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Festival of the Larps 2017 happened this past weekend, and I wanted to note down a few things.

I very much enjoyed my time there, like I always do. I've never had a bad time at Festival. It's a very special weekend for me, as it's Brandeis's home larp con and I've not only been attending it for over ten years now, I've been involved in its organization for a lot of that time. I really love larping at this event.

But this time around I was so tired that I didn't get quite as much out of it as I usually do. I had periods where I would mentally check out of my games where I was a player just because I was so exhausted. I liked everything I played, but wasn't quite as sharp and on the ball as I usually am. Still, it was all good, and I don't think I ruined anything for not being at my best.

Friday night I played Alleged Entertainment's The Day We Came Home. I generated a handful of character sheets for this game, but I knew little enough (remembered less) that I could play without being spoiled. It's basically examining issues around immigration in a sci fi setting with the format of a political game. Not my usual style of larp, but it's a good example of its genre, and I'm glad I gave it a try. Also Tegan, one of the writers and GMs, totally blew my mind with her advice for how to address missing PCs due to drops: "If you need something from someone who isn't here... get it from someone else." A revolutionary and practical shift in mindset when cast issues arise!

Saturday afternoon I played Primal Spirits, where everyone is the innocent avatars of animal creatures in the early days of the world. I was Rabbit, which pleased me, as I applied a lot of my theory of rabbithood from my favorite novel, Watership Down. All the world was my enemy, and when they caught me, they would kill me-- but first they must catch me. I had a rather primitive sense of justice and had to come to terms with my children's status as ultimate prey animal. Again, my tiredness curtailed my play a little, but in collaboration with Peter Litwack I came up with a pretty clever trick to make myself come out on top in a race with Horse-- the winner would be the fastest to reach an apple, which I buried in the ground at the other end of the track. Because I was the faster digger, I won! Frith, a rabbit trick!

That night I ran the larp version of Silver Lines. I love, love, love that game. It's a very solid mystery, and physicalizing the various in-game locations with props translates it nicely from the tabletop form to the live-action one. I missed having Jenn as my co-GM, like I had at Intercon, but it's manageable with only one person; you just have to play all the NPCs. It really makes me want to write more games in this style, set at other points in the Hawking story timeline.

I did have one problem post-game that I didn't handle well. I had one player who had a stronger than usual emotional reaction to her journey in the game. I should have just shut my dumb mouth and listened, but she kept relating it back to how the game was written. Even though I knew better, I kept trying to interrogate her to see if she had legitimate criticism I needed to incorporate into an edit, but I think it just made her feel judged. I should have just listened and let her express herself. As it was, I felt kind of like a bully.

The last thing I played was supposed to be a cowboy game called Once Upon a Time in the Wild West, a prepackaged game from a professional larprunning company called Questoria. Sadly they had a lot of players not show up, so they had to sub in a short, smaller parlor game in its place. That was actually fine by me, because being so tired, I didn't mind a quicker larp. The new one turned out to be a murder mystery set at a seance, which I enjoyed enormously-- not least because I was the only one who solved it correctly! I love mysteries; I've been studying them and writing them a lot lately, so I'm actually glad the game turned out the way it did.

So yeah, overall, good weekend, though I was sorry my overall dragginess, particularly mentally, made me less sharp than I usually am. Thank you to everyone, particularly con chair Adina Shreiber, for all the hard work to make it happen!
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Tonight at 7pm you can sign up for games at this year's Festival of the Larps at Brandeis University!

This is the totally free weekend-long larp convention in Waltham! It runs from the evening of Friday, April 28th, to the afternoon of Sunday, April 30th!

The schedule of signups is as follows:

- Monday, 20 March 2017, 7pm EDT - Sign-up for one game
- Tuesday, 21 March 2017, 7pm EDT - Sign-up for a second game
- Wednesday, 22 March 2017, 7pm EDT - Sign-up for as many games as you want!

You can check out the schedule of games to find a larp you might want to sign up for by clicking here!

