Tenement 67 – A Review

Tenement 67 – A Review

Tenment 67 – Cyberpunk Larp

Back in March I played in a one day Tenement 67 at the Grange. It would be fair to say that it blew me away (learn how here) . The quick version is super high emotional content, awesome cyberpunk vibe and massive immersion. You might say that it being one of favourite genres helped. But that would take too much away from Rob and the team who did an incredible job.

Welcome to Tenement 67

Up till now Tenement 67 (T67) has been day events. This was the first weekender. The sad news for me was that family commitments meant that I had to leave on the Saturday morning. That still meant that I could be there for the set up in Thursday and the first day of play. So although I cannot talk about the end there is still I lot I can say.

The Location

This time play was at The Gaol in Oakham. . Normally used for airsoft it makes for a cracking larp site. The reason it’s special is the used to be a prison. HMP Ashwell to be precise. There are mutliple buildings. But the fact that it was built as a prison really lends to the atmosphere. T67 is set in a tenement full of people at the fringes of civilised life. Rich and poor mingle. The rich because they can, the poor because they have to. The corridors, cells and rooms of a disused priosn so effortlessly lend themselves to this idea of a building repurposed as the world changed. Players were encouraged to make cells their own. And they did. Additionally common areas were carefully lit. Flyers and graffitti adorned walls. Once the game started suspension of disbelief did not take long.

The Players

The players were a fantastic bunch. A priviledge to meet and play with. This time round there were more here. Also this larp was international with players coming in from Europe and for me the surprise of seeing people I knew from out of the UK. International larps are a little special. There is something about a mix of nationalities that helps with atmosphere. I must figure that out at some point. For Cyberpunk it is really relevant. I best imagine cyberpunk worlds as being mixing pots of with all cultures, races, and social stata intermingling and clashing with each other. Making it a perfect player mix for the genre.

The Game

It was shennanigans time at the tenement. As you’d expect from a Cyberpunk event there were a lot of plot elements. A sythetic human (awesome costume), dubious recruiters for dodgy deep sea mining, gang warfare, reconstruction of digital personas, gangs clashing, corporate intrigue, dubious drugs, reality TV stars, striking workforces and I hope you’re starting to get the idea. And that’s just a sample. There was more than I have listed going on.
This larp is a long way from find the gold, kill the monster.
Which is my way of sayng that T67 is a great example of just how far Larps have come since the 1980’s.
It is emotionally demanding material. The content of Tenement 67 constantly makes you assese how you feel about things. My first game in March had a deeper emotional impact on me than I expected. This time again I had plenty of feelings. Its also worth noting that all the players and crew put themselves under pressure to create an incredible experience. From the get go you know this is a quality larp and everyone strives for this. This also amps up the pressure. Fortunately the team from Carcosa Dreams have this covered. They work under the assumption that larp can impact its players and are ready for such eventualities. Which is something I want. I game that gives its players a very real experience and then looks after them. Thank you Carcosa for both the creation of the larp and the understanding of your duty of care.

The Crew Area

I was crew. So it seems fitting to mention the crew quarters. A good many of us slept in one of the buildings away from the players. If you needed a rest – you could get a rest. The crew area in the main event building centred on a game control room and a the crews ready room. The ready room contianed plenty of food and chairs. We used this place to chill between scenes, chat, eat and figure what we were going to use when next called to action. Additionally sleeping areas were created for key crew who had to be available on 24 hour notice. It was an effective use of space. Everyhing you would expect from a well organised larp.

Would I play again?

That’s easy – in a heart beat!

The Photos

Would you like to see more?

Additional photos are available on Robs gallery – just click here

The Video

During my time at this event I paused to record short video diaries. These have all been collected into one short film; just click here. I tried a somewhat experimental take on the presentation of this one. Not everyone likes how it looks. My apologies if its at all disturbing to you.
Outry 3500W Portable Stove Review

Outry 3500W Portable Stove Review

So we put Stuart in a field with an Outry stove and this is the result. A practical review of the 3500W Outry Camping stove. You’ll get all the information you need in the video. But in case you like spoilers – he likes it!

We’ve decided to do more reviews of things that may be useful to Larpers. Not just events, or larping gear; but things like camping gear. Larpers camp. So having larpers review camping gear for larpers made a whole lot of sense to us.

