I’m a larper. I play and (help) design and run live action roleplaying games. I’ve been meaning to blog about this for ages. Just to empty some of my brain out, so I organise and structure some of how I think about larp a bit. I’m no writer.
But I’ve written a few bits I’ll be bringing over here from elsewhere. This is the first blog post I ever wrote about larp, concerning a game called “Lion and Serpent” set in an alternate medieval Europe run by NWO games. I wrote it after the last of the 5 game series, May 16th, 2006. It’s an appropriate post to start with, I think, and there’s some themes in here I suspect I’ll return to. In particular, LARP as a story-making machine. There’s definitely more in there.
“NWO. I know this is the nth post, but I can’t leave it quite yet.
It was absolutely marvellous. Everyone I came into contact with raised their game for this last throw of the dice. It had light, it had shade, sadness and joy. One of my favourite things about LRP is the tales of cool stuff you did and saw that you tell down the pub for years to come. And whenever lrpers gather together for years to come, they’ll be talking about the stuff the writers inspired us to do. Everyone I talked too had had their victories, so everyone felt that had achieved, felt positive. I doubt anyone left thinking “I couldn’t have done any better”, but I think a higher proportion than I’ve ever seen before came damned close.
I still don’t like Ilam as a site – too many cars, too many mundanes, and a decent bed isn’t as important for me as for others. My brief was pitched exactly right, but I know I’ve near-drowned in information at at least one of the other events. Because of the wonders we were doing, the refs were noticeable, rather than in the shadows. I still wonder if the shear mind-boggling amount of effort the refs put in is rewarded enough, even by 120 players having an utter blast. But by God it made a great event. And I’ll be reading and re-reading the source material for years to come.
NWO has taught me a substantial amount about roleplaying games. The importance of remaining true to character rather than playing to “win”. That ‘freeformers;’ and ‘lrpers’ have more in common than they think. The importance of stories, of endings. The importance of motivation for action rather than inaction. And that a great roleplaying game is one where all the players know they are writing a story together, and they have the material and inspiration to do a such a great job. Some of which was kinda floating about in my head anyway, but it’s been crystalised.
It’s been a pleasure to have been part of it, and thanks to all who made it happen. Especially to Ian and the writers who gave us all up to a decade of their time to make it happen. Thank you.
Ave atque vale.”