I came across this article looking through the travel section of the New York Times interviewing the LARP (Live action role playing) groups I used to play. Back in high school, I used to spend a entire weekend every month or so at a boy scout camp dressed in medieval costume, playing with foam sword and spell packets (home made bean bags made from t-shirts and rice and duck tape). Good times.
Extracted from an e-mail to R-:
don't really miss it though. it was a lot of work. i still have the costumes and swords and spell packets somewere at home. and i actually used to go to the boyscout / girlscout camps they described, like i remember participating in sieges of the wooden castle they describe, i still remember the spells i cast at the ogre "I create a magical seal that will pin" I incanted, while throwing a handmade beanbag full of rice, that locked the "ogres" leg to the castle battlement, while my fellows in the "brotherhood of the rose" (who were recognizable by the rose pin we all wore on our leather tabards), "killed" the ogre with their foam swords and rhey, with his prize possession, his foam halberd, which he labored long and hard to build.
of course in the heat of these large battles actually, i was mostly a peon, and could do very little, but that didn't matter, as it never really did. and we feasted in celebration the next day, on roast chicken and bread, which was great because most of the sleepless weekend, (i ate soggie hoagies from blimpies,) while the sorceresses sang spell songs.
i guess this sounds pretty disturbing and weird. weird enough that they made a movie about it, but unlike this article, that was a different variant than ours was.
yeah, most of the time, i was a peon, in the background, while cool stuff happened around me, like the background characters in war movies, but still got to help perform a ritual to restore the mage's guild shield wall, which was taken down during an attack, and also spent a night running through the woods off trail, escorting a sacred artifact.