Conventions Larp

Judicious Consequences

Last weekend was the tenth annual run of Consequences, the UK chamber larp convention. When it started it focused very strongly on the style known here as freeform, but in recent years it’s broadened out considerably, and you can find a real mix of styles and approaches. It’s a very friendly, mingly kind of convention, with lots of socializing mixed in with the larping. It was great to see a bunch of new people along this year, as well as being lovely to catch up with old friends!

Consequences has eight timeslots, so you can really get a lot of gaming in if you put your mind to it. These days I need a certain amount of sleep to recover from the late-night partying, so I stuck to five. Which felt about right!

Friday: staging and pathing

Friday afternoon was Karolina Sołtys and myself running It’s Just a Stage, our co-creative larp about a theatre company. We’d run it twice in Stockholm the previous weekend, so it was interesting to see how it went with primarily UK players. There was terrific inventiveness and some great character arcs and interactions – although the tone was in places a little different to the earlier runs, the general sense of it was very similar. Now we have to finish off the script document so other people can download and run it… always a fun task.

On Friday evening I played in Critical Path (authors: Amanda Brown, Jill Krynicki Dutcher, James Silverstein, Brandon Brylawski, Doug Freedman), which was a very interesting experience: I played Killian Shepherd, inspired billionaire. Without wishing to spoiler it (it’s not a transparent design), I’ll say that this tale of a hyperdrive trip cleverly manages to work a great deal of emotional depth and resonance into a short space of time. The rollercoaster is kind of gruelling, but tremendously rewarding. Recommended!

Saturday: denying and willing

Saturday afternoon saw Nickey Barnard and I run Queen of Denial, a classic-style uk-freeform which we wrote and ran a couple of years ago, back by popular demand. It’s a farce set at the court of Cleopatra, and aims to provide enough plot scaffolding for players to let their inventiveness run wild – our job as GMs is then to try and keep all the horses more or less running in the same direction (literally so, during the chariot race). It was lovely to see this set of players come up with a whole different set of crazy ideas and outcomes to last time.

Then in the evening I was in Will That Be All?, Graham Walmsley’s larp of servants in a great house between the wars. The design carefully constrains the narrative space and removes distractions, letting players really focus on the interesting interpersonal material that they generate together. It’s a solid piece of work, which can be run from a deck of cards – this is a really nice publishing model. I was playing James, the petulant second footman with a fondness for His Lordship’s 1896 Chateau Lafite.

Sunday: clubbing and finding

On Sunday I got up early to take part in a run of The Baby Club, the larp that David Owen, Jamie Harper and I wrote at a workshop meeting of The Game Kitchen earlier this year. I won’t say too much about the content here, but you can find out more at those links. David has been pretty much driving the project since the initial design, and it was good to see how the setup and play have been streamlined and made more effective. All in all it was a powerful, supportive and rewarding play experience.

I’d been hoping to squeeze in an extra game later on Sunday – Until We Find Him, by Anders and Rasmus Troelsen, which had wowed people at both Fastaval and Stockholm earlier this year. Unfortunately time had dragged on, and I had to disappear after just the first day of the search. (I was playing the supporting characters, rather than one of the siblings, so this wasn’t as disruptive as it might have been, thankfully.) I’d seen enough to like it very much: hope I get a chance to play it through fully some time soon!

The future

This year, Consequences had some uncertainty over its venue, and the committee worked tirelessly to make sure that everything was in place for us. It’s great to have heard that this is secure for another two years at least – I expect to see the convention go from strength to strength!

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