Taking it Easy at NLCC

It’s time to take off that depression blog off the front page and put up a something a little more upbeat. That is, my trip to Northern Light’s Coronation Campout, Fall 2023. NLCC is an Amtgard camping event put on by the Kingdom of Northern Lights.

This is one of the few times I’ve attended their fall coronation. Normally I only attend the spring coronation, but this year my friends D’gar and Gen were getting knighted and I wanted to make it a point to do everything I could to make it there and make it there I did.

I was going to go with Gustav, but he got sick, so I ended up driving up alone. I got to listen to my music loud and enjoy the new subwoofer. I had a reasonably enjoyable drive up, it gave me time to think and ponder, while going boom boom along the highway.

Buzz Buzz Goes The Wire

When I arrived, I set up my bed and decided I was going to do a vlog this event. I spent time recording an intro, and it turns out there is a buzzing noise. This also happened when I recorded the knightings the next day. However it did not seem to happen when I recorded my fighting videos. Best guess is a cord is going out, I have since ordered a new one.

It was at this point on Thursday, I figured a vlog was probably off the table, which honestly, I think it turned out for the best. This was one of the few event in the last two years I wasn’t working at the in some compacity. It was for sure the first Northern Lights campout I wasn’t working at since the pandemic. At this point I decided to take it easy.

I’m still dealing with the depression, I was low energy, so I don’t have any wild stories. I went to bed at 1:30am Thursday night, which it sounded like I missed some good party times on the back porch. Although I was eventually caught up and there was more good times to be had at the back porch that weekend.

The Day to Beat

Unknown to everyone, Friday was the big game day. The weather was nice, maybe a little too hot. I spent several hours at the field that day, most of which was watching jugging. It was a random team generation with non competitive matches. It went smoothly and it seemed everyone had a pretty fun time. There were a good amount of people who had never played the game before. I think it was a good introduction.

I did manage to get some video on Friday. One was a two to three minute video of Unum and Raff going at it with great swords, the heat got to them pretty fast. The other video is of Aera and Skorri dueling with dual short swords. It’s a full ten minutes long. I’m looking forward to editing it.

Despite not much happening, I ended up being the last person up in the common areas Friday night, going to bed sometime around 5. it was a pretty chill night. I had a few beers, ate a few edibles (legal in my state) and kind of just roamed around some groups.

With most of my friends from up north engaged with running the event, I didn’t get to spend as much time with them as I normally would have. This led me to jump around a bit more than I have these past few events. I spent some time on the porch, some time in the hall and time at the amphitheater. At one point Kimjim saw me take a dab and noted that I took it like a champ. It was just a cool random moment.

Northwest Community Building

Saturday turned out to be a very wet day. It didn’t really start to stop till early evening. The downside was I couldn’t get any video, not all my equipment is waterproof, the upside, there was some strong sense of comradery between those people who toughed it out in the rain.

For example, the The First Third Annual “Name Redacted” Tournament (RIP Dogboy) was held in the morning, in the rain. It didn’t stop, not once, it got worse at times. There was one point I sought refuge in my car but I tried to at least tough it out. I was supposed to record Heron and Opi after the tournament!

Alas it was not to be, the rain never let up and I never got that video, but I did get this cool picture of all the people who entered the tournament. Again, like the jugging, everyone seemed to have a blast, sprits were high and I think some new bonds of friendship were born from the joint suffering of the Northwest rain.

Back Porch Court

Did I mention that NLCC had 215 people on sight when gate closed on Thursday night? Well it did, that’s huge for this event. I think the final numbers were around 280. Needless to say court was packed. I didn’t even attempt to stand in the building. I went to the Back Porch like all the other degenerates.

Still, thanks to Devry standing at the door and yelling out what was being given out for use porch goers, I was able to hear of some very deserving awards that went out. One of particular note was Guin’s Paragon Assassin.

Just early that day she was talking about how, out of all the awards she’s been striving for, that’s the one that would mean the most to her. She confided in me she was worried that due to life stuff it might take another few years before she had the chance to earn it again. She had no idea she was going to be getting it later that night. I was so happy for her.

After court I spent most of the rest of the night hanging out in the stage hall with the some of my friends and sister packmates who had been running the event, the Inland Ocean peoples. Then I was off to bed!

A Little Wrap-up

I enjoyed the event and it sounded like many others enjoyed themselves as well. For a rather large dedicated group of fighters who endured and even thrived in the rain on Saturday morning and beyond, it will be a rather memorable event, or so I suspect.

