Tenment 67 – Cyberpunk Larp
Welcome to Tenement 67Up 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 LocationThis time play was at The Gaol in Oakham
The PlayersThe players were a fantastic bunch. A
The GameIt was
This larp is a long way from find the gold, kill the monster.It is
Which is my way of sayng that T67 is a great example of just how far Larps have come since the 1980’s.
The Crew AreaI 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
Would I play again?That’s easy – in a
The VideoDuring my time at this
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?
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
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
A lot of though went intoestablishing the world, it looks and
Immersion levels were palpable.
Were there problems.
There were some, often
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.
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!
- Pregame interview with an organiser
- Interviews recorded at the event
- Footage of the game.
It’s Cyberpunk Larp time!
I need to start with a confession. I’m a long time fan of the genre. Ever since I discovered Gibsons sprawl stories pretty much as they were coming out. I have a memory or sitting in a bar with William Gibson at a Worldcon with a crowd of fans in the 80’s. I was also amazed to hear that at the time he was collecting ugly ties.
Here we are in 2019. Very close to the Cyberpunk year of 2020 and I was off to experience Tenement 67 as a 1 day event. The event was Paradise 101.
Paradise 101 had a lot of expectation to live up.
Paradise 101 is the place to go the Tenements for entertainment. You’ll find all pleasures here. Including the ones you may not wish to witness. It’s controlled by the syndicate and is a playground for all levels in society.
Entering The Tenements
My character was one of societies super rich, Someone with unlimited money. Able to call on the resources of a major corporation by accident of birth. I wasn’t alone. 4 of the filthy rich were going to be entering the Tenements. Each of us wearing a clone body. All we had to do was have fun and spend money.
Of course there was a lot more than that going on. Story lines abounded. Yet from my perspective they in the main washed over us. Privildge became an insulating barrier. The syndicate at first did not like us. Then they fawned over us as they realised how much money we had. The misery of the disenfranchised became a toy.
Yes this was a cyberpunk.
Gunslinger battled, drugs, pleaures and experiences lined up. Neon popped through the dark and music played everywhere.
This larp dripped presence and genre style.
Was it Fun?
Absolutey. Being made part of a group frome the same background was a great idea and I take my hat off to my fellow super rich. You were awesomely awful!. Thank you.
Was it Challenging?
Very, the setting was dark and claustrophic. Lit by dim shades of green, blue and red; and the glowing clothes worn by many of the attendees. This wasn’t the crux of the challenge though. That was emotional, We were part of a trade in pain. People were being injured ; often in a harrowing fashion for our kicks. People were sharing memories and experiences in very intimate scenes.
This was the kind of larp that places in both a story and an emotional place. It’s not something were winning is tactics. The experience itself is solid and meanigful.
Also from my position I could sort of see other stories without being able to touch them. Having something tantalising around players is very smart larp writing – bravo.
The larps location
Paradise 101 was run at Grange Live Gaming in Birmingham. It was perfect. Placing us in a maze of alleyways, rooms and cubby whole. All indoors meant no sunlight. Instead we had the right kind of illumination for cyberpunk. I got turned around in the maze of it all more than once.
Did it match expectations
Yes. In fact expectations weren’t just matched; they were exceeded.
I am now a fan of Tenement 67.
The Photo Gallery
The Video Diary
What’s Your Game ItselfThe event meanders through Blackfriars Priory. It’s an awesome location. A 13th medieval priory filled with atmosphere, nooks and crannies. You could easily write a larp that involved exploring this place. The What’s Your Game plant plenty of signs around the site. A good idea. Wouldn’t want any larpers to get lost in here. It might sound labyrinthine but that means plenty of space for vendors to display their ware. For me, one of the standouts of What’s Your Game is the generosity of space. It means there is space to try on and try out in a way that doesn’t feel cramped or restricted. The result is a friendly atmosphere. As even when full it does not feel overbearing. The complex handles people very well. Also a shout out to the What’s Your Game staff. I had to rely on a walking stick this weekend and they made sure I knew about all the easy ways to get around. Thank You!
