21
April 2018

Larp Chick

 If you love LARP as much as we do, you spend a good amount of time perusing the internet for awesome LARP content. We are talking endless hours spent watching everything from how-tos for items you will never craft, to battlefield footage that may or may not have been shot with a potato. Every once in a while a web series pops up and you watch the episodes over and over in agony patiently wait for the next installment. Doesn’t matter-you can’t get enough. We at LARPing.org are all about connecting you with resources to enrich your LARPing experience, which is why we love sharing quality content to feed your addiction.

Especially if it’s about us.

momo post

When we learned one of our favorite Youtube personalities was making a web series about her character for our Voyage North trip this year, we got a little excited. Okay, a lot excited. Our staff works hard to help US and international LARPers experience the largest North American LARP and it’s so encouraging to see this level of involvement…before she even arrives on site! (Players, take note of this initiative).

Screen Shot 2015-07-10 at 12.48.54 AM

The She, being none other than the amazingly talented Mo Mo O’ Brien.

When Mo Mo O’Brien and friends announced they would be joining us this summer, we knew we were along for a whirlwind ride, but this is some next level stuff.

Her new web series, “The Reba Rapscallions” will chronicle her character, Saga, as she and her friends journey out of Reba and to our camp at Bicolline. We can’t wait to meet them!

Oh and yes, we are already shipping.

Screen Shot 2015-07-09 at 11.52.39 PM

dat smolder.

 

Jul 09, 2015

Often when a group of new players joins a Larp, they bring with them their own opinions and perceptions of what they think would be best for the game. It sometimes leads to a large amount of suggestions for how the game can be changed. This can be a point of frustration for long-time players. I have a few suggestions for those new players.

Play the Game

Take the time to really play the Larp before starting to suggest changes. I personally would suggest at least a year if not two even if you have attended other Larps. This gives you time to truly understand the inner workings of the game and understand the consequences of changing things. You may find that your potential suggestions are still very good ones a few years later, you may find that they aren’t necessary at all. Unless you are open to giving it a try, you will never know.

Remember the Players

One of the things that seems to get overlooked when changes are being suggested, is that there are people who are currently playing the game, and may have been for a very long time, that really enjoy things the way they are. They’ve invested years into building characters, hundreds of hours of volunteer time, and their money into a Larp. Consider them. Take the time to understand what the players enjoy about the game and what they find frustrating themselves. You may find that they share your opinion about that thing that you want to change, you may find that they have information you might not have known about.

The Big No-No!

Don’t try and change one Larp into another. If you like one over another, that’ great! Play it til the cows come home but please, please, please do not try to turn Larp A into Larp B. It is not a good idea. It becomes extremely frustrating to the other players. If the players of Larp A wanted to play Larp B, they would. Also, Larp B probably wouldn’t be too happy with having their rules stolen.

Preferences

Everyone is different. Every game is different. Sometimes you find things you don’t like in a game and just have to learn to deal with it. Sometimes the rules you like get changed. Maybe you like an ever-changing game, maybe you like a game with stability. Sometimes the one that you started with, won’t be the best fit. When  If you like very little about the game, maybe try a different one. There may be one out there that is an almost perfect fit for you.

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Nov 29, 2012

the wild hunt
A few years ago, the LARP I attend, Epoch Toronto, was invited to TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) to view The Wild Hunt. We dressed in costume and answered LARP related questions in the Q&A that followed the movie. We later attended the TIFF Top 10,  a convention and the showing at the theatre across from Dundas Square here in Toronto, Ontario where we promoted both the movie and our LARP.

I really like this movie. I’ve seen it 3 times in theatres, once at convention and own a copy of the DVD. Bjorn Magnusson quickly became my favourite character. Although he may seem a little over the top to some, in my experience, the enthusiasm that many LARPers have toward the games they play, the characters they pour their heart and soul into, and even the want to include those close to them was something very familiar, I even saw a little of myself in his character. I loved this movie so much, I even showed it to my Film Studies Teacher at George Brown College.

Mark A. Krupa wrote the original story the movie was based on, co-wrote the screenplay, was an Executive Producer and portrayed Bjorn Magnusson himself. He was out there promoting the movie, running across the street at Yonge and Dundas surrounded by a mob of LARPers while yelling “THE WILD HUNT CANNOT BE STOPPED!”. He listened to our “war stories” and we hope to see him out at an Epoch event one day.

Best of all, he has graciously allowed me to interview him for all of you.

Bjørn mangusson

Bjorn Magnusson, Viking Warrior!

For those of you who have yet to see it, it is a thrilling tale of romance, passion and fantasy colliding with harsh realities. It was the first fictional drama set in a Larp to win some major awards!

