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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 [ 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 [ 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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This was the only game I was playing this Intercon, and I was excited for it. I am most interested in period storytelling these days, and the clashing of ethnic gangs around the time of the great migration while fighting for women's rights sounded great to me.

I was able to costume quite easily-- I could tweak the Victorian stuff I've collected for the Mrs. Hawking plays --so I looked pretty on-point. I liked the character I got cast as too; I think I was one of the more villainous roles, an upper-class society girl who was out for herself. I love playing villains and having an excuse to be awful, so that was fun for me. I also had a lot of friends in this game with me, which always improves a larp experience, partially because of enjoying the company, and partially because it makes it easier to give yourself over to being a character with people you're comfortable with.

I had a solid conception of myself and my goals, though if I had any critique of the game, was that it could have used more thought as to what pursuit of those goals would mean for in-game play. All the ideas were definitely there, but I wasn't finding a ton of avenues to pursue the things I was supposed to be interested in. But I was okay with it, as I had fun with pure interactions, and I managed to find more things to do. I actually received a compliment from another player on my ability to actually be racist and classist, which a lot of players shy from due to squeamishness. That's understandable, I guess, but it sure takes a lot of tension out of a situation where the villain doesn't want to actually be bad. So I'm always happy to play that role.

I will say that players that didn't have much to do with the gang war "boardgame" aspect of it didn't have a ton of agency to affect the goings-on, which made me slightly disappointed, even if I tend away from mechanics-driven storytelling in games. I know the larp as a whole suffered because the GMs, the excellent Haz and Ada, had some personal issues that made it so they were not able to spend as much time putting it together as they might have otherwise. But the premise and concepts are solid, and with the time to rework some of the in-game function it'll be excellent, I'm sure of it. I'm glad I played and had a good time.

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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, [ 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 [ 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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[ 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 [ 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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Had the urge to experiment with other game forms recently. I didn't really want to get into a new game, as I decided to take the week off from writing as a break. But since my summer is ending and the new semester beginning, I felt driven to take advantage of the little remaining free time. So I messed around with a game I've already written, Silver Lines, a four-hour RPG I wrote for [ profile] inwaterwrit's bachelorette party. Set in 1889 in the Hawking universe, it is a mystery story for five players done purely by roleplaying; there are no formal mechanics of any kind. I experimented with putting the story in different forms.

One of them is Twine, an online program for building text adventure games. I am slowly adapting the story to the text adventure form, with one central protagonist moving through the story by choosing from among options. I'm not very far along, but I'm learning the interface slowly. It's based in a programming language, of which I know nothing, but I'm using trial and error and googling the questions I have when I run into a problem. My one concern is that it'll probably turn out to be the sort of game where you just explore all the options exhaustively, when I'd prefer the player have to use some cleverness to figure things out. But the form may not support it. I'll have to investigate further to see if the capability exists to make it so you can't just redo any old choice you make to see what you gave up.

The second form is turning it into more of a traditional theater-style larp. The challenge there was the fact that it's designed for a small party of PCs who can travel to basically any location they deem necessary, like in a tabletop game. So I redesign the mod to translate that stuff to the larp form. It will entail the GM teams taking on a number of NPCs, and making what the players experience a combination of the GM-talks-you-through-it, like in a tabletop game, and some pre-designed representations (with props and the arrangement of the "set") for the players to physically examine and interaction with. The more thought I gave it, the more I thought it would be an interesting experiment in blending the tabletop and larp form. So I bid it for Intercon, and they're debating it now. I think some people are a little thrown by how that blending will work, but I am deliberately interested in it as a test of game design, and I really like some of my ideas for physicalizing specific events.

The one thing is while I know I can run it alone, it would be really nice to have another GM. They could help with the setting up and the transitions within the space, as well as taking on certain NPC roles. Anybody who's played before, it would be great to have another person's help, so let me know.
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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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Signups open for Festival of the Larps 2016 TOMORROW!

Sign up for a total of 1 game at 7pm on Tuesday the 8th!

Sign up for 2 larps total on Wed the 9th!

Open signups on Thursday the 10th!

Here is our awesome schedule of games so be ready to join!
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The only game I actually played this Intercon was a game by [ profile] wired_lizard on Saturday night, The Inversion of Me and My Room. I admire her larp writing so much she is on my short list of GMs whose games I will always sign up for regardless of what they're about. This is a tough game to talk about without spoiling it, so I'll do my best.