I myself am running my five-person mystery larp Silver Lines on Saturday night of the event, which is set in the Mrs. Hawking universe and a ton of fun. It's so small I'm pretty sure it will fill fast, so I suggest you get in quickly if you'd like to play. :-)

As for tonight, I think I am going to use my first signup for Somewhere in the Wild West on Sunday afternoon, as I love westerns, but I'm still making up my mind. There are lots of awesome games, so I really think you should take a look and plan to come and join us at the end of April!

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As most Intercon attendees know, the snowstorm over the weekend made it so a lot of people were unable to make it-- including the main chunk of Alleged Entertainment. That meant without Nat, Vik, Susan, or Vito, the entire GM team of Spring River couldn't arrive. So in order to keep the game from having to be cancelled, I joined Dave Kapell and [livejournal.com profile] contradictacat in stepping in at the last minute to run the larp.

It did mean having to cram some information at the last moment, but fortunately the game is not that hard to run. It requires periodic action on the GMs' part, but a lot of it is scripted, and as long as you follow the schedule in the runtime notes, it's easy. And I've played it before, so I knew the shape of it and what to expect from the players. It's an unusual game, where every PC is playing one defining personality trait within a handful of larger characters, and must navigate through life's journey making important decisions by committee. As Nat told me, the players ask a lot of clarifying questions in the first hour or so, then mostly they get wrapped up in trying to work things out with their fellow personality traits and trying to communicate between groups. I actually made some incorrect calls about the larger world outside the main characters, but fortunately it doesn't really affect the trajectory as long as you run the life decisions according to plan.

Dave and Diana kindly let me leave a little early, because I had an hour drive home from the hotel, I missed the game's debrief. Apparently sometimes people have strong emotional reactions to the game and find it useful to talk it through with the GMs afterward. I didn't find it necessary in my own experience, though I will say I did have one of the strongest and strangest experiences of bleed when I played in my run that I'd ever had in a larp role. But the players seemed to be really enjoying it most of the time, so I was very glad to be able to contribute to that. I'm glad that I could report back to Nat that his game not only ran, but ran successfully to PC enjoyment. It takes a village, I guess, to raise a larp con. 😋

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The highlight of my weekend was the running of Silver Lines, my mystery tabletop-game-turned-larp set in the future of the Mrs. Hawking storyline. As I mentioned, this was the first time I ever ran it as a true larp, with physical locations and physical props, and I was nervous about how it would turn out. But I am pleased to report that with the invaluable support of [livejournal.com profile] in_water_writ as co-GM, it was a definite success!



I love mysteries, and if I may say so myself, I'm getting pretty good at writing them. Base Instruments is my most recent serious triumph in the genre, and this one turned out really strong as well. Good thing, because two of my players, specifically those who took on the roles of Mary and Arthur, signed up expressly because they wanted to solve a murder mystery. So it was important that it be good.

I really love this story, and I think the game itself works really well. It tells a moment of the greater Hawking story that is unlikely to ever make it into a play, but still is fitting and important. This run also drove home to me how flexible it is as a module. It only has five players, which is pretty easy to fill, but at least three out of five can be seamlessly any gender, and all but one can be turned into an NPC who the PCs can encounter and get necessary information from. It's as open to as much or as little character-based roleplaying as you like, or you can focus on making the mystery solving your primary drive.

The physicality of it, the props and the locations, worked well. Jenn and I divided the NPCs equally between us, which worked well because it enabled one of us to interact with players while the other prepared other aspects of the game. The players suggested that sound design could be used to further flesh out the locations, such as crowd noise or music to set the scenes.

The players went through it VERY efficiently. In previous forms, all of which were more tabletop-style, the game took about four hours, but this group reached the end in a little over two. That surprised me a little, but they seemed to have fun, so I didn't mind. And they didn't miss any of the planned parts of the game. I really enjoyed running it the whole time, and I'm really indebted to Jenn for helping me. She did an amazing job!

I'm looking forward to rerunning this larp version at Festival of the Larps 2017 April 28th-30th at Brandeis University. If you'd like to play, be sure to come out then!

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I'm snowed in my house today; one of the advantages of working for schools is that you usually get the day off when it's really coming down. So I'm spending the day getting all my ducks in a row for Intercon this weekend, plus, if I can get my head into it, doing some writing.

