Hell of a Hat Challenge

Now, most of you know I’m a nerd.

I LARP. I write nerdy short fiction. I play video games. I post about nerdy things when I actually remember to post (which I will freely admit isn’t that often.) But I far from consider myself a spokesperson of all things nerd. I’m learning. I’m growing. I’m developing my craft, so to speak.

Part of that is learning from others and I have a ton of people to learn from. I am good friends with many of the creative team from Eschaton Media (the creators of one of my favorite games ever). I studied Music, Theatre, and Creative Writing in college. I constantly do character research and genre research for characters I’m going to play. I turn to others who are more experienced than I and learn from the lessons that they have to teach.

One of the amazing people I have learned a lot from is Peter Woodworth. If you didn’t notice, his blog is one of the blogs in my blogroll. His insight is amazing to me. He is a writer, game designer, and teacher. And if you don’t think you know of his work, if you know of the Mind’s Eye Society or the World of Darkness, then you know of his work as he helped out with those. He’s pretty epic.

On his blog, he posts a series known as Bad Ass Larp Tricks. It is some of my favorite things to read from him and makes me do a lot of thinking about the way I portray my character. He has had me ask myself whether or not I am always trying to be in the spotlight or am I sharing? Do my choices make sense for my character? Why am I even playing in the first place?

His most recent post (Badass Larp Tricks #14: Nice Shoes, Wanna Larp?) is about the character choices we make for costuming and props. It touched upon a tradition of my game dealing with the pre-game character stuff photo. One that I’ve partaken in a few times but not hugely. And he asked us to think of the reasons for the pieces we have. In a world of the post-apocolypse, there are reasons for your pieces. The reason may very well be “I found it” but there is a reason why you picked that piece over all the ones you found. You didn’t just obtain it. There is something behind it.

He challenged people to pick no less than 3 and no more than 6 items and photograph them. Items that are hugely important to the character in some way. Why? What makes these items so important? I never really thought about which items specifically to put in the pictures. I always just threw everything in. But now, I sort of realize the importance of thinking and chosing exactly which items are in the pictures. The pictures are just as much a story of Jeanie as the pieces in them. The items chosen tell just as much as stories we portray in game.

So here, I introduce to you my character from Dystopia Rising.

My character is Jeanie Thomas, also known as Iron Slave A-825. She is a runaway slave from a place called the Iron Works. If I had to pick three items that were the most important to Jeanie, it would be these three items.


What you see here are three of her most prized possessions: Her research notebook, a Glowing Green Rad Rod, and her necklace. Each piece is hugely important to her and would probably send her flipping out if they went missing.

Her research notebook – This was obtained from a merchant shortly after she learned to read with some of the first credits she had ever earned. Jeanie is an intensely logical person, to the point where emotions and common social interactions are confusing to her. She is a scientist who is trying to understand the world and does so through research and experiments. She collects data. She writes down theories and tries to crunch numbers so that she can understand the world around her. Her notebook is where she records all that information. It’s what she knows about the world. It’s how she understands everything around her. It’s what she is trying to understand. It’s beat up and bloody and burnt. She works at a forge and does experiments, fires and injuries happen. But as long as she has a place to record her research and look back at it, she feels a sense of security because one day, she might finally answer all her questions.

Her Glowing Green Rad Rod – This was a gift from a close friend and teacher upon the biggest evolutionary step in her life. Jeanie is a priest of the church of Darwin. She looks for ways to evolve. Radiation is a catalyst in that evolution. Carrying her green rod with her is a reminder of her need to evolve further and a reminder of just how far she has come since her life as a slave.

Her necklace – There are a lot of pieces on this necklace. Some a lot less important than others, but all with meaning. The fairy pin, the craftsman key chain, and the charm bracelet are all gifts to her from others when she was going through a really tough time. Each piece was a way that the gifter wanted to remind Jeanie of her strengths. The mess of key chain rings are the scrap pieces she used in escaping the Iron Works. The spool of wire is a tool she utilizes in her engineering and science projects. If there was any piece that I could not feel like Jeanie unless I had the piece, it is this piece here.

These are not her only possessions. She has quite a bit more. But these are the ones that most show her as she is. They are the ones with the most meaning. They are the ones that she treasures the most.


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