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Interview: Tijana & Ines from 2013's OzOI

OzOI is the plot team which runs Ognjeni Mač's events, elected for one-year terms - they write the plot for the entire year, and play the majority of key NPCs on an event. The position was established in 2011. At the moment of writing there's a lack of candidates for next year's OzOI and it's unclear if Ognjeni Mač's plot structure will remain the same or if it will change in some way, and there are some changes currently ongoing there, but it's almost the time for them to pass the organizers' duties to other people.

The 2012's OzOI was interviewed just under a year ago when their term was over. Many of the questions I asked them were already answered by the 2013's OzOI during their candidature interview and you can read them there. Here's a new series of questions, answered by Tijana Migić and Ines Josić, two out of three members of this year's OzOI. The series is very much focused on their experience as the organizers - and sort of closing the circle since their interview. Enjoy the read.

1. Can you tell us something about yourself?

Tijana: I'm a newly unemployed person, one step away from a master’s degree in fashion design. I enjoy making costumes and crafting in general.

Ines: I'm Ines, I'm 25 years old, and I'm studying Electrical engineering on Polytechnic University in Zagreb. Yes, I'm a girl. I like books, music, boardgames, pen & paper games, all other geeky stuff and I survived the tenth layer of hell: Organizing.

2. Apart from Ognjeni Mač larps, which other larps have you visited in 2013?

Tijana: For me 2013. was mostly a race between LARPing and finally finishing my faculty. I realized too late that organizing will be taking too much of my time so I had none to spare for visiting other events… The only larp events I had time to participate in was Izgon 2, which was pretty fun for me because it was completely different than anything I played before and it gave me a chance to RP a bit on my own account; and Highland games feast which was the best larp feast I've ever seen.

Ines: Sadly because of my job and how much time organizing took this year I had much less time for other events. I've been to both of Rajski Vrhovi events, few Krvomeđe and Labuđa rijeka and Highland games. Also I visited or maybe better to say co-organized feast on Sunčev potočić.

Tijana's NPC threathened by Gareyth
in the snowy Maksimir park
3. Could you name some larps which have particularly inspired you during 2013?

Tijana: Not really…

Ines: Not really. I wasn't looking particularly at some specific event, but when I thought about how it should look like I was thinking and how past OzOI members were doing it.

4. Did you fulfill your plans for 2013?

Tijana: My only plan was to have fun and make some cool looking costumes. I guess I did then.

Ines: Most of them, yes. The closure of at least part of the old stories, the introduction of powerful good entity , improvement of costumes and overall visual impression of LARP. The biggest disappointment is Crolarp, I was hoping for great things from it. But Crolarp is a story that should be told in so many words that your readers will give up reading before the story actually starts.

5. What was the most important thing you changed?

Tijana: NPC costume standards? :D

Ines: I'm really proud of how many personal quests and stories we have twisted in the main story. If a player gave us a part of his story in some way, we were glad to play with it. But it's a thing that last OzOI started so we just continued the practice, as well as the pace of the game, break for lunch, etc. Since they got rules fixed and Player records organized we didn't have to deal with that. Thank you guys. So I'm going to answer your question with Appearance. Without false modesty, we made a hell of job with costumes, makeup, effects like glowing swords, masks, etc. Judging by the reactions of players, all the effort and time was worth it.

6. What accomplishments from your term in 2013 are you most proud of?

Tijana: Nothing specially.

Ines: Jaska XI. was the largest, nicely balanced and best event we made. The feedback from players was great, even from some of the players that are known to be extremely critical.

7. Do you sometimes wish that you did some things different? If so, what?

Tijana: I always do when things don’t work out as planned. I wish we took the advice the previous organizers gave us regarding collaboration with some people. I wish I’d done many things regarding my responsibilities as an organizer better.

Ines: Yes, we should have done less story based Maksimir events and more battle games.

8. What was your favorite moment from running games in 2013?

Tijana: Any moment I played Selma the nosy gnome bard and annoyed the hell out of people, and they even bought me drinks! :D

Ines: There was a lot of great moments this year: finishing Gareyth's story, the Devil granny, the scarecrow, playing seek and hide as dryad, running as a wolf with orcs, and playing mind games with Bane and Janoš. Also it was really fun to play Lucijan and Izidora Hrašćelukavski but I felt so evil, I was hoping that people will not hate me much.

9. What was the most important thing you learned?

Tijana: It’s important to make your own fun, no matter what the organizers serve as a quest/story, if you want to really enjoy the event you need to get into your character, set clear lines for RP and just go with it. Before I tried organizing I didn’t realize how much of the story actually depends on the players.

Ines: I learned the fact that if someone does not want to play you cannot make them play. And I learned to make myself cry when NPC should cry.

10. In general, would you say that you're satisfied with how your term in 2013 turned out? Why?

Tijana: Kinda. Some events went great, some were a mess. I can’t say I’m generally satisfied.

Ines: No, Crolarp turned out a nightmare. Too many of the organizers, no coordination of certain, negligence and laziness of others, disinterested players who are missing leaders, NPCs who worked on their own. Sunday after Crolarp I sat without words in the camp, trying not to cry in anguish. I still have no excuse for players why it turned out so bad, I can only say - I'm sorry guys.

11. What sort of games do you expect from Ognjeni Mač in 2014?

Tijana: By what is being planned now, it sounds like a lot of fun, action, fantasy and questing. A completely different approach compared to UOM larp we had before. I hope everything will work out as is planned.

Ines: I do not know what to expect. Setting is changed, we do not know whether there will be OzOI and the Assembly made a few decisions I disagree with. I'll be playing at UOM events, but I withdraw from participating in UOM after my mandate. Partly because of the lack of free time and partly because we turned back to the same thing UOM was accused for over the years: People do not want to play with us. I sincerely hope that there'll be more than fifteen players on events in 2014.

12. Did your understanding about running larps change, and in what ways?

Tijana: Of course. I had no idea what it means to run a larp for a year, can’t imagine how some do it for much longer and keep the will for it.

Ines: Definitely, I began to see the game from organizers point of view, and how every specific player breathes. I got a full insight into the mistakes that I don't not want to make when I start playing again. And I learned how I actually want to play.

Group player photo on Jaska 11, the largest event organized by Ognjeni Mač in 2013.

13. What advice would you have for the people who'd want to start GM-ing?

Tijana: Don’t try to please everyone; someone will always shit on your work no matter how hard you tried. If you try working with someone and it feels like you’re doing most of the work, get rid of that person, they’ll just annoy the hell out of you and you won’t do your job properly. Players can be assholes, but try not to be a bigger asshole while dealing with them. Being nice to people who attack you and call you names catches them off guard, use it to your advantage.

Ines: Breathe. It takes a lot of time and will. Do not work with someone who bothers you. Put yourself in the position of other players. Put yourself in the position of past organizers. Get to know your players. Breathe.

14. How do you feel about running larps again?

Tijana: I feel like not running anything ever again!! Just kidding, I’d love to help organize something here and there but never as a main organizer, don’t want that responsibility on my shoulders. If I do any kind of organizing it will be in a form of a costume maker and npc.

Ines: That's tricky question, you know? Currently I need a break. Maybe, depends on with whom, when and what. I like to entertain people but OzOI job is mentally exhausting and takes a lot of time.


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