Barbed Rose

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The Barbed Rose (Portland, OR) Changeling: The Lost VSS

The Barbed Rose Freehold.

Part 1: Basic Information

Domain: Theater of Roses
Venue: Changeling: the Lost
Venue Name: The Barbed Rose
Venue Storyteller: Morgan Brown
Storyteller Contact:
Game Times: 2nd & 4th Thursdays, 7-10 PM

Part 2: Styles of Play

Rate each of these categories 1-5, using the scale below:

Style of Play Description Rating
Action Combat and special conditions 3
Character Development Personal dilemmas and choices 5
Darkness PC death or corruption 4
Drama Ceremony and grand story 4
Intrigue Politics and negotiation 4
Manners Social etiquette and peer pressure 4
Mystery Enigmas and investigation 3
Pace How fast do stories emerge, develop, and resolve? 3-4

The Barbed Rose Freehold.
Barbed Rose

Rating Description
1 Never Present
2 Sometimes Present
3 Often Present
4 Usually Present
5 Always Present

Theme/Mood: “Life is thickly sown with thorns, and I know no other remedy than to pass quickly through them. The longer we dwell on our misfortunes, the greater is their power to harm us.” – Voltaire

The Portland Freehold is a dark, dangerous place. The changelings here all had a very grim Durance, some so dark they refuse to even speak on the subject. They meet informally and roughly bi-weekly, at changing locations throughout the city, as the paranoia is high among the longer-standing members. They change Monarchs with the seasons, though the role is only usually begrudgingly accepted by the Wyrd's chosen vessel, as none seem to want the power and limelight. The city seems to flourish the most during Autumn and Winter, with a majority of its courtiers hailing from those Courts, as their seasons seem to stretch a bit longer here than elsewhere.

Part 3: Description of Venue

“Life is thickly sown with thorns, and I know no other remedy than to pass quickly through them. The longer we dwell on our misfortunes, the greater is their power to harm us.” – Voltaire
3a) VST Venue Philosophy

Changeling: The Lost is a game with many faces, be they happy or sad, and we are fortunate to be able to play in such a versatile venue. My local game focuses heavily on political interactions between the Lost – the core feelings that drive each changeling to select her Court, to hide in her own way, and to continue to survive each day.

3b) A short History

Portland has a sordid history both in the light and in the darkness. In the height of its prime, Portland was a bustling shipyard, building fantastic naval craft for the war effort in 1942. The nightlife boomed, jitterbuggers and jazz were everywhere, you could find all the buttermilk you could drink for a nickel in downtown. The war brought a lot to the city and after it ended, the options only looked better for those forging a new life here.

Vanport came through the fog of the river and rose as a shining beacon in the north of Portland, and for a moment it was all that the Lost dreamed it could be – until a cataclysmic flood washed away the city and once again the Lost were left to pick up the pieces.

For as long as anyone can remember, the Barbed Rose has been home to Eustace Chamberlain, a Wizened of the Autumn court who has been monarch for the last several years. His political counterpart is the lovely and radiant Veronica Stillhorn, an Elemental of the Winter court, who reigns during her season as well. It is uncertain to all but those two if they are allies or enemies.

The two have been known to constantly bicker and pit the other Lost of the Freehold against each other, but when large threats face them all, they work in tandem like they were made to, to protect their people.

3c) At Present

The sugary scent of a Voodoo Donut fills one’s nostrils as they descend a set of rickety stairs int0 the sub-basement at Darcelle’s, the “ladies” flashing everything they’ve got on stage while the Lost simply nod to the doorman at the back corner. The room is smoky – one of the few places left in this town where nobody will rag on you for lighting up – they all know why you feed the addiction. Bright drapery tries to hide the poor paint job, a splattering of pink and blue to cover the caked-on mess. The single light in the ceiling does little to illuminate those inside. The room’s comforts are well-worn, the sofas loved and used, the chairs sagging and broken. A real place to call home.

Behind the wet bar is a mirror as tall as a man, with an ornate frame that has to be older than the club itself. The right Lost can run her hand along its edges and feel the grooves of the wood in just the right places to step through that mirror and into the Hedge.

Ah, the Hedge. An interesting side of the coin.

They say the Hedge reflects its people – and this Hedge is no exception. The initial step in leaves the wanderer wondering if they have even left the green lush setting of Portland, as the evergreen trees are thick around the local Hedge. The most common entry points are located in Darcelle’s, at the Skidmore fountain, at an abandoned warehouse by the airport, and behind the library in downtown Beaverton.

The Nachtmarkt Circus.

Each entry point has a winding path that will take the traveler to the Market, which operates only at night, and goes by the name of the Nachtmarkt Circus. The Market is a series of tents in bright hues of orange and purple, illuminated by jars of captured fire-bugs and strings of paper lanterns adorned in hoblanguage. In addition to the material and sensual wares of the Market, there are a number of sideshow acts that routinely put on performance in the Market, from contortionists to fire-eaters to oversized hedgebeasts of wonder. The market is run mostly by a clutch of goblins who call themselves the Gob Squad, running things by the brute force of their Ogre contract mercenaries or the sly wit of their leader Spizzix, the silver-tongued devil himself. He is well-known for being able to strike a bargain for anything, and his willingness to make a deal is near legendary.

