In Residency: This Sunday!

Free from 11:30 am to 5pm on Sunday, December 15? Want to play-test Lizzie’s new larp, In Residency, about artists at the elite Brython colony in Highland Park?
Drop her an email at LizzieStark@gmail.com for more info and to reserve your place.
About In Residency

For residents at this elite artists’ colony, Brython represents the chance to live full time as their most secret selves, ignoring everything but their sacred drive to elevate the soul through art. The rest of the year they may hustle to make ends meet as part-time artists and full time teachers, PR scions, copyeditors and grant writers, but here they live as sculptors, composers, and writers. By day, they make art in the beautiful surroundings of a fully staffed mansion, transforming their dark pasts into beauty. By night, they live in a fishbowl of observation and unresolved sexual tension. Will they overcome impostor syndrome to work on the projects they said they would? Will their off-colony relationships survive? Or will it all degenerate into a Bacchanalia?

This American Freeform game explores the tension between making art and talking about it, and within the social structures that arise in a claustrophobic social milieu. It also considers the relationship between trauma and art.

The game is free, but we have a pretty limited number of slots (11), assigned on a first-come first-serve basis, so if you’re up for it, please let us know soon!
Love and larp,
Lizzie, Emma, and Aaron

October Gamefest

WHERE AND WHEN

Come join us for Gamefest on October 5, 2013 at 184 College Ave, New Brunswick, a short walk from the New Brunswick commuter rail station. The festivities will last from 10 am to 9 pm.

WHAT

We’ve got all day fun planned — a couple short pickup jeepform games in the morning, from 10 am to 2 pm, and then a wonderful larp from the Norwegian Larpfactory in the afternoon, from 3 pm to 9 pm.

COST

We’ll be passing a donation hat ($5 suggested) to help cover the cost of props for this and future ventures, and we’ll also take up a collection for some mid-game pizza (vegan pizza is also an option!) in the evening. Because hungry larpers are bad at larp, and happy fed larpers always rock it.

WHO

You, maybe? We love introducing larp and roleplay to new gamers — players of any level of experience are welcome. Some of the games do deal with serious topics, so 18+ only please.

We are looking for anyone who is open to roleplay about serious themes, and who is 18 or older.  These games are great for larpers wanting to try a Nordic style game, gamers who are new to larp, actors, reenactors, cosplayers, writers, and anyone interested in exploring character development.

THE STYLE

Nordic roleplaying games tend like the ones we are running are short, mechanics-light experiences during which you act out the character you are playing. They hail from the Nordic larp tradition.  Nordic larp has lots in common with improv theater due to its focus on collaborative storytelling and immersive experience. Rather than winning epic battles or foiling political conspiracies, players will portray flawed human characters from a world that is very similar to our own.

Our goal is for each player to enjoy a satisfying story within the game framework. This may mean portraying characters open to tragedy and suffering as well as open to happiness. One of the values of Nordic larp is “playing to lose,” that is, the idea that it is fun to play flawed characters who will fail despite their best efforts, even though you (the player) know that this is a path to failure. For this reason, we encourage you to play characters who make or have made bad decisions! (You can read more about Nordic larp on Lizzie’s blog, and on the Nordic Larp Wiki.)

THE GAMES

The Morning Shift (10 am – 2 pm)

We’re offering pick-ups of these two jeepform games, and one short Finnish larp:

Robin’s Friends by Anna Westerling

A star, a producer and a caretaker – three close friends going away for a short holiday together to have the best time. But they each character have their own baggage, and the week-end is pulled apart by quarrels.

Robin’s friends is a short scenario with a lot of emotions about the beauty of friendship and the difficulty to communicate, even if your intentions are good. It’s about what happens when your inability to see others suddenly leads to the realization that it’s too late. But if you had the chance to do it again, how would you change it?

3 players and 1 game master

Summer Lovin’ by Trine Lise Lindahl, Anna Westerling and Elin Nielsen

Three girls, three guys and the stories about who did what and with who during a big. summer music festival. We will get the story as told by the girls, as told by the guys and then finally played out as it really happened. It’s summer lovin’ and tell me more.

This scenario is not about finding your perfect partner, having amazing sex right away, and living happily ever after. It is a scenario about the uncomfortable hook up in the tent, the grass in the ass, and the poor communication which leads to it all being awkward. But also about the nice feeling of making out, the thrill, the hope of something more, the fun and the laughter.

What really happened during the festival? How did the dead gorgeous guy you hooked up with turn out to be your crappiest lay ever? Or how did you end up in the caravan with the girl you’ve wanted for several years, even though you shouldn’t have been there in the first place? At least according to your partner.

