I’m back home from my third Consequences, and like last year, I’m mired in the post-Con blues. Consequences is a LARP convention that runs in late November in the UK (specifically, at a holiday village in Christchurch, Dorset). It’s LARP-centric, but people also enjoy tabletop roleplay games and board games at Consequences.
This year, my schedule was a bit lighter than I usually make it for a LARP con. I’m generally the “cram as much LARP as possible into my weekend” kind of LARPer (hence my intimidating schedule for Intercon T…) but for Mythic Consequences, my schedule was relatively light — I played three LARPs and ran one. I love LARPing at Consequences, but I also really love getting to know LARPers from other communities, and learning all about the various cool LARPs people are working on and attending. So I opted for the trivia quiz on Thursday evening, as I’ve found it to be a nice way to meet and socialize with new people. I also left my mornings free for the purposes of sleeping in, so that I could attend the parties as late as they went without worrying about being super tired the next day.
My flight was Tuesday evening into Wednesday morning. Luckily, the plane was pretty empty so I had a row to myself and did get at least a little sleep. I was still pretty tired and jet-lagged all day Wednesday, but my travel buddy and I managed to get a little sight-seeing done. We walked around Kensington Gardens for awhile, which was lovely, and met swans, starlings, and some rather bold pigeons. Then we spent a few hours walking around the Natural History Museum. And over dinner, I met up with a couple of British friends from my year abroad between high school and college. It was so nice to catch up.
Thursday evening at Consequences, my quiz team came in second to last, and as per usual, I really didn’t contribute much. (One of the few answers I was able to contribute on was, unsurprisingly, a Game of Thrones related question.) But the context of the quiz offers a good excuse for introducing myself to unfamiliar faces (“hi, I don’t have a team, can I join yours?”) and fodder for small talk. My teammates were very welcoming and I met new people; it made for a fun evening (which also raised money for charity.)
On Friday afternoon, I was one of two GMs for Faustian Speed Dating. I played this LARP at Summer LARPin’ 2019, as one of the demons, and really enjoyed it. It was added to the Consequences schedule late, so I was worried it might not fill, but the last spot got taken about a week and half before the con. Demons proved more popular than sorcerers among the players, but everyone was pretty flexible on casting.
The GM’s NPC role for this LARP is Cambysion, the Blasphemous Union of Demon and Mortal Flesh, and host of the speed dating event where demons and sorcerers have a chance to find someone to make an Faustian bargain with. The writer told me she envisions Cambysion as being literally half sorcerer, half demon, with their makeup and costume split down the middle, Two-Face style. As this run had two GMs, we decided to each dress as a sorcerer and a demon, but tried to speak in ways that implied we shared one mind. (Mixing up “I” and “we” pronouns, and saying things like, “I must go confer with myself”.)
My demon costume consisted of red and black pieces (some from my Sith costume from two Consequences back), borrowed horns, heavy eyeliner, red contacts, and blue lipstick. Part of me wishes I’d done a more elaborate makeup; working on makeup skills was one of my New Year’s LARP resolutions. (Sadly, I failed to get any decent shots of this costume or any other costume over the weekend.)
My fellow GM and I set up five small tables with two chairs each, and decorated with skull patterned tablecloths (post-Halloween sale items purchased on a whim). We also set up a table and chairs for ourselves on the stage by the game space, which seemed appropriate for our NPC role, and gave us a nice vantage point from which to observe all of the players in their one-on-one conversations, without hovering over shoulders.
From the stage, it looked like conversation was generally flowing throughout the LARP, which I take as a good sign. I’m pretty sure I heard a sorcerer, the Wanderer, say to the Demon of Desire, “come with me and I’ll show you everything that isn’t Hell” which I thought was a wonderfully delivered line. At another point, I’m think I heard the Demon of Regret try to convince the Wanderer that they had met and made deals in alternate timelines, a nice bit of improv. And the player of the Demon of Protection sent me a little in-character email prior to the LARP, thanking Cambysion for their invitation and signing it with a creative title, “Shield against the hazards of earthly realm”. It was a really nice little surprise for a GM. (I shared it with the writer, who liked it too.)
