‘God Rest Ye Merry’

Our first order of business was to sell tickets for the event.

The Name

We needed an event name. “God Rest Ye Merry” sprang to mind fairly swiftly – obviously it was Christmassy, it had echoes of the restlessness of the dead, it’s in an interesting minor key rather than celebratory major, it feels old and medieval evoking a bit of scary history, and it’s just an interesting phrase. The fact that its acronym is GRYM was a happy coincidence.

Most people take it as “God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen” – meaning something like ‘May God give you a nice break, you cheerful people’ – and don’t think too hard about it, but it’s actually “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen.” which translates roughly as ‘May God Keep You Mighty & Prosperous, Gents’. Merry’s meaning has changed over the years.


So, equipped with a name and a premise, we set about selling some tickets. We wanted to be able to lay on a luxury event – fully catered etc. – and the have ridiculous over-the-top effects, and the house itself was fairly expensive. Most of the events we’ve run over the years have been around the £50 mark. The most expensive events we’ve paid to take part in were around £175, and that was seen as expensive by people in our hobby. But after years of this, we wanted to challenge the status quo – we fully believe that LARP is an underfunded hobby, and that you’d pay several order of magnitudes higher for fully catered / accommodated ‘experience weekends’. So, tentatively, expecting the event to struggle, we announced we were running an event for a price of £250 per head.

Two days later all 22 places had gone and we had an additional waiting list of 15 people. Perhaps we should have asked for more. It helped that we offered staged payments and announced the event nearly a year in advance, but even so, we were taken aback by how fast the places went.

The Trailer

Here’s the very minimal trailer we launched the event with – my first attempt at anything in After Effects in about 5 years, with vocals by me, recorded on my iPhone and mucked about with in Audacity:

(Best with audio!)

Marketing: Mystery or Ghost Story?

We initially set out with the idea that we’d double-bluff the players – we’d sell tickets to an Agatha Christie-style murder mystery, and then spring ghosts on them when they least expected it.But after a bit of thought, we realised that one of our goals – players scaring themselves by jumping at shadows – would be better achieved by billing it as a ghost story. A good case in point is horror films – people go to the cinema knowing they’re going to see a horror film. And as they watch the film, they’re already tense, expected a monster to appear. This, it turns out, is important – see Crossing the Threshold.