Kia Ora LARPers
Today's Topic: LARPy thoughtsPhoenix happened last weekend, the first time it has taken place at a campground and the result was pretty excellent. It was also the debut of S.W.I.P.E. (Symbiotes Will Inherit Planet Earth) the third instalment in my (rather arrogantly named, only barely thematically linked) Acronym Trilogy! With that game done and pretty well received, I will be looking to publish the set at some point in the future. There will definitely be some tweaking, especially to E.S.P.A., but I am excited to get them out there.
I have once again been reminded how crazy it is that more people don't LARP, having convinced a friend to come and try it for the first time at Phoenix. Though it is seen as a very geeky, almost antisocial hobby, it's one of the most social things you can do. It develops your skills in acting, costuming, negotiating, problem solving and much more. Sure, LARP can be about hitting each other with foam swords (and who doesn't want to do that?!), but most of the games I play are more about experiencing feelings and situations you otherwise wouldn't get to, and telling an interesting story with your friends. I was also excited to find out that the gender balance this year was 23 male, 19 female, 1 non-binary, so not just a bunch of dudes! Given how accepted video games have become as a hobby, it seems ludicrous to me that LARP often is not.
What I'm playingHere is a (spoiler free) rundown of all the games I played at Phoenix this year:
Round 1: Baby It’s Cold Outside- Writer and GM Carla Bayard. This game was a fun and silly way to start off the convention. A huge turn of events resulted in me, (essentially Indiana Jones/Batman) feeling like the most sensible person there. Special thanks to Keegan for the hostility and the caring and Ella for really coming out swinging in your first game. You were insane. I recommend this game to anyone who likes a bit of a romp and some odd happenings.
Round 2: The Paragon’s Peril- Writer and GM Daniel Starky. This game was a little heavier emotionally than I expected, which was excellent! It gave me a tale of crumbling dreams and rebuilding with what you’ve got. The moral of the story, never meet your heroes. Special thanks to Lee, for being the worst childhood idol ever. I recommend this to anyone who likes Masks (more on that later) and superheroes with feelings.
Round 3: Fool’s Gambit- Writer and GM Matt Swain. Lord Charles Arthur Michael Barrington-Smythe was an interesting character study. I look forward to hearing about this game’s second run, as there is something great in there with some tweaks. My main recommendation is honing it down into a small group of highly focused characters. Special thanks to Mutu for the most intense three moves of chess I have played and Sally for making me really, really upset in the last five minutes. I recommend this to anyone who likes the Cold War and wants to see what it's like to be a part of it.
Round 4: The Beginner’s Guide to Buying and Selling Haunted Items. Writers and GMs- Chloe Sutherland and Robert Vincent. I’m not often much of a flagship person, but this was outstanding. Lots of clever and elegant mechanisms that didn’t bog down the game and an evocative range of props and other set items made this a real experience. Special thanks to Tayla for being just vicious and gullible enough and Jo for knocking me out at just the right time. I recommend this game to anyone who likes to have plenty to do in a game.
Round 5: Persephone’s Choice- Writer and GM Larp Wellington. I had a very, very difficult time trying to convince humans of my viewpoint, and my failure was truly rewarding. I definitely felt a lot of R. App Elby’s stress. Special thanks to William for trying extremely hard to keep me sane and Summer for nearly breaking through my programming and forcing a robotic tear. I recommend this to anyone who has a lot of Thoughts about robots, or wants to. For the truly unique experience I got out of it, I think this may have been my game of the weekend.
Round 6: S.W.I.P.E.- My own game. I thiiiiiink everyone liked it. There was clear fatigue from a busy weekend but everyone gave it all they could and I really appreciated that. Special thanks to Jeremy for voluntarily fainting at the strain of suppressing part of himself (might think about making a mechanic for that!) and spinning a whole tonne of BS and Izzy for bringing all of the emotional bleed. I'll let others recommend this. Hopefully they will.
Here's a thingApart from all the LARPing, I have also just finished playing in an excellent little Masks campaign. As a character with high "Superior", I found myself using the "Assess the Situation" move a lot and finding it somewhat... lacking. My main issues were that the question list seemed to mostly include questions that should be readily apparent/already known, eg "What here is the biggest threat?" or provide answers that the GM doesn't really want to give/ the players don't really want, eg "How could we best end this quickly?". Of course, your results may vary but here is a version of the move that I made that solves the issues I had I borrowed a little from Dungeon World, but not much. There are also now six questions instead of five, but I always found I ran out of options before when I could ask three.
Assess the Situation