Last weekend (if you’re in the future that’s starting on March 24th 2017). I crewing at the Twilight Realms event “Black Heart”. The latest addition to an ongoing campaign in the clubs Tempress setting. This isn’t a review; I was playing a new NPC character so that makes me too close to the running of the event to do a proper impartial analysis. This is more of an overview.
As with all Tempress games this was a high fantasy event. As an ongoing part of the latest campaign it was very high stakes. The players are a party that have become embroiled in changes to the world following the rise of a resistance against a powerful and expanding empire (in game – the Helevetian Empire. Best thought of being very much this games version of the Roman Empire.)
The story was simple. Investigate what the “Empire” was doing in a seized portion of the country of Brindle. The problem, Brindle is a country once ruled by Vampires. Now at least a part of it is under the control of the empire who are undertaking some very unethical experiments on magic and immortality.
The game started on Friday night. Arrival on site was well organised in that – this is were you unload and this is your accommodation allocation. You knew where to go and people pitched in, making the unloading of cars a breeze.
From a crew point of view we had individual briefings. Meaning each NPC player only knew the information they were supposed to know. There was also a lot of written material to digest. I like this approach of only knowing what you need to know. It makes playing your specific part easier as you can just focus on what matters to your character.
Set dressing also proceeded quickly. The game was ready to play.
In this event Twilight Realms refs were trying out some new Walkie Talkies. This worked out great and really added to creating good game flow.
The game structure was this. Friday night introduced the story. Saturday was an open sandbox larp. The players could do whatever they wanted. In any way they wanted. Success would give them information and resources. Failure would have anything from no effect on the game world through to dire consequences. However personal failures and problems were also possible.
The actual end was a success in terms of the story. However the majority of the party were left with personal issues that will have to be dealt with.
My NPC was a researcher driven mad by the unexpected consequences of his work. A beautiful role that gave me a chance to play a large range of emotions. Ok – it meant I could ham it up. I was also able to work up some physical play using a walking stick. Perfect. Later in the game there was also a chance for a bit of monstering. So for me, this was a good event
In terms of game flow the players started as planned and then started to have all kinds of ideas. Some of them uncannily accurate. Others were wild flights of fancy. The refs and crew adapted by making decisions on encounters, information dispersal and the timings of NPC appearances.
This made the event a highly interactive experience.
At this point I’d like to make a special note of thanks to the monster crew. This team worked non stop to give the players a good experience.
That’s one of the reasons I like the Twilight Realms experience. Everyone, players and crew alike set out to create a great experience.
The ending of this event leaves with a lot of story options. Already there more than a little curiosity as to how the impact of Black Heart plays out.
Event Photo Gallery
All the photos for this event were taken by the Twilight Realms team.
The Bat Creatures
Dark Heart featured some large bat like monsters. During the game they became the players nightmares.
This footage is of the costumes undergoing testing
Please note that as Facebook video
We were invited to visit The Grange Live Gaming in Birmingham. Not an opportunity we were going to miss; so on Sunday Stuart, Luke and Rob set off with Lukes daughter to take a look.
What we found was worth the trip (South Wales to Birmingham UK – not Alabama).
In the centre of Birmingham (and I do mean the centre) we found a larp and gaming centre that was operational across a number of floors and also in construction for 2 more. The first thing we all latched onto was the potential of the place, which is enormous. The gaming areas are on 5 floors of what would have been factory / warehouse space. It lends itself to being dressed as sets and that is exactly what is going on. The floors under construction gave us the size of the place. Those outfitted for gaming – gave us the realisation. Using simple wooden walls the team at the Grange have built configurable game spaces. Simply put the walls can be moved or even decorated to specification. You want simple walls and a maze to run around in – no problem. You want to design something more specific, that is possible. It becomes a question of planning and resourcing.
Right now plans for some specific designs are afoot. Such as a run down indoor fun fair. In place already are hospital beds and some old bits of medical machinery that may have once been surgical drain units. Creepy and very Silent Hill.
One feature that caught my attention were the security cameras. Yes these are for safety monitoring, but they can be brought in game. Which means if your game requires players to monitor a security feed – they really can do it. If you want your ref team to monitor the game – that can happen to. There is also the possibility of taking security footage after the event for promotional and documentary purposes. For me – it’s the in game stuff that excites. Whether its for the refs or players (or both); I love the idea of video monitoring. For the players it’s more immersion and for the refs its monitoring and being able to react to events without standing over the players shoulders. That too makes it a more real experience for the players.