You know very little about this game going in, so you just kind of need to be ready for it to wash over you. I don't think it gives anything much away to say that it's basically traveling through various stages of a dream state, where hidden meaning slowly rises to the surface and the world is highly symbolic instead of literal. It's structurally on rails, with various phases you pass through with more information being revealed at each point. You also cycle between characters through the phases, at least on the surface, in a way that's related to the meaning of each stage.

My only struggle that I tend to have with Tory's games is that the plot usually relies on a lot of complicated metaphysics that make up the rules of the world. I am NOTORIOUSLY bad at keeping stuff like that in my head, and unfortunately that has put me at a disadvantage to playing in the past. This time, however, the metaphysics were much simplified, and not hard to absorb the necessary information about quickly and in the moment. I appreciated that.

It's hard to really explain what's going on, as you don't know until very late what the real deal is. But I enjoyed the ride of the game, and I recommend players go through it experientially, just taking things as they come. I enjoyed seeing the layers of meaning slowly become clear, and found it interesting to see how the writer chose to represent the ideas that were surfacing in the dream. I also admired Tory for allowing it to run the amount of time it needed in each moment, without artificially pushing it along or trying to stretch it out. Overall, a very good and interesting game that was outside of my typical narrative box. I recommend it.
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Friday night was the debut run of the newest larp I worked on with [ profile] natbudin, [ profile] emp42ress, and [ profile] twilighttremolo under the banner of Alleged Entertainment. Pub Crawl, as it’s called, takes place on New Year’s Eve in a dying former industrial town as many of its residents celebrate by traveling around the local bars. It’s supposed to be an exploration of new beginnings and possibilities for the future centered around an interesting mechanical design— it’s made entirely up of horde characters. There is no consistent cast of any kind, instead intended for the players to swap out their horde roles between leaving the previous pub and arriving at the next. I’d never seen a game with only horde characters, so I was interested to see if it would work.

I had an odd experience of this one. Though it seemed out design was functional, as a GM I was not particularly engaged with the game. I had some interest initially in seeing how the characters we wrote would work, but I found it difficult to follow who was who. All roles are designed to be gender neutral and as such are given only last names, but allowing the players choose what to call themselves made it tough to keep track of who they were playing. I usually really love listening in on player conversations, but through no apparent fault of the players, I found myself checking out on them. I had some fun playing a drag queen NPC who was the bartender at the gay club location, but honestly, overall, I was kind of bored.

I’m not exactly sure why. It could just be that, as a modern, mundane-setting, low-stakes game with no consistent characters to follow, it just didn’t spark my interest. That tends not to be my cup of tea; I probably would not sign up to play a game like this if I saw it on a con schedule. But I’m concerned the failure is on our end, in the writing of it. The players cycled through the characters a LOT faster than we anticipated, which indicates to me that they were too thin, not substantial enough to sustain playing them longer than one pub. I know a number of players had fun with the game, but I think others probably were bored, or at least not really getting the experience they hoped for. I am one of them, unfortunately.

I’m not sure how to approach editing something like that. We may need to poll more players to figure out what the problem is. It might be possible to fix up and improve, but at the moment I can’t really put my finger on the issue with it.
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IT'S THAT TIME, LARPERS! Let's get ready for this year's Brandeis Larp con, Festival XI: THIS FESTIVAL GOES TO ELEVEN.

A larp weekend needs games in order to make it great, so that means WE NEED YOU! Fill out this convenient bid form to offer up a game to GM on April 1st-3rd at Brandeis University. I've bid one game already, my short Wodehouse parody game Woodplum House, and I may bid more if the mood or need strikes me.

We need great things to play in order to make the weekend great! So please, step up and bid your awesome games, and make this con EFFIN' METAL.
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New blog post!

"Fanwork spotlight – a Mrs. Hawking roleplaying game"

They say when the fan fiction starts, you've arrived.

After seeing our Arisia 2016 productions of Mrs. Hawking and Vivat Regina, game writers Matt Weber and KN Granger wrote these tabletop RPG rules for roleplaying the characters and scenarios for our stories.


Read the rest of the entry on!
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The schedule of games for Intercon P is now available for viewing, and I've made my signup plan for this year.

Friday night I will be helping to run Pub Crawl, the new three-hour horde game I'm writing with Alleged Entertainment. It's interesting because it's ENTIRELY horde, and the cast rotates at player discretion the entire game.

Saturday morning I am running Woodplum House, my silly two-hour Woodhouse-inspired comedy of manners. Happily, it starts at 11AM who want a light fun larp and don't want to get up early.

That's what I'm certain of. I am trying to decide whether to sign up for one or both of the following games.

