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April 2018

Articles

When I volunteered to put together a comprehensive safety and consent document for Dragon Thrones, I had something specific in mind: a way to present players and game masters with a specific set of guidelines and policies that would enable us to take our role playing to the next level – centering physical and emotional safety. I aimed to include workshop outlines and a discussion of bleed in a way accessible to new LARPers and veterans alike.Dragon Thrones Wedding

What I encountered instead was a wider need: I had to address competition very specifically. The Game Theatre bills Dragon Thrones as a “LARP hybrid,” as the event includes a MegaGame, escape rooms, mead tastings, performances, night missions (which involve Jenga towers), and other entertainment. They’re right to set this expectation – even though immersion permeated a surprising amount of non-LARP elements at the first Dragon Thrones event, it included an ambitious gamut of entertainment.

I first attended Dragon Thrones during its July 2017 debut in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, USA. I served as a GM for the Ardmore team and went on to run digital events for Dragon Thrones players in my own system.

I used my standard safety and inclusion policies for the online events, as well as out-of-game signaling. During online events, I encourage players to communicate via Discord, especially when we’re streaming our sessions. This ensures participants can check with the GM and and each other regarding consent, scene planning, and more.

(Please note that this is not an academic article in nature, and my observations are subjective and based upon what I have seen as a member of the Dragon Thrones community and as a years-long participant in international LARP community discussions online.)

Each Game’s Culture is Unique

By the time I offered to create this documentation, I had an in-depth sense of the gaming culture at Dragon Thrones, as well as the backgrounds of the participants. DT includes new gamers, renaissance faire goers, and experienced role players – a diversity of experience that strengthens the game.

I quickly learned that while I can use (and credit) safety techniques used in blockbuster LARPs and salon games in North America and internationally, every game has its own culture.

And competition is an unapologetic facet of the Game of Thrones-inspired Dragon Thrones.

In international conversations in particular, a focus on competition is often looked down upon for several reasons:

  • It is associated with the culture of the United States, and competition in LARP is often seen as an expression of an attribute acted upon negatively in an international socio-political context;
  • Competition in games (even outside of LARPs) often results in hard feelings;
  • In some parts of the United States, competitive LARPing is affiliated with fantasy boffer combat games perceived as heavy on combat and light on role play (this is accurate only in wildly varying degrees)

When you have a LARP hybrid inspired by a book and television series that is quite literally cutthroat, it’s understood that house-versus-house competition is serious business.

There is no way you can simply transplant best practice safety mechanics from other deliberately inclusive and empathetic gaming cultures to a deliberately competitive game without addressing competition; furthermore, it’s disrespectful to individual LARP communities. Each has its own culture which will evolve over time.

Campaign LARPs and Competition

Like any event in its first run, Dragon Thrones 1 (DT1) needed some improvements. The upcoming second and third games (as well as the online missions I ran) have evolved as a result of player and GM feedback and the adaptive nature of the event team. When it became immediately clear that Dragon Thrones would have multiple events, most community members (including me) assumed we’d reprise our initial roles.

This felt pretty natural, as someone whose LARPing career originated in the land of monthly fantasy boffer LARP campaigns prevalent here in the Northeastern United States. I’ve also had some limited exposure to other LARP cultures though – and in the Nordic LARP community, it’s common for people to play the same LARP again, but as a different character.

This has created some confusion and tension in communities like the North American New World Magischola (in which I am also a devoted participant), where players wish to play through their characters’ experiences at wizard school, sometimes to a degree that feels in conflict with the game’s Nordic roots.

In NWM and its predecessor, College of Wizardry, characters are grouped into houses that compete against each other. Feedback on this has been mixed (and likely varies by run), though I understand it’s generally accepted in both the European game and the North American one.

For Dragon Thrones, though, the instinct to play the same character has always been very much assumed by most involved.

Dragon Thrones wonderIs this problematic? Maybe. In discussions I initiated (asking for help!) about this topic in LARP Sanctuary, LARPers BFF, and North American LARPers BFF Facebook groups as well as on my personal page, participants noted that bleed and competition in campaign LARPs is worth addressing. Unlike a one-shot LARP, unresolved emotions that linger (positive or negative) can carry on indefinitely as players portray the same characters.

