Yesterday, I spent a few hours engaged in the first "roleplaying" session of the Clans of Elgardt group. I think there were about 20 players involved, including half a dozen female roleplayers.
It was fun, simple, and nothing like the complexity of game I'm used to, but it was a great starting point.
It was great to see a new generation of roleplayers coming through, and I certainly felt old as I told one group of players that I'd been doing this for longer than they'd been alive.
One thing that did strike me as interesting was the number of players who had taken the step from online "rpgs" like World of Warcraft to this more physical variant. Some had seen movies like knights of Badassdom, and had spent a small fortune on armour and rubber weapons before coming along, others were simply curious at how this sort of game might play out with real people rather than digital avatars. A very different group of players seemed to have arrived from re-enactment groups, looking for something a bit more than just fighting all day.
I heard rumours that the organisers may have never played in a LARP campaign before, and they they were building up a system based on minimal research, a bit of influence from what they'd seen other groups do, and generally nutting things out from first principles. If there was any truth to the rumours then this might explain a few interesting anomalies I encountered, but generally things ran pretty smoothly. The system was not too detailed, it allowed characters to be made at a sub-optimum level, but showed the potential for character growth through dedication (and accumulated gold expenditure).
One of the most common questions I found earlier in the day, asked of various people, was "How do I Live roleplay?", later in the day the common question was "Is this anything like tabletop gaming?". Previously, I'd mostly seen players move from tabletop to LARP, taking tenuous steps away from the table as they'd suddenly have to act out their character actions rather than simply rolling dice. But those common questions have inspired my NaGaDeMon project this year.
I'm going to write a series of Pocketmod books, 4 at this stage. Each describing how to LARP, not specifying a single system, but more a guide for how to conduct yourself during such an event. One for new player, one for players ready to step up to the next level, one for players who would like to take on GM duties, and one for people who are planning to organise events of their own.
Some people might find this useful.