I am not wowed by any of the games in the Saturday afternoon slot, but I tend to like historical fiction dramas, so I might go for The Congress of Vienna. It should have some fun costuming and takes place after the defeat of Napolean, which is a cool time period.

On Saturday night I will probably go for wired_lizard's game, The Inversion of Me and My Room. It sounds weird and trippy, but I generally enjoy her games enormously, so that's good enough for me.

I think I will be signing up for Inversion first, and then we'll see how I feel about The Congress of Vienna by the time the second round comes around.
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I have joined with several other talented larp writers and players to form Game Wrap, a new journal dedicated to articles on exploring live action roleplay as a serious medium of expression. And now we are looking for people to submit bids for articles to include!

From Brian Richburg, who is also on the editorial staff:

"Game Wrap needs your larp essays and larps!

Game Wrap is a new yearly publication focusing on the art and craft of live action roleplaying games. We’ll be releasing our first volume this winter, in both a pdf and a print on demand version. Game Wrap will contain articles about larp theory and practice - the process of writing and running games as well as playing in them. We also publish analyses of larp as an art form, educational or therapeutic tool, and pastime. Alongside each volume, we will also be publishing the full text of one or more pre-written larp scenarios, accompanied by reflective essays and discussion from the authors.

All forms and traditions of larp are welcome!

We’re currently looking for both essays and short, pre-written larp scenarios for our first volume. We’ll be accepting abstracts from now until July 1st. If you're interested in writing an article or publishing a larp in it, please submit your abstract on our website.

Game Wrap is a publication of New England Interactive Literature, the organization behind the Intercon larp conventions and the annual New England Larp Conference (NELCO).

Please feel free to post or pass along this message!"
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Signal boosting, from a message passed on to me by [ profile] denimskater:

Arisia LARP Town Hall
Thursday May 7th from 7-9pm at MIT in the Whitaker Building (Building 56), room 154.

Help shape the future of LARP at Arisia. This Town Hall style event will be an open discussion on the challenges and rewards of running LARP content at Arisia. Can Arisia do LARP well? If so, what needs to change? If not, should Arisia do LARP at all? Open to all of the Arisia community (attendees, volunteers, participants, and those who've never been to Arisia before, but are interested!)

Kris "Nchanter" Snyder, the Arisia 2016 convention chair, will be available prior to the meeting starting at 6pm for people to chat with her informally on any topic pertaining to Arisia

Topics covered at the town hall are likely to include:

* Ideal blue-sky LARP scene at the convention. (E.g. what would the LARP community want to see at a January convention in Boston, and what is a realistic LARP presence that could happen in the next 2-3 years.)
* Space and time constraints that Arisia has.
* Boffer vs Theater, One Shot vs. Campaign, Cast vs. Horde games – How to get more diverse game styles involved
* Support for more experimental LARP layouts, like multi-room things / across the hotel.
* Setting expectations for what is expected of the LARPs that participate at Arisia

Hope to see you there!

-Kris "Nchanter" Snyder
Arisia 2016 Convention Chair
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The last thing I played at Festival this year was Saturday Market, which despite the title was a light Sunday morning game written by [ profile] natbudin. I was impressed by the fact that he wrote it by himself as an unofficial entry into the most recent Iron GM competition. It's a horde game about customers coming to a California farmer's market. I'll play anything Nat writes, so even though horde games tend to not be my thing, I wanted to give it a try.

Apparently I was the only person who signed up who was willing to be a character who spends the entire game high, so I did. At first I'd planned on going lower-key with it. I pulled up the hood on a ratty hoodie, wore a pair of sunglasses, and carried in a bottle of eye drops and a bag of salty snacks. But as I probably should have been able to predict, "subtle" pretty much went out the window as soon as I started talking. I actually think I gave a pretty good performance. I kept up a virtually constant barrage of stream-of-consciousness "meep and deaningful" musings on a number of topics that mostly managed to avoid cliches. I mused on life, the universe, and everything in sufficiently vague and ultimately meaningless terms, and I did not use, in any form, the term "expand your consciousness." But as I should have guessed, eventually I found myself staring into the void of existential angst and started raving, and when I yell for extended periods, it starts to give me a headache. That, combined with the need to constantly improvise more things to say, meant I burnt out hard after only an hour. I had to go lay down after that. Ah, well. It was fun while I lasted. People laughed, which was my goal. I am a performer, after all.

It's not a deep game, but I enjoyed it. Could use a little tweaking to give it a touch more substance, but I love an opportunity to just go off on the acting like that, and it definitely delivered. And that was my Festival! A varied, interesting one indeed. I hope everybody had as much fun as I did, and that we do even better next year.


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