Legends and Myths Two – a battletech story.

Phoenix Lancer Garrison Post Fifteen

30 September 3079

 The conference room of the post was occupied by some very concerned folks.  Major McCormack was present as well as her Exec, Chief Warrant Officer Shan Yoder.  On the other end of the video call was the Colonel- who was a touch bothered by what they found.

“… so you are saying these guys are possibly the Not Named?” The Colonel asked.  “Rather farfetched, Les.  But then, given what the hell has happened the last few years, what’s one more thing?”

  Leslie tapped the patch on the conference table.  “What I am saying is that these raiders appear to be so.  Star League era style cooling vests, uniforms and patch identifiers…  some of the machines we captured carry serial numbers dating to then.  The Sentinel we captured is one of those.  So was the Thug…”  She paused.  “Either someone has more money than sense, on the level of a House or Comstar, there is very little possibility this is not a legitimate thought.  These are remnants or descendants of that command, of that Clan.”

  The colonel was silent on the other end of the call.  “And once the Clans find out, we are going to be beset by a ton of insane Clansmen looking to finish the job started two hundred years ago…”

“Or others, seeking fame, fortune or renown,” McCormack finished.  “No matter the who or the why they come, they will come.  And Death will be along for the ride for certain.”

 Shan Yoder spoke up then.  “Stupid games get stupid prizes… And I have plenty to give.”  The MechWarrior pulled a cigarette from a pack in a uniform blouse pocket.  “If they are Wolverines or Minnesota Tribe or whatever…  they weren’t that tough; good guns only go so far…”

The Colonel shifted his gaze in the video call to Shan when Leslie spoke before he did. “Maybe so, Shan… but not everyone is tactically inept.  Sean is good and that Kurita combat group gave him a thumping… As the saying goes- Any Given Sunday.”

 Shan just grumbled around her now-lit cigarette.

The Colonel shook his head slightly. “I will have Hartman sent out with his Dragoons to bolster you- what you fought was a Heavy Battle Company by our standards… so I suspect the next one might be as heavy or more.  If they are who they say they are, the 331st was a Royal division.  I expect serious weight coming your way along with possible armor.

  Bravo is up for Reaction Duty and the armored regiment is currently standing to.  Second Mech Battalion is being constituted right now and its Provisional Company is solidifying.  Captain Biancone is currently making sure all his ducks are in a row before taking over as its Battle Company Commander.  If they are needed, Mike said they can be loaded on Leopards and there in no time.”

“While the help is appreciated, its not necessary.  And Sean’s Company?”  Leslie inquired, knowing the answer but asking anyway.

“Charlie is about 75% repaired.  Sean is still recovering from his injuries- cracked ribs are not a fun thing to function with.” The Colonel replied.  “I mentioned he might need to come off medical leave and after the typical swearing, he asked when. I told him I honestly didn’t know… but be ready when I call.”

Shan giggled.  “Oh his poor techs…  At least he’ll make sure they are compensated with whiskey.”

The Colonel smiled. “Indeed.  I think the techs like working on his company, if only for the whiskey he gives out.  As for the extra help…  your company didn’t come out completely unscathed… DJ can meet whatever is coming and give you that much extra time though.  I fully expect them to try and rescue their troops…”

“As do I, “ Leslie replied.  “The five we recovered are doing better; even the one Ranger Calderon’s troop knocked out.  The broken jaw appears to be setting properly.  I will request some Combat Armor support though- if they break through to the camp, they will be needed.”

“Request approved,” The Colonel said.  “National Guard troops are also mobilizing right now and Civil Defense bunkers are coming online.  I’ve no idea how bad this is going to go- so many opportunists out there….  This not going sideways is near impossible.”

“Agreed.  Centaurus has managed to avoid nonsense for too long…”  McCormack mused.  “What a way to get on a bullseye.”

“No kidding.  See to your troops; Hartman should be contacting you soon.”


Major DJ Hartman scanned the company feeds from his Atlas.  While enroute to Camp Fifteen, they had gotten a report of unidentified mechs on the ground heading for the camp.  Seeing an opportunity to get some training in too, he ordered the company to prepare for Drop insertion.

After a bit of complaints were fielded and dealt with, the men and women of his company quickly prepped for Drop…  which for the first time, actually went flawlessly.  No one augered in, no leg damages, no nothing.  And that….  Was a worry.

“Meh,” He said around the cigar in his mouth.  “We can have a clean drop once in a while….”  Tapping the transmit key, he hollered out.  “Alright Delta!  Form up and lets meet these fucksticks…  By the numbers and make sure you pick targets.  These guys are the Real Thing.”

