Wednesday, May 30, 2007

It's been quiet

In Belgium the larp season is over for the first part of 2007 which is one of the reasons I don't have much to talk about besides Banapsis. Since I don't want to give away to much information in advance, I just kept quiet. But here is a small update without giving to much away ;-).
First a friend of mine helped out with writing the letter (in French) that I'll sent to the owners of the forest that we want to use for Banapsis. The letter is written in such a way that the owners normally will invite us to let us persuade them to use the forest for Banapsis :-), so it'll be crossed fingers the coming weeks.
Next we continued working on the concept of Banapsis, fine tuning the details. Most of the rough edges are now defined and we are now starting to work on the details of everything.
The design and backbone of the website is also starting to become finished, so soon it'll be ready to be filled with lots of information.
Besides that I also contacted the organisers of Dragonbane and we'll be able to get some of the stuff they bought for Dragonbane. This as a goal to provide affordable gear for all participants. Cause we know that Banapsis will demand lots of effort from our participants and we want to make it as cheap as possible for them to buy/make the right stuff.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Banapsis costumes

Since we will set very high dress code standards for Banapsis it's only natural that we make sure that our npc costumes follow the same standard.
That's why with the Banapsis crew we will make all our npc clothes ourselves. Last Saturday I made the basis of our Elven costume. In the coming weeks I'll keep working on it and I hope that by mid-June it'll be finished so I can post a picture of it here.
Our goal is to have for each faction at least one example costume ready when the website goes online. That way our participants will be able to use those costumes as a guideline when making their own costumes.
While making the Elven costume I also took some pictures on how I made the pattern of the costume using a tshirt, this to make it possible for those with no sewing skills to make a pattern themselves.
So when our website goes online you'll find pictures of costumes and guidelines on how to make them yourself.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Most memorable Dragonbane moment

This time I'll tell you my most memorable Dragonbane moment, a moment that I've never experienced during any other larp before and after Dragonbane.

It happened during the 3rd day of Dragonbane. In the village Cinderhill people were getting more and more afraid of what the Dragon (their former protector) would do when it found out that the villagers had used the whole Dragon's treasure to buy extra food for the village over the years.
When evening came the villagers believed that the Dragon would come that night to claim all the children of the village as repayment. I and 2 other Dragontamers opposed the sacrifice of the children and we promised we would keep watch over the children. If the Dragon came we would take them to the forest where the Dragon would have a hard time to find us.
So when night came we went to the children, we prepared food for them and since they were clearly scared (very good roleplay of those children!) we told them stories of our adventures to make them less scared. It felt very satisfying that during our stories the children's eyes started to shine with excitement. When the children started to fall asleep we gave them our own sheepskins to sleep on and use as blankets1.
During the night we talked amongst ourselves about the Dragon threat, to where we would go in the forest and such. When it was getting really late one of us went to sleep while the other two kept watch. After a couple of hours we woke the one asleep and another would get to sleep some hours. We continued this until it was morning and we were certain the Dragon would not come that night.

The story just told really made me feel the hero of stories. We didn't get much sleep (we really did a 24hour watch), we made sure the children were safe, we kept the fire going (it was very cold at night) and we told them stories to make them less scared. Especially when their eyes started to shine when they listened to our stories made me feel the hero ;-)

Moments like this are what I want to recreate with Banapsis, such moments are what I want Larp to be.

As always comments are welcome, you might even tell me what your most memorable Larp moment was.

1 as tamers we were obliged by the organisation that everything we would need we should be able to carry ourselves, since as adventurers without horses everything we need is carried by us, this included sleeping gear. I had 4 sheepskins sewn together as a mattress (I could roll it up and fix with IC strips to hang from my shoulder) and another huge sheepskin that I used as cloak was used as blanket.

Monday, May 14, 2007

More about Dragonbane

Yesterday one of the Banapsis guys made a small notice on the Manticore forum (click here) about Banapsis being a new kind of larp for Belgium and this generated a discussion about the possibility of a larp without experience points (xp) and without skills.
One of them asked about an example on how it's possible so here comes a short example about how it was at Dragonbane.

