Thursday, April 14, 2011

L is for Larping

Please excuse me,
I have some being cool to do.
I larp.  It's a thing I do.  Live Action Role Play.  In short: I dress like a fruitcake for a weekend and sleep in the woods with 60-100 others and occasionally beat the crap out of one another with foam covered swords.  Also, we throw birdseed around and call it magic.  And you know what?

It's totally bad-ass.

I don't go around talking about it to people.  It's not because I'm ashamed of it, it's just that I don't feel I can accurately represent it in a casual conversation.  A lot of people have a lot of misconceptions about it, and I don't want to add to it.  So let me take this opportunity to break down some of the reasons that this is such a great hobby.

People - Most of the most interesting people that I have ever met, I have met through larping.  One of my best friends I met at my very first event back on the 4th of July weekend, 1996.  These games cater to some of the most creative, charismatic, and socially stunted people that exist.  In other words, the best.

Socialization - This may not seem very different from the people one, but it is.  That was about the quality of the individuals.  This is about learning how to interact with others in a brand new way.  Especially as an awkward teen, this gave me invaluable experience.  You have the freedom to design from scratch the kind of person you want to be.  Then you get to see how a person like that gets along.  It lets you practice being in types of situation that you'd rarely (if ever) end up in in real life.  Sure, you're not likely to save a farmer from a band of Orcs in your day to day.  However, the lessons learned there apply to a surprising number of real world applications.

Problem Solving Skills - So there's two fighters, a mage, a rogue, and healer.  How are you going to get passed those two minotaurs so we can get to the lich.  Wait, why are minotaurs working for a lich, anyway?  Hey, was there anything in that riddle about that one kingdom?  Didn't their guardian get exiled for necromancy?  Wasn't he a minotaur?  Do you think this is that guy?  Wait... are those traps?  [BOOM] 
No matter what kind of character you play, critical thinking becomes a big part of any game.  Learning to look at a complex situation and pick it apart will aid you in any path of life, and larps are a great way to get some out-of-the-box thinking done.

Exercise - This stuff is tough.  If you want to, you can usually just hang out, bum around, and socialize.  I've done plenty of that.  But you can also go out there and bust your ass.  The fights out there can be intense.  A larger fight can go from 15min to an hour.  There may be times where you have to square off one on one, or it could be thirty of you versus thirty of them.  Constantly moving, watching your back, swinging your sword, blocking, dodging... it gets pretty real out there sometimes.

Feeling Like a Bad-Ass - I collect stories.  Ones that happen to me.  I live my life in a way that entertaining things tend to find me more often than not.  Mind you, they're not always good for me, but they're usually good for a story.  This hobby has lead to half of my greatest stories.  It's not just me.  Everyone who plays ends up with fantastic tales of when they or their friends did something truly epic.

That Frito Pie is Legendary.

What are some of your favorite hobbies?  Have they given you great tales?


Melissa said...

wow, i wish i live action role played in my spare time. Larp? i saw this in a movie and thought it was made up. I was wrong, and im so very sorry.

Adam Jones said...

It's okay. Admission is the first step. I found this site that seems to catalog various larps in your neck of the world. Some of them look pretty nifty.

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