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

LARP World Building

LARP World Building

I’ve been designing a new larp and that has taken me down the route of thinking about the world that it runs in. These are some of my thoughts on constructing a world to run a larp in.

Why World Build ?

Players are critical to any larp; and they need to know quite a lot. They need to know how to costume in a way that creates an consistent feel to the game. They need to know how much things are worth, and what are the social norms.

In any larp we need to find a means that help players tackle these questions. That’s the point of detaling the game world. It allows everyone involved to contribute in way that improves the game for all.

Describing the Big Picture

Talking about a fictional world can be intimidating for both the writer and the reader. So we need to take it in steps. First of all do you know enough about the world to be able in a few seconds to give someone and idea of what it is like.

If you can; then that is awesome – as you have a clear idea of what you are creating.

If not then go back and think some more. Make notes of a few ideas. This way you should be give people your idea with clarity.

Decribing “The Edit”

First some context, The Edit is a larp under development. This is the current state of the Big Picture description.

The Edit explores what it is like to live in world changing in unforeseen ways. The population has crashed. Nowhere is safe. It has become dangerous to live in one place for too long. Bands of people are figuring out how to survive. Disease and disfigurement are everywhere.

A simpler description is that The Edit is a post Apocalypse Horror Fantasy

What do you think of these descriptions. Do they make the world worthy of exploring. If you think the answer is yes then The Edit is looking good.

Develop The Look and Feel

Players are going to need to know how to costume. They need to know what kind of equipment their characters will have access to.

In order for immersion to work well the players must all be developing their ideas from a common base. Make sure you have answers to questions that include

  • What does clothing look like?
  • What does armour look like?
  • Do characters have makeup or facial markings?
  • Are there any taboos towards certain kinds of dress?
  • What are common technologies emoployed by people?

This isn’t an exhaustive list; but not a bad start. Here are some things that can help.

Use a Mood Board

Mood boards are collections of images that set the tone and the feeling of what you are trying to achieve. The easiest way to do this is to use Pinterest.

Use Fictional References

Tell people which films, TV Shows or books best illustrate the world you are trying to create. If possible provide links to items on YouTube, Netflix or Amazon to help people get there.

Do A Photo Shoot

Get a few people together with a photographer and shoot a gallery of images that shows what you are going for. This will help to solidify your plans.

Applying Look and Feel to The Edit

The edit takes place very soon after the fall of civilisation. A plague is resposible for the fall. Dress is whatever you can get. Most people will wear their normal preferred choice of clothes. Some are wearing protective gear. Some are grabbing practial outdoor or military wear. Its not the full on Mad Max stlye apocalypse gear yet. It is the worn out modern day with some people taking precautions; while others are practical.

Its expected that a mood board will be established for the game.

The LARPs Rules

You may not see the rules as being part of the world, but thing of it this way. Your rules describe how people interact with things. How they achieve things. And if your larp involves conflict; who wins.

Your rules are a key tool in describing your world to the players.

This is never more true than in the case of character creation. The building of characters is an expression of how people live in your world.

Remember this about rules

Terms like no-rule or high-rule are explain complexity but in themselves don’t model the world.

Create your rules as needed to let people understand how the world works.

The Edits Rules

The plan here is for as few rules as possible. Combat should be brutal and terrifying. The combat rules will reflect this by making it easy to be killed.  Character generation will be descriptive. Based upon building an archetype. The archtype comes from previous employment, interests and hobbies.

As you can see the rules are not finished. But I do have goals.

The General rule is Iteration

This means that your world won’t be formed first time. You’ll go back and edit and revise ideas. Each time improving things for yourself and others. Like the real world it should be a living breathing thing that never stops changing.

Your Players Understand Things

Never forget that your players are a fantastic resource. How they respond to things will teach you how people interact with your world. Always listen to them. They are a mine of ideas.

UK LARP Award Nominations 2019

UK LARP Award Nominations 2019

It is LARP Awards season. At least here in the UK, it is. Also when I say season I do mean the UK Larp Awards associated with Larpcon. These awards have been running now since 2011 – which is quite an achievement and I hope they continue for quite a while as each year we get a fascinating insight into what is going on in UK Larp. The award ceremony itself is on March 3rd 2019. So these are the nominations. Let’s see who is in the running this year.

