Sunday, October 11, 2009

LARP Intro

Our cities, through a mirror darkly.  The World of Darkness is just a little nastier than you're used to: streetlight recedes to hide the muggings, politicians are bought off for half the money with twice the ease, and everyone -- your teacher, your news anchor, your friends -- everyone lives with their eyes half shut to the horrors.  Machinery flies through the streets and helicopters buzz like insects above the city, but ancient terrors still flit from shadow to shadow, escaping the notice of modern man.  Where mortal eyes dare not look, dark powers who crave control struggle for dominion over each other.


These shadows are the ones this story is about: the Vampires who shuffle mortal pawns about the city, playing games with and feeding from humans who don't even know they're there.  But they're not alone in this story.  Outside the borders of the city other threats lurk; Men in Black seek to enforce mental conformity and Werewolves struggle for survival against an ever-expanding urban decay.  Everyone is a potential enemy.  Or dangerous ally.


For those with knowledge, though, greater threats lie within the city itself -- clandestine covens broker with alien powers, strange creatures lurk the sewers, and members of Kindred society jostle for power at the expense of others.  It is within the Vampire Courts that a Kindred's reputation is made and Kindred politics the deadliest battleground.


Echoes of Empires focuses on the Vampiric struggle to maintain control over the city whilst maintaining secrecy from the mortal world.  Within the Elysia, individual characters struggle to improve their respective positions without drawing the kind of attention that brings trouble.

The role that you take on playing in echoes of Empires is that of one of the Vampires, a predator vying with other predators for dominion over the night.  When creating a character to play, one must first have a concept of the sort of vampire that one wants to play.  To that end, ask yourself the following questions about the persona that you will embrace:

Mandatory Questions:
The answers to these questions are things that you absolutely need to know, as do the storytellers who are running the LARP that you are in.  Do not enter play until you have answered all of these questions.

1. What about you is heroic?
2. What about you is social? What do you like about people?
3. Of what benefit could you be to the current environment?
4. Why would you choose to live in the current evironment?
5. Invent an adventure/plot that your character would actively undertake (as opposed to just tagging along)?

Personal Questions:
These are questions that any person on earth can answer, and the answers tend to give a great deal of insight into a character's personality.  Also, this will provide some guidance as to how to shape the appearance of your character for when you show up for a LARP event.

1. What is your real, birth name? What name do you use?
2. Do you have a nickname? What is it, and where did you get it?
3. What do you look like? (Include height, weight, hair, eyes, skin, apparent age, and distinguishing features.  Note that these features have to be         costumed, so for your typical LARP character it will look a lot like you, the player.)
4. How do you dress most of the time?
5. How do you "dress up?"
6. How do you "dress down?"
7. What do you wear when you go to sleep?
8. Do you wear any jewelry?
9. In your opinion, what is your best feature?
10. What's your real birth date?
11. Where do you live? Describe it: Is it messy, neat, avant-garde, sparse, etc.?
12. Do you own a car? Describe it.
13. What is your most prized mundane possession? Why do you value it so much?
14. What one word best describes you?

Familial Questions:
Just about everybody has had a family at one point, and they have been a powerful influence on who a character was, if not who they are now.  Please try to keep the number of loner/orphans to a minimum.

1. What was your family like?
2. Who was your father, and what was he like?
3. Who was your mother, and what was she like?
4. What was your parents marriage like? Were they married? Did they remain married?
5. What were your siblings names? What were they like?
6. What's the worst thing one of your siblings ever did to you? What's the worst thing you've done to one of your siblings?
7. When's the last time you saw any member of your family? Where are they now?
8. Did you ever meet any other family members? Who were they? What did you think of them?

Childhood Questions:
Even more than family, everyone had a childhood.  Childhood contains the most powerful formative experiences in a person's life, paralleled only by such things as great religious revelation and the Embrace.

1. What is your first memory?
2. What was your favorite toy?
3. What was your favorite game?
4. Any non-family member adults stick out in your mind? Who were they, and how did you know them? Why do they stick out?
5. Who was your best friend when you were growing up?
6. What is your fondest, childhood memory?
7. What is your worst childhood memory?

Adolescence questions:
Just as childhood contains some of our most formative experiences, adolescence contains some of our most passionate ones, ones that truly define the ways in which we interact with different people.

1. How old were you when you went on your first date?
2. It is common for one's view of authority to develop in their adolescent years. What is your view of authority, and what event most affected it?
3. What were you like in high school? What "clique" did you best fit in with?
4. What were your high school goals?
5. Who was your idol when you were growing up? Who did you first fantasize about in your life?
6. What is your favorite memory from adolescence?
7. What is your worst memory from adolescence?

Occupational questions:
Most people in the modern world define themselves in terms of their occupation, what they do to earn a living or, if past that, what sort of activities they do to pass the time.  Knowing what your character does with her time when she's not interacting with the other characters in the game makes her more real.

