DundraCon 2019

         This was my eigth time to DunDraCon. I attended on Friday by myself, and Saturday and Sunday with my son - who was on break from his sophomore year at college.

A Little Magic

Friday 2 PM in 508 for 4 hours
GM Troupe: Gamer Geekus
Type: LARP
System: GM Fiat
Players: 8
Variations: Some house rules
LARP Experience: Beginners Welcome
Game Content: Mainstream
Costume Suggestions: Modern day college attire
A simple story about love and dreamers. Brookview is an engaging New England town with a wealthy and aloof leading family, a quaint local college, and a little magic.
On a clear night in late November, a group of college friends all associated with the same enigmatic professor gather in a warm house under a full moon. Romance and magic are in the air.

This was a run of the published parlor larp by J Li. I player the unrequited lover Jean Frommer. I was familiar with the parlor larp series, and knew that this was unusual for the series - less dark, less conflict, and more romance. In retrospect, though, I felt this meant it had less energy and drive to it.

We did have low-key fun with it. As part of the plot, we schemed to get two characters together, playing drinking games and Truth or Dare. And there was some interesting discussion, but it definitely lagged at points without a perceptible progression to the plot. We had a main goal and possibly some side goals, but it wasn't clear how we were progressing on it.

Star Wars: After

Friday 7 PM in Salon AB for 8 hours
GM Troupe: Blue Lotus Productions
Type: LARP
System: Homebrew
Players: 30
LARP Experience: Useful
Game Content: Mainstream
Genre: Space Opera/Sci-Fi

Five years after the Rebellion was successful and with the death of the Emperor and Darth Vader, Grand Admiral Thrawn took charge of the Empire and when to war against the New Republic (For more read about 'Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy'). Thrawn was finally defeated and killed, and ten years later an imposter tried to take his place and failed (for more read about 'The Hand of Thrawn' duology). With the Imperial Remnant in tatters and on the edge of defeat, the Remnant sues for peace and proposes a diplomatic summit to hammer out a treaty with the New republic. It is agreed upon and is set to take place on Yavin IV where Luke Skywalker and his wife Mara Jade Skywalker can keep an eye on the proceedings. Yavin IV is also where Luke Skywalkers new jedi temple is located, and where his students will remain training and observing the forming of the treaty. Delegates from both sides will certainly be looking to gain advantage in the coming negotiation, both sides must be wary of possible sabotage.

This was a big larp with a number of issues, set in the extended universe. I played an old Jedi master, Kavik Izorian - who had somehow survived from the Old Republic, escaped the purge of Jedi, and joined in the new Jedi order being created by Luke. I described myself in the end as a "grey side Jedi".

This had a lot of creative and organization issues. The characters seemed hastily written, such as not having my partner - the other Jedi master (played by Wendy L.) - mentioned in my background. There was also what felt like heavy-handed directing from the GM through NPCs, as there was a more powerful Jedi master NPC. Also, the organizers lost one of three GMs for 30 players, usng a GM fiat resolution system with a lot of powers and abilities requiring moderation.

Still, there were good players, and I got to speak out about problems of the Jedi. I gave a speech that having survived the old Jedi order, I thought it was a terrible system, and that the Padawans were all accomplished free people who should have a say in how the new order is created. I was also, however, good friends with a rebel survivor intent on revenge against the Imperials who destroyed Alderaan - and particularly since my wife had died on Alderaan, but also out of loyalty, I helped him kill an Imperial (and secret dark Jedi Inquisitor) at the very end of the game.

Oliver Jones and the Turbulent School

Saturday 11 AM in 570 for 6 hours
GM Troupe: Kim
Type: LARP
System: Homebrew
Players: 10
LARP Experience: Beginners Welcome
Game Content: Family
Genre: Modern Fantasy/Harry Potter

Set in 2049, two generations from Harry Potter's day, this is a time of hope and a time of turmoil at Hogwarts. The wizarding world has been shaken up, and the new Hogwarts students are stranger than ever - mixing not just muggle-borns and purebloods, but also half-giants, goblins, and even house elves. This is a character-based larp about difficult adjustments, with various Harry Potter references and a dollop of magic.
Website: darkshire.net/jhkim/rpg/larp/wizardingworld/

This was the second time I ran this larp together with Milo. We had only six people preregistered, but got all ten due to people who showed up - and had to turn one person away. We had

