So I am back from a surreal weekend of anal wasps, discussions that ranged from electronically tagging Larpers to how appalling Larpers are (both on the left and the right of the political spectrum), child hood nostalgia being turned into a surrealist comedy and of course an awards ceremony where a swiss roll was beaten to death in the name of magic.
I am of course talking about the Larp awards. I’m not going to bore you with the winners and losers, cause you know already and anyway way you no one reads anything i write for an informed sensible view of things.
Nope the things that stood out for me were the following.
First up was how no one argued, well publicly. There were no spats between promoters of Larps. There was a real sense of people there for a hobby, not to make money of shaft each other. Apparently there is animosity between the big three fest games. Well there isn’t, people. I chatted to crew at LT who wanted to try Empire and sent Navarr from Empire to the CP stand ‘cause they have the bloody Al Gaian kit already (and i’m not allowed to promote CP on the fb forum…..). The idea that at some level we should hate each other like console fan bois seems to have died out, with only a few die hard dick heads moaning that another bunch of people like a thing that they don’t. It’s good for the hobby, this cross pollination and i plan on stealing everything from other people not nailed down. It’s ok to like other things, no one is going to die because someone likes The Vale (I need to go to Huntley Wood goddamn it!) or enjoys going to the LT, it’s only people who validate their ego through the thing they do that cares about that shit. I even had to promote and talk about games that weren’t even there!
TL:DR? People who promote Larp games don’t hate each other and are pleased when other promoters succeed at stuff, get over it.
Next up was the Awards themselves and a speech made by one winner that summed up the point of the awards, who rightly made the point that with the state of our hobby at the moment just being nominated was as good as win. We have some amazing games out there and the standard is so high that it’s hard to actually give awards. Are the Awards about winning? Not really, they are about shinning a spotlight on our community and going hey look at this. However if anyone does have any angry quotes about the awards, feel free to share them so I can round them up in a cacophony of hate.*
Larptronics, I have already posted about them, but seriously talk to them. If you can’t think of one cool thing you can do with their kit, may I suggest you go back to running pre-gen scenarios from D and D. Seriously, I suddenly realised the entirety of Empires ritual magic system could be automated, ok it would cost, but it would be amaze balls!
Of course none of this is possible without Larp games, and the phrase ‘have you tried x?’ was said a lot to me. The range of games on offer and the creativity that steps outside of the standard fantasy game or scifi is amazing. Want to play a fantasy version of fall out in a post apocalyptic world full o’ undead? It’s there. Want to play a fest system that uses European style game design? It’s coming in 2016 and called five kingdoms (no not 3 kingdoms.). Want to play as a dream of a bird? Yeah got that too. Hell the idea of a Twin Peaks style game set in Purgatory sold me in five seconds. There is a huge amount of choice out there with some amazingly creative ideas. However my stand out this year for game that I haven’t played but made me nerdgasm was Tales from Anchor.
I cannot do justice to it here. After a sales pitch from Sarah Cook that had me at character sheets being an a4 sheet of background and reeled me in with a game world that was truly fantastic. I am going to be driving to bloody Cumbria in February next year (Note Eyelarp please run nothing that weekend, please…pretty please its the weekend of the 2nd. If you start 5 kingdoms then there is no place you can hide). I even read the wiki, I never do that.
A game world set on islands floating in a misty sky, where there is no metal and a society that has changes between night and day is intriguing. The idea that this world is resource starved, balloons and sky ships travel through the mists while beautiful kites are flown put me in mind of Leputa meeting the heyday of the English empire in the far east. Sky junks trading in illicit substances under the cover of bringing in much needed water supplies. Culturally it looks and feels the same to me, bearing in mind I haven’t actually played yet!
The Game is set during Audit day, the time of year where everyone gets their papers in order; a time of parties, change and superstition. Where players help or hinder those around them to get the best deal for themselves as, without your papers being in order you may not be able to do what you want to do over the following year. Dueling, bureaucracy and beautiful change between night time and day time etiquette screams out for ball gowning, intrigue and swash buckling in equal measure.
As I said I cannot do what I have seen and heard about this game a proper service, but the huge imagination behind the game world which is detailed enough to draw you in, but open enough for new ideas sets a bench mark for creativity.
Oh and I feel a little stupid….I spent the entire event looking at a suit of armor, from a distance to be fair, thinking it was a beautiful piece of metal only to find out it was a poly set by Mandala. The standard of the poly armor is amazing these days and for people carrying injuries, don’t like the weight of metal or have the med code allergic to all metal they are god send.
Of course in the grand tradition of every award in history i need to thank Having a Larp for making the magic happen, and dedicate this post to the Empire fb group and everyone who made it such a beautiful place.
*You are entitled to have opinions on stuff, angry, constructive or just screaming venom in the face of god. Hey I do it, so can you.