Monday, September 10, 2012
Game day! I mention it a lot in my status updates and in blog entries, so I thought I'd clarify. I'm a role-player. I play role-playing games, primarily Live Action ones (LARP). I also play table-top games, but I'm not that into computer games (either PC or console). I don't have any issue with them, but they're not my cup of tea.
Live Action games fall in to two types (basically), one a more social-political game, where combat is highly stylized and symbolic, and most of the 'action' revolves around talking out your problems. The other is 'boffer' style, where you run around with padded weapons and actually get into combat with other players, though with much emphasis on safety. I prefer the social-political style. Though I am much more active than I used to be, I've never been particularly coordinated and the idea of having to *actually hit someone* with a foam weapon or bean bag in order to score a 'hit' just sends me into a tizzy. I'd much rather try to talk my way out of a problem, and if that fails, go to a symbolic/descriptive resolution of the conflict!
In either case, though, the appeal (for me) is the ability to dress up and act out what your character would actually do or say in a particular situation. I love getting into costume (which is why Halloween is my favourite holiday), whether its elaborate with makeup, prostheitcs, and specialized costume pieces and props, or whether its a simple choice of top, bottom, and jewellry that evokes a character for me. Clothes make the (hu)man, as they say, and dressing a certain way, putting on makeup, doing my hair a particular way, all helps channel emotion and how I feel about myself. LARP has also allowed me to come out of my shell - to 'practice' certain social niceties like small talk or negotiation, and find out what works and what doesn't in an emotionally safe situation (my character may fail, but I didn't). I used to be painfully shy, to the point of not wanting to make a phone call or look a shop clerk in the eye (what if they refused my money?), and now I can small talk with the best of them, call a cab, stare down a mob of unruly teenagers, and talk down an angry vendor. Social skills, like anything, take practice, moreso if you are not naturally gifted. LARP gave me a fun way to practice (like D&D gave me a fun way to practice math skills, hey don't knock it, it worked).
I get to exercise my imagination, and tell stories with my friends, elaborate ones with magical, fantastical elements, but also touching on real life issues. If I don't understand something, I can incorporate it into my role-play and work it out (like listening to country music. Still not my favourite kind of music, but I think I understand the appeal now). Its led me down the rabbit hole of research for all kinds of things, historical and modern day.
Some times it takes over, like any major hobby would. Its important to do other things. Like go hiking, or can pickles, or pick up knitting and needlepoint again. :) But it is my major hobby, and I'm not ashamed of it. Its helped me grow as a person, I've met most of my friends through the hobby (friends who helped me through my divorce and scary job situations), and its relatively cheap. Well, except for cons. :)
So, three good things from Sunday -
1/ Game day. It was a good game, as well, something new and different and a lot of character exploration. Secrets were revealed that should not have been - which is always fun!
2/ A good walk along the Speed River. Went past the normal, paved trail to follow a beaten earth path along the river. Ended up getting burrs stuck in my jeans and tshirt, ha! But I felt like an explorer.
3/ I need new shirts for work. All my button downs, all of them, are too big.