Crewing The Quota: guest post by Charlie Holdway

Another set of Facebook posts, this time by Charlie Holdway. Starting with this, written during the event, which I absolutely love…

“Crewing Quota. Report so far.


Holy shit some people play hard.

Further info later. May video journal.”

Post 2 – post-event.

“These are the characters I played (except in Black Box scenarios) for The Quota. I’m writing to help process, and figured I may as well share. Percentages are a wild guess.

Mr Jackson (50%)

‘Straight as an arrow and strong as the bow that fired it.’

Jackson was a professional. A guard employed by River Seven Security to help make the facility run as smoothly as it could. A committed and particularly inflexible man, his entire existence was his job and his dog, or at least that’s what he thought. If you kept your head down, did what you were supposed to do, and didn’t do what you weren’t, Jackson was pleasant and even strayed into sarcastic humour.

Break the rules, cross the line, Jackson would fall on you like a ton of bricks. Publicly. You got two chances.

He hated the bigots and the dealers. But more than that he hated the predators in the facility, the corruption and the fact he could do nothing about it.

Paddy Browne. (30% )

‘What have you done, today, to name yourself that word?’

An Irish immigrant in Wales, Paddy was brought in for group therapy – a friend of The Chaplain and an actual volunteer. He was a (partly) trained counsellor, but the groupwork was somewhat beyond him, so he did what he could and tried to encourage people to keep hold of themselves in the face of the overwhelming dissocation of the Facility. He couldn’t be around as much as he wanted. He had a habit of digging too deep, too fast. He was capable and happy to hear whatever anyone had to say, and keep it confidential.

Paddy believed that everyone could be saved, if only they faced themselves.

Number 2 (20%)

‘The real problem here is that you know you deserve this.’

Number 2 was a soldier, committed to his Queen and his country. He’d done so much to so many people that he’d lost his ability to get sad about other people’s pain. The rest of his empathy was there, and he really relished the acting part of the job, playing nice. That being said, he didn’t want to hurt innocent people unless he had to – his job was to reduce overall harm, by temporarily increasing it. He also liked taking trophies from his victims, and had a keen eye for a good pair of shoes.

Number 2 knew that the Enemy were active, and didn’t care how many people he had to hurt to get the leads the team needed.”

Post 3

“A few things I learned.

Calibration: the act of approaching the organisers to ask for your experience to change a little because it’s not what you were hoping for. I provided a ‘guard bullying’ experience for someone who had found their character’s game a little ‘too easy’. I was told later that it had really turned the larp around for that person. Calibration is awesome.

Black box. Just because you know what is going to happen in a scene doesn’t ruin it. In fact… planning the outline can help you tell the story you want.

Name badges with pronouns. Great for crew and player alike. Means you don’t fuck up pronouns (as much) and you don’t HAVE to OC-remember everyone’s name immediately. Great idea.

Questionnaires. Questionnaires that detail exactly what someone is and isn’t okay with for their experience. Means it is a LOT easier to do negative and harsh interactions with someone you don’t know.”

Post 4

“Physical and emotional effects of the larp on me.

I’m a pretty hardy critter in the grand scheme of things. Sure I’m unfit, but it generally takes a lot to smash me up. I’m a wreck right now though, with bumps and bruises and hurts in weird spots and I’m going to detail some of it below.

Exhaustion: I am shit at sleep hygiene and not-being-last-asleep at the best of times. I am pretty tired from little sleep. This is fairly standard from larp.

Knee bruises. I have chunky bruises just around my knees on both legs. This is from physically lifting and balancing one end of a bed on my legs whilst holding the person’s legs in place for simulated waterboarding.

Left wrist bruise. This is, I think, from when Jackson punched and kicked walls after being told Sunderland was now basically running the prison. He is ever thankful for all of you who didn’t rat him out!

Face – tiny tender spot on my left cheekbone. Gotta hold those black-bagged terrorists better or they kick out and take you in the face since they can’t see anything. Oops!

Hips and knees. Just a bit sore. Jackson rarely (never?) sat down, and ‘proceeded’ in a walk that is different to mine.

Right thumb. I think the splinter I dug out on Sunday afternoon was from ‘fixing’ doors pre-game and turning open doors into shut doors and shut doors into open doors by the power of my boot.

There’s a faint ache in my left shoulder that I think is from when Number 2 cuddled a prisoner he was ‘interrogating’ and she wrenched away so hard it threw me off balance!

Right foot sore. My trusty black combat-highs’ soles died this weekend so I had to wear some brown boots that I only wear for short periods because they make my foot sore. Ouch.

Now… the emotional stuff.

I’ve found myself using a few unfamiliar sperch patterns. Like Jackson’s habit of almost repeating himself. During the citizenship test: ‘I will leave this room with the same number of pens as I arrived with. YOU will leave this room with the same number of pens as you arrived with.’ This just means I was heavily immersed I reckon.

Occasionally I am getting a little sad about the fates of the characters that Paddy liked and knew about.

I keep realising I already know some of the characters in my real life. Elements of cheek and standoffishness and all sorts of traits and it keeps making me smile.

Oh and James Hardin… that was quite the convincing rattling for more gear and it made me wince. I can still see him in my imagination curled up and huddled miserably outside, or asleep in the rec room. Oh god when he fell asleep!

Overall, these things already are fading. But it’s unusual for me to remember so clearly what has happened. I’m calling it a win.

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