The LARP people

We had seen these live-action role-players many times, playing their games in the field near our house, but we’d never talked to them.

Two summers ago my older son and his friends tried making a sneak attack on the LARP “nerds.” The LARPers smacked them down easily.

Once the younger LARPers attacked me when my running route passed through their realm. But it was a friendly attack. I didn’t feel in the least bit threatened by these screaming medievally-costumed teenagers wielding foam swords and clubs. It was more a territorial display than anything. Or just exuberance.

The next time I ran that way, they didn’t attack. I was strangely disappointed.

Today my younger son and I finally went to the field near my house to watch the LARP people and talk to them.

We talked mostly to Paul, the founder of the group, who came here to Edmonton a few years back. He says that his group, the Western Winds LARP, is the oldest in the city. They are actually not “role-players” in the strict sense of the term, since they concentrate mainly on practicing fighting skills and staging battle games. They don’t develop characters or follow storylines, from what I understood, though other groups in the city do.

We watched them play a game in which one team had to carry their treasure (a bucket with foam weapons in it) from one side of the field to the other while the other team launched an attack on them and tried to take the treasure. The team with the bucket had the advantage because they had a guy in armour. I mean real armour. Steel breastplate, vambraces, greaves and other stuff I didn’t have a name for. Apparently, in this game, if you’re hit once in an unprotected place, you’re “out” (for a brief time before you can respawn). You have to be hit seven times on an armoured spot before you’re out.

It turned out the guy in the armour is a carpenter in his weekday life. On the weekends he’s well-nigh invincible.

It looked like enormous fun. My son wanted to get right in there and join the melee, and truth be told I did, too. We’d like to be LARP people. But my son isn’t old enough yet, and I’m probably too, ahem, mature. And anyhow we didn’t have weapons.

I really liked that armour.

No comments: