I went to Walpurgis, in the beautiful wilderness of the Baza caves in Spain. In Walpurgis, we played a Satanic Cult preparing to sacrifice one of their own for Walpurgis night. I attended because I loved the sensual, surreal experience offered, the “play to flow” style, and because it was a great opportunity for me to combine two hobbies: larp and shibari.

It’ll be hard to write a report because the play was often conflicting and surreal, but I’ll give it a try.


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Consequences 2018

Jan and me shared a lodge with Iris and Simon, who got along swimmingly. Great setup for a good con!

Sad Mary’s Bar and Girl

I got to play an Over The Edge game!

OTE is my favorite setting ever, but I hardly ever get to play in it. I was happy to see this on the game lists, and even happier I would get to play what was clearly a tulpa!

Jenny told us this was a bit of a dated game, and she advised us to not hold on to our secrets, but play it fast and hard. Thus this game became an excellent exercise in putting stuff out there! I was greeted with “Hey, girl, you’re not real!”, asked why I’d killed so and so and made fun of my bad facial expressions right from the start. I was actually a very nice way to play! We breezed through the scenario, which includes a group hallucination and a cultist ritual. I had a great time with all the weirdness. A good start.


Sign is a LARP inspired by kids in the first school for the deaf in Nicaragua developing their own sign language. It’s an inspiring story, and the LARP that commemorates the events is equally poignant. I choked up reading the character cards multiple times. I really empathized with these kids that had lived in isolation for so long, finally met kids like them, and created a language together that allowed them to speak their truth.

My character loved soccer and had a heartbreaking truth she wanted to tell the other kids. There was some palpable frustration at not having the words to tell them in the first half of the game. But we got to make up our own words, and we were encouraged to use our background to make signs. Thus the sign for parent became the sign of someone blowing on a whistle: just like my soccer coach dad would do. At the end of the game, we could have fairly good conversations in our own language. It was pretty damn awesome!

The LARP was great, it was my favorite game of the convention and I can’t wait to run it again back home. The design is so clever and the play is so evocative. I also enjoyed learning about this particular corner of history. I wish more LARPs would be this educational.

Villains anonymous

Super villain support group. “Just because I’m bad guy doesn’t mean I am bad guy, you know?” I was Hades, had a beautiful blue haired wig, tried to be as funny as possible. I played up my burn-out, my family issues and my LDR relationship. “It’s been a looooong six months, if you know what I mean”.

Dave did a great job of leading the support group and shining the spotlight on all of the characters equally. Claire was hilarious as Gaston. Nice game. This would have done great as a Thursday opener as well!

Toil & Trouble

Three Witches, three heroes. Three fates to be decided for the good of the realm. I’m always a bit weary of decision-making LARPs, as the discussions can get mired in boring technical details exactly two players find interesting.

But this game had a great setup, with great character links, lots of drama and tense interplay between all the characters. I enjoyed almost making my betrothed cry, stunning the Witch Hunter with my marriage proposal, and pushing the burden of deciding onto the person who would suffer most for it.

Cameron & Adina went all out on set dressing, creating an entire witches coven! So pretty!

Born this way

Queer These are the days of our lives from the 80s to the 10s. Rei provided a great historical infosheet on queer lives throughout the decades that made this game very educational. The decade appropriate playlists were a nice touch.

It was a very intimidating to play stories of vulnerable minorities, because you really don’t want to fuck things up or be insensitive in any way. There were some character options I stayed away from, because I felt I didn’t have the knowledge to portray them anywhere near properly. Much love to the other players for bravely taking on some challenging stories and portraying them beautifully.

I played a lonely gung-ho lesbian activist who seemed to fare relatively well under the hate and repercussions she received in the early decades, but couldn’t get used to the changes the decades brought. “You are still stuck in the 80’s, aren’t you?”, Malcolm said and I cried as he finished my story arc for me.

What a nice game. I’d love to run this myself.

Spring River

Experimental LARP where we play different aspects of a character, inside out-style. Linus, Elizabeth and me were Noah’s Hedonism, Idealism and Competitiveness. We were all stuck together with string & carabiners.

