NELCO Panels

NELCO (New England LARP Conference) seems to have snuck up on me. It’s only two weeks away! I filled out their online survey a little while back, indicating which panels I thought would be interesting, and for which I’d be willing to be a panelist. It seems I’ve been placed on three panels.

One is called Quick Costuming, and I’m not too concerned about it. I checked off the “I am interested in being on this panel” because costuming is one of my favorite aspects of LARPing, and I could happily run off at the mouth about costuming for an hour. (More, if the schedule would let me. Thankfully, it doesn’t) I’ve run a Costuming for Beginners panels twice, and I don’t know if I’m qualified, but I feel as though I could probably come up with a lot to say about last minute costuming. More importantly, I know at least one other panelist is a much more experienced costumer,

Another is called Religion in LARP. I checked off “I am interested in being on this panel” for two reasons. One, I like playing religious characters. I like playing characters who are dedicated to causes bigger than themselves, and I frequently enjoy plots that tie into the cosmology of the setting. I also frequently find myself avoiding religion in LARPs if I think it might be handled disrespectfully. And two, I am an observant religious person, and I actually think that’s relatively rare in our LARPing community. I didn’t want the panel to only have panelists that dislike religion. (Interestingly, unless we add more panelists, everyone on the panel- all two of us- will be religious LARPers.)

I think this panel could go in a few different directions. When I think of other panels, like one I attended in the past on Mental Illness in LARP, or a popular panel that has run more than once, Race in LARP, that explains how to deal with sensitive issues with respect. (The key element, I’ve learned from these sorts of panels is do your research.) I think I could easily talk for awhile about that; I have fairly strong opinions about how religion is often treated in my LARPing communities, though I don’t want this panel to be primarily a bitter scolding session. Alternate routes include talking about how to incorporate religion into a LARP- how to make it an interesting aspect of your setting and characters, or, more generally, how to create full, nuanced religions if you’re creating one from scratch. I suspect that might be particularly interesting for people who write fantasy settings. Similarly, we could also discuss how to adapt religions for your speculative settings. In other words, coming up with interesting and believable ways real world religions might develop if you’re writing a sci-fi LARP set 100 years into the future on Earth. I think after this weekend, when I will no longer be busy preparing for Devil to Pay and Prince Comes of Age, I might start jotting down thoughts on what to say at this panel.

The last panel for which I am currently signed is Blogging LARP. , Obviously, I checked “I am interested in being on this panel” for this panel because I really enjoy blogging about LARP. (Also, I didn’t think there were any other LARPers likely to be at NELCO who have blogs dedicated exclusively to LARP.

I really did not expect this panel to garner any interest. I was pretty shocked when I saw it had been scheduled. I asked if there was honestly much interest, and was surprised to learn that, while compared to other panels on the schedule, it wasn’t terribly popular, the survey indicated it was still more popular than plenty of other suggested panels (which did not end up on the schedule due to lack of interest.) So… in terms of interest, it’s probably at the bottom for the convention overall, but there was still some interest.

I don’t know if I really get why there is interest. I doubt there is anyone at attendance who is thinking of starting a blog but wants tips and advice. And I don’t want to make this a panel about blogging advice for two reasons. One, if it’s isn’t specific to LARP blogs, then anyone can just google “blogging tips” and get much better, much more succinct, and comprehensive advice for blogging. And two… it’s not like this blog is particularly successful. Does anyone really want advice from someone whose blog gets around 50 hits on a good day? (I tell myself this is at least in part because I do little to no advertising- other people post links to new blog posts on twitter, facebook, message boards, etc. but for some reason I feel very self-conscious doing that… so I don’t. )

I kind of wish I had one of those t-shirts that says, “I’m so blogging this” to wear to the panel. It would be both on topic and, as I of course plan to post a post event review here, it will be literally true.

But what else is there to talk about for an hour? I could talk about what purpose I think blogging about LARP serves, and what the benefits of doing so have been for me. I guess. I don’t know if that’s what people who checked off “I am interested in attending this panel” were hoping to hear.

If anyone reading this has any thoughts or ideas, please please share. If you were attending a panel on blogging about LARP, what would you be hoping to hear? Advice? Suggestions for blogs and other online materials to read? A description of personal experiences as a blogger? …I have no idea.

As for other panels, the schedule just looks chock full of panels I want to attend. (But I’m not going to do what I’ve done at past panels at Pre-Con, which is switching between panels so as to catch half of each… that mostly left me feeling like I missed out on both.) In particular, Designing Interesting Boffer Modules sounds great- I think coming up with interesting structures for boffer modules is a real challenge but is really important. A LARPer can get tired of defend-the-ritual and fight-until-we-get-the-MacGuffin modules.

One workshop I’m disappointed to see didn’t make it to the schedule was building your own boffer weapons. I would have really liked to have picked up some techniques, especially since I’m planning to make my own shield soon. But it’s ok.  I got an offer from someone who makes boffer weapons to help me when we both have some spare time.

Anyone else getting excited for NELCO? Any thoughts for what I should include on any of my panels (the blogging one in particular.) Please share!


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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