There’s no easy way to begin this post: we have decided that our last event - Summer - was the last event that your staff feels capable of putting on, and we will be retiring from running Port Katherine.
Six years ago, I put together a group of some of the finest people I know and pitched a crazy idea for an aetherpunk Age-of-Sail larp, with flying airships and fish mutants. It was out there and wild, but they - and you - helped it come to life, more incredible than I ever could have imagined.
At the time, I looked at my life and thought, “I probably can run this for about six years, at which point I’ll need to hand it off to someone else.” I was mostly right. Since founding this larp, I purchased a house, got a new job, and had a child. My life changed dramatically, and the amount of time I could devote to the game diminished with it. My wonderful staff picked up much of the slack, but this became a continual burden upon them.
Of course, no one makes a larp expecting a global pandemic to strike in the middle. The stresses and anxieties of life have only grown, in part due to the immense psychological damage that all of us suffered, and continue to suffer, as a result.
This has been extremely difficult, and not just for me. Your staff has faced increasing burnout and anxiety over this game, their desire to create the very best for all of you warring with an increasing inability to manage to do so.
We have pushed hard these past two events, but we were also able to realize what has become obvious: putting on a game of this size, magnitude, and density is harder on us now - significantly harder on us - than it was the years before the pandemic. Continuing to run this game has been wreaking havoc on our mental health. It has hurt relationships and left us feeling spread thin and run down.
I love every one of you. I love running this game. I truly believe that we created one of the best larp experiences I have ever seen, and I will be proud of this game, this staff, and these players for the rest of my life. If we had the capability, we would continue, but that simply isn’t the case. We are tired, and it is time we admitted that.
I know that this loss will be difficult. It is difficult for me. However, I would encourage any of you who have a dream of a game in your hearts and the energy and desire to create, to do so. RFR as an organization is in a very good place to consider a new game, and we are eager to provide advice and guidance to anyone interested in running a larp. Your staff and I have a lot of hard-won lessons to offer.
If that seems like a lot (it is), remember that RFR has two other excellent larps you could play: Witchwood and Entanglement. I’d highly recommend giving either or both of them a look.
Also, I would ask this favor: in the grieving process, there will come the bargaining stage, and you will have this thought: “what if I just did X? We could bring back Brian!” I want you to understand: losing Port Katherine is like losing a part of me. I would not be making this announcement if there was any other option. Trying to fix it will only bring me more hurt. Please do not.
So where do we go from here? A founding value of Red Feather Roleplaying is Stewardship: “Games belong to their players, and each event are given anew to staff that they may oversee and protect them.” That means that, should the players and the RFR Board choose to continue Port Katherine with a new staff, the game belongs to you, and this is a decision you may collectively choose to make. This is difficult for us on staff emotionally: in many ways, Port Katherine feels like a child, and it is difficult watching someone else raise your child. We would prefer this not happen, but we understand and respect the values of this organization.
Assuming the Board and players decide that the game should end, we will cancel our Winter event, but keep the Fall event at Camp Middlesex, to invite each of you to join us there for a weekend of hanging out out-of-game and reminiscing. We’ll bring potluck food and grill sausages on the fire and talk about how much this game meant to each of us. At one point, I’ll sit the staff down on the hillside, and we will answer any question you might have - about world lore, about plots, about the future plans we had, anything. We will provide a space for players who wish to be in-game for some concluding scenes to do so. We’ll invite you afterwards to write epilogues for your characters. There will be more details about this weekend (and what happens to your CP, etc) once a decision is made as to the future of Port Katherine.
This is not goodbye. We have an incredible community here, and I look forward to seeing all of you in the future. You will always have a special place in my heart. And - just saying - you have about 9 months to write a new game if you want to launch it in the spring.
Game Director, Port Katherine