Since the beginning of time, mankind has gazed at the stars, sailing through that forbidden sea of darkness and light on the wings of imagination. In countless songs and dreams and stories, we, the human race, have depicted our future among alien suns and uncharted galaxies.
But there is something we’ve always knew. A terrible secret hidden in plain sight, a revelation given to everyone: we don’t belong to the emptiness of space.
The cosmos is cold and void. Its time is not our time and the unfathomable vastness of its distances can make us realize our greatest fear: we’re insignificant, irrelevant, doomed to never reach the stars whose light has shone on us since the beginning of our brief history. The universe will never be a home for mankind. However, man’s stubbornness can prove stronger than eternity itself, and so here we are, sailing our little solar system on frail vessels of steel and hope.
To live in the expanse is to adapt to impossible circumstances, is to change the way in which we work, we live and we die. Everything, in the darkness of space, will always be alien to us. Walking through cramped iron passages, without ever knowing the softness of dirt and grass; bearing unfamiliar gravity or pretending the cold electric lights to be the sun.
And yet, estrangement can bring enlightenment.
Maybe, so far from its home, so removed from the green cradle of its birth, mankind will be able to look into itself and unlock the secrets of its soul. Maybe, the human race will find the strength to answer the final question.
Are we ready to sacrifice everything, our very essence, to call The Expanse our home?
ICARUS is a larp set in a bleak future, where mankind is striving to survive in a cold and indifferent universe. No luxury can be found in the mining stations scattered through the Belt. Resources, food and water are scarce, just like the energy to power equipment. Sleep and wake follow the artificial cycle of tireless machines and no sunlight can shine beneath steel skies.
Living for three days in the expanse will be an exciting experience but not a comfortable one.
What is larp?
A larp (Live Action Role-Playing) is like being on the set on a movie with no script and whose ending is up to the participants' decisions and actions. A larp is a structured play-pretend for grownups, with awesome costumes, props and a believable location. This short video by Court of Moravia shows very clearly what is like to play in a larp.
When we watch movies, we all see the same story. In a larp, there are many stories being told. Each participant lives his own tale, and all are connected in a great woven story of conflicts and relationships.
ICARUS is a larp focused on role-playing and living within the experience. You can imagine being a character in a movie, with all ensuing feelings, drives, goals and fears. Whatever action you would like your character to carry out during the game, you’ll just do it for real! The only boundaries will be common sense and a set of simple rules on how to simulate what otherwise would be too dangerous or burdensome (fighting and injury, for example). Beside that, the key guideline will be "What You See Is What You Get". Our goal is to create an event that is as much immersive as possible; everything that is a part of the story will have a physical representation.
In ICARUS, conflicts aren’t there for characters to pursue some sort of personal “victory” but to explore and develop relationships between each other, to one goal: the collective building of an exciting story. A conflict scene should be as “cinematic” as possible, so as to be interesting and engaging, as much for the characters who are directly involved as for those standing around. We expect all players to be comfortable with the kind of verbal intensity and body contact you would see on a film set.
In space, we play to flow
A full “Player’s Guide” will be released in September, including all the details of the game rules, safewords and practical info needed to leave Earth for the Belt and fully enjoy a few days’ life in space.
For the time being, if are curious about our play style, here you can read some details about other larps we created in the past. Every larp is different, but we think you can get some insight: Black Friday ("Style" page, and Player's Guide); Dracarys (main rules, and Player's Guide); The Rebels on the mountain ("Design and themes" page, and Player's Guide).
A philosopher once asked: "Are we human because we gaze at the stars, or do we gaze at them because we are human?" Pointless, really... "Do the stars gaze back?" Now that's a question. Neil Gaiman, “Stardust”, 1999
23rd century. Mankind managed to cross the boundaries of its home planet and explored the whole Solar System. Mars has been colonized, outposts of different kind have been built on multiple moons of various planets, as well as the asteroid belt. Space stations now dot the night’s sky.
However, scientific progress was not followed by social or moral revolutions. Humanity has not changed its soul. Racism, distrust, greed and will of supremacy are still deeply rooted, and have found new ways and new means to emerge.
Tensions between Earth and Mars, the two economic and military superpowers, are rising. At the same time, in the Asteroid Belt, or the Belt, as it is commonly called, millions of people live on space stations or outposts, where each and every one of them struggles to survive in a hostile environment naturally unfit for human life. Out there, forgotten voices are heard once again. Voices of rebellion, voices of violence. And civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
Icarus is a newly activated Mining and Research station, built in an Asteroid contested between Earth and Mars. Its construction suffered many setbacks and the station was abandoned shortly after the preliminary excavations. The asteroid was claimed by both Earth and Mars, until a private company stepped in and somehow successfully negotiated a profit sharing agreement with both superpowers, in exchange for mining exploitation rights.
