LARPer call to action!

Sep 29, 2011

This is a letter written by Greg Wirth, a LARP GM at Big Bad Con. It is a call to action for LARPers in the Bay area. Greg writes:

Gentle beings,

A wise philosopher once said, "Come to the dark side, we have cookies!"

My name is Greg Wirth. I was at Dundracon #1. At the time most of you were probably were, well, ummm, really young. Listen to the voice of one who shall be known only as "The Most Esteemed Ancient One" (MEAO) Come to BigBadCon! Numero Uno, Ichiban, Ein, Numbah 1. There's only one, one. Unless you're DC Comics, in which case you'll have a free do-over.

Seriously ladies and gents, Sean Nittner has done a really nice job putting together an intimate little con, where you can spend the whole weekend gorging on LARPS and RPG's. Devon Apple has worked long hours trying to fill the Con with fun, interesting, LARPS. Unless you guys, your significant others, and close friends, are tied up for the weekend, you need to come to Oakland.

I really was at Dundracon #1. I've conned my old College roommate, Charlie Parker, who told me about Dundracon, into showing up at BigBadCon. At Dundracon #1 we met Steve Perrin, Steve Henderson, and Dave Hargrave, among others; folks from the very early days of RPG's. (You can find these three people in Wikipedia, two of them are "no longer with us") Charlie, me, and a bunch of our friends went. We were college kids, pretty much little punks to the 20-30 somethings who organized and ran Dundracon #1. They somehow put up with us. (Ask Steve Perrin, he's still on the Dundracon committee.) Furthermore, we were needed, even in our 19-22 year old stupidity. A Con needs a certain "critical mass" to succeed. We, in our ignorance helped provide that needed mass. We also had a really good time.

You only get one chance at a first. I plan to absorb BigBadCon, the whole thing.

I also am passing on my passion for Roleplaying to a new generation. Our assistants on Sarah Hawklyn's and my game, Teenagers from Outer Space, the LARP, are all younger than most of you; a bunch of 18 year old high school seniors playing a game that was written before they were born. Furthermore, they are playing it the right way, with the passion and creativity the game demands, and inspires.

My first formal LARP was in an Ars Magica Game at Dundracon 34, less than two years ago. It introduced me to something I'd been seeking for years, but was unable to find outside of my own small group, an exercise in pure roleplay with a minimum of rules. The same troupe challenged me in Terra Firma at Dundracon 35. I mostly failed at achieving my goals, especially the biggie, but it was a glorious failure.

In working on our own LARP. I've experienced how consuming the GM's job is. Not that it was a huge surprise, I've been GMing and playing for years, just with paper and pencil. I've also done historical re-enactment.

Another troupe you all know, gave me Luther (the German Geppetto) and Jinx, god of Chaos in their LARPS. I had way too much fun! Now, Devon Apple, who I'm well aware most of you know far better than I do, is trying to help Sean establish a major presence for LARPS at BigBadCon. I believe that BigBadCon can become a major Con in a few years. Meanwhile, we have 5 LARPS in a Con with less than 400 participants? Ridiculous, absurd, but very real.

Unfortunately, there's hardly anyone here. The list of the missing exceeds the list of attendees. We're missing a lot of the people who built LARPing in the Bay Area . We're also missing a lot of other players names, people I saw scrambling to get into LARPS at Dundracon and Kubla.

I'm here! I'm a late bloomer, but Sarah and I are here, and we're running a game. So are a number of other good people and so is Devon. He was going to run two games, which is insane, but gave Sarah and I one of his slots to run our game.

Sarah and I would like to invite you to our game, "Trip to the Museum of Modern Culture", Teenagers from Outer Space - the LARP. It's funny and dramatic, I know, I stole from good sources. If you don't like teenagers or comedy, than sign up for somebody else. We all need participants! My LARP is closer to full than any of them, I have 7 open spaces. The Dresden Files LARP has more players (11 to my 10) but also 9 more slots to fill. Everybody else has less players, and more open slots. I can run mine with 10 players, although I'd like a full roster; most of the other GM's can't, and don't have that many in any case.

If the LARPS at this Con fail, the Con may also fail; or, the Con may succeed, but the LARPS may get cut back next year due to lack of interest. What will you do then, fight for empty slots at DunDracon and KublaCon? Good luck, they will also look at this Con. If LARPS are successful, they'll add, if not the opportunity will shrink. The first thing I heard standing around waitlisted, and hoping to get into the Ars Magica Larp was "There aren't enough LARPS at any of the Cons". "There aren't Enough" is practically a mantra, I have heard it at every single LARP I've attended. Well, guess what? This Con has plenty of LARPS. The problem is, there's nobody here!

I understand that you people are busy. If you really can't come, you can't. However, I have a hard time believing that this is true of everybody. I think a lot of people are just giving this Con a pass. "Its not a real Con. I've never heard of it." Neither was Dundracon when it started, or Gencon, Pacificon, KublaCon, or any other gaming Convention! Everything has to begin somewhere. You have the opportunity to go back 15 years from now when BigBadCon is a major event and say "I was there!" I was hip before everybody else. I helped make this happen.

I don't know that I've ever met Sean Nittner in person. I do know that he has busted his ass to be accommodating to Larpers. He brought Devon Apple aboard to promote and coordinate the LARPS. I don't know Devon well either, but I do know that like Sean he has put his heart and soul into this. They have both done a lot of work, and exercised amazing patience with some of us, (like me) to make this work. I'd like to see their hard work rewarded.

See you at BigBadCon

Thank You, Greg Wirth MEAO

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