Name: Mimi Refici-Buhr
Home Chronicle: Kenosha
What do you do when you are not gaming: I am a cancer research scientist by day. My hobbies include cooking/baking, sewing, crocheting, gardening, reading….I was totally born in the wrong era.
Favorite Clan/Tribe: Brujah for Cam, Tzimisce for Sabbat
Why you love OWbN: OWbN has allowed me to break out of my shy lil shell and meet people from all over! I like the fact that I can travel and continue the story of my character. My job is uber serious and stressful at times. Being able to escape into a fantasy world helps!
Why you are an OWbN Girl: I wanted to be an OWbN girl to show that all gamers aren’t unemployed, dirty people who live in their mother’s basement, as the stigma sometimes dictates. I have a Master’s Degree and a career. There is a minority of female gamers, and my goal is to promote the games, bring in the ladies, and help break some of the stigma!
Hidden Talent/Something People Do Not Know: I am a figure skater and used to do solo performances until a broken ankle sidelined me. I also play the flute!
Favorite memory in OWbN: The first thing that comes to mind is “Weave Pull”, however, my favorite character moment was sitting in a Primogen meeting in Kenosha with then-Prince of Winona, Leonius Agrippa, as schooled me on how to take control and conduct a proper meeting. He insisted I take over the Primogen meetings, have an agenda, and stick to it. He would check in every couple of weeks to make sure I was running things up to his standards!
Our lovely OWbN Girl, Janel, had the opportunity to sit down with Camarilla Coordinator, Rojir!
Well, hi, my name is Rojir. I’m hated worldwide. It’s the role of the Camarilla Coordinator to be the bad guy. :P
No, seriously. I’m Rojir. I am a huge fan of the org, its’ how I met, well, my wife, all of you, some of the best friends I could ever ask for (most of them still playing), and so many wonderful people.
I have been playing in OWbN Since 1998.
My good friend Kenny Lull invited me to come and play in OWbN after meeting me at an independent vampire game at the University of Maryland. My life went downhill from there. (I kid)
Eventually, one thinks that they can make a positive change on the entire organization. I was first Changeling Coordinator for two years, occasionally filling in as Camarilla Coordinator when various former Coords would resign, and then I was Assistant Head Coordinator for Two years. I then didn’t run for re-election, only to run as Camarilla Coordinator in a mid-term replacement election, so my total time will be about 2 and a half years as Camarilla Coordinator by next April.
The Camarilla Coordinator’s Office has a particularly difficult job. When you consider that the Sabbat Coord is responsible for maybe a tenth of the games in OWbN, and the Anarch Coord even less, that means the rest of the Vampire games are generally Camarilla games. The Camarilla Coordinator’s office also works far more extensively with the Clan Coords to facilitate things, being that we share NPC’s more frequently (for example, did you know each member of the Justicariate, and their archons, in fact every significant NPC in the Camarilla is jointly controlled with the Camarilla Coordinator’s office?)
There’s also the list modding, answering people’s questions about status, prestation, coordinating events. Conclaves are ridiculously complicated to coordinate, whether they happen “on camera” or “off camera.” I give lots of credit to my subcoords, who do a great job. Though we’re more like the Green Lantern Corps than Adam’s precious “Avengers.” (Though Avengers was a better movie by far)
I’d like to believe we’ve already accomplished a great deal in terms of helping to promote actual Camarilla genre. We’ve (my team and I) have worked with the Clan Coords of the respective clans to help coordinate the actions of the Camarilla a great deal, provided background for players across the org, assisted ST’s, other coordinators in creating/coordinating more story. And finally, I plan to revise the status system before end of term. There’s a lot that can be fixed there, and I think we’re up to the task.
Honestly? I am seeing a trend towards proper Camarilla genre, more akin to what White Wolf had intended. I believe that we are moving in the right direction, by and large, at least from where I’m sitting, and I’d like to think that we are doing the right thing.
Punishments other than death should be far more prevalent. The use of Prestation: People need to understand the concept of debts, and vampires reluctance to kill one another.
Also….Harpies. Please grow more pairs. You have plenty of power, and you shouldn’t be afraid to use it.
I think, at least here in the US, there is far too much expectation in terms of fairness…that we will be treated as equals, or that evidence is needed, that justice truly prevails. That’s not what Camarilla vampire is about.
…I was told there would be punch and pie. I haven’t even been bribed, and that almost makes me sad.
The Lehigh Conclave this year went off surprisingly well, and whether folks saw what occurred behind the scenes or not, a lot of very Camarilla RP was had. I think more people should have tried bribery, blackmail, and boons, but it was a definite step in the right direction.
