Friday, October 16, 2009

The Exiles

This weekend, I will be attending a LARP called "The Exiles." The game is based somewhat on Deadlands, inasmuch as it is a wester/steampunk/horror type setting. This game is a rush. It's finishing it's 4th year now, and while it's a small game, it proves to push the boundaries of what can be done in a LARP.

First off, most LARPs are high fantasy, so Exiles is a nice change in pace to the typical LOTR, D&D, Conan, Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser type game. Common class roles are Gunslinger, Trapper, Doctor, and Gentleman, just like any good western. And just from the names, you can probably guess what each class can do with the right training.

Another amazing point of the game is how lethal it is. In a lot of LARPs, there are "resurrections" with chances at permanent death. In exiles, when you're dead, you're dead. But not all is lost when you die, and I'll explain that further down. It gives a gritty feel to the game, where people will actually think before leaping, because every action can be your last.

The Guns we use are rubber band guns. Right now, you're thinking "Rubber Band guns are lame. You should use nerf guns or something else." We all thought the same thing before we played the game. Fact of the matter is, melee combat using boffer weapons is a part of the game as well, and using rubber band guns with poor range and reliability actually makes a knife fighter a viable part of the game. But if you get inside the accurate zone of a pistol (about 8 feet), someone will hit you, so a decent balance exists between the two.

Finally, there's the hidden information in the game. Everyone has a learnin' bank that represents all the experience they've earned on all their characters. That bank learnin' can be used to buy hidden skills or play hidden classes when you've amassed enough. That way, you could play a different character each event and after a year you could play a hidden class, so not all is lost. Many of the hidden classes are known, but the extent of their powers are only really revealed to the people who played them.

Exiles is a ton of fun. If you're in the Ohio/Northern Kentucky/Western PA/Northern West Virginia area, you should come out and give it a shot. Costume is easy, attendence is inexpensive ($35 for the weekend) and food is included. Check out the website or just show up for a good time. Just bring boots, jeans, a button down shirt, vest, hat, and a sleeping bag, and you're all set.

And I'll leave you with a clip taken from the game (actual events, not staged). I love this game.

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