From my experience in a campaign setting, having played the same character for over five years, I certainly feel that this risk is real. Yes – you’re getting together with your LARP family as often as the game plays. But yes – in-game animosities can become out-of-game, or they can linger in a way superimposed onto the player, even permanently. To this day, I’m still thought of in my local LARP scene as bearing particular attributes of a character I no longer play, even when those attributes do not apply to me.

Add in the very competitive nature of a campaign event like Dragon Thrones, and it becomes very necessary to address the topic of competition with the community.

Online Gaming Culture, Communities, and LARP

Anyone who participates in any form of gaming online understands how online communities facilitate communication – but also bring with them a set of challenges. Some groups traditionally experience negativity and exclusion in gaming communities, especially online. As one of two female GMs at Dragon Thrones, I’m acutely aware of this, even though I have been welcomed, included, and supported in my efforts every step of the way.

The Game Theatre, its GMs, and its players post the kind of hype and information you’ll see in many LARP communities: cool costuming suggestions, clean jokes or puns about the game world, and just general enthusiasm for the setting. It’s a really positive place to be.

However, we also have those discussions about the game world and its politics. They might start out as a question, but end up as a conversation that rolls into an in-game conversation. This nebulous transition from player to character is often simply an eagerness to role play and negotiate or antagonize: but there’s a danger in it due to the competitive nature of the game. The meta elements of the event structure, particularly the MegaGame, leave me a bit concerned about whether this flippant transition might occur frequently at DT2 in January.

Dragon Thrones WyndonThis requires a specific measure of communication on the part of community members – and their buy-in – all of which I will address in the safety and consent documentation (and will likely continue to refine in its updates).

Do you think competition should be a necessary part of safety and consent documentation in a game like Dragon Thrones? Continue the discussion in the comments! 

Disclosure: As mentioned in this post, the author is affiliated with The Game Theatre as a game master and consultant for Dragon Thrones. She has attended events in exchange for her work and has been compensated for running online missions in the Dragon Thrones setting of Cambria.

All images courtesy of The Game Theatre and used with permission.

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Mar 16, 2018

If you live in the UK, or are going to be there in April, we’ve got great news for you! But, even if you don’t, you can still win a Wizard Wand!

Bothwell School of Witchcraft wants to give away 3 free wands to anyone who applies and is interested in attending their school now, or in the future!

And anyone who signs up and purchases a ticket for the April event, between today and April 15th will automatically receive a free wand with the purchase of their ticket.

All you have to do is fill out the application here!

For those not in the know, here’s a little bit about Bothwell School of Witchcraft:

The Bothwell School of Witchcraft is a live-action role playing (LARP) event, organised by Rogue Events where guests (players) will become characters in the school. Along with 150 others, you’ll get to:​

  • Be sorted in to one of the School Houses.

  • Take part in lessons on the art of witchcraft.

  • Stay in a spectacular 15th century castle, all meals included.

  • Compete against the other houses and celebrate at the school’s lavish banquet.

  • And much, much more!

When: 26-29 April 2018

Want a free wand? Just fill out the application!

Head over to Bothwell’s website and enter your chance for a free wand!

Mar 07, 2018

These aren't your vanilla versions, they have deeply sinister roots…

Forget Disney and Brothers Grimm. Even they didn’t have what it takes to bend and warp these familiar characters into obsessed, revenge-driven, drunk on magic, lusting after power creatures. Each character has been thoroughly reshaped and given new agency, spirit and desires to carve out of a world wild with enchantments and secrets. We have gone deep into the lore of each tale to extract some long-forgotten twists and connections which will surprise and delight our players. Each Kingdom is uniquely designed to bring you a cast of darkly colorful characters, and fantastical costuming options to display each Kingdom’s culture developed specifically for this event.  Click here to learn more!

We have a castle and a quaint village all to ourselves.

