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This Magic Moment
Crossing arms with some of the most dedicated LARPers in Wisconsin.
The Games blog embedded briefly with the Last Hope LARP (Live Action Roleplaying) crew this weekend at the Midwinter Gaming Convention, where the club, normally based in a shadowy forest somewhere in Southern Wisconsin, was passing the time, running a tabletop game and answering the questions of whoever happened to wander confusedly into the room.

Last Hope follows a model for LARPing that's more common in Europe and can sometimes fool these confused wanderers into thinking they've wandered onto the set of a movie. The werewolves next door and the Vampire masquerade downstairs were competing for attention on Friday night, but Last Hope was still game to throw around some of the weaponry and simulated entrails that make its events among the more immersive in the land of Wisconsin-bred LARP.

In the storyline that Last Hope is constantly evolving, a number of relatively peaceful races fled their homeland for a continent where they've encountered these beasties, aka the "Mordok." Characters, such as this one, a nameless Mordok ruffian, each play a role in the story, great or small. It was mostly the job of Mordok on Friday to slink around and fall under the sword of the Humans (people), Syndar (an elf-like race) or Ulven ("The People of the Wolf"). This hungry-looking Mordok was played by Diana Verstein, who had not shown up for the day's activities unarmed.

Verstein's friend, Shelly Sonsalla (far below), was also in Mordok garb and showed us a Necromancer's kit she had assembled from found objects, one of which was the detached wing of a dead bird. She found it outside an auto repair shop, and the squirrel bones seen below (at the bottom right) came from a roadkill specimen. Even more interesting was learning that Sonsalla and Verstein had cleaned the squirrel corpse by leaving it next to an anthill. (For the uninitiated, necromancy is the dark art of raising the dead and, typically, forcing them to do your bidding.)

Some of the other Mordok gore props were homemade. The decorated skull (cow skull?) seen below is a Mordok artifact reported to possess magic powers.

A tabletop session (like DnD but with different rules) was ongoing in the background as the Mordok played by Sonsalla finished a meal of guts.

Another entry from the props department: This toad belongs to Mischelle Maas, playing Anariel, a Syndar mage.

Next we're going to jump into some combat between Shana Aber of Kenosha (Selena Stargazer), a cleric, and Jake Nitzel of Rhinelander (Stanrick Longfang), a warrior.

Both have assumed a defensive posture.

And the battle is joined!

It goes well for Longfang, but he suffers a mortal wound and is reduced to lying on the floor.

In LARPing, this is when you find out who your friends really are. Players track the damage they have withstood, and if they withstand too much, they're forced to crawl across the battlefield or lie and wait for an allied cleric to resurrect them.

Like this:

The beads indicate to other players that the healer is using magic.

All the while, the tabletop game is proceeding apace. Last Hope is experimenting with translating its live events into a format that players can enjoy on a smaller scale.

In a nearby tent, a map of the land of Mardrun was on display.

One more gore shot for the road:

Last Hope's website is here and includes other photos. All the above were taken by yours truly.

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Doom, Reconsidered
POSTED 1/9/2015