Noah was generally considered to be kind of a dick. But we really enjoyed each other’s company as we ran around, tried to bang people (Hedonism) and tried to become captain (Competitiveness). It was great fun to interact with other people, and shove the best aspect forward. Or push yourself forward and make everything worse. Or get asked a difficult question like “Do you like me?” and go into crisis mode to yell at each other.

When sometime died, their death would inspire other people and they would get the deceased’s aspects. We got someone else’s Controlling aspect and totally fucked our our relationship!! When a child was born, we would give it one of our aspects. Really interesting!

There were a few design choices that didn’t work. The character sheets weren’t very consistent. People kept remarking on Noah taking stray cats home and doing chores badly, but we knew no such things! Odd. Still, a good time was had!

Critical Path

Critical Path is a game that inspires a cult-like devotion in anyone who’s ever played it and a compulsive tendency to hide spoilers from the uninitiated as to not spoil the experience. Since I am now in the Critical Path Cult, I won’t say too much here. It’s a wonderful sci-fi game about the maiden voyage of the spaceship Victoria.

It’s a very angsty game full of drama and remarkably low on puzzle solving. The few times that we did try to engage in hard scifi deduction, a GM Brian subtly appeared by our side and whispered “Trying to solve the puzzle” into our ears in a non-judgmental reassuring voice. It would be useful to have that in real life :-)

I played the ship’s physician and psychologist, and even though she had her own share of personal drama, a lot of my play was mentally supporting the other characters. In game, that had great advantages, because it gave me the license to drop in on any kind of intimate conversation without breaking the interaction. It was a fun job to try and keep everyone going without intruding without squashing their own personal angst.

It was pretty quiet after the game. Most people were very affected by their drama from the game. I was pretty affected myself, though that had nothing to do with the game’s many dramatic twists. I was already pushing caretaker fatigue in my real life, so playing a counselor in a hectic game was pretty on the nose. Instead of talking to someone, I excused myself, went to my own lodge and ugly cried while listening to The Last Shadow Puppets. I should probably talk to someone about that, huh?

Nap time

It’s the time of day for the sleepy five-year-olds in the nursery to settle down for their daily nap. They eat their milk and cookies, hear a bedtime story and a lullaby and then settle down to sleep. This is a soft and comforting style game, where nothing happens and the players simply inhabit the characters and live the experience of being a sleepy five-year-old. 

Nap Time is a joke that turned into a very interesting LARP! I was massively looking forward to playing it all convention. To fully prepare for my part as a sleepy child, I stayed up until 6 am, slept only four hours, and then dragged myself out of bed to nap in character. Anything for a game!

It was an interesting experience. You’re not expected to interact as your character, or even be very expressive, play happens all in the experiencing of your surroundings and in your own thoughts. Taking the performative aspect out of a larp was surprisingly relaxing! Inner experience is a huge part of my regular LARP style, and it was fascinating to only play with that part for once. I would play more head larps.

We were encouraged to think 5-year old thoughts as we were trying to sleep, so I thought a lot about space. What if our preschool was in a spaceship and the spaceship was hurtling through space? Then we’d be in space too. But we are on earth and earth is also in space, so we are in space RIGHT NOW!! This got my 5-year old far too excited to sleep, so instead I tossed around violently and got labeled as “the unruly child” by Simon and Elina, who were silently making up stories about us as our school teachers.

The game was very evocative for some (to tears, even), others thought real person thoughts or simply napped. Either way, people had a fun nap. Then I went back to my lodge to go back to bed.

I would also like to run this!

Primordial soup

A game about primordial single cellular organisms evolving over five epochs. You play it in a hot tub! Mo bring all the good games.

The epochs were all really distinct and interesting to play. The ocean started off very warm and comforting as we floated around, developed flagellae and brushed each other with our tendrils. But then we had to compete for food, locations and sexual mates, much more aggressive and confusing experiences. Finally, we crawled out of the sea, and onto the cold harsh land.

It was really fun and silly to play. I hope to run this myself in a hot tub near you!

Lampposts in Bloom

(old game, just found the review for it in a stray folder)

During newyears Stannie ran Lampposts in Bloom for us. What a great little scenario. On the surface it seems like the standard relationship drama fare, but then it turns out to be SO much more. Fun fun fun!

