Into Canada

Played my second weekend even of Endgame, the larp of postapocalyptic heroic horror. Endgame‘s usual campsite in New Hampshire is already being used for the summer, so the staff wrote an event where the PCs traveled to Canada (actually somewhere in Massachusetts) to help some Canadian allies and fight the evil brewing north of the border. I thought it was a clever in-game explanation for why our environment looked different (whereas when I’d heard we’d be at a new campground, I thought the staff would just handwave the changes in buildings and fields.)

This weekend, I…

…fought flesh-eating robots, fae, and skeletons. Lots and lots of skeletons. (Courtesy of the Thief of Bones.)
…took part in five magic rituals
…scavenged for scrap electronic parts
…helped blow up a dam
…entered the memories of a powerful being, witnessed his memories and took part in combat rituals
…saved prisoners of the fae
…spoke with the AI representation of a spaceship

I had a truly excellent weekend. I altered my character’s build a bit. Sunshine is now a survivalist/warper instead of a scholar/warper. It helps a lot- being a survivalist (with abilities to scrounge for food and such) fits with her hippy persona, and scholar abilities make more sense for someone who is engrossed learning things about the plot, whereas I’ve come so late to the game, most of what’s going on goes over my head. Also, since I’m very low on CP, combat is hard enough for me as it is without spending my CP on non-combat abilities.

There were two mods that I was surprised by how enjoyable they were. Both on Friday night and Saturday night, we had to move the entire cast of PCs- i.e. the entire community of Temple. Friday night, we were ending our journey from Temple to a location in Canada on the edge of the territory of the Thief of Bones. On our way, we were attacked by skeleton beings- minions of the Thief- who were, terrifyingly enough, not killing us but rather stabilizing us where we fell in order to drag us off. I think this battle was particularly scary because it was very dark, and there was a sense of a distinct lack of sanctuary. We were far from Temple, and there was no way to just draw back if things truly went wrong. It was fight or be taken.

Saturday night, the entire town went on the move again… I’m actually not entirely clear on why we were going where we went (I know there was some innocent victim who was found and had to be killed in order to keep the undead that attacked us from spawning… we also picked up an artifact at the end.) But even though it was mostly us just moving slowly, en masse, through the dark, trying to keep the monsters at bay, it still proved to be an interesting challenge to coordinate ourselves.

I think the most interesting module took place Friday night, where a group went into an NPCs memories, and watched them play out, taking part in some. One included a combat ritual, where we had to pair off and fight one another. I always think it’s a good idea to encourage friendly combat between PCs- gives us stuff to do that doesn’t require NPCs, and I often think some PCs are itching to test their skills against one another. (In Lost Eidolons, we have an underground boxing ring that serves such a purpose.) The NPCs showed off their acting skills, and at the end, there was a kind of lose-lose decision to make. It was an intense, personal RPing moment for us while we debated what was the lesser of two evils. The sun had risen before we made up our minds.

I really like Endgame‘s rituals. They seem to be carefully crafted with an eye towards encouraging interesting RPing between PCs and personal development of characters. One ritual was about gathering the light to stand against darkness, so the magic involved required focus on what served as metaphorical sources of light in our characters’ lives. I got a glimpse into the inner workings of two characters I had otherwise very little interaction with, and up until then, no real reason to pry into their personal feelings.

Another ritual involved characters pledging their loyalty to Temple. We each stated what we had to offer to Temple (Sunshine offered her endless cheer and hope), received a tattoo of Temple’s symbol (a sun over a capital T), then dramatically “drew blood” and swore a vow of loyalty to Temple, each in our own words. It’s great to have in-game encouragement for dramatic, personal RPing.

Amusing side-note: most characters got their tattoos (drawn with permanent black marker, which actually washed off very easily) on their arms. A few got their lower backs done.  Me, I got the crazy urge to be a little outrageous and decided to get my tattoo on my butt- the right cheek. (My tattoo artist was very good friend of mine outside of the LARP, we’ve known each other for years and years, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have had the chutzpah to do it).

What LARPing can make us do, eh?

Something else from this weekend I wanted to mention- there’s a character whom I believe is a PC but serves a quasi-NPCish role, in that she spends her time in the tavern, making it a warm, comfortable, welcoming place for us. (She also, apparently, can use a shot gun, as Sunshine found out to her surprise when she got confused for an enemy in the dark Friday night, much to everyone’s shock and amusement.) I first met her when she was setting up candles in the tavern, and I think Temple is incredibly lucky to have her. This weekend, she baked cookies and scones, and made fresh churned butter (!) to spread on the scones, while we were off battling skeletons and such. I believe she was also the one who set up our temporary tavern in Canada, and it provided amazing atmosphere. I really wish I had gotten photos. The camp beds were set up like couches, with pillows and sheets, there was a chandelier with fake candles, a fake fireplace, coffee and tea and fruits and veggies… a really nice place to relax while waiting for modules to go off.

And on a closing note, Sunshine seems to be known for her Bright Pink tie dye t-shirt, but I can’t wear it all three days (fighting monsters is sweaty work!) I found this on ebay and I’d just love to iron it onto a yellow tie dye t-shirt. It’s almost too perfect.

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About Fair Escape

I've been LARPing for years in all different styles, including both boffer and theater. I love classic LARP but I'm always happy to try something new. I have a sort of "gotta catch 'em all" attitude towards experiencing LARPs. I'm currently serve as a board member of NEIL, a member of proposal com for Intercon, the largest all LARP convention in the US, and as en editor for Game Wrap, a publication about the art and craft of LARP. I was also con chair of Festival of the LARPs 2017, and I'm on staff for NELCO, the first all LARP conference in the US. I'm
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