I roll twenties.

That's d4+1 damage per missile.

That's d4+1 damage per missile.

So yesterday I made a dig at live action role players that’s the height of irony, considering I’m the kind of person that can still calculate a THAC0 without a Dungeon Master’s Screen while raiding Molten Core, so I feel the need to make amends.  Not only that, but my fianceé has a sordid LARPing past and a large number of my friends and neighbors in Pennsylvania are heavily into the LARP scene.  Additionally I’m being dragged to my first event in late April, so I figured I’d better get the apology out before I get a blanket party thrown in my honor the first night I’m there.

Don't hate the player - hate the game.

Haters gonna hate.

I’ve never made any bones about how I’m not what you would call a member of “mainstream” society.  Sure, I might be able to hide my power level pretty well at a job interview or something, but I’ve always been more comfortable with a book or a video game controller in my hand, or at the keyboard of a computer.  I have many, many hobbies and interests that have gotten me labelled as a complete fucking loser, but even as I cried myself to sleep countless nights on my Empire Strikes Back bed sheets, I could at least comfort myself by saying, “Well, at least I’m not a LARPer.”

You see, for me there was a strict nerd and fandom hierarchy.  The top of the food chain were the fantasy baseball nerds, as they were pretty much just statistics majors masquerading as jocks, and then underneath them were fans of horror, science-fiction, and fantasy movies and literature, then Japanese manga and anime fans, followed by videogamers, then pen-and-paper RPG players and wargamers, and finally LARPers (there are tiers underneath LARPers – namely filkers, furries, and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fans, but I’m not going to go there.  You’re welcome.).

My reasoning behind the nerd power rankings in having pen-and-paper RPGers at a higher tier than LARPers was, while an RPGer will gather up his 50 pounds’ worth of game rule books, his giant bag of polyhedral dice, his Family Size bag of Cheetos and his six-pack of Mountain Dew, and get together with a group of his fellow basement-dwelling neckbeard power metal fans, at least it’s in private.  The thrill lies in the secret shame/thrill of having a double life, where on Saturday nights you get to pretend you’re a nymph-raping orc barbarian that uses his massive schvantz as a siege engine (because let’s face it – unless The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai is playing at your local $2 movie theater, you’re not going out on a Saturday night).

But LARPers… man, to the typical shut-in RPGer, deathly afraid that his entire high school might find out about his proclivities, LARPers seemed like the worst kind of exhibitionist freaks.  Are they crazy? we would think.  You’re going out in public?  Beating the shit out of each other with foam swords and tossing little bean bags at one another?  Watching the Society for Creative Anachronism at the local Renaissance Faire was one thing, but getting out there and doing it yourself?  Outside?  It seemed like sheer madness!

In a way I think basement dwellers are sort of in awe, and maybe a little bit jealous, of the LARPer’s ability to not give a fuck and just do this ridiculous shit out in public.  Of course, you can also make a case for LARPers being a little more disconnected from reality than pen-and-paper RPGers by running around dressed up like the cast of True Blood in public with a pair of fake fangs in and then not expecting people to call the cops.

Anyway, this is the dilemma I find myself in, especially with my inaugural event looming on the horizon.  It’s especially important to my fiancée and my friends down here because they were heavily involved in a fantasy LARP together for years and years, and many of the people that were on staff of this first game are working on creating and running this new one – so people’s hopes are incredibly high.  I also want to support my friends, so I’ve got to just kind of put my preconceptions aside and do it in the spirit of solidarity, but damn if I’m not going to feel awkward as fuck that weekend, especially if I’ve got to beat someone wearing green body paint and fake horns with a foam-covered stick.

Oh well.  At least check out the Facebook page for the new game, if you have a chance.  And if you’re going to be near Montrose, Pennsylvania in late April, think about checking it out.   I could use some backup.


30 thoughts on “I roll twenties.

