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Feasts - an evolution of a larp format


Feast (Gozba in Croatian) is a rather interesting larp format commonly used in Croatian campaign larps, getting more and more popular in the last few years. Its name is a result of misunderstanding. Amtgard rules were the only larp rules used for Croatian larps until last year, and they're still dominant - whether in use by Krvomeđe, the official Amtgard chapter, or other groups which use Amtgard rules, or variants thereof. Since Croatia was very isolated from the Amtgard in USA, some things were interpreted in a very different manner.

One of them was feasts. In original interpretation, it's a meal served on an event. In Croatian interpretation, it's an event centered around a meal and drinking, with very little action - and an in-character excuse to throw a party.

It was (IIRC) in 2007. when the first feast in Croatia was organized by Ognjeni Mač. Organized by Tomislav Prodanovski and Kosjenka Munđer in the association's headquarters, it had a small fee to cover the costs for some simple finger food and drinks, for a couple of hours of an in-character party in the same place and timeslot where the regular Ognjeni Mač meeting/workshop would be. These continue to be organized by Ognjeni Mač, though in a slightly altered form.

Food on Gozba na Banovom Brijegu 2010.

The first change to the format was brought in by me with "Gozba na Banovom Brijegu". I ran two events under Ognjeni Mač - one in July 2009., other in July 2010. They were different on three fronts: I was running them on my land (which included both indoors and outdoors), they were much longer (they lasted from 14:00 to 23:00, and then went out-of-character for a party), and they were much more high-budget with approximately triple the price of what was usual so far. The food was no longer potato chips and salami, now it was barbecue, vegetables, roasted boar in cranberry sauce and cakes. Those two were the only feasts ever made in this particular style.

The second change was introduced in 2010. by Petra Sabljar and Miroslav Wranka with "Gozba kod Posljednje Straže". They started a trend of high-budget feasts organized in an already existing object which already offer dinner, bar, sleeping and breakfast. In-character part would usually start in the late afternoon and end somewhere deep in the night, and people would retire to bed. These events started growing longer, having a more planned storyline, and eventually more planning and action , some of them blurring the undefined line between a feast and a multi-day larp. This year, Steampunk larp "Para pokreće svijet" chose this format as its main format of running a larp.

In March 2011. I ran "Proljetna gozba na Banovom Brijegu" at my home (again under Ognjeni Mač), in which I tried to simplify logistics. It was the first free feast, running under "bring your own booze, food can be ordered" (chilli was made for everyone who wanted some). This year, I ran "Terra Nova intro" instead (with Vjekoslav Kiralj and Ksenija Premuš) - I didn't run an Ognjeni Mač larp at my home, however others jumped in so we got four feasts-at-home which were organized in a similar style (two by Fran Putar, one by Robert Šelendić, and one by Damjan Gavran). However, this style heavily influenced (and partially replaced) events at Ognjeni Mač headquarters so that now there's little difference.

A lot of feasts tried to do something new. "Gozba Issarinska" in early 2011. was the first feast to be action-oriented with constant danger - a style which last December's "Gozba na Rajskim Vrhovima" brought to the full. Last year's larp Crkvari by Gaia was a mix of several feast styles offering an unusually long playtime - from the nightfall to the dawn, plus a tournament in the morning.

Size matters, at least in a Croatian larp. Feasts fit in nicely between typical events lasting a few hours (such as Maksimir) and weekend events which are viewed as the most mainstream format of fantasy larp. And they're growing more popular...

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