Rusting Over

It has been several months since I made a post. It’s been a rough year and I just couldn’t keep up with my pre-pandemic pace of weekly blogs. Not to mention I haven’t been going to Amtgard weekly since things have opened up. I still go of course, but It’s more like 60% instead of 95% of the time.

On top of that I’ve been nursing a pulled arm muscle for several months now, making it impossible to use my left arm at Amtgard. That means I haven’t been playing the game for months now. I tried not using my left but I instinctually switch hands and swing and it hurts. I don’t want to unlearn that habit so I’m choosing to wait till I’m healed before I go back to fighting. The rust is settling in before it even had time to be shaken off.

New Tool, New Skill

That being said I’ve still been recording videos and thanks to my Patreons I was able to buy a gimbal for my phone, which I’ve been practicing with. There is a learning curve but I think I’m getting the hang of it pretty quickly. At the moment the quality of the videos isn’t as good as hand held, but I had years of practice of holding it level and still. I’ve only used the gimbal for maybe 2 or 3 total hours. Once I get the hang of it, I think there will be a noticeable difference.

If you look at Amtgard Fights: Sploob vs Odin Part 1 you can see my first attempt at using the gimbal. If you look at Amtgard Fights: Sploob vs Critias 2 you can see my second attempt. While not perfect I think there is marked improvement. I have another video I’m working on, my third attempt, where I filmed 45 minutes of ditching. I did some experiments with angles and moving around so I’m excited to see what that looks like. It’s fun learning a new skill.

Amtgard Projects

I’m slowly getting back into streaming again on my Twitch Channel. It started last month when I restarted Baelnorn and Friends: October. Baelnorn and Friends is a monthly chat stream where I invite some of my LARP friends on to chat and drink. We talk Amtgard, LARP, games and general nerd things. The next one is actually this weekend, November 20th at 8pm PST (Facebook Event Page).

I also have some upcoming video projects. One, an interview series, is almost finished. I hope to make a trailer for it soon, however I’ve been putting it off because I want to tie it into my next project. My next project is a narrative LARP video series centered around a gladiator origination set in the world of Shattered Kingdoms.

I’m excited for the my second project and I can’t wait to get started, but I know it’s a long term project. I need to get at least 8 dedicated fighters who are willing to participle in cooperative story telling. There is a lot of pre-production work to do for both myself and the fighters.

My goal is to use the interview series to hype up a Kickstarter campaign to help pay for the narrative LARP video project. I’d like to run a production campout where most of the filming will take place. I have some pretty grand plans. If you want to be a fighter in the project, shoot me a message and we’ll chat.

Writing Stuff

I’m also still writing! I’m starting to get back on a weekly schedule for my writing streams. I’ve missed the last two weeks due to real world issues, but I hope to continue it next week. I stream from 11am to 1pm PST. Sometimes I’ll go longer but I’m trying to go for at least two hours. It feels good to get back to writing.

Speaking of which, I’ve once again wrote in my Philip Clowes novel. Over the span of a week I spent 3 days working on my novel and finished 19 pages of new material, on top of doing editing work. I haven’t put out this much work in a long time. It’s been crazy.

Coffee Please!

In an effort to give additional ways to help support me I finally set up a Ko-fi page. This does not take the place of my Patreon page. That’s still my main vehicle for my supporters to support me, but I thought that having the option of a one time payment might appeal to some.

On top of being a one time payment, I can tell you exactly what it will be used for, coffee. At this point all the proceeds raised from my Ko-fi page will go towards paying for coffee at my local café so I can have a fun, but distraction free, work place. You can rest comfortably in the knowledge that your $5 will be put to good use, renting a public office for my writing. On top of that you’ll get a special discord role, Coffee Patron, on my discord server!

If you want to donate you can click on the support me button floating on the bottom left of your page; I added a floating button. Or you can click on the following button

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Don’t forget you can become a Patron too!

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.

Shaking Off the Rust

I did a double day weekend. I went to Silvermoon (Aumsville, OR) on Saturday and Dusk Hollow (Dallas, OR) on Sunday. Saturday was mostly a normal day, there was no special event, but something interesting did happen. Then on Sunday there was the Arcana fighter practice at Dusk Hollow, which I recorded a few videos from. On top of that, a few of my videos have popped off, at least compared to my usual, so I plan on sparing a few paraphs on that near the end.

Saturday

Indra got to do something he always wanted to do, play a ditcher in a class battle game. He’s been talking about there being some sort of class that was immune to all magic and abilities, both harmful and helpful, so Ice Blast wouldn’t work, nor would Resurrection or Heal. All spell balls would count as projectiles when they hit. The class can use all melee weapons and shields of any sizes. It wasn’t till that day that someone said sure, we’ll call it a monster and play test it. Indra was ecstatic.

