For a year and a half now, I've been making an effort to go to Dumnonni, a live action role-play event that occurs on a few weekends throughout the year (bar the coldest winter months). At first I was sceptical. I say at first, I'd spent 20 years being sceptical after dissing the LARP events run in the fantastic parklands that surrounded the campus at Sussex University. In hindsight, I think I was probably correct.
It was only after a great deal of encouragement by one of my players, who is one of the Dumnonni referees that I was persuaded to go, I figured a weekend of camping with entertainment laid on would be a bit of fun.
I was pleasantly surprised, the attention to detail is amazing, and yes whilst running around in armour and being bludgeoned by someone it is rather fun, what I hadn't expected was the quality of the roleplaying. The amount of background information some of the players and crew know is quite amazing, but to carry that through and play a character, or several during the event is really quite special.
I like the reality of it the mud, walking, waiting, smells, sunstroke, rain and discomfort all give it a sense of authenticity which is lacking in normal story sessions. Authenticity I will now make efforts to suggest subtly in my narratives.
I thought I knew about role playing characters, after those 20 years of running sessions, but attending these events for Dumnonni has taught me a lot of new approaches, and helped me break through some of my natural reservations.
I don't think all LARP events are like this, but it is well worth going along to one, just to find out.