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Life Imitates LARP: Isn’t that a kind of fish?

Posted on November 4, 2011 by MichelleWebb

Flames Rising is happy to announce the launch of a new column! Michelle Webb is here to talk about Live Action Role Playing and she wants to hear from you! Life Imitates LARP will explore the hobby, offer up some advice to Storytellers and Players and generally discuss this hobby. Michelle brings years of experience in running large-scale and local games. So, take it away Michelle…

“LARP – Isn’t that a kind of fish?” – Edge (WWE)[1]

    When people hear the acronym LARP (Live Action Role Play) a number of images come to mind. Possibly it involves dressing up in medieval clothes and beating up each other with foam swords. It could also involve something that looks like this. When I got into LARP, it all started when a fellow Rocky Horror cast member said, “Hey, there is this Vampire game flyer. Why don’t we go check it out?” What I experienced that first night was the best combination of Table Top and acting in which I had the pleasure of indulging.

    I’ve been a tabletop gamer since I was 8. Dungeons and Dragons was a birthday present that I’d begged my parents for that year because my cousin David showed me how cool it was. If anyone asks whom to blame for my affliction, I always make sure to mention him. Incidentally, he’s an ESL teacher in Thailand and using tabletop games to help the children learn English, but I digress (a tale for another day). I found as time went on and I’d sat at more tables, that people played their characters around the screen between combats.

    I found this element of the gaming experience immensely enjoyable. When I got older, Rocky Horror was my outlet for my inner actor. LARP became a marriage of my inner geeks in a way that I’ve never been able to shake. Sixteen years later, I’m still playing Live Action Vampire and storytelling my local game for others who are old timers or even those who never heard of LARP until just now.

    Matt has kindly indulged me by allowing me to waffle on about my experiences with LARP over the years and discuss topics that you may want to learn more about. Between playing and being a storyteller for all these years, I’d be happy to cover topics that may interest you. It is my hope that these fireside chats become a monthly habit and between my own musings and discussing topics of interest to you, the reader, can become a habit for you as well. So before I pick a topic, please share what things you’d like me to discuss!

    Michelle Webb
    Vampire LARP’er and gamer at large

      [1] True story – when we were volunteering at the Brian Pillman Memorial Wrestling show, we met the wrestler, Edge. We’d been told that he played Vampire LARP so we asked him about it. That was his response. Clearly, we’d been led astray, but it does make for a funny little story.

      About Michelle Webb
      Michelle Webb has been a gamer since the age of 8 when she asked for her D&D box set and has never looked back.  Coined the “Mick Foley of all things Nerdy” she has been a dog bather, radio show host, voice actor, anthropologist, Rocky Horror Picture Show cast member, smoking cessation coach, storyteller and currently works in the game industry.  Live Action has been a passion for her since she found Vampire in 1995 and her husband Eddy through LARP in 1999.  Michelle lives in Atlanta with her husband Eddy, her partner, David, her two pugs (Puck and Vinny) and a cantankerous feline named Greebo.

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      5 Responses to “Life Imitates LARP: Isn’t that a kind of fish?”

      1. Jordan says:

        Great article. Love to hear and see peoples stories of how they got into larping and why they love it so much. Also love that your primary larping experience is with Vampire LARPs. I, for one, would love to hear more about how to tell a compelling Vampire Larp story. How do you keep PCs engaged over the long term.

      2. MichelleWebb says:

        Thanks! I’ll put those ideas on my list to talk about 🙂

      3. Nathan K says:

        Whenever I get in discussions about RPGs or LARPing, people unfamiliar with the hobby seem to assume it’s just something wiccan nerds invented in the 70s. However, the practice of interactive storytelling is perhaps the oldest social activity, dating back to the hunter-gatherer tribes of pre (written) history.

        I wonder if you would be up to doing a little research and really digging into the origin and value of interactive storytelling, specifically how it served a vital role in perpetuating the education and chronology of the pre-literate world.

      4. Jeff says:

        I’m not sure of the origin of the hobby, but I do remember reading about a LARP (not calling itself that, of course) that took place in England around the late 70’s early 80’s. I recall because at the time I thought to myself: “Orcs! Goblins! I wish I lived in England!”

        Eventually I was able to participate without having to move across the Atlantic. 😉

      5. austin says:

        larping at my house tomorrow

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