Icarus is now operational and workers from all around the Belt are being dispatched there to operate the station. Will they find a safe haven in the secluded asteroid? Were Earth and Mars really clashing for a mere deal about mining rights? Does the station hide something more?
ICARUS is a Larp inspired by the tv series THE EXPANSE. Inspired means we want to capture the feelings, the atmosphere and the main themes explored by the tv show, but neither the characters nor the plots will be the ones seen on screen. There is no need to memorize every episode of the show, and a general knowledge of this setting will be more than enough to fully enjoy the game.
Location: the mine
The game location is a dismissed mining facility, now used as a shooting range and airsoft game area, and it is a truly extraordinary place for a larp. Here we have some photos of the mine as it is now; imagine that fully decorated with computers, labs and lights!
“You make a new life by making new choices.”
ICARUS will feature about 100 characters, all written by the authors
Each character in ICARUS is designed to be more than a job, a home planet culture and a sum of traits. They are people and have their own personalities, beliefs, moral stances and ways to see society, politics and other people. We will provide a brief and public textual outline of each character, which will be available for everyone to read in advance. In line with the “movie-like” style of Terre Spezzate, we will call this brief introduction a “teaser”. The teaser will only reveal enough of a character to get a general idea of it, providing enough interesting details to make an informed choice about what character you want to play,while staying spoiler-free. This public information represents just a fraction of a character's life and there is much more to discover at the event. For example terrible secrets, criminal background, hidden agendas or emotional traumas. Once a player selects a character, they will be granted access to the full description. No other player will be able to read this information, it will be your secret until the larp.
Character teasers will be online by mid-July; full descriptions will be available before September, 15th.
Community and subcommunitiesCharacters will be divided, in many ways. They will come from different planets (leaving important people behind on Ceres, Eros, Earth, Mars etc.) and their only acquaintances, friendships and family will be people coming from the same place. They will have different social and political opinions: hate, xenophobia and general distrust is huge not only between Mars and Earth, but also between Belters and Inner Planets inhabitants. Furthermore, not all Belters think the same or have the same political agenda for their future, and even in the OPA (Outer Planets Alliance) there are conflicting factions. Since people arrived to Icarus to work, characters will be also divided in different Working Teams (new people to meet and deal with), and of course they will be divided in the Two Shifts that alternate in running the Station, because Icarus never sleeps.
Gender, Relationships and FamilyAll the characters will be written as Unisex, their names will be like: A. Kamal, V. Lopez, J. Nagata and every player will choose the given name of the character by their own taste (i.e. Jenny Nagata or Janus Nagata or Jorge Nagata or June Nagata). There will be love, friendship, romance and family bonds. Families will be mainly polyamorous ones and there will be complete gender equality. In the society we aim to portray there are no gender expectations or clichés whatsoever, as it is in the TV show and, hopefully, as it will someday be in the real world.
Our goal is to allow people that love to play romance and people who don’t to adjust their relations according to their taste.
While bonds are binding, and players are expected to play them, their nuances are free for a more detailed characterization and they could lead to mutual or asymmetrical romances or friendships. Romantic relationships will be open for the players to define in detail: characters will have strong bonds but the nature and the intensity of them will be decided by the players involved in the relationship. A strong relation could be defined as friendship or love; a new positive acquaintance could be a fling, a flirt or just a mutual liking.
Sample character teaser - R. SamsonEvery belter on Ceres had a fair share of pain, struggles and humiliation for just, you know, basically being a second class citizen of the System. Some go very political and loud about their shitty lives, but Samson is not that kind of person. Quiet, driven and stoic, it's clear that the past was never kind to Samson, but this self-reliant radar technician never complains, always focused on the future. However, this stoic attitude comes with a price. Belters who took a more political stance often see Samson as someone who constantly betrays their own people. It seems that Samson perfectly fit the old Earther saying: Still waters run deep. Your full name is R. Samson. You can settle on any first, or given, name you like - as long as it starts with the letter R.
Ties and acquaintancesA lot of Belters from Ceres were hired to work on the new Icarus station, but Samson knows just a bunch of them. J. Zarani has been Team Leader for years, and it looks like he/she decided for a change of air. Samson and Zarani were close enough to have a couple of drinks together every week, and definitely close enough to share their intention to leave, but the latter stayed silent about it. One may wonder why. H. Klein is a long lost childhood friend, and also the last person Samson expected to find working on a mining station. S. Myeong was Samson’s favourite sex worker, until they made the mistake to hang-out without any money involved, and things got complicated. It has been a year now they don’t talk to each other.
