Another New Year’s Eve upon us, another retrospective of the LARP in my life over the past year.
LARP Count: This year, I participated in 44 LARPs/LARP events (as a PC or NPC) which just breaks my record of 43, set in 2014. The first was the long anticipated winter one day event of Cottington Woods (what would a fairy tale be without a magical ball); the last was Ghost Light/Scale, a small cyberpunk theater LARP run in New York City. They ranged in length from two-ish hour theater events to a weekend long LARP about the Civil War, to a six week long ARG-like LARP. My first theater campaign, TBC, came to a close, and the Accelerant boffer campaign of two parts, Fifth Gate, started.
Events: I played in seven LARPs at Intercon O and attended both Dice Bubble and Time Bubble at RPI, Festival of the LARPs at Brandeis, and SLAW at WPI. (Dia de los Sobres sort of overlapped with NELCO this past year.) I also helped run NELCO (the New England LARP Conference), attended LARP-a-Palooza at Ye Olde Commons and the LARP Forum, and a historical ARG in Boston. (Plus a few RP days and “floon” days for boffer LARPs.)
Campaigns: After TBC came to a close, I PCed Cottington Woods, Fifth Gate: Silverfire, and Beyond the Wall (sadly, only made it to one event for Beyond the Wall, but here’s hoping for more in 2016!) I also NPCed for Shadows of Amun and the Crossover playtest day.
Contributions: As of this past summer, I have been serving as president of New England Interactive Literature, or NEIL. It’s the organization that puts on Intercon and NELCO and, as of this year, runs the LARP Library, and is working on the first edition of Game Wrap. I’ve also been editing for the aforementioned Game Wrap, serving as raffle coordinator, a member of bid com, and player liaison for Intercon, and ran a few panels/discussion/workshops at PreCon, NELCO, and Dice/Time Bubble. And when we needed a new hotel for Intercon, I helped out with the search, visiting and vetting local hotels.
…But I still haven’t written a LARP.
Travel/Other Communities: Farthest I managed to travel for LARP was New York, though I did play in an international LARP with players in multiple European countries. (Burgundar in Maine is also pretty far and the Maine community was new to me.) I’m really glad I got to play a few short theater LARPs with the HRSFA crowd and one with the Assassins’ Guild at MIT.
Blogging: Sadly, I slacked off a bit toward the end of the year, writing less often and mostly posting about the events I’ve been attending, but not much in the way of LARP theory or LARP craft, which is probably why hits have dropped a bit. The most rewarding thing about blogging this year has been connecting LARP writers to LARPers in other countries after they read my reviews and ask me how they can get those LARPs run in their communities.
Costuming and Other LARP Related Art Projects: There were a slew of little projects throughout the year, little accessories for my new Fifth Gate character and various theater LARPs. My biggest project of the year was definitely my shearling coat for the winter event of Fifth Gate. I really wanted to express my character through costuming while staying warm, so I altered a simple kimono-ish robe pattern and trimmed it with white lace and fur. I learned quite a bit from this project. At NELCO, I attended a workshop for making boffer weapons, and with the help of three very experienced boffer crafters, I made a big black bow and painted red scorpions on it. I also made a quiver for the same character. My favorite costume (though I barely did any of the actual sewing myself) was my ball gown for the Cottington Woods fairy ball.
Looking back at my resolutions from last New Years, I’ve kept up belly dance lessons and my sewing has improved at least a little. I’ve contributed to the local LARP community in various small ways, such as editing for Game Wrap, helping out with Intercon’s hotel search, and serving on the staff of NELCO. I haven’t kept my boffer campaign characters at CP cap, but that goal has become less of a priority lately. I don’t think I managed any extra boffer practices outside of events like the practice at Festival and the Eyrie RP days. I didn’t attend any lessons in new dance styles that might be useful for LARPing, but I did teach myself a little bit of the Charleston for a Shadows of Amun event. I believe my PELs and casting questionnaires have been on time, and I think I remembered to thank GMs after every event, either in PELs or personal emails.
For the new year, I want to renew my old resolutions — continue improving in sewing (and other forms of costuming) and dancing, find time to practice boffer fighting, and continue contributing to the local LARP communities, especially through NEIL’s various projects. I’d like to write more blog posts in 2016 than I did in 2015, and try to focus less on event reviews and more on LARP craft and theory. I failed at my resolution to travel farther and LARP with new communities in 2015, but I’m pretty sure I’ve already got that in the bag with plans for 2016.
Still haven’t used a blood capsule or the Wilhelm in a LARP, though amusingly, with the new Star Wars movie out, the upcoming Dice Bubble weekend has the Wilhelm on the schedule as the closing for the convention.
And of course, I really ought to try writing a LARP in 2016.
…And a look forward into LARPing in 2016.
Winter is usually the slow season for LARP in New England, but it’s already looking to be very busy this year. Cottington Woods, Fifth Gate, and Shadows of Amun all have winter one day events in either January or February. Dice Bubble is coming up (the schedule looks fantastic) and Intercon is running a bit earlier this year. I’ve already got a few small sewing projects going for Intercon and Fifth Gate. And I think it’s going to be a big year for the local all-LARP convention: we have a new hotel, our attendance is already about as big as our biggest year yet (which was last year; Intercon has been steadily growing) and we’ve got elections coming up in a little over a week for the con chair of Intercon Q. And NEIL/Intercon has been undergoing some big changes over the past year, such as creating new community-wide voting for major decisions and a new security staff, not to mention the Larp Library and Game Wrap. So we’ll see how all those things work out over the coming year. I think 2016 is going to be a great year for LARP, especially in the local communities.
Wishing you all a Happy New Year, and a 2016 full of LARP!
May your spell packets fly true, may your contingency envelopes be full of shocking revelations, and may your character go through the Resurrection mechanic a full half hour before the lead GM knows you’re dead.