Conventions Larp

Tallinn Larp Festival

This was the third running of this delightful friendly larp festival (I also went last year), and it was at a new venue: a dance studio complex in the heart of the Estonian capital.

There were 17 larps running, and I think about 50 participants – as well as locals, people had come from Italy, Israel, Denmark, Belarus, and Latvia, and probably elsewhere.

Laura Wood and I were running Asking for It, which I don’t think I’ve written about here before. It evolved first from an idea that I had, but when Laura became involved it got transformed into something a lot better and more meaningful and telling, and it is now much more her larp than mine. But I still feel pretty proud of having contributed to it – it is not a fun experience to take part in, but it is I think an important and valuable one. (I find it very hard to even watch it taking place.)

I also got to play a couple of things! First was Designers & Dragons, by Ülo Leppik – a fun but also thoughtful larp set in the offices of an early RPG company (a thinly-disguised TSR). We enjoyed exploring the creative and moral tensions, the impact of finance on magic, the potential adverse power of the media, and so on, while putting together and playtesting a wonderful dungeoncrawl scenario for our hordes of eager teenage customers. (The book of the same name, by Shannon Appelcline, is a fascinating study of the development of the RPG industry, which is well worth a read.)

Then I got into Winson Green Prison, written by Siri Sandquist and Rosalind Göthberg, presented here by Diana Ostrat and Jaan-Magnus Tammepuu. This ran at The Smoke a couple of months earlier, and I’d heard amazing things about it. It did not disappoint! Characters were half imprisoned suffragettes, half males with ‘responsibility’ for them (husbands, brothers, fathers) waiting for them to be let out of jail. The action alternated scenes between the two groups. I was playing a male, and we spent most of our time sitting round a table politely discussing the pros and cons of female emancipation, while on the other side of the room our womenfolk were being brutalized by the prison guards.

The festival also has its social side – parties and communal meals – and Tallinn is a lovely place to visit. The organizers are wonderful people. And it’s very good value for money! I really recommend that you come along to the next one.

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