The venue fits the theme like a glove. We will have full run of a charming castle hidden away in the forest, with a village full of themed cottages surrounding it. The immersion will be uninterrupted throughout the event as there will be no mundane people on the property except for the castle staff. You will be participating in photo shoots with enchanting backgrounds, singing to the birds in the woods, or engaging in plotting with your kingdoms without breaking character, surrounded by the story book environment. And as the sun sets, the vast forest surrounding the property will extend its shadows making the perfect ominous ambiance as each character plot grows more bloody. 

With our multi-layer plot structure just dive right into the world!

With a straight-forward set of lore and rules, just show up to the event in your most gorgeous costumes and see what you can discover. There is no need to come up with scenes ahead of time or plan where your character may end up because there will be surprises along the way. We understand that our players have busy lives so we provide a complete out of the box experience. You will have a character with goals, connections and a deep story to develop as the weekend progresses.  We have even included hidden scenes, secret missions, and artifacts that will piece together the global lore.  Each character has many story arcs to be explored, in a game filled with obfuscated goals and lost memories to find. 

The most basic NPC of them all is overseeing your fun (or misery).

Our mysterious Princess Generica is a sadistic hostess of her own demented party and you’re not going to want to miss it! Your characters may express various degrees of warmth or hatred towards Generica, but as players you will be blown away by her antics. Complete with her own basic princess complex, Generica has many a trial in store for guests and with the status as her companion and confidante on the line, can you really afford to miss out? 

You will be in excellent company for an unforgettable event.

Like a dashing rogue, Real Royalty swept into the Midwestern Nordic scene and we have everyone buzzing about. So far about two thirds of the spots for the event are filled and we are excited to welcome a diverse and very talented crowd of new and experienced LARPers to our inaugural event. All are welcome!  With no precedent set for a game featuring familiar yet perverse dark fairy tales and characters, this will be a once in a lifetime experience.  

 

Written by the Hanging Lantern Team

I need this Dark Grimm Fairy Tale Larp In My Life!

Here’s what the bloggers are saying about our upcoming run of Real Royalty:

“After reading the character description I noticed she was a lot like me but would offer me a challenge to roleplay struggles I want to face. She can be arrogant or delicate depending on her mood. Which was something I had never played before. There is so much complexity to her that I fell in love. I’m excited to eat macarons and frilly rococo dresses but just as excited about getting caught up in a duel. I’m deeply impressed and cannot wait to explore this world.”

-Kaza Marie Ayersman: The LARP Girl

“I was super exited to be a fairy tale character and finally breath life into her my own way.  I think the world of Oz in Real Royalty is awesome, similar but with a really cool original twist.”

– Raquel Skellington

“I was already excited, because any faction is an excuse to make a costume you don’t normally get an excuse to make. Then I got the character, and not only did I have a reason to make a steampunk costume, but it was for a beautiful character I could already identify.”

-Mo Mo O’Brien

“Exciting new dark drama with such beautiful tortured characters that I can’t wait to embody and meet.”

-Angele Brenan: GD Art

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Feb 27, 2018

We’ve taken a look inside this School of Witchcraft and we’ve got to say, it looks awesome! Here’s five reasons why you should attend this year.

1. It's in a real castle!

Yup, that’s right, it’s in a real 15th century English castle! Situated in the South East of England, Herstmonceux castle is surrounded by 600 acres of idyllic countryside, it’s the real deal, it’s even got a moat! During the game students get free roam of the castle and grounds for four days to do whatever they want. It’s got a great hall for dining, plenty of classrooms including an alchemy lab, expansive gardens for Herbology and even its own tavern! Whether in classes or taking part in a daring escapade with your fellow students, the surroundings create a 360 degree level of immersion in the game. We’ve heard tales of trolls in the dark forest and rumour has it that the Daemonology classroom has a dungeon!

Bothwell School of Wizardry Trailer

2. You make the story.

Bothwell School of Witchcraft is a Nordic/Sand box style larp. Once you get your character you have complete autonomy over what you want to do with your character. With their unique scene writing system, you can request a close encounter with giant spiders, form a secret society or plan a mishap for others and watch the calamity unfold. It means you become the central character in your own plot and you can be anything from a daring adventurer to a bullied book worm with a few hidden talents. Your choices make the story and its brimming with possibility.