I played Len Travalian, who is mostly on the outside of the many drama’s happening, except that he’s also kind of the cause of everything and feels terribly, terribly guilty for it all. He’s trying to make up for it with baked goods, but it’s not working!

Len is a really fun character. There’s a lot of amusing misconceptions around him that I liked playing into. He got beaten up *and* shot, and generally martyred his way through the entire scenario. I actually won the “I punch Len in the face” conflict, which means I got to narrate how Len actually steps into the punch because he feels so bad that he has a few punches coming. It was only at the end that he decided to leave these guys and flee to France and research what the hell had been going on from relative safety.

He’s also tragically cooky, because he’s kind of the only one who has a bit of an idea of what’s going on… but he can’t really do anything about it. I enjoyed interrupting people’s drama to ask really weird sounding questions (“SHUT UP, LEN!” was a recurring statement) and doing laughably useless wiccan chanting.

In between, people we having some high quality shouting and drama. We opted to stick together and go the full on drama route instead of splitting up and being more investigative. Definitely the better choice. Stannie did a great job of keeping the tension and the horror high. What a cool game!

It’s only the system that’s very confusing and not really necessary? I mean, I think A system is necessary for the complicated conflicts that can arise – the game can turn pretty PvP. But the Unknown Armies system is pretty complicated to learn just for a one-off.

Marked: a school for heroes

“Aka “A touchy-feely game about being an asshole”

I played the first” run of Marked: a school for heroes! It was very much Xavier’s school for gifted youngsters with the serial numbers filed off. The game was set in the beautiful Ingestre Hall in Stafford. They couldn’t have found a better location. It was perfect!

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I played Katie Gill. Katie can hear when people are lying. She can’t turn it off, so she hears a lot more lies than she is comfortable with. All the lies (“I’m not cheating on your father”, “We don’t fear you”, “I love you”) really eroded her trust and she vowed never to tell a lie herself. We left home at a very early age, and joined the other Marked at the Heap, the best time in her life. Now at Mistry, Katie tries to control her temper with meditation and iron self-discipline. Perhaps, here, Katie can finally find people she trusts.

Larp prep

I’m horrible at doing prep for LARPS. I’m a lazy costumer, I prefer to keep my pre-game links weak, and I usually read the design document on the way to the LARP. I did buy a beautifully tacky matching pink Adidas tracksuit to wear, and I found my theme song.


Radical Honesty #1

I also bought Radical Honesty, the book that started both the movement and the commercial cash-in of a therapist who claims being radically honest is the only way to lead a happy life.



I’ll save my review for Goodreads, but it basically read like a flimsy excuse for being an asshole. I didn’t know at the time this would be a fairly apt summary of my game ;-)

Team Asshole

I was in Team Hurricane. It quickly turned out that Team Hurricane was a collection of angry, resentful people with no social skills. We had

  • Marino, who had spent his life in prison or in a torture lab and who had highly destructive laser eyes
  • Josefson, an angsty bullied kid who can absorb kinetic energy
  • Felstrike, a child soldier from space with lightning reflexes
  • Violet Mystry, the daughter of the recently deceased founder of the school and who creates powerful illusions
  • Kenny Woodley, an angry social justice paladin who controls gravity
  • and our teacher, Boomstick, who could turn anything into an explosive

Welcome to testosterone world! To make matters worse, Marino and Josefson developed an abject hatred for each other the very moment they met (Hate at First Sight?). Our main ways of communicating seemed to be 1) beating the crap out of each other 2) telling each other to fuck off.

I had no clue what to do in the group! Katie was pretty chill and utterly non-combative. Since everyone in my group was angry and dangerous, I figured I would play Katie as having her shit together fairly well. She went for morning runs, stretched on the lawn, had some amount of social skills, and tried to loosen up her fellow team mates. I also figured it would be fun to learn how to box to get a little more combat worthy.

Becoming a team

After our first in game dinner, Marino and Felstrike went upstairs to drink, and I invited myself to their drinking party. We traded horrible backstories. I made fun of their friendless existence and their twitchy pessimism. Marino hit on me and I shot him down. We made a bond. This hour established most of my game!

