Furnace XV

I was supposed to be playing one of my favourite LARPs at the weekend, so hadn't planned to attend Furnace this year. But when registration opened, back in June, I signed up anyway because who knew what things were going to be like by October? Good choice, past me.

Game 1

Saturday kicked off with a game of Punkapocalyptic, a game that I have learned to pronounce since my first time playing. We played the scenario 'Bad Luck in Luckyland,' a rather less bodily fluid focused adventure, but even more absurd. A simple cooking contest kicked off a chain of events that included constructing a Disney themed mecha, frolicking like woodland sprites and the accidental creation of a mutant buffet.

Describing the game to a friend afterwards, he said it reminded him of Borderlands, and that's not a bad comparison. While the content is very different, there's a similar feel in the game's irreverant tone. I don't know if Punkapocalyptic is intended to be a comedy game, but it's absolutely the funniest thing I've played this year. Of course a lot of that was due to the GM's brilliant scenario and the way my fellow players embraced it.

And talking of fellow players, not only was I not the only woman at the (virtual) table, but for the first time at a convention, I was at a table where the women outnumbered the men! What a great way to start the weekend.

Game 2

Saturday evening's game was Vaesen, with the scenario 'A Wicked Secret'. Fria Ligan have done an amazing job with this adventure, with a bunch of handouts that bring the setting to life and a mystery that seemed obvious on the face of it but turned increasingly complex as we delved further into it and kept the surprises coming until the end.

Five of us headed into the Swedish forests to solve this mystery. As in Mutant: Year Zero, we all had a bit of text to describe our relationship with each other character, plus our own opinions on the subject of vaesen, which resulted in some spicy conflict. My only regret is that we didn't have more time to roleplay that aspect of the game - we already overran by nearly two hours without things ever feeling slow, and could easily have taken another hour on our traumas, relationships and dark secrets.

Vaesen is a bit like Call of Cthulhu, in that not only can you play it with little to no knowledge of the setting, it can actually be a better experience to play it that way. This is a bit of a challenge for someone like me, who aims to be both player and GM. I'll just have to hold off reading certain bits of the book until I'm actively planning to use them.

A key part of the setting that did shine through though was the conflicts brought about by the increasing industrialisation of northern Europe during the 19th century. Not only does it drive the whole setting, but it ran through the game right down to a very personal level. My initial impression of Vaesen when I first saw the game on Kickstarter was that it was something like a 19th century Liminal, but after a couple of games, the best comparison I can find is Princess Mononoke.

This game gave me a new insight into the world of Vaesen and I really hope to play more.

Game 3

A rare opportunity for me to play Liminal, with a London based scenario using some of the Pax Londinium content - including pre-gen characters from the Worshipful Company of Investigators. I picked Mika, the urban explorer, which reminded me of one thing I love about Liminal - you can play a character with no supernatural abilities at all, and still feel just as valuable to the group as anyone else.

A tense investigation followed, full of poor decisions and good natured ribbing but ultimately ending in success. It was fascinating to see someone else's take on the setting. So far most of the scenarios I've run were either my own or written by Paul Mitchener, and the only time I've played before was also with Paul Mitchener. In this game the GM leaned a lot more into the Neverwhere side of Liminal London, making for a very different experience.

Game 4

Unfortunately one player had to drop out of my afternoon game of Liminal, but a quick advert on Twitter soon netted me a replacement.

I can't even remember how many times I've run Mother Said I Never Should now, but the players still manage to find ways to surprise me. The scenario is set up so that there a number of pieces of information for the players to find, but it's up to them how they go about finding them, and this time a player took an approach that nobody has tried before.

This adventure is getting one more outing at Grogmeet until it gets (temporarily) retired in favour of the new stuff I'm working on.


I'm glad to say nobody in the games I was in made any attempt to use the Roll20 AV (although I'm told one of the other groups actually got it to work!) We used Discord or Google Meet for each game, and apart from one of my Liminal players having some internet wobbles, it all went very smoothly.

By the time social gatherings are safe enough for conventions to resume at the Garrison, I'll probably be LARPing again, so might not make it to an in-person Furnace for a while. But it's going to be a tough choice. A lovely group of people that I'm really looking forward to meeting in person.

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Staff member
Thanks for the comments on Vaesen. I really enjoyed running for you all. The coffee table book that inspired the game is also definitely worth considering as it’s gorgeous and has additional Vaesen to draw on.


The Guvnor
Staff member
Thanks for the comments on Vaesen. I really enjoyed running for you all. The coffee table book that inspired the game is also definitely worth considering as it’s gorgeous and has additional Vaesen to draw on.