Every time Indra talks about this class he gets it in his head that I hate the idea for some reason. I thought it was fine, I was just realistic and told him that I don’t think it would ever become an official class. I think the idea is interesting and I’m glad he has finally gotten to play it. Spoiler, he loved it!

I also tried it out. I filled in one round for Vale and I did enjoy myself. It was nice not having to worry about any crowd control abilities. It was very freeing; all I had to worry about was who I was going to fight and any projectiles that might be flying my way. I don’t know about the balance. It made no real difference in the two games that Indra played in, other than it actually got Indra to be in a class battle. I’m unsure of the balance if used more widely. I doubt it will take off but it’s nice they are letting Indra (and I guess me) test it out at our local park.

Other than playing that one round and talking with people I haven’t seen in a while, I didn’t do much actual Amtgard that day, but I did get some video. I got two YouTube Shorts and a Amtgard Fights video from the day. I’ll link my videos at the end of the blog if you’d like to take a look.

Sunday

Spoiler alert, Sunday was my fun day. I got there early, along with the Arcana members, who’s practice was taking place before the start of Dusk Hollow. I got some decent video, but what I’d really like to talk about is all the fun I had.

After their practice opened up to other members, and I was done with video recording, I picked up a shield and short sword and joined the ditch. I had a blast, plus I was doing fairly well. I even killed all three players on the other side and ended up by myself vs four people. It was a few rounds before I got a kill, but I had some good starts where I was able to divide the pack, legging someone and moving on.

The ditch didn’t go on very long, but long enough that everyone wanted to take a short break and it was decently short. It wasn’t long till some more people showed up and we started another ditch. That’s where I really began to feel like I was having fun. I grabbed a short sword (thanks for the loaner Critias), and joined in the ditch.

I don’t remember the precise time we started, but I know I fought for at least half an hour straight, maybe up to an hour. I fought long enough that as I’m sitting here writing this I am still pretty sore. My shoulders from swinging the sword, lower back/waist area from twisting, my legs due to bending my knees and bursts of movement and even my hand from gripping the sword is swore. Every bit of me was out of shape and not used to the movements of fighting.

Despite the soreness I’m dealing with now, I don’t regret getting out there and having the fun I had. Not only was it fun, I was told by a few others that I was doing pretty good and I have to agree. I got kills with my short sword and some pretty good ones actually. I was pretty consistent, especially considering how rusty I am.

There was one fight where Cid moved to far in front of his line and I said fuck it, he’s close enough, I could rush his side and kill him before he could block. I knew I’d die in the process, but I mentally shrugged and went for it. I rushed in, killing him and in return a person with a great sword tagged my arm and a few people swung, but in the end, I stood there alive and Cid was dead. Everyone stood around there stunned, no one moved into kill me for what seemed like an eternity, but was likely more like 5 seconds.

I was stunned, how was I not dead? I still don’t know how it happened, but if I hadn’t assumed I was going to die, I may very well gotten a few more kills. I wasn’t the only one stunned at what happened. After the moment passed we all chuckled about it and no one really understood why no one moved it. It was just one of those weird and surprising moments.

That was the only fighting I got that day, mainly because it was the last ditch of the day. I felt really good and I’m looking forward to more fighting in the future!

YouTube and TikTock Videos

Last night I posted a TikTok video, one that I posted on YouTube, called Critias the Killer. It had performed well on YouTube, at least for me, so I figured I should put it to music, and publish it on TikTok and so I did. I went to bed thinking nothing of it. I figured if it was doing well I might have a few hundred views and maybe 20 or so likes.

Much to my surprise, when I woke up and looked at the video I had 1800+ views and 80+ likes. I was blown away. To put it into perspective my highest viewed video 1455 views and 31 likes and that video was posted in October of 2020. I can’t wait to see if this translates to my videos getting even more views in the future. I can’t wait to find out. I’ve already gotten 10 or so new followers.

While at the park Saturday I posted the YouTube video of Critias the Killer and I shared it around the local Amtgard Facebook Groups. If you haven’t seen it (Link Below), take a watch. Between Saturday and Monday the video had around 60 views, which is pretty good for me. I was happy. Then, when I woke up this morning (Tuesday), after I already was hyped from the success of my TikTok, I found that it had 255 views and 9 likes. I was like “Holy Shit”! That’s more than any views or likes I’ve had yet.

