Thursday, June 29, 2006

No LARPing Matter...

I have a confession to make.

I'm a roleplayer.

I voluntarily choose to spend my Friday nights in a room with 14 or so other people(mostly guys), pretending to be someone else.

I've been a samurai, a wizard, a vigilante in mech armour, a pirate, a priestess of the god of magic, a woman who evolved from dogs, a fighter, a pixie, a vampire, a werewolf, an elf, a prostitute, a drug addict, a cartoon kangaroo with a pouch which contained an almost infinite number of items (some of which were larger than she was).

Friday night games are quite tame. We describe what our characters are doing and saying and roll dice to see if we succeed or not.

But I have also ventured further into this dark world and become involved with LARP. LARP (pronounced larp, to rhyme with harp) involves you acting as your character. This usually means you dress up and speak like them, perform all of their actions, and if necessary fight each other with rubber weapons or toy guns. It's so much fun.

The biggest LARP in the UK is a fantasy game run by the Lorien Trust. Their main event is The Gathering which runs over a weekend in August, and is attended by up to 3500 players. I don't go to LT events anymore (for various reasons) but I have a funny story relating to them which I'd like to share with you.

The LT events are held in a little village called Spondon, which is near Derby. Of course, all that running around in armour and casting spells is thirsty work, and players often need to go into the village to buy more alcohol (sometimes even food). The locals are used to the mad people in costume by now, and don't bat an eyelid when a guy in chainmail with a huge rubber sword goes into a shop for a case of beer and a Pot Noodle.

A friend of mine gave me a lift to the shop one time - I was in a long red flowing dress with a sword and a bow on my back, with pointy elf ears and James was dressed as a troll, green makeup, prosthetic horns, padding, scary contacts, huge axe, the lot. We were perusing the drinks aisle when I noticed a small boy of about 3 or 4 staring at us. I smiled at him and he looked a bit scared. Then he pulled at his mum's skirt and pointed to us.

"Mummy, there's a monster!" Obviously not used to this roleplayer thing.

Mum glances over. Obviously used to this roleplayer thing. Without missing a beat she replies calmly,

"Don't worry son. Even monsters have to shop."


  1. That is sooooooooo funny! Where do you get your costumes from Anna?

    My eldest son used to be into role playing (the computer variety), though I don't he has ever been to a "real" one!

    I think it is great that you have this hobby, must be good fun and should get a lot of aggression out of you and your friends! lol

  2. OMG---that's hilarious!

    They have the Ren Faire near here every summer for a couple of months. It's fun to go see all the costumes and role playing.

    Sounds like you guys know how to have fun!

  3. Boo, a lot of my costume I made myself (such as my dress) but when I was playing a lot I was always on the lookout for clothes that I could use as costume. When you go to these events there are usually loads of traders selling clothes, masks, makeup, prosthetics, armour, latex weapons, and so on. I still have two swords and a mace and a real bow, and arrows with big foam tips so they don't hurt when you shoot someone.

    My friend Tomk also makes weapons, armour and costume- he has a great full body werewolf suit which is actually pretty scary!

    Are you suggesting I'm aggressive??? I'll kill you!!!

  4. Attila - it's my favourite LARP story, and I'm pleased to ahve a new audience to inflict it on. ;)

    I love the whole pretending thing, it's just like playing pretend as a kid (but usually has rules).

    I guess from the outside we look like a bunch of geeks but I'm going to protest that we aren't really... actually, no I'm not. ;) We embrace geekdom.

    We have a Medieval Market here in Chesterfield one weekend in the summer, loads of people get dressed up. Sounds a lot like a Ren Faire

  5. That mom was right. That is why we have monster-size grocery stores and shopping centers—much more than a non-monster needs.

  6. I had no idea that such a thing takes place. Sounds like great fun, shame you can't still do it though. :(

  7. I love the monsters have to shop too. It makes me think of monsters inc. lol

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  9. LARPs are great fun. Attila in Holland has a great LARP that I used to pay to fly to every year for several years (I now live in New zealand so it's not feasible).

    If you get the chance try them out. The best greens you can buy in Holland are Orc-related :D