kenjari: (Eowyn)
I had an absolutely lovely weekend. The only bad part was the weather - it could have been less rainy, more sunny, and warmer.
On Friday, Other Kenjari and I both took a much-deserved day off from work for his birthday. We had avery leisurely morning and then headed down to CT in the afternoon. We had a wonderfully mellow dinner with [livejournal.com profile] mfbracy and then hung out with [livejournal.com profile] zfarcher and his housemate for a while.
Saturday was a Quest game, Marilyna IV. It was one of the very few games for which Other Kenjari and I were on opposite sides of the fence - I have a recurring NPC character in the Marilyna games now. Other Kenjari had figured out that there would be fae at the game long before the weekend, even though I swear I didn't let anything slip. Our characters didn't interact at all, but we still both had a great time at the game. Everything went smoothly. The night ended at the Athenian, as usual, with lots of food, talking, and joking.
kenjari: (Default)
I didn't really intend to turn this into the book and concert review LJ, but I've just been really, really busy.
I've been going to a lot of concerts, which has taken up a lot of my time. I'm now behind on a bunch of things, so I've had to cut down on the concert attending, even though December is jam-packed with fabulous things.
I now have a rather long list of composition and other music projects to work on. This is a good thing, but it also means that I need to be a little more protective of my time in order to work on them. I'll post details about what they all are separately.
Work has been especially busy and demanding of my energy lately, because we are finishing up the semester and heading into exam week. I've been preparing the materials for the juries, which luckily includes ordering lunch for the jury days.
The November 22nd Quest game was fun. I was on staff and things ran pretty smoothly. Unfortunately, we had a rather low PC turnout. Hopefully, this translated into more fun for the players. Plus, we had a couple of new people, which is always good.
I'm putting up our Christmas tree this weekend. It's an artificial one, because it's just too hard to find a real one under 5 feet tall (we don't really have room for anything bigger).
kenjari: (Eowyn)
I spent a lovely Saturday at the Quest game Marilyna 3: Fleur-de-Lis. I'd PC'd the first two installments, but I was seduced over to the dark side for this one. I played Miriam, handmaiden to Lady Liliane, fiancee of Marilyna's baron. Miriam is a woman of refined tastes and high standards, so she thought Marilyna to be a horribly rustic backwater utterly devoid of culture or proper comforts. I had lots of fun sniffing and turning up my nose at stuff. It turned out to be a much warmer day than anticipated, so I turned my real life discomfort at being overly warm in my fancy garb into a complaint about how these people couldn't even build a properly ventilated hall. The only downside was not getting to interact much with the PCs, because most of them were beneath Miriam. I still had a good time, though. Heck, even the NPC meeting was fun.
kenjari: (Eowyn)
