Cosplay and LARP at Arisia 2017

Arisia, New England’s largest fantasy and sci-fi con, fell on the same weekend as the second Fifth Gate capstone event, so I wasn’t able to attend most of this year. But after the Fifth Gate event ended on Sunday, I decided to try and catch some of the programming in the late evening on Sunday and Monday.

I had originally planned to work on some cosplay to wear to Arisia. I have a Winter Soldier cosplay that I threw together a Winter Soldier to wear to see Captain America: Civil War on opening night, and  a Hipster Snow White outfit in progress, a combination of my Disney Snow White cosplay and my increasingly hipster wardrobe. Both are works in progress, but they got put on the backburner when I realized I’d be missing most of Arisia, if not all of it.

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Hipster Snow White

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The Winter Soldier

Despite them being unfinished, it’s nice to get a chance to express my fandom and swan about in costuming among fellow geeks.

By the time I arrived at Arisia and had changed into my Winter Soldier costume, I was just able to catch the start of a LARP called Immortal Politics. I didn’t know anything else about it but the title, but I thought the title sounded spiffy. It turned out to be a Nordic style LARP, featuring immortal characters from both history (with fictional twists) and mythology, from all over the world, possibly all of the immoral or amoral sort.

From the remaining uncast characters, I chose the Biblical Cain. Others present included Lucifer, Puck, Lady Bathory, Pazuza, Malinalxochitl, and Israfil. Character sheets were very short and simple — a few sentences describing the character concept and history, our greatest vice and virtue, and our primary motivation. Mechanics were simple — whatever we thought was appropriate for our character to be able to do, we could do, and the person who was the subject of any actions decided the result. We were encouraged to “play to lose”.

The premise was also very simple — we had all been invited by an unknown entity to vote on the fate of humanity — redemption or domination? What exactly that entailed was open to debate. We argued and postured for four hours. Michael the Archangel and Lucifer gave one another a hard time while Puck made mischief. Thoth took a straw poll early on and tallied votes at the end. At one point, we drew up a map of the world and discussed who would be permitted to rule which parts of the world if that was the result of our vote.

After the LARP, we went around the table, each person saying something that someone else had done that had been a highlight of the LARP for each of us, which was a nice positive sort of game wrap. Then we went around again and talked about our experiences with LARP (no one in the room was a complete newbie.) I mentioned Intercon and Festival, and people seemed interested and asked for the website, which was a nice bonus to the experience. I hope some of the players will attend!

Before heading off to the Sunday night dance at Arisia, a few of us stuck around to discuss the LARP we had just played, along with College of Wizardry and New World Magischola. We talked about alternative ways to get the ball rolling at the start of Immortal Politics, and the advantages of having a flexible cast of characters. I thought the LARP could have easily run in a shorter time period, as sometimes with very little material to go on, it can be hard for some players to ad-lib for a long time without repetition. I’m glad I decided on a whim to try out a LARP at Arisia.

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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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