The Paradoxical Twenties

I made a somewhat last minute decision to NPC Shadows of Amun a few weekends ago. I’ve been really missing NPCing lately — I think other than the Shadows one day event over the summer, I haven’t NPCed at all this year. But I was also really tempted by one of the roles the staff offered me this weekend.

I knew the PCs would be time traveling back to the era where the campaign began — the end of WWI. But (as they found on on Friday evening), they’d be overshooting their target return date by a few years, and would spend the weekend discovering how the world had changed in their absence and what sort of consequences their various history altering shenanigans in the era of the Crusades and the era of Cleopatra had wrought. (Actually, it was even more complex than that, as they had entered an alternate timeline in which their alternate selves had gone back in time and died, and now they were returning in their places… um, like I said, it got very complicated and I was only vaguely aware of much of it when I actually NPCed…. but now that I know more, I kind of wish I had PCed — these stories sounded like excellent fun to roleplay through!)

On Friday evening, the PCs who had originally come from 1168 and 30 BC were brought into David Lynch-esque surreal module. They helped restore order to time by rearranging a mystical construction of stones carved with runes, while Ma’at, the goddess of truth, order, and justice, took the form of a silent flapper girl dancing around them to 1920s music. How could I resist the opportunity to play the goddess who had created time in a time traveling LARP, especially when it would let me costume as a flapper?

Ma’at, Goddess of Order and flapper girl

I wish I had more time for this costume before this event. Maybe if I reprise the role, I’ll update the dress with something more explicitly 1920s-ish. In the meantime, I pulled the closest thing to a 1920s dress that I could find out my closet (wrong silhouette, though) and accessorized with whatever various bits of old costumes I could find that could possibly pass for flapper fashion — dangly earrings, a beaded headband, a giant feather, opera length gloves, lots of fake pearls. I thought the feather might be too large to the point where it looked silly, but Ma’at is commonly depicted with a giant feather on her head (representing the feather against which she weighs hearts), so I left it on. I also spent some time the day before the event looking up videos of flappers dancing on youtube so that I could try to mimic a few of the moves.

Ma’at, aka “the Dancing Spirit”

I reprised the role later for a scene in which a handful of PCs were traveling through Duat — the realm of the dead. I played random spirits, crocodile monsters harassing the travelers on the paths, and then Ma’at again in a scene where the players got the chance to speak to the gods. I spent most of the scene dancing around everyone and trying to convince various players to dance with me, and one PC swore a blood oath to Ma’at. It was difficult to convey the gravity of the moment without speech; I decided that as Ma’at had been constantly dancing with everyone, I could best try by holding perfectly still and focusing entirely on that one person for that moment.

The other speaking role I played over the weekend was a female senator and imam (this being an alternate timeline). Her first role was to find PCs to volunteer to restore some mosques destroyed during the Great War, then later she returned to discuss politics with the PCs and vote on various issues with other NPC senators and one PC senator… who was elected Prime Minister of Egypt. I’m curious to see how the writing staff will address a player who holds the most powerful political role in the country.

Outside of Ma’at and the senator, the rest of the time I was “crunching” — playing random monsters/bad guys for the PCs to fight in big battles. I played two flavors of zombies, a mechanical golem (very different from the Quill sort of golem!) and mad violent cultists.

Shadows Golem

I think Ma’at is my favorite role to NPC in a boffer campaign so far. I hope I get the chance to reprise it!

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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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5 Responses to The Paradoxical Twenties

  1. mnemex says:

    That sounds fantastic.

    Any idea why Maat was a -silent- flapper girl? Was this a nod to silent films of the era? (if so, it would be really cool to costume as her in black and white with makeup — maybe with a splash of color where the “frames” were painted).

    • Fair Escape says:

      I think it was mostly to make sure she seemed strange and otherworldly, instead of as plainly accessible as divine beings can sometimes inadvertently become in LARPs. But I like your black and white idea, though it might be too time consuming to implement in Monster Camp.

      • mnemex says:

        Mnn. Possibly, although it’s basically clothing choice, pancake, and lipstick; don’t even need that much coverage on the pancake, just enough to get the idea across.

        Then again, I am so the -opposite- of an expert on makeup.

  2. Kat says:

    That said! The Red Dress really did it for me. I spent the rest of the weekend making offhand comments like “I met a woman in a red dress,” and the iconicness of it was pretty perfect. 🙂

    • Fair Escape says:

      I’m really glad the dress worked some people! Maybe this means I either shouldn’t replace it with something more explicitly flapper-ish, or if I do, I should be sure to replace it with something red. 🙂

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