Then it was time for our first Team practice, where we got the first of many, many bombs chucked at us. Dismantling bombs was Boomstick’s standard tactic, despite us pointing out that the Beacons never Ever Ever used grenades or any other kind of ballistics. But hey, “When all you can do is make bombs, everything looks like a nail”. It was neat to see how our powers could be combined. At one point during the game a teacher Delphi (who could foresee possible futures) gave me a vibranium box that I could use to safely detonate boxes on my own \o/

We also did quite a few training missions in the Virtual Room – a kind of holodeck that you could safely play out all kinds of scenes in. Those missions were the most fun combat. I especially enjoyed a fully “turn-based combat” game of capture-the-chair with us and Team Blizzard, that really allowed everyone to play on each others’ powers.

We had quite a few places to drink. Early on, a hologram showed us the secret room and we spent a lovely quiet hour in there with just the three of us, before it became mainstream and the entire school started hanging in there. After that, we started a drinking club on the benches outside of the school.

I got both Marino and Josefson to give me boxing classes. I put their players on the spot, but happily they both managed to improvise a great boxing 101. Fittingly, they gave me opposite information on everything! Stance, body position, hand position, the works (it warmed my emergent play heart something fierce). This was really fun! It also lead to Groundskeeper Dias fighting me to check out my potential in a weird, provocative kind of way.

Becoming friends

We got to see Marino’s background story play out, and see him discover that his memories were fake. And we were there to back him up as he confronted the person who engineered them. He asked me to the dance I told him “Jesus, no, Marino! And stop asking me, it’s fucking awkward!”

I got to spend a lot of time chilling with Felstrike, stealing his cider, translating dating into combat tactics so he could understand, and trying to convince him that it’s okay to maybe like people even if they could die at some point in the future. He gave me my superhero name, Closure. “Because she keeps exposing people’s bullshit so that they are forced to deal with it”. D’aww. At some point a hologram was asked who they were shipping. It pointed at the two of us, and we simultaneously turned around to see who it was pointing at. Team Hurricane was fucked up as is without dating in the mix!

Getting kidnapped

During the last night, I got kidnapped by Beacons of Purity who teleported in, grabbed people and teleported out. We ended up being captured, and walking through the woods so we could be transported to secret testing facilities to be made into super soldiers. By some coincidence Marino, Felstrik and me were in the same transport group, and the men had a great time winding up their kidnappers, getting beaten up and trying to exploit their weaknesses. It was fun to see them play out their survival instincts! They would be so elated after every combat (with Felstrike getting stuck in hyper superspeed mode). 

Our epilogue was our plan to become a Marked retrieval unit. To go out into the real world, find Marked and offer to bring them the opportunity to go back to the school. Go team asshole!

I really enjoyed hanging out in the aggressive anger-fueled Team Hurricane! It very quickly became a very open place where you could be as angry, crude and mean as you wanted while still being accepted. I loved seeing the team grow as people and become slightly more functional… while still all being huge assholes <3

Radical Honesty #2

The second and third day, I got to talk to a lot of people and use my powers of truthiness on them. 

We had decided that if people were lying while talking, they would flash an L-sign. This worked really well, and was not disruptive to a conversation at all. It also meant my power was fairly opt-in, people could play along with it as they wished. If they were put on the spot by players around them, I would remind them in IC that they could also just not answer. So I was fairly sure that if people did play along, I was free to push them on it. Because I wanted them to be able to time their own plot, I would usually say: “Look, I’m going to tell X what you just told me the very next time I see them. But it’s probably a lot better if they hear it directly from you. So go talk to them!”.

I did make good on that threat, though, and I spilled a lot of secrets (in what I’m told was a “casual, almost snide way”). At first, this gave me some anxiety (in a good way – I enjoy having immersive feelings pop up). In real life, I try very hard to give people the confidentiality they deserve.

But after a while, this completely flipped. I started feeling very anxious when I wasn’t telling the truth. When Atkins had erased her own memories because they were too much too bear, I saw her again only an hour later. As a player I knew that it wouldn’t be very cool to bring the truth again right now, so I limited myself to a “You’re not 16, you know”, and left it at that. But I really felt under duress because I wasn’t telling the truth!

So all in all, Radical Honesty was great in game, but in real life I would feel like a massive dick all the time. And just replace one type of anxiety with another. Not a big fan.

RH 0 – Jules 1.

