Last year we covered the 20th anniversay of Curious Pastimes. We weren’t the only ones doing this. Another of the regular documentors that go to their events is Slender Pictures. They took a whole lot of video.
One of the outcomes is a series of excellent short documentaries about Curious Pastimes and the people who larp in the UK. These were first released between the end of March and end of April 2017. We’ve had look at these and feel that they are an interesting resource. So in the spirit of sharing and distribution, here is that series. I hope you enjoy this collection.
LARPBook interviews Danny Gomez of First Person Xperience. We talked about RED. A new post apocalypse experience that is launching on the 11th of May 2017.
Here’s the link to RED
RED sounds like it’s a combination of theatre and larp. It’s built so that can enter it with no real preparation but still have an immersive and unique experience. It sounds like a lot of work has gone into making it self customising. Much in a same way that a larp adjusts to the actions of its players. Its also clear that its not an Escape Room. Escape Rooms are fundamentally puzzles, whilst this seems to more story based. So it has a start and an outcome. The outcome depends on player actions. So again more larp like than some other mainstream offerings.
It straddles the world between mainstream and larp. Great fun for a group of friends who know nothing about larp. Great fun for larpers who could really get into it. Possibly both playing at the same time. Each run has a 75 minute duration which makes incorporating into a day out quite easy.
If you’re interested in going – then book quick as we have a promo code
The code is
It’ll get you a free upgrade to next tier of ticket above the one your purchase. The code is limited to the first 100.
If you go – we’d love to hear of your experience in RED. LARPBook is very keen on hearing how this runs.
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.
So Stuart and I visited what’s your game and got all caught up in the atmosphere and the action of the event. However although conveying the visit in words is good. Letting you have a look around is better. So here are our first 3 videos from the event.
Lets start of with our arrival, a quick tour of the facilities and an interview from Tink of Curious Pastimes
Next up – the exploration continues. We watch the Kings Lifeguard of Foote, and the larp duelling contest. There is also a short interview with the duelling competition winner.
We managed to get a short video interview with Jamie Blakeman of Larp Inn (he’sa bit video shy)
Of course no visit to a larp fair would be complete without talking to someone about their larp. We managed to get this interview with Beccy Miskin about Age of Aether.
Finally or at least for the moment, we thoroughly enjoyed What’s Your Game and intend to go back again next year – or to any time this team puts on a fair.
First a quick explanation. What’s Your Game is an annual larp equipment fair that runs every February in Gloucester.
The fair is hosted in the thirteenth century Blackfriars priory. A number of modern buildings have been also been built at the site. The fair uses both the old and new. Which is sort of nice as you wander between different architectural periods as you look at different types of equipment. Something that is added to by its higgledy piggledy layout. Several different buildings, interconnecting rooms that are all spread over several floors. So if you want to see everything you kind of have to explore and quest a bit.
The majority of the goods offered cater to the UKs massive fantasy larp scene – but if you look there are all kinds of little gems. For me that was getting a chance to try out an absolutely massive steam punk ‘beam’ rifle. This thing was huge ,all brass, leather, wood and valves. It vibrated as it built up charge to fire and had a wonderful heft when shouldered.
But I digress. Let me explain our coverage of this event.
What follows is a photo gallery. Its not that large as the nature of the venue didn’t really lead itself to photography of the stalls. However we do have a lot video material, that as I write is in processing. All being well there are going to be some fun interviews and sequences to watch.
The big question is would I go again. Absolutely I would. Great demonstrations and lots of fun and interesting people to talk to. Lets also not forget the kit – the quality was as ever awesome.
Tin Tin is a Swedish larper. This series of interviews features her talking to Stuart about the creation of a historical larp.You should note that these are all audio recordings despite being placed on YouTube (just for ease of streaming).
So do not worry if all you can see is our logo.The four parts are.
In this section Tin Tin talks about how she came up with the ideas for this larp. She also talks about why she wanted to write it in the first place.
2. Planning the Execution
Tin Tin explains how she documented the larps execution plan. This story is about a group of people waiting for someone at a coffee shop. Tin Tin wrote techniques that would help players to offer up a stories about the person they were waiting for. Creating this document became the plan on how to run the larp.
In this section we talk about the main story-line and also how each character ties into the web of subplots between the cast of players in the larp.
