It was wet, the roof had been burnt off but Garrett had to admit that the Old Forge sold good beer. Garrett lifted up his tankard and downed the remaining contents, relishing the liquid that he hoped would erase the memories of the past three months. As good as the beer was, his thanes missing eye would always be a painful reminder of how bad it was in Feorbuend; that town had been a brutal nightmare.
Feorbuend, home of the Hall of Aetheling though currently infested with barbarian orcs intent on pissing on five hundred years of history. His thanes grizzled face once again summed up quite how bad things were. In fact Garrett always maintained that the best thing the Young Bear had was a face like a barometer of life. When things were going to be good soon – the thane would smile. Right now he just looked weary; weary and drunk.
About a month ago I left Portsmouth and went to field near Northampton where I basically disappeared off the grid for four days and got immersed in my second life at Empire; a LARP system run by Profound Decisions. LARP is widespread enough now for me to safely ignore trying to explain what it is and if you don’t know what it is then just Google it. What I will do is talk more about Empire itself.
Part of me feels a bit weird pissing off and leaving my wife and non LARP friends and family behind when I go off and become Garrett – my latest character. Nonetheless there is something utterly awesome about getting kitted up in badass costume and then acting like something I’m not. Garrett is simply an apothecary who is rude to people, lazy and in all honesty a bit of a brutal sadist. Where else in this world can you comfortably tell someone to fuck off and blame it on being ‘in character’?
At Empire I feel I can do as much or as little as I want and still enjoy the event. I can drink, dance, sing, laugh, fight, plot, whatever. It’s a second life in which I can choose to be a lazy scrounger or, if I was more motivated, the Emperor of the whole freaking game. In fact, some people are getting so ingrained with the plot that naturally they now need to worry about getting protection just in case someone admires their extreme wealth and power. With each event that passes there is more depth and complexity and just like in real life you can be overwhelmed with the detail. Unlike real life you can comfortably not give a fuck and not worry about ruining your life (well your real life at least).
I’ve been to two events so far and the weather was shite at both. One reached -14 degrees Celsius at night and the other was so wet that most of the paths became boggy. I didn’t care in either case because I had such a good time regardless.
I could wax lyrical about how great the battles are, how awesome the camps look and how peoples costume is sometimes jaw dropping. There are still improvements to be made but these will be achieved in time I’m sure. Ultimately there’s as much point me talking about my second life in the real world as there is for Garrett to talk about real life at Empire. All I can say is that if you like glamping, amateur dramatics and Game of Thrones then come to Empire.