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Friday, December 31, 2010

SSP: Promo for tRANTasaurusRex

New from Fantasmagorio Productions:
Daily Rants by a 1-Foot Tall Green Plastic Dinosaur

Audio Promo

Available 1/1/11 from

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Mid-Level Crisis Podcast #30

Episode 30 - "I call upon Chaos to Wither your Year" - Recorded 12/21/2010 - Runtime 54m59s

MP3 Podcast Version

In this episode, Eric & Matt, joined by special guest Leah Odin, talk about nerdy stuff and the last NorthCoast NERO event - - and shamelessly promote The Long Slow Death of a Twenty-Something - - the EHS production of Twelfth Night: A Western What You Will - - and the upcoming NERO Elkins events -

Music at the beginning is "O Mistress Mine", written by William Shakespeare, arranged and played by Karl Smakula, sung by Morgan Haas. All of this is part of Twelfth Night: A Western What You Will (Jan 6th & 7th @ Elkins High School Theatre, Elkins, WV - ). "O Mistress Mine" and two other tracks are available at

LTAW #7: Noble Writ

For this week's LARP Thing-A-Week, I created Writs of Nobility for most of the NERO Elkins PC nobility.

What's a Writ of Nobility? This is a document stating that the character is a member of the peerage of a nation, the feudal hierarchy that governs that nation.

Why is it important? Falsely claiming a noble title is a crime in the Nations of Avalon (and likely everywhere that has a feudal government), so one must have one of these documents in order to claim a noble title and expect to be treated with the respect due to nobility. This is especially important when traveling to other nations where you are less well known.

I couldn't find any examples of this type of writ online, either in LARP or in history. My research, while not exhaustive, makes me think that these documents didn't really exist in history, or that they existed in some other form (grants of land, for instance, could prove a noble's land-holding status, and those do exist). I did find a Writ of Summons, which told a lord that he needed to attend parliament, and I drew some inspiration from that.

So, consider this an example to any of you who run LARPs or who are nobles and need to produce these writs for your underlings.

I used legal size paper to make it a bit fancier, and I printed it in a script style font, but I did not age the paper. I have seen these writs aged, but I don't think that's the way to go, unless you're producing an old document, like maybe the writ proclaiming Drakul to be Count of Transylvania.

The document should probably be written in flowery language (nobles love dressing things up), but don't let that get in the way of the important bits.
1) Who is granting the title. In my case, it's the king of our land, whose title is "Ilio"
2) Who the writ is for
3) What title the person has been granted and in what jurisdiction (also, if the title is an odd one, like ours, include what that title is equivalent to in other places the character may travel to)
4) A date on which the writ or title is granted

At the end, I put a sign (a scripted D for the king's signature) and a wax seal.

Here's what our language sounds like. Feel free to let these words inspire you.

His Royal Majesty
Big D
Ilio and Supreme Leader of Oilios, Dalantia, the Empire of the Sun, and the Lands of the Eight Fires
Defender of the Weak, Protector of Chivalry, Champion of the Right and Good

To Our right trusty and well beloved subject
Jim Bob Jones


Whereas thou hast sworn fealty to Us in the Kingdom of Hoozlefoos and thou hast taken thy sacred oath to uphold Our most beloved and cherished Code of Chivalry and thine actions hath made Us much inclined to favor thee, We make thee
~Title~ of ~This Place~ (or "to ~this person~")
until such time as Our favor turns or We promote thee within Our ranks

Whereas the Kingdom of Hoozlefoos hath entered into agreement with the Accords of Avalon upon the N Day of Sometime in the year Something, thou shalt present this document to the ranking noble at the earliest convenience when visiting another land within the Concordance and the etiquette of the Concordance shall be considered due and proper respect and thou shalt be considered of the title
~Alternate Title Name~
when visiting other lands within the Concordance

Sealed and Presented on this
the X Day of Month in the year Six-Hundred Whatever

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

LTAW #6: Tabard Part 2 (Ideas for making it awesome!)

This is part 2 of the LARP Thing-A-Week Tabard project. For part 1 (making a basic tabard) go to

For this week's LARP Thing-A-Week, I've decided to revisit the tabard I started in Week 4, and make it look totally awesome... well, to personalize it. And, I've got some ideas for what you can do to make your tabard more special.

I've added a few things that make my tabard special: a border in a contrasting color, a painted symbol, and a matching belt.

Here's my border:

I used this neat gold satin that I found for $0.50 a yard. I knew I wanted gold. So, I folded it over the edge and sewed it into place. I figured out later that a ribbon would have been much easier, because the edges would have already been fixed and there would have been no need for a hem, so I could have just sewn it onto the side of the tabard that people would see. Oh well, you live and learn. I put the border along the edges and also around the neck line. Then, I made a tie belt from the same fabric, as you can see in the side picture:

Lastly, I created stencils to help me paint the insignia on the front. I thought about creating the insignia from fabric and sewing it on, but that seemed too difficult, especially because this satin frays so easily.

Some ideas for your tabard:
-Many people choose multiple colors for their tabard and sew them together in a checkered or chevron pattern
-The bottom doesn't have to be square; it can be pointed or curved instead.
-Use the symbols from your character's Coat of Arms
-Simple patterns can be made from fabric - try using fabric glue instead of sewing, but be aware that this will need repaired sooner than sewn patterns.
-Use Iron transfers to put a complex symbol on the tabard - but use the transfer sheets for dark t-shirts... even if your tabard is light-colored, I think these transfers look much better.
-Can't sew? Hire a seamstress from your town or LARP group

I'd like to see your tabards. What sets your adventuring group apart? Post links to the pics and ideas for others to use.

*Btw, this is the tabard for my barbarian's new adventuring group, and the design is based on the tabard for Alea Iacta Est, of which I am a proud member (Deathezaro)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

LTAW #5: Coat of Arms

There's a lot of history and tradition and law surrounding the heraldry of knighthood. Fortunately, we can pick and choose which of those rules and traditions we follow for LARP characters. I've always been a bit interested in heraldry, as a fan of knights and of history, so I've read quite a but of info on the subject, but here's the basics.

1) Coats of Arms were issued for individuals, not families. A son might take up his father's arms, but there are no familial shields. However, that's a rule LARPers could choose to ignore.

2) The main part of the arms is the shield. Your creation for your LARP character could be mirrored on his shield. Shapes of shields, style of mantle, and style of helmet on the crest are all determined by the artist or herald, so feel free to experiment with these. You may, for instance want your shield to be the same shape as your character's shield. If this is a crest for a modern-day character, perhaps a vampire who has been around for centuries, you may want the helm and shield to reflect a certain time period or location.

3) Heraldic symbols use colors and metals (silver, often represented by white, and gold, often represented by yellow). In general, metals should appear on top of colors and colors should appear on toil of metals or other colors.

I found a site with lots of info on heraldry. Of course, they're trying to sell you a custom designed Coat of Arms, but you're creative enough to take their tips (and maybe a couple of their images) and make your own, like I did.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Mid-Level Crisis Podcast #29

Episode 29 - "I Call Upon Podcast to Create Unslept" - Recorded 11/30/2010 - Runtime 43m29s

MP3 Podcast Version

In this episode, Eric & Matt, joined by special guest Leah of Oden, play "All For Me Grog" by the Jolly Rogers - - read emails from Daniel and Mike (Thanks so much!), rant a bit about the (dis)organization of NERO International and her chapters, and shamelessly promote The Long, Slow Death of a Twenty-Something - + - Matt's book - - LARP Thing A Week - - and the upcoming NorthCoast NERO - - and NERO Elkins events -

Call the LARP Line 304-986-LARP (5277)