So I recently got into Larping. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept, it's where a bunch of folks dress up in a particular kind of garb (medieval, high fantasy, steam punk, etc...) and role play as created characters. This might just involve in character actions and speech, or it might involve combat with varying degrees of realism.
I recently (last month, and then again last weekend) began playing in a LARP game that's about two hours from my house, with my father in law's best friend. He has an old SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) fighting buddy who made the initial invite, and I got brought along. I was initially afraid that it would wind up being LARP like one sees on TV and in movies. A bunch of sad, socially awkward nerds who have no friends in real life, and prance around throwing spell packets at each other, scraping and bowing to a king/lord/duke who is entirely too impressed with himself.
It's only half like that. There is lots of prancing around, and there's bowing (in a tongue in cheek kind of way), but there's also comedy, and adventure, and setting traps, and acres and acres of combat. Oh my dear lord the combat...
Some folks use latex weapons, specifically designed to be less dangerous, while still looking like weapons. Others use "boffer weapons", which are typically made from closed cell foam padding around a solid core of some kind, and then wrapped in some sort of soft cloth to avoid abrasions to targets. I initially tried the sword and shield method, but I find that I don't like how slow the shield makes me. I tried a polearm, and while I like the range it provides, I find I'm most comfortable wielding two equal or nearly equally sized weapons.
Then there's the role playing. I've been NPCing (Non Player Character), which means running around as various bad guys for the PC's (Player Characters) to fight. I've been an orc, a goblin, a bandit, a thug, a pirate, a kidnapper, a mob heavy, a fae lord, a fae enforcer....I've killed, I've died (lots of dying), I've laughed, I've wailed in anguish.
I signed up for a 3 month NPC shift, at the end of which I get extra points towards building my character, but I'm having so much fun, I might just go ahead and NPC more than the required 5 hour shift per weekend.
There's running, jumping, sliding, grabbing, fencing, beating, whacking, laughing...it's stupid amounts of fun, and I think I may have found a new hobby that I'm going to stick with for a while.