This post is primarily intended for people that have little or no knowledge of larp. However, it is NOT an introductory article to live action role playing. If you want to cover the basics, take a couple of minutes and read about larp, nordic larp, blockbuster larp and what it means to be immersed. For the purpose of this post, it will suffice to know that “to larp” means “to play a fictional character in a parallel universe (fictional story) where you are not a spectator, but a spect-actor, co-creating the spectacle”.
This is also not a full account on the Fairweather Manor larp (FM3 larp in short). See the 18 min documentary below. This is my brief story from FM3 and a relatively concise argument on why everybody interested in personal growth should experience a blockbuster larp. As far as the FM larp goes, the first opportunity is between 2nd and 5th of November 2017. But there are many other options for attending blockbuster larps. Hurry up, the tickets for these events tend to disappear rather soon.
FM3 LARP BIO
Time period: 1917 (World War I)
Main story: Wedding in the Fairweather noble family
Larp inspired by: Downtown Abbey TV series
Date and place of the event: 3-6 November 2016, Zamek Moszna, Silezia, Poland
No. of players: 130 (3 classes: servants, nobles, guests – artists&professionals)
Age limit: 18+
Producers: Dziobak Larp Studios – the crazy Danish-Polish connection
More about FM larp.
FULL 18 MIN DOCUMENTARY
TOP 7 REASONS TO ATTEND THIS LARP
1. The castle
The Trophy Room, The Green Room, The Black Room, The Fencing Room, The Grand Ballroom, Main Dining Hall, The Orangerie, The Grand Staircase, The Tower, The Chapel, The Crypt, you name it. The Moszna castle-hotel of 99 turrets and 365 rooms feels like if was built for the purpose of hosting extraordinary experiences such as the FM larp.
By the way, most (almost all) events by the crazy Dziobaks take place in Silezian castle-hotels such as Czocha castle (home of the College of wizardry larp) or Ksiaz castle (home of the Convention of Thorns vampire larp). All these castles are nothing but amazing.
2. The larpers
About 80 percent of people attending these larps are experienced larpers and many of them are amazing role-players. The rest are usually good naturals that will do their best and never break their character. This is important because interacting with larpers helps with your immersion even if you are a complete newbie. Special credits for my play (first big larp for me) go to the beautiful bride, the jolly groom, the aging duke, the stern Lord Peter and his shy grand-daughter, the charming psychoanalyst, the professional butler, my lawyer, business partners and friends, to the lovely ladies I chatted with and, finally, to the underbuttler, Mr Watton (third from the right on the picture below). My god, he still gives me the chills (read on to learn why).
The atmosphere and parallel reality of this event is created by the entire crew of 130 people playing the game. And they are all awesome. I cannot imagine an interesting person who would not want to spend 4 days with people crazy enough to be doing this larp . A special thanx to the servants as well. People I talk to about FM3 still raise eyebrows when I tell them than some weirdos are willing to pay good money for the experience of serving other people. Which makes me respect them even more.
3. The rituals
As most extraordinary experiences, this event is centered around rituals. The main ritual was a magnificent wedding in an authentic chapel, but we also attended many other wedding-related rituals such as the stag party, hen party, the wedding preparations, photography sessions and so on. The surreal and very fun experience of attending “fake” wedding rituals is by itself a good reason to attend this larp. It makes it really easy to participate even if you are not ready to be true spect-actor and prefer to have a smaller role.
There are many other “lesser” rituals embedded in the story. The FM larp is also about the ritual formality of the meals (and there are many, many meals during the game) and the awkward atmosphere at the great ball – the grand finale of the event. Perhaps most importantly, FM is very much about the rituals you create in-game with your co-players (such as signing contracts, occultist séances in the crypt, wedding proposals etc…).
4. The memorable moments
So many of them. In the end, the most memorable are small personal moments that happened in groups of 2 to 10 people. These are my top 5.
- Chatting up and embarrassing young ladies and slightly older widows that could not be seen socialising with a charming banker. Taking romantic walks in the park, enjoying the beautiful gardens of the castle and having conversations about everything – from mundane to philosophy.
- Selling stocks of the TANK inc., a tank production company (that I invented for the game) to anybody with a thick wallet and economic or personal interest. When I went to Lord Peter’s office for a meeting with him and the Duke I felt as nervous as I would be really handling a multimillion business.
- Being heavily (but discretely) beaten by the creepy soldier/underbutler Mr. Watton in the billiard room (with the help of billiard balls and 4 other guys, off course) because I insulted the bride (on purpose, check what it means to play to loose). It is a powerful moment indeed when you realise that things are going to get very violent and you are going to be on the receiving end.
- Presenting an imaginary gift to the bride (a crate of finest Indian linen) and groom (a fine horse that he could ride to the nearest officers club begin the frontline).
- Climbing the highest tower in the castle in the middle of the night in some great company. Just inventing the story of a ghost along the way.
- Finding the purse lost by the bride. This eventually led to me being seriously beaten by Mr. Watton and his military comrades.
- Signing of contracts on selling shares to the TANK inc. company. I managed to raise 800.000 pound sterling, half the cost of building a new Titanic.
- The stag party, with Jamsey, the groom, describing servant’s ankles in a semi-erotic fashion. The servants were kept hidden behind a curtain – see the photo above.
- A joyride with an old-timer car in an inappropriate company.
- A breakfast with the Russian Grand Duchess, outrageously talking to her about finance and trying to sell her hares of TANK inc.
- Parlour games, horse show in the park, opera performance in the chapel, an occultist séance in the chilly crypth of the caste, waltzing at the ball
- Every time I met a servant in a hall and got a bow.
5. The lightness of being
The lightness of just being there was surprising. Non-larpers often think role playing is a very serious, or at best, geeky affair. In fact, it is much easier than I thought. You don’t really have to prepare a lot or know a lot about the themes or the time period. Until an evening before the game (the game starts Friday morning when you wake up) I had no character, no relations and no costume. Just a desire for improvisation and to have fun. The 1917 war theme was a natural environment for me, to be honest, but knowing about WW1 themes is not necessary.
If you relax, go with the flow and drink a glass or two of wine, you will be fine in any larp. I realised that in order to have fun at FM larp you don’t even have to know names and noble titles of co-players nor you need to understand the family relations. If you are a newbie and with no time to prepare just come up with a character that is new to the family. You will have an excellent excuse to talk with everybody and get a feeling of the entire extended family of 130 people.
6) The friendships
The entire experience is so overwhelmingly powerful that you will never forget the people you shared it with. It’s not just the people nearest to you in larp. After FM3 I felt like adding every single participant on Facebook. Even those I barely interacted with. Something I would normally never do. And they responded. Co-creating a parallel universe is a team building activity like no other. Fellow FM larpers that might be reading this; I love you and my doors are always open. Footnote: almost two months after the event, these feelings are still there.
7) The change
My bleed has been surprisingly long and intense. I truly feel like I am not the same person anymore. The safety of being in a character in a fictional world gives you unprecedented freedom to become a better and more relaxed version of yourself. If I will become as charming, as chatty, as intelligent and even considerate as Mr James Coutts, the banker; well that remains to be seen:).
On a slightly more serious note. Attending FM3 confirmed 100% what I have felt for about 2 years now. Immersive nordic methodologies, such as larp and edularp, are the best possible tool for implementing transformation: in yourself and your organizations.
Thanx for reading this. Let me know your thoughts below.
MORE PHOTOS FROM MY STORY
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