So is old school better? Well at the moment I’m enjoying Destiny. It doesn’t have branching story lines, the characters aren’t complex and there isn’t a binary morality system. Actually while I’m here, stop doing that Bioware. Make choices choices, not paragon or naughty. Those are binary choices that reward sticking to one or the other, not making choices based on what you are choosing to do in that moment…sorry rant over. Where was I, oh yes Destiny, it’s old school and it works. It works because its taken the stuff that works, cut away the extraneous stuff and made it fun. If its about the fun per minute, it’s doing well. Also what the hell? The community is friendly, inclusive and full of cool people…..that will never catch on. Gamers getting on and not ripping peoples heads off? Where are you 4Chan and Tumbler? Come ruin this community please.
Why am I banging on about old school? Well I went down Labyrinth and you don’t get much more old school Larp than that (It’s got an a in it now deal with it, I mean things evolve right?). This is a game that has been around forever and is probably why we have a hobby in this country.
Labyrinth never leapt out as a come play me thing for me however. I’d heard the 90’s horror stories about dodgy refs for whom the word ‘upstat’ was a challenge to be met and there was a little fear that it may be a living history version of my hobby. However I’ve been promoting stuff at shows recently and got an invite so what the hey. It’s helped by a friend of mine who I hugely respect as a ref taking starting up there so I packed the car and did the our drive to the caves.
First up its goddamn caves, just for that go once. I mean it. Until you have tried to swing an axe in a cave you don’t truly understand the joy of short weapons. Anyway once again distracted. Labyrinth is a level based system that caps out at 8th and then you get to spend points on abilities. Now as my OCD has had the need to level stuff recently this is not horrible. However I did have some initial fear when faced by the damage grades…..a single does six…a double does 12 and so on, with armour taking of damage. So for example if you have armour class 5 and take a single, you take one point of damage, take a double and it’s 7. Find out in play I think was my first response so I didn’t run screaming from the game. Most people who know me, know that I prefer rules light stuff when it comes to hitting stuff with swords, that and counting past 10 is hard when someone is hitting you in the head.
Once I got there there was a bit of confusion over characters and stuff. I had a look online at religions, however the religion I had picked out didn’t exist any-more. Now this is probably down to it being an old system and there is a lot of resource debris knocking around the interwebz, however I can imagine this annoying more self entitled and moany types and as much as that brings a tear of joy to my bitter eyes not having all the rules and info online and easy to get hold of could certainly put people off, especially if they aren’t accurate.
Anyway character created to honour my friend Florian (best name ever by the way) I met the other players. I still say that games live and die by their players, and these were a nice bunch. They were concerned about me having a good time and making sure they said hi. They chatted about what systems I played, what sort of thing I was going into and not one of them told me about their magic sword or characters.
Certainly I have had games spoiled by players behaviour at and away from games recently, this has only reinforced my attitude that there is no such thing as a bad game, only pricks spoiling it. There was indeed a point where I was actually considering giving up one of my favorite systems recently due to what I certainly can only describe as frankly bullying behavior with out any understanding of consequences for the actions they have taken on people around them.
So getting to the caves to meet a bunch of strangers (I have issues with new people, yeah we all do, but this is about me.) and find larpers (that a is still there fucko, bet its eating you up right?) who are there having fun, excited about their hobby and grinning made my day.
So the game? Well it was fun. Battle boarding and mid combat maths aside I had fun. Hitting stuff, climbing stuff, bumbling around in the dark and generally d and ding it up was a great laugh. Seriously. A little bit of me felt that yes the system could do with modernising…but like destiny it dosn’t need press x to live and nipple tasssels. Just maybe less maths on the damage (You know a single could be I don’t know….1 and a double could be….um…2? Ok that’s not fair as armour is damage mitigation, rather than extra hits so would need a full system change). Other than that it was perfect because it was fun…..you know why we do this stupid hobby. It was strange to play a game who you could tell informed the DNA of possibly my favourite game ever (Frail Realities, a more perfect small scale system you cannot find imho) and to be part of what is basically the history of my hobby.
The refs were friendly and approachable, the crew were a credit to the system and at the end of the morning I was slightly gutted I had to leave. It was fun and even if you aren’t keen on rules heavy games its worth going just once to run around in caves. I had fun and am certainly looking to get a bunch of the Navarr I play with to go down to play. Also I have a Green Cloaks game in the same caves soon and I am really looking forward to go back (and may sneak a game in in the daytime before.).
Next up? Norseman chronicles. A game that is so rules light it could be an advert for Malteasers. I’m saving for my look back over the year till after that, however there is one thing I want to mention before signing off. I had the joy of battle reffing at PD this year. What stood out? The debrief after where the refs discussed how well the players were doing and what they as refs could do to make the game better…food for thought that one. I’d be bloody proud if they were my ref team..