The Nominess

Award for Accessibility in Larp. *** NEW FOR 2019 ***

  • Bothwell School of Witchcraft
  • Curious Pastimes
  • Empire
  • Marked: A school for heroes
  • Under the Stars

International Larp of the Year. *** RETURNING FOR 2019 ***

  • Academy of Eblana – Ireland
  • College of Wizardry – Poland
  • Conscience – Spain
  • Legion: Siberian Story – Czech Rep
  • Raven Crew – Italy & on a pirate ship

Larp Venue of the Year

  • Eversley
  • Herstmonceux Castle
  • Huntley Wood
  • Paccar Scout Camp
  • The Grange

Small Larp of the Year

  • Clans of Albion
  • Erda
  • Eyelarp – Norseman Saga
  • Faded Glory
  • Paradigm Shift

Medium Larp of the Year

  • Age of Aether
  • Exiled on the Shores of Carmoa
  • Guild of Darkness
  • Orion’s Sphere
  • Wing and a Prayer

Large Larp of the Year

  • Bothwell School of Witchcraft
  • Curious Pastimes
  • Empire
  • Future’s End
  • Lorien Trust

Family Larp of the Year

  • Curious Pastimes
  • Empire
  • Fields of Illusion
  • Legacy
  • Lorien Trust

Sanctioned Larp of the Year

  • Age of Aether – Consequences
  • CP College Event – Tempest Arcanem
  • Empire – Nemesis
  • Empire – Over the Edge
  • LT – Fey Fables 3

Club Larp of the Year

  • General Larp Society (DUGL) – Durham University
  • Fools & Heroes
  • Hokfell – Leeds University
  • Labyrinthe
  • Polaris – University of Nottingham

Grassroots Larp of the Year

  • Bothwell School of Witchcraft
  • Empire
  • Erda
  • Fools & Heroes
  • Northern Kingdoms

New Larp of the Year

  • Exiled on the Shores of Carmoa
  • Jacobite
  • Legacy
  • Northern Kingdoms
  • Orion’s Sphere

Producer of the Year – Foam/latex

  • AJ Preece LARP Supplies
  • Offa Studios
  • Cræftigan
  • Light Armouries
  • Medlock Armoury

Producer of the Year – Leather

  • Darkblade
  • Lock’s Leather
  • The Goblin Workshop.
  • Lamia Leather
  • The Thornless Rose

Producer of the Year – Costume

  • Chows
  • Cræftigan
  • Romany Robes
  • Sewn By Dragons
  • Whitestar Clothing

Caterer of the Year

  • Caggles Catering
  • Mhorish
  • The Good Honest Food Co
  • The RattShakk
  • The Wooden Spoon

Creature Costume of the Year

  • Bruce the Drop bear – Sewn By Dragons – Age of Aether
  • Jalkur – Gareth Shaw – Orion Sphere
  • ‘Massive four armed orc monstrosity thing’ – Danielle Starkey – CP
  • Noonwraith/Nekkers – Dog Bane SFX – Northern Kingdoms
  • Robo-Anubis – Olga Maksimenko and Eugene Griskov – Future’s End

On-line retailer of the Year

  • Chow’s Emporium
  • Clutter Buys
  • Darkblade
  • Gems Trading Co
  • LarpInn

In-field retailer of the Year

  • Chow’s Emporium
  • Das Shoppe
  • Gem’s Trading Co
  • Having a Larp
  • LarpInn

Player of the Year

  • Jack Smallpage
  • Leanna Longo
  • Rosie Woolley
  • Samuel Newton
  • Stacy Stokes

Bard of the Year

  • Gabrielle Jones
  • Granny and the boon
  • Mark Chilvers
  • Michelle Cleland
  • Volksanger

