Eskhaton

Eskhaton is your chance to bring about your own version of the apocalypse.

Join with other cultists to worship terrible ancient gods from beyond in celebration of the end of the world in this cosmic horror larp!

Eskhaton is a larp focused on the gathering of cults that worship extra-dimensional beings and know that the end times are coming. It is set in modern times and is expected to running in April 2019 in the New England region with anywhere from 100-125 players.

April 5th through the 7th, 2019 Providence, Rhode Island, USA

The apocalypse is coming and you’re invited to make it happen. Eskhaton is a larp in the genre setting of cosmic horror and will provide the sense that ordinary life is a thin shell over a reality that is so alien and abstract in comparison that merely contemplating it would damage the sanity of the ordinary person. This dark and mysterious event will drop you into the twilight hours of existence before the end times.

Larping.org’s staff was able to speak with the team from Reverie Studios about their upcoming event!

Who is behind Eskhaton and what has your team done in the past? 
The Eskhaton team is a larp produced by Reverie Studios and collaborators. Reverie Studios is made up of three co-founders of Ken Pickering, Tyler Brown and Garett Kopczynski who have larped for decades and run their own events independently, but came together to produce and write new immersive material. Their first larp together was Seance Sessions, followed by A CoG in the Machine, and they produced DAEDALVS. They have written or helped to run a number of other events, including the upcoming Pandaemonium at High Level Games Con, and End of the Line in Berlin. 

What drives your teams creative process? (What is the “why” behind what you do?)

The team’s creative process is to bring high quality, immersive larps to the United States. The Reverie co-founders came together to do this after experiencing End of the Line in New Orleans at Grand Masquerade, and have since aimed to make larps that are emotional and provocative. The team enjoys tackling unusual concepts and working with original content, designing for existential questions such as death, the weight of decisions, and exploring the meaning or purpose of existing. This is at the core of all of the team’s projects (in addition to it all being fun!)

Why Eskhaton? What made you choose the theme and story for this game? 

The team reviewed different larp concepts and what could be exciting to explore in a design session, and the question of ‘what if you could portray a cultist?’ was asked. Reverie Studios wanted to explore that and to understand more about why individuals behave or believe in a certain way. The theme of the world ending and being culpable somehow in this provided an essential ingredient for what sets Eskhaton apart. There is no stopping the end, and in some way the cultists are in just as much of a precarious position as anyone else, but exploring how they react to and handle that as believers in the truths of this world is what we believe will create a high-quality story experience for participants.
The website says the game is “Lovecraftian Inspired”. Can you elaborate on that? 
We chose to state that Eskhaton is ‘Lovecraftian Inspired’ for two reasons: the first is that we do not want to write in a genre that is very crowded and we thoroughly enjoy designing original material, and second Lovecraft is a deeply problematic writer whose writings and personal beliefs we do not want to endorse or proliferate. We enjoy the genre of cosmic horror, and would like to strike off on our own path to define that style.

What is the general story that is about to take place that people will be stepping into? 

The story is of a number of cultists belonging to five cults have all received signs and portents that the end of the world is coming. They are gathering together in a celebration of this, an acknowledgement that their time in the shadows is over and that they will rise ascendant as the world comes crashing down. The story explores characters with varied and conflicted feelings about this, as well as those who are fanatical and absolute in the certainty of this outcome. With five gods in play, one for each cult, there will be a determination of which god’s apocalypse comes to pass, allowing for a multitude of outcomes and stories.

The venue for a blockbuster larp is a huge deal, why did you choose the location that you did? What can you tell us about it that you think will make it special? 

It was important for us to choose a destination that was exciting, and thematic for the event. Providence is very important to the genre, and is the place that Lovecraft spent much of his life. It is a place that is accessible, and fun to visit. We felt it was crucial to have an event in Providence, and were able to secure an amazing historic site ‘The Squantum Association’. A former club for the well to do, it has an appropriate ominousness and elegance that fits the event, and will provide participants opportunities to live out their stories as cultists in a place that feels right. It ticks off all the boxes of being cool, accessible, safe, and unique.

From the trailer the game looks like it’s going to be dark and mysterious. Will the game be hitting on mature subject matter? What can participants look forward to in that regard? 

We as a design studio focus firstly on safety and consent. We enjoy writing larps that tackle darker themes, but we set out to ensure that safety is baked into our design principles. There are design axioms we firmly hold to, such as not including severe trauma or sexual events in character backstories. A larp should be fun, even if it is going to be on the darker side. That being said, we intend to respectfully embrace the end of the world and what it means, but mostly to create an environment in which participants can explore that story. The participants can look forward to having troubled, challenging stories and characters to interact with, and all while dealing with the gnawing inevitable truth that A: they are culpable, B: there is nothing they can do about it and C: they’re on the winning side.

When the event is over, what do you hope your participants will walk away with as their big takeaway from the game? 
What’s important to us is that the experience was fun, but most importantly that it was an experience. We want the event to have touched or changed the participant in some way, creating a lasting memory that can integrate into their lives as perspective and reflection. Ending the world is no small matter, and portraying somebody who wants to end it, rather than most of us who want to save it, is a unique thing we offer with Eskhaton.”

The Story

Eskhaton’s story centers on five major cults that worship apocalyptic extra-dimensional beings that will destroy Earth and transform it. Inspired by Lovecraftian myth and the cults in it, the central story focuses on the cults that have long been in decline or side-lined into the shadows, knowingly worshipping beings from beyond, and hiding from the dangers of exposure to a hostile society. A prophesied ‘end time’ is coming that all of the cults agree on and they are now gathering to work together (or not) and the central conflict is on how much members of these cults can agree to work together knowing that the apocalypse is coming. Each of the gods associated with the cults have their own apocalypse outcome, and the cultists in their interaction will discover which they believe most in. The characters portrayed are cultists or infiltrators of the cults, and the dawning horror or exhilaration of the end is central to the game’s main story.

The Play

Players will have a number of tasks before them. The primary “goals” of the event are to create or destroy an alliance between the cults, to share information on threats to the cults, to formulate a plan for dealing with those threats either separately or together, and to perform rituals that further goals. Players can expect diplomacy, drama, interpersonal relationships, moral dilemmas and the experience of casting rituals or dabbling in dark magics.

Along the way there will be:

  • Debates—debates about the true nature of the extra-dimensional beings, the nature of magic and ritual, the necessity (or not) of working together to achieve a common goal, whether the apocalypse should be averted, who should lead in the coming times
  • Mysteries to solve—what is the true origin of the cults, what do the extra-dimensional beings want exactly, what is magic and why does it work, what else is there in the universe
  • Personal stories—believers of the cult vs. those along for the ride, relationships with the cult as family or friends, feelings of horror and fear of the end coming, desire for power and recognition or revenge, personal curiosity and morbid fascination, living in a group that accepts all
  • Politics—the jockeying for control of a cult, the politics in negotiating the alliance of cults for the end times, the dismissal or destruction of rivals, laying a path for productive outcomes and a secure future to the shared agenda
  • Contextual drama—ritual and magic being performed and the emotions or experience of that, fear of infiltration by law enforcement or outside interests (i.e. cultist hunters), encountering the monstrous and unknown, insanity and delusion as coping mechanisms

For more information about the logistics of Eskaton visit their website and review their Rules of Play & Code of Conduct

Find out more about Eskaton!

All inquiries regarding this event should be sent to hello@reverie.studio

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