The MeadFor the last couple of years, I’ve run into new mead makers at What’s Your Game. Last year it was Magic Mead. This year it was Wye Valley Meadery who make an excellent sparkling session mead. Also, Sam of the Crimson Moon was talking about their new enterprise Duntabbin. A specialist mead shop. Is it all about the mead?
The Larp KitIt’s not all about the mead as there was a great range of larp kit. For the first time, I didn’t come away with more costume. That’s only because I didn’t have a plan for what I needed. Had that been on my mind it would have been a very different outcome. A good sign is always new traders. They were here. Quite a few were doing their first bit of con or field trading. It happens every year. I for one am very glad that What’s Your Game attracts both established and new artisans.
Medieval CombatBetween the priory buildings, there is a small green. Every year something happens here. This year we had demonstrations of from civil war re-enactors and also medieval combat. Expect to hear more about medieval combat in LARPBook.
The Photograph Gallery
The Video InterviewsWe interviewed a number of traders at What’s Your Game and this is what we learned. We’ve loaded the videos as a playlist. Or you could just watch on YouTube.
We were invited to Colony Wars Larp, to join up with a band of colonial marines. So Stuart and I travelled to a venue running alongside Stansted airport runway to find out more. What we encountered were colonial marines, morally ambiguous synthetics, apes and giant spiders. It was a good larp.
Of course a good larp, doesn’t say much. So what do I mean.
Aliens hints a large number if surveyed worlds, terraforming projects and drops by marines. Couple this with the strong 80’s vibe that permeates the Aliens universe, the existence of the Engineers, and Predators and we have a rich mythos that is lightly explored on screen. This is what Colony Wars tapped into – quite successfully.
Of course one universe is never enough. So for this event the feel and attitude of the Apes from Planet of the Apes is also added. Interestingly the more thoughtful Apes and gung-ho marines made an interesting combination. Also when I say Planet of the Apes this is not a literal taking from the movie. The humanoid apes are there. This variation saw a shamanistic religion being developed by the Ape players. Which is great – just the sort of thing Weyland-Yutani likes exploiting.
Ok so that’s the vibe –
What about the game itself ?
First of all – I loved the Ape masks. These were all specially created for this event and were very comfortable to wear. Instead of having latex in contact with skin, we had the inside of a motorcycle balaclava. Great idea as this a fair more breathable and friendly material. It meant that the masks could be worn all day, which definitely aided immersion.
Next up I’ve got to shout out the guys playing marines. Great combat gear and also a superb level of Nerf modification. My favourite had to be the M41A Pulse Rifle, Made from 3D printed parts mounted over a nerf chassis this really looked and felt the part.
Also the marines and Weyland-Yutani (insert expletive here) staff, put together a great camp with cooking on an open fire. There was a kind of Vietnam feel here and that to me that hit the mark.
The rules themselves were minimal. There were safety considerations and it the outcomes of combat and technology use were quickly apparent. The device of having one of the game refs play a synthetic really helped glue things together.
An aspect to this game that really stood out was the use puppeteering. It worked like this. In game there were creatures (face huggers and giant spiders) that the players encountered. The actions of these were controlled by a puppeteer who wore black. The idea was that players would focus on the beastie and not on the crew member. This worked supremely well. The players role-played keeping their focus on the creatures and ignored the crew. Speaking to them later it looks as if they were genuinely only observing the puppets.
Oddly during my time playing a spider I found myself remembering and channelling the amazing spiders from Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Children of Time. Brilliant book and seriously recommended.
Colony Wars is a great example of what a small larp can achieve. Good plot, well organised but above all run with the players very much in mind. This was a first class event.
My final view is that of the players and organisers. Fantastic people. Very friendly and I can’t thank them enough for asking us in.
Will there be more?
At the end of the game the organisers said no more. This was the last. I later saw the words never say never crop up online. So this is why no link to the organisers. At least no until they say they want to more. Should that happen I’ll be more than happy to report back to you.