Having fought Word of Blake and Clan troops, Hartman held no illusions as to how good or bad this new enemy was.  The Colonel informed him of what McCormack had faced and what was discovered.  And if it was true, there was plenty reason to worry.
  The Not Named, as the handful of Bondsmen still in service to the Lancers explained, were War Criminals to the Clans.  Capable of heartless acts, eater of sibkos and generally…  not worth letting live.  Once DJ got through the rhetoric and hyperbole, he figured out the hate the Clans had for them might be due to beliefs.  Hell, the fights between Warden and Crusader factions were known about… and the animosity held against the former Clan smacked of the same.

At least to him.  Didn’t mean he wasn’t taking them seriously though…

Within an hour of forming up, contact was made.  Drone footage revealed some heavy weight opponents in the form of a Highlander, King Crab and what looked like a Spartan.  This was going to be a messy fight; Hartman knew he had the edge in maneuverability but the other side had him in weight.  And maybe firepower.  The Marauders in his command were refits- Light Gauss dorsals gave them a range advantage but with one of the other two Assault Class machines in his force strictly Close Quarters, a range fight might be a problem on the Staying power.  Light Gauss just didn’t have a punch big enough to worry about when you had assault machines. 

Still no vehicles though; where were they?

Ah well… he didn’t plan on living forever.  “Alright… lets show dese guys who they are facin’…”

Legends and Myths One- A Battletech Story

Centaurus IV outlands

25 September 3079

 As the smoke cleared from the fighting, Major Leslie (Dragon Mom) McCormack sat in the pilot-couch of her Marauder II and pondered what they had just faced.  And far too much was adding up… odd.  While waiting for the Battle Armor teams to finish investigating the downed opponents, she reviewed what had been happening the last few months….

  It had been a rough four months, with the various raids that had occurred on the world.  Ever since the Jihad, the overall safety of Centaurus had been compromised by the Word of Blake.  Planetary security had been working overtime in trying to ferret out spies and advance elements of various actors, with moderate success.  This had been worrisome and the reason for short deployments by the Regiment only.  The Colonel was concerned for the people- the population of the world that was their charge and had protected for so long…  War was a way of life within the Inner Sphere and until Jihad, it had managed to be a Not Here problem.

Then came the Assault.

Lancer Aerospace elements had managed to hammer a Word Of Blake force landing in the mountains of the Continental Range of Ashton, one of the three main continents on the world.  They had taken over one of the old Star League bases up there, long mothballed and maintained by periodic checks over the near century of dis-use.  Indeed, they had managed to get its facility fully operational within a week- the previously unknown agents having swarmed there with various resources stowed in plain sight.

  Planetary Security was furious they missed it, of course… but the Blakists had long practice in hiding in plain sight.

Over the next few months, the forces on planet were found and hunted down, with Major Farquharson and his Charlie Company managing to bring the last known ones to heel.  Since then, a pair of raids by a quote un quote Rogue Kuritan command had caused grief and damage at one of the regional posts….  And the damages to Charlie had been substantial in defending against the assault.

  Her Alpha company had been moved into the region while Charlie was getting refurbed when the blatant combat drop happened.  White Battlemechs with orange and grey accent panels were seen by the Planetary Rangers performing reconnaissance duty. The Rangers had located them quickly for observation, and images relayed back to Lancer Command revealed nothing readily identifiable.  No written or imagery of unit markings, which meant nothing and yet something.

Whomever they were, they had quality equipment and at least one design never seen…

Alpha had deployed along the invader’s line of advance and McCormack had her people stick to the Measured Advance formation- one best suited for the number of Warhammers in her Company and for a Dragoon unit in general.  Maximum firepower at any one point other than a direct flank.  Then its adjust as needed.  Her people knew their roles and knew them well.  IF this engagement went as she thought it would, based on the enemy advance, this was going to be bad for them.

And it was exactly how the battle played out.

AS enemy machines crossed over some of the low hills, they entered the sights of each lance in her company… and as one, the lances fired.  Concentrated fire hammered the large machines that entered the killing grounds and before long, the steadfast rate of fire and specific fire plans she drilled into her command took their toll.

  Machine after machine fell down or retreated under the withering fire of her forces- at least two enemy machines (a Thug and what looked like a King Crab) were dropped as they crossed through a pass.  Two lighter recon machines- a Mercury and something identified by her own BattleComp as a Stag– something not seen anywhere but in a file from the Bulldog/Serpent campaign- were dropped as they attempted to create havoc in her rear areas.  WO Maggie Farquharson in her Banshee was responsible for killing the Mercury and her newest, WO Kris Gregory in her Battlemaster dropped the Stag analog.

The battle took forty minutes… and as the remnants retreated, seven of their machines littered the valley to one of hers…  And the questions began.

[Alpha Six, Romeo 6 Actual] came the call from Chief Ranger Tris Calderon, who was in charge of the recon elements working this area of the planet.

