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Showing posts from July, 2012

Crolarp 2012 review

I came back from Crolarp and woke up from a nap I took earlier... As I mentioned earlier, tomorrow I'll be heading to Germany for Drachenfest and afterwards ConQuest of Mythodea, two biggest larps in the world - I won't really be able to write articles in that time, and I need to resume packing soon. But in the meanwhile, the first Crolarp, the biggest Croatian larp of this year certainly deserves a review.



While not the biggest Croatian larp ever, it was certainly the biggest Croatian larp since Summer Sessions. It was visibly bigger than Jaska 8 last year. The quick count given to me by Mladen at the end of the event was 76 people. That would make it bigger than this year's Jaska 10 and Rajski Vrhovi XVI put together. People from all over Croatia came to visit, plus some international guests: Gareyth, and representatives of two Serbian groups, Green Banner from Novi Sad and Guard of Ravens from Belgrade.



Players separated into six camps total: The Barbarian camp, the Ci…

Pre-Crolarp: good times and drama

Two days ago on Sunday a small event was held called "Royal feast". A couple of hours of indoor roleplaying, it was a prelude to Crolarp which starts this Thursday, bridging the story arc from Rajski Vrhovi last week. It was a cheerful and relatively peaceful event, with a couple of in-game incidents but overall the mood was very pleasant. There was plenty of food, drink and song going around to set a good mood, with a decent roleplaying and even several new people who never played before, some of them with impressive character portrayal. Edit: Watashi's photos

And high spirits continued until the next day when GAIA association announced that they are pulling their support from Crolarp. They will not be participating in storyline design. A lack of communication was cited as the reason. Much drama ensued, and it will probably not be resolved anytime soon. In the meanwhile, the organization of Crolarp will fall entirely upon the Zagreb groups: Ognjeni Mač and Shire of Krv…

An insane LARP summer

It will all start the upcoming weekend. Crolarp. The common project of several Croatian LARP groups, and likely to be the biggest Croatian LARP this year.


But it's just a start. When I return from Crolarp and sleep through the night, it will be time to go to Germany where I'll spend two weeks in two biggest LARPs in the world  Drachenfest and ConQuest of Mythodea.


It will be an unforgettable summer. This blog might get a little slow while I'm attending all those events, but I'm sure I'll have plenty of stories to tell once I return...

Start a LARP 6: Run an existing LARP!

Start a LARP! It's easy - use your imagination, and create your world and way of playing. However, you might have some reservations about doing it from scratch. Not a problem!

There are, luckily, available resources on the internet which can help you run a LARP. You'll find everything, from ideas and advice (such as on this site), free fantasy rules (such as Simple LARP system and others), and even some pretty much complete deals whether you want to run one-shots or campaign style larps. Various larp sites around the world can be your resource to start a LARP.

Other LARPs might also let you use their rulesets. Or you might use them without their knowledge, which they might be OK with or not. Some LARPs organize themselves in networks or franchises, and you can open a chapter, utilize already existing resources and connect to various players around the country or world who run games under that system. Examples are:

Amtgard - a battlegame society, full contact, sporty battles. Yo…

History of Croatian LARP: NeCroSys

It's true that most Croatian fantasy LARP is either Amtgard or using Amtgard rules, or some variant thereof. And that has been the case for the last 15 years, since the beginning of Croatian LARP until Terra Nova started this year. That's why the question of rules is a big one to most Croatian players. But there have been other ideas in the early years that made attempts to change the scene. Today's article is guest-written by one of the insiders in the early Croatian LARP scene, Tomislav Šimat. He's been there since the first Summer Session, and his vision of LARP was different - some would say ahead of the times. Nine years ago, a new croatian system (NeCroSys in short) was created. This is its story - as well as an insight into an early age of Croatian LARP and how it came to be at all...


In mid-'90s a group of Croatian role-players gathered in the ruins of an old fort near Kutina for a game in a (more or less) authentic environment. They liked the game but deci…

Fallout LARP announced

It has been prepared for quite a while now. First rumors of the Fallout LARP appeared a couple of years ago, several people got excited and started getting the gear... But nothing happened. Then two years ago, some rules started circulating around, and finally the first Fallout LARP was scheduled for June last year... only to be canceled. It has now been announced again for August 10-12.

