Friday, 10 October 2014

Kampi's Saga: Concept, Development, and Kit

Today will be my first full entry of Kampi's Saga, a sort of design diary/character journal for my first live-action roleplay character in the fantasy realm of Medieval Chaos: Ref 'Kampi' Vandillsson, devotee of Wodinaz.

Character Concept

Based upon my initial read-through of the career trees and classes in the Players Handbook, I was originally going to make a Rogue character, but further consideration of my enjoyment of the combat we practised at Vanguard Training the past couple months meant that most Rogue characters aren't as martial compared to other classes, at least the concept I was going for (think Solomon Kane). One the other hand, I'm not a particularly good fighter and most of the Fighter classes held little interest for me mechanically. So after rethinking my interests I decided upon a Divine Caster, with long term plans of becoming a Cleric after being an Acolyte.

I think this may be the closest visual where I'd
like Kampi's concept to end up.
Acolytes (and their high guild offshoots, Paladin and Cleric) are the more martial of your Divine Casters, as opposed to the more magic-heavy Priests (and their offshoots Bishops and Cardinals).

I think tend to initially gravitate to rogue/thief-style classes in most fantasy RPGs, but I think I enjoy playing Clerics the most: Healing, Spellcasting, Heavy Armour, and all that delicious RP potential from having a dedicated Deity. Not so much Paladins, which tend to have way more restrictions and thus seem always similar to me. Clerics can be of any walks of life and have all sorts of philosophical viewpoints. Paladins tend to be archetypical, not so much with Clerics.

So Kampi, as he is commonly known as, is this at his core: a Viking warrior and true believer of the gods of his people. Thus he's heavily based upon Old Nordic culture and belief, with a bit of Celtic influence.

I even made his name reflect such: I based the first letter of each part of his name around my own acronym: RKV. Each component follows similar Old Norse word use: Ref means 'Fox'. Kampi is his nickname, which means 'Whiskers or Moustache'. Lastly, 'Vandill' (which is similar to my own surname Vandall) means 'Sword'. The suffix of '-sson' belongs to an Old Norse naming convention still used in Iceland: essentially the name of my father; ergo 'son of sword'.

You can see how much thought I put into this, and how forever lost I am.

Development References

Aside from seeing recently the wicked Vikings exhibit at the Royal BC Museum, and browsing the internet, there's a couple books I've read that further helped me get into the mindset of a Norsemen and build Kampi's backstory and beliefs:
  • Viking: The Norse Warrior's Unofficial Manual by John Haywood: This excellent book covers all the basics of the Viking Age and has been an invaluable resource developing Kampi.
  • GURPS Vikings, Second Edition by Graeme Davis: Although an RPG book, this title has a good collection of info on everyday life on vikings, not just gods and raiding we all know.
  • D&D's Legends & Lore and Deities and Demigods contains useful information for the construction of Kampi's beliefs in gods and cosmology.
  • Mythology by Philip Wilkinson & Neil Philip, and Mythologies of the World by Max S. Shapiro and Rhoda A. Hendricks help round my knowledge of Norse myth. I'm a big fan of mythology in general, and Kampi allows me to bring that interest into character.

Kit Overview

Here's a basic overview of the kit I've currently assembled for Kampi, from left to right, top to bottom:

  • Tasselled touque/chullo cap: I might opt for more appropriate headgear in the future, but for now I quite like this thrift-store find. I'm also considering a helmet for both IC/OOC protective reasons.
  • Large hooded hoodie: front pocket removed, beads added to drawstrings, and embellished with a few slash and stab marks sewn up with runes: The longer phrase says "May Eir keep this soul from Hel." stitched in elder furthark, and the three short marks are the names of Kampi's oathbound in younger (long branch) futhark. I might adorn the edge of the hood with more runic in the future.
  • Acrylic sweater: I wanted to do the whole Monty Python and the Holy Grail trick and find a used sweater in the ideal style and spray-paint it silver to make cheap faux chain mail. The Missus' came across this thrift find instead and I didn't even need to paint it! I turn it inside out because the inside knit pattern looks more mail-ish. Currently not apart of my kit until Kampi has an IC reason to have heavier armour.
  • Charcoal cloak: A simple 5'x5' piece of a very nice wool-based fabric. I wear it on cool nights post-mission Viking/Saxon-style with the opening over my weapon arm. I currently pin it with the Celtic penannular brooch I got for the Missus a few years back from Gaukler Medieval Wares. Am currently seeking my own brooch closer to the style/size I'd prefer. Another thing I love about this cloak is that it doubles as a pillow/blanket when I go camping. The Missus found some fox fur that we're going to eventually add as trim around the neckline.
  • Antler pendant: My much more talented, better-half carved a valknut into it, the holy symbol of Kampi's chief deity: Wodinaz.
  • Hard-leather vambraces and fingerless gloves: The bracers keep my forearms protected and were made by local artisan Labyrinth Leathercraft; they were also the last pair in my small arm-size so they were on sale. The gloves help me keep a better grip upon my weapons and protect my hands a tiny amount from strikes.

