per amica silentia lunae

or, across the ferny brae with the evil voodoo celt

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a door swings shut, and another opens...
In some ways, I feel like I've finally accepted that a dear, departed friend is gone. And that I've made a new friendship that will last me many years... Odd thing to say about LARP characters, you might think. But consider:

A couple of years ago, my character in the XPI medieval fantasy LARP died saving the world. I knew it was going to happen- I walked into it with my head held high (or leading with my chin, one might say with equal justice). It was and will remain one of the most profoundly enjoyable and moving experiences of my LARP career. Tragic love, angst, terror, fond farewells, a heroic death, people crying over my corpse, the chance to attend my own funeral… it all felt like a story in which I was the main character, and not a game. It's hard to get any better than that.

I didn't drop out, or start casting full-time. I found a new character concept that I liked and that excited some of the writers, and started him the next season. But losing a character that I'd played for five or six years... seeing the player group I'd helped found go on without me... resisting the temptation interact with them anyway, even though it didn't fit my new character... it was hard. I felt lonely and rather isolated- some of this was my fault, and some was other players, but it was there nonetheless. I almost did drop out of the campaign, or go to full-time cast. Instead, I mostly took a break this season, playing only one game (and that as cast) before the "tourney game" (the big Labor day season spectacular, as it were). Had a blast at casting, and decided to give the tourney a go as my new character- a priest/healer sort, very different from the cynical mercenary mage that I played before.

Wow, what a game that was. I don't think there was a single storyline targeted at or even terribly closely related to my character, but I had some top-notch interactions, got to see some long-running stories go down or kick into high gear, and in general enjoyed myself. But that's not all.

First, the closure: the Bishop and I wrote a storyline to have RavenRose's character take up the role my deceased character had once had in the group- kind of a shamanic/spirit-talker thing. She had to pass a test first, of course, or rather three: first she had to ignore the (illusionary) tortured screams of her friends, then ignore me as I showed up as the ghost of my former character (we had been, all too briefly, lovers - I mentioned "tragic love" above, right?), then walk into the place where my character had died and face a monster there. She passed with flying colors, and when she got back... my character's ghost was there, and their patron spirit allowed them to actually physically touch again, exchange a last kiss and embrace (or several) and give her a necklace that was a token of her new status. Then final farewells to the others in the group, and goodbye... It was lovely. It was a gift to RavenRose, to the others in the group, and to myself.

I also really got into my new character's head. So many things ended up making me think things out, and by the end of the game he was ready to take the next step on his road to becoming a full priest. One of the most profound times was when most of our friends had entered an extra-dimensional crypt and we were standing ready to help them when they came out. There was little we could do but wait and be ready- RavenRose deployed us in a brilliant "light chain" that turned out to be a great idea. It was something we could do to help, something that made us feel less helpless, even though we were outside, never knowing whether those within the Door would come back alive, or at all... being there to help when they came out made all the difference to me.

The long period spent at my watch post alone was where much of the important introspection happened. And then I spent another period talking with one of the other characters… she mentioned how worried she was about her friends that had gone inside, and I said without thinking, "I'm worried about everyone who went inside." And it was true. Even the ones my character didn't know. Talk about a character-defining moment… I think I've finally got him on track, and this game nailed it for me.

So, just enough time to get my breath back before the 1936 campaign finale. That one is going to be rough, indeed...

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The scene was perfect, and a great transition for both of us. My thanks again! Now I just need to finalize what I am going to do with my new-found..uhm... talent. :-)

The chain of light/chain of voice thing is something I have wanted to do for a long time. I always wondered what would happen in a very samll group had to watch/defend a large area. Logistically, the though was while no one person could/should fight... if someone got in trouble, they could collapse back in two directions, and the party could get to them quickly by accordianing in towards the trouble. Instaed, all was calm, until the adveturers came out at the exit (we were watching the exit, the entrance, and all points in between, with about a acre of woods in the middle). The "They are here" cry went out, and we collapsed away from the entrance, towards the exit, and were there to defend the tired adventurers from harm. The we formed another chain, voice only, so that we could have someone at the exit to catch stragglers, while we also could relay the message up from the inn when all were accounted for... which we did. All-in-all worked much better than I expected... medieval telephone system!
I also had many momnets of great role-play/catharsis/bonding moments at the game... ti was astounding.

Thanks for sharing this.

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