May 31st, 2005

dance centipedes vagina

All the world might be a stage, but the actors are out of their minds

I've been interesed in going to some local conventions here for some time now. There's always origins and gencon but they only come a few times a year and then it's a lot of planning with the travel and event reg and the sheer cost of it all. One option was to simply search out smaller alternative venues where I could satisfy my need for gaming while not having to travel or spend much cash. It seemed like a great idea when I came up with it but there's been a couple speedbumps I wasn't counting on.

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?
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dance centipedes vagina

I'll bet Cleave comes in useful here

Maybe people are just running out of innovative game ideas and we're scrapping the bottom of the proverbial barrel. I've seen a lot of game offerings in the past few years which are just clones of traditional games but with some twist or "eXtreme" edge to it. Last gencon I recall seeing a game that was based on chess except you used collectable cards to change the rules. For all I know, one of the cards allows you to arm your knight with a plasma cannon or something along those lines. Still, even considering all that, I doubt there's something unbelievable as this I just found browsing through the local convention's event list:

S302: Knife 2.0; "The Vegetable Chop". Got to the convention early? Waiting for Opening Ceremonies? Come on up to the Staff Suite and help the staff chop vegetables for the convention! We got carrots! We got celery! We got bunnies! No wait, we don't got bunnies. Never mind. Yes, we're serious. Prizes will be awarded for volume and finesse! Wednesday, 5:00PM - 8:00PM; One Session; All Materials Provided. Beginners Welcome; Fun, Under 18 Requires Parental Clearance.

How's that for whacky? I can see that showing up at some sort of chef convention or something, but among larpers and gamers? Weirdness.
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