On Dec. 4th, Adrienne ran a LARP called Will That Be All?, which was all about love and relationships between the servants at an English country manor during the 1920s and 1930s. It was a lovely game with a unique format quite unlike the usual LARPs that tend to be run in this area.
Will That Be All? had very minimal character sheets – each character was outlined briefly in a few sentences on a playing card, and we all chose our parts as part of the set-up of the LARP. We then established some connections between our characters, again drawing from a limited set of cards, and briefly decided a few details about the family we worked for and the servants’ hall where the larp was set. These things varied from the charming (a bowl of flowers, a cheery fire, the housekeeper’s ‘secret’ stash of toffee) to the realistically irritating (the hideous carpet that we all hated). We then began to play. The LARP took place in three acts, which were set on New Year’s Eve of 1928, 1931, and 1935, respectively. Between each act, everyone explained how they felt about all the other characters (which was less cumbersome than it sounds, as the LARP had a small cast). Then, we chose new connection cards to represent some of how our feelings had changed in the intervening year. As the years went by and the optimism of the ’20s faded into the anxiety and depression of the ’30s, the characters grew and changed. Some relationships grew stronger, others fell apart. The final Act took place on the eve of World War 2, as the manor was being sold and we all went our separate ways. Two pairs of people got married, the rest remained single. We vowed to keep in touch, but OOC we all knew that the next ten years were going to be hellish and uncertain for all of the characters. It was an emotional and moving final hour.
One of the things that I really appreciated about the game was that it succeeded at the difficult task of creating a LARP that could be run essentially GM-less. Due to the gentle, emotionally-focused nature of the LARP, there was no need to have an omniscient GM to adjudicate conflicts and insert new information into game. This meant that Adrienne explained how everything was going to work and walked us all through the process, but then she was able to pick up a character and play along with the rest of us, only putting on her GM hat in order to let us know when midnight was occurring (so we could toast/kiss/propose to each other) and when each act was ending. I don’t think it is a format that would work for every game, but for this game, it worked very well.
Alas, I have neither quotes nor pictures from this one. Despite the lack of corroborative record, however, it was a very enjoyable game, and one that I suspect I will remember fondly for quite some time.
-Sarah, Historian Luminant