This past weekend was the final event of the season for Legacy, up at Faire Play in Montrose, and while you may be disappointed to read that I didn’t punch anyone in the junk this time around, I did end up tied to a tree and licked by a giant boner-inducing frog.
Pay attention, folks: there are statements that have never before been uttered in the history of world, and that was just one of them.
There are a few things I have learned in my history as a gamer that have only been reinforced by my eight months of being a live-action roleplayer. One of those things has always been Don’t Talk To Strangers, while the other has been Trust No One. The first is rather self-explanatory – that kindly old woman may be a hag in disguise, and if your Dungeon Master is a crafty bugger with a sadistic streak, she probably is – and while the other may be harsh when it comes to other player characters, even those played by your closest, most trusted friends, sooner or later someone you would normally trust with your life will do something to you that can only be described as the worst idea ever.
This particular teachable moment came to me Saturday afternoon as I was upstairs in the inn at Legacy, seeking some respite from the bitter cold. I had been having a bit of tavern roleplay with some other players when Sean, Legacy’s owner walks in, dressed up as a character I had not met before, an old man with a shock of white hair carrying a mysterious bottle. This wasn’t especially noteworthy, as staff at LARP games by necessity wear several hats when it comes to playing non-player characters, but as Sean came inside and introduced himself to those gathered nearby as a traveling merchant that was looking for some help, my Spider Sense immediately started tingling.
It only got worse once it became clear what sort of help he needed and what he was willing to offer in return. The elderly gent said he was a frog collector, and that he needed help hunting down a few in the nearby forest – a dangerous place filled with all manner of strange beasties much more dangerous than amphibians. In return for some help, the man was willing to part with the contents of his bottle, an elixir that would increase your sexual prowess by an incredible magnitude. After hearing this, I felt awfully creeped out by this dirty old man offering us Medieval Viagra in return for our help, and while I declined the offered “reward” I said I would help keep what I thought was an eccentric but harmless weirdo safe from harm, so a group of us went off into the forest with the man so he could collect his frogs.
Once we get into the forest – which is located down a hill that, at this point of the weekend, was completely covered in mud and slippery rocks – we heard and saw what looked like some sort of skirmish. Venturing closer, we spied several other player characters scrapping with some strange creatures. Naturally curious, we approached, trying to find out what was happening, when Sean tapped me on the shoulder as we made our way around to where the action was and said, “you seem like a capable man – can I ask you something?”
This of course made me even more suspicious as a player, but I figured that my character didn’t see Sean’s NPC as particularly threatening, so I hung back as our group continued around. Sean began to ask me a question about something innocuous, and then before I even knew what was happening, bam – he had cast three spells on me in quick succession, silencing me, rooting me to the spot, and then melding me into a nearby tree from the neck down. He then left me there and went to go mess with the rest of the players by joining in the fight on the side of the creatures (which happened to be – you guessed it – giant monstrous frogs), leaving me unable to speak or move. It wasn’t until after the fight ended with Sean’s NPC captured and most of the frogs driven off or killed when my fate was discovered, which consisted of me trying to mouth to people silently what happened.
The majority of the players retreated back to the inn so they could interrogate Sean’s NPC and find out what he had done to me while a few stayed down in the woods to both keep me company in game and make fun of me out of game. After about fifteen minutes, the main group dragged Sean’s NPC back down the hill to me and I got the whole story: Sean had been playing a hobgoblin, which in the Legacy world is one of 12 such creatures that can take on the appearance of normal people but are are aligned to a specific emotional state, this one being lust (explaining the bottle of Jesus Juice he was carrying around and plying with people). They dragged Sean before the tree, where he dropped the silencing enchantment, and we began negotiating for my release.
Now, I’ve already illustrated the Don’t Talk To Strangers part of the story pretty well at this point. No one can argue that my character wasn’t taken in by what he thought was an eccentric but essentially harmless dirty old man, allowing himself to be drawn apart from the rest of the group and stuck neck-deep into the trunk of a tree. However, what happened next can’t be blamed on me in any way, but also illustrates exactly why you can’t trust anyone, ever – even people you’ve literally known for years.
As we’re trying to bargain with Sean for my release, which would have more or less involved a prisoner exchange – my freedom for his – one of the other players had what could only be described as the least brilliant idea ever. In order to sweeten the deal for Sean, we were willing to let go one of the giant frogs we’d captured in the fight, and it was being held captive by my friend Kormann. His character, Sven, is your typical impulsive Viking type, and would have much rather killed Sean’s character than let him go, but was refraining from doing so because of the possibility that it might leave me trapped in the tree permanently, so he decided to experiment by lifting the frog up to my face and letting it lick me despite my protestations.
At this point, Sean’s mouth dropped open as he stepped out of character for a moment. “Wow,” he said, “I didn’t think this would actually happen.” He motioned me over, and I dropped out of character as well as he whispered in my ear: “Now, I don’t expect you to go crazy with this, but, uh, when the frog licks you, you get filled with overwhelming sexual desire.” Once I finished laughing, I got back into character. Everyone was looking at me, waiting to see what the effect it had on me.
I let my eyes go wide for a moment. “Uh, guys?” I said. The group fell silent, and I waited a beat. “Don’t take this the wrong way, but, uh… I just got wood.”
Needless to say, I was inundated with a deluge of boner jokes for the rest of the weekend, all because Sven got the bright idea to let the sex frog lick me. Which is why I’ll never, ever trust him again as long as he lives.