“Go Ahead,” McCormack replied.

[Check your Vid Feed, Leslie…] Tris said.  [These guys have some patches on their suits.  We have a handful still alive; four of them, actually. I’ve already called for Medivac.]

Leslie looked at her video feed as Tris’s cam showed the inside the cockpit of one of the downed machines.  Several of Tris’ troopers were performing aid on the pilot of the large unknown mech that had been the last to fall… and her cam focused on the uniform of the unconscious mech pilot.  [That patch mean anything to you?  Its old.] Tris asked.  [The others recovered have the same patches.  All of them seem about as old except for that Mercury pilot.  His is pretty new… and he was kinda mouthy when we pulled him out.  Beka had to knock him out.]

Leslie studied the patch in the image and blinked.  “Tris… it does.  And unless this is some sort of crazy insane trick or someone has way too much money and time for games, we just fought a myth.”

Silence on the line.  [Why did I think you were going to say that?] Tris replied after the ten second pause.

“Because you know me and my love of old things like patches- and this is an old thing,” Was the distracted reply.  “Tris, I think you and yours are going to be very busy reconnaissance elements.  This is not a Good Discovery if word of this gets out.”

[I figured that- and you know it will.  Let me know details later.  Work to do here….]

“Indeed.  I need to let headquarters know,” She replied.  “This has potential to blow up… and blow up badly.”

The long played Battletech unit of mine…

(overview in unit profile form with some history)

Phoenix Lancers Mercenary Command

Homebase: Centarus IV, Centarus System, Federated Suns DMM.

Force Composition as of 3079

Battlemech Assets:

 Reinforced Battalion (4 Companies) with Command Lance, 1 Company Regimental Reserve

Armor Assets:

1 Regiment Tanks (hover, track, wheeled)

Infantry Assets:

 1 Regiment Standard Infantry, 3 Companies Battle Armor (Longinius, Achilius, GDL Scout)

Aerospace Assets:

 1 Company Light Fighters (Sparrowhawk 6D class), 2 Air Lances Heavy Fighters (Stuka D5), 2 Companies Medium Fighters (Stingray F92), 1 Short Company Batu Omnifighters

Dropship Assets:

Conquistador Class x1 (combined arms BN), Gazelle class x2 (Hvy Armor), Confederate Class (Clan; captured 3050), Union Class x2 (Mechs), Fury x2 (Infantry), Sassinid BA transport x1 (captured Smoke Jaguar), Leopard x4

Unit History:

  The Phoenix Lancers are a mercenary unit with a varied lineage, its formation made up of members of several SDLF commands who chose to stay when their parent units departed with General Kerensky.  As such, they brought a varied and diverse set of equipment and skills to the fledgling Mercenary command.  Everything from educators to technicians to scientists and large numbers of soldiers (Infantry, Armor and Mech) banded together and sought a place where they could remain true to the original oaths taken.

  And it would be this diverse skillset that would enable them to not only survive but flourish in the environment that was the Succession Wars which followed.

  Upon managing to secure a long-term House Contract with Federated Suns, the Lancers were able to maintain a secure operational base for dependents while on Campaign- with the very specific assurances of First Prince John Davion of independent command, unless a time of Sphere-wide war, for reasons unknown.  These assurances managed to carry on and through to the Current Age. As such, the Lancers managed to not become destroyed as so many did in the first two Wars of Succession.

  Policies instituted upon settling Centaurus IV on teaching and maintain the home populous tech base would bear fruit over the years as the investment would ensure trained technicians, soldiery and a manufacturing base for replacement of losses or repairs. (See planetary breakdown for details). As technology suffered, examples of weapons were mothballed and plants lacking material were shuttered in order to preserve them in case of opportunity to restart appeared.

Participation in the 3rd and 4th Succession Wars saw the Lancers deployed against the Combine front, where their above average training and tactical ability managed to ensure Dragon forces rarely obtained better than Stalemates- and in one case, a battle won via a Gunslinger Duel much like the old combats between SLDF and Combine troops of yore.

It would be this bit of history that would become important during the Clan Invasion as a Lancer Detachment commander gambled in thinking he figured out what the Batchall was… and challenged the invading Khan to a duel for the world- invoking the SLDF as he did so.

“Khan Pryde…  We, the Phoenix Lancers, direct descendants of those of the SLDF who stayed to protect the People of the League… offer Duel as defense of this World.  I, Colonel Kalan Jammack, direct descendant of Colonel Michael James Jammack of the 7th Strikers, Star League Defense Forces, will defeat anyone who chooses to claim this world in Duel…  On the Honor of the Lancers, on the Honor of my Family line…  You will not Succeed.”

