Imaginary Realms evaluation meeting - Our LARP

posted on 2012-09-20 by Andrzej Smyk

 

Idea: We are in the Middle Ages. There are three groups – royal aristocrats in the castle, poor people in the village and magic creatures in the forest who all need to resolve several problems.  Each has different agendas – the Prince is to be crowned the next week and is scared that his secrets of the past will be revealed; the queen has a lover with whom she is plotting to overthrow the prince; the Witch wants to get her payback.

 

And at the same time each has their own affairs to handle – the girl who wants to find out who and where her parents are, the ghost of the future King’s bastard daughter who wants to be resurrected, her mother who wants retribution from the King, the silly Joker, various love affairs etc. In the middle of all this there are magic creatures who are looking for answers – the Elves are dying and they need to find out why. There are also several personalities who know much more than the others, such as the Innkeeper, the fortune teller and the Wiseman.

 

Before we start: In the particular LARP there were 15 characters participating, but there were even more people who prepared the LARP. Not only the game master, but there were also people in charge of the decorations.

Preparations took the whole afternoon. During that time there were three rooms arranged, clothing found out of stocked items and make-up prepared. Simultaneously during the whole afternoon the roles for characters were also given.

A space for playing was arranged indoors and consisted of three rooms and tight areas. There was a castle room arranged in medieval manner using different curtains mostly in deep saturated colours, massive and bulky furniture, large, heavy covers and tablecloths, also self-painted coats of arms were on the walls. As for dishes there were metal and wooden things as well as pottery. There was also a throne, of course, erected on a podium and decorated with colourful cloth and other decorations. For lighting only candles were used.

In the room instead of carpets there were many red blankets used to cover the floor. Blankets in green, brown and grey were used to cover also the floor in the area between the castle and the forest. There as in the forest room carpeting was supplemented with natural dry leaves, branches and acorns all of which not only gave an aroma typical for a forest but also worked as sound effect when someone walked over them.

The Fortune-teller’s home was arranged as a tent between the forest and the castle and was set up using a flipchart holder and different clothes. All the usual furniture was covered with fabric in natural colouring to make it more unusual and appropriate for the situation. The forest besides already the described decorations had carpeting made of green mattresses and there was a big log placed in the room. Also some mattresses were folded in a manner that they made uneven relief. The electrical lamps were covered, thus the light seemed less bright and unnatural.

Another space for playing was made in the karczma with a wood-burning stove (thus already giving a feel of olden times) and also in the game it was the village pub, so not many changes were made as the stove, the kitchen atmosphere and the long tables perfectly fitted the place. Also the partly wooden interior of the room in not too bright or too light colours fitted the particular LARP well. As for lighting there was candle light only.

 

Players had the possibility to find their own clothes from a big stock of different garments. The people living in castle preferred long dresses and gold colour, although the Wiseman also living in the castle found an antique style looking overcoat and as a cane he wore a big tree branch. For those who worked in the pub (or we may call them peasantry) there were simpler clothes.

The mysterious and unearthly characters, as well as the Knight and Joker had more specific clothing each. So the Knight was wearing leather clothes with different straps and buckles and for a sword he had a meter long metal ruler. The Joker had leotard and was wearing a colourful wig and a big metallic hat. He also had bright face painting, and he acted stupidly. However, no one knew that he was the one who had stolen the future King’s crown and hidden it deep in the forest. There was also an Elf living in the forest who had black ears actually made from adhesive tape and just painted black, the character also had a bow made on the spot from branch and ribbon and bright green eye make-up.

The Evil Witch was another mysterious character wearing throughout black apparel and a black hat with spider web print on it. There was also Ghost role in the LARP, so the girl was wearing a long white gown and had her face whitened with flour. Later when she was brought back to life she just took her white gown off and wore a more colourful dress. Flour also was used to make the Wiseman look old, so the character’s hair looked grey. Also the Fortune-teller had distinct apparel which looked like the stereotypical gypsy image – head band, scarves, flower prints, black eye make-up.

 

 

 

The game begins…: We all are in castle – aristocrats, village people and the magic creatures. The Prince and his Queen announce that after one week the Prince will be crowned a king. But then suddenly from crowd the Witch yells: “You have to pay me back!” Some fears appeared on the face of the Prince and the Witch together with all not belonging to court was thrown out of the castle. The magic creatures went back to their forest, aristocrats kept celebrating in the castle but poor people went to the pub where they had a special dinner in order to celebrate the announcement.

 

The pub was full of people - the drunken Blacksmith whose girlfriend had recently disappeared from the village. No one knew where she was or what had happened to her. Well, at least, no one spoke about it aloud. But the poor Blacksmith was drowning his sadness in endless cups of beer. Next to him sat the Knight whose mind was busy with plans of how to kill the Prince. He was madly in love with the Queen with whom he had a secret affair.

Together they were trying to find a way to overthrow the Prince, who would very, very soon become the king. They tried to make the Prince crazy by using magic spells that they got from the Witch.  And it started working – the Prince was hearing voices, seeing the ghost and even other people started to see him becoming mad. The Queen and the Knight kept secretly writing to each other involving the Orphan girl who was taken to court and was loved by the Queen. Most of all, the Orphan girl wanted to find out who her parents were.

 

In the same time in pub worked the Kitchen girl who was secretly in love with the Blacksmith. In order to get his attention she needed to find a love potion to add to his drink so he would fall in love with her. Unfortunately she was sold to the Witch where she was guarded by the Knight therefore she wasn’t able to bewitch her lover.

 

Meanwhile in the castle the Lady Sofia was secretly in love with the Prince. She wanted to get his attention by using spells she got from the Witch. She was also a friend and trusted person of the Queen which put her in a very uncomfortable but good position. She knew about the affair that the Queen had with the Knight and she deeply believed that she would be a better partner for the Prince. At least till she found out what he had done in past.

She also had a strange passion for elves – she wanted to know what they do, how they live and therefore she was very keen to meet a real Elf and was very excited when the Elf came to the castle to speak to the Prince.  The Elf, as usually, was rude and arrogant and acted as though all humans where stupid and worthless.

However he needed to get answers from the people – why are the immortal elves dying? The Elf also had information that the Prince wouldn’t want to be revealed to other people, especially to the Queen. The Prince had had several affairs with poor girls from the village and some of them he had even killed. The Elf knew about the killed girls and also where the graves were. 

 

One more inhabitant in the castle was the Ghost. It was the ghost of a girl that the Prince had killed, one of his bastard daughters. And it was the same girl who the unlucky Blacksmith was looking for. The Ghost wanted to be resurrected and to punish the Prince for what he had done. In order that the resurrection could be done, her lover needed to find and read a magic spell next to her grave.  When the Ghost was resurrected she revealed the Prince’s secrets.

The big mess started in the castle. The Joker decided to fight the Prince. And he won! After that the Knight wanted to fight the Joker in order to be next to his Queen. But he also lost the battle! And in sadness of lost love the Queen committed a most tragic suicide, with her lover’s own blade. The Joker was crowned King, and the game was over, in a most unexpected fashion.

 

Revealing our roles: When the LARP ended and the kingdom had a new self-proclaimed king, there was a ten-minute break before the meeting where all the players could reveal their roles and tasks, and give feedback on the game. The greatest part was that all the participants were eager to tell what happened and what they had had to do, as well as to find out the others’ roles and tasks, so discussions started in no time. It was great for group communication, thus great for communication among people who had recently met, with different backgrounds – perfectly fitting the purpose of a Youth in Action programme.

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