WhereThe game location is a dismissed mining facility, now used as a shooting range and airsoft game area, about 1 hour driving distance from Milan. It is called Poligono Orobico, in the town of Ubiale Clanezzo (Bergamo). (Google Maps). The closest airport is Milan BGY (Orio al Serio), the most popular low-cost airport in Italy. It is connected by bus to Milan MXP and Milan LIN airports, and to main train stations. You can reach the mine by car; there is no public transportation there, but we’ll provide a “larp bus” for the International run. For the Italian run, if needed we’ll try to pick up players at Bergamo train station, but it is most convenient if you just share the trip with another participant.
WhenThere will be two runs of ICARUS: 10-12 november 2017, in Italian; and 17-19 november 2017, in English. Both will be from Friday until Sunday, and share this time schedule:
*: this applies to International run only, as local players will not need it. The exact cost for the larp bus will be determined by how many people use it, but it should be under €20 for a round trip.
LanguagesFor BOTH runs, all the written material (website, setting, characters, in-game documents and files) will be exclusively in English. Italian-speaking players can attend the English run if they want, but there will be a 25% cap - that is, at least 75% of the International spots will be reserved for players who do not speak Italian.
FoodThe participation fee includes food and beverages, both for the larp itself and for the afterparty. In-game meals will be distributed to participants and will look like appropriate "space food". Meals will include several vegetarian options; unless a dish clearly looks like meat, it will not include meat. It may include animal-derived products, though; we cannot guarantee a fully vegan menu. Unless you have any special dietary needs (please duly inform the staff if you do!) you’re asked not to bring food of your own. A moderate amount of alcohol will be provided with meals. We expect you to be considerate and behave like an adult: drunkenness (or tipsiness) during the larp will NOT be tolerated.
The “Space Experience”
LodgingAs for the food, accommodation will be an integral part of your "space experience". There will be common sleeping quarters, equipped with camp beds. Icarus' crew will be divided in two Shifts, that will take turns in using the beds. Therefore, each camp bed will be shared between two people, one from each Shift. You may leave your sleeping bag and luggage in the dorm, either at the left or right side of your camp bed (depending on the Shift your character belongs to). Just outside of the mine, there is a fully functional bathroom with hot water and a shower, but we'll ask you to use it only if you absolutely need it. We think that staying in the dark, enclosed, artificially-lit environment of the mine for the whole duration of the larp will be important to feel like "being in space". Therefore, we will set up mobile toilets and a small sink inside the mine, and we will provide lots of cleaning wipes - water is precious in space. We consider this to be acceptable, both because the larp itself lasts less than 48 hours, and because when it ends we will get you to a nearby gym where you'll find plenty of hot showers. That said, if you feel just too inconvenienced during the game, feel free to talk to us and to use the outside bathroom and shower: we love intense larps but we think that their beauty is also the fact that you can snap out of them if you need.
The coldSpace is cold, and so are mines. Inside the mine the temperature is constant: 12° to 13° C, no matter the season (that's 54-55° F). We chose to play in winter because in the warm season the mine "feels" just too cold, and is very wet; in November, it will be almost dry, and considerably warmer than outdoors. That said, it won't be warm. We recommend you to wear thermal underwear (leggings, long-sleeved shirt), warm socks and gloves (or under gloves), winter boots, and to carry a warm winter sleeping bag. If you think you are sensitive to the cold, take a warm sweater to wear under the costume, and an extra blanket for sleeping. The dorm is an enclosed space and will be a bit warmer, but characters working at computers or in the labs will feel cold if they are not properly dressed. For international players only, we will provide an option to buy a warm sleeping bag from us, if you can't carry it by plane. It will be a "10° C or more" sleeping bag, costing 23€.
CostumesYou will be provided with a complete costume, appropriate to the setting and to your character's group or category (we'll have military-style gear, overalls for technicians and so on). Costumes will be tailored for "The Expanse", and of good quality; we trust you will not be disappointed by them. Most costumes will be overalls or similar, and they will be able to fit a quite wide range of body sizes and shapes; we will try to take care of particular needs on a case-by-case basis. All costumes will be large-sized, so you can wear them comfortably over your thermal underwear and sweater. We will also provide appropriate gear, such as weapons and other gadgets. We will not provide shoes, obviously.
More costumes: the station will be equipped with some "special" costumes, such as spacesuits and, rumor has it, Martian powered armors. Those suits will have special properties in the game and will be available for use to any character who manages to get them.
No costumes: a few character might wear "civilian" clothes. It would make little sense for us to provide this kind of costume, so if you choose such a character, we'll offer you a small discount instead (30€).
