I have had a splendid weekend!
I used to LARP a lot. For those of you who don’t know what that means, it’s a grown-up version of playing cowboys and Indians. At university, a friend of mine once defined it as “Free-form, cross-country pantomime”. Settings range throughout the gamut of imagination, from classical, Tolkeinesque fantasy, through to Fallout inspired, post apocalyptic rust-punk.
Several years ago, however, I was suffering under rather a nasty bout of depression and the hobby fell by the way-side. I’m not sure how long it is since I played, but numbers like five to eight years are about the range I’m looking at.
Then a little while ago I sat in a meeting at work, doodling the Slenderman. I posted the doodle to Facebook and a friend and splendid fellow recommended that I should show it to some friends of his who “run some sort of Slenderman LARP thing”. I did so and soon became a sort of unofficial illustrator for their event. As thanks, I was invited along to the game…
Now, besides not having played in many years, I have also never played – and I’m not sure I’d ever want to play – a horror LARP. The games are tiring enough without adding the emotional load of being terrified all weekend. I was massively ambivalent about going, but my excellent wife told me that I WAS going to go and, so, I did. However, I cried off charactering in favour of monstering the event (that is, rather than really play the game, I help the organisers provide an interactive world for the players to inhabit – in most traditional games this means portraying whatever monsters the characters might face, hence the name).
Well, I am delighted that I went. What a splendid and lovely bunch of people, all of whom were quite happy to have paid for me to try to kill them all weekend. Posing as a local illustrator without any murderous intent, I spent quite some time sketching the players and characters from life; a thing that I have never tried to do before, but which went…ok. Armed with this success and the generous and delightful enthusiasm of my fellow gamers for the tawdry scribbles that I produced, I have returned full of beans and confidence that I might, actually, have some small talent for making marks on a page in such a way as to represent things.
Once more, a HUGE thanks to the monsters, players and refs of SlenderLARP who provided this old warhorse with a new lease of gaming life and a rather lovely ego massage into the bargain.