So, how odd was Sunday at Brandeis?

Let's put it this way: I'd been on campus five seconds when I was hugged by this guy:

It was SpringFest at Brandeis. And while I know that as the person principally responsible for bringing Kaiju Big Battel to ArtBeat one year it's hypocritical for me to be startled by this, I'm still befuddled by an organizing committee that apparently thought to itself, "Hey, we're having a family-friendly arts festival. You know what we need? CTHULHOID MONSTERS. Oh, and one should play the banjo."

All this before the LARP even started.

Tis No Deceipt is the first musical larp I've ever been in. In fact, I'm not even sure that any other musical larps of this magnitude even exist. The concept is that a cruise ship full of diplomats, reporters, and assorted Very Odd People (with enough drama and plothooks for any normal game right there) gets cursed by a condition similar to the one called down on Sunnydale in the Buffy musical episode--suddenly being near the right person, or having the right event happen, or just hearing a tune someone *else* is singing, triggers a song that reveals your true feelings. Even if you yourself didn't realize what your true feelings were before the song came out. Even if you're near people who you really, really don't want to have this information. ESPECIALLY if you're near people who you really, really don't want to have this information.

And ALSO, it was a steampunk game so people got to dress like this:

It was, as you can imagine, glorious.

The thing that still boggles my mind almost a week later is how much work it took to put together. Of the 30+ characters, each one had at least 4 songs, probably closer to 7. Some of them were done in groups--the spies had an excellent number where they all chorused about how fun it was to be clandestine and sneaky, and the Japanese delegation's "you have dishonored us and we must kick your ass now" featured an air guitar solo by [ profile] kamianya that was one of the high points of the game--but most of them were solo numbers, and ALL of them were recorded onto mp3 and e-mailed out by the same GM, who sounded soooooooo tired by song #198.

I'm going to avoid giving spoilers, because a) everyone reading this who hasn't played this game already should play it, yes even if it means flying the GMs to New Zealand, and b) because it would make this post twice as long and it's Friday morning and I'm lazy. But I should mention that I was very lucky to have [ profile] redfishie as a partner in crime during this game; [ profile] lediva, you should know that we've already had an e-mail exchange about how if things had gone just a wee bit differently the three of us would probably have remade the map of Eurasia. In fact, we're two subplots and a good artist away from having a kickass graphic novel about the aftermath.
Friday night I got to stretch out of my rp'ing comfort zone a little bit. I played in [ profile] wired_lizard's Escaflowne LARP, and had a character who was basically a penitent war criminal. There were more shades of gray than that, of course, because he still loooooooved him some mad science, to the point of having a (very very unexpressed) academic-crush on the designers of the bomb that wiped out 75% of his nation's army, but at heart it was a night of exploring big issues like guilt, and patriotism, and how much less attractive people, even sparkly people played by [ profile] big_jewfro with long blond hair, get when they shout at you a lot and hit you in the head.

It helped, of course, that my character sheet was *really* well-written...not only that, but each of the characters had a pouch provided by the GMs for their items and bluesheets and character sheets, and the bluesheets even came with a MAP of all the territories we were discussing! It was pretty amazing.
For the four or five of you who might be interested, or who might be considering going to Brandeis's Festival of LARPs next month (more info is over at , cough cough nudge nudge), here's what I've signed up for:

An Evening With Clarence

A Fire On High
A Midsummer Night and the Livin' Is Easy
Shebopaleileigh (a LARP about an improv troupe struggling with a college audience?! I'M SO THERE)

Call Batman! Call Superman! Call ANYONE!
GM Space

I'm a little sad that I didn't get into Oz (I logged in 13 minutes after signups began, and it was full and had a 12-person waitlist), and that Shebop is the same time as the League of Extraordinary Hogwarts Students, but overall I'm quite pleased with how things worked out.



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