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per amica silentia lunae

or, across the ferny brae with the evil voodoo celt

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it may stop, but it never ends / it may end, but it never stops
Well, it's over. Or is it?

This past weekend was the last game of the 1936 campaign. It was a grand finale to a truly amazing campaign. Having run two games, written great whacking chunks of background, and casted extensively for it, I'm well aware it wasn't perfect… but, unlike ambug666 and interactivearts, my LJ isn't for in-depth nuts-and-bolts discussions of that kind of thing... I'd rather meditate, lyrically I hope, on the whole insane experience, which for me covered rather more than the three years the campaign actually ran.

It really started for me at some point in 1999 or early 2000, when Adept took me out to dinner to try to get me on board with a game idea he had- revolving around the Spear of Destiny and the Centurion who had stabbed Christ with it and been cursed with immortality. He originally wanted to run it in the (soon to be moribund) XPI Horror campaign, but we soon agreed that there were incompatibilities, things we wanted to do but couldn't in that format. But then we recalled the upcoming 1936 campaign, and realized that it would fit quite well, there. After that, things started to accelerate- I found a book that helped crystallize our game idea, I decided to just cast and write for the campaign rather than PC-ing it...

And then came the first game- Pennsylvania. I think my initial assessment was "promising." Not that I was damning it with faint praise, oh no. There was something special going on, even then- a camaraderie amongst the players, a depth to the writing and game structure, a vital spark that seemed poised to blaze into something great. I missed a game, and then came Relics- the game Adept and I wrote and ran, which went very well, all things considered- it's hard to be entirely objective about that sort of thing, but the post-game reactions (including the aforementioned cry of "Oh my f***ing God!" from one player) seemed positive.

I made it to only one other game that year- Lietuva. Already there was something happening, something I couldn't quite put a finger on. I kept hearing stories from the games I missed, though. And from in between the games... the interactions between characters just kept going, building something more complex than I'd ever seen before.

I hit the ground running with New Orleans, the first game of the second season, and I only missed two more games total. In New Orleans, I played the overriding love interest of divalion's PC; he had been been missing but had "returned to life" as it were; their reunion was a wonderful scene... This tied me very deeply into the ongoing in-and-between-game angst-o-rama, something that was both exhilarating and a little overwhelming. He and my Templar Vampire NPC (who I brought in later that year in the Romania game) became heavily tied into several other PCs lives, and huge volumes of email letters and conversations were exchanged.

Meanwhile, I was getting more and more tied into the writing aspects. Wellesley Tudor Pole (a real person, look him up), a role I wrote for Relics, had become an important campaign NPC even before I played him there- the campaign GMs asked me to make him the leader of the major Golden-Dawn-style occult overgroup, and to be the information feed for a number of the occult-related plots. I wrote a huge amount of the background for HyBreasil (Tir na nOg, the land of the Sidhe, what have you), a bunch of rituals and puzzles, as well as other bits and pieces of weirdness. I researched some of the stranger corners of human history and speculation, and read some books that I might never have read. It seemed like I never had to make very much up during this- there was just so much scholarly lunacy out there, waiting for the picking... it was almost always more a matter of what to leave out. And the way it all fit together was astonishing, and sometimes a little frightening.

And, of course, random221b and ravenrose and I wrote another game- Ireland, set mostly on Tory Island… where they still have a King, and where Balor of the Evil Eye once lived. Another example of serendipity... I found a reference to the place in a tourbook of Ireland, and it all rolled from there. Another game which did what we wanted it to, more or less- laughter and tears, angst, drama, love, horror. Much of it was unexpected, but "this may not be a perfect circle, but it's a perfect whatever it is."

The rest of the final season included some of the most profound roleplaying experiences of my life. Even though I was casting, I started to feel like I wasn't, like I was a true participant. Even when half-soaked and up to my ankles in mud…

Then came the India game- the finale. "Love and darkness and my sidearm," as MsMocha commented. A triumphant although bittersweet end to the PCs' quests, the universe made safe for now, plans for future guardianship. People with tears running down their faces, but many also with happy smiles- both in the game and at the dead dog. One last toast "to the Traveling Society!", and random singing "The Parting Glass" and making me cry like a baby.

So it's over. But not really. I don't mean the inevitable epilogues, aftermath stories, discussions. I don't mean any wrap party that we have. No, it's the magic. Together, we created something, something that has a life and an existence of its own. Something that will endure in our memories and in the memory of the Muse. A "spell of glory", like I said in my earlier post. We did this together- writers, GMs, cast, tech, PCs, support staff. Everybody.

Now it's time for a rest before the Signals campaign begins. Who knows what wonders that will bring? It won't be the same as 1936, but I have hopes for it being as good or better in all the important ways. Per aspera, ad astra!

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Reading this -- and other things -- is so making me want to get involved, not only with LARP, but with ongoing campaign LARPs....

heh heh heh... we may rope you in yet...

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