I've got a LOT of Intercon stuff to pack. My game, Silver Lines, is totally ready, with pretty much a full complement of physical props. I think it will be a pretty cool experience, one I've never really managed before in a game, but it means there are a lot of pieces. Fortunately for me, [livejournal.com profile] inwaterwrit agreed to be my co-GM, which will make managing everything a million times easier than trying to do it on my own. But I also have costuming to bring, both for the game I'm playing and to return to people, as well as the pipes and drapes I'm lending to [livejournal.com profile] lightgamer for his game. And I'm bringing the remaining hard copies of the first issue of Game Wrap Magazine to sell at the registration desk. I'd love to do some of the packing of that stuff into my car, but I don't want to mess with it until the snow stops coming down.

But I'm excited. I think Silver Lines is going to be super fun to run. I really love the story of the game and think it's a great mystery. Also, I'm excited to see how the game runs with full props and environments. I think it's going to add a lot, and I'm super glad to have Jenn's help. This is the first time we've ever done it that way, so wish us luck!

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For once I'm actually on top of getting my game together for Intercon ahead of time. I have most of the materials for Silver Lines ready to go at this point, and I still have over a week to put the finishing touches on it, and make some decisions about how much I want to use things like physical props.

I said that I'd planned to test this "conversion to larp" at SLAW this past November, but honestly that didn't really happen. I had made a number of modification to the running style and the player materials, but I ended up having a visually impaired player sign up for the run. Since most of my modifications were visual aids or involved rearranging furniture to represent a space, it seemed like that version at best wasn't going to add anything, and at worst would be actively less accessible. So I basically ended up just running the original tabletop version, which seemed to avoid those issues, as well as gave the players a perfectly good time-- even if in that form you probably can't call it a larp. But it does mean I'm going into this Intercon run with an untested version of the game.

I am reasonably confident it's going to work okay, even if it's not perfect. It's basically the same game content-wise, just with some changes to HOW it's presented and run. I know the story works, which is the most important part. But I hope the players bear with me a bit if there are any bumps in the execution.
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I realized I never posted about how signups fell out for me at Intercon Q. So here's a bit on the current future of my larpy life.

I always like to have a game Friday night, so I signed up for Suffragette Slamdown, a fun period piece about the first wave of the women's right's movement set in the context of rival women's gangs clashing. It's by Haz and Ada Nakama, so I think it will be fun, though I confess it makes me a bit wistful, as I'd planned on taking a picture of myself dressed as a suffragette to celebrate if Clinton won the election.

My game, Silver Lines, is going to run on Saturday afternoon. It filled first round, the first time that's ever happened for a game I wrote other than Resonance, but in fairness it's only five players, so it was an easy thing to do. It's going to be interesting, as it's an experimental game in blending the party dynamic of a tabletop game with the physical activity of a larp, but I'm excited to see how it works.

My last game was picked rather on a whim, A Wolf by Any Other Name on Saturday night. It's a fantasy game about a clash of different kinds of werewolves. Not exactly sure what made me pick it, but I think it will be fun. It's been a long time since I played a true fantasy; lately I've been more inclined (as in other things) to historical fiction.

Also, Silver Lines filled at SFS Live Action Weekend 2016 on December 2nd-4th at WPI. That will be the first run of the game, so I'm considering that the test for Intercon. I sent out the casting questionnaire today. It will also be an exercise in seeing how the cast stands gender-flipping, as it's a very female game and most of the signups are male. I think some games still need players at SLAW, so please head to the website if you'd like to sign up.
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[livejournal.com profile] offside7, the chair of the bid committee, just let me know that my bid for Intercon Q was accepted. That would be Silver Lines, my idea for an experiment in combining live action and tabletop RPG forms, based on the mod I wrote for [livejournal.com profile] inwaterwrit's bachelorette party. I think some of the members of the bid committee are skeptical about the combination working, but I've pretty explicitly billed it as an experiment, so it's clear that players will have to bear with it a little. I am confident, however, that it's a solid mystery game-- I've gotten pretty good at writing mysteries --and I'm actually really excited to implement some of the ideas I've had about physicalizing some of the in-game events that in the pure tabletop version were simply talked through.