I think in the end two or three bargains were struck? I hope the players had a good time.
On Friday evening, I played Reading Between the Lines. This LARP is set at a costumed gala at small library which is danger of closing. Meanwhile, the fabled Booklands are also in danger, and characters from well known literature are temporarily possessing the attendees of the gala who are costumed as them. The gala attendee characters are pre-written and cast by the GMs, but their costumes/the Bookland characters are up to the players. This concept really appealed to me; I’ve often enjoyed LARP roles that involve multiple consciousnesses, and I liked the idea of getting to pick a famous character to cosplay as. The GMs offered a list of suggestions, but I asked if it would be alright if I and another player came dressed as Crowley and Aziraphale from Good Omens, and the GMs were on board. I really appreciated the GMs being willing to write new characters sheets depending on the requests of the players.
Aziraphale proved to be a very good match for his gala attendee, both of them being the old fashioned sort, with affable natures and love for books. Crowley was a bigger departure from my sweet and nerdy gala character, though they did overlap in their interest in technology. I really enjoyed swapping back and forth from two very different personalities. I had fun creating awkward moments when people overheard my teenaged character call an adult mentor as “angel” (as Crowley addresses Aziraphale) and trying to convince another adult (who was sometimes Hagrid from Harry Potter) to bring me a stiff drink. I also whined a bit about the idea of some of the library’s books being relocated to a church.
I was feeling doubtful about my portrayal of Crowley, which was heavily influenced by the tv show (which I saw before reading the book.) I didn’t think I managed to capture his sarcasm or tendency to tease, but after the LARP a couple of players complimented my body language — I had been trying to mimic David Tennant’s slouching and sprawling and head tilts — and that really meant a lot to me to hear. Props to the player who played Hagrid, whose voice and accent work made the character swaps apparent, and Ebenezer Scrooge, who found ways to insert “bah, humbug!” into multiple conversations and speeches.
My costume also received a lot of positive feedback, which made me happy. I tried to recreate Crowley’s modern outfit from the tv show. I didn’t do any sewing for this costume, but I did dye a snakeskin belt and snakeskin boots, and created a tasseled scarf out of faux chain-mail trim, tassels, and hot glue. I even tried to style my bangs a bit into an approximation of the swoop David Tennant sports in this role, and wore a temporary tattoo of a snake on the side of my face, just like his. The best part might have been my vivid yellow contact lenses — they received a lot of comments on how creepy they looked. People even expressed relief when I took them off. (That’s a good thing as far as I’m concerned.)
…Sadly, I got no photos, of either me or Aziraphale, who did a wonderful job recreating Michael Sheen’s look with two different colors of hair wax. But I’m sure we’ll reprise these costumes for cosplay at conventions in the future. In the meantime, here is a photo of me trying on the sunglasses, and another of the costume’s accessories.
On Saturday, I played in Better Living Through Robotics, a sci-fi LARP featuring Asimovian robots, written at a Peaky Midwest event. It was a last minute replacement for another LARP I had signed up for that didn’t end up running, and I’m incredibly grateful to the GMs, who stepped up despite being busy as members of con staff (and GMs for other LARPs).
I had recently played another Asimovian LARP (Persephone’s Gift) and really enjoyed it, so I was looking forward to playing another. Better Living revolved around a CEO’s decision of which of her children should inherit control of her megacorporation. I knew I wanted to play a robot again — I really like non-human roles, so I was happy to be cast as 1UN4 (“LOO-nah”), the assistant to the CEO’s son and head of Public Outreach and Marketing.
I really liked how the human characters of Better Living each represent a very different outlook towards robots, and the robots each have a unique perspective on their existence and their relationships towards humans. I spent much of the LARP exploring my own feelings towards romance, sexuality, freedom, and mortality/immortality. For example, I had the opportunity to inspire jealousy in a fellow robot while exploring the idea of romance with him, and toyed with that idea for a bit (though I ended up avoiding it, when I realized jealousy often comes hand in hand with pain.)
You can read more about and purchase the LARP on the Peaky website.
For costuming, rather coincidentally, I had picked up a pair of tights at a clearance sale for a party store — they give your knees and ankles the appearance of articulated ball joints (they sold under the label, “Creepy Doll Tights”.) I think they were just the right detail for a last minute robot costume (although I’m tempted to also find a version that doesn’t include cracks.)
