SLAW LARP Reviews

The schedule for SLAW just recently went live.

For those unfamiliar (especially those in the New England area who might consider going!) it’s a free weekend of short (typically 4 hours or less) theater-style LARPs at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (in Massachusetts). It’s usually pretty small, low key, and fun.

I eagerly glanced over the schedule… and realized, out of 11 LARPs, I have played in 6. Bit disappointing, since it limits my selections quite a bit, and in fact, leaves me with a grand total of zero choices in one of the time slots. And for various reasons, if I want to play on Saturday, I have to spend the whole weekend, from Friday afternoon on, on campus.

This leaves me with a few choices. I could just limit myself to a Sunday game (Cracks in the Orb– very exciting!). Or maybe I could offer to help GM one of the LARPs running.

Either way, since I’ve played in over half of the LARPs, I figured a useful thing to do would be to consult my Master List of LARPs and old journal entries and post some quick reviews and thoughts on the LARPs I’ve played, both to encourage people to go and to help people decide what to play.

And by the way, you can sign up on the website.

A Crown of Hearts is a fairy tale themed LARP written by one of the Paranoid and Crotchety writers. First of all, from my experience playing Paranoid and Crotchety games, and from the rave reviews I’ve heard about their other LARPs that I have yet to play, this writing team has become a brand name that I trust. Seeing their names on a convention schedule is a big point in favor of me choosing that LARP for a time slot.

A Crown of Hearts takes some of the darker aspects of old fairy tales and blends them into one story, with plenty of characters that I would love to play. I like the way the character backgrounds blend- it provides for some very interesting roleplay. I actually had very little to do with the sidequests and NPCs in my run,  but I heard good things about them.

My one problem was the sequestering problem that occurs in LARPs from time to time. Characters head off to locked rooms, or even teleport to other countries, and you can’t interact with them if you don’t know where they went, or can’t unlock the door, until they get back, which can cause other players to wait. I think there was a bit of a bottleneck waiting for the old witch to return.

But overall, I had a great time in that LARP and would recommend it especially if you like dark fairy tales.

A Garden of Forking Paths is an Alleged Entertainment LARP that I recently played at WPI. You can read the full review here, but to sum up: it’s an experience unlike any other I’ve had in all my 8-odd years of LARPing, very emotional and kind of mind-bending. Be prepared for heart-breaking decision making about real-life situations.

The Dance and the Dawn is a gothic-regency era dark  fairy tale LARP based around prince and princess type characters at a waltz, looking for love. It’s primarily about social interaction (mostly chatting during dances, with the occasional social politicking between dances and some formal dueling.) There’s a lot of darkness and some angst and themes of loneliness and love, and it sort of both deconstructs and constructs fairy tale romance in a very interesting way. (There’s also some anime influence that I didn’t notice until part way through the LARP.) The social mechanics are primarily in the hands of the Ladies of Ash (mostly the female players), while the dueling is primarily in the hands of the Lords of Ice (mostly the male players.)

I had a really fun time, and I just loved my casting… I also like music and ballroom dancing. Since the majority of the LARP is chatting up potential soul mates while waltzing, I’d say if you enjoy both, then this is a good LARP for you.

Jael Samengelov, Lord of Ice…

…quite a dancer…

…even better duelist.

Skies of Eladria: the Steampunk Game is a LARP I played at Intercon L. It’s a very cool LARP with a lot of interesting mechanics. There were mini-games to play and I just adore their item building system (each item card has words printed on it, and if you can create a sentence describing an effect out of some combination of items, you can build an item that does the effect. It’s a lot of fun to mess around with.) I really adored my casting. I did have one issue, but I don’t want to spoil the LARP- I feel its the GMs prerogative to keep it a surprise if that’s the game they want to run- but either way, it’s a really fun LARP.

Skies of Eladria costuming

A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the Livin’s Easy is a LARP I played ages ago at Festival. It’s a fae-themed murder mystery set in a Prohibition era speakeasy, a setting I find rather appealing. It featured very colorful characters and a neat currency of favors with the fae court. I don’t think the mystery was solvable, but I do think people had fun just hanging out in character. It had one of the stranger and more fun romances I’ve played.

Tryst is a very unusual LARP- it’s a highly conceptual, neither dark nor silly, and has a very simple structure, sparse character sheets and basic goals. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it- it creates a very neat social puzzle.

I played Tryst at RPI’s weekend of mini-games this past February, and I’m surprised I didn’t post about it here. I’m trying to decide if this is too late to rectify. Worth noting, I played Captain Syrup in a Mario-themed LARP called A Fungal Coronation and…

Image by Beholdsa

… I got a ride on Yoshi!

How much fun is that? This is why LARPing is awesome.

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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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3 Responses to SLAW LARP Reviews

  1. I believe T./L. are looking for another GM for A Crown of Hearts, if you want to GM. Matt and I will be assisting, but L. said something about needing five GMs. I also imagine M./W. are looking for GMs for Skies of Eladria, too, since they needed a dedicated one for the Labyrinth last time. I haven’t committed to that since, well, AHHHHH GOING CRAZY ALL THE LARPWRITING.

    I’m so stoked for The Dance and the Dawn! And you, dear, are a very dashing Lord of Ice.

  2. You must come play Collision Imminent! It’s loud and wacky and has talking doors. There are rock stars, a pregnant man, star-crossed lovers, and a meezle. There are spies, clones, aliens, robots, and Fifi. There’s a row of escape pods, and an interesting crew trying to get the non-stop horde of passengers into them. It’s what happens when you get nine really talented, crazy and experienced authors in a room for a weekend to create something wonderful, then polish it afterwards, throw in a sprinkle of “you wrote what?”, and then find a great team of GMs to run the game time after time. You really should come play.

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