The surprise high of Intercon J was _The Sound of Drums_. I had originally signed up for this becaquse, hey, drums! I like playing the doumbek.
The questionnaire was fine, and I got cast as the shaman, Rushlight. This sounded reasonable. The GMs were convinced this would be fine anew, after the storytelling competetion in Foambrain's run of _1897: Diamond Jubilee_. Their response to that psyched me, as well, especially as I hadn't decided what story I'd tell until after I heard the story of the guy playing Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. (I told the harpoon and walrus story from Gene Wolf's _The Castle of the Otter_, which I've done in circle before.)
Then, Stephen Tihor and I got the rules and background, a 19 page pdf. The length actually wasn't an issue for us, especially as the type was nicely large. The density was a bit daunting, but we got the material well in advance. No, we worried for different reasons.
The authors were clearly in love with their world and their primitive polyamorous people. It seemed that they were clearly on the side of the Leyanti, and we were worried that this was just their wet dream of a perfect polyamorous world, complete with puddy tats -- er, hunting cats. We weren't sure about the concept of the GMs wandering around as hunting cats, something that could work well, or could be an issue.
We did like the mechanics. In fact, we liked them so much that we lifted one for Lost McGuffin: the idea of using Rock-Paper-Scissors not to determine the outcome of a combat, but to see which side got to add one to its total score.
The character sheets went out late. This is a common problem with first run larps being written right up until the last minute. Stephen did not get his sheet until the wee hours of Wednesday Night / Thursday Morning, iirc, and, given PreCon, that was the last civilized minute.
But, it was the last _civilized_ minute. This was not the game we'd played a couple of years back where, due to the GMs having, as I understand it, last minute emergencies, they did not have character sheets for half the players at the door, leading to a delay as they gave hurried info dumps to a lot of people. Heck, Lost McGuffin handed out character sheets at the door, but in our case, these were very short sheets, and we also weren't a hundred percent sure who would show.
The sheets for _Sound of Drums_ were long. I had the longest, at 29 pages. I think Stephen had an average length sheet at 20 pages. That length, that close to the con, was pushing it. But, I was able to read mine through a couple of times, and we did have time to make family tree notes right before the game.
And, the character sheet I got gave me my first indication that, however much in love the GMs were with their world, they weren't letting that get in the way of writing a good larp.
So, primitive folks living in the woods die a lot. And, there had been a lot of deaths in the backhistory, due to accident and to other causes. And, sometimes, the other causes were ugly. For, the GMs had grasped the essential reason -- from a larp writing point of view -- to have lots of polyamorous relationships. Sexual politics means really complicated tribal politics means so many more connections between PCs means Plot! Yay plot! Character-centered plot! The best of both worlds!
And, hey, if all else failed, we could beat on our drums.