While I'm at university in the sleepy little town of Aberystwyth, there are basically three things that keep me from exploding with pure, concentrated boredom. One of these things is simple - it's the people there, and the way they treat each other. The university rock society is the second, and it's one of the best rocsocs in the country. The third, which eats up all of my free time, is Aberddu Adventures.
Aberddu Adventures is a live action role-playing system. I guess that's a new term for some people, and a hazy one at best for others. The urban dictionary definitions are pretty good, especially the one about larpers being batshit insane. We don't use balls for magic though.
So you create a character within this pre-existing rich fantasy world, you get yourself some physreps (things to represent stuff your character owns, like bottles for healing potions) and a suitable costume, and a reason for the character to join the Aberddu Adventurers guild. Aberddu is the main city of the world.
So, whilst I'm in Aberystwyth, I am one of three referees or 'refs' who keep the game running, coherent and fun. We make sure players don't try and do things they or their characters are unable to in game, like surf the net for information (the internet somewhat hasn't been invented) or fly. Unless they can fly, in which case a ref had better have a damn good reason for letting a player character fly, as it's a bastard to physrep.
The system has existed in aberystwyth in one form or another for quite a long time, but was turned into the gameworld and system we know today largely by the three referees who ran it a few years ago - Ian Shires, Pip Driscoll and Dan Walker. The system is free to play, and anyone can join in, so long as they adhere to the rules and safety codes, and are capable of dealing with their character(s). We have a fully paid up insurance policy, so you don't even need to be a student to play, and we don't discriminate against anyone, except in that certain races have physical requirements - for example, you can't play a dwarf if you're 6' tall.
One last thing - IC means in character, and when you're in character, you only interact with the gameworld or the refs. OOC means out of character, and you don't mess with the gameworld, including players who are IC. You have to keep IC and OOC separate, otherwise you end up getting pissed off with people because their character's a cunt, or knowing something in character that you had no way of finding out (like who nicked your character's wallet). Anyone playing goes IC at 'time in' and stays it until 'time out'.
Every year for four years now, we have run a weekend event in the summer in order to raise the funds needed to pay for our insurance for the next year. Every one of these has been a huge success. The title of this year's event was "The Tides of War", as it was set at a seething battlefront between demons and the undead, which came about over the course of the past year and a half. This is the kind of stuff refs have to keep track of, so we know whether someone can travel through that area of the world and so forth.
I am aware that it is also the title of Warcraft III.
The event was amazing, this year. It blew me away. Usually after the event the refs are knackered and never want to run anything ever again, but we were so pleased with this one that we all started planning the next one. The players roleplayed very hard, and stayed IC throughout time in. We had some fantastic monstering, and some even more fantastic monstering (playing non player characters) and kit, thanks to Elly and Chris, our special effects crew. Photos so far are at http://users.aber.ac.uk/cgi-bin/user/scty19/YaBB.cgi?board=OOC;action=display;num=1123496460;start= and the players are writing the whole event up as a story on our wiki, which is at http://larp.jara23.co.uk/wiki/index.php/Stories:TidesOfWar