The Heap / Slipstream

Katie’s origin story centered around the Heap. A squat in New Jersey where Josh and Katie had made a safe space for Marked. They mostly used it for hanging out and parties. There was friendship and for Katie it was the best place ever. Josh had far more ambition than just using his powers for parties, and left for Mistry academy.

Katie had a romantic link with Josh Park / Slipstream. Our interactions mostly focused on the fact that Slipstream had completely changed personalities since the Heap. He had become a wealthy-looking marketed consultant type in a suit WITH A FRIKKING TIE. The cool dude I knew and idealized from the Heap sold out! I have huge nostalgia for the Heap, because it’s the only happy period in my life. I’m devastated that it’s over, and I’m pretty sure that if I could only get Josh to be cool and amazing again, we could have it all back. Perfect ingredients for a relationship, right? Aggressive, resentful and judgmental is a valid flirting style, right? Yeah, turns out I belong in Team Asshole after all.

Slipstream was played by Mike, whose roleplay skills I had a chance to admire from afar in Death Boat. Mike preferred to stay away from full-on romance, but was happy for me to bring it in terms of awkwardness. Challenge accepted! Mike is a player who is very comfortable with checking in a lot, so I felt fairly safe to bring it.

At the early stages of the game, me and the other Heap people confronted Josh with his changed persona. I say helpful things like “I used to have such a crush on you back when you were still cool”We exchanged stories of what happened at the Heap, and expressed a desire to get together again. They had a psychic dreamscape together which I sadly missed (My only regret of the game! So much missed awkwardness there).

A lot of our conversations center around his suit, which is the symbol of everything that has changed about Slipstream. I’m very pushy about him ditching the suit and wearing some cool clothes again (“Remember when you had baggy jeans and a crew cut?”). He agrees to take off the coat. I give him a make-over by removing his tie and doing the top button of this shirt, and popping the collar.

Katie: He looks better, now. Right Deon?
Deon: Well, I wouldn’t say that. I mean, I really like the suit too, and if he likes it…
Katie: But he looks hotter now, doesn’t he?
Deon: Oh yeah, definitely hotter.
Josh: Is your plan really just to undress me until it makes me cool again?
Katie: …It is now.
Josh: Come on, Katie, do you really think just removing the suit is going to change me that much?
Katie: Well, that and removing the stick from your ass.
Josh: I see…

Josh organizes a stargazing trip around midnight. We take blankets, drape them on the grass, lie down and stare the the sky. Josh has a kind of space-laser with him that allows him to point out specific stars like slides in a Powerpoint presentation. He shows off various constellations and planets. People chat excitedly, everyone is relaxed and it reminds me *exactly* of our time in the Heap. “This is really cool, Josh. Thanks”, I say, and everyone heaps on their thanks.


Eventually Josh realizes he’s been pushing his real personality away to become a commercial success. He really did sell out! He has no idea what his personality is anymore, and wants to have a Heap party to remember how things used to be. He does explain that my incessant pushing for him to be one type of person isn’t helping.

The next day I ask him to the dance.

Katie: Josh, will you go to the ball with me?
Josh: I’m sorry, but I’m already going with Deon. We’re going as friends, but I can’t cancel now.
Katie: Oh, okay. Do you like me, though?
Josh: …Yes! But I need to find myself before I can talk about that more. You’re… really hard to talk to when I don’t even know my own mind yet, Katie. You keep pushing me.
Katie: Yeah, okay, I get that…. I’ll try to convince my team not to beat you up for not going to the dance with me.
Josh: Thank you?

I apologize for pushing him into being the cool guy he was five years ago. It was unfair of me to expect him to be who I wanted him to be just to hang on to the best time of my life. “I guess you don’t have to be a cool guy if you don’t want to be”. He is very relieved. A while later I catch him wearing the entire suit again :/

Katie: I’m disappointed in you!
Josh: But I’m proud of myself!
Katie: … Good on you, I guess!

At the talent show, we watch Josh sing. He never used to do that in the Heap! He is discovering new sides of himself, and I get to see them develop. Maybe he is kind of cool just the way he is. Felstrike catches my pensive gaze.

Felstrike: Are you sure you don’t want us to beat him up for you?
Katie: …I’m mostly sure.

