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Showing posts from 2016

Die Katakomben Halloween 2016

I've larped in Germany before, three times on ConQuest and twice on Drachenfest. These are the biggest larps in the world, arguably very different from smaller larps that most people are used to. Ever since my first time there, I've been hearing about Katakomben - a larp tavern in Cologne (or Köln, for those of you using the German name of the city). So I decided to visit the Halloween event they had. Katakomben is organized as a monthly larp event, and it's played in a fort on the outskirts of the old city, close to the South Bridge over Rhine river. Once a month, the interior of this fort is decorated and plays a part of the in-character tavern... which can appear anywhere, and change layout... I took the photos during the day, as during the event itself (6 PM - 2 AM) it was dark and very dimly lit - plus, characters were already role-playing, and I felt bad taking my phone out. However, a photographer Kira Hagen was there, and made a lot of character portraits  so

Mind's Eye Theatre: Werewolf The Apocalypse rulebook review

Available on DriveThruRPG Just under three years ago I wrote a review for  Mind’s Eye Theatre: Vampire the Masquerade rulebook . It was the first book published by By Nights Studio, and a year later I reviewed one of its supplements - Storyteller Secrets . Now, after a long period of work, after the success of their kickstarter campaign, By Night Studios finally released the full version of the new larp rules for Werewolf the Apocalypse setting. This was preceded by various alpha, beta, gamma, delta and omega slices - each containing a different playtest version of the rules, slowly released from September last year until July this year. First impressions were that the artwork is very cool, and that the book is HUGE. Numbering at 762 pages, that's over 200 pages more than Vampire the Masquerade. But before I start going in-depth, I'd like to mention that this blog's readers come from various backgrounds - and I'll adjust my review accordingly. I assume I'

Warcraft Live 2016 review

Before I visited ConQuest , I went to a Warcraft Live larp in Hungary, seventh part of its' series. Like last year , it was played at the same terrain near Tatabánya (about 60 km west from Budapest), where Chronicles of Demgard is also played (on a side note, there was no "international" Demgard event this year, so this year Warcraft was the only larp I've been to in Hungary - alongside with PoRtaL of course). As its' name suggests, Warcraft Live was built pretty strongly with Warcraft lore in mind, and the main story relies on it - I will be using some Warcraft terms in this review, if you find something unfamiliar you can refer to wowwiki or another similar resource. The setting was in the non-canon place called Principality of Hummingbird, but since it's located in the currently inaccessible part of the world map this was not really an issue. Although, the weather on this year's event was so hot and humid that it could have easily been set in t

ConQuest 2016

World's largest larp event. There's really no other like it. This was my third ConQuest - I've been there in 2012 and 2013, and every time I've been humbled by the sheer size and massiveness of the experience. It's impossible to review an event like this as a single person, since so many things are going on that you don't get to see or know the vast majority of it. Perhaps that's what makes it so special. The sheer scale makes it a world of its' own, and makes things possible which are simply not possible on small larps. The one thing that is possible is writing one's own experiences about it. I arrived to the terrain on Monday morning, 2 days before larp started, after traveling from Hungary where I've been on Warcraft Live event (another story for an upcoming article). Early setup made it possible for me to get everything sorted out, set up my probably smallest tent at the event, help others put up their tents, wash and dry my laundr

The Family Andersson review

The Family Andersson is a Swedish chamber larp written by Åke Nolemo and Johan Röklander. I played a run yesterday in Zagreb, Croatia, organized by Miroslav Wranka (aka Siro), based on English translation by Tor Kjetil Edland and Håken Lied. This was the larp's third run in Croatia, but first one in Zagreb - it was run in the cities of Rijeka and Osijek before that, as part of the "Larp day" events which presented several chamber larps to the general public. Zagreb has yet to receive a similar event - this was a separate run, under the renewed SRP . The Family Andersson is a modern-era family drama for 8-10 people, which deals with family inheritance distribution (as well as some Christmas plans) between the siblings. This is a simple premise, however there's a twist - the number of characters is half that of the players, and each character is played by two players in a tag-team sort of way - the players switch and alternatively play the same character. Every

