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Seven things I miss about LARP…

10 Jan

Elf in a box

Now what seems like an age ago, I used to LARP (live roleplay, LRP for the purist!). For years, week after week, come rain or shine, snow or winds, we would all cogregate in our meeting spot each weekend to travel up to the local woods in which we used. Many an event we’d attend, from other clubs (Bloodbath, the Keep, myth, F&H to name a few) to weekend long fests. A great time we had, and I still hold some great nostalgia about that time.
Even so I still have loads of my old kit laying about, I fear my days of running about like a maniac weilding a rubber axe, are now long gone, especially with my knee injury, but still there are loads of stuff concerned with the whole LARP scene I really miss. So, I thought I’d share them with you lot, seven of the most missed conventions and nuances from the strange world of LARP, that I miss and hold with affection.

1. “You can’t see me, I have my finger in the air!”
Players of LARP will tell you that generally when you see another player (be they PC or monster/npc) doing this are classed as either out of the game, or invisible, or similar. Totally bizarre I know, but many times this used to make me laugh. Just one of the conventions that used to crack me up.

2. Time freeze! Time Stop! Time in and Time out and other bollocks!
I remember new players getting confused as hell with these, and amusement ensued when players got it wrong and the head ref would shout abuse and blow their stack. Herding kittens is akin to this one. Who knew the difference between time stop and time freeze was one was standing still and listening to the refs, and the other playing statues with an added “lalalala got me fingers in me ears and me eyes is closed” employed usually for the evil refs to teleport some rock hard creatures in behind you to give you all a good kicking!
3. Orc in a sack, elf in a box
Some people really do pay a fortune on their dream kit and costume, indeed some really do look the “bee’s knees” so to speak. Others spend hours on hand making their stuff from bits, that looks fine too. Some think that the only effort they need is to stick a hole in an old blanket, a pair of trainers and some levis. While I’m no costume nazi, it always made me giggle when I saw these piss poor efforts. Orc in a sack was the very worst example I ever saw, in which a guy once asked a couple of us what kind of thing we would recommend for a half-orc assassin to wear. We suggested scruffy dark and dirty rags and robes, maybe he could get some old potato sacks to fashion into costume. The next week he returned, indeed he’d taken part of it on board, just rather than hessian potato sacks, he’d used brown paper ones instead! Elf in a box is literally that, cardboard armour too! Never did fail to raise a chuckle, still at least they tried!
4. Weapon calls and weirdness.
Double bastard flaming through, and weird calls like that, if your a LARP player you’ll recognise stuff like the first bit. I much preferred more realistic combat systems to be honest over the ones that were more power based, much less hassle when you’re fighting to not have silly unwieldy calls to make. Others would probably agree, but I’ve played tons of different LARP systems and a lot of the time, they get it wrong. I do still hold great memories of ridiculous sounding battles. I’m not even going to get started on the magic systems….
5. Hammy death scenes and comedy melodrama
Many LARPers regard themselves as excellent actors. This is simply not the case as most LARPers are pretty bad at it. Thinking that one is the next oscar winner to that of someone who doesn’t is another thing. Just there’s a lot of X-factor like wannabes in the LARP community (Maybe its an attention thing, I’ve never asked a shrink about LARP…) that really don’t think they are piss poor actors. This of course leads to some great and funny situations, which add to the entire episode being played out. This “epic” quest being played out becoming more like Monty python rather than LOTR. Kinda of like being told to keep quiet in church, but that makes you want to laugh more.
6. Comraderie
One of the best parts of the LARP scene is other LARPers. The community itself, the other compplete nutters that play out in your various worlds and stories. I remember great times spent outside of the game, either partying, or preparing our kit, nice cooperative times where the universal concept of humanity and brotherly love meant we as a group could come together and work to common goals. But, seriously there are lots of really great LARPers out there and I’ve made tons of really good friends over the years through this hobby, and it’s one of the things I really miss out of everything else probably. Happy days.
7. Ambience
When you’ve had one too many beers, or a good smoke, or both, the edges of the world your inhabiting start to fade a little, this is especially true in the case of those long fest nights spent visiting other groups camps, or simply wandering aimlessly into a strange half seen encounter between others. These things used to be outstanding I think, the darkness tends to mask a lot of the hokey half done effects and allows your mind to fill in the blanks. Memories of escaping from god knows how many vampires in a skirmish encounter at about 1am, by crawling on my belly through the pitch black, it was truly horrific, sheer fear and exhileration that I felt was second to none. I could regale you in true quality experiences that were just so atmospheric and mystical, but it’d go on for a long time. Safe to say any lack of suspension of disbelief was not present and LARP and reality merged.

Although I’ve listed just seven things I miss, there are more. I look at my various LARP and airsoft/painball kit and think about what adventures they have served with me and how many kills they have made (Obviously LARP deaths, LARP aint real kiddies!) and feel the rosy glow of nostalgia. Maybe, if I strap my knee up I might attempt some new quests, show these young uns’ what I can do. Who knows, but it’s going to have to be done I think, my eldest is almost a teen and I think he’d get a kick out of it too.
LARP is a strange hobby, but strange in a good way, yes it’s misunderstood and mocked, but it’s all good in the long run. I’m proud that I was a LARPer, and gained lots out of it. If you’re unsure about LARP, give it a shot, it may not be to some of you, but for those it does fit, you’ll never regret doing it!

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