Patience. Constant Communication. Patience.
It’s ongoing, so I really don’t wanna spoil anything.
Wow, tough call. There are so many awesome characters out there. Not just the canon folks, but folks we’ve developed ourselves as OWbN.
I think I’d have to go with Dr. Douglas Netchurch. He’s only ostensibly a member though, he’s not exactly playing the game, as it were.
Getting the information needed to help coordinate the job. The Clan Coords have been great this year, honestly, with keeping me in the loop, but too often in this particular job, you get overlooked. People contact a particular Justicariate by way of the Clan Coord, but they forget that part of the decision made by that office needs to be gone over with the Camarilla Coordinator. CC’ing me would greatly increase response time.
It’s also the communication level… it’s often hard to convey thought adequately, so everyone understands where you are in your headspace. I’d like to be able to beam thoughts directly into folks heads, so they understand where I’m coming from.
Oh, I also hate it when folks think they can win this game. Your PC survives, that’s the closest you should ever get to “winning.”
I have had a great time over the past 7 years coordinating. I think the most rewarding experience would be the Grand Masquerade 2011. We had to run a storyline that I didn’t necessarily even want to coordinate, but I like to think that folks had a good time with it, and if they didn’t, I’m sorry. :)
In OWbN Camarilla, it depends. First, I advise you to read the Camarilla Guide if you can get a copy, as well as the core book, along with the Guilded Cage, and any books related to the Camarilla side of things that discuss politics….avoid the cool powers sections, those dont’ help you RP any better. I advise you to ask general questions, talk to your ST’s in downtime, and find those experienced players out there who can help. There are some folks that really exemplify what it is to be Camarilla. They are the people you should seek out. I would be glad to make recommendations to anyone in pretty much any area.. I also recommend that you can contact my office, or my subcoords, at Shadowemail@example.com. We can provide you with all manner of references, referrals, or what have you.
I can also be reached directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by: OWbN Girl Caity
Communities come and go in our lives and they change us as we move through them, even in the most miniscule and sometimes even unnoticeable ways. A lot of people come into their sense of community in either High School or College and, for the most part, it is those experiences that lay the foundations for who we will flock to in adulthood. We develop a desire to surround ourselves with the familiar and take solace when we find someone or something that we can relate to. This is a concept that springs from the human need for companionship. Gaming and LARP communities are similar, but possess a certain detail more intriguing than most others, our identities and interactions with one another become faceted and we are able to approach one another in more than just body and mind, but in the imaginative situations that we are placed within.
Some would say that to live in a fantasy world is childish and seen as an escape from the real world, and I cannot completely disagree with said assumption. I won’t say that we are always the most rational and mature of communities, but I don’t think that any group of people is ever always rational or mature. Sometimes the act of simply playing a mind game with a friend and replacing your responses with the reply your imagination has created is much more fun that discussing the world as it is. We are placed in this life to enjoy it and to condemn that is to condemn the time to play and relax. I wholly stand behind the belief that if we were always serious in our lives, we’d never get anything done and we’d always dread the next day. The folly, the play, the fantasy happen in those moments that we discover that which makes us happy.
I have, in the past, been told that there is a stigma of gaming from years of mainstream media profiting from making the gamers and the dreamers into pariahs of society. It is a fact that we’ve all had to experience this at some point or another in our time as gamers, but with the knowledge that we never have to handle it alone and we’re always capable of more than fulfilling a predetermined niche. However, nobody should be confined by labels or niches set aside by the almighty media, but living to fulfill their own identities. It is in the communities that we surround ourselves with that we are capable of breaking free of the groups we are placed into and throwing away the preconceived notions set aside for us.
One of the things that I love about the LARP community that I am a part of is the plethora of different identities represented in one community. The game brings all types of normally labeled people together who may not have normally been in the same social circles. I find myself thankful for the individuals I have met through LARP, from those who are gifted in physical prowess to some of the most creative artists. People from normally different social circles have come together in mutual appreciation of something that would typically be reserved for those typically defined as “geeks”. When asked what people enjoy most about LARP, the response is a resounding “the people” and it’s no surprise that a game that encourages character interaction and facets of behavior to be displayed in a controlled environment that people would find it so fascinating. It is part of human nature to put on a facade when interacting with new people and the game offers a way for people to do that and break the proverbial ice.
If a game that could get such a bad reputation can also bring people from various walks of life together, then I say rise above the preconceived notions and embrace such a vibrant and strong community and in that environment we are capable of defining ourselves without fear, but with comfort and acceptance among our peers.
