So, what did you get up to over the bank holiday weekend? Pitch up a tent in a wet, muddy camp and stoke the fire-pit into action? Put on some light armour and tool up with a host of sword and sorcery weaponry? Teleport into a nefarious Liche’s tower? Hounded from pillar to post by undead monstrosities and ‘cleaners’ looking to feast upon your soul? Search for a phylactery and make your escape before being turned into a brain-eating zombie? Drunk a shitload of mead and had many a chuckle with like minded people, whilst maintaining a healthy fear of death?
None of the above? In which case the endless rain probably made for a miserable weekend of staying indoors and being bored stupid on the Internet. I pity you. If you haven’t already guessed, I spent the weekend in rather more enjoyable fashion. Investing some quality time with my inner geek! Since the August bank holiday of 2003 said weekend has been the one time a year where I kit out in ranger garb (medium armour, a camp underarm scout bag, latex sword and warhammer, hero belt, etc), forget about the real world and all its associated problems and look to survive the terrors the world of live action role-play has in store for me.
No, not re-enactment; live action role-play. The difference is your destiny is fixed in re-enactment. In live action role-play you create your own character, make your own choices and decisions, build your skills slowly and hope to live through the weekend despite your own failings and foibles. I’ve been playing the same character for nine years now and am amazed to still be alive (although there have been some close calls). In contrast my brother attended his first event this bank holiday and didn’t survive the second day! Fickle are the Larping Gods (or duck next time you melon). In this time I’ve had a mage-bolt through the head for plastering Life of Brian inspired graffiti all over the white wall of some bastard at The Gathering; owned the only enchanted weapon in the Balrog system at the time – a shorter than short talking short-sword that’s about as much use as a chocolate fireguard when all the monsters use pole arms; and seen my old uni housemate grind out a pole-dance in front of a horny ogre in nothing but a red g-string. The retinas are still burning from that experience.
I also run about like a total loon for some reason. That’s probably down to the leather armour getting tighter and chaffing more each year, telling me that I’m turning into a right fat bastard and really should do something about it. So, faced against a heavily armoured merchant of death, who also happens to be an expert weapon user and has a gazillion hit points (to my five), rather than stand my ground and fight I’ll usually sprint uphill to tire the enemy out. For the exercise of course, not because I’m some kind of big girly wuss. And whilst I did return home thinner the real bonus of this tactic was the point where, just as the nasty beasty was about to finally take a swing with his sword and catch me, he instead stacked it and crumpled to a pathetic heap on the ground, much to the jubilation of my fellow warriors. That I turned around and got a couple of swift low blows in whilst he was getting back to his feet says more for my undead opponent than for my combat skills. Running about is tiring stuff (my thighs were still aching two days later from all the sprinting); when this character is finally killed off I’m going to grow old gracefully and replace him with a mage.
Still another year, another partially successful campaign! Although I entered the portal to escape the tower with my right arm knackered, my armour needing extensive repairing and my lungs lodged firmly in my oesophagus, a hero’s welcome would greet the party on our return to Passegem (a location in Yarm, of course). Except I forgot to think of ‘Passegem’ as I entered the portal. Instead, I was thinking of ‘water’ (all that running about is thirsty work). So, on the otherside I’m expecting to land in either a muddy puddle, the middle of a lake, or worse yet, a large expanse of water known as an ocean. Why didn’t I just think ‘tits’?
Anyway, I got back to work on Thursday and all I could think about is how thoroughly mundane the real world is. Oh well, only another 350 odd days left until I can unleash the full geek again (sigh)...