WyrdCon 2013

         This was my second time attending Wyrd Con - an "interactive storytelling" convention in southern California - mixing LARPs, ARGs, pervasive games, and transmedia experiences. It includes a number of panels on issues of interactive storytelling as well as games. I was introduced to Wyrd Con by meeting Aaron Vanek, Sarah Lynn Bowman, and Lizzie Stark at Solmukohta in February. There seemed a Nordic influence on the setup, but the crowd was quite different. The events that I participated in were:


Previous Occupants

This is a Nordic "jeepform" game in which two couples play at different time periods. The first couple are years earlier - and are fated to end up dying and haunt the second couple. However, we ended up cancelling this as one of the players found it too intense shortly after starting.


Masquerade in the Mirrored Hall

This was a boffer (nerfgun) larp set in the 1930s, where gangsters, celebrities, and some unusual characters mixed at an exclusive party. I played John D. Rockefeller - who seemed a bit old to be mixed up in supernatural or gangster, but then the game wasn't very historical. I was part of a conspiracy for civilized progress, and we succeeded in eliminating a traitor in our ranks at cost. I didn't quite make the underworld connections I was trying for, but came close.

This was the first larp using nerfguns that I had done. I tried a sneak shot from a distance on my target at one point, but the shot went wide and hit another person - who unfortunately was a vampire (?) who came after me. I talked her down and then bought her off, but in the process, a bystander who spoke up for me was summarily killed. (The vampire player abruptly shot her in the head from surprise during the argument, which was instant death.) I felt bad at that, as it seemed too trivial a death to be satisfying, but part of that might be adjusting to the alternate style of play.


Laneque's Chaos

This was a fantasy boffer larp, set in an inn just after an army had conquered the city. I played the innkeeper, Lenthan, of the Sinking Barge Inn, in the year 535 in the Empire of Nardus. It was part of a campaign, and the background was not easy to jump into. My inn had become a refugee camp for survivors of the Siege of the city, and I tried to balance between the new authorities, surviving loyalists, and others. The character did not have a defined goal per se, other than to look out for his own interests.

It used a simple system with noted abilities like: Truth Sense (2), Silver Tongue (1), Persuade (1), Thrown Weapons (1), Resilience x1 (2), Knock Down/Knock Back x2 (2), Knock Out (2), and Repair (1). Of these, I think I only used Truth Sense.

This scenario ended fairly quickly - as the opposed sides came to an understanding relatively quickly (i.e. "peace broke out"). In particularly, there was no fighting, which was something of a disappointment to me since this was the first time I had played in a boffer larp.


Exodus 22:18

This was a witch trial scenario, designed and run by Mike Tice. I was not preregistered for, but jumped into. I played a tradesman, friends with the potter (played by Jason Morningstar), though suspicious of his wife the weaver (played by Sarah Bowman).

....I played a few variations of ....


Dresden Files LARP: Strange Bedfellows

This was a fantasy larp based on the novels, where I played an NPC ghoul guarding the PC prisoners. I played Ghoul M - whom we named "Mort" in the ghoul grouping. There was definite fun playing up the ghoul team and our monstrosity. I played Mort as a slightly more civilized ghoul, though still single-minded in pursuit of flesh.

It was a rare experience for me to play an "NPC". I found it rather limiting, and felt a little stuck between keeping to my instructions (which were brief) and trying to drive interesting stuff in the game. Still, it was fun - and I got to taunt and eventually fight with some of the living people who were the PCs.


Starship Valkyrie

This was an extensive cross between a wargame, larp, and tabletop RPG. There were several dozen players for various positions on a starship. I was playing in the bridge crew - helm or weapons control - and we interacted trying to resolve a situation. Other major groups included medical, security, fighter pilots, and engineering. Each played a different sort of game to upkeep the ship.

I ended up doing well at weapons - but sadly killed off a number of our own fighter pilots when I seized an opportunity to take out a group of the enemy. Outside of the bridge, it seemed to get a little wacky - I heard that the medical crew were creating cyborgs or something. On the bridge, though, it was a pretty straight, mostly-tactical experience.


Requiem

This was a game in the style of Nordic jeepforms, designed and run by Christopher Amherst. The game was about a group of larpers around a member who kills herself, and was about community, isolation, and bullying.

The game was very personal and fairly emotional, and not appropriate for sharing. Overall, I thought it was interesting, though not among my favorites of the genre.


Conclusion

This was definitely worth the trip down to SoCal for me, and I got to meet a lot of new people. It seems like some people are taking after Knutepunkt in their approach to this, but it is definitely its own thing.

 


John H. Kim <jhkim-at-darkshire-dot-net>
Last modified: Thu Nov 14 21:17:12 2013