Other Kenjari and I were waffling on going to the Quest game this weekend, but I'm glad we decided to go after all, because we had lots of fun. This particular game was set at an academic conference held at a university. And, of course, things went horribly, horribly wrong. We were attacked by a group of evil mages and their two henchmen. [livejournal.com profile] tigerdreams and I had a great Team Cleric moment when we were part of the group taken prisoner and then managed to escape. Unfortunately, we got stuck in a bit of a standoff with one of the henchmen - if only I'd thought to cast the poison grasp twice. We did get out of it, though. Amusingly enough, by convincing one of the evil mages that letting us go would cause one of the other mages to throw a very entertaining fit. The final battle turned out to be fun rather than exhausting (as sometimes happen), which made for a very satisfying wrap-up.
kenjari: (Eowyn)
Other Kenjari and I had a great time at the Quest game on Saturday. I am so glad it was all indoors, too, since it snowed heavily on Friday night. It was also nice to have it run earlier in the day than many of our other games.
We were both on staff for this game, which was a sort of sequel to a game run several years ago set at a mage academy and loosely inspired by Harry Potter. I got to reprise my role as the professor of battle magics, and this time I got to run a class and some hands-on exercises in combat casting. It was lots of fun. I wish I'd done a little better with the battle casting tournament, but I'd somehow missed that part of the packet and was kind of making it up as I went along at that point.
kenjari: (Eowyn)
It's been a long and fun weekend, but now I'm very tired.
The weekend started extra early with a work outing on Friday afternoon: my department went for a tour of Fenway park, followed by drinks and snacks at Boston Beer Works. The tour was a lot of fun. I'd been on it before, but in February, when cold and snow kept us to the indoor portions of the park. This time we got to go out into the green monster seats and the bleachers. Unfortunately, we couldn't go onto the field because there was a 7 pm game. We did see Daisuke Matsuzaka doing an early warm-up in the outfield, though.
Then I headed up to the North End for dinner with [livejournal.com profile] zfarcher, his roommate, [livejournal.com profile] davidsmom1's son, and Other Kenjari. Yummy food and good conversation. They went on to the Red Sox game, and Other Kenjari and I headed home.
We headed home so that we could visit with [livejournal.com profile] mmeubiquitous, [livejournal.com profile] feir_fireb, and their two children. The kids were adorable, and it was wonderful to see them all. The Little Guy left his toy shark at our place - we will be mailing it back.
Yesterday was the first Quest game of the season, and it was a good one, with the added pleasure of delicious food. I quite liked the game design, which had us players repeatedly splitting into small groups to teleport to mysterious locations in search of a missing apprentice and some artifacts. The game ending was kind of unusual, in that the players decided to forgo the final battle presented to us because we determined that the fight was not only un-winnable, but un-survivable and we'd already accomplished our primary goals. After game end, we fought the battle just for fun and it turned out that our assessment was correct - we got our asses handed to us by the opposing force of vampires and wolves.
kenjari: (Eowyn)
I had a great time at the Quest game this weekend. It was a terrific game - interesting, exciting, and well-run. [livejournal.com profile] rather_amoosing and Jen along with their staff did a great job. From the PC perspective, the game did start out a little on the slow and frustrating side - we ended up spending the majority of our time until just after lunch discussing our information and planning our course of action. However, once the action got started, the game became a blast.