3. House Rivalry

The warring and bickering houses of Bothwell make for a great playing experience. The most solid of friendships can be betrayed by choosing the houses glory first and the bitterest of enemies can become like family in the same house. Houses compete at the school for House Points in order to win the coveted house shield. Competing takes place at every moment, whether it be in the classroom, on the fireball pitch or even on a less-than-safe errand for a professor. Of course, there are students who don’t care about such things and choose self-interest over their houses goals. At the end of the day, Bothwell is one huge family and the houses are more like siblings than arch enemies, but it certainly makes for interesting play!

Wanna get in on the action? Click here to fill out the application form to attend this amazing school of Witchcraft!

4. Great for New Starters or Veterans

Bothwell is great for anyone who hasn’t been to a larp before. The game has been designed so those who’re apprehensive about attending a live action role play needn’t worry about anything. Heck, you can even turn up having done no preparation and there will be plenty to get your teeth stuck into. The schedule is packed with classes for everyone, and its easy to join societies or tag along on adventures and get the most out of your Bothwell experience. Of course, if you’re used to all of that and want to create your own magic, that’s all doable too. With the afore mentioned scene writing system, you can take yourself and others on a complex journey of twists and turns. Nothing is mandatory, you can skip classes, play pranks or duel in the courtyard. For those looking for a challenge you can also play a professor and teach some of the classes. Whatever your experience, the Bothwell staff are always on hand to help you through it. They offer Webinars on character development and will help you write your scenes.

5. Low Maintenance

It’s somewhat refreshing that if you wanted to, you need only a white shirt and trousers to attend, and it still looks good! The team behind Bothwell provide you with your robe and house tie, all they say you need to bring is “A wand and a sense of humour.” That’s not to say if you love costuming and want to bring your character to life you can’t, there’s loads of great opportunities to display your characters personality through costuming. There’s even the option for a few wardrobe changes as you dress up for the banquet or don as much of your house colours for the House Tournament.

Whatever you’re looking to get out of it, Bothwell is a fantastic game to play and shouldn’t be missed!

Now, if you like the idea of attending wizard school at a real castle in the UK click here to fill in the form on the next page and we’ll tell you how you can secure a ticket!

Don’t miss your chance to be a wizard in a real english castle!

Feb 06, 2018
Armistice Arcane is a high-immersion, rules-light larp set in 1890’s America produced by Peculiar Crossroads Productions held at Le Pavillon Hotel in New Orleans. Photos, unless otherwise noted, are by Alicia Nicole Trisciuzzi and I used this website to make them look old-timey! Thanks to Daniel Tan and Michael Kollen who edited this article.

 

Blockbuster LARPs have exploded since I started larping in 2014. This year alone boasts over six blockbusters scheduled across the country. For those unfamiliar with the term, LarpWiki defines a blockbuster LARP as

“a large, high-budget, high-profile larp which attracts international players and media attention.”

Blockbuster LARPs are still growing and organizers are still resolving questions including finding fair pricing, or if they are replacing local campaign games. I’ve found that people who have not attended a blockbuster are often hesitant to commit or suspicious that the experience may not be worth their money. Making the jump from $50 a month to $550+ for one weekend with little to no public reviews and information is difficult. Having been to a few blockbusters, I hope to shed more light on what I got from my time and money at Armistice Arcane.

I decided to use Youtuber LarpAnalysis’ system for “reviewing” LARP events. You can find his channel HERE. He also has an in depth video that explores the lore of Armistice Arcane.

Mechanics/Rules:

Before attending my first low mechanics (or what some might describe as Nordic or Nordic inspired) LARP, I was pretty confused about what exactly the game play would look like. Even after watching Youtube videos and reading articles about similar games, I still just didn’t get it. Coming from a NERO-inspired boffer larp, I had a hard time believing players would willingly accept a negative effect on their character for the purpose of good story. Armistice Arcane showed me how a simple set of well designed mechanics and high expectations of players could work together to build a collaborative story.

Armistice Arcane was a very rules light game. The only real “mechanic” was something the designers called, “open mediation and narrative decision making”, which is a fancy way of saying, every action in the game against a character must be consented to. So while character death and defeats were prevalent, none of them happened without the express consent of the “losing” player. This is the first time I really understood the phrase “play to lose”.

