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PoRtaL3 - how it was

The third regional larp convention PoRtaL has been held in Zagreb just over two weeks ago. On this blog I've also covered two previous PoRtaL conventions, so you may check the links from the convention in Zagreb, 2013 and the convention in Budapest, 2014.

For reference, the convention schedule can be found here - program details and blurbs are available on the details page, and all the files used in the presentations are available here. The convention website is available here.

This year I was the main organizer. Several other Croatian larpers helped with housing of foreign guests, although the room was limited so several visitors took the hostel.

The location was Kinoklub Zagreb (you might recognize it from my other posts, as it's a common location for indoor larps in Zagreb), with a presentation room and adjacent bar.

Besides locals, there were larpers from Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Slovenia and Germany - and all of them had program points to contribute.

We began a few minutes late, but apart from that most of the convention was on time. There was a single program track with two breaks on Saturday, and none on Sunday.

The program began with larp presentations. Short larp presentations - informing participants of new and ongoing larp projects in our local scenes - were run in the order in which they were signed up, followed by the several longer presentations.

Improv workshop

Afterwards, we had a series of presentations from our international participants, as well as the discussion Planned Violence - Sarcasm as Criticism by Sonir, which was quite fun.

I'll specifically mention our Polish guests here. Their presentations were numerous and mostly about larp design, and for me this was the highlight of the content on this convention. (Also, while we're there - several of these guests are involved in College of Wizardry larp - you know, the Harry Potter larp in the castle. They're also running a very cool Indiegogo campaign about it, check it out).

This was followed by a block of content from local larpers. The presentation room was used for the larp The Cabin, while the rest of the content would happen in the bar room: a discussion about larping issues, and an improv workshop.

Saturday program ended at 21:00. Some people went to sleep, some went to party...

The Sunday morning program started slow, as a lot of people were still sleeping due to party last night. Unfortunately, the larp Isabelle had to be canceled - not enough people signed up, and even many of those who signed up didn't show up.

However, Siro and myself managed to run The Hirelings larp, with a total of seven other players. Hirelings was an interesting experience - and a learning one. We got a lot of feedback, and that could work to make the next potential run even better.

Hirelings is a parody on a failed fantasy dungeon crawl. Interestingly, the part which I found the most difficult - as a GM - was the final part of the larp, where we were supposed to give out XP in the least fair way possible. A lot of bleed there.

The first presentation was a survival presentation by Željko Travica - which included things of interest to every outdoor larper. Firesteel, and flint and steel were passed around and everyone was eager to make sparks with them. By this time a lot of participants woke up, and rejoined the convention.

It was followed by another series of presentations on larp design - one mine, and two by Dracan, which included a surprise unscheduled presentation: Timespace & Framing. Another subject with which Croatian scene is largely unfamiliar with.

The last program item was Siro's discussion - Knudepunkt in New Europe: A Call For Action.

It functioned as a sort of a debrief for the convention itself, and where to go in future.

We closed the convention, and went for some drinks after it finished.

Running this convention was a very learning experience, and there have been a lot of really good pointers - looking forward to the next year's PoRtaL! (likely once again in Budapest, just as last year)


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