Em's place

Writing, anxiety-wrangling, tea.

The Masked Ball – Costume Edition

By Emma on May 16, 2016

The Split Worlds Masked Ball LARP took place just over a week ago and it’s taken that long to find my way back to the real world! It was a fantastic success and I will be posting more about it very soon. I played a character from the novels (a really awful woman!) who is the Censor of Aquae Sulis (Cathy’s aunt, if you’ve read the books!).

I have made the last video about the costume I created for the ball and you can see the completed costume below in the pictures from the ball. (Previous costume making posts: number 1, number 2 and number 3)

The Censor of Aquae Sulis

Here are some pictures in which you can see the costume, all taken by Tom Garnett. If you want to see a full-size version of each picture, simply click on it. It was such an amazing day!

The Censor of Aquae Sulis

The Censor of Aquae Sulis


Making an announcement (not singing!)

Making an announcement (not singing!)


A shocking moment!

A shocking moment!


More Split Worlds costume making updates!

By Emma on May 3, 2016

Here are two videos, the second of which is messed up for a section because I turned the phone the wrong way round – sorry! So pressed for time I can’t re-record.

There’s still time to enter the competition if you can’t come to the LARP!

And this one too (with the dodgy camera work – sorry!)

Get involved with the Split Worlds LARP!

By Emma on April 25, 2016

On the 7th of May, 2016, over seventy people will be donning costume and masks for the Split Worlds LARP taking place at the Guildhall in Bath.

I know there are many fans of the books who can’t make it to the ball, so I thought it might be nice to tell everyone a little bit about that evening, and also give you an opportunity to get involved, so you can enjoy it from afar.

The Last Ball of the Season

rsz_between-two-thorns-coverThe full day event involves workshops on etiquette, the Split Worlds universe, dancing and a few other things, a VIP tour of Bath locations featured in the books and also an in character afternoon tea during the day. Then in the evening there is the Last Ball of the Season, which is always a masked ball. If you’ve read Between Two Thorns, the first book in the series, you will have seen the first ball of the season play out on the pages. This LARP is set between books 3 and 4, and the Last Ball of the Season is one of the major highlights of the Aquae Sulis social calendar. It’s traditionally more raucous, more dangerous, and the Fae themselves are known to visit it on occasion. The rules are less strict than at other events, with an emphasis on fun and trying to get away with things more daring than usual. That’s partly the reason why it’s always a masked ball. After all, there will be many months before the next season begins, so memories have a chance to fade…

The players will be characters from the books, the Split Worlds short stories and new ones created especially for the game. They come from over ten different families, with status ranging from Patroon to those with barely any social currency at all. I will be playing the Censor of Aquae Sulis, Cathy’s aunt, and you can watch videos about my costume making process here.

It’s not just a masked ball though…

As part of the masked ball, a large vase is always placed in a prominent position, filled with dozens of folded pieces of paper. Written on each on is a challenge, akin to forfeits in Victorian parlour games. There’s only one rule: you cannot put a forfeit back in the vase: once you have chosen and read the forfeit, you (or someone you can persuade to do it for you) must do what is written on the piece of paper before it can be given to the Censor as proof of your daring.

The Censor herself has placed them in the case and will reward the person who has made her laugh the most with his or her performance of their forfeit. It’s a social dilemma: Some of them might be difficult or embarrassing. Do you dare attract her attention to watch your performance? If you daren’t risk doing what’s on the forfeit and persuade someone else to do it for you, they could steal the opportunity to gain the Censor’s approval from you.

Here’s where you can get involved

I thought it would be fun for the people who can’t come to the event to send in forfeits for the vase. The sender of the one the Censor enjoys the most at the ball will win a prop from the masked ball. I’m not going to reveal the prize now, as it would be a spoiler for the players, but it is something I think fans of the books – in particular fans of Cathy – will be excited about.

Here are some example forfeits to give you an idea of the sort of thing the Censor will be creating herself:

Sing a verse and chorus from a song you love
Recite a poem
Persuade the person nearest to you that you love them using only words, then show them the forfeit
Make a sound like a farmyard animal

To enter, simply put your forfeit in the comments below, making sure you put in the best email address to contact you on (these won’t be published anywhere public). Then you can see what everyone else has suggested so there are no duplicates. (If the comment form doesn’t play nicely with you, try the contact form instead.)

Some gentle rules:

Forfeits must not involve any sort of uninvited physical contact (i.e. grab a person from behind to make them scream)
Forfeits should be the sort of thing you’d be happy for a child to do at a party – i.e. nothing X-rated or involving very adult humour or swearing. (This is to ensure that I am not encouraging the players to do anything they would be very uncomfortable with in the real world.)

There will be lots of photos taken at the ball, and I will make sure that you get to see the vase and forfeits. We might be lucky and get some snaps of people carrying out the forfeits.

So, write your forfeit/s below (or via the contact form) – you can offer as many as you like – and good luck!

P.S. If you are a player, you cannot enter this competition I’m afraid, but please do encourage your friends to join in!

Split Worlds costume making update

By Emma on April 25, 2016

Here’s another video describing the costume making process for my Masked Ball LARP costume. As with all sewing projects, it’s taking about three times longer to make than my brain thinks it should!

In other news, there will be a competition posted later today to give people who can’t play in the Masked Ball LARP a chance to get involved and win a prop from the ball!

Follow along with my costume making!

By Emma on April 22, 2016

In just over 2 weeks time, the Split Worlds Masked Ball LARP will be taking place at the Guildhall in Bath. I’m filming the process of making my costume for the event. I will be playing the Censor of Aquae Sulis (Cathy’s aunt) who is the most powerful woman in the city (and knows everyone and everything that is going on, which is why I am NPCing her as it would be too much for someone else to learn!). Naturally, I am making the most difficult and elaborate dress I have ever made in my life, as that character would accept no other!

Please forgive the terribly unprofessional nature of the videos! I hope they offer some insight into the way I make all of the clothes I wear to conventions too, as I use the same methods for everything I make. Please note that I am self-taught and not aiming to make anything historically accurate!

Also, I am very embarrassed to say I call the design the wrong thing in the video (too much to brain at the same time!). I’m making a Robe a la Francaise, or a ‘Sacque’, not a ‘Robe a la Sacque’ as I say in the video!

Part 1

Then the phone ran out of memory space! So here is Part 2!