Anticipating LARPing

October 5, 2008 at 11:17 pm (Recreation) (, , , , , , , )

Can something be both too little and too much at the same time?

I went to a LARP last night. To those of you not in the know, that is, a Live Action Role Play event. According to Wikipedia a live action role-playing game (LARP) is a form of role-playing where the participants physically act out their characters’ actions. It’s like being in a play or tv production where there is no audience and no script.

I’ve known about the event for a couple of months. It was a one shot production based on a canceled space cowboy series. I knew and liked the TV show and was intrigued by the idea of LARPing. Even though, I am in no way an actress and prefer to day dream in private. Plus, very quiet. Still, no matter what I do, so very, very quiet.

Had a friend talking me up but she’s not the reason I did this. I know that I need to be more social. I’m just not sure how to be more social and still feel like me.

I spent the last few days wondering and anticipating and trying not to be too nervous. And saving up money.

I spent Saturday afternoon imagining back story, based on the three sentence pre-summary I was given and buying props. I knew I was to be a Private Detective (would all those mysteries I read finally pay off in real life) and that there would be a mystery to solve.

I bought a magnifying glass and some colourful plastic fish – yellow, orange, green, blue, purple – they looked like this. They could be weapons or some other type of tool. They were initially, in my mind, Babelfish. This is a fictional species, created by Douglas Adams, and is a fish that translates speech from one language to another. But they could also be, I thought, genetically altered land Piranhas (Galps) that could strip a person of their flesh in thirty seconds. This, after all, was the future: anything was possible.

But that last thought came later after I was finished with shopping. The last item on my shopping list was some sort of weapon. Do you know how hard it is to find any sort of toy gun in this day and age. Ah, too have saved my toy guns from the Sixties. Life was less complicated then.

So, perusing the local toy store I happened upon these: . They made an interesting buzzing sound, look futuristic and I thought I could explain how this weapon might work. It has to do with force fields, and sound, and perhaps hypnotism. More information, on this product, can be found at

Next came a very simple costume: striped black pants, a blue silk shirt, an understated purse, and black chopsticks in my hair (which in a pinch could also double as weapons). Thus, I was ready.

Or so I Thought.

I knew the Universe. I was familiar with the venue. The LARP universe was well suited to the venue chosen. The LARP was scheduled to happen from 5:00 to 11:00 pm. I went. I walked down (it took me 45 minutes; I had planned for it to take over an hour). I was early but that was okay. I met a few of the other LARPers, paid my fee, got my character profile and waited for everything to start.

The LARP started downstairs on the street which gave me too much room to hide and after two hours, we moved upstairs into two rooms which made me feel crowded and out of place.

I tried. I interacted with one of the three  other characters I was too have had a previous relationship with. But mostly I just watched and felt like I knew nothing of what was going on. The first space was too large for me and the second too small. I felt like Alice down the Rabbit Hole except Alice had a guide to show her what to do. And she was brave and I am not.

At 7:30 I politely stepped out, that is, I made up a polite excuse and went home. Still confused and not really sure how the game is to be played. It would likely had killed me to stay all six hours. It’s the not knowing what’s going on, it’s the feeling out of place, it’s me.

So, after $40.00 spent.

$12.00 admission

$10.00 taxi home

$18.00 on toys, props, & water

A pittance, that’s all it was, just a pittance.

After all that, what did I learn?

That I like to write plot. The time spent imagining and anticipating was something I enjoyed. Also, I learnt I do know myself. I’m not brave. I’m good at observing, not so much good at interacting. I can’t comfortably stay locked in an unfamiliar situation for more than a few hours.

But, I might try this again. I enjoy the idea of LARPing. Everyone was open and nice and engaged in the story. I was not. Next time, a shorter LARP with less people. Maybe then, I’ll have to play!



  1. avisannschild said,

    I think you’re brave for trying this out! (I wouldn’t have dared.) By the way, thanks for the holiday letter and please feel free to email me (and check out my blog)!

    My email is shereadsandreads(at)gmail(dot)com.

    I’m enjoying reading your blog (and think you’re very brave in your writing).

    It’s been 10 years since we’ve seen each other. How crazy is that?


  2. Penny Arcade: Question Answered « Solitary Spinster said,

    […] see a little old gray-headed lady playing games at PAX and it’ll be me. I already tried LARPing, enjoy reading the musings at Epbot and love the mish mash of technology and Victoriana that is […]

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