Holovids of the battle between the Lancer Commander’s Warhammer and the Khan’s Vulture showed an exceptional maneuver battle with the Colonel using his cover well and exercising patience….  While delivering weapon strike after weapon strike to specific areas of the clan machine… which rendered the clan Omni weaponless and ultimately destroyed.  Granted, the Lancer mech was heavily damaged but the result was what it was, and the agreement honored- Clan Jade Falcon would not take this world.

This would be the first of two major Batchall battles between Colonel Jammack’s well trained 2nd Battalion and Falcon elements during the invasion, with the second one being a more traditional fight that ended the same- a mauling of the Lancer Unit but defeat of the Clan troops.

Post Tukkayid, the Lancers stayed in the Steiner portion of the Commonwealth and conducted raids alongside Kell Hounds and Dragoon’s.  They returned to Fed Suns Space at the onset of the FedCom Civil War via the assistance of Kell Hounds Jumpships

Post Security Duty after the Civil War resolution, the Lancers, all four regiments of conventional and Battlemech returned to Anti-Clan operations within Combine Space at the behest of both DCMS Coordinator and Prince of the Federated Suns.

Numerous raids against Clan Targets served to cement training of Lancer Troops in anti-clan tactics and intelligence gathering against Smoke Jaguar and Ghost Bear holdings, with one stealth raid by Lancer Infantry Rangers netting a Jaguar Confederate-class Dropship via theft. 

(All reports pertaining to that operation are under 2nd Star League Intelligence Directorate high classification.)

With the reformation of the Star League, the Phoenix Lancers petitioned for and were granted, acceptance into the reformed SLDF; shortly thereafter, they participated in Operation Bulldog. Their participation in Operation Bulldog and the subsequent Serpent netted similar successes via subterfuge and Special Forces raids with one daring mission to secure an entire flight of Batu Omni Fighters before they could rise to defend against the invasion forces.

Reaching Huntress with the rest of Bulldog, the Lancer Regiments participated in post-Annihilation operations and intel gathering on both Clan and Exodus Era SLDF information for both SLDF Archives as well as NAIS researchers.  In the meantime, their own research into manufacturing processes would benefit their home base world for the years to come.

When Jihad Struck, The Lancers were caught unawares initially, with elements coming under fire during assault throughout what became known as the Protectorate.  It was during this time frame that the greatest losses were sustained by the Unit, with a vast majority of Battlemech and fighter assets lost as well as the refurbished Exodus Era Black Lion class warship gained as isorla during BullDog/Serpent.

The Phoenix Lancers, despite being reduced in size and capability, struck back at Blakist holdings within reach, culminating in the combined assault on Rio in 3076 and the hunting of the turn-coat Mercenary command known as Blue Blazers.  Upon successful completion of the world being retaken, the Phoenix Lancers performed Garrison duty until relieved by elements of the Crucis March Militia.

As of 3079, the Phoenix Lancers, having returned to Mercenary Status with the dissolution of the 2nd Star league and events following the Jihad, were given leave by Devin Stone to return to their home world of Centaurus IV to rest and refit.

Currently, the Lancers are undergoing Refit as they gear up for either a resumption of Blakist Hunting or Stability Operations along their section of the Periphery.  The latest affairs have involved action against Blakist-supported Mercenaries and two as yet identified Clan raiding forces- both these elements being well below the Truce Line.


Many games have been played to this point and there are more to come. The next few are part of an experiment using the game’s salvage and unit maintenance rules as well as Campaign play. Going to be interesting, I am certain… and quite the learning experience, I think.

Stories and updates to come…. its a long winter. 🙂

Happy Murder a Bird Day!

Happy thanksgiving to everyone out there. May the food you all ate have been delicious and may y’all not have too much a food Coma.

More posts to come… as Battletech has been played a bunch lately and a mini-campaign is about to start. Tales will be told in fiction snippets and I hope to make it a decent series of posts/tales.

For now, I’ll be posting a piece on my merry(?) band of Mercenaries.

Historicon… the Grey Lady of HMGS runs again- and has questions about growth for the future.

(I will apologize now for the soap box aspect of this post, but while it wasn’t intended to be, it morphed into it.  All because of a discussion in the wee hours of Friday Night/Saturday morning…)

(I want to stress that these are My thoughts only- they do not represent the views of the company I was working/volunteering for in any way or shape.)

The Great Gray Lady of the historical wargaming scene, Historicon was held this past weekend over in Valley Forge at the Convention Center/Casino by the park.  It was the first time since March of 2020 that HMGS, the group that runs it and its sister events (Cold Wars and Fall In) ran an event. As such, there was a large amount of apprehension and anticipation in the air. Couldn’t cut it with a knife but it WAS present and only the most blind-to-energy would miss it.

