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Larpy Argos

Impressions from LDC

larp design conference review Photo by Maciek Nitka (Rollespilsakademiet)

During the last weekend I had an occasion to participate in a first Larp Design Conference. After few days in Krobielowice Palace, Poland, spent with a bunch of great larp designers from the whole world, I have few impressions I’d like to share. The most important is that this event received less attention, than it deserves.

Most important things that came to my mind couple days after this event:

 

LDC is the most valuable event for larpwriters I’ve attended so far. It’s value was achieved with shear concentration of really experienced writers, which really have something to share – and were willing to do so. LDC was communicating its practical approach to the presented topics. I considered it a marketing slogan. Most of similar conferences are promoting some editorial / selection policy on its content, and then just presenting what came as a response for a call for program. In LDC's case – concentration of valuable practical information was visible though. Among the larp conferences I’ve ever been, LDC has the highest factor of „information which will affect my larpwriting vs time”.

 

Real meeting point. I found this aspect of LDC as very significant. In one place I could meet extremely experienced larpwriters and organizers, with completely different approach. At LDC we could clearly see the contrast between Terre Spezzate, Italian organizers of Dracarys and Black Friday, and Rollespilsfabrikken / Liveform (College of Wizardry, Convention of Thorns etc.) Though both groups are making great, large scale larps, it seemed that their organizational approach seriously differs.

Rollespilsfabrikken presented their practical ways of production optimization. With focus on rerunability, eliminating the redundancies in a process and improving the sustainability of organization. This, as we saw, could be assured with well-designed volunteer management, design decisions and digitisation. I found Mikołaj Wicher's lecture about NPC's management especially valuable. The conclusion that all events taking place in larp's diegesis, but outside the in-game represented area, can be efficiently tracked by one person, was really important.

At the same time, TerreSpezzate is presenting a way which can be for sure called „Maximal Effort”. I think I can relate to this approach really well, but these Italian guys are going really far this way. Sacrifice rerunability, replayability. Budget it to not cause cash loss, but with complete disregard to economical value of organizers effort. Use all spare moments of your personal free time to add one more element to larp's attractiveness. End up with magnificent fantasy larp for 400 players, with personal story for each of them. Pain is temporary – glory is eternal!

I had some additional extra-perspective on these aspects as a Spindle's designer. Both groups have mastered this software and integrated it in their processes. They which they did strongly it resembles their approach. Thanks to Edin from Rollespilsfabrikken I was able to see how the this tool can be used to efficiently systematize character-writing process, maximize possible synergy and generate new, personalized and unique character in couple clicks. Thanks to Chiara and Francesco I saw how far the atomization of re-usable content can go, and how it can be used to create mulit-layered, GoT-like complex plots.

 

All those during couple hours. And there was much more.

 

No high school drama. Social dynamics on LDC was really inclusive. It was especially visible in comparison to the last Knudepunkt. You know, this large conference in a floating shopping mall. The one on which probably some good larpwriters used their best spatial design skills to assure that you will not be able to talk to anyone who you do not already know since couple years. Seriously – if KP's elite room parties, cool kids and their groupies or social ranking of tables in the lunchroom was giving you „I am too old for that shit” conclusion – LDC is a place for you.

 

Diversity was impressive. Among about 40-50 participants, there were larpers from Belarus, Denmark, Russia, Poland, Great Britain, Canada, Sweden, Germany, Italy, and Shanghai. Though I didn't notice visible ways of promoting such diversity, I am pretty sure that this aspect was actively, though transparently, promoted by organizers. It was not a Danish-Polish event, or national larp conference with some foreign guests – LDC was really international larp meeting.

 

Second Larp Design Conference is already announced, it will be held in September 2017. I think that biggest downside of this event is limited attention it received. But I am at the same time pretty sure that it will change during upcoming year.

 

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