About Ballgowns & Battleskirts

Originally, the plan was to use this blog to share and discuss favourite characters and character concepts, but I quickly got carried away chronicling the roleplay campaigns I'm involved in. Now, the blog predominantly follows the tales of Queen Svetlana Surtova and the Ifrit Jvala in Pathfinder and Chrissie "The Phoenix" Walker in Aberrant, interspersed with circus skill and Blood Bowl updates, occasional fiction or real world interludes and even, sometimes, the characters I wanted to discuss originally.

What is Roleplay?

I've generally assumed that if you're reading my blog, you know what I mean by roleplay. If you don't, please read on.

My favourite description of roleplay is "shared storytelling". In general terms, one person takes the role of narrator of the story and the other people each take on a role of a main character. The narrator then provides setting, plot-hooks and background characters for the players to interact with. The narrator is often known as a Games Master and this is usually abbreviated to GM. In my opinion (and it is a popular opinion), rather than a "GM vs players" competitive situation, games are best when the players and GM work together to build a story that everyone enjoys.

The type of roleplay I prefer is known as "table top roleplay" because it takes place, most often, around a table. The players have a sheet with information about their character and there is usually a means of introducing chance (manipulated by character ability) to the game, most often dice. Other people prefer LARP ("Live Action Role Play"), where actions are  not described in word but physically acted out. It can be a lot of fun, but relies more on your own skills and (for me) removes some of the freedom and escapism of a table top game: in the real world, I am not a great fencer or master acrobat; in a table top game, I can be.

What is Blood Bowl?

A game originally created by Games Workshop as part of their "Specialists Games" range. It's based on American Football with true fantasy teams - elves and orcs and goblins and dwarves and other races from the history of Warhammer. It's an alternative world, where the various races and nations took up playing sport rather than going to war.

It's primarily designed for league play, so the players in your team can improve (by earning Star Player Points) and also get hurt or even killed (they may not go to war, but they're still pretty violent). My local league is the Exiles and you can find out more about us here.

There is also an international tournament scene, overseen by the NAF (they have a lot more and better written info on the game, too). Our local area seems to have at least one tournament most months, which is fantastic.

What is Circus?

I'm sure everyone knows what a circus is, but when I'm talking about 'circus' I should really be talking about 'aerial' as I'm usually referring to my keep-fit sessions. They're run by local group 'Secret Circus' (also on Facebook). I'm learning to work on aerial hoop and on silks (and hopefully soon trapeze); as someone naturally bendy (I'm hypermobile in quite a lot of joints), I find hoop easier but as my strength builds I've seen significant improvement on both apparatus. It's an incredibly fun way to get fit - highly recommend. Mostly when I'm talking about it here it's as much a chance to show off as it is to analyse and work on improving.