About Denver LARP Staff

Wendy Balelo

Campaign Plot Member

Hi everyone!  Gaming, in all its forms, has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Texas is my home state, but after marrying James, we became a military family, so I’ve lived all over. Currently we live in Las Vegas with our children, where I work as a Realtor. I try to do everything with love, appreciation, and generosity.

A little about my experience: I began playing D&D when elves were a class and I’ve played various other tabletop games since. I’ve been involved with LARP’ing for 30+ years. Mostly NERO International, but also Alliance, Dark Evolution, and my first LARP was Vampire: The Masquerade. I’ve been both a player and an owner, so I understand issues on both sides. I truly enjoy creating storylines that bring joy to players (though maybe not at the beginning) and allow them to escape reality. I look forward to meeting everyone.

James Balelo

Campaign Plot Member

Hello all! I am excited to be part of the team and bring a hugely enjoyable game to you all. I am an avid gamer, dare I say addicted to roleplaying in every medium possible; tabletop games, video games, mil-sims, and other narrative driven games. We currently live in Las Vegas, NV with our two adult children, Kyla and TJ. Also avid gamers, which we are not complaining about! I work in corporate security and am currently serving as a military reservist.

I have been involved in LARP for over 20+ years. I been a part of several LARPs as a player, primarily in NERO International, Realms of Conflict, Star Wars, and Vampire: The Masquerade. For the last ten years or so I have rotated through many staff roles to include plot development, safety marshal, boffer/prop construction, dedicated NPC-roles, and new player development. I am blessed to have my best friend and wife, Wendy, share my passion for gaming and wanting to have our close friends and/or peers just have fun. I am very passionate about doing my very best for players. I look forward to meeting all of you!

Jennifer Beach

Marshall / Campaign Plot Member

A lover of fiction and writing, I started storytelling in grade school. In high school, I excelled in oration volunteering as a storyteller for grade schools and winning awards in state storytelling competitions.

When it came to tabletop gaming, I always liked the role play far more than the roll play and ran several year-plus campaigns for others to enjoy.

I have had a series of story articles published in a national magazine and have been drafting short stories, novellas, novels, and trilogies since high school. My ambition is not publication but rather the enjoyment of world building, interactions of unique characters, and the evolution of heroes and villains.

I have been LARPing steadily since 2003. I participated on the NERO Empire plot team and led several games when that leadership was in transition one year. I helped to conceptualize and wrote a good deal of the ancient history background for the Denver Alliance LARP world of Acarthia. While working on Acarthia, I wrote three of the local racial packets. I rarely missed a game as a plot team member in the years the chapter played from 2013 through 2020 and was a driver of the virtual games during the days of covid in 2020.

For fun, I enjoy small acting roles, one of which achieved me a placement in the IMDB. I am due to appear in a sequel short film in 2021.

Dan Begnoche

Head of Rules / Campaign Plot Member

Dan hasn’t been LARPing all that long – only four years of full-time NPC and two years of full-time plot. But, he’s been a full-time RPG player since the mid 90’s. He’s run a silly amount of systems – Dungeons and Dragons 2e, 3.0, 3.5, and 4; Pathfinder 1e; Exalted 1e, and 2e; several editions of Shadowrun, Big Eyes Small Mouth 2nd and 3rd Edition, Dragonlance 5th Edition, and probably more he’s forgotten. He’s run games for Pathfinder Society, and several flavors of Dungeons and Dragons Encounters.

Dan is also a lint-ball of knowledge – be careful what you ask him, as you may get a longer conversation than you expect. In particular, his non-LARP hobbies include some video games, cars, food, bartending, and potentially more.

Sierra Gatrell

Campaign Plot Member

I started acting when I was 10 through Shakespeare plays at my school. When I learned of Alliance Denver in 2015, it sounded like a dream come true: I could role-play all day, get to wear cool costumes, and get to participate in battles. I attended my first LARP and Alliance event in November as an NPC. I fell in love with the game, the welcoming and encouraging community, and the amazing NPC experience. I’ve been a devoted full-time NPC for Alliance Denver ever since. I’ve played countless NPC’s and monsters from Candy, Vampire Bunnies, Undead, Sirens, Banshees, rampaging Hydras, and everything in between. In 2018, I started creating and running content for Alliance Denver.

From my experiences at Alliance, I became bolder and more confident in my acting and storytelling abilities. Then, with the encouragement from my amazing friend, Emily Pettingill, I became a DM in 2019. I even started attending Film School for my Acting/directing degree.

