Tell us a bit about yourself and what got you into larping
I'm JT and I'm 36. When I was 19 I was in the Army and honestly having a rough time of it. My civilian friends often talked about something they'd do for fun and while a little weird, it was something, at least. They were playing Vampire: The Masquerade. It would be a while before I found contact LARP enjoyable, but by then I was hooked.
Oh no. Tell me it hasn't been 17 years. I think it's been 17 years.
So I've played DnD (3.5e and 5e), every flavor of larp (and few tabletops) White Wolf put out, Dagorhir, Belegarth, FanRev, Nero, Bicolline, The Alliance, Carps, Dystopia Rising, Chronicles of the Realm, and a few that Shall Not Be Named. Oh, and the SCA, which does not typically refer to itself as a LARP. But it totally is.
At Bicolline in Montreal I have a cabin that serves as a physical shop. It serves as my penultimate nerd vanity, and I love it. It has rustic shelves, larp weapons, armor, and soo many props. I go there as often as I can (usually once a year for about two weeks) and live my medieval fantasy. I highly recommend it.
What are your other interests?
I'm a crafty type. I craft jewelry, from metal rings and pendants to stringing beads and twisting wire.
I also craft coins. I carve designs into metal and then set up a bolster (a kind of coin anvil) to sledge the design onto the coin. While the construction of the bolster and sledge are modern, the process is historically accurate. Sometimes I stamp cheeky messages on coins, too.
I also cast epoxy resin in 3d forms. Recently, I've been making crystals, candleholders, and a few surprises for Convergence.
I love videogames. I have immensely enjoyed nearly all of Bethesda's games (Elder Scrolls, Fallout) and I adore the Dragon Age trilogy. I also enjoyed the first Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy 7, 8, 10, and 10-2.
Tell us a bit about your character(s)!
Willem Rivet/Joseph Smith- Willem is an imported character from another game called Bicolline, justified as having been brought to the Alliance world against his wishes. As he was getting his footing in Wayside (Chicago) he decided to go by a false name to throw off anyone else who had "made it to Wayside" like him. His new name was "Joe the Smith". I like to reference the Bicolline world every now and again as Willem as a fun reminder of the character's origins.
The origin of Willem is a long story (about 8 pages, actually) but can be summarized as a riches to rags story of a noble-born human that had his land conquered and went on a journey to reclaim his land in really the most non-violent way he could. His story by the time he imported to Alliance consisted of gaining wealth and power through the crazy idea of hard work and networking.
As far as other characters, I tend to be the DM in my groups. Lots of NPCs, but they aren't really the focus of the story.
What is your favorite larping memory?
Oh, to choose just one...
I actually enjoy when in character conflict boils over into in character arguments of moral quandaries. Not when people take it out of character, but when they channel their character's ideals to a logical conclusion and see where it leads. My favorite example of this in Southern Michigan was the talk about whether to support one side or the other in the Elemental Wars. A close second was everything having to do with the Kingdom of Alacar ( and consequently Steepfall/Sarr's Hollow.)
When someone meets you at larp, how can they best get to know you/engage with you?
When someone is new, they likely encounter me as the Merchant trying to outfit them for their journey. A few potions here, some scrolls there, and maybe some armor. I enjoy being the "chaperone" that takes new people out on their adventure and then points them back into the world and toward people they might like.
I actually struggle most with interacting with established characters. There are so many people that need their time that I tend to just give them space.