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January 2018

Reviews

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.

We caught up with Constance Chamberlain, Cantina’s head honcho, with a few questions:cantina 1

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?

Any.

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.

cantina 2Are there different stats and abilities available depending on your 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.259160_10150226235738308_7689988_o

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.

259206_10150226235853308_2951979_oWhat has been your biggest challenge with this larp?

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!

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Jul 03, 2013

Empire is a brand new LARP game by Profound Decisions, a professional LARP company based in the UK well-known for its high-quality LARP-fest games. Empire

Credit Profound Decisions

Credit Profound Decisions

started out as an ambitious project: a brand new fantasy LARP with large, dynamic battles, political PvP, player-run political organisations, film quality set pieces, and interesting and engaging plot, all to make it the most immersive event possible for everyone taking part.

The game itself is a fairly standard fantasy world. The players all hail from the greatest nation in the known world, simply known as the Empire. Made up by nine human nations, along with the nomadic Imperial Orcs (there is big divide in the game between Orcs who are “Barbarians” and those Orcs who have chosen to join the empire), the Empire is ruled by an Emperor or Empress and is advised by the Imperial Senate. The Emperor/Empress is a player character rather than an NPC, although at the start of the game the Throne is vacant. Each of the nine nations is divided up into three regions and each nation has its own Senator way of voting.

Advising the Throne and the Senate is the Synod, a religious body dedicated to espousing and spreading word of the Seven Virtues of the Empire, with power of oversight over the Senate and other Imperial Institutions. The Military Council is made up of the Generals, elected by the Senators of each nation, to lead the Empire’s armies. The Bourse is the heart of the Empire’s trade and acts as a marketplace for the Empire’s goods, as well as making sure the Empire’s most vital resources are used for its betterment. Finally, there is the Conclave, based in the Hall of Worlds: an extra-dimensional pocket realm, it is an Organisation of Magicians and Wizards dedicated to unlocking the secrets of magic, the higher realms, and the Magical beings (known as Eternals), that live there.

The above description doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the game world. I could on for pages talking about the nations and the various political institutions. It is a wonderfully detailed and well-thought-out setting, while at the same to not being too prescriptive and giving players plenty of creative room to come up with the own ideas.

 

In the months before the first event, a group of friends and I had spent time carefully planning out our group and the characters that we would play. We had chosen to play a coven of Wizards from the magically adept nation of Urizen (think a cross between Buddhist Monks and Tolkien High-Elves). I would be playing Marius of the Spire of the Auric Horizon. He’s a Ritualist, a caster whose spells require multiple participants and have wide-reaching effects.

Credit Paul Baker

Credit Paul Baker

The first event was set on the backdrop of a terrible tragedy. Four weeks prior in the game’s timeline, the Empress Britta of Wintermark, beloved of the Peoples of the Empire, died whilst on campaign trying to retake an Imperial Provence from the vile Thule Orcs. With her at the time were many of the finest heroes in the Empire, from  Generals to Wizards, Senators to Priests. In one terrible moment, the great and good of the Empire were gone. An Interregnum was declared, whereby all Imperial Titles were revoked and new elections where to be held at the first available Imperial Summit: the Winter Solstice. The PCs have all traveled to Anvil, the site of the Imperial Senate, to attend this extraordinary summit of the Empire.

 

The Good

Gosh, was it a chaotic event! The main thing that sticks in the mind was the children. While an adult system, Empire allows children to attend events. There is ref team specifically tasked with looking after them via an in-character school (a kickass school that teaches swordfighting and magic) known as the Academy. In the run up to the event, player opinions on the inclusion of children was somewhat split: some felt they would add something to the game, while others worried that they might break the immersion. The kids were great! Not only did they enjoy themselves, but many were far better roleplayers than most of the adults. Many people commented in several forums and social media sites just how awesome the kids were and how much they added to the game. Everybody had an anecdote about to tell. For me it was the following scene:

My character Marius was involved in an in-depth and very serious discussion with several other Mages. We were all huddled in a tent, talking to each other in hushed tones about the political future of our Order, the Celestial Arch. It was a fantastic bit of roleplaying between several characters trying to determine who was the best candidate to become Grandmaster of the Order. This debate went on for quite a while, until out of nowhere a bunch of kids rush into the tent and start trying to sell little trinkets and charms that they been given to peddle. Rather than getting them to go away and telling them off for interrupting our conversation, we all spend several minutes talking to them. My character in particular was interested to know what the various animal charms meant, and was told by one of children that they represented the religious virtues of the state religion in the game. After been given a very good explanation, I haggled with one of the kids over a spider, representing the Virtue of Wisdom. Another adult looked over at the tent, realized that we were probably having an important meeting, and shooed the children away, apologising. It was a fantastic moment and really made my event.

