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Alex the Great

An online larp about performance and persona; about understanding yourself; and perhaps about finding friendship where you don’t expect it.

(It has nothing whatsoever to do with Alexander the Macedonian ruler.)

OK so they said he was Great. But what about you?

Alex the Great is an online larp from Larps on Location. It runs, for about three hours, on Discord. Contact larpsonlocation@gmail.com if you have any questions about the larp.

This website also explains how to run the larp yourself, if you wish to do so. Although the instructions for that will make more sense after you’ve been through the rest of the site.

The story

In a present-day realistic setting, a TV production company is making a new show which they hope will catch people’s attention during lockdown. It is called ‘Alex the Great’.

The show recruits people named Alex, from all over the world. It pairs them up and gets them to talk with each other online via video chat for twenty minutes. They’re given some conversation seeds – questions to ask each other, etc – and some fun activities to do, to help it go smoothly. This is all broadcast live on TV. Viewers then give each Alex marks out of 10 for how Inspiring, Lovable, and Entertaining they are.

This is then repeated three times more, with the pairings reshuffled each time, so that each Alex is paired with one who is on similar scores. After the four programmes are complete and the fourth round of voting has taken place, the winner is crowned as Alex the Great, with a large cash prize and the hope of further celebrity. (With also subsidiary winners for Most Inspiring, Most Lovable, and Most Entertaining.)

Photo by Nothing Ahead on Pexels.com
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

What’s play about?

The focus of play is up to individual participants. They might want to play an ambitious character who tries hard to win. Or perhaps someone who starts like that but gets disillusioned partway through. Or perhaps someone who during play hits a pairing where the conversation for some reason changes their life. They might want to look into the process of forming a performative persona for on-camera behaviour, and how that is sustained or evolved or broken down over a period of exposure.

The larp

In the larp, each participant plays an Alex character. The design provides a collection of character skeletons, which people can base their Alexes upon: or they can answer a series of questions to create their Alex; or they can invent an Alex freely. All Alexes are plausible real-world people.

The pairing takes place offgame. Play consists of the four separate twenty-minute sessions of paired chat, played out live, alternating with the announcement of the four sets of scores. There are short gaps inbetween to allow participants to break from play.

The video conversations are seen only by the two participants involved, and potentially by the organizers if they need to drop into it for some reason. It is not made available to other participants; and it is not made public, or kept. (Video is the default mode of conversation, but participants can use just audio if they prefer.)

Participants each assign their own character’s scores. So they can decide for themselves how well or badly their character will have been perceived to have performed, by the in-game viewing audience.

Places

We had a successful first run of Alex the Great on 20th March 2021, and the next one is scheduled for 5th June.

If you’re interested in that date or generally for the future, fill in the signup form and we’ll notify you about any runs that get scheduled.

Is Alex the Great for me?

Alex the Great might be the larp for you if:

  • You want a generally wholesome and positive vibe. Drama, pain, and negative emotions can be present if you wish, but they won’t dominate.
  • You want to go on an emotional journey, but not an extreme one.
  • You enjoy short interactions online more than long ones. In Alex the Great you will have four conversations of 20 minutes each, with breaks inbetween.
  • You like one-to-one play online rather than in a larger group.
  • You like to be able to create your own character.
  • You like a real-world setting, and realistic-character problems and issues.
  • You like what you’re actually doing in the larp to accurately reflect what your character is doing. (In this case, talking over a video link with someone you’ve just met.)

But it does not feature:

  • Intensely dramatic scenes — the focus is on slice of life and everyday drama.
  • Prewritten characters — we do have some examples that you can use, or base your idea upon, but you will design and play your own character.
  • Predefined relationships — in Alex the Great, all the characters are strangers to each other at the start.
  • Lengthy online interactions, or interactions with more than one person at a time.

Technical requirements

Alex the Great takes place on Discord. You will need a device capable of running the Discord software — either as an app, or in a browser window — and a microphone and camera. You will also need a reliable internet connection.

You don’t need any special costume or backdrop or makeup or anything else like that — although you are very welcome to use them if it helps with getting into your character.

Cost

Alex the Great is free to take part in: we do not charge a fee.

However, if you wish to donate to the Larps on Location accessibility fund, that will be very welcome. This fund allows us to make places more affordably available at our other larps, for people who might have difficulty paying the full price.

Offering such a donation will not affect your chances of getting a place in Alex the Great.

Flagging

Once signup has closed, names of those who’ve signed up will be circulated. We will ask you to, confidentially, indicate any people who you think pose a safety risk at the larp; and any who you personally would prefer not to be paired with in a conversation, for your own comfort; and also any who you would rather not be paired with for any other reason of preference.

Signup

The button below takes you to a Google form where you can sign up to take part in the larp. The next run is scheduled for 5th June 2021: if you can’t make that date, you can sign up anyway, and we’ll inform you when we have other dates.

Larps on Location

Alex the Great
5th June 2021
1400–1700 UTC

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.