NPC of the Year

  • Alexandra Preece – Queen of the Forest – CP
  • Andrew Forrest – Ishtar – LT
  • Danny Lake – Wyndrake Winterheart, King of Albion – LT
  • Pixie Noir (aka Robert Smith) – Ethen Herald– Age of Aether
  • Vickey Eyles – gnome – Bothwell School of Witchcraft

Crew Member of the Year

  • Andy Raff
  • Baby John Lee Pellett
  • Graeme Jamieson
  • Kayleigh Whybrow
  • Woody J Bevan

Mainstream Event of the Year

  • Immersive Gatsby
  • Inkwell Investigations – London
  • Quasar – Hemel Hempstead
  • Secret Cinema (Bladerunner)
  • Star Wars V.R. Experience – Stratford

Good Luck to all the Nominees

The image for this post is from the Larpspotting poster. This was created for Larpcon by Jamie Blakeman of Larp Inn
Colony Wars: Nerfed Up Larp Interview

Colony Wars: Nerfed Up Larp Interview

Rob spent some time talking the Ram. The man behind the Colony Wars SF Larp games. This is what he found out.  

Question: What is Colony Wars?

Answer:

It is a SF Larp Nerf System. That borrows from SF action films and TV from the 1980’s onwards. You’ll find inspirations from the Aliens, Terminator, Predator, RoboCop, Resident Evil, and others. It refers to the famous corporations from these worlds. Expect to see Weyland Yutani, Umbrella, OCP, etc all up their usual tricks. So far there have been 3 games in the Colony Wars Sequence Games 1 and 2 were both Bug Hunts. A team has to deal with a difficult situation. This boils down to dodgy dealings with bioweaponery. In Game 3 the emphasis shifted to the Colony Wars concept. Now a team landing on a world has to work with a world inspired by SF. In the first Colony Wars this was the apes from planet of the Apes.    

Question: What About The Next Game?

Answer:

The next event is Colony Wars: Wargames. Delos (Westworld) and CyberDyne (Terminator) have created a training ground. Teams from different SF backgrounds are invited to compete to see who is the best.    

Question: When and Where?

Answer:

When is the weekend of June 21st. Arrivals will be on the Friday. This will include some social time. A chance for the players to get to know each other. The game starts on the morning of June 22nd and plays on until mid afternoon June 23rd The location is Priory Wood Scout Camp, Takeley, Bishops Storford, CM22 7 TD It’s close to Stansted Airport.    

Question: What SF Genres

Answer:

You’re going to have quite a choice.  At the moment we are thinking of
  • Colonial Marines (Aliens)
  • Mobile Infantry (Starship Troopers)
  • Marine Corps Space Aviators (Space Above and Beyond)
  • Robocops (via the OCP corporation from Robocop)
  • Judges (as in 2000AD’s Judge Dredd)
By way of example. The game is open to most SF genres especially if they can fit into the action adventure style. We are open to ideas.    

Question: Nerf Gun Mods?

Answer:

We’re looking for all Nerf guns (or similar) to be painted. So they do not look like toys but instead look more like guns. Cosmetic modifications are fine. This includes body panels, new stocks, lights and so on. The idea is that if the guns look more like their SF counter parts then so much the better. We are not allowing alterations to guns that increase their rate of fire or the speed of darts. So nothing to increase the power of the guns themselves. We are also not allowing dart modifications. These all need to be stock darts.    

Question: What are the rules like?

Answer:

Very lightweight. All the characters will have the skills to do complete tasks that match their roles. We do ask that skills are all roleplayed out. Combat is more theatrical than points based. You will know when you’ve taken hits and these need to be role-played. Wounds and healing should also be role-played. We are not aiming to kill characters off. Be warned, if a character gets caught in an untenable situation; then we won’t shy from the outcome.    

Question: What About Player Support?

Answer:

We are putting together resources to help players create their characters. If someone comes to us with a good idea then we’ll try and make that happen From our point of view then we are putting together props to make this a fun game. All players have to do is remember to talk to us.    

Question: Where Can I Find Out More?

Anwer:

At the Colony Wars: Nerfed Up Larp Facebook Group.    

