Live Action Roleplaying Games

(This post was originally a static web page on Lee.org, written in 2002. I present it here for the archives. The page originally used this tiled background image. It was totally rad at the time.)

Live Action Roleplaying Games

(5-15-02) I started LARPing in 1991 when a co-worker of mine, Melinda Berkman lent me her copy of the 3rd edition of the NERO rulebook. (I’ve still got a copy on my shelf) I loved it. I saw that I could use LARPing to expand my personality. Try things on for size…. For example, Lee Sonko would never lie to friends with malicious intent, but I wouldn’t be so sure about my character, Gadlen Chimeran!

My family has always disliked me playing. But what is anyone -supposed- to do with their spare time? Is there a correct answer? Of course not. That always bugged me.

I think that I’ve achieved most of what I’ve wanted to get out of LARPing. Through it, I’ve been able to experience things that would have been hard to find in the everyday world without a lot of dangerous living. By experiencing these things, I get to process the feelings associated with them in a safe way. For example, in this make-believe world, I have experienced the death of a friend (Tawane) and was able to begin to sort out my true feelings about dying.

I got a good taste of what many things feel like without having actually experienced them.

  • I’ve been in love (Cormac to Mara)
  • I’ve seriously considered high treason (Gadlen vs. Duke Nordenn)
  • I’ve considered murdering another (many times)
  • I’ve been the hero (many times)
  • been in the presence of people that were honestly afraid of me (Father Folsom Kassevek vs. many but most notably standing against Shalizar’s fire and when I sat with Duchess Mara and she realized that I could kick her (and her whole court’s) butt)
  • I’ve played god (running modules)
  • I’ve had a blast (Bobo & Spanks!)
  • I’ve been an assassin (vs. Luigi)
  • entertained people (Opossum Goblin)
  • traveled with friends (Nacha and Union)
  • solved epic puzzles (Basil disarming traps in the Ravenholt Save the Duke Part II module)
  • drew up sorrow (writing a poem about Diego’s lost children)
  • been to a funeral, mourning (Tawane)
  • been insane (a lot, but notably that mad Talon Scroll mage)
  • let my id out to play (Gadlen and Basil)
  • been the clown (Gadlen)
  • been unseen (Basil)
  • been crazily overprotective (Diego for his children)

… I’ve been a lot of things.

I’ve written and run some adventures, and lastly, I wrote and directed an entire event weekend. I was ready for my directorial debut to be an entrance into a whole new milieu but my plans were dashed by the most unlikely source. The weekend unfolded quite poorly despite my best efforts, mostly because of a complete lack of organizational prowess on the part of my gaming mentor, Mike Ventrella. That knocked my whole gaming experience in a different direction. I don’t know where I’m going from here. I may have gotten just about all I can get out of LARPing. I’ve had my fun.

So, what should I take from these experiences and bring back to the real world? I don’t know, how about all of it.

Lee Sonko 5-15-02

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Check out Gadlen’s Homepage. and the Gaming section of my Reading area.

My characters to date are:

Nacha of Mason
Basil
D. Gadlen J. Chimeran
Diego Silang

Nacha of Mason– My first character… I found him pretty boring, actually. All you banking professionals should recognize his first name. I took it when I was working at Politzer and Haney in Boston, banking software professionals to the stars. And all you folks living on Medford Hillside in Massachusetts should know the last name. Well whatever.. It’s the name of the street I was living in at the time.
Nacha was a big “joiner”, very quickly belonging to more groups than I could count. He was pushing for multiple Baronial memberships and allegiances, which would have been rather “interesting”. The most fun was had with a cross-organizational group called Union. Union was pretty darn cool.

But Nacha didn’t have enough personality, enough backbone, enough versatility, enough originality. For a short while, I travelled with 4 other Staff wielding Celestial Templars. Ooooooeeee! Can you say “weenies”?!
It’s ok though. It was a terrific stepping stone to….

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Basil

Basil was cool. Basil’s still cool. He’s sweet, he’s cute, he’s lovable, he’s got a giant waffle iron for a weapon, he sounds dumber than a block of wood but he’s smarter than I am! (that’s a really weird thing about gaming, it can bring out traits in me that I just don’t possess!) He’s big, strong ‘n’ stupid, just the way the ladies like ’em. And he’s saved the world on at least one occation (really).

And he likes to blow things up! Weee!

Here’s a little (wholely true!) story for you.

Long ago, my character Basil was on an adventure with a whole host of rather cool Adventurers. We were looking to put the Biata Stone back together. Our party was rather large and filled with several powerful and influential characters. My character, Basil was a bit of an idiot savant. He is a simple man with a flair for revealing the truth in interesting ways.

Remember that saying about what happens when too many cooks are working on soup? Well…

So, we had come to a door… We knew that on the other side of the door was the big baddie and he was waiting for us. All the great and powerful leaders knew that this door was almost definitely trapped. Whoever opened this door would be subjected to death from above, pain and Neeeee-wom! So they called, “Hey, where’s Basil? Basil, open this door.” Did I tell you that Basil knew his traps? Well, he did.

So, I got to the door. Just behind me stood all the great and powerful leaders, all discussing what their next course of action was. As they argued, I looked at the door. This was gonna be tough; they knew we were coming so they were gonna make it really tough! I turned around to all of the great and powerful leaders and said, in a tone well enough to be heard but certainly not the din of flailing hands and great words of the leaders, “You better get back or you’re gonna die.” Two people looked at me and shrugged. I shrugged back and went about my work. Anyone is free to not listen to Basil. And that’s just what they did.

I checked the knob, the seams of the door, under the door, the latch, the hinges. I opened the door a crack and checked again, hardly able to hear myself think with the great words being argued behind me. I said again, “Here’s goes, we’re gonna die!” and I opened the door.

