There is a lot of moral gray in Larp. I still blame Frank Millar. A lot of us grew up on the Dark Knight Returns or other 90’s comics. There is almost an amused look on people’s faces now if you decide to be the hero and leave out the tragic back story or tortured choices.
I mean what’s a hero today if they haven’t burned down a orphanage or two and tell you about how it makes them sad? Or even better burn down that orphanage in game to destroy an evil so they can moan about how they made the bad choice. People tend towards Tony Stark and Batman over Steve Rogers (or gods forbid Spawn….) these days.
So it was an absolute blast to get my Captain Al Gaia on over the weekend. I only managed to do a day ticket for about five or six reasons, but it was full of heroism, not burning, stupid heroism, good fights, religious discussion that didn’t boil down to ‘this is good, that is bad’ and of course getting to punch one of my best friends in the face. Twice. It made me smile. A lot. The weekend, not just the punching.
I’ve spoken about CP before and i’ve been going for longer than some players have been alive. However the Al Gaia is the first time actually in a faction. I’ve been in the Al Gaia for two events now and from a pure OOC point of view they are incredibly welcoming and for me that’s a big thing. Anyone who knows me well knows that I genuinely hate going into new social groups on my own. Hell i’ve walked off events for that reason before, but the Al Gaia is one of the smaller factions at CP that gives it a real family feel. It feels like a close knit community that actually is welcome to strangers.
This is also helped by the very little drama you get at CP. CP isn’t played via FB and this also means the more unpleasant parts of the internet community are not shitting on the game before you get into the field. I digress though and that drum has been drummed enough I feel.
Anyway for background purposes some detail. The Al Gaia are made up of Humans and Elves. They don’t do Necromancy, Demonology or other such ‘necessary evils’. They are bound by a belief in the natural cycle, the Goddess, freedom and the idea that you should ‘do what you know to be true’. They are not however liberals. There is no discussion of healing the childhood traumas of demonologists (well maybe one, but that was more of a discussion on why that one was trying too hard. In the end we put it down to bad parenting and a penis inadequacy. Mainly the penis thing to be fair…). There is zero tolerance on the undead (no they are not people too, Edward Cullen would be kicked to death in an Al Gaian camp, although to be fair that may not be Al Gaia exclusive, it may also extent to Tescos as a policy).
So when I say as a group the swords of the Goddess went after a Vampire we couldn’t possibly kill, took the kicking we deserved it was a very Al Gaian thing to do. It’s ok there are smart Al Gaians too who watch and give the swords council, but there are just times when you need to shout ‘Goddess’ and charge. Doing the right thing in the face of impossible odds is fun, also putting up with the jibes from other factions has its up side too. This was well played by the NPC, cause let’s face it getting stabbed up by Al Gaians while you are trying to mark rituals must get annoying quickly.
Plot was pretty much around all day, the camp attacks were not shit and the roleplay was awesome. Also there wasn’t the constant monsters on the road syndrome that has sometimes plagued CP. Ok monsters on the path is a feature not a bug, but it does make travel for non-coms difficult, it was nice to be able to go out and roleplay and get combat without being stuck in camp cause instant death monster is going to get you.
The site itself was is amazing, loads of glades, all the trees you could want and carpets of Bluebells. The site also has a valley running through it (and yes having the high ground does matter, especially if you’re in plate…). Of course due to being in the south there is no mud, true story. The site is really beautiful, and even more so in summer the trees and bits with not trees means the area seems bigger and more importantly gives a really tactical feel to combat. I can’t fall anymore in love with PACCARs.
Combat wise, there was a skirmish almost the moment I got on site and the opportunity for another after lunch. When we say skirmish, what we mean is a few hundred aside doing a rolling combat to do a rescue followed by a mopping up the last of the enemy (Allegedly CP uses set numbers for their monsters and in the past have deployed the full lot on the battle field the way players do with no respawns) . This is where CP shines. Now I was pretty disappointed about the renewal battle last year for many, many reasons, but this was the perfect cure. No NPC on NPC porn, players and monsters dictating the terms of engagement organically rather than set pieces and bloody good fun. Also not being chased of the field was nice; it felt like we had won rather than done a thing and then ran away because of enemy reinforcements swamping us (I’m looking at no one particular….ahem).
My only gripe? There was a point where a group of us were dealing with something and didn’t want to either ritual it or use meditation/ intuition skills. We eventually came up with an idea to lever it (we were looking for a role play solution rather than a game system solution to contact someone) but it was quite telling that everyone had the attitude that we didn’t want to game system it again, we wanted interaction not to sit down and go ohm for an answer or throw cash at the fruit machine that is the ritual circle. But minor niggle in a sea of awesome.
For thirty quid for a day ticket it was awesome fun and from what I’ve heard the rest of the time was full too. Certainly if you want to give Curious Pastimes a go it’s not a bad way to go, and joining one of the smallest Factions at CP gives you the opportunity to shine without disappearing into the background. Oh and the Al Gaian command team are brilliant too and yes there is a time when being on fire is beneficial.
Next up cheating or do people sometimes make honest mistakes?