The evening kicked off and we were gathered into our respective factions to be briefed before starting. We arrived by elevator, being escorted by an AI (effectively a GM, ours was Bryn who was responsible for writing the Cigani characters). For those of you have not played in the game and think that you might get the chance to one day, probably best that you don’t read any further.
There was a bit of conversation as we entered, but as with many LARPs, it’s always a little bit stifled to begin with as people come to terms with their character and the world that is being established around them. I must say that the opening was very cool, and we went through a decontamination process after being advised to wait in a partitioned area. All this was leading up to the entry into the Reunion area. Of all the set dressing I’ve ever seen at a LARP Reunion was the most spectacular, you immediately felt absorbed into a futuristic environment. I would wager that a lot of it came down to the enthusiasm and work of the whole LARP team, particularly Norman’s investment in the project and bar area set up by Sean. I don’t know exactly who was responsible for what but all the organisers put in so much work to make it an exceptionally engaging evening.
I spent some time fielding enquiries from people in other factions about what medical advancements the Cigani people had to offer them. I became the medical representative for our people, but for the most part I had no interest in bargaining over medical secrets as nothing seemed to solve the problem that plagued our people. A few things were vaguely in the same ball park, however I knew the solution to our ills, I just needed someone to present us with the problem so that I had an excuse to come up with the answer.
My little brother, Luke’s character (whose character name I forget but he had a limp and a cane) approached me fairly early and propositioned me to synthesize some kind of agent that would counteract the effects of a drug addiction he was suffering from. As it turns out, this is further proof that he was playing House MD, if House was ever dressed like a terrorist. I agreed, but it was something that I ended up having to resolve out of game time as I could not spare the 10 mins to give him the antidote then and there.
My evening revolved around four basic storylines:
-Marianne; meeting my estranged wife and dealing with the conflict this presented because of my feelings for Nadya.
-My dark secret, how I betrayed Nadya’s trust and the conflict about wanting to tell her the truth, but desperately fearing the consequences of revealing my true nature to my adopted people.
-Finding out a subtle way to reveal to the Cigani that their issues conceiving/having children were caused by radiation sickness. As a result of that, finding a means to cure this and in turn helping Nadya, as she desperately wanted to be able to have children.
-And finally, my involvement in the central plot. The AI’s needed 6 worthy candidates to maintain the gate system. Everyone present was compatible to varying degrees and the process involved committing your consciousness to the machine, retaining your identity, but bound forever to this device. I had the highest degree of compatibility and since the consequence of not finding enough willing candidates was the destruction of the entire facility, there was a fair amount of external pressure to submit.
It’s difficult to separate the plot lines out and some were even more complicated then I could ever know in character, but I will try to do it this way because I can’t remember the exact order of events. Suffice to say, this LARP was overflowing with conflict and I constantly had somewhere to be or someone to talk to.
The Marianne/Stephen storyline was so much fun. Jenni has been one of my Kapcon/LARP buddies for a number of years now and it was awesome to have the opportunity to roleplay with her again.
We spent a bunch of time avoiding each other from the outset, even though we recognised each other. Eventually, I confronted her and so began a string of awkward conversations which lasted all the way till the end of the evening. It was very Chekhovian and to an extent, Austen-like, as we would talk about such mundane things despite the fact that we had the gravity of our feelings, 500 years apart and our own pressing concerns weighing on our respective minds. initially I wasn’t sure about whether I still had feelings for her, but I got the impression that she still retained feelings for me after all this time, which I felt was confirmed when I asked whether she still kept my last name, Le Grange, which she did. I was also weighing this against my feelings for Nadya.
After we came to grips with our chance encounter and following that, Marianne’s apology for the circumstances and conflict that lead to our break-up, I settled and I would have her if she would have me. I realised that Nadya would need to know the truth about how I betrayed her and the only way she’d know is if I told her. Once she learnt this truth though, I couldn’t believe she would ever want to see me again so it was better that I disappear. However, I had to break this to her which proved much more difficult than I had anticipated.
Marianne was in a spot because she was betrothed to Alan Copeland 26th (played by Ants), current King of New London in Arboria. We had a really tense scene where he asked me to give Marianne up and to give my blessing for their upcoming nuptials. I’m sure Jenni really appreciated it when I deflected the question to her (;p), saying if this is what she wanted I’d gladly do it. I sort of got the heart in my throat feeling when I said that though, as I thought I’d lost Marianne and Nadya at that point and wished that I’d been more assertive. Marianne responded appropriately and fled the room which was very awesome.
This previous scene was also complicated by some news that Farkes delivered to me that basically got me off the hook with Nadya. Completely blindsided by that news, I was a bit of a wreck. My final moment of the game was a powerful one, which I will mention after I’ve reveled the Cigani side of my storyline.