Photos

Here are a few images from the last Colony Wars game. These were all taken from the Facebook group. Our thanks to their owners.
Give The Gift of LARP This Christmas

Give The Gift of LARP This Christmas

Here’s is the idea. Give someone a ticket for a larp that they have never attended.

Before I get into detail I must say that this is not my idea. It belongs to Gideon Lawrence of Wyvernstales, Legends Larp and Myth. You’ll more details on finding his stuff at the end of this post.

The Ticket as a Gift

If you go to more than one larp then you may know people who go to one larp but not the others. So why not help a friend go to a larp they have not tried before by getting them a ticket.

The more larps we all go to the better it is for everyone. Yet sometimes we don’t do this. There can be plenty of reasons. Sometimes though all we need is a nudge. The ticket is the nudge. Plus finding out that you know another attendee is always a good thing.

So give a ticket and help a friend experience more.

The Ticket Exchange

Larp tickets are rarely cheap. Spending a larp amount of money to see if someone likes something could feel like too much. So how about getting into a ticket pact. I’ll buy you a ticket to something I do; if you buy me one for something you do. It’s a simple exchange.

Yes you still spending money. Now though you have negotiated with your friend on what you are both going to do. You know what you are doing and what you are getting.

Raising the question can be the thing in itself. It may be that you decide not to buy each other tickets. That’s ok as now you have talked about the other larps you do. The idea of going to another larp is out there and that is a good thing.

Spreading The Cost

Tickets for larps are not always available.  For a larp planned for later the next year, it may be months before tickets go on sale. This means you are giving away a ticket you cannot buy yet.

That’s not a bad thing. It means you can promise the ticket and start saving. Spreading the cost over a period of months. So long as you save some money it can take the sting out of the final cost.

It turns out that a larp ticket as a Christmas present need not feel as expensive as it might.

About Gideon Lawrence

He’s a one man larp machine. He runs a larp company, owns a  larp shop, tells stories, educates and pushes the hobby forwards.

Here are some ways you can get hold of him.

The Wyvernstales Website

On  Facebook

The Night In Question – A Vampire Larp

The Night In Question – A Vampire Larp

The Night In Question is a Vampire Larp. It is set in the World of Darkness. However it was always meant to be a more than a Vampire The Masquerade game. Although if that interests we do have a review of the rulebook from Mind’s Eye Theatre.

For us The Night in Question started when Matthew Webb told us about. We were instantly intrigued. To the point of running a video AMA about the event.

This had to followed up on. So following the run of The Night in Question I asked the players if the would help us tell you how it went. Their responces were wonderful, and documented here.

So much so that in face I need to tell you what is coming as this is going to a long post. So I’ll show you the plan
 

Media from “The Night in Question”

Photographs

 

The Video Review

 

The Stories / Reviews

Going In – Shannon Knudson

There was a long path from the parking lot to the actual rave. It was really dark, with only lights from the scene and glowsticks to lure unsuspecting mortals to the last night of their lives. I was walking with a friend of mine, working out our character ties when she got distracted by someone else and I told her I’d meet her in the party. As I walked the path alone, I felt more and more Bethany coming forward in my mind and shannon dropping away. By the time I made it past the tents and just before the lighted “Bridge” shannon was gone. That fact was cemented when, from out of nowhere, I heard “BETHANY! I’ve been looking for you!” And I turned, as if I’d responded to that name my whole life.

 

The feeling, going in, was like any other rave. Things were just kicking off. The music was going, people were dancing, and the drug dealers we’re already scoping their marks. I walked in arm in arm with a good friend, Vera, and she was telling me that my ex was there. The same ex who had abandoned me after 4 years together. (Actual separation from the real me had already occured- I was Bethany.) I fought tears as Vera took me to her brother Vince to explain why Mike, the ex, was there. Feelings of anger and hurt already apparent.

 

I left them to their sibling squabbles to locate Anton, the guy who’d invited me to the party, and ran into some more friends. Things were going good! Despite the fact that Mike was lurking somewhere, I was around people I loved and cared for.

