For those that follow me on Twitter, you may have seen me tweet something unusual the other day. I informed the world (aka those that follow me) that I managed to convince my friends to go LARPing at the end of this month. It was not that hard to make them do it; we already met weekly to play Dungeons and Dragons, so this was the next natural step. Right?
Let’s start from the basics: What is LARP? Is it an exotic if somewhat visually unappealing dessert? Is it some form of sea creature that you can take as a pet? Is it some unfortunate acronym for a charity or branch of government? For those that do not know, LARP stands for Live-Action Role Play. It can take many forms, but all involve dressing up and pretending to be someone else for anywhere from a few hours to a few days. The most common form of LARP – forever enshrined by the movie Role Models – is fantasy-based. You can see fields and forests of elves, dwarves, humans, lizard people, and pretty much anything else running around with foam weaponry and going on quests. There are other forms of LARP, too. When I was at Fan Expo Canada, I saw a booth for a zombie apocalypse-based LARP, which just generated a whole new feeling of nerd bliss.
Sometimes I find it hard to justify going to work when there is so much extraordinary stuff out there in the world.
Now you may judge LARPing harshly – I know I did a couple of years ago. Back in the days before I started playing D&D, back when I thought that the opinions of other people should influence what makes me happy. So my first venture into LARPing was during my last year of university, while still in Guelph. I got some of my good friends together to go to a busy park for our first LARPing experience. It was fun! It was overwhelming, it was a lot of physical activity, but it was fun. I lost a lot of limbs, I died multiple times – I got a lot of kills under my belt, too!
We were very reserved at first. It was one thing to play Dungeons and Dragons and have some people know about our nerdiness. But this was a public park, there were people around. And some of them were laughing – that did not escape our notice. Some of them decided to take pictures (just as an aside, do not take pictures of other people without their consent, no matter what they are doing. Ever.), but none of that stopped us. A few hours later, more or less drenched in sweat, we left the battlefield for barbecue and beers. It was a fun day.
So now, almost two years later, I want to give it another try. There is an organization called Underworld LARP that regularly runs events, most of them spanning entire weekends. The fellow D&D players still seem a bit reserved, but I know that they are going to have a blast when we get there. It involves camping, questing, swordplay, living out every childhood (and current) Lord of the Rings dream that we have. We have been preparing by starting to make our own weapons, making different characters, prepping lists of things we need to bring. Even though I have done it before, I consider this my first true step into the world of LARP.
Wish me luck.