Live Action Roleplay gets a bit of a raw deal; it’s all too often portrayed in the media as a bunch of nerds hanging around a field in poorly made fancy dress pretending to be hobbits. What we don’t see as often (but is actually far more interesting) are the bespoke events where extra special effort is made to immerse the players into the world. The Monitor Celestra is a Live Action Roleplaying (LARP) game that not only immerses its players into the rich world of the remade Battlestar Galactica, it does so on a genuine decommissioned battleship.
It’s all been put together by Alternaliv, a Swedish based LARP company whose members are best known for Carolus Rex, a steampunk inspired spaceship game that was held on a submarine. The Monitor Celestra takes that idea a step further by using a cold war era battleship called the Småland, which is part of the Gothenberg maritime museum. Set between the mini-series and the start of the first season, this 32-hour long game is set on an old ship, The Monitor Celestra. Players pick characters from a set list, and the event will be ran multiple times, including an all English language version. Costumes are provided for some of the characters, in order to make sure that the uniforms look uniform, and others are encouraged to arrive in their own version of civilian clothing. Though it’s a non-commercial venture, players who are getting custom costumes will have to pay a bit more for the bespoke gear.
The event organisers intend to fill the old ship with props, crew and various computers which will allow the players to emulate the operation of the spacecraft. Sublight thrusters, navigational computers, FTL-drives, safety valves, DRADIS stations and functions familiar to fans of the show are all available for players to monkey about with.
One of the challenges the organisers have faced is that wi-fi doesn’t work very well on structure made mostly out of steel, so 10km of Ethernet cabling will be used to make sure it all works smoothly on the day. Speakers will also be wired into various key points so players can immerse themselves in the experience as the ship’s captain barks orders from the bridge.
A special area has also been set-up and through the use of projectors and the like, players will be able to ‘flashback’ to parts of their characters lives. The plot will be moved forward by specially briefed actors, though most of the action is to be in the hands of the players themselves. Those characters with a touch of the Gaius Baltar about them may even find themselves talking to people that aren’t there.
Executive producer and experienced larper Tomas Walch said “We've been organizing larps since the phenomenon was new when we were in our teens in the late eighties. Our ambition is still the same as it has always been, namely to push the understanding of what LARP is and can be a little further still. This time by pushing the concept of pay-and-play and action driven LARP where the story comes to the players instead of them having to make it happen.”
“The achievement in the entire production I'm most proud of so far is securing the contract to rent the destroyer. Remember that the ship is owned by a private museum and LARP is a very uncommon activity to them. This is a real dream venue for this kind of LARP and a lot of Swedish larpers have been dreaming about a major event staged on board for two decades, and we're the first to succeed in doing it”
The game has already stirred a strong reaction in the Battlestar Galactica community, and this event ties into various fan ran events which are part of the 35 year anniversary celebrations for the original Battlestar Galactica series and the 10 year anniversary of the remake.
The Monitor Celestra will be running over the first three weekends in March 2013, and more details can be found here: www.celestra-larp.com
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