I have run it by myself pretty effectively, but for this it might be nice to have another GM to take on some of the NPC roles. And to set up other upcoming locations while one locations while one location is occupied. Ten people have played this game so far-- it's only a five-person party --so maybe I'll ask one of the former players. Or maybe Bernie would be able to be there. I'll have to make some plans.
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We had another successful Festival of the Larps this past weekend, one of my favorite weekends of the year!

I ran my short silly Wodehouse-inspired game, Woodplum House, twice this weekend, and I was pretty happy with both runs. As always, as long as the players are laughing and silly, it's a success, and by that metric I was quite satisfied. I think the Saturday morning run was the highest-energy and most amusing runs ever. They latched on to the "presence haunting the house" plot in a really great way, and somebody even came up with the idea to hold a seance! I like that so much I'm going to write that into the character sheets. It's perfectly in character, suits the fashions of the 1920s time period, and gives great opportunity for humor and silliness.

There were a few challenges this time around. Some of the characters are technically gender-flexible, but had never actually run as anything but their originally conceived of gender, so I saw for the first time how that functioned. Some of course worked a bit better than others. The socialite is just as biting, but I think is more amusing as a lesbian than as a straight man. The raucous American heir from Texas is fine either way, though perhaps a bit weirder as a woman. The only real problem, as usual, was making sure I caught all the pronoun switches in the materials. Particularly for the solving of the mystery, which involves a logic puzzle, this can have important-in game consequences.

As usual, I spent a great deal of my game NPCing the prize pig, who is afflicted at game start with an unnamable porcine ennui. I have gotten quite good at laying on my side, squealing sadly to myself. Due to an unfortunate drop, I also ended up playing Cedric Tweed the valet on Sunday. I prefer the character to have a player, but it was a surprisingly functional role as a GMC-- given that the valet's job is to respond to people's needs and concerns, you can act the character and the game master role quite easily together.

So it required a bit of improvisation and messing about on my part, but I like seeing how I rise to the challenges presented by any given GMing condition. As long as I can keep my players having fun, it's a good test for my game running skills. I think I did okay. :-)
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I ran Woodplum House on Saturday morning, as I thought it would be a nice place for a short silly game in the style of P.G. Wodehouse. I think it largely went well, as the cast mostly seemed to enjoy themselves, but I kind of got the vibe that the play style did not suit all the players. As with my other short silly game, Break a Leg, this game really requires active, creative players to really make it work. Like, the characters are given outsized, absurd personality traits and a series of exaggerated wants, the players of which are supposed to think up ways to pursue. That's where the comedy is supposed to come from, the crazy things they come up with to pursue their desires. But if you're not the type of player who likes to be proactive or come up with your own tactics, especially with the added burden of making them funny, then it's probably hard for you. The other alternative to playing this game is just to riff on your character's schtick-- like, be the horrible aunt haranguing everybody for their life choices and the various ways they've disappointed you --but again, that requires improvisation that not everybody is good at. That's probably the sort of thing I should make clear in the blurb. As it was, a handful of the players seemed a bit adrift, not doing much of anything. Fortunately the energy and efforts of the rest mostly seemed to carry things. And this is the first run where people actually made an effort, and a successful one no less, to ousting the troupe of carnies living in the west wing! Ah, well. I like the game, and I know with the right people in the right roles it works fine. I'll have to advertise it a bit more carefully in the future.
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This year's Festival of the Larps has come again, reminding why again it is one of the most special weekends of my year.

For this year's Festival I wrote a new game, Woodplum House, a two-hour comedic larp in parody of the works of P.G. Wodehouse. I love debuting new games at Festival, as one of the so even though I've probably been too busy for an extra project, I decided to throw one out anyway.

When Brockhurst did not fill in time to properly cast, I decided to switch it out for another run of Woodplum on Friday night. That was late enough in the process, however, that even with last-minute digging we were still two players short. I was really nervous about that, as I hadn't really given any thought to modularity when I was writing it. But I believe good GMing demands being able to compensate under less than ideal circumstances. So I selected two characters I think the game would still be functional without and tranferred some aspects of their personality and in-game activities to other PCs or to the world at large. It wasn't perfect, but it enabled players to have enough to interact with. I was really relieved to see that it worked anyway.