Here is just one of the many ways this played out: My character had the magical ability to sway and manipulate people’s emotions. At one point I was speaking with a character who was reticent towards me. While we chatted about mundane in-game things, I leaned forward and said, “if you consent, you feel very safe around me and that you can trust me.” That player then went on to reveal a few trivial secrets through the course of our conversation. It was a fun RP moment for both of us and there was no arguing about whether or not the effect happened. I am confident it was knowing that you had ultimate control over how magic affected your game that gave players a chance to be vulnerable to it.

I also loved the “no closed door” policy. I’m not sure if it was a mechanic per se, but it had a huge effect on how the game worked. The policy mandated that meetings must be held where other players could easily come across them. Therefore, plot wasn’t concentrated into the hands of a few high-ranking characters. In my past larp experience, players were reluctant to share their hard earned secrets and as a result, new players had a difficult time participating. “No closed door” made sure that this mistake wasn’t replicated at Armistice Arcane.  

Since the game was so “rules-light” the few in place were more in regards to safety and good community building and I will discuss those in the “Safety” section.

Lastly I want to discuss the expectations of the players. AFrom the first moment at Armistice, I was impressed by how professional the organizational team was and how they expected the same level of professionalism and maturity from their player base. Even at the best larps there are issues, but I couldn’t believe how few I witnessed at Armistice. For the most part, players accepted negative effects with grace and acted so well that the hotel actually offered a good deal for us to come back. I really believe treating your players with respect and showing them the same level can go miles towards building a thriving community.

One more thing I forgot to mention: The organizers also set up an escape room located in a fancy suite in the hotel. Throughout the weekend players were encouraged to attend with different factions to solve the room for pieces of in-game information. I attended one of these sessions and it remained completely in-character. This experience was completely optional and a cool bonus activity, as well as a way to meet players you wouldn’t normally interact with.

Atmosphere

For me there are three different elements that go into creating the atmosphere of a larp: the environment, the themes, and the quality of costuming.

Environment: The event was held at Le Pavillon hotel in New Orleans and WOW, was it beautiful. While there were elements of the game that were not in decorum (plastic cups, exit signs, and other modern items) they never distracted me from being immersed. Most of the players were staying on the 2nd floor, and we had full access to the conference rooms on this floor so we didn’t have non-player hotel guests stumbling on scenes (though we did upset one of the hotel staff who thought Larp Girl’s characters poisoning was an actual illness XD.) The rooms available to us gave plenty of locations for rituals, dancing, meetings, and more. The staff did a good job utilizing lighting and props-most amazingly building a fake wall with a mirror out of which an NPC literally came out of to the great surprise of all of the players. We also had live music one night that greatly enhanced the environment.

 

The themes of the game were definitely dark, but not overly so. While it pushed boundaries, I think this is a safe game for people who may not be comfortable exploring the darkest themes-especially because you can tailor your character to your comfort level. For a more in-depth look at some of the themes, Tara has written an excellent piece which I will link to when it goes live. Reading her experience showed me the vast range of stories this event contained.

The costuming was excellent. Some players were dressed in full Victorian garb, some were closer to Edwardian, and some were dressed in outfits from different time periods that fit their factions. I personally really enjoyed the variety I saw in costuming. I also want to give a shout out to Raquel Skellington who helped me (and more than a few others) find the majority of my costuming on Amazon for cheap!

Top right and bottom left photos by Foulweather Photos 

Roleplay

The roleplay at Armistice Arcane was excellent. I did not feel the need to be out of character one single time during the weekend. The amount of care the writers took with characters meant that most players, regardless of their level of RP experience, felt at ease. I came into the game with connections as well as information that was of interest to other players. This ensured that I felt I was an integral part to the experience right off the bat. While Evie did not sign any agreements or end anyone’s life, she was still an important part of at least a few other character stories.

The main engine of roleplay was player actions based on pre-written character sheets that each player received prior to the game. These sheets outlined our histories, our powers, our motivations, and our positive and negative relationships.

Highlights from my 7 page long character sheet. Your sheet includes a detailed story of your past, your motivations, and primary allies and enemies.

