31. I was a warlock at a Game of Thrones larp in Italy
Here are some things I took with me. They are in no particular order and are based on my personal experiences. Others may have played the larp as well and have gotten something completely different out of it.
- When you are summoned to the dark insides of a sunken tower, lit only be torches, and it contains a huge (“life size”) dragon skull, that’s pretty awesome. When the dragon starts talking to you in a deep, dragonlike voice, the wow-factor goes through the roof.
- Having a large pool for the afterparty, and combining it with good food, free alcohol and Italian weather, is a fantastic experience.
- Not speaking the major language of a larp (even a little), where most of the players don’t really speak yours, is exhausting. The language barrier is real, and if you’re travelling alone, it can get lonely.
- The Italian players I saw at this larp were extremely good at giving each other space for drama. Grand speeches were allowed to finish, dialogue seemed more ping-pong than “Everyone-talks-at-once”, and people didn’t seem to be afraid of conflict.
- Larps at castles are pretty cool. This castle and its surroundings were no exception. It looked fantastic, and was filled with cool rooms, great-looking courtyards and fantastic artwork from days gone by. And coning from a flat country, I may hate walking up hills, but I love looking at Italian countryside. Location: 9/10.
- Sleeping in open tents sucks. I slept in a small tent, but due to Italian weather, it was only severely annoying and not completely demotivating (mosquitoes and flies aren’t fun, but at least it was warm). Still, I think my experience would have been different if I’d had one of the rooms at the castle. Sadly, they were all gone when signup opened for internationals.
- Organisers who go the extra mile for their international players get a gold star in my book. They arranged airport pickup for me and some Israeli players, and i got a 30 min ride to a train station after the larp, with easy train access to Milan, where I’m flying from.
- I’ve now twice tried the thing with secret “character scripts” that you read as the larp progresses, and that give you inspiration and guidelines on how to play the current episode. It didn’t work for me the first time, at Hell on Wheels in Czech Republic, and it didn’t work for me here. It’s not a bad design decision, it’s just one I personally don’t like.
- Italian cheese and sausages are fucking awesome. What would be considered extravagant and luxurious in Denmark is here just called “cheese and sausages”. Yum!
- People looked great! Many, many cool costumes, and few eyesores. 300+ people making GoT come alive looks quite cool. The Septons and the Dornish were especially impressive. At times I felt like I was on a film set. And Lannister red really looks good when it’s taken to the extreme!
- The scenography team had done a spectacular job. The anount of stuff that they’d made and brought was staggering. I salute you, mad, mad people.
- One-third of the players were first-time larpers. That’s around 120 new larpers. I’ll just repeat that. Around 120 new larpers. If anyone ever doubted the power of spectacular larps using existing IPs, that doubt is not only dead, but nailed inside its coffin. Hot damn, that’s good recruiting work. And from what I understand, they did excellently as a whole.
- Overall, I am glad I boarded the plane to Westeros some days ago, and come back from this adventure with new inspiration, new friends and new appreciation for the Northern Italian larp scene. Pulling something like this off is no small feat, and I was suitably impressed. Salute!