LARP War Journal: Getting to Know the Nomad
This topic has been running through my head for some time now. Mainly because I have always wondered where exactly I fit in when playing my LARP game (Darkon/DagSilverdain/Orcs). Since the start of it I have played in a country, so I’ve never had that Nomad experience or what it means to be on your own. Only what I have seen from the outside. When you are playing a wargame where most players try to be a part of some group or start their own, it is hard to imagine what it must be like to watch your own back.
Getting to know the Nomad means understanding what you can and can’t do on your own. Some of it sucks, but in the context of a game that rewards numbers you can’t really have all the advantages offered. The first is your political voice. If it wasn’t hard enough to have a voice in matters of the game’s progression when in a group with hierarchy, try being the Nomad. The Nomad can be there, voice their opinion, and push for others to make changes. However, you do this knowing that you don’t have the power to actually vote. Sucks right? It wouldn’t matter how important you were as an individual, but unless you are in a country you don’t get to do much on that front. To some extent I actually envy a Nomad in the sense that there’s no point in caring about those things. When you don’t really have influence like voting, you simply put your energy and efforts elsewhere. Not to mention it is one less headache to deal with when facing those players who love one too many changes for the sake of it.
When you are a Nomad, things like War Actions (Encounters based off of a map of the realm to fight for land/treasures), are pretty much only profitable at best. You don’t get a castle, a large bank to pull gold from, or anything that would really represent your individual power. One could also argue that the fun is always being able to fight alongside a different group each day event or campout adventure. Even though I’m in a country, there is a struggle not trying to fight with other countries who I’m clearly supposed to be against. They at least have that over most who don’t get a choice in who they call ally or enemy.
Countries/parties/units can be great at recruiting, and more importantly, sustaining new players, but they can also become deeply dysfunctional. Similarly, some Nomads can be dedicated RPers and players, while others can be contrarian loners that want the entire game shaped around them. The general rule of thumb for Nomads tends to be that you are new and taking your time to get to know people and get to know countries. It goes without saying that approaching a country can be intimidating. For Nomads I would say there’s the desire to play solo, and the loner part comes in when you’re figuring out if being in a country is worth it long-term. Easier said than done to make one until you have the lay of the land and ready to take the chance of what can go wrong.
Now there are some perks to being a Nomad. The first thing is that the world is your oyster. There’s no one telling you how to dress, how to fight, in general what you can or can’t do. You can going against the King or another player with no consequence to anyone but yourself. When I first started LARPing, I remember how much of a drag it was to be told I can’t do this or that because of rules within the group. The first thing I asked was “What have I gotten myself into?”. A hard reality check that it would be the same experience as long as you were part of another group. I almost wish I had their kind of freedom because nothing is more fun than being able to play your own game. You may not stand out, have the support in numbers, or that much of a say in things that affect the game, but you have a say in what you can do as an individual. You can see a war and support whichever side you want knowing that they will likely pay you for the assistance and owe you a favor. I can change-up my kit whenever I please and there wouldn’t be a restriction just because of colors.
Getting to know the Nomad means getting to know everything that you can do because it’s what you want to do, and everything you can’t because power lies in being a country. You could look at this and ask why not create your own country, but then you simply fall into the drain that everyone else does where you find yourself consumed by responsibility. The kind that keeps you from being able to do you as a Nomad.