I must also make note of the wonderful feast Saturday, cooked by Cole and their crew. I had a chance to chat with Cole about the feast Thursday and then a little bit about feast after the event. They were enjoyable conversations.

I should note more than two people helped in the kitchen, this was just the pictures I had.

General Updates

Now that my semi-vacation Amtgard event is over, what is next? Well, it’s Belegarth and it’s in a little under two weeks. I’ll be going to Trials of The Pacific Mane up in Washington.

It’s a new Belegarth campout and I’m excited to be able to go to this inaugural camping event. It looks like it’s going to be another well attended event. All the camping spots are already taken! I’ll be staying near by with Gustav and Devry. I’m not sure what I’m in for or what kind of video I’ll be getting.

I’m thinking of doing a reordering of my projects and will make a post concerning my projects going forward. Hopefully before I leave for Trials.

One project I’m really interested in trying to workshop, is a fighting league with rankings and tournaments. Hit me up if you want to hear more about that! More the merrier. Cross Gamers more than welcome but the default ruleset will be Amtgard foam fighting, at least to start.

You can see my Tier 2 (Rock Gnomes) and 3 (Tinker Gnomes) supporters on my Patreon Supporters page as well as find out how to become a Patron yourself.

Depression and Content Creation: A Personal Story

*CAUTION: There is some Discussion of Major Depression Disorder and all that can go along with that.

This is a blog post! I haven’t been very communicative the last few months and I want to talk about that, what it means for my content and what that might mean going forward. This will mostly be talking about where I’ve been and where I’m at rather than where I’ll be going. I’ll be getting a little bit personal on this one. I’ll be talking about my struggles with my depression.

Where I’ve been

It might not have been obvious to everyone, but if you were paying close attention to my communications, you will have noticed I haven’t been very active since around the middle of June. I’d like to talk about why that is. Simply stated, it is probably depression. To put that in context I’d like to briefly go over the history of this struggle.

The Early Years: A Long Struggle

I was first diagnosed with depression in Highschool, some 28 years ago. It has come and gone, to agree, over those years, but it’s always been lingering in the background. Coupled with the fact it turned out I had an anxiety disorder, ADHD and a writing disorder, which I wasn’t diagnosed with till the age of 29 or 30. It feels I’ve struggled with just just living for half my life. It’s a whole thing.

In fact, it culminated into something I don’t think I’ve mentioned on my blog before. I’ve been on SSI (a specific type of disability) for the past few years. I say it mostly to exemplify exactly how bad the depression can get. It’s gotten so bad that the State says It affects me so much it’s not reasonable I can work in the general work force. I don’t intend to go into it, but I’d be fine talking about it another time if people wanted me to.

I have some good news though, it’s taken most of my life time, but we’ve finally found a combination of drugs that has stabilized me. I haven’t had any suicidal ideation in nearly two years and my current depression swing doesn’t seem to be accompanied with the darker thoughts that usually accompany one. My medication is working, but it can only do so much.

That leads me to the subject of the last few months.

The Last Few Months: A New Challenge

Looking back I think this current bout started around mid or late June. It’s only the last month I realized I might be going through a depressive episode. I started to go to less social engagements, stopped committing myself to long term and medium term projects in LARP. Over time I found it hard to focus for long periods of time. Then it became harder and harder to get motivated, and some days I have found myself in bed struggling to get out, for hours.

This greatly affected my content creation but I understand if you haven’t noticed. Despite my struggles I was still putting out regular content over this whole time. The months leading up to this I was able to create enough content cover myself in case something like this happened.

In some way, this has made this experience less stressful and anxiety inducing than other bouts of depression, but that’s coming to an end.

Is It Depression?

I haven’t been just been looking at depression for the reason why it’s been hard to focus and I’ve had low energy or motivation to do even some of the most basic things. In fact I didn’t even think it was depression at first, because I wasn’t suffering the gloomy thoughts usually associated with depression.

It’s been suggested that it is my diabetes, I thought that unlikely based on how I’ve had other diabetics describe the reduced energy affects, but I figured I’d look into it. I’ve had some tests done and my A1C has actually improved by 2 whole points (only 1 more point away from the target number!). That makes it seem more likely it is depression.

I still have another doctor’s appointment to talk about other possible a causes. I’m relatively certain it’s depression now, but I don’t want to dismiss that it could be something else without getting it checked out first.