I played the magician’s assistant. The magician is her brother, but she’s the brains behind the act, the designer of the tricks. I started out as the resident skeptic of the circus. I don’t want to spoil this LARP for future players, but let’s just say it opens with an atmosphere of tension and wistfulness, and it gets eerier as it goes on. Our run concluded with a very emotional, dramatic scene involving (almost) the entire cast.
For costuming, I spent awhile looking up vintage circus photos online. I ended up wearing a borrowed black tailcoat over a fluffy white shirt and a red corset, with black boy shorts (actually a pair of high waisted knickers from a superhero costume) over dancers’ tights and sparkly Mary Jane shoes. I also put fluffy white feathers in my hair and went heavy on the makeup for a stage look. I liked the tights in particular for this costume; they really look meant for someone who expects to be performing under bright lights and doesn’t want to appear too pale and washed out.
It only felt a little awkward to have my legs so visible in the context of a circus LARP with lots of fun costuming, but for awhile, I found myself too self-conscious to leave game space with only dancer’s tights covering my legs; someone else had to fetch me coffee. I suppose I was feeling unsure about Consequences’ cultural norms around costuming?
At my previous two Consequences, I found time on Sunday for board gaming, but not this year. But that’s ok — as mentioned above, thanks to keeping my mornings free for sleeping in, I had plenty of time for socializing at the parties all four nights. The parties do get fairly loud and crowded (though they felt somewhat less so to me this year) but I really enjoyed talking with people from different LARP communities. I learned a lot about some of the blockbuster LARPs running, particularly Conscious, a Westworld inspired LARP that really pushes the envelope. (I think I’d like to play a future run!) I also heard a lot of excited chatter about Tutankhamen, the new weekend long theater/freeform LARP running in the UK in February. (Much to my dismay, I hear this LARP is highly unlikely to ever run again.)
I also found time during the Saturday night party to take a dip in a hot tub, which was really nice (and actually an easier location to have a conversation than inside the chalets.) I hear there was a LARP designed to run in a hot tub that ran at Consequences — if I can manage to track it down online, I’d like to run and/or play it in the near future.
And this year I was one of the party hosts, along with my travel buddy/chalet roommate. It seems the LARPers who usually host on Saturday night were not there this year, so we volunteered. I was worried about not having any booze to offer, but so many guests brought their own to share, there was more than enough, with tons leftover. People seemed just grateful to have a place to gather, which I was happy to provide. Really, so long as you don’t have to be up early the next morning, the only downside is the clean up. (A lot of leftover wine and beer went down the sink.) Some folks are saying once is enough to make it a tradition, and I’d be up for hosting… so long as there isn’t LARP the next morning calling my name. (If the Friday night party is the Dutch Party, would that make the Saturday night party the American Party…?)
Instead of board gaming on Sunday, I volunteered for an Ops shift, which was mostly spent dismantling room dividers. On a whim, I bought raffle tickets with my change from buying coffee (it was for charity, so why not) and won three prizes. I didn’t see when the homemade Batman tote I donated was selected, but I hear the person who chose it seemed happy with it.
I also made it down to the beach for the first time. The weather was as rainy as one can expect from England in November, but I was ready for it with my Wellingtons and Captain America umbrella. It was so muddy on the path down to the beach that I slipped and cartoonishly flung a cup of coffee into my own face. (Fortunately, it had already cooled.) Still glad I went — the view was very pretty, and there were lots of cute rabbits hopping around.
Now I’m back home in the States and, like last year, feeling those post-con/post-LARP blues pretty hard. At least there is another event coming up later next year where I might see a few of the UK LARPers again… but I’ll wait on announcements before saying more. I should probably distract myself by turning my focus to Intercon… now that open sign ups have happened, I have a very full schedule of LARPs and other events to start preparing for. (…Maybe a little too full…) But right now, I just miss everyone from Consequences.
As a little bonus…
Words I Learned at Consequences
kwtch – Welsh for cuddle
muppet – British slang for idiot
alsjeblieft – Dutch for please