Fastaval 2015 – This Miracle and Wednesday evening

This Miracle was a game that was very interesting from a designer’s viewpoint. It let us, via shared storytelling, create the myths of a religion. We were divided into three groups and each group told a story together by taking turns saying a sentence. We each got a theme to tell from, so my group had to do a story dealing with ethics and that had to end with a morale, another group had to do an genesis story that told the creation of this world, (or how this religion believed it happened), and one had to do a revelation story, about the divine revealing something to the mortals.

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After the game the artifacts we had created was displayed in the central area of Fastaval. Cool idea.

All three stores was of course very different, but because religion is this kind mismatch of stories it didn’t really matter (just look at the old testament). After we had told our story, we did it again and again each time having to shorten it, say less and less but still tell the same story. Just like religious stories are shorten down, so we don’t have to repeat the whole thing every time. After that we build some artifacts that came from this story, so ours had three eggs in it because they had played a central role in our story.

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The artifacts from the second run.

Then we told this shortened version to one of the other groups and and gave them the artifacts. And we got told a story as well and also got artifacts. Now the challenge was to create a ritual based on the story, we had gotten told and the artifacts we were given. The story we were told was one of a young woman going through challenges in the darkness, but surviving because of visions of the spark that guided her path. In the end turning her humble shepherd staff into a spear of light and that way defeating the evil.

So we created a ceremony, where we stood in a circle and everyone confessed a weakness or fear while passing the staff along, and everyone else would repeat this. Then the staff was ceremoniously turned into the the spear (like wine into blood) and passed back with each person repeating her weakness and the giver of sper would chant “you have the spark inside” everyone else would repeat this, then the person who had confessed the fear would chant: “The spark will light my way.” It was a simple and cool ritual, that I’m really surprised came out from just us random people telling stories and building together.

So now we had three rituals. Then we from a very short workshop each created a pilgrim who had traveled to a holy place with a group of others to go through the three rituals because they were facing a life crisis, that we came up with ourselves, based on an archetype we had been given. (We had been given this at the start of the game and kinda had to do the storytelling as this archetype, but it ended up (and worked better this way) by being out of character, but with the archetype as an inspirational tool.

The flow of the game was a bit bumpy and with a lot of little out of character interruptions. Roleplay is always like this, but having become a black box junky, I’m really starting to find flow important. I like it when a chamber larp or word based game is seamless and cut, brakes and other instructions fit in with the theme. This lacked this a bit, but it was a minor thing.

Other small things could improve upon the game. Right now, as it stands, the important bit is the religion creation, and the role play bit is mostly there to try out the rituals, we had created. But with a bit of work and focus on flow, I think the role play part could become stronger. Also the whole archetype element is cool, but the building part should be done out of character in a black box like workshop.

I could imagine this game being really good in a black box, where you create some seamlessness with lighting and sound. So Lizzy if you are reading this: this is an informal invitation to come (or send someone) to Black Box Horsens and run This Miracle as a black box game.

After that game I talked to some of the other players, (just can’t remember who) until we casually looked at the time, and it was two in the morning. With that discovery, we went to the bar to just grab one drink before going to bed. Luckily we were just in time to see the first Otto Channel show (a sketch tv show made by some brilliant amateurs each year to poke fun of us all)

And that was the first day like the rest of Fastaval over in a blur and already now feels like something that happened ages ago.

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