To say that I woke up peacefully for my first true morning of LARPing would not just be an understatement, it would be a lie. Battles raged throughout the night, and it got cold. For some reason I volunteered to sleep near the side of the tent and woke up to a pillow that had actually become wet. I signed up for LARPing, but the joys of camping were just an added benefit.
I was up seemingly before anyone else. Checking my infernal (modern) phone, I realized that it was early; approximately six bells (six o’clock) in the morning. I got up, put on a sweater and donned my home-made faux fur vest, and went for a walk. I noticed some things immediately. Unlike the previous night that was filled with battle cries, screams of death and the clashing of blades, it was deathly quiet. I tried not to step on twigs for fear that I would wake someone up on the other side of the very large campground. The second thing I noticed was that my boots were not – contrary to popular belief – waterproof. Thankfully I followed the much-touted advice of bringing more pairs of socks than I go through in a week. Third thing I realized: There was something directly under my shoulder when I slept. But none of that got me down!
I hefted my greatsword and explored a bit. I was 99% confident that nothing would happen, but I was told never, ever walk without your weapon. And despite being almost certain that everyone was still asleep, walking through Murder Alley was still a little unnerving. I trekked to the caravans (cars) to get some things that we forgot the day before, and to kill time, then slowly made my way back to town. When I returned there were two fellow players cooking and I was immediately offered coffee, tea, and bacon. My lamenting of roughing it out in the wilderness for the night was quickly fading, and I struck up a conversation with Boone and Juniper, a blacksmith and healer. I learned a lot and had some damn fine bacon, and slowly but surely more and more heroes awoke from their slumber.
When there was around ten of us, a cackling group of kobolds attacked. Immediately I sprang into battle! By standing there and hesitantly approaching them with my sword in front of me. Last night I had the safety of dozens of other players. Today we barely had more warriors than there were kobolds. Add on the fact that non-combatants, like Boone the blacksmith, and newer players who had minimal health, like a first-time mage, took off at the first sign of danger. We were ultimately victorious against the beasts, and my chest swelled with adrenaline and pride.
Throughout the day some other monsters decided to attack the town, while some quests took place away from the safety of our numbers. The kobolds returned, enraged nature spirits attacked, spiders wandered into town. We were told that spiders could be brutal (see my brief mention of the Spider Cave from my last post), so we charged in and slaughtered them before they could even get their bearings.
Taking a break from being a badass hero, I partook in a game of Liar’s Dice, a game of luck and bluffing that ended up losing me a silver, but garnered me a handful of new friends. At the same time my brother, eloquently named Olf, could be seen chasing goblins around the perimeter of the town and charging off to battle ogres with a nearby camp. That is one of the benefits that I found to LARPing: there was always something to do. Go and find a monster to slay, gamble with fellow heroes, cook in the town centre. At one point I even sat in on a discussion about the history and power of dragons!
And then the faceless attacked.
Followers of the Lady of Faces, these fanatics demanded that we submit ourselves to their Lady, and even demanded our faces as tribute if we disobeyed. We resisted as best we could, but eventually had to give in to their relentless assault. They informed us that the Lady would come to town that evening for us to submit to her directly.
Like any good climax to a story, however, that is a tale in and of itself. This Friday I will recount the harrowing battle against the Lady of Faces and her followers, the personal sacrifice I had to make, and give my final verdict on our first weekend of LARPing.