A few weeks back, I spent the weekend in upstate New York to play a new theater LARP, Infinite Magic Glories: Impact Mosaic, with the HRSFA (Harvard University) crowd. It’s set firmly in the magical girl genre (with influence from other genres of anime), which I familiarized myself with prior to playing by watching Puella Magi Madoka Magica (the tv show is currently available on Netflix), a couple of episodes of Revolutionary Girl Utena, and a few magical girl transformation sequences on YouTube. I wasn’t sure how long it was going to be going into it — I think it ended up running for about 10 hours total.
There was a fair bit of pre-gaming, which is popular with the HRSFA crowd — players emailing one another in-character in and creating their characters’ tumblrs in the week or two leading up to the event. For my part, I offered to draw some anime-ish portraits to put up on the tumblrs, ostensibly sent in by random fans, if anyone cared to send me previews of their costumes, and a few people took me up on the offer.
The LARP is set in Minneapolis, where various members of the magical community — mostly Magical Girls, who protect their Shining Realms from Void Terrors, and Mystic Knights, who compete for treasured artifacts in Grail Tournaments, are gathering for their annual party. Emotional roleplaying and magical shenanigans ensue.
I played Pheadra Silver, aka Princess Reauvais, who is known for being the Christian magical girl. I thought the religious side of this character was treated respectfully, as a complex, multi-faceted element, and it provided some very interesting roleplaying moments for me.
Two of the major mechanics of Infinite Magic Glories were combat and side-adventures. Combat was a complex Rocks, Paper, Scissors system which I felt captured the feeling of battles in anime, especially with the characters calling out the names of their special attack, (“Imperial Storm!” “Cutting Hurricane Wheel!” “Hermetic Bubble Blast!”), though I admit at times I sometimes got confused and lost track of hit points. The side-adventures mechanic were flavorfully descriptive Choose Your Own Adventure style texts, with GMs guiding players through them, a technique I’ve previously seen used to great effect in Ex Ignorantia.
Overall, it was a very well structured LARP, with well written reading materials, unique, complex characters, and a fair few unexpected twists. I think it anyone who is a fan of the magical girl genre will really enjoy it, but obviously, it can be a ton of fun for people who are new to the genre, like me, especially if you’ve enjoyed Ex Ignorantia or Be Not Afraid. (Ex Ignorantia is running at RPI September 26th. Unfortunately, it’s already full. I’m looking forward to hearing how it goes — I think it will draw in new LARPers at RPI.)
And word is, Infinite Magic Glories will likely be running at Intercon P.
Of course, I can’t discuss a magical girl LARP without mentioning the costuming. Princess Reauvais is also known as the Silver Saint and her magical technique was Gleaming Pearl Transfiguration, so I put together a girly costume out of silver and pearl accessories, with foam wings and a giant silver bow on my back. For a crown, I spraypainted leaves silver and twisted them into a circlet with sprays of fake pearls.
Clearly, this genre lends itself to a lot of fun costuming.