There are currently two theater events on the horizon.
Time Bubble is a weekend of theater LARPs at RPI in Troy, NY. This year, it’s running Oct. 11th to 13th.
SLAW (SFS Live Action Weekend) is WPI’s weekend of theater LARPs. It’s running from November 15th to 17th.
Time Bubble sign-ups have come and gone, so I don’t know if there’s much of a point of me doing my usual “here are the LARPs I’ve played and what I thought about them to help people decide what they would like to play.” I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve been to enough Intercons, Festival of the LARPs, Time/Dice Bubbles, SLAWs, Dias de los Sobres (and maybe a few other events I’m forgetting) that it’s often the case that I look at the schedule for an upcoming LARP weekend and realize I’ve played many, if not most of LARPs on it. This leaves my choices limited, though the minor upside of this situation is that people who are newer can get a lot of information about the LARPs from me, I guess. Which ideally will help them pick their own schedules.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that most of the LARPs at Time Bubble 2013 are new to me. Some are new to everyone, which is fantastic. It’s a relief to know we’ve got so many writers going strong and new writers trying LARP writing out. Unfortunately, game sign-ups opened when I wasn’t able to sign-up, and I didn’t have the foresight to ask someone to do it for me, so that narrowed my choices quite a bit. I’m in Triple Blind on Friday evening, which I have played before but it’s specifically designed for people to play multiple times. Characters get generated at the door by combining a randomly selected secret identity, cover identity, and group affiliation. On Saturday evening, I have signed up for Marlowe 2020, whose genre is described as “Cyberpunk Shakespeare” and I think that says it all. On Sunday, I will be playing in the first run of Status Magi, an urban fantasy LARP set at a magical school.
There is only one other LARP that was open by the time I signed up that I have not yet played, and that was Boogieman Nights, which is described as a comical game with a supernatural pornography theme… Honestly, it sounds pretty funny to me, but I declined to sign up because I knew I’d likely get stuck sitting around an RPI building from 1pm to 8pm, and I really like sleeping in. I think this may be one of the first times I’ve been to a weekend of theater LARPs and not filled my schedule as much as possible, which is maybe some sort of milestone for me. A milestone I am not loving. There are two weeks to go. Maybe I’ll cave and ask the GMs if it’s too late to sign up. Or maybe I’ll just cross my fingers for future runs.
For the record, the three LARPs of Time Bubble 2013 I have played are Triple Blind (as I mentioned), Mystery at Hart Manor (a classic murder mystery set around the reading of the victim’s will… with some surprising twists) and The Road Not Taken, which has a very unusual structure for a LARP. Many people feel it’s more like an improv exercise that explores the process of difficult internal decision making than a typical LARP.
It’s one of those experiences that if someone says “it’s a LARP!” I will not argue and if someone says “it’s not a LARP!” I will not argue.
As for SLAW, I’m signing up for my first LARP tomorrow, and for possibly the first time, I’m absolutely certain what I want my first pick to be — Hive, which is running against two LARPs I have already played, but more importantly, it is a freaking Star Wars LARP, so of course I must play. I have only played one Star Wars LARP thus far, Sith Lords: The Dark Side, and it was one of my favorites. Clearly, despite the common setting, they will be two very different LARPs. Sith Lords took place at a secret conclave of (who else) the Sith, many generations after the end of Return of the Jedi. Hive is set in the cantina on Tatooine, right after Return of the Jedi, and the characters will be the smaller sort of scum and villainy. …If I have reason to suspect that Hive contains any Force sensitive character, you can bet my character questionnaire will read something like: “JEDI OR SITH PLEASE OR AT LEAST A FORCE USER PLEASE”.
Like that. In all caps.
After that… um. I have no idea what else I will be signing up for. SLAW is trying a policy this year of letting WPI students and GMs sign up for as many LARPs as they like before the open sign-ups for everyone else. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, it’s extremely important to make the events very welcoming to current students, to keep the LARPing community going strong (and to ensure that we’ll always have event space in universities to run LARPs.) I also realize events like SLAW and Dice Bubble sometimes have trouble getting enough game bids and it’s important to incentivize people to run LARPs for them. And I think this is an effective way to do it. We’ve gotten a solid schedule of games this year, which indicates it may be working. But I’m also mildly disappointed to see that two of the most in-demand LARPs pretty much filled before most people got a chance to sign up. That’s rough on all non-students and non-GMs.
On the plus side, in previous years this system had an issue with people jumping the gun and signing up before sign ups were supposed to be open, so those who waited until the official time got shut out of LARPs. By closing it for a day before general sign-ups open, this is no longer an issue.
The Night Queen Princess Fluffykins Died was written for NELCO 2013’s Build Your Own Game project. A group of writers, both new and experienced, wrote it starting Friday evening, and ran it Sunday afternoon. It’s a very humorous game about a neighborhood of cats. You can read a more detailed (but spoiler-free) description here.
The Other Side of the Glass is a futuristic fantasy game written by the Paranoid and Crotchety writing team, and it involves a lot of complex magic and very emotional situations. You can read a more detailed description of my experience here. (Again, spoiler-free.)
Lastly, The Dying of the Light was the winner of Intercon M’s Iron GM contest, so like Fluffykins, it was written over the course of a single weekend. As it says in the description, it’s set at a garden party and involves high weirdness and high angst. My description of playing it is here, though I realize this review doesn’t really offer much in the way of detail (but it’s also spoiler free… all my reviews on this blog are, unless noted otherwise.)
On a related note, the list of LARPs that will run at Intercon N is growing. I’m particularly excited to see A Mayfair in the Colonies and Cirque du Fey on the list, as both are LARPs I’ve heard were in the works and they sound fantastic. Rumor has it there are more LARPs to be listed on the Intercon website sometime soon, but more bids are always welcome!
…And I’ve just received my other casting for Time Bubble 2013, for Marlowe 2020. The character sheet is one of the shortest I’ve ever received, but it sounds like a lot of fun. …Now I need to think about creating a cyberpunk costume…