Both runs went well, though the fully-cast one was a little smoother. There is a fair bit of plot in the game, at least for a silly two-hour, but for most of it, the payoff is not intended to be the achieving of goals so much as getting into situations that provide opportunities for silliness and hilarity. The players in both runs were funny, creative, and silly, which is what I hoped the game would bring out of them. I spent a lot of time in both runs playing the role of Persephone, his lordship's prize pig, who at the top of the game is too full of porcine ennui to win the blue ribbon at the fair. The biggest source of humor in the game, I think, are the Dark Secrets, of which every character has three, and the corresponding Rumors about said secrets that fly thick and fast through the game. I think I did a particularly good job of writing those, as people cracked up every time they got a new one. This is a game where if the players are laughing, things are going well.

I think my favorite moment was when the valet, played by [livejournal.com profile] readerofposts, and the maid, played by Pink Emily, accused each other in the parlor, each pointing out that the other didn't have an alibi. I was especially glad to amuse [livejournal.com profile] captainecchi and [livejournal.com profile] electric_d_monk, who know Wodehouse well enough to assess whether I captured its spirit. And my friend Kevin, with whom I did a play a couple years ago, came with a friend to try out larping and had a good weekend. That made me really happy.

The game could probably use some smoothing out. I do plan to edit it at some point, but not right now. It has a few small little mechanical things in it that are a bit clumsy, but it probably has plenty to do for a silly short game.
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Friday night at Intercon I ran my most recent game, Brockhurst, a Downton Abbey-inspired larp that ties into my greater Breaking History universe written in collaboration with Bernie. I was a bit nervous, due to some weird issues the first run had at last year's Festival. There were some problems with power dynamics, and certain players had a hard time getting into their characters. There was some indication that it was out-of-game stuff affecting it, or bad casting matches, rather than nececessary fatal design flaws with those parts of the game, but you can't be sure with only one run. So after some thought, I decided I wasn't going to edit the game in any substantial way, in order to have another data point for assessing what needs work.

I'm glad to say I think things went really well, certainly better than the first. I even think we may have achieved a full cast that had fun, even if maybe not everybody loving every minute. Certainly nobody brought any problems to me, though certain plots went better or worse than they did last time. The villain roles were yet again cast with very clever people, who damn near ate the whole game, but not to the point where their opposites felt like they had no agency. [livejournal.com profile] bronzite was also a huge help. I shouldn't have been surprised, as Bernie told me it was like this when he ran it last time, but he ended up occupied with manning the telegram message-sending system pretty much the entire time. He did a great job with it, and it was a big weight off of me to know that it was being handled so well.

I made two small tweaks to the way I ran things, both of which were suggested by previous players, and I think they helped. First, I made an announcement at the end of briefing that even though everybody is roleplaying bosses and servants, people should not abuse that power dynamic. Nobody has the right to boss anybody else around, and nobody has to take orders they don't want to take. We're here to have fun, so don't be a jerk. I think it helped, as it didn't seem to ever be a problem. The other thing was I had the dancing happen first. I was told it might help mix the players who might otherwise might not find reason to blend. Again, I think it helped, maybe even with keeping the upstairs and downstairs people on a more equal footing as the tone of the Servant's Ball dictates.

The game needs a little editing, but not nearly as much as I was worried it might. There are still a handful of character who could probably use a little more. No character is thin, in my opinion, but it's such a high-plot game that some characters a bit light by comparison. So I could use maybe an extra plot or two. Also, I think I need to make some evidence of the various mysteries that cannot be destroyed. A consistent problem is that when the villains are clever, they can fairly easily conceal all signs of their misdeeds such that the characters on their trail will never get a hold of them. Not exactly sure how to do that, but it's a direction for the edit. Maybe I'll be able to get that done in time for the Festival run. At any rate, I was really pleased by how happy the players seemed to be, which made me feel more secure in the game.
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Most larpers have heard that story of when Don Ross got a whole cast apping for wizardry and romance in a game that had exactly one of each. In response, he eventually ended up writing a game called Young Wizards in Love, where everyone was a wizard with a romance plot.

