The year 2015 is a threshold year for me with respect to Live-Action Role-Playing. This year, I’ve been away from LARPing for as many years as I was involved in the hobby.
As a grade-B horror comedy with well-known actors, maybe I should cut this film some slack. As someone who LARPed for 12 years, I can’t.
The story of Knights of Badassdom may be new to the general public, but it’s overly familiar to any LARPer, RPG gamer, or SF fan: what if a group of role-players actually met a fantasy creature?
The film has the standard ingredients of low-end horror films: buckets of blood, characters that exist to be slaughtered, protagonists that behave with incredible stupidity. If you’re a fan of the kind of film satirized by The Cabin in the Woods you’ll be on familiar ground.
What annoyed me was the film’s depiction of live-action role-playing. It’s a comedy, and perhaps I should allow them some license. But I’m annoyed that every single LARPer in the film fits the standard negative stereotypes: a mix of dysfunctional personalities, poor role-playing, and bad sportsmanship, set in a LARP with with a terrible (and inconsistent) rules system.
Mild spoiler: In the end, the only protagonists who turn out to be effective are the ones who reject the idea of LARPing from the start.
This film was locked in a dispute over distribution rights for two years. I looked forward to its release in the hope that it might be a film that showed LARPing in a positive light, or at least encouraged LARP acceptance. By the end of the film, I was not amused, scared, or entertained. I was disappointed.
Maybe someday there’ll be a film in which the hobby of LARPing isn’t treated as a joke. Knights of Badassdom is not it.
Last night, I had a powerful dream: I was writing a module for Mystic Realms. I felt proud of creating a good story with lots of action, but requiring only one NPC.
Of course, I didn’t write it down when I woke up. Now the perfect MR module is lost forever.
Not that it matters, since I haven’t played in a LARP for 8 years. In fact, I’ve now been away from Mystic Realms longer than the time I played in the game.
I can’t go back: I’m not physically up to it, I don’t have the time, life has changed.
But MR still haunts my dreams.
From the title, you probably think this post is going to be about romance and candlelight and kisses. Nope!