 

A few good moments

 

Bethany found out that Vince had ordered Mike to kill her on again off again boyfriend Ian. It seemed Ian owed Vince quite a bit of money. Terrified that the men she loved most in the world would tear themselves apart, she struck a bargain with Vince herself – she would pay the money Ian owed and Vince would call his dogs off. Strangely, this blew up in her face.

 

The thrum of the music matched the mood. The feeling of impending chaos grew and I found it strangely difficult to keep control of situations and felt helpless as I was no longer able to put people at ease as I’d done so easily before. Slowly, creatures started coming out of the dark, friends seemed off, colors were wrong. I’d been so caught up in trying to problem solve that I didn’t see the nightmare growing around me.

 

Finally, Anton, the guy who’d invited me, pulled me away to calm me down. I was frustrated and upset and felt hopeless. He offered to take away the stress.

 

Defining moment

 

As Anton soothed me, and promised to help me shed the weight of humanity, she gave her life to him. And he gave her a new one. My embrace was soft, kind, and oddly romantic. From the exchange of blood, and the awakening to a new world, he walked me to a grave pit. He described that the world he would give me would have no more stress, no more concern for people who only seek to take advantage, no more loneliness. “But nothing comes without pain.” The shovel came down and I ended up face down in a shallow grave. Speakers in the wall of the whole whispered the words of my Beast as I fought to save myself. My Beast was awake and hungry. I struggled to free myself from my grave. (It was a hole in the ground, but a tear away tarp and hay instead of dirt.)

 

I came out of that grave feeling free from the first time in my life. I didn’t give a shit about the petty mortal bullshit. That was all too temporary. All I cared about was my Sire who truly woke me up…and this insane hunger. I cackled at the silliness of the Bethany from before; how pathetic she was to have given so much for so little in the past. I cackled at the knowledge that I was better now. Stronger, more determined, and tied to someone forever in a way that was more permanent than anything the mortals could hope to have.

 

Coming out of that game, that character, was the hardest thing I’ve ever done as a gamer. For literal days, I couldn’t mentally let Bethany go. I didn’t feel Shannon wake up again until the next morning. After I’d had some sleep and started moving. The night before, I’d walked almost 10 miles total and never felt a step, and it all hit me at once the moment I put my feet on the floor. It was really hard. I’ve never in my nearly 20 years of gaming participated in something so collaborative and immersive.

 

 

 

Nathan Klinger – About The Night in Question

So going into the game I didn’t know what to expext. I had never LARPed before, and this was a hefty one to take on for a first one. But when I walked up the dirt path to the rave site.. I felt my personality fade to the back and my character’s come full force to the front.

 

The most memorable scenes for me… were reconciling with my ex girlfriend, after a lot of backwards deals and betrayals between us, the drag rats, and my boss Vince.

 

As well as my creation rites… when I went to the graves I was tagged to become a Lasombra. But Vince was being put in the grave first. I got poached by the toreador, and shovel headed. When I was in the grave, the speakers played 1st Corinthians 13:11, “When I was a child…” etc. It was chilling. I am also an ex Christian and the relationship I had with my character… this was extremely relevant to me on a personal level.

 

And then watching the monomacy fight between the hunter and my packs Ductus… that was a major highlight

The Feel of this game

I was following the Facebook group for this game as it started and after its end. It was very clear that a lot of emotion was generated. That it was a massively immersive experience and that the people who played love it.

Do You Want to Know More?

There is a Facebook group for this game and a website.  There will also be a 2019 outing as well. Here are the links

 

Thank You To

  • Nathan Klinger
  • Raquel Skellington
  • Peregrin Winkle
  • Shannon Knudson

 

5 Tips for a LARP crew room

5 Tips for a LARP crew room

The Larp Crew

Let’s confirm who I mean by crew. Crew are the people who run a larp on a practical level. NPCs, makeup artists, prop people and so on. The people who keep the show running.

For this article I’m leaving out site managers, health and safety, caters and so on. Considering their role is for the future.

The Crew Room

This is where the crew members prepare for their interactions with players. This is where you’ll find costume, props, weapons, makeup and anything else a crew member may need.

