Saturday, February 15, 2014

You All Meet In a Tavern...a Dream, and Discussion on larping venues

It was a discussion we had years ago, my friends Brandon, Juan and I. To make a bar designed only for geeks. We'd have drinks named or based on science fiction drinks, Klingon Bloodwine, Pangalactic Gargle Blasters, and a drink that's...that's...

It is Green
Thank you, Data.

We wanted a place where geeks and nerds could mingle and talk and drink and have fun together. To celebrate being geeky, to make it an okay thing to go out on a saturday night, get drunk and talk about your lvl 50 paladin on WoW or to have DDR booths the way some places have shitty karaoke booths.

It was a nice dream.

Over the years getting involved in Larp culture, my vision of the place expanded. In New York, we really don't have a dedicated place for Live Action Role Play, we tend to borrow studio spaces, friend's apartments, anywhere that can have us and that can hold as many of us. Some times it isn't ideal. Some times the people we're sharing the floor with are loud, or require us to not be loud. Some times the bars we're in like to crank their music to get people less talking and more drinking, or there just aren't enough spaces for people to go to when they need to break out of scene or character, or for Storyteller's to do side actions.

So I imagined a bar that would be, at first, the spitting image of an old world tavern. With a similar aesthetic. Imagine walking into the Inn of the Prancing Pony, getting a drink there and meeting a bunch of people, getting to know them, intermingling news and information and gossip?

Then when it got time for business, you move from the main tavern to the other rooms/floors, where the scenery changes to a number of things:

- a corporate boardroom/offices of the modern age.

- a throne room

- a second, more modern, pub.

- Bridge of a starship

- Lab

- Whatever setting we can fit into the space.

These spaces would be for rentals out to games, either Larps, gaming events like Magic the Gathering, or conference space (hello Living Games). Spaces just for them to do what they have to do for their games. They'd go to the tavern for soft roleplay or hanging out, they go to the side rooms to play games. No need to side step normals, no need to play covertly while barmaids are harassing you for your drinks or orders while apologizing for not being able to keep the music down. The space was for you, and it'd always be for you.

Lately, as I've been reading more and more into the academic side of larping and role play, I've heard it being referred more often than not a subculture. That struck me. We are a subculture. We're not just a bunch of people with a strange hobby, we're a culture. We have our own language, our own codes of conduct and rituals. What we rarely have is a consistent place to meet, or a friendly place to meet safely. It's either the dance studio rental space, or a friend's apartment, or the backrooms of gaming stores, or sneaking scenes in bars, classrooms, in rented camp grounds.

People, blessed people, have made larping villages that can be used the whole year round. These are usually out in the woods, or in rural settings. Why can't we have something like this for an urban setting?

This is a dream that I know others share, I've spoken to some of them about it. This should be something that happens, not just in terms of convenience for games, but for being a safe haven for gamers and the burgeoning culture we've found ourselves in.

Who else shares that dream?