I spend last weekend medieval camping in the wilds of Sparta, New Jersey at the Knight Realms LARP as part of my book research. Well, not quite medieval camping — I and around 60 others huddled in heated cabins that had electricity, but we wore medieval style dress and lugged around boffers.
- On Friday night Mr. Lizzie Stark and I were hiking back to our sleeping quarters and we stopped to look at the stars in the middle of a field because we rarely get to see them. With essentially no warning, a swarm of five or six NPCs (non-playing characters for you luddites), appeared, hissing and waving around those foam pool noodles in the dark. They were spiders, and they managed to down the Mister while I ran through mud puddles, dirtying my brand new costume, shrieking at the top of my lungs in the cold dark.The Mister’s character almost died and mine was unconscious for several minutes. We didn’t make it to sleep until more than an hour later, after most of the town walked us to our cabin. It was all worth it for the genuine moment of fear and panic I felt — I’m surprised at the power that fake combat has to rouse genuine emotions, and ones I rarely get to feel, like the danger of bodily harm.
- I sold my weird pickles at the Saturday market faire for fake money. Sure, delicious fermented kraut, kim chi, hot peppers and lemon don’t please every palate, but I found a few takers. Remember kids: fermented pickles are one of the world’s oldest forms of food preservation, and they replenish the intestinal bacteria in your gut in much the same way yogurt does, aiding in digestion.
It was too bad I had to cut out early, before the big battle, but that probably means I’ll live to boff another day.