Welcome to Empirical Purple

A blog by Simon Brady to cover a surprisingly wide range of geekiness, in a combination that no-one else does quite the same way. Probably. Either that, or it'll just be Simon talking about the likes of Football (usually the Soccer variety), PC & Tabletop Gaming, WWE, Movies, Music and occasionally even my actual job of Graphic Design, depending on what I'm up to in the world.



Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Empire LARP Event 7 - Heating Up

Two Highborn warriors, fresh from kicking the Druj
in the face on Saturday evening's skirmish.
Kasia and I haven't been to an Empire event since we jetted off for a life in the UAE. Ever since the 2013 Summer Solstice event we've been wistfully watching Facebook as people post their pictures, reviews and other froth about how good (or bad, in the case of the weather) the three events were that we missed. To have missed out on as much of the Empire game as we'd already played - Play three, Skip three - it felt very much like we might come back to something completely different and far beyond our understanding of current events.

Thankfully, everything fit into place immediately. We turned up on Thursday evening to camp the extra night for the first time, having only been back in the UK for 24 hours, and promptly had the best Empire weekend yet. For Kasia, it even rivaled some of the best events of Maelstrom, which says quite a lot.

Most people will do a Good/Bad/Ugly review of their weekend, but there was nothing either Bad or Ugly for me, just Good points and bits between the Good points when I was resting or recovering. But here goes all my cool bits anyway (of which there are many), in elaborate bullet point form:

  • Being welcomed back so heartily after 3 events was brilliant. Everyone remembered us! To be missed so obviously both IC and OC is a testament to how good the friends are that we've made over the three long weekends of 2013.
  • General Ruth had waited a whole year just for me, in order to dedicate her to Ambition. I'd barely been IC for half an hour and already had a lovely, intimate bit of game. Doing it in the Highborn Chapel just as the Speaker was ringing the bell for an Inquisition of Senators made it even better.
  • Revealing the fact that General Ruth and Earl Bohemond, both candidates for the Throne, were also both my dedicates of Ambition as they chatted together shortly afterwards was hilarious. Two of the three horses currently in the race for Emperor/Empress having Jacob as a spiritual adviser seems appropriately ambitious!
  • Being a unique and special snowflake in terms of the priests within Highguard brings its own game. Everywhere you see Vigilance and Loyalty, but considering there are only 8 Ambition priests in total on the entire field of 2,000 people, and none other in Highguard, really helps. The downside is Jacob can't help in group priestly Exorcism matters except in special circumstances (i.e. leading a ceremony or when all 7 virtues are required) but that's not that much of an issue. Cool stuff always awaits.
  • Saturday's battle. Finally I got to use the shield that was finished in time for E4. Finally I got to assault the fort that had been put up for E4. Finally I got to have a real near-death experience and a proper Big Damn Heroes moment. Long story short: After Highguard had cleared the left flank of the fort, we also had to protect access for the battering ram, and then make a hole for entry as well. Valiant assailants rotated in and out to get through the door, until I got to the front and was promptly dropped. 'Take your fallen!' cried the Orcs, giving me an opportunity to not-die. 'Do you feel safe lying there?' asked the refs, making sure I wouldn't get splatted. No-one came to pick me up, so the Orcs dragged me into the fort, to lie in the shade of the walls with some water and let me die in peace. No-one was breaking into the fort and even if they did I wasn't going to be rescued in time. I was dead, Jacob was on his way out, and there was nothing I could do about it. There I was, counting the 4 minutes that I had away, when part of the fort wall collapsed and I rolled over a few times to get back into the shade. Next to me I found Earl Bohemond, of all people. With less than 30 seconds to go, he came over, gave me a potion to drink, and shortly there were around half a dozen of us on our feet inside the fort. Nobody paid us any attention, and when the fort finally was breached we charged, rather gloriously it has to be said, into the rear of the Orcs to link up with the Imperials who had broken in. It was, all in all, amazing. Without the extra minute of bleed time from the Oakheart Shield bonded to me before the battle, and without the Earl, Jacob would be dead. Instead? Glory. Rousing the vanguard to get us past the few defenders and into the woods was also great, plus I never got to see the tragedy of the rearguard in the retreat. Mission frickin' accomplished.
  • Actually playing politics. Taking part in the Inquisition of the Senators about the Jotun treaty on Friday, asking a tough Jacob-appropriate question in the election of the Bastion Senators on Saturday and voting based on trust, lending some votes to the Ambition and General Assemblies and even being asked to proxy Cardinal of Ambition for a short time on the Sunday. Having to work out how to deal with the fact that the potential Bastion Senator I trusted least was the one who answered General Tyrus' "Metre of Ground" question the best.
  • A second Ambition dedication, this time to a newly-installed Senator Jada. Rather than an impromptu ten second ceremony, this one had candles, incense, an audience, face paint marking and even applause and theological debate at the end, under a shooting star.
  • Hearing that Senator Adamah had mentioned Jacob's advice in Senate question on whether he'd thought about taking the Throne or not, and also General Ruth mentioning Jacob as a potential spiritual adviser in her Inquisition for the Throne by the Nine. The Ambition to lead the Empire by guiding the major players is really starting to come off, and I haven't been there for the last 3 events!
  • Songs and stories with the Navarr on Saturday night. The woods are a lovely place to be at night when music is playing, and the gathering led by Jamie Wakefield was excellent and very welcoming. Songs like Mariana and Ride On were fabulous, as well as showing the crayon-faced murder monkeys how to dance like a Highborn (which evidently looks like some stern sort of Riverdance thing, based on what I was doing). Even better than that, though, was finally understanding what it means to be a Navarr, all thanks to The Raccoons theme tune 'Run With Us'. Seriously, Youtube it, it's a perfect fit.
  • Good fighting all round. Moving fallen players out the way before being trampled on, taking and playing heroic strikes suitably awesomely and, for me, the look of abject horror on the face of someone on Saturday when he hit me on the top of my head with a one-handed axe as hard as he could. He was mortified, and I was fine and just made sure to Shatter his shield a few moments later as payment.
  • My group, The Cenotaph, with all their food, fighting and fun, seeing everyone who I've not been hanging around with for a year. Singing rounds and joining in on the choir practice because I thought I had nothing better to do and it turned out there really would have been nothing better to do than that. Armouring up for the Saturday skirmish with Kasia to feel really badass in a smaller group of 30-ish, rather than 200. Combat practice, one hit and you're out, was great fun and really worthwhile, too.
  • Kasia enjoying the event more than the other three put together and comparing it to the best Maelstrom ones really made my weekend, as she's been struggling with the setting and finding the right character. A few long good chats over the weekend have really helped her get excited to play a Black Swan in the future.
  • Finally defining real, specific, long-term goals for Jacob rather than vague overall ones. Sure, they're lofty, but he's not a Priest of Ambition for nothing.
There were many more little individual moments than this, of course: homemade rose flavour Jammy Dodgers, ice down the back of the armour, shield repair bro, cleave restore slave, two men making one whole fighter and Prosperity-based bar tabs. It all adds up to Empire's seventh event being absolutely amazing, and now I have to wait all the way until the 11th before I can truly inhabit that world again.