Bernie and I cast the run of Brockhurst to happen at Intercon O today. It was actually easier than the first run, and I think we came closer to pleasing all the people this time. But as always, there are always clusters of players who all want, or don't want, the same thing, and it can be tough to make sure there are enough of the appropriate characters to go around. Apparently the game this particular cast wants to play is actually Young Childfree Pacifist Edwardians in Love, as everyone wants romance, to NOT have anything to do with World War I, and to not have to take care of an in-game baby.

The WWI thing, while frustrating, I can understand. I don't think I adequately describe what that plot will entail on the casting questionnaire. I think people think they will be playing a war game, which is totally not what it is. In reality that storyline is about making narrative choices that affect what happens on the front, which in turn affects the lives of the soldiers as well as the characters in-game. I know it's my fault for not explaining it well, but it's frustrating that something that has such a major thematic influence-- the MAIN THEME OF THE GAME is how the world is being blown apart and reformed because of WWI --seems to many players like a tacked-on mechanic.

The other thing, the fact that nobody wants anything to do with the baby, is less comprehensible to me. Both times, almost EVERYBODY has wanted NOTHING to do with this motherfucking baby. It is clearly explained that it is in-game only, as in not real, and will not take players away from interaction. It is a DOLL, and it barely even has any mechanics attached to it; it maybe needs the most cursory of attention once an HOUR. It's purely a narrative device. I can totally understand and sympathize with people not wanting to deal with real children because of disinterest or discomfort or something. But having such a strong objection to a babydoll while playing pretend for four hours? Do not get why it's such a big problem.
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I almost forgot in the flurry of activity surrounding my show, but tonight Intercon O signups open at 7PM! Here is my current plan.

I am running Brockhurst, mine and Bernie's Downton Abbey-inspired WWI-era historical larp, set in the Breaking History universe that also contains Mrs. Hawking and The Stand, on Friday night! I hope you'll sign up if you haven't played. Or, if you have and nothing else appeals to you in that slot, I'm looking for GMs to help me run it! Let me know if you're interested.

I am also running Her Eternal Majesty's Privy Council for the Continual Funding of the Mad Arts and Sciences, the council-style horde larp parodying the steampunk subculture I helped write with AE Games, on Sunday morning. A very funny, silly game, which I never saw the first run of it, so it will be fun to finally witness how it goes!

I would like my first signup to be for Spring River, the latest offering from AE Games. I always enjoy their work, so I'd be excited to play it. Unfortunately I may not be able to be near a computer at 7PM when things open. I've asked Bernie to help me if he's able, but we'll see. Fingers crossed that I can get in one way or another!

That might be it, I'm not sure yet. I wouldn't mind a light Intercon, but I'm open to the possibilities. :-)

Don't forget to sign up! What are you hoping to get?
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This was Resonance’s seventh run, and still managed to the first game to fill at the con. It’s gotten very good word of mouth, but I don’t want to allow it to coast, so I was nervous anyway. We ended up with a lot of last-minute drops— a circumstance that plagued Festival this year —so [livejournal.com profile] bronzite and Hyde kindly agreed to fill in. I’m also very grateful to [livejournal.com profile] lightgamer and Bernie for helping GM, as while it’s not a hard game to run, it really needs several sets of hands just to move all the paperwork involved in the scenes.

We ran it slightly differently than usual. We kept it moving fairly quick, transitioning in and out of the scenes basically as soon as the conversation started to lull. It was slotted for the six hours it is usually given, but we really only needed four or so. For me this felt better, as it seemed to keep the game from ever dragging. We also gave different instructions for the third act. It’s usually run with a fairly heavy plot hammer, and I wanted to try and run it without it. So instead we said “You have this limited time until (X game-ending thing) happens. What do you do with it?” It actually had fairly decent results, perhaps not exactly what our design intention is, but the players seem satisfied.

Also one player commented on a design aspect of the plot and she put into words something that had been nagging at me. I’m not sure it is something that really has practical bearing on the game, but I may bring it up to my co-writers when I have recovered my brain.

