LARPBook Show Episode 47: Mo Smokin!

LARPBook Show Episode 47: Mo Smokin!

You can also download or stream the audio for this show from http://larpbook.podbean.com/e/lbpc-episode-47-mo-smokin/

 

Special guest for this episode is Mo Holkar, one of the organizers of The Smoke. An international larping festival that is being held in London between January 6th 2017 and January 8th 2017.

You can learn more about this event on

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/682604841897562/

Or on the Web: https://the-smoke.org/

As you can imagine we were very interested to hear about an international event in London. We spent time talking to Mo about his plan to cause a cross pollination of larping ideas between countries. One of the ways he’s doing this is to give attendees the opportunities to try out a number of Larps. Since there are going to 20 larps played at the event in total we believe that if you go then there is a good chance of finding something that is both new and interesting to you.

Of course going could be difficult as we also learned that the event is now fully booked.

The good news is that a second festival next year seems likely.

We had a really good interview with Mo. So thank you Mo.

The best places to find Mo Holker on the internet are either
on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/mo.holkar or his blog http://blog.ukg.co.uk

News

We had an update on the fantastic feedback we are getting on the start of our Children in LARP series. This post looks at child friendly larps in the UK.

Taling Point

Rob, Thom and Stu spend some time about International Larp. The benefits of attending such events and why we think they are going to be an increasing trend for the future.

Events

Gulag Pt 3 The Others
Last years first Gulag event is now moving onto its third part. The write up on the Facebook Event page gives you a great insight into the events plot and background. Meanwhile over on the Gulag player group we are very impressed by how the players are all working to hard to show the development of costume and props. Love this as when you go to this event you know what to expect in look and feel from other players. It also makes you aware of kit fashions and standards. This kind of player community is something I’m seeing more and more of – and I love it. Learn more at:

https://www.facebook.com/events/713991188735367/
Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1475052149422955/?fref=nf

THANK YOU

A big Thank you to our lovely patrons who make it a bit easier to keep this show going.

If you would like to get in contact with the show just email larpbookshow@gmail.com, is there a topic you would like us to discuss or something cool you saw or fancy writing an article for the website then email the show larpbookshow@gmail.com.

Music provided by:http://www.bensound.com
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The image for this post comes from Flickr user – mayeesherr. It has been cropped for shape and effect on LARPBook. You can learn more  about this image, its licence and creator if you click here.

Childrens LARPs – UK

Childrens LARPs – UK

A couple of months ago we were poised a question. Which LARPs in the UK work hard to support children? Specifically Children aged 6 and over. This was a great question. A great many larpers have families and having larping as a family activity or break seems to me to be a great idea.

So we posted the question and put out feelers into the larp community at large. What came back was nothing but good news. From a UK perspective a number of groups with what appeared to be be excellent support for children. Internationally we had more groups, and in addition resources for accomplishing this goal of making sure that Children can indeed larp.

We’re starting here with where the question started. The United Kingdom. Here are comments and links to number of larps that offer a larping experience to children.

So here is the list.

If you would like to see your larp represented please get in touch. We are very keen to expand this to include as many eligible larps as possible.

All the responses below are direct quotes from our responders. Their names are at the end of the article and I’d like to thank them very much

Outcast

Web: http://www.outcastlrp.co.uk/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/97075839211/

What this System does for Children

Runs separate sessions for only kids in parallel with adult sessions during events….allows children and adults to participate in other sessions together. Has a 9 pm watershed

Curious Pastimes

Web: http://renewalbooking.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/curiouspastimes/

What this System does for Children

As much as I love Empire for ic activities as a parent CP has proven to be better events for us as a family. Straight away the kids can create a character and use the skills/magic without having to wait. Ooc CP has all their events at places with established toilets not portaloo. This is a massive plus. Ooc CP has all their events at places with established toilets not portaloo. This is a massive plus. There are kids linears organised but equally they can join in adult rp and rituals if they desire and have non com monster roles they can do.