This was the second event I’ve been to this year (Origins was the first) and Plague Precautions were in place (mask in convention spaces, sanitizer stations) and for the most part, these were followed. Not everyone, of course, but enough cared to follow ‘em. I didn’t see anyone deliberately flouting or being a dick with coughing on people so I suppose its encouraging. 😊

My event started Wednesday night with set up of the Dream Pod 9 booth- who I was there to work with/for.  Once we were set up, it was dinner and tour of the event spaces; there was a few games running, even in the earliest moments of the show.

 Plenty of pretty models and the like, with was great and the Dealers area was well populated with vendors of new and old. Which is Pretty standard, actually, for an HMGS show though I think Cold Wars had a better selection of vendors…

 But I quickly got the sense of finding games here was gonna be a challenge- the play spaces were scattered all over the site and the signage… needed help.

But hey, it was the first go in over a year (18 months actually) so I forgive this.  For the most part- they knew the site from past use so I would think tehy’d have planned better. For all I know, the venue may have forbidden it for concern of damage to walls by taped signs- strongly possible but I don’t know.

We at the DP9 booth were busy enough, with large amounts of traffic and no few demonstrations of the game.  As the show progressed, it became apparent that we could have brought more of the singles and blisters of other units… and made a killing.  As it is, what we DID have just about sold out by the end of the event Sunday. We were also the only pure Sci Fi vendor here… and this is kinda what sparked a discussion written about later in this post.

There was lots of discussions with players and other con goers over many subjects- from the typical commentary about stuff for games to politics to the weather to the site…  but the one that gave me pause to truly ponder was “how do we get younger players into historicals?”

This is an interesting subject for a couple reasons. Most notable is that the overall population of people who RUN games sent in historical eras is greying… and greying rapidly. The majority of those who run such games are older (50’s to 60’s and older) and as they age, the fear is not enough younger folks are joining the hobby- either as players or as Game masters.

From my perspective (and there was agreement here when it was mentioned), the Historical Side of the wargaming hobby… had a serious problem with Elitism back in the day. Elitism in looking down on the Sci Fi players and their games… and all too often, gate-keeping what they viewed as Riff-Raff out of their Hobby, lest they pollute it.  With what, I have no idea… but that was a prevalent feeling. I know I experienced this attitude more than once when I first started with wargaming thirty-five years ago.

I started with Sci-Fi, with Battletech being the first game I played and did so with friends. I branched out into Warhammer 40k just before I went in the army, liking the models and the genre (it was tons looser back then). I tried to get into some of the historical games later on after I returned, but finding a welcoming group was a right bitch. And it really should not have been- the community is damn small and it needs to grow.  But back then, people had their biases… and sometimes it set up some lessons in humility…


One of the times I encountered this attitude wound up being a funny memory for me.  At this one convention (non historical based one) in the late 90’s, there was a big Battalions in Crisis game my buddy and I went to go look at and maybe play.  We were both 40k players and history buffs… so why not try the historical side of things?  And based on the game blurb, we figured we could do something different versus the historical outcome.

The game was Germans v French and the scenario was a small battle at a village crossroads on the way to Paris.  Nothing earth shattering but historically, this village crossroads was important to the Wehrmacht’s rapid advance.  We were the Frogs for this game and our opponents were very experienced players who knew this scenario well (as we learned at the start).

  The Elitism was strong here but more from the opponents than the GM- I think he was happy to have players… and I think he wanted to see how this was going to play out. But yeah, the attitude from the other side was special.

My buddy and I were recently out of Active Duty military and both of us were history buffs.  We knew the French were badly led; both of us felt that had they better leadership or commanders with more tactical/strategic acumen than a gold fish, the French may had done better in 1940…  Here, our knowledge of tactics and stuff might be enough to win or just poke a hole in the ego balloon of the German players.

  And after seeing what we had for units, we knew we could not win but we could put that hole in that balloon…. Remember, destroying the enemy is not always the means to win a battle- though it is a good way… but mission and situation dominance are very much conditions for a win.  Real Life is like that…

  And boy did we poke that hole in their balloon.  Being allowed to set up hidden, we applied our knowledge of infantry tactics/defensive strategies and set up our limited assets the best we could to inflict maximum carnage or preserve them in case of retreat.  Remember, our job wasn’t to die needlessly, it was to slow them down…

 Ambushes, shoot and scoot, even an assault on a too-confident German Scout biker…. We caused our opponents tons of headaches and no little frustration- they were used to winning against noobs and were super confident our non-historical-playing asses were more meat or fodder for the Grinder. Arrogance was there in spades, guys… and we used their attitude as a club.

 At the end of the game, the GM ruled that the French had done such a number on the German advance that had this been the historical result, it was possible that the taking of France may have been delayed a few weeks to a month due to having to commit far too much assets to ensure the advance or even re-route.  Which, if you think about it, is a win.  And the GM made it point to say to his buddies that if this had been the actual historical outcome, they might have been relieved of command…. Or moved to driving trucks.