SNAP!

Now, it isn’t -my- problem if people don’t listen to me. I warned them. I told them twice to get back. Did you know that Feeblemind gas lasts an entire hour and has a 5 foot radius of effect? I do. And everyone standing next to me does too. ;-)

Well, we survived but with no help from the several recently created idiots in the group.

The best part about this whole adventure was that the true character concept behind Basil was leaked in that hour, I came right out and said it. Told everyone who came within earshot.. and you know, they still didn’t get it. No one noticed. Secrets, lies, truths, it all came out and still, no one noticed.

It seems that no one listens if you speak quietly and carry a big stick unless you use the big stick a couple times and yell once or twice.

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D. Gadlen J. Chimeran Sorcerer, Man About Town, Landreeve of Blythedale, and Dark Hobling of the Fourth House of Inverness

He is such a trip! There are so many stories! When he is around, things happen! Not nessasarily good things, but things!

Let me tell you one of his true stories!

One fine sunny afternoon, Gadlen was traveling the woods of Ashbury alone as he is want to do on occasion. You see, he must occasionally get away from the boisterous noise and smell of all the humans in the town. Not that he dislikes humans, it’s just that they have no stealth… but that is a story for another day!

So then, Gadlen had sufficiently gained his calm and was proceeding merrily down the path back to town when he came across a group of Orcs. Orcs are often known to be a disagreeable sight in Ashbury. As a matter of fact, they have been outright outlawed within the city borders. But Gadlen knew that, much of the time, disagreements happen out of misunderstanding. So he approached the fellows. The Orcs didn’t know how to take this. They growled things like “Grrr. You look good enough to eat!”, “We should make Hobling pie out of you!” and “Hoblings make good snacks!” The lone Hobling, always one to play along replied, “Yumm! Hobling pie is delicious, I agree! But we are quite small. Do you know what would fill your tummies better than Hobling? Orcie Treats! Yes, I have a whole stash of them over that hill!”

“Hurumph!” they said, “You just want to fetch your friends to kill us! You want to lure us to town!”

“No, my Orcish friends, why would I want to do that? Hobling pie tastes much better than Orcish pie! And Orcie Treats are even better! Come, we will have a good meal! Besides, the town is in the opposite direction!” He was right, town was in the other direction. The Orcs couldn’t disagree with that, so they followed Gadlen over the hill. And low and behold, over the hill there were no Adventurers, no townsfolk, nothing but trees, rocks and a tiny hut. Gadlen walked over to the hut and asked his new friends to wait outside while he fetched the treats. A few moments later, he emerged, Orcie Treats in hand! He had brought 2 Snicker-snack bars for every Orc, 10 bars in all!

They all dined for a while, enjoyed the company, the sun streaming through the trees, the warmth of life. They got to know each other. Rumph, the leader was a great fighter and raider of gopher holes. Rwraw, was a worm farmer when he wasn’t terrorizing villages. And Grom was studying to learn the number that came after “2”. What a fine day it was!

All this eating had gotten Gadlen, who was quite a portly fellow indeed, thinking about food. He told the Orcs about all the delicacies that were served in the Dragon’s Flaggon. Everyone at once decided to go have a beer at the tavern. So the 6 of them all went to town in search of beer. Gadlen was especially excited at the prospect of introducing his new friends to his friends in the Ducal Court.

I’ll let Gadlen himself tell this part of the story.

So, in to town we marched, arm in arm! When we reached the town line, we were greeted rather hastily by a lone scholar. I tried to introduce the Orcs but he obviously had very important business elsewhere. I thought for a moment that were was some important thing I was forgetting but I couldn’t think of it. Next, we met up with the Court of Trellheim. The Baron, being a close acquaintance of mine greeted me first. I called out, “I would like to introduce you to my very best friends in the whole world! We met only a short while ago but I trust them implicitly!” The court reacted most strangely indeed. They tried to separate me from the Orcs and then, without provocation, they began to strike them with swords and spells! This was incredible! Something must have overcome the Court.

What could I do but protect my friends?! I lit ’em up. Hoping they would snap out of it, I started at the bottom of my pyramid… 2 Magic Missiles, 3, a Lightning Bolt, 2 more Missiles, another Lightning Bolt! By then, they had turned on me and as well. At such range, I didn’t stand a chance. I awoke a minute later, next to the severed remains of my slain comrades! The Orcs had been butchered like so much meat! The Horror! I cried out, “What have you done! You’ve killed my friends!”

One of Trellheim replied, “No, it’s alright, they’re dead now, the Charm spell is broken.”

“What spell? What are you talking about! Rumph! Rwraw! Grom! What have they done! Oh the horror of it all!”

The Baron of Trellheim, not listening to my pitiful tears, walked over to me and began speaking in a rather accusatory tone, “Gadlen, you cast at us and blew our protectives. You owe me some curing and a couple Spell Shields.”

With a tear in my eye and not a second of hesitation, I looked him dead in the eye and said, “Oh yea? Well you owe me five Orcs!”

They tried to console me about my loss. Saying that it just wasn’t meant to be. “They were illegal, anyway.” and ,”They would have turned on you in the end.” But I didn’t want to…. no, couldn’t hear them. It was a sad day, that day in Ashbury when the noble court of Trellheim cut down some of Gadlen Chimeran’s best friends with impunity. Oh, woe is me!

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Here’s a fun little poem Kate (a nero friend) sent me. She got it from another friend’s page:

Chivalry, Schmivalry!
Roger the thief has a
method he uses for
sneaky attacks:
Folks who are reading are
Characteristically
Always Forgetting to
Guard their own bac …

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