Mystfall: Immersive LARP with a focus on player agency, organizational transparency and consent
Mystfall is a live-action role playing group based out of Acton, Ontario. Located near an Instagram worthy cold springs that are an icy blue, and a lovely refreshing cool down on hot summer days LARPing. Unfortunately, it’s April and still a bit too cold for a dip. It’s been a solid two years since I’ve LARPed or more? It feels like I’ve been waiting forever and I’m a bit nervous. It’s like being a new player all over again.
I’m seated in the heated dry tavern, after doing my Rapid Test for the ‘Plague’. The staff bustle around, tapestries are hung and metal cups are meticulously stacked alongside table settings and glowing handmade paper flowers. Candles and LED torches start making up the dry tavern into a proper fantasy-like medieval establishment.
The bunks are draped with fabrics and it’s like visiting a dear friend or relative after being away too long.
Folks cook in the kitchen and the yeasty, mouthwatering smell of freshly baked bread wafts out over the site. That bread isn’t making it to 6:00 PM when the first players will begin to arrive.
Greg tells us a bit about the Plot.
“Well, me and my partner have been sitting on this plot for three years, it was what kept us going at the worst parts of the pandemic.” He says, “LARP was a huge creative outlet for us and it feels great to be back.”
“I guess, if I had to explain the plot it would be ‘Strength in Community’ Amcreva’s words! I’m more of the funny guy, squirrels who can talk and silly pixies, you have to have a balance of funny and serious especially now that we just spent a lot of time being fearful and powerless. I don’t want to reveal too much because we have a big surprise for people.”
Mystfall is a new LARP with new players, the game has several indoor buildings, and tucked in the spruce trees is Cast Cabin where Frost, Mystfall’s President, is organizing costumes.
I asked what Mystfall means to him, “This place where I have met some of my greatest friends and most terrible foes, mostly in game.” He chuckles, “We’ve all worked really hard over the past couple of years, really focusing on what makes a good LARP experience, for everyone. We were ready in 2020 and I think this year is the year that will prove if a game like us fits in the LARP scene.”
Reading over the rulebook it looks like a lot of thought and effort went into it. Right at the very start they outline consent mechanics, social policies that includes statements about Consent, Accessibility, Anti-Racism and Trans Inclusion. Safety is next, the people here want this community to be a safe place for their friends and an inclusive one for folks who feel unwelcome or unsafe at other LARPs.
Amcreva, the Treasurer had alot to say about design and LARP in general.
“We weren’t perfect in the past, as younger LARPers you have to learn that if someone speaks up about their negative experience, it isn’t to harm the organisation, it’s because they feel safe enough to give us a chance to try harder and do better. Having an environment where we encourage folks to opt out of triggering scenes, negotiate things OOG and have check-in mechanics including non verbal ones is really important to me.”
She continues, “We have an amazing team who’s worked exceptionally hard to try to create a place that’s LGBTQA+ positive and I am taking steps to make it more accessible financially and physically.” The price of a game is $60 CDN, with extra options for things like Meal Plan ($35) and On-Site Storage ($100/yr).
Amcreva also talks about things Mystfall has implemented for accessibility.
“We have options for Non-Combat, Descriptive Roleplay, and we encourage players to ask our ombud for accommodations to suit their needs from more rest breaks to alternative handsigns for people with mobility aids.”
Mystfall Not-For-Profit Organisation with monthly events as seen here. www.mystfall.ca