Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Lowest Guys on the Totem Pole

At least they didn't make 'em play in traffic.

I've said before that I'm not really into LARPing...never have been. Unless you count running through the woods as a 10 year old pretending you're a member of the Wolf Riders (complete with bows and arrows). Of course, we didn't have any "rules" associated with those games...maybe "don't shoot arrows into each other," but that's just common sense.

That the Convention chose to sequester the live-action folks away from the rest of the gamers (and the hotel)...well, I can't help but think that's saying something. Sure, maybe the LARP people wanted a "big space without distraction from the rest of the con." But an unattached garage? I mean, people were parking cars in it!

I wandered over to the garage Saturday afternoon, curious as to what I would find. A trifle nervous to be honest. I mean, MY basic inclination would have been to sequester LARPers off-site myself, but I understand that this prejudice comes from my own "fear of the unknown." They're just people, right? Right?

In the garage, there was one long table with chairs, and a bunch of scattered papers and junk...probably left over from the last game. There were also three people who had set themselves up in three folding chairs in the middle of the garage. One was a guy with a long ponytail, probably around my age or a little older (late 30s, early 40s). One was a woman probably in her 20s or 30s. The third was a kid, a girl, who must have been around 13-15, maybe 12. They were sitting side by side in the chairs, with the little girl in the middle.

The dude with ponytail beckoned me over. I approached semi-hesitantly.

"Do you want to role-play," they (the adults) asked.

I shook my just 'checking stuff out,' seeing what's going on.

"Come on...just a quick one? It's fun..."

I told them I was actually just waiting for my ride to pick me up (this was true) and brushed them off...but I was creeped out the way they were trying to tempt me. Like evil gnomes trying to get me to eat fairy food.

When they saw I wouldn't budge, they went back to their "game," which appeared to involve sitting on a bus (?) with the two adults trying to tempt the kid into something (?!) though what I didn't get...they seemed to be having some sort of philosophic or academic argument/discussion while the girl verbally defended her position.

It was weird. And kind of creepy. I didn't really want to know how the scene was going to play out, and decided to leave. I did my best not to run.


  1. Wow, that LARP session sounds like it seriously sucked. I'll admit most of my LARP experience consisted of running around in the woods and hitting people with padded "swords". Some exposure to the Vamp crowd was odd and occasionally boring but when there was a "game" going on it was a little more active then sitting at a chair and arguing (not that that didn't happen). How the heck was it LARP, sitting around a table and having a philosophical debate sounds like traditional table top role-playing and not so much fun either.

  2. LARPers are generally the reason that tabletop roleplayers get funny looks.

    Like you noticed, stumbling onto a group of 3+ people, talking funny about things you can't see, without having any explanation of what's going on makes for a seriously creepy feeling, like you're watching something that you're not supposed to watch.

    Maybe it's just me? Or maybe the LARPers I've seen are just particularly odd...

  3. This:

  4. Not a fan of LARPing this is what I think of every time I hear the word.

  5. while i can't see myself ever larping for several reasons i have to speak in defense of larping in general.

    a bloodbowl-tournament i regularly attend is embedded in a small con that also has larping every year, so i got to witness some larping in action there.

    the players regularly managed to fascinate me (to be honest, if i had more confidence in my ability to a) act and b) not giggle all the time, i would join them any time), bringin full costume for everyone involved (the first time i saw them a main villain in the form of a fire demon was fought, with an amazing costume!), there are a lot of people who are really great actors and they always seem to have great stories going on as well.

    maybe i got to see a premier crowd (i have never seen anyone but this group larp for more than a few minutes), but i know for a fact there are great larpers out there. i have seen them myself. :)

  6. I used to host Vampire/Werewolf LARP games at my parents house while I was in High School. It was silly, and we all dressed up and played rock paper scissors, but it was fun and harmless.

    I've also done the padded swords in the woods thing, and that's fun too.

    The games they host at Balticon... seem less organized and interesting, but way better than what you stumbled upon.

  7. I still remember the one Laws of the Resurrection (white wolf's mummy LARP) I attended that died in half hour flat after rules debate started. A character died, and it was soon realized that Laws of the Resurrection didn't actually have rules for resurrection. Soon half the players were arguing and complaining, and the other half were so upset that the first half had dropped character that most of them simply left. I've never seen such a catastrophic failure in gaming.

  8. You just LEFT that poor girl in their clutches?!!!!

    Indeed, you are the craven servant of a Toad god.

    11 months late, but you finally got that character figured out.

  9. I find LARP embarrassing.

    LARP also fails to do anything for me on three levels:

    1. Combat LARP. I train a martial art. I'm not interested in fake, padded weapons or arbitrary rules on what types of fighting tactics are "legal."

    2. Dice plus paper= being able to convince myself I'm engaged in an intellectually stimulating, creative activity. Costumes plus rock/paper/scissors= laying awake at night wondering where my life went so very wrong. Also, wondering why we don't use Thumb War instead of rock/paper/scissors.

    3. The last LARP I ever attended before forswearing it eternally was basically three hours of people sitting around gosspiing/bitching about imaginary people. It was like reality TV, except with black trench coats and people quoting/misquoting Nietzsche every five goddamn minutes. If I wanted that, all I had to do was park myself at the local coffee shop and listen to nearby conversations.

    To each their own, I suppose... but you will never get my ass into a LARP ever again.

  10. My wife (prior to our dating) had been talked into going to a LARP thing. It was a vampire LARP of some sort and so dressing goth she arrived...and was the only bird amongst 12 cats. She stuck it out for about 30 minutes and then bolted. A lot of "close talkers", B.O., and sensitive pony tail cretins.

    I have zero interest in LARP, or SCA stuff, except in film: Have you seen the movie ROLE MODELS-great SCA mash-up w/ KISS (Formal noun, not verb) or even better the documentary DARKON. That's as close as I want to get.

  11. I want to make it clear that just because *I* don't dig on LARPing doesn't mean I'm advocating people chuck it. Unlike 4th edition D&D, for example.

    I'm just sharing my impressions on the LARP presence at the Con. And both the weird setting, and the weird...well, "situation"...was a might creepy for my taste.

    And none of the trio were wearing any kind of costume.

  12. The little girl had just met those adults. She was never seen again.