Tag Archives: role-playing

Rock, Paper, Scissors, Fangs…

Is he going to go there? Will he at last cross the final frontier and lose your respect forever?

In a word: Yes.

In more words: I LARP. Or more accurately I have LARPed. I am one who LARPs. You might call me a LARPist or, if we must be vulgar, a LARPer. How many ways can I use the word LARP? Far more than you have any interest in.

This post really doesn’t have much to do with anything aside from musing on the subject of LARP (Live Action Roleplay) and my experiences with said activity. I am writing this from my phone, sitting out next to one of the campus buildings about which I used to ply my pretentions with 30-odd other individuals. This was in late high school through early undergrad mostly, and in the intervening years the “scene” as it were has pretty much sputtered out of existence. Still, I sit here on a muggy summer night and everything comes flooding back (including the omnipresent smell of clove cigarettes, cause yeah, some stereotypes are true).

On that subject of stereotypes though, why do we have them? Why is it that I feel the kneejerk reaction to hide my enjoyment of LARP even from other nerds? Why does it have this reputation as the gutters of the roleplaying hobby? In seven or so years I’ve never heard a good answer. I don’t even really get how it’s that “weird.” Vampires (which is really the main type of LARP I’m talking about here) are such a huge part of our popular culture. I’d argue that vampires are more prevalent and recognizable in “American” mythology than they are in Eastern European, where the original legends began. It shouldn’t be any stranger to pretend to be a vampire than it is to pretend to be a soldier or a secret agent, which at this point I’d say a broad section of Americans have done in mediums like video games. As for the walking around and fopping about part, I can understand there’s maybe a leap there from a mainstream audience perspective, but what I don’t get is the way other roleplayers and tabletop gamers will look down their nose at you. You do all the same things you do at a game table, except you know, not sitting down. That’s really what it comes down to. Do something so brazen as to stand up while you’re talking and suddenly you’re on a fast train to Crazytown (which honestly also gets kind of a bum rap; they have some lovely bed and breakfasts).

In any case, I digress. Digression is basically the whole point of what I’m writing here, really. I’m not here to convince anybody that LARPing is “cool.” What I will say openly and without shame however is that LARPing is “fun.” Wanna fight about it? I bid Potent and win on ties…

Could we have all found something better to do with our Saturday nights? Probably. With thirty people though this thing was undeniably a party. Socializing was always the name of the game. Sure, you could skulk around with your cape in the corner, brooding about your tortured soul, but you kind of missed the point. Sure half the people there were always plotting the demise of the other half, but it made you want to bring some popcorn. In the game I played in characters tended to drop like flies, meaning you never knew who the new situation was going to force you into association with. The notion that LARPers had no social skills just failed to hold water under those circumstances. The players came from a wide spectrum too. You had your goths and punks and your pimply dorks, but you had country boys and clean cut jocks too. Everybody had fun with it, and if you’re having fun isn’t that what matters at the end of the night?

I know I’m coloring things with nostalgia a bit. The personalities that are attracted to LARP sometimes foment out-of-game dramatics that aren’t fun for anybody, and there will always be those lowest common denominators to act as spoilers in even the best situations. I stopped LARPing primarily because somewhere it lost that spark that kept me coming back week to week. What was it? Hard to say, but I keep coming back to the old stomping grounds looking for it. Maybe I just need some active imaginations and a little rock, paper, scissors…


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Some Proper Writing

Since one of the purposes behind this whole exercise was to put out some of my writing, and since I’m already slacking off on the schedule I promised to keep, here’s an extra update. It’s a very short, largely out-of-context fiction piece I put together some time ago on an old forum. It probably won’t make a lot of sense, but I’m proud of it.