Highlights:

Malghath the Demon Lord:
He was the big foe of the final battle. The costume was amazing, and the use of amplification (and perhaps a bit of processing?) for his voice really completed the effect. [livejournal.com profile] gee_tar was perfect in the role, too.

The final battle itself:
It was very tough, what with a demon lord and multiple waves of lava monsters. But it was fun, and even though Malghath's use of otherwordly spells took a huge toll on the PCs, it was entertaining. Also, having a PC group that was capable of casting 20 Divine Wraths over the course of combat was pretty damn cool. The use of the horse camp, costumes, and theatrical lighting really conveyed the feeling of fighting a demon and his minions in a volcanic cavern.

The running battle against the ratmen:
This took up most of Saturday afternoon and covered a lot of ground. It was tons of fun - great combat combined with a lovely trek through the woods.

Finishing up major gameplay on Saturday night, including all the combat turned out to be a huge stroke of luck because it poured all through Sunday morning. The final battle would have been miserable if we had to do it while getting soaked and cold. I was also glad that I decided to bring back my mahiri character (it had been several years since I played her) to this game because not only was there another mahiri present, but also the rightness of our goals and thus the issue of balance was so clear-cut which made the role-playing easier for me. Special thanks to the kitchen staff ([livejournal.com profile] redshinma and [livejournal.com profile] woodwindy) for making sure that even with my unusual dietary requirements I always had something to eat.
It was great to see everyone, too.
kenjari: (Eowyn)
Saturday's game was lots of fun, if kind of tiring. I was an NPC for the combat-heavy game, so I got in lots of fighting and tromping around. My other role was an 11 year old girl who was a hook for the missing boy plot. She was a lot of fun to play, and I found myself taking a very light and humorous approach to the role. Oddly enough, though, the PCs had a strange lack of engagement with the townsfolk - they helped find the missing boy, but there were several opportunities to interact with or get information from the townspeople that they missed. I guess it was because the town itself was relatively free of problems and plot. They were also less paranoid than I'd assumed they'd be after the last game. But as a non-liaison NPC, it's not like I was privy to a lot of what the PCs were thinking and planning.
Hanging out at the Athenian afterward was great, especially since it gave me an opportunity to see the people who were involved with the other game that ran in parallel. Damn daylight savings time, though - it meant that I got very little sleep Saturday night. On the other hand, the weather was quite pleasing - it was so nice to be able to go outside without immediately freezing my ass off.
kenjari: (Eowyn)
Yesterday's game went really well and I had a lot of fun, as did Other Kenjari and [livejournal.com profile] iralith, my fellow ratman spies. The three of us were NPCs, but we were pretending to be PCs and regular adventurers. We were really ratmen who had polymorphed into human form in order to spy on the adventurers as they began the process of dealing with a mysterious plague. The whole subterfuge turned out to be a lot easier than I thought it would be. The only hard part, and the only part that I actually felt guilty about was the out of game lying - to maintain our cover and make sure this came off properly in game, we had to tell people that we were PC-ing and check in as if we really were PCs. We had also come up with three levels of cover story that anyone who got too inquisitive or suspicious would have had to wade through before arriving at the truth. The massive amount of dishonesty in game didn't bother me at all, surprisingly. Luckily, it worked perfectly and the real PCs suspected nothing and thus were gratifyingly shocked when we were revealed at the end of the game.
As usual, it was great to see everyone (so sorry you couldn't make it, [livejournal.com profile] davidsmom1 - you were missed) at the game and at the Athenian afterwards.
kenjari: (Eowyn)
This weekend seems to have been all about entering other people's imaginative worlds.
On Friday, I saw The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes, the new film by the Quay brothers. They do a highly artistic and conceptual style of film-making that makes a lot of use of beautiful and surreal stop-motion animation created primarily with what looks like decrepit antique toys and gadgets. Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, a few of the Quay brothers' early shorts aired on MTV.
The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes is more or less about an opera singer who gets kidnapped by Dr. Drosz, a mysterious man who lives in a castle-like villa on an island with a housekeeper and a bunch of clockwork dioramas of his own creation. A piano tuner is summoned to "tune" the automata and gets wrapped up in the strange goings on involving the singer and Dr. Drosz. The story-telling is rather murky, however. But the aesthetics and imagery, particularly where the animations are concerned, are well worth the lack of narrative coherence. The whole experience was a lot like having a really interesting and beautiful dream - the plot doesn't always make much sense, but the look and feel of the dream are utterly enthralling.
On Saturday, Other Kenjari and I went down to CT for a Quest tavern night. This particular event was inspired by Firefly. All of us PCs were journeying on a ship, transporting cargo and dodging myterious undead monsters (i.e., Reavers). The ship was crewed by some very familiar people, and it was a hell of a lot of fun to interact with them, especially since I was playing my privateer character. This time out I learned that she is much more of a leader than most of my other characters. The monsters meant there was plenty of combat, which I had a good time with, even though I'm pretty rusty these days. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] aquafolius and his staff for a fun game - they did a great job of importing the Firefly characters and atmosphere into the Quest gameworld.