Seaxe and Sorcery (HMS)

Web:  http://www.seaxeandsorcery.co.uk
Forum:  http://www.seaxeandsorcery.co.uk/forum/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/SeaxeandSorcery/
G+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/106232760440493140635
Twitter:https://twitter.com/SeaxeandSorcery

What this System does for Children

Our H.M.S. (Historical Mythological Society) is our primary LARP system, running at least 4 weekend events each year plus one-dayers. All weekend events have Squires Adventures, designed and run specifically for younglings. They are looked after by a set crew of adults however the parents of the squires are also required to look after them as much as possible. They are also welcome on the one-dayers, but the parents must look after them for these. Often the Squires are a lot more dangerous (and often lethal) compared to the adults because they are given a lot of abilities and protection – go up against them at your peril! 😀

Empire

Web: http://www.profounddecisions.co.uk/empire
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/empire.lrp

What this System does for Children

here is a school system with drop in drop out services that teach the background, safe fighting and in game skills. They also do two tests, the test of citizenship after which the children become full characters and the test of arms after which they can take the battlefield. The academy also do specific, safe quests of their own. Each nation also does seasonal festivals that the children are encouraged to take part in

We received this update about Empire via Facebook from Monica Wells. It was so good I had to include it:

Empire in the UK encourages families to bring kids. The main encampment is kept apart from the combat area, and kids can either stay in the camp (also all kids weapons in camp are treated as wooden practice swords) or go through the ‘academy’ to learn the rules for combat and how to fight safely. When they are judged proficient enough to be safe they can take part in the mass combats. It really adds to the ‘village’ feel with people bringing their babies and kids running around.

The Lost Star Chronicles

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/489840531198500/

What this System does for Children

offers children free larp at our day events providing they attend with an adult, our events normally last from about 11am to 4 pm.

Three Kingdoms LRP

Web: http://www.threekingdomslrp.co.uk/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/37512250903/

What this System does for Children

Three Kingdoms LRP in South Wales caters for children as most of the older members have since started families. They run a few children only missions over the weekend, children are allowed in the bigger battles but when it comes to the big set pieces they are kept out of the way because of the large numbers and the complicated mechanics involved.

Generally the children have their own guild allowing them to try out a bit of everything (magic, alchemy, combat etc…) but cant get the advanced skills until they are old enough to decide the kind of character they want to play.

Monster crew is quite forgiving and will usually end up with two monsters dedicated to dealing with the child horde, bash their shield a load, let them get some epic kills and generally get them to waste their mana since they have a load of mana and good regen they can change the outcome of a battle (hence being kept away from big setpieces, usually on another plane), but they can keep an event going all the way through to the end of the weekend.

Element RPG

Web: http://elementrpg.wikidot.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Urutau/

What this System does for Children

Based in Kent this system has a membership system that allows for both Adult and Child members. Child members play a reduced rate compared to adult members. Membership includes a price reduction for the events attended. Both one day and weekend events are run by the club and child members are encouraged to attend and interact. This club has been described as a good, low cost regular game.

 

Legend Quests

Web: http://legendquests.com/

What this System does for Children

Legend Quests takes the approach of a live interactive story telling experience that children from the age of 8 can take part in the experience .The stories are set in an alternative version of 1750’s England where the creatures from fairy tales are real. Whilst aimed at children parents and other attending adults can participate. An adult version of Legend Quests also exists.

 

Information on these systems provided by: Dave Buttery, Kathleen Valentine, Sam “Bifford”, Hemming Ross, Atsuri(c/o Reddit), Zara Keene, Jennifer Moyashi-Chan Wright. Olly Mc – thank you all.

The image for this post is c/o Rebecca Pitt. Thank you very much.

LARPBook Show Episode 46: Fairweather Manor Round Up

LARPBook Show Episode 46: Fairweather Manor Round Up

Alternatively you can download or stream this podcast and larpbook.podbean.com

If you’re a regular reader of LARPBook  / viewer of the show then you might notice something a little different about the look of this episode. For the first time Stuart and I are sat side by side in the same room. It actually worked out pretty well and as you may imagine there is a story to it.