The Nachtmarkt Circus.

3d) Freehold Positions

The freehold has a number of regular positions that are held by various Lost throughout the seasons to keep function rolling. These positions are appointed by the current Monarch and can only be removed by a Monarch. They are detailed below.
1. Petals – these Lost take care in the maintenance of the freehold meeting spaces, arrange for the bi-weekly gatherings, and assist with expenses and management of group resources.


2. Thorns – these Lost are protectors and mercenaries. If any Lost need assistance in a martial capacity, they can call upon these folks to help them out.


3. Second Rose – this Lost assists the current Monarch in their duties.
4. Watchmen – these Lost are dedicated to watching things in the local Hedge and ensuring the safety of locals.

Part 4: Storytelling Mechanics

Part 4A: Character Creation Guidelines


A character sheet must be complete to be attached to this VSS. A complete sheet requires a detailed history or at least very detailed timeline and bullet notes consisting of: Events before being taken, circumstances of capture, the keeper, durance, fetch, escape, and immediate history after, a full sheet of stats, information on all pledges (Exact Wording, Stat breakdown, when it was sworn, and other participants), Approvals for all items upon your sheet, and most importantly, must mostly reside in the domain for their existence. Traveling outside of the domain on business or pleasure is acceptable, but the character must spend the majority of his time in the domain borders.

Character sheets should also be balanced. Characters with clear min-maxing will be brought into question, and have a limited amount of time to re-write their sheets before a penalty is levied. Appropriate concepts for the venue will also be taken into consideration. Outright antagonistic concepts which have no allies locally are unacceptable, and unplayable. With a limited storytelling staff, it is not practical to jeopardize one storyteller to play for one person. As such, characters must have reasonable ties to the freehold to be attached to this VSS.

While loner concepts work as the protagonist of a book or film, LARP is not the sort of venue where you have a star, a co-star or two, and a host of supporting characters. LARP is, above all, ensemble cast story telling. All characters in the story are equally important. In order to fully participate in the telling of an ensemble-cast story, your character should have at least some measure of interest in others, and at least one long-term goal that requires reliance on or cooperation with others (at least four) in the /local/ venue. Characters found to be lacking in any regard will have a limited amount of time to work with the storytellers to change their concept, or risk being de-sanctioned or removed from the VSS.

Part 4B: Proxy Play


All Hard Proxies require Full Character Sheets, Approval numbers, copies of any Custom Mechanics and Experience Point Logs. Proxy Requests come in several flavors. Each form of Proxy comes with different requirements from the VST.

a. Hard Proxy - PC Represented at a Game: This requires 48 hours notice to the VST per the Proxy rules in the Addendum. Generally, the player should try to find someone to portray the PC for the player at the game. If a “Warm Body” cannot be found, the VST holds the Right to have the PC only conduct minimal interaction with the rest of the game. Hard Proxies to a scheduled game provides the base Game XP (See Experience Points below).

b. Hard Proxy - PC Not attending a Game: If a PC will be proxying to the VSS for a purpose that does not require showing up to a Gathering, Hard Proxies may be accepted. These Proxies will give Base Game XP (See Experience Points Below).

c. Soft Proxy: Soft Proxies only require notice to the VST. These will only be accepted if all parties agree that mediation will be used to resolve any conflict between PCs. Soft Proxies will be awarded Downtime XP.

It should be noted that any Proxy may be denied if it is deemed unbalancing or otherwise damaging to the game.

Any actions taken by characters while proxied are considered final, as are the consequences of those actions. To play your character in a proxy we will mostly rely on what you, the player, have told us as to how you would react in a circumstance. Players should proxy their characters at their own risk. If you are uncomfortable with these stipulations, do not proxy your character to this game. A storyteller is not required to contact you again about your actions from this point forward, only to provide you with the outcome of events.

To proxy to the Venue to do a downtime scene with local PCs, you must abide by all of the rules above. If you are proxying to the domain to have a peaceful interaction with a PC, the storyteller in question will respond to your proxy and let you know when to begin the scene. It is your responsibility to message the storyteller if your character leaves earlier or later than the proxy report states. The storyteller will then inform you to the events (if any) of your character’s exit.

In addition to those rules, any sort of mass kill-box scenario will be run under the sole purview of the VST and any additional staff he requests; up to and including its resolution in a simulated combat in which a player other than the ST (A narrator or volunteer) may run the sheet to maintain fair play. As such, it is vital to have a fully filled out proxy report. The proxying player will not be contacted again until a resolution is found to the scene.

To proxy to a Live Game, in addition to the proxy rules listed above, you must find a player to willing represent your PC during the entire game session - who must be at game at check in, and stay at the game site until the ST permits the person playing your character to leave; as escape from the scene does not necessarily mean escape from the city. A character may not enter play in, or interact with, a live Game without someone to represent the sheet, and a Narrator will likely be too busy with their duties to do this for a player.

All proxies must have the following without exception (Except for the last question, which is optional).