At Dragonbane the choices we got were the following: choose your faction, create your background and play it.
Factions: Cinderhillians (villagers), Dragontamers (adventurers, they all had a large dagger (50cm)) and witches (they could do magic). Everybody could use a weapon, but only the tamers had one for themselves, the cinderhillians had a couple of weapons but not enough for everyone, the witches had no weapons.
The witches could do magic, but only one spell per day (the game lasted 6 days). They could do any spell they wanted as long as it was something that would be believable.
The cinderhillians had no special skill, but they had their village, witches and tamers lived in tents in the (HUGE) wood.
During the game there were NO fights (as in battle), only at the end of the game one player executed another for a matter of honor.
Mostly we just 'lived' our character: sleeping, getting up, bringing the fire back to life, cutting down a tree for wood, cooking food, fetching water, going to Cinderhill to trade our meat for food they had that we had not. At night we celebrated with story telling, singing, dancing, duelling. When we were at the Cinderhill village we helped them with their chores, told stories for the children etc.
At not one moment did I feel bored, I wasn't looking to become someone important, I just played my character. There was no worldsaving plot, the plot was just about 3 totally different factions trying to live together without killing each other (there was also the minor detail of the Dragon wanting to destroy Cinderhill).
When someone got wounded the medic (only people with OOC medic skills could play a medic), would bandage their wounds, make a potion (OOC tea) and that would heal them a bit but NEVER fully => getting in battle would make certain that any wounds would bother you for the rest of the event.
When duelling we considered any hit as a scratch unless the one inflicting the wound really tries to hurt you badly.

My vision about Banapsis

Last time I talked about my reasons for starting the new Larp project Banapsis. But while giving the reason I actually didn't say anything about what I tried to change in Manticore.
With Banapsis I want to make the participants start to believe that they are really living in the world that we will create during the Banapsis event.
I already hear someone say: it's not possible. Well sorry to disappoint you, but it is, I and many others had that feeling during the Dragonbane larp. During many moments of the Dragonbane larp I actually thought I was really walking in the world of Dragonbane.

This was accomplished thanks to a simple rule: What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG). If everything you see actually looks real (or even better is real) then you have less trouble being you character. You no longer have to 'imagine' that there is no car, the car won't be there in the first place!

WYSIWYG is the easiest way to describe my vision of Banapsis: make everything inside the game area look real: IC sleeping area, IC sleeping gear, IC eating kit, IC costume (including shoes and underwear), ...
One other important item of my vision is: STAY IN CHARACTER! I just hate it that in most larps I play people start to talk about OOC stuff, now when I hear OOC talk I just leave that group of people, their OOC talk also takes me OOC while I keep trying to stay IC for the whole event (I only succeeded in that at Dragonbane).
Next in my vision is the game system. There I apply the following simple rule: make the system support the game, not make it more complicated. For this I believe the best game system is the following: Freeform, i.e. if others believe what you do, then you can do it. This means: NO SKILLS!
Example of simple freeform: you want to heal someone (remember there is NO healing skill), you take some bandages (in your hand you hide a small flask with fake blood), while pressing the bandages on the wounded person you pour a small bit (or large depending on the wound) of fake blood on the wound. You are now roleplaying that you are cleaning the wound, next you take some thread and needle and you roleplay that you are stitching the wound. After that you use your bandages to wrap the wound tight. If the others believe your roleplaying of the treatment of the wound then it succeeds, if not it doesn't work, you might even have made it worse (depending on the roleplay of the wounded person).

Next time more about how we plan to make it affordable for people to fit our vision (yes, IC shoes can be found at prices as cheap as 30 euro).

Oneiros vzw gets new board

Oneiros vzw is the non-profit organisation where the Manticore larp has it's home.
Yesterday was the annual General Meeting where the old board stepped down (due to the end of their term) and a new one got elected. I'm still part of the board and now become the secretary, this means I'll have to do all the administrative work and make minutes of the board meetings.
I was a bit saddened by the low turnout of members, but this made sure the the meeting was concluded quickly.
More info about Oneiros can be found (in Dutch) on their website at:

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Why Banapsis?