Quest Game

Nov. 19th, 2006 09:25 pm
kenjari: (Eowyn)
On Saturday, Other Kenjari and I spent the afternoon and evening in Connecticut at a Quest tavern night. The game was a sequel to Marilyna, a weekend game held a couple years back. I brought the same PC character back, and thus got to truly revisit characters and events from two years ago. It was a lot of fun. It was also one of the most mellow and relaxing games I'd been to in a long while. This event was only very lightly plotted, so it was mostly all role-playing and character interaction, along with a small tournament, music, and storytelling for entertainment. We had a delightful time.
kenjari: (Eowyn)
Other Kenjari and I spent the weekend at the Quest game, Truth of a Legend. We were both on staff, and had a great time. I'd forgotten how much fun it can be to NPC. I'd also forgotten how disconnected from the events an NPC can be. As a member of the staff, I knew the backstory and setup, but I ended up only getting bits and pieces of how it all played out once the PCs got a hold of it.
I spent the first half of the game as an NPC plant/liaison character in the desert elf party. It was a lot of fun, even if I did have to keep reminding myself to hang back a bit and let the PCs get most of the action. This was especially true on Saturday morning as the party opened the tomb and thus kicked off one of the major plot points of the game. It was just such a cool encounter. My close involvement with the party ended shortly after that with my scheduled death, which was made truly surprising by the excellent stealthing of Sam and Krista.
Next up was playing one of a quartet of Russalka. Unfortunately, we didn't seem to spark much interest among the PCs. I suspect they thought we were more dangerous and deadly than we actually were - the Russalka were supposed to be more of a role-play encounter than a combat sequence. Oh well, at least the four of us had a good time with it among ourselves.
I spent the rest of Saturday afternoon crunching in a couple of fun combats. Being an NPC fighter is sometimes more fun than fighting as a PC, because you don't have to care as much about survival. In fact, most of the time, NPC combatants aren't supposed to win, just give a good fight and deal out some damage. Then in the evening I acted as the spotlight for the banshee. Angela and I had a little trouble finding the PC parties, but we did have good conversations while waiting for them down at the boys camp.
I was pretty beat by Sunday, but had a good time as a demon in hell. Three of us demons managed to give one of the PCs a very satisfying demise.
I had a terrific time, and things seemed to go relatively well with the game. I also got to see many dear people who live too far away for regular visiting: [livejournal.com profile] rumhann, [livejournal.com profile] storyjen, [livejournal.com profile] stolen_tea, [livejournal.com profile] woodwindy, and Angela.
Thanks to GMs [livejournal.com profile] redshinma, Jen, and Jim for writing such a fun and fascinating game, and for letting me be a part of it.
kenjari: (Eowyn)
Other Kenjari and I spent Saturday in CT for the Quest tavern night. It was a prelude to the upcoming weekend game, so we were on staff. We got there nice and early - plenty of time for lunch and a re-read of the packet and other important information. Then we helped get stuff set up, plus engaged in pre-game socializing.
The game was mostly social role-playing, with a feast. The food was simple, but very tasty: roast chicken, vegetable lasagnas, salad, bread, middle eastern desserts. The light plot points went off very well, and things ran smoothly. I had a good time, and the PCs appeared to be doing the same. I'll leave it at that, so I don't give away anything for the weekend game.
Now to spend the week getting as much composing and practicing in as possible while prepraing for the upcoming trip to NC.
kenjari: (Default)
I had a very full and enjoyable weekend despite the near-constant rain (anyone else feel like they are in that Ray Bradbury story "All Summer in a Day"?).
I got off work early on Friday and thus got to spend a couple of very enjoyable hours talking with [livejournal.com profile] gee_tar at the Diesel. Good conversation and good tea.
Then I went to see the Warsaw Village Band at the Somerville theater, along with Other Kenjari, [livejournal.com profile] epilimnion, and D. They are such a good group - they are good musicians and do the most amazing job of combining the traditional and the innovative. As an added treat from my perspective, they played "I've Slayed the Rye", which is the song I'm basing my string quartet on. The live version was rather different from the performance on their CD, which was fine by me, especially since it gave me a few ideas.
On Saturday, Other Kenjari and I went down to Connecticut for the Quest tavern night. We both had a good time at the game and also hanging out afterwards at the Athenian. We'll both be on staff for the fall game - I'm excited about it, since it looks like it will be really good.
Then on Sunday, we visited my parents for Mothers Day. I had tea and a good talk with Mom. I played my trio, The Floating Land, for my parents, and they liked it. It was good visit, but we couldn't stay too long because we wanted to get back to Boston before we'd end up driving in both the pouring rain and the dark.
kenjari: (Eowyn)
One of the best things about Quest is that I get to say things like "We went through a dwarven portal, fell off a cliff, and were imprisoned as mine slaves by serpentines. It was great!" The Long Dark was a terrific game, one of the best I've ever been to. The production values were incredible: the props were great, the sets were wonderful, the new mechanics were interesting and fun to do, and the villain had the most amazing costume ever. The game was also a very immersive, involving experience.

Highlights:

The Friday night role-playing in the dwarven city was lots of fun. It got me well into character and I was able to stay that way throughout most of the the game. Also, Kessalyn, my character, was given a leadership position in the expedition - she got to be chaplain. Even though I was one of the few dwarven PCs and even though I was trying for it, I still wasn't expecting it. It was fun to be able to take charge of certain things.

