ABOUT GANGS OF BIRMINGHAM
Gangs of Birmingham is an international role playing event, set in an alternative version of Birmingham in 1920. Two years have passed since the Great War ended, a war that saw empires fall and gave rise to social movements seeking to end the injustice of social hierarchy.
In a time of uncertainty and opportunity, where the political power of the aristocracy faced challenge from the common people, many saw their opportunity to rise in riches and status. The working class of Birmingham was no exception.
Five gangs quickly formed and occupied areas of the city, competing over wealth, control and class rivalries. Not all decent people have left the city though, some still remain and try to live an honest life, despite the rise of these criminal organizations.
Though the streets have yet to be flooded by the blood of young Brummies’, conflict between the five gangs has already started. None of them desires to share the riches, status and power of Birmingham and all seek to rule by fear.
Alongside the gangs new political movements have begun to rise up in Birmingham. Labour unions are organising, suffragettes speak of Women’s Rights and Votes For Women, and Communists preach the emancipation of workers, even as they stir up hatred of the bosses.
Welcome to a city filled with blood, violence and injustice.
Disclaimer: This event is not sponsored by or in any way associated with the show “Peaky Blinders”.
IN-GAME CONFLICT AND DRAMA
This role playing event is about dramatic stories, intense conflict and the portrayal of gang members during a time of social struggle, rising political movements and falling empires. It is a time where many decide to seek their own fortune, tired of long hours in the mines and factories. It is a time where crime pays off.
It is about taking on the character of a gang member, be it the kingpin commanding their gang or a soldier doing the dirty work. It is about the early struggles of five gangs all fighting for the “throne” of Birmingham and the sacrifices each family and each gang are willing to make for power.
The event is inspired from the conflicts and struggles of the early 20’th century. During this time women fought for the right to vote, gangs popped up and took control of working-class districts, offering alternatives to the mines, and labour unions and Communist cells started spreading their propaganda. We will implement the themes and struggles of the time into the game.
As all our gangs are in an early stage of their organisation, most members will have a legal job on the side, making some cash for the family. Some will be factory workers involved with the labour unions, some will be dockworkers secretly empowering the Communist cell and some will take to the streets and walk for women’s rights.
IT'S NOT A SANDBOX
During the larp organizers do not control characters’ actions and decisions but there will be special events, which can surprise players and can have a strong impact on their characters.
IT'S NOT RE-ENACTMENT
Gangs of Birmingham is inspired by the historical events taking place during the time, however it is not a historical re-enactment.
WHAT AM I GOING TO DO AT THIS EVENT?
- Be a part of a gang, and follow all the inside traditions and secret rules.
- Experience life in a city community at the beginning of the 20th century.
- Get involved in gang wars, negotiations and deals, dirty jobs, brawls, and more.
- Have relationships with family, gang members, lovers, friends, co-workers, and religious companions–prepare for love and hate, respect and disdain, friendship and betrayal.
- Run an illegal business, whether it’s forgery or smuggling goods to trade on the black market.
- Take a day job working in the mines, smithy, factories, shops, or city court.
- Be part of religious and national events that might lead to peace between gangs or a war.
- Enjoy leisure time at the pub, reading the news, going to the cinema, dancing, or just a calm evening stroll by the canal.
- Take part in a labor revolution by spreading flyers, attending secret meetings, and going on strike.
GANG OR CITIZENSHIP
There are 2 ways to participate in this event.
As a gang member you will be part of a gang structure and play one character throughout the whole game with a premade character sheet and relations.
Citizen – You are not in a gang structure, but rather a person living a normal life in Birmingham. You might be a judge, a baker, a shopkeeper, a journalist, a priest, or something else along those lines. You will have a premade character sheet and relations with both other Citizens and with Gang Members.
In addition to your main role, Citizens will have a special task. From time to time, we will ask a few Citizens to step into another role for an hour or two for specific scenes, such as an organized police action or a strike. We will let you know ahead of time what scenes Citizens will be jumping in for, and we will provide the costumes for those other roles. For 90% of the weekend, you’ll be playing as your primary Citizen character–this is just a brief detour into a different role to support the overall narrative of the game.
The tickets (for Gang Members and Citizens) include:
- One-day briefings and workshops
- Two-day game in awesome location
- Lunch and dinner
- Scenography, props and special effects
- Pre-written characters and character relations
- Online preparations including creating relations and gangs’ identity.
Tickets do not include accommodation and transport but we will try to help with those if needed.
The event takes place in Black Country Living Museum – it’s an incredible place to experience life in the past.
The museum is near the centre of Birmingham so you can visit them even before the larp.
All photos on this website were taken in the museum.
ACCESSIBILITY AND INCLUSIVITY
We take accessibility seriously and we are working to make this event open and available to all players. We acknowledge that there are many types of accessibility needs and that everyone is unique. The statements below should be considered a starting point not an end point.
The location is completely wheelchair-accessible, and we are happy to work with our players to provide support for specific accessibility needs.
The game does include some printed materials. We are able to provide large print versions of these materials upon request.
There will be regular mealtimes. These will not be interrupted. We will ask participants about any allergies, intolerances, or dietary requirements. We will ensure all foods are clearly labelled. Fresh drinking water will be available at all times.
.There will be an off-game space available to all players at all times where participants can come to rest, have a snack, decompress, or speak to an organiser. It will be possible to opt out of any part of the event at any time, and to return to the event, without any penalty to the player.
The game is set in a specific historic time period, and while a few characters are written as gendered (crossplay is allowed), everyone is welcome to play a character of any gender or sexual orientation – most of the characters are open for gender interpretation. The conflicts of the event focus on divisions of nationality, religion, class, and, most importantly, gang affiliation. Prejudices like racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia are not the thematic focus of the event, but we acknowledge that they were major issues at the time and players interested in stories around those themes are welcome to contact us to discuss your ideas.
The event will include violence of various kinds, from bar brawls to torture to just plain interpersonal cruelty, but it will always be possible to opt out of it. More details on our plans for mechanics around violence will be revealed later.
Our Code of Conduct applies to all of our games.
This event is organised by DZIOBAK LARP STUDIOS.
We do everything from city games and educational games to big international productions – the most famous of these being College of Wizardry, which was featured in media worldwide.
We believe in changing the world through play, in staging memorable and transformative experiences, and most of all, we believe in the power of people.
If you have any question write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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