On Tuesday evening – at our regular showtime I had massive internet woes and simply could not get on line until about 40 minutes after the start. Stuart attempted to run the show single handed and answered questions from Facebook. This could have worked but he suffered a curse of sudden low bandwidth and his broadcast quality simply became unworkable. The show had to stop. We did end up briefly together online for a short rant about the fist world problem of, “curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal Internet“. In the end though we the decided the best idea was to get together and record the show for later uploading.

Which happened the next day.

As the title says this was our overview of Fairweather Manor 3 (FM3). FM3 was our first international larp and first nordic larp. Its these firsts that been at the back of our extended coverage for this game. The show became a conversation that gave us a chance to talk together about the whole experience and what we thought of it. I hope you find this interesting.

Seeing As I’ve just mentioned extended FM3 coverage; let me give you a few links that will help you learn more.

Firstly here is the FM3 video diary. In another first we recorded to camera pieces throughout the larp. I’ll be doing this from now on at other events, as I think the rawness of just putting on video thoughts has a great deal of use and power. Here is the YouTube Playlist that is our diary.

 

In addition we’ve placed a number of videos and photographs of FM3 on PCloud. We hope you enjoy them. The usual LARPBook Creative Commons Licence applies to these. You are free to use them – but do not charge for them. Here’s the link.

https://my.pcloud.com/publink/show?code=kLHotalK

We hope you find this entertaining and useful. I’ll certainly be looking for more International Larp in the future.

THANK YOU

A big Thank you to our lovely patrons who make it a bit easier to keep this show going.

If you would like to get in contact with the show just email larpbookshow@gmail.com, is there a topic you would like us to discuss or something cool you saw or fancy writing an article for the website then email the show larpbookshow@gmail.com.

Music provided by:http://www.bensound.com
Patreon – http://patreon.com/larpbook
Shop: http://www.redbubble.com/ search for Larpbook
You can listen to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Youtube, Twitch and Podbean just search for LARPBook
email: larpbookshow@gmail.com
Website: https://www.larpbook.com
You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google plus just search for Larpbook
Don’t forget to give us a five star review on iTunes

 

 

Entering Fairweather Manor

Entering Fairweather Manor

For some time now LARPBook has been taking a look at Nordic Larp. Here in the UK it is seems to be seen as something more artsy and with more depth than the typical UK game. Seen by some as a kind of next generation larp.

Well we were very lucky to be invited to Fairweather Manor 3 by Claus Raasted and to get a chance to take a look at this for ourselves. It was an offer that could not be refused.

This is our 3rd Fairweather Article and so I’m going to try and take a different tack and look at the game from a procedural and emotional viewpoint in order to paint a picture of it.

Let’s start at the beginning with the workshops. These ran through the evening of the day before the larp. I’ve been somewhat fascinated by the idea of a pregame workshop and here I was in one being run by an organisation that is extremely experienced in these. What I found was a chance to compare my characters feelings towards key topics in the larp,  and to think about the issues that perhaps I might not have before the start of the game. This was emotional prep. Getting us ready to think in character. Additionally it was a chance to understand practical aspects as to how the game would run. By the end of these I felt much clearer about the game and had also had a lot of fun. These were not boring briefings. The organisers skillfully employed fun as a media of communication. A sound tactic.

And so we drifted to bed. I was playing in the servants group and for me that meant that the game would start the next morning at 7.30 AM with a trip to chapel. The game actually started earlier as all the servants started waking up, being woken up and wandering around in period pyjamas, nightshirts and nightdresses as they prepared for the service.

Chapel was a fantastic start. It instantly enforced the discipline of being a member of staff and served to remind us that this game was set in one of  Englands darkest hours. I don’t think I can remember coming out of the start of a larp feeling quite so full of trepidation. As a note to other larp writers the service felt like something that would happen in an English chapel of that period, but the words said and songs sung were very religious agnostic. They just sounded right without actually invoking a specific religion and risking player offence. Clever!

