“Darkon” follows lives of live-action role players
From Friday’s The Oklahoman:
By Matthew Price
Assistant Features Editor
THE NEXT LEVEL
While many fantasy gameplayers are satisfied with console, tabletop or online gaming, there’s a cult following for live-action roleplaying, or LARPing.
“Darkon,” recently released on DVD, explores the adventures of the Darkon Wargaming Club, a group of LARPers in the Baltimore area.
The film follows the players’ in-game storyline and their personal lives, during a time in the game in which the nation of Laconia led an alliance against the Mordomian empire.
Players must follow an elaborate battle system for land, in a real-life combat setting using padded weapons. In the game, the highly successful Mordomian empire has taken over many land squares, worrying their in-game rivals.
Skip Lipman plays Bannor of Laconia, who heads the uprising against Mordam.
“My goal was to be heroic in the realm of Darkon and to be excellent in my game endeavors,” Lipman said.
Lipman, a stay-at-home dad at the time of the film, says his character resembles his real-life personality.
“I think a lot of different people play different aspects of their personality, but for me, Bannor is very much an avatar of me that just steps into another realm. Bannor is Skip by another name,” Lipman said. “It’s rare in real life where we get to have our enemies arrayed before us. … Darkon is a pleasant release when you can actually see your foe and come to grips with them in combat.”
Kenyon Wells plays Keldar, the Mordomian leader. He started the game as an awkward teen, and says the skills learned in the game helped him develop his speaking and interpersonal skills. Wells is now a manager at a large information technology consulting firm.
“For me personally, I was originally drawn to this type of things when I was much younger because I liked the subject matter — fantasy, swords and sorcery. I read a lot of Tolkien when I was younger,” Wells said.
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