The mechanics and props for the forge were very cool. If Kessalyn wasn't being forced to perform slave labor, she probably would have enjoyed it as much as I did as a player.

Escaping. My group escaped from the forge by throwing molten metal on the head of the forge and then stabbing the guards with the daggers we'd been making. Then we jumped in the river that ran through the forge and made our way out of the caverns. We managed to excute our plan quickly and with no casualties. Plus, the way the "swimming through the river" part was set up and run was extremely good - it felt real.

Resetting and opening the portal back to the dwarven city. I, as the expedition chaplain, got to be in charge of this part, and it was great fun. There was a lot of dramatic tension as my small group worked on the portal while the rest of the PCs held off the serpentine horde. Which of course made it all the sweeter when we opened the portal to the dwarven swat team.

Opening the portal, letting in the dwarven swat team, and then turning right around to go back into the serpentine lair and kick some snakey ass.

Getting to talk to people I haven't seen in ages. A lot of folks who haven't been at Quest much in the last few years because of distance and life changes were at this game. It was so unbelievably good to see them all.

I give many many thanks to the GMs and game staff for creating such a wonderful game and thus providing me with one of the best weekends I've had in a long time.

Other Kenjari and I stuck around for ConQuest on Sunday. It was quite good. We had a very productive discussion about what we like about Quest and how to make things even better. And my beloved Other Kenjari won a Best PC Performance award at the Fendel Awards.
kenjari: (Eowyn)
The Quest game this weekend turned out to be very much a mixed bag for me. There were some very good and fun things, and there were some very bad and frustrating things for me.
First of all, let me say that I think the GMs did a very good job. They had to deal with the tough obstacles of heavy rain and low PC turnout, and they did it quite well. And the kitchen staff also did a great job. The food was plentiful, varied, and there was always something warm to be had. And plenty of tasty non-dairy choices.

The highlights:
I got to be the key player in taking out three ogres during a rescue mission. It's always fun to kick ass.

Banishing the demon-god Zug-Zug on Saturday night, despite being in a small group and having only one fighter. Oh, and the 12-foot tall Zug-Zug prop/costume with glowing eyes was wicked cool - one of the most impressive props I've ever seen at Quest.

Speaking of the props, the props were beautiful across the board. The totem pillars and heads were gorgeous. And the jeweled eyes that went with them were great. It's a shame that we never got to put them all together, because I bet they would have looked terrific. And it wasn't just the major props. Even the details were well-executed. The magical staffs that appeared were each completely unique and lovely. The treasure chests were real chests, and decorated, too. And the costuming was good, too.

The lows:

It all boils down to frustration with not being able to accomplish a damn thing as a party. Our party started out with a great concept, but between player ill-health and character death, we were down to three people on Saturday night.
The low PC turnout ended up meaning that the two opposing sides of PCs were split very unevenly - about 2/3-1/3, I think. And our party was in the 1/3. There were also very few PCs that were neutral in terms of the opposing goals and could thus be swayed one way or the other. So it didn't become uneven - it started out that way.
By Sunday morning, it started to feel like every time our party started to accomplish anything at all or to plan a course of action, we were almost immediately derailed. Either by the other PCs, or by the introduction of some new bit of information, or by some event, or sometimes even by a stray comment from an NPC character. I don't think that this was at all deliberate on the part of the staff or players (at least in an out-of-character way), but I just started to feel thwarted at every turn, no matter what we tried, and it made me lose interest in doing anything at all.

I want to emphasize that I in no way feel negatively towards the game staff, and that this is not at all meant to be a negative judgement on them or their game. They did a great job running a well-made game, regardless of my personal experience of it.
kenjari: (Default)
I've been really busy lately, but, judging from this LJ at least, it doesn't seem like I've had much to say about it all. Lots to do, not lots of time for writing about it.

I've been composing steadily and well, so it's starting to seem like U of Oregon is truly within reach. Now if I could just peel myself away from all this music stuff for long enough to fill out the forms and get going with the administrative end of re-applying.