One of the questions some of you will ask is why am I creating a new larp, aren't there enough already?
You are correct there are a lot of larps, but most are exactly the same in a different wrapping. With Banapsis I not only want to change the wrapping, I want to completely change what's inside.

It all started in 2005 when I went to Sweden to help out in the Dragonbane larp. They were actually building a medieval style village in the middle of nowhere just for a larp! Talking there to the organisers and volunteers, like myself, made me realise there is so much more to larp than what we do here in Belgium. In 2006 it was playtime for Dragonbane and while it wasn't perfect it made such a big impression on me that to this date (more than 6 months later) I'm still in post-Dragonbane rehab.

As some might already know I already run a larp in Belgium, Manticore. When I first came back from Sweden in 2005 I tried to change Manticore to what I heard of from the Swedes/Danes/Fins/... but I only half succeeded. The reason for this is that Manticore is a running larp (started somewhere in 2000) and people don't like it when the concept changes in midways. So I only changed the stuff that was accepted by the participants. Most important of those changes where the (partly) abolition of Time-Stop moments (battleboarding in the UK).

So, since I couldn't bring the Dragonbane atmosphere to Belgium via Manticore I started a new project, Banapsis.

Next time more on my vision of Banapsis.

Monday, May 07, 2007

The curtain will lift a bit

In the coming weeks I'm going to spill some details of the Banapsis larp. It will contain some high level info about this new larp as well as some more pictures.
We are also starting the development of our website (at, from the moment we have a fix on the game area we will open up the website. The goal of the website will be to be 100% functional containing all the info, so no site under construction.
You're always free to use the comments to post questions about Banapsis, I might give you answers in my next blog :-)

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Got girls interested in Larp

On monday I was at a birthday party of one of my friends (Evelien). One of my Larp friends (Kristof) was also there and at one time we started talking about Larp. Some friends of Evelien got really interested in the concept and asked me to keep them informed. I was amazed how well they received it, cause if they come to play at e.g. Manticore that means at least 5 extra female NPC's (who are rather good looking :-) ).
So I'll see that I'll be able to get them to participate in Manticore. Only problem is that Manticore does tend to have lots of fighting going on and girls generally don't like that. That means I'll have to talk Vince (scenario guru of Manticore) into making the plot also girl-friendly :-)

Caege Renaissance 2 was great

Last weekend I again became Findulas Lasgalen, a woodelf of the Lasgalen clan from Kell'terrah. Caege Renaissance (CR) takes place in a fantastic Europe set in the Renaissance period. The world thus looks like Europe, but with different names and the addition of the Fantasy element.

Kell'Terrah is actually Scotland, so we talk our English (aka the Elven tongue) with a Scottish accent (or what we think a Scottish accent is :-) ).
In this larp we are not the kind of Elves that don't come out of the forest. We mix with the humans and use sign languages to make them understand what we mean. We enjoy live and love to watch pretty girls (at least my Findulas does, the other two Elves might not do that :-) ).

As said in my last post, in CR you need to find a teacher for every silly little skill you want to learn. This event I had an idea what I'd be going for, but that all changed when I was so badly wounded I ended up on the surgeon's bed. Since Findulas is already proficient in the making and repairing of softleather clothes I was interested in how the surgeon sew me up (I drank lots of alchohol (IC and OOC :-) ) in order to be a little immune to the pain :-) ). I talked a lot with the surgeon and ended this event with the basic surgeon skill. So I'm now also able to stitch up people :-).

The overall feel of the weekend was superb, I managed to stay IC most of the time, mostly got pulled out OOC by OOC talk of other participants. I also had a great talk with my friend Nico (IC: Yorrick Monroe of the clan Monroe of Monroe Island), he's actually thinking of buying some IC shoes and making himself some IC underwear. Just got to say: that's the spirit :-)
The only thing I didn't like at CR was the photographers in modern clothes and the fact that it was a public domain and due to the excellent weather about 15-ish tourists were there.

Pictures ©Kris Bultereys (kris.bultereys at gmail dot com)