Where I’m At: A Critical Moment

As of the writing of this rough draft, I only have one more non-short video edited and ready to go and that goes live in a week. I still have enough raw video for a few more weeks, so I hope I’ll be able to keep my schedule without any disruptions.

Structure?

I lost a lot of momentum the last few months, but I’m not starting from zero, so I don’t feel as hopeless as I normally would be in the past. That being said, I lost some of the structure I had developed for myself. It will be hard to create that again, it will take time.

In that way it will feel a lot like starting over. While the work will go faster, and the quality will be better, than if I really did start over, it won’t feel that way to me when I’m struggling to work on it. Now I realize what I’m dealing with, I do know some coping mechanisms to help me get back on track. I also do go to a therapist who is of some aid in finding coping mechanisms.

I’m going to start working on goals to create structure. I’m working on getting a whiteboard I can put in a highly visible spot, where I can use to keep these goals in mind. It’s a technique that helped me get through my last year of University. It isn’t perfect, I still have to contend with lack of energy, but it will help with keeping my goals in mind.

I’ll start small first, keep them general and what I consider reasonable, given whatever my state of mind is at that moment. These will be short term goals with the aim to build up some work structure again.

Regrets: A Lost Opportunity

When I had two months of content ready to go I thought I could take some time to refocus on my content, work on some other projects for YouTube and learn a few new skills. That was not the case. I was able to learn a few more editing tweaks and experimented with the editing style of the content I put out. However, I was unable to really develop any new projects.

I regret the loss of that time, but I am comforted, in some degree, that I was able to continue to put out content while I was struggling to do any work at all. It also gives me hope that I can get back to where I was at at a reasonable speed.

What This All Means

So where does this leave us? Hopefully in a decent place, all things considered. Hopefully you won’t see any disruption in my Monday released YouTube content, but it is possible. I hope you are understanding. I am making efforts to cope with the current situation.

There is of course other content that I would like to get back into the mix. The monthly chat stream Baelnorn and Friends the Let’s LARP videos and of course LARP Chats are all things I’d like to continue. It will take some time till I’m able to get that content back on track.

Right now I’m focused on getting back to working on the raw fighting videos I currently have and making a point to go to LARP and get more fighting video. Once I get back into that habit I’ll work on the previously mentioned projects.

When I’m back on track I will reassess my midterm and long term goals and write a blog about them.

If you like my content consider becoming a Patron on Patreon. You can see my Tier 2 (Rock Gnomes) and 3 (Tinker Gnomes) supporters on my Patreon Supporters page as well as find out how to become a Patron yourself.

Baelnorn At Western Wars 17

As much as I advocate for LARP as a general hobby I don’t hide that fact I’m more or less an Amtgardian. The only other LARP I’ve gone to more than once is Belegarth and that just four times, now, five, with each time being a Western Wars. The first one was at Beacon Rock, and the fourth was at Silver Falls.

I was excited to find out that Western Wars 17 was going to be held at the Oregon 4H Center, only thirty minutes from where I live. That meant I was going to be able to make it each day rather than just day tripping once.

While I was excited I was also anxious. I had never gone to a Belegarth event with the intent to create online content. I wasn’t sure how it would be received. Luckily Gustav was going to be going with me, being able to go with someone else, someone else who knew people at the event, helped put my nerves at ease.

Fast forward to the night before the event. I got a message from Gustav saying he was sick and unable to go. My anxiety spiked to a ten, I was I was thinking about skipping the whole thing.

It took some time, but I managed to get control of my nerves. I reminded myself there would be other people there I knew, Kormac for one. In fact he was going to be there on Friday. So I said hell with it. If I’m going I might as well go Friday, so I headed out Friday evening to hangout with Kormac.

Friday Night Movie Time

I arrived around six, coincidentally the exact same time that my friend and fellow Amtgardian, Critias arrived. We went to gate/troll together to pay our site fees. On the way to get dressed in my garb I ran into Bhakdar, a Belegarth player I did know! I said hello, introduced him to Critias and chatted for a minute. Before heading back to my car.

Critias followed me and we chatted while I garbed up. It felt odd not wearing my knights belt, but I was more pleased than I probably should have been about having found my old gold and purple belt. I wore that belt from high school all the way till I was knighted in 2015. Some fifteen odd years.

After garbing up we went to the fighting field. I set up my chair and cracked a beer. Critias went onto the fighting field. It was fun to just watch the fighting for the evening.