Welcome to Shard. This event by Twilight Realms Larp was played om the weekend starting 6th April 2018. LARPBook was there and we covered it in a 3 pronged attack
- Thomas: Was a Player
- Rob: Was Crew (and took some photos)
- Stuart: Walked around watching and taking a lot of video footage.
Let’s Start with a Trailer
A Little More About Twilight Realms
Also known affectionately as TR by its players. Twilight Realms started at the turn of the century as a world building larp. All the initial players had a hand in developing nation states set in the World of Tempress. A world with a somewhat violent history where Priests and Sorcerers had fought for control and it had not worked out well. Nations were left separated by hard to heal rifts and trade had all but broken down. The story starts about 100 years after this apocalypse with an attempt to restore trade and trust between nations.
So started a campaign that ran for 10 years ( i know I was at the tenth anniversary party). This period created a vast amount of lore that today still informs and has an impact on the direction and content of the current game.
Then there was a hiatus for a few years
Then Twilight Realms the next generation started.
This time there was a central world referee and world plot controller. Set 10 years after the original campaign this new series of events follows a group of character caught in world shaking events that if not left unchecked may very well lead the world once again down a very dark path.
This reset is very much like a Fantasy RPG where players find themselves in a continuously evolving story that is played out in a rolling campaign. Each event follows on from the last. Many of the player characters are new and learning secrets not known to many. Some of the players bring characters from the first run. With all the baggage that can entail.
This is big scale heroic high fantasy.
Let’s talk about the event itself, Shard.
The name describes a Shard – a piece of a stone imbued with the powers of a God, It’s existence sends the players on a quest to gather more of its parts and in so doing create a weapon that will help them against a growing supernatural threat that is bringing war and terror to the world.
TR plays it’s games over a Friday and Saturday. Starting Friday evening. Playing all day Saturday with a social gathering at the end of the event. Sunday is breakfast, chat and clean up time. It’s a format that has worked well and creates a relaxed larping environment.
I’ve been thinking about how to best describe this game. I certainly had a very good time, with some excellent stand out scenes. I also firmly believe that everyone playing will remember their own set of scenes they loved. I’m also aware that parts of this game contain plot spoilers for the next event. I want to avoid those. So here is the plan. I’m going to describe my favourite moments and then show you a couple of photo galleries and video diaries that we shot during the game. This I hope will give you an idea.
I was given the chance to bring back to life an old NPC. An Elven Priest and Alchemist determined to monitor and protect the purity of his race. He’s also a bit of a political animal and will sometimes do unexpected things if he see’s useful knowledge coming out of them. Fortunately to the players he also follows orders from the King – which helped get around some problems. With this character I loved his chance to meet up with an old Player Character enemy that he really did not like or trust. That was fun, but not as much as roleplaying the blessing of a feast and letting my inner evangelist came out to play. Hands were waved so hard in the air there was a chance of actually taking off.
Next up I was playing a freedom fighter who’s band had just captured some enemy soldiers on the retreat. We had a chance to warm up before the players found us. In this time we looked at ways to restrain our captives, we mocked up on how to look violent and created character roles. We wanted both sides of this exchange to have personalities. So we talked, joked and experimented. When the time came to interact with the players everything was established and things flowed beautifully.
Part of the prep involved menacing small talk about the weather as a foul means of torture.
The scene ended with a battle between a legionary shield wall and a small band of fighters. it was great stuff.
This has to stand up as something exceptional. We ended up playing the butchest Harem in history. A keenness to wield swords had left us more than little low on female crew for a planned harem scene. No problem a mostly all male crew donned sari’s practiced sashaying, tried out seductive voices and put on our sexiest poses. If you watch the show that goes with this article you’ll hear the name Ambrose mentioned. Simply because he was not only an awesome woman, but a wonderful leader of our harem. Thank you Ambrose. Also my apologies to both players and referees. We had a bit too much fun in our dresses. Some of those who encountered us may very well be in need of counselling.
The Video Diaries
- Article: Rob Davies
- LARPBook Still Photography: Rob Davies
- LARPBook Video: Stuart Edwards
- Twilight Realms Still Photography: Charlotte Blakemen