1. Do you have a job? What is it? Do you like it? If no job, where does your money come from?
2. What is your boss or employer like? (Or publisher, or agent, or whatever.)
3. What are your co-workers like? Do you get along with them? Any in particular? Which ones don't you get along with?
4. What is something you had to learn that you hated?
5. Do you tend to save or spend your money? Why?

Likes and Dislikes questions:
Knowing how your character feels about things is essential to playing it well.  The vast majority of people in the world have an opinion on most things.  You should know at least this much about your character's feelings.

1. What hobbies do you have?
2. Who is your closest mundane friend? Describe them and how you relate to them.
3. Who is your worst mundane enemy? Describe them and why you don't get along.
4. What bands do you like? Do you even pay attention?
5. What tape or CD hasn't left your player since your purchased it? Why?
6. What song is "your song?" Why?
7. What's been your favorite movie of all time?
8. Read any good books? What were they?
9. What do you watch on the Television?
10. When it comes to mundane politics, do you care? If so, which way do you tend to vote? If not, why don't you care?
11. What type of places do you hang out in with your mundane friends?
12. What type of places do you hang out in with your normal friends?
13. What annoys you more than anything else?
14. What would be the perfect gift for you?
15. What's the most beautiful thing you've ever seen?
16. What time of day is your favorite?
17. What kind of weather is your favorite?
18. What is your favorite food? What is your least favorite food?
19. What is your favorite drink? (Coffee, Coke, Juice, Beer, Wine, etc.)
20. What's your favorite animal? Why?
21. Do you have any pets? Do you want any pets? What kind?
22. What do you find most relaxing? (Not as in stress relief, but as something that actually calms you down.)
23. What habit that others have annoys you most?
24. What kind of things embarrass you? Why?
25. What don't you like about yourself?
26. How would you like to look?

Morality questions:
As push comes to shove fairly often in the World of Darkness, it would behoove you to know what your character thinks about his or her own morality, and the sorts of decisions she would make if confronted with difficult choices.

1. What one act in your past are you most ashamed of? What one act in your past are you most proud of?
2. Have you ever been in an argument before? Over what, with who, and who won?
3. Have you ever been in a physical fight before? Over what, with who, and who won?
4. What do you feel most strongly about?
5. What do you pretend to feel strongly about, just to impress people?
6. What trait do you find most admirable, and how often do you find it?
7. Is there anything you think should not be incorporated into the media or art (sex, violence, greed, etc.,)? If so, what and why, and if not, why not?
8. Do you have any feelings in general that you are disturbed by? What are they? Why do they disturb you?
9. What is your religious view of things? What religion, if any, do you call your own?
10. Do you think the future is hopeful? Why?
11. Is an ounce of prevention really worth a pound of cure? Which is more valuable? Why do you feel this way?
12. What's the worst thing that can be done to another person? Why?
13. What's the worst thing you could actually do to someone you hated?
14. Are you a better leader or follower? Why do you think that? If you think the whole leader-follower archetype is a crock of shit, say so, and explain why?
15. What is your responsibility to the world, if any? Why do you think that?
16. Do you think redemption is possible? If so, can anyone be redeemed, or are there only certain circumstances that can be? If not, why do you think nothing can redeem itself?
17. Is it okay for you to cry? When was the last time you cried?
18. What do you think is wrong with MOST people, overall?

Supernatural awareness questions:
And finally (and you really should do this section last) you should have some understanding of this new, supernatural life that your character leads and her thoughts and feelings on it.

1. When did you go through whatever made you supernatural? What was it like (in your opinion)?
2. What do you think now of being supernatural? Is it cool, or have you been screwed?
3. Do you have a mentor? Who are they? How did you become their student?
4. Do you have any magical items? Where did you get them?
5. What do you think of the other denizens of the World of Darkness? Why for each? (If you haven't met something, do you think it exists, and if it does, is that bad or good?)
6. Think of a major event that happened during your training/initiation. What was it?
7. What is something you had to learn during your training that you hated? Why did you hate it?

All of these questions assume you want to play a fledgling or neonate vampire. If you want to play something else, a werewolf, a changeling, a ghost, a ghoul or a mortal, please ask the staff and you may be accommodated as the needs of the plot demand. After you have completed this list of questions, you have essentially finished the process of making the actual character. This info should be submitted to our helpful and friendly staff ( or, barring that, Ben. ( If you want to begin the process of turning your description into numbers for our game system, you may begin on your own at and reading the character creation section. But, it is advised that starting players collaborate with a staff member before translating their ideas into numerical data. At this point, you may consult with other players and begin interacting with other characters as long as no numerical challenges are needed. For those who are playing by email, please send your actions to a staffer before sending them to other players so continuity can be maintained.  

Game On!


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