30 Days of Cosplay: Day 1

Day 1: Your First Costume

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Right there in the middle is me in my sophomore year of high school. Local library had set up a Halloween anime club party where they encouraged this crazy new thing (to me) called Cosplay. Almost immediately, I was intrigued. I already had some minor sewing knowledge from fixing my clothes, so some of it seemed like it would be easy, right?

My first official costume that I set out to (sort of) make myself was for my favorite character at the time. Sheena Fujibayashi from Tales of Symphonia. Okay, so she’s STILL in my top five. Guilty!

Tales of Symphonia was first introduced to me that year by my best friend Jeff. We used to have to both babysit our younger siblings, so our parents let us all gather at one house where all five of us would chill while Jeff and I made sure nobody broke a limb or started house-fires. So what would we do? Put the three younger kids in the living room in front of the television after we made pizza rolls or something, set up the small spare tv off to the side, and play the game cube while they did their own thing right next to us.

We went through the story together, and we latched onto our favorite characters like glue. Those after-school nights solidified my love of RPGs and of the Tales of franchise. Since then, I’ve played and owned as many of the Tales games as I possibly could.

But back to the costume!

I tried so very hard, and for a first go? It’s not the worst. I didn’t make anything completely from scratch, this time because I had no knowledge of how to modify patterns yet. The top and arm bands were from a repurposed athletic top from Walmart. I capped the sleeves, used the lower arm bits for the fake gloves, and HOT GLUED EVERYTHING. It was…something.

I loved every second of it, and my new favorite hobby was born.

Adventurer’s Log: Session 1

This is just a small portion of how I write my campaign notes.

 

Adventurer’s Log
Session #1: 11/19/2016

 

Character Details Player
Jack Aves Lvl.6 Human Gunslinger Eric S
Liara Lvl.6 Half-Elf Ranger Jean H
Aramis of Cintra Lvl.6 Human Ranger Chris M
Lyra Gant Lvl.6 Elf Rogue Korynn W

 

  • The scene opens with Jack and Aramis, travelling along the path to the meeting of the Adventurers’ Association to accept some new contract or whatever. They banter back and forth, insulting Aramis for his pompous name.
  • They eventually arrive at the equivalent of a plantation, buttled by what appears to be Tim Curry
  • The two meet the gloriously mustachioed Mr. Whittlesworth, who is clearly the most important person known to man.

Jack: Now THAT’S a name.
Aramis: That’s a hell of a name.

  • Liara is introduced more or less casually, but with some pomp
  • Group is told that they “must” return the relics to Mr. Mustachio but that’s really to be seen.
  • [Sean passes out deus ex machina notes here because reasons]
  • Group is kicked out and told to get a move on and find the lost temple of Naharah
  • They travel for an uneventful week (that feels like it only took about 30 seconds) and arrive at the port, where they meet with their hired ship.
  • The Quopead
    • Captain Baha, the man with the wooden arm
  • Three days into the journey, Captain Baha asks the three (mainly Liara lbr here, she’s the only one who knows this shit) what all they know about Al Karuk
    • Walled city
    • Over 1,000 ships docking daily
    • City of the Free Drow
    • Unsafe to dock at night because ghosties
    • Green lights on the water – scary shit, man
  • Another week passes, and a ship comes into view
    • Several crew members seem to be happier when they hear that
    • No resistance is shown, in fact all defenses are taken down fully
    • Captain Baha seems very…interested…in this Pirate Captain
  • Aramis and Jack draw weapons on the boarding pirates who immediately start apologizing and act very confused
    • Nobody really ever draws down on them
    • Most people actually look forward to them coming on board
  • Pirate ship White Abalon
    • Captained by the Dread Pirate Philbert
      • The understatedly handsome
    • Second in command: Hugo

Liara: No man that handsome deserves to be called Philbert

  • Fully explains the purpose of Piracy Guilds
    • Considered a form of taxation (involuntary)
    • Monthly/quarterly quotas for pillaging, murdering, and whatnot
      • This leads to half of the Quopead crew being VERY disappointed
    • The Adventurers do not fall under the jurisdiction of the pillaging, their stuff is safe.

Philbert: And what is your business crossing the sea?
Jack: …Stuff?
Liara: Things?
Jack: To get to the other side?

  • Captain Philbert pushes for one of his riggers to join the expedition
    • Claims that it will be better for her than piracy
  • Party is introduced to Lyra Gant
  • Some time later, the party arrives in Al Karuk
    • Arrive at night and stay docked off the coast a ways
    • Observe the lights up close-ish
  • On shore, the party makes their way to the inn/house where they’ll be staying
    • Set up previously by Mr. Whittlesworth
    • Managed by a man named Raphael

Jack: So you recognized us because of the camel, right?
Raphael: I recognized you because you are foreigners.

