When I searched, I almost immediately found paydirt. There are actually quite a few local gaming conventions every year around here and there's some group that seems to run them regularly at a place only 15 minutes away or so. It seemed like kismet with the many convention oppertunities and the lack of travel and hotel costs. The hangup? They're almost exclusively a LARP group running LARP events. I've been told they have rooms for pickup board games and such but the only official events the conventions run are LARPs. They seem to run the gambit of LARP genres, but I haven't seen diddily about tabletop or anything else. The convention I'm thinking about going to isn't until mid july, so many at some point they solicit other GMs to submit non-sponsered LARP events, but who really knows.
Having never really LARPed other than a misguided runin with vampire the masquerade at the uni, I'm not sure if I should just dive in or what. That wasn't just a figure of speech either. These crazy people are actually running PRAWN: The larp that takes place in an actual swimming pool where you spend your time RPing fish. I shit you not. I'm not at all sanguine about getting into the pool with a buncha people and then spending 4 hours swimming around RPing a guppy.
While that might be the weirdest format I've seen so far on their list of events, there are others that are just as weirdly problematic. There's this gem, that sounds almost like a torture event or a psych experiment:
"Trapped!" (Mike Young). The elevator doors open and 4 people step "into" the game. One of them is carrying a cheese PIZZA. This game is not recommended for players who suffer from claustrophobia. However, for all others it should be fun and intense. It requires significant character interaction and dialogue. The four PCs are pre-determined and interconnected with a purpose for being on "this" elevator at "this" time. Real Pizza provided for authenticity!
I mean, that's not normal, right? Stuffing 4 people into a closet and telling them it's a game and giving one a pizza can't be...normal. I hope to god these peopel don't actually send you up in an elevator and then stop the thing midfloor for 2 hours or however long it is this event runs. Interspace this nutty weirdness with more mainstream weirdness. They've got vampire larps, buffy larps, paranoia larps, deadlands larps, all sorts of boffer weapon larps, etc.
I'm thinking of approaching this like Jane Goodall investigating those chimps in the wild. I feel like I should be carrying a video recorder with me or at least a notebook where I can document LARPer behavior for future analysis and publication. What I already know with absolute certainly is that I'm going to have absolutely no chance to convince anyone I know to go with me on this one if I even let a hint escape about the content of the convention. I'm not exactly sure it's something you can surprise a friend with. What do you tell them when you get stuffed into a closet with a pizza and the door closes?