Roleplay my LARP NPC from the safety of your own home

edited July 2007 in Story Games
I'm writing and going to be running a one shot LARP game in about a month (either August 4th or August 11th, most likely). The game takes place in an Orwellian totalitarian society, and the Great Leader/dictator has recently died. The meat of the action takes place in a few frenzied hours after the dictator's death, as several others via for power within it.

What I want for the game is to have some file footage of the dictator before he died. Possibly as he died, even. I'm still unsure on the details of his death, or even if the characters will know any of the specifics of his death. But I know I want to use my LCD projector to show the players the dictator giving a speech on something. And I'd like him to be someone the players don't know in real life, if possible.

What I need, then, is someone with a webcam to dress up as a dictator (military uniform or nice business suit) and record a speech in some digital video format. The speech won't need to be very long: probably only a few minutes or so. It helps if you have a mustache or fake mustache, because that will likely be an identifier in the LARP for the lookalikes that the dictator had. I'll discuss with any volunteer what the speech should be about and what I know about the dictator's character (not much is established yet).

I can work with almost any video format: I work in a Media Center for a living, so working with .avi, .wmv, quicktime, etc will be fine. Likely I'll do some editing of the videos in Final Cut Pro, if just to make it nicely black and white and grainy.

Sorry, ladies, but the character is male. If you really want to volunteer, I could maybe write some other video appropriate female roles. I don't know.

Why you should volunteer to help: because it's fun. Because you get to roleplay with people who are separated from you by hundreds of miles and a month of time. Because you already own a fake mustache. Because I'm asking nicely. Because it's like roleplaying, without all that dreadful social interaction. Because totalitarian dictators are cool to play. For many of the reasons you'd normally want to roleplay. Because I'll be extremely grateful.


  • I'm late 40s, have evil eyebrows and could arrange to have a mustache. I speak english (as opposed to american) with a midlands flavour. I have a suit and we have a camcorder.

    Any use? When do you want this done?
  • Posted By: NickHollingsworthI'm late 40s, have evil eyebrows and could arrange to have a mustache.
    While evil eyebrows are a point in your favor, quick response counts for more. Someone whispered to me and I've been feeding him the full info. But I'm grateful that I got multiple volunteers.

    If people are eager to help, I'm trying to calibrate my torture/interrogation mechanic, which is based on an old psychological experiment. I need to know about how quickly people can finish the test. As soon as I find a decent place to host a file, I'll let people know.
  • The test I mentioned is now online thanks to Google. I'm trying to figure out how difficult to make the test such that the players have a chance of succeeding and failing, and for that I need at least a couple data points. So if you could take the test (stating the color out loud of the text, not the color named) and time yourself, that would be very helpful. Not as helpful as my volunteer dictator, but helpful.
  • Damn. I just spent all morning printing pictures of Remi as the dictator and replacing every photograph in my house with a picture of Our Glorious Leader. If I had seen this ahead of time, that would be everywhere.

  • edited August 2007
    The larp happened! It was lots of fun.
    My full larp report is posted here
    . Everyone liked the dictator's speech and one person said the agricultural report (which was playing on five TVs covering our snacks table) was really cool. The media breakdon:

    I didn't get as much editing done as I would have liked. But I got enough done, so that in the end we had: a speech from Aleksander Dravo playing simultaneously downstairs in the filming studio and upstairs in the living room, the nightly agricultural report playing on a loop on five TVs clustered on the snacks table, an introductory Powerpoint file explaining setting and rules, and pictures of our Glorious Dictator replacing every photograph in my house.

    The original plan had called for one more TV showing Dravo's speech, but Dan's laptop couldn't handle Quicktime well enough, and an interrogation mini-game based on Powerpoint and the classical psychological experiments. This latter failed when our backup PC would boot into Windows, so we created some interrogation rules on the fly, which worked just fine.

    The speeches running on loops made the dictator seem really pervasive, even though he wasn't present at all. It worked great. I'm still working on getting the video up on Youtube. Maybe I cam get that done now that I'm not under a time crunch to get stuff ready for the larp.
  • So I can't thank Jason Morningstar or Remi Treuer or the guy that filmed it (Dave something?) enough.

    I was my digital camera was working, so we could have gotten some photos of people and banks of photos of the dictator and such.
  • Greg Jansen was the videographer. We used his equipment, too.
  • edited August 2007
    Greg also helped us shoot the Shab-al-Hiri Roach teaser movie. He's not a role-player himself, but he's always game for these kinds of shenanigans.
  • I'm giving up on trying to post the video on Youtube - it keeps rejecting the Dictator's speech, though it was fine with the Agricultural Report. I'm just going to post a very compressed version on Google Pages (and one of the Agricultural Report).

    The video quality is poor due to such compression and repeated changing of file formats. The version played at the LARP was of better video quality and larger in file size - too large to host on Google pages and would take a long time to download.
  • edited August 2007
    We shot the agricultural report and then put it on the TV. At some point, Remi said "you know, that's definitely a success, because we've been completely ignoring the broadcast for five minutes." I tried to be soul crushing.
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