MVEX is a tasklarp*. Your character does tasks, tasks have consequences, they deal with them.
In MVEX, gigantic monsters are destroying the cities of the world, and the players’ task is to stop them. No, you can’t stop all of them. Yes, every character has a deeper connection to some cities than most, hence conflict hence drama. It’s a lovely machine, in genre built on the bones of Pacific Rim, X-COM and I suspect a whole of load of anime I’m entirely unaware of.
It’s a neat, compact structure. There were five pilots, and five support characters.
As a pilot, my character’s tasks were turn-based combat, with my mech’s powers and augmentations vs. a monster’s stats. Every mission had the pilot taken aside to a blacked-out console chair, mic’ed up and with a video feed back to Control. We’d press buttons to let game team know what we were doing, results were given to me over an earpiece, and we’d role-play our hearts out to let the support team know what was going on.
SPOILERS FROM HERE ON…
Scanners (Winston) told us what sorts of mechs were heading where (and turned out to be dreadfully badly recruited, and a terrorist)
Research (Dr Julio Casabierta) who worked out which mech would do best against which monster and developed the augments that Engineering could then build,
Engineering (Zoe Williams) who built reassuringly increasing numbers of augments to pilots going out, and
Diplomacy (Michael Dayston and Jackson Tremblay) who were meant to get us help, but I suspect were engaged in naked self-interest to influence which cities survived.
(Zoe Williams) you were competency made manifest. You and (Dr Casabierta) were an iconic duoPost-game accuracy from Michael Dayston’s player
Roland Yeldham callsign “Shaker”, pilot of White Glint: genetic experiment, traitor and last fight of the game.
callsign “Nero”, pilot of Infernus Rex: American convict, self-destructed taking White Glint down after a mild case of god-complex
Major General Ruby Walker, pilot of Kraken Oni: died of rad poisoning getting us the radiation core that we needed to kill the biggest monsters
Victor Durant callsign “Galahad”, pilot of Diamond Edge: who survived with only parts of his body turned to diamond…
Scott Jolly, pilot of Cherry Monsoon: died of nanite poisoning after pushing an upgrade too hard once too often.
The radiation core that Major General Walker acquired a fatal dose recovering was actually what I needed to develop radiation protection augments, thus irony.Dr Julio, Research. I do love a nice bit of irony like that…
I played Scott Joy, steroid abuser, pain-killer abuser, ex-professional wrestler under the name MAX HAMMER, then alcoholic beach-bum before genetic screening found he was an ideal match for the role of mech pilot. I had my arc all planned out.
“I’ve done bad things. I’ve taken money to do wrong. I’ve treated my body like a trashcan. This is redemption.”Max Hammer, pre-game arc…
And then role-playing happened. Scott’s dad turned out to have worked for Vos the elonmuskesque genius industrialist whose tech was behind the mvex programme, and they’d both been at the initial appearance of the monsters alongside Major General Walker’s father. So our joint redemption was to correct the sins of our fathers. Lovely. I could see the glow of the self-destruct switch…
And then more role-playing happened. I pushed my mech Cherry Monsoon way too far, she rejected Scott. An injection of experimental nanites got me integrated with her again, and from then Scott was much more concerned with the wellbeing of my beautiful red machine than any actual mission. Those nanites turned out to be killing me too, and Scott ended the event hands clasped with Walker, who was dying of radiation poisoning and too irradiated for anyone who was going to live to go near.
She interceded for Scott with Cherry, and then gave Scott upgrades for her
“Give her this, she likes gifts!”Zoe Williams from Engineering, actions as described by her player.
And Max Hammer ended up deeply in love with a 80 metre high killer robot. It’s a funny old world.
No, I’m not going to fight that monster. Last time I took Cherry to fight a magma kaiju, she was really hurt. I’m not letting anyone hurt my beautiful red lady.Scott Joy, endgame arc…
As a larp it, delivers *precisely* what it says it will. It’s a whole shit load of Type one fun.
I got to recycle more late-80s film lines than ever before, somehow I started singing into every combat – starting with “Cherry Baby”, via “Cherry Bomb”, “Let’s Dance”, and by the end it was “Lady In Red”, god help me.
And once Engineering had gone Cherry Monsoon her upgrade, I got to scream “Bring the Rain”…
(Which sent Scott madder and madder the more often he used it. You can guess, I suspect, how often it absolutely, definitely, had to be used. Yup, every mission. Sometimes more often than once.)
Crew, you have birthed a monster.
(And there was merch…. Image credit: Jenni Hill.)
(* As of time of writing, this is the only usage of the word “tasklarp” I can find online. I believe Lauren Owen coined “joblarp”, and Nick Bradbeer felt “job” wasn’t quite the right word to start – and we were in chat when someone said “tasklarp”. I like it, anyway. “Larp when numbers elicit an emotional response” is his current next step in design thinking…)