Some people run into dragons or the undead or random postapocalyptic tribes at larps. As I find myself slowly coming back from vacation, easing into everyday schedules and work (always work), getting mentally ready for the fall larping season (and the huge amount of effort necessary to finish preparing and start running our Astra larp project in a month or so), I’ve written down a random list of things I’ve encountered, totally unprepared, at different larps over the last three years. (Now let’s get that brain function back to normal…)
#1 My highschool fantasy self. I’ve found her in several military and/or ex military characters, in running around in the woods and crafting, in making a fool of myself more times than not and generally having loads of fun in the process. Call it playing out my favourite character archetypes – sometimes it really does come down to that – I couldn’t care less, it’s fun. And I’d have almost forgotten all about her… live roleplay may not all be about play, but feeling like a kid again is definitely a part of it.
#2 Some of the people I admire the most in life in general, not just while we larp. Incredible, creative, multi capable people. Friends and foes and random acquaintances alike – people who add to my overall quality of life. It’s really not hard to enjoy larping in such a company.
#3 Citybred people with no prior wilderness experience who adapt to camping and the woods in a matter of minutes. (And no, it’s not just about tents.) Most of us city geeks have at least some sort of fear about the wild – be it bugs, snakes, things that hiss in the dark – or just plain simple feeling cold. Fantasy larping – the camping version – brings out the best in people, and it more often than not results in many of us daring beyond our usual comfort zone, just for the sake of roleplaying in the wild. Gradually, the comfort zone expands, and you stop caring about the mud and the rain and the mosquitoes and the whatever that thing is in the night – and it definitely pays off in terms of fun. (Larping is not a Stephen King novel, after all – no one has ever died from it, far as I know. Not that people die from King’s novels – just, err, in them. Some times. If they’re lucky.)
#4 A love for larper’s coffee – the sort with ash in it, of course. Not quite the same as when you brew random pots of turkish coffee at home during the year. Not quite.
#5 An awesome storytelling challenge. As someone who does both regular writing and a tiny bit of larp design, it’s incredible to see live, in real time, people’s interpretation of characters and stories that you’ve written. I could never get that with short stories – or any stories, come to that – and it’s one of the best things that can happen to a writer.
#6 A way of life – in a way. Because it’s not just about larping, roleplaying, crafting, sewing, making music, hanging out, reading about larping stuff, writing about larping stuff… It’s also getting to answer a small ton of random questions about larp, to larpers and muggles alike. It’s also meeting people both online and offline who I would’ve never had reach otherwise, and having an incredible amount of fun with them. It’s also about being called a larper, or calling myself a larper, in front of most peculiar audiences (library coworkers, kid patrons’ parents, people who research random book clubs, etc.). It’s sharing a part of my life with the world, and hearing back from the said world. It’s having fun, most of all, above all. It’s a great side effect of this whole “hobby” thing. Well.
I can’t help but wonder what random encounter is going to come next… there’s a lot more where these came from.