This past weekend, I went to WPI (Worcester Polytech) in Worcester, Ma for the third Summer LARPin’ event. Besides the fact that it adds another day of LARPing to a slower season, I love that it’s runs in a really nice space, yet is a free event. (Since it’s not during the school year, we’re able to get the large rooms of the Odeum.) Major credit goes to the staff of Summer LARPin’, who dealt with the school attempting a last minute cancellation, and then a lack of furniture in the rooms.
A number of attendees stayed at one of two nearby hotels, which enabled us to hang out in the bar in the evening before the event. We had a nice time discussing LARP events and getting a sneak preview of new costuming, including a custom set of long, flared sleeves. They were black with lacing over the upper arms, gold lining, appliques, and trim from the Yaya Han cosplay line (which I’ve long been dreaming about using in a project). I love that they can be easily worn with modern dresses to give them a historical/fantasy flair. Very inspiring.
This year, I played in two LARPs at Summer LARPin’. This was my second time playing in Feast of the Minotaur, which previously at Intercon L. But I enjoyed it so much, and it had been 8ish years, (and I knew the GMs wouldn’t mind), that I decided to play it again. (Besides, I had played the other LARP running in the time slot, too.)
This LARP is set at a feast in the royal palace of Crete, where the guests include seven Athenians, the next morning’s sacrifices for the Minotaur’s labyrinth (which I think is a particularly excellent premise for a LARP.) Lots of other figures and events from Greek mythology are combined into the mix.
At the Intercon L run, I had a lot of fun as Princess Phaedra of Crete. This time, I was cast as Idylla, the ward of the famous craftsman and architect, Daedalus. In this run, my experience was much more about characterization than plot (though both Phaedra and Idylla spent a lot of time exploring relationships within their quirky families), and I loved it just as much, if not more. The second run ran a bit faster, and ended much more tragically for many of the characters. I once again appreciated the “hydration mechanic” — drinking water (which can represent water or wine in game) enables players to draw a slip of paper from an envelope, which can grant things like information or temporary abilities. There are in-game explanations for these effects, and it’s a nice out-of-game reminder to stay hydrated.
I reused almost entirely the same costume I originally made for Princess Phaedra, (and wore again as Aphrodite in Siege of Troy.) For Idylla, I included a custom necklace, and a green set of laurels, rather than gold.
I spent most of the dinner break between LARPs helping set up the elaborate set dressing for the third run of Dance of the Dragons. We found some potted trees around the Odeum and moved them into the godswood tent, which filled it out nicely. Sadly, the banner of Aegon II seems to have gone missing, but overall, I thought the space looked very good.
Dance of the Dragons set dressing
After set up, I quickly changed into my costume for Faustian Speed Dating
At Dice Bubble 2017, I played in a LARP called Speed Dating for Heiresses, which is set in the late 19th or early 20th century, and features wealthy American heiresses (“dollar princesses”) meeting British aristocrats with low funds. Everyone present has their own quirks and flaws, and there’s a bit of a twist to the speed dating structure in the middle. This LARP inspired Faustian Speed Dating, which is a modern game featuring wizards who would like to find the right demon to make bargains with. Both LARPs have the potential to end with proposals (of marriages in one case, Faustian bargains in the other.)
Unlike Speed Dating for Heiresses, Faustian Speed Dating has all gender neutral characters, some expected antagonism between potential pairs, and players are welcome to strike multiple bargains at the end (though that comes with higher risk for either sorcerer or demon.)
I played Jeremiad, the Demon of Mourners and History. My costuming was mostly pulled from my closet; I wore my black military jacket over a high collared, ruffly white shirt (a combo I often lean on for ambiguous period looks, which I thought suited Jeremiad’s history theme.) Over this, I wore a floor length black veil, and I accessorized with heavy eyeliner, blue lipstick, red contacts, a clock hand necklace, and a silver pocket watch.
Demon of Regret
And I had a delightful time! Sometimes knowing I have to improvise, especially in the context of keeping up a long, one-on-one conversations, I get nervous thinking I won’t be able to come up with anything in the moment, but the premise of LARP and the character concepts kept the conversation flowing. In the end, I struck a bargain with a character whose self-doubt I thought might make him vulnerable to Jeremiad’s style of manipulation and torment (though the sorcerer of course had his own plan to avoid it.)
I think my only rough spot might have been the final scene; it’s meant to be a moment for demons and sorcerers to work out the terms of their bargain, but we got a little confused and ended up chatting out-of-character about how each of our characters was hoping to outsmart and trap the other. I think maybe a little more guidance on what kinds of terms a demon (or sorcerer) might include might have helped. But overall, I highly recommend Faustian Speed Dating.
In fact, I’m hoping to run it myself sometime in the future. I think the setting/concept has a lot of appeal (either to fans of historical LARPs or fantasy ones), and the structure is flexible in terms of casting (you can run with eight, losing any one of each category present — though an odd number of players requires a little creative adjustment — or NPCing — from the GM). And it’s seems pretty low in terms of time and effort to print, prep, and run. If you aren’t picky about costuming, both of these speed dating LARPs can be run on the fly — the rules are simple and the reading is pretty short (with players encouraged to fill in the gaps of their one-sheet character descriptions as they like.)
After Faustian Speed Dating, I went back to Dance of the Dragons, to help out the GMs as needed. I wound up mostly passing messages between GMs and players, and twice NPCed as a septa to conduct marriage ceremonies in the sept. (A unintentionally creepy septa, as I still had most of my demon costume on.)
creepy septa drinks Shade of the Evening
Sadly, the Iron Throne did not survive this run.
Surely a bad omen for the Seven Kingdoms.
With Summer LARPin’ behind me, it’s now time to focus on the next event, and NELCO (the LARP conference) is this weekend! I’ve got a little bit of prep left to do as Programming Coordinator. (Also Poster Maker and Discussion Runner.) I’m really looking forward to discussing all things related to creating, running, and playing LARP!
NELCO is open to all, and we have some social time on Friday (including a dinner at the hotel restaurant on Friday, and brunch on Sunday), so check it out!