  • More details on the adventure for the lost temple of Naharah
    • Self-funding the expedition on a local basis (food, travel through desert)
    • Basically we were told “GLHFDD” (good luck, have fun, don’t die)

Why I gave D&D/Pathfinder a second chance. And why maybe you should too.

Those of you who may know me personally are very well aware of how big of a nerd I actually am. I’ve collected comics, played video games, cosplayed, and even roleplayed as some of my favorite characters for years now. But one of the things I was never all that into during the prime ‘nerd discovery’ years of my life (read: high school and college) was Dungeons and Dragons. My entire college circle of friends played every single Friday night. They would gather up their sheets, dice, and snacks from the dining hall and take up one of the free common rooms in the dorm for anywhere from five to ten hours a session.

Nobody ever seemed to mind. They kept it relatively quiet, and people rarely used the room on the fourth floor anyway. It was like clockwork though. And I would always find myself sitting alone back in my room surfing Tumblr and binge-watching crappy anime on Netflix instead of being with them during their sessions. Why? Because it wasn’t my thing.

Or so I had been led to believe.

When the idea of me testing out the game was brought up, the group’s DM was very enthusiastic. And I mean very enthusiastic. I thought that was a great sign! Right away, he threw a bag of dice and the rulebook at me and we sat down and got to work. He helped me roll out a character sheet in a few hours, and was helping me hammer away at a backstory, but it wasn’t sitting right with me.

He kept pushing the math and calculations part of the game, playing up the intense combat and dungeon crawling. His story was only half fleshed out and not that original, so it took me a while to get into character. I gave it a good first shot, and tried to learn the rules as fast as a novice could. And by that, I mean slowly. There was a lot of “Wait what?” and “Could you explain that again?” happening that night, and he just had zero patience for it. He lost his temper with me and a few other players about questioning some simple roll, and that was the end of it for me. I realized that he was far more interested in the strict rules and the technical side than the story of it.

So I did what any rational player would do. I killed off my character in her debut session by having her swan-dive off the top of a pirate ship into a raging whirlpool and proclaimed that I would never play the game again. All in all, it was pretty beautiful despite the circumstances.

Fast forward six years. I remained friends with these folks past college and we are all mostly doing the adult thing. The original DM no longer lives in the area, so they were trying to get a group back up and running with one of our other friends at the helm. Knowing my love of story-telling and high fantasy, he came to me and asked if I wanted to be a part of his new campaign. Reluctantly, I told him I would give it a shot. After all, he knew my frustrations with the game.

This friend was an absolute saint to start with. He sat me down and did what a good DM should to help me make a character. As we went, he explained why each choice was a good or bad one. He asked why and where I wanted to put certain stats and bonuses. This DM broke it down in a way that was easy for someone new to the genre to understand. It took a few hours since we were making two new characters, so I had him over for dinner with me and my boyfriend and we spent the rest of the night essentially play-testing things.

The story was original and well-planned, with a nice mix of combat and roleplay rather than a full on dungeon crawl. From what I’ve seen, he has an easy way for us to slide into the campaign and is willing to actually walk us through the first few combat sessions when we get there without rushing us.

Our first campaign session was in December of 2016, and I couldn’t be happier to be a part of this ragtag troupe.

It took me six years, but I finally realized that I never had an issue with the game as a whole. The mix of chance and story provides a good improv opportunity for people who like to be creatively challenged, and the battle planning lets the more strategic friends get their kicks in the same way. No, I did not hate the type of game or the lore. I hated the DM. And because of that, I missed out on the past six years of game nights and potential good times, all because I thought that was the only way to run a game.

So if you’re contemplating it, I say do it. Go on Roll20 or facebook or wherever and just look for a group near you that is open and willing to teach newbies. And if your first group doesn’t work out? Try again later with a new one.

It will be well worth it. I promise.

Many things have changed

And you know what?

That’s okay.

Because yeah, I haven’t logged back in on this blog for over a year. But I’m here now and that’s all that matters. I’m trying to get back in the swing of social media-ing for my hobbies anyway. So this is good.

What’s happened since July 2015?

I’ve gone through Otakon 2016 prep and stress, I went through Free Comic Book Day stress, and I bought a house.

Like I said. A lot has changed.

The Binding Of OH DEAR GOD WHY DID I EVER DECIDE TO MAKE A GIANT BABY HEAD

As many cosplayers do, I took on a hefty project for this year’s convention. My own costumes, as well as a commission for my friend of many years.

He has…eclectic…tastes. I love indie games, just like him. The Binding of Isaac is one of the ones I’ve played for hours and hours.

And as anyone who has played it knows, the characters are all naked doll-like baby shapes. Think…twisted powerpuff girls.

Jeff asked me if I could make him a suit from this game. And I said I would sure as hell try.

