We’ve gotten a lot of inquiries lately about Star Wars LARPs. After months of being able to tell our readers ‘they’re out there’, but not where, we’re happy to announce that we’ve found the Droids you’re looking for! ‘A Cantina Far, Far Away‘ is a game based out of Los Angeles, California. Their next event is a Wyrd Con IV exclusive entitled “Wreck of the July Planet”. It runs September 13 from 10pm to 2am.
Why a Star Wars larp?
I inherited the system, so to speak, from the Campaign gaming group out of northern LA. They had decided the time was right for a live-action version of Star Wars. Episode 1 had been released a few years back, and Episode 2 was upcoming. My first LARP experience was the first full-length weekend game they ran, and I fell in love with LARP as a whole. I also fell in love with my future husband at that game, so it really holds special memories.
I grew up on Star Wars, played the old d6 tabletop game throughout high school and college, and I made myself Jedi robes for another larp game (where I was playing a modern-day person who had decided to follow the Force as a religion) and wore them to WyrdCon 1 for fun. So many people had asked “Is there a Star Wars LARP?” when they saw a Jedi roaming the halls that I decided to run one myself the following year.
When in the Star Wars timeline does this larp take place?
About a year post ROTJ/Battle of Endor. It’s a timeline when the Empire is still in charge but is quickly losing control without Palpatine at the head.
What races of characters do you allow?
No, seriously, anything except Human replicator droids (Guri from Shadows of the Empire)
We’ve had twi’leks, jawas, tusken raiders, a kubaz, a devaronian, gammoreans, shivastaten…
And Droid is also a player race.
Yes. Non-humans get racial abilities and additional stats based on their racial types. A gammorean may have extra body points to soak more damage. A wookiee would get strength bonuses and extra damage in melee. Twi’leks can communicate via their lekku in a language no-one understands. A faleen would get automatic charm abilities when they use their pheromones. Etc etc.
How does your combat system work?
Combat is mostly light boffer combat style, with Nerf for blasters. Vibroweapons being common, any other boffer items are acceptable as well. A player has a pool of body points (representing physical toughness) and armor points (reflecting type of armor worn). Every hit, except otherwise noted in special circumstances, equals 1 point. When your armor is used up, you switch to body. When your body is depleted, you go unconscious and can be killed.
I see that you allow both Jedi and Sith to be played with GM permission. What mechanics are in place for your players to RP this properly?
A Jedi or a Sith has to submit a character background and go through a brief interview with the GM to verify that they understand how the Force works both from a roleplaying standpoint and a mechanical standpoint. Mechanics wise, the Force has a pool of usages which can be renewed with meditation/focus, and a limited number of powers they can ‘purchase’ or learn in training. Powers are treed, often requiring learning a more basic Force Power before learning a more complex one. We also have introduced the concept of a ‘Force Ghost’ to represent the ambient power of the Force. Basically an NPC in black, they can move objects for telekinesis, send messages as part of telepathy, spy on people’s conversations to represent enhanced hearing, or generally give the impression that this person is a Force user. An advanced skill lets a Jedi use the force to wield their lightsaber through telekinesis, which allows their ‘ghost’ a chance to fight. They’re an out of game mechanic that has worked pretty well.
The Force is an automatic success if you’re in touch range. Basically, if you’re talking to them, you succeed. There are ways to resist Force powers; certain races or chemical substances can provided resistances. The Jedi player must also successfully inform the target of their power usage. Saying “Sleep” and waving your hand won’t always work. Saying “Sleep: 5 minutes, you can be shaken awake after 2” and waving your hand will. The target always has the option to take the command if it’s done incorrectly. More combat oriented powers, like force lightning, require a strike packet of some kind and successful contact.
Why do you have a ‘no PvP death’ rule?
It really bums a person out that the PC they’ve put so much work, time, money, and costuming into gets killed by someone else because they’re playing an in-game grudge out too far. It’s also a way to avoid out-of-game conflict and resentment. However, if a player has really good cause, and a storyline reason, it can happen. Mostly I’m concerned about someone making a great Imperial/Dark Jedi PC and getting ganked within 5 minutes before they have a chance to play them.
What kinds of plots do you usually run?
I try to ensure there’s a hook for the Jedi players, a hook for the neutrals, and a hook for any other factions involved. The first game was a grand-reopening party on a remote space station. Second was a Black-Sun sponsored gala with a melee tournament. This game is a rescue mission on a cruise liner.
I try to make sure there’s some aspect of classic Star Wars fun in every game. Right now there are two major plots: An imperial turncoat with knowledge of a prison camp where there’s experimentation going on, and the Jedi have their hands on an artifact they don’t quite understand.
I hear you’re running an exclusive event at Wyrd Con 4. Anything special planned this year?
We’re breaking slightly from the usual ‘you’re in a bar’ format and setting it on a cruise liner which has fallen under attack. I hope to have some fun new puzzles and challenges on multiple levels of the con floor.
Money. If I had the money to pull this off right, it would be a lot more fun. As it is, I have the advantage of being married to a professional prop maker, which enables me to get some gorgeous realistic-looking items in-game. (Holocron that glows, a diffusible explosive.) But I’d love to get more real costumes in, stormtrooper armor, etc. Also, finding a good location to host is tricky.
Is there an age requirement to play?
Nope. As long as players under 18 have a parent/guardian, any age is welcome. More mature elements, like slaves and drugs, are in-game but toned down when kids are around. ‘Accident at Pzob’ had one of the rescued pirates cussing like a sailor until she found out the Jawas were 13 and 14 years old.
What’s the cost to play?
None – well, mostly. While a weekend campout event is being planned, most of the Star Wars games are held at the WyrdCon convention in Costa Mesa and requires a Con badge. We have 2 weekend events in the works, but they’re requiring I have more time and the money to rent a campground facility. Donations are entirely welcome, though!