As mentioned, my major conflict within the Cigani was Farkes’ blackmail and the secret I kept from Nadya. From the start of the evening, Farkes would direct barbed remarks at me when he was talking about what it was to be a Cigani. I can’t remember any specific comment, but I quickly came to loathe him and the power he had over me and the way he actively sought to isolate me.
Over the course of the evening I spoke with some fondness to Aishe and Nadya and it became apparent that Nadya had some feelings for me. I remember pleasant, welcoming smiles from Nadya and I remember how they cut me up a little bit each time.
Over the course of the evening, the AI’s scanned all the attendees with a sort of scanning devices which determined how suitable a candidate was for assimilation with the gate system. It became apparent that myself and many of the Cigani were perfect matches which lead to some pressure from our leader to get more than one Cigani to volunteer. The thought was that if we had more Cigani in the machine, we would have more sway over the gates. One of the Cigani, Mihai, got his hands on one of the scanning devices which could scan a person at a genetic level. Completely by coincidence, Mihai came up to me while I was having a conversation and dropped a bomb, revealing to me that we were all heavily irradiated.
This was excellent news for me, as I pretended to have the sudden realisation that I could treat what was causing the Cignai’s infertility and notified Count Andrei, the leader of our people. This hypothesis was confirmed by the fact that over the course of the evening our radiation levels were steadily dropping, the only side-effect of course was that Cigani would presumably resume aging from each of their apparent ages.
With that taken care of, I was having to deal with how to resolve my guilt with Nadya. I confronted Farkes and told him that Nadya had to know. I thought Farkes was going to be a bastard and play the blackmail card. That was something that I really didn’t care about anymore, but instead he convinced me that Nadya was better off not knowing, that it would destroy her given her currently fragile state. Damnit! I didn’t expect that response at all. So the only alternative I could think of was for me to depart, as I could not bear the guilt which was made worse every time I saw her. Farkes tried to talk me out of it, trying to convince me to live with the guilt and stay with the Cigani. I couldn’t do that, but Farkes once again weakened my resolve to confront Nadya.
The next thing I heard from Farkes was during the conversation I mentioned previously with Marianne and Alan. He burst in and explained that he had revealed the truth to Nadya and had taken all the blame himself. Damnit! Once again more news that threw me right off! I could be with Nadya? But Marianne had returned, I couldn’t leave her again could I?!
I shook myself out of that one pretty quickly, I still had to tell Nadya my part in her betrayal, I couldn’t live with that burden anymore. Which lead to the final series of events and a resolution the played out really well, even if it was a mixture of joy and sadness. I can’t remember the exact order of events, but here it is in a logical order.
In the main room, Marianne came to me and told me that Alan had left Reunion and asked what I intended to do. I responded that I wanted to be with her, but that I had unfinished business on the Cigani homeworld. I still owed them a cure to the radiation sickness they would suffer from while living there. Then Nadya approached us, smiling at me as usual. She explained that she had found out that Aishe was her daughter and I’m pretty sure she was about to express how she felt about me… I interrupted her at that point. I told her of my part to play in her betrayal and that I did so knowingly. I made no effort to justify my actions, just coldly and plainly, told her what I had done. That was pretty heart-wrenching, but I couldn’t complicate things any further and she dashed away.
I was still uncertain about what me and Marianne would do, but the Countess Mala noticed my anxiety and asked what the problem was. I explained that I could not return with the Cigani, that Marianne was my wife and that I was not a Cigani and had been deceiving them for all this time. To my surprise, she implored me to return with them and openly invited Marianne to come with us too. At some point during all this, me and Marianne embraced after all the trials we’d been through. The final in character words that I remember were from James (Count Andrei) where he explained that by my deception of his people, I had proven myself as much a Cigani as the rest of them.
Roll credits and get some final photos taken. If you made it this far, thanks for taking the time to read this epic post I also won the prize for most LARP nominations, which was totally unexpected and somewhat of an honor given how awesome everyone was at the LARP. Outside of what was my occupying me during the game, I was guilty of eaves dropping on some really entertaining conversations that other people were having, it was all so great!
On a final note, I mentioned that there were times when people would strike up a conversation with me and all I could think of was ‘Oh gawd, I really need to be speaking to someone ‘x’ right now, I don’t have time for this’ which is a testament to how much I had going on. And to those people who fit in the above category, thanks for striking up a conversation with me, looking back on it those little conversations I had really rounded out my experience and it was great to interact with so many amazing, different personalities despite how occupied I was
PS. Huge shout out to the GMs and the support team! A big thanks to Bryn for writing me such an intense, awesome character (in the end I never even had to rely on my badass factor!)