Allnighter: Return of the Chainsaw larp

This weekend, Ole and I had organised a so called “allnighter” for our kids (so called, because it lasts all night – funnily enough). We met up at the school at 1 o’clock pm, and leaft again at closer to 7.30 am (well, actually, we left the building at just after 6 o’clock, but we sat outside for an hour after that, playing Werewolf).

There were 11 of us, so we were split into two groups for most of the time – one set of groups untill dinner, a new set after. In the first, I helped run the larp from the Lumberjack academy, in the second, I ran Imperiet.

It had been my plan from the start to have the people in the Lumberjack Academy do a rerun of their larp at the Allnighter, with me as moral support and NPC. Unfortunately, one of them had to cancel shortly before the weekend, and I had to step in as assistant GM. In the end, I think the other GM felt it was a success, but I am afraid I interfered a bit too much, and that she may have felt like a good bit of the success was my doing. But while I did do a good bit, I tried hard to let her make the decisions, and it was still their (well, mostly her) game that succeeded.

For this game, we ahad two male and one female player. Two of these players were some of the kids, the last was my co-teacher Ole. This did mean that they were mismatched in personality power – on the other hand, I know Ole worked hard to help the two others along. Unfortunately, the traitor was the character that lent itself most easily to being converted into a woman, but the female player was the Weakest Link, not being wery comfortable playing “bad” characters.

The other GM did the casting, and did it exactly opposite to what I would have done. She cast the young guy as the old, stubborn character and Ole as the young, fiery guy. As always, the casting completely coloured the game. In many ways, I think her casting was better than mine – while it would have been more believable to cast Ole (who is ten years their senior) as the older guy, playing to strong emotions can be hard, and I am not sure the other player would have been as able to play the character. BEsides, the older character was already the more powerful, and casting Ole in that role could have meant that he would be completely dominating the game.

In the end, it turned out very well, albeit very differently from last time, probably providing the GM’s with more challenges than last time (I was a Player then, so I can’t be sure). For instance, at one point, we started putting a lot of pressure on them (“The PM wants an answer NOW”) – to which they replied by sending one of them to meet the PM, which effectively, at least in our (well, my) mind ment out of the game. We countered by putting a juicy clue into his hands, both feeding the tension in the room, and giving us an excuse to put even more pressure on them (“You said you were sending someone over, yet you didn’t -WHAT’S GOING ON?”). Their solution was also completely different. Where we were ripped apart by strife, they ended up covering the whole thing up, with Ole lying to an old journalist friend cementing their common moral fall. A much sweeter tragedy than ours, in which two of the three were consumed by their own righteousness.

In the end, all of the players were very happy and impressed. As Ole said to the girl who was GM, this was her first larp – and even compared to larps generally, this one was pretty good.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Seem to be a very interesting game you setup. I’m curious, what kind of weapon do you use and do you have a hit point system ?


  2. Posted by eliashelfer on May 25, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    Eh… well, none and no. This was a freeform game, with no hard and fast rules. Also, the game focuses on intrigue, plot and personal relations, rather than on combat. The only rule is, I guess, “GM fiat” – that the GM can describe the world, establishing the world the play happens within. This is a very normal way of doing larps in Denmark. I was actually quite surprised when I lived in Swansea and saw that people were using dice in a larp. Of course, we also have many boffer larps, especially ones aimed at young people.

    Doing the larps this way has many advantages, to my mind at least. Rolling dice or having hit points means you take attention away from the story universe (the “shared imaginary space” or “diegesis,” if we are to speak Egghead). Also, this prevents the players from resorting to violence, and forces them to find a solution, based on talking instead of might – which may be good, depending on what you want to achieve.
    Finally, this game took place in an office in London. People there wouldn’t be likely to solve their problems by resorting to violence – even if they were in an intelligence agency.


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