Kormac was already there, fighting. Alistair also happened to be there by the time I arrived. It was nice seeing that British face. I hadn’t seen him since before the dark times but I had known he would be there. The person who I didn’t expect to see was Angus.

I hadn’t seen him since the Metzler Western Wars. He was an old friend from Amtgard. He had switched to Belegarth, some 10-15 years ago. It was great to see him. We even got to hangout, but that was mostly Sunday.

After the fighting we headed up to the hill to the Barn to watch some movies. One of the Belegarth players, who’s name escapes he, thought it would be fun to do a movie marathon. They brought a sound system, a projector and a grip of movies to show off.

I spent the rest of the night hanging out in the Barn. The first movie, Dragonslayer, a classic fantasy movie, was one I had never seen. It was definitely a product of it’s age, but it had a charm to it that I didn’t expect. Worth watching if you’re a fantasy fan. Critias left after the first movie.

I stayed for one more movie, Dragonheart, one of my favorite fantasy movies from my childhood. After Kormac gave me a ride back down the hill I headed home, getting home around 1am. It was a lowkey evening and I enjoyed myself, but I really only hung out with people I knew, staying firmly in my comfort zone.

Saturday, Fight Day

I went into Saturday knowing that if I was going to get content for YouTube and TikTok, it would probably be Saturday. That was going to be the day that most of the Amtgardians I knew were going to be making it to Western Wars.

My time on Friday did put me somewhat at ease concerning the event, However I was still anxious about recording at Western Wars. Unlike Amtgard, I’m not generally known in Belegarth, I don’t have the same sort of anxiety around recording people in the community I know well.

In fact I spent the first hour or two watching the fighting and talking to the visiting Amtgardians. I kept making excuses for why I wasn’t recording, Kalzar was being a good friend and giving me some gentle encouragement to record the fighting. That was greatly apricated, but it wasn’t enough. Eventually I went and got my lunch from Kormac’s cooler.

On my way back to my chair I stopped by a Belegarth player. They wanted to make a point to introduce themselves to me. I’m terrible with names but I believe his name was Tristian. Apparently he watched my content and wanted to take the chance to say hi and meet me in person. I was pleasantly surprised.

That encounter helped me battle my anxiety and after I finished eating my lunch I was ready to get some video. My first priority was getting some TikToks. It took some time to adjust to recording such a different group of people.

While the game was just line fighting, basically a ditch, how people worked together was different. In an Amtgard ditch, while some employ group tactics, it’s much more one on one fights. Belegarth fighters tended to break into smaller tactical groups.

Because of this there was more movement and the fights spread out more than they typically do in Amtgard. While this was more engaging to watch, it’s harder to coherently record. At least with how I generally like to present my content.

After about twenty minutes or so I figured I had enough for my TikToks and I switched to recording content for YouTube. I didn’t get as much group battles as I intended to.

I had put a poll on my YouTube Channel asking if people wanted more group content or more one on one fights. I had a lot more engagement than I expected, but in the end the votes were evenly split between the two. My goal was to get a good amount of both content, but I ended up getting a lot more one on one content than group fighting.

I took a break from recording, intending to go back to the field after resting my arm for a bit, but it was not to be. The one thing I did set up before I arrived, a fight between Bhakdar and Critias, was about to go down and I would be damned if I wasn’t going to record it. I’m glad I did, It was a high octane fight. Two good fighters ramping it up. I’m very glad I had that on lock.

Then right after that recording a small bearpit started in the same area. It had some top tier fighters in such As Alexi, Spicy and Critias. It would have been dumb if I didn’t take the chance to record that.

It started off with some single sword, but after about half an hour everyone switched to sword and shield. All in all, I got an hour of additional one on one fights. It was a lot of good content!

Eventually my arm got tired, I stopped recording and the bearpit died out. There was still fighting on the field, but I needed to take a break. My are was getting a bit sore. That ended up being the last of the content I got for the day.

As the fighting died down and people filtered away, the Amtgardians who were there got together to take a group photo (the picture at the top of the blog). Along with some Oregon Amtgardians there was also a Texas Amtgardian, Spicy. After the photo we all sat around on the grass visiting.

Eventually all the Amtgardians left, all but Critias, Kormac and Sploob. Kormac went off and had his own adventures, as he does. He hung out at the beer pong area while we went up to the dance.