In fact we already one more of these good to go (well if we’re sticking Stu in a field – best to make good use of it), and another one in planning.

See The Full Review

Want to buy the Outry Stove?

Tank Larp: Review

Tank Larp: Review

Tank Larp sounds like an excuse to gratuitously add military vehicles to a larp. It does indeed add tanks and APC’s to larp. But it is done in a way that works with the plot, the world and the players.

Adding tanks is also very cool.

Making Tanks Larp Safe

Lets hit that big elephant in the room fast. How do you make a tank, Larp Safe? Tanks, after all, are not known for cuddliness. They’re known for crushing and destroying things.

Fortunately, this was not attempted with an insane amount of foam and gaffa tape. Although that would have been funny.

 

Instead, the focus was on missions. APCs would roll up to take players away on various missions. The tank training and battle part of the game was similarly a mission away from camp.

 

Safety precautions were taken to avoid player squishing. This included APCs having spotters, and tanks operating areas being carefully designated and non-pedestrian.

The Tanks Were real?

A lot of people believed that Tank Larp could not possibly use tanks. They did.

The Armoured Personnel Carrier

Players were ferried around in an APC. Her name was Connie. She was an FV432. THe FV432 is part of the FV430 series of armoured vehicles. Initially designed in the 1960s, but with updated and modified versions still in use today.

The Tanks

The tanks were actually FV432’s fitted with a 30mm cannon. These vehicles look like and act like light tanks.

In fact, take a look at a British 1970’s Scorpion tank and you’ll find something that looks a lot like the vehicles used in tank larp.

With a 30mm cannon and full turret, these could be classified as light tanks.

Structure of the LARP

I have to mention this it was unconventional but massively fitted in with the idea that the players were part of a larger war.

Time to expand.

In-Tank Larp the players are soldiers in a what is effectively a World War with one major neutral party. They are part of fast response teams that make use of newly invented tanks and armoured personnel carriers.

In a world has transitioned from medieval to a technology roughly analogous to WW1 in a far shorter time period than ours.

In our WW1 we have anachronisms like horses and sword carrying officers. In their version of things – swords and shields are in use alongside bolt action rifles.

It’s important to say this so that what follows makes sense.

The three days tank larp is played over (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) equate to 3 months of time in the game world.

Each day of the larp a newspaper would come out containing news about the game world. Sometimes mentioning the campaign’s players fought in.

The players could send out military orders and requisitions.

Time not on a mission was the players spending time in their base camp. This was pure role-play.

Impact on immersion

You might think that this putting of gameplay into a form of compressed time would mess up the immersion. It didn’t. Immersion was really high.

All the players worked with it beautifully and if anything being part of a larger world helped the players get into it. The break up between missions and camp time gave a breather where role-play thrived.

A lot of though went intoestablishing the world, it looks and feel really paid off here. Players quickly took on what it meant to be a soldier from their in game country,

Immersion levels were palpable.

Were there problems.

There were some,  often focussed on the learning curve of understanding how the game world worked and how that intersected with mechanics

Here’s an example. The players sent out military orders. The natural assumption was that these would be exactly carried out. This didn’t always happen.

Why?

Well, the commanders receiving the orders were being roleplayed behind the scenes. This led to order interpretation and local knowledge leading to adjustments in what happened.

It feels to me like a good approximation of the chaos of war. But that is something that needs to be made clear.

The good news was that the game team spoke to players, listened and learned a lot. So I’m going to bet fewer issues next time.

It’s a mark of a good larp that the organisers work with the players. This happened and that is great

Also, it’s particularly important here as the game has an unconventional structure.

.

Would I recommend Tank Larp

In a heartbeat!
Event 2 has been announced and I am going to be there!

Photo Gallery

 

 

Photos, Prints and Gifts

If you would like to see more Tank Larp photos or maybe show some support by buying a Hi-Res Version, Print or Photo-gift then please take a look in the photograph shop.

Videos

We started following Tank Larp months before the first event. In this  YouTube Play list you will find.

  • Pregame interview with an organiser
  • Interviews recorded at the event
  • Footage of the game.

More Tank

We have additional coverage of tank larp.

The original interview that started things

Footage of a Tank Larp Encounter

Northern Kingdoms Witcher Larp – Event 2 Photographs

Northern Kingdoms Witcher Larp – Event 2 Photographs

Event 2 of Northern Kingdoms has run and we’ve been sent some fantastic pictures from it.