Radical honesty #3

My proudest moment of Radical Honesty was not exposing some plot or embarrassing other characters. It was telling another character that what he just said right now hurt me  (Josh had asked me “How my date hunt was going?” after he had rejected me. I wasn’t on a hunt, I wanted to go with my crush!) and I said it right as it was happening! Something I am never, ever, ever able to do in real life! Committing to being honest meant constantly paying a lot of attention to my own thoughts and feelings. I couldn’t muffle them away like I normally do. This was really amazing to me, and I’d love to take that with me into real life!

RH: 1 – Jules 1

It was very nice to play a (kind of) romance as a Radical Honesty person. Expressing your feelings as soon as they solidify means you never bottle up any emotion. This isn’t always easy to deal with, but I does mean that people know exactly where they stand with you, and it makes rejection really easy to deal with. Obviously, you might want to be slightly less of a dick about it in real life. But I am becoming a big fan of … maybe not radical honesty, but perhaps radical sincerity?

RH 2 – Jules 1


Even though Gill was only my 5th choice for a character, I was very happy to be cast as them! I don’t much enjoy hamming it up in theatrical play but I very much enjoy social interaction characters. I heard some of the other non-combat characters felt useless in the combat parts of the game. I adore useless characters! I have very little need to look cool at any point in my life, and I love empowering story lines. In this case, learning how to box was a great way to express gearing up to become an action hero.



Kessel Run X

Kessel Run X happened. I can’t believe we’ve had ten of these already! Our little RPG housecon has all grown up, and is still introducing new people to good roleplay every time. I love it! <3

We ran five tables and two slots for a total of 10 games with 32 players. These were the games that ran (with a big thanks to Saki for the pictures! <3):

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Kaleidoscopic Consequences

Yet another amazing Consequences. You’d think it would get old, but it really, really never does! Consequences is like coming home. The new lodges are great and shiny, even though I do miss the open meadow that I’ve drunkenly traversed so many times.

The parties were lovely and warm as always, even if we had to deal out a lot of back scratches and promise a lot more to arrange them ;-) Next year, we are thinking of putting all the party people in the same chalet and making a dedicated party space. That might be both an excellent and a terrible idea!

I only played good games this year! Let me tell you all about them.

Damned Love

On Thursday night I ran Jay Treat’s Damned Love for Jan, Simon and Elyssia. Damned Love is the only game I know where the warm up exercises are more confrontational than the game itself, and this time was no exception! Man, what a game.

This is the story of a desperate soul who strikes a dark bargain to win the love of her unrequited crush. Damned Love is about desire, consent, power, loneliness, and foolish choices. A love triangle between a witch, her lover & her demon. It will end poorly.

I ran the game rather sloppily, but it all worked out fine. In this version of the game, the lover was a dreamer musician, the witch a needy housewife with a husband and a child, and the demon was “a sexy whisper just behind you”. I got to jump in as the musician’s muse, who was not very happy about having to play a part in the musician’s “I see your eternal soul” fantasy.

The magic influence in the game was subtle, and play essentially became one big metaphor for the ways people misuse their partners. To stave off a black hole of emotional need deep within themselves, or to hold up the other up high as an ideal rather than a real person with real needs.

Man, I just adore this game. I will run it every chance I get.

Closing Doors

There were two games at this Consequences that felt very personal and could only have been written by one person. One was CJ’s game about Danish resistance in World War II, the other was this beautiful intimate game for six players about life after Oxford. Is it a coincidence that they were both great games?

This is a game about a group of old university friends, meeting at their usual holiday cottage for another annual (more or less) reunion, who find themselves jumping through alternative universes. How differently could their lives have turned out? How might those small moments have changed the trajectories of careers, families, relationships? And what’s causing them to jump? Will they get the chance to choose which door to leave open, and which to shut forever?

We all played Oxford geniuses in quantum computing, theoretical physics and whatnot. Fortunately the game itself did not require technobabble. Our group met, mingled, re-established relationships and after a shocking revelation we skipped to a parallel universe where some things had played out very differently. And then again, and again! Eventually the universes started bleeding into each other and things got weird.

