SLAW and the Crossover Playtest

This past weekend was SLAW, the weekend of short theater LARPs at WPI in Worcester, MA. Sunday was also the playtest for Crossover, a new Accelerant campaign starting up in 2016.

Unfortunately, SLAW had a few games drop at the last minute, so the schedule was a bit smaller than usual this year. But I still got into three great LARPs, Trouble with Turnips 4: Rutabaga of All Evil (whatta title), Tales of Bygone Ages, and Tartarus.

Trouble with Turnips is a silly live combat LARP designed to introduce newbies to the Realms system. It takes the form of a basic “dungeon-crawl” — a series of rooms with various traps to get past and puzzles to solve in order to advance. All the while, we were menaced by the minions of the Turnipmancer, until we were able to “root out” his one weakness and defeat him. (This game was chock full of wonderfully dreadful puns.) Costuming, weapons, and a basic rules training were provided.

The first puzzle. They got a lot harder!

I thought it was going to be a sequel to Trouble with Turnips, which I played in last year, but it was more of a reboot — most of the same plot and challenges, with a new twist on the story, a few changes to the puzzles, and a couple new adorable props (including the ultimate anti-vegetable weapon — the Bunny Blade.)

Tales of Bygone Ages is a LARP about a group of strangers all going on a tour and passing the time while they travel… but it’s a time traveling tour, and they’re heading to ancient Egypt to witness the beginning of the construction of the pyramids. The situation and the characters’ personalities provided ample fodder for roleplay; it was very easy to improv and riff off one another and keep the conversation, often quite humorous, going for hours. We told stories, theorized about time travel and alternate histories, and talked about ways we’d like to alter the world. I wish I could have recorded it.

My last LARP of SLAW 2015 was Tartarus, a LARP set in a mine after a cave-in has trapped the mining team. (Set up for this LARP makes excellent use of low lighting and glow sticks.) Combat is, interestingly, half live-combat (for ranged attacks with nerf guns) and half theater style (for melee attacks) but I found that it suits the storyline and the actions the characters may want to take very well. I found the LARP to be fun and exciting, with tension that rose to a pitch right before the end.

My character for Tartarus was the mining team’s medic, who begins the LARP with a head wound (and amnesia). I used iron-on transfer paper to turn a white t-shirt into a medic’s uniform. I didn’t do a great job with the iron, but a few people said it looked like I had done deliberate distressing. I’ll take it. Medics pop up in theater LARPs often enough that I’m sure I’ll get more use out of it.

The iron-on transfer paper company has a website, by the way, which made designing the t-shirt really easy and fun. It does things like help you determine the right sizes for images and text, and reverses the image for you when you’re ready to print.

I also bought an adhesive bandage and stuck it to my forehead to complete the costume.

Amusingly, while exploring the mines, we broke through to a new area, and discovered it was labeled as an elegant and well appointed salon, attended by shadow servants. (Evidently, the fairy tale theater LARP, Crown of Hearts had run on that floor on Friday evening and left one of the signs up.)

Tartarus is running at Intercon P, by the way, late on Friday, and there are slots still open!

I spent Sunday at Camelot for the Crossover playtest. Prospective players worked out mechanical builds to try out, and the staff ran some very basic modules and battles to gauge how much various builds for monsters challenged them.  I still don’t have a solid character concept or any ideas for a mechanical build I’d like to play in it, so I opted to NPC.

It was remarkably large for a playtest, with between 60 and 70 PCs, many of whom had come in some basic costuming, and over 40 NPCs. (NPC makeup and costuming was minimal.) I got a good workout crunching all day, playing a random forest animal in the first big field fight, undead animals for “field pain”, and then an undead soldier for the final big field fight. There were also three modules going on while I was out in the field.

The response to the playtest seemed pretty positive from the players, which is a great sign. But there is a huge amount of interest in this LARP (most of the NPCs at the playtest also want to PC for the actual campaign) and I suspect it will have a pretty long wait list for at least the first few events. But I do want to be involved, because there are so many awesome LARPers planning to be involved, both as players and staff. For that reason, I’m inclined to at least NPC this LARP, and maybe take the option to create my own character to play for a few hours each weekend. I hope I can come up with something in time to tie it to other PC histories before the campaign begins.


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 SLAW and the Crossover Playtest

  1. Thomas Wohlers says:

    I didn’t realize you had made the medic shirt yourself — very cool! I may have to try that myself in the future.

  2. Pingback: For Auld Lang Syne 2015 | Fair Escape

  3. Pingback: Christmas in Covenant | Fair Escape

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