As we’re now coming closer to the second Convention of Thorns, we thought it might be an excellent time to discuss what first-time vampires can expect during their weekend at Zamek Ksiaz.
Costuming is serious business. Part of what makes Convention of Thorns so amazingly immersive is that everyone brings their A game when it comes to costuming and makeup. If you’re concerned about putting something together or getting it to Poland, consider costume rental – you’ll be certain to get something that fits and is made for you and your character. But if you’re into making stunning costumes, terrifying prosthetic makeup, and creating creepy props, this is your time to shine. If you think it’s too much, this is Vampire, and you are in a castle. It won’t be.
Different floors and areas will have different themes and moods… and temperatures.The castle is large and there will be many different play areas – some for different clans, some with different atmospheres, some for different entertainments. There are the dank, dark, and chilly upper floors, where the most depraved of acts can and will take place. There are the elegant ballroom and lower halls where the high clans gather to plot and bicker amongst themselves. And that is not nearly all – it’s easy to overlook entire floors, gardens, or dungeons. If you have time to explore the castle off game, it’s a good idea.
Canon characters are fellow players. If you’ve been through the casting process, you are likely already aware – but if you’ve just signed up, characters from Vampire: the Masquerade continuity are present at the Convention and available for play. Every player has the opportunity to request these canon characters (or at this point, any canon character that hasn’t been cast already). The players can interpret the characters as they like, and have no specific directions for the weekend. So even if you don’t play one, you can have the thrill of pitting your character against some of White Wolf’s most legendary names.
The monks are there to help. Would you like NPC victims? Ask the monks. Do you need space or components for a ritual? Ask the monks. Hopelessly lost and need directions? Ask the monks. The monks are there to provide what you need to make your experience better. Do not be afraid to ask them for help, or even suggestions if you’re feeling lost or uncertain about your place in the drama.
There will be organized day play. Day play will be an opportunity to play out scenes from characters’ past, present, and future. These sessions aren’t mandatory – you can organize your own scenes or meetings, or catch up on sleep – but they are a great way to deepen your understanding of your character before the evening’s play begins. There will be pivotal moments or incidents in your character’s life that make them who they are at the Convention, and change who they are after. The chance to play those moments out is unique, can be quite emotional, and should definitely be considered.
You can eat some meals at your hotel! You will be lodged in a few different small hotels. Some of us (cough, me) were either jetlagged or not very bright and only discovered that we could have breakfast at our hotel, as opposed to the ‘main’ hotel closest to the castle, on the last day. Check with organizers or hotel staff to find out which meals you should have where.
It will be an amazing collaborative experience. On a more personal note, creating the story of the Convention with the other players, the organizers, and the NPCs over the first weekend is not an experience I expect I’ll have again. There was a collective love for Vampire: the Masquerade, a willingness to experiment and try new things, and an acceptance of player’s interpretations of characters and material that made the larp dynamic and thrilling. Every run will be different, but participating in a larp like this – in my opinion – always brings incredible moments that could only be created together. It felt like the Vampire larp I had always wanted to play.
You will truly feel like a creature of the night. Deep within the halls of the castle, isolated from the world, surrounded by incredible costumes and scenery, it is easy to imagine yourself in the 15th century and amongst fellow predators. Whenever vampires gather, it is an opportunity for them to settle grudges petty and great, threaten old enemies, and sometimes, revisit an ancient love. It is impossible to know whether dreams or nightmares will be found in the darkness of the weekend, but whatever you find, it will be unforgettable.
Veteran vampires, what would you add? Let us know in the comments!