A couple of posts ago I was commenting on how much fun I was having playing my trio with Susie and Bryan, and how I should do more of that. I got my wish - I'll be playing in [livejournal.com profile] epilimnion's piece at the December 6 NEC student composers concert. I haven't played in public in about ten years, and the part isn't that easy, so I'm a little anxious.

And my social life hasn't been suffering either. In the past few weeks, Other Kenjari have had wonderful evenings of dinner and conversation with [livejournal.com profile] sen_no_ongaku and [livejournal.com profile] sigerson, and with John and Jenn.

Tomorrow I'll be at the Quest fall weekend game. I'm very excited - as much about the party I'll be in as about the game itself. We've got a great concept, and the other folks are terrific people. No matter what the plot, we'll have fun.
kenjari: (Default)
On Friday, Other Kenjari headed down to Connecticut to hang out with [livejournal.com profile] zfarcher and help prepare for the Saturday Quest game, which he ran with [livejournal.com profile] jila and [livejournal.com profile] mfbracy. As a bonus, we all got to watch the Red Sox beat Oakland while we prepared the last few props, went over the Quest game, etc.
The game itself was fun. I didn't have a major role, so I was doing mostly general NPC stuff. Extra kudos to the GMs for getting extra indoor space and coming up with a plan B on the fly so that we had to neither get soaked in the heavy thunderstorms that hit in the early evening, nor seriously hold up the game. Things ran pretty well, even with the weather snafus. Of course, after the game we all headed to the Athenian for late night food and socializing.
On Sunday, after a yummy breakfast at O'Rourke's, Other Kenjari and I headed down to Waterford to visit my parents. In spite of clogged arteries and a lung tumor, Dad seems to be doing well. He doesn't look bad at all, and he's in super-good spirits. Mom is a lot less worried, too. Even my brother appears to be in a good spot (let's hope he remains so throughout my Dad's surgery and recovery). It was a very good visit indeed.
kenjari: (Eowyn)
(Apologies to those on my friends list who will have no idea what I'm talking about.)

Other Kenjari and I had a terrific time at the weekend Quest game. For which I am very grateful, since we may be moving to Oregon this summer (no, we haven't heard yet). It was a complex, interesting, and deeply satisfying game. It ran smoothly, and despite the high stakes and dangerous nature of the plot, I never felt overly frustrated. It was challenging and exciting.
I've heard that there were some behind-the-scenes difficulties, but whatever was going on, it was invisible to the PCs, so the staff was doing a much better job than they might realize. My only criticism is that it might have been better if we had gotten some information a little earlier in the day on Saturday, particularly where the necromancer was concerned. But it all worked out in the end and I had lots of fun through it all, so this is a rather minor complaint. Particularly considering the level of complexity. It is to the credit of the game staff that the PCs were able to get through it all.
I have to also mention that the food was incredible. Really incredible. Coq au vin; homemade sausage; apple tart; spare ribs; need I say more? As [livejournal.com profile] foldedfish said to the cooks, "you cook better for 50 than I cook for two."

Favorite moments:
Sitting with [livejournal.com profile] ladybird97 on Friday night and cracking the game. We were pretty close on most of it, too.

The late Saturday night excursion through the sunken ruins. Doing that path in the dark really heightened the sense of being in dark tunnels. We were really in the woods, but I remember caverns. And the lightning bolt into the crab pond was brilliant.

Smashing the bonejack's seal to banish him, with ladybird97 and Stoner. It made us all so giddy and gleeful.

Having heated arguments with John's character. It's fun to do that with someone I'm friends with - I feel like I can really let loose with the role-playing, because I feel that I can trust them not to take it personally.

The ambush in the cemetary. Best ambush I have ever seen.

Thanks to all the players and staff for making it such a great time.
kenjari: (Eowyn)
I will do a much more detailed post about this weekend later, when I can take my time. For now I will just say that this weekend's Quest game was a heck of a lot of fun. I'm at work, but only in the most technical and purely physical sense. My mind is still adventuring in Hesket, and I wish the rest of me could join it. It's a good thing my boss is not in today, because I am barely able to focus on my work.

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