Wyrd Con, the LARPing-est con I’ve been toPosted 10:55 pm on Monday, July 2nd, 2012 by Ryan Southard
I know you know what LARPing is. At the very least you’ve seen it in the movie “Role Models” with Sean William Scott. You know, the part where there’s this huge fake medieval battlefield, and the asian guy from The Hangover argues over who hit whom first. Anyway, Wyrd Con is the only con I’ve been to that revolves around this thing they call LARPing. I didn’t know exactly what I would get out of it, but it was a bit different than what I expected.
Blizzard’s wise words to aspiring writers
The first thing I did at Wyrd Con was not LARPing. Instead, it was a panel that had a few Blizzard employees. Blizzard Storyplay: The Influence of Popular Fiction on Role-Playing. They had some words of wisdom to aspiring writers. For one thing, writers need to have tenacity; you’re probably not going to have an instant hit, so you could be working on your craft for a long time before a pay-off. Unless you’re writing a novel by yourself, or a book of poems, you need to be prepared to work with others. People who may not only critique your work, but co-write with you too. Lastly, you need to be a diverse writer. You shouldn’t just expect to be the person who writes for games, or movies, or comics. No. Rather, it would be best if you try to keep yourself open to all options that come your way. When you get an opportunity, don’t turn it down just because it isn’t the tiny little niche that you’ve dug yourself into.
As for the description of what writing is, it’s a apparently a messy, sloppy thing that keeps evolving. You shouldn’t expect to write something the first time and present it as your final draft. This is one quote to hold onto: “Nothing is born whole.” Well, I suppose that works for stories, but I’m fairly certain I was born whole. Don’t worry, guys, famous quotes take time to craft too.
So, there was this Goblin King in a tomb. Well, actually it was more like a parking garage, but we were supposed to pretend that it was a tomb. My group and I began our adventure by selecting our characters. Our quest? To try and not get killed. The Tomb of the Goblin King is an “arcade game” that I suppose is a mixture of LARPing and puzzle-solving. The very first thing that happened was that we were presented with three “doors”. One member touched the door to try to get through ::ZAP:: but it had some sort of trap on it (minus one hit point). After another member unsuccessfully tried to “detect evil”, I decided that I, as the thief of the group, would just attempt to disarm the door’s trap. That worked. We then leapt from one small piece of cardboard to the next, making our way past what we were supposed to be imagining were tall pillars, the bottom area a death trap of sorts–feel free to throw in some Mortal Kombat spikes here.
We then made our way into the lair of a nest of spiders, the clapping of their claws quite fearsome. We carefully crawled under the spiderwebs, knowing full well that touching them would cause trouble. We battled them with our swords–oh, right, did I mention that we were all armed? Our next objective would be to cross a dangerous-looking ice bridge. Though we could see that there were three kinds of tiles that made up the bridge, we didn’t quite understand how to traverse it properly. One by one we fell to our deaths; I’m fairly certain our company was more enjoyed by the Goblin King post-mortem.
The LARP that failed
There were two other games that I played. One had a lame magic translation, and a magic-themed sudoku thing to do. Each one completed would earn “spells”. Really, I hated this part of the game. It just seemed like busy work, and everyone was kind of just doing their little puzzles on their own. Isn’t the point of a Con to interact with others? Another slightly better mini-game within this game had two of my teammates attempting to cross a deadly “swamp” with only a few boards, two boxes, and two pieces of rope. Okay, that was more interesting. The finale had us choosing one person from our team to be our champion, to duel against the champions from the other teams. Essentially, the teammates sat on the sidelines throwing “spells” (rubber balls shaped like meteors), while the champions dodged and threw their own small bean bags at each other. This was a lot more fun. It was basically like dodge ball.
The other game that I played was more close to a LARP, but unfortunately it failed. Hard. It wasn’t fun enough as a game, and it wasn’t very conducive to LARPing. One set of people complained at the end of the game that they mostly sat there for hours, not having hardly anything to do. I guess this kind of thing happens when you have amateurs running their games for fun.
Wyrd Con – I’d do it again
Wyrd Con, just like most Cons, are a lot more fun if you’re with some enjoyable people. Thankfully I tagged along with a few new people who I met there (if you’re reading this now, thanks!). My only regret is that I didn’t do a LARP game that I enjoyed. I should have battled, sword in one hand, shield in the other. I should have also joined in on (or at least watched) some of the more story and character-driven LARPing. There’s always next year, and I would gladly partake again.
Wyrd Con is pronounced “weird con”. It is held annually, and if you’d like more information on it, the official site can be found, here.
Ryan Southard is a video game enthusiast, dissecting games down to their tiniest details. Whether it’s new or it’s old, as long as it’s awesome, he’ll play it. Follow him on Twitter at @Ryan_Southard