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Patrik´s Blog, Part 3

Patrik is probably only one of the active larpers of the Czech community who makes his larp summary in English. It is an interesting insight into this hobby because Patrik makes larps – and plays them – a lot. And his interests in themes are wide. We prepared a summary serial of his texts that provide an unique insight into his larp experience. So enjoy and we hope that it inspires you to make your own summaries. :-)

Here are the first and second part of Patrick’s blog.

Larp Summary for February 2020

Well, this quarantine is making sure, I will stand with my goal to play less larps.
Anyway – last month I organized a Soireé de la Décadence – a vampire ball set in the Vampire the MasquaradeMasquerade local chronicles. The ball is both for the players and NPCs of the main game and also for people from the public, who like to play roles and enjoy the evening in a vampire setting. This year there were more than 200 attendees came.

There were few storylines to set the next and final chapter of our VtM game and also there were guests from other domains ,- thanks again for coming to Bratislava and Warsaw for coming!

And I also had my first „solo„ dance performance ever! We danced with the Prince, which was part of the plot about romance between my character and the Prince.

Larp Summary for April 2020

You thoughtwould have thought, I am not playing larps, when there are none?

Well, it turned out, some people are quite enthusiastic larp writers and made some e-larps, as they call them .
I myself was pondering years back about an idea of larp that would be played only through computers from home, but I kinda couldcouldn’t figure out what an advantage would be there over playing in person. I was thinking of some kind of sci-fi, where personal meeting is no longer desired, or no longer possible (like everyone would be just stored inside computer network without actual bodies; or some kind of intergalactic chat network), but I could not come up with anything interesting or simple enough, everyone could run on their computers in real time. Turns out, you can do kinda normal conversational larp over the video and it works, you just need the ability not to meet anyone in person.

Maybe I will revise my original sci-fi ideas with some lower bar. But who am I kidding… I am never satisfied with myself doing „crappy sci-fi„…

In April, I played e-larp called „The Night Before„. First, I go into non-spoiler review.

It is a game about the american high school classmates, who are preparing for their prom ball, but they are stuck at home (for reason told in a spoiler part) and they are killing time and reopening old and new high school grudges and dramas (like who is dating who, and who is the bitch spreading rumours and so on). It has a second part, where the schoolmates are solving some puzzles and tasks. These two parts are not exactly consistent and it is not easy to play the social and gamistic part together. And if you try, the other part is suffering quite a lot.

I still think, it was nice try on larp with a twist, which is not announced ahead and I am glad, the organisers put the work into making it. Thumbs up guys and thanks!

!SPOILERS!

During the second part, you learn, there has been the lockdown, because some government-military-based AI went rouge. The teenagers (players) are contacted and they learn, one of the characters (NPC) is not their classmate, as they thought, but in fact the AI in fact impersonating theat classmate and the players are given puzzles that will lead them to uncover the location of kidnapedthe real (kidnaped) classmate. There is also a newsfeed bringing new information from the outside. Like the power outages, planes crashing and other life casualties. And the AI is asking characters questions about humanity and their character flaws and is asking „why would I spare humanity seeing all the bad things, it isyou are causing the world„.

So the teenagers, who may not exactly like each other (and they certainly do not like the kidnapped classmate) , have to team up to save the world. Classic Hollywood stuff. Which is (in my eyes) a two edged sword. The advantage is – you know exactly what is expected from you. What kind of story it is and how you are supposed to play it. The disadvantage is… it is kinda dull. You play a game about saving the world, where you have been promised a teenage game, which is kinda there, but not really (as I said in the previous part, the two parts are not really compatible). The characters have no reason to believe the AI, it is who it says it is, they have no real reason to try to help their classmate in distress, but this is not really an issue, as I said – it is classic cliche story (where cliche is not meant to be a bad thing, it actually helps you to guide through the game here) and so you know, what you are supposed to do, as all the dumb teenagers do in the safe-the-world teenage stories.

So far, not the best story, but solid for evenings fun during the lockdown (for players :-)).

My “sigh” here is more for the „Hollywood AI„ thing here. And it is my personal opinion from now on, so feel free to disagree with me.

I am filled up with the stories of quasi-philosophical themes of this kind. I LOVE sci-fi! I love artificial intelligence! I like the themes about the danger of technology and so on. And maybe that is my problem… I may know too much about this stuff to just enjoy casualsuch a casual stuffgame. I wanna go hardcore inside these topics. I know, it is not really possible for the authors of the larp, to go into technical details (and I did not expect them to do so), but I am just craving to play on such themes! For example, during the game there was a task to recognize cities from pictures and my immediate thought was „oh, that’s brilliant – the AI is pretending, the teenagers are helping their classmate, but in fact, it is contacting people all around the world with similar tasks and it is training itself to recognize the vital targets to attack!„… but it wasn’t… Also the idea „people are bad, ‚cause they are bad to other people and are polluting nature„ is sooo human POV (and no, I do not want to start a flame about these topics in comments). The logic of the AI was also pretty flawed.

I just would like to play a sci-fi with „real sci-fi„ themes. But ofc I enjoy the old good B-rated sci-fi for purposewith dumb stuff for purpose sometimes, – like action shooting and so on (like last year’s „Starship Troopers larp„ that was really dumb in sooo gloriously enjoyable way!!!). I am not only calling for „clever super innovative sci-fi only larps„, I would just enjoy some „real sci-fi„ for once.

I know, I may have been a little bit hard to be pleased with such topics and the fact, I studied cybernetics (with a huge focus on the AI) at the uni, does not help as well.

Nevertheless, I would like to thank the organizers again – for stepping out and preparing the game for us to enjoy the event and I am glad, I had the honour to play their game! Thanks guys and gals!
(Shooot, this post is long.)

Larp Summary for May 2020

I played one larp in May. ‘Cause the restrictions, it was over the webcams (similarly like the larp, I played in April).

The game was about people, who used to go out to the nature and had a cabin in the woods and they are trying to meet as adults, but the life of adults is – for some reason – totally different, than during the youth.

It was a nice game about melancholy, romance, old grudges, new life and memories of a campfire.

Larp Summary for June 2020

There has been some restrictions lifted in June in CZ, so it was possible to play something in person.

First thing I played was a test run of a new chamber larp called Perfect Strangers. My friend was like – „hey guys, there is this awesome movie, you should watch!„ and one or so week later „never mind, don’t watch it, I wrote a larp based on it (the larp’s name is the as as the movie’s).

It is a old school format conversational larp, but with an awesome mechanics to keep pushing game forward. The principle of larp is: bunch of friends are gathering for a dinner (mostly in pairs – wife and husband) and they decide to play a game. All of them have to put their phones on the table and read aloud all the messages they receive (and the replies and the calls need to be aloud). There are some plots you would expect and some twists, you probably would not.

So, the organiser has control over information coming into the game, as she is the one feeding them in. It is very solid larp with extra kudos for being her first larp ever written.

And then I gladly helped to run the first „real„ run, as there is better, if the larp is has both male and female NPCs (because of the phone calls).

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