First, it was such a new and different experience that it has taken me this long to finally digest it. It was just so far removed from anything I’ve done before that I was a little bit shocked.
Second, I’m having a hard time thinking of the best way to chronicle my experience. I’ll try to describe it chronologically from the point of view of someone who had never done a LARP before without getting too much into the minutia which might not make for good reading.
I made a pretty good costume, I think. In the picture to the left you can see Chris, Matt and myself ready to go. I felt a little self-conscious walking into the building in my outfit, but I’m usually a little self-conscious anyway so that is to be expected. When I was with Chris and Matt I felt much better.
We went to the room to receive our parts for the LARP. I must say I really like the energy of the group that put this together. Redfeather, Artcat, and especially LostThought were all so very friendly and energetic. LostThought in particular seemed to recognize I needed a little extra help…at least until Chris came to my rescue and helped steer me in the right way.
Lots of folks were there. I would estimate about 40 people participated. Some were really dressed well and really into character. I felt that my level of dress was about middle of the road. However, my rp skills were not great, at least not in the beginning. More on that later.
The way this LARP worked is everyone got a sheet of paper with your part. I was the Alliance Geologist. On the right is a picture of my sheet so you can get an idea. It took me longer than it should have, but I finally figured out that everyone has something, and everyone needs something. So the game is figuring out who can help you while moving forward in the larger plot.
The LARP began with my group of 3 Alliance looking for a catalyzer, which is a part of our space ship which was broken. In Firefly, the Alliance is not loved on the planet the LARP was set on. One of the members of my group was really good, he played the Doctor and won an award. Until I found Chris I followed him around quite a bit and watched and learned. Although I must say it was very hard to understand him when he had his gas mask on.
Some of the people were really in character. It was a bit surreal at times; I have no acting experience but clearly several people in this LARP did. I had a hard time with this. I only know how to play myself. It is difficult for me to break out of this pattern, and I failed to do so in this game until the very end when I had to abandon even Chris, at least until I can get back there with another ship to pick him up.
The first thing I did was go to the town’s bar. The room was full of people. What was I supposed to do with them? I had no idea. The Doctor was off in the coal mine; Chris was nowhere to be found. I wandered around, just absorbing because I was clueless. Nobody interacted with me, either; they knew what to do. They were already going: talking and negotiating and it was terribly confusing.
I wandered into the mayor’s office. A guy in a black hat there recognized my alliance uniform and punched me. As I shook my dice, I wondered if I was already going to die. (When you die, you go get another character sheet) I didn’t die. Instead the sheriff came to my rescue. This was good; I was unarmed and not a fighter.
Then I walked to the coal mine. The mute guy was following me. He wasn’t really mute just playing his character; but he was definitely following me. What the hell. I turned to the left. The mute guy turned to the left. Right. He turned right. Yep, he was following me.
I found out later that the serial killer was also following me, at least for a time. I remember talking with him during the LARP. I think he must have marked me when I was walking alone; hoping I would steer off into an isolated area. Fortunately, I didn’t give him a good enough opportunity.
It was fascinating and my mind was overwhelmed. I raced to the Doctor, the mute in tow, since Chris was still nowhere to be found. Things got better. The mute turned out to be benevolent.
I found Chris and we established that we were brothers. This was good. I spent time with him, and together with him and the Doctor I had two allies. Although…the Doctor tried to betray me at the very end.
I remember at one point there was a guy on the floor choking. He was really doing some Oscar level work; I wasn’t sure if he was really choking or not. I just stood there, staring, paralyzed. The people around him were screaming for help. Only when they starting dragging him on the ground and laughing did I understand for sure that it was just an act. But that scene is typical; there were so many things going on that I had no idea what to do.
The 4 hours went very fast. In short, I figured out how to play. I made alliances, I broke alliances. I shot people. I had fun.
At the very end everyone came together to vote on who would escape the planet with the 6 seats available on the two ships. This was the culmination of the larger plot affecting us all. This was fun; I had an ace up my sleeve. 3 aces, actually.
Matt had a steller moment at this time; he shot and killed the mayor in front of everyone; and got away with it! It was really quite a scene and I was pleased with Matt.
In the larger plot, we were short coal due to a mine collapse. As the only one with a coal detector, I demanded a seat on the ship in return for my services. I further solidified my position with the threat of blowing up a ship with the bomb I had placed on it. That was enough; I got off the planet. I didn’t even have to resort to my final trick; I had actually removed the catalyzer from the ship and hidden it.
It went off well, and I also got a little award. Not as good as Matt’s; he wowed everyone.
I think I got pretty good at the LARP near the end. I even got a mention on their boards from the mayor that Matt killed, which I will unmodestly post here:
Oh and that Alliance Geologist seemed like a pretty decent player, Y’all drag him back for the next game. We approve of his style of messing with us.
-Army Otter, Mayor of Shadow-
A vote for Otter is better than any other!-
I think I’ll be up for doing this again. I’m not sure when; that’s going to probably depend on Chris, because I’m not doing it alone.