I have met wonderful people, made amazing friends, and created unforgettable memories. Alliance Denver has permanently improved my life. I love contributing to this wonderful community and the experience of the players. I look forward to exciting adventures yet to come!

Emily Pettingill

Campaign Plot Member

I began my journey in the year 2014. I was a brand new player in a strange environment. I was confused, lost, and nervous. 2014 had not been the best year for me by any means, and I found myself often feeling isolated and lonely.

Which brings me to the beginning. My brother had brought me to my first ever “larp” game and I didn’t know what to think. I was brand new, a player, and had no clue about the rules. What came next was the start of a new age of my life.

The community was amazing! Everyone was so welcoming and more than happy to teach me the rules. I don’t think I could even put into words the grand positive emotions I felt. Truly, this community and group are so phenomenal. I came out of my shell and was able to find my confidence in myself because of the welcoming smiles, waves, and friendly banter!

I was a player for maybe 3 months before I became a full time NPC working behind the scenes. I fought as a giant Thunder Lizard all the way to the tiniest baby bunny. I ran giant rat teams out as “crunchies” for players to hunt and continued to help out where I could. I did this for 5 years! During the last 3 of those 5 years, I wrote plotlines and modules for the plot team. I had a blast working with them to create stories for the players to run through! I’ve made one-time encounters, modules, weekend plotlines, and year long plotlines. I’ve worked to create societies and cultures within the game that players will enjoy interacting with. Some of my favorite memories come from seeing those plotlines I wrote come to life on the field. Picturesque! During this time I also began running a weekly Dungeons and Dragons game. I was DM to some amazing players. I did this for about 3 years and I love doing it still.

I’ve been an intermediate prop maker for about 4 years and an intermediate costume designer for 4 years as well. I do detail paints for miniatures as well.

I attend Brigham Young University for an English- Creative Writing degree that I’m currently working for. I hope to use this to help provide more content for the Alliance community, to help give back for all that they have done.

Alliance Denver is my home chapter, and it’s where I’ve made lasting friendships and countless memories. The family-friendly content is wonderful and the community is diverse and welcoming. I can truly say that this chapter, in this game, is one of a kind!

Mike Schwarz

Head of Logistics

Mike Schwarz was raised in Auburn Hills Michigan and moved to Aurora Colorado in 2010. He’s been involved with Denver Alliance LARP since 2017 where he started as an NPC. He has been involved in role playing games most of his life including D&D, Pathfinder, GURPS, and Savage Worlds. Mike has been attending local gaming and themed conventions as well as renaissance fairs for many years. Currently Mike is an engineer working with space programs and proposal analysis.

Duane Weeks

Site Coordinator

My love of the fantasy genre started around middle school when I came across the original Dragonlance trilogy in my school’s library. I was instantly hooked, and it didn’t take long for me to discover console RPG’s and tabletop gaming. When not larping I still enjoy console gaming, card/board games, reading or watching anime.

I began my larp adventures in NERO Atlanta at their 2015 season opener. It didn’t take much for me to get hooked, and I spent most of 2015 travelling the country to experience what many of the other NERO chapters had to offer. In the fall of 2015, I relocated from Michigan to Texas, but would still travel for games in some of my favorite places to play. Around October of 2017, I made the jump from Texas to Colorado, taking a short break from larping. I moved from NERO to Alliance early into the 2019 season, and haven’t looked back.

Cory Williamsen

Campaign Plot Member

I have been gaming since I was 9, starting with the old Choose Your Own Adventures. My first foray into tabletop RPGs came just a few years later with Palladium’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, quickly followed by Heroes Unlimited. Of course D&D was not too far behind.

My love and fascination with Live Action Role Playing started just as early. My 6th grade Art teacher, one of the first Magic: the Gathering artists, and of IFGS fame, Dan Frazier would create latex and paper mâché medieval fantasy projects like helmets and dragon head puppets. Though his real start was with Vampire the Masquerade parlor LARPs in the 90’s, after a brief attempt with boffers with NERO convention games.

For the last 20 years, I have led various initiatives to organize and participate in Organized Play, in both the Table Top and LARP parts of the hobby. From club standards such as WOTC’s Living Greyhawk, international clubs such as what is now the Mind’s Eye Society, and both the Alliance Denver, and Dystopia Rising larps local convention appearances. I have organized events to bring players together to enjoy a larger shared experience.

My latest endeavors include taking on the overall project management – working directly with Evil Beagle CEO Jennifer and Architect Michael – for all their various products and product lines. I am also consulting extensively for their upcoming 5e mega-project.