Written by: OWbN Girl Caity
In the World of Darkness we are expected to portray through our characters callous and opportunist behavior. It is within a vampire’s nature to wait for his enemy to slip up and strike when the opening presents itself. We call that ‘good role play” and “good Vampire,” but how long until the behavior wears on the player and it takes root into our every day behavior? Are we merging with our characters or just becoming assholes through association? There is lying and backstabbing in game, and that’s okay, even encouraged, but when it leaves the game setting it suddenly becomes the ingredients to ruin friendships, cause arguments, and kill a game. I’m talking about bullying.
It is a widely held belief that game behavior should stay in character, yes the strong prey upon the weak in LARP, the cream rises to the top, and one must separate the wheat from the chaff. We’ve all heard these metaphors in play, but is there a point where a cut-throat play style could evolve into a form of bullying that goes beyond the nature of the game? Can the difference between encouraged in-game backstabbing and out of game bullying be easily distinguished? I would like to think so.
There is an acceptable time and place to be raising your voice at someone, calling them names, and exposing their foolish choices, usually that time is when you are in character and that place is the game-site. However, the second someone drops out of character to ask you a simple question such as “Can you describe where your PC is right now?” it is no longer acceptable to raise your voice or insult someone for asking an out of character question. Your PC can be an abusive asshole, cold-hearted bitch, or a psychotic monster, but the second the out of character hand sign is revealed and you are interacted with, it is inappropriate to continue to treat people as though they are beneath you or offending you by simply existing. People attend a game because they enjoy it and don’t intend to personally offend you. In this situation, I suggest to remain calm and polite, answer the questions of other players, and be polite while you’re doing it, it helps build your relationship with others and progresses the game with less potential for situations of argument or harassment.
Due to the fact that we are part of a national organization of gamers, we are often blessed with friends all over the country and these people are forever changing our perspectives on the game. Not every region plays the same as the next. In some cases, forms of cyber-bullying can erupt throughout the community and they cause problems for many players. Several people are used to playing their characters not just at game, but over the internet with many people they have only ever interacted with in person once or twice, if ever. Situations where someone uses the internet to harass you to have your character do something in one way that you do not feel comfortable doing can be considered harassment, and if the pressuring continues it can evolve into serious bullying. Someone could yell at you out of character for what you said in character in one of the public yahoo groups, or use your character e-mail to tell you to do what they want or they’ll tell your storytellers or their coordinator friends that you were meta-gaming. Someone could change their user-names to contact you and push forward with this. Don’t freak out and don’t do something just because someone has told you to do it. Save any harassing and upsetting correspondence and send them in to your Council Member and Storytellers so the situation can be handled properly by both parties’ Storytellers.
There is hope at the end of the tunnel, even if it feels like the gaming world has too many pressures for you and not enough payout. There are people around to help you get through this and they are open and willing to assist you in your plight. Your storytellers should always be alerted if you ever feel uncomfortable at game for whatever reason, especially if it involves another player making game anything other than a welcoming and playful environment for you. While drama is a universal human constant, that doesn’t mean that if someone is picking on you that you should simply accept it. Tell someone when you feel threatened, don’t hide and simply take the abuse. People are here to help you and the first step to ending the bullying is to tell people so they can help you get rid of the negative behavior.
We accept that Vampire isn’t a passive-aggressive game about best friends solving supernatural crime, but that doesn’t mean we should treat each other like the enemy when game is over. If someone makes a move against you in character, roll with it, take the compliment that something you have done through your clever role play has influenced somebody else and they have taken notice. Sometimes you want to scream or lash out, yell at them for ruining your fun, but part of the entertainment factor of the game is plotting and rolling with the punches as they come, rising to the top when it is your time to strike. We have all been pushed around in character at sometime or another, but remember, these people do this because it is their characters against yours, not them against you. The people you play with probably have more in common with you than just game and they are people too, don’t lash out at them, and don’t let them lash out at you. Remember, we go to game because we’ve created a community of people who share something they love with one another. Take control of the game before the game takes control of you and if you see this happening with someone else, take note and help them remember that LARP is still just a game and real life people have feelings that can get hurt and lives that can get affected if harassment becomes an option for people to utilize.
Quick GenCon Review
OWbN Girl Mere
GenCon was filled with exciting news!
I got there on Friday, a day late from the big announcement. On Thursday, Rich Thomas announced his new company Onyx Path Publishing. Found in January, it is an alternative to CCP-publishing. Onyx Path will publish cWoD, nWoD and Exalted (under license from CCP), the Trinity Universe and Scion (which Onyx Path now owns) and the brand new Cavaliers of Mars (by arrangement with Russell Bailey). And they will be releasing material for all them!
