Earlier this month Jeff Diewald went to Intercon and posted a great diary of his time there to the LARP group on Google+. He’s very kindly given me permission to repost those entries here.
Quick readers note – I’ve arranged the posts by day. Hopefully that will make it as easy to follow as the original posts were.
At Intercon, getting ready for the panels tonight. I’m presenting on three of them, and, wouldn’t you know it, the extension cord for my laptop power is safely stowed with all the Collision Imminent! props and bits – safely stored in one of the other GM’s cars – and he’s not coming tonight. Fortunately, we’re in a great hotel, and they brought us one to use. I think it’s a rule of LARP – there’s always one item that’s mispacked or forgotten, no matter how hard you plan. (My panels: Basic LARP Design Tools, Writing Blurbs, and LARP Culture. Then I get to listen to the GMs are Bastards rant.) 400 LARPers descend on Chelmsford, MA. It’s going to be a great weekend!
First night of Intercon is finally complete. Yes, it really is 5 AM. There is nothing better than staying up late with some of your favorite LARPers, with fine, fine birthday port, making new connections, discussing old games, and meeting new people.
The noon wakeup call finds me already up, already sleep-deprived, and with a long day of Intercon M LARPy goodness in front of me. I give my two hour So You Want to Write a LARP seminar at 3, man the Ops desk for two hours checking in the vast horde of LARPers coming to the con, then the angst fest that is LARPers Anonymous (my first LARP of four during the con), then a gamut of parties and more birthday port. Somewhere in there, I have to get my own badge, drop in on a couple of panels to listen and learn, and just say hi to as many people as I can.
Day 3 of Intercon begins. I’m up, semi-coherent, and need to go over my character sheets one more time. I start with The Koenig Dead, set in a Firefly-like universe. This is a sequel toThe Linfarn Run of last year, with most of the same characters. That game was a fabulous experience, and several of us who played last year are in this year’s run. Given that the 14 player game filled in less than a minute after signups opened, I’m glad I got in.
That’s followed by seven of us teaming up again to GM the twelfth run ofCollision Imminent!. We’ve picked up a few extra players, which will fill out the Horde nicely. In CI!, a few players are the crew of the ship, manning the Evacuation Lounge. Everyone else is in the Horde; they play the passengers aboard the ship. They come in, do a bit, get evacuated, or not, then come back around with another bit, and so on, simulating lots and lots of wacky passengers. It will be loud, energetic, and very silly to run as GM. After a quick dinner, it’s time for A Turn on the Radiance Rose, a more serious 20s drama with a seance, mysticism, skeptics and really detailed and involved characters. I get to play opposite one of my all-time favorite players, who is just brilliant at everything. The rest of the cast is damned fine, too, so there will be some great drama. If I haven’t collapsed in a puddle by then, there will be more birthday port and another party or three.
Day 3 of Intercon is done. Sure, there’s a lot of partying going on out there, and the dance party is in full swing, but I’m running out of steam, and I have one more LARP in the morning. But what a day! Dying character #2 of the weekend (in The Koenig Dead) gets the problem fixed through brain surgery by the Brilliant but Definitely Mad Polymath Genius. Good thing I got to him early in the game, because Things Went Downhill Fast. Better yet, this was hard science fiction done right, with some great storytelling and strong characters. I just wish I knew what happened to the Ace Bandage I’d thrown in my suitcase to use for costuming the wound. Now you would think that after personally running the same LARP nine times, that there wouldn’t be any new things in run #10. Not with Collision Imminent!. It was chaos, as usual, loud, silly, serious, dramatic, with more interactions going on all at once than in normal LARPs. We made the Ship’s Counselor cry dramatically, and they broke several GMs after the pregnant man gave birth and his birth counselor cried out “Is there a blogger in the house?” People left the game space talking excitedly about the game; you can’t ask for more than that. After dinner, I got dressed up for A Turn on the Radiance Rose. There’d been two late drops, so there were two unexpected replacements – by two stellar roleplayers. I was the first one to ask a question in the seance, and I saw the affected character just stop and pivot at the reveal. Then there was one dramatic encounter after another (and several well-earned slaps across the face), right up until game wrap. We celebrated Collision Imminent! with more birthday port, chocolate cake, ginger cookies, and several cheeses. Now it’s time to sleep, a little.
Day 4, the final day, of Intercon, begins. I have one more character to play, inHappily Ever After?, a couples counseling session for great literary couples. Hi, I’m Marc Anthony, and this is my wife Cleopatra, and I’m still really, really tired from sleep deprivation. I need to get to Ops early, if possible, so that I can pick up my con T-shirt and sign up for the LARP conference in August and next year’s Intercon. We grew dramatically this year, by more than 20%, and the con staff is going to have to look at whether we can practically grow much further. We may have to cap the con size, just because the number of new and interested LARPers grows so much faster than the pool of LARP authors. On the plus side, we have six new Iron GM games running today – LARPs written in 24 hours last weekend, after the teams were given three secret ingredients. IIRC, this year it was time travel, secret societies, and stuffed animals, which the writers had to incorporate into their games. It’s a competition, where the results will be scored and awards given out to the best teams. The goal is to make these LARPs publicly available to others to run. Con wrap will hold Shameless Plugs, advertising LARPs and cons, so I’ll end up with a long list of more places to visit in the next year. There’s already a trip to RPI for a weekend long game in April, and Festival of LARPs at Brandeis, and more I’m already committed to. I’m staying at the hotel again tonight, so there will be more room parties, more port, and more great people.
Day 4, in the after-Intercon Lull – the hour or two between finishing up at a Dead Dog restaurant party, often the first (or only) food of the day in the late afternoon or early evening, and the Sunday night party for those too smart to try to drive/fly home on no rest, or those who want just one night more with friends. Wow, long sentence. Happily Ever After? was highly amusing, as Cleopatra and Marc Antony found a compromise solution. Our completely brazen attitudes towards sex totally tweaked the other couples in the therapy session. It was great roleplay fun, a nice, light finale for a very dramatic con. Con wrap revealed a final count of 413 LARPers at Intercon M, about 30% larger than last year, and a new Intercon record. There were many Shameless Plugs, for more LARPs near and far. I have been considering a UK trip for Gothic Consequences in November, but now there’s Delaware in October, and Chicago and California both call. I won custom, locally made chocolate in the raffle, which will go great with port tonight. Intercon the Goodbye, Part I was surprisingly brief. Usually, there are a lot of people milling about, getting one last chance to say good-bye (and often hello) to familiar faces and people out of game. People linger, to tell one last war story, or to grab a new email address. It’s a long tradition, but, with a
lot of new people, most just evaporated after the con. And now, the Lull is almost over. It’s probably a mistake to host the party in my room, but I’m in a suite at the end of a hall, where noise won’t make as much of a difference. I probably should’ve gotten some sleep in this time, but at least I packed all my costuming and LARP bits.
Day 4 of Intercon is finally done. The last of the partygoers have left. Thanks to Jeannie, Marc, and Drew helping to clean up. It seems that I win, now having more chocolate and alcohol than when I came in. The Cthulhu-inspired birthday cakes are gone. I learned a lot about the LARPs that went on this weekend. I learned that players and GMs appreciated my play, as much as I appreciated their efforts. This was an excellent con for me, with an excellent suite of games. There’s one more short night of sleep. Intercon the Leaving, Part II starts with breakfast. I never eat breakfast, unless it involves friends from far away that I don’t get to see often enough. I will have to struggle to be awake in time. Once that’s done, I can load everything into the car for the challenging 15 minute drive home.
If you’d like to know more about Jeff, Intercon and his larps then take a look at