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    Thursday, February 23, 2006

    LARPers and the cops; beyond D&D

    Stardate 5363.2

    I have played Dungeons and Dragons in many forms since grade 7 way back in 1980. Whether it is the classic TSR (er I mean Wizards of the Coast) game or some other system such as ICE's Rolemaster, either classic table top or on the PC, it has always been entertaining and thought inducing. It is the sort of game that folks scoff at, yet they are the folks that have never opened their imaginations wide enough to even consider how fun it could be.

    Some people actually play RPGs (role playing games) as live action! These are called LARPs and they are really very popular. This is something I have never been into, but there are instances when they go too far, taking the game too close to reality.

    This is a clip (click on the image) from Reno 9-11 that features some LARPers explaining to the Police why he shot his buddy with a crossbow. The end sequence is priceless. Sadly, it may actually be clips like this one that turn people away from the game itself! After all, no sane person would run around dressed up in a medieval costume... well except half the planet every Halloween, and nobody would shoot their buddy with a crossbow, just to prove a point, though drunkenly shooting your hunting buddy may be fine in some circles...

    I often wonder how many "normal" people, or mundanes as I like to call them, watch movies like Braveheart or Robin Hood, and thoroughly enjoy them, but when given the chance to quite literaly play that part in an adventure or more aptly put, a storyline, balk at it as if it was some sort of Satanic disease! Of course it isn't, and though a few folks like the guys in the video take the game a bit too far for my tastes, I would encourage anyone to use the game as a tool to help their kids (or even grown ups) expand their knowledge of history, mythology and many other aspects... it is great for spelling, organisation and math on the fly. It encouraged me personally to explore many realms of history and the desire for artistic expression was greatly increased, either through sketches, or painting miniatures for play and collection. In fact, unless you are already a mentally unstable person, I can think of NO reason why I wouldn't consider playing the game. Of course those same unstable people could be Postal workers, tennis stars or even worse, telephone sanitizers, so the game is irrelevant.

    After all, how many people play these games on their computers already? You know, Diablo, Neverwinter Nights, Final Fantasy, World of Warcraft... So like this advert says... "If you're going to sit in your basement pretending to be an elf, you should at least have some friends over to help..."

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