The Oracle

Sophomore LARPer explores new role as weekly game master

The Oracle

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Written by Kush Dubey

In fourth grade, sophomore Henry Tschudy stepped into the world of physical fictional storytelling that has recently gained popularity in the Bay Area. Live action role-play (LARP) is an activity involving people of all ages representing characters that carry out actions as part of the simulation of a story. Tshudy believes both the material and plot-driven aspects of LARP create a very enjoyable experience. “First is the entertainment, in that it’s really fun to hit people,” he said. “But more importantly it’s a unique way to express story, because depending on which side you’re on, you have a different way to influence the story.”

Tschudy was inspired to join the LARP community after witnessing exciting match-ups at local parks. “I think it was just watching all these kids having fun and thinking I could do that too,” he said. Gradually his involvement in LARP increased with time. “I started out at the lower runs where it was less story driven and more just getting familiar with the rules and combat, and then I got into a league which was more story- based.”

Tschudy regularly attends advanced LARP games in Mitchell Park in his friend’s league every month, as well as Sunday games in Henry Seale Park where he and his friends host LARP games for younger children of all skill levels. In this weekly independent league, Tschudy is the game master—he sets up the environment for players to interact in, coordinates the theme and implements specific combat challenges. Despite the responsibilities he holds as gamemaster, Tschudy thoroughly enjoys his leadership. “As a gamemaster, it’s a lot of work: tracking which characters did what is going to result from this and keeping all these different elements in the back of your head,” he said. “But I think that it’s worth it, because seeing these players work with challenges during the story and seeing the plot progress by itself as a gamemaster, are all pretty rewarding.”

In addition, Tschudy believes the atmosphere of LARP events is positive and welcoming to all. “Everyone’s very inclusive and friendly. When you go to LARP, you really enjoy fantasy, role playing, getting in character and being who you really want to be, you feel at home.”

After many years of LARPing, Tschudy believes one moment stands out amongst others. During one of his games, participants were intentionally not told the plot or crucial character details and had to figure out this information. “There was this really interesting dynamic where you couldn’t tell anyone anything because you weren’t sure whether or not they were your side. They slowly started to expand out details until there was tons of inclusion,” he said. “That transformation from seclusion to inclusion was one of the best parts, as we had to be really creative to resolve the plot.”

According to Tschudy, the LARP seasons for both leagues have ended. Regardless, he plans on working hard to jump-start production for the upcoming season. “Right now we are still working on building up our arsenal for things like swords and other weaponry,” he said. “We’ve been experimenting with different manufacturing techniques, so hopefully we can have an arsenal.”

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Sophomore LARPer explores new role as weekly game master