To top it off, as I’m writing this, just after the last paraph I wrote actually, I checked the YouTube video and I got an additional 100 views and 3 more likes. It’s only been two hours! It must have gotten picked up by the algorithm last night and is still doing the rounds. I had two big hits of dopamine this morning.

The Future

I look forward to putting out more videos. I have a few already edited and ready to go. It’s been hard not posting them, when they are done, I really want to share them, but for growth’s sake it’s best if I release them over time. I plan on continuing adding videos, it’s seeing success like this that really makes me feel like I’m going in the right direction. It’s great!

I’m going to be doing Amtgard interviews with people at park in the future. They will be shorter videos, I’m aiming for 15-30 minutes, just to highlight other players. I don’t intend this to just be a series of popular Amtgarders, but also the “average” Amtgarder. So look for that over the next few months. I should start recording them in the next few weeks. I just don’t know what my editing schedule will be like.

Next week I’ll be attending Mystic Seas (Troutdale, OR). There is a knights meeting that I shouldn’t miss, but I’m sure I’ll get in some whacks too and of course record some videos.

Videos

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.

We’re Back!

Northwest Amtgard is back! There are no more restrictions on meetings. I attended Silvermoon (Aumsville, OR) along with 54 other people. It was our coming back celebration combined with our mid-reign. There was a feast and a tournament.

The tournament was a three bracket bear pit tournament, short sword, two swords and sword and shield. I would say that was the main event of the day. The first bracket was 25 minutes but that turned out to be a little too long in the heat so the last two were only 20 minutes.

I didn’t participate in the tournament myself, but I did live stream it! I’ve uploaded the video to YouTube in three parts (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3). The YouTube quality isn’t the best due to it being taken from the VOD of the live stream. I was thinking that going forward I would bring two cameras, one to live stream and one to record for YouTube. Of course, that is if people would like me to stream when possible. Please let me know either way!

While I didn’t participate in the tournament I did give some advice to my Squire Indra’s younger brother, Adolfo. I’m not sure if he picked an Amtgard name yet, this was one of his first days. I gave him a few minute introduction to two stick and fought a few rounds with him. I got tired very fast, it was sad, but I think that was pretty common for most of the people coming back. Thanks COVID!

Adolfo got at at least one kill in the two sword bracket. I know this because he got excited and told me that he was able to use something I showed him to win. It was great to hear how excited he was. I was happy to have helped him have that memory.

After the tournament there was court, a very quick court, with lots of awards going out. Some had already gone out during the pandemic but they handed them out again so people could have physical copies. You can see a full list of who got what on the Silvermoon Facebook Group. For myself I got my 8th Dragon for the Shattered Kingdoms Wiki and my 4th and 5th Lion for my contribution to the online Amtgard experience over the pandemic.

The last part of the day was the battle game. It took a very long time to get started and then it lasted a long while too. I stayed near the shelter and talked with Indra and eventually we got in some short sword practice. I didn’t do as well as I’d like, I missed some blocks I shouldn’t have, but I still had speed and some footwork I got tired very fast but I pushed through it. I really need to up that endurance.

Photoshoots!

With us coming back to the parks I thought I would offer a new service, character portraits. My goal is to offer a professional product at a reasonable price. I figured if I’m going to be at the park and I’m going to have my camera, I might as well offer mini photoshoots. The base price is $30, this includes an approximate fifteen minute photoshoot and one edited image. I’m willing to travel to other parks, but there is a small charge to cover gas. Check out my Photo Services page for more details

I’m excited to start this endeavor! Please contact me if you have any questions or would like to arrange a photoshoot.

Live Streams?

I mentioned early that I live streamed and I’m wondering if people would like me to continue to try and live stream LARP days. I’d really like some feedback. I’m not 100% sure what this would look like yet. It’s best for streaming if I’m able to announce when I start and be able to stream for a few hours. This also requires a bit of work on my part, you shouldn’t just set up a the stream and walk away. I’d want to monitor the stream chat and be interactive.

Additionally the video quality of the stream is watchable, but for YouTube, it’s really not great. The only thing I can think of is to use my camera alongside my phone (that’s how I stream IRL content). This is a bit of a cumbersome workaround and is not ideal.

Chances are I will try to do this for a while, just to see how it goes, but I’d really enjoy some feedback.

Next Week

Next week I will probably go to Dragons Forge on Sunday, it’s their grand opening. I might also go to Silvermoon on Saturday too! I’m not sure if I’m ready to do two days back to back, but we’ll see. I’m sure to be out one of those two days.

Restrictions are over and we’re back at park, LARPing it up! I talk about my day, live streams and photoshoots.