Well, let me tell you this thing has been an adventure. I’ve had to come up with new ways to do things I never would have thought to do otherwise. Like creating a cage around a 3ft balloon with posterboard.

And he seems happy with it so far.

You know what?

That’s all that matters. If he loves it, then I love it.

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(Jeff pictured above trying on his new baby head)

Pre-Con Skin Care

Like many other cosplayers, I like to have at the very least semi-decent looking skin when I go to a convention. It makes me feel more confident, and I feel like it just makes the costume look more put together.

Besides, the foundation for any good makeup is a fresh and clean canvas.

So here’s what I do up to two weeks before the convention. You can start sooner, but I’m a procrastinator.

Two weeks until convention:

Start drinking only water and unsweetened tea. If you must drink juice, make sure it’s natural and not too high in the bad stuff. The water will help you keep your natural glow, and will be a lot better for your body in preparation for the late nights and takeout traditions of convention season

Always always ALWAYS make sure you drink enough water during the day. It will do more for your body and your skin than you could ever imagine. There’s a cute little app out there called Plant Nanny (It’s free!) that you tell every time you drink a full glass of water. Each time you do, it water’s your little plants, and you grow them as you consume more.

I start making a night time routine about now too. Every night, I fill up the tub with hot water and I just soak. The steam helps clear out your pores, and the soaking helps loosen the dead skin cells.

After three days, exfoliate! Use a sugar scrub and a warm washcloth to scrub away the dead cells that you’ve been wearing down with your mighty baths.  I have a homemade lemon sugar scrub from my cousin’s wedding that I absolutely ADORE.

Make sure to moisturize before bed, as well. But only on the dry parts of your skin.

It’s also a good idea to start doing a little bit of cardio every day from now until you leave for the convention. It will help your legs get ready for the massive amounts of walking, stairs climbing, and standing in line that will be going on very soon.

One week until the convention:

Keep up with your baths! Don’t skip them! Not only will they do wonders, but they’ll help relax you while you’re in your crunch time sewing mindset. If you’re like me, you sew for hours upon hours; and that can wreak havoc on your lower back. This not only makes you feel special, but it helps soothe any construction pains you’re having. The quiet time is just as valuable as the tension relief, if not more so.

I exfoliate every three days. You don’t have to, but I do. I wouldn’t suggest any more frequently than that. If you have more sensitive skin, only do this once a week to avoid looking like a lobster.

One week beforehand is when I also start my daily mask. Every night, when I get in my tub to soak, I put a homemade organic mask on my face. All you have to do to make one yourself is gather up the ingredients, throw them all in a blender, and mix that shit til it’s smooth and makes your kitchen smell like a day spa. The one I have helps pull the gross gunk out of my pores, and I adore it. I put the first one of this round on last night and this morning my painful cystic zit on the side of my nose was almost completely gone. All you have to do to use it is smear it all over your face, and let it dry while you relax in your bath. Then, wash it off with a damp cloth, and use an oil free cleanser on your gorgeous face.

I make mine using:

-1/2 Cup Monkey Butt Calamine powder

-3-5 Large fresh strawberries

-1 Tsp. organic honey

-1 Tsp. essential lavender oil*

-1 Tsp. essential tee tree oil*

*PLEASE NOTE: Putting UNDILUTED essential oils on your skin can irritate sensitive skin. Please be careful and always dilute oils with other ingredients (like adding it to a mask) prior to use.

The tee tree oil is what does it for me. It helps clear my skin up like no tomorrow. You can really use any oil that suits you. A lot of people use Almond oil instead of tee tree, but I’m using this on other people who are allergic to almonds, so that one is a no-go.

That’s more or less all I’ve got for you here. Hopefully this little post here helped you out!

Happy costuming!

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Crunch Time

Otakon 2015 is in a little over a week now.

*Deep breath*

Okay Korynn, we can do this. We can pull these costumes out from nowhere, and make them as epic as humanly possible! Yeah, that’s right. It’s going to be amazing.

*Deep breath*

*Internal Screaming*

dontpanic

No, the android is right. You have to keep it together. So far you haven’t had your annual “pre-con freakout” and that’s a good thing.

Ahh, the use of literary motivators during tough times.

Now, on to the important bits. I’ve still got quite a few things to do for these costumes, and not a whole lot of time to do them. So I’m going to be enlisting my friends and forcing them to do things so that way everyone can look good.

Arno’s jacket is now completely traced. All that’s left to do with him is to stitch it all together. Elise still needs a few pieces, like the lace collar and the black overskirt.

Altair’s hood is completely done (the hardest part about him tbh) and now all that’s left is the tunic and vambrace bits.

As for Blue Baby: The head is almost complete. Hopefully I can get that to do what I want soon. And the onesie should fall into place easily.

Gwendolyn… My contest piece…

I haven’t even started yet. Lord have mercy on my soul.