What is the Color of Bacta, Again? (Larp in a Familiar Setting Part #1)

Star Wars Larp

Disclaimer: I claim no connection or ownership of any sort on any name you recognize. I’m just a simple geek, trying to make my way in the larpverse. Photos by A. S., map by Zeph.

I’m in the middle of getting ready for a larp set in a rather familiar setting – Star Wars, to be precise. It’s supposed to be a low intensity diplomatic chamber larp, lasting for 4-6 hours, for a couple dozen players. It’ll be run by two GMs, of whom one is a huge fan of the franchise, and the other is a dear friend of mine. The game will be on this weekend – and, to be honest, it will be one of the larps I’ve prepared the least for in a while.

Preparing to play in a setting I know – and love, like, really really love since I was ten – feels a bit like playing a tourist in my own hometown – only to discover that I know a lot less about the layout and strange little alleyways I encounter along the way. For example, my co-alpha dug out bacta in her research for a character option, and I was like – what the hell is bacta? (Oh, the reason we got to see Luke in his panties.) And then there was the notion of bacta originally being red in the script or whatever – errrr, what? I guess it’s one of the many things I’ve missed out on by not digging through the Expanded Universe. Sure, I know Jacen, Jaina, even Mara Jade – at least a little bit – but there is so much frakkin’ material! And I never was one to read into a setting I’ve fallen in love with because of the big screen. Kinda makes me feel like I’m a scholar of my own backyard, which isn’t such a bad thing itself – makes me feel ten, you know, again.

But it brings me to another preexisting setting I will play a larp in a month from now – the incredibly dense world of The Elder Scrolls. Which is another friend’s favorite backyard I’ve not once set my foot into. Still, reading through the online libraries, getting familiar with geographic detail I’ve not recalled since my scout days, I kinda fell in love with the idea of the setting. When I first heard about the larp – also run in Croatia – I almost declined participation on the spot. A game based on a game? Uh-huh. But then I ventured into the world – with a little help of my research-obsessed girlfriend (a huge gift when it comes to larp!) – with both eyes opened. I even brought up my character in Sentinel – a city I’ve never… well, I’ve never seen, read or played anything in. And still I feel I have a connection with it – in a way I have connections to other things I’ve loved in my dark geeky past.

Elder Scrolls Larp

But, since my present is also dark and very geeky, there are two more settings that came up in a larp context in the past couple of weeks – both based on books by my two favourite writers of all time (not kidding at all – trust a librarian when she tells you she adores a writer; we are professionally unable to lie about book stuff).

One is a classic space opera – Miles Vorkosigan universe, to be precise – and although no one actually mentioned a larp in the setting, a friend joked about me running a campaign of GURPS: Vorkosigan. Hmmm. Not to mention that I’d actually love to GM a larp in the universe… after I make up my mind whether it would be a fan’s sacrilege.

The other one – historical fantasy by Guy Gavriel Kay (who *khm* happens to be my #1 favourite, even 10+ years after I’ve first read his novels) – was proposed by another friend, who hopes to GM it sometime in the near future. She’s still in the process of gathering interested players, and I really hope, with my whole heart, that it works out. Long story short – there are no wikis or reader companions which I’d need to consult on that one. And I’ve never made a costume based on Kay’s works. (Sometimes a girl just needs a really good excuse.)

And about the multi-part nature of this post – I honestly plan on posting another one after the larp itself – the Star Wars one – and compare my pre-larp expectations to the way things work out. To sum it up, I offer a couple of ideas I have about the game in advance – and I’m really looking forward to seeing whether things turn out the way I think they might.

Being an obsessive costumer (well, sometimes at least), I have a hunch that costumes will probably be better than I expect, but lesser quality than the Padawansguide.com norm. In any case, I get to wear my ancient, unfortunately incomplete Sabé decoy once more! The game could be more of a sci-fi larp, less a Star Wars one – it’s hard to get all the players on the same page. People might play for the appeal of a big name setting – not because they’re huge fans. To sum it up: I’ll utterly hate the way the setting translates into larp – since I love the setting with a child-fan’s passion. But I’m also positive I will love the game itself. The co-alpha and I will play a Naboo royal and her handmaiden – what’s not to love?

See you after the weekend with the outcome!

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