Organized by Mario, one of the oldest active LARPers in Croatia, Fallout LARP looks to be the first event to utilize airsoft weaponry in Croatian LARP (it might bridge some airsoft people and larpers). Rule system is available in Croatian only, and it's a class-level system in a similar manner to Amtgard. There are some interesting modifications though, including exams that players have to solve in order to level up...

It will be held very close to where I live - about five minutes away by car. It could be an interesting experience, and hopefully it won't get canceled this time around.


History of Croatian LARP: Clans and guilds

It is interesting to note that today's mainstream fantasy LARP in Croatia has very different social dynamics on the event than what it had before. Today, most games run with relatively small numbers. Players which consider one LARP their "home LARP" usually camp together when visiting another organizer's game.


But until half a decade ago it was not about the organizers... It was about the clans, and things were running differently. Clans were most prominent in what I called Second Age in my recent Croatian LARP history article. They performed several vital functions which are usually missing from today's Croatian LARPs. While breaking and factionalizing the game, they were also enriching and diversifying it. They recruited players not for the larp, but for the clan - they had their own RP and agenda, visual identity (colors, flags, livery etc), camp organization etc, and - storylines of that time usually being weaker compared to what they are now - clan relations…

Start a LARP 5: Create some characters

Start a LARP. To do so, you'll need players - and certain characters that those players will play.

There are basically two ways to create a character: a player creates one, or a game master/larpwright (for one-shots) creates one. Various LARPs use one style or the other, or - commonly - both. Player-created characters are commonly referred to as PCs, sometimes or somewhere as freeform characters. They might be completely freeform, or choose from one of the available races, classes, nations etc. in game. GM created characters are usually more restricted (or predefined, depends on how you look at it) and they tend to take several forms.

Pre-written characters are GM-written characters in games where usually all characters are pre-written. There are no player-created PCs in those games, although players "fill the blanks" in GM's description to give those characters life. Different descriptions can be provided, from paper thin to certain fates awaiting characters. Pre-w…

Rajski Vrhovi XVI review

I returned earlier from Rajski Vrhovi XVI. And all I can say is: for me, this was the best Rajski Vrhovi event I was on so far. I haven't been to all of them, the first one I was on was XII in 2010, then XIII in the same year. I skipped last year's XIV in June due to it being rescheduled to when I was not able to attend, but I visited XV last year in August and a shorter event in December. Each one was a better event, progressively, in my opinion.

Something was happening all the time - puzzles, combat, PvP action, roleplay etc, and from how people reacted on the event and from what they told after, they liked it. As part of the quest team for the event, I did some input on the story of the main quest... and did a lot of running and fighting. The main quest was written and GMed by Vjeko and Ksenija, with whom I did Terra Nova over a month ago. There was the necromancer above, plenty of ghouls and gnawing, puzzles, poems and items... Vjeko's teaser published last Sunday hel…

Short history of Croatian LARP

If we look at the history of Croatian LARP and how it developed, we could divide it into several distinct time periods, eras, ages, or however you want to call it. This is not an "official" division or anything - I will explain the criteria which I used to divide the periods further below.


The First Age (1997 - 2001)

The first age was about one larp only - Summer Session (also known as Kutina LARP), a fantasy LARP organized in Katoličke Čaire near Kutina. It was organized once a year, and it was the game which unified pretty much all Croatian LARPers - a game which was basically synonymous with Croatian LARP, and pretty much defined what mainstream LARP looks like in Croatia now. LARP was spreading around and getting more popular, and events were getting better and better. Summer Session 2001 had a population of 60-ish players.


The Second Age (2002 - 2006)

I put the start of the second age in 2002, the year first non-Summer Session LARP (Motovun LARP) appeared in Croatia. A…

Start a LARP 4: LARP format

Start a LARP. Seriously, it's easy and fast to do so. Check out other articles in the series if you don't believe me. Today I'll be talking about format your LARP might take.

Basically, in the world of LARP there are two basic types of events: campaign events and one-shots. As you go from one larp scene to another, you'll see one type being more popular than another. Majority of Croatian LARPs are campaign events, though there are a few one-shots here, most widely played one being Love is blue. If you haven't larped before, you might have already imagined LARP as one of those two types.