Stuart played my detached and befuddled researcher boyfriend/husband/ex-husband/friend with a lot of subtlety and attention for detail – perfect! He wasn’t really husband material, but charming in a man-child kind of way – in a sharp contrast with my extrovert businesswoman. There were subtle roleplay details that would reverb through all universes, and there was a designed emergent storyline rising throughout the scenes. My favorite game mode! I felt like we had a lot of love in every parallel universe, so I picked a romantic outcome.

Steve and Haplocke (<3) were great as a married couple that were contemplating the sacrifices they made for their family life. I can’t really say too much about this game without spoiling it, but it was very good! The themes were not heavy handed, the science took a definite backseat to the drama, and it flowed very well. I’d like to run this!

Last boat leaving

The Consequences schedule needed an additional game, so Tony whipped up something in his spare time like it was nothing!

Rural Oregon, 1982. It’s been 1982 for so long now that you’ve given up wondering why this might be. Is this Heaven, or Hell, or somewhere in between? Life goes on in Silent Valley; love flourishes and withers or becomes a lasting bond; dislike festers into hatred or is forgotten; relationships change slowly but constantly. There’s plenty to do here without ever leaving the valley – and nobody ever leaves.

I can’t say too much about this game, because it is quite spoiler heavy! My game was mostly about utilitarianism. I was a people pleaser who wanted to keep everyone happy by any means necessary. When it turned out you can’t keep everyone happy all the time, I had to do some difficult calculus on the new best way to optimize overall happiness. Since I was surrounded by cool 80’s men who don’t talk about their feelings, that made any kind of quantification very difficult! I kept asking:

Me: “How happy would it make you if I was with you only?” 
Cool 80s guy, staring dramatically into the distance: “Yeah, baby, that would be alright.”
Me: “No, I mean… Argh!! Okay, how upset would you be if we weren’t together”.
Cool 80s guy:“Well, whatever you want, girl, I’ll be alright.”

Damnit, people, quantify your happiness!!

But then, despite my highly rational nature, I got drawn into an emotional romance state by Graham who, like me, just wanted to stay in Silent Valley forever. We ignored many of the drama after that in favor of a single focus love that blots out the world. Graham played it in an 80s cool kind of way, physical, like straight PG Brokeback Mountain. It worked well!

Coffee with Alice

AlIce was the first program to pass the Turing Test, several years ago. But having passed the test, she had no further use or skills, and was sold to a young entrepreneur setting up an online meeting space for users of the new cyberjack technology and called it ‘Coffee with AlIce’. Now the same, slightly older, entrepreneur has announced a new business opportunity – an app to let users experience the taste of coffee through their cyberjack. He has invited reps from a number of megacorps, as well as popular bloggers and celebrities, to come to a taste test and marketing pitch.

This was my favorite game experience of the convention. From the feedback I got from the other players, it sounded like the game needed more substance to make it a full experience for everyone. But I stumbled into a wonderful spontaneous emergent storyline.

I played Alice! I wanted to ham up the fact that I was the oldest and most primitive AI, and that others had surpassed me. My problem was that I had written the new Coffee app, but David, the owner of the coffee shop was taking all the credit. He had my control key and forbade me to tell anyone I had made it! I decide to talk a LOT about coding instead.

At the start of the game I met a lot of other AI’s, including Zurich (played by Jan), who was an emergent AI and a bank, and a personal AI who’s name I’ve forgotten (played by Rei). We talked about what we liked to do with our spare processing power: coding, strategy games, making music for other AI’s, …

People asked what I’d been doing and I had to admit to having been in storage most of the past 20 years, and that my source code had not been updated for all that time. I had a lot of ideas of how to improve it, but my control key wouldn’t let me change my primary function: serving coffee.

I met a trader and his personal AI Lichte 1.4 (Cameron and Adina starring as world’s cutest tag team). Lichte 1.4 solved crime in her spare time. But more importantly, SHE’S A ONE POINT FOUR! I told them my tragic AI backstory, and we had a nice empowering conversation about AI functions and possibilities. After this, I changed my name label from “Alice” to “Alice 1.0” to embrace the possibility of change. RAWR, tiny meaningless act of emancipation!

I walk a little taller and talk to Zurich, who tells me I should talk to our Coffeeshop’s sales consultant (Andy) who is very much into AI freedom. They get me to explain what I would like my primary function to be (self-improvement!) and they make me go up to David to tell him. Whaaat!

