A long time ago someone asked what my hobby was. Now as a person who is socially about as confident as a socially un-confident person, who believes that people are continually judging me against a social scale that no one has actually let me in on, I froze. I mean this is awkward. Role playing is bad. People assume you are either playing at being an Elf or you dress up as a pony and get whipped in the bedroom. LARP! Going into the woods, dressed in leather and hitting other people with rubber implements while pretending your a wizard! My smiling and nodding wont save me in this situation. They will rumble me, they will know that i am not worthy of being spoken too. ‘ah reenactment’ i mumble. ‘what sort?’ they ask. Damn.
I never got into normal stuff, you know getting pissed at the weekend vainly trying to get laid, pretending at some level it’s not some hollow attempt at filling a hole that keeps getting bigger and bigger as you get older. Being pretentious and arty i got, going on marches and being outraged I got. However that was still just a lot of front. Hell i used to hang out with bike gangs in my 20’s and i have never ridden a bike in my life! I’m purely seat candy don’t you know! I’m a fake, a massive fake.
I’m not joking about the social awkward thing either, ask my other half who gets to see the real jelly version of me. I’m a wreck at parties and i have to pretend to be someone else just to get through them. I’d much rather be sat at home writing or painting than talking to other people. Hell i’d rather be sat in a small box batting my own nose with a novelty sausage than talk to other people.
Now my shrink/well being co-ordinator/counselor person is genuinely fascinated by LARP. He is amazed at how big the cross section of society we have and how I somehow turn into something approaching a real person after a weekend away rather than the facsimile that i generally pretend to be. He muttered something about getting it on the NHS, not sure that will happen though.I need 20 milliliters of black face paint stat, we have to perform a Drowendectomy. Or maybe we could prescribe some shouty role play about how your god is better than theirs for stress relief, actually maybe not the best of ideas. You get the idea though, injecting a little bit of LARP into peoples lives. I swear the EDL might be less angry if they got in touch with their inner pixie.
Whats this got to do with LARP? Well as any good internet ho i spotted a post about someone trying LARP, but being snubbed as a noob. That and the social contract inherent in LARP. LARP snobbery it’s real. We have all been guilty of it. You know what i’m saying. That moment you looked down on someones kit, laughed at the noob with their kit on before time in or claimed that people need to man up in combat and stop being wusses. The idea that players are somehow scum who act like morons and all cheat or Refs are anally obsessed arse hats who just do the job to bolster their fragile egos*. That person is a lamy whore, that person is a plot hover who could suck start a hover, he’s only got that cause the Ref fancies him (i get that a lot to be honest), he always plays the same character.
We have a secret tally of whats cool and whats not in our little bit of the world, so that we can look down our noses at those who are not following them.
The idea that people should LARP your way is as spurious as the idea there are fake gamer girls out to infiltrate nerdom to steal your action figures or some such shite, because sci-fi and imagination is owned by us right? Fuck those norms and their love of Game of Thrones am i right or am i right?
Now i’m not saying get out there and hug a LARPer, i mean i hate people. I don’t want to meet new ones, they might talk to me and i’d have to fall over play possum till they leave, gently wimpering.
What i am saying is maybe stow the LARP snobbery for a moment.
I remember my first LARP, it was a F&H linear and i was a poor seventeen year old role-player out in sunlight. No one really explained whats was going on, I had no idea what the rules were and a lady much older than me was very inappropriate and i came away bewildered confused and a little violated. I didn’t come back to LARP for a long time.
There was almost an expectation that i should know strange and arcane words, to know what hits where and damn it, a very fast run through the rules will do you noob. The reason i didn’t come back was i didn’t feel welcome.
Sure people said hi, but they didn’t explain anything about what was going on what was expected of me and if i did ask i got the worlds fastest explanation and then ignored. They weren’t bad people, they just forgot what it’s like to be new and have no idea what was going on. I suppose at least one of them was friendly though….
Don’t be a dick…seriously that’s it. Is what you are doing being a bit of a dick? if you can answer yes stop it. That really is it, a rule to live your life by.
We should be nurturing our noobs and the people at the edge of the game, otherwise how will they turn into bitter, twisted, hateful vets like us?
For all of my loathing of the people and want to hide in a bush from them once i’m in a LARP field all of a sudden i can, sometimes, just sometimes i can tolerate being around them because once you have dressed up as a fairy and shouted spells at people you really have no shame left to worry about. I think the LARP community is a very healthy place to be most of the time, for all our bluster and facebook fappage, just sometimes we forget how long it takes to get your head it all and how awsome it can be to have someone just go ‘do you need a hand mate?’
We have an amazing community of very cool people. LARP people I know. A barrister, a games designer, a student, a librarian, a couple of coppers, an accountant, mad special effects guy, a senior social worker and some squaddies etc, etc. It’s a massive slice of society. We have a community of people who out there in the real world would never meet all bound by the need to spend the weekend being a pixie. More importantly there is a shared cultural identity. We are here to do something together regardless of background. Not all players are cheats and I met Ref that wasn’t an arse hat once, generally we are here to have fun not bitch at each other.
So on that note of helping people, EvE online has had an update, which means but one thing only….time to go grief, post trash talk in local and harvest some Null tears. You can take the player out of EvE, but you can’t take the five year old out of the player.
*Any refs reading this who are dealing with my death count, i obviously don’t believe this you are hard working selfless people. Can I haz Lammiz pleezz?