So, although this WAS the first full weekend of LARPy madness at Bartertown (in Gores Landing, Ontario), I was only able to hang around for a short period of time (AND AM SO BUMMED ABOUT IT) due to other friend obligations and duties. I’m still writing about it, though, because I felt such a longing/loss when leaving that I wanted to write what I could and figure out why I love this game so much:
SETTING: When arriving at Bartertown on Friday night, I had just driven through an unseasonably cold rain storm. The cold rain mixed with the warmth of the day had led to a fog so thick stop signs were a challenge to see. Already late from procrastination, lack of hot water, cats knocking over their litter box, and general last minute “oh no I forgot…..” craziness, I was now lost on the road leading to the LARP. Each side-road in this small farming hamlet looked the same. Barn, silo, broken burnt barn, falling over silo, broken faded signs, half-mounted mailboxes on posts teetering precariously into the road…. Finally, a skull with beautiful red butterfly wings peeks out of the fog leading me in the right direction. As I pull the car into the parking area, thunder cracks, just the once for the night, but the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. The rain was coming in shifts, and once game started the rain was more threatening than temperamental. By morning you could appreciate the landscape. Rolling landscape with a beautiful lake to the North, brush thick and tangled, tree line thick, yet easy to navigate through.
PLOT: … Was fantastic! Wiithout giving it all away, I will simply post the “rumours” released just prior to game:
“Your Dad never told you the story of William Little?! Pull up a stool and let me tell you about the Wretch who’s said to have wandered the world since the time of the Cataclysm.”
“Did you hear?! People from Steeltown, but not raiders or mercenaries or traders, like… Steeltown brass, people from up in those towers. They’re coming through here!’
“The woods have just been crawling with those Talon folk. They seem really riled up. I wound’t want to be whoever they’re looking for.”
“Yeah it was a bug but it wasn’t a Locust… it was something else… its nest had wires coming out if it.”
“Been lots of Bounty Hunters coming through here recently. Looking for all sorts, crooks and cultists. I’ve heard what they’re really hungry for are Thoughtbenders though.”
“I saw a guy in a mask standing at the edge of the woods just… watching. So I shot him. Ain’t nobody got time for that.”
“I’ve never heard anything like it… I just… can’t get that song out of my head.”
“They were talking about the Glories of the Golden God. He had a real fire in his eye. My son went with them… ”
“Gregor found one of those locusts INSIDE his house, came in through the window. Nearly took his leg off before he managed to put it down. Don’t they usually stick to their nests?”
“I said leave me alone! It’s nothing! I’m fine. It’s just… my head hurts… and it’s too hot… Why it is so hot?”
NPC (Non-Player Characters): The way NPCs are briefed gives them not only the story, but the visceral motivation for why they are executing the plot in the manner they are. They play it real, concise, and terrifying. “VANGLORIOUS! WHOOOO HAAAAAAHHH!”
ONLINE INTERACTIVITY: Between their facebook page ELEGY: A Doompunk LARP and the forums on their website ELEGY: Forums between games you are still in the game….. and the community aspect is just overwhelming! Sharing books, movies, and music to get you “in the game” as well as tips and tricks to make your presence at game more authentic (back stories, costuming, makeup, nerf gun modification). It’s fantastic.
UNINTENDED BENEFIT: Reduction in my depression and anxiety due to actively expressing my creativity! I know it sounds crazy, but creativity is a big factor in depression. Having fun and recapturing your youth in a way that doesn’t bankrupt you or hurt others. . . might just be the healthiest depression cure! lol.