System: Lorien Trust
Status: Unliving (still playing him though)
Lester is my attempt at building an archetypal “sad clown”, a tragi-comic character. I started playing him in 2002 (!) having just survived the disastrous break-up of my first serious relationship, and built him out of all of my own personal character flaws, writ large. He’s egomaniacal, self-obsessed, depressive, dishonest, bitter, loud, bigoted, lacking in common sense, fanatically religious, shambolic, alcoholic and chaotic. But good qualities shone through as well – he’s more popular, talented, comfortable on a stage, funny and famous than me. His back-story revolves around an unhappy childhood, an enforced recruitment into jestering, and a marriage that ended badly.
His 13-year uptime is littered with spectacularly poor decision-making, catastrophic failures, unexpected fame, very bad luck in his love life, and occasional flashes of deadly seriousness. He committed suicide in a ritual circle and became unliving several years ago (driven by his faith, and his overall bitterness at life), and is now something like a faded elderly rock-star: famous, but also arguably past his prime. Recently, his first wife (the one who really started him down his path of self-destruction) turned up and revealed that their break-up had all been a misunderstanding. Lester’s immediate future involves trying to rebuild this relationship (easier said than done, given that she’s still alive, and the living/unliving thing gets icky). In the meantime, it’s allowed him to win the Entertainer’s Competition for the first time in years by ditching his usual innuendo-filled comedy songs and performing an epic sad love poem instead. An onstage breakdown in rhyming couplets.
It’s been great starting with such simple building blocks (a sad backstory about a failed marriage, a decision that it made sense for Lester to be a worshipper of Loki, a jester’s hat and a song with which to introduce himself) and to see him blossom into a full-blown character with his own thoughts and motivations over all these years.
I think the first version of the costume cost me about £18. A £12 jester hat from a fancy dress shop (it happened to be blue & yellow, which defined the rest of the colour scheme), a white ladies’ blouse from a charity shop with I dyed yellow, and a waistcoat and leather trousers I already had. Since then it’s been through many iterations and had lots of things added and replaced. Currently I’m wearing the “Mark 2” hat which I bought from an online shop called Adventurers Mart years ago (I think now defunct), coupled with a fantastically over-the-top custom frock coat and hero pants made by Tom Roe of Whitestar Clothing. Also, a shout out to Skian Mhor for the foam throwing bricks which have become Lester’s signature weapon.
There have been so many great roleplay moments! Pretty much every moment of my first year as the character. The war of words with the Wolf Faction high command. Antagonising Odin. The Dark Incanting training. The day 15 of Lester’s best friends died in a single ritual. The ritual to become unliving. The year-long courtship of Mina Von Beck and the ensuing disastrous marriage. If I had to pick one thing, I guess it would be the moment his first wife reappeared out of the blue, or the moment he went onstage to perform a poem about it. Right now I’m having the most fun I’ve had with the character in years.
Lester has already done a lot. I’d like to see where his attempts to rebuild his marriage goes. It might be nice for him to have a “happily ever after” moment, although he will probably ruin it somehow. Failing that, I’d like him to have a death that is so stupid that people name an award after him.
Photographer: Nick Lishman
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