Sex is a the main theme of this scenario, but you will not get physical with the other players above holding hands. Then the scene will be told thought storytelling down to every nitty, gritty detail, both physically and emotionally.

6 players, 1 game master

The Tribunal by J. Tuomas Harviainen

In this short larp, players portray members of a military unit in a dystopian future where the war is constant, the draft is large, and everyone owes their unquestioning loyalty to the government. Someone has stolen food recently, and it’s a serious crime. Will the unit turn in the person they believe is responsible? A short game about the mechanics of oppression, inspired by work like George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

5-15 players, 1-2 game masters.

The Evening Shift (3 pm – 9 pm)

Class Party: Playing the Cards by Trine Lise Lindahl, Frida Sofie Jensen and Tyra Larsdatter Grasmo

Play the Cards is a larp about being a teenager, about fitting in, about knowing your place in the hierarchy. You’re in high school; you know who you are, what your social position is, and most importantly, who you want to be. This is the first real house party. No parents. It’s the important party where everyone shows up and anything might happen.

We use a deck of cards to indicate high school’s unspoken, but oh-so-public popularity rating. The Hearts are the popular girls led by their queen, The cool guys are The Spades, The Clubs are the alternatives, engaged in politics or culture, and then you have The Diamonds, the outsiders and nerds that no one likes, who stick together because they have no one else.

The gist of this larp is to give the players the opportunity to re-live both the good and bad feelings of their teen years, to see the situation from different perspectives, and most of all: to remember when feelings and the small events of everyday teen life were the most important things in the whole wide world.

The idea for this game came from a fifteen-year-old in the midst of the awkwardness and social dealings that dominate the high school experience. Because the game designers grew up in three different decades, we feel we’ve found some of the essence of teenage life. We want participants to play the teens of today, but they are welcome to bring with them the feelings from their own youth, whenever that was.

Note: This game is about teenagers, and as we all know, teenagers tend to make out with each other and birthday parties. In game, this is represented by feeling one another’s faces with fingertips. Characters who decide to escalate the intimacy will touch each others hands and arms below the elbow. We’ll teach the techniques and safety mechanisms before the game, of course, but if you are very uncomfortable with touch, this might not be the game for you.

We suggest that you peruse the character sheets before signing up.

29 players, plus 3 organizers.

The Aftermath

Those of us who don’t have to race back to NYC or Philadelphia will venture off to a convenient local watering hole afterwards.

THE ORGANIZERS

This game is brought to you by a diverse team of enthusiastic Highland Parkers: Emma Waldron, performance researcher, Aaron Trammell, media studies expert, and Lizzie Stark, author of Leaving Mundania.

Got questions? Email emma.leigh.waldron@gmail.com or lizzie.stark@gmail.com. Or post in the comments below.

GREAT, WHERE CAN I SIGN UP?

Well friend, we’re first-come, first-served, so reserve your place by filling out this finely crafted form:

Limbo [PAST]

The following is information on one of our past events from June 2013:


 

Come play Limbo, a short Nordic larp about what happens after you die! We are hosting it in Highland Park, NJ on June 8, from 2:45 to 8pm.  Brand-new and seasoned larpers welcome!

(Already signed up to play?  Scroll to the bottom for the FAQ!)

About Limbo
The game, written by Norwegian designer Tor Kjetil Edland, examines what happens after you die, but before you move on. It takes place in the realm of limbo, a place outside of time and between death and the afterlife. The players portray a group of individuals who wake to find themselves stranded in this waiting place where they will reflect on their lives and choose a path to the other side.

The Style
Limbo is a short, mechanics-light game for 30 people, written in the Nordic larp tradition.  Nordic larp has lots in common with improv theater due to its focus on collaborative storytelling and immersive experience. Rather than winning epic battles or foiling political conspiracies, players will portray flawed human characters from a world that is very similar to our own.

Our goal is for each player to enjoy a satisfying story within the game framework. This may mean portraying characters open to tragedy and suffering as well as open to happiness. One of the values of Nordic larp is “playing to lose,” that is, the idea that it is fun to play flawed characters who will fail despite their best efforts, even though you (the player) know that this is a path to failure. For this reason, we encourage you to play characters who make or have made bad decisions! (You can read more about Nordic larp on Lizzie’s blog, and on the Nordic Larp Wiki.)

In keeping with the Nordic larp tradition, we’ll spend the first hour or so of the game in a workshop designed to foster community and help develop your characters.

We welcome players of all experience levels, so please don’t worry if you are new to Nordic larp!  In fact, we want noobs!  We are looking for anyone who is open to roleplay about serious themes, and who is 18 or older.  This game is great for larpers wanting to try a Nordic style game, gamers who are new to larp, actors, reenactors, cosplayers, writers, and anyone interested in exploring character development.

The Organizers
This game is brought to you by a diverse team of enthusiastic Highland Parkers: Emma Waldron, performance researcher, Aaron Trammell, media studies expert, and Lizzie Stark, author of Leaving Mundania. Got questions? Email emma.leigh.waldron@gmail.com or lizzie.stark@gmail.com.

622837137

In a Nutshell

          Date: Saturday, June 8th, 2013
          Time: 2:45pm-8:00pm
          Cost: $12 per person (cash only, payable at the door)*
          LocationThe Reformed Church of Highland Park
19-21 South 2nd Ave
Highland Park, NJ  08904
                             The church is an easy, 1 mile walk from the New Brunswick train station (NJTransit Northeast Corridor line)

*This small fee will help us cover the costs of venue rental, food, and game materials and decor.  After the game, we’ll all retreat to a local pub and use any remaining funds to buy nachos and a pitcher for the group.

Great, where do I sign up? 
Simply fill out this finely crafted form to reserve your space on a first-come first-serve basis. We’ll cap admission at 30 people, so the sooner, the better!

LIMBO FAQ

If you can no longer attend, please let us know!
If you signed up, we’re planning on seeing you there!  If you can’t make it after all, please let us know, so we can try to find someone else to fill your spot.  We are broke writers and scholars running this on a very tight budget, so we are counting on you to attend if you’ve signed up.The Venue
The Reformed Church of Highland Park is a short walk from the New Brunswick train station.  If you will need a ride for accessibility reasons please let us know, and we’ll be happy to help hook you up.Please be respectful of the church space, especially when and if you are in the corridors and common spaces of the building — there will be other community groups on site. We want to make a good name for larpers, and hope to be invited back for future events. Please use common sense with what you talk about and what kind of language you use when you are outside of our game room.  And, as per our church contract, please do not bring any alcohol to the premises.  (We’ll be going to a bar afterwards to socialize, anyway!)What should I bring?
$12 cash, maybe a little beer/ice cream money if you plan on hanging out afterwards, and a sense of fun and openness to trying new things.

You do not need to wear a costume for this kind of game, so just come in comfortable clothes that you will be happy moving around in for a few hours.

We will provide you with character sheets, props, and pens and pencils on the day of. There will be nibbles as well.

How into it are you supposed to get?
As into it as you want. No one will judge you if you get really into the game — we’re all here to play and to get the most out of the experience! That said, this game allows for a lot of different player experiences.

The experience you have will be determined in part, by the character you will create during the workshop. We’ll give you a short personal inventory, and you’ll fill it out as yourself, and as your character. This means you can make your character as similar to or different from yourself as you desire. No one but you sees your character sheet, and no one but you knows how “close to home” you are playing. If you’d like to play it a little bit safer, especially if this is your first experience with a game like this, that’s fine!  And if you’d like to take a few risks, that’s cool too. Part of the point of the workshop is to help us all get to know each other, build characters, and to create a supportive atmosphere.

One big difference between Nordic larps and other kinds of role-playing games you may have done before, is that there is no breaking character in Nordic larps.  Once the game starts, you will be playing your character for the entire duration of the game (a little under 3 hours).  This is what can make the game feel more intense, but also what makes even small, “boring” moments in the game feel special and important.  With that in mind, you might find it helpful to think of this kind of game as “naturalistic” as opposed to “serious”.

What will the game be like?
This game isn’t much like a traditional game. It’s more like an improvised play that we’re all in together. Your responsibility during the game is to help make good scenes for your co-players, and to pursue your own character arc and make your own fun.

LIMBO is about the interaction between characters as characters — it’s not about exploring the setting or trying to figure out the secrets held by the game masters, in fact doing this will break the game. There is no way to win or lose — it’s an exploration of your character’s values and beliefs.

We will walk you through everything you need to know before the game begins.  Also, this kind of game uses very hardly any statistics and mechanics, so you don’t need to memorize rules, or roll dice, or consult a GM to be able to play.  It is very user-friendly!

Time wise, the opening workshop will last about two hours. The game will last 2-3 hours, leaving us an hour for a debrief and breakdown. As with many games in the Nordic tradition, the workshop and debrief are considered part of the game experience. Plan to arrive on time!

That sounds scary. I’m afraid of messing up the game for other people!
Don’t worry. You’re going to do awesome. Although the game takes place in the surreal realm of limbo, the style of roleplay is naturalistic — these characters were real people living in the real world, so when in doubt, feel free to say what you would say, if you were in a room of strangers.

And we’ve often found that new larpers make the most interesting stories!

In addition, we want you to feel safe. If you feel uncomfortable or confused about what you should be doing during the game, you can always take a chat with Emma or Lizzie, and we’ll do our best to help you.

Any questions? Email us!