It's a damn good game, though. We saw some great roleplaying moments, particularly from Dave K, and it definitely justified while it still fills so fast.

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My second event of Festival was the one I’d been most nervously anticipating, the first run of my newest game, a collaboration with Bernie, a Downton Abbey-inspired period game I called Brockhurst.

That this game came off at all was something of a wonder. It was written in two and a half months, the fastest I’ve ever completed a four-hour larp. It has nineteen characters, and I wanted it to be as thickly plotted as possible, as I am a hard-core narrativist and wanted lots of story to keep people engaged. The size, the short period, and the high standards I went in with made it difficult enough even without my family problems hanging over me, so I had a lot of anxiety over getting it done, and fear that it wouldn’t come out any good. I certainly couldn’t have done it without Bernie’s help, who signed on to be a coauthor and ended up having to also be my personal wrangler when I got down about things. We spent pretty much every waking moment of the week leading up to the game finishing, printing, and packing it, and it was an incredibly high-stress experience.

I suffer from a fallacy where I tend to believe my writing’s quality exists in proportional to the ease with which I wrote it. As in, stuff that was easy to write must be good, stuff that was hard to write must be bad. Those things do not necessarily correlate, but I struggled so much to get this thing done in time that I couldn’t shake the fear that it was boring, had no plot, wouldn’t work, blah blah blah. I was incredibly paranoid that people wouldn’t have enough to do.

But once thing got going, people seemed pretty busy and happy. A lot of people really got into their characters and came up with some fabulous things. We had a fabulous cast, which helped. This was [livejournal.com profile] polaris_xx’s first larp, and I really wanted to show her a good time, so the good cast helped. [livejournal.com profile] bronzite also very generously agreed to step in and fill a drop. All awesome people doing awesome, awesome things. Bernie was proved right on a bunch of casting choices he insisted on that I hadn’t initially been able to see. When people who enjoy larping together get the chance, they can make their own fun, but they also seemed to get their teeth into the stuff I wrote. That was gratifying. We even saw proof of concept of some ideas that were kind of experimental, such as the telegram mechanic.

Most of the characters seemed to have fun; we heard a lot of very enthusiastic reports after the game. We had one character not present in the game due to the player getting a migraine, which I worry had consequences on other’s characters’ times. There was one player in particular whose experience was spectacularly bad, and I feel really bad about it. I think there were lots of factors at work, and I will have to examine that character closely to determine the problem with it, but the other character’s absence was likely part of it.

It was also neat to get to watch the presence and interpretation of characters from my other stories. Because Brockhurst takes place in 1915, it was possible to have Mrs. Hawking’s grandniece and grandnephew Beatrice and Reggie Hawking present, as well as Marcus Loring, Rowan’ cousin, and Jamie Harper, the grandson of Zachariah Harper, Tall Bear, and Negahse’wey from The Stand. Admittedly Marcus and Jamie were among the toughest to incorporate into the overall plot, and probably require more editing than most, but I do like the idea of them. The Hawkings seemed to work just fine, and it was neat exploring two characters who I’d only ever really thought about as babies previously. And hey, if anyone was made more interested in reading any of the original stories, I’d be happy to pass them along.

So overall I’m pleased. Not bad at all for a first run, given how quickly it was written, and how much outside garbage I was dealing with during the writing. Thanks so much to all the lovely people who played the game. You made all the effort worth it.

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I cast Brockhurst last night with Bernie. It was not quite as smooth as I thought it would be, and Bernie's participation caused things to fall out very differently than I expected. While more people will likely be happier with with their roles due to his insistence, I must confess fewer people will be in the roles I would like to see them in. Of course my happiness with casting as the GM is immaterial; it's much more important that the players are happy, and I think his contribution enabled that.

Will cast Break a Leg next week. That at least will be easy, and I think people are more flexible for silly games than they are for serious ones.

The Watch City Festival has not posted its performer applications on March 30th as planned. This makes me nervous. I wonder if the next step is hunting people down. I've sent a number of queries to various people who seem associated, but nothing's panned out yet, which is extremely disappointing. I'm really invested in exploring this performance opportunity, so I may need to overcome my natural dislike of bothering people I don't know to badger someone into giving me answer. I really want to make this happen, so if I can find out people who might be appropriate for this, I'm going to have to do it.