Bluebeard's Bride

Saturday 8 PM in 159 for 4 hours
Group: Kim
Type: RPG
System: Bluebeard's Bride
Players: 5
Provided: All characters provided by GM
Rules Knowledge: Beginners Welcome
Game Content: Mature Themes
Bluebeard's Bride is a horror tabletop RPG in which you play aspects of the Bride's psyche investigating your husband's haunted manor. As players, you will explore Bluebeard's home as the Bride, creating your own beautifully tragic version of the dark fairy tale. Investigate rooms, discover the truth of what happened, experience the nightmarish phantasmagoria of this broken place, and decide whether or not you are a faithful or disloyal bride.
Website: www.magpiegames.com/bluebeards-bride/

This was an eagerly attended game, with 19 first choices for the five slots. One waiting player got in, and we had a fun very creepy time - marred only by the game going late past midnight while everyone was still into it. (Next time I'll allow for 5-6 hours just in case.) I had four male players and one female, which made me concerned that the woman would feel singled out given the premise. However, I think all the players were comfortable with the material and how play went. I read the full fairy tale aloud, explained the rules, and the players picked their characters - with the Animus as Brute, Fatale as Spider, Mother as Martyr, Virgin as Victim, and Witch as Medium.

We described the Bride as a farm girl - with strong, gnarled hands; a beaming smile (usually closed); a lean, strong figure with a hint of curves; indigo, distant doe eyes; and wild golden locks of hair. She left behind her mare Starfire [Animus]; her little brother Thomas (8) [Fatale]; her ailing father Isaac with brittle bones [Mother]; simplicity and smaller things [Virgin]; and Galveston, her lost love and bronco buster [Witch]. She gave to Bluebeard a carving of a horse [Animus]; a handkerchief with perfume [Fatale]; herself [Mother]; her own straw doll [Virgin]; and a book of Nordic poetry [Witch]. The Mother described also a touching scene of him saving a wounded doe for her, among other answers.

Fitting her wishes, the wedding was outdoors by an elaborate tent on the house grounds. With the dancing and partying, the Bride fell asleep on a couch in the tent, and was awakened the next day with Bluebeard leaving. Going into the house, the Bride first went upstairs, then to the end of the hall before opening a door. The first room had a key described as a rose handle, four teeth, and brass. I picked the theme as Body(Beauty), and described a dressing room with many mirrors and arrays of combs, tweezers, and bottles and jars that seemed almost more like an alchemical lab than make-up. They saw creepy things in the mirror - an older wife from an impoverished noble family, made obsessive over her looks. The Bride smashed a mirror and got glass lodged in her eye. Calling for aid, a maid came and held her down to take out the sliver with wicked-looking tweezers. Upset, the bride knocked her down - and she face-planted into the broken glass, then was dragged off by an enraged matron. The token upon leaving here was a blade.

The second room had a key described as an iron key with gold plate, baroque filigree, a fleur-de-lis, and maze-like teeth. I picked the theme as Religion(Punishment), and made it a dressing room for outdoors - with riding gear, crops, and a great round tree for cloaks. Reaching into cloak tree, the Bride found her hands chained and pulled above her among the cloaks, then was molested by hands from outside. This turned out to be a male servant who had a hand in punishing a former bride, but the Bride dealt with this by invoking the ghost to take her revenge.

The third room had a key described as having a feather and lectra (?). I picked this as a bathroom with a nature theme - fur rugs around, and murals of forests full of animals. The first horror was that they recognized one soft fur in particular as being from the doe that Bluebeard had saved. The Bride then wanted to clean up, but first had to deal with the shamed and now disfigured maid - who slit her own wrists in sorrow. The Bride held her, and soon the maid seemed a little too attached, and soon there was romantic tension. They brought out the doe's fur as a token.

We had not technically ended at this point, but we went to the Endgame as we were over time. We described the Bride escaping off to a faraway land, bringing with her a perhaps overly devoted maidservant. There she married again and lived for a time. However, as there was a terrible ending, Bluebeard did find her - and brought her husband's head as a present.

