(Featured photo by Monica Silva on Unsplash.) This was quite a year. I’m going to share some stats because I am both shocked and proud of the amount this blog has done. Since its launch in June 2018, 83,683 words have been written on the Space Between Stories. Those words span 33 blogs written by myself, 6 guest blogs, and 4 interviews. We’ve been shared in almost thirty countries and begun discussions on groups as far as New Zealand. I can’t count the amount of people (strangers and friends) who have come up to me expressing thanks for how their gaming has changed because of something they read on the blog. So, thank YOU for that. Thank you to all my guest bloggers for sharing their stories and wisdom. A HUGE thank you to my Patreons, for making it possible that I can continue larping and learning even in a lean year. Thank you to my fellow players and staff members for helping me learn more with every passing event. And lastly, a huge thank you to this community for learning, growing, and failing forward so rapidly our heads are collectively spinning. It’s been a crazy ride, but it’s one worth taking.
In the larp professional sphere, this year saw a ton of change and growth for me. I began with being invited to be the Head Storyteller for Sinking Ship Creation’s Project Ascension, which turned into several months of whirlwind development on how to design more Nordic/freeform inspired larp for not only an American audience, but in a cyberpunk setting which is inherently competitive and driven by secret keeping. We learned so much from this game and watched players dive in so deep, I’d not trade the experience for the world. Then I stepped in as Dead Legends’ head writer for the second half of 2018 and did my best to direct/organize from behind the scenes before passing the torch on at the end of this year. I travelled to Belgium to Myrddin Emrys College, a first time run larp that had the majority first time players. It was a greatly needed experience and a strong reminder of not only where we all started, but how many bad habits seasoned larpers and larp runners develop over the years. It helped me break out of many assumptions and get a fresh perspective for going into design the rest of the year.
In the fall, I was planning on simply traveling to play Inside Hamlet, but ended up being asked to step up as the rehearsal and run-time director for the Royals. I happily said yes and got to work with some of the most talented actors/larpers I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. It also taught me a ton about the meta between being an organizer off-game and in-game. I’m looking forward to the chance to take those organizer lessons into new projects. I then dove into developing the workshops for Dammerung, which was even more of a challenge than writing them for Project Ascension, because we knew we were going to have a ton of players from ALL different walks of gaming. I had to plan for die hard fight based gamers, reenactors, freeformers, and everything in between. While the workshops were good for a first run, I’m glad the first Dammerung event was billed as event zero, because it was basically a playtest and we’ve got a lot more to change in the coming year to make things more accessible, understandable, and comfortable for our players. Then I dashed off to be an influencer for 1878: Welcome to Salvation, where I got to meet a whole OTHER batch if new larpers, some old familiar faces, and really help tell a story in a totally negotiated, collective way that I’ve not seen ever work for a HUGE, game-ending climax fight the way it did at 1878. I’m still proud of all of us for that.
Needless to say, it’s been a year.
But enough looking backwards. I want to finish this blog talking about the future. 2018, while it was a whirlwind of learning, travel, and growing as a designer/organizer, I feel like it was mainly a lot of setting the foundation for the years to come. I learned so much, so quickly, about myself and our community. I had the chance to see so many new larpers come into the world and hear their ideas. I worked in so many different styles of larp that I can safely say it’s impossible to actually know what the most predominant style of larping in our country is any longer. I’ve done a lot of traveling and international games in the last two years, but my resolution for the upcoming year is to now focus on taking care of my backyard. It’s time to take all I’ve learned and really do some transformative work at home. I’m going to keep blogging, doing larp journalism/influencer work, and design consulting when asked, but I’m going to try to do it closer to home and for people/projects who are closer to home. However, I’m also finally going to do more than just support/consulting work
In 2019, Sam Stone and myself are launching a new event production company. As my readers, you get the first sneak peak at the website (WARNING: It’s NOT inished yet, but enjoy the peak.) Entropic Endeavors is going to be a production company that focuses on campaign American freeform events with some one-shots for ideas we don’t think will fit in a campaign setting. Each storyline will only run 3-4 times a year for a limited amount of years, giving the players time to participate in other games (or focus on a life outside of gaming) and the staff time to ensure that each event really has that huge, immersive, blockbuster feeling to it while still being more affordable than many blockbuster games. We’re handling the production and direction of Dammerung’s season opener, but the first, main product of Entropic Endeavors is going to be a game that has been brewing in the back of my head for a long while. I’m so excited to finally bring my own projected fully to fruition. I’ve never been the head creator of a game and I cannot wait to have that freedom to design in something that’s totally my world (base idea wise, at least.)
Velvet Noir is a 1920s setting where a group of predominantly queer gangsters have been driven out of the city by the morality movement (along with their allies and their booze) to the family estate in the country. They’ve now made it a bastion for nearly everyone left behind by the conservatism of the big city. It’s safe there, if you just ignore the strange things out there in the dark. It iis a game about oppression and finding your freedom in spite of it. It’s a game about the unknowns — what is unknown about your own soul, your humanity, and what lays out there in the darkness? It’s a game focused on exploring cooperative storytelling where the players will steer what plot is presented the next game by their actions and letters presented in the previous episode. We’re still in the process of development and hiring major staff, but we’ve made a ton of progress in a single month. Dana Kjolner has designed us a brilliant side game of warring for territories in the city — so the players who want SOME crunch can have access to it — and we’ve got most of the cooperative mechanics down for the main countryside, freeform style game.
I really don’t have adequate words for how excited I am to be going into this company with Sam. We share many of the same ideas about the state of north American larping, safety standards, challenging roleplay, and what sort of experiences we want to provide to our participants. Once we’re on our feet, we’ll be opening our doors (and our insurance) to other designers who want to run games which fit within the brand of Entropic Endeavors. We really have a focus on keeping these events high value/high immersion while still being AFFORDABLE for the majority of the larp community. It’s a fine tightrope to walk, but every planning discussion we have convinces me more so that we can do it. We have a lot of support at our back and ideas in front of us, which is ultimately what matters.
Lastly, my Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/spacebetweenstories, I’d love for you to join me) is going to be getting a redesign in the coming year. I finally got that GoPro, so I’m going to be able to do video content and I plan to take advantage of Patreon’s Lens feature, to produce some quick but interesting Patreon-only videos of things happen actively on the larp ground. Patreon’s are going to get a deeper view into the development of Velvet Noir and truly be able to see this style of game being built from scratch. Finally, the tiers are going to see a bit more revision to help get people things they might really want/use for their money, but that’s still in idea development. I can’t wait to share this with all of you and thank you for coming along for the journey. I’m going into 2019 with more creative energy and ideas than I’ve had in years, and it’s a brilliant place to be.