But yah…  back in the day, this was the prevailing attitude towards the non-Historical crowd.  So you could say the lack of overall new blood is self-inflicted.  And in many ways, in spades.

Even with the advent of some of the easier to learn historical games that have come out in the last fifteen years like Flames of War and Bolt Action, there is *still* bias- which is plain stupid.  To some of the Historical Crowd, those games are too simplistic and not “real” games….  Which is bullshit- not everyone likes the Uber Complicated… and while simple systems, they are *still* games set in those eras….You can say this poo-pooing of those games as example of more shooting oneself in the foot.  And its out there on social media too.

It is not everywhere- oh no.  But it is common enough to give folks pause.

Myself, I think games like those are useful as a steppingstone for the more complicated games.  Everyone has to start somewhere… and I know I’ve looked at other systems so I can use my Flames of War stuff (American Airborne, for those curious).

But it has happened, continues to happen and unless some minds get with the program, will happen again. It is NOT the Way to get folks in; it just isn’t…

Some of the suggestions that did crop up over discussion on how to grow things were the usual Outreach efforts to game clubs and schools. Historicals can be used to show what happened in certain places and battles in history for class…  and can inspire a desire to read up on it.  I know it did for me in instances.  Other ideas… is really encourage the grey beards to reattempt to bring their kids in, engage them… because its is something that one can do with their kids- male, female or in-between.  While this is usually done, I know it isn’t always the case when the children are female; there is still bias there even though its likely unintended.

 I’ve seen far less of it on the Science Fiction side in my experience.  In the various events I’ve been at, I’ve seen almost as many father/daughter as I have father/son teams among attendees…. Or a Dad being there to encourage his little girl to kick butt.  And that’s a good thing.

The other idea that was tossed around is trying to welcome the Sci Fi crowd more.  Conventions require attendees and sci-fi genre has many games with fans out there…. Which if you have these games at the show, you can get bodies. And those bodies can and will spend money at the vendors in one’s dealer’s room as well as go play one of the Historical games at the show.  But there is a fear of having the convention be overrun with the Sci Fi crowd, which would dilute the “integrity” and feel of the Historical Gaming Society’s flagship. I get the fear… and while I think its misplaced and irrational as hell, I get it.

There is SciFi being played now at the HMGS events… and they are getting players. But those games are NOT generally in high traffic areas.  For this event, the games I knew that were Sci Fi were tucked way off in the back in rooms one almost needed a Sherpa to find.

 And that…. Is kinda crazy.

By discouraging the sci fi crowd from running events or shunting them to the Back 40, you are hindering growth and exposure.  In kicking them to the dark recesses of the gaming halls, you also risk getting a negative taste in their mouth over being willing to run something again.  And they have friends…

One has got to remember- Some of those Sci Fi guys are going to play the historical games as a change of pace… And it might be enough to get them to really jump in. (Hell, its how I even decided to give historical games a second go.)  And not welcoming them as one would new players to Gaming in general, it can and WILL give a bad feeling.

  All gamers talk.  And when you are treated like a second class or worse person by an org, it will get spread around.  And right or wrong, those negative reviews will spread- especially when they get reinforced by actions/attitudes of staff or stories of others who experienced it.

HMGS is welcoming of the Science Fiction Wargames.  Have been for a few years, as it is a resource for events and attendees. And as mentioned earlier, conventions need folks to come to their shows. But if this event is any indication, there still may be a bias in room placement for events. I hope not, of course… but I do wonder.

 In their defense, this site’s layout was INSANE- in talking to some of the long time GM’s for this event, I was told this was one of the worst locations that has been used for these shows (both smaller HMGS shows have been here before).  “Damn rat warren” was a comment heard… but this was a temporary relocation/use as the Org elected to do historicon here instead of running Fall In (which had been the original event for here).

  Next year is a return to the Lancaster County Expo Center in Lancaster- and that will be a welcome thing. Its an excellent site and has access to a large number of places of interest within walking distance or a short ride.

All this stuff got discussed amongst us gamers and game masters Friday night as we were sitting around. And at least among our small group, we see/know what has to happen.  Outreach is part of the solution; Attitude adjustment of a segment of the community is another.

That last is the hard part. Easiest to pursue and yet, the hardest to implement.  Everyone has biases- its part of being human. However, when those biases hinder growth, they gotta change.  Of be mitigated and that is on the person with the bias.

All agreed it has to happen.  Some still are concerned about Historical being pushed out- to which I replied with “It won’t as long as folks are encouraged to pick up the genre to play or run in…”

Both genres need each other- to grow, to educate and to help improve the overall. The faster everyone gets on the same sheet, the better for the hobby. And all its varied genres.

