An Interview with Alliance Denver’s Jesse Grabowski
Live Action Role Playing, or LARP for short, is a game in which role playing is taken to a more physical level. Players dress up as their characters and generally the action is played out in front of the players—often times leaving the story up to the players to evolve—and there isn’t a narrating Game Master following people around. Even dice can be replaced with actual sword fighting, cards or rock/paper/scissor style of determination. Imagine a Murder Dinner Party merged with dice & paper games.
Colorado has a new chapter of a nationally recognized LARP society and on August 3rd, they will be performing a tavern night at Petrie’s. We took the time to interview the man behind the scenes, Jesse Grabowski.
PFG: Hello Jesse. Tell us a little about yourself.
JG: My name is Jesse Grabowski and I am a veteran High School English Teacher of 14 years. Currently, I am also the owner of Alliance LARP Denver, and a part-time coffee business.
PFG: What is your background in LARP gaming?
JG: I have been LARPing on the east coast for 22 years. I joined the plot committee at the Alliance LARP HQ chapter where I wrote and directed for approximately 8 years. I became the head of plot for 2 years, and was also a plot consultant for many more. I have run many weekend long events, 2-hour adventure day modules in warehouses, as well as single day adventure faires at various locations.
PFG: What is Alliance Denver?
JG: Alliance LARP Denver is a continuous Live Action Role-Playing Game with a fantasy setting where the players create their own character (both class and race) and advance in levels, ability, wealth, rank, and more. In addition, there is interaction with many other Player Characters (PCs) and Non-Player Characters (NPCs) at campground settings for the duration of a weekend. You also have the option of helping out the game by NPCing all weekend in a multitude of roles, be they peasant farmer, visiting noble, or dangerous war orc. The plotlines are rich with conflict, intrigue, world and character development. We have many in-game institutions such as the Healer’s guild, the Mage’s Guild, the Merchant’s Guild, the town guard, as well as the noble system. Players can quest and task to rise up in rank within each. There are many ways to have fun in an Alliance game. We put the RP back in LARP.
PFG: How long has Alliance been around and where do you see them headed?
JG: Alliance was originally called NERO, which began in the early ‘90s. One of the co-founders decided to branch out and formed The Nero Alliance. It eventually turned into just Alliance LARP. They now have many chapters around the country and are ever-expanding. When I moved to Colorado form the east coast in September of 2012, I began scoping out the LARP scene. In March of 2013, co-founder Mike Ventrella, talked me into opening Alliance Denver, and so far, we have been met with great excitement and enthusiasm for an Alliance Game in Colorado. Many former players have already begun donating props, costumes, writing talents, their craft, and their time to making our game great. We already have weekend events scheduled from September-November as well as participating in many conventions and faires. We will even be hosting two different panels during Myths and Legends Convention (MALcon). Our rosters continue to grow, and our invites into various faires and conventions do as well. I am hoping to grow our numbers significantly in the next year and am looking forward to providing the Role-Playing community in Colorado with a quality product and experience in our game world.
PFG: So what is the event coming up at Petrie’s? And how is it related to the Alliance events?
JG: The event coming up at Petrie’s is a Tavern Night with a Murder Mystery thrown in. We are offering beverages, snacks, and desserts, as well as a nefarious plot to be solved by the players. Our game is interactive and as such, so is this murder mystery. There is no idly standing by and watching the events. The players will attempt to solve the crime and interrogate people present. As for plot, this event takes place 7 years ago in our current timeline and gives some hints as to why a 7 year long war, known as the “War of a Thousand Skirmishes” began in the first place. The only major difference to a typical Alliance event, is that there is no boffer combat at this event. It is all role-play and solving.
Boffer combat is basically simulated combat with boffer weapons, (pipe insulation, covered in duct tape, placed over PVC pipe). There are fancier examples online and our rule book contains “how to” build your own safe Larp weapon. In addition to the boffer weapons, we have “spells” represented by bird seed-filled packets that are thrown at your opponent. Live combat takes place at most of our events, with the exception of some tavern nights. Our combat is safe and does not require heavy or ANY armor, as the goal is simply to land a successful blow, not harm your opponent. A typical Alliance Weekend event contains boffer comabt and spell throwing. This is our first official event and we are very excited to meet new players!
Attendees are limited to 25 so don’t delay. Any other questions can be directed toward Owner@AllianceDenver.com