Grimm Shock

Sunday 11 AM in Salon AB for 6 hours
GM Troupe: Team Volare
Type: LARP
System: L.A.R.P.S. System
Players: 30
Variations: Some GM Fiat
LARP Experience: Beginners Welcome
Game Content: Mature Themes
Genre: Historical Science Fiction
Costume Suggestions: None required, but early 70's or Supers costume is fine
Saudi Arabia, Spring 1974. Six months after the OPEC oil embargo created an international oil shock and enflamed geopolitical tensions, a summit has been called to find a solution. Representatives from the U.S., Europe, the Middle East and the meta human nation of Thule are attending. World Powers and Super Powers will collide. A Team Volare Production.

I played a hipster-ish Iranian oil minister in this, named Bai Danesh. I was paired with Wendy L playing my assistant, who in the end turned out to be secretly superpowered. Also, thanks to Lydia for help with my outfit. I happened to have a nice pastel blue blazer in 1970s style, which I combined with a unbuttoned shirt and Lydia's gold chain.

There was a bunch of political wrangling that I tried to push through, getting the OPEC country representatives to finally agree on a joint statement. We all publicly called for withdrawal of foreign military from OPEC enemies and borders, but secretly we were working on our own private deals. Because of set individual backgrounds, it seemed there wasn't really an option for OPEC to work together. Saudi Prince Khalid (played by Theron G) was ostensibly my opposite, who tended to be opposed to Iran. We all had broad motivation points rather than predetermined goals, but the backgrounds still pointed to what we were trying to accomplish.

This used the LARPS system, based on Physical/Mental/Social stats on a 1 to 3 scale and rock-paper-scissors tests. Technically I had the power of "Master Manipulator" for a +1 on Charisma tests. This was marred by a misprint that I had a 1/3 in my Social stat. Even after correcting that, though, I ended up never using my power or any skills. In my experience, social powers resolved as mechanical attacks generally annoy players - and thus make further social interaction harder. So in trying to be social, I avoided my social powers.

In the larger plot, there was a strange superpowered crisis that I was aware of - unnatural tidal waves in the Mediterranean threatening ships and coast. These were worked out with the help of metahuman Thuleans. As I would have guessed, in the end, the superpowered plot took precedence over the political wrangling. Deals seemed to have little force. I had agreed with the American senator (played by Eric W) for Iran and the U.S. to have a public falling out, while they still covertly provided assistance to the Shah - that of course they could back out on.

Left Behind - A Wolf and Unicorn Production

Sunday 6 PM in Salon AB for 6 hours
GM Troupe: Wolf and Unicorn (Zev and Rebeka)
Type: LARP
System: Modified GM FIat
Players: 18
LARP Experience: Expected
Game Content: Mature Themes
Genre: Sci-Fi - Battlestar Galactica
Libran Freighter Galen's Passion 336 hours since the destruction of the colonies...
"We've been left behind. 14 days ago civilization as we knew it ended. After 52 years we lost the war. Those of us that survived gathered everyone we could and fled, guarded by the last of our protectors, the Battlestar Galactica. We hoped that she would lead us to safety, and eventually would lead us to a place where we would be able to make a new home for ourselves. Just two days later, our FTL engines failed, and the Galactica, and all the ships she was protecting abandoned us.
Our ship is compromised, and the command section is cut off from the hold where over 100 survivors have made improvised quarters. They have access to most of the provisions and supplies, but will have to rely on us to get them somewhere safe. I'm told it is unclear how long the ship will be able to remain flightworthy if we can't make major repairs.
We will not give up hope. Even when the ship malfunctioned, we survived. We made it into the nebula and watched as the Cylon armada arrived and left in pursuit of the fleet. Since then we've been travelling towards a planet we've detected inside the nebula. While conditions do not look welcoming, it should give us the shelter we need to make repairs, or even to make a new home for ourselves.
We will endure. We've survived the destruction of the Colonies. We've survived being left by the fleet. We will survive this."
"Captain, look at this! We appear to be picking up colonial transmissions..."

This was a game I helped GM with my friends Zev and Rebeka, based on the Battlestar Galactica reboot series. The key plot was external threat combined with the internal threat of a set of three military officers from the Pegasus who board the ship shortly after start. In retrospect, this was a tricky point. We got through casting quickly by having discussed it beforehand. However, after being cast, Mike F dropped out after reading his character - the lead Pegasus officer, as he thought it was too dark. Lydia B stepped in to take that part. They were both fine with this, but it could have gone better.

Mike F dropped out of the game after getting his character. His character was picked up by Lydia B, who had a pretty good time for a while, but was killed approximately 2/3s of the way through.