So now the game was really on. Let’s chat not about what happened next – as that would fill a number of volumes. Instead let’s look at the structure that allowed for enough plot to fill an encyclopaedia to happen. There were about 135 players split into servants, nobles and experts. The servants ran the house. Looked after both Noble and Expert alike. The nobles were those entitled from birth. The experts were those who had become important due to a skill. Such as solicitors, actors, artists and so on.

Pregame players in each of these groups had been creating character histories and also talking with other players about inter-character relationships. In addition to this servants had tasks to fulfil. The interaction between servants and entitled characters created both plot and opportunities to learn things that could become plot. Add on to this the over arching plot of a wedding being prepared for and unexpected incursions of the war (such as a bombing that knocked out power for while), and historical events (the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II) and you have a rich playing environment. In essence this made the game a network of plots. So from a UK point of view it was like a very high immersion fest game, or a very good freeform.

It both depended on the creativity of its players and also grew from their ideas. I think this was part of how it generated emotional involvement. It gave people an emotional buy in as they created their own story lines that were then allowed to flourish.

To me this is the mark of great larp. Something that has been skillfully crafted but instead of putting players in a straight jacked it allows them to add to the experience and transform it something that is greater than the sum of its parts.

So if you’re tp ask to me if you should go to this larp?  I’d say that if you like immersion, playing a character and seeing an opportunity to take something and turn it into a story – no matter how larger or small. Then yes. If you like low immersion or surfing a story rather than a part of it then this may not be the larp for you.

This swarm of plots continued for two days straight.During that time we were well looked after. Food and drink was integrated into the game so no one went hungry. It was possible to have off game moments  – all you had to do was find a space in the off game area and not damage some else’s immersion.

During this time I had good moments, bad moments but never wanted to stop.

Which lets me to stopping the larp. Just how do you stop a juggernaut like this? You do it by gathering all the players in one place. Giving an emotive mood speech and having the organiser formally and with great humour bring it to an end.

Things were not quite over yet…

First there thanks and applause for the different player groups. First time larpers were singled out and were given a round of applause so thunderous it could have shaken the castles foundations. Finally (if we wanted it ), we were split off into groups off 3 so that we could talk. We were asked to talk about how we felt., how the larp made us feel and what it made us think about. Truth is I can’t remember the exact questions as by this point I was in a truly euphoric state. But I did talk with players I hadn’t yet met and it was both eye-opening and interesting.

After which I was still bouncing off the walls happy

So thank goodness there was an after party!

Wow

Even thinking back about the ending of this larp I get a little tingly and excited. So I guess that means it was good

Fairweather Manor –  Larp On

Fairweather Manor – Larp On

Fairweather Manor 3 is having some extensive coverage. That’s because it is both mine and Stuarts first International and truly Nordic larp. This puts us well outside of our normal playing environments. This marks it as an important experience. We also wanted to give our readers an indication of what one these larps is like from more than one point of view. That means a number of articles but we hope that bear with us. As I think even though you may get “Fairweathered out”, the portrayals, images, videos and reflections will hopefully be valuable in the long run. Rob.

Day 1 of the LARP

So the chapel service started at 07:30 sharp with a very sombre service highlighting the fact that we were in a war and that times were difficult for everyone, well those without wealth or title.

As the day went on there were rumours, fraternising and of course mischief (mainly by the maids)

Lunch was uneventful but soon followed with a group of activities for the nobles and serving staff, this included a hunt, opera and an acting workshop from a famous American Actor, I of course have not heard of him as I do not concern myself with such things.

Then came the evening meal, which for the staff is a difficult time, two and a half hours of standing on your feet fetching and serving the nobles (this is of course voluntary and many jump at the chance) it is amazing the things you hear while waiting on a table, drama erupted in the style of an air raid warning but luckily the bombers were not targeting the manor but London, the press that were at the manor were ejected in an undignified manor when he accused the Duke of touching himself and other ladies too much.