From the images, I’ve seen, this larp seems to keep getting better and better.

We’re planning on visiting an event later this year. However, for now, I think you’ll enjoy these pictures.

Witcher Larp Event 2 Photo Gallery

Image Copyright

All images reproduced with permission of Northern Kingdoms Witcher LARP.

Tank Larp – APC Encounter

Tank Larp – APC Encounter

A full encounter from Tank Larp.

The premise of this is that an APC on its way to action gets ambushed. The team inside have to deal with it

We see a little bit of the crewing setup. Where the APC is ushered into position by a Ref. This is for safety only. The players inside the vehicle have no idea of what is going on. We can vouch both Stu and Rob rode in that same vehicle both were oblivious of the outsidee world once it got moving.

We then follow the action from a fixed camera position. You get to see what happened as if standing in as a ref yourself.

Why this Encounter?

Tank Larp is the first larp that we’ve heard of that manages to integrate armoured vehicles. For Tank Larp these are all Cold War era.

At the point in the game this happened we’d already established quite a bit of footage. But did not yet have an encounter captured in a single fluid take.

That’s something we wanted to do. It leant us the best opportunity to show the management of these impressive vehicles. And how play revolved around them.

The Video

Thanks to Tank Larp for having us there

Choosing A Larp Character Creation Method

Choosing A Larp Character Creation Method

How do you pick a character creation method for a new larp? It`s a key point. Character creation is the first thing helps players get a grip on what they will be playing and points towards the style of the game as a whole.

I’m going to think about this question for The Edit.

What Is The Edit Larp?

The pitch goes like this. A disease has wiped out most of the human population in a short period of time. The structure of civilization is in collapse.

The disease when it hasn’t killed has brought horrific transformations to the minds and bodies of some people.

At the start of the larp, the disease has just started to jump into other species.

The game focusses on groups of survivors who have not contracted the disease. They are trying to cope with these changes.

It looks at group politics, conflict, and people just trying to understand the extraordinary.

The Edit is also a post apocalyptic body and psychological horror larp.

What does character creation need to achieve?

We need the player to understand what their character has become good at over its life so far.

We must also allow for skill growth. Characters are going to be surviving an extreme version of the world. It’s going to be a case of learn, or die. We must be able to periodically confirm what new abilities the character has gained

The modern world that The Edit stems from is complex. As a result, we are all capable of many things. The character creation process needs to reflect that.

Players also need to be able to reconcile the play of their character with its abilities. Whatever is used to define and generate the character must be simple enough to remember. It should also offer hooks to build plot off.

Methods of Character Creation

Points Based Characters

In the UK this is really popular amongst fantasy fest systems. It’s even-handed, as everyone has the same potential. My concern I’ve seen some rule books get complex in order to define things by points. Also the world of The Edit has many skills. So I’m not sure listing these is practical.

Story Based Characters

Essentially characters have a back story and abilities are inferred from it. It’s very roleplay focussed. It’s very flexible.

The bad side is that it is open to abuse. Its openness may lead to people trying to create overly powerful characters.

However, I’ve seen this approach work so well in other horror games that it has to be a possibility for The Edit.

Archetypes

Describe the defining roles in your characters life and gain the relevant abilities. It’s a little more controlled than just writing a story as the archetypes can come from a list pre-defined by the game designer.

Archetypes can broadly define work-skills and with a little adaptation lifestyle abilities. These wouldn’t be ‘skills’ per se. Just areas of ability

I find this idea to be good. It suggests that a foundation for a character can be created, and built on.

Specials

Everyone has a foundation of common skills. Like cooking in a local style, using basic technology and so on. Onto this are added banks of abilities based on work and hobbies. The control here is that each character can only have so many banks of abilities.

A bank of abilities, for example would be the medical skills appropriate to a choice of doctor or nurse. Or the combination of survival and combat skills that go with being a soldier.

Adding New Skills

Characters need to grow and gain new abilities. How does this happen in the four systems I’m thinking about?

Well in a points-based system, the character would gain points to spend on skills. Points would be gained per event or on any online play. It’s simple and easy to manage. I want the new or updated skills to reflect play so I will have to think of controls and restrictions that make this possible. The aim is to avoid gaining skills just because the points exist.

