National Coordinator Blog Post #10 – CAiNE Memories #1

cainelogo1_Plain CAiNE Memories #1

Hey folks, Jeff had the idea of collecting stories from members about IC memories of CAiNEs past.  So we’ve asked and people have responded.  This is the first in a sporadic series of things people remember from the various games we’ve held over the last decade and more at our annual national convention.

Story #1 – Submitted by Jessica Burch (CA2010050107)

Hi Jeff,
I’m not really sure if this is the kind of thing you’re looking for, but most of my best moments in the club have revolved around moments I’ve created (or helped create) for others.

In the run-up to CAiNE 2014, we the ST staff were all busily planning our plots.

I was the Changeling Venue Lead and also the Changeling VST at the time, and was mourning the death of a favourite NPC – Byron Oakes, erstwhile King of Fall.  (The death was my choice, and happened in part BECAUSE he was a favourite NPC – I didn’t want to be ‘that ST’ who protects theirs).  I was, frankly, surprised by the depth of attachment I’d formed to the character, such that his death provoked such a reaction in me (given that I’ve been LARPing for more than a decade now, I really should have known better…)

Meanwhile, the Mage Venue Lead needed a ‘last survivor’ from an alternate realm (which eventually came to be known as Earth 2).  We were brainstorming one day, talking about various celebrities, maybe figures of note in the city (e.g. the mayor).  Then, all of the sudden, he looks at me and says ‘what if, instead of being taken, in this world, Byron awoke as a mage and is still alive?’  The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea – if nothing else, we figured it would be a nice reference for the locals (most of the mage players also played changeling at that point).  Thus, Byron, Acanthus Mysterium of Earth 2’s Vancouver was born.

He had been much happier in his Earth 2 incarnation, having married the woman he loved, and been spared the madness of a durance and the war that had rendered the Vancouver Freehold a mere shadow of itself at chronicle’s start.  However, things just never seem to work out for Byron… as reality began to disintegrate around him, the master of Space and Fate threw up a Hail-Mary spell to try to reach someone who could help turn the tide.  It was a very confused mage indeed who fell through the door of the Whistler Convocation in a reality that the Abyss was not (yet) on the verge of consuming.

The character was intended as mostly a means of serving up the main CAiNE plot, and ensuring that the characters could get to and from the alternate continuity.  He was supposed to disappear after fulfilling that purpose – a nice cameo/last hurrah for the character.  The PCs, as PCs often do, threw a spanner in the works by convincing him to stick around.

The character must have had an impact, as we were soon hearing from the Mage staff of CAiNE 2015, asking if Byron could have moved to Hamilton at some point during the ensuing year.  (Can a master of space and fate truly be said to reside anywhere?).  I agreed, of course, and offered to reprise the role – happy that people appreciated the character.

I didn’t anticipate how awkward I’d feel portraying the character primarily for people who hadn’t known him previously.  I’d gone from being able to rely on the suspension of disbelief typically accorded to an ST managing a diverse cast of NPCs, through a wink-and-a-nod to players who were mostly familiar with the character already, to being completely reliant on my costuming/acting skills to carry things off.  I don’t typically play characters of the opposite sex, so I found the whole thing a little nerve-wracking as I waited patiently in the hallway to have the character’s entrance cued.

I began to feel reassured when one of the photographers ran up to me while I was sitting there, saying she ‘needed to get a picture of this’.  In the end, I think Byron’s appearance in Hamilton was probably less successful than his (intended) cameo in Vancouver, but the experience of portraying the character put my outside of my comfort zone in productive ways and helped facilitate two years of epic story.

Jessica Burch