The Stag Party (If the ladies are reading this it did not happen)
Between us Men however it was a fantastic knees up with dancing girls ankles and a boxing demonstration

Now to bed and ready for 7:30 am Chapel

 

Day 2 of the LARP

This was a more upbeat day with weddings and eating, sleeping, eating, drinking, eating, wedding, party, eating……….

I think you get the picture, for the servants this was another day of preparation but no chapel as the Vicar was a little under the weather, so we all have a little rest but reflected on our own discipline with a talk from Mr Derbyshire.

To Breakfast, and the variety was incredible, we did not go hungry (even though there was a war on)

To the nobles we go, dressing, fetching, preening, hair, make up and a lot of notes passing back and for with intentions of courtship, business dealings and gossip (so naturally we read all of them first)

Secret plans were drawn, bets made and the maids as per usual getting into trouble.

The wedding was a very ornate affair and many tears were shed as the Dukes eldest son was married to a lovely fair maiden of another noble house. As Is custom the speeches were next and many a tedious one was made until we come to the Duke himself who is frail of body but not of mind, he is a direct man and does not mince his words so after welcoming the blushing bride into the family then informed her that disaster had struck her parents when a German U-boat had sunk the ship they were passengers on losing all hands, needlessly to say she ran from the room in a flood of tears, the Duke not even realising he had been insensitive.

Still the show must go on and the servants went about preparing the dining hall for the wedding Dinner, even though the mood was dour much celebration was underway.

To the ball with you, this was by far the most regal and elegant affair with all dressed in their finest, the ladies were enchanting and the lords were commanding, meanwhile the staff not tasked with serving went about merrying downstairs and were even introduced to a new dance courtesy of the Indian Man Servant who was accompanying one of the ladies (there was speculation he was a bit more than just a man servant)

We then come to the final part of the evening where all were gathered to hear a final speech by the Duke and then an ending tale which told of the lives that were lost in the war including that of the Duke’s eldest son who had just married and that most of the male staff had been called into service. (this was a massive tear jerker and a stark reality of the cost of war)

 

Enter The Claus…….

Claus then entered centre stage to end the Larp and to do the customary thank you first from the nobles to the servants and then the servants to the nobles and of course to the staff and crew that made it all possible.

Claus then invited us to break up in to groups of four and to talk about what we had learned about ourselves and so forth, I found this a very useful exercise as it helped me process some of my thoughts and experiences. TIME TO PARTY!!!

Travelling to Fairweather Manor

Travelling to Fairweather Manor

What follows is a travelogue, and if I’m honest its more like tracking our progress more than anything else. It’s the first such accounting in LARPBook as travel to larps has become routine. Fairweather Manor 3 was our first international larp. Making it a more interesting journey. One that also put a few pertinent thoughts in my head. So lets account the travel and consider what was discovered.

Fairweather Manor 3 , is a Nordic larp about life in a grand English Country house during 1917. Of course it’s not run in England. Have the seen the price of hiring a castle or manor in the UK! So were were off to Moszna in Poland. Not really a problem given that flights to Poland are cheaper than train journeys to London (at least for me), these days.

So up at unearthly o’clock and over to Bristol Airport. Normally waiting for a flight isn’t very exciting. But this time we were meeting people in Poland and also other UK players were on the flight. This did not mean wait. This meant checking in and messaging on Facebook, which was a lot of fun.

Then we boarded the plane to Wroclaw. Our gateway to Poland.

It was a mostly uneventful flight (Seriously does anyone ever want an eventful flight?). I say mostly as the landing was full of banking, sliding, bouncing and sliding. The pilot received a much deserved round of applause when we finally came to a halt (and a place on the high score table to boot).

Getting through security was a breeze. LARPBook was in Poland.

