I am a relatively new LARPer. OK, I’m a very new LARPer. Will got me into it and I leapt in with all the eagerness that one does in a new relationship. I spent this past weekend running around in the woods hitting people with a foam sword and blocking them with my shield. I’m very good at the blocking (I think) but not as good at the hitting.
What I love about it already is that I get to fully roleplay a character above and beyond the tabletop experience. I. Love. Roleplay. My tabletop characters typically are incredibly fleshed out, my World of Warcraft characters had full histories and being in character with my words and actions was the norm. I cannot write a story worth anything, but I love to write characters. Real, flawed, wonderful, annoying characters. So I have a dwarf, a lesbian dwarf who is fresh from the mines and a little shocked by the greater world. She has a backstory and some heartache, and is already conflicted about the right thing to do in this other world. She also doesn’t get the game of spin the bottle that someone tried to rope her into playing. Why bother after all?
The flip side of this is that my dwarf can only really do what I can do. If I can reach the skeleton with my sword, she can too. If I can throw a fabric packet and hit the vicious vorpal bunny, she can too. But if I can’t do these things, or remember the right incant for the spells I want to cast…neither can she. It’s empowering and humbling at the same time. When I do something particularly awesome, it really is because I did something awesome. My MMO character might be more badass, but I am more fantastic by far with the things I do in a LARP.
What isn’t so good about it? Well, I’m out of fighting shape. I was never in fighting shape. I might have seen a fighting shape once, but I am not in it now. Swinging a sword, even one made of foam and a solid core, is tiring. Swinging it and defending yourself while retreating backwards up a hill in the soft turf of a mulched horse trail is exhausting. This I can deal with, I’ll get better.
My favorite line, used by Will to wear me down on my anti-LARP stance is that LARPing is just sports for nerds. As a firm believer that fantasy football is just D&D for jocks, I couldn’t argue…much…Ok I argued, but that’s the nature of my stubbornness. I can see this being a huge time and money sink but I think it’s more than worth it if I can keep myself from getting too overboard.