I just spent a week in post-apocalyptic Berlin.

I just spent a week in post-apocalyptic Berlin.

I just spent a week in post-apocalyptic Berlin. Radiation storms, psychic weirdness, mutant giant snails, political intrigue, and a murder mystery.

For the past three years, I’ve run a week-long larp in the spring for 20-25 high-school students. The most recent one just wrapped up on Friday April 13.

Bakerhousebrand LARP involves:

– designing a cohesive setting with NPCs, plots, lots of fraying ends of subplots to snag players

– creating specific physical artifacts to support the above

– assembling props and costumes and weapons

– spending from basically 9 AM to 3 PM for 5 days straight switching costumes and characters roughly every 15-30 minutes and doing full-throttle improvisational acting while keeping a watchful eye on the students

– supporting the plot threads the student leaders set in place

– helping implement the new plots kids come up with

– answering in-character and out-of-character questions

– minding the physical and emotional safety and well-being of the kids, including weapons safety and instruction on concepts like fire-walling, bleed, and spotlighting other players

– while on guest property and sorting out transportation shuttling and snacks, on a $30/kid budget.

Also 90% of the time on our feet and outside dealing with weather, ticks, and mosquitoes. Thank goodness it’s not poison ivy season yet.

For my patrons this month, I plan to write out a sketch of what I do, in part to share cool bits about it, in part as a way to get it all down in an orderly fashion in preparation for figuring out a wider way to share this style of LARP support for teenagers, especially in school or camp settings, possibly also for conventions. It’s a fair piece of work but super rewarding.

I’m posting about it here because it’s a PbtA Larp, and if I can get it into a shape that’s useful to other folks, I want you to know about it!

17 thoughts on “I just spent a week in post-apocalyptic Berlin.”

  1. Gerrit Reininghaus The seniors who chose the setting include one kid who has written something like 20 pages of future history detailing life after a nuclear war, complete with hiding underground in French tunnels and catacombs, and eventually reemerging and beginning to rebuild Europe. In his vision, Berlin becomes a neutral zone between tense factions 1000 years from now.

  2. Shervyn von Hoerl Yep. We get an overall budget of $600 for the week, and make it last. The land is free, as we are hosted by a school family, and that makes a HUGE difference. We spend a bunch on quality snacks and water, and a stack on foam and tape. We need to invest in a costume box that stays at school.

  3. Shervyn von Hoerl In this case, it’s three 2’x2’x3′ cardboard boxes full of various belts, shirts, skirts, capes, sashes, tunics, wigs, masks, and pieces of cloth that can be quickly transformed into character pieces.

    For example, the snail above has a grey metallic skirt worn with the head and one arm out through the drawstring waist, and a semi-sheer black graduation gown (or was it a cheep vampire robe?) draped over the head, with one arm through a sleeve to operate the puppet.

    Over the week, certain combinations become associated with certain characters, like: Dibbs wears a green hat and the gray mesh; Benso wears the orange and white bathrobe and an orange silky capelet; Uncle Auntie wears the earth-tone rag-wrap. Then kids can pick up that costume bit and be that character and no-one questions it.

  4. This sounds amazing. It made me think of an organization that I know back in my home city of Winnipeg. ArtCity http://www.artcityinc.com/ Although their yearly deadline has come and gone I would think something like this could be up their alley. They pay their guest artists pretty well and work with at risk youth who may not have the opportunity to engage in larps and rpgs in general.

  5. Only because of everything I do with IIE and the word students Meguey Baker I’d love to know everything this entailed. Like was this just fun or education related? I’d love to know everything. This looks amazing from the pic

  6. Keenan Kibrick There are definitely educational elements that fit within the overarching goals of the school, but we don’t really make any of that explicit. I can talk more about that sometime if you want, and I guess I’ll add that into the write-up.

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