…Play On

Larping.org recently asked on twitter “what song, when you hear it, instantly makes you think of LARPing?” Which put the issue of music in LARPing right back on my brain, bringing about a follow up to my previous post on the subject.

First of all, it occurred to me after finishing that post that there is a LARP- actually, a series of LARPs, that makes use of my idea of theme songs for LARPs. The infamous 10 Bad LARPs series takes the worst ideas people have had for LARPs and runs them, rapid-fire, for 10 minutes each. (A few are run one minute each, and still others 10 seconds each.) They can be incredibly funny and incredibly offensive. I recall one opened with a massive toilet paper fight. In between the LARPs, players pick up and read new character sheets, while the GMs play thematic music, generally with some comic twist on the content of the LARP. (I understand while players are reading character sheets for my own short LARP, Colonoscopy: The LARP, the GMs decided to play South Parks’ “What What in the Butt“, which should give you a clue as to the sort of humor this series has.)

Secondly, during Endgame this past weekend, two players pulled out instruments. I followed the sound of a saxophone to the area in front of our temporary tavern, then hung around to listen. Later, someone else broke out their guitar, and strummed it for a bit. Loved it. They played popular songs from the year just before the apocalypse hit, because that would have been the last time music was being professionally recorded and distributed, which really enhanced my immersion in the setting.

Third, my short answer to Larping.org‘s tweet was “99 Red Balloons“, with its lyrics: ’99 knights of the air/ ride super high tech jet fighters/ everyone’s a superhero/ everyone’s a Captain Kirk.” 

– On the Lost Eidolons forums, someone started a thread asking what everyone’s characters’ theme songs would be. I picked “I’ll Follow the Sun” by the Beatles for Taz, which sort of fits in with the themes of her history- that of moving ever onwards and leaving everything behind, with a sort of unwarranted optimism.

-As mentioned in previous posts, there are a handful of songs that people tend to sing in the presence of Sunshine, my Endgame character. The Temptations’ “My Girl” (“I’ve got sunshiiiine on a cloudy day…”) and “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers are the most common, but I also associate “Good Day Sunshine” by the Beatles and Jimmy Cliff’s “I Can See Clearly Now” (“it’s gonna be a bright, bright, bright, bright sunshiney day…”) with my character. And as she’s something of a cliche Californian, songs that feature the Golden State also make me think of her, especially “California Dreaming” by The Mamas and the Papas. But really, any hippy/sunny/California song could trigger thoughts of LARPing at Endgame for me.

-Though I didn’t create them, some of my theater characters have managed to pick up theme songs of their own, too. Before playing Where the Wild Things Will Be at Intercon J, I heard Jethro Tull’s “Hunting Girl” and thought that the similarities were striking- my character was also a highborn hunting girl who toyed with pretty peasant boys for her own amusement (she paid for it dearly.)

-As mentioned in my previous music post, “The Ecstasy of Gold” will always make me think of Lovers and Madmen’s Redemption: High Noon at the Devil’s Luck.

-There’ a line in the Beach Boys’ “Disney Girls” which goes, “oh reality/ it’s not for me, and it makes me laugh/ fantasy worlds and Disney girls/ I’m coming back”… the lyrics really aren’t talking about the sort of fantasy that is associated with LARPing, but that line still makes me think of LARPs.

And now I turn to my Master List of LARPs to see what I’ve forgotten…

-I recall that during Nexus (a weekend long sci-fi LARP by SILWest), a friend of mine played “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” by The Darkness. A bunch of us danced around to it during the LARP. Said friend told everyone that he used to mishear the lyrics as “I believe as a thing called love/ it’s trapped in the belly of a whore.” and that’s how we sang it. (The real line reads “I believe in a thing called love/ just listen to the rhythm of my heart.”)

-I played Jenny Wren in School for Young Women Specializing in the Arts of  Grace and Maidenly Submission (a truly excellent LARP, one of my favorites) which lead me to find the song (you can probably guess) “Jenny Wren“, by Paul McCartney. Such a beautiful song.

And lastly, “Ja Nuls Om Pres” was written by King Richard the Lionhearted while he was imprisoned. It’s a really beautiful tune, and I associate it with The King’s Musketeers for reasons I won’t go into here.

Any music in LARP moments to share? I’d love to read them.


About Fair Escape

I've been LARPing for years in all different styles, including both boffer and theater. I love classic LARP but I'm always happy to try something new. I have a sort of "gotta catch 'em all" attitude towards experiencing LARPs. I'm currently serve as a board member of NEIL, a member of proposal com for Intercon, the largest all LARP convention in the US, and as en editor for Game Wrap, a publication about the art and craft of LARP. I was also con chair of Festival of the LARPs 2017, and I'm on staff for NELCO, the first all LARP conference in the US. I'm
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3 Responses to …Play On

  1. Nat Budin says:

    Thanks for mentioning 10 Bad LARPs! I think music is actually really important to that game. 10BL largely runs on high energy – if you let the pace slow even a little, the whole game can lose momentum quite quickly. The music between games is a way of keeping that energy up even during what would otherwise be a lull.

    • Fair Escape says:

      Clever! I hadn’t considered that. I just assumed it was just another way to inject a little more humor into the LARP. Was this added after an initial run without music?

      • Nat Budin says:

        It was in from the beginning, although we didn’t realize it was key until we actually saw it play out. Originally it was, as you say, a way to add more humor.

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