Story Based Characters, Archetypes and Specials have one thing in common. Skills can be assigned based on story events. There is not direct connection between points and skills. Everything depends on how the player plays the character.

I like assignment by play That’s the solution. However the problem is recording when a player is due an update. I’ll be looking into solutions for this problem. As I think this ties everything back to story. Its the way to go.

Which method of Character Generation do I go for?

I think it has to be Specials. I need something that doesn’t get bogged down in detail and that lets players differeniate themselves

Also by doing some defining of availale specials and skill banks I hope to achieve an element of scalability in play. By which I mean it’s easy to say yes or no to the question of "can I do something?".

Larp Day Event – Forest Argent

Larp Day Event – Forest Argent

This is my second one-day event of 2019.  Day events are something I wanted to cover more this year. They give that good larp kick, but over a shorter period. I’m not going to say more or less intense. That’s not true. Day events are just shorter than Weekend events.

Originally I had an incredible time at Tenement 67  and not again a different but also a fabulous time at Forest Argent.

Longtime readers or listeners might recognise that name. Forest Argent is a favourite that I haven’t visited in a while. Going back was wonderful.

At the end of this post, there is a video diary.  Recorded on the way home it really sums up my feeling for the day.

Post Event Thoughts

I’m writing this one week after processing some photographs. A couple of things come to mind.

First of all, I think meeting for breakfast is a genius idea. It gives everyone a chance to talk in person and get easier with each other. Which is really useful as it makes the day larp approachable. I like that as I think the one-day commitment makes day larps ideal for larping newcomers. Indeed there were newcomers to larping here and I believe this helped

Having a good solid meal before larping is also a great idea.

There was a delay in starting due to logistics. This happens. But the more experience members made it all work out. Kudos all. Delays are common in all larps. Organising larpers and gear is a bit like herding cats. Any group that manages a delay well is good.  Also its a good measure of a club – established members know how to help. That’s a good club.

I have to restress the point in the video that the game pivoted around the players really well. Early on the players had a problem Something went badly for them. Things needed adjusting. Fortunately, Gideon, who runs Forest Argent has a strong eye for character design. He always understands how motivations for NPCs and players work. That means he adjusts plot well on the fly. I cannot stress how great this is. Especially on a day game where there is little room for downtime.

One final point is that the site which in this case Woodbury Common. It’s open public land. There were people there walking their dogs, or just enjoying being outside. Gideon makes sure that respect for this people is maintained. It’s also reciprocated back. Its heartening to see.

Finally was it fun? I’ve always had blast at Forest Argent weekend events. This one day game was no different. If you want some larping fun I can recommend.

Photographs from the day

High Quality Photos

If you want a high-resolution copy of a photo or a print, or photo gift follow this link.

Money raised goes towards supporting larps via LARPBook

Video Diary

3 Larp Traders Interviewed

3 Larp Traders Interviewed

Larp traders in a field means one thing.  Rob will try to interview them. Actually so would any other member of LARPBook.

Of course, traders being who they all have their own things to say. Which is good. That’s the whole point of interview.

So with Rob’s usual stuttery approach, we end with 3 very different conversations. After all, they are 3 very different larp traders.

These interviews were recorded on the Monday morning of ‘Curious Pastimes – The Siege of Ravenburg’. Pretty much one after the other.

Rob Interviewed

Ian Knope of Having A Larp. The talk went beyond larp trading as Ian also runs LarpCon and the UK Larp Awards. You’ll hear plenty about these.

Andy Rimmer of Offa Studio. Offa Studio is part of the Skian Mhor family and you’ll get to hear about that family of amazing makers. Rob’s wandered to the dead character discount. Which is perhaps one good thing that can come out of the worst thing.

Tristan Dowrick of Stardust Larpcraft. We’ve interviewed Tristan before – this is one from What’s Your Game. This time you’re going to see his Booth Babe dance and also some new products he’s been working on.

The Interviews

Ian Knope

Andy Rimmer

Tristan Dowrick

Thank You

We’d like to finish up by saying a big thank you to all three.

The Photo for this post

We couldn’t show a traders stand without showing favouritism. So instead we have a shrine at Curious Pastimes. If you’d like more photos from this event then take a look at Robs new photo page – starting at The Siege of Ravenburg

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