The organizers set up several events throughout the weekend (a high tea, a ball, dancing lessons) and sent out several NPCs, but most rituals and scenes were up to the individual player. For example, my character wanted to talk to someone from her past who had been murdered and may have a key piece of information. I spoke with a character who could contact the dead and she agreed to the ritual. We popped into the out-of-game room and told the storyteller our idea. He nodded, and sent me out of the room. He then told the other character what would happen if we attempted the summoning. Later we gathered in one of the ritual rooms, accompanied by two other characters. We performed a seance that was easily one of the most intense scenes for me of the weekend. I had tears pouring down my face as I listened to her relating how scared and alone the person from my character’s past was. I loved the way this worked. The only thing to look out for is that new larpers may not realize if they want scenes like this, they just need to ask. I know that when I was a new larper, I had no idea how to ask for or create plot. While many jumped in right away, a few players mentioned afterward that it took them awhile to understand how it worked. One potential remedy to this is to empower new players to ask plot for scenes such as this.

An intense meeting, me being whirled around the dance floor, and a kiss before a dramatic confrontation!

One thing I really loved about the RP was that it seemed that the designers accommodated for everyone’s level of comfort. As someone who is relatively new to heavy RP, I felt that my character had just the amount of drama that I was able to stay in character but was comfortable with her storylines. While my drama was relatively tame, I also heard from a veteran RPer that her character story arc was incredibly difficult and surprising for her, something she didn’t often get to experience anymore. I feel that the designers really took into account what you wanted out of the experience. I also felt that I had the ability to push myself further if I wanted, but that staying in my comfort zone did not detract from Evie’s story.

Safety

I really admire the staff’s attention to the safety and comfort of their players. Larp can be rough on players physically. Lack of sleep, forgetting to drink water, too much alcohol and high sugar content foods can be disastrous. While some of these are outside of the control of organizers, they certainly did their best to anticipate any issues. The staff went out of their way to ensure everyone was taking care of themselves, offering water and checking in on our well being. We also received a gift bag with snacks at registration. A few times I was so immersed in RP that I forgot to eat and those snacks saved my life. I personally did not sleep enough and did not eat at designated meal times, which did hurt my experience. However, this was completely personal and I will be sure to be better next time.

The emotional safety the organizers provided was amazing. They prepared us for the high drama of the weekend through an excellent pre-game workshop, a system for checking in, and escape mechanics for tough scenes. During the event there was a safe room players were welcome to decompress in with snacks, drinks, and a staff member with a certification of some sort in mental health. After the event they helped us decompress with an after party and a post-workshop. I loved that the game only ran until midnight on Saturday, because it gave us plenty of time to ease out of character safely.

This is particularly important to me because my last larp experience had none of these safety measures and completely threw me for a loop. I played a character that betrayed my family. Without any sort of pre or post workshop and general lack of communication, I was devastated when the game ended with my family sentencing me to death. Since many people in my faction were new to RP, I was worried that they would not separate my in-game betrayal from me as a person and I had no time to speak with them about any lingering feelings. Additionally, without a post-workshop I was confused about certain plot points and was frustrated by the lack of clarity. I felt used and upset. Every single issue I had at that game and others like it was anticipated and addressed by the staff at Armistice Arcane.

Some safety mechanics I think are worth stealing for other larps:

Okay-Check System: This system uses an unobtrusive hand gesture to check in with fellow players during high emotion scenes. For example, if someone is crying, you may make the “okay” hand gesture at them to check on the player’s emotional well-being. They have the option to respond with a thumbs up, a hand wave, or a thumbs down. There were many times Evie cried during the weekend, but Westbrook never felt she was in over her head.

Green/Yellow/Red: This is a system we were encouraged to use in any intense scene. A player can easily slip the word “green” into dialog to check in their partner is okay with what is happening. Green means “yes”, yellow means “ stop building intensity here”, and red means “full stop”. If someone says red, the scene is over and players walk away. It is as if the scene never happened and the player who called red does not have to revisit the situation unless they want to.

