This past weekend was WPI’s weekend of mini-games, aka SLAW.
Side note, it’s a bit weird that I don’t think of or refer to 4 hour theater LARPs as mini, but I use the phrase “weekend of mini-games,” which as a term came from a time when weekend long LARPs were the standard.
On Friday, I played in The Difficult Life of the Costumed Henchmen, which is a LARP I’ve heard good things about, and I’ve been trying to get into one of its many runs for awhile now. I actually signed up for it once and got cast as one of the aliens before being forced to drop by school rescheduling. This time, I got cast as one of the magician-themed henchmen, which gave me a wonderful opportunity to wear coattails. (It’s one of those costuming things I’ve been hoping for an excuse to wear.) It’s actually a really solid game with some cute characters and tongue-in-cheek fun at the expense of the old-school superhero genre. Our run, however, was remarkably… tame. We spent most of the game sitting in our seats and discussing how to structure our union and its goals in a fairly calm and orderly manner. I’m told previous runs have erupted into drama and chaos within ten minutes of game start. Go figure.
On Saturday morning, I was originally planning to play in Yo Dog, I Heard You Like LARPs (shouldn’t that be Yo Dawg…?) , but ended up NPCing for The Dance and the Dawn as the Queen of Ice. (This is a LARP I’ve played before as a female Lord of Ice.) It’s a very low plot gothic fairy tale LARP that revolves primarily around character interaction, dancing, and dueling, and playing the Queen was quite a roleplaying and acting challenge.
On Saturday afternoon, I played one of the horde in Collision Imminent, a LARP that was originally written as the “Build Your Own Game” at Intercon 15.5. It’s a silly sci-fi LARP where the cast plays the crew of a spaceship in danger, trying to get the rather diverse group of strange passengers, played by the horde, onto escape pods. As a member of the horde, I would be given a basic identity, pick up some costuming from the piles of random bits the GMs provided for us, then go out and give the crew a hard time until they got me onto an escape pod, one way or another. When the escape pod ejected, I’d head back to the horde room to get a new identity and start all over again. It was very loud, very confusing, very chaotic and very wacky.
On Saturday evening, I played in The Passage. I believe this was the first run of this LARP. It was a “character-driven, Jeepform LARP about refugees fleeing the death of America.” I was cast as the pilot of the ship on which the refugees were fleeing. The LARP had a very unusual structure- every character was given a stack of envelopes, each with a code on it indicating with whom they could play out the scene contained within. Players would find someone that fit the code on an envelope, open it, and find instructions for a brief scene- generally, a conversation about the characters’ feelings, beliefs, past, motivations, or plans for the future. For example, my character had had some traumatic experiences in her past involving soldiers, so one of her scenes involved finding a soldier to talk with, and decide if she could get over her prejudice against them. I think it was an incredibly neat structure, and it really encouraged some very serious, introspective roleplaying in the rather bleak setting. Maybe that’s something that could be integrated into standard theater style LARPs? The only thing I would change about it would be to maybe make it shorter- by the time the 4th hour had rolled around, I’d completed most of my scenes (which tended to take under 10 minutes, not the expected 15) and only had one or two left because I was holding on to them, and this was true for a number of other players, too, I think. I did really love the little ended the GM created for us, (which I can’t really describe without spoiling it.)
On Sunday, I played in Cracks in the Orb. (The LARP for which I was creating those banners.) As I’ve mentioned, it’s a high fantasy, political LARP set in the Dragaera books. The premise was a ball, attended by powerful nobles with political agendas, while the city around them is beset by rioting rebels. As a member of House Phoenix, (whose color is gold), I wore my gold Renaissance gown– minus that blue vest- originally created for Venezia. I think overall it was a very well written LARP, with a lot of really cool mechanics for dancing, scandals, honor, fighting the rebels, and more. It was heavily plotted, and I think most of the players were kept very busy, though I personally had a bit of trouble finding enough to do (to the LARP’s credit, I think I was the only one) and it’s worth noting that my romance plot was very well written and fun to play out.
Unfortunately, though I wore some costumes I really liked, I didn’t manage to get any pictures of my own. I saw a camera at Collision Imminent– if those pictures surface, I’ll see if I can share some here.
Overall, I had a great weekend. Next up, the final chapter of Lost Eidolons is this weekend.