Episode 33 – Live Action RPG (with Jamie Thomson)

Live Action RPG (with Jamie Thomson)

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INTRO: We are still recovering from a successful GROGMEET19. I picked up some new games along the way, including Pendragon and the new Eberron supplement for D&D (thanks to the coverage that they received on The Smart Party).

OPEN BOX (with Jamie Thomson): Features editor for White Dwarf between 1981-84, author of Fighting Fantasy books, the Way of the Tiger and Fabled Lands gamebooks. He has been working on Dice Men: Games Workshop 1975 – 1985 with Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson.

OPEN BOX LARPing: Blythy and I have been friends for 40 years, so we celebrate with a memoir of how we met and share our thoughts on Killer, which is still available for download.

FIRST LAST AND EVERYTHING: Shannon Ferguson aka Angry Monk shares the first game he played, the last game he played and the game that means everything to him.

LARPING part 2: We talk our experiences of DIY Larping in Newton Le Willows.

OUTRO: More details of our Patreon projects.

Author: Dirk

Host of The GROGNARD RPG Files podcast. Talking bobbins about Runequest, Traveller, Call of Cthulhu, T&T, AD&D and others from back in the day and today.

13 thoughts on “Episode 33 – Live Action RPG (with Jamie Thomson)”

  1. Reminds me of the bright idea to invade Hartsholme park with wooden swords, bin lids and homemade shurikens. What idiots me Paul, big Paul, Carl and Kieth looked especially when it started to snow. We only did that one time we must have been mental

  2. Oh the memories! Wonderful description of so many LRP attempts that must have happened back in the day. I went to Peckforton Castle (a story in itself), and did our own DIY LRP, and ended up at The Gathering LRP events for 15 years, and the infamous Lundy Island horror week with Second Skin. So, I think I got more involved than I ever thought I would. I’ve seen both ends of the hobby, from an absolute failiure to a crazily good event.
    I still get the occasional pang of happy memory on summer nights, when the smell of burning wood drifts by….But that doesn’t include the memories of tornadoes, lightning storms and sunburn…
    The necessary kit of bin lids, badly padded sticks (if padded at all), and a hell of an imagination. Love it.

    1. I did what you suggested and compressed and equalised it – I blame you (I think Jamie was using his PCs internal mic).

  3. The anecdote about the staff having to exit when customers needed to browse the stock in Jackson & Livingstone’s room behind the estate agent is straight out of Douglas Adams. Great stuff!

  4. The bobbins strikes again, a thoroughly enjoyable episode. My own gaming group never suggested LARP, maybe because when we were much younger we’d be superheros, then one day my mate decided to test his invulnerability (read: heavy cardboard box on head) using his dad’s 7 iron, I duly obliged, put an end to further playacting that did.

  5. I’ve never heard of Killer before, or more accurately I’d heard of it but didn’t know it had a name much less a formal rule set.

    As for LARPing, I’ve always been fascinated by it but too self-concious to participate. It always looks a bit cliquey and ‘ammy-drammy’ too which puts me off.
    Obviously I’ve seen the piss-taking videos on Youtube (‘Lightning bolt! Lightning bolt!’) but taken out of context it’s bound to look silly, so that doesn’t bother me.
    When I was at Blitz games, several folk there (Kaye Elling was one, I think) used to attend the Gathering up north that was a huge regular LARPing event (still is, I think). On a more low-key level, Fools and Heroes regularly meet in Wenallt woods just up the hill from me and several times I’ve had to detour around ferocious battles when walking the dog. (‘Merlin, don’t bother the elves!’) (yes my dog is called Merlin. No, actually, we didn’t name him)

    All this said, I did actually do some DIY roleplaying back in the day and unlike Dirk and Blythy’s mis-adventures, it was actually really bloody good.

    Two friends, Darren and Alexis, who were big Call of Cthulhu fans put on an event for four of us, Myself and my mates, Chris, Adrian and Sarah. They enlisted two other friends, Griff and Richie and set up a Lovecraftian mystery.

    It’s all a bit vague and blurred now but if I remember correctly, we were told to be at my house at mid-day and a letter was delivered. ‘Dear friends, I’ve disturbed things I ought not to. I need your help. Come to my house’ etc

    We promptly set off across Barry to the wrong house – much to the bewilderment of Darren’s mum. Then arrived at the correct house and were met by Alexis who had barricaded himself in and was appropriately nervous. He sent us off to Barry library, to the reference section to research something and when we got there, finding the correct book, there was a note slipped into the pages that gave us information. It was amazing! Obviously it had been put there by them earlier on, but it was an undeniable thrill to find it.
    He had warned us that we may be followed so upon leaving the library we split up and took different back lanes back to his house.

    I can’t remember what happened next but I know we had to wait until dark before following a string of clues to locations all around Barry (and we must have walked miles that night) finding pieces of an amulet that had been scattered about before finally heading to the last location at a headland on Barry Island where a dark ritual summoning was taking place between Alexis and Darren. We stopped the summoning, saved our friend and the world and all went back to Darren’s for coffee and discussion of hilarious mishaps and near-misses behind the scenes. Fantastic!

    The only issues we had was at one point we misunderstood one of the clues and nearly went miles out of our way. Also on our way to the Island at about 1am, we were stopped by the police who searched our bags but seemed convinced that we hadn’t been burgling and let us go on our way. What they made of the explanation is anyone’s guess. ‘Well, it’s sort of like a treasure hunt game but with a horror theme, officer.’ 😀

    I’ve done a gothic horror murder mystery dinner too which was fun. Again put on by Darren (a trained chef) and I was Viktor Frankenstien. I seem to recall that that ended in copious amounts of alcohol and driving two friends home at 6am (I hadn’t been drinking).

    I must confess to wanting to give fantasy LARPing in the woods a go but aside from not being able to justify the expense of a costume and foam sword, I’d want to do an introductory day with other newbs so I didnt feel quite so out of my depth. I don’t know if Fools and Heroes do that sort of thing though.


  6. I’ve only had very mild brushes with LARPing myself; the above mentioned summer of ‘Killer’ (lots of arguments about where was and wasn’t ‘safe / neutral / killing-not-allowed’ territory’ and a Tolkien themed ‘Ring-Hunt’ game held by the then junior members of the Tolkien Society at Brimham (sp ?) Rocks in Yorkshire which ended, rather unglamorously, with one of may mates tripping onto a large boulder and so compressing his stomach that he instantly vomited all over the place…..

    When I lived in Leeds, one of my rpg group there was a LARP regular, witnessing the very best and the very worst that the ‘scene’ had to offer. He recounted an amusing tale of a rather slipshod game he participated in where he generously intended to support a relatively new group ‘get going’. The LARP took place in Roundhay Park in Leeds, where there were lots of members of the public around. It was a rather sorry affair where the ‘action’ consisted of my friend being ‘menaced’ by a normally dressed chap who wore ‘furry gloves’ to denote that he was some kind of were-wolf. At one point the gloves were reversed, revealing thin strips of paper / ‘bone’ sellotaped to the fingers which apparently thus now denoted that he was facing an ‘undead were-wolf’. This was all explained / shouted out in full view of an old bugger of the type that only Yorkshire could produce. As the ‘undead were-wolf’ let off a howl and ‘loped’ off, my mate – feeling rather sheepish, caught the eye of said old bugger, who then pronounced: ‘I don’t know what bloody world you are living in son, but I don’t want to live there….’


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