Sploob first got dressed in his mushroom wizard get up, or his Sporlock costume as he likes to call it. The dance was fun, everyone seemed to be having a blast. We mostly hung out on the deck, as did many other people. Sploob was getting into the grove of things. He was casting dance spells with his mushroom staff while Critias loosened up and started moving a bit to the music.

At one point Sploob was approached and asked to patriciate in the costume contest. He made a wonderfully terrible dad joke about being a fun guy, and got some good groans. He didn’t win, but he made a good showing of it.

After the contest we made our way back down to the beer pong area. Kormac was still having a good old time. We spent the rest of our night there but eventually us day trippers got tired and we went home.

An Unexpected Belegarth Adventure

When I got up and found out that Sploob and Critias were not going to be coming back to site Sunday I was a little disheartened. Not so much that I wasn’t going to go to the site though. Given both Amtgardians who were camping, Alistair and Kormac, were leaving Sunday, I figured Sunday would end up being an earlier day for me than Friday and Saturday.

When I got to the site Alistair had already left and Kormac had packed up, although he was still fighting . He planned to leave later in the afternoon but not before he made a point to get me to record a versus video. He had wanted to be in one of my one on one fight videos for a while now. It just hadn’t worked out yet.

He wasn’t sure who he was going to fight, but he wanted to fight someone on video. However he was having some reluctance in asking people. It was comforting to know that even Kormac, who had just last night been out there having a good time, meeting new people, had some amount of social anxiety about asking someone to join him in a fighting video.

Eventually he worked up the courage to ask someone This person was Slate. Kormac had met him the night before. He also happened to be the dope armor guy of the event.

Dope Armor Guy, Slate
Kormac

They decided to battle it out in armor, making this the first versus video I reordered where the participants used armor. It turned out great and I can’t wait to share it. It was another high performance fight but after we were done, Kormac left.

I was the last Amtgardian standing.

The fighting had died down at this point and I was thinking of leaving as well, but first I wanted to find Angus and say good bye. I intended to crack open one beer, chat with him for a half and hour or so and then head out. That was around 3pm. I didn’t end up getting home till midnight.

One beer turned into two, then three, then we were out. We went on a mission to find a few more. Eventually we made our way to the top of the hill. I spent the night hanging out with Angus, his partner Aroura and Ryan (I don’t know if he has a game name).

I casually talked to a few Belegarth people, with Bhakdar being one of them. I mostly hung out in the background, listening to everyone having a fun time, just vibing. From what I gathered for many people this was their first event back after the pandemic. It certainly was the first Western Wars since the before times.

I guess my one regret for Sunday was that I didn’t engage with more people in conversation. However, given that my anxiety was fairly high all weekend I’m fairly happy with the fact I stayed and hung out for several hours beyond what I expected to do.

Eventually I sobered up and headed home.

Wrap Up

All in all it was a fairly good event. I think the event runners did a good job. The only complaint I heard amongst attendees was that they didn’t like that the group was split between the field and the top of the hill. They also recognized that was a site issue, not an event runner issue.

It was a different event than an Amtgard event, it was less busy. They had classes for non-fighters, but for the fighting it was mostly just ditches. Kormac did run a scenery game for them though.

Unlike Amtgard there wasn’t any event meals, but they did plan fun night activities so there was still community events. Some, like the dance was planned by the event, while others, like the beer pong was planned by the attendees.

I feel much better about recording in Belegarth now and I look forward to getting more Belegarth content. I plan on making at least one trip up to Pyke this summer to meet people in a smaller setting and get some more Belegarth content.

Western Wars Content

So what did I get? I got about a weeks worth of TikToks, half an hour of a single sword bearpit, a half an hour of a sword and shield bearpit, 16 minutes of ditching and two ten minute versus videos.

The TikToks will start rolling out today (5/31/2023). They will be released one a day till they are all gone, I have more than a weeks worth, but I’m not sure how many as I haven’t finished editing them

The bearpits will probably be broken up into ten minute videos. They may not start coming out for a month or two. I have about two months worth of videos already scheduled. I’m considering releasing an extra video here and there to get some Western Wars content on my channel sooner.

As for the two versus videos, it could also be some time before they are published. I might bump some of my non-Western Wars videos back so that the versus videos come out sooner, but I have not yet decided.

If you like my content consider becoming a Patron on Patreon. You can see my Tier 2 (Rock Gnomes) and 3 (Tinker Gnomes) supporters on my Patreon Supporters page as well as find out how to become a Patron yourself.