I’ll do a full post later when my brain is working again to process all the games, but I had a great time, the event was well run, the venue was extremely comfortable, and the games were good. Initial thankyous to Matt, Jo, Carla, Ian, and the rest of the Cerberus committee for making it happen, and @MissC for keeping us fed all weekend. Also Ian for collecting us from the airport on Friday - hopefully next year there’ll be a large enough posse that we won’t have to do that
Friday night: The Fallen Fane (David Chart, run by Bruno Knewstubb): An Ars Magica Tribunal larp, set in a non-canonical Rhine Tribunal. I was cast as the Archmagus Necopinus doctrinae Tremere ab Fanum - basicly the defendant in the key case. I’d reviewed this larp when it was released, and I think many of my criticisms there hold: the Ars Magica setting is a huge amount for unfamiliar players to absorb, and the characters were thin; it works fine for experienced Ars Magica fans like me, but those who aren’t up on the language of Houses, Covenants, Techniques and Forms might struggle. That said, it worked fine in play, though I think near the end people were finding the voting a little tiresome.
Saturday morning: The Devil’s Brood: Another run of my “Lion in Winter” larp. Went well, the new players had fun, and I got to sit there in a corner and cackle as they were bitchy at one another for three hours. Best lines: [Philip] “I know I can trust Richard with my sister’s honour”; “John has grown up with utterly no boundaries, and in Ireland. He is practically a savage”, and [Philip, on eleanor’s marriage advice to Richard] “Presumably he does not want his wife to rise up in rebellion against him, so maybe he should take his advice from someone more traditional”.
Saturday afternoon: T.R.Y.S.T (Trans-temporally Rekindling Yesterday’s Sweeter Times) (Ciaran Searle): When it comes down to it I prefer safe, unthreatening larps. There are lots of painful and unpleasant experiences that I want to avoid in real life, and which I’m not especially keen on experiencing in larp either. Broken relationships, [SPOILER] and marriage counselling are some of these. So T.R.Y.S.T isn’t a game I’d expect to appeal. Except I’d heard such good things about it from its previous runs that I had to try. Fortunately, I was cast as one of the two counsellors, so I got to experience it from a safe perspective. It was an excellent game, with some intensely emotional subject matter. There was a lot of crying. But out of it all, a reasonably hopeful ending. And surprisingly, it seems I’m able to pull off a counsellor act reasonably well. Who knew?
Saturday night: Masquerade on Fleet Street (Anna Klein): My second time playing this larp, but fortunately it has a sufficiently large story-space that I could be placed at the opposite end of the game. The game is a meant to be a gothic melodrama, and it delivered on that in spades - I ended up having to break an ancient curse in a storyline inspired by [SPOILER] and [SPOILER]. I highly recommend this game if you haven’t played it yet, and I hope it’ll be published eventually.
Sunday morning: Her Majesty’s League of Exemplary Individuals (Stuart Stoddart): Steampunk superheroes! Except that rather than ignoring the dark side of the era Steampunk riffs off - Imperialism, classism, and all that other crap that we hate the British Empire for - it uses it for plot fodder. So there were class tensions within the League and some questions about whether “defending the Empire” was what superheroes should really be doing. Plus heroes inspired by modern superhero tropes, and a pile of personal drama, because that’s ultimately what makes superheroes interesting. My second-favourite larp of the con, and I understand it’ll be being published soon (yay!)
Sunday afternoon: A Night at Northcott Manor (Ian Bayard): A regency masquerade ball? Sign me up! This turned out to be a fairly light game, but it was just what I needed for the final session. And while my character sheet was short, it was to the point and gave me very clear direction on who I was and what I was all about. In play a misinterpretation of another character’s gender led to a hilarious mistake as I made pointed comments to completely the wrong (masked) person, and I had great fun later on describing small Balkan countries and goats. My plotline ended in tragedy - interfering servants really are the worst - but it was great fun getting there.
The overall lineup was good, I met a bunch of new people who were great to larp with, and I didn’t freeze. I am sorely tempted to go back next year.
(Some) favourite moments
Friday evening: Baby It’s Cold Outside
The general staff were gathered together, complaining about the academics. Then the American billionaire walks in complaining about the academics and everyone else goes silent and glares.
Saturday morning: The Devil’s Brood
We had a couple of first time larpers at this game and they were great, jumping straight in and getting involved with everything (Eleanor was particularly uppity)
Saturday afternoon: Molecules
Some great scenery chewing and probably the worst 4 or 5 movie concepts ever
Saturday evening: Masquerade on Fleet Street
This was my second time playing this game, but there’s so much going on that I had plenty to do while hardly ever crossing over with plots I had interacted with in the first game. Also the revelation of [SPOILERS] was perfectly timed
Sunday morning: Her Majesty’s League of Exemplary Individuals
A beautifully crafted game with compelling characters and setting (indeed, I heard several people commenting that they’d love to play a campaign in that setting). The good news is that there are plans are afoot to publish the game.
Sunday afternoon: Communing in Darkness
This was the third time I’ve GM’ed this game. This time there were a few ergonomic issues with the ouija board (I still covet the lovely wooden one @amphigori made years ago). The players still all put in stellar performances (especially for Sunday afternoon). This time there was a heated argument between the medium and her manager in the middle of things which was a first.
Aw bless @Catnip! I’ve got that board and it’s just sitting about, under something. If you think you’ll use it again, or if it’d bring you joy just to have, let me know and I’ll bring it with me when I’m in Welly in May!
Wow. I was only intending to admire your handiwork, not scam it off you
Still it is very nice and should go somewhere it will get used (is anyone planning an occult campaign in the near future?) If it does end up in Wellington I guess I’d have a moral obligation to run a few more games of Communing in Darkness