This year for KublaCon, the games I played in and ran were:
GMs: Matt Branstad, Michelle McNeill, David Coronado, Matt Branstad
Description: New Orleans, 1928 - As the mortal inhabitants of the Big Easy struggle with Prohibition, the supernatural denizens region have their own troubles. Shifting fortunes of new powers & established players have led to upheaval in the magical community. Many local factions have become enmeshed in a bloody web of shifting alliances and temporary cease-fires as all manner of creatures profit from the loose morals and shadow culture woven into the fabric of the Crescent City.
Recently, things have spilled over and even mortals have begun taking notice. In one high-profile incident, members of the Red Court got into a shooting match with the forces of local crime boss Michael Rossi, and came in second. If this continues, it will be all-out war in the streets, and nobody will be safe.
Finally, Lady Aurora of the Summer Court took matters into her own hands, proposing a treaty. In recent weeks, emissaries & demands have been shuttling back and forth among the various parties. Over the strenuous objections of the Red Court, and despite the outrageous demands of the White Council, a tentative agreement has been reached.
Tonight, in Rossi's elite club, Le Bat en Rogue, the treaty is set to be signed. The omens and portents point to something major happening here tonight, but such things are difficult to interpret in the best of times. In order to protect themselves, the senior representatives of the signatory factions have made themselves scarce, leaving their trusted (or expendable) underlings to do the actual signing. A sealed threshold, a nightclub full of supernatural creatures, each with their own agendas, prejudices, and vendettas – what could possibly go wrong?
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Summit Arcane is an original parlor LARP written by Theatre Arcanos and set in the world of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files. This game takes place before Harry Dresden's birth and features 20 non-canonical pregenerated characters. Knowledge of the source material is useful, but not essential.
Milo and I were partnered up - which was something of a first for us - working together as bodyguards of the human crime boss host, Mr. Rossi. As it turned out, our boss also did an amazing job of managing his supernatural horror guests -- kudos to the player, whose name I forgot. Other players included Zev as a Black Court vampire, Rebeka as a White Court vampire, and Wendy as a Summer Court fae.
Description: 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.
This was a trying but still fun game. I had run this game previously with an even mix of adults and kids as players, but for this game, the players were seven pre-teen kids, two teenagers, and one adult. Also, my ex-wife's nephew Jack was one of the pre-teens - and his mother was there to help. Just getting the game running and through was very chaotic, but we got through it, and everyone had fun. I think it was trying for the one adult Alisha playing caretaker Goyle, but she still complemented me on the larp design, and at least had some interesting material.
The kids all got up to interesting activity, and we still had the visions that were set up. There was a lot of running interference to keep the kids on track -- but they stayed mostly in-character and on-task for two hours or so, which I took as a victory. I recall the teenager playing Professor Scorpius Malfoy had a spirit walk of spending many years in prison for his family's crimes, and the caretaker had a vision of his future retirement.
Description: 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.
This was my second time running Bluebeard's Bride. I had intended for this run to be more hard-hitting, but I ran into more lines than I thought - and ended up going a bit softer than my previous run. (One of my players was only 17, which did influence my leaning.) Despite horrific warning signs and one aspect being shattered, this game did end with a Faithful endgame. The players and their aspects were:
We agreed that the Bride was a poor young farm girl, the youngest of 14 children. She was ostracized in her community, and self-reliant but not self-sufficient. She still felt herself a burden on her family. The aspects' connections were:
The Bride had a heart-shaped mouth, oval eyes with short eyelashes, rough hands, black long hair with bangs, and a skinny and tall figure. She had only simple gifts from the farm for her husband-to-be - a rose from the Fatale, a flower beard from the Virgin, collected flowers from the Animus, a private meadow from the Witch, and a hand-sewn robe from the Mother. Her suitor Bluebeard had won over the Fatale with his looks only for her, the Virgin with a carriage ride with chestnut mares to a picnic, the Animus with a long walk and dialog, the Witch with his philosophical sayings, and the Mother by his kindness to nieces and nephews. With her marriage, she left behind a would-be lover named Jeremy (Fatale), a mutt named Shaggy (Virgin), her family (Animus), her independence (Witch), and her niece Alice (Mother).
After her wedding, the Bride said goodbye to her husband, then went through four rooms:
Other rooms included a children's bedroom, haunted by the ghost of a foreign woman who was traumatized over them. There was also a greenhouse with a set of dog graves - marked by the dog and the human the dog had killed, after which the dog had to be put down. There was also the study which had a giant family tree of the bride, haunted by vicious ghosts of ancestors that looked down on the poor-born Bride. The family tree appeared as a vision of a giant oak with hundreds of crows on it, and the Bride was viciously torn at by their mobbing. This shattered an aspect (I think the Witch). After this, her niece Alice showed up, accompanied by Bluebeard's disturbing huntsman.
As mentioned, the game ended with a Faithful ending -- where the Bride survived, but lived her life in horror knowing the monster that her husband is, unable to escape.
Description: Phoenix academy, the premier school for young heroes. Only the best get invited to walk the marble halls that echo with the footsteps of history's greatest heroes.
You've been invited to join this years freshman class, A once in a life time chance. Its's your moment of glory, assuming you can find your 3rd period class.
The teen superheroes was also a lot of fun - the GM remarked on how our perfectly in-genre teenage antics were outshining the main plot. I played the Delinquent, as a super-genius gadgeteer 13-year old who was supremely arrogant and rebellious.
GMs: Danielle Goudeau
Description: You have all gathered, the eligible ladies and gentlemen of your town, for a night of convivial dancing and gossip, with no ulterior motives whatsoever. Still, it is a truth acknowledged by all that dances lead to understandings.
This larp will recreate the feel of a Jane Austen ball utilizing, in part, the medium of set dancing. Plots will center on romance, class structure, and familial relations.
All participants will need to participate in relatively sedate dances, which involve touching of the hands and shoulders.
This was run at BBC 2018 as "Regency Dance."
There will be potential NPC roles available for those on the overflow list, or who prefer not to dance.
TROUPE:Shiny Thing Games
This was an interesting game in the genre of Jane Austen, structured around a set of three period dances -- where the players actually conduct the dance. It was a difficult premise, but challenging and rewarding. I enjoyed it particularly for playing a good character who fit well with my views of Austen - a good-hearted and earnest young priest looking for a position.
The players and their characters were:
Also, there were two or three NPC characters, whom I hadn't noted down. The game started with background writing, with each player creating an only partly pre-written connections with four other players. My connections were:
I played through various interactions. Having the dances did nicely fit with keeping things in period, but for the genre and the time, it is quite a stretch to have so much drama -- including multiple proposals -- in at a single social event. It's like condensing half of an Austen novel that takes place over years into a single three hour social event.
I played Thomas as very earnest, and as progressive. I spoke out against the shallowness of money-chasing and marrying for wealth, against social prejudice, and against the wider ills in the world like colonialism and slavery. Over the course of the game, I gave up on his love of The Heiress, encouraged the Dutiful to give up on societal expectations, was offered two positions, and ended up courting The Burden, whom I proposed to at the end of the last dance - and the end of the game. I also got progressively (mock) drunk over the game, but in a speaking out honestly way rather than an obnoxious way.
The shuffler system this year was terrible. All players had to submit their preferences three weeks in advance, after which assignments were made. The user interface was poor, and they didn't require preregistered tickets. In practice, there were a lot of no-shows, and it was mostly first-come first-served to get into the open spots. That meant a lot of people sitting around waiting to get into games.
Other than the shuffler, though, the quality of the games and staff seemed fine. I got into some excellent games, and people seemed to enjoy themselves.