There are about 100 spots in each run of ICARUS. Sign-up will be from May, 10th to May, 24th. In order to Sign Up, you’ll have to fill out a form, and to send us a down payment of 50€ (for details, see the “Payment” paragraph, later on). In the form we'll ask you to choose either the Italian or the English run (or any of the two, in case you speak both languages). You cannot play ICARUS twice, but you are more than welcome to attend the first (Italian) run as a player, and then the second (English) run as an helper - write us an e-mail if you want to do so.
In case we end up having more people signing up than available spots, we'll proceed as follows:
Please note that in the English run, we will place a cap for Italian speakers: 75% of the spots will be reserved to players who can't speak Italian.
Sign-up form is now online here! It will be active until May, 24th.
Ticket costWe take pride in producing high quality yet affordable larps. In this case, we are forced to make ICARUS less affordable than usual, due to the amount of costumes, gadgets, props and tech, which is (at least for us) unprecedented. To help people participate, we've planned several subsidized (discounted) options. Also, please note that we do not make a living by running larps (unfortunately!). In fact, we rarely get any money out of the larps we create. For ICARUS, less than 15% of the budget is used to pay, or refund, organizers.
Tickets for the International Run (November, 17-19)
Tickets for the Italian run: 50€ discountWe decided that the Italian run will be somewhat cheaper than the English run. This is both because we anticipate the English run to have more interested participants, and because we think it is fair to reward our recurring players: a larp as "rich" as ICARUS would just not be possible without all the props and stuff that we hoarded across the years, thanks to the larps paid for by our Italian players. Therefore, all tickets for the Italian run cost exactly 50€ less than their International equivalents.
PaymentIn order to sign up, you’ll have to send us a down payment of 50€; if you do not pay before May 24th, we will not consider your application. If you get a spot, this down payment is non-refundable. If you do get a spot, we'll ask you to pay the remaining amount before July, 12th. If you need, you can pay it in two installments: the first half before July, 12th, and the second half before September, 4th. You will be able to pay using either PayPal (credit card), or a bank transfer. In case you attend one of our other larps this summer (in Italian), we encourage you to pay there, in cash. In this case you can ignore the deadlines above; "Hotel La Selva" and "L'Ultimo Covo" are in late September and October, but if you attend those, you can pay for ICARUS then.
CancellationsIf you cancel before July, 12th, we will withhold the down payment only. If you cancel before September, 4th, we will withhold the down payment and half of the remaining amount. If you cancel after September, 4th, we reserve the right to withhold the entire payment. We'll still try to give you back what we can afford, so if you cancel, please inform us as soon as you can.
If you do not get a spot, we will quickly refund you the down payment, before May 30th. We can use either PayPal (no fees, we’ll refund the whole amount) or a bank transfer (you’ll pay bank fees).
Character selectionOnce you’ve read character “teasers”, you will be able to select your top 6 favorite characters. We will then assign characters blindly, that is, we will not take into consideration who is playing whom: we’ll just use an algorithm to satisfy as many players as possible. A few people might still get a character that is not in their top 6. This is unavoidable, but we will ask you to exclude a specific group or category of characters you do not want to play, and to tell us a group or category that you’d like to play if the top 6 are not available. We believe this system will minimize disappointment and ensure that virtually all players get a character they like.
Every participant will get the full description of their character before September, 15th.
Waiting List - The Space JanitorsWaiting lists rarely work well in larps, especially in international ones, because typically players need to book plane tickets in advance. Therefore, we’ll use the following system, to ensure that everyone in the waiting list can be sure they’ll be at the larp, and make travel arrangements accordingly.
If you sign up to the larp, but we can’t give you a spot, we will offer you the option to get in the Waiting List, aka the “Space Janitors” group. We will ask you to pay for the Space Janitor ticket, which costs 100€ less than an ordinary one.
When we have cancellations, we will offer the available spots to Space Janitors. If you replace a missing character, you will be able to play the larp without paying anything more than your reduced Space Janitor ticket. If there are not enough cancellations (or if you don’t like the character to be replaced), you can still attend the larp, playing a Space Janitor. You will not receive a full character sheet, but only a group description and tasks; you will be expected to help the larp by taking care of some cleaning duties, while playing your Space Janitor character.
Sign-up form is now online here! It will be active until May, 24th.
“ICARUS” is a larp by Terre Spezzate
What International larp organizers say about us: on the Knudepunkt 2017 book, a Finn writes about Black Friday. Here a Spaniard, again about Black Friday. A Frenchwoman about Rebels on the Mountain. A Dane shares his thoughts about Dracarys. A Czech's detailed comments about Black Friday.
In collaboration with