What makes a human conscious? Are humans permitted to do whatever they desire in their relationship to androids?
Conscience is a larp inspired by the famous HBO tv-series Westworld, about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the moral implications of those innovations for all involved. It explores a world in which every human appetite, no matter how noble or depraved, can be indulged.
The larp is inspired by Westword but neither its characters nor plots are the ones from the show.
Framed in a mixture of western- and corporate themes Conscience intends to address subjects such as ethical choices, the nature of humanity, the consequences of our actions, and the limits of conscience in AI.
The in-game location will be the Western Park called Conscience and the headquarters of Aleph, the company that owns Conscience.
The Guests in the park can live out a true Western experience with no restrictions and no effects in their real life. They could rob the bank, join the desperados, become a sheriff or save innocent people. It is an escape from the perfect everyday world they live in, in which illness has been completely defeated. For the players of the Guests, the experience will be either their descent into horror or their ascent into heroism, whatever they decide on in-game. They can also choose a different path every day, because the plot loop only lasts one day and the next day they´ll find a new blank canvas.
The park opens at 8am and closes at 12pm and a number of plots, created by the company’s Plot writers, repeat themselves day after day. Every day is different, depending on Guests’ behaviour. Every Aleph personnel member works to improve the Guest´s experience.
Hosts are robots that exist to satisfy Guest’s desires in Conscience. They are subject to three laws, inspired by Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics:
- “A Host will never permanently hurt a human being”.
- “A Host will obey the orders of authorized human beings, except if the order is in conflict with the first directive”.
- “A Host will preserve its existence, except if self-preservation is in conflict with the first or second directive”
The Host’s plots can be changed by Aleph´s Plot writer characters. Their personality and mind may be modified by Aleph´s Behaviour characters.
The experience for participants playing Hosts relies on objectification, the absence of conscience, and servitude to humans. It is not an experience that is suitable for all players, because it is very oppressive. If you have problems feeling objectified, please consider not playing a Host.
Aleph is headed by a Board of Directors. Its day-to-day operations are organized in departments, each with their own Head: QA, Behaviour and Plot writers. Game experience for players portraying company employees will revolve around the contradictions of corporate work and the ethical dilemmas they face. All company workers can visit the park during their free time, so they will also have the chance to be a Guest and live the Far West experience.
QA consists of two different departments: Security and Maintenance.
The players in Security will live the military/private security experience with training, monitoring the Hosts’ movements through the security cameras and the app, and playing directly in the park as undercover Guests.
The players in Maintenance will be the blue collar workers. They will be in charge of repairing the Hosts and charging their batteries. Their conflicts will be related to their attachment to the Hosts and their low status in the company.
Behaviour players will be the ones involved in the creation of the Host’s personality and behaviour. They will be in charge of altering Host’s minds, either for plot reasons or because of behavioural issues, and will perform interviews with the Hosts. Their conflicts will mainly be related to the ethics of playing God.
Plot writer players will be in charge of the plots and fun of the Guests. They will write up new ideas and events, rehearse them with the Hosts and program them in the app. Their conflicts will be related to creative processes, egos and how to entertain the Guests.
Costumes & Guns
Everyone will need Far West-style clothes. The clothes should match the visual style but need not be historically correct. Some characters will need a Far West-style cap gun; the players can bring their own gun or rent one. Please note bringing a cap gun may not be legal if you arrive by plane.
The players of Hosts and Aleph personnel will need a smartphone on which they can install the app that will be used in-game.
To enhance the aesthetics of the game the Aleph personnel players will need to rent corporate clothing. The costume rental for Behaviour and Plot writers will be 25€, for QA Security it will be 39€, and 20€ for QA Maintenance. These players will also need to bring a tablet on which to run the corporate app WHip. If you don't own a tablet, ask the organizers. There will be a chance to rent tablets or make exceptions in some cases.
Spanish law makes the use of blank-firing guns quite difficult, so we will use cap guns instead. Thanks to Propcorn, you can rent your gun (from 20€) or buy it for an excellent price.