LARPING… good and bad, why I do it.

Live Action Role Playing.

For the uninitiated, LARP is a live action version of classic role-playing games.  Some might slight it as “playing pretend” and while not wrong, it is not an accurate descriptor as far as how involved it is. For many, its an opportunity to be something or someone they are not.  For some, its opportunity to show how crafty they are or how good at non-lethal combat… or how good a role player they can be.

Indeed, staying in character can be difficult- for some, the ability to act is a hard-to-do thing whereas for others, easier than breathing. For me, its somewhere in-between as I have moments of both. Some days, falling into character is as easy as a flick of the switch. And strangely enough, it has come in handy in my day job  (if you don’t think EMS have to roleplay with patients at times in order to keep them calm, y’all funny.).

There are a great many groups out there with a wide variety of genre.  The most common is sword and sorcery fantasy with elves, dwarfs and orc oh my.  Dystopian, Vampire/World of Darkness and Sci Fi are also common (in that order) though the systems vary.  There are a few historical-themed ones too but those are more of a Cosplay/Re-Enactment than LARP though there is heavy persona play.

I got into LARP initially not long after I got home in 1992 from Germany.  Seems there was a group a few towns over playing and I manage to convince a buddy to give it a whirl.  So off to Thompson Park in Jamesburg we went….

… and we had a blast.  Unfortunately, I didn’t stick with it at the time and it would be many years later before I jumped into LARP again.

When I did, it was One World By Night’s Vampire and that was… an eye opening experience.  Eye opening as to how dirty some people’s morals really are and how some good folks can turn a blind eye to bullies.

Bullies you say?  Oh yes, Bullies. All too often, the bully(s) were some of the Popular Players and had tacit backing/support(or at the very least, indifference) of Story Tellers- in one case, an ST was part of their crew.

  Yes, that’s pretty damn wrong….  But it happened. And it happened a lot.

This is not to say that efforts weren’t made to combat this or that it was everywhere in their World Wide Organization because it isn’t. Oh no, it isn’t… but it is common enough to be an issue… and it eventually forced change. But not always fast enough or completely enough.

  That there were and ARE still good folks who play that larp is a 100% true statement. The bullshit isn’t everywhere…
But the odds of fixing the issue, in some cases, were stacked against those trying to Do The Right Thing- and in one case, one player advocate found herself victim of the same stunts I and my lady at the time were victimized by. 

And it was done by the SAME people who bullied us.  Not two years after she had cleared them of wrongdoing too.  Those ass-hats had leveraged their “friendship” to make her believe everything was legit, playing her for a fool (and trust me- she is a fucking bright and whip smart person who is no one’s patsy) and managed to get away with their bullshit.

There was an irony to the entire series of events though…  The irony being that they in turn wolf-packed her with the same shit done to us.  And as I recall, got away with it despite her being popular and having allies- for much the same reasons they got away with it so many times before in doing to others.

Yes, the advocate’s apology for not believing us enough was accepted. To my knowledge, those bullies have had their come-uppance and most of them are gone from the game. Doesn’t mean I’ll be back though-  I lost my muse for that genre a long time ago…. Though some of the social lessons learned have served me well in other games and in RL office politics too… And ya can’t beat that.

 But I digress…

I eventually got back into Boffer LARPing…  this time after coming home from overseas a mess.  It was about two years after that I made a return to it.  The social interaction and all was believed would help in settling my mind and also an activity to do with my lady at the time.

And I took to it, despite a few misgivings over a repeat of the Vampire Experience.

And I am very glad I made the plunge.

It’s a different crowd, a different scene… though some of the same sorts I encountered in Vampire were here, they were a hell of a lot easier to avoid…  and oft times, folks were quicker to speak up about nonsense… Which made being a player a far better time.

  AS for the experience, well… in essence, you are playing a RPG character with as much life and story as you put into a paper version of the character.  And I took to it like a duck to water.  I’ve made more than a few friends, probably an enemy or two (can’t have one without the other, people) and it was also exercise- how often is a person going to walk 10-15 miles a day for simple fun?

Yes, I know they exist….

So yeah, low impact exercise with occasional bouts of high energy activity (read: fighting) and as much story/roleplay as you may want.  For the most part, you get what you put into it… and while not every event will give you back what you put in, you generally will get back *something*…

And usually enough of something to keep you going back for more.

For me, it was the camaraderie, the adventures gotten into with friends made in game that in many cases transcended to out of game friends.  I was also the exercise too, believe it or not.  I was a VERY active player, routinely walking some 12 to 15 miles or more throughout a weekend ( one of my group had pacemeter and he did 27 miles one event (Friday Night to Sunday Morning) and I was about as active as he was that event).