There was something else that the ref in me liked too. The ability to build walls means that rooms and corridors can be hidden. Not in a maze like fashion. More in a this part of the facility is for crew only fashion. Remove the openness of the great outdoors, build the walls yourself and now the ability to have crew move from hidden crew rooms and through secret passageways. This caught the attention of the horror larp writer in me.
In fact this whole place is great for modern day, SF and horror larp.
It’s also nerdy inclusive. Which means a range of pursuits such as larp, airsoft, archery, hema, tabletop games and so on are all supported here. Its possibly Birmingham nerd central.
Any downsides? Just the one and I do not think it is a deal breaker. The site is not polished in a mainstream kind of way. Its bohemian and industrial in a larper kind of way.
If you haven’t guessed it – I love the place. Dale and Stephen whom we met were incredibly friendly and helpful. The venue is just one big pile of larping potential.
The good thing is that you do not have to take my word for it. While we were there we took quite a few photographs and a couple of videos. These are up next.
The Photo Gallery
Hopefully we’ve captured the feel of the place.
Interview With Dale
This first video is an interview with Dale. If you’re running a larp it is likely that you will be liaising with Dale over how you use The Grange Live Gaming.
Luke in the Rage Room
During the last few episodes of the LARPBook show Luke experienced some issues with his computer. This had hilarious results (here are the shows on youtube. Look at episodes 51.
The good news for Luke is that The Grange Live Gaming has a rage room. He used it to take vengeance on an unsuspecting computer.
Want to get in touch with The Grange Live Gaming?
We all hope this site goes from strength to strength. We’ll be back there to report on or play in a game. I see trips to Birmingham in our future.
On Tuesday 7th of March we ran episode 51 of the LARPBook show. We were joined by Martin from Larpforge as our special guest. We’d like to thank Martin very much for being a part of this episdoe
This episode can be summed up into
- Talking to Martin about Larpforge, Horns, European Larp, The differences between British & Danish larpers and curry.
- Interacting with a very active audience, who were commenting on live show
- Luke desperately trying to get his microphone to work
- Learning how to prounounce Knutepunkt
- Luke still desperately trying to his microphone to work
- Danelaw (this always happens when a Dane comes on)
- Insulting cities, regions and countries (it all started with Copenhagen)
- Luke seeking out a laptop.
- Running through the larp awards
- Luke silently screaming obscenities at his computers
- A mention for Conscience larp.
The UK 2017 Larp Awards
We ran through the winners of the 2017 UK Larp awards in full. This year saw a few new faces winning awards. This is great as it makes the awards themselves feel a lot more dynamic and meaningful. We had previously published the full list of award winners and you can find it here.
Conscience is a larp inspired by tv-series Westworld, about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the moral implications of those innovations for all involved
Date: January 27th to 30th 2018.
Sign up will open on the 15th March 2017 at 21 CET and will close on the 31st of March 2017.
Learn more at: http://conscience.notonlylarp.com/
I think that we all agreed that a high status larp that –
- Is a Western
- Has the sensibilities of WestWorld
- Contains moral dilemmas to over come
– Sounds good
Where to find Larpforge
Of course we need you to be able to find Larpforge. Here are the links
A big Thank you to our lovely patrons who make it a bit easier to keep this show going.
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On March 4th the UK LARP Awards were held. These are very much becoming very much an established part of the UK Larp scene and it looks as if they have already been booked for next year.
So here are the results
Player Run/Sanctioned Event
- Do Not Go Gently – Slayers Lrp (Winner)
Club System of the Year
- UNION at Nottingham Uni (Winner)
Player of the Year
Bard of the Year
Small Larp of the Year
Medium Larp of the Year
Large Larp of the Year
- Curious Pastimes (Winner)
Family event of the Year
Grassroots system of the Year
New Larp of the Year
Larp Producer – Foam/Latex
Larp Producer – Leather
Larp Producer – Costume
Larp Caterer of the Year
- Warden’s Catering (Eid II) (Winner)
Creature Costume of the Year
- Verdigris Mind-Forged Manacles – Clockwork Firebird Designs (Winner)
On-line Retailer of the Year
In-field Retailer of the Year
NPC of the Year
- Tin King – Strategy (Winner)
Event Crew Member of the Year
- Knightmare Live – Touring Production (Winner)
Unsung Hero – Andrew Jackson
Lifetime Achievement – Ian Andrews
Overall Best Larp of the Year – Curious Pastimes
Poker Player – Mark Annable
Combat Tournament – Neil Prior
LARPBook will like to extend hearty congratulations to all winners