Article by College of the North Atlantic student, Jessie Dobbin
In live-action role playing, also know as LARP, people dress up in costume and act out the life of a character in a fantasy world.
One local LARP group, called Ember, rents a camp outside CBS called Camp Morristown, for a weekend a month during the summer, to live in an apocalyptic Newfoundland.
Ember takes lots of inspiration from Bethesda’s popular Fallout video game series. Fallout is set in an apocalyptic world in the United States in the year 2277, after a nuclear war has turned the world into a radioactive wasteland.
Shone Oliver is one of the founding members of Ember, and has been in the LARP community for years. He and art director Adam Saunders got started in the local fantasy game with E-Pock on the Rock, and as time went on, they wanted to bring something different to the table.
“We wanted to mix more of a local culture into it, and we both really love the post-apocalyptic genre and fiction, so we thought ‘what better way to bring a LARP to Newfoundland than to nuke Newfoundland and see what happens?’” said Saunders.
In order to LARP, you need to make a character who you will be for the weekend.
“You show up on Friday, and when we call game start, usually around 8 o’clock on Friday until noon Sunday, you are that person. You eat, breathe, live, sleep, talk, and you are that character,” Oliver said.
“We’ve developed a living, thriving world, a full backstory, a full bible of lore for it,” Oliver said, “where you have all kinds of crazy people coming out of the woodwork.
“We have the road warriors, who are essentially a band of bandits and raiders who have been traveling up and down the Trans Canada highway for generations … the road war has already happened, and gas is dried up, and now these poor sobs are walking up and down the TCH as nothing more than poor pedestrians.”
Larper Tyler Elliot, who plays the character of Adrien/Moose Meat, is a Road Warrior, and made his costume out of car parts. “I did make it out of bicycle tire and I used a rivet gun, which is a bit too modern,” he confesses,” but it sticks pretty good and is aesthetically pleasing.”
Other groups include The Regiment, who are the remnants of people from military bases who banded together as an authoritarian group after the bombs dropped, and groups who have fortified places like oil rigs and The Basilica, or, as in the case of the scholarlies, university campuses.
Other characters to choose from include a chimera, which is a half-human, half-animal species, or a juicer, who is addicted to drugs and relies on them to operate in the game, along with normal humans.
Combat is a common thing in the post-apocalyptic Newfoundland. Every character has a health pool, a fake weapon, shield, and an armour pool. During combat, once a player attacks, they must call out damage calls that depend on the type of weapon and the player’s skill with the weapon and/or shield.
The weapons are a range of painted NERF guns and padded plastic toy weapons. The other player must mentally subtract the damage from their health and armour pools.
Anyone can join Ember for a weekend during the summer to act out a character at the camp. For the total cost of $50, $10 meal plan included, players can dress up and live in an apocalyptic Newfoundland.