Shortly after you sign up we will send you a questionnaire. We will assign you a character according to the experience you ask for. All characters will be pre-written and provided by the organization at least a month before the larp, including all the character’s plots and relationships. Keep in mind that in order to save some surprises for the larp, a certain degree of secrecy is needed regarding these plots and relationships.
We will provide you with the contact information for the players you are connected to and will organise preparatory workshops to finish creating those connections before the game starts.
The Hosts have character sheets that can be modified by other characters in-game.
Run 1: January 27th to 30th 2018.
Run 2: February 3rd to 6th 2018.
The game language is English only.
Number of players
Total players: 85
Hosts: around 40%
Guests: around 25%
Aleph employees: around 35%
Food and lodging
Food and lodging are included in the event’s fee.
Guests and Aleph directors will sleep in bungalows.
Hosts and Aleph employees will sleep in communal rooms on bunk beds.
Players are required to be on location on Saturday morning, to register and prepare for the event. The game will start after lunch on Saturday and it won't end until Monday afternoon-night. There will be an out of game after-party on Monday night.
There will be no out of game breaks for showering, eating or sleeping; you’ll be able to do all of that as your character would.
Once the larp starts, all meals will be in game. The food will be managed by a professional cook and her team, but we will need the help of the Hosts and company workers to serve it.
There will be theme appropriate food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Drinks are included, but no alcohol is served in game. Unless you have any special dietary needs (please inform the organizers if you do!) you’re requested to not bring your own food.
ALCOHOL, AFTER GAME DINNER AND PARTY
We won´t serve alcohol in game, but we will do so at the afterparty.
A Spanish meal and drinks will be provided after the end of the game and then we’ll party. A basic serving of alcoholic beverages during that dinner are included in the fee; you will be able to buy more if desired.
ARRIVAL AT THE PARK
We will arrange a charter “larp bus” for those coming by train or airplane; it will depart from Malaga (the international airport closest to the location).
We'll give you all the relevant details in a few months’ time; the cost per person for a round trip will be 15-20€, depending on the number of people booking the bus.
Saturday 8AM: bus departure from Malaga.
Saturday before 11AM: meeting at Fort Bravo.
Saturday from 11 to 11:30: sign up and formalities. We can't guarantee participation in the event for anyone who arrives after 11:30 am.
Saturday from 11:30 to 15:00 lodging, costume rental, pre-larp workshops, light meal.
Saturday 15:30 The larp starts.
Monday afternoon-night PM, the larp ends.
Monday evening: post-larp dinner and after-party! (included in the larp fee)
Tuesday 9 AM: bus departure to Malaga.
If you need to arrive in Tabernas earlier, please contact us.
There will be an in-game app, released on android and ios, that will enhance the robot-human interaction and the interaction between the different company departments. It will always be used as an addition and with the only purpose of helping us tell the story.
The larp experience will be improved with the technology, but it is not based in technology.
Hosts and Aleph characters will need a smartphone, able to run apps.
Aleph characters will also need a tablet. If you don´t own one, please ask us.
It is located in the desert of Tabernas, Almería (Spain). The buildings and facades date from the 60´s when Sergio Leone discovered Tabernas and started filming his numerous cinema successes here, turning Tabernas into an instantly recognizable part of the new genre known as spaghetti-western. Some episodes of the famous tv series Penny Dreadful were also shot in Fort Bravo.
The park is open to tourists during the larp, as it is a year-round attraction. When deciding on the date of the larp we have taken them into account, and we have picked the time of year when the location is quietest. We have asked organizers of other larps (Ultime Western, French larp) about their experiences with them, and we noticed while filming there that they hardly interfere. We also have a lot of exclusive locations.
During the game the tourists will unknowingly play members or the One Smile Association, people with special needs allowed into the park as a part of the company’s social responsibility program. They are easily told apart as they do not wear Far West clothes.
Hosts are programmed to ignore them.