 It also helped where we usually camped was over a quarter mile into the woods.  Two round trips equaled a mile…. And over the course of a weekend, eight to twelve round trips were a thing…  That’s not counting the trips to pack in and pack out. Good times…

I had to sit out a bit- Real Life with its various stressors made for some serious issues that needed resolution- but once life righted itself, I went back to LARPing but at a closer game.  And made plans for traveling…

The closer game is part of a full network all over the US… and some of their chapters are within reasonable driving distance- or a long weekend (furthest I’ll drive on my own is five and a half hours).  And to me, this prospect of being able to take my PC to other games within the network is a really big draw for me.

It helps I can afford to do the travel thing on occasion now… but still, the prospect of traveling to games where I can use my character is a really cool thing.

I thought it was a cool thing and I’ve had opportunity to do is already- the oldest chapter in the org I am in ran its final event (prior to changing hands) and I was able to be at it with a bunch of friends who also play. It was a rich weekend, with a good amount of story, no little fighting and gobs of side plot as old in game grudges came to a head in spots or long-dormant plot lines were finally resolved.  A very fun game…

And it helped bring me to deciding I needed to travel.

Plague upended that plan for the last two years… but its hoped that next year, I will be able to travel to some other chapters.  New Hampshire, Virginia, NE Pa are on the list for trips next year… as well as a possible excursion to Colorado- I have friends out there and they live about an hour from one of the chapters.  They are game to go if I make it out there so good times are to be had…

If you have never tried LARP, I am not going to tell you that you should.  But I will say if you enjoy Roleplaying, have an urge to dress up a bit to rep a persona…  then LARPing might be a thing for you.

I know for ME, its the folks I’ve made friends with, the roleplay and the occasional fight… Its what does it for me and keeps me returning.

It is a worldwide phenomena…  and every part of the world has its own take on it.  So I strongly recommend if there is an interest, take the plunge.

Do your research, read up on where you gonna try it… but go.  The Experience is usually worth the initial plunge.

Lunar Faire- a different sort of gathering

Been busy for the last few weeks, between recovering from my surgery and trying to be creative/retain various muses…. along with gathering gear for Larp this weekend.

I will be testing my stamina and flexibility a full month after the surgery. Here’s hoping no issues.

Anyways…. Lunar Faire.

What is it? It is a NIGHTTIME (yes, at night) Faire/Market for things wiccan/witch-y and non-traditional. Leather, Crystals, spices and herbs, wands, some clothes, vegan foods, soaps and salves… Some of this one MIGHT find at a normal Renfaire but only some. The rest…. is found here, under the Full or New Moon.

The exception was this past weekend, where the Lunar Faire Folk held a 2 day Samhain event over Halloween Weekend at The Fields Of Waterloo.

I was there as part of the Medical/Security Group- being a qualified/Certified EMT, the friends who were working the Faire asked for me to be there in case of “whammies”. I had a “No Lifting” restriction and was told not to worry about it- there was plenty of folks to do heavy lifting if needed. 🙂

I’d never been to one of these events- they’ve been happening in NJ for the last ten months and getting bigger each time (last event was 4500 people!!) and this event was as big, even with shitty weather- it rained most of Saturday and everywhere was damp as hell… with some areas of the fields being soupy mud for parking.

Even with the mess, the overall vibe of the event was pretty chill. Folks were calm and for the most part, pleasant. Some of the patrons were not as chill… but I chalk that up to the insane parking situation and conditions.

Live Music, Weird Drinks, decent food, and some (non)traditional entertainment like Fire Dancers, Sword Swallower and Fire Breathers… As well as a Suspended Hoop dancing performance or three. Not the sort of stuff one finds at a County Faire, that’s for sure

All in all, it was an easy weekend medically for me and I got to watch a few performances from the medical trailer. Not bad a time for me but I know it could have been far different.

If you are wanting to give the show ago, go for it. Have ZERO expectations when you go- I’m told each show is a bit different… but then, for an event that runs on the Full/New Moon schedule, not all dates fall on a weekend.

And the event has been sorta vagabond for sites. Sussex County Fairgrounds, Camp Sacajawea, Fields at Waterloo… and for the November 19th Show, Readington River Buffalo Farm in Flemington NJ. They have either outgrown (Sac) or had to move for reasons… which does add a touch of mystique to the show.

And lets be honest, being a roving show kinda makes sense. I mean, while Wicca and witches are more accepted now, its STILL a fringe life to the Mundanes of the World (and the many groups of the Uptight Citizens Brigades out there) and if nothing else, the shifting location is kinda an homage to the formerly hidden nature of such an event and Wicca in general.

My Missus is planning to go with her crew. Just need to get a date that doesn’t interfere with the Day Job for her and the others.

For more info, go to lunarfaire.com