  1. Hold on, gotta suck some saliva out of my retainer before I respond.



    Couple bitches here:

    1. Paper and pen people are not the same level as wargamers. We’re totally one step above because we weren’t sitting at home looking for a magnifying glass hand painted every Warhammer 40K space marine in our army with the same badges so they could get unit bonuses or some shit. We were, you know, reading gaming books and new campaign material.

    2. Where do Rennies fit in? Because I think they’re in there somewhere as the carnies of nerddom.

    3. You mentioned furries but not cos-players. Cos-players are like furry-lite, in my opinion. One step above LARPers, I think, mainly because they don’t whack each other with swords and throw beanbags at one another while shouting “fireball!” in a high, nasally voice.

    And, for the record, furries, wargamers, and fantasy football people all creep me out.

      • I laughed way too hard at that comment.

        As far as nerd hierarchy, furries and bronies for me are definitely at the bottom. I think Ren Faire folk and wargamers are kind of in the same tier, simply because you need a lot of disposable income for that SCA-legal suit of armor or the massive amount of eye-wateringly small miniatures, eighteenth-inch camel hair brushes, and $15 an ounce paint pots.

      • I separate Rennies and SCAsters. SCAsters get up in arms about someone not wearing non-period clothing, but instead call in non-period garb. I just wanna be like, “look, dude, you’re a douche bag. And douche bags are totally non-period.”

        Even though they’re not. Ha! Pun!

        Rennies just want to sell you stuff, and use a bad accent while doing it.

        But, of course, they all have bad teeth and smell like the WORST nerd odor ever.

  2. I’ve always been kind of on the fence about LARPing as well. While I’d love to be donned in a long leather trench coat, shouting “FUEGO” as someone and unleashing a stream of white hot fire at them, I’m not sure the reality of just tossing a bean bag at them would sate this desire.

    The closest I ever came was when my friends and I would all go into the woods with swords (real metal ones), split into teams, and hunt each other. We used real swords because the police took away our BB and Pellet guns when they raider the abandoned trailer we used as a hideout. No, I am not kidding or exaggerating on any of this. Ahhh, he good old days….

    • Horrified or bored? I understand the appeal of making a whole alternate persona for yourself, but what appeals to me about LARPing is putting on armor and hitting things with sticks. I don’t need no stinkin backstory.

      • Believe it or not there are people who get into LARPing for the roleplay elements. There’s even some White Wolf LARPs where it’s all political intrigue – players use Rock Paper Scissors to resolve in-game conflicts.

        This is of course incredibly silly. They should be using the much superior Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock.

  3. I completely understand your POV & have something to add that I think you will get a huge kick out of: my amazing & brilliant nephew is 16 & a LARPer. He is also into theater & is the sweetest person on the planet. (The closest I ever got to LARPing was Pennsic & that is better than Cancun to us nerd/geek types.). I wish you luck my friend & to say that in exchange you should bring a bunch of them to Pennsic in 2013. You could stay with us @ An Dubhaigeainn. 😀

  4. Dave,

    Hilarious, lol. I actually was going to go to SD Comic-Con this year, but I have a go-live project with work this year.

    To be honest though, I don’t consider myself a nerd. I spent a lot of time reading math/science… but I just don’t agree with it being nerdy at all.

    Case in point, although I wanted to see SD Comic-Con, I actually wanted to go to see San Diago; I’m dying to visit See California.

    However, when I’m talking to you about *nix or video games, I’ll admit a level of nerdieness… not so much *nix… but definitely RPGs…

    • Dude, you gave me a Dead Rising 2 Collector’s Edition for Christmas, complete with Zombrex syringe, prescription pad, and collector’s tin. Don’t try to make out like you’re not a giant fuckin’ nerd.

      You, sir, are just excellent at concealing your power level. That’s some Super Saiyan Level Three shit right there.

      Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to spend the next 20 minutes grunting and screaming like I’m trying to make a bowel movement the size and shape of Bono from U2 before the announcer comes on to say, “NEXT TIME ON DRAGONBALL ZEEEEEEEEEEEEE.”

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