Play to flow. This game is designed to offer you the chance to experience life as your character, albeit during a short period of time and in a controlled environment. It will be a successful experience if you flow with what happens to your character. There are no objectives that will cause you to win or lose. The only thing we ask of you is to be in your character's shoes, to connect with what they feel, to think the way they would think and behave in the way they would behave, all the while allowing your character to make their own decisions. That's what we call "flow" or “letting go”.
You are your own game master, of course within the limitations of the game- and safety rules. We trust our players to be involved in the whole process, from the character creation phase to the end of the event. That's why, once the game starts, you don't need to ask us permission to do something or to decide if your character would think or do something.
Your character sheet is yours. Read it, study it, cry on it, transform it and play it. Do whatever you need as long as you respect the play challenge you agreed on.
What you see is what there is to see. There are no magic ability cards that can save you. All you see will be part of the game and you will have to deal with the consequences. Respect other people's experiences and safety: avoid any behaviour or attitude that can hurt the immersion or the experience of other players but also keep in mind that safety comes first.
There will be secrets. There are some stories that we want to be revealed in-game. So please be careful about the information you share with others out of game. Every character could have different levels of knowledge about different plots.
The off game use of any kind of electronic devices (tablets, phones, computers, etc) during the game should be discussed with the organizers.
"Verum". When we say this word we are letting you know that the next sentence is a cue that must be followed up, for example ‘make way for this car’. Only organisers can use it, although we will rarely do so.
Emergency: “Emergency, stop playing”.
For every player:
- Green (or one tap on the shoulder). When someone uses this, it means the rest of the players can raise their game intensity. It is a question, not an order.
- Yellow (or tapping the shoulder twice). When someone uses this, the other players have to lower their game intensity. This is an order.
- Red. The scene stops immediately. This is an order.
- Low battery: This is a safe word for Hosts. The Hosts may appear to be robots, but of course the players are not. If they're bored, tired, have spent too much time in a scene or a human is ordering something they don't want to do, they can say those magic words and ask for what they need. For example: “Low battery. I need to take a seat” or “Low battery. I need to get to Maintenance to go back to the park” or “Low battery. I won´t serve dinner”.
VIOLENCE & SEXUAL VIOLENCE
There will be a workshop where we will explain how to depict sex and violence. We will also use different coloured bracelets to communicate the experience the player wants to have.
- -White bracelet: violence.
- -Red bracelet: sexual violence.
Any scene about these topics should only be played out with other players who wear the bracelets, and only after an out of game conversation about the nature and intensity of the scene. When the scene has started any of the players can still use the safe words to ask for more intensity or to slow down the scene.
No real sex, no touching of genitals, no touching of people who are naked. Racism or comments about the body of the players are prohibited.
This is an out of game space that works as a safety net for the players. If your play is having any negative impact on you, you can come here and eat, rebalance, relax, or get a hug.
ARE YOU OK?
Gamemasters or other players can ask if a player is ok with this sign:
You can reply with:
“Yes, I am ok”.
“Not sure”. This hand signal, which means the player doesn't quite know how they feel, or that it's neither good or bad. This should be treated as a thumbs down by the person doing the asking. Please bring the player to the safe space.
“No, I am not”. Please bring the player to the safe space.
Price and sign up
Generally it will be first-come first-serve, but we reserve the right to prioritize some players (regardless of their signup time) to ensure a diverse pool of nationalities and levels of experience.
Guests and department heads of the company will sleep in bungalows. Their ticket price will be 265€.
Hosts and company employees will sleep in communal rooms on bunk beds. Their tickets will cost 235€.
We have reduced price tickets for students or the unemployed. They will have to help with some tasks during the game or during the build-up and cleanup. These tickets are priced 140€. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in one of these tickets.
May 5th: 1st payment: 90€.
October 5th: 2nd payment: 175€ or 145€.
The larp signup fee (90€) is non-refundable.
If you cancel your participation two months or less before the larp starts there will be no refunds.