Community

The community was one of the best aspects of this larp. I will break this up into three phases:

Pre-larp: After your initial ticket payment, we were added to a players Facebook group. Once we were cast, we also had a seperate faction group where we hosted hang-outs and made plans for our faction. I specifically asked to be in a faction where I didn’t know any of the players because I’m still finding my RP legs and I was worried playing with my friends would make it harder for me to stay in character. The Facebook group was pretty active, there was a lot of character art, costume progress, and a little bit of shit talking between rival factions. We had some really cool LARP creators at the event including Larp Girl, GD Art, WanderingWolf, Momo O’Brien, and Raquel Skellington, who did a great job bringing the community together with photoshoots and character expose videos. We also had several talented visual artists who took commissions and costumers who offered their services.

At the event: There were plenty of meet-ups and hangouts on Thursday in New Orleans for people arriving early to get together. I felt that everywhere I turned there was a friendly face who wanted to check out a restaurant, bar, or even get pre-game pedicures together! A few of us explored the city and shopped at some of the many costume shops NOLA has to offer.

 

Exploring Bourbon Street and taking a quick pit stop on our ghost tour in a bar full of…dogs? Photos by me.

I was really blown away by how welcoming and inclusive the community was. Often times in larp there are “asshole characters” who use their character as an excuse to make others feel intimidated and excluded. Throughout the weekend, even the scary and “asshole” characters were approachable for RP. After the event there was a post-party where I felt comfortable mingling with different groups and getting to know everyone. The organizers were not excluded from this. After the Sunday wrap up, I attended a ghost tour run by one of the amazing NPC’s who is an actual professional tour guide in NOLA. We explored the French Quarter and afterwards a large group went out to Bourbon street for karaoke and dancing. While I was out dancing, still others stayed at the hotel for a more calm but just as awesome night. It really felt that everywhere you turned, you could find someone to hang out with.

Post event: The Facebook group is still active and I am in contact with many players who I now consider good friends. I actually found a sizable group of players from my city, so that is exciting. Some of us (not me sadly) are preparing for the next North American blockbuster larp (Real Royalty anyone?) and of course we are all busy making plans for Armistice Arcane 2!

Overall I found the community inclusive, safe, welcoming, and inspiring to both new and veteran players.

Approachability

I would say this game is highly approachable for new larpers. There were a large amount of people playing who had never larped before and I heard nothing but good things from them about their experience. A few new people expressed that they were a little intimidated to really go for some of the more dramatic scenes, but that they were excited to come back with more confidence and knowledge. The only significant barrier for this game is the costuming. I was quite intimidated by acquiring a Victorian ensemble and therefore went more Edwardian. I was happy with my costume, but it caused me a significant amount of stress before the event. I think next year it would be awesome if some of the veteran players can compile more resources-especially knowing I eventually got my outfit for under $100 on Amazon (Thanks Raquel!)

Accessibility

Physical Accessibility: The RP areas were physically accessible and the staff was on hand to help with any accommodations players might need. The organizers made it very clear that the player only need reach out to them if they needed accommodations. As someone who lives with a person in a wheelchair, I spend a lot of time noticing how events are run and their accessibility. This game would be great for those who are alter-abled with a few modifications and some pre-planning.

Financial Accessibility: Financially this larp was rather pricey, with packages starting at $550. You also needed Victorian costuming and transportation to and from the hotel. Notice I say pricey, not expensive. For what you got in the package (two nights in the hotel, a goody bag and swag, all meals catered, in-depth character sheets and personal plot lines, a fully catered ball with drink tickets and a string quartet, dancing lessons, etc) I can’t believe I only payed $550. At this point I would probably go for a higher package now that I have a longer time to pay for it and just because the swag was SO COOL.

Conclusion:

Overall I had an amazing experience that I found well worth the money. I am excited to return to Armistice Arcane 2 next year as well as see what other games Peculiar Crossroads Productions will come up with. If you are considering Armistice Arcane or are interested in finding out what other LARPs are happening in your area, I am happy to answer any questions at r.westbrook.evans@gmail.com. In the interest of full disclosure, I am friends with the organizers. However I did not receive any financial or other gain from this positive review. I have given them lots of my money and plan on doing so again because I really do believe in the experience they are creating.

 

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Feb 01, 2018
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