This past Saturday was the third Dia de los Sobres, a relatively informal day of LARPing in the New England theater community. It was hosted in someone’s private home this year, which luckily worked out very well for the two LARPs that ran.
The first was AGENT Bobo of the Resistance, a LARP written for the Iron GM contest that ran at Intercon M. Which means it was written in under 24 hours, for 12 people, can easily be run by other GMs, and involves three themes/ingredients: time travel, stuffed animals, and secret organizations. It’s quite unlike any other LARP I’ve ever played. It feels closer to some of the artsier Nordic-style LARPs I’ve heard of than the traditional Intercon-style theater LARP. AGENT Bobo involves the denizen’s of a little boy’s toy box dealing with various troublesome changes in the boy’s life. Child psychology plays heavily into the LARP. I’ve actually played the inaugural run at Intercon M and wasn’t expecting to play again, but there was a last minute drop and I was around. And spoilers aren’t really a big issue for this LARP.
In my previous run, I played it on maybe half an hour of sleep, so I was in a fuzzy-brained, sleep deprived state. Being a bit better rested definitely helped get me into the spirit of the LARP this time around, though I wasn’t terribly active. There was some symbolism in the LARP, and part of the fun is figuring it out. I didn’t want to take that away from the players who hadn’t played before, so I was mostly reactive. It was very interesting to see how it differed from run to run. Things felt a bit more freeform in this run, whereas in the first run, the players came up with a more specific game plan and implemented it. I think this may have been in part because people weren’t as forthcoming with the information they gleaned from their character backgrounds. It made it harder to form a single, comprehensive plan.
By sheer coincedence, the last remaining stuffed animal when I joined the LARP last minute was Christmas Bear, the same one I played in the previous run. I nearly reprised that role, but another LARPer traded with me so that I could try a new role. This time, I played Patrick, as represented by the red bull beanie baby.
The second LARP to run was Paranoid and Crotchety’s The Other Side of the Glass, aka Mirror. I’m going to quote the blurb here, because I feel it’s very accurate.
“The Other Side of the Glass is a character-driven game about love, gender, identity, and the strange ways in which magic changes them all. This is a highly romantic game, and every character has some degree of romantic involvement. This game contains fairly pervasive disturbing themes and abusive situations, and is recommended for mature players.”
I very much liked the setting- it was a near future, quasi-post apocalyptic setting after a magic spell reduced much of the world’s modern technology, which was replaced with magic, primarily glass magic in the after-math. The setting was unlike any other I’ve played in, and very well developed. The magic of the setting, which involved people’s reflections coming to life with dark results, was quite complex, and I’ll be honest, even after the game wrap, I still didn’t really understand a lot of it. (To be fair, my character was one of the ones that came in with very little information.) Despite being quite confused for most of the time, I had a great time, and I particularly liked the strange and unique concept behind my character. It was a very mercurial sort of character to play. The blurb wasn’t kidding when it said there were disturbing themes involving abuse, love, gender, and identity. The romance in the LARP was particularly tangled. And keeping it all in a fairly small space meant that it was impossible to keep much of the drama hidden.
My costuming hint for this LARP, by the way, was pretty simple: all black, with sunglasses. I tried to pick black items that weren’t too mundane, to sort of reflect the weird, fantastic setting. Which, not surprisingly, resulted in a look that wouldn’t be out of place in The Matrix.