Have to keep moving, have to keep running. If only the ground would stop trying to crawl away from me. Nothing makes sense at this point, its all become some weird parody. I’m not laughing though. I’m gasping, trying to breathe, sweating bullets, washed out like a junkie. Coming off the pills, all those goddamned pills I quaffed like fucking candy. The detox might kill me before they do, or before this thing inside me does. Inoperable. Second opinions, third opinions, fourth opinions. “Inoperable.” Even if I wasn’t too weak for surgery they say it’s grown too fast, they’d never get it all at this point. It’s just going to keep on growing like some necrotic new organ, hemorrhaging its shit into my system. Its building up there, whatever weird shit it was that thing produced. It’s slowly changing my body chemistry. I smell different than I used to. That’s not good. Sooner or later it’s going to reach toxic levels and my body will reject it and then I’ll die. Simple as that.

They aren’t finished with me yet, though. The certitude of that is like a weight in the pit of my soul. Its only a matter of time. They’re going to want it back, and they’re going to want it before I have the chance to keel over somewhere where they can’t find me. If I let those bastards cut on me again though, there’s no reason why they won’t just dig their shit out and leave me bleeding on the table. So I run, for as long as I can.

Have to keep moving. Can’t sleep, they never do. Bad dreams anyway. Passing the ninety hour mark soon. Everything is taking on this surreal comic-book quality and I can’t tell what I’m really seeing anymore. Graffiti on the walls start narrating my thoughts. Down every dark alley I see an operating theater, an abattoir, where men with lawyers’ suits and surgeons’ tools are taking me to pieces, grinding my bones for a poultice.

At the end of the alley I see him. Tall and thin, yet somehow filling the space he occupies from one wall to the other. It’s his posture that gives him away, a certain killer comfort in the way he carries himself. He’s the one. I can’t even be sure I haven’t just conjured him out of my nightmares, but before I know it he’s going for it and one way or the other I have to react. Normally I’ve got reflexes that could catch a bullet, but I’m so shaky and strung out that I can barely stay ahead of him. His knife makes it home and I feel serrated teeth ripping into my flesh. He’s playing for keeps. The merchandise is what matters here. His movements are a blur, and I don’t know if that’s because of him or me. I can’t keep on top of him for long, I’m too tired. I have to even the playing field.

On more time I jab the nasty angry knot of scars to use the implant. Pain radiates out from it in typhoon waves but I can feel it working. He tries to get a hold on me and I throw him off like a rag doll. I make a couple shots to his ribs and I’m sure I feel one of them buckle. I throw a haymaker that would take his head off but he turns and I miss. Too slow, too clumsy, too tired. His knife takes another chunk out of me. I’m starting to lose blood. A desperate jab puts him back on his heels, but I can’t seize the initiative. I can’t get enough air. Feels like I’m breathing water, gargling with every breath. I can taste something welling up in the back of my throat, choking me. It’s foul, like bile, and I can feel it filling my throat and lungs, drowning me in the open air.

He lunges for me again. I kick him in the groin but it only slows him down. I feel the blade sink deep into my shoulder, grinding my teeth when it scrapes against the bone. His momentum carries me down, landing hard on the concrete and coughing up something vile. He recoils from it instinctively, giving me an opening to grab my hands around his throat. I’m giving everything I’ve got into crushing this fucker’s larynx, but he isn’t quitting yet. He pulls the knife out of my shoulder, taking gore with it, and jams it straight down into my abdomen. It burns like nobody’s business, even more when he twists it. I can feel the strength leaving my arms, loosening around his neck, and I can taste blood mingling with the bile in my mouth. I wonder idly if I’d rather be killed by Anthony Head or Jude Law.

The shit you think about when your heart stops beating…


Confirmation of termination reported at 0208 EST by [REDACTED]. Agent unable to conduct postmortem debriefing and reclamation on site owing to injuries sustained while facilitating termination. After securing site, Agent forced to seek immediate medical attention for injuries, Rapid Response Retrieval called in to acquire subject. However, upon arrival recorded at 0235 Retrieval could not locate the subject on site. Investigation unable to determine at this time how subject was moved nor how site perimeter was breached. Misidentification of subject as deceased possible but unlikely, given Agent’s impeccable credentials. Current recommendation to close out subject’s company file at this time and to open new file in event that subject somehow resurfaces.

Final note: Subject did not pick up last paycheck; please forward matter to human resources and payroll.


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