Divlja Krajina 1 review

Who are player characters? What is their purpose? Each larp defines that differently. Or perhaps it would be better to say, early Croatian fantasy larps did not do that at all, they were designed as a blank canvas allowing (at least in theory) every player to choose that for themselves. As these larps themselves progressed, various concepts would be more or less viable and playable. Terra Nova 2012 was the first fantasy larp to cast player characters specifically as colonists of a foreign land (other factions were added later, and from this year new setting will have factions designed from various player choices in last 4 years). TESC larps were a series of one-shots, each with their own factions which generally helped form what players are. And now comes Divlja Krajina, which focuses on a very specific role: all player characters are adventurers, braving the undiscovered divlja krajina ("wild region" would be an approximate translation) in hopes of fame and fortune.

Terra Nova larp rules and setting public beta

This year's Terra Nova larp - planned for May 20-22 - will feature a new setting and a set of rules. This year a larger group of organizers joined the Terra Nova team. Plans for this year are considerable: new rules, new direction in design, more plot and props than ever before. In fact, rules are why I'm writing this post - I'd like to invite you to read them . Comment on them (or below). Write about what you like and what you don't like. We will take all feedback into consideration, and finalize the rules in the next two weeks. They're also under Creative Commons, so if you wish to use them feel free.

Portal 4+ announced and other convention stuff

This is the big news. The fourth PoRtaL convention was announced, and it will take place in a month - April 15 to 17. True, it is a bit later than usual - so far it has been organized late February or early March - but it is happening. In Budapest, like the second convention (I was involved with organizing first and third conventions in Zagreb). The program for fourth convention will provide more focus on the educational and interdisciplinary content, and besides the presentations, discussions and panels, there will also be chamber larps, larp exhibit, and there's a planned publication. There's a CFP for it, and presenters can send their presentations in article form to be included as well. The main website (with registrations) is available here . You can also check the Facebook page and event for further info. As a refresher, PoRtaL is the biggest larp convention in this part of Europe. And only one, because apart from PoRtaL, there are really no larp-specific co

Larp World Magazine Issue #1 Review

A commercial larp publication? I was intrigued from the first moment when I heard about it. The question, of course, is whether it justifies the $5 fee. I don't think I bought a magazine in over 15 years. With the growth of online portals - deriving their revenue mainly from advertising - I just found a lot of info available online for free in the main area of my interest at the time, which were computer games. However, at that time finding decent info about larping online has been almost impossible. Even these days, when the situation is better than it has ever been before, larping is not only undocumented but also very context-dependent. Larpers might find a publication written for another larping scene difficult to apply to their own situation, because of different goals, issues, customs, player base, legal situation and much more. It's no surprise that - being US based - Larp World Magazine is US-centric. It's published by Joseph Valenti (the owner of NERO), and

Playing between the larps

Badass larpers of 2002 In almost all campaign larps, the idea of players continuing to play outside regular events has come up at some point. The first time I experienced it was 14 years ago, in the simplest model of them all, quite beautiful in its simplicity: a group of players recruiting new players to help them beat up the other group of characters. The particular larp in question has been played only once a year, so establishing something more complex was hardly productive. But a few years later, as we got the first full story campaign that had over a dozen small events a year (Ognjeni Mač events in late 2000s), the idea of continuing play beyond the larp events appeared. Since a lot of people there including myself had experience with old play by e-mail roleplaying games, we set up a similar "tavern play" play by post system, which allowed online RP in a very limited way since there was little that was allowed to happen except small talk and a few harmless acti

Izgon 1.1

Some larps can really affect their participants. Or people running them. In my personal experience, I was most affected by the Izgon larps which I ran (Izgon is the Croatian word for Exile). Without failure, all three of them so far have brought certain changes. Some friendships grew closer, others went apart. There was a lot of stress, and a lot of happy moments. A ton of bleed-in and bleed-out, to the effect that the larp became a way of life for a few of its' participants. Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself, but then again, I've been thinking how to write this article for the past 3 months since Izgon 1.1 ended. This review is way past its' time, as the experiences of Izgon 1.1 happened a few months ago, and have already been "digested" by a lot of players, and there have been other reviews for months already - such as this one on the Fair Escape blog . Let's start at the beginning. Izgon 1.1 was a third larp in the series of urban fantasy pervasive