Troy and I are going to push to get our new musical drafted by April 17th, so we can have it read and hear how it sounds. That means pushing up the schedule a bit, which means more work, but there's only four more scenes to go. I can do two a week instead of one. And then I'd like to have enough time to clean it up a little once it's drafted. But I'm excited to hearing it. It's one step closer to it becoming real.

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Not doing so well right now due to family worries. But April is looking to be a very busy month for me, creative project-wise, so I need to stay productive and not get dragged down too much.

Brockhurst has filled at Festival, and I have a very lovely cast. I have sent out the casting questionnaire, and I will poke about it soon, as I would like to cast at the end of the month of March. It is a period game, set on an upper class English estate in 1915, so I want to give people time to costume. I also have to finish writing the game. I've only finished a couple of sheets, but I have made a decent dent into most of them, and I am pleased with how it's coming along. Still, there's a lot of work to do, and so I must not slack.

Resonance and Break a Leg have also filled. Resonance requires no casting beforehand, though, and Break a Leg is not a costume-heavy game, so I'm less worried about getting that cast as quickly.

I also want to see if I can finish the first draft of the script of the new 1920s-era musical I'm writing with a collaborator. Troy thinks he can finish the score by the end of April, so I'd like to have the script ready by then as well. Currently it's a little over half finished, and I owe two more scenes by the end of this week, so I don't think that's too much to expect. Still, with Brockhurst having to get done at the same time, that's a lot to worry about at once. I will have to be very diligent.

There's also one more thing I'm turning over in my mind, but it's big enough that I'm going to give it its own post.

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This week is signups for Festival of the Larps!

Tomorrow, on Tuesday, March 18th you can sign up for one game at 7pm.

On Wednesday, March 19th you can sign up for up to two games total at 7pm.

On Thursday, March 20th you can sign up for all the games you like, though still only one per time slot!

I would also like to remind you that my brand-new Downton Abbey-inspired, English-estate-during-WWI game Brockhurst is debuting on Saturday afternoon of Festival, and I would be delighted to have you all sign up.

I will also be running Resonance Saturday night and Break a Leg Sunday morning. The first is an intense, on-rails, scene-based science fiction game where the choices you make in game determine the character you are playing. The second is a light silly two-hour game about a dysfunctional theater troupe trying to scrape together a show.

I myself intend to sign up for Midsummer Madness on Saturday morning, and that will likely be the only thing I play. Maybe you'll be lovely enough to join me!

Don't forget, you have to sign up for the con before you can sign up for games when they open tomorrow night! So excited to see how these things turn out!

breakinglight11: (Default)

The Fiestaval schedule is available for viewing! [livejournal.com profile] inwaterwrit did a lovely job of arranging it, and I am pleased to say there are LOTS of interesting games on it.

I would like to cordially invite all of you to play my new game, Brockhurst, a Downton Abbey-themed WWI-era larp that takes place at the Servants' Ball on Twelfth Night. It will be running Saturday afternoon, and it promises to be a high-plot, high-character adventure will opportunities for dramatic scenes and great costuming, so I hope you will join me.

I am also running Resonance, the experimental-form select-your-own-character game I wrote with Alleged Entertainment's [livejournal.com profile] natbudin, [livejournal.com profile] emp42ress, and [livejournal.com profile] simplewordsmith. I will be assisted by the lovely and talented [livejournal.com profile] lightgamer and Bernie. If you haven't yet played this game, it's a really unique, intense experience, and I think we did a beautiful job of crafting both the story and the emotional journey. That will be happening on Saturday night.

Then, Sunday morning, will be Break a Leg, my short silly game about a dysfunctional theater troupe based on my play Merely Players. It's great for something easy, silly, and hilarious, so if that strikes your fancy, I would love to have you in the game.

As for playing, well, I will be so overwhelmed from running that I think I will only play one other thing. I think that thing will be Midsummer Mischief, a funny comedy of manners set in the world of P.G. Wodehouse. That will be Saturday morning.

And that will be plenty of lovely con for me. What will YOU be signing up for?

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