Now a Confession

I’ve crewed monstered and played NPCs for many larps. Anyone who has done this with me knows that I have good intentions but a tendency towards chaos.

So these tips are definitely in the do as I say, and do as I do category.

Let’s also run with the assumption that most crew rooms are big piles of things. Often with a more organised larper trying to make sense of them. Let’s help that organised larper.

Before the tips start

3 Things to avoid

  • The squirming Lovecraftian pile of costume that threatens the refs sanity
  • The Fort made of boxes that some of the crew are hiding in
  • The makebox from hell that threatens to change the colour of anything that gets near it

The Tips – For a Better Crew Room

1: Have game references to hand in an organised way

Make sure that you have the game documentation in the crew room. It should not be a pile of random papers. Be sure that it is easy and fast to look up information.

2: Plan Your Gear Needs

Larp means lot of gear (props, costume etc). Its important that the your crew can grab what they need. When they need it.

Layout the gear in organised way.

There is more than one way of dong this.

Here are some possibilities

  • Timing – items needed first or next placed forward.
  • Functional – clear layouts for weapons, props, costumes.

What matters is that the crew know where to find an something.

3: Refreshments

I’ve never met a crew that didn’t work hard. Keep them fed and watered. Never let the crew get hungry or thirsty. The only outcome of that will be a deterioration in the quality of your game.

Also if the crew are going to in the field for a long time. Make sure you have water and caches for them.

4: A Place to rest

Keeping with the idea that the crew works hard. Make sure that there are easy chairs – something to rest on between tasks.

Tired legs and bodies don’t role play well. Confy chairs, mattreses , cots, bunks. Let them take the weight off durng rare calm moments.

As part of this give the crew somewhere to change too. As a crew member it is awesome if you can change and rest with ease.

5: A Dedicated Make Up Station

Let’s face it make-up matters. Its fundamental to immersion and conveying what a character is.  Find a place to do make up. Make sure there is plenty of light, mirrors, somewhere to sit. A place to arrange said makeup.  An easily made up crew is a confident crew.

Guiding Principle

I tend to work on the principal that a happy crew is going to be a great crew. Do that and you cannot go far wrong.

What Are Your Ideas

Got other ideas? Better ideas? Let us know and we’ll run a follow up article  using those. With full credit to all contributors.

Thanks to Alex Kircher (via the LARP Haven group on Facebook), for the title image for this post.

Larp Rule Books

Larp Rule Books

Rulebooks, why do we need them?

Larp is a shared experience. It requires players to follow a shared understanding of how the world works. When something happens everyone needs to have the same understanding of its consequences.

All the players need to respond to an in game event the same way.

That’s why we have rules. They create a common framework for players. The job of rules is to communicate a common understanding of the larps world.

Variety in rule book complexity

You may think that if all larp rule books describe a world then they must all be pretty large and complex.

Only they are not. Rules range from those that will fit on one sheet of paper too those that are  heavyweight tomes. Some books are just guidelines for in game calls; some are simple meta techniques whilst others are massive.

This must mean that the need for complex rules is not evenly spread. For some reason some larps need almost no rules whilst others need loads.

At this point I could point out reasons for this. That might be interesting.

I have a better idea

Larp Rule Sharing

If we all share our rule books then we can all  see what other groups are doing.

What I am proposing is that LARPBook publishes either the rules themselves or links to the rules.

Creating a library of rulebooks that we can all look at and take some inspiration from.

After all if rules help us build worlds then they must also help us represent ideas.

So lets put these books into a library. Then we can all work with the ideas.

The LARPBook Rulebook  Library.

Please send us links to your rulebooks and whether you want LARPBook to offer a link or a download of these books and we will do the rest

This form will help us understand what you are sending. If you prefer you can also send us this information via our Facebook page.

Send Us Your LARP Rules

For Contact Purposes
For Contact Purposes
This can be PDFs, Rule Book Pages on a website, Wiki etc. Please put one per line
Your chance to say something about your larp that may make people want to take a look.

 

Please only complete this form if you have authorisation to share these details to us

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