hi, my name is' badge instead.



1.  Since you are probably not a professional author, brevity is your friend.

Even if you are a professional author (such as Jim Butcher, who has played NERO), your initial character history turn in should be a double spaced paragraph.  Double space it so plot may easily write notes or comments.  Note that some plot people want to read longer histories.  The safest course of action is to ask them ahead of time but generally it will be a page or less.

Rather than using descriptors, use bullet points.

(Note, I wanted a picture of bullet points using real bullets.  Apparently, nobody else on the internet has yet come up with this idea and my current lifestyle doesn't do well with the whole 'hoarding ammunition for funny pics' thing.  So, use your imagination.)

If the plot person wants more information, they will ask for it.

If you don't see anything enter game within three events, tell them you are going to approach your character history from a different perspective and you will write up something different.  Obviously, your first effort wasn't good enough to warrant getting bumped up to get in game after three sessions.


2.  Most character histories follow a tired pattern.  Don't.

The normal character history is "My character's parents were killed by [fill in creature] and the [fill in over powered object that your low level ass is never going to get hold of] was lost.  I am now seeking revenge on those creatures and to find the bauble.

As an addendum to this, be sure that whatever you write will be fun for the plot team.  If it is something that has been done before, it probably won't get run.


3.  Writing character histories is ongoing.

Update your character history as you go.

You don't have to flood the plot team with information all at once.  When I first started playing Lumsie, the only part of my character history I knew was that both of my parents were dead.  Twist - they were still moving and talking.  Undead.  Dad was a liche, mom was a vampire.

Later, it was revealed they were from an evil kingdom named 'Fa'.  Still later, this kingdom is in a different dimension.

Had I submitted the fact that my character could travel at will through dimensions, was a product of cloning, had been to the USA with a bunch of clones and watched the film "The Highlander" in a theater at the outset, any reasonable members of plot team would have said "Yeah, no."  But since it was brought up a little at a time over a period of years, everything in Lumsie's history ended up getting played out in game.

You will have to get a feel for how often to update your character history.  If you go to events outside your home chapter and plot doesn't 'happen to you', it won't need to be updated often.  Otherwise, every three or so events where your character has plot happen is a good amount to keep it updated without becoming a nuisance to plot.  Be sure to let the plot team know what direction you would like your personal plot to head in.  They may or may not accommodate this.


4.  Do not connect your character history with current plots

Keep all organizations generic.  Let plot choose to plug it in to already existing things.   This allows them to have more creative control and no other players can get pissed at you for getting in on what they thought was their proprietary character history.  Don't try to specify levels, gear and so on for NPC's.  Don't put in too much detail - that is for plot to do if you have an idea that grabs their imagination.

If plot has published anything about the world, you can get a village name (like 'Janis Falls') to be from.

5.  Anything you write should use a minimum amount of NPC's.  If your plot stuff can get done by one person, it is much more likely to happen than if it takes three.

There was a character named "X" (he had a much longer name but everyone just called him X) who was being hunted by the sorcerer tower that had trained him for some reason.  Due to matters of honor and custom, they would only send out one guy at a time to duel him in hopes of killing him.  This was a brilliant bit of writing and only used one NPC at a time.


6.  If you want to have other PC's in your narrative, be sure to talk to them about it beforehand.  Unless it is hearsay (I heard Tempest the dragon passed this way or I saw the Drakes go through town) people may rightly object to you dragging them in to your poorly written fiction.


7.  Why are you with the adventuring party you are with now?

If the reason is mercenary, met at a pub or old family retainer, skip the background and hope the plot team comes up with something more creative than you can.

Mercenaries - not so cool as this looks.  Plus, due to safety, no actual mounts in LARPs.  Ain't that a bitch?

Side note, avoid being a mercenary at all.  The nature of the world makes nearly everyone a mercenary as it is - you are being dull.  "Oh, you need to hand me some coins to go...or I could just get my cut like everyone else."  It's annoying and over used.

Ignore this section if you are traveling alone.


8.  Don't write yourself as an evil prick.  You will be playing with these same people for years.

Lumsie was a completely evil person - but only to NPC's.  He would execute them, enslave them, turn them into undead, torture them for his amusement and taunt them.  To the PC's, he was the soul of kindness.  Back in the days of ward keys, people would often leave theirs with him knowing he would keep it safe and not burgle them.

If you play an evil person in game, people will assume you are an evil prick outside of game - even if it is subconsciously.  Since Lumsie was the kind of character who would do his best to help his fellow adventurers and was a fun person to hang out with, people assumed Logan was nice.  I've been invited to stay (and have done so) at people's homes who didn't know me but had heard of my character.


9.  Do the twist.

Old timey people doing an old timey dance.  You can use them in your character history and say they were killed by 'good taste' if you want.  You're welcome.

Lumsie's parents not dead but undead.

A good plot twist may inspire plot to actually use your stuff in an ongoing game.

The best twists are done over a period of time and should not be so convoluted as to just be confusing and ignorable.


10.  Write someone you can play for a long time.

An example of what not to do is the 'mysterious guy who sits in the corner and broods'.  Those tropes only work in the books either because they are setting the ambiance of the scene or the main characters have to go talk to them.  Being the brooding lone guy in the corner with his face hidden under a hood is only fun for the first hour.  After you realize that nobody cares it gets boring and lonely pretty quick.

I remember walking into a tavern and finding four of these guys - one per corner.  I laughed my ass off as each tried to out brood and out sinister the others.  Nobody else noticed or cared.