  • 'WorkmanUtilikilt: A birthday gift many years ago from a best friend. I was super excited when I realized it was perfect for my lower apparel needs; it allows for much mobility and customization. Main pockets are currently empty but I may start to keep Kampi's prayer/notebook in one (a small, brown leather-bound, hand-binded journal by another Victoria artisan, Spellbinding Books; for $19 a pretty sweet purchase for a custom journal). I keep my weapon slung in the adjustable tool loop on the right-side of the kilt.
  • Plain canvas messenger bag: I've had this bag for years, it's perfectly sized for porting around items I can't fit upon my person, such as:
    - Waterbottle.
    - Drinking Horn. Boiled and waxed for use. Decorated with 'gold' band.
    - Potions.
    - Various foodstuffs wrapped in parchment paper and tied up with twine.
    - Misc. Goods.
  • Bandoleer belt with leather pouches: The belt itself I picked up off of a VSE vendor a few years ago for steampunking. The two conjoined pouches are World War era from an military antiques place I also acquired years ago for steampunking; the single one I found in Mexico years ago; I keep a wrapped lighter in its external pocket and a small torchlight clipped to the belt for when I cast the Spark and Ray of Light spells respectively. The pouches contain naught but empty tins right now. I also hang a wooden mallet upon the belt (speaks of Kampi's background as a carpenter/woodcarver and has possible future use with the Repair Armour ability). I used to hang some rabbit fur from the belt to cover up the Utilikilt logo until the hide ripped. Seeking solution.
  • Sporran: Can't own a kilt proper without a sporran, even if it is a contemporary kilt. I acquired this sporran online the year after I graduated high-school, before I even had my Utilikilt and was rocking a kilt-skirt like a fool. The sporran currently contains a comb made of horn, a partially used tall candle, and small wooden bowl with lid (once held shaving soap); inside the bowl is a variety of sentimental/found items: dried orange peel, a sprig of long fur/whiskers, some fabric scraps, bone dice (2d6), a glass bead, and a squat beeswax candle.

  • Weapons; I currently own two: the first is a Calimacil two-handed studded club (known as The Dentist); it's length is a little too long to justify its use as a starter weapon for human peasants in MC, so currently I use a shorter Calimacil warhammer (Percefer) as my main. I'm planning on acquiring/making a staff/spear/polearm in the the future, and possibly a shield. I've been borrowing my friend's Epic Armoury 'Gobbo' latex shield for Vanguard Training, and it hangs easily from the left-side clip of my kilt. Also the nice thing about a shield is if I use the larger club as my main, I can tuck the smaller warhammer behind the shield grip for easy access if I become disarmed or an opponent gets in close and I need a shorter weapon. Right now I can't weild shields as a peasant/apprentice, so I'm debating if I want to get a Gobbo-style, the slightly larger Ironshod, or the full punch-grip Viking shield in the future.
  • Pair of foam shin/knee guards: I got them unused and cheap from a thrift store following particularly harsh training day at Vanguard had caused my right ankle to swell up from all the bruising I sustained upon my leg. Currently I don't use them, but I intend to when I get into heavier combat. Although bright red, they are hidden perfectly when I pull my kilt hose over-top or under pant legs as an NPC.
  • Kilt hose and woollen socks: I wear two pairs of socks, I helps fill out my boots and cushion my feet/shins a bit.
  • Shin-high, leather Demonia 'Gravel' boots: Steel-toed, good tread, and studded; this pair of heavy metal boots I've owned for a long time and are great for MC. The only downside is that because the way they're built they're not really that waterproof, but I'm seeing if I can rectify that.
As you can see, I'm attempting to keep Kampi's visual pallet limited to black, silver, greys, and browns. Grey is a colour/shade associated with Woden/Odin and thus Wodinaz, so I'd like to incorporate that as much as possible.

This all for this entry. Have any tips on developing one's character in a LARP? Leave your suggestions in the comments!

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