Credit Rebecca Shanti Pointeau

Credit Rebecca Shanti Pointeau

The costumes and character kit at the event were awesome. Everyone had put a great deal of time, money, and effort into making their costumes, and it really paid off at the event. Each nation had its own costume guide, which included a generic look and feel of what sorts of styles would be appropriate, as well as costume making advice and links to professional costume makers. The players have gone to great lengths to stick to the style guides given, which has meant that in most cases it is immediately recognisable which nation somebody is from just by looking at them. It’s very rare in Larps that I have been to to see this; most of the time everybody ends up looking the same, and it can be really hard to work out where a character might be from.

Once they finally got up and running, the player-led apparatus of government works very well indeed. While far from perfect at this event, it was great to see it in action. For myself, I was very heavily involved in the Conclave, which very quickly became a bickering collection of Wizards fighting over the magical resources of the Empire, which is what I believe the organisers wanted. The Conclave is an interesting political body because, unlike with the rest of the political positions in the other imperial institutions, the Conclave positions can be channelled for at any time, rather than being opened up once a year with everything else. This means things can change very quickly within the Conclave, and an Archmage or a Grandmaster has to always look over their shoulder to the machinations of their rivals.

 

The Bad

The weather… by all the Virtues it was cold. It was probably the coldest Larp event that I have ever been to, and I had to camp out in open field. Now, given that the event was held in early April in Britain, you would normally be looking at temperatures of around about 12-15°c during the daytime, and it getting a little nippy towards the evening. The highest the mercury ever got to at the event was about 4°c, and one night the temperature dropped to about -10°c, which, let me tell you, is more than a bit nippy. I spent most of that night huddled under my blanket in the tent I was sharing with my mate, hoping I didn’t freeze to death. The weather was so bad that there was still snow on the ground that hadn’t thawed properly, while the snow which had melted left the field a frozen muddy ruin. It was almost impossible to get around anywhere quickly. It was so cold that all of the water froze in the stand pipes dotted around the site, and meant the toilet and showering facilitates were rendered useless (thank the Virtues for baby wipes). It also meant the event organisers had to spend more time out of character fixing stuff. The Hall of Worlds where the Conclave meets kept eating the generators for all of the lighting, which meant it never had its proper set dressing props. It also mean that the organisers were able to play the all NPC civil service roles, the body that’s meant to help the players run the Empire, which led to a lot of problems. Bloody British weather!

Credit Victoria Hayze

Credit Victoria Hayze

Bad weather led to bad organisation. There was always going to be a chance that PD had bitten off more than they could chew with Empire, and they had some real organisational issues in and out of character. It didn’t help that for what ever reason God or whatever deity which runs the universe hated PD that weekend; the amount of stuff that went wrong for them behind the scenes was immense. There was a definite sense that in some ways PD hadn’t thought things through. With the players in charge of everything, there were very poor lines of communications to the players about when and where things would be happening. Some of the elections had to rerun due to mistakes made by NPCs who had misunderstood how the relevant electoral process worked. In the end, PD held their head up on a lot of these issues and, credit to them, at the second event they were able to address a lot of these organisational issues.

 

All in all it was a great event. Being the first, I always knew it was going to be the worst event they would ever run for Empire, and everything that could have gone wrong for PD did go wrong. Despite the weather and organisational issues, I had a great time and had some fantastic roleplay moments that left me eagerly anticipating future events.

 

Want to know more? Check out the WikiEmpire Facebook pageFacebook photo group, and Empire Movie Trailer!сайтаaracer.mobiплатная регистрацияпрограмма взломщикаквалоо стоимостьцентр инвест автокредитыtragamonedas slots gratis de casino lemonadehigh class escorts dubaimerit park casinoWill hill bet calculatorв танзании в октябрефитнес клуб красногвардейская

Jun 13, 2013
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