This Saturday I did something I thought I would never do before... and I liked it.
For those of you unaware, LARP stands for Live Action Role Play. For those of you that are aware, you may understand why when I first heard of this past time, I was skeptical. In high school my standard image of someone who LARPs, a LARPer, is someone who does live-action Dungeons and Dragons in the woods with boffer weapons and ren faire costumes. This not only gets costly, but awkward if you do it in a state park where hikers and campers see you pretending to be something you're not. But this isn't what turned me off. What turned me off from it back then was the stereotypical LARPer idea of someone trying really hard to escape their loserdom in real life by pretending to be an 18th level barbarian in the woods. Later on I heard about the stereotype of goth kids being vampires in the woods too, which in some ways was even creepier. Anyway, secondhand knowledge of what LARPing supposedly was turned me off from it. I never pursued it.
I went to college and there wasn't much LARPing going on over there either, even though some alums of my sci-fi/fantasy group used to. Anyway, meeting cool people like you do, I met a LARPer and she was (to my surprise at the time) a normal well adjusted young woman. I will say I found out she LARPed after we became friends and when she told me about it, I could see myself doing it. However, once again she LARPed in the middle of the woods in costume. I didn't and still don't have the money to get the kind of costume I'd love to wear at an event like that, even though I'm sure as a first timer I would be forgiven. Also, I'm not as interested in role-playing a person from the past, just not my thing. But at least I learned LARPing is not fully of weird people... at least people not too much weirder than I already am.
When I was told there would be an event by a new found friend of mine last Saturday of Mage, I jumped to the opportunity. Not the biggest fan of White Wolf's system, it's ability to help make a fantastic setting for present day fantasy games can not be ignored. I tried to play in Mage before but general college busy-ness got in the way. I already had a character concept in mind so I was excited to try it out.
I have to say it was really fun, although it's one of the things that's a little more fun reflecting on it afterwards. My character can be a bit of a prude and although she doesn't want to seem she's on a moral high ground, she really is, so that made some character interaction very interesting. If you're wondering, my character is a Texan assistant funeral director up who works and lives in the north side right now. She is a perky former cheerleader who is Christian and well read. She has a thick accent (grew up about 30 miles away from Corpus Christi) and came from a family where here dad was a dermatologist and her mom stayed at home and stayed active in the PTA. She has a younger brother, is in her mid twenties and isn't breaking out as a wild child like her mother was afraid she would.
Anyway, the game was fun and interesting, and there are definitely a lot of interesting characters out there other than my own. I am definitely sticking to the Mage game, definitely going to join the Changeling game, and I am on the fence about joining Vampire but we'll see what happens. I like pretending to be other people (hence some of my RPG love) and I love hanging around cool nerdy people, so I approve.
If you're interested to see what the White Wolf LARPing community is all about, check out the Camarilla fan page here. If you're in the U.S. you can even try the 6 months free trial to see if it's for you. I totally encourage it!