First: An introduction to me. My name is Michelle and I am the proud mother of a beautiful teenage daughter (yeah, I’m biased … so what?). I’m married to the most extraordinary man in the world — extraordinary in that he’s willing to daily put up with me and hasn’t snapped like the cheap chopsticks you get with take-out. That might have something to do with him also being a LARPer (Live Action Role-Player).
I have never been a table-top player; I’ve tried several times with different games, but I can’t seem to get into playing. I do enjoy many a good board / table game, and am an avid FPS (ie: first person shooter) gamer when my Doom Sickness doesn’t kick in.
And then I discovered LARPing in 1999 (yes, 13 years ago). It appealed to the actress in me. I liked the idea of putting together not only a costume and gear, but an entirely different persona, even a different race.
My daughter was just 2 when I went to my first LARP. It was a day event; a convention / debate regarding various weaponry, magics, and alchemy.
As I write about the trials of my various characters, I will likely not be in any sort of chronological order as that is simply not the way my memory works. But hopefully, I’ll be able to keep you entertained with a few stories of how I’ve made my way through game, in this case, Epoch Toronto.
Learning the larp rules
OOG (out of Game), the club itself was social and my group of friends and acquaintances was ever-expanding. There was a weekly pub night which I was terrified of attending at first. What if I was the only one who showed up? My fears were greatly unfounded as the average night saw about 20 or so people coming and going over the course of the evening. I took advantage of those nights to learn more about the rule set, to ask questions about the “history” of the game (as in, things that someone who had lived in this world from the start might know), and generally tried to suck in as much knowledge as possible.
It wasn’t hard. I asked or simply listened and they talked. They discussed past exploits, previous encounters and how they reacted. They spoke of “groups”, such as the “Red Coats”, an army that had presented significant challenges to them in the past, and how they had overcome that threat. I learned more about the different races and their particular traits.
Learning the races of a larp
At that time the races where limited to: Human, Elf, Kaern, Orc, Dwarf, Faun and Halfling. Humans were and are simple. No special costuming required. Elves must wear elf ears. They also needed to adhere to the Elven Code of Conduct which essentially states that they cannot lie to, harm, or permit to be harmed another Elf. They are also considered the eldest of the Fae races (anything not Human), and must try to protect them to the best of their ability, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the first part of the Elven Code. Confused? Don’t worry; so are most of the Elves.
Kaern are required to wear cat-like make-up and a tail. They are a matriarchal society where males are not more than property of the females. A smart female will treat her males well, or else she may find herself abandoned. Kaernish politics are convoluted and one must tread very carefully when playing a Kaern; you are not just a big kitty. It is a proud and vicious race.
**NOTE: I always suggest to new players to avoid playing either an Elf or Kaern for at least a season so that they can get a better grip on the intricacies of playing such a race.
Orcs are required to wear green make-up and tusks. They may not be the brightest beasts in the pack above, but they are by no means stupid. They can be cunning, they can be battle-devious. And mostly, they are damned tanks.
Dwarfs are required to wear beards; lady dwarfs are required to wear dainty beards (in other words, we can get away with wearing eyeliner make-up to create a small goatee, while the gents need to get themselves a big burly, manly beard). Dwarfs have long memories; don’t get on their bad side. There are far more male Dwarves than females, and so the females tend to be favoured and even a little spoiled. Any female Dwarf coming into game can expect any unattached male Dwarf to quickly befriend and then court her, likely with gifts of precious metals, stones and a gallant display of clog dancing and Dwarven poetry *cringe*.
Fauns are required to wear horns and a small tail of deer-like nature; most also wear furry legs. They are very focused creatures; sensual in the true sense of the word in that they revel in all five senses. They are pranksters of the highest order and want nothing more than to be the center of attention at all times.
Halflings are required to wear furry hands. Think Frodo Baggins and his lot, and you’ve got yourself Halflings. They love their food, and doing for others.
I chose to play a Halfling.
Editor’s Note: Michelle will be joining the blogging team here at Larping.org and will be sharing her vast larp experience. 13 years and counting! We’re very excited to have her on the team.