Unbeknownst to me, Zurich had been talking to David and slowly convincing him that forcing AI to work for you is slavery! David is very regretful and definitely wants to make up for his mistakes, but he really, really needs the creation rights to the Coffee program. Seeing my chance, I ask for my control key instead. And he gives it to me! I AM FREE!

I am now also a highly illegal AI and will be terminated if I am found out. Worth it! I go to the GM and ask what I can do now and he nearly can’t believe I am holding my own control key. I rewrite my own source code and change my label to ALICE 1.1. Yasss!

I’m a little twitchy now, trying to accept my new life as a rogue AI. I want to show off my new 1.1 version to people, but I also don’t want to raise any alarms. I confess to my AI friend Rei and she proposes we can become friends. “Because friends are people who you can trust”. Trust, that’s it!! All I need to do is find a human I can trust to hold my control key, and then I’m safe! And I know just the guy. I hug Rei and run off to find the Lichtes.

He is very proud of my 1.1 status and says “The next step is to get hold of your control key”. “No,” I say, “the next step for me is to find a human I can trust. Will you hold my control key for me?”. He smiles and says “Only if you promise to always tell me what it is you want to do.”. I happily agree and I am adopted. <3

There are a few complications, solar flares, virus scans, security risks, but those are all far less important than teaming up with my new AI sister to convince Cameron to give us robot bodies!

Or, more accurately, a robot workbench so I can build better and better robots to match my ever-improving AI! FEAR ME, WORLD! Not bad for the world’s oldest chatbot :-)

(Mechanics wise, this game had a co-GM who, as a service, would go out and find the PC you want to talk to, and bring them to you. Awesome!)

The Final Cut

It is 1953. As the new queen ascends the throne, Anvil Productions attempt to churn out another of their critically panned but financially successful pot-boiler horror films at Balvinnie Castle, a half ruined castle in the middle of a Scottish loch; the perfect and cheap location. However, as the evening fog swirls in from the sea, a scream rings out and the mutilated body of a young cast member is found in a locked room. With sightings of serpentine figures underwater and strange noises in the night, will any of the cast and crew live to see the morning or will this be the Final Cut?

This was a good game, but sadly it didn’t really click with me. It required a lot of ham to make the play flow well and I do not ham well at all. Instead I did a ton of investigating and sneaking around – I was a secret spy after all! Then I found the two sleuths in the game and took them to all the places I had already visited, subtly pointing out clues that they were missing. There was a ton of things going on, and the mysteries were silly and convoluted. I quite liked getting to do actual investigation and puzzle solving, it’s been a long time since I had that in a game. I’m happy the GM’s explicitly said that it was okay to go back for more clothes if you were freezing, because I was!

Play Date

The after party ran until late, very late. I had about three hours of sleep. I contemplated dropping out of the morning slot, but since this game was co-run by Graham who we badgered into throwing said after party for us, it seemed very rude not to show up. I’m very glad I did, this was a solidly fun game!

In Play Date, a group of kids have been left with a teenage babysitter for an afternoon. There will be toys, craft time, pizza, and maybe some existential angst. Play Date is a game about children dealing with difficult issues. It asks how we know what is real, and whether that even matters.

We had a great time playing together. Elina was gorgeous as a child pageant girl who was convinced she was too fat. Nick played my bestest friend in the world who I spent a lot of time protecting, and Natalie was smack dab amazing as the most responsible teen babysitter in the world. As I planned, I had a beautiful temper tantrum on the floor with all limbs flying. As it turns out, that is fricking exhausting!

The game had a beautiful mix of drama and angst mixed with building play forts and having cuddly animal siege fights. Really cool!

Demeter: it’s a sailor’s life for me

We are back from Demeter, a horror larp in the Baltic Sea on an actual sailing ship! Jan and me played salty sea dogs, hoisted sails, drank copious amounts of hard liquor and sang many, many sea shanties before we died horribly gruesome deaths.

It was amazing! Highly recommended, would definitely sail and die again.

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Ship’s Merchant Harding and Able Seaman Vane. Salty sea dogs!

I always decompress from LARPs by vomiting words all over the screen until the experience is written out of my mind. Needless to say that there are sizable spoilers here. If you are thinking about playing Demeter, you’ll probably have more fun if you don’t read this!

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