I also went to the Werewolf: 20th Anniversary Panel, hosted by Eddy Webb and Rich Thomas. The panel was fascinating and of course, entertaining, with Eddy and Rich telling stories and experience that they have gone through during this process.
Rich and Eddy were great answering questions about the release and the surrounding ideas.
When we went to back to the Vendor Room, Felicia had pointed out the Werewolf: 20th Anniversary Edition rough draft. When I looked through it, I was absolutely floored. I am not a huge werewolf fan in the least. But, the book’s artwork, bright colors, and well written pieces makes me rethink my choices with Werewolf. It has similar layout to V20, but it has a lot of its own characteristics. I am excited to say the least!
The rest of GenCon was phenomenal. We are looking into having a One World by Night chronicle next year, hopefully. Dave Lazarek and I have been having discussion over how we will do it. More to come on that soon.
All the people we met were very sweet and we ran a lot of marketing throughout Saturday. Thank you to everyone we met and had a chance to speak with. We had a blast! Barbie, Crystal, Felicia, and I were very happy to meet everyone and we look forward to next year.
Geek Girl Con Review
OWbN Girl Mere
Well, I just recently returned from the wonderful convention known as Geek Girl Con with OWbN Girls Jess and Felicia. Needless to say, I was absolutely floored by how amazing it was.
It is still a small convention. However, when we walked in, the staff was exceptional. They were excited and couldn’t wait for everyone to get their badges. Even the hotel security was wonderful and gave us nothing but smiles.
2,000 people per day attended. A lot of people have asked me the ratio of females to males. Honestly? There were a lot more females than males but more importantly, there were a good handful of families or mothers with their children. Even the vendor room was predominantly female but there were a few male artists/inventors/sales associates that we met as well. Everyone was lovely.
20% of attendees came with their children. Which was great because there were a lot of Kid-Focused activities!
There were a total of four floors.
Lower Level was the gaming area. There was a room for a Munchkin Tournament, a room for a Magic: The Gathering tournament, and another room for PopCap Games and EA Games freeplay. There was also a Bejeweled Blitz Tournament! There was in fact two LARPs running that day as well. The Trial of the Big Bad Wolf and Graduation Day (Buffy LARP). Tabletop reigned supreme with options such as d.Fiasco, Inspectors, Dogs in the Vineyar Ghost/Echo, Shock, Silver and White, and The Dreaming Crucible. Needless to say, their Gaming options were fantastic.
The first level was where you could locate basic information such as registration. A lot of female gamers congregated here in search of coffee or stopped for a photo of their great cosplay outfits.
The second floor was filled with panels. From Steampunk Sewing Tutorials to How to Start a Kickstarter, we wish that we could have seen all of them. GeekGirlCon has an extremely packed schedule which is absolutely wonderful for anyone attending.
The third floor was the vendor room/artist alley. This is where Felicia and I spent a good chunk of time. This was no ordinary vendor room/artist alley. There were booths that made very simple jewelry all the way to a woman named Sienna Morris who paints/draws beautiful works of art through either the use of numbers 1-12 or scientific/mathematics equations. We networked with a few of the companies, talking to them about our feelings about women in the gaming culture.
The artists that presented all ranged from simple sketches to full murals. Most of their artwork was geek/gaming related, which made it fun to point out all the different genres we recognized.
Overall, the convention was a success. Everyone was absolutely fabulous and we had no complaints. The representatives of Geek Girl Con put on a wonderful convention and we hope that it grows more and more each year. If you have a chance to check it out next year, you should definitely go. Their website is updated pretty religiously so they are always coming up with new ideas to make the convention even more amazing.
We hope to see you there next year!
Name: Megan McCrady
Home Chronicle: Vitae Aeternus/SMD (Annapolis, MD)
What do you do when you are not gaming: I’m a mother of an adventurous toddler, so I’m constantly on the move. Aside from that I love to read, cook, hike, spend time with friends and family, and nerd out to TV shows like Supernatural andAlphas.
Favorite Clan/Tribe: Tough call! For Vampire, it’s Gangrel. The OWBN genre, in particular, is very rich and deep — and it’s almost exclusively player-driven. I love the rich tapestry that the Gangrel players have woven over the years! It’s really been an honor and a pleasure to take part in it.
I’m also a huge Mage nerd, though, and I love me some Virtual Adepts and Verbena.
