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Deep in the forests of Russia lies a place that is not a place, the hut of “the little grandmother,” Baba Yaga, witch of all witches. As much a dark goddess as a force of nature, Baba Yaga (emphasis on the “ga”) might initiate a person into adulthood… or she might eat them. If a human is wise or foolish, lucky or unlucky, they might happen upon her wooden hut, perched atop massive chicken legs in a clearing. “I smell a Russian smell,” the witch will say, if she is home and if they are Russian.

But right now, she is not home, leaving her strange and wondrous house seemingly unguarded from the outside. In truth, the witch’s animals are on guard against intruders when she is away. The hut is an extra-dimensional space, larger on the inside than it appears, so there it has plenty of room for the livestock to have their own barn. A dog and several cats have the run of all the rooms, but even they prefer to avoid the greenhouse. Those plants are vicious, bitter, gigantic, and they don’t like to stay in their pots. That’s a bit much, even for talking dogs and cats.

Today, the door from the greenhouse to the outside has been left unlocked. A clever human could find a way to climb up, unaware that the door doesn’t unlock from the inside…

Garden of Pathos is a mostly nonverbal, arts-and-crafts based freeform larp for 5 to 10 people. Most players portray plants from the garden. One serves as moderator for most of the game, and then portrays the human intruder at the end.

Garden of Pathos was written for the 2019 Golden Cobra Challenge. It received an Honorable Mention. The judges wrote, "Garden of Pathos is such an excellent, creepy game about being the plants of Baba Yaga’s greenhouse. While you were all once human, you are now trapped in plant-form, when a human intruder breaks into the greenhouse and you have to decide what to do with them. Each plant has “leaves” (post-its) attached to them, representing their memories that the human player may steal or be gifted. The game is beautifully written, requiring players to use their entire bodies as plants. We’re looking forward to being cursed plants!"

This game is offered on a pay-what-you-want basis, since it's also available on the Golden Cobra site.


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Click download now to get access to the following files:

Garden of Pathos - Original Version from 2019 Golden Cobra Challenge.pdf 1 MB
Garden of Pathos 2.0 - Updated and Revised for Intercon 2023.pdf 4 MB

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