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Exposing a subculture only beginning to enter the imagination of mainstream America, this is the story of live action role-playing (LARP) games. A hybrid of games—such as Dungeons & Dragons, historical reenactment, fandom, and good old-fashioned pretend—LARP games are thriving and this book explores its multifaceted culture and related phenomenon, including the Society for Creative Anachronism, a medieval reenactment group that boasts more than 32,000 members. The history of LARP is detailed and is shown to have arisen from the pageantry of Tudor England and is currently being used as a training tool for the U.S. military. Along the way, the author duels foes with foam-padded weapons, lets the great elder god Cthulhu destroy her parents’ beach house, and endures an existential awakening in the high-art LARP scene of Scandinavia.

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