WINNER: Best Canadian First Feature Film / TIFF – 2009
WINNER: Audience Award for Best Narrative Film – SLAMDANCE – 2010
WINNER: Best Feature Film – ICON Film Festival – 2010
WINNER: Best Feature Film – AIFF, Anchorage; Alaska – 2010
Outstanding achievement in filmmaking honors – NEWPORT BEACH, 2010
* Canada’s TOP 10 FILMS – 2009 *

The Wild Hunt was filmed at The Duche de Bicolline in St. Mathieu du Parc, Quebec, Canada. It’s an absolutely beautiful Larp site.

You can find the trailer here!

 

Spoilers Ahead!

 

LarpChick: Can you tell us a bit about The Wild Hunt and what it means to you?

Mark A. Krupa: The film is about Fantasy and Reality colliding, embodied in the characters of two brothers – Erik, the younger consummate workaholic who hates Fantasy, and takes care of their dad while his older brother Bjorn remains a chronic escapist who can only function in a Fantasy (Larp) world – ignoring all real responsibility, including the fate of their ailing father.  The film is about the psyche’s archetypal need for ritual – about the quest for personal myth and the dangers of allowing modern materialist society suffocate the imagination and personal myths of its denizens, disconnecting them from themselves, each other, and their ancestry.

LarpChick: What was your inspiration for The Wild Hunt?

Mark A. Krupa: The image of the Dancing Shaman – found in Ariege, France… Arguably the oldest symbol on earth – the precursor to demons, devils, and many Pagan gods, including the Celt Cernunnos. The Wild Hunt is also very much a myth of renaissance shared across most of Northern Europe in various forms. I feel that in our Western world view – materialism and fossil fuel addiction has reached such a poisonous level that it seems only starting over is the solution… The Wild Hunt and Ragnarok are two concepts from Norse mythology that I think resonates with our present global village in crisis.

LarpChick: What inspired you tell your story through a LARP?

Mark A. Krupa: Well I played Dungeons & Dragons for 25 years… But nothing is more boring than filming a bunch of dudes rolling dice in a mouldy basement. When I saw the LARP grounds at Bicolline – I was blown away by their imagination and creative spirit – the will to create such a vast outdoor studio… I had seen Darkon and a bunch of Larpers role-playing in a football field would not have inspired me to write the film – but Bicolline did. One of the largest Larp grounds in the world, I wrote the script with that specific location in mind as I imagined a Lord of the Rings meets Lord of the Flies saga…

LarpChick: What personal experience do you have with LARPing or Role-playing games?

Mark A. Krupa: I have played D&D in all of its forms and some ICE + Sci-Fi role-playing games only. I am not a video gamer at all, nor a Larper – but the director Alex and I have had many funny stories throughout our role-playing ‘careers’ of abandoning girl-friends and other responsibilities in order to play (including many all-nighters when we were kids) so the subject matter was close to us…

LarpChick: What is your favourite scene in The Wild Hunt?

Mark A. Krupa: In terms of Craziness – it’s the fake galleon-boat scene when all armies gather… The torchlight was splendid – it was so cold — you can see and feel the crispness in the air, on all our breaths… In terms of stillness, it is when Erik and Lyn circle each other in the blue light of night in the forest – when he plays the game and rescues her in character. Claudine our D.O.P did an outstanding job shooting in 35mm with not much tech support considering our super low budget.

LarpChick: Who was your favourite person to work with on The Wild Hunt and why?

Mark A. Krupa: Since I was involved in so many areas it’s hard to pinpoint one – as an actor it is always a good feeling when you get that ensemble cast, and I certainly got that throughout, discovering splendid actors like Ricky, Nick, Spiro, Kyle, Claudia, Trevor, Terry and the rest. But without sounding cheesy, I really enjoyed the input and presence of all the Larpers who were so keen on being in the film – we had an agreement with the director Alex that they could yell “Shoot! Shoot” if we took too long to film… We even shot the day scenes DURING the real Big Battle weekend at Bicolline so we had to be dressed in costume and hide the camera in furs… We had to pay Gypsy wenches in fake coins to dance in our scene, but I recall I had to buy them real beer… So the Larpers were our partners, our spirit, we could not call them extras – they were warriors from the start to the end, despite cold and harsh conditions – they set the tone of the film.

LarpChick: A number of LARPers have been concerned about the violence portrayed in the movie deterring potential new LARPers. What are your thoughts on that?