1.) Information as to how your character arrives to town, and who they are traveling with, as well as their likely stay in the town. Detail any events which would make you leave town early, or stay in town longer, and the likelihood of either happening.

2.) Information how your character will obtain Glamour within the city, adhering to all local rules for such.

3.) If you are bringing in hedge fruit to town, how do you come by them? Request your local storyteller who runs the scenes to e-mail the ST to allow amounts more than one, or more rare hedge fruit. What is the maximum amount of glamour are you willing to sacrifice (per the VSS rules) to keep them in fruit form? Do you have a preference as to what fruit you would bring (Or a priority list of them?) A storyteller e-mail confirming possession will be required for any rare or unusual oddment or hedge fruit.

4.) Information on if you character would willingly speak to anyone confronting them, and how they might react in a given situation of diplomacy, violence, or being tailed. Who would you not speak to, regardless of circumstance? Who would you never fight? What do you just not care about?

5.) If a fight does erupt, what would provoke your character into getting into combat? What would make them flee from it?

6.) A full character sheet, including an experience point log and a record of any approvals for items, powers, or other character traits that require them.

7.) A paragraph on how you portray your character, quirks and other such personality traits at a normal game. Information on general demeanor and attitude are in fact required, even if you would otherwise try to hide them.

8.) VST / DST / RST contact information. The storytelling staff will need to able to verify things and give the results of the proxy so they can incorporate said results into their games.

9.) Clearly stated goals for the character in proxy. Be as precise as possible.

10.) Contingency plans. Without contingency plans, the decisions that the storytelling staff will make may or may not reflect what the player would have done in similar circumstance.

11.) Anything else you would like to tell the STs about your character and this proxy.

Part 4C: Rules for Visitors


Visitors will be asked to have two copies of their character sheet on hand to turn in to the ST running the game in addition to emailing the ST 72 hours prior to game. One will be kept on file with the ST should any questions arise. These sheets must have a full XP log. Any and all approval items must have the corresponding ST’s approval number on it.

It is highly recommended that all visitors contact the VST no less than 72 hours prior to game with your character information and expected plot/agenda while in attendance. This will allow local staff greater ability to incorporate your stories in with our own while you are guests with us.

In addition, characters with an overly disruptive history may be denied to play in the local game outright. Failure to provide requested information in the time frame required may result in request to refrain from playing your character and/or plot arc at the current game session, in order to maintain the planned events.

Should this occur, however, staff will have a selection of NPCs on hand for you to portray (should you choose) so that all may continue to enjoy in our game. Please be advised that any and all outside plots will not affect this game unless they receive prior approval from the storytelling staff.

Part 4D: Travel


Mundane travels are rarely an issue in Portland. Travel via the hedge could be and usually is dangerous to your character’s well-being and any other characters traveling with you. Due to plot-lines, this may be a significant danger, or a negligible one. Both methods of travel are not without pitfalls, however. Traveling to and from this game might be hazardous to your characters health. The method of travel, and the conditions of your arrival should be thought through in detail.

Part 4E: Starting Glamour


Characters will begin games with 50% of their maximum glamour pool, rounded up. Once this value is determined, characters may add an amount of glamour equal to their highest ranked Harvest merit.

This value may be adjusted by Storyteller as suits the current state of the game.


Part 4F: Experience Award Guidelines


There will be a base award of three points per game, with bonus points awarded at storyteller discretion. These points include, but are not limited to:

Costuming: Dressing in appropriate fashion to Mein or Mask. Personal

Storytelling: Behaving “like a storyteller” and doing what is good for the story, rather than what directly benefits your character.

Role-play: An extremely intense scene which furthered the overall story, not just personal growth.

Player Vote: Some games, a bonus point(s) may be opened up for players to nominate an exceptional player for an additional point for whatever criteria they decide. Storyteller

Vote: If a player goes above and beyond, the storytellers may award extra experience at their own discretion.

Examples of solid Non-Game activities that support the possibility for experience are: Email Scenes, IRC Chat logs, Downtime Reports, Submitted character journals, the occasional end-of-story reward, and really anything else that you can think of. If you do something cool for your character, submit it to the ST. It is likely worth some XP. All you need to do is send it in, and the ST will reply shortly with how much XP you have received.

Part 4G: Freehold Status


It’s important to note that the following procedure is entirely Out of Character – in-character, the members of the Freehold don’t have an indication of how the Monarch is decided, as it is technically decided by the Wyrd in support of popular leaders in the current season.

At any point in a particular season, a player of that seasonal court may “step up” and nominate their character to receive the Freehold’s crown from the current Monarch. An out of character vote is held among all members of the Freehold between the current Monarch and any contesting character(s).

Each player is asked who their character would support. Members of the current season’s court cast votes equal to their Mantle; All other freehold members cast a single vote. In the end, the character with the most votes will receive the crown.

Note that the Storyteller reserves the right to determine the current monarch in the case of ties, when the position of Monarch is vacant, or when it benefits the venue for the purposes of story.

How is Freehold Status Awarded?

Status in the freehold is awarded by the current Monarch for deeds they feel are worthy of recognition during their reign.