Missing it already.


Monday, June 09, 2014

The Best Hearthstone Basic Free Cards

Over the last couple of days I've mostly been leveling up the classes I don't commonly use (read: essentially everything except Mage and Priest) in order to unlock all the basic class cards and get a fat stack of gold for the little mini-achievement.

I've been doing this in ranked mode because, of course, you can't lose stars or ranks when you're lower than rank 20, so even one win in twenty still takes you onwards to the next rank.

After getting half of them up to level 10 I'm still struggling with Rogue and Warrior, but every loss is still XP to the goal. Part of my reason for struggling, I think, is deck construction.

Friday, June 06, 2014

Youtube Famous?

For the last couple of months I've been, basically, making gaming videos and farting about on Youtube.

I'm a fan of the likes of TotalBiscuit, Zero Punctuation, Jesse Cox, Jim Sterling, etc., but of course not everyone can actually make a living from making videos on the internet.

Having watch a lot of the non-professionals out there, I reckon I'm at least as entertaining as them (a very lofty claim), so figured I'd have a go myself.

To that end, youtube.com/user/Starblayde is now a thing! But what's it for?

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Licence to Sponsor

I posted about driving in the UAE before, concentrating on my experiences on the road: U-Turns, beeping, roundabouts and the like. Outside of this, of course, you have the admin.

Arriving freshly into the country and looking to hire a car was actually pretty easy. I entered on a 30 day tourist visa and was allowed to hire a vehicle and drive away quite happily on my UK licence.

My wife, on the other hand, had the beginnings of a work permit and residence visa, so her UK licence wasn't good enough, and she needed to wait until first her National ID card came through, before getting herself a local licence before she was allowed to drive our hire car. so I played taxi for a month, which was absolutely fine.

Then, however, I started the process of getting myself UAE Residency, which then made my UK licence invalid, so I wasn't legally allowed to drive our hire car. Great. But how do you go about getting your UAE licence?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Now I'm Dreaming. Can I Believe?

Liverpool's victory over Manchester City meant that I was daring to dream. Could it possibly be that the first League title since I was seven years old is finally within our grasp, all these years later?

As a Liverpool fan, I rarely have cause to complain. I've seen three FA Cups, five League Cups, a UEFA Cup and a European Cup all make their way back to the Anfield trophy cabinet. Compared to pretty much everyone except Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea, the Premier League era has been good to Liverpool in every way except one: the actual Premier League title itself.

'Here's another plastic scouser coming out of the woodwork when the title is currently two wins and a draw away,' you might say. 'Here's a lifelong Liverpool fan desperately latching on to something important as a reason to keep posting on his blog', I say.