Thursday, June 5, 2014

An Introduction to LARP

I'm preparing to go away this weekend to King's Mountain, North Carolina.  I'll be spending the weekend sharing a cabin with 3-6 other people, mostly men, with no privacy.  Additionally, I'm lugging containers full of Asian-themed decorations and clothing with me.

Yes, it's my clothing.

And then I will spend a weekend dressed in said Asian clothing, toting around a PVC pipe with lengths of foam taped to each end to fashion what is known as a 'boffer-style' staff.

Have I lost any of you yet?

That's a basic, outsider description of LARP, which stands for Live Action Role Play.  LARP isn't just restricted to nerds who like to wear funky costuming and pretend to be elves and fairies.  Other, more historic forms of LARP include reenactments such as Civil War battles.

The LARP I attend is:

Owned and operated by Kevin and Casey Hardy.
Running since 1996.

Mike the coworker introduced me to the concept of LARP when I first became a full-time employee in his department.  When he would go away for an entire weekend and come back with what (to me) sounded like live-action D&D dungeon runs, I couldn't help but be intrigued.

He kept insisting that the first even was free.  So Midori and I decided to attend our first event at the same time in May of 2012.  I did attempt to skim the player's handbook; I picked a race and a class for my character build, and ordered authentic clothing from Thailand.  

But I was convinced I had no idea what to expect.

And I was right.

People that have never tried LARP look at it and think it's an uber-nerd activity, like I did.

But you know what separates tabletop D&D from LARP?

The theatricality.

Sure, you can sit at the table, consult your character sheet for your healer, and then roll to see if you can cast a area burst of healing for your party.  If you're in a role-play only campaign, your character might even be concern, and your voice reflects that.

However, knowing that your party is lying bloody and dying on a porch and only your life spells can pick them back up is something else entirely.  Because you can see their bodies.  

Sure, they're pretending to be dead.  But they're on a timer.  And you left your magic stick with life spells in your cabin down the hill.

It takes some imagination, but it's not such a far leap.  And it's far more enriching and real to me than numbers on a paper.  I mean, one of those people was my character's sister-in-law.  She was visiting Shadowmoor for the first time and my character was supposed to be watching her.

Yeah, imagine having to explain that to my character's husband (which is actually my husband's character).  (See what I did there?)

I have watched some amazing acting in my time there.  I've cried when fellow Sampan (my race) did not listen to me and endangered their lives.  I've fought in a six-hour long field battle to save the world from an enemy they had been trying to defeat for over two years.

And I have had so much fun.

Okay, most of the time I sit in the cabin and crochet.  Or make tea to serve to guests that come by.  Or basically just guard Midori while she sleeps.  (I have one job in this lousy's stupid, but I'm gonna do it!  Okay?!?!)

But then when I do go out, I am seldom disappointed by the different mods the plot members have for us.

Midori scouts our surroundings to make sure it's safe.

If I'm lucky, perhaps I'll get some photos this weekend to share with you.  I hear that Tao and Rax (my character's guild mates) intend for us to actually go out and slay monsters for fun.

Should be wild!

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