4. Practical concerns
The conversation moves into the real world. We discuss the practicalities of finding a venue and how to keep the cost down to a minimum by asking players if they would be willing to contribute their skills in some way. I.E. someone baking all the cakes.
We’d like to thank Tin Tin for all her work in the production of this series. This is an important contribution to larpbook.
If you would like to do the same please get in touch with us. We’re always looking for new and interesting material.
The image used in this post is from Flickr user A Birkan CAGHAN. You can learn more about this picture and its licence here.
My journey into StatusLarp started when Reno sent me a link to his Random Character Generator. So here is that video!
Yes it really is rolling up a character the old fashioned way (with dice). Yes it is a lot of fun. Useful – potentially but I think that depends entirely on your game. And also if you really want a disposable fantasy character – awesome. I mention the disposable character as something that is created as an emergency fill in (for example death of a venerated character at a fest event), but when roll played takes on a life of its own. Here its not the generation process that matters – its what you do with it afterwards. So you know – no way am I knocking a random character generator. Also I now want to play a sweater knitting dwarf.
The Random Character Generator is the largest part of [StatusLARP] as I write. Its part of a playlist that is 54 vids long.
That in itself is an achievement. Although not the end of things. There are quite a few other uploads in this channel. Fun things like larp songs and practical things like using leather layers and thonging.
All in all a fun channel. Yes I have subscribed – which means there is a good chance of seeing more from Reno on LARPBook.
Here are some [StatusLARP] links for you
The Random Character Generator: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SA1s9gSBaw
The [StatusLARP] Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZ6lcOMRTRTkWO4xllwceGg
Will it become important for people to watch larp? I ask as it seems that at least in British if not in western culture that importance comes from a shared experience. That watching is by far the easiest way to achieve that. Just think of how deeply sports and more recently reality shows have embedded themselves in the consciousnesses of nations. A great deal of this success seems to stem from how easily something can be viewed instead of being done.
This puts larp at a bit of a disadvantage. Larp is all about participation. It is not about viewing. In fact for good reasons larp groups shun audiences. Two of these are
- Immersion – its hard to lose yourself in a story if someone is watching, and looking for your next cool line. Possibly applauding your actions.
- Safety – Want to watch a vast rolling battle with hundreds of participants. You’d better know how to avoid getting caught up in the action for your own safety.
Letting people see larp is a better solution to trying to explain it. As many larpers have found out – finding the words to adequately explain larp to an non larper; or worse someone outside of geek culture is not easy.
So what can we do about this?
To start with we can circulate more great photos and videos. In fact this has been one of the greatest trends that I’ve noticed in larp over the last few years. That being the increasing number of talented photographers and videographers out there doing great work. The importance of this and their achievements cannot be underestimated.
However good this is – you still cannot dip in and out of a larp; or looked at highlights from an event. These are the tools of mass media and larp in general does not do this. Yet these could make all the difference. Consider these 2 pieces of anecdotal evidence.
- Henry Golding from the BBCs travel show spent time recording Fairweather Manor 3 last year. I had a chance to chat about his experience and one line stuck. He was stunned by the quality of acting that came from the larpers present. He hadn’t expected that.
- When I’ve shown non-larpers well shot pieces of larp footage that did not include combat but instead where character studies their interest levels went up. They immediately looked for the story hook. So often we don’t show our strongest hand – storytelling.
This suggests to me that we not need to talk about larp. We need to let people watch larp. Somehow we need to do this without putting an audience into a game as that is really a non-starter.
The next step might be to follow what happens in some conferences and reality shows. A recorded live stream. Live so people can watch as suits and recorded so a presenter can introduce key scenes.
Technically this is an enormous challenge. I can have the idea – but cannot give you the recipe on how to do this.
So how about this. LARPBook has been investing in film-making tech so we will try and improve how we cover things – and distribute the lessons from our experience. That may help some people. An even bigger help would be if the larp hive mind thought about this. In Larp there are a great many highly skilled people. People who could come up with answers to this problem. Also lets not look for the ultimate solution for all larps. Lets look for appropriate solutions for some larps. How about a journey of lots of small steps, all learning from each other, promoting the hobby as we go and seeing what we can achieve.
The image for this post comes from Flickr User Davidd. You can learn more about this image and its licence here.