Why you love OWbN: I love the stories we’ve developed over the years. I love the wonderful people I’ve met, and the truly amazing guy I married. I love that my worldview has evolved and shifted over the time I’ve been playing, thanks to the hugely diverse player base we have. I think OWBN has taken a single common bond — oWoD LARPing — and allowed so many people to come together across huge distances, and provided us both with an opportunity to roleplay together but also with an opportunity to get to know one another OOCly, as players. It’s a really wonderful thing!
Why you are an OWbN Girl: I think I’m an OWBN Girl because I love OWBN. I’ve been an ST, a CM, a Subcoord, and a Coord, but I love being a Player the most. I play the IC game (be it the political game, the character development game, or the combat game) balls-to-the-wall, and I enjoy the heck out of all aspects of roleplay. I love to help new players get involved locally, and help out anywhere I can with things like tutorials and “chop shops” (RPS training). I’m kind of a Chick of All Trades when it comes to OWBN. :)
Hidden Talent/Something People Do Not Know: I have prehensile “monkey” toes. I can use them to pick things up, pinch people, and I could probably learn to paint with them if I had enough patience!
I also know the words to a scary amount of songs by the Fresh Beat Band.
Favorite memory in OWbN: Meeting my husband! I met him at the very first Midwinter event, and the first time he talked to me he greeted me (ICly) with a Russian accent. I bumped into him again a year and a half later and POOF!: 100% kismet. :)
Meet the OWbN Girls: Sarah
How long have you been playing? Since September 2000. Almost 12 years now!
Games you frequent: I’m based in Stolen Hours in Marietta, Georgia. I also get to Whispers of Atlanta and Athens After Dark when I can.
Your favorite tribe/clan: Toreador! Their search for beauty and humanity in a world filled with monsters epitomizes the tragedy of the World of Darkness for me.
What do you love about OWbN? I love the immenseness of the shared universe. I also love all the people I’ve met over the years! I met my best friends (and my husband!) through OWbN.
Why are you an OWbN Girl? Being part of a group that is there not only to empower and support gamers, but also to recruit and renew interest in Vampire genre and OWbN is exciting for me. I love this game and I want it to continue to grow and flourish.
What do you do when you’re not gaming? I’m a wife and a mom of two and currently in school pursuing my English Degree. I’m also working on getting my first novel edited and out to be picked up and published. In what little time I have left after that I watch Doctor Who with my family and play Skyrim.
Hidden Talents: Procrastinating and cluttering the top of a desk in record time.
Favorite Costume Piece: I’m going to cheat on this one and say my collection of high heel shoes. Which pair I’m wearing to game depends on my characters mood and plans for the evening, but I have to have my high heels.
A great way to add depth to a character’s background is to take some inspiration from mythology and history. You have three ways you can go about this: the direct connection (I was there), the character’s inspiration (I know all about it), or your inspiration (I was based on it).
The first of these three requires probably the most research to pull off and you should use your best judgment when choosing how your character fits into history. For example, actually being George Washington might seem like a cool idea, but considering how famous he was at the time of his death embracing him may not have been the wisest idea. A lesser known character from history though, such a member of a group like the women who were imprisoned while fighting for the right for women to vote, can make for a strong character with deep historical ties without the need to offer too much “alternate” history. Your character could have been influenced by particular events, such as losing loved ones to the 1912 influenza epidemic. Whenever in the timeline you pull your concept from, it is also good to consider how much of her own time your character has brought with her into the present day. Is she a bit anachronistic, avoiding computers and cell phones, or has she adapted well over the years to changes in society and technology?
The second way to incorporate history, or even mythology into a character’s background is to let your character be the one who’s inspired. This can take a variety of forms. Your character could be an archaeologist (fedora and whip not required), with extensive knowledge of ancient cultures and customs. Your character may suffer from a form of madness that makes them firmly believe that she is haunted by ghosts of a bygone era she studied once. Or your character could have a strong interest in one particular historical period because she has some romanticized idea of what it was like and seeks to emulate it (like courtly love and knights in shining armor).
The final way is to base a character on history or mythology, and change the details that fit the background you want. You might find yourself inspired by the trials of Heracles, making right for his crimes through a series of seemingly impossible tasks. You could be jealous Hera, misdirecting your terrible wrath on those with whom another wronged you. Perhaps your character is a charismatic leader with a dark agenda including wiping out an entire subgroup of human or vampire-kind. This way gives you the most leeway in what you do with your character, but this also leaves a lot of gaps for you to fill in with your own imagination.
Whatever way you choose to use history and mythology to add depth and color to your character background, the best thing to do is research. Research the event. Research the era. Research the people. A little reading can take you a long way.