When I was a kid, I was possessed with what my teachers tended to characterize as an “extremely active imagination.” Classroom tests and assignments always seemed to wind up with their margins full of drawings–mostly of swordsmen and wizards and dragons at battle, invariably with the Death Star down in the bottom right hand corner.
(Because come on. That’s where the Death Star goes, isn’t it.)
Not one recess in ten found me playing kickball or playing on the swings–unless the swingset happened to be where our formation of X-Wings was flying, anyway. Jungle gyms turned into embattled fortresses. Friends and playmates became knights in shining armor and hideous monsters. Everyone had a lightsaber, even when we played Excalibur or superheroes, everyone died gloriously, and everyone was a little bit disappointed to go back to the real world when recess was over.
A quarter of a century later… nothing much has changed, really.
These days, my weekend recess often finds me playing pretend again. Only now it’s WAY cooler. I mean, now there’s costumes! There’s weaponplay! There are spells and special effects and desperate battles in almost pitch darkness! There’s real armor and glowing swords! And we can bring snacks!
And best of all, there are a BUNCH of people around the country who play the same game, and who have just as much fun doing it as I do. We’re Live Action Role Players (LARPers!) involved with the New England Roleplay Organization (NERO), a nationwide (in fact, international) organization with chapters all across the USA and beyond.
I play at NERO Central, the chapter based out of Lawrence, KS. Gamers regularly show up from as far away as Dallas and Colorado to spend the weekend at a YMCA summer camp, in costume, playing a fantasy character through an intricate story setting and wailing on fellow gamers with contact-safe boffer simulated weapons.
Allow me to run the nerdometer off the top of the scale:
It is cool!
Hey, if you’re in the general vicinity of Kansas/Missouri/Oklahoma/Nebraska, or even if you’re not and just think you’d like to come out with us and give the game a try–why dontcha? Come hang out with me for a weekend!
We’ll theoretically kill some theoretical monsters! We’ll be beaten into theoretical unconsciousness! We might even get theoretically killed!
It’ll be FUN!
Other perks include fresh air and exercise (you don’t know what tired is until you’ve done a couple of boffer weapon battles, especially if you do them in armor), the opportunity to see my son repeatedly shoot me down in flames with rapier-quick one liners, and if you want me to sign some books or something for you, I’d be more than happy to do so.
(You know. As long as the gorbeling chaos fiend coming around the corner doesn’t obliterate me while I’m looking for my pen.)
Sound like something you want to try? Ah, good!
Check out Nero Central’s home page:
Which will have all the information you need regarding schedules, game costs, contacts and so on.
See you there!