The difference is in format, purpose and how they affect players. Campaign events seem to be more popular for fantasy LARPs (though not in every scene), and they allow playing the same characters in future events, creating more opportunities for characters to grow. They are also very cost-effective, as they allow players to build up their gear over time - which is very good for fan…

SCA Croatia, Rebecca, and Dani Frankopana 2012 in Crikvenica

Just under three weeks ago, I did a coverage of SCA Croatia. As I promised in that article, I went to the coastal town of Crikvenica to meet Rebecca. We met at the medieval fair called Dani Frankopana 2012 (Frankopan days - Frankopan were one of the most famous medieval noble families in Croatia), celebrating 600 year anniversary of Crikvenica.



I noticed two larger reenactor groups being there, Red Čuvara grada Zagreba and Vitezovi Zelingradski, there was a nice band called Minstrel playing (wearing plenty of clothes, considering the heat they must have gotten cooked alive in there), and some vendors - I've seen some of them, while others were new, and locals sold quite a lot of interesting stuff. I haven't seen much of the program, which is mostly my fault because I came during the noon and blazing heat, but I got myself some nice stuff for larps.



I might not have gotten the full picture, but I'd call the fair itself a rather mediocre, mostly due to most of it being just …

Larp scene in Switzerland

From time to time we did cover some info on other countries' larp scenes. Most Croats have heard about what larping is like in other countries, such as Serbia, USA, Germany, nordic countries, etc. But, nobody here spoke about Swiss larp scene.

A French larper Thomas B. who lives in Switzerland published this very nice presentation about Swiss larp scene that was originally done on Knudepunkt 2011. Well actually there are two separate and distinct Swiss larp scenes, German and French speaking (and yes, they're also different from larp scenes in Germany and France). The presentation video focuses mostly on the French speaking scene.

It has some amazing info, about unique playstyles, influences, humor, nuclear bunkers and organizing a 400 people French Swiss larp which is an amazing feat (compared to total population size, it's like 19,000 player Mythodea or 800 player Croatian LARP).

Without further complications, here is the 30 minute video about larp in Switzerland.

Larp i…

Announcing Crolarp

The story about Crolarp is a rather long one. Ever since the first Croatian LARP (Summer Session in Kutina) went down, Croatia was without the single "main LARP event" of the year which would get majority of the players to attend it.

The largest events in the past few years switched. In 2010, it was Utvrda Svjetlosti as the only LARP which broke the 40+ limit. In 2011, it was Jaska 8 with close to 60 players. Still, it was far from the numbers that old Summer Sessions had which were over 100 for several years in a row.

While general LARP quality improved greatly since that time - every major LARP I've recently attended was objectively better than any Summer Session I was ever on - there was something special about those old events which attracted people.

Perhaps it was the fact that for a long time it was not only the main LARP of the year, it was the only one and there was nowhere else to go. Perhaps it was the Summer Session's inclusiveness, and perhaps it was the…

Book review - Lizzie Stark: Leaving Mundania

Last week I was on a vacation. Since I usually have a crowded schedule, I don't get to read as much as I used to in my student days, and I usually compensate for that on my holidays. Last year I did some reading of Steven Erikson's books. This year though, there was one (recently published) book that caught my eye. It's Leaving Mundania: Inside the Transformative World of Live Action Role-Playing Games by an American journalist Lizzie Stark. So, I got it... Or at least the digital, Kindle version of it.


Obviously, it's a non-fiction book about larp. It's not my first non-fiction larp book - I've read several Knudepunkt/Knutepunkt/Knutpunkt/Solmukohta books, the article collection from Czech Odraz conference etc. But this book was different.

It's hard to point a finger and say "this book is about this" or "this book is about that" considering larp. There's a whole lot of content in it, including:

Description of several different larps …

Rajski Vrhovi XVI next weekend

This year's first Rajski Vrhovi event will be organized next weekend. There are many things that make a Rajski Vrhovi event specific - it's the oldest currently running event in Croatia, it has most events behind it, and it's the only event in Croatia that is organized by the official Amtgard chapter, Shire of Krvomedje. Since this blog started last year, I also covered two events from the last year here.


There are a few differences that make Rajski Vrhovi different from a player's point of view: Noćni lov (Night hunt), which is a traditional battlegame on Rajski Vrhovi, it's a separate activity done (traditionally) every Friday night on Rajski Vrhovi. Another difference is the fact thaton Rajski Vrhovi you cannot permanently lose your character due to death. Other than that, storyline-wise the world in which Rajski Vrhovi is taking part is connected to other Croatian larps.




The game location will be, as usual, in Budinjak, on Žumberak mountain around 1h by car fro…