Flight schedules had put us in Poland a day earlier than the larp. No problem as Fairweather Manor larp has a very active player community and we had started talking to a group from Denmark and Sweden who had the same problem. They were looking for players to share a hired mini bus. We’d agreed to pay our share so all we had to was meet up with them.

Of our group (the Bus People) we arrived first. So we waited drank coffee and then they were there. By “they were there” I mean one of up had sneaked up behind me and whispered into my ear. First fright of Poland achieved! I am compelled to say that our Bus People were a fantastic bunch. Reinforcing my long held belief that larpers are the most wonderful people.

The bus gave us freedom. Freedom to visit Wroclaw for lunch, a wander and a bit of shopping. Getting into Wroclaw was easy. We followed the signs. For or next phase we elected to use a Sat-Nav. Our hired unit turned out to be the GPS from Hell! It was pretty much impossible to set a destination. Even if the managed the stunning feat of inputting an address. All that would happen is that it would give you directions to something hundreds of kilometres out of your way. We had to abandon using this treacherous little brute. Instead turning to iPad based maps and ultimately the navigator on an iPhone.

Eventually though we were on the Road to Moszna. That curiously had some enormous walls around it as we left Wroclaw. Night fell on the bus as we travelled away from the city, deeper into the Polish countryside. We couldn’t see much as we lost light but occasionally we’d glimpse churches and villages lit for the night.

Then we saw castle Moszna for the first time. More properly I should say Moszna Zamek, if I’m trying to get things right. There were giggles. People said Wow. Moszna Zamek is an impressive and inspirational sight at any time of day.

We had arrived.

Tomorrow the workshops would be run and the day after the larp itself would start.

So here are some thoughts

International travel to a larp is not significantly harder than travelling to a larp in your own country. If you drive it just means the travel time is longer. If you fly, just watch your baggage limits.

Using budget airlines makes travelling to somewhere like Poland is cheap.

When you get there work with other people. Share your knowledge, experience and costs. You’ll have a far better and cheaper trip

Larpers are Larpers. Once you travel abroad you’ll discover that all larpers are fantastic people. This trip both in the bus and in the castle has taught me that the international larp community is full of people that really should be met.

Day 1 in the Big Fairweather Manor House

Day 1 in the Big Fairweather Manor House

The story so far…….

So we got this invite from Claus to come and play a part in the Fairweather Manor LARP hosted in a Polish castle (that looks very much like an English estate) in well Poland.

So we said yes okay……

This then started the ball rolling, we were invited to several facebook groups that were setup for the event and the dialogue began between the players, now as this is not a historical re-enactment but a larp so character interplay and plot are key here.

This game is a little different to most I have played as everyone is a player character (PC) there are no non player characters or bad guys or indeed monsters, however a Downton Abbey versus Zombies would be fantastic!

There will be workshops later including period background, how the staff and classes acted and of course dancing.

The classes:

First we had a tour of the castle itself to familiarise ourselves (it is big…..very big….I mean you think you know how big it is and then there’s another floor)

Then we had a discussion on how the game actually works and playing as a servant has some get out of jail free phrases, i.e. if you don’t actually want to clean a lords boots you can say “Very good sir I will have one of the other footmen attend to that” this means do it yourself but the player who requested the cleaning will just say thank you and carry on as though the servant is going to have the task taken care of, this is a very fair way to make sure no one does something they do not want to do.

If tempers flare and you want out you just have to utter the phrase “Think of the family” this indicates you are not happy with the situation and want it to calm down a little.

The rules are clever and there are not many of them in matter of fact which means the learning curve is small.

There was also a rehearsal of the dinner service, my time in Officer messes and dinners came in handy here as I have seen silver service done up close, it went as well as can be expected and there were very few dramas.

The sheer number of people at this game is staggering especially when you factor in they have come from all over the world to attend, Europe, America, UK, it is staggering.

Tomorrow we start the game for real, rising at 06:30 then to attend chapel service at 07:30

Shenanigans is in fact encouraged and gossip about the nobles will be rife.

More tomorrow……..

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