Avoid is using a published character history as your own.   Years ago, we had 'Link' from 'Legend of Zelda' playing.  He'd pretty much just copy-pasted the whole history.  It's good for a chuckle and that's about it.  Do you want to play a stale joke for a few years?

Some plot teams won't allow the remarkably uncreative to steal names from popular media.  If you can't think of a name, grab a Scrabble game and give it a good shake.

I'm no longer allowed to play scrabble with children.  Or adults.


11.  Write it like a TV show.

If a character story arc isn't finished in three events, chances are it never will be.  Realize this limitation and write for it.

Just like your narrative, your goals should also be updated as you go.  Good plot teams may also come up with additional goals they see in keeping with your character.


Derek J - an expert LARPer and chapter owner - also adds:

Sadly, most character histories are just bad, if not completely wrong for the campaign that the player is introducing it to. It is best to work with a plot member that you think is skilled at creating interesting stories to aid you in writing your history. If you have a history already, work with a plot member to integrate it.

Do not just write a history and submit it to plot without working with them to integrate it into their game. Do some follow up on their thoughts of your history, how it can be reflected in the game, and how your character can become intertwined in the history of the campaign. Character histories are not a one way conversation from player to plot.


LARP biography:

Logan has played NERO for over a decade and has done more events than he can remember.  He has played NERO on more than one continent.  During his time in NERO, he has run rogue plot, assisted with many aspects of running events, written four in game books and compiled NERO terms from around the USA.

This picture will make sense only to some.

Logan is semi-retired from NERO and spends his time traveling the world like some sort of TARDIS-less Doctor Who.  His exploits can be read about at http://logansvoyage.blogspot.com/



TWITTER

Did you know you can subject yourself to one hundred and forty character rants from Logan?  His Twitter handle is Logan9a.  Go follow him there if you want to hear random short crap which spews forth from his gob.  At the time of this writing, he has done over nine hundred tweets, mostly to various celebrities who have no way of defending themselves from it.

PICTURES

{{2011}} London, GB | Rail N Sail | Amsterdam, Netherlands | Prague, Czech Republic | Budapest, Hungary | Sarajevo, Bosnia | Romania | Chisinau, Moldova | Ukraine: Odessa - Sevastopol | Crossed Black Sea by ship | Georgia: Batumi - Tbilisi - Telavi - Sighnaghi - Chabukiani | Turkey: Kars - Lost City of Ani - Goreme - Istanbul | Jordan: Amman - Wadi Rum | Israel | Egypt: Neweiba - Luxor - Karnak - Cairo | Thailand: Bangkok - Pattaya - Chaing Mai - Chaing Rei | Laos: Luang Prabang - Pakse | Cambodia: Phnom Penh | Vietnam: Vung Tau - Saigon aka Ho Chi Minh City

{{2012}} Cambodia: Kampot - Sihanoukville - Siem Reap - Angkor Wat | Thailand: Bangkok | India: Rishikesh - Ajmer - Pushkar - Bundi - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Jasalmer - Bikaner - Jaipur - Agra - Varanasi | Nepal: Kathmandu - Chitwan - Pokhara - Bhaktapur - (Rafting) - Dharan | India: Darjeeling - Calcutta Panaji | Thailand: Bangkok - again - Krabi Town | Malaysia, Malaka | Indonesia: Dumas - Bukittinggi - Kuta - Ubud - 'Full Throttle' - Gili Islands - Senggigi | Cambodia: Siem Reap | Thailand: Trat | Turkey: Istanbul | Georgia: Tbilisi

{{2013}} Latvia: Riga | Germany: Berlin | Spain: Malaga - Grenada | Morocco: Marrakech - Essauira - Casablanca - Chefchawen - Fes | Germany: Frankfurt | Logan's Home Invasion USA: Virginia - Michigan - Indiana - Illinois - Illinois - Colorado | Guatemala: Antigua - San Pedro | Honduras: Copan Ruinas - Utila | Nicaragua: Granada | Colombia: Cartagena | Ecuador: Otavalo - Quito - Banos - Samari (a spa outside of Banos) - Puyo - Mera

{{2014}} Peru: Lima - Nasca - Cusco | Dominican Republic | Ukraine: Odessa | Bulgaria: Varna - Plovdiv | Macedonia: Skopje - Bitola - Ohrid - Struga | Albania: Berat - Sarande | Greece: Athens | Italy: Naples - Pompeii - Salerno | Tunisia: Hammamet 1

{{2015}} Hammamet 2 | South Africa: Johnnesburg | Thailand: Hua Hin - Hat Yai | Malaysia: Georgetown | Thailand: Krabi Town | Indonesia:
Sabang Island | Bulgaria: Plovdiv | Romania: Ploiesti - Targu Mures | Poland: Warsaw | Czech Republic: Prague | Germany: Munich | Netherlands: Groningen | England: Slough | Thailand: Ayutthaya - Khon Kaen - Vang Vieng | Cambodia: Siem Reap

{{2016}} Thailand: Kanchanaburi - Chumphon | Malaysia: Ipoh - Kuala Lumpur - Kuching - Miri | Ukraine: Kiev | Romania: Targu Mures - Barsov | Morocco: Tetouan

{{2017}} Portugal: Faro | USA: Virginia | Michigan | Illinois | Colorado |

For videos with a Loganesque slant, be sure to visit here. You can also Facebook Logan.

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