Mark A. Krupa: Yes it is true that was more common at the start, when buzz for the film first came out. I have been to many festivals with this film and NO NON-LARPER has ever complained or expressed negativity about LARP or LARPERS because of THE WILD HUNT. I think films like Role-Models, Darkon, and Knights of Badassdom depict Larpers in a much more dorkier or negative light then our film, but regardless – I think all these films will only serve to draw attention to LARP and that is ultimately positive. One of the only countries to distribute the film in Blu-Ray is Germany. They have the largest Larping community in the world and THE WILD HUNT was very well received there, especially among Larpers. Most people understand this is a fictional saga set in a fictional Larp. People die during soccer games in Europe but soccer fans do not worry others will think they are crazy for going to soccer games. And if we see a crooked cop on TV, we do not assume all are crooked. Yes, Larp is not as well known as soccer, or the police force, but if Larpers are scared what people think of them, my answer is: “assume your passions full-heartedly and do not worry about what others think…” If people speak negatively, tell ’em to buzz off… As for the film deterring new Larpers? Well I have yet to see a good violent video game deter new players… In fact it seems to only attract them. I would much rather be in a secluded forest with 1000 Larpers than 1000 Grand-Theft Auto or First person shooter addicts… Video Games are WAY MORE VIOLENT than Larp!

LarpChick: What were the reasons behind Shaman Murtagh and his followers descent into the violence?

Mark A. Krupa: Indeed, I am glad you chose the plural – ‘reasons’ – because in most group-violence situations, like Stanley Cup play-off riots – it is a combination of reasons – aggressive dudes, under the right circumstances, with alcohol and drugs, some just wanting to loot… They all come together and spiral out of control to create the perfect storm – our film is no different. In Shaman Murtagh’s clan, there are some aggressive, intense players (recall this is a fictional hard-core Larp with no kids and players are allowed to run with torches and fight…) Still, they would never resort to real violence, but they are pushed to the limit when reality is allowed to poison their game. Their lead Celt enforcer is revolted when he sees their Shaman is allowing real love-triangle problems ruin the entire clan’s enjoyment of the game… Add to this a sudden changing of the rules, as Erik – a non-player – turns their game upside down… I don’t wanna spell everything out in case some reading this have not seen the film. One thing that was more evident in previous drafts was that Murtagh used hallucinogenic mushrooms in his sacred brew, just for this specific ritual – but that was later deemed unnecessary (we just hint at it now) as human nature is such that it does not always need drugs and alcohol to be violent, as seen in our sacred seasonal hockey riots (ok, maybe not so seasonal this year… But we may yet have a lawn-bowling riot…)

LarpChick: Was there anything that you would’ve liked to include in the movie that didn’t make the final cut? Would you have liked to change anything in hindsight?

Mark A. Krupa: Yes, there were many scenes that were tributes to past Fantasy films that were quite funny. Larpers tend to know their shit when it comes to Fantasy films so we had scenes where Bjorn was initiating David into the Larp world  – quoting Conan the Barbarian lines like ” What is best in life… To see your enemies driven before you… To the lamentations of the women…” while eating wild boar that was not cooked so David then rants about tapeworms. Anyway… We didn’t have the rights to reference other films and I think it didn’t take away much in the end. But what was unfortunate was the initial love story between Erik and Lyn – it was was more real and had environmental undertones with her character that were interesting to explore further, yet they didn’t make the final cut.

LarpChick: Through this movie, you were exposed to a great deal of the LARPing community all over the world. Can you tell us a bit about your experiences?

Mark A. Krupa: Yes. Awesome. In the U.S. From Los Angeles to Chicago, I met more Larpers and groups that I could ever imagine existed. I have corresponded with many in Germany and the U.K as well. I often loved their feedback most during screenings… In Toronto, there were also very cool groups (who shall remain nameless – but I will give you a hint, one especially features Larp Chicks!) they helped a lot with our promo ventures and I am very grateful. This ultimately led me to delve deeper into the greater Fantasy community at-large. I am referring specifically to FAN EXPO in Toronto where I was blown away by the imagination of so many… And I learned about other Fantasy branches that I had no clue about – like STEAM PUNK… I thought at first it meant a pissed-off rocker from the 80s… But wow, what a cool universe, and the girls had the sexiest corsets… OMG, and there were those girls dressed as raptors from Jurassic Park, and the body-paint girls, and the Japanese school… Nevermind, I digress…

LarpChick: Is there anything you’d like to tell the Larping.org readers?

Mark A. Krupa: Yes. May your Flame of Imagination never die as our Clan will not be stopped! I hope your readers continue to keep an open critical mind and spread word about the film – because if it ever becomes a cult classic – it will be no doubt thanks to fans such as the numerous Larpers worldwide. The spirit of imagination shared by the Fantasy community has enthralled and motivated me in my personal quest to create more meaningful mythic dramas. I currently have an epic historical-drama feature in development – VINLAND – about the first Norse vessel to crash onto North-American shores. Moreover, I am also working on a Sci-Fi trilogy feature – THE EXTRACTOR, a pre-apocalyptic Blade Runner meets Millenium saga set in Montreal. I invite all Larpers to join BJORN MAGNUSSON on Facebook: HERE

But be warned, I only answer in character on my wall – and I apologize for being half-naked in caribou fur… But at least it’s not a troll costume…

A HUGE thank you to Mark A. Krupa for taking the time to do this interview with me. As always, it was a pleasure corresponding with him! Long live the The Wild Hunt!

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Nov 21, 2012

There are often ways to get involved in the Larp before your first event.

first larp

Many clubs hold gatherings between events. At Epoch, we have two weekly meetings, one in Toronto and the other in Burlington, where people can meet up and discuss anything in-game or out-of-game. New players can always find players willing to help with understanding the rules or building a character. We have a New Player’s Committee that helps welcome new players and help them in any way they can. This group even runs a Friday night string of encounters for new players to help get them accustomed to the game.

Sometimes clubs have additional activities. These can be absolutely anything. Epoch does everything from people gathering to build props for the game, sparring days where new players can try their hand at fighting with Larp weapons, and even a masquerade.

larp first

One of the things that I really like about Epoch is the ability to get started role-playing before your first larp event. The online forums give new players the opportunity to get started as soon as their character history is approved. There are a few things that players need to be patient about though. Most new characters that are active on the boards won’t actually know what the characters they’re interacting with look like. This can cause some small hiccups in game when these character meet up again on site but they’re easily gotten past.

Checking out the forums before your first larp

You can go all over the in-game town on the forums but once you get to site it may not be as easy to find all of those places especially as our game usually starts after dark on the Friday night. Two of my friends found a very unique way to help out those new players. They spent an insane amount of hours working on Minecraft to create an extremely accurate recreation of our site that they used to create a video walk-through. They were awarded The Epic Award for this. Click the link below and enjoy!

Epoch Site Walk-through by Sayward and Doug Richards

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Nov 14, 2012

Creating a larp character is one of my favourite things 

To do but often I find people, including myself, make very interesting histories for their character but don’t really think about how they are going to play the character once they start the game. Many of my own characters have gotten rather boring to play over time because they were not well thought out at character creation or didn’t develop past it’s history. Quite often this because I focus entirely on the history or in game skills.

The people who seem to have the best role-playing experiences at game are the ones who have one or many flaws to their character that they need to deal with on a regular basis. Some of these can be very challenging but more often than not result in fun role-playing.

The LARP I play most often (Epoch Toronto) has a section of their rulebook that lists common disadvantages that a character can take and receive extra XP for. These are nice to add to a character as they add role-playing opportunities. There are things like being mute or gullible, having phobias, or delusions and even “attack on sight” and “verbally abuse on sight” toward different groups such as undead, an in game race, a particular skill set, or even just something like “everyone who wears blue”. They are fun challenges to add to your character and can help round them out a bit more. If you don’t want one of the standard disadvantages, you are able to contact the AD and try to work out a unique disadvantage.

Even with a disadvantage, you may want to think about other challenges for your character. It can be fun to be non-traditional character or a semi-traditional character. I find a lot of people who play these type turn their backs completely to what ever traditions they don’t agree with (Orcs who hate fighting, Elves who hate magic, etc) have a burst of challenges at the beginning and then people become accepting, leaving it over and done with. Consider having goals that require you to deal with these things more often like trying to live an otherwise traditional life.

Consider how your character reacts to things they may encounter in a LARP. What would your character risk? Steal? Hire an assassin? Watch while someone is treated unjustly if they don’t like them? Are they the type to follow leadership completely? Do they have a guilty pleasure? Do they have a hobby? Do they like pranks? How do they react to insult? Are they intelligent? How old are they? What’s their maturity level? Considering these things before playing the game can help fill those times later on when you find yourself with nothing to do and even help inspire the player.

Everyone worries about the skills in the beginning but in a game like Epoch one of the best things you can take is Life Skills. Power gamers often don’t take many of these but having a handful of interesting Life Skills really helps getting your character acquainted with others. There is only so many times you can repeat the same “Hi I’m ______ and I’m a fighter/mage/alchemist/etc.” Having something like Life Skill: Hunting or Life Skill: Woodworker can give you something to talk about in-depth and an activity